Showing posts from April, 2011

Book Review: "Blood Ransom" by Lisa Harris

Summary from In the African republic of Dhambizao, Natalie Sinclair works with Dr. Chad Talcott to eradicate diseases that are claiming whole towns. Meanwhile, Joseph Komboli returns to his village to find rebels abducting his family. When Chad and Natalie help Joseph expose the modern-day slave trade, they're courting disaster. Will they win their race against time?

This was an intense romantic suspense story that takes place in a made up country in Africa (I have noticed that in a lot of books, when creating a fictional country they also go to either Africa or a country that was formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union). The plot revolves around a medical consultant and a surgeon who are in the country of Dhambizao. Involving corrupt politics, fixed elections, slave trading, rebel soldiers, death, disease and innocent lives in danger, the suspense and action sequences are fast paced. Even though they aren't very similar I was reminded very mu…

Book Winner

Congrats to the winner of Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip:

Book Review: "The Judgment" by Beverly Lewis

Summary from Rose Kauffman is engaged to Silas Good, a well-liked Amish fellow, so why does she still pine for Nick Franco, the former foster son of the bishop? Especially now that Nick has left the Amish community under a cloud of suspicion after the death of the bishop's biological son? Will Rose marry Silas, even while struggling with romantic feelings for Nick?

Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, has returned to live at her parents' farm with her young daughter. Hen and her modern husband, Brandon, are separated by mutual agreement, although he is threatening to sue for custody of their daughter if Hen does not return soon. Will the judge rule in Brandon's favor? Is there any way Hen can reestablish her place among the People without sacrificing her marriage?

I honestly have no idea what's gotten into Beverly Lewis. Normally I love her books because she usually isn't preachy in her books. She's one of the few Amish authors who shows how their…

Book Review: "Codependent No More Workbook" by Melody Beattie

Summary from The Codependent No More Workbook was designed for Beattie fans spanning the generations, as well as for those who may not yet even understand the meaning and impact of their codependency. In this accessible and engaging workbook, Beattie uses her trademark down-to-earth style to offer readers a Twelve Step, interactive program to stop obsessing about others by developing the insight, strength, and resilience to start taking care of themselves.

Through hands-on guided journaling, exercises, and self-tests, readers will learn to integrate the time-tested concepts outlined in Codependent No More into their daily lives by
setting and enforcing healthy limits developing a support system through healthy relationships with others and a higher power experiencing genuine love and forgiveness letting go and detaching from others' harmful behaviors
Whether fixated on a loved one with depression, an addiction, an eating disorder, or other self-destructive behav…

More organization!

In an effort to tidy up my blog and do some organization, I've created another page in my review database by adding Reviews Sorted by Authors. In case you knew the author but didn't know which genre, I've now listed reviews alphabetically by author last name (if multiple authors, using just the first author's last name) and then alphabetical by title. To access this, click on review database on the header of the main page and there is a link within that post that will take you to it.

I've shrunk the label list on the side of my blog by removing all the author labels, though each post will still have click-able labels to cross reference. What is left on the side are types of posts (book review, contest, movie review, etc) as well as publishers. I might consider doing one more page to to the review database by sorting by publishers but we shall see.

Again if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

Book Review: "A Cowboy's Touch" by Denise Hunter

Summary from Abigail Jones intends to spend just one summer in middle-of-nowhere Montana with her Aunt Lucy. Time away from her job is just what Abigail needs to reassess her life. The slow pace has her breathing deeply for the first time in years. And the majestic scenery encourages her to get reacquainted with herself . . . and God.

What she didn't count on was the handsome widowed cowboy who owns the ranch where her aunt lives. When the rancher loses his daughter's nanny, Abigail decides to lend a hand for the summer.

Wade Ryan can't help being attracted to Abigail. But he's given up everything to protect his daughter, and he's not about to risk it all on a pretty face.

Under Abigail's care, Wade's home and daughter thrive. And with Wade's touch, Abigail's heart feels at home at last. But Abigail knows this elusive rancher is hiding something. Will her own secrets separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

Maybe it's jus…

Book Review: "Love Me Tender" by Janice Hanna

Summary from As "Love Me Tender" plays in the background, Debbie Carmichael determines to salvage her family's restaurant, Sweet Sal's Soda Shoppe, when her father's health fails. Teen heartthrob Bobby Conrad agrees to perform at a fundraiser concert. But just two weeks before the highly publicized event, Bobby backs out of the benefit. Enter Johnny Hartman, a young, unknown singer to take Conrad's place.

Debbie soon realizes the twists and turns leading up to the concert are divinely orchestrated. And it isn't dreamy Bobby Conrad who has stolen her heart - but the tender love of Johnny Hartman.

This was a cute book about the 1950s when rock music, diners and poodle skirts reign. I really liked seeing how Hollywood stars and rock musicians are portrayed in this book because normally a lot of Christian fiction tends to act like all entertainment is wrong! The story feels colorful and lively. It's fun to reminisce (ok maybe not for me since …

Book Review: "Winter Bloom" by Tara Heavey

Summary from In the heart of bustling modern Dublin is a littered, overgrown garden of tangled weeds and a stagnant, hidden pond. Belonging to an iron-willed elderly lady named Mrs. Prendergast, who is rumored to have murdered and buried her husband there, the garden draws Eva Madigan, a young mother struggling to move on from the pain of her past. Eva is joined by Emily, a beautiful but withdrawn college dropout; Uri, an old-world immigrant; Seth, his all-too-handsome son; and occasionally even Mrs. Prendergast herself. But what drives Eva to transform the neglected urban wilderness? What makes the others want to help her? Even as Mrs. Prendergast puts the land up for sale, the thorny lives of all the gardeners are revealed and slowly start to untangle. Overgrown secrets are dug up and shared. Choices are made; a little pruning is in order. Now Eva is about to discover that every garden is a story of growth toward a final harvest. . . .

I haven't read too many books s…

My Library Reads No. 11

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 4/17/11 - 4/23/11

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher (Bantam, 3/29/11)

Contemporary Women's Fiction - This was a really nice book about letting love go, family, travel and food. Heidi is still getting over the death of her husband. Even though she has her son to comfort her, she still feels withdrawn from the world without him. A whirlwind trip to France takes her, her son and her teenage niece to the family's home where secrets …

Guest Book Review: "Miles to Go" by Richard Paul Evans

Summary from Alan Christoffersen, a once-successful advertising executive, wakes one morning to find himself injured, alone, and confined to a hospital bed in Spokane, Washington. Sixteen days earlier, reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan left everything he knew behind and set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey. Carrying only a backpack, he planned to walk to Key West, the farthest destination on his map. But a vicious roadside stabbing has interrupted Alan’s trek and robbed him of his one source of solace: the ability to walk.Homeless and facing months of difficult recovery, Alan has nowhere to turn—until a mysterious woman enters his life and invites him into her home. Generous and kind, Angel seems almost too good to be true, but all is not as it appears. Alan soon realizes that before he can return to his own journey, he must first help Angel with hers. From one of America’s most beloved and bestselling storytellers co…

Book Review: "Song of the Silk Road" by Mingmei Yip

Summary from As a girl growing up in Hong Kong, Lily Lin was captivated by photographs of the desert--its long, lonely vistas and shifting sand dunes. Now living in New York, Lily is struggling to finish her graduate degree when she receives an astonishing offer. An aunt she never knew existed will pay Lily a huge sum to travel across China's desolate Taklamakan Desert--and carry out a series of tasks along the way.

Intrigued, Lily accepts. Her assignments range from the dangerous to the bizarre. Lily must seduce a monk. She must scrape a piece of clay from the famous Terracotta Warriors, and climb the Mountains of Heaven to gather a rare herb. At Xian, her first stop, Lily meets Alex, a young American with whom she forms a powerful connection. And soon, she faces revelations that will redefine her past, her destiny, and the shocking truth behind her aunt's motivations. .

I have been looking for more books that deal with Asian American characters and stories. I was eag…

Book Review: "Katy's Homecoming" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Summary from Katy's life outside her Old Order Mennonite sect becomes more complicated when she is elected to the sophomore homecoming court as a joke. When she discovers Bryce, her crush, could be her chaperone on the court, Katy has a big decision to make: follow her heart and attend the dance, or follow her faith and the beliefs of her sect.

This is the third book the YA series about Katy Lambright, a Mennonite teen who has been allowed to continue her education in a public high school. She comes from a rather strict Mennonite background which is almost practically Amish. I like the series because even though she tries to stay as true as she can to her religion and family upbringing, she is still very open about attending school and trying to fit it without compromising. She is willing to try out new things and *gasp* likes boys!

In this book, she's struggling with what to do after being selected to be apart of the homecoming court. Her reactions and everything …

Book Winner

Congrats to the winner of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Athira C. from Reading on a Rainy Day!

Book Review: "The Queen of New Beginnings" by Erica James

Summary from Alice knows something about the freedom of reinvention-it makes those tough years in the past a little easier to bear. So when she meets Clayton, she understands why he wants to shrug off his old life. Their unlikely friendship seems stable-until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way.

Take a voice-over artist and a television writer who is in hiding, place them in a house together and watch them keep trying to hide things from each other. Alice and Clayton are this such pair and from the beginning of the story, the reader knows that something is going to happen between the two of them.

Alice's story is very intriguing and quite sad at times. She reveals her dysfunctional childhood and the relationships she shared with her father and step-family. She pours out her heart and soul to Clayton and it's quite dastardly of him to use her feelings and emotions to benefit him. Of course he doesn't come across as a monster because …

Book Review: "Tomorrow's Garden" by Amanda Cabot

Summary from Harriet Kirk is certain that becoming Ladreville's schoolteacher is just what she needs—a chance to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a brighter tomorrow. What she didn't count on was the presence of handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood—or the way he slowly but surely claims her fragile heart. But can Harriet and Lawrence ever truly put the past behind them in order to find happiness?

This was a nicely done historical romance. I have always liked Cabot's books. While they aren't the most literary piece of work, I do feel like they are a good escape read and nicely written. Harriet is determined to be able to take care of her family single handed but finally has to come to the conclusion she can't do it alone. She has good intentions about what she does and I can understand why she wants to protect her family and those around her the way she does. There were times when she did seem to be a bit over dramatic and p…

Review Database is Live!

Yes the myth is now finally true. After YEARS of speculation, I have FINALLY created a review database! I shouldn't have waited so long because do you know how long it took me to link up 785 reviews? (a long time). I'm very happy to have this done because now when people visit my blog they should be able to find reviews more easily and I hope by segregating them by genre, this helps out people who are looking for new reads but don't know authors or publishers.

I will try to update the database weekly but at the very least monthly. Reviews are sorted by genre (with Christian fiction and general market books clearly marked) and then in alphabetical order by author. If you notice any errors or have any questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me.

Book Review: "Friendship Bread" by Darien Gee

Summary from One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread. When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the thr…

Book Review: "The Priest's Graveyard" by Ted Dekker

Summary from Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate.

Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother's life. Now he's a priest who lives by a law of love and compassion. It is powerful men and hypocrites who abide by legal law but eschew the law of love that most incense Danny. As an avenging angel, he believes it is his duty to show them the error of their ways, at any cost.

Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.

But when Danny and Renee's paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive.

Judge not, or you too will be judged.

Warning: Do not read this book while you are eat…

Movie Review: "Winter's Bone"

This is the final movie that I saw at the Best Picture showcase. I still have not seen Black Swan but I am on the holds list for it at the library. Again, this is another movie that I probably would not have watched had it not been nominated for Best Picture. I didn't really know any of the actors, never heard of the book that it was based on and I normally do not see talking dramas in the theater. It's also a small indie flick which I don't see too often especially if I know nothing about it. However, I am very glad that I did and I do think that all the nominations for this movie were greatly deserved.

I loved Jennifer Lawrence in this movie. This is the first time I've ever seen her and she was wonderful. She IS the movie. Since I haven't seen Black Swan, I cannot compare Lawrence to Natalie Portman but I can say that I do believe that her nomination was rightly deserved and she was my favorite to win. Her character is heartbreaking. Ree is only 17 yea…

Book Review: "Wolves Among Us" by Ginger Garrett

Summary from Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town—and himself—together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help—with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson—brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.

First off, I had no idea this book was part of a series until after I finished the book. It's apparently the third book in the Chronicles of the Scribe series but one does not need to read the others to un…

Book Review: "Separate Beds" by Elizabeth Buchan

Summary from Tom and Annie's kids have grown up, the mortgage is do-able, and they're about to get a gorgeous new, state-of-the-art French stove. Life is good- or so it seems. Beneath the veneer of professional success and domestic security, their marriage is crumbling, eaten away by years of resentment, loneliness, and the fall out from the estrangement of their daughter, and they've settled into simply being two strangers living under the same roof.Until the economy falls apart.Suddenly the dull but oddly comfortable predictability of their lives is upended by financial calamity-Tom loses his job, their son returns home, and Tom's mother moves in with them. As their world shrinks, Tom and Annie are forced closer together, and the chaos around them threatens to sweep away their bitterness and frustration, refreshing and possibly restoring the love that had been lying beneath all along.In Separate Beds, Elizabeth Buchan has captured the concerns and joys of co…

Book Review: "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell

Summary from Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I lov…

Book Review: "To Wish or Not to Wish" by Mindy Klasky

Summary from Erin Hollister is waiting for her big break—or even a small one. She's been dumped by her boyfriend, canned by her employer and it doesn't seem that her dream of making it on Broadway will come true either. But then she's given a lantern—complete with genie!—and it looks as if a little magic may be in store….

That is, if she can decide what to wish for. There's the rub. Career? Family? Love life? Even a charismatic genie can grant only so many wishes. Or maybe Erin should just hold on to all those magical chances and think about what might be (instead of seeing just what's under her nose).

Time's running out. Ultimately, it's Erin who must decide how to keep the magic alive—forever.

This is one of those fun and unique series that is good for a light read. It's a situation that almost everyone wishes would happen to them: find a genie who grants you wishes. I love how the book takes place in New York and on Broadway because I enjoy …

Book Review: "The Women Jefferson Loved" by Virginia Scharff

Summary from Throughout his life, Thomas Jefferson constructed a seemingly impenetrable wall between his public legacy and his private life, a division maintained by his family and the several traditional biographies written about this founding father. Now Virginia Scharff breaks down the barrier between Jefferson's public and private histories to offer an intriguing new portrait of this complicated and influential figure, as seen through the lives of a remarkable group of women.

Scharff brings together for the first time in one volume the stories of these diverse women, separated by race but related by blood, including Jefferson's mother, Jane Randolph; his wife, Martha; her half sister, Sally Hemings, his slave mistress; his daughters; and his granddaughters. "Their lives, their Revolutions, their vulnerabilities, shaped the choices Jefferson made, from the selection of words and ideas in his Declaration, to the endless building of his mountaintop mansion, to th…