Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Fiddler: A Review

World class violinist Amelia Devries is weary from being who everyone expects her to be. Michael can’t quite commit to the Amish church. When a horrible rainstorm brings Amelia to his cabin in the woods, the two find they share the common desire to be themselves despite what others want.

Beverly Lewis is the queen of Christian Amish fiction, but this book was disappointing. It took me about a month to finish the book because I could never get into it. While I thought the storyline had potential,  it seemed there wasn’t quite enough conflict outside of the characters own feelings. Each little event was drawn out to the point of being boring, and then the ending was weirdly rushed.

The premise of the characters was solid, and I liked them when they first met, they were boring and flat by halfway in the book. In fact, Amelia’s new Amish friend was my favorite character, and I hope Lewis will tell her story.

Christian Amish fans may enjoy this slow-moving love story, but I just couldn’t get into it.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Congrats to Michelle for winning Bookends! Today, I'm giving away The Bride Wore Blue. You can enter to win by leaving a comment about what you wore on your wedding day or what you would want to wear.

I love the beautiful wedding dresses, but I think I would end up going with a small wedding and a simple dress.

I can only ship to the US.

PS. I'm really behind on my shipping because I'm behind on my reading. I apologize and am getting caught up. :)


Monday, August 27, 2012

Accused: A Review

After an officer-involved shooting, Carly Edwards is stuck in the juvenile division doing desk work.  When a former gang member who knows Carly’s mother through church asks for help when he’s wrongfully accused for the mayor’s death, Carly begins to unravel a conspiracy that reaches the top of the community.  Unsure who to trust, Carly finds herself in the killer’s hands.

The good: Janice Cantore is a retired cop, and her experience and knowledge is visible throughout the book. The book is action-packed and is a fast read. I enjoyed the characters too. Carly got on my nerves a little at the beginning, but she grew on me. I think Nick was actually my favorite character even though he was a “jerk” at the beginning of the story. I enjoyed seeing him develop throughout the book, and I especially loved how the author didn't have Carly just run back into his arms.

The bad: the writing, especially the dialogue, was a little off at the beginning of the book. It felt stilted. As the drama intensified, it wasn’t as noticeable, but that could be because the storyline kept my attention instead of the writing.

The Ugly: Since I used the good and the bad, I have to have an ugly. J Random observation: the author gave very few details describing Carly’s physical traits at the beginning of the book. I wondered if it was intentional.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Although I figured out who was involved, there were a few twists that caught me off guard and the ride to the end was worth the bumpy start.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Full Disclosure: A Review


After a five-year hiatus, Dee Henderson is back, and fans couldn’t be more thrilled to read the story of Ann and Paul, who come together while working on a serial killer case.  When Ann drops of an unsolved murder, Paul is intrigued by more than just the possible clue. Ann is friends with a former VP, spies, military elite, and even Paul’s sister-in-law. When the secrets from her past are threatened to be revealed, will Ann be able to trust Paul to protect her?

I have been looking forward to this book for months, and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t enthralled with it like I was the O’Malley series for two reasons. First, there is a lull in the story as Paul and Ann get to know each other. After an interesting start, I was a little bored for the next 50 to 75 pages. Once the action picked up again, it felt like a familiar Dee read. Second, I liked Ann at the beginning, but once the romance started, she annoyed me. Everything was on her terms, and it was like Paul could either take it or leave it. I felt bad that he had to jump through so many hoops (and did so a  little too willingly) to win her.
Now, on the other hand, I LOVED the O’Malley twists in the book. They are some of my favorite characters of all time, and it was great to see familiar friends.  I also loved the mystery, and I was surprised at the ending. The last ¼ of the book was action packed with twists and turns.

Fans of Dee Henderson will be happy to see a new book by one of Christian suspense’s best authors. Although it wasn’t my favorite book by Dee, it was a solid book with a shocking conclusion.

I received this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Giveaway!


Congrats to Morgan for winning The Fiddler. Today, I'm giving away Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs. To enter to win, tell me your favorite book. Make sure you leave your email address. To get a second entry, follow the blog and leave a comment telling me you follow.

I can only ship to the US. I'll pick a winner next week.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Caffeine and Cupcakes

I gave up Diet Coke on July 1st. The first few days were horrible. I had bad headaches, felt nauseated, and was so tired. I planned it to be a lazy week, and I needed it. It got a little easier each day, but the headaches lasted two weeks.
I gave DC up for a few reasons.
1. One day I didn't have one (vending machine was out), and I realized how addicted I was.
2. I found I was drinking 4 DCs a day and NO water.
3. I need to focus on eating healthy, and cutting DC was a part of that.

It's been a month and a half, and I have to say I don't miss it. Every once in a while, I do. I drink lemonade to give myself some sort of flavor, but I'm drinking a lot more water. I haven't noticed any difference in my energy and/or weight loss.

So, I decided for August, I would give up my beloved cupcakes. I lack self-control, and I felt God nudging me to fast or give them up for a month (perhaps I'll go longer). Tonight, I drove past my favorite cupcake shop, knowing they have my favorite cupcake today. I almost turned into the shopping center, but I didn't. God is working on me for sure. Learning not to give in to what you want when it's not the best for you is hard, but it's for the greater good.

I don't plan to give up cupcakes forever, but I lack self-control when it comes to sweets. I'm praying monthly fasts combined with specific prayer (for me to desire God over all else) will help me.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New School/Can't Sleep!

I don't think I posted on here, but I got a new job. I'm so excited.
*It's only 1.8 miles from home. (My old school was 20 miles one way.)
*I have rotation for 1st and 2nd grade only. (My old school was rotation for kinder-4th grade.)
*The atmosphere is much more positive and relaxed. (The principal at my old school was great to me but created a very tense environment. 20 teachers left this school year (me included), so that says something.)
*Everyone seems wonderful. (The teachers at my old school were great too.)
*I was told I would have volunteers every day. (At my old school, I had to beg my sister to be my only volunteer, and her kids don't even go there. Thanks, Jeanelle!)
*No more lunch duty!

Doesn't this look like a great library? There are murals painted on both side (cuts down on my decorating obligations).

I've gone up there a handful of times, started decorating, and met with the old librarian (who was last year's teacher of the year--big shoes to fill). I'm nervous. This school has much more of a community feel. The expectations for involvement are high!

At my old school, since I was on rotation (where the teachers drop off their kids and leave for their conference), often with two classes at a time, that was my main job. I did morning duty, lunch duty, and afternoon duty, but because I had kids all day, I didn't plan a lot of school-wide events...wanted to but didn't have time. I did Name that Book and Book Club, but those were in-library activities. I stayed in my library and taught language arts lessons (per my principal's request).  I was comfortable doing that.

At my new school, I will do Bluebonnet clubs, book clubs, collaborate with teachers, plan summer reading activities, start handling the accounts for the library (bookkeeper at old school did that),organize book swaps, help kids make book trailers--learn myself, maintain a website, run book fairs that sell about 14,000, and MUCH more. That's in addition to running the library. I'm excited, but I'm nervous.

That rambling leads me to this: my sleeping is all messed up, especially after I met some librarians in the district and heard all the awesome things they have going on. My mind just won't shut off even though I'm exhausted! Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Giveaway!

Congrats to Gwen for winning last week's book. I loved hearing about the things on your heart. I love how God gave us different burdens as the body of Christ so that together, we can minister to everyone. He's so good.

This week, I am giving away The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis. To enter to win, leave a comment telling me either what your favorite song or instrument is. To get a second entry, follow the blog and leave a second comment telling me you do.

It's hard to pick a favorite song. I guess I would choose the old hymn "It is Well" simply because I've loved that song since I was in high school and my Bible teacher shared the story behind it. It still ministers to me today.

I'll pick a winner next week.
I can only ship to the US.
Please leave an email address so that I can contact you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This week, I'm giving away The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden.
To enter to win, leave a comment about something that is close to your heart. Mine is foster kids. I taught a few in foster kids, and I also mentor a teen in foster care. I can't imagine being abandoned by the ones who are supposed to love you most.

To get a second entry, follow the blog and leave a second comment letting me know you follow.

Be sure to leave an email address.
I can only ship to the US.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Bride's Portrait: A Review

Most romance novels are predictable, so what makes one good is a combination of great characters and unique circumstances (whether it be action, setting, etc). The characters and the heroine’s unique profession for the time make this book an enjoyable read. Adeline came to Dodge City with her uncle to escape her past. When he dies, she’s left to run the photography studio alone. However, her past comes back to haunt her when a shopkeeper is murdered and her shop is vandalized. Will she finally break free from the choices she made?

In a time and setting where the only women who ran businesses opened brothels for traveling cowboys, I love Adeline’s character. She has a flair for capturing her clients , a fierce determination to succeed in a time when women didn’t own businesses, and an independent nature that comes from a past filled with mistakes. I think my favorite part of her character was her personality coming out through her photography.  The author does a great job capturing the spirit of the West’s women.

The murder and the addition of Adeline’s friend’s story kept the book moving at a quick pace, making for a quick and enjoyable mystery. I was surprised somewhat who the murderer was, and I was glad the author didn’t take the predictable route in that.

Overall, fans of Christian fiction, especially historical fiction will enjoy this romance with interesting characters and a bit of mystery.

I received this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Widow of Saunders Creek: A Review

Most Christian fiction, especially romantic, novels shy away from the topic of ghosts, but in The Widow of Saunders Creek, Bateman explores the supernatural that just can’t be explained.   Hoping to connect to her husband’s past, widow Corrie moves back to her husband’s family farm in the Ozarks where she finds she is not alone in the house. Rumors of ghosts and strange occurrences in the house leave Corrie wondering if her war hero husband has come back to her.  Will she find the answers she desperately needs or will she find herself involved in something she can’t control?

I loved Corrie from the first page. Her grief was honest and heart-wrenching. Bateman did a fantastic job portraying a woman who loved her husband so much she’s desperate to reconnect with him, even if it’s just with his ghost. The unique small town cast of characters added depth to the plot and growth to Corrie. Eli was a perfect balance for her with his deep and steadfast faith.

I didn’t know how I would like the ghost/demon aspect of the story. I thought it might be a little corny…like someone was pulling pranks or something. I was pleasantly surprised at how realistic it was. As a Christian, I believe there are spirits out there, and Bateman handled it in what I believe to be a biblically sound way while still keeping the story entertaining. I loved how she brought in the superstitious culture of the Ozarks and the family’s past into the ghost story, which gave more credibility to Corrie’s experiences.

The only thing I didn’t like was how soon the story takes place after Jarrod’s death.  I think it had to be that soon because Corrie needed to be in despair over her loss, but the book could have spanned a longer time to make it more realistic that this woman who loved so deeply would be ready to move on.

Fans of Christian fiction will love this book. Its unique spin on a romance novel makes it one I will want to reread.

I received this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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