Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shattered by Dani Pettrey

Book Blurb (from Bethany House):
When her prodigal brother Reef's return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.

When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself--and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step. 

My Review: 
Shattered (Alaskan Courage, # 2)You don't want to miss this one!

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Shattered since I read Submerged last year. Reconnecting with the McKennas is such a delight! I fell in love with Piper and Landon from the beginning and I'm so happy their story came next.

Picking a favorite McKenna is like picking a favorite book or child, you just shouldn't do it. I love them all! Granted, I don't know too much about Reef yet so it's hard to tell if I like him as much as the others. That being said, Piper's story is just as exciting, if not more so, than Cole's.

Shattered has a slightly different feel to it than the first in the Alaskan Courage series; probably because I am familiar with the characters and their dynamics. Nonetheless, it's a good different. I loved watching the early signs of romance between Gage and Darcy. I loved watching Piper and Landon interact. And I loved seeing Bailey and Cole so in love.

As a big fan of romantic suspense and mystery, I thoroughly loved this one and I cannot wait for Stranded to come out later this year! (Also, as a quick minor note I would not recommend this series to a younger audience but rather to older teens and adults. ;D)

I was given this book by the author in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thank you, Dani!

Interested? You can get your own copy here. ;-)

About Dani:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. Visit her website at www.danipettrey.com. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

My Review:
A Distant Melody transports you back to the 1940s for an exciting story!

A Distant Melody  (Wings of Glory, #1)
After reading With Every Letter, I picked up a copy of Miss Sundin's first series to read while I wait for On Distant Shores to come out. I truly enjoyed this one. For some reason, my current favorite time-period to read about is the 1940s, America. I find myself loving the simple things back then as well as the gentlemen. Society is so much different today than it was then.

Allie is a girl who has never been told she's pretty. In fact, she's been told she's homely and should jump at whatever suitor wants her. In her case, the suitor is Baxter, her father's business partner. To Allie's dismay, Baxter does not love her. It's an arranged marriage in the 1940s and there's nothing she can do about it. I really liked how Miss Sundin progressively changed Allie into the woman God made her to be. The change wasn't too fast nor too slow.

Walter is also a character who hasn't always fit the image his parents have for him. While his brothers joined the church, he prefers engineering and flying. Also unlike his brothers, he cannot seem to talk to single women. Miss Sundin did excellently portraying and growing his character throughout the book.

You can't go wrong with great characters, a good setting, and strong faith. :-)

I purchased this book, no review required.

Back Cover (from Goodreads):
Will a chance meeting in a time of war change her life forever?

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval - even marry a man she doesn't love. While Allie has nearly resigned herself to that fate, Lt. Walter Novak - fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women - takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet and begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

When the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey (Revell Blog Tour)

Back Cover (from Revell):
In a country healing from war, can a young woman find healing for her heart?

Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and even downright vulgar. Although she would like to put that part of her life behind her, she needs to support herself. She takes a nursing position with Dr. Elijah Stewart, but whenever they are together they always seem to do or say the wrong things. When someone threatens Rosemary, will she find the courage to stand, or will she leave town-and Elijah-forever?

With tenderness and grace, Ann Shorey invites you back to the town of Noble Springs, Missouri, for an engrossing story of love’s tentative first steps and fragile future in the face of opposition.

My Review:
An interesting post-Civil War romance!

When the Heart HealsThis is, I believe, the first novel I've read set in the mid to late 1800s, a few years after the Civil War, in the town of Noble Springs, Missouri. The writing is smooth and I became very fond of the characters. I have not read the first in this series, but like I said in a previous review, that didn't take away from the story at all.

Rosemary Saxon was a nurse in the war. But now that the conflict is over, she tries to find a way to continue treating patients. To her chagrin, however women nurses are not accepted. She is a very headstrong character and at first, upon reading the back cover I was concerned this would be another "first female doctor" novel but it really isn't. Instead, Rosemary merely helps out with the female patients and administers-on occasion-some herbal remedies.

Elijah Stewart is the new doctor in Noble Springs. He takes on Rosemary primarily for her help keeping the ledger not necessarily her nursing skills. There were times I wondered if he could be even more bullheaded than Rosemary, and I suppose he might if he stopped giving in to Rosemary. I found him a strong male lead.

All in all, When a Heart Heals is a nice read for an overcast/rainy day. Miss Shorey has a knack for resolving things on the last few pages and once you hit the middle it's hard to set the book down.

I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

About Ann (from Revell):
Ann Shorey is the author of Where Wildflowers Bloom, The Edge of Light, The Promise of Morning, and The Dawn of a Dream. She has also published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul. Ann and her husband make their home in southwestern Oregon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Damascus Countdown by Joel C. Rosenburg (Tyndale)

Damascus CountdownMy Review:
Oh. My. Word.

I am saddened at how long it took me to read one of Joel's books! This was a fantastic read! As a big thriller/suspense fan, Damascus Countdown is perfect for me. My mom has always told me how good his books were, but I always shrugged it off because of other priorities. I should have listened sooner, for sure!

While this is the last in this series and I have not read the first two, I did not feel like I was missing anything or confused at all. This book is so well written that I'm taking notes for myself as a writer! An admirable trait in any book, Rosenburg thickens the plot and raises the stakes to unimaginable heights. Right when you think things can't get worse, they do. It's classic and awesome.

The main hero in this trilogy to my knowledge is David Shirazi, alias Reza Tabrizi. He's a CIA deep undercover agent in Iran trying to prevent a war... until, that is, the Israelis start one barely a chapter into the novel. Then his new mission is to find the two nukes that the Israelis didn't get in their attack and deactivate them. I found him to be very likable and very real to me.

Rosenburg takes a serious look at prophesies in the Old Testament and applies them to his fictional today. I cannot fathom the research that has gone into this but it is all worth it. I won't drag out this review too much farther, but I will say that I wouldn't recommend this to younger teens or anyone who doesn't love a good thriller. But if you do, I'd recommend you check out this series. I know I'll be reading The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative in the next few weeks. :-)

I received this book from Tyndale in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover (from Tyndale):
All eyes are on the Middle East. Israel has successfully launched a first strike on Iran, taking out all of their nuclear sites and six of their nuclear warheads—and causing The Twelfth Imam to order a full-scale retaliation. US President William Jackson threatens to support a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Jewish State for unprovoked and unwarranted acts of aggression.

Meanwhile, CIA operative David Shirazi has infiltrated the Iranian regime and intercepted information indicating that two Iranian nuclear warheads survived the attack and have been moved to a secure and undisclosed location. In danger not only from the ongoing missile strikes on Iran but also from the increasingly hostile and suspicious governments of multiple countries, David and his team are in a race against time to find the remaining nuclear warheads before disaster strikes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson (Revell Blog Tour)

Back Cover (from Revell):
She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy?

Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid.

As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?


My Review:
I ADORED this book!
Cover Art
I couldn't set it down after I started reading! I truthfully don't know why I haven't read any of Miss Thompson's work until yesterday. Her wonderful writing combined with her humor and relatable characters made for such a great afternoon read. Yes, I did read Picture Perfect in an afternoon. No regrets.

In Picture Perfect we are in the head of the lovely Hannah McDermott. All her life she's believed she's come up second and she's ready to be first. The only negative thing I can think to say about Hannah is that she isn't very close to God yet, however, she is on the right track. We get so up-close and personal with Hannah's thoughts that it really made me feel like I could relate to her and understand her better.

Before I close this review there's a peeve I had that I would like to mention. I did not like how the married women made dreamy/infatuated comments about an actor right in front of their husbands. I mean, how disrespectful is that? But like I said, it was my only big peeve with Picture Perfect and it did not occur often enough to take away from my reading experience.

If you like a good romance tale with some humor, this is the book for you. :-)

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Janice ThompsonAbout Janice (from Revell):
Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Liebster Award

This post is very late in coming, but it's here now! ;D I have been nominated for the lovely Liebster award by several awesome people: Leah, Tori, and Bethany- thank you!

So, because I have been nominated three times I shall answer all 33 questions but I doubt I'll be able to come up with 11. We shall see. Moving forward!

Here are the rules:
1. List 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger who nominated you left
3. Ask 11 new questions for those you nominate
4. Choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate
5. Go to each blogger's page and let them know about the award
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog

 OK, so 11 facts about me:
1. I love sweet tea.
2. I have a love for old movies and TV shows. Particularly The Princess Bride, and Audrey Hepburn movies.
3. I like baking cookies.
4. I like organized things.
5. I am a college sophomore.
6. I plan to become a published author someday.
7. I can randomly quote Disney movies as well as Lord of the Rings.
8. Disney World is my third home-away-from-home.
9. I love to dance before the Lord.
10. I drove through a snow fall for the first time this past week- Hey, I survived!
11. I have a not-so-secret love for LEGO Wii games.

Now for the 33 questions!
1. Would you rather be respected, or loved?: I can't have both? *sigh* Respect. :)
2. What is a favorite quote of yours?: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart." -Psalms 37:4
3. List 3 of your favorite songs at the moment?: Oh my. a) Night of my Life by Group 1 Crew b) You Are My Hope by Skillet c) Fearless by Group 1 Crew
4. Cows or peacocks?: ... Cows, I think.
5. Describe your style/taste in art, design, fashion?: Hm... Art? Abstract. Design? Organized. Fashion? Modest.
6. What place would you travel to if you could?: Probably Paris, France.
7. Coffee or tea?: Tea!
8. Introvert or extrovert?: Introvert.
9. What do you hope to do with your life?: Share Christ through my writing.
10. What's your favorite entree?: Steak and a baked potato.
11. If you could be granted 1 wish, what would it be?: I'd make Florida and Ohio closer together.
(11 down, 22 to go!)
1. What's your favorite TV series?: Ahh! Such a hard question! I'll pick Once Upon a Time.
2. Favorite superhero?: Captain America, hands down.
3. If you could have any pet whether it is mythical or real, what would it be?: I'd keep my current dog, Joy.
4. If you could live in the world of a book or movie, which one?: Not sure... Probably a book.
5. Favorite music artist?: Gah. Another hard one. I'll pick Kari Jobe.
6. What is your favorite scent?: Vanilla.
7. Hunger Games or Twilight?: Out of those two? Hunger Games! I heavily dislike Twilight.
8. Motorcycle or car?: Car.
9. Favorite cookie?: Chocolate Chip!
10. What is a quirk about yourself?: I tap my fingers on everything. lol
11. Do you have a favorite blog?: Go Teen Writers!
(22 down, 11 to go!)
 1. Do you have siblings? How many? 2
 2. Checkered or plaid?: Plaid.
 3. Favorite food?: Rice
 4. How much wood did the woodchuck chuck?: None. The woodchuck can't chuck wood. ;p
 5. Favorite fantasy world?: Middle Earth!
 6. Hot chocolate or coffee?: Hot Chocolate!
 7. What is your favorite musical?: Les Miserables
 8. Would you rather eat a raw squirrel, or moldy doughnuts? :P: First of all, EW! I think I'll take the third door and starve. lol
 9. On a scale of 1-10 how much do you enjoy reading?: 9.5
 10. Favorite book?: A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
 11. Cold weather or hot weather?: Cold, though I'm sick of snow.

Whew! There's all 33 questions and answers. I'm just going to tag all of you, whoever is reading this. Hope you learned a bit more about me! :-) Thanks for coming by!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Honor and Trust by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Back Cover (from Goodreads):
Callie DeBoyer is unsettled as she arrives at Bridal Veil Island with the Bridgeport family. She's just received a letter from her parents, missionaries in coastal Africa, stating they are in dire need of more personnel. Should Callie give up her governess job and join her parents in their important work? Is God calling her to the mission field, or does she just want to escape the emotional scars of being jilted by her former beau? 

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time at the golf course, Callie comes to care for Wesley--until she discovers hidden secrets about his past. 

Then expensive jewels go missing from various homes on the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. As the investigation continues, Callie wonders if she should escape it all by going to Africa. After the secrets he kept about his past, will Wesley ever be a man she can honor and trust for the rest of her life?
My Review:
A fascinating historical romantic tale!
To Honor and Trust (Bridal Veil Island, # 3)
I regret to say I have not a chance to read the previous two books in this series. I do not think that took anything away from To Honor and Trust, I found it can easily be read as a stand-alone. ;) That being said, I overall thought the book was a decent read. Despite two authors, the writing flows and centers in the heads of Wes and Callie.

Moving forward, it took me several chapters to really get into this one. It seemed slow at the start but it did pick up around the middle and hooked me in until the last page. I liked the mystery and intrigue with the robberies and the twist at the end.

Callie is an interesting character. Her faith in God is strong, as she prays over every thing, big or small. She loves her charges, Thomas, Daisy, and Lottie and works as their tutor. I admired her good nature towards them and applauded her for putting Mr. Perriman in his place. (Those who have read the book will understand what I mean. ;D )

While this book is not a favorite, it still was a nice little read. Those who have read Love Finds You on Mackinac Island will like this one.

I received this book from Bethany House in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith (Revell Blog Tour)

Back Cover (from Revell):
Can love heal the rift between two souls?

When her beloved father dies and she is left in the care of her conniving brother Laban, Rebekah knows her life has changed forever. Though she should be married by now, it’s clear that Laban is dragging his feet, waiting for a higher bride-price to line his pockets. But then Rebekah is given a chance to leave her home to marry Isaac, a cousin she has never even seen, and her hope for the future is restored. Little does she know what a wondrous and heart-wrenching journey she is beginning.

As Rebekah experiences the joy of young love and the bitterness of misunderstanding and betrayal, her resolve is tested. When the rift between Isaac and her grows so wide it is surely too great to be mended, can she trust the God of Isaac’s father Abraham to bridge the gap?
Join bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith as she fills in the blanks around the life of the enigmatic Rebekah.

My Review:
Jill Eileen Smith returns with the Biblical tale of Isaac and Rebekah. :-)

Rebekah (Wives of the Patriarchs, # 2)I was first entranced by Miss Smith's writing with the first book in this series, Sarai. If I liked Sarai then I loved Rebekah. I read pretty much the whole book in one day. For me, Rebekah totally surpassed Sarai. Sticking close to what is in the Biblical account; Miss Smith leads us through Isaac and Rebekah's early marriage all the way to the infamous impersonation of Esau by Jacob.

Rebekah came right off the page! I connected with her in a way I didn't expect to and thus had a really hard time setting the book down. The writing flowed, the characters felt real, and the ending already makes me excited for Rachel!

I never felt like I understood Isaac until I read this. He went through a tragic yet amazing event as a child and I never thought about how almost being sacrificed would affect him. He was a great husband and father… Well, at least to Esau.

In sum, if you like Biblical fiction you'll love this one! I also highly suggest you read the chapters in Genesis either before or after reading Rebekah. You'll be amazed and how well Miss Smith stuck to the Biblical account. ;-)

I received this book from Revell in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 
Jill Eileen Smith
 © Amanda Matilla Photography
About Jill: 
Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the bestselling Michal, Abigail, and Bathsheba, all part of The Wives of King David series, and of Sarai, book 1 in the Wives of the Patriarchs series. Her writing has garnered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.





Join Jill Tuesday, February 19th, from 7-8pm EST for an interactive video chat book tour! Click on the picture to RSVP!

Photo: Revell made this cool poster to go with the event next Tuesday! I did a test run with Shindig and it looks good. I hope to see you there. RSVP if you want to be reminded!
http://shindig.com/event/jilleileensmith

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review: A Love Surrenderred by Julie Lessman

Back Cover (from Goodreads):
Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents' death. But when she falls hard for Steven O'Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?


My Review:
OK, last Julie Lessman book review until Love at Any Cost comes out in a few months.. hehehe. :-D

A Love Surrendered (Winds of Change, #3)I don't know if it was the shortness of this last installment of the Winds of Change series or if it was the wonderful Annie Kennedy, but I extremely liked this one! Kind of like A Heart Revealed, we get a new look on the O'Connor family and a bit more of what was going on outside the O'Connor's kitchen.

Aside from Faith, I believe Annie is my second favorite heroine in the whole series. Her ideals reminded me of Faith, her stubbornness reminded me of Charity, and she kind of reminded me of, well, me. Haha! She really did phenomenal in staying strong in her purity and her faith. I also loved her relationship with Glory-- that was too cute. :-)

In A Hope Undaunted, we saw Steven change his life for the better. In A Love Surrendered, it really shows how he's changed and how he struggles to trust himself. Since we saw so little of him in previous books I liked finally having a chance to read his story, get to know him a little better, and most of all see him patch his relationship with God.

In sum, this one kept me reading until the very end. I will miss the O'Connors SO much, but I know they were happy. :-)

I won this book in a giveaway, no review required.