Friday, September 30, 2011

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney

Flashback Friday is a weekly posting event, hosted by Kathryn @ Clean Teen Fiction, that gives book bloggers an opportunity to review a book they love but haven't read in awhile and readers a chance to find a great read. These reviews probably won't be as detailed as more recently read books fresh on our minds.

Head on over there and link up your Flashbacks!

Description from Amazon:

The picture of a missing child printed on a milk carton attracts the attention of 15-year-old Jane Johnson. A glimpse of the girl's polka-dot dress causes memories to surface, and Jane begins to review her past and question her true identity.

Back to me:

I remember the main plot points of this book, but not a whole lot else about it. It is one that has really stuck in my mind for some reason, though, and it has been YEARS since I read it! This was one that I randomly picked up at the library, and lucked up. I ended up reading the next one, too, I think, but didn't realize until this post that there were two other books in the series.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Debate on Atheism

This is just a quick note to let y'all know about a debate on Atheism that will happen tonight. (7:00 Central) It will be streamed live. I think this is such an awesome opportunity and I'm really excited to see it. My internet has been really iffy lately, so I hope it works tonight!!!!

Here's the MAIN LINK you'll need. From there, you can go to all the other links you might be interested in, including the Facebook page.

Y'all come back and let me know if you watched it! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Edge of Grace by Christa Allen

Abingdon Press (August 2011) 336 pages

Description from Amazon:

In a matter of seconds her entire world shifted...

An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker's world. Unable to cope with her brother’s news that he is gay, Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent life as a young widow and single mom. But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith, and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.

My Review:

When I decided to review this book, I had no idea that it was pertaining to homosexuality. I wouldn't have reviewed it if I had known. I'm a Christian, so I thought that my beliefs on the issue were obvious, but after reading The Edge of Grace, I realize that's not the case. While I'm not ashamed of any of my beliefs, I'm not one to just freely throw them out for all to attack without anyone asking what I believe. I will tell anyone what and why I believe what I do on any given subject. Just ask! :) Since I did agree to review the book, though, I will make my thoughts on the subject pretty clear.

I do ask that anyone reading my review to treat me with respect. I'm not attacking anyone, and I do respect everyone's opinion. This is mine! Feel free to tell me your thoughts, but again, please be respectful. :)

First of all, I'll tackle the issue of the treatment of the homosexual community. I don't believe in hurting anyone! Period! That includes physical AND emotional hurt. I don't think that a gay person should be beaten or even shunned in any kind of way because of their lifestyle. Those issues are a big part of this book. I agree with that part of this book's message completely!

"Wait, wait," I held my hands up in front of my face as if my palms could have trapped the words in the space between us. Each sentence Max spoke became a wire that wound itself around my heart. The harder it pounded, the deeper the words sliced into it. "You're telling me," my voice shoved its way past the tightness in my throat, "somebody...some people...meant to hurt David because..."
When Max looked at me, the sadness in his eyes belied the anger that hardened his face. "Because he's gay."
Just because someone is gay doesn't mean they don't have feelings. They are just like everyone else out there, and I think they need to be treated like it!

"Max pulled tissues from my box. He hadn't wiped his eyes for awhile, but he'd become so pale, he was almost translucent. His hands shook as if his teeth were chattering, and he attempted to mimic the rhythm.
Julie leaned over and stilled Max's hands when she held them in her own. A simple gesture that left me humbled and ashamed."
I hate that some of the very people who are quoting the Bible are the ones abusing and even murdering homosexuals and announcing that they are now in Hell. What?! We can't pick and choose which parts of the Bible we want to abide by. It has to be taken in its entirity.

Galatians 5:14-15
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!"
I don't know who decided that being homesexual was a "bad" sin. All sin is bad!

Galatians 5:19-21
"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
See how being jealous, selfish, and hatred are listed right smack in the middle of all the "bad" sins? Sin is sin!!!!!!

Now I'll go on to the next issue......can you be a Gay Christian?

According to The Edge of Grace....yes. Just so we're clear, that's not my opinion!

We can't take away or add to the Bible!

Revelation 22:18-19
"For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
I think that if someone wants to believe something bad enough, they will find approval in the Bible. We can't take some verses and ignore all others. We have to look at ALL of the Bible, whether it sounds for or against what we believe and put them ALL togerher.

"Maybe because I was already tired or annoyed or overwhelmed, but when I heard David mention going to a service, I felt a burr in my brain. "David, I don't get how you can go to church. I mean, it's not like your lifestyle is, well, church approved."
"Max and I go to a service every Sunday, but my relationship with Jesus isn't on trail here. And, even if it was, Jesus would be my judge."
We have to work out our own salvation with God. It's up to each of us and God to decide what is sinful and what's not. We can only do that by studying God's Word! We can't re-word things according to what our lifestyles are and what we want to believe.

I know that most people like to list all the Old Testament verses to prove their beliefs against homosexuality. I'm not going to list those. We aren't under the Old Law anymore. If we were, we'd be doing animal sacrifices and it would be okay for a man to have multiple wives. We are now under the New Testament Law, so that's where my Bible verses will come from. Don't get me wrong, though. The Old Testament is still really important!!

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor theives, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."

Romans 1:26-27
"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."

I do recommend this book as an eye opener....and only for that reason! It will make you think about prejudices and stereotypes. I also think that every Christian should be aware of why the opposing side believe what they believe. We can't close ourselves up in our own little world of beliefs. We have to be ready to defend what and why we believe what we do. I'm talking to myself more than anybody else! We have to be open-minded, though. And, to make sure I'm clear, I'm not talking about watching or reading every book that comes along that has sinful practices in it! I've stopped watching movies and shows for that very reason.

1 Peter 3:15
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear"
*All Bible verses are from the New King James Version.

**I was provided a review copy through Pump Up Your Book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Books That Caught My Attention in September

My Amazon linky thing isn't working, so I don't have links set up if there is any you wanted to go look at over there. I've been spoiled with the easy way, and I can't bear to do it the long way! :)

The Orphan of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves

The title grabs my attention. That's all I know about it, and I really think I need to read it! ;)

My So Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: A One Year Experiment.... and It's Surprising Results by Sara Horn

I'm a far cry from the Proverbs 31 wife, so I'm curious to read this one. I'm way more picky with my Non-Fiction books, so I actually read the first chapter of it at a blog, and I love Sara's humor.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

This one looks fun.

The Story of Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

The title .........

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

This one came very highly recommended!

The Art of Tim Burton

I've made no secret that I'm a huge Tim Burton fan. I'm only a fan of his children friendly works, though, so I'm a little scared of what lies in the pages of this book. :) I'll probably never know, though, because it's a very limited print book, and therefore expensive!

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Brian's other book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, made last month's list. I just found out about this new one this month. I've had the opportunity to review it, but I'm still deciding if I want to read it as an ARC, which will most likely leave out pictures, or wait for a finished copy. Hmmmmmm............tough choice. :)

My Grammer and I or Should it be Me by J.A. Wines

It's pretty obvious from my reviews that there's a great deal of grammer rules that I've forgotten. I don't remember when to use me or I or who or whom......and so many more! I think I need this book to help me refresh my memory. It's been a few years!

Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis

I have two boys.....
I know it's about the father's role, but I'm still curious.

A Bride's Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas by Erica Vetsch

This is one that ended up on my PBS wishlist awhile back. I put it on there because I liked the cover. :) It caught my attention this month, though, as one that I really want to read!

Do you have any you think should be up there? :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy Toy Story Birthday Party

Notice the word "easy". I don't think there is ever a 100% easy birthday party, but this one was on the easier side. :)

I'm not a fan of licensed characters. I've always been completely against decorating with them in any kind of way. With children, though, I've learned it's not about what I like, but what makes them happy. Grasshopper loves all things Toy Story. He's obsessed with it, so Toy Story was an obvious theme for this year's party.

This is a bit of what we did.

Birthday Banner:
We stapled a clothes line across the entryway and used clothes pins to hang the letters. The letters are made out of scrapbook paper. Then we just tied some balloons at each end. This picture was taken after the party, so most of the ceiling balloons and the streamer paper was gone in the background.

Balloon Ceiling:
This idea is thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest. There's lots of different pictures and ideas over there. We just used tape to stick the balloons and streamers on the ceiling. By the time I took the picture, some had already fell off. Some stayed on there until I took them down a couple of days later.

Birthday Wreath:
This idea came from Pinterest, too. Mine is the quick and easy version, though!!

Birthday Cake:
I couldn't pay $50-$60 for a birthday cake that would be gone in a matter of minutes. Mine doesn't look as good as what we could have bought, but Grasshopper loved it, and it was lots cheaper! And, it's something anybody could do. Very easy! The characters I used came with a book for $12. (Toy Story: My Busy Books-It's way cheaper at Wal-Mart-Amazon's is $25 right now) After the party, we just washed them and Grasshopper still has the book and toys to play with. Can't beat that!

For party favors, we did Moon Pies, since Buzz is a Space Ranger. Buzz is Grasshopper's favorite!

We did really simple food..........sandwiches cut out in a dinosaur shape and chips and dip. It would have been really cute if we could have found Toy Story cookie cutters for the sandwiches. We didn't find any, though. :(

I ended up not using these at the party, but they are so cute, I wanted to mention them anyway. These are hanging in Grasshopper's room now. We just printed them out, sized them a bit and framed them. I know all the picture centering tips and yet....there's my crooked hanging job. :) You can print them HERE.

And lastly, I'm simply going to brag on my very talented momma. She's really good at drawing and painting, so I asked her to paint a picture for Grasshopper's birthday. This is what she did.

This talent was NOT passed on to me, unfortunately. How I wish it was, though. I will brag on my daddy in a different post. He built Grasshopper an airplane shelf, and it's beautiful, too! Most of the furniture in our house has been built by my daddy. Most of the rest was passed down from grandparents. I think our beds, couches, and changing table are the only furniture we've bought. We're very thankful! :)

We're exhausted and both very sad and very thankful that it's over.

Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Bethany House (July 1, 2011) 394 pages
Source: Review copy from Bethany House

Description from Amazon:

Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely.

Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands.

But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find?

Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?

My Review:

It took me a little while to get into this book. It moves quite slowly, but once it did grab my attention, it kept it. It's under 400 pages, but it seemed long. It felt like I had to read forever to get to the end. That's not necessarily bad, though. I was just so incredibly curious what was hidden under Rose Red's veil that I couldn't get to the end quick enough.

I felt like I was missing details. At times I was really confused, and didn't know who characters were suppose to be. I had to go back and re-read some parts, but still remained confused. This is the second in the series, and I haven't read the first one, so that may be the reason for confusion. I do plan on going back to Heartless, and I can't wait to read the final book next year. From my understanding Veiled Rose goes back in time from Heartless.

Contrary to what it looks like, I loved this book! It thrills me that fantasy books are sometimes published as Christian books, and it gives those that only read Christian book a chance to enter into the world of dragons and fairies and all. I get to read my favorite type of book without worrying about profanity. This book can be read perfectly fine by those who do or don't read Christian books.

I really loved Rose Red's character, and the mystery surrounding who she is. Her and Beana are probably the only characters that I really like right now. I'm very much looking forward to what part they play in the next book.

If I didn't know there are two other books in the series to tie together, I would have hated the ending. It was just heartbreaking!

Veiled Rose was just a beautiful book! You should definitely pick it up, and enter into a wonderful (and horrible) world of dragons and princesses.

*I was provided a review copy from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday Clean Read Roundup(September 26th, 2011)

I am so sorry that I missed last week's post!!!!! I'm taking the limit of entries away, so you can link up as many as you want from now until Friday night. I'll have a winner picked then.

For all the details on the giveway, go HERE.

Just put all your links in the comment section this week. This will be the last week I do the Monday Clean Read Roundup. Thank you to all participates!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson

Rabbit Room Press (May 2011) 348 pages

Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour review copy

Description from Amazon:

Book Three of The Wingfeather Saga
Janner Wingfeather's father was the High King of Anniera. But his father is gone. The kingdom has fallen. The royal family is on the run, and the Fang armies of Gnag the Nameless are close behind.

Janner and his family hope to find refuge in the last safe place in the world: the Green Hollows--a land of warriors feared even by Fangs of Dang. But there's a big problem. Janner's little brother-heir to the throne of Anniera-has grown a tail. And gray fur. Not to mention two pointed ears and long, dangerous fangs. To the suspicious folk of the Green Hollows he looks like a monster.

But Janner knows better. His brother isn't as scary as he looks. He's perfectly harmless.

Or is he?

Join the Wingfeathers on an adventure filled with mystery, betrayal, and sneakery in a land of tasty fruits. There's a monster on the loose and the truth lurks in the shadows.

My review:

I really wanted to read the first two books in this series before diving into Monster in the Hollows, but I had to get real with myself and realize there just wasn't time. I do have On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten, but they didn't arrive at my house until the end of last week. I knew I couldn't read three books in a weekend, especially in the middle of preparing for a birthday party!

It was hard to start this one, though, without all the knowledge of what the Wingfeather family had already been through. Monster in the Hollows is not a standalone book. You can read it by itself, but its obvious that you've missed out on lots of things. That is not a complaint in the least. I have full intentions of going back and reading the first two to fill in all the little details I missed. I actually hate reading a series and having the next book spend half the story explaining what happened in the other ones. I really appreciate the fact that this one seems to start up where the last one left off. That said, I wasn't lost. I got just enough details.

This is a series for young reader's, but there's beauty in the book that can be greatly appreciated by adults.

It was as if the churn of the Dark Sea had abandoned the waters and left them calm, only to inhabit the eyes of Nia Wingfeather. When Janner looked up at her he saw sorrow, pain, and fear passing over her face like colliding waves, stirring the deep waters of rememberance. More than ever, Janner believed. He believed because to his mother Anniera wasn't just a story, but a memory. She had walked there with the man she loved. She had given birth to her children there. For a while, she had lived and breathed the legend of the Shining Isle.

If the other books are as great as this one, and I imagine they are, I recommend grabbing them all, and starting from the beginning. Just take a look at all the great reviews on Amazon. Almost all of them are 5 star reviews! This is a well loved and treasured series, and I'm thrilled that we now have it waiting for my boys in a few years! The final book will definitely be added, too. I can't wait to read the first two and the last one!

Book link

Series Web site

Author’s Web site

*I was provided a review copy through the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour in exchange for my honest opinion.

Please take a look at what other reviewers on this tour are saying!

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
* Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

100 Devotions, 100 Bible Songs by Stephen Elkins

Thomas Nelson (September 6, 2011) 208 pages

Kids can read, sing, and learn while they spend time with God!

In 100 Devotions, 100 Bible Songs children can read a devotion, sing a beloved song, and say a prayer all while learning and spending time with God. Perfect for before school, bedtime, or anytime, these short devotions will be fun for kids and help parents grow their children’s faith.

With bright illustrations, great music, and powerful messages, kids will have fun while they learn to walk with God and apply the message of the Bible to their everyday lives.

My Review:

Last year I had the opportunity to review one of Stephen Elkin's other books, 100 Prayers God Loves to Hear, 100 Praise Songs. I still have it on our shelf, and will make great use of it when Grasshopper comprehends a bit more. When 100 Devotions, 100 Bible Songs came available, I couldn't pass it up.

The devotionals are really short, so I think these are perfect for breakfast time devotionals(or anytime!). Each devotional is based on a song(which is on the CDs that come with the book). There's a prayer and a Bible verse attached to each devotional also, and of course a picture.

Based on the verse, Ephesians 5:19 , I've chosen not to listen to music with worship songs. In case there's anyone else out there like me, these devotionals are still wonderful even without listening to the CDs. Many of the songs are old favorites, but there's many I've never heard of. I know I can very easily find the lyrics on the web, though.

There are some of the devotionals that I wasn't overly fond of the wording. That's the beauty of this book, though. I can skip over the ones I don't like or change up the wording. Some might need a little bit of explaining.

For example, there's one devotional that tells children if you give to others, you will get something in return. I would just want to discuss that you shouldn't expect something in return when you give, except a warm feeling in your heart.

I've really enjoyed 100 Devotions, 100 Bible Songs! It is a very sweet and wonderful book to have!

*I was provided a review copy through the Booksneeze program in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Before I get into the book review, I want to discuss the book covers. This is the cover that is on my Advance Reader's Copy.

It's pretty! I liked it.........until I read the book. What in the world were they thinking?!!! This story is about a dark skinned(think Middle Eastern) girl who is heavyset. Her beauty is more within than out. It takes place mostly in the desert, and it's in a time and place where arranged marriages are normal at the age of 16. On this cover we have a pretty, pale skinned, skinny girl who looks like she's at a beach party. It looks like an ocean maybe in the background?! I think this may be the first cover that's ever made me angry! :)

Apparently, I'm not the only one who had these thoughts, though. If you go to the Amazon page, you will see this cover.

It's a little better, but I think we still have the same girl on the cover that isn't in the book.

While I was browsing at the author's site, I saw this cover from an overseas version.

Beautiful!!! I love it! It fits perfectly with the story, and the artist actually read the book, or at least put some thought into it! I very much want to replace my copy, just so I can have that beautiful cover that actually fits the story.

Ok. On to the review now!

If you want the short and sweet review....This is a must read! It's definitely a keeper!

I'll tell you first what I didn't like about the story, and knock that out of the way. One of the characters is married, but she falls in love with another guy and they kiss.(That's all that happens sexually speaking, by the way, in the whole book-and that's not a complaint!) I admit, it did add an interesting and unexpected twist to the story, but I still wish that part wasn't in there. That about covers my dislikes, though.

I don't know if the author had intentions of creating a story full of religious symbolism, but I took a great deal away from reading! I didn't necessarily agree with everything that I interpreted, but I did enjoy all the little lessons I took away. That said, this isn't a Christian book, so it can be enjoyed whether you like it or not. There is a god in this book, but he's not mine. It's fantasy, so again, lots of symbolism.

Elise is the heroine of the story, and she's definitely one of my favorites ever! Rae has created such an admirable character. (minus what I mentioned earlier). I love how she reacted to criticism and being called names. She didn't resort to being mean, or insult someone else. She reacted with dignity. She was very real! She ate her feelings, and had doubts about many things. At the same time, she's strong. I love that Rae made her character "heavyset". It's so unrealistic for young girls to constantly read about perfect girls!

I just can't say enough about this book! Read it! I was immediately drawn into the story, and I didn't want to put it down. I hate that I have to wait another year to read the next installment! The ending isn't a cliffhanger, but you know there's more to the story. It's definitely not tied up in a big bow!

Was it clean?

There was no profanity. The "b" word for a child without a father is used. (I hope I'm not mixing up one of my other reads with this one!) It is used in that context, though. I've saw this word in lots of Christian books and otherwise clean books, so I assume it's not profanity. I still don't like it, though.
God's name is used in vain. (not with profanity) Oh, my ***. Thank ***.

There's lots of violence. It is about a war. Don't let that word "war" keep you from it, though. I'd have probably skipped over reading it if I had saw that word.

The main character gets married at the first of the book. Nothing happens, but there are some references.

I consider this book very clean, but probably best for a more mature young adult audience. I won't place an age on it, because age doesn't determine maturity. :)

To Die For by Sandra Byrd

Howard Books; Original edition (August 9, 2011) 352 pages

Description from Amazon:
To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne’s favor rises and falls, so does Meg’s. And though she’s pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it.
Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must follow, too, with consequences of her own. Each character in the book is tested to figure out what love really means, and what, in this life, is worth dying for.

Though much of Meg’s story is fictionalized, it is drawn from known facts. The Wyatt family and the Boleyn family were neighbors and friends, and perhaps even distant cousins. Meg’s brother, Thomas Wyatt, wooed Anne Boleyn and ultimately came very close to the axe blade for it. Two Wyatt sisters attended Anne at her death, and at her death, she gave one of them her jeweled prayer book—Meg.

My Review:

"Anne evokes emotion because she was, and always will remain, larger than life. And because she died in such a great and terrible way at the hand of the man pledged to love and protect her."
(This was taken from the author's question and answer section at the back of the book.)

Anne Boleyn's story just breaks my heart! To be honest, what little knowledge I possess of the story is from reading this book and watching The Other Boleyn Girl. The movie and To Die For portray the sisters in very different roles. While the movie portrays Anne as a harlot, the book doesn't. I greatly appreciate the different point of view. I think the Christian aspect of the story is a new twist, too, but I could be wrong.

To Die For is told from the point of view of Meg Wyatt, Anne's best friend. While you know what will happen to Anne, you don't know what is in store for Meg. I really grew to love her, and hoped everything worked out for her. Anne's final scene in the book was absolutely heartwrenching! I knew what would happen, but Sandra's writing just amazed me! Although it wasn't pleasant to read the scene in the slightest, I found myself in such shock that I had to go back and read it again.

I will admit that Tudor books aren't my favorite. I've always liked late 1800/early 1900 stories the most. That said, I immensely enjoyed reading To Die For. Sandra's writing is beautiful, and I can't wait to read other books by her!

I highly recommend To Die For, especially if you like Tudor books, but even if you don't. ;)

*I was provided a review copy from the publisher/author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Clean Read Roundup (September 12, 2011)

If you have a clean read, old or new, please feel free to link it up!

-No profanity(or very little-mild)
-No explicit sex scenes
-As long as the violence isn't really detailed or gross, it's fine.

If you have any other requests for rules let me know.

Any and all genres welcome!!!!

Have fun!!!


To encourage participation, I've decided to have a monthly giveaway. For each clean read that you link up, you will get an entry. Also, for each month that you have my button, you will get 5 extra entries in that month's drawing. Just make sure you leave me a comment letting me know. I'm counting linkups from the past posts, so if you've linked up or let me know you have the button, you've already got those entries. :)

+1 for each clean read you link up(limit of 5 per week)
+5 for each month you have my button
+5 for blogging about Clean Read Roundup(limit of one per month)

-U.S. only (I'm so sorry to my international followers! Please feel free to link up anyway, though)!!!!!!!
-You can link up as many reviews as you want, but I will limit entries to 5 a week. (That doesn't count the button entries).
-The linkups have to be clean!!!
-Winner gets to pick any 2 books they want from my list. I will keep the list of books on their own page. Just look for them in the tab up top. I'll keep these changed up, adding or taking away.
-Each month's giveway will end the last day of the month, and I will use to have the winner chosen. Entry counts start over the first of each month.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Congratulations to Kimyunalesca for winning The Dashwood Sisters Tell All!!!!!!!!

I never made a blog announcement for the winner of Under a Fairy Moon, so I'll do that now, too.

Congratulations to Juju!!!! I already have her book in the mail.

Both winners were picked using

I hope all of you blog hoppers won some great books!!! ;)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Monday Clean Read Roundup(September 5th, 2011)


If you have a clean read, old or new, please feel free to link it up!

-No profanity(or very little-mild)
-No explicit sex scenes
-As long as the violence isn't really detailed or gross, it's fine.

If you have any other requests for rules let me know.

Any and all genres welcome!!!!

Have fun!!!

****I'm organizing a giveaway to encourage participation. It will be one of my "pick your prize from my list of books kind of thing. Any link-ups will count as an entry. If you grab the "Clean Read Round-up" button, that's also an extra entry. Just let me know in the comments. I'll have the details next week with the books you can pick from and all.

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Patillo

GuidepostsBooks (April 1, 2011) 272 pages

Description from Amazon:

Following Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, Beth Pattillo returns with her new novel. Inspired by Sense and Sensibility, The Dashwood Sisters Tell All follows two modern-day sisters as they set out on a walking tour of Jane Austen's England and uncover what might actually be Jane's long-lost diary.
Ellen and Mimi Dodge have never been close, but their mother's dying wish sends them on a walking tour of Hampshire, England, that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Their mother also left them something else: a diary that belonged to Jane's sister Cassandra. These pages shed light on the secrets that nearly tore the Austen sisters apart and inspired one of the greatest love stories of all time. They also bring Jane to life in a way that no one has ever seen before: through the eyes of her sister. As the Dodge sisters embark on their walking tour, they too are drawn together in ways they never expected. They also discover that Cassandra's diary holds secrets, and someone doesn't want Ellen and Mimi to discover the truth. As they stumble on their way toward love, the women learn how Jane and Cassandra Austen inspired the original Marianne and Elinor Dashwood and come to realize that despite their very different personalities, they are a vital part of each other's happy endings.

My Review:

I've gotten awful about writing up my reviews in a timely manner! Well, the ones that aren't for review, anyway. And since I've fallen in love with Pinterest, it's even harder to write them like I should! ;) I do have new inspiration for my reading nook that I've wanted forever, though.

I've read one other book by Beth, and that was Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart. I really liked it, except for the fact I wasn't positive she ended up with the right guy. I don't remember being sure I wanted her with either one, but it has been awhile.

I really enjoyed The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, though. It was very light and fun...and clean!! It's one of those great escape books that you just don't have to think too much while you read it.

"Is the lamb to your taste?" Ethan asked. He leaned toward me with a devilish air. "I don't suppose it can be as delicious as the company."

If an American had said that, I would have found it cheesy, but a posh British accent tends to make everything more attractive.

That reminds me of my younger years. I was convinced I wanted to marry a man with a British accent(or Australian). And not even a specific guy! ;) I don't actually recall ever meeting anyone with either accent. I don't think I even need to say that I'm glad I didn't, but I will just in case. I love the husband I have!

Things move incredibly fast in the love department! I think the book covers a week, so let's just say I found some of the decisions made a bit surprising. And there's also a relationship that goes against my Biblical beliefs. (Matt. 19:6-9)

Other than that, though, very fun!