Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Releases: Last Chance Hero

Book Title: Last Chance Hero
(Book 4 in A Place to Call Home Series)
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Revell

Description:
The inhabitants of Last Chance, New Mexico, could not be more pleased. Dr. Jessica McLeod has opened an office right on Main Street. Andy Ryan, the best athlete the little town ever produced, has ended his short career in the NFL and has come home to coach the mighty Pumas of Last Chance High. Unfortunately, Dr. Jess immediately gets off on the wrong foot when she admits that she's never seen a football game, isn't really interested in doing so, and, in fact, doesn't know a first down from a home run. Meanwhile, Coach Ryan is discovering that it's not easy to balance atop the pedestal the town has put him on. When this unlikely pair is drawn together over the future of a young player--whose gifts may lie in the laboratory rather than on the football field--they begin to wonder if they might have a future together as well.


My Review:
As much as I'd enjoyed the other books in A Place to Call Home Series I found this new addition to be somewhat dry. I didn't especially love the characters or the plot. It seemed that it was all about football and while I've enjoyed many books that have a strong football presence this one was kinda blah for me. Jess, the heroine, had never gone to a football game and wasn't interested in the sport. I connected with her in that aspect but otherwise I didn't feel like there was much depth to her. I felt that over half the conversations were spent in trying to convince Jess to like football. Maybe, if you're really into that sport this book will be for you.

Also, this book really left you hanging. It was like the author reached it's deadline and just ended the book. Andy and Jess's relationship had barely begun. The book actually ended on their first official date! I was shocked when I turned the page and that was the end. There were still issues that were left unsettled; like Jess's faith, or the Anderson's family situation...

I enjoyed the first two books in this series but the last two have disappointed me and I don't think I'll continue reading this series.

My Rating: ⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Releases: Whispers in the Reading Room

What was your favorite book that you read this month? For myself, I'd have to say Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa Tawn Bergren. I wasn't sure I would enjoy reading a dystopian / fantasy novel but I'm glad I dared to give it a shot. It was awesome! (I'll be reviewing it soon. :)



Title: Whispers in the Reading Room
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Zondervan

Description:
Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

My Review:
Whispers in the Reading Room is a novel full of adventure, excitement, and romance. You will be captivated from the beginning till the very end.

My favorite thing about this book was the plot. After reading the description I knew this would be a book I'd enjoy. I was curious to know what Lydia's reaction would be to finding out the truth about Sebastian.

One of the negative thoughts I had for this book was I felt that Lydia was so eager for adventure she threw aside some of her standards of right and wrong. Not so much when she went to the club to understand more about Sebastian but other little things she did. Like, breaking into the old building of the Chicago World's Fair... She knew it was wrong yet she did it anyways because she wanted too.

"...She realized he was enjoying the wickedness of it all. He liked that they were somewhere forbidden. He liked that they were standing somewhere that broke every rule of both society and its laws. As for her? She liked it too. After a lifetime of merely exisiting in her world of books, she liked actually living..." (from Whispers in the Reading Room) Why did it take breaking laws to make Lydia feel as if she's actually living? I didn't really understand that point....

Besides that though, I still enjoyed the book. I liked the characters, the details that seemed to come alive, and the small adventures throughout.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Releases: Mistress of Tall Acre

I haven't had the chance to post that many reviews lately...lots of projects to finish before the cold weather sets in. Many of my favorite publishers have had books come out this month that I've been anticipating for months too...I'm looking forward to when I have more reading time. I'm concerned that it might be awhile. My calendar is looking full until at least the beginning of November. I'm realizing that life really speeds up when you start to get older...
 
 Hope you're enjoying the first week of Fall!


Book Title: The Mistress of Tall Acre
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Revell

Description:
The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--readers find it all in the rich pages of this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.


My Review:
I have been looking forward to Laura Frantz's next book since her last book was published around this same time last year...

What I love about this book:
  • I love the historical aspect.
Laura Frantz's books are always a pleasure to read! I come away with interesting details unbeknownst to me before. Most books that are set in the time-period of a war tend to focus on the war and it was nice to have a glimpse into that after-fact instead.  

  • The plot.
The Mistress of Tall Acre was enthralling to read from the very beginning and became even more so with each unexpected twist in plot. From the description, I thought that this book was going to be a "marriage of convienence" and while it was, it wasn't the typical one you'd expect; it was better! Some reviewers have commented that they thought this book was a little slow but I was captivated the entire time. I can't think of a single way to have made it better!

  • The vivid characters.
Each character seemed to come alive with the distinctive descriptions. Sophie was definitely my favorite in this book...but seeing she's the heroine of this story that's not surprising. I love her personality! She's sweet, compassionate, loyal, dedicated, and caring to everyone. To sum her up in one word, genuine.  

I totally recommend this book for all you romance and/or history lovers out there!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

1st day of Autumn

Today's the first day of Autumn! The leaves have already begun to turn colors here in Pennsylvania and you can actually smell the difference in the air. What are some of your favorite things about Fall? Even though I prefer Summer you can't beat the beauty of the colorful trees. It doesn't hurt either that apples will be in season soon...can't wait to start baking, and eating :), the pies, sauces, and other desserts.

To celebrate the first day of a new season I'm posting another desktop background. Hope you all enjoy!



This picture is available as a desktop background on this link: Desktop Background

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Release: Through Waters Deep


Book Title: Through Waters Deep
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Revell

Description:
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My Review:
I never have been a fan of World War II books but Sarah Sundin's books are an exception...I absolutely love them! I love how she skillfully weaves historic details and facts into a beautiful romance. I've read all her books and have never been disappointed with any of them.

Through Waters Deep is an even more special book than the previous because Sarah Sundin mixes together history, romance, and a MYSTERY! Perfect combination, don't you think? For being her first mystery I thought she did a great job...It's not easy writing a mystery along with everything else and I appreciate the new aspect. I can't say that I enjoyed this book more than the rest though because I consider the others as perfect reads and it's kind of hard to top that. :P

I think Mary is one of my favorite female characters Sarah Sundin has created. She has such a selfless and sweet personality that you can't help but love her. Mary and Jim's relationship with each other made for a very interesting read as everything seemed to go against the couple.

I totally recommend this book for all you history and romance lovers out there! You will be swept away into the story from the first pages.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.

 

Read my review on Sarah Sundin's book:

 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Releases: The Golden Braid

Awhile back I reviewed the series, Fairy Tale Romances by Melanie Dickerson. This book, The Golden Braid, is the sixth and I believe last in the series. If you enjoyed the previous books I know you'll love this one too.
Book Title: The Golden Braid
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Description:
The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again—this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight—Sir Gerek—Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

My Review:
When I heard that Melanie Dickeron's next book was going to be about Rapunzel I couldn't have been more excited! Disney's Tangled is my all-time favorite fairy tale so to have one of my favorite authors retell this story...I'm sure you can guess my elation. :D

The Golden Braid definitely lived up to my high expectations. I loved the characters! Rapunzel was sweet, daring, compassionate, and totally lovable. :) Sir Gerek, beneath his exterior toughness, was definitely worthy of his title of knight; a man of valor and honor. I came to love each of the characters more as I witnessed their love for eachother and Christ grow bigger throughout the chapters.

The plot was as awesome at I'd hoped it would be too. Melanie Dickerson is talented at making her descriptions come alive and I felt like I was transported back into medieval times.

Also, I absolutely loved the cover of this book! I think it is the most beautiful cover in the series...at least it's my favorite. :D Thank you Melanie Dickerson for writing such wonderful books!!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.


Read my reviews on the

previous books in this series:

Friday, September 4, 2015

Alone Yet Not Alone

I recently watched the movie that just came out on this book. It was so good I went and read the book again. It was always a favorite book of mine. :)
(Note: This book is in our Bright Light's Lending Library) 
 
Book Title: Alone Yet Not Alone
Author: Tracy Leininger Craven

Description:
A miraculous survival. An extraordinary faith.

Autumn 1755. Settled in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, deep within America’s new frontier, the Leininger family celebrates the blessings of a beautiful homestead and bountiful harvest. Until tragedy strikes with the beginning of the French-Indian War, and the devastating raid known as the Penn’s Creek Massacre.

The lives of this simple, God-fearing family are forever altered when Barbara and Regina, two young sisters, are carried away by a band of Allegheny warriors. Driven by their faith in God and the powerful bonds of family, Barbara and Regina hold firmly to the belief that they are never alone, even in their darkest hour, and that they will be reunited again.

My Review:
Alone Yet Not Alone is a story based on the real life accounts of Barbara and Regina Leininger. It's an easy, fast-paced read with an exciting story that will have you hooked on every word. I was amazed by Barbara's courage and faith in a situation I can't even fathom. After finishing the book you will be even more awe-inspired by God's greatness and care for his children. Alone Yet Not Alone has it all; adventure, history, a light romance, and an ever-present Christian message.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Watch the movie trailer for Alone Yet Not Alone:
(It's a movie I totally recommend checking out :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Random Novel: Patrick's Journey

Book Title: Patrick's Journey
Author: Roy Humphreys

Description:
County Wicklow, Ireland 1790

It's springtime and 17 year old Patrick Rourke has everything to live for. He's young, strong and healthy, has a loving family and has won the affection of  his sweetheart Catherine. Unfortunately, Patrick is also quick tempered and has an unfortunate tendency to use his fists to settle disputes. A relatively minor confrontation with the occupying British Redcoats escalates and Patrick's world is torn apart as he becomes a pawn in the political aspirations of the United Irishmen and suffers the wrath of the British dominated Irish penal system.

With everything he holds dear seemingly lost Patrick finds himself thrust into an emotional and physical journey that will see him plummet into the depths of rage and despair as he is transported on the convict ship Boddington to the penal colony of New South Wales.

Will he ever see his family or his beloved Ireland again ? And Catherine - all his future revolved around Catherine - what can he hope to offer her now?

My Review
Patrick's Journey is the story of a young man who grew up in Ireland during the turbulent times between the English and Irish. What fascinated me with this book was that it was actually based on the real life events of the author's ancestor. The author, Roy Humphreys, skillfully weaves together historical facts and an interesting plot to make for an exciting read you'll speed through.

One of the things I didn't care for: The story is written from too many point of views in my opinion. You would be in a scene and the point of view would change with almost every new character that entered. I'm not saying this is a fault just that I didn't care for it that much...

One of the things I did like: I loved reading about Patrick's spiritual, emotional, and physical maturation. He could have so easily have become bitter by his unfair circumstances but he chose to stay positive.

If you're looking for a book that contains an interesting historical background and a love story that struggles to exist in the midst of ongoing trials, Patrick's Journey is the book for you.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

A big thanks to the author, Roy Humphrey's for the copy of this book in exchange for a review!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Releases: Luther and Katharina

I recently entered in Jody Hedlund's giveaway for an advanced reader copy of her newest book that's coming out soon. And guess what?! I was one of the winners!! I was so excited. Partially, because this is the first giveaway I've ever won and also because I didn't know how I was going to wait till October to read this book. :)

Enjoy the last few weeks of Summer!


Book Title: Luther and Katharina
Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Description:
She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.  

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.


My Review:
I absolutely loved this book! To be honest, I was a little nervous when I first started it... I was afraid that because it wasn't the same type of book Jody Hedlund had previously written I wouldn't like it as much and I really, really wanted to like it! After the first chapter all my fears were put to rest...It was just as great as her previous books and dare I say, more awesome.

Things I loved about this book:
I was reading about real people! It's always different to read about fictional characters that the author made up and characters that are based on the real people. I felt that Jody Hedlund did an awesome job of sticking close to the truth while writing a fictitious account of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora's life.

All the new historical facts I learned! After reading this book I can honestly say I came out with new found knowledge; you can't say that with all books... For example, I never knew that Martin Luther suffered from bouts of deep oppression or of the nefarious deeds that really happened in convents.

Things that I didn't like:
I've been pondering it for awhile and I can only think of one thing...what happened to Thomas and Greta? Did I accidentally skip over that part or was it never mentioned?

I could go on and on about this book but I'm writing a review and not an essay.. ;) I would highly recommend this book for fellow readers. It's so enthralling you won't be able to set it down. A forewarning though, once you've finished the book you might be a little sad that it had to end...If there was ever a time that I wished a book could go on forever Luther and Katharina would definitely be it. Is it possible to love a book that much? :P

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (not surprising, is it?)

Thank you Jody Hedlund for the advanced reader copy of this book... I was so blessed by it!!