Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Julianne Donaldson is an up and coming author of regency books along the lines of Jane Austen."Blackmoore" is the first book I have read by Julianne Donaldson,but after reading this one I am eager to go back and read her first book "Edenbrooke". I think Mrs. Donaldson does a delightful job of writing about the regency era without trying to rip off Jane Austen stories as her stories are uniquely her own.
Kate Worthington has two great desires in her life one is to get away from her troublesome family and go to India with her spinster Aunt Charlotte  and the other is to  see her best friend Henry Delafield ancestral home, Blackmoore. Right before leaving to see Blackmoore she strikes a deal with her evil Mother (think cross between Mrs. Bennett and Cruella de Vil) that if she is able to secure and reject 3 marriage proposals that she is free to India,but if not she is left to the mercy of her Mother. While at Blackmoore Kate quickly realizes proposals are harder to come by,especially with the  reputation her family has,so she devises another plan, but will it cost her that which her heart desires the most?

I thought Julianne Donaldson did a delightful job of blending a story that was engaging and interesting.The story alternated between the present and several years previous. The heroine was delightful,she was flawed and someone you could relate to.
All in all,this was a delightful read that I highly recommend.

I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley, but it in no way influenced my opinion of the book,all of the views and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Tale of Mally Biddle by M.L. LeGette

The tale of Mally Biddle by M.L. LeGette was a clean,good,easy young adult fiction that I highly recommend. The story starts off when the royal family is getting killed off and the young princess is presumed dead.16 years later the knights are running the kingdom and people are suffering. When rebel Ivan goes to the country he finds a young girl Mally Biddle who would make the perfect servant for the castle. As Mally Biddle gets to know people inside the castle she quickly finds that all is not as it seems and that the young princess may not of died,but how will they find her? Can the kingdom be restored from the knights?

This was a engaging read that was really cute and was a nice young adult piece of fiction.

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

The Chalice is the 2nd book by Nancy Bilyeau and as with the first book in the series " The Crown" I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is a historical mystery and is set in the days of King Henry VIII. Joanna Stafford is trying to rebuild her life along with the other displaced nuns and monks after their monasteries and abbeys are closed down. As Joanna tries to figure out what her role is in the prophecy that has been told to her by three different people and what her role is in the instance of the chalice which is also a part of that prophecy.

This was an interesting,good historical fiction. In many ways I liked the first book better,but overall this was a good continuation of an intriguing story written by an author that does an excellent job at bringing history to life with rich historical detail.
Unlike most of the books that I read this was not Christian,but overall it was quite clean and because of Joanna being a former nun it mentions Christianity in a positive light.

Stress test by Richard L. Mabry,M.D.

Stress test by Richard L. Mabry,M.D. was a exciting,easy read. The book is about Dr. Matt Newman a successful Doctor who after getting kidnapped and narrowly escaping with his life is framed with the murder of a women he barely knows. Sandra Murray is a successful lawyer who is a devoted Christian and decides to take on Matt case believing him to be innocent. As things get worse for Matt will he be able to prove his innocence and get back what he lost? As Sandra finds out more Matt,she finds herself developing feelings for him,but will things work out for them?

I really enjoyed this medical thriller.It was a exciting read that took me no time to finish.The characters were likable enough, a bit unrealistic at times,but overall fine. I thought it was a good book with a good story line and highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good thriller.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Real win by Colt McCoy and Matt Carter

I recently got the book "The Real Win: a Man's quest for authentic success" by Colt McCoy and Matt Carter, which is a book for men and is one that I hope to get my husband to read,but if I waited to post a review until he read it...well that would be awhile.:) I realize that my opinion is somewhat distorted as this is a book that is by men for men,so some things I did not get,but overall I found this book outstanding! The authors both used a lot of football analogies (probably because one of the authors is in the NFL), so that was not something I can relate to,but a lot of men like that sort of thing.
The things that were talked about in the book were phenomenal! It talked about the things that really matter in life and how so many men get caught up in their jobs that they miss out of God and time with their families.

I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether a female to help understand her man and ways to encourage him,or obviously to a man to help realize what it means to really win.

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher but my opinion was in no way influenced.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Dance by Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh

The Dance by Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh is the first book in a new series called "Restoration" which follows different members of the Anderson family as they seek to restore their marriages. Marilyn Anderson leaves her husband Jim after 27 years of marriage,she is not sure what she wants but she knows that after years of being ignored and neglected that she has had enough. Jim Anderson is a successful businessman who thought life was going pretty good...until his wife up and leaves. As Jim and Marilyn strive to figure out what went wrong in their marriage and whether or not they can save their marriage,people are brought into their lives to show them that their marriage is something worth fighting for.

This was a wonderful book that I highly recommend! I have read of Gary Smalley's non-fiction books and have really enjoyed them,so it was delightful reading a fiction book based on his marriage counseling principals. I loved how the book talked about how marriage is like a dance and how our fears is what causes us to push each others buttons (or steps on their toes) and how changing partners will not change the problems,but you need to learn to dance with your partner.
I think any couple who has been married for any amount of time will find some encouragement and ideas in this book!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Into the whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

Elizabeth Camden is a fairly recent historical Christian author who blends rich historical details with a Christian theme. "Into the Whirlwind" by Elizabeth Camden is about Mollie Knox who seems to have it good until the Great Chicago Fire destroys everything she has worked to build. Will Mollie be able to rebuild her Father's business after such a loss? Zack  Kazmarek is a lawyer who has always loved Mollie,but it is not until after the fire that he has a really chance to help her out and hopefully win her heart,but when an old hero from her past comes back into Mollie's life will she be able to fall in love with Zach? 

I think Elizabeth Camden does an extraordinary job in the historical detail aspect of her books,however I find her characters a bit lacking,they are a bit too perfect and too good looking to make it really realistic for me,that and you totally know the storyline is going. I think if Ms. Camden were to come up with slightly more unique storyline and characters she would be a first rate author,as it is,I find her writing style and attention to historical detail good,but other aspects of her books are lacking.

Fearless by Eric Blehm

This was a great non-fiction book that would appeal to men and women alike,even my husband was interested in it and that is saying a lot as he is not a big reader.:) "Fearless: the undaunted courage and ultimate sacrifice of Navy Seal Six Operator Adam Brown" by Eric Blehm is touching because it tells the story of Adam Brown a man who gave up his life for his country and the road that led him to that point. From a young troubled man to a brave hero who died for his country this story will have you on the edge of your seat and allow you to get to know Adam Brown who was indeed fearless.

I always find works of non-fiction so inspiring and this one was particularly so. It was well written and interesting. I highly recommend it to everyone as a great book about a true American hero.

I received a copy of this book free for my honest opinion. My opinion was in no way influenced by anyone else.

Grace's pictures by Cindy Thomson

This new book by Cindy Thomson, "Grace's Pictures" weaves a delicious blend of history,mystery, action and romance. For anyone who has any interest in Ireland or an Irish heritage this is a delightful read!
The premise of the story is a young Irish women Grace comes over from Ireland to escape poverty,hoping that America will offer her the bright future that Ireland did not.When Grace discovers her love of photography it soon gets her in trouble as she accidentally photographs a local mob boss. Policeman Owen McNulty is committed to help those who are less fortunate and when he meets Grace he tries to help her,but she is leery of trusting him. Will they be able to save Grace from the local mobs? Will they learn to trust each other?

I highly recommend this book as it was an engaging story with enough going on to keep you interested. It dealt with issues such as how immigrants,in particular the Irish were treated,etc. This was a good,easy read. is the author Cindy Thomson who has a passion for writing about anything Irish,which I of course like since I have Irish in my ancestry and love anything Irish!

Here are some Question and Answers from Cindy Thomson about the book.
1. What was your inspiration for this book, Grace’s Pictures?
When the Brownie Camera was introduced, it changed photography forever. What was before expensive and not very portable, suddenly became available for the average person. I read a contemporary commentary that expressed the concern that with everyone carrying a camera, someone could have his/her photograph taken without permission, and what an invasion of privacy that would be. That got me thinking…what if that happened, and at a time before there were very many mug shots available of criminals.
I love writing about immigrants because their stories are a part of who we are today. If not for their bravery and ingenuity, our lives would be much different today, and probably more difficult.
2. Tell me about your main character, Grace McCaffery. Was her character based upon anyone in particular?
Grace comes to America wounded by her experiences of having an abusive father, being evicted from her home by the police, and then having to survive in a workhouse. When her mother gets remarried, to a policeman no less, Grace is horrified. In her mind, avoiding the kind of people who hurt you is the only way to stay safe. When she is sent to America to start a new life, she is not certain she wants to go. She wishes for the confidence and joy she sees in others around her, and she tries to capture it in drawings and snapshots so she can better study it. I know a lot of people, me for one, who would rather observe for a while before stepping out and trying something new. But historically, immigrants could not do that. They were thrust into change and had to adapt and endure.
Grace, like most fictional characters, is not based on any particular person. She is a conglomeration of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who came to this country seeking a better life, but without many options to support themselves. They must have been frightened at first by this vast new country, but somehow they overcame that fear and founded our American families.
3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
A lesson that I hope is learned in this story is that God provides what we need, but many times it requires us to put
aside our preconceived ideas. No matter what disadvantages we start with, we can turn things around, with God’s
4. How do you expect Grace’s story to resonate with women?
Grace, a young woman who was not nurtured much as a child, becomes a nurturer. She is a nanny with a role that
becomes essential for the children she cares for. I think most women are nurturers. Unfortunately, Grace had a far
from ideal childhood. I think many women struggle with not having been nurtured themselves. Grace’s story
illustrates the hope that God can turn that around, and even in unexpected ways. Grace meets someone who cares
for her, who just happens to work in that dreaded occupation—a policeman.
5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I loved learning about Ellis Island, visiting New York City, and imagining those immigrants of the early 20th century
moving along the same paths I was exploring. I loved writing about how the children Grace cared for helped to
change her. History is fascinating to me, and it’s a privilege to be able to write about it.
6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?
I hope readers will be transported to a time in history when everything was changing at a rapid pace and
experience a bit of what their ancestors’ lives were like. I would like readers, through Grace’s Pictures, to not only
appreciate the sacrifices their ancestors made, but also find the courage to meet their own challenges—everyone
has them.
7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?
Grace was at first a difficult character to figure out. I had a loving father who passed away a few months before I
started working on this book. Grace, who did not have a loving father, stretched me a bit, but it was good to
explore what life was like for her and try to imagine how someone like her could not only survive but thrive.
8. What is it about this time period in history that made you want to write about it?
New inventions were constantly popping up, things that we take for granted today. For instance, telephones were becoming more widely available, but immigrants were not familiar with them. Same with electricity. There was a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, and the middle class was the minority. Monopolies were not yet forbidden. The rich were extremely rich. The poor were extremely poor, and the conditions in the tenements were disgraceful. And yet, this was not overlooked. There were gangs and corrupt police, but also scores of charities working hard to protect, educate, and care for immigrants. And it was also a time period of huge numbers of immigrants coming to the country, most through Ellis Island, so in that way this time period has impacted a great many Americans today.
9. What lessons can we learn from the pages of historical fiction?
The Bible tells us, “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16, NLT). Historical fiction uses the power of story to help us find those old ways. We deceive ourselves if we think no one has experienced the struggles we have. Someone has. Why not learn those stories and be led by them?
10. What is one of the best pieces of advice or encouragement you have received?
I’m always open to sound advice. Here is one that has encouraged me. It’s from a tea bag quote.
“A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.” ~Joyce A. Meyers

If you would like to read the first chapter for free,check it out here  if you check it out let me know how you like it!

Disclaimer- I received this book for free from the publisher,but this in no way influenced my review.