Monday, October 31, 2011

There You'll Find Me

I have been waiting for this type of book since I became a teacher and lover of YA literature. A beautiful coming of age story from a Christian perspective. It's finally here.
Finley Sinclair heads to Ireland to find herself by following her brother's steps from his travel journal. In retracing his adventure, she hopes to find peace from the turmoil of her life since his death. When she meets a movie star, her journey to healing becomes even more complicated.
From the first page of the book, I loved Finley Sinclair, a girl who has more issues than she does hope. Her growth throughout the story is a beautiful tale of loss and healing. As usual, Jenny B. Jones adds enough humor throughout the book to keep the tale from becoming morose or gloomy.
What sets this book apart from books of its type (think Sarah Dessen) is that not only does Finley find herself and the guy she didn't know she wanted, but she finds the One who loves her so much that He orchestrated her life and her trip to Ireland so that she might find Him. That is the most important love story of all time, and teen readers will walk away from reading this book with more than just a cute romance (although the character of Beckett is definitely crush-worthy). :)

I received this book in exchange for my review. My love for it is entirely my own.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Corruptible

Ray Quinn, ex-homicide detective and current PI, finds himself investigating much more than a murder case when he takes on a rich client with secrets to hide, secrets he's willing to pay Ray big bucks to find and to turn over. When Ray begins to uncover the truth, his own life is in danger, perhaps by the very people who hired him.

I enjoyed this book. The characters are well-developed, the plot is exciting, and there are a few twists to the story. Two things stood out to me and made this book a fun read. It's has a different approach than many Christian novels in that the main character is not a Christian and has a drinking problem. I find the fact that Ray is not a Christian even in book two of the series to be refreshing and realistic. Although the truth of Jesus is presented through the supporting character of Pam, it's not pushy or preachy.
The second thing I enjoyed was a little humor. Everyone knows about the e-mail scams from people claiming to need money transferred and then they'll repay you. Ray gets one of those and plays along with it, pretending to be an elderly lady. The murder/cover-up/corporate fraud plot is a heavy one, and this side story lightened the read and was a nice touch.

I definitely plan to check out book three in the series.

I was given this book free in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

My niece's thoughts on Secret Sisters: Volume 1

My niece is an avid reader and a budding author who already has binders full of stories. The author Secret Sisters, Sandra Byrd, kindly gave us the kindle version of the Secret Sisters stories. In return, we're sharing our thoughts.
Here's a short interview with our guest reviewer:

Our reviewer with her Nana (my mom)
So, Brenna, tell me what book one is about.

It's about a girl named Tess who is in 6th grade. Tess' best friend just joined a group of bad girls, and Tess feels left out. When she meets an unpopular Christian girl, and Tess feels torn between being friends with Erin, her new Christian friend, or her old friend who wants her to make bad choices. Tess has to decide to do the right or wrong thing.

What did you like best?

I love when Tess stands up to her bad best friend and becomes Secret Sisters with the "unpopular" girl Erin.

Who is your favorite character and why?

I like Erin because she trusts God throughout the whole book no matter what others think.

Who do you think would enjoy this book?

Any girl who feels unpopular like Tess and feels like she has to do bad things to be popular would like this book. Girls who are Christians and want to stand up for what they believe will like it too.

What would you want to tell the author?

This is a great book for girls who have struggles like Tess. :)

Anything else you want to add?

Tess feels better about herself after getting to know God and Erin.

Thanks for the book, Mrs. Sandra Byrd!

**Brenna was working on her homework while she answered these, so I promise I will ask better questions next time. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Giveaway!

Congrats to Patricia for winning last week's book.  I'm sending you an email to get your address.
I forgot to post yesterday. And to be honest, I don't have an excuse, good or bad.
So, to make it up to you, I'll give away two books: Paid in Blood (Christian mystery) and Quaker Summer. To enter to win, leave a comment describing your summer memory. To get a second entry, leave a separate comment that you follow the blog. Don't forget to include your email address because Shoopette won this last week, but there was no email address. :(
I can only ship to the US.

I'll pick a winner Tuesday. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reinventing Leona

I read this book because it was free on Kindle, and I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I do.
When Leona's husband passes away, her world collapses. She loses her husband and her position as a pastor's wife. The character development in Leona as she finds her way is authentic and beautiful. The look inside the role of a pastor's wife is interesting, and the quirky church members provide some levity.
Rotating among Leona, her daughter, and her son's point of view, the book gives a true picture of grief and how it affects different people. Most importantly, the story depicts the healing and the good Christ brings believers even in the midst of great loss.

Deadly Pursuit

Social worker Alison Taylor is dedicated to her job of protecting kids, but when her own life is in danger, who will protect her? When her brother sets her up on a blind date, Alison finds her answer in ex-Navy Seal Mitch Morgan, who is determined to protect Alison and to steal her heart.

Irene Hannon fans will devour this latest book by one of my favorite Christian suspense authors. The characters aren't as developed as in other books, but I enjoyed their story. Some of the reviews I've read complained that Mitch and Alison fell for one another too quickly, but I think in life, sometimes you just know when it's the right person. I found their instant attraction to be a nice change from the many books I've read where they hate each other at first and then find they do love each other.
I work in an elementary school and have seen some of the social system at work. I believe this book gives a fair look at both the positive and negative aspects of the social system. Alison's work was an interesting component of the book and added to storyline with some thought-provoking situations.

All in all, this is another great read by Irene Hannon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Giveaway

Congrats to Melanie, who won Pattern of Wounds. I'm sending you an email now.
Today, I'm giving away The Corruptible. I'm in the middle of it and enjoying it. It's another murder mystery, but I find it to be a lighter read than most murder mysteries. There's even some humor to it.
To enter to win, leave a comment about something....sorry, long day. Leave a second comment letting me know you follow the blog for a second entry. My sister will pick a number next Tuesday for a winner.

I can only ship to the US. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Versatile Blogger

I had no idea what this award was, but it seems to be where you share blogs with your readers. I think it's a great way to share terrific blogs.

The rules for accepting the award are simple:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to 15 other bloggers.
1. Thanks, Melanie, for giving me the award.
2. Seven things about myself:
    * I am a cupcake addict.
    * I have grown to love kindergarten kids.
    * One of my favorite things to do is check my mail!
    * I have a phobia of potato eyes.
    * I wish I could sing.
    * I hope to adopt kids one day even if I don't get married.
    * I can't wait until I'm debt free!
3. Here are the 15 blogs I think you should check out! Several are just my favorite authors.
    * Steph's Lifesong
    * A Few of my Favorite Things
    * Dawn's Dreams
    * Writer at Large
    * Book Review Blog 
    * Erynn Mangum
    * Kampala Kangaroo
    * Seasons of Humility
    * Southern Belle View
    * Southern Sassy Things
    * K. Dawn Byrd
    * K. Billerbeck
    * Jenny B. Jones
    * Elizabeth Camden
    * Denise Hildreth Jones


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Giveaway!

Congrats to Cheryl for winning Gone with the Groom. I'll send you an email for your address.

Today I'm giving away Pattern of Wounds. It's a great murder mystery. It's part of a series, but I didn't feel confused or lost even though I didn't read the first one. Plus, it's set where I live, which I think is cool.

To enter to win, leave a comment with something unique or special about your hometown or the place where you live. To get a second entry, leave a second comment letting me know you follow this blog.
I can only ship to the US, and I'll draw a name next Tuesday...well, my sister will pick a random number. :)

Thanks for reading and for following.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pattern of Wounds

Roland March helped convict a man of murder, so when a similar murder takes place, Roland is determined to find out if he put away the right guy or if there is a copycat murderer. When the murderer begins sending Roland cryptic messages and even tries to hurt Charlotte, Roland's wife, the investigation becomes personal. Will Roland catch the murderer before there are more victims?

This is the first book I've read by J. Mark Bertrand, and I wasn't disappointed. The storyline is tightly written with every detail building up to the final showdown.The relationship between Roland and his wife is powerful addition to the murder story as the reader can see the effect being a cop and seeing such horrible things on a person, his view of God, and his relationships. The ending is a chilling beginning for the next book!

It was also cool to read this book since I live just outside of Houston (Kingwood, in fact, just like the book mentioned in the book), so I recognized streets and places.

I was given this book to review by Bethany House. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Free Therapy

Elliptical machine + praise and worship music = free therapy

This summer I worked out almost every day. I love working out. Since I've been back at work, I haven't had much time to work out. It's been okay because most of my day is spent walking back and forth in the library keeping up with the kids, so I am getting exercise.
However, it's not the same as hitting the gym. 45 minutes on the elliptical or even an hour releases all my stress. When I add some praise and worship music, my body and spirit feel renewed. I need to make an effort to go to the gym for more than just my weight loss goals.

What do you do to release stress?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hate that Cat

Love that Dog, the prequel to Hate that Cat, is one of my favorite books. I was a little apprehensive about reading Hate that Cat because I didn't want it to disappoint me and ruin the characters I love so much. This book exceeded my expectations! Creech picks up right where she left off, delving into the ins and outs of poetry (and teaching the reader a little bit about the styles of poetry) by having Jack express his hate for a cat that hangs around his house. 

Instead of using the predictable storyline of Jack discovering cats aren't so bad (although that is in the story), the main storyline of Jack's discovery of the "sound" of words, especially the cadence of poetry, and that relationship to his hearing impaired mother.

What could have been an overkill of a good thing (like so many series are these days) turns out to be further character growth and a beautiful story of the power of words and the sounds they make on paper and aloud.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's Not a Stick

What a great book! I read it with my library students this week (grades 1-2), and we enjoyed using our imaginations. The simple words and pictures leave room for the reader to guess what the stick will be and to use their imaginations to decide what else the stick could be!
I will definitely use this book again in the library and look for the other books by this author.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Giveaway!

Congrats to Shelena for winning Reclaiming Nick.

Today I'm giving away Gone with the Groom about a groom that disappears before the wedding. Is it cold feet or a kidnapping? (Why do we call it kidnapping even when it's an adult?) To enter to win, leave a comment with a detail from your wedding or a detail you would like to have at your future wedding. To get a second entry, leave a second comment letting me know you follow the blog.

My sister will pick a random number next Tuesday. I can only ship to the US.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Blessed are the Meddlers

Sydney is happily married and wants every one else to be just as happy. As it turns out, her meddling doesn't always get the results she wants. Can she help her friends find true love without ruining her friendship with them?
Once you get past the awkward shifts from first to third person, this is a cute, fun novel. The issues characters deal with are serious, but they are handled in a light way without coming across as preachy.
Overall, it's an enjoyable summer read.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This is a beautiful story of a friendship through the seasons...literally and figuratively. City dog and country frog meet in the spring and become instant if unusual friends. Their friendship continues through summer and fall, where they sit and remember the fun they had in spring and summer. When winter comes, city dog cannot find his dear friend and sits and waits for spring to come again. Will his old friend return, or will a new friendship develop?

I read this book with my first and second graders in my library, and we all enjoyed the story of friendship. Most of the students focused on the seasons, but a few got the meaning of the cycle of friendship. I found myself emotional each time I read it as the city dog "smiles a froggy smile." This is a wonderful addition to a personal or public library. It's definitely on my list to read again next year.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride

Sherilyn just landed a job as the wedding coordinator for The Tanglewood, a destination hotel where her best friend from college is the baker (Always the Baker, Never the Bride). It's the perfect job and the perfect place to have her own wedding. Will her past come back to ruin her dream wedding?

Most romance novels begin when the girl meets the guy. This one starts with the Sherilyn and Andy already engaged. This change of set-up is refreshing and creates a story of getting to know the in-laws, finding out quirks about each other, and working through the past to create a beautiful future together.

I thought the first book in the series was good, but this one is great. The characters are better developed, the situations are more realistic, and book is balanced with a little humor.  

If you liked the first book, you'll love this one.

I received this book from netGalley to review. My thoughts are my own.