Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station

Title: Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station
Author: Deborah Heal
Labels: Fiction | Girls | Women
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: January 24, 2012
Recommended To: Middle school girls
Contains: Clean.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Tutoring an eleven-year-old for the summer seemed like the perfect college service project for Abby Thomas. But that was before she found herself in a dilapidated old house in Nowhereville, trying to teach Merrideth—a sullen girl who doesn’t want her help. All she has is a pile of useless, musty old books, and Merrideth’s definitely not interested. But who says the only way to teach is with books? When they discover a freaky program on their new computer, history comes alive in ways that Abby and Merrideth could never expect. But is this program only the creative genius of some computer nerd—or are they really seeing Charlotte Miles, the girl who lived in their house 160 years before? Their friends just laugh when they try to explain. But if it really is Charlotte, Abby and Merrideth must find a way to warn her about the danger waiting in the woods behind their house. Time and Again: Charlotte at Miles Station is a story told in the past and in the present. A story of three girls—their perspectives, their relationships, and their journey of self-discovery and faith.
          I hate to say this, but my overall impression of this book was kind of mediocre. However, I think a large part of this was due to the fact that it seems to be aimed at a younger audience, and I am in adult. That said, this book would probably be pretty good for kids--probably girls--in the middle school age range.

          I think one of the reasons I wasn't thrilled about this book is that it seems to move at a fairly slow pace, and I didn't always get what a particular scene had to do with anything else that happened before or after. It just didn't seem to have as strong of a plotline as I personally would have liked. I think a younger audience will enjoy this more, and will like the concept of the time warp and whatnot.

          Recommended to a young audience. I received a free copy of this book from the author for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Touching the Sky (Land of the Lone Star, #2)

Title: Touching the Sky
Author: Tracie Peterson
Labels: Fiction | Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Recommended To: Women, Adult, Romance Lovers
Contains: Clean.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: When Laura Marquardt first meets Brandon Reid, their encounter is anything but pleasant. But when the two are seated together at a dinner party, they soon find that they share similar interests--Laura desires to educate blacks, and Brandon, as a white officer over colored troops, eagerly supports her cause.
When Laura's sister, Carissa, marries her Confederate beau, Laura finds herself in a difficult situation when she overhears plots to kill Union soldiers. Though in her heart she feels she should share this information with Brandon, Laura fears she will betray her sister's trust and possibly endanger her sister's life. And when Brandon's motives for pursuing her come into question, her heart is even more conflicted. Where is God leading her?
          Laura and Brandon meet in an amusing and unlikely way, and soon find their paths crossing. Both have an attraction to the other, but problems arise under the surface when Brandon decides to court Laura, despite the fact he knows his motives will eventually be questioned. He's left working in secrecy, all the while wondering if he should tell come clean to the girl he loves. Laura, on the other hand, begins to have her suspicions, adding a whole new level to this complicated relationship.

          I was slightly disappointed at the lack of involvement I felt as this story unfolded. I didn't feel quite as able to relate to the characters or as "walking in their shoes" as I would have liked. Other than that, the book was pretty good. The plot unfolded smoothly and the impending decisions of the characters kept me interested to the end, though slightly distanced. I'm interested to read the next book in the series, Taming the Wind, to see where the continuing story takes Laura's heartbroken sister, Carissa.

        Recommended. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Slowing The Pace

Probably most of you have noticed that I haven't posted nearly as many reviews lately as I have in the past. That's basically due to the fact that I'm three weeks into my freshman year of college...and I've got a lot of homework. Enough that I haven't had a whole lot of time for pleasure reading, sadly. I am working on it though.

So if you're a publisher, author, etc, and you have asked me to review a book and the review isn't up, it will be. It might be a little bit as I get a handle on my new schedule and the homework, but I will review your book.

Please bear with me during this time.

That said, I'm off to do some more homework.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Firestorm (Full Circle Series, #6)

Title: Firestorm
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Labels: Fiction | Romance
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Publication Date: June 19, 2001
Recommended To: Women, Adult, Romance Lovers
Contains: Clean.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Audio
Blurb From Goodreads: As a smoke jumper, Reyne Oldre--friend to Rachel Tanner and Beth Morgan (Refuge)--once led a team of courageous firefighters into a blaze that ended in unspeakable tragedy. Now crippled by fear, she conducts fire research from a safe distance, determined not to risk that kind of pain again. But when the flames of love begin to flicker between her and smoke jumper Logan McCabe, Reyne must face the fearsome storms from her past and battle the raging Firestorm that burns in her soul.
          I liked Firestorm. A lot. Bergren wrote an interesting romance you really can't help but like. At first I was a bit irritated at Logan's jump to pursue Reyne, especially when he went as far as to make a bet over it. It seemed, to me anyway, like he was just out to conquer and he didn't particularly pray about it or even really think it out well.

          However, despite my initial reaction to Logan's pursuits, I couldn't help but end up liking him. I know Reyne is supposed to be the main character, but I'm going to go off about Logan for a lil bit since he was my favorite in the book. Logan's a fun, quirky (in a masculine kind of way, of course), dude who's passionate about his job. The longer the plot went the more level headed he seemed to be as he worked to spend as much time with Reyne as possible, and came up with some of the most original ideas for dates.

          One of the things I noticed about this book is the distance I felt from the characters. Generally I like to feel involved in the plot, almost as if I am the character. I didn't quite get that this time around, which is okay. Since the plot covers several months, time is a little less detailed and the relationship between the two is unraveled at a distance almost. Instead of being directly involved, I felt like I was watching from a distance. Was an interesting change of pace for me.

        Recommended. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama

Title: Stress Point: Thriving Through Your Twenties in a Decade of Drama
Author: Sarah Francis Martin
Labels: Religion | Christian Life | Women's Issues |
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Recommended To: Women, +20yrs
Contains: N/A

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Amazon: Want to ditch the drama and thrive through your twenties?
Body image. Friendships. Career. Money. Dating. All these issues and more serve as points of stress for the 20-something woman, and combined they can make for a decade of drama in a girl's life. Sarah Francis Martin is the slightly older girlfriend who's been there, done that, and got the not-so-cute t-shirt. Through this interactive Bible study, Sarah helps young adult women address each stress point by encouraging them to wait on the Lord, worship Him, and make Him the focus of their lives.
        Stress Point is an interactive Bible study covering key stress point of women in their twenties, including careers, self-image, body image, dating, friends and family, money, stepping out on your own, making a difference, and spiritual maturity. Each chapter/stress point features case studies with three different women regarding the issue, plus several journal pages for your own  personal insights.

          Probably what I liked the most about this book was the journal pages. Each chapter has several, with each journal containing interactive, prodding questions that get you thinking on your own. I also liked that the book has both scripture printed out inside the book, as well as references for you to look up. I don't like when books have it all printed out for you, because it stops you from actually studying the actual passage and verses surrounding it; on the other hand, it's a pain to have to go look up one single verse that was mentioned, so in that case it's nice to just have it printed in the book. So in that regard, I thought Stress Point had a good balance of both.

          Overall I thought this was a good study covering a lot of really good, important topics. Overall, a great study. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In His Eyes Anthology

Title: In His Eyes Anthology
Author: Katie Klein, Jessie Harrell, Ali Cross, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, S.R. Johannes, Heather McCorkle, Susan Kaye Quinn, Karen Amanda Hooper, Rashelle Workman, Cory Putman Oakes
Labels: Romance | Short Stories | Anthologies
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Recommended To: N/A
Contains: Some of the stories contains some profanity, and the like.

Buy It: Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Available NOW, just in time for Valentines Day, The Indelibles bring you a one-of-a-kind young adult anthology! Sixteen original short stories, all from the point of view of our favorite male characters - some are old flames from our novels and some were dreamed up especially for this anthology. 
          Let these imminently crushable, swoon-worthy guys show you what romance looks like – in his eyes. 
          The contributors to IN HIS EYES include award winners, frequent “Top 100” placers, and hot 2011 debut authors.
          I'm not really sure how to go about this review since this anthology is chock full of so many stories by so many authors, so I guess I'm just going to go for an overall view. I liked this in the sense that I got to try out a lot of different authors--some of whose books I have been thinking of trying out--without committing to an entire book. Which worked out splendidly, since I found out I don't like some that I had been thinking of getting, while others I either discovered or confirmed my interest.

         It was interesting to see so many unique styles in one "book", so to speak. Each author has their own flavor and flow, which is cool. I got to see a little of each, and in the process found some authors I think I'll like a lot. Overall it was a pretty good read.

          I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Stubborn Heart

Title: My Stubborn Heart
Author: Becky Wade
Labels: Fiction | Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Recommended To: Women, Adult
Contains: Occasional mention of female appropriate things.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance, takes a leave of absence from her job as a social worker, and the two of them set off. 
          Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man her grandmother has hired to renovate the house. From the first moment
she meets Matt, Kate can't help but be attracted to him--he's got a combination of good looks and charisma that draw and tug at her. But she knows there's zero chance of a romance between them. Matt's in love with his dead wife, and even if he weren't, Kate realizes that she's way too ordinary for him. For Matt Jarreau is no ordinary guy. Kate discovers that he was once a great NHL hockey player who left the sport when his wife--an honest-to-goodness former Miss America--was diagnosed with brain cancer. Matt's been hiding from people, from God, and from his past ever since. Yet Kate is absolutely determined to befriend him, to try to reach him, to help him in some small way. 
          No, Kate's not looking for love. She knows better than that by now. But when the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?
         I don't know what it is, but lately, I've been running into some incredibly talented authors--not to mention that they're debut authors! First it was Katie Ganshert, and now Becky Wade... Anyway, My Stubborn Heart has flown to the very top of my favorites list in the couple of days it took me to read it.

          Normally, I don't really go for the books with lead male characters who are ridiculously good looking....but I felt like it worked for this book. Not entirely sure why, but it did. The whole dark and brooding thing worked for Matt too--at least in my opinion. Wade's descriptions are vivid and imaginative, and the characters and story felt realistic. The book was funny, cute, and at one point almost (note *almost* :p) had me crying.

          The only thing that seemed slightly awkward was the repeated reference to people having "the hots" for other people. I'm still trying to figure out what that even means. Other than that I thought the book was good...really good. The cover is absolutely fantastic! I especially liked that despite the fact that Kate loved Matt and wanted things to work out so badly between them, she was willing to follow God's will even if it took her in the opposite direction.

          I'm eagerly awaiting Wade's next book. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Miracles Are For Real

Title: Miracles Are For Real
Author: James L. Garlow & Keith Wall
Labels: Christian Living
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Recommended To: People who like examples.
Contains: N/A

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Readers are fascinated with miraculous and unexplained events. In their signature style, trusted pastor Jim Garlow and writer Keith Wall tap into that fascination with biblical insights on miracles and accounts of God's work throughout history. The book clearly separates truth from fiction, fortifying readers' faith in God's power in their lives. The encouraging and inspiring stories make this a great impulse buy and gift.
          I guess maybe I've been reading too much fiction lately, but this book took me forever to read (quite literally) because, well, it bored me to death. I guess this book would be good for someone who doesn't really know a whole lot about miracles or needs a lot of convincing.

          Every chapter had example after example after example--I felt like the majority of the chapters were examples. Don't get me wrong, examples are important. It just felt like this book went a little overkill on the examples.

          Bottom line, I wasn't thrilled with this book. It took me a long time to get through it because it kept losing my interest. This is probably a good read for someone who likes tons of examples and cases, or someone who is seriously unsure of the reality of miracles. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Skip Rock Shallows (Copper Brown, #3)

Title: Skip Rock Shallows 
Author: Jan Watson
Labels: Fiction | Christian | Historical
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: May 18, 2012
Recommended To: Women
Contains: Zippo.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can't understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock--a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents' trust. As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner--one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he's hiding.
          This wasn't quite the book for me. It took me a long, long time for me to get even mildly interested in what was going on. I never really connected with any of the characters and by the end I still wasn't super interested in how it would end.

          Besides feeling disconnected from the characters, I felt like there was too much telling and not enough showing. Yeah, I know, I'm getting a little nitty-picky here. But instead of feeling like I was following right along with the characters, I felt like I was just reading the words and watching from a distance. While descriptions were great, the story line was too slow for me to really enjoy.

          On the positive note, Watson did do a good job in making unique characters. Despite the abundance of characters interacting in this story, I did feel like each had their own unique personality. If you like books with very distinct characters, this would probably be a good book to read. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chasing the Sun (Land of the Lone Star, #1)

Title: Chasing the Sun
Author: Tracie Peterson
Labels: Fiction | Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: March 1, 2012.
Reading Range: YA | Adult
Contains: One random crude comment.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher
Blurb From Goodreads: Bestselling author Peterson launches an exciting, romantic new series about a feisty young woman fighting to protect her family's Texas ranch against mounting threats.
          After being pulled up from her previous home and disengaged from her beau, Hannah is stuck living on her fathers Texas ranch taking care of her two young siblings, while her father is off looking after her sick grandmother, inconveniently close to the heart of the battlefields of the Civil War. The more time passes the more she begins to wonder if her father is even alive anymore. These suspicions aren't helped by a scheming "friend's" implications of such as he tries to quietly take over the ranch. Enter William Barnett. Will is a wounded soldier come back to reclaim his ranch, the very same ranch the Confederacy has handed over to Hannah's father and is now her home. William isn't the type to force innocent women and children off of the only home they've known for the last few years, but he believes the ranch is indeed rightfully his. So what now?

          This book was interesting, though maybe a little slow for me. Both William and Hannah are upright, honorable Christians with values, although Will has strayed a bit in his belief. Hannah is the one who almost immediately is attracted to Will, and eventually Will begins to develop feelings of his own. Meanwhile, Hannah's 'friend', Mr. Lockhart, is sneaking around trying to take the ranch from both of them. He comes off --at least to me--as a not-so-smart but sneaky character, consistently attempting to manipulate Hannah into submitting to his plans.

          The only problem I had with this book was the dialog. At times it was fine, but then other times it felt stilted and forced, like the author was trying just a little too hard to have them speak just as they would during the Civil War. And then once in a while I came across a phrase really did sound out of place, and too contemporary for the time frame.

          Overall this was a pretty good read with an interesting plot line. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1)

Title: The Crossing Places
Author: Elly Griffiths
Labels: Mystery
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: September 28, 2010 (Reprint)
Reading Range: Adult
Contains: Profanity.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository
Blurb from Goodreads: When she’s not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea.
      When a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago. Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.
      The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her. 
      As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory – and in serious danger.
          This is probably a terrible way to start a book review, but... I'm a person who reads the entirety of books, even if I really am not enjoying it, if only to say I read the whole thing. So far, I've only given up on one other book...and now this is the second book I've given up on and closed before I was finished. I made it a little more than 100 pages before calling it quits.

          Why did I quit on this particular book? The language. Profanity like I have never seen in a book. Yeah, not everybody will agree with my on this one, but I simply won't put up with language like that in The Crossing Places. Which is sad, because the actual plot gave me a tinge of interest.

          I wasn't crazy about the narration (point of view, verb tense, etc.), but the plot was intriguing, hidden beneath my irritation at the language I kept stumbling upon. Ruth Galloway begins helping a particular police detective look for the murderer of a young girl, possibly connected with the bones of what appears to be a female skeleton.

          Sadly I can't give a more in depth summary since I only made it a third of the way through the book. While the archaeological details, unique characters, and general plot was of interest, it just wasn't enough to hold me. I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wildflowers From Winter

Title: Wildflowers From Winter
Author: Katie Ganshert
Labels: Fiction | Romance | Contemporary
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Reading Range: YA | Adult
Contains: (baby) Labor scene.

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher
Blurb From Goodreads: A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built the life she dreamed of during her teen years in a trailer park.  An unexpected interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.  
          Determined to pay her respects to her past while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of five hundred acres of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.
          Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years.  When Bethany is left the land, Evan must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.
          For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace that she’s not even sure exists?
          I'm not the kind of person who cries easily. Like...rarely. Extremely rarely. This book almost made me cry, multiple times. (almost, mind you. I did manage to keep from it :P) The raw emotion in this book is incredible, especially for a debut book. I'm still trying to rack my brain to figure out how Ganshert did it.

          Bethany goes back to her hometown, only to face blow after blow of tragedies...which I can't name lest I give away the awesomeness :P. I was a tad skeptical of the plot-line at first; since the whole going-back-to-home-town-and-fall-in-love-with-the-cute-dude seems to a common baseline of late. However, this book gave the concept a fresh look, and really surprised me. Excellently done!

          Wildflowers From Winter sucked me right into the story, involved me in each of the character's stories, and made me want to read more. The romance aspect was definitely interesting. Both characters were initially turned off by each other, and yet admired certain traits the other possessed. Both were hurting, and eventually saw the best in the other. Very, very good :-)

          Katie Ganshert is by far one of the most talented debut authors I've ever seen! Wildflowers From Winter is among the best, well-written books I've read, and is now one of my favorites. Recommended! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blue Moon Bay

Title: Blue Moon Bay
Author: Lisa Wingate
Labels: Fiction | Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Reading Range: YA | Adult
Contains: Zippo. Clean as a whistle.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

Blurb From Goodreads: Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through. 
          But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.
         Two words: Utterly Fantastic. Really the only way to describe this book. Let's start with the writing itself. Lisa Wingate has, without a doubt, the most beautiful writing style I've ever seen. Now I know what people mean when they say someone has "lyrical writing." Not only is it beautiful, but I thought it conveyed character voice amazingly as well.

          Plot and character wise, very interesting. Heather is a girl whose more or less estranged from her family, but is forced to reconnect due to her mother interfering with the land sale of Heather's uncles in Moses Lake. The problem? Everyone seems to be against her. None of the family is being entirely cooperative, but the longer Heather is forced to stick around the place she hated growing up, the more she realizes her family isn't telling her everything. The question is, what are they hiding? Add in a highschool crush she never really got over, and there's one interesting mix going on in this book.

          The other thing I really liked about this book was the emotion. I felt super connected to Heather, whether is was during a time when she was super frustrated over her family, or giddy over Blaine (said highschool crush). Lisa Wingate managed to pull me along on a fantastic ride of a book, keeping me hooked and pulling me in deeper the further I went. Recommended without any hesitation! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cheap Indie Books!

Hey wonderful peoples! So I have a friend, whose great-grandmother was an author and wrote 9 books, all of which said friend and family now are looking to get rid of, due to the fact both great-grandparents have passed away. Long story short, they're selling these books for $4 bucks a piece (plus shipping and handling). These books are independently self published. These books are not currently sold in stores, and hence some have limited copies left, so hurry and get your copy!

Andrea Series:
  • The Heart of Andrea
  • Follow Your Heart
  • Banner of Love
  • The Yearning Heart
  • Jason's Legacy
  • The Jennie
Jennie's series:

  • Jennie's Pathway
  • Jennie's Parsonage Life
Stand Alone Novels:

  • Love Was Waiting
  • The Broken Hedge

    You can contact Debbie or Carla at these addresses:
      johnson04 (at) fairpoint (dot) net
      jewelrymaker18 (at) gmail (dot) com

    *Disclaimer: This blog is not in affiliated with the author of these books nor a publisher. This is strictly an advertisement for a friend; any business conducted will be between the buyer and seller. This blog was not compensated in any way for this offer.*

    Fearless ::Video::

    Click here to begin reading chapter one: Clicky!

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking

    Title: Quiet
    Author: Susan Cain
    Labels: Psychology | Personality
    Publisher: Crown
    Publication Date: January 24, 2012
    Reading Range: Adult
    Contains: N/A
    Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

    My Rating: (It was good)
    Blurb From Goodreads (Full blurb HERE): Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
              Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking covers a fairly wide range of topics (subject related, of course), ranging from societies "Extrovert Ideal", to how introverts and extroverts think differently, to the physical and psychological components and free will, to how to relate to those of the opposite personality type. Overall, all very relevant and useful topics to discuss.

              Being an introvert myself, it was interesting to read Cain's breakdown of how introverts and extroverts think different, and how social situations affect each type differently. While the "Extrovert Ideal" is definitely prevalent in the world (or at least in the US...), I liked that Susan made the point that there needs to be a balanced compromise from both sides.

              Also, I liked that the things Cain discussed were basic facts (or as far as I could tell, anyway), rather than being influenced one way or another by religious beliefs. I would be totally fine with reading a psychology/personality book from a Christian perspective, but I'll admit I most likely wouldn't be reading this type of book if it were strongly influenced by the world's view. However, Quiet didn't seem to bend either way. At one point Cain made a reference to God, and in another chapter used the term evolution. But even when she did say things like that, it didn't feel like she was swayed to one or the other. Long story short, I felt that this book was based primarily on researched facts, not religious or worldly views. The whole book is choc-full of interesting facts and research accounts--all told in a way that didn't weigh the reader down too much or lose the reader's interest.

              I though Quiet was a very well written, informative, and useful resource for both introverts and extroverts, particularly in helping the two understand each other. Recommended. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    The Wedding Dress

    Title: The Wedding Dress
    Author: Rachel Hauck
    Labels: Fiction | Christian | Romance
    Publisher: Thomas Nelson
    Publication Date: April 3, 2012
    Reading Range: Adult
    Contains: Light...sensuality, I guess you might call it?
    Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

    My Rating: 
    Blurb From Goodreads: One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny.
              Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham's chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.
              Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte's heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love.
             This book kinda reminded me of the TV show Cold Case, in a way. Mainly because half of the book is set in present time, and the other half in several different times spanning approximately 100 years. A couple chapters were in present time, with Charlotte searching for the dress owner, and then the next chapters would flash back to Emily's time. It was interesting. Definitely a style I like.

              I thought the characterization in this book was good, especially Emily's. Emily was definitely my favorite character--her personality, beliefs, and general being was just really full. Plus I love characters from the past. Anyway. Charlotte finds this dress and becomes determined to find out who its original owner is. In the meantime, she and her fiance end up in a position where "fiance Tim" becomes "friend Tim". While I felt bad for both Charlotte and Tim over the ordeal, I admired she did her best to stay relatively friendly, instead of slugging him....not sure I would have been able to do the same.

              Overall I liked this book. It is in the adult reading range, as a few minor topics come up of adult range--such as some slightly heated kissing scenes... The ending was good, although I was slightly disappointed it didn't turn out the other way (which I won't give details on, lest I spoil it). I think it would have felt a tiny bit more realistic. But still, it was a nice ending. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Blue Flame (Perfect Fire Trilogy, #1)

    Title: Blue Flame
    Author: K.M. Grant
    Labels: Historical | Romance | Juvenile Fiction
    Publisher: Walker & Company
    Publication Date: August 4, 2009
    Contains: Clean as a whistle.
    Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

    My Rating: (Alright, considering the age range)
    Blurb From Goodreads: Many years have passed since the Occitanian knights killed Richard the Lionheart in a courageous battle to keep the Blue Flame--sparked at the moment of Christ’s death--from falling into the wrong hands. Now it is in danger once again, as enemies from the north draw near. In the midst of this looming battle, lifelong friends Raimon, son of a Cathar weaver, and Yolanda, daughter of a Catholic Count, are falling in love. But a new religious crusade is about to begin, setting boy against girl, family against family, neighbor against neighbor, south against north. Though many seek to possess the Blue Flame, only one person is destined to wield its power to save the people and the sovereignty of the Occitan.
             So basically, I didn't realize that this fell into the juvenile fiction genre until after it was sitting on my shelf to be read. *fail* Needless to say, due to this fact, it didn't particularly thrill or engage me in anyway. Which is alright, because I'm not in the juvenile age range, so that's kinda to be expected. Anyway. The plot of Blue Flame centers around two young teens--14ish year olds--in medieval Occitan, which is located in some part of the world I couldn't quite gather and I don't think was specifically told. South of France, I think?

              These two teens, Raimon and Yolanda, like each other...or, love each other as they said at times...but their "small town" life is totally interrupted by the arrival of the Blue Flame, whose significance I still don't really get. I got the part where it was supposedly lit at Christ's death--and that I got from the back cover--and therefore it is understandable that the religious people went bonkers over trying to claim it. What I didn't get was the real, true blue point of it was. Raimon seemed to get it wasn't what the religious nuts thought it was, but I had a hard time figuring out what it did mean then.

              Short review made shorter: it was alright considering the age range it is aimed at. While I personally didn't have a whole lot of interest in it I think young teens/tweens might like it, if they're into historical or slightly mythical stories. I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012


    Title: Entwined
    Author: Heather Dixon
    Labels: Fantasy | YA | Romance
    Publisher: Greenwillow Books
    Publication Date: March 29, 2011
    Contains: Some mild violence, not much to speak of.
    Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

    My Rating: ★ (Fantastic!)
    Blurb From Goodreads: Confined to their dreary castle while mourning their mother's death, Princess Azalea and her 11 sisters join The Keeper, who is trapped in a magic passageway, in a nightly dance that soon becomes nightmarish.
              If I had to describe this book in one word, I would probably go with Enchanting. Yeah, I know, that sounds corny. But it describes a little bit of how I felt as I read it. Enchanted. Azalea, the first born of twelve princesses, discovers a magic passageway leading to a [something that I'm not going to say because the way it was described was too epic for me to try to convey without spoiling it]. Her sisters follower her and the twelve of them meet The Keeper, who is at first is fantastic in their eyes. Keeper allows the girls to come every night to dance in his [something I'm not going to say...], but as the story progresses Azalea discovers their host is not all he's cracked up to be.

              To put it short, I really, really liked this book. A lot. I felt drawn in and engaged, if only in watching the tale unfold. Dixon is fantastic at description, and on more than one occasion I felt totally lost in the story, totally fascinated by the scenes flashing in my head as I read. This one had me flipping pages. Quickly. And staying up way to late just to read "one more chapter." And again the next day. I basically had to finish it before I could do anything productive whatsoever.

              I really didn't have any complaints, so I'm going to end this review here before I go off spoiling the story for the rest of you who haven't read it yet. I was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Not This Time (Crossroads Crisis Center, #3)

    Title: Not This Time
    Author: Vicki Hinze
    Labels: Fiction | Suspense
    Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
    Publication Date: February 21, 2012
    Contains: Some violence.
    Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

    My Rating: (Fantastic!)
    Blurb From Goodreads: Sara and Beth have built a multi-million dollar business together, but their once solid friendship is now strained. Beth is leery of Sara’s husband, and when he is kidnapped, authorities consider Beth their prime suspect. 
              Then, their small town of Seagrove Village is rocked by an act of terrorism, and Beth doesn’t know who to trust. Someone she knows is linked to the attack, but who? Is there a connection to Crossroads Crisis Center? In the midst of the confusion and fear, Beth finds herself attracted to a man from her past. She knows she shouldn’t fall in love with him, but she can’t resist or even explain their bond. As her world unravels around her, she wonders, is it possible to be beyond redemption?
              This is a ridiculously crazy good book. Just sayin'. Beth is the center character, the co-owner of a multi-million dollar business, along with Sara, her best friend. Ironically, this book isn't labeled as a romance, but that's the part I liked the best. I can't help that I'm a hopeless romantic. Anyway, Beth is a girl who's managed to harden herself against men after having her heart broken by a complete jerk. While she really likes Joe, her past relationship keeps getting in the way.

              Alright, on to the real point of the book. So how would you like to be living in this awesome little village...with a terrorist group knocking on your door? This terrorist group, NINA, has some big plans for this village, and it doesn't take long for Beth to figure out she has to be careful who she trusts. The farther on the plot goes, the more suspenseful it becomes. This is a page turner!

              Yeah, so this book is too good to write a humongous review on, especially without giving anything away. All I can say is it kept me guessing--without ever losing my interestI received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. Recommended! These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review. 

    Tomorrow Is Today (Tempest, #0.5)

    Title: Tomorrow Is Today
    Author: Julie Cross
    Labels: Fiction | YA
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Publication Date: December 6, 2011
    Contains: Profanity | Sexually Inappropriate Content.
    Buy It: Amazon

    My Rating:  (Wasn't thrilled, to say the least)
    Blurb From Goodreads: The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, throws lots of parties, is interested in a girl he can’t have, and oh yeah, he can travel back through time.But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
              Yeah, I really hate writing negative reviews, but I really wasn't thrilled with this ebook. Tomorrow is Today is a prequel to the book Tempest, which I have never read, and after reading this bonus short story, I never will. Which is a shame, because I actually thought the concept of the time travel--especially with no consequences--was an interesting idea. It was cool that Jackson could go back in time, do whatever, and return to the present without messing up anything.

              What ruined this book for me was the things I consider to be inappropriate. The profanity was frequent, crazy parties and beer were made out to be a-okay (which they're not). I finally stopped reading everything that was including in this bonus--the first four chapters of tempest--when a sex scene appeared. Not. Cool. The concept of time travel was cool, but the story far to filled with junk to be worth the read. I cannot and will not recommend this.

              I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Bourne (River of Time, #3.1)

    Title: Bourne
    Author: Lisa T. Bergren
    Labels: Fiction | YA | General
    Publisher: Independently published
    Publication Date: February 26, 2012
    Contains: Awkward turtle borderline scene.
    Buy It: Amazon

    My Rating:  File:Star½.svg  (It was okay I guess...)
    Blurb From Goodreads: BOURNE, a novella (1/3 the length of a normal novel), picks up right where TORRENT left off...Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next...
             So, I wasn't crazy about this installment of The River of Time series. Bourne picks right up where Torrent left off, directly after the ending battle of the latter book. Unlike the first three books of this series, the point of view switches between Gabi and Lia....which is basically the only thing that saved it for me. In all honesty, I'm kinda getting sick of Gabi. When the series first started I really liked her; she felt real and relatable. Now I just wanna smack her upside the head.

              I guess I feel like all Gabi does now is get herself into trouble and drool over her now husband. And if she says "my man" again, I'm going to throw something against the wall (since this was an ebook, I can't really do that without hurting my Itouch....) And all she does is think about lives, breaths, and drools Marcello. Her whole relationship is starting to get shallow. I get that originally she was all gooey, but now that she's married, it's time to grow up and get a life. I'm not saying that married life is boring or unromantic or anything, but I also don't think people are obsessing over each other at that's time to get a grip.

              Now that I've voiced my displeasure with Gabi, let's talk Lia. I actually really like Lia, not to mention Luca (who was my favorite from the start). I feel like both of these characters have really grown up and matured through the first three books, and now, after much waiting, begin to move closer in their relationship. And even in getting closer, neither of them are really drooling or obsessive like Gabi. Even though Luca is always overly dramatic about his love for Lia, he still feels real to me because it's part of his personality. He was already dramatic and funny before Lia and Gabi showed up on the scene. Lia and Luca's relationship just slid together like just as it ought to have. So basically, the parts of this book written in Lia's point of view saved this novella from being a total flop for me.

              Besides Gabi, I have one other complaint. I have for the longest time loved Bergren's books because they're clean. But I'm starting to question whether she's going to cross the line.... Because right now, in this book, in my opinion, she's bordering the dangerous line of going to far. I get that the era this is written in could be pretty crude, but this is fiction. You don't have to follow exactly the way it went - especially when you decide to stick time travel in there. There were a handful of scenes in this book I thought was bordering on inappropriate, most of which I thought were completely unnecessary. If more details go into such scenes and said scenes keep coming up more frequently, Bergren just might lose my respect for her as an author.

              As for whether or not I'll read any future books in this series....we'll see. If there are future books written in Lia's point of view, I'll probably read them. If they're in Gabi's point of view, probably not.

              I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.