Showing posts from July, 2011

Book Review: "Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa" by Melanie Dobson

Summary from As the rest of the nation is embroiled in Civil War, the Amana Colonies remain peaceful. Amalie Wiese arrives in the newly built village of Amana in 1863 only to find that her betrothed, Friedrich, has left to fight with the Union army. Amalie tries to overcome her worries as she sets up a communal kitchen. She hopes that working alongside Friedrich's best friend will provide some comfort, but Matthias is abrupt and cold.

Little does Amalie know that Matthias has been in love with her since childhood but will not betray Friedrich by pursuing her friendship. When Matthias himself leaves for the battlefront to deliver supplies to the soldiers, war wages in Amalie's own heart. Will love claim victory?

Groups about religious sects (Amish, Mennonites, Mormons, Shakers) have been very popular lately. I'm not sure if it's because of the bonnets or if people are simply just curious about what is considered the "simple way of life" but I swear ev…

Book Review: "Perfectly Invisible" by Kristin Billerbeck

Summary from It's Daisy Crispin's final semester of high school, and she plans to make it count. Her long-awaited freedom is mere months away, and her big plans for college loom in the future. Everything is under control.Or is it?Her boyfriend is treating her like she's invisible, and her best friend is making her sell bad costume jewelry in the school quad—and hanging out with her boyfriend. To top it off, Daisy's major humiliation of the year will be remembered in the yearbook for all eternity. It's enough to make her wonder if maybe being invisible isn't so bad after all.Can Daisy get her life back on track? Or is she stuck in this town forever?

Kristin Billerbeck perfectly captures the awkwardness of boys and high school in her newest book. Those are days that I don't wish to personally relive but it's fun to do so via characters in books. Daisy is one such character who is living out all those socially awkward times I used to have when I …

One Day Prize Pack Winners

Congrats to the winners of the One Day Prize Pack

Pam at Life Happens While Books are Waiting


Ryan at Wordsmithsonia

Book Review: "Swept Off Her Feet" by Hester Browne

Summary from Evie Nicholson is in love . . . with the past. An antiques appraiser in a London shop, Evie spins fanciful attachments to Victorian picture frames, French champagne glasses, satin evening gloves, and tattered teddy bears—regardless of their monetary value.

Alice Nicholson is in love . . . with Fraser Graham, a dashing Scotsman whom Evie secretly desires. As crisply neat and stylish as Evie is cheerfully cluttered, Alice is a professional organizer determined to pull her sister out of her comfort zone—and who presents her with an irresistible offer.

As a favor to friends of Fraser’s family, Evie jumps at the chance to appraise a Scottish castle full of artifacts and heirlooms. What could be more thrilling than roaming the halls of Kettlesheer and uncovering the McAndrews’ family treasures—and dusty secrets?

But crossing paths with moody heir Robert McAndrew has Evie assessing what she wants the most . . . and at an upcoming candlelight gala, a traditional dance will …

Book Review: "His Other Wife" by Deborah Bedford

Summary from Dedicated to raising her son since her divorce, Hilary views Seth's high school graduation and full college scholarship as evidence of her success. But when an accident at a post-graduation campout lands Seth in jail, his stepmother, Pam, blames Hilary. Is Hilary's love strong enough to join forces with Pam to redeem Seth's future?

Infidelity is another subject that keeps creeping up in the books that I read. I swear I don't mean to keep choosing books like this. The interesting part is that I am getting hit with it from all the angles so the different perspectives are quite interesting.

If my husband cheated on me, told me he had stopped loving me, left me and remarried the other woman, there is no way that I am going to be friends with him and his wife. If there were children involved, I would stay civil for the sake of the child but I am not going to be friends with him. I could not do what Hilary did and have them stay over …

Book Review: "Kindred Spirits" by Sarah Strohmeyer

Summary from When life gives you lemons, call your best girlfriends and whip up some lemon martinis. Such is the mantra for the Ladies' Society for the Conservation of Martinis, which was established after one fateful PTA meeting, when four young mothers-Lynne, Mary Kay, Beth, and Carol- discovered they had more in common than they ever thought possible. Meeting once a month, the women would share laughs and secrets and toast to their blossoming friendship with a clink of their sacred martini glasses. The Society was their salvation, their refuge, but when life-shattering circumstances force the group to dissolve, their friendship is never quite the same...until two years later, when a tragic event puts the Society back in session.

When Lynne passes away suddenly, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. Reluctantly, the women reunite to rummage through her closets. There's nothing remarkable; no kinky sex toys, no embarra…

Authors Meet and Greet

I am WAY late at posting this but better late than never.

In May and June, I got the opportunity to meet four authors. It seriously geeked me out because not many authors that I read come to the DC Metro area for signings or other author events. Which baffles me since the area is usually included near the top of the most literate cities but oh well. I was really excited about meeting all of them!

My first visit was with Siri Mitchell at the Lifeway Bookstore in Springfield, VA. The stores nationwide was doing Christian fiction Day with CF authors doing signings all over the country. Siri is one of my all time favorite Christian fiction authors but her books are ones that I recommend all the time to general market readers as well. Christian fiction authors rarely ever come to the DC area but Siri actually lives up here so it made me super geeked to finally meet her. I've been reading her books ever since I started blogging. We had a lovely conversation and I was so glad to…

Book Review: "In Office Hours" by Lucy Kellaway

Summary from IN OFFICE HOURS is the story of Stella and Bella, two intelligent working women who each fall for impossible lovers--at work. Kellaway's keen observations on the way in which affairs move from state to state are a sort of masterclass in office love, bringing to life both the excitement of illicit romance and the ridiculousness of business behavior and language with a sharp sense of humor.

IN OFFICE HOURS is intelligent, funny, moving and agonizing, but it's also so painfully recognizable to any woman who has ever worked in an office or ever been in love. Kellaway hits a real nerve with her depictions of how people come to get into the emotional messes that we do and then how very difficult it is to get out again.

I normally do not like reading books about infidelity. Marriage vows are something that I take very seriously and I do not like seeing them treated lightly. However most of the time media shows affairs from either the man's point of view or t…

Book Review: "Shadows on the Sand" by Gayle Roper

Summary from Carrie Carter’s small café in Seaside, New Jersey, is populated with a motley crew of locals … although Carrie only has eyes for Greg Barnes. He’s recovering from a vicious crime that three years ago took the lives of his wife and children—and from the year he tried to drink his reality away. While her heart does a happy Snoopy dance at the sight of him, he never seems to notice her, to Carrie’s chagrin.When Carrie’s dishwasher is killed and her young waitress disappears, Greg finds himself drawn into helping Carrie solve the mysteries … and into her life. But when Carrie’s own painful past becomes all to present, her carefully constructed world begins to sink.Will the fragile relationship she’s built with Greg implode from the weight of the baggage they both carry?

It's been a while since there has been a new original book from Gayle Roper so I was anticipating this book very much. It's been a while since I've read a good mystery and I know I can ge…

Book Review: "Angel Harp" by Michael Phillips

Summary from Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

It's been a while since I've read a Michael Phillips book. I was all about the Journals of Corrie Bel…

One Day Giveaway

I'm sure that there are many of you who have read this book and are looking forward to the movie. I'm also sure that there are a bunch of you who have also never heard of this book and have no idea what the movie is about. Either way, I'm please to showcase this upcoming movie and giveaway today on my blog.

Twenty years…two people. Directed by Lone Scherfig (director of “An Education,” Academy Award-nominated for Best Picture), the motion picture “One Day” is adapted for the screen by David Nicholls from his beloved bestselling novel One Day. After one day together – July 15th, 1988, their college graduation – Emma Morley (Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess of “Across the Universe”) begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, key moments …

Book Review: "Falls Like Lightning" by Shawn Grady

Summary from When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he's achieved what he's always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.

Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can't imagine her life getting any more complicated.

It doesn't take long for things to go very wrong, very quickly. A suspicious engine explosion forces Elle to make an emergency landing. Silas is able to parachute to safety but soon discovers his crew can't be trusted. They're hiding something, and now Silas is on a race to save himself and Elle from the flames—and from a more dangerous threat: his own team.

I've had Shawn Grady's books in my TBR pile for a while but haven't really had time to get around to reading them. When I saw …

Book Review: "Huntress" by Malinda Lo

Summary from Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

After finding myself enthralled with Malinda Lo's first book, ASH, I was looking forward to reading the follow up to it. I was a b…

Book Review: "The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship" by Lisa Verge Higgins

Summary from Goodreads: Rachel Braun was the inspiration to her group of friends, the one who lived each day to the fullest - and the one whose life was cut tragically short. Upon her untimely death, Rachel left letters for her three best friends challenging them to face their biggest fears.Sarah, an international relief worker, must travel half way around the world to track down the only man she ever loved. Stay-at-home mom Kate must confront her fear of heights by skydiving and soon finds that her new hobby is affecting her once-tranquil marriage. And Jo, a media mogul voted "least likely to breed," is given the most terrifying assignment of all: caring for Rachel's orphaned and grieving little girl.Even as these women mourn Rachel's passing, her legacy lives on and their lives are enriched by a friend who, in many ways, knew them better than they knew themselves.

What would you do if your best friend died but left you a letter telling you what she wanted you to do…

Pattern of Wounds by J. Mark Betrand

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingPattern of WoundsBethany House (July 1, 2011)byJ. Mark Bertrand


J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.


It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from …

Book Review: "The Blessed" by Ann Gabhart

Summary from It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. Estranged from her own family, at age 16 she went to work for a preacher and his wife. When his wife died, the preacher convinced Lacey that the only decent thing to do was to marry him. That way she could continue to act as mother to the little girl who was left on his doorstop. But Lacey never expected he would decide to take them all off to a Shaker village. There she's still married but living in a community that believes marriage is a sin. And to make matters worse, she finds herself drawn to Isaac Kingston, a man who came to the Shakers after his young bride died. But of course any notion of love between them is only a forbidden dream. How will Lacey ever find true happiness?

Books about the Shakers are a genre that I have difficulty reading about. I highly disagree with their theology. Everything that they believe is something that I find fault with. I feel that they took words from the Bible a…

Book Review: "Vigilante" by Robin Parrish

Summary from Nolan Gray is an elite soldier, skilled in all forms of combat. After years fighting on foreign battlefields, witnessing unspeakable evils and atrocities firsthand, a world-weary Nolan returns home to find it just as corrupt as the war zones. Everywhere he looks, there's pain and cruelty. Society is being destroyed by wicked men who don't care who they make suffer or destroy.

Nolan decides to do what no one else can, what no one has ever attempted. He will defend the helpless. He will tear down the wicked. He will wage a one-man war on the heart of man, and he won't stop until the world is the way it should be.

The wicked have had their day. Morality's time has come. In a culture starving for a hero, can one extraordinary man make things right?

It's been a while since I read a Robin Parrish book. This is not because I don't like his writing but mainly because I am still in the middle of his Dominion trilogy and just haven't had the time…

Book Review: "40" by Travis Thrasher

Summary from Plagued by hallucinations, writer Tyler Harrison covers a rock concert in Chicago, where he's told by an "angel" that he'll be dead before his next birthday. Terrified, Tyler reaches out to a famous DJ, who leads him on a downward spiral of temptation. Will he find the peace and redemption he seeks before he turns 40?

There are many people who dread turning 40 because it signifies that you've reached middle age. For Tyler, it means that he when he turns 40, he will die. What would you do if you were told that you only a few months to live and then was taken back on a journey of your life?

I found it interesting at how willingly Tyler chose to believe what was being told to him. Yes, there were times when he had doubts but I thought he gave in rather quickly. Then again, he did see a lot of visions so I suppose if I was in his situation I probably would have as well. Tyler's relationships with others a big part of the story…

Book Review: "Heart of Lies" by Jill Marie Landis

Summary from Raised in a tribe of street urchins, Maddie Grande was taught to be a thief and beggar on the streets of New Orleans. But Maddie doesn't know her real name or where she came from. Raised by Dexter Grande, Maddie and her twin 'brothers' have recently left New Orleans and moved to the bayou. The twins are rarely there, but Maddie has come to love the swamp. She has learned to fish and trap and sell pelts at the local mercantile.Maddie longs to change her life but knows that her brothers will never give up their lawless ways. When they kidnap the daughter of a wealthy carpetbagger, the twins force Maddie to hide the precocious eight-year-old while they return to New Orleans to wait for notice of a reward.Pinkerton agent Tom Abbott is assigned to the kidnapping case in which Maddie has become an accomplice. In a journey that takes them to Baton Rouge, a mutual attraction becomes evident, but Tom and Maddie cannot trust each other.Will Maddie ever discove…

My Library Reads No. 17

My Library Reads is a spotlight on the library books that I have read during the previous week. This is not a post on what books I borrowed but books that I read. Since I don't review library books, this is a way to still be able to showcase them on my blog.

BTW, if anyone knows of another meme that is like this on another blog, could you please let me know? I don't know of any myself, but if there is one already in place, I'd like to give credit where credit is due!

Library Books read from 7/3/11 - 7/10/11

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith (Dutton Juvenile, 4/28/11)

YA - Even if I didn't have to read this book for the YA Contemps challenge, I still probably would have picked up this book based on the cover alone. Having worked in a library, I love those stools and the cartoonish cover with books calls out to me. And the story does start off with a love of books, libraries an…

Book Review: "Veiled Rose" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Summary from Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.

Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands.

But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find?

Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?

Why yes, this book is YA fantasy. And why yes, I normally don't touch this stuff. And indeed, last year I said, after reading t…