Showing posts from August, 2010

Book Review: "The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove" by Susan Gregg Gilmore

Nobody in Nashville has a bigger name to live up to than Bezellia Grove. As a Grove, she belongs to one of city’s most prominent families and is expected to embrace her position in high society. That means speaking fluent French, dancing at cotillions with boys from other important families, and mastering the art of the perfect smile.

Also looming large is her given name Bezellia, which has been passed down for generations to the first daughter born to the eldest Grove. The others in the long line of Bezellias shortened the ancestral name to Bee, Zee or Zell. But Bezellia refuses all nicknames and dreams that one day she, too, will be remembered for her original namesake’s courage and passion.

Though she leads a life of privilege, being a Grove is far from easy. Her mother hides her drinking but her alcoholism is hardly a secret. Her father, who spends long hours at work, is distant and inaccessible. For as long as she can remember, she’s been raised by Maizelle,…

Book Winners

Congrats to the winners of She's Gone Country!






Winners, your info is being sent directly to the publisher. Thanks again for entering!

Book Review: "The Life You've Imagined" by Kristina Riggle

Are you living the life you imagined? Is there anything you'd have done differently if you could? Those are the questions asked in Kristina Riggle's unforgettable new novel.

In high school, Cami and Anna were as close as they could, years later, both have returned to their hometown to face the people they had once left behind.

Anna must confront her mother, still distraught over the abandonment of her husband, and come to terms with choices she had made years before. While Cami returns home to stay with her alcoholic father, she must face a secret that she thought was long-since buried.

This is a novel that digs deep and touches the heart of the issues so many women face-the quest for perfection, the hope of love, the value of family and importance of always striving for your dream.

I'm pretty sure that for most of us, there are certain things in our life we wish we could go back and change. I'm sure that there are times when we wish our lives had turne…

Book Review: "Surrender the Heart" by MaryLu Tyndall

For the sake of her ailing mother, Marianne Denton becomes engaged to Noah Brennin---a merchantman she despises. But as the War of 1812 escalates, Jonah's ship is captured by the British, and the ill-matched couple learns vital information that could aid America's cause. As they battle to save their country, will they also find love?

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed reading this book. I was expecting a full out historical ROMANCE but instead I got a HISTORICAL romance. Believe me this makes a difference. Oh there's plenty of romance throughout the story but with so much focus on the historical aspects of the time period, I found myself wanting to board the ship and ride out the adventure with Marianne and Noah.

The story takes place around the War of 1812 so Britain and the young American country are still at arms with each other. The descriptions about life aboard a sailing vessel during the time period were very detailed and I could almost feel …

Book Review: "Simply From Scratch" by Alicia Bessette

Rose-Ellen ("Zell") Carmichael Roy wears her late husband Nick's camouflage apron even when she's not in the kitchen. That's her widow style.

It's been over a year since Nick died tragically during a post-Katrina relief mission in New Orleans. Long enough, according to the grief pamphlets, to have begun to move on with her life. But Zell is still unable to enter her attic, which is full of Nick memories. She hasn't even turned on her oven because cooking was Nick's chore. That is, until she decides to enter the first annual Desserts that Warm the Soul baking contest, hoping to donate the grand prize to Katrina survivors in Nick's memory.

Meanwhile, Zell's nine-year-old neighbor, Ingrid Knox, is learning to cope with the loneliness of growing up without a mother. With an imagination as big as her heart, Ingrid treasures her doting father but begins to plot how she will meet the woman who abandoned her so many years ago. When an embarrassing baki…

Book Review: "Masquerade" by Nancy Moser

Eighteen eighty-six, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares. As for Dora, she lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt and the presence of another love that will not die. Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.

This book combines several things of what I love about historical fiction: Historical fiction taking place in 1800s England and historical fiction taking place in 1800s New York City. Plus add in talk about fas…

Book Review: "Dangerous Neighbors" by Beth Kephart

It is 1876, the year of the Centennial in Philadelphia. Katherine has lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident. One wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to cut short the haunted life she no longer wants to live.

First off, I'd like to say that I absolutely LOVE the cover of this book. The color is just absolutely beautiful. I love finding bird eggs on the ground or in a nest because of the wonderful colors that they are and it's lovely to see it replicated on the cover of this book. The cover gives way to the story inside which is just as beautiful and fragile as the egg portrays.

Katherine and Anna are twins and best friends. They have always been there for each other from the beginning. Then Anna begins to grow apart from Katherine who is not quite ready to let her sister go. The story starts with Anna's tragic accident already happening and the reader must work their way backwards to find out what actually ha…

Book Review: "She's Gone Country" by Jane Porter and Book Giveaway

Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he'd fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey's ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bullriding champ and she's got her hands full. It doesn't take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness--and maybe love--in the present.

I'm a really big fan of Jane Porter's chick lit books. She writes in a s…

Movie Review: "How to Train Your Dragon"

I'm going to say right now, this was the surprise hit of the summer for me, movie wise. I'm kinda iffy about Dreamworks animated movies. Other than the Shrek series and Kung Fu Panda, none of their movies have been a hit with me. And then when you compare them with Pixar's movies, they just fall flat. The animation is hit or miss (sometimes it's awesome, other times extremely fake) and the same goes with the writing. For some reason, Dreamworks movies seem to be more childish than Pixar's. Also, during the Olympics this movie was featured like 30 times EACH night during the games to the point where I was sick of it. I had no desire at all to see this movie. Until my sister went to it and came back from it saying that she had cried. Well, that peaked my interest since we cry pretty much at the same movies.

By the time, I finally decided I wanted to see the movie, it had already gone out of the first run theaters. So, two of my fellow interns from the Smit…

Book Review: "Autumn's Promise" by Shelley Shepard Gray

Until Robert Miller met Lilly Allen, his world had been dark. A widower after only two years of marriage, he'd been living in a haze, feeling that, at twenty-four, his life was already over. But thanks to his friendship with Lilly, he now has new reasons to wake up each day. He knows his connection to her doesn't make sense. She's only nineteen, with a past the whole town talks about. Even more, she's not Amish, like Robert. A marriage between the two of them could never happen.

Lilly's heart is drawn to Robert, not to his faith. No matter how much she admires his quiet strength and dependability, she doesn't think she could ever give up her independence and reliance on the modern world. Is their love doomed before it even begins?

It's time to return one more time to the folks at Sugarcreek and this time the main focus of the story is on Lily Allen. She was the pregnant teenager who had minor plot lines in previous books and now the attention is focused on he…

Book Review: "The Crimson Cipher" by Susan Page Davis

In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster's father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system. Emma finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin. Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?

I love a good historical fiction read. Not a historical romance, mind you. They are two completely different genres. Now, a sprinkle of romance in the historical fiction is ok but not so much that the only historical aspect of the book is that it doesn't take place in present time. No, give a me a book where it is clearly obvious that the author has done lots of research to make sure that facts are correct and historical figures are portrayed accurat…

Book Review: "Licensed for Trouble" by Susan May Warren

PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she’s inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect—PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister’s house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ’s investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max’s case without dropping the ball?

I have loved all of Susan May Warren's books and I have especially enjoyed this light fun romantic mystery series featuring amateur PI PJ Sugar. This series stands out because event though the frame of the story may seem familiar (amateur sleuth, coworker of opposite sex that shares attraction), Warren takes it make it her own with a very likable heroine. Personally I felt this to be the best book in the series. As I have st…

Solitary by Travis Thrasher

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

Travis Thrasher

and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings Senior Media Specialist
The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Travis Thrasher is an author of diverse talents with more than twelve published novels including romance, suspense, adventure, and supernatural horror tales. At the core of each of his stories lie flawed characters in search of rede…

The Contemps Challenge

Ok as you know (or may not know), I love reading YA fiction. HOWEVER, I am NOT a fan of paranormal or fantasy YA that seems to be flooding the market these days. I barely tolerated Twilight and I cannot stand that every time I turn around there is a new book featuring vampires, werewolves, mermaids, fairies, etc. So I was VERY excited to hear about this new website, The Contemps, that is focusing on YA authors who write contemporary YA fiction, which is EXACTLY what I enjoy reading. That's magic, no having to enter a world where beasts come alive. It's ALL REAL.

To kick off the launch of the site, they are hosting a reading challenge. The goal is to read at least 18 of the 19 upcoming Contemp books featured on the site from now until August 15, 2011.

Here is the nitty gritty from the site:

To enter:
Participants must be at least 13 years old.Send an e-mail by November 15, 2010 with I ACCEPT THE CONTEMPS CHALLENGE in the subject line to: contempscontests(at)gmail(…

Book Review: "Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over" by Belinda Acosta

Beatriz Sánchez-Milligan is shocked when her 14-year-old niece, Celeste, stumbles into her 25th wedding anniversary party. Celeste reveals that her mother, Perla, has died and that she has nowhere else to go. Beatriz immediately takes Celeste in-a decision that troubles her husband, Larry, who remembers that wherever Perla went, trouble followed. He worries his wife is rushing in without having all the facts. Undaunted, Beatriz begins to plan a quinceañera for Celeste; but the party planning doesn't comfort Celeste, nor does it ease Beatriz's pain. She feels guilty for losing contact with Perla, and that guilt grows deeper when she meets Josie Mendoza, a journalist who reveals that Perla may have been murdered. Beatriz wants to adopt Celeste to make peace with her late sister, but Larry still has concerns. For the first time, their rock solid marriage starts to crumble, and a frightened, young girl is caught in the middle. Somehow Beatriz must find a way to save h…

Book Review: "Hot" by Laura L. Smith

Lindsey is gorgeous and dresses like a model, but inside she feels alone. She feels as though no one truly understands her—until she meets Noah. Noah possesses a calm self-confidence that Lindsey craves. But what price will she pay to escape to the comfort of Noah’s soft words and strong arms?

Drawn into a world where fashion, boys, and popularity rule, will Lindsey discover what truly matters before it’s too late?

This book is probably the best Christian based novel that tackles the ever touchy (har har) topic of teen sex. I'm always wary of these types of books because they always end up the same way. Same story, same outcome, same message throughout. Half the problem is that the author doesn't seem to understand how teens think and act, so the characters come off either too adult, too naive or just not cool. However this book is totally different from all the rest of them and I was more than pleasantly surprised when I finished reading.

First off, it did not fall into…

Movie Review: "Toy Story 3"

It is a rare occasion where I go to see a movie more than once. That is usually reserved for my geek movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, James Bond. You know, the epic movies that demand more than one sitting to drink everything in and also because I was so geeked out to see it the first time that I missed out on half the stuff. Well, with this movie, I did not see it just once. Or even twice. I saw it THREE TIMES. And guess what? Each time I saw it, it was just like seeing it for the first time. And I had the same reactions and same emotions every time I saw it.

I grew up watching the Toy Story movies. I was 11 when the first movie came out and could still relate to playing with my toys even though granted it had been a few years since I had last done so. After watching the first movie, my sisters and I were convinced that our stuffed animals came to life when we were gone so sometimes we would sneak into our room t…

Book Review: "Georgia's Kitchen" by Jenny Nelson

At thirty-three, talented chef Georgia Gray has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan's best restaurants; a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down; and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia's overbearing mother can't wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding.

Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most important, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy's delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni—an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts …