Sunday, December 21, 2014

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar

Harvest of Rubies (Harvest of Rubies, #1)


The prophet Nehemiah has a cousin who can speak several languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve mysteries. This cousin is catapulted into the center of the Persian court -- working long hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and completing high-level tasks as a scribe for the queen. Not bad, for a woman living in a man's world.

My Opinion:

This book started out somewhat slow. I didn't understand why Sarah felt so unloved throughout the book, and how far people had to go to show her that they cared. Also, I was bored with the work that she did under Queen Demaspia. It didn't intrigue me at all. I would say that I finally started getting into the book about a third of the way through when she went to live at her husbands estate.

I loved Bardia, Shushan, and Pari. The three main servants in the story, they all seemed like realistic friends and co-workers. They had formed a family like bond while living in Lord Darius's house, and to see how Bardia and Shushan brought Pari and Sarah in as their own from the beginning was heart-warming. Plus, I loved how we learned about Darius's loving side through his servants stories of him rather than by him first hand in the beginning. That way we knew he wasn't normally a brooding man, but one of honor and respect.

I love awkward scenes where the two main characters are forced to be in each others presence. Everything goes completely wrong at first in humorous ways, then we see their relationship settle into something serious that slowly develops into attraction. I believe those are the most romantic stories. Stories like: A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist or A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman.

A little slow in the beginning but worth it in the long run!

Stars: 4

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Announcing The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge!!!

Announcing The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge!!! <<< Just click on this link!!!

Hedlund Logo

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

Wishing on Willows


A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa,  she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.
As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.
With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances. 

My Opinion:

When I saw the cover of this book I was expecting a historical romance, but it wasn't historical and turned out to be, for the most part, depressing. That's what I get for not reading the back. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book, but it wasn't what I was looking for to read at that moment.

Robin goes through so much heartbreak in the book and it is amazing how Katie got those emotions across. I felt the pain Robin had every time she pressed a key on her piano, every time she looked at her son, and every time she gave a customer free coffee at her cafe. She did everything with a loving heart and just wanted to help people smile, hoping it would help her smile more too. 

I don't really understand why Robin hated Ian so much though. Yes, he was trying to get her to close down her business, but he didn't want to! It was his job to come to the town and build condominiums, and if he failed, some of his employees would lose  their jobs. He was only trying to look out for the majority of people, and thought her business was in the way of others keeping their income! I understand that completely, so why didn't she?

Other than that, I can't think of anything else to critique. Good story, but keep the Kleenex's close. 

Stars: 4

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

The Princess Spy


Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

My Opinion:

I hate to say it, but this was my least favorite of Melanie's stories. I really didn't see how it related to the Princess and the Frog other than in one way. *Spoiler* At one point Colin is dressed in a hideous outfit that reminds everyone of a frog because their was nothing else for him to wear.*End Spoiler*.

Margaretha was extremely annoying. She was supposed to be the kind of girl who talks to much, but why in every story like that does the girl have to babble like an idiot? Why can't she be smart and refined and go of on intellectual rants? It just bothers me how people think that when someone talks to much they must be rambling on about things less exciting than the weather. On top of that, Margaretha was constantly apologizing for talking to much. I don't think I could count how many times she apologized on both of my hands.

The plot was not all that exciting in this one. I felt like the "spying" part was over too quickly and we didn't get to see enough of Claybrooks evil scheming. Claybrook was not made out to be a very intimidating guy. I honestly feel like I would have laughed in his face a few times if he threatened me.

I loved the prologue of the story, it was very emotional, but after that the story just seemed to lag behind the potential it had. I will say that it was entertaining enough to read and I liked Colin's character. I also loved how Gisela and Valten were in it a little and we had a glimpse of how they were faring.

Overall, it was okay, but their were some definite things that stood out that I did not care for.

Rating: 3 Stars

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller

The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love, #1)


Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business
and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.


This review has been a long time coming. I started this book mid-October and finished it this morning! I have not read a book in awhile that took me so long to read. It was a okay book, but it progressed so slow throughout the entire story. After reading other reviews about it I assumed it would pick up in the second half of the book, but nothing changed. Almost every scene seemed unnecessary and some of the characters confused me. It seemed like Judith could not decide on whether she wanted the character to be likable or not and so I was left perplexed with his personality and behavior. 

The romance between Ewan and Laura seemed rushed, and I felt like their characters were to perfect. Neither of them really had secrets, and if they did they confessed right away. I didn't see a struggle to make the relationship work. It just did automatically, and I don't feel like that is a real representation of how life actually works.

I felt like all the details of a Brickyard were forced down my throat, I would zone out quite often because of all the information that was being handed to me instead of entertainment. When I realized I was zoning out I didn't even care to backtrack and reread because I wasn't interested, and I was pretty sure I didn't miss anything that was important to the story.

I know this is a pretty harsh review, but I have to be honest. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean others won't. The concept of the story was a good foundation, I just don't believe it was executed very well.

Rating: 3 Stars

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Reliance by M.L. Tyndall

The Reliance (Legacy of the King's Pirates, #2)
Tormented by his wife's apparent demise, Edmund Merrick sails away to drown his sorrows--only to find himself trapped in the dark world of a demented Frenchman. When his mind clears from its rum-induced haze, will Edmund find the will to escape?

Seemingly abandoned by her husband, Charlisse is thrown into the clutches of the vengeful pirate Kent. Will she be swept away by the undertow of treachery and despair? Can Edmund and Charlisse steer their way to the faith-filled haven they so desperately seek, or will they ultimately lose their love and lives to the sea?

My Opinion:
I was pleased with how great of a sequel this was for The Redemption. I knew it was going to be hard for it to at least match in entertainment. Knowing that Merrick thought his wife was dead made me go insane for almost the entire book. How he buried himself in his sorrow was expected because of his past, but I could not believe how much it hit me and how shocked I was by some of the things he did.

I was also surprised with Charlisse and how she could be so strong and weak at the same time. I was put through both Merrick and Charlisse being torn away from God at points and fighting the undying faith that they knew is impossible to shake. They both were haunted by thoughts that degraded their self worth, telling them that they would never be good enough or that they were failures.

In this book, a girl name Isabel was introduced. I was supposed to pity her and the situation she was in, but I could not get myself to. I despised most of her attitude except for the times she was helping Charlisse. The other times I wanted to hit her myself. All I can do is hope that she grows on me in the next book, The Restitution.

One another note, I have not read many Pirate books, and I am always scared that when I pick on up it will be the cheesy, stereotypical pirate story. MaryLu is a genius and really knows what she is doing when she sits down to begin one of her novels. I will continue to enjoy reading her books for a long time.

Stars: 4  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Deluge by Lisa Bergren

Deluge (River of Time, #5)


WARNING TO MY BELOVED RIVER TRIBE: HARD THINGS HAPPEN IN THIS BOOK. Get your Kleenex ready...If you're not ready for some special characters to perish from plague and in battle, you won't want to read it. Seriously. You can walk away now and you can make up your own ending in your mind. BUT, that said, there's also a ton of romance and suspense and fun too! To embrace life, and live it to the fullest, we must appreciate the day--and occasionally face down death--and our beloved Forellis and Betarrinis learn that all over again. Ready? Ready. We can DO this... --Lisa


The Bettarinis and Forellis have found rich fulfillment together in medieval Italia. But after fighting off countless enemies, they now must face the worst foe of all. As the Black Death closes in upon them, threatening everything and everyone they hold dear, Lia and Gabi–and the knights they love–must dig deep within to decide how they might remain safe…and if they need to risk it all in order to truly live as they’re called.

Praise for the series:
"Disgustingly good. Bergren is a diabolical PLOT GENIUS."
"Smart...SURPRISING...Sweet." --Colleen Houck, best-selling author, on goodreads
"Can you say 'SWOON'?"
"400 pages of NON-FREAKING STOP..." --YearningtoRead, Amazon

My Opinion:

I waited to read this book for 2 years. I don't know if you have ever waited that long to read a book that you had been anticipating, let alone wait 2 years for the LAST book of a series, but it is HARD! Even EXCRUCIATING!!! I know that I am not the only one who went through this, thank goodness I had other people who knew why I was so emotional when this book kept on being postponed. But let me FREAKING tell you that the wait was worth it! I wish that Lisa could keep writing about the Forelli's and Bettarini's because they have become my favorite family to read about ever! However, I know that all works of writing must come to an end at some point. I understand. It's a bittersweet thing to know that my journey with them has ended, but I'm glad that I can re-read the books again and again to reminisce about.

Let me first start with what everyone wants to hear about- Lia and Luca. I'm not going to give anything big and important away, but trust me, Luca was at the top of his game! He was nowhere near failing in the swoon department. Now, I am DIE HARD team Marcello, but Luca definitely was tempting me to come to his side. It is crazy how real Marcello and Luca are to me. I try not to do this, but whenever I am reading another book I am always comparing them to these two, and I have not found any who have surpassed my respect for them.

I didn't quite know what to expect from Deluge, I knew it was going to be a hard and heart wrenching story. However, I was pleased to have some comic relief sprinkled in certain segments. Actually, about the first half of the book was pretty light and happy. There were some parts where I could see tension and frustration was on the rise, but for the most part it was fun to read and watch the 'She-Wolves' back at proving their 'prowess'.

There was an extremely interesting twist to this book that I was not expecting. You would think that after waiting for so long to read this, I could have thought of every single possible scenario that could have taken place. Nope. I was thoroughly impressed with the fact that I could not guess what was going to happen. I can see how some people might not like the twist that she put in the story, but I believe it was a great idea.

One little thing that I was a bit frustrated about was that some of the things that Lisa described seemed to modern. At one part Lia was getting shoes made for her, and to get her foot measured she placed her foot on a row of different outlined feet on a step in the shop. It sounded to much like those rugs you would see in the shoe section at a store for little kids to find what size they were. There were a couple other things that I spotted like this that I just thought seemed to modernized for the 14th century. What do I know though? I'm sure they were civilized and had their own systems for things back then. It wasn't the cavemen era!

Lisa warns that tough things happen in this book, and I eco her statement. GET YOUR KLEENEX'S AND HAVE THEM READY! Make sure it's a brand new box as well! I could not recommend this book with anymore enthusiasm than I already have! I hope all you will quickly get this uploaded onto your reading devices and start as soon as you can!

Stars: 5

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Redemtion by M.L. Tyndall

The Redemption (Legacy of the King's Pirates, #1)
Lady Charlisse Bristol sets off on a voyage in search of a father she never knew, only to find herself shipwrecked on a desert island. Near starvation, she is rescued by a band of pirates and their fiercely handsome leader, Edmund Merrick. Will Clarisse win her struggle against the seductive lure of this pirate captain? While battling his attraction to this winsome lady, Edmund offers to help Charlisse on her quest-until he discovers her father is none other than Edward the Terror, the cruelest pirate on the Caribbean. Can Edmund win this lady's love while shielding her from his lecherous crew and working to bring her father to justice?

My Opinion:
This was a great book, I regret taking so long to read it. You know how you may start reading a book, but then NEVER have time to read it, so when you actually sit down to enjoy your book because it's been so long since you last picked it up, you sorda lose focus? I cannot be the only one that that happens to. I was entertained while reading this but I KNEW I would have loved it so much more if I read it faster. Some people say that they like to read a book slow so they can savor the story, kinda like we do with our food. However, it's the opposite for me... the faster I read it the more I think I get out of it.

This book was very fast paced, I know, ironic that I choose to say that right? But it's true! The story progressed well and I never lost track of where the characters were physically or emotionally. I felt that they both were easy to connect with, as well as the others characters like Charlisse's father. Even though he was Edward the Terror who frightened everyone who crossed his path, after I saw his inner turmoil, I may have not liked him, but I pitied him.

I liked the beginning of the book, it was something new that I hadn't read before. I actually wish that part had been lengthened more with Charlisse on the island. I liked how Charlisse and Merrick both got over their issues. Charlisse had some very mental issues that she had to overcome, and I hurt for her because she felt like she was such a wicked human being, even though she was the sweetest and wittiest I have read about in awhile.

Merrick, after overcoming his past, became the dream guy that all girls would swoon over and want to call theirs.

I definitely would recommend this book to all of you and I cannot wait to read the next in the series. :)

Stars: 5

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mortal by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

Mortal (The Books of Mortals, #2)


Centuries have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace...and fear. A terrible secret was closely guarded for centuries: every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.

Nine years have gone by since an unlikely hero named Rom Sebastian first discovered a secret and consumed an ancient potion of blood to bring himself back to life in Forbidden. Surviving against impossible odds, Rom has gathered a secret faction of followers who have also taken the blood-the first Mortals in a world that is dead.

But The Order has raised an elite army to hunt and crush the living. Division and betrayal threaten to destroy the Mortals from within. The final surviving hope for humanity teeters on the brink of annihilation and no one knows the path to survival.

On the heels of Forbidden comes MORTAL, the second novel in The Books of Mortals saga penned by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee. Set in a terrifying, medieval future, where grim pageantry masks death, this tale of dark desires and staggering stakes peels back the layers of the heart for all who dare take the journey.

The Books of Mortals are three novels, each of which stands on its own, yet all are seamlessly woven into one epic thriller.

My Opinion:

I so wish I could say this book was well worth the read, since the first one was such a good book. However, this one lacked the luster that the previous one had. Nothing stood out to me that would make me rethink the way I walk with God. I think this book had the potential to make me rethink the way I live, if the people in the story would have talked in plain English so I could have understood them thoroughly. Instead, the characters talked about things that seemed quite important, but said it in ways that just zoomed right over my head!

On top of that, most of their actions were a bit crazy! I knew going into the novel that Ted Dekker's characters are usually out of the norm and seem to be a bit mental, but usually their is a reason behind that. In this book it just seemed unnecessary, and their actions went far beyond how they acted in Forbidden. I don't think a persons personality and the way they speak is going to completely change in a few years, in that case ever.

Furthermore, a lot of this story was repetitive. I felt like I was having deja-vu, but NO, they just kept on having the same conversations! ***SPOILER*** "Is Jonathon the savior? Or his blood?", "They have 12,000 Dark Bloods, we have 1,200 Mortals. How are we going to defeat them?" It just seemed like a whole bunch of planning, instead of taking action, which their was very little of!

Most of the characters had terrible morals, even the Mortals. Their was a scene where, even though not terribly long, it showed how sexual and unscrupulous they, being the mortals, were. I was most of all mad at the leader of the mortals... Concubines? Are we really going back to that? This man was supposed to show honor, respect, and most of all LEADERSHIP! So now he's condoning sexual behavior that's NOT between a man and a wife??? I know people had concubines in the bible, but it also clearly states in the bible that it is a SIN!

And here is the thing that peeved me off the most. ***Spoiler*** Triphon was thrown around like he did not matter and like he wasn't an important character! He was killed, so he didn't get much 'screen time', then he was brought back to life just to be killed again, and then he CAME BACK TO LIFE AGAIN! (BTW, his deaths were so horribly done I couldn't even get emotional about them, even though he is my favorite character! I just got furious because, even if he was to die, they didn't even try to give him a memorable death!) All I can say is that if he dies in Sovereign, and they don't give him the 'screen time' or memorable death he deserves, then I don't know what I will do. That might just ruin the whole book for me right there.

I am sad to say that I would recommend skipping this book if you are reading the series. It's not worth the read in my opinion, which is a complete shocker based just upon who wrote it. This was not at all what I was expecting for a sequel, and I am extremely disappointed.

Stars: 2

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Full Steam Ahead


Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?

My Opinion:

An unexpected surprise! Based on the cover I assumed this book was going to be a straight forward comedy. Even from the description, a dagger? I thought, "this is going to be humorous." Even though there were some funny scenes, it was much more serious then I presumed. An the story pulled off the seriousness of situations quite well. I actually wanted to cry when I saw how past tragedies haunted Darius for over a year.

I loved how Darius made everyone who worked for him feel like family, and how he even called them as such. It was touching how much he cared for people and how quickly he took them on under his wing, even though it was more them carrying his weight for so long.

Darius and Nicole's romance came along pretty fast. I found it a little odd how for a while Darius refused to spend time around Nicole, then all of the sudden he can't be dragged away from her company. I thought the tension between their relationship should have been dragged out a little longer. The speed that everything transpired in was to quick for this story. But, after their relationship got rolling they were the cutest couple you could lay eyes on, and Darius definitely became swoon worthy.

There is nothing left that I could critique about Full Steam Ahead. One small thing that I would have done differently, but other than that. Beautiful story!!!

Stars: 4   

Friday, July 25, 2014

Abandoned Memories by MaryLu Tyndall

Abandoned Memories (Escape to Paradise, #3)
Something sinister lurks in the lush Brazilian jungle. . . .

It is 1866 and the fledgling Confederate colony of New Hope is Angeline Moore’s last chance at a normal life. Running from the law, she longs to make a fresh start in this new Southern Utopia. But a series of strange disasters threaten to destroy everything the colonists have worked for, and strange visions threaten to reveal a past Angeline is desperate to hide.

James Callaway failed at both doctoring and preaching, but he hopes that his move to Brazil will give him another chance to become the spiritual leader he so desires. He longs to create a world free from the immorality that plagued every street corner back home and ruined his life. And he believes Angeline is just the sort of refined woman he needs to keep him on the right track.

But something is amiss in New Hope: haunting visions, the discovery of crypts beneath an ancient temple, and an archaic Hebrew book, set the colonists’ fears on edge. When one of their own is murdered, a series of disasters leads them to believe God has brought them to Brazil to defeat an evil that, if unleashed, could wreak havoc on the entire world.

My Opinion:
Praise be to God for all he has done for us and giving MaryLu the idea for these stories! As I read this I kept begging that she would prolong the series and continue with a fourth book! I already knew the next budding relationship I wanted to see grow...*Cough Cough*... Thiago and Sarah... and the whole spiritual war concept was out of this world! I loved how at the end she mentions this being a play off of an actual legend that she heard about from man.

The story was constantly go, go, go- not many moments for the characters to actually take a breather, but the action was SO great. Not that what they went through is something that I would want to experience, because I wouldn't, but it sure made for an intense and tantalizing read.

Would it be bad for me to say that I underestimated this book? That I thought it would fall flat compared to the first two? BOY, was I wrong! The struggles that both James and Angeline went through were so real, and the visions that plagued them were relentless! I loved how this book showed just how far someone can fall if being tempted by the world, but then how with one choice- redemption- everything can change in an instant. Their way of thinking, their confidence, their joy, their forgiveness, and their love for one another!

The ending of the book, the last few chapters, was one of the best endings I have read in a long time! I can't quite describe what I was feeling during those moments I read it There was this part where MaryLu transitioned ingeniously between characters thoughts. The only way I can describe it was like 'head hopping', hopping from one persons thoughts to the others. Normally, I can't stand it when I only get a half page to a page of one characters thoughts, but at the time in the story it was perfect and added an anxiousness to know what was going to happen next. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat, even though I was laying down in bed when I read the end.

I can't think of anything else to say, I just hope this review shows the emotion I felt while reading Abandoned Memories!

Stars: 5

P.S. I loved this series so much that I just started a pinterest board for the series. You may check it out here anytime you wish :) I hope you will! Just scroll down the right hand side of the page and you will come across quite a few pinterest boards that I have for novels that I have read!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

~!!Nominated for the Sunshine Award!!~

Yesterday, I was nominated for the Sunshine Award by Grace M. at Fictionally! Thank you so much for nominating me! It is an honor anytime someone shows me just how much they enjoy my blog. Even though where I'm at at the moment is cloudy and threatened by rain, this definitely brightened my day:)


 Thank the person who nominated you.
- Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.
- Nominate a few other bloggers.
- Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you nominated.
- Notify the bloggers on their blog.
- Put the award button on your blog.

Questions asked of me:

1. The last t.v. show/movie you watched that is now your life. What is it? I am a complete t.v. addict, which makes this question a little hard. Many shows pretty much make up my life: Once Upon a Time, Arrow, The Flash (which hasn't started yet but I am super excited), Merlin, etc. However, for this question I am going to answer the murder investigation show BONES. It's been around for a while, but I just recently started watching it on Netflix and have watched EVERY episode through season 8 already! Why I watch it? Because of FBI agent Seeley Booth and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan's budding relationship. LOVE THEM!

2. You're invited to a ball where you have a chance of meeting prince charming, but a fairy shows up and says she'll grant you your biggest non-romantic wish (example: book contract) if you do not attend the ball. Do you take her up on her offer, or go to the ball? I hope I would pray about it first, but I think I would go to the ball. I am a Romantic.

3. You're given a ride in a time machine to the future and are able to bring back any one book that you are now waiting to release. What book will you choose? I can't think to far in the future for this question, but I would go to whenever the release of Deluge by Lisa Bergren is. I have been waiting for this book for FOREVER, and the publishing date keeps getting postponed!!!

4. You're perusing your bookshelf when, suddenly, the back falls out and you see a secret tunnel of stone that leads to a place you cannot see, but you hear a battle in the distance. Do you check it out, or repair the bookshelf? Now doubt about it, I'm checking it out and might just stay awhile. Depends on what I see...

5. and 6. You have to spend the day entertaining one of your least favorite characters. Who is it and what do you do to amuse them? I have many enemy characters... I don't know if I could pick one to dislike the most. I will have to go with Paratore from the River of Time series by Lisa Bergren. Man that man make my skin crawl. AMUSE HIM??? HA!!!! Can't I just stick him in a cage like he's done with so many other people??? I'll be nice and give him a toy! If I did try to amuse him he probably wouldn't hear me very well anyway... ;)... (some of you might understand that).

7. What would you rather be able to do: fly, breathe under water. or blow fire from your mouth? Although all of those would be pretty nifty, I would have to go with breathing under water because drowning is one of my worst fears, if not, THE WORST! Don't try to take me swimming without a life jacket!

8. There's a villain, and the only thing you have to knock away the vile stuff he's about to use to turn you into a toad is... a book on your bookshelf. Which book is it? Does that mean I choose the book on my shelf that I like the least because the book would probably get ruined? Ummm... I don't know... and I don't want to bash anyone's work. *Shrugs Shoulders* Sorry. :/

9. What is your ideal animal companion? Dog, cat, dragon, chameleon, etc? Realistically? A dog! Fantasy wise? A Dragon! Or one of those huge flying birds from Lord of the Rings! (I don't know what they are called)

10. A grand dinner is held where you and all of your favorite characters are invited. Which two characters do you choose to sit between? MARCELLO- just so I can tell him how much I admire him. (I wouldn't try to steal him from Gabi, at least I hope I could restrain myself) and FORTINO (Marcello's older brother)- Because I love him, and so I could join the family!*SPOILER* (IF HE WAS STILL ALIVE!!!!!!) *Rolls on the floor and cries my eyes out*

These characters are from the River of Time series by Lisa Bergren.

My Nominations:

• Rebekah at Backing Books
• Chelsey at Charming Chelsey's
• Joy and Nancy at Fiction Hero Features
• Madilyn and Bethany at The Literary Maidens
• Caitlyn at Just Your Average Reviews
• Kate at To Read or Not to Read

Questions for my Nominees:

1. If you could enter and become another character in any book you have read, what story would you join and what would be your role in the book as a completely new character?

2. You come across a time portal where you can bring two characters from the past to our modern world... Which two do you pick to bring back and watch struggle to grasp our new world technologies and etiquette?

3. You have to spend a day entertaining one of your least favorite characters... Who would it be and what would you do to amuse them?

4. Pretend it's MCM (Man Crush Monday), which character would you pick to be your crush for the day, and what book are they from?

5. If you were to Direct and Produce one of your favorite books, what would the book be and who would you cast as the main characters? (If you can, please provide pictures)

6. You find yourself in the middle of a battle, what is your weapon of choice?

7. If you were born in medieval times, what would you want your name to be and why?

8. What T.V. show/movie has overtaken your life of late?

9. Do you have an odd skill or do you do anything that some people would consider 'out of the ordinary'?

10. You must spend a day doing a job that you know you would absolutely despise, it's the worst and you don't understand why anyone would actually want that job. What is it? (I thought of this b/c of watching the T.V. show Dirty Jobs not to long ago). LOL

For Everyone Else: Feel free to answer any of these questions in my comments section and also feel free to ask me some of your own questions! Have a wonderful day! :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dakota Child by Linda Ford

Dakota Child


Trapped in a North Dakota blizzard, single mother Vivian Halliday's prayer for herself and her child is answered. Rescue comes in the seemingly terrifying form of Billy Black, the hulk of a man feared by all the townsfolk. Yet in the home he shares with his ailing mother, the handsome, gentle giant warms her baby's bottles and sings sweet lullabies that lull even Vivian to peaceful sleep. When the storm abates, will she still seek the life that led her back to the village?

My Opinion:

This was probably the best Love Inspired book I have read to date. The writing was done so well I felt like I was actually reading a full length novel. The conflict and solution were both very well thought out and played almost perfectly throughout the story. I loved the characters and their own individual quirks and personalities. I haven't yet read anything quite like this.

Some things I didn't like so much were how 'big' Billy was made out to be and how quickly the sub-plot was taken care of. The way Billy's size was made out to be made him sound like he was a FEE-FY-FO kind of giant. I would have to realistically think of how big someone could actually get, so I didn't picture him like the size of a fairy tale giant.

The sub plot had to do with some legal issues and how Vivian signed some papers that she shouldn't have. About a chapter after she addresses her concerns the problem is taken care of, even though it was made out to be an issue that I thought was going to take longer to solve.

Over all this was a really good read, specially for a smaller book with a short time to fit a story line into. With some minor flaws I still believe that this is a book worth reading.

Stars- 4


On another note, go check out a GIVEAWAY I have set up for Remnants: Season of Wonder by Lisa Bergen! You won't want to miss it! You can go directly to the giveaway by clicking HERE>>>.
Season of Wonder (The Remnants #1)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Captured by Love (Michigan Brides, #3)


It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur--a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.

Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique Mackenzie, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.

My Opinion:

If I could give this book 3 thumbs up I would! Based on the cover I was nervous to read the book. It's a beautiful cover so I don't why, but I had an inkling that I wouldn't like it. However, that was not the case! This book in fact is probably my NEW favorite by Jody Hedlund, or at least a close tie with The Preachers Bride!

This book was so fun to read! Not that it was comical the whole way through, because it wasn't, but I felt like I was actually there with Angelique and Pierre. I felt like I was walking right beside them, going where they went, seeing what they saw right at their side. Like I was looking over their shoulder. This book had great perspective and it completely drew me in.

Pierre and Angelique's banter was hilarious! I caught myself rolling my eyes and laughing at Pierre's cocky comments more than a couple times, but I couldn't stop myself. I also loved that Angelique would reply in a cocky or sarcastic way. It was something that I would have done! As long as both people know they are joking, it's fun to poke fun at each other once in awhile. Who feels the same?

Both Pierre and Angelique's struggles had a huge impact on me. Angelique was striving to be better than the reputation the women in her family had, while all Pierre wanted to do for the longest time was get away from his family all together. Also, for years Angelique thought she was failing at her goal, while Pierre came to realize that his goal was completely wrong to have in the first place. Throughout the book they both come to terms with the fact that they are who they are, flaws and all, and that all they can do from here on out is be the best they can be for themselves, and for each other. And that God would give them the strength and grace they needed to know that they were not the disappointments they thought they were.

If you haven't guessed yet, there is really nothing I can judge or criticize about this book. I LOVED IT and I recommend it to everyone who has the slightest interest in it!

Stars: 5

Go to my last post that is a GIVEAWAY for an ARC copy of REMNANTS: Season of Wonder by Lisa T. Bergren!!! You can find it by clicking HERE, or just scroll a little ways down the page!!! Thank you!!!!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

ARC copy of Remnants: Season of Wonder ***GIVEAWAY*** US ONLY

I am so excited today to tell you all I received a hard cover copy of Remnants: Season of Wonder along with a Remnants T-shirt and a few knick knacks in the mail today!!! So Exciting!!! The best part, which is for all you guys, is that I already had an ARC copy of Remnants in my possession and I am going to be giving that away to one of you lucky winners! Here's a little about the book if you have no idea what it is:

Season of Wonder (The Remnants #1)
In the first book of the new futuristic dystopian series from author Lisa T. Bergren, the chosen remnants must work to redirect humanity’s course.


Andriana is a Remnant, gifted as an empath and one of the Ailith, destined to act as humanity’s last shield against the horrors that now plague those who remain.

After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to answer the Call and begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected Valley is more dangerous than they imagined.

The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing anyone sympathetic to the Remnants’ cause. And as the Remnants battle the demonic forces, still other enemies close in. Dangers intensity, but so do Dri’s feelings for Ronan–the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings. Or risk compromising everything…

Bestselling author Lisa T. Bergren presents the first book in her new YA futuristic dystopian series—The Remnants Novels—fitting in with the current dystopian trend in the marketplace.


My Review of the book can be found by clicking HERE>>>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wind Dancer by Jamie Carie

Wind Dancer


Raised in a British-held frontier town during the American Revolution, Isabelle Renoir is not like other women around her. A free spirit, she dances in the moonlight as a praise offering to God and is more at home fearlessly taking her long rifle and knife into the woods for adventure and inspiration. But Isabelle's latest journey may be more than even her strength can handle when a huge storm throws the raven-haired beauty off course and into the path of rugged American spy Samuel Holt. After matching wits and denying their passion for each other, they are attacked by Indians, held prisoner, and forced to watch the horrific killing of Isabelle's brother. Now together but in captivity, they must fight spiritual forces that no knife or rifle could ever conquer in order to be free

My Opinion:

I forget how much I love books with Indian culture in them. Their ways, even though I don't believe in them, are so captivating. Their lives draw me in to where I actually feel like I am experiencing the life of the tribe. I liked how even though Isabelle knew the Indians as her enemy she still found a way to enjoy herself at the camp. She was triumphant through everything they did to her and the others. She reminded me of Job from the bible, through all the suffering she still praised God at any point possible. She rebelled against the Gods of the Indians and worshiped Christ through the Indian tribes own ways.

I liked the characters in the story, they all played their parts well. I loved how even the enemy in the story had a likable side to them, showing that some people are misunderstood and giving their full side of the story as well as the main characters. I also liked how Samuel was like 'The Prodigal Son' in the book, it actually was a surprise to me. I wasn't expecting to meet any of his family in the book, but I am so happy that the part with him and his father was added in the story. It definitely portrayed Gods love for us the way I see it. 

I did not like how easy it was for both Samuel and Isabelle to scape the Indian camp. I expected more fighting and battle scenes before they found their freedom. However, they got away with barely a knick, if that. I also didn't like how some parts in the book were written, I kept on thinking that I missed a word or phrase on a page, but when I went back I realized I didn't, it was just written weird. 

Overall, this was a great book with minor flaws. I would definitely recommend it!

Stars: 4 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blackmail by Robin Caroll

Blackmail (Mills & Boon Love Inspired Suspense)


 Another facility's been sabotaged!
And PR representative Sadie Thompson is on the case. When she's assigned to investigate the damage to her employer's oil rigs, she knows it's her chance. Finally, she can prove she's left her "bad girl" past behind her. Yet someone wants the evidence to disappear--and is willing to threaten Sadie and Caleb, her recently paroled half-brother, to make it happen.
Caleb's parole officer, Jon Garrison, is watching them both closely, waiting for one of them to slip up. He doesn't trust Sadie--can she trust him? She needs Jon's help, and has nowhere else to turn....

My Opinion: 

One of the better suspense books I have read although I didn't much fear for the characters in anyway. The book was very predictable but the reason I found it to be one of the better suspense books I have read was because it was believable. People were not trying to blow or shoot the main characters up on every other page. In fact, not at all. Their fear or lack thereof was strictly from the blackmail through most of the story.

Some things I did not care for were: 1) how quickly Sadie and Jon's relationship flourished. It seemed as if they just met and then they are in a relationship. Even though Sadie doesn't want to be known for her past reputation. 2) how fast Sadie and her brother relationship built. Again, I thought it would take longer for them to trust each other, but within a couple days they were the best of pals. 3) I didn't understand a lot of the oil mumble jumbo. 4) COOYON??? What is a cooyon? If you know please tell me!!!

Overall, it was entertaining but just okay. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Stars: 3

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee



 New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker teams with Tosca Lee to create this gripping thriller set in a desolate future.

Many years have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace... and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.

Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a piece of cryptic writing. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life. When decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love.

But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition, and greed.

Set in a terrifying, medieval future, where grim pageantry masks death, this tale of dark desires and staggering stakes peels back the layers of the heart for all who dare to take the ride.

My Opinion:

I have not read a Ted Dekker book since before I started my blog. I'm going to have to change that because I forgot how much I love his work! I will also have to look into Tosca Lee after this. 

I decided to put this review on my blog because, even though this book was not a romance, it definitely had the romantic aspect to it. The whole book was about feeling emotion, the most powerful one being love, and how it could create joy or bring destruction. The characters had to decide whether they wanted to live their lives with feelings or essentially be dead where all they felt was fear.

The story was incredibly done with twists and turns that left me helpless to know what was coming. Their were definite hero's and definite villain's, but also some people I could not get a reading on. This book was like nothing I have ever read before and was like a whole new world opened up to me. A whole new way to look upon God's love and a whole new way to be thankful for everything God has given us. Even our emotions to feel both happiness and sorrow.

For anyone interested in reading this book I must warn you that there is quite a bit of gore and blood as well as some creepy intimacy mentioned.***SPOILER*** Their is a man who "drugs" and sleeps with prostitutes who have been tested on while desiring his own half sister.

Stars: 5

On another note, today is my birthday!!! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rocky Coast Romance by Mia Ross

Rocky Coast Romance


 Journalist Bree Farrell heads to the village of Holiday Harbor to salvage her career. And walks straight into the arms of handsome young mayor Cooper Landry. Cooper's fighting to keep his sleepy Maine community from the clutches of big-city developers. And Bree knows it's a major scoop. But the longer she's in town, the more she's won over by the quirky townsfolk-and the charming Cooper. Will Bree ever follow her heart instead of a story and make Holiday Harbor her permanent byline?

My Opinion:

 I haven't read a Love Inspired book it awhile. To be honest, they aren't always my favorite. I feel like their is not enough time to build up a decent conflict and overcome it. I have been proved wrong in the past and some of these books do draw me in like a regular sized novel. However, this one didn't do it for me.

For one, the main conflict throughout the story was bigger than it should have been made out to be. I get why it was big to the character, but I don't understand why it effected everyone else so much. 

Most of the book seemed like I was just taking a sneak peek into everyone's daily life. Nothing exciting happened. These people and their small town were considered quirky, whereas I can see them being a little eccentric, it was nothing worse than we would see going to school or to the local Walmart. 

On the plus side, I loved the setting that the story took place in and I did like the characters, especially Sammy who you will find out about if you read the book.

Stars: 3

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

Fair Play (It Happened at the Fair, #2)


 Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for pursuing a man’s profession. As a lady doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice--until she doctors an imposing man who threatens the fulfillment of her dream.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who aspire to walk in a man's shoes.

But the abandoned baby Hunter discovers at the Fair finds him teaming up with the good doctor to give the foundling a better future than the slums of Chicago, where the children play on flea-infested, garbage-strewn streets. AS Billy and Hunter fight for the foundling's welfare, their hearts warm to the precious child--and to each other. Soon their concern grows to encompass the Nineteenth Ward's burgeoning population of street children. In the interest of fair play, Billy and Hunter let nothing stand in their way as they labor to build a park for them, birthing Chicago's first playground and a national movement that will sweep the nation.

But the Fair is coming to an end, posing impossible decisions for Billy and the man who has won her heart. Will they become a footnote in the Fair's history books, or will what they discovered in Chicago be longer lasting than the World's Exhibition.

My Opinion:

Deeanne Gist is one of my favorite authors, I have not read many other authors books that could rival her stories! When Fair Play came out I could not wait to possibly win it in a giveaway, so I bought it online right away.  Afterwards, I found out that Deeanne Gist was switching to the general market. I couldn't decide whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, it could help reach out to many people who would normally not read anything with inspirational qualities. On the other, I was and still am a little doubtful that Deeanne could slowly lose the inspirational qualities and replace them with more worldly aspects. I don't want to doubt her, but it has happened before with other writers.

Based on Fair Play I could not tell what to expect from Deeanne's future writings. Yes, both her main characters had great morals. Yes, they both fought for what they believed was right. Yes, they stayed virtuous until marriage. Altogether, it was a great story! However, their was not much mention of God. Their was mention of prayer, but their was no biblical life lesson from the story that I could tell. I did learn to compromise with a spouse or future spouse and to handle situations with dignity and tactfulness.

The romance was well done, but I do have a pet peeve that has to do with it that some authors put in their books. My pet peeve is that I cannot stand when the male character goes up to the heroine and just randomly states that he "wants to kiss her". Honestly, if I had a boyfriend and he just randomly said that to me out of the blue I would tell him no. In my opinion a kiss should just happen. So, if the guy wants to kiss his girlfriend or wife he should just do it. Why ask??? The only reason a guy should ever say that he "wants to kiss you" instead of just coming out and doing it is if the two of them are in a very public place surrounded by tons of people and she feels uncomfortable displaying affection like that.

Other that those things I listed I absolutely loved the book and it was the best one I have read in awhile! I cannot wait to read more of Dee's stuff. Do I have to wait almost a year for another book???

P.S. I hope her next male character inspiration is based on Henry Cavill. That would make my life!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert

A Woman of Fortune (Texas Gold, #1)


 Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream. Her world is filled with designer clothes, luxury cars, and stunning homes. But her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly, she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must start over against incredible odds to save her family–and discover a life worth living.
Poignant and emotionally gripping, A Woman of Fortune reveals the many ways we deceive ourselves and how resilience of the heart is essential to authentic living. Drawing on her experiences as a legal investigator, author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers emotionally gripping plots and authentic characters. Readers will love Claire’s unbending determination as she strives to keep her family from falling apart and learns to embrace the kind of fortune that lasts.

My Opinion:

Not what I was expecting.

When I first saw this book I assumed I would like it based on the cover, so without reading the summery I requested it to review. Now that I have read it, if I could make the decision all over again I probably would not have picked to review it. Don't get me wrong, it was a good and well written story, but it was just not for me. 

I didn't know that this book was about a 49-year old married woman going through a traumatic life situation. Who could have guessed that based on the cover? I mean, does that look like an almost 5-year old woman? Just goes to show how looks can be deceiving. At my age right now I tend to be more into the books where the couples are just hooking up, not thirty years into their marriage. It doesn't pertain to me in any way, so it didn't interest me.

I could tell by the cover that the woman was either rich or knew someone who was rich, and since I was expecting that I was okay with it. However, I didn't realize how rich she was! Her and her family threw caution to the wind and spent millions upon millions of dollars all the time! How many people do we come across on a daily basis with that kind of money? The way that her husband made the money seemed like a very realistic way of making it then some weird occupations I have read about in the past, so I did like that. On the other hand, I guess I'm just not much into the rich and famous scene. At least not modern rich and famous.

Things that I did like were: 1) None of the characters were perfect. Example: The heroine's daughter has many problems that you will learn about if you read it. 2) I felt the heroine handled her situation very realistically for her status. 3) The authors knowledge for courtroom business seemed to be above and beyond. Their were many terms used that I hadn't even heard of. 4) The comic relief was not over the top and it was portrayed in the heroine's best high school friend. 5) The heroine persevered where many would have given up.

Overall, if you are an adult interested in reading about scandal, family healing, and perseverance then this is the book for you. 

Stars: 3 1/2

Here is an inside look with the author that you can find on youtube!!! :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade

Meant to be Mine (A Porter Family Novel, #2)


 Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college--still irresistible. This time, though, Ty feels exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be anybody's husband. As a professional bull rider, he lives on the road and can't bring himself to settle down.

Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the face of the one woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to make Celia's dreams come true, to win her trust, and to prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

My Opinion:

 Sometimes I just need to read a modern day book to clean out my system, and boy did this one do the job! Many of the books that I have been reading have been extremely serious lately, I loved them, but sometimes I just need a little comic relief. 

The over all plot of this book was a serious issue that many people face today. It's sad and overwhelming how many people quickly turn to divorce these days. So the over all situation was a heart breaker, but I loved how Becky put two headbutting personalities against each other to add some comedy to the story. 

Ty Porter consistently had me cracking up! Addie was adorable! Celia was hilariously odd! Not to mention the rest of their families mentioned in the story. Ty had a funny way of trying to get Celia to warm up to him, and I thought it was the cutest thing. 

Some things that I did not like were: 1) Ty's wealth. It seems to me that in almost any modern day story one of the main characters are rich! Can we have a story about two normal middle class people? 2) Celia's descriptions of Ty. Celia was always thinking about Ty's physical appearance. I know that is an important part to a relationship, but it turns into lust when mentioned to much. 3) Addie was to smart and intuitive for a 5 year old. I honestly think over half the time she was smarter than her own parents. 4) Uncle Danny. I liked the idea of him and having a caring Uncle like that. But how many surfer dude hippie 50 year old men who say the word "righteous" do we come across in the real world?

Overall, if you are looking for some laughter with and serious underlining conflict then this would be a really good pick, but be ready for some unrealistic people and situations.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

How cute is this?? Author Becky Wade and friend author Katie Ganshert had a contest to see who could do a better cover of Meant to be Mine. I personally think Katie's on the right is a slight bit better, but they both are great shots! What do you think?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Love's Awakening by Laura Frantz

Love's Awakening (The Ballantyne Legacy, #2)


The path to true love lies somewhere between two feuding families
In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburg only to find that her parents are away on a long journey and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. Determined to stand her ground and find her place in the world, Ellie fills her time by opening a day school for young ladies.
But when one of her students turns out to be an incorrigible young member of the Turlock family, Ellie knows she must walk a fine line. Slaveholders and whiskey magnates, the Turlocks are envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly entangled with the rival clan--particularly the handsome Jack Turlock--she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future. Will she betray her family and side with the enemy?

My Opinion:

This book was good but not as great as I thought it would be. I liked many things about it, but on the other hand I was also annoyed by other aspects.

I felt like the "misunderstood" younger daughter and "rude" older sister roles were repeated from the first book in the series. I expected a little more diversity in the personalities of the characters. I also thought it was odd how the Ballantynes and Turlocks were "mortal enemies", but yet it was so easy for the Ballantynes to lay disagreements and differences aside so quickly. Ellie and Jack basically HATE each other for most of the book, but then unannounced they both have a change of heart and are confessing each others love for one another. I was a little lost, wondering if I might have by accident skipped a part in the book where they actually became close, but I didn't.

I did however like how Laura brought Jack's good qualities to light in the book. The Turlocks' were known to be heartless human beings, including Jack, and for a little bit I actually believed it. As I read I realized that those assumptions were completely farce. He had a soft side for his little sister and though he acted like he didn't like helping out runaway slaves, you realize that that is also an act. Jack had such a kind heart, it had just been abused by his parents and so he felt nonredeemable.

Altogether, this book was good, but it's not one that I would jump up and down for.

Rating: 3 Stars

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Captive Maiden
 Happily Ever After...Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

My Opinion: 
Even though this book ended up being extremely traditional as most fairy tales go, I still loved it! It had enough differences in it from Cinderella to be it's own story. 

To be completely honest, the book was on the cheesy side. Valten kept thinking about how he wanted to save a "Damsel in Distress" and that's exactly what he got. It was one of those stories where both characters fall madly in love the moment they lay eyes on each other. On top of that, the characters are always thinking about how appealing one another are to each other. Extremely sweet, but not practical. Although it was on the corny side, I still greatly enjoyed the story. It was a breath of fresh air to read something where the characters were not completely fighting their emotions for each other. They both knew what they wanted and they fought for it.

There were a few twists and turns in the book which kept the story going as well as some awesome settings that I enjoyed reading about. One example from the book was a Medieval tournament like from the movie A Knights Tale.  I LOVED reading about the jousts and sword fights. 

Valten was a very wounded character, sometimes it almost seemed as if he was more emotionally wounded than Gisela. He was not a man that liked to be bested, and even though he could over come it with dignity, when it came to someone very close to him besting him it ate him alive. Constantly throughout the book he is licking these wounds, and it was nice to see someone make him finally feel worthy of who he was.

Rating: 5 stars

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Beauty so Rare by Tamera Alexander

A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2)


Eleanor Braddock, a spinster--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--has long since dismissed any hope of marriage. But when a dying soldier whispers his final words, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. But this compassionate deed takes a harsh turn, and Eleanor finds herself dependent upon the richest woman in America and the most despised woman in Nashville--her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, mistress of Belmont Mansion. A clandestine act of kindness leads Eleanor to an unlikely path for her life--building a home for destitute widows and children from the Civil War. And while Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve.

Gerhard Marcus Gottfried, Archduke of the House of Habsburg and fourth in line to the Austrian throne, arrives in Nashville in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Collaborating with botanist Luther Burbank, Marcus seeks to combine his own passion for nature with his expertise in architecture. But his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widow's and children's home run contrary to the wishes of practical, frugal Eleanor, who sees his ideas as costly nonsense.

Yet as the construction project continues, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expected. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor to marry, and even if he were, someone who knows Marcus's secrets is about to reveal them all.

My Opinion:

While I liked this book tremendously, it did take an over long amount of time to reach the true depth of the story. The introduction was way to long and it took me a few days to get past the first 100 pages, because if that I came really close to putting it down forever. However, I am not one to give up without a fight, I know that sounds harsh but for a while it truly was a struggle. In the end though, I was thoroughly happy with the rest of the book, especially the end, it was definitely one worth reading.

Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, aka Eleanor's aunt has become a little bit of a nuisance. I know that she is supposed to come off as a lady of good morals and decorum, and even though she does have her moments she seems so full of everyone around her. As well as she tries to up hold promises which she had no right promising to begin with. Although she means well, she goes around fulfilling these promises in a most un-fulfilling way.

On the other hand, both Eleanor and Marcus should be an inspiration of character for people in our culture today. They both were strong and kind souls, ones who were not afraid to stick up for the underdogs, and ones not likely to stand down to the people known as superior. They both also had a charm about them. I love a classic whit to the hero's in any story, but I also like them to be serious and know when to quit. Marcus was a perfect example of these attributes. Eleanor had a somewhat dry whit about her, but it fit her and made her even more loveable to those around her including me.

I loved how this story was not just about two people falling in love but also about bringing people together, building friendships, and showing Gods glory through the most unsuspected ways he takes us through life. No matter how hard the course may be we will come out unhindered as long as we unquestionably follow his lead.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion, #1)


After an unwanted past, Claire strives to create something that will last as an artist among Nashville's elite society in the 1860s.
Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged him. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her past remains hidden.
The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.
Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

My Opinion:

To my surprise, this is the first book I have ever read by Tamera Alexander. I have known about her work for awhile now, and I guess I assumed I had read some of her books before. Now that I think of it I haven't until now. So, for a FIRST impression this book definitely left its mark in a good way.
I was enthusiastic about the plot because I can completely relate to Claire and her struggle with art. Not the part about forging, but about not knowing how she could make a piece her own, or being anxious about what people were going to think of her work. I am in Honor Art right now at my high school and am always wondering what people think of my art. I also get frustrated when I don't think I am being original.
I loved Sutton Monroe! He was such a trip with his almost unending humor. He always had me smiling and apparently, everyone in the story as well.
A couple things that I would have changed would be to have more of a struggle between Sutton and Claire, and also to have had Antoine in the book more. It takes a while for Sutton to trust Claire, but when he does find out her secret it was like he was still all fine and dandy. Even though his worst fear had been realized. I thought Claire's Uncle Antoine was going to be a main character and I was pretty disappointed when he wasn't as big as I thought he would be. For the most part the book was good, but I felt like Claire was left off the hook with a slap to the hand. Even though she didn't do much of anything wrong and was sorry I still expected more obstacles to be in her way. She didn't get the challenge to overcome like I hoped for.

Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, April 11, 2014

Character Casting for the MAIN MEN is Love at Any Cost and Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman

As many of you I'm sure know the legendary Julie Lessman has started a new book series called The Heart of San Fransisco. So far I have read the first two books in the series that are out and have not been disappointed by their stories.

Also, as many of you come to my blog might know I did a character casting in the past for Julie Lessman's two series Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change. I had a TON of fun doing those and posting them on my blog and I hope that you who visited then enjoyed seeing my posts. I also hope you commented and left your opinion on my choices. ;)

Today I am gathering you guys for a sneak peek on what I am starting for the new series The Heart of San Fransisco. Because of not all the books being out yet I have not casted everyone. In fact, I only have two for sure casted so far and one possibility which I am sharing with all of you today. If you have read the series I hope that you will leave your opinions in the comment section below and maybe even give me some suggestions for the rest. So, lets get started!

Love at Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco, #1)

For the first book I have Jamie McKenna casted as Matt Bomer!!!! Matt Bomer♥
Okay, so here I would normally put why I picked this person and some movies or shows I have seen them in. Well, honestly I haven't seen him in ANYTHING, but he was Julie Lessman's choice for Jamie and when I looked him up I could not disagree. His looks are exactly how I pictured Jamie in the book, I couldn't pick somebody better. Looks wise, he is the personification of Mr. McKenna. No doubt about it in my mind. And might I say he looks good in a suit which would fit Jamie's career perfectly! If you would like to learn more about this actor you can visit his IMDB page by clicking HERE.

Dare to Love Again (The Heart of San Francisco, #2)

For the second book I chose Theo James for Detective Nick Barone
I have not seen him in any movies either as of now, but there is one that I am DYING to see. Theo plays the hero in the new movie Divergent, which is based on a book. Even though the romance in the books was a little much, they captured me because of their complexity. I am taking Psychology which was related to the plot in quite a few ways... but anyways... I digress... Theo also looks EXACTLY like how I pictured Nick in Dare to Love Again and his brood look reminds me of Nicks stubborn and mean side a little. And what a charming smile! *Sigh* Learn more about Theo James by clicking HERE.

So, that is what I have so far. The one that I am still contemplating is younger Kevin Costner as Logan McClare from both the books. Logan is Jamie's boss and also has a vendetta against Nick. That's all I'm willing to say since many of you may have not read the books YET.
I LOVE this guy! He is a fantastic actor! Some of the things that I have seen him in are: Dances with Wolves (which I highly recommend), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld, Hatfields & McCoys, and Man of Steel just to name a few. Again, his looks are one thing that made me think of Logan right away. We have to remember that even though Logan is not old, he is quite a bit older than both Jamie and Nick. BUT he is still very good looking and has not lost his charm. The reason I haven't picked him yet is because Julie Lessman does not agree 100% on him right now, but if I was to choose someone for Logan this second it would definitely be him! Click HERE to learn more about Kevin Costner!

Some more things that I want to share with you:

If you have read any of Julie's books you know that many of her hero's, if not all, have a funny sarcastic side. They LOVE picking on the girls relentlessly. I found this gif on pinterest and just had to share it. It cracks me up and completely embodies the men's behavior! LOL

I can just see any of the guys doing this when they are getting scolded! Plus, it's really cute!
Marlon Brando, couldn't help but repin. Kinda reminds me of something these guys would do talking to the women that infuriate them so much! Lol

Another thing that I want to share is the book cover for the third book, Surprised by Love! Click on the image to read a summary about the book.
 Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco #3)

 So, what do all you guys think??? Please leave any comment that you might have below!!! I would love to read them!