Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Giveaway!


Today, I'm giving away a copy of Queen of the Waves. I just finished it yesterday and really enjoyed it. I plan to post my review this week.
To enter to win, leave me a comment telling me about how you are the queen of something. When I taught middle school language arts, I was the Grammar Queen. I LOVE grammar. Now that I've been out of the classroom a few years, I already feel like I lost some of my skills. During the week, I pull three groups of dyslexia students, and soon I hope to be the coding queen. I love it.

Leave a second comment, letting me know you follow the blog, to get a second entry. Be sure to leave your email address in one of the comments. I'll pick a winner next week. I can only ship to the US.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Giveaway!


Congrats to Dawn for winning The Widow of Saunders Creek.
This week, I'm giving away Borders of the Heart, which I thought was fantastic.
To enter to win, leave a comment about a trip you've taken where you crossed the border of a state or country.
Leave a second comment if you follow the blog to get a second entry.

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



Monday, October 22, 2012

Borders of the Heart: A Review


Fleeing Nashville and his songwriting career behind, J.D. Jessup just wants to escape the haunting memories of his beloved wife. Moving to Tucson to work on a farm seems to be the answer until he comes upon Maria, who lies in the desert beaten and alone. Unable to save his wife, J.D. is compelled to save Maria from those who want her dead. Will he find his own salvation while trying to rescue Maria?

Living in a southern state, I often hear about the illegal immigration issue, the drug trafficking from Mexican drug lords, and the plight of those coming to America in search for a better life. I see both sides of the issues and am always curious how authors will handle the controversial topic. Fabry does an excellent job balancing the two sides by creating characters readers will love or love to hate. My favorite character is the pastor who marches past the drug cartels to deliver food, clothes, and hope.

The plot is action packed from the first chapter and continues a fast and furious ride until the last chapter. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that sustains a high intensity throughout 300 plus pages that seem to be a collection of events that could be in today’s newspapers. The authenticity of the plot made it more impactful and a bit of a wake-up call to what’s going on in the world.

Borders of the Heart was the first book I’ve read by Chris Fabry, but I will definitely check out his other roller coaster tales.

 

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

Check out the trailer for the book:
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Giveaway!



Congrats to Amada for winning The Bride Wore Blue.
Today I am giving away The Widow of Saunders Creek, which I thought was excellent.
To enter to win, leave a comment about something. I can't think of a topic. My brain is tired. :)

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

 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prize of My Heart: A Review


While he was at sea three years ago, Captain Brogan Talvis' late wife gave away his son to another family to raise as their own. For three years, Brogan has plotted to get his son Benjamin back by any means necessary. When he finally finds his son, he's surprised by his attraction to Lorena, the woman Benjamin (now called Drew) knows as his sister and primary caregiver. In his efforts to win back his son, will he lose his chance at love?

I can sum up this book in one phrase: great plot idea but poor execution. The plot was intriguing with both characters hiding secrets, some action, and a final twist, but the telling instead of showing writing  kept the story, particularly the characters, from fulling developing. The characters dealt with major issues that today would require some therapy, but they were easily resolved in two paragraphs at the end. Lorena, who is the leading lady, is more of a prop and kinda just there. Because I'm a character-driven reader, this frustrated me.

What saves the book is the solid plot and the theme of strength of a family bond. I was surprised by the final twist that balanced out the predictable romantic ending between underdeveloped characters.

Some fans of Christian fiction will enjoying this fans, but I think there are better written options out there.

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

Friday, October 12, 2012

Trash into Bookmarks

I got this idea from a fellow librarian, Anna at Atascocita Springs Elementary in Humble, TX. It has been awesome at our school in just two weeks.
First, take old boxes of household items.
 


Turn them into bookmarks!
 
 
It's great for several reasons. First, it reinforces recycling. Sure, we do a great job of putting our paper in the recycle bin, but what about taking recycled materials and making something new you can still use. Second, the kids love picking out a bookmark. Third, it saves the library/school money and paper to buy or to make bookmarks.
 
The only negative is that I have about 100 boxes in my library workroom waiting to be cut.
 

The Bride Wore Blue: A Review

Trying to forget the sins of her past, Vivian moves to Cripple Creek to join her three sisters. Determined to succeed as a fashion designer, Vivian will take any job to make her way...even a job that will hurt her reputation beyond repair. Will the past pull her back in, or will Vivian finally find relief from her guilt?

Vivian may be my favorite sister. I liked her determination and the storyline of her guilt over her past. When Vivian witnesses a crime that the local law enforcement is desperate to solve, she becomes involved in character descriptions, witness statements, and even a kidnapping. What she hadn't expected was the sparks she felt for Carter, the Sheriff who is afraid of having a family with his dangerous career. Their relationship is predictable but enjoyable.

The best part of the book was the question of how far will people go to survive. Many people say they won't do certain things, but when you have tried every other option, what will you do? Will you compromise your values to eat and to have a place to live? Although this was a minor part of the story, it is the part that left me wondering about the situations people have endured to lead them to the bad choices they make.

Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this book. I recommend reading the series in order, but this book can be read as a stand alone.

I received this book in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Giveaway!

Congrats to Susan for winning The Stars Shine Bright. This week, I'm giving away The Bride Wore Blue.
To enter to win, leave a comment with your favorite color to wear.
To get a second entry, follow the blog. (Leave a second comment that you follow.)
Be sure to leave an email address.
I'll pick a winner next week.
I can only ship to the US.
Happy Reading!
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Two Brides Too Many: A Review


When their father is sent to Paris for work, Nell and Kat are forced to become mail-order brides and move to Cripple Creek, Colorado.  What awaits them at the train station is not what they expect when neither groom meets the young women. Unsure what to do until a fire threatens the town as soon as they arrive, they quickly become a part of the frontier community. Will that be enough to survive on their own?

I read the second book in this series first, but I still enjoyed Nell and Kat’s stories. I liked that their stories were told together since their personalities balanced each other. Nell was eager to marry and convinced herself she was in love after exchanging letters with her mail-order groom while Kat is relieved when her groom-to-be doesn’t show as he turns out to be a gambling womanizer.  I liked their independence and determination despite the hard circumstances.

Although the romance aspect of the book is clear from the beginning, the best part of the book was young women figuring out their way. The way Kat storms into the brothel/bar to confront the man who promised to marry her is a great scene.  Also good is the setting. The author creates a fantastic little town in this book, and readers will hope she’ll continue writing about the quirky characters who make it unique.

The Rose of Winslow Street: A Review


Romanian widower Michael Dobrescu flees his home country to Colden, Massachusetts to claim his family's home, the home Libby Sawyer and her father have occupied for decades. Taking the battle to court, Libby finds herself drawn to the mysterious family who has overcome so much. Will she remain loyal to her family or will her heart be stolen just as her childhood home?

I became a fan of Elizabeth Camden after reading her debut novel, and her second book doesn't disappoint. I loved the characters. Libby's struggle to read and her strength to deal with her verbally abusive dad endear her to the reader. Likewise, Camden does a great job slowly revealing the Dobrescu family's past and making them one of the best families I've read in a long time.

I enjoy courtroom thrillers, and I found the legal battle interesting and reflective of the time period.
I also enjoyed the perfume aspect of the book. Both of these plots made the book a fast and enjoyable read.

Fans of Elizabeth Camden will enjoy her second novel.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Earn books from Tyndale!




Tonight I signed up to earn books from Tyndale. I've done book reviews for them for a while, and I was excited to see what the rewards program is all about. 
I found it easy to use and the points add up quickly.
Check it out for yourself!
http://tyndalerewards.com/

Giveaway!


Congrats to Liz for winning Nothing to Hide. This week I am giving away The Stars Shine Bright.
To enter to win, leave a comment about a place where you saw the stars or nature in a beautiful way. Living in the suburbs of Houston, I can see the stars somewhat but not enough. There are a few streets where I live that have just the most beautiful trees lining each side of the street. They give me peace, and sometimes I drive those streets just to relax.

I can only ship to the US, and I'll choose a winner next week.

(Stay tuned to my next blog entry about earning free books from Tyndale.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Stars Shine Bright: A Review


In the fourth book in the Raleigh Harmon series, readers find the impulsive Raleigh struggling to recover from her last adventure, the one that resulted in her mother being admitted to a mental institution, her fiancĂ© begging her to leave the FBI and to marry him, and her career being investigated. When Raleigh is assigned an undercover gig to discover who is fixing the bets at a horse track, Raleigh knows it’s her last chance to keep her job. What should be an easy case turns deadly for both the horses and Raleigh herself.

I wish I had read the first three books in the series…not because this one can’t stand alone, but because I love the characters and would have liked to see them grow from book one to book four. What could have been just a suspense (and an interesting one at that) becomes much more as Raleigh discovers who she is (and isn’t). Despite trying to cover her feelings with a tough exterior, what lies beneath comes out in her dealings with the terrifically written Jack, Madame, and Raleigh’s own mother.  The characters are deep and flawed, which makes their gradual change a more compelling story than the mystery itself.

Full of twists told at a steady pace, the suspense of finding out who was behind the “horsenapping” and other crimes wasn’t my favorite part of the book. It was entertaining but often boggled down with science talk that slowed down the action. When the final twist was revealed, it seemed a little rushed. Although these two things would have normally bothered me enough to give up on a book/series, the excellent writing and amazing characters left me wanting more.

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