Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Review: Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long

Thomas Nelson(July 13, 2010) 320 pages

When Sarah realizes that she has fallen in love with an Englisch doctor, she must choose between her family and her forbidden love.

Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains, shy Sarah King is happiest when working in her vibrant Amish kitchen garden, but new family responsibilities lead her into the confusing world of the Englisch.

Sarah finds her life turned around when she encounters the community’s new Englisch veterinarian, Grant Williams. His blue-gold eyes and his obvious concern for her people attract her immediately. Sarah seeks solace and direction from the Lord as she creates a quilt pattern which details her struggle between two worlds.

The Lord is guiding Sarah to follow His will, but will she listen?

My Review:
I really enjoyed Sarah’s Garden. This is the first Amish book I have ever read, though, so if you’ve read a lot of Amish books, my review might not be the best one to go by.
I loved reading about a simpler life, and Sarah’s garden and quilting adventures. It was a reminder for me not to place so much importance on worldly possessions. (I will always love my power and hot showers, though)! Quilting is something that I really want to learn more about. I love the stories that can be taken away from them.
After reading this book, I want to go plan a garden for my backyard! I never knew there was so many varieties of fruits and vegetables. I saw many names I had never heard of.
There were moments of humor sprinkled in. I absolutely loved the “snoring” scene! I thought it was so funny and kind of sad at the same time. If that were my husband, and I found out, he’d be in trouble!! I still had to laugh, though.
Grant is a veterinarian, so there’s lots of scenes with animals, also. I couldn’t help but cringe reading about the bats. I know that if a person was to touch a bat, they would go through some painful shots. (At least I know a family that had to go through that). The characters in the book touch the bats like baby kittens. It was interesting to read about all the different jobs and recreations of this book.
I plan on passing Sarah's Garden around to my family, because I really think they will enjoy it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Review: Stella Fell by Staci Gillette

Authorhouse(February 9, 2010)444 pages

Description: (From Amazon)
Memories are the gateway to the soul . . . Driven by haunting memories, a woman embarks on a literal soul search unearthing past lives, soul mates and an enduring love triangle.

My Review:
Stella Fell ended up being so much more than I thought it would be. It was truly amazing!! The description is exactly what the book is about, but it doesn’t come close to doing the book justice.
Stella is 38 and married with a teenage daughter. She begins having memories of her high school sweetheart, Jack. These memories literally take her mind out of the present. She starts to wonder if she was suppose to be with Jack instead of her husband. As the memories persist, she starts seeing a psychic, who teaches her how to see into her previous lives. This is where we learn more about the love triangle.
This is also where I really got pulled in, and it was so hard to pry myself away from reading. I just couldn’t wait to see how everything fit together. My husband will come home to a neglected house, because I wanted so bad to find out what happened.
There’s so much that I want to say about the story, but it would be major spoilers. You would be missing out on so much to know the outcome before starting to read it. I classify this book as a fantasy, since it is about reincarnations, but I’m really not sure if it’s actually classified as one.
I think Stella’s story could belong to so many people(maybe without the past lives and all, though), so there’s lessons that can be learned. This book was very unique and I loved Staci’s writing style. I really hope to read more from her!!

Parental Concerns: There was mild profanity and mild sexuality. (It was very mild even in comparison to the young adult books I've read lately).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Review: Hot by Laura L. Smith

Navpress(May 15, 2010)176 Pages
Description: (from Christianbook.com)
Lindsey feels alone, like no one truly understands her. That is, until she meets Noah, who possesses a calm self-confidence that Lindsey craves. But what price will she pay to escape to the comfort of Noah's soft words and strong arms?
This novel uses the power of story to challenge teens to discover the relevance of faith. Young adults will identify with Lindsey's feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. Promoting a personal trust in God, this story awakens the imagination through personal discovery, dynamic characters, and unexpected plot twists.

My Review:
While this book is fairly short and the ending is abrupt, it has so much useful information in it. I think that not only high school students, but also anyone that’s single could greatly benefit from this book. I even recommend it for parents, because it’s always nice to have a refresher course on what it’s like to be a teenager.
This book covers the difficultly of staying pure in a relationship. It’s hard for everyone, even Christians. Even if you’ve lost your virginity, you can still rededicate yourself. God forgives and loves you no matter what. It addresses the emotional aspects of before and after losing one’s virginity.
This book shows the importance of keeping God in your life, and the importance of family and having your parents around.
It shows staying pure is a firm decision that needs to be made before dating is even thought about. If that decision is not made, there’s no way a person will stay pure. It will be entirely too easy. With that decision made, a couple can make sure they are not in a situation that would even allow anything to happen.
This book also addresses the issue of dancing. Here is an excerpt from the book about this issue:
“Linds, you look so sexy, and you go dancing like that, and you expect me to keep me hands off you?” He ruffles his hair. “This isn’t easy.”
I think this is a great book for a family to read and discuss! There’s so many underlying messages that can be taken away from reading it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

My Review: A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Bethany House(June 1, 2010) 348 pages

Description:(from Christianbook.com)
Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?

My Review:
I loved so many things about this book!!!
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is about the virtuous wife, and I loved how Hannah was brought to life as that woman in this story. There’s so many lessons taught in this book, including don’t judge someone by their appearance, whether they are beautiful, ugly, poor. Also, helping the needy is another lesson.
So many books I read is about two people that love each other, but don’t get together to the very end. (Which is fine. I love those books, too). I adored reading about the “courting” part of a relationship.
It just melted my heart to read about the sweet romantic gestures, tokens of affection, and small touches of a new couple in love, which is one of the sweetest things ever!! (almost as sweet as an elderly couple still in love after so many years).
I also liked how the meaning of Jericho’s name was defined in different ways as the story progressed.
All the characters won my heart, with the exception of one. They were all special and sweet in different ways, and each one was stubborn in their own way.
This book has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf and is now one of my favorites. I absolutely cannot wait to read Karen’s next book!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Review: Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi

Berkley Trade(October 7, 2007) Young Adult

Description: (from Borders.com)
Third in Mancusi's hip, sassy vampire series, featuring the heroine of Stake That! She's a vampire. She's also a vampire slayer. (It's a long story.) And now Rayne McDonald, Goth girl, has to carry out her most deviant mission yet: trying out for the cheerleading squad. Rayne already has enough on her plate: her twin keeps whining about whether or not to go all the way; her mom's boyfriend is moving in; and her man, Jareth, who's now allowed out in the sun, has turned from a dark, brooding hottie vamp into a surfer dude. But this vampire slayer is still on the clock, and she has a new assignment. A member of the football team has disappeared-and her bosses at Slayer Inc. think the cheerleaders had something to do with it. Now they want her to infiltrate the squad and get the dirt. But first, she'll need an extreme prep makeover. If only they'd let her wear fishnets under that revolting uniform.

My Review:
The narrator talks like she’s walking thru the mall with her best friend, which I find annoying at times. We’re all different, though, and this may be what makes you really like this book.
While the plot was decent and kept me entertained, it wasn’t my favorite read. It’s a short book, so you can probably get thru this in a few hours. I found it somewhat interesting that the author seemed to be sending good messages throughout the book, but then at one point Rayne start smoking, claiming she wanted to look like a “sexy, bad girl”. I don’t think that is a good message! At some points, it even seems like a vampire/werewolf after school special. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.
There was also a character that has a cutting problem. Once again, the author seemed to be trying to address this in a helpful way(as far as anyone reading the book with that problem). I respect that, because it is a disease I think is overlooked many times. It’s not addressed as much as other teen issues. At the same time, it seemed thrown in there completely off the wall, and didn’t fit in with the rest of the book.
It’s possible I would have liked this book more if I had read the first two. I’m sure I would have connected with the characters a lot more. From what I could tell, though, this book fills you in on the major “happenings” of the first two, so you’re not completely lost as to what is going on.
I really like this section(minus the cuss word!), because this is true with a lot of relationships. It made me really think about how I act. I hope this doesn’t give anything away.
Somebody is about to break up with another person, and then this conversation begins:
““Maybe it’s because when I’m nice to you, you’re a total ***** back to me. When I worry about you, you accuse me of smothering you. When I’m happy and having fun you get annoyed. You’re only sweet to me when you want something or it suits your mood.” I stare at my feet, wanting to protest, wanting to defend myself, but having no idea how to do it. Because , I realize, every last thing he said is true. Why would he want me as a blood mate? I don’t think I’d want myself.”
This was sort of a wake up call for me.
Overall, I didn’t think this book was a waste of time and it was interesting with a slightly different take on vampires, but I think it would have been better if it was longer, and the scenes didn’t end so quickly. It leaves an opening for the next book.

Parental concerns: Profanity, talking about losing virginity, but no details, drinking, smoking

Monday, June 14, 2010

In My Mailbox(June 14, 2010)

This weekly meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

I don't normally get this many books!!

From Swaptree:
An ARC of Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
An ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard

I won this one on Debbie Lynn Costello's blog The Sword and Spirit:
A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer (It's even autographed! I was so excited!)
And it came with a recipe card, bookmark, little sewing kit, and hot chocolate. So cute!!!)

This is why I have so many books. I rarely pay full price for a book. I know that's sad, but I'm thrifty. :) When I got Linger, I wanted to read Shiver first, so I went to Books-a-million's website. If you buy $25 worth, it's free shipping, so I hit the bargain section. So, I ended up getting 6 books for $25. Pretty good, considering one of those was full price. :)

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike(I used to read tons of his books in high school).
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Girls That Growl by Mari Mancusi ( I haven't read the first two, so this will be a rare time that I don't read from beginning to end. If I like it, I'll get the other two).

My Review: A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

Revell(September 1, 2008)
Description:(from christianbooks.com)
Graced with physical beauty, though shallow of heart, Charity O'Connor is a woman who knows what she wants. She sets her sights on the cantankerous Mitch Dennehy, editor at the Irish Times, who has unwittingly stolen her heart. And although the sparks are there, Mitch refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with his ex-fiancee's sister. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat and she always gets what she wants--one way or another. Is revenge so sweet after all? Or will Charity get burned?

My Review:
As I wrote in my A Passion Most Pure review, I was a little worried that I disliked Charity and A Passion Redeemed was mostly about her. The more I read, the less I thought I would end up liking Charity, but she redeemed herself. I will admit, I ended up liking her so much that I cried during a couple of scenes, because I hurt for her. Julie created characters so realistic, it’s like I know them and they have became a part of my life. I love it when I read books like that!
Charity has once again taught me not to judge a person by their actions. Rigan even taught me this. As much as I dislike his character, one scene even made me feel sorry for him. I believe behind (almost)every “bad” person, there’s another. Sometimes I forget that, though, and start make bad judgements about a person.
I do have to say, I still liked the first one better. I love Faith’s and Collin’s characters, and I was very happy that their story continued in this book.
I don’t think that I even need to say that I highly recommend this book also. I can’t wait to read about Beth and Brady in A Passion Denied!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Be Still

This has always been one of my favorite poems, and it really helped me through my teen years and early 20s. I even printed it out on a small piece of paper and kept it in my wallet. I'm obsessed with the color blue!! One day I pulled it out of my wallet and somehow a pen had leaked on it. It made the prettiest design of different colors of blue. I always somewhat thought of that as a token of affection from God. :)

Be Still

Sometimes I ask the question,
"My Lord, is this your will?"
It's then I hear you answer me,
"My Precious Child... be still."

Sometimes I feel frustrated,
Cause I think I know what's best.
It's then I hear you say to me,
"My Busy Child... just rest"

"I know the plans I have for you,
The wondrous things you'll see;
If you can just be patient, Child,
And put your trust in me.

I've plans to draw you closer.
I've plans to help you grow.
There's much I do you cannot see
And much you do not know.

But know this, Child ..... I LOVE YOU.
You are Precious unto Me.
Before I formed you in the womb,
I planned your destiny.

I've something very special
I hope for you to learn.
The gifts I wish to give to you
Are gifts you cannot earn.

They come without a price tag,
But not without a cost;
At Calvary, I gave Myself,
So You would not be lost.

Rest, Child, and do not weary
Of doing what is good.
I promise I'll come back for you
Just like I said I would.

Your name is written on my palm,
I never could forget;
Therefore, do not be discouraged when
My answer is... "Not Yet"

Author Unknown

Big Box O' Books 'N' Stuff

Book Fanatics is having a great giveaway right now!!

Up for grabs:

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen (ARC, donated by Tish)

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (paperback)

The Secret Society by Tom Dolby (Hardcover)

I Now Prnounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (ARC, donated by Erin)

Penitence by Jennifer Laurens+signed book mark (Paperback, donated by Jennifer)

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin (signed ARC, donated by Adele)

Hate List by Jennifer Brown (Hardcover, Donated by Corrine @ Lost for Words)

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown (signed Hardcover, donated by Adele)
Kiss It by Erin Downing (signed paperback)
13 to Life by Shannon Delany (paperback)

And Some Swag:

Mistwood postcards

Mistwood bookmarks

The Dust of 100 Dogs bookmarks (donated by Meg at Book Mac)

13 to Life Postcards

13 to Life glow in the dark pin

13 to Life "eye" Pin

13 to Life bookmarks

13 to Life mini poster (not shown)

Twenty Boy Summer bookmarks (donated by Meg at Book Mac)

Faithful singed postcards

Faithful singed bookmarks

Shadow Hills singed bookmarks

Secret Society tattoos

The Body Finder stickers

Friday, June 11, 2010

Social Parade-Follower Friday!!!!

Smart and Trendy Moms

This is hosted by Smart and Trendy Moms. Visit their blog to learn more and meet new blogs!!


I had the winner of Lonestar Homecoming drawn from random-draw.com. There was a total of 79 entries(36 people). And the winner is.....

Emily @ www.daughtersortheking.blogspot.com

Congratulations!!! Be looking for my e-mail. If I don't hear back within a week, I'll pick another winner. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Candlewick(July 22, 2008)Young Adult

Description:(from swaptree.com)
When multiple murders in Austin, Texas, threaten the grand re-opening of her family's vampire-themed restaurant, seventeen-year-old, orphaned Quincie worries that her best friend-turned-love interest, Keiren, a werewolf-in-training, may be the prime suspect.

My Review: This was a really quick read for me. I was drawn in from the start, and I kept reading to find out what happened. There's not a lot of depth, but it's a fun, light read. I would have like a better ending, though! It ended abruptly. Don't read this book expecting a romance, either.

Parental Concerns: There was some profanity(including gd, which I hate with a passion!), and some minor violence.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Review: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

Speak(April 17, 2008)Young Adult
Description:(from Borders.com)
Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the kingas former royal spy and one of Aureliaas oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the lineaher life, her kingdom, her heartaAurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost.

My Review:
This is a great read for younger readers! It was sweet, clean, and very innocent! I will admit I had a hard time getting into it at the beginning, but once I did, it was great. There's a mystery all through the book as to who is trying to kill Aurelia, so the reader can guess throughout as to who it is. I've heard the next one won't be out until 2011, though. :(
Parental Concerns: The closest thing that could possibly be a concern would be some minor violence. There's no sexual content at all, and no profanity.

Monday, June 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (June 7th, 2010)

This weekly meme is hosted by The Story Siren
I will show the books that came in my mailbox, that I bought, borrowed from the library, or any other way a book comes in my home. :)

For Review: Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
From e-bay: Academy 7 and Aurelia by Anne Osturland
From Swaptree: Jonas by Eden Maguire
Won from Goodreads: Stella Fell (and a bookmark) by Staci Gillette

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Review: Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James

Thomas Nelson (June 1, 2010)

Turn of the century novelist Lilly Westbrook learns that being faithful to her calling means more than just putting pen to paper.

It's the summer of 1899 in Newport, Rhode Island, and Lilly Westbrook is struggling to conceal her career from family and friends because of the stigma attached to dime novels. Lilly feels good about her secret—after all, she’s enlightening working class girls with her books and honoring God by using her talents to His glory.

But her secret is threatened when Jackson Grail, a former suitor, becomes Lilly's new publisher. He's determined to revive his floundering publishing house by maximizing their most promising--and most secretive--author. His plan? Find “Fannie Cole” and convince her to go public.

When a gossip columnist discovers Lilly’s true identity, she finds that being faithful to her calling involves more than just putting pen to paper. It requires that she stand up for her faith and for herself, no matter the consequences.

My Review:
Sometimes I really want to read a simple, sweet story, and Love on a Dime is just that. The love portrayed isn’t overly passionate. It is very subdued, but still sweet.
It was an inspiring story. Lillian and Jackson both look to God to help with their problems, and the Christian Settlement House makes you question if you really need everything you have. It makes you want to help the needy. It’s great to read a book that inspires you in more than one way! I will admit I would have liked to have seen more of the Christian Settlement House. It shows up at the beginning of the story, and I thought it would play a much bigger role. Hopefully it will show up more throughout the rest of the series.
There’s many characters that you learn to greatly dislike and many you learn to love, although I wasn‘t as drawn to the characters as much as I would have liked. I didn’t think I would like Vanessa as much as I did! It was still a great book, and I’m excited to read more by Cara Lynn James, especially the rest of the Ladies of Summerhill Series!

*I received this copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

HarperCollins(March 31, 2009)Young Adult Fiction

Description: (From Booklist)
Newcomers and returning readers alike will devour this companion novel to Marr's ragingly popular Wicked Lovely (2007). The new peace between the Summer King and the Winter Queen isn’t good for everyone: those of the Dark Court, who feed on faeries’ destructive emotions, are dangerously weakened. Irial, King of the Dark Court, needs a solution, and he finds one in the Summer Queen’s mortal friend Leslie. Tormented by memories of abuse, Leslie wants nothing more than to reclaim her body by getting a tattoo, but the enchanted design she selects provides Irial with a direct link to mortals’ emotions. The tattoo binds Leslie and Irial together even as a third faerie works to prevent their destructive yet seductive connection. All of Marr’s characters are complex, defying easy description and evoking sympathy and horror in equal measures, and all cast a thrall that will leave readers willing to forgive plotting that can be difficult to follow. This dark fantasy about survival and transformation is as mesmerizing as its urban faery subjects.

My Review: I liked this book much better than the first book, Wicked Lovely. I didn't hate the first one, but I really didn't have plans to read this one. I decided last minute to give this one a try. All the different types of faeries do get confusing to me, though. The relationship between Irial and Niall also confuses me. I'm guessing that it would take reading this one again to understand it a little more. It's a very unique story!
I will say that it bugged me that the author repeatedly said gods as if she was trying to make a point. (Almost like she went out of her way to include it- for example, "Oh, my gods!", "No. Gods no!" and many more!
Many of the same characters were in this story from the first one. They have much smaller roles, but they're still there.

Parental Concerns: There is some profanity, and reference to a rape that happened to the main character before the story begins. (no details)There is also drug use by Leslie's brother and friends.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Review: Meridian by Amber Kizer

Delacorte Books for Young Reader(August 11, 2009)Young Adult Fiction

I read this book probably a month ago, but I decided to go ahead and do a small review, since a lot of people still haven't read it, and Amber Kizer is a new author.

Description:(From Borders.com) "Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.
"Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate's tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home--and Meridian's body explodes in pain.
Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she's a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt's house in Revelation, Colorado. It's there that she learns that she is a Fenestra--the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

My Review:
This book was different than most of the stories I’ve been reading lately, so I applaud Amber Kizer for breaking from the crowd and writing something new. Before reading this book, I had never heard the term “fenestra” or read any books on the subject. It was very interesting. It’s about deaths, so the whole book has a sad atmosphere to it. It definitely leaves an opening for another book, so I hope the next one is a little more upbeat.

Parental concerns: There was lots of profanity. There was some violence, and just the overall theme of death, including humans and animals. There wasn’t any sexual scenes.