Friday, July 29, 2011

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

Summary from BN.com: 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 everywhere I look more and more of these types of books keep popping up with new groups.

This story focuses on the recent immigrant group of the Amana Colonies during the 1860s. The colony is being set up with new settlers joining frequently. The focus of the story belongs to a subtle love triangle between Amalie, her fiance Fredrich and his best friend Matthias. It is against their religion to fight, yet Fredrich feels his calling is to join the Union soldiers. Slavery is brought up many times including the use of characters reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. I did get a sense from the book that characters felt that everyone should be part of their group nor did they think that what others who didn't believe as they did were wrong. I was a bit iffy on the love story as it seemed different than normal as well as too quick during some bits.

Until I heard about this book, I had never heard about the Amana group before. While the cover makes the story look like it is Amish related, the Amana Colonies were a different type of religious sect. Unfortunately after reading this story, I'm not really sure exactly what they believed in. There's talk about wearing plain clothing so no one stands out and the whole deal that they don't believe in fighting. I mean there's bits and pieces mentioned throughout out but I still never really felt like I understood exactly what consisted of their entire way of thinking. Even though I found Amalie, Fredrich and Matthias's stories very interesting, I never really got a sense of what their faith really meant to them. Maybe I'm just clueless but a brief primer about the Amanas would probably help.

Overall I enjoyed how this story gave a different take on romance during the Civil War. The story went in a different direction than how I originally thought it was going to end. I'm not really sure if I was pleased with this but I still had a good time reading the book. As I stated above, I would like to learn more about the Amana sect and learn more about exactly what they believe in and then I'd like to read more about them in these types of books.

Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa by Melanie Dobson is published by Summerside Press (2011)

This review copy was provided for a tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: "Perfectly Invisible" by Kristin Billerbeck

Summary from BN.com: 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 was a senior in high school. Though in her case, drama seems to follow her a lot more than the normal person has to experience.

I admit that there were several times throughout the book that I felt like a kid whose attention span keeps switching. I felt like the story lines kept jumping around and Daisy was going back from one thing to another. It wasn't confusing but it was overwhelming at times. I felt like all the different subplots could have been separate stories on their own. The whole situation with Claire's brother seemed very out of place to me in the story.

I really liked Daisy's grandparents as I felt they were level headed and more understanding than her actual parents. Daisy's father wasn't so bad in this book but I'm still not a fan of her mother. It's explained why she acts the way she does but it doesn't mean that I have to like her. I will admit that I can understand their uneasiness with Daisy hanging out with a 24 year old as she is only 17. I know that she feels like she can trust Gil but I personally feel odd about the whole relationship myself. I'm ok with him paying the cell phone bill since she had used it for work but I draw the line with her kissing him on the cheek. I will agree with her parents that right now, a close friendship with him is probably not the best situation to be in right now.

While this might not have been my personal favorite YA book, I still that a lot of teens will enjoy reading Daisy's story. However, I do not recommend reading this book unless you have read the first book in the series. There are many things mentioned in this book that come straight from the first book and missing out on that story will make you confused.
I am hoping that there will be at least one more book in this series because I feel that the ending doesn't feel too wrapped up. I feel like there's still more up Daisy's sleeve and we need one more adventure from her.

Perfectly Invisible by
Kristin Billerbeck is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


Other books in the Universally Misunderstood series that I have reviewed:


Perfectly Dateless (Book 1)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Day Prize Pack Winners

Congrats to the winners of the One Day Prize Pack

Pam at Life Happens While Books are Waiting

and

Ryan at Wordsmithsonia

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

Summary from BN.com: 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 set her heart reeling.

Hester Browne is another of these authors that I've been meaning to read for a while and never got around to. Again, I really don't know why I haven't gotten around to her books because I feel like I would adore them. Well, after finishing this book, I definitely need to pick up the rest of her back list. I loved this book! I loved Evie's character and the work that she does as an antiques appraiser. As a historian and one who loves anything British, I would have loved to have been in Evie's position as she goes through all the items at the caste.

When she gets the wonderful position of going to a Scottish castle to appraise the items there, it was the ultimate dream job for her . I laughed every time she started imagining the estate back in time because that's exactly what I would have done if I was in her position. Really, what she was told about Robert's ancestors sounds just like Downton Abbey (one of the best British shows ever) and it made me feel a little giddy just imagining it. Her adventures were hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud a lot.

I really loved the romantic chemistry in this book. It's not a romance, more chick lit in how it's presented but it's so wonderful. I loved Robert's quips about how he accused Evie of being one of those Jane Austen fans. I completely understood his reasoning for why he was against being heir to the castle. It makes a lot of sense and he has good arguments for it.

My only qualm (and it's extremely tiny) is that I think the cover and title of this book do harm to the story. Yes dancing is mentioned and romance implied but other than that if you were to look at this book, you'd think it was a straight up contemporary romance when it's so much more! Also the summary makes it seem as if half the book is Alice's story but the entire book is from Evie's POV and Alice, while mentioned throughout, only makes bookend appearances.

Other than this, I simply adored this book. Browne's writing is crisp, witty and charming. I loved all the characters and I thought they were all written so I could really get to know them. I was totally rooting for Evie throughout the whole book and I was so glad at the outcome. This is a hilarious read and I think fans of Masterpiece Classic will totally relate to Evie's experiences. This is one of those books that I wish could have gone on forever. HIGHLY recommended.

Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne is published by Gallery Books (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: "His Other Wife" by Deborah Bedford

Summary from Christianbook.com: 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 in my house. I would darn well not let the new wife talk down to me or tell me how bad of a parent I was. I know that Hilary was trying to not let her temper rise or have it show in front of Seth but I really thought there was situations where she was a doormat. I don't know if she's showing the whole "turn the other cheek" method but I really got frustrated with her for not standing up for herself.

I'm wondering why Hilary never remarried or even thought about dating again. I thought there might have been some hint of a relationship between her and another character but it's never brought up or mentioned. I understand that she poured her life into her son but I felt that a lot of the doubt and insecurity not to mention anger that she's harboring could have been helped if she at least tried to date again. She never flat out says that she didn't want to find someone else so I'm wondering if it's the old Christian fiction standby of you can't remarry if you're divorced type of deal.

While it was interesting to see the viewpoints from Pam and Eric, to be honest there was nothing they could say that could really elicit sympathy from them. I blame Eric the most for the whole situation and frankly did not feel like he was suffering any throughout this whole situation. On a normal basis, I could maybe identify with Pam's insecurity but really? She's jealous of the ex-wife and her husband's first son? Well maybe you should have thought of that before getting involved with a MARRIED man? I'm sorry, there's just no sympathy on my part for her and him and their attitudes were self righteous and selfish.

I found Seth's story to actually be the most interesting. I felt that Bedford did a really job of portraying him as a teenager on the verge of becoming an adult. His actions, moods and what he said was exactly how I expected someone his age to act. I wish we could have read more from his point of view. Overall this is a very interesting book because of the subject matter. Hopefully I will never find myself in Hilary's situation but I know that there are many who are in that way right now. I think there is a lot to discuss after reading this book and a lot to think about, which I think is a big selling point for the book.

His Other Wife by Deborah Bedford is published by Faithwords (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: "Kindred Spirits" by Sarah Strohmeyer

Summary from BN.com: 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 embarrassing diary. But buried deep within Lynne's lingerie drawer is an envelope addressed to the Society. And inside they find a letter that reveals a shocking secret and a final wish that will send the women on a life-changing journey...proving that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend and a good, strong martini.

I honestly have no idea why I've never read one of Sarah Strohmeyer's books before. I've seen them everywhere but strangely enough I've never picked up one of her books until now. This baffles me because I totally think I would enjoy her books. After reading this one, I know for certain that I do. Stories about groups of women who have been friends for a while seem to be dominating my reading lately. And stories about women who had a dying friend asking them for one last wish really seems to be creeping up in my books. Seriously, this is like the 3rd book in less than two months with that same scenario. However, this one took a different approach and I found it highly enjoyable and able to stand out from the crowd.

The three women set off on a journey that brings them together to fulfill Lynne's last wish. Along the way, they have a bunch of adventures on their road trip as well as trying to solve the mystery of what happened. One of the scenes I really loved was when Beth bonds with the town librarian and is able to secure a vital piece of information for the search because of that bond. Like she says, libraries are still valuable places to visit because not everything is available online. The women not only are working on Lynn's request they are also dealing with their own private issues. Carol is struggling with feelings towards the family she left behind and if she wants to return. Mary Kay has been keeping a secret from her boyfriend and is now faced with the reality that she has to confess it. I did get annoyed with Mary Kay for the same reasons why she was annoyed with herself. I suppose I can understand why she did what she did but at the same time it all sounded very silly and incredibly selfish of her to lie all this time to her boyfriend.

I'm not a drinker but I have to admit I was very tempted with all the delicious sounding martinis that flowed from the pages. The women find themselves finding solace in their drinks and creating them but they do not drink to get drunk. Instead it is a bonding mechanism that allows them to share their hopes, dreams and fears. Overall this book was a very enjoyable read. There's laughs and tears to be had while reading and it's a great book to celebrate the bonds of friendship and relationships with women in general. I must get my hands on the rest of Strohmeyer's books. I am her newest fan.


Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer is published by Dutton (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Sunday, July 24, 2011

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 have finally met her.
My review of Siri's latest book, A Heart Most Worthy.

I have been thrilled ever since One More Page Books in Arlington, VA opened. We really don't have any other indepdendent bookstores in the area (which is weird) but their store is AWESOME. They have a great book selection plus wine and chocolate. I mean what more could you want? Why, excellent author events!

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an event featuring Sarah Pekkanen and Eleanor Brown. I've read both authors' books and loved them to death so I was really excited about seeing and meeting them. Both authors talked for a bit, did a Q&A and read passages from their books. (None of the pics featuring Eleanor reading or talking would transfer from my phone unfortunately)
Thanks to Jenn from Jenn's Bookshelf (who is OMPB's resident book blogger!) for taking this pic for me! My review of Sarah's latest book, Skipping a Beat.
My review of Eleanor's book, The Weird Sisters.

In June, I attended another author event at One More Page Books. Unfortunately due to a problem with the fire alarm system, the event didn't actually take place in the bookstore but at a restaurant across the street. The lucky author this time was Rebecca Rasmussen, author of The Bird Sisters. Call me a horrible person but I hadn't read the book before meeting Rebecca (ok I still haven't read it yet but it will be done before summer ends!). But I've talked to her tons on Twitter where I actually met her and found out about her book.

Rebecca was charming and lovely as she talked about her book and the inspiration for her writing all with a glass of wine in her hand.

Thanks again to Jenn for taking this pic for me!

It was so excellent to finally meet all these authors and hear about how they came up with the ideas for their book and everything that goes with it. However the coolest part for me was that, they all knew who I was!!!! After I introduced myself, they all went "Oh yes, it's so nice to finally meet YOU!" They all made it clear that they love book bloggers and not only appreciate but are so grateful and in awe of all we do. That's the coolest part about being a book blogger. It's amazing when you think that an author is excited to meet you in addition to you being excited about meeting them. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet all these women and I'm looking forward to reading more of their books in the future.

Dear authors, please come to the DC metro area! There are LOTS of readers out here who would love to meet you! In all markets and genres!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: "In Office Hours" by Lucy Kellaway

Summary from BN.com: 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 the woman who is being cheated on. The role of the woman who is involved in the affair is not normally seen. She is normally made out to be the instigator and the villain of the whole situation as the man is usually forgiven and taken back by the wife. This book takes two affairs from the woman doing the cheating's point of view which gives the story a unique premise.

Stella and Bella (though couldn't the author have chosen two names that didn't rhyme?) are at different stages in their life and in different positions at their shared place of work. However they both have one thing in common. Each is having an affair with someone at work. For Stella, a married woman with children, she is the executive having an affair with her young assistant Rhys (love that name). Bella is a single mother in an assistant position having an affair with her married supervisor.

There aren't any really likable characters in the book pretty much because I don't approve of what anyone is doing. But neither do I really hate anyone. I rather feel sorry for both women because they must have been in such emotional lows in their life to have to give in to their feelings in this way. From everything Stella mentions about her family, she seems to have a really good life. Her job is doing well, her family is doing well yet she still feels the need to find affection somewhere else. Bella however has no one and instead finds it in a man who is using his wife's depression as an excuse to cheat on her. What did bother me about this situation is how he wanted it both ways and then pretty much degrades Bella.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing and the story. Like I said, I don't endorse infidelity but I was fascinating by the stories of these two women and how they chose to handle their situations. It's also very interesting to see the behind the scenes side of how a professional company like theirs is run. This isn't a light read but it does make for a good beach read.

In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway is published by Grand Central Publishing (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Friday, July 22, 2011

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

Summary from BN.com: 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 get one from Roper's books. From the cover of the book, as well as the description of the story, I wasn't expecting religious cults to play a huge factor in the plot. Cults are something that both interest and disgust me at the same time. I never can understand how people get sucked into them. I found it incredibly sad at how Andi was forced by her parents to leave her home and join the cult. Reading about the polygamous marriages and how they were making young teenage girls get married to older men was despicable. I felt that Greg's reasons for why men and women join religious cults were good explanations yet very sad at the same time. I feel like religious cults are something that needs to be brought up more because Christians need to know when God's words are being twisted and used incorrectly and not get swept up by things that sound like they are right.

While I enjoyed the story a lot, I felt sometimes that the book was going in many different directions and didn't know which one it wanted to stick with. There were times it felt like a cozy mystery, then a romance story, then suspense, then women's fiction. The different points of view that kept changing threw me off a bit too. One chapter would be first person perspective from Carrie's POV and then it'd switched to Andi's third person POV, not to mention the murderer's side of the story as well. I wasn't a big fan of how the murderer was introduced. I felt it was way too obvious and not beneficial to continue from their POV after we had already met and figured out who it was. The last thing that irked me was how people who used twitter were portrayed in this story in a negative light. As far as I know, the author isn't active on Twitter so unless she is just lurking, I don't think she really knows how to use it. The Twitter users were portrayed as rude with bad social skills and glued to the Internet 24/7. Also the false misconception of how everything you do must be posted on Twitter is used again here. It bothered me because if someone actually uses the service then they know it is not like that at all.

Despite everything I said above, I really did enjoy this story. It's a good mystery and despite the beachy looking cover, it's not really a light read at all. As I mentioned earlier, there are dark things mentioned in this book that a lot of Christians don't really want to think about or read about in their books. This appears to be the first book in a series so I'm hoping that we will be returning back to Seaside for more adventures in the future.

Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper is published by Multnomah (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: "Angel Harp" by Michael Phillips

Summary from BN.com: 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 Belle Hollister and the first 3 books of the Russians series back in the 90s but since then I really haven't picked up one of his books. I know he's one of the juggernauts of Christian fiction but to me he always seemed to be the type of Christian fiction that I don't read anymore. I don't fit the audience that he writes to so I had been pretty much avoiding his books. I decided to pick this one up because as it had been so long I wanted to give him another chance.

The overall premise of the story is interesting. It sort of reminded me of The Secret Garden in a way as it takes place overseas and includes a lot of heartbreak, secrets, mysteries and a sickly child. Marie plays the harp, an instrument I find extremely fascinating and beautiful. Reading the cost of how much one of them costs was eye-opening as it's going to take a lot of dedication and money to be someone who plays the instrument for a living. When she decides to go to Scotland, I was enthralled with her discoveries of the country and learning about the history and culture though the constant references to Mel Gibson and Braveheart grew old after a while.

A lot of the dialogue of this book is written in the Scottish dialect which means the words are written the way they sound. For me, this made it very difficult for me to read a lot of the book. It was taking me a very long time to decipher what the people were saying and that frustrated me. Even though there was a glossary at the end of the book to help explain the words, I didn't want to keep flipping back and forth during an entire passage. I'm really not a fan of authors doing this in books. The argument could be that it makes the story more authentic but it makes it harder to read the story, at least for me.

There were two sermons that were placed around the middle of the book. This is a technique in Christian fiction that I really cannot stand. I do not want to feel like I'm being preached at and neither do I want to read a long sermon that's placed in the middle of the story. A lot of what was said during these passages also seemed repetitive and quite boring. Maybe the characters got something out of it but I didn't. If a non Christian were to pick up the book, they would be quite bored or turned away by this section. I also wasn't really a big fan of the love triangle in this book. Actually I'm never a fan of love triangles because someone is always going to get hurt. This one didn't really make me feel like Marie truly wanted to be with either because right until the very end, she was still flip flopping between the two men. I felt that the reason why she chose who she did had some feelings of guilt attached with it.

After finishing the book, though while written beautifully, I still don't think I'm the right target audience for Phillips' books. I feel like I've outgrown this type of Christian fiction because I want something more than just romance and discovering God. I want more meat in my story and see characters acting like I would have. Other readers will probably love everything that I didn't so if you are a fan of harps and Scotland, you will enjoy this book very much.

Angel Harp by Michael Phillips is published by Faithwords (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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 of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths in their lives. Together and apart, we see Dex and Em through their friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. Somewhere along their journey, these two people realize that what they are searching and hoping for has been there for them all along. As the true meaning of that one day back in 1988 is revealed, they come to terms with the nature of love and life itself.



And now for the giveaway:


Two (2) winners will receive:

· *Autographed* copies of the book (movie tie-in edition, paperback, signed by David Nicholls)

· Clear cosmetic case

· Necklace

· Moleskin Journal

Prizing values: $30.95 per pack

Giveaway provided by Focus Features

To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to entrants from the US only. Two winners will be picked Wednesday, July 27.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.


Book Review: "Falls Like Lightning" by Shawn Grady

Summary from BN.com: 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 that he had another new book coming out, I decided that it was finally time to cave. I don't really know much about smoke jumpers but reading about what they do in this book makes them sound incredibly brave. There's no way I could do what they do and it's a job that's both dangerous and thrilling at the same time. I really liked Elle's character because even though she's a woman, she's really good at what she does and is highly respected for it. Her relationship with Silas has its ups and downs but there's not too much romance in the story that would drive away male readers. I was quite geeked to see that Arcade Fire got a mention in this book. That's the second Christian fiction book I've read in the past month to insert them in the story so I'm really geeked to see them get coverage in this market.

While I found the premise and overall plot interesting, I found the suspense parts to fall rather short. I found myself not really caring about the villain. In fact, this sound horrible, but I really don't remember much about him. I really enjoyed the parts of the story that focused on Elle and Silas and I kept wanting the story to get back to them. I also found the sections on Elle's daughter to be a bit boring because the story didn't really focus on her like I thought it would.

Overall though, it's an interesting read though. I really liked learning more about the smoke jumpers and their line of duty. They should get more recognition for what they do. I still will go back and read the other books by Grady that I have. I've heard so many great things about them so I'm sure that they will be good reads.

Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: "Huntress" by Malinda Lo

Summary from BN.com: 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 bit disappointed that the story wasn't going to be continuing Ash's story but since I had enjoyed the first book, I still wanted to reenter the world again. I found Lo's writing to once again be very beautiful and lyrical. Once you get into the story, it just flows very smoothly. I felt like I really got to know the characters and their feelings. Their world is different from ours but they still feel the same things that we do.

There is a bit more of the lesbian relationship in this book than in Ash. There's nothing explicit or even really suggestive. The world that the girls live in is very accepting of same-sex relationships. It is mentioned to Kaede that it would be impossible though to find another woman to create a political union and would be easier to find a guy. However she doesn't want that option and would rather remain single..until she meets Taisin. Their relationship is quite interesting and I found both their characters to be equally deserving of each other.

While I liked the story, I didn't like it as much as I did Ash. I'm not sure if it's because Ash was already based on the Cinderella story and Huntress appears to be an original story. Also there is more paranormal features in this book which really isn't my cup of tea. While the last few chapters were very intriguing, most of the talk about faeries and spirits wasn't really my cup of tea. Also I am probably just very unobservant and need someone to point it out to me but I didn't really notice any Chinese influence in the book even though the summary says that it does.

If you enjoyed Ash, I think you will enjoy Huntress very much. Lo has created a world that draws the reader in with exquisite writing and characters. I know she's writing her third book now. I'm not sure if it takes place in this world again but if it does, I would love to return again.

Huntress by Malinda Lo is published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist

Monday, July 18, 2011

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? Would you be able to follow through with her last wishes? I personally would have to wait and see until I was in that situation before I could give you my answer. It would have to depend on what it was and how close of a friend I was to that person. Luckily for Rachel, her three friends followed her orders and in turn was granted the peace and hope that she left for them in those last requests.

I felt that it was unfair of Rachel to put so much responsibility on Jo, without letting her know in advance. It would have been one thing if she knew that she would be taking care of Rachel's daughter but to let her know unexpectedly especially when she already has a life planned out? I thought this was not good planning on Rachel's part at all. I felt that if she truly cared about her daughter's well-being, she should have talked to Jo beforehand to let her know. I mean, what if Jo couldn't have done it? What if she became financially unable or physically unable to take care of Grace? From what other characters said about Rachel, it sounded as if she did everything spur of the moment and was not organized. She's very lucky that Jo did end up fulfilling her request but at the same time, it was not the best way at all for Rachel to have handled this.

Kate's adventure involved so much more than just jumping out of a plane. She finally rediscovered herself and I'm really glad that she found her voice again. I was glad to see that she finally spoke out to her husband to let him know how she really felt about everything. I want to see marriages in books where the couple is able to effectively communicate with each other and I was glad to see it finally happen with these two. Granted, they went through a bit of an extreme to do it, but still it happened.

Between the three friends, I would have to say that Sarah's task was the easiest. I mean all she had to do was, just as Jo said, "All Rachel asked was that you Google a guy?!" I understand all the emotional drama that went into doing this and the consequences and incidents that happened afterwards. But still even after finding out about Sarah's past, I found her story to be the least intriguing for me. I didn't really like her character nor did I like Colin's at all after what he did. I guess Rachel knew what was best for her friend but compared to Jo and Kate's tasks, hers was kind of a let down.

This book reminded me a bit of
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister except this time the person doing the asking is dead. I thought it was a bit unrealistic that Rachel knew EXACTLY what her friends needed but I'm willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of the book. Overall it's a good women's fiction read and I believe it will go well in book club discussions. I think that a lot of women will find themselves in one of the four friends and therefore be able to share in the experiences that they did. The book is about taking risks and there are many of us out there that sometimes need to follow that advice.

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by
Lisa Verge Higgins is published by 5 Spot (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pattern of Wounds by J. Mark Betrand

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern of Wounds
Bethany House (July 1, 2011)
by
J. Mark Bertrand


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


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.



ABOUT THE BOOK


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 his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern of Wounds, go HERE.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: "The Blessed" by Ann Gabhart

Summary from BN.com: 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 and changed them to make their religion work. I especially disagree with their views on marriage because the argument is not strong enough. I honestly feel that Mother Ann probably couldn't find a husband hence why she started the belief that men and women should stay separate. Also in all these books about the Amish, it frightens me as to how many men force their families to become Shakers and leave their wife but won't divorce her. To me that is highly selfish and their choice to remain celibate and away from women makes one suspicious.

And yet I keep reading these books for some reason. Well that reason is probably that Ann Gabhart's writing keeps drawing me to these stories. Her stories are well written even if I don't agree with the content. I don't feel as if Gabhart endorses the Shakers' beliefs nor is the reader supposed to walk away from the story wanting to switch over and become one. Unlike most Amish books, the Shakers are not romanticized or shown as the ideal way of life. In fact this book goes out of its way to show how wrong the Shaker thinking is and how their beliefs can cause harm. I feel like there's so much that they were missing out and instead of enjoying the benefits of their faith, instead they chose a different path.

This book is classified as a historical romance but to be honest that romance only takes place for the last few pages of the book. Therefore I feel like it's categorized incorrectly because if someone is looking for a book that involves a lot of romance, they aren't really going to find it in this story. The characters in this book do a lot of soul searching and discovering their inner strengths in order to make tough decisions. Not a lot of time is spent on figuring out one's soul mate. More emphasis is placed on historical information as well as pointing out what we can learn from the Shakers flawed theology. I find this type of argument in the book to be fascinating and therefore can justify why I continue to keep reading stories like it.

The Blessed by Ann Gabhart is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: "Vigilante" by Robin Parrish

Summary from BN.com: 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 to complete it. However when I saw that this book was a complete standalone, I knew that I wanted to read it. I was right because once I started reading, I could not put the book down.

While I was reading this book, two superhero movies immediately came to mine: Batman from Batman Begins/The Dark Knight and Spiderman from the Spiderman trilogy. Both of these characters as well as Nolan Gray decide to take things into their own hands as they feel that they cannot rely on the proper authorities to do what is right. They are fed up with all the evil that is going on in the world and are using whatever ways they can to make it happen. Like Bruce Wayne, Nolan comes into money and uses technology and learned skill to make his tactics work. Like Peter Parker, Nolan feels that he can no longer sit around and watch as people suffer.

This book was non stop action. I literally had to pull myself away from the pages because I found myself completely glued to the story. There are so many elements in the book that make everything work. One thing I am super glad that Parrish did NOT include was any sort of romantic interest from Nolan because that would have taken completely away from the story. Nolan's tactics may not always have been ethically correct and his ultimate intent gives a lot to think about. While there are faith threads that do come up occasionally throughout the story, not once does it ever feel forced unto the reader.

One of the more awesome things that happened while I was reading this book happened while I was reading this book at lunch one day. I had this book with me to a restaurant as I was eating by myself. The waiter asked me what I was reading, and I was expecting the normal routine of I show the book and the waiter acts like they are interested but really they are not. So it was my utter surprise when the waiter KNEW the book and author! I was totally shocked as this book had just come out and also since it's Christian fiction, I rarely find anyone in real life who reads it. It was a very pleasant surprise.

This being said, I honestly loved this story and want to recommend it to everyone that I come across. It's not really like any other book that I have read but I knew once I started that I was going to love it. I know now that I need to finish the Dominion trilogy because Parrish is an author that has caught my attention for good. HIGHLY recommended.

Vigilante by Robin Parrish is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Link

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: "40" by Travis Thrasher

Summary from Christianbook.com: 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. His relationship with his dad stood out to me the most in the story. The scene that stuck out the most was near the beginning when we first meet him and then the very embarrassing and awkward situation his dad finds himself in. It shows a side of a person that doesn't come out very often but for those who really have love, it comes out in situations like that.

I LOVED that Thrasher threw in so much music throughout the book. And it's not just recent pop culture bands that no one will remember in a few years. There's extensive talk about U2 and The Beatles as well as favorites like Coldplay and Arcade Fire. I knew I was going to love this book when I saw that on the page before the book starts, Thrasher had used a lyric from my favorite Arcade Fire song "Wake Up." Why do I love this so much? Because it shows that you can be a Christian and still listen to good music. I also found the argument about Christian artists and music and getting out of the box and being typecasted to be insanely interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There were a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. It's a very thought provoking story. Some of the chapters were very short but it made the story flow very fast because of what took place during those chapters. The ending can be open for interpretation and while sometimes I feel like I need a definite answer, this time it worked for me. It's not your typical Christian read and in fact, I think that the average Christian fiction reader probably will not enjoy this book. This is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Another winner and though provoker from Thrasher and I look forward to more.

40 by Travis Thrasher is published by Faithwords (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher

Monday, July 11, 2011

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

Summary from BN.com: 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 discover who she is? Will her real family ever find her? Will Maddie and Tom listen to their hearts? Or will they choose honor over love?

After being highly impressed with the first book in this series as well as the fact that I am traveling to Louisiana this week, I had looked forward to the second book the Irish Angels series. Unfortunately this book fell short of my expectations. While there is material that I found highly interesting, most of the story seemed to go the way of both traditional romances or Christian historical romances. I didn't feel as if I got to know Maddie as well as I had Laura from the first book.

I felt Maddie's and Tom's relationship to be extremely rushed. I didn't feel this from Maddie's end so much as I did Tom's. I mean he's known her for a few days and already he wants to smell her hair or kiss her? He knows nothing about her but is already falling in love? Also I felt too much emphasis was placed on Tom's position as a Pinkerton agent. I feel that authors tend to use this label too often to make their hero be able to get in places normal people can't. From what I've studied, the agents didn't have all the prestige or privileges they tend to have in books.

I did find the plight of the street children to be fascinating and disturbing at the same time. It's extremely sad to hear about what happened to orphans and those who were unwanted. I have always found society's views on orphans to be disheartening especially when they are treated as if it is their fault their parents are dead. What Maddie did to make the children "forget and change" is psychologically horrifying and the ramifications of her actions continue to haunt her. I wish more emphasis had been placed on that part of the story as opposed to the romance.

Overall, it was a less satisfying read but still interesting. The culture is interesting and for the most part, the plot is unique in Christian fiction. I am looking forward to seeing the rest of Laura and Maddie's siblings being rediscovered so I will continue reading the rest of the books in the series.

Heart of Lies by Jill Marie Landis is published by Zondervan (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the Irish Angel series that I have reviewed:

Heart of Stone
(Book 1)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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 and bookshelves!

It's all too easy for me to say negative things about Joy's relationship with Zan and how it borders on obsessiveness. But then I remember when I was that age and acted exactly the same way. Oh how much we've grown. I loved how her relationship with Noah changes throughout the book and I wish the both of them well. Road trip stories always fascinate me because when you have to be with a person for so long of a time in such a little space, you really get to know the person. I did laugh when Joy tries to focus on something to get over Zan and she chooses a minute physical imperfection because that's something I used to do too (that sounds horrible but usually it was a very minor thing, like toenails).

Something I found interesting in this book was how much of the Mormon faith is mentioned throughout the story. Joy talks a lot about her faith, the rules of Mormonism and the fact that those who are not of the faith can be seen as outsiders. I never felt that I was being preached at. In fact, I became more curious about the fact that they weren't allowed to drink caffeinated sodas or coffee. I just found it interesting that a lot of YA readers seem to be ok with talk about the Mormon faith in books but not with Christian fiction YA books.

Overall, a fun read and I look forward to more from Smith.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Book Review: "Veiled Rose" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Summary from BN.com: 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 the first book in this series, even though I enjoyed it I was still a bit iffy about reading more books in the series because it's hard for me to get into fantasy.

If you like dragons, fairies, handsome prince, beautiful princesses and magic, you will love this book. Leo is the prince who steals Rose Red's heart. She's a strange girl who lives in the mountains and is heavily veiled so no one can see her face. I loved seeing her evolve with Leo's character though I was saddened when she goes with him to be his servant. Her conversations with her dreams were intense. The whole dragon bit is intense but in a good way. Lots of battle between light and dark there.

Even if you haven't read Heartless, you won't be lost at all as there are mostly new characters in this story. However if you have read the first book, it is lovely to see the story from Leonard's point of view when he meets Una. It makes a lot more sense as to why he did what he did then now that we have the whole story.

As with the first book, there are allegorical references again in this story. But as I am 1) a bit clueless when it comes to knowing the true meaning and 2) got completely swept up in the story, I actually couldn't tell you exactly what and where these references are from though I'm sure they are probably faith-based. Still, the reader is not going to feel bogged down by this at all. It's wonderfully written and any YA fantasy lover will swoon over this book.

The ending of this book broke my heart. Not because it was a bad ending per se, but because I felt so much hurt for Rose Red when she finally reveals herself. Honestly I wanted to cry. I also want to say that the cover of this book is then portrayed wrong. It made have to go back and flip through the pages to see if I had somehow missed something. I do hope that we get to see more of her in future books, I truly loved her character.

I honestly want to thank Stengl for writing these simply excellent books. You have made a non fantasy reader read your books. I really do hope that more readers outside of the Christian market find these books. The covers are appealing and the stories are what YA fantasy readers will love. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series now. Next year can't come fast enough for it. HIGHLY recommended.


Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Other books in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series that I've reviewed:

Heartless (Book 1)