Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Reads of 2011...

It's been a good year for books. I've discovered a new passion for Christian fiction. It's a book you don't have to read under the covers or turn it over so your family doesn't see it. I've discovered some really great authors this year: Tyndall, Rivers, Dacus to name a few.

My top five books for 2011:
(couldn't limit it to only three this year!)

Surrender the Heart Mary Lu Tyndall.
One of my new favorite authors. I'm currently on my fourth book of hers. This book is a fantastic combination of faith, romance, adventure and of course, history! Click here for my review.

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers.
Wow, this is probably one of the most powerful Christian books I have ever read. The Red Tent was one of my top picks last year because of how powerful it was, this book is even more amazing. I cannot wait to continue on in the series but because of how deep and thought provoking it is, I need breaks between the books. Click here for my review.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I was blown away by this book and the facts it contained about a little-known woman who helped find cures for diseases through her cells and all unbeknown to her and her family! I learned so much not only about Mrs. Lacks, but about cancer and about more abhorrent treatment of blacks for medical trials. This is an eye opener in American history. Click here for my review.

Torment by Lauren Kate
My favorite young adult/fantasy read. This is the second book in the Fallen series and the best so far. I read the third book this year as well, but it wasn't as great as this one. I do like sci-fi and fantasy books and this one was the best I've read for 2011. Click here for my review.

Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus
This book was also Christian themed and so good from start to finish. This is the first book in the series and has me excited to continue on and find out what happens next! Click here for my review.

Honorable Mentions:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Night  Night by Elie Wiesel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Utterly horrifying what the Nazis put so many people through. How many people were killed. How many people suffered so horribly. This was the most graphic memoir I've read to date about the Holocaust. It was a short book but the point was very clear.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

The Red Siren

The Red Siren (Charles Towne Belles, #1)The Red Siren by M.L. Tyndall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not my favorite by Ms. Tyndall. I know this is so shallow, but I couldn't help but judge this book by it's cover. I did not like it at all, it was an utter turn-off. It's not how I would picture the main character in the book at all.

I found the whole she-pirate theme a bit unbelievable. It didn't mesh right. I did like the male heroine, but not her. I'm not sure if I'll continue on in this series because her sisters were no more appealing than she was.

I'm not giving up on Ms. Tyndall, she's a wonderful author and I have loved her other books I have read. Very spiritual and uplifting for sure!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Crossed (Matched #2)

Crossed (Matched, #2)Crossed by Ally Condie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It just didn't feel like a great follow up to Matched. Matched was cool and thrilling from start to finish and while it felt similar to other books I've read, it had it's own sci-fi spin. Most of this book lacked depth. It was poetic but not necessarily in a good way. I didn't feel like I understood what the characters looked like or truly felt. It wasn't until the second half of the book that I started to understand the characters and their purpose. Thankfully the second half of the book felt like something was finally happening!

After reading it, I'm left with more questions and I'm excited to see it all come together in the next book.

I wish I could remember more of what happened in Matched because I struggled a bit with all that occured between Xander and Cassia, Cassia and Ky. Did I miss any signs of what Xander really was?

I still feel like I don't fully understand what the Farmers are, who the Society is, who started the Rising? Perhaps I could call the Farmers hippies or maybe even Freemen? I wish I could understand more about the start up of the Society. Who really runs it? How long has it been around? How many Rebels actually are planted in the Society? And who the heck is the Enemy???

I'm really hoping all of these burning questions are answered in the FINAL book of this trilogy. And man-oh-man I sure hope she does end this series as stated with a third book. Nothing ruins a series like adding more books to a trilogy.

And for my own recollection... Cassia is in the Outer provinces and meets Indie at the work camp. Cassia sneaks onto an air ship to go to the villages to try to find Ky but ends up a decoy. When she gets there she realizes this is the same camp that Ky was at. She learns that he has escaped with two others. With Indie and another boy who knows the direction they went, they escape at night toward the Carvings. The boy goes his own way and dies. Ky is with Vick and Eli. Vick was the unofficial leader at the camp/village, but he died when someone? dropped poison into the river he was fishing at. Vick was a citizen who Contracted with an Anomaly and was reclassified and was made work as a decoy. Ky and Eli (who is the youngest and Ky feels protective of him) start to head out but then they see Cassia in the distance. They are reunited. Cassia learns that Ky wants nothing to do with the Rising. He wants to be a Farmer. He saw that his father was part of the rising and saw that it only kills people. Indie figures out that Ky has other reasons for not wanting to join the Rising. She figures out that Xander is also part of the rising and if Cassia were to figure out that her original match, and life long best friend were part of the Rising, that Cassia might realize she is meant to be with Xander after all, and not Ky. Cassia does not know this but knows that there is some secret about Xander but that he will have to be the one to tell her. Cassia and Indie are dead set on joining the Rising when it comes time to decide to rebel or join the Farmers. Eli, and the Farmer they came across, Hunter, head to join the escaped Farmers while Cassia and Indie head towards the Rising. Ky is torn but realizes he needs to be with Cassia. He would do anything for her. Cassia and Indie make it to the Rising first. Cassia is basically made to go back to the Society as a spy for the Rising. Ky is to be a pilot for an air ship in Camas. They do not get to say goodbye but both know where the other is. Ky is excited about Camas, though sad that he is apart from Cassia again, because it's where he believes the girl Vick loved, Laney, lives. He hopes to meet Laney? I'm not sure where Indie was sent, but Ky thinks that Indie will somehow bail on the Rising too. Hopefully the next book can resolve so many of the questions I have! I am truly excited for it.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

A departure from books for...CRAFTS!

I took some time away from reading (ha ha) to make some little crafty post-it holders for my kids' teachers. Really easy and cheap to make. I bought 95 cent 5 x 7 plastic frames from Walmart. I already had scrap book paper, buttons and ribbon. I threw them all together, stuck some post-it notes on the front (with the help of a little double stick tape) and BAM! A pretty crafty present!

I'm so not crafty so I'm pretty impressed with myself. But I have to give all the credit for the idea to I LOVE THIS SITE!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Heaven is for Real

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and BackHeaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book very quickly but with that being said, it still felt long. It's an amazing and inspiring story but the way it was told was drawn out. I'm not sure who the story was more about, Colton or his parents. Perhaps both? Obviously this was written by his dad (with the help of a "real" author) from what he heard and understood from Colton and his experience in Heaven.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about whether to believe if this was a farce or not, but by the end, I was convinced that Colton absolutely did have a supernatural experience. The fact that had me convinced was Colton saying every picture he'd seen of Jesus wasn't quite right until his father found a picture a little girl had drawn after she said she met Jesus. When Colton saw that picture, he said, "that's right". That was goose bump inducing. And it's an absolutely amazing picture.

I also have read the children's illustrated version; my six year old daughter thought it was great. I'd give that version a 4, but since that version is not listed on Goodreads, I can't rate it separately!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ransomes Honor (The Ransome Trilogy #1)

Ransome's Honor (The Ransome Trilogy, #1)Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. It was simple and easy to read but really a beautiful clean story that kept my attention from start to end. Although this book is Christian, it's not overly Christian; meaning while there is some faith and prayer, it didn't seem to be the basis of the book by any means.

This is another book that has me excited to read the other books in the Ransome series.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Superflex Takes on Glassman and the Team of Unthinkables (Social Thinking)

Superflex Takes on Glassman and the Team of Unthinkables (Social Thinking)Superflex Takes on Glassman and the Team of Unthinkables by Stephanie Madrigal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My daughter shows signs of ADHD so this book was recommended to us. She struggles with having big reactions to small problems; she is a perfectionist to boot. This book uses cartoon characters called "The Unthinkables", to point out which one of these characters might get into your head and might cause the child to have that big reaction. For instance when my daughter is stuck on an issue and can't get over it, it means she has "Rock Brain" in her head. Superflex helps recognize that Rock Brain is in her head and shows her how she can overcome getting stuck on a problem.

There is a tornado looking character called "Twistermeister". He puts lots of words and ideas into the child's head so they talk about random things that make them blurt out. My daughter is big on interrupting so pointing out that there is a tornado of words in her head that want to come out helps her see that she can learn to control those spinning words and stop from blurting out.

There are many characters that might help children with attention issues and how to move past them. The thing I liked best about this is teaching my daughter that small problems don't need big reactions. A small problem only needs a small reaction. My daughter is six so this helps her understand her issues in an easy manner.

This is a work in progress but I figure I will use all the tools I can to help my daughter succeed in having good behavior at school.

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Lily and the Major (Orphan Train #1)

Lily and the Major (Orphan Train, #1)Lily and the Major by Linda Lael Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a doggone pesky stubborn woman. I can't usually stand when the main character is so stubborn yet so "weak" but this book still got to me and I liked it.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #1)The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another book that I really could have liked more but something continued to bug me off and on through the book. I get Lord Ian Mackenzie was declared mad, he was a genius but incapable of feeling. Clearly in these times he would be called autistic. It was just a little confusing that the book kept saying Ian had no feelings and he didn't understand laughter, love, sadness but he was easily angered. And boy oh boy did this dude liked nookie! I don't quite understand what drew him to Beth in the first place, except she was like a prize to be had but I don't think that's what the author intended. Again, which is it, love or lust?

I do look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. I have a strong feeling they will be better than this book.

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Moloka'iMoloka'i by Alan Brennert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oi! This book is more of a 3.5 for me. It was a very good book but it wasn't the best historical fiction based on real events I've read. Again, it's a historical fiction and I learned something in our American history that I'd never known before and for that I'm grateful, but it just seemed to be missing something. Perhaps because it spanned the life of Rachel from age six to death it went almost too fast. I can't quite place my finger on why it just didn't hit the mark for me.

It starts in the later 1800's, before Hawaii had it's statehood. Many foreigners were arriving on the islands and because the natives had been so isolated, they were not immune to the diseases that the non-natives carried. This book focuses on leprosy, or Hansen's Disease as it's now called. These native islanders and a few foreigners were made to live on a peninsula, in an area called Molokai'a. The main character is fictional but the author states real life people inspired a lot of this story. I had never heard of this so it was certainly fascinating to read!

I'd still recommend this book though. It's a good history lesson.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Passion (Fallen #3)

Passion (Fallen, #3)Passion by Lauren Kate

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't like this book as much as the other two in the series. The little gargoyle guy was strange and I didn't like that he was in the story at all. I realize that the author had to go back in time to explain the past lives, it just wasn't the best method in my honest opinion. I think Luce could have traveled through time and learned about her past self with Daniel another way, it could have been better. Once I got towards the last quarter of the book it got a little better because things finally started coming together. The book just felt disconnected from it's series. I have high hopes for the next book though, the FINAL book.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Redemption

The Redemption (Legacy of the King's Pirates #1)The Redemption by M.L. Tyndall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another swashbuckling romantic adventure by MaryLu Tyndall that made me gasp, smile and be glad I found this good read. One can never be disappointed with her stories and the wonderful messages that they contain.

The The Redemption is about Charlisse Bristol, a young English lady who escapes the tortuous hands of her minister uncle in London to head to Jamaica to find the father she never knew. Her mother had died when Charlisse was eight years old but Charlisse clung to the stories her mother had told her about the amazing man her father was. Charlisse was sure her uncle withheld letters from her father because her mother said that he would be coming to get them, yet he never did.

On her voyage to Jamaica, Charlisse's ship is torn apart by a storm. She survives and finds herself on a deserted island. After many weeks alone and desperate to be found or get on with it and die, she sees a pirate ship land on the island. She sees they are all savage looking pirates and not so sure she wants to be "rescued" by them after all. However, the smell of food and the grumbling in her stomach wins her internal battle and she sneaks into their camp after they seem to have all passed out from too much rum.

She of course gets caught by the dashing and dangerous looking Captain Edmund Merrick. She is brought aboard the ship where she is sure she will be ravaged by the foul looking pirates. Captain Merrick is determined to keep Charlisse safe from the others and after learning that her father is the feared pirate, Edward the Terror, safe from her kin as well!

Pirate fights ensue, near rape occurs, drinking around all the time and stinky pirates galore, Charlisse is sure there is no God. A God could not let all of these horrible things happen to her. Through it all, Merrick seems to be none of these but she is still confused as to what he wants with her. When Merrick is falsely accused of destroying a British ship and set to hang, Charlisse ends up finding God and finding deeper in her heart that she is in love with Merrick. Merrick couldn't be happier knowing that if he is to hang, at least in time he will be with Charlisse again. But alas! God will not let this be the end for them and we are whisked away on more adventures. I'll leave it at that for now!

There is no shortage of adventure, romance and faith in this fantastic book.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1)

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion, #1)A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the most prolific, amazing biblically themed fiction books I have ever read. This is as moving and touching as The Left Behind Series. I'd dare to even say it's as life changing.

It's quite eerie, perhaps not coincidental that Rome in the time this book takes place is quite similar to what I am seeing in this world today. Rome fell, didn't it? It failed and sometimes it seems we might too. This book nearly creates a fear to turn to God in all things. I have accepted the Lord into my life many years ago and this book infuses His Word into me even more.

I have always loved historical fiction for all that it teaches. This book teaches stories of the old and new testament through a fictional persons persepctive. Yes, fiction, but based on real events. What it could have been like to live in the times soon after Jesus was crucified and how much the Jews and Christians were despised.

Hadassah, a slave, is one of the main characters in this book. Her faith as a Christian is powerful and draws many to her because of the peace she has knowing Jesus is Messiah. However, she is hesitant to share her faith knowing she could be killed for uttering a word of her faith. Her masters, the Valerians, are sinful Romans who pray to whatever god they please and live very sinful, selfish lies. Hadassah never ceases in praying for their souls. When she is accused of being deceitful, her faith is put to the ultimate test.

When you think of ancient Rome you can't help but think of Gladiators. Oh yes, this book has that too and in graphic detail. Atretes is a barbarian captured in Germania and the gladiator focused on in this book. I was confused for some time why he was in this book but towards the end it starts to tie together. It too is another fascinating story line and I'm anxious to see if he plays more of a role in the second or third book.

There is so much to this book I couldn't possibly summarize it. I can tell you that Hadassah is a hero to me though. Wow. I cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

A Hope Undaunted

A Hope UndauntedA Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love romances. I love Christian themed books. I love history. Combine them all and what do you have? A Hope Undaunted!

A Hope Undaunted is set in the late 1920's when women were gaining more independence and striving for more than marrying young and being a stay-at-home mom. Women were become loose and wanting jobs usually reserved for men. Katie O'Conner was one of those women. At 18 years old she had her sights set on Jack Worthington; handsome, rich and eating out of her hand. Katie also was set to start law school once summer was over hoping to fight for more women rights and become a congresswoman.

However Katie and her spoiled brat ways pushed her fathers buttons one too many times and was banned from seeing Jack and was forced to work at an orphanage with her childhood nemesis, Cluny "Luke" McGee. Working for Luke was the worst punishment Katie could imagine until she realizes there is a strong attraction between them. But Katie isn't willing to accept these feelings because it doesn't fit her plan in life. Can she fight her new found feelings for Luke and keep working towards her goal of marrying Jack and law school? Is she willing to settle marrying a man she doesn't love but can provide her with a comfortable life? Or is she willing to give it up and follow her heart? It's not as easy as that and Katie and Luke go through many struggles and hardships through the book that keep bringing them together but also pulling them apart.

Katie has three sisters and two brothers who are side stories in this book. We learn of their faith and struggles in life and how God and trust in each other can get them through anything. Each side story is brilliant and their willingness to give their lives to God and His word is powerful and amazing. I did struggle a bit with the submissiveness of the wives but ultimately it was the times and I recognized that's how it was.

A great book and I look forward to reading the second in this series.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Telling Yourself the Truth....

Telling Yourself the TruthTelling Yourself the Truth by William Backus

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here and there it helped, not every chapter pertained to the issues I have/had, but it is helpful somewhat. Sometimes you need a book that says, "pull your head out of your bum" in a nice gentle manner and that's what this book does. A lot of it, to me, was obvious advice but nevertheless I still enjoyed reading it. Each chapter can stand alone so it's not a problem to pick and choose.

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The Winter Sea

The Winter SeaThe Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clearly this book belongs in the romance and historical fiction shelves. I am sure that all of the historical references are true but I wouldn't know as I'm no expert in British and French history. I love this book because the author wraps such a beautiful love story in real history and I learned so much.

The great twist with this book is that it is set in both modern and historic times. It's about an author, Carrie, who rents a cottage in Scotland near a castle where she wants to set the story of her latest novel. Soon she realizes that there are voices speaking to her. Not just in an imagination way, but voices of real figures from history. She thought she had randomly picked names but the more she writes, the more she discovers that what she was writing is fact without having searched for the subject matter. And even more odd, it's her own ancestor. Could she somehow be connected to the main character, Sophia Patterson, by more than just lineage?

Meanwhile, Carrie is involved in her own modern day love story with the son of her landlord. It seems that they are connected as deeply as the characters of her story. It's like two loves stories in one!

A great read and a fantastic learning experience.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

He Loves Lucy

He Loves LucyHe Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun read, a mood lifter for sure. When I realized it was a book about weight I almost put it down but am really glad I didn't. The woman had no pity on herself, she was confident and I really liked that about her. She had a goal and she wanted to succeed, even if her heart was in it way more than she had expected. I flew through this book, it was really, really good!

I will absolutely be reading more from this author. She's hilarious with a great feel for real human emotion.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. Sarah Agnes Prine is a hard working young lady who you can't help but just fall in love with through her twenty years in this book/diary. There are some very uplifting and some very hard times. While this book is fiction, it's very realistic. This is definitely one of my favorite books ever! I'm going through a rough time right now but knowing I could sit down and read this book anytime was a great thing.

Maybe more review later...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maid for the Billionaire

Maid for the BillionaireMaid for the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It started off well. An angry billionaire heads home to Boston to deal with the death of the father he hated. He enters his Brownstone that he never goes to and sees the maid. Though she is not really the maid, she is filling in for her sister who is sick. The angry billionaire lusts after the stand-in maid and the maid says, "ew creep, get off me" but secretly she is seriously attracted to him.

Angry billionaire offers to pay her to stay with him she says, "ew creep, no". He finds her anyway and asks her to come to China to comfort him while he signs off on the biggest contract of his life. Stand-in maid says, "okay". He realizes that she is good for him but won't admit that's it's not just physically. She knows she'll get hurt but can't help the feelings she has.

Once the deal is signed in China, with stand-in maid's help, things go downhill, in my opinion, from there.

It wrapped up too neatly and everyone was happy and it just was not good towards the end. Because I liked the premise of the story, I will give it a three. Could have been a four if the ending hadn't been swathed in so much pretty pink ribbons, unicorns and sparkles.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Gentle Warrior

Gentle Warrior (Tapestry Romance)Gentle Warrior by Julie Garwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know when I'm in a reading slump, I can always turn to aJulie Garwood book. They are all the same beat of plots, climaxes, heros, heroines and villains. Even though I know what to expect, I still enjoy them. Now I can't read her one after another but spaced apart they are certainly an easy, enjoyable, quick read.

This book had me giggling more than her others, especially the last paragraph.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5)

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, #5)This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

I tried, I really tried but could not get through this book! I loved the Night Huntress Series so of course I'm disappointed. I guess without the heat of Cat and Bones it just doesn't do it for me anymore. I guess as we get older and read more books we move on from certain genres to others. Apparently I've grown out of like with this series.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh boy...

Looking at my "current reads" I'm cracking up. Two clearly Christian books next to a book about a vampire demon hunter. I do not have multiply personalities, even if I yell at myself in car for being angry or stupid. I like to read things that may not be suitable for children but I also make sure to balance it out with a little halo over my head.

The library is endless entertainment to me. 
I like to read it all.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Charlie All Night

Charlie All NightCharlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a mildly entertaining read for me. It wasn't overly exciting and I did something really stupid when I started this book. Because this was set in the 90's and I had Tina Fey in my head, Tina Fey was the lead character in my mind and I couldn't get it out! :)

Tina Fey does not exude sensuality in anyway but she does know how to run things. She just fit but not quite all the way.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Fire Lord's Lover

Fire Lord's LoverFire Lord's Lover by Kathryne Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pretty impressed with this book. I'm a bit of a sci-fi, fantasy junkie, but usually on the movie screen. Sometimes it's hard to follow in books. Perhaps this was a dumb downed version of fantasy but I sure loved it!

Lady Cassandra marries General Raikes through an arrangement by their fathers. General Raikes' is a powerful soldier and the son of Lord Mor'ded, an elf. Yes, I said an elf. He also has a dragon. Anyway, Lady Cassandra, unbeknownst to the General and the Lord, is a trained assasin. She is part of rebellion in London who intends to take down the evil Lord Mor'ded and end the power and control he has over the humans.

General Raikes, being half elf, has little human emotional feelings but as he spends more time with Lady Cassandra, his heart starts to slowly melt from it's former frigid state. And while Cassandra is dead--set on killing her father-in-law, she also starts to have feelings for the General as well.

Together they learn they have more in common than they ever could have thought possible.

This is certainly a fantasy read, surprisingly, faith in God is certainly a part of this story, and romance, ah, sweet romance too of course. :) What's also kind of neat about this book is the magic each elf, half-elf or any human with some elf heritage has. Yes, I know, but I like these kind of books!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this in January and it's taken me this long to get to reviewing it. I've read many books between then and now, but it's a book that will never leave me. It was that fascinating to me.

I learned a lot from this book. I'm grateful for it too! I learned about a dying black woman who unknowingly gave cancerous cells to the medical and scientific world many, many years ago that have reproduced so many times, it weighs as much as three Empire State Buildings. I learned that many blacks were subjected to harsh medical experiments that were completely hush- hush and little too hush-hush still if you ask me. Why didn't I know this?!

I'm amazed that the family of Henrietta Lacks continues to struggle to get health insurance when their own mother was such a huge and vital part of exploring cures for many diseases with her incredible multiplying cells. While Johns Hopkins Hospital were the ones to cultivate the cells, they cannot pay a cent to the family. It's just so intriguing and strange.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in American history that is hardly made known as it should be!
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Out of Time

Out of TimeOut of Time by Monique Martin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Started off well. Minimal paranormal, more of a supernatural/sci-fi feel. The paranormal element wasn't introduced until after the second half. About two thirds of the way through I got bored with the story and struggled to want to pick it up again. It would have been 10x better if they stuck to the sci-fi element. The lone vampire was a bit lame. He was a gangster circa 1920's vampire. Just didn't really fit with the whole story.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Bad romance, bad, get out of my sight! (for just a little while)

I really need to get off the romance's for a while. Sheesh! Even though some of the genre I've been overdosing on is Christian, it's still a bit much.

I will be going back to the monstrously huge, Decision Points by George Bush. It's just that it's so heavy. I've been enjoying reading my Kindle books on my Droid X. I can quite literally read it anywhere...and I have too!

Never a Bride

Never a BrideNever a Bride by Amelia Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh la la. This is was a cute, romantic read and I liked the plotline and the a degree. It was pretty predictable, I figured out whodunit and the would-they-end-up-together pretty easily, but getting there, I will admit, was fun!

One particular thing that bothered me about the main character, Mirabella, was her liberties with the "gentlemen" and her reasons for doing so. It just seemed a little out of character. I mean, I get why she did it, it just was a little silly.

Another mild peeve I had was her ignorance of her own sexuality. Asking her lover, "oohhh, why do I feel like this?", "What is this splendid feeling?". It was pretty comical.

I read it very quickly so obviously it grabbed my attention, but thinking back, it was a little bit flaky. I'll give it four stars.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Surrender the Heart

Surrender the HeartSurrender the Heart by M.L. Tyndall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really, really liked this book! It was an action packed Christian romance based on historical events. Perfect combo for me.

I am quite often getting the free Kindle books from Amazon and mostly enjoy them, but this one was extra special. While this one was Christian, it didn't lack for romance either.

Set in time leading up to the War of 1812 between The United States and British Empire, we meet Marianne as she is prepping for her arraigned engagement to the insufferable Noah Brenin. Their families have set up the engagement for the benefit of their own families, however neither one wants to be married to the other. She thinks Noah is a boor and a clod. He thinks she's a spoiled rich brat. However, Marianne isn't really rich anymore, she needs to marry someone in order to receive the inheritance her deceased father had set up for her in order to take care of her ailing mother.

Quickly Noah shows his face at the engagement party and quickly departs to sail his merchant ship to England. His hopes are to make enough money and not have to marry the prissy, Marianne. Little does Noah know that taking off as he did from the party has irritated Marianne to no end and she takes off after him to his ship.

A little incident happens and next thing Marianne knows, she is out to sea with no hope of return. Noah is absolutely disgusted knowing he has to spend months at sea with his unwanted fiancée. She wants to return home to her mother but he cannot risk turning back and not making the fortune he hopes to make with his load.

Marianne hatches plans to destroy the inventory but ends up getting the ship into trouble with a British man o'war frigate, The Undefeatable. Several of the crew and Marianne are impressed with the British ship; basically made into slaves.

In this situation, Noah and Marianne see the strength in each other and realize they must start to rely on God to see them through these hard times. They must trust God that he has a plan and they must accept that they do not know His plan, only that there in one.

Through stormy seas, beatings, horrendous surroundings, Marianne, Noah and the rest of Noah's captured crew makes plans to escape. Through a series of action packed events, they come to their moment of escape and it doesn't go as planned. Noah and Marianne are separated and both are heartbroken. Noah vows he will get Marianne back, even risk death as he'd rather die with her, than without her. Awwwwww!!

I won't go on anymore from there, don't want to spoil it! It really was such a fantastic book. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


BossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tina Fey is funny. She's about the most realistically funny woman on TV (and now print). When I say realistic, she's not the fake-make-stupid-jokes-no-one-gets funny. Her humor is relatable to everyday life and I get it!

Tina Fey goes on some tangents about improv and how to properly do said improv and I skimmed that chapter as I have no interest in that topic. I felt a little awkward at her liberal views but in the end, I absolutely appreciated every word and thought on her personal and political views. (She's just so darn relatable!)

Mostly I laughed my butt off. Her self-deprecating and sometimes in-your-face humor is so in line with what I think about myself and perhaps other women do too. She claims her hips " look like somebody wrapped Pillsbury dough around a case of soda". She rages about the "Teat Nazis", the successful breast feeding moms who make you feel bad for failing she tells it like it is. She swears like a sailor but is unable to confront her daughters babysitter about cutting her nails to short. She struggles with being a working mom and wondering if she should have the second baby.

I don't think there is a person out there who wouldn't laugh at her antics, whatever your political background! And she does address the Sarah Palin sketches and how her parents are Republicans. Great stuff.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce (Movie Tie-in Edition)Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I caught the last half of the mini-series movie on HBO and was so curious about what took place in the first half, I had to get the book.

I liked this book because it was well written, especially considering is was written about a women, but written by a man. I am admittedly skeptical of all books about women written my men. James Cain may have abolished that thought from my pre-conceived notions!

More review later...

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Love at First Flight

Love at First FlightLove at First Flight by Marie Force

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Kindle book has been sitting on my Kindle App on my phone for a couple of months. I'm not sure what took me so long to get to reading it but I really enjoyed it! It was a sweet romance with an intriguing plot and dash of crime and mystery. A lot of sweet proclamations of love from the heart (and of course some great steamy parts too!).

Juliana meets Michael as they are flying from Baltimore to Jacksonville to spend the weekend with their significant others. They find they have an immediate connection but make nothing of it knowing they are each committed to someone else. Coincidentally they realize they are also taking the same flight home at the end of the weekend. They wish each other a nice weekend and will see each other in a couple of days.

Come the end of the weekend Michael finds Juliana in tears at the airport after a disastrous weekend with her boyfriend whom she is now taking a break from. Michael confesses he broke off his engagement with his fiancée. Together they talk out their frustrations and by the time they walk to the parking lot to go home, fate steps in and Juliana's car won't start.

Michael offers to drive her home but she says she does not want to stay at the place she and her boyfriend shared. He quickly offers her his spare room which, as fate would have it, is only a few blocks from Juliana's home. She hesitantly agrees but knows it is a good place to be since no one will know where she is.

Michael can feel right off the bat that Juliana is the perfect woman for him and makes it known to her. Juliana in turn says while she has feelings for Michael as well, she is only on a break from her boyfriend of ten years and cannot get involved with another man.

However, crazy and terrible things start to happen to Juliana as she lives in Michaels home that endanger her life and draws her closer to Michael whom will do anything to protect her.

Juliana's feelings continue to grow stronger for Michael but she is so confused about who she really belongs with, Michael, or her long time boyfriend, Jeremy.

Michael says he won't give up on her, but neither will Jeremy. Who will she choose? Who is she meant to be with? A new, powerful and all consuming love or a long time dependent love, the only love she had known until now?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments #4)

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I don't ever recall being so pissed off about a book as I have about this one.

I was surprised one day to see that there was a fourth book in the Mortal Instrument series (which I really liked!). I thought, gee, I could have sworn the third book ended well, what could she possibly write about in a fourth? Crap, total crap, that's what she wrote.

Seriously authors, STOP WHEN YOU HAVE A GOOD THING GOING! There is nothing to be ashamed of when you have a successful trilogy, stop, move on to another series, resist the temptation to mess a good thing up!

This book was lame, the beginning was extremely slow and when it finally picked up a little, you got the idea that the ending was going to be horrific, there was no way around it. Clary, Jace, Simon, you were cool to me once, now you're a distant memory because you're creator messed up your mojo...your're dead to me!

I hope I can resist all temptation to pick up another book in this series once they are released. I seriously about went to the bathroom and threw up at this ending. It was so evil and so off base from what the original series was about. What a disappointment. I don't want to put myself through that crud again. What a waste of my reading time. (Can you tell I'm angry about this one?)

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Comfort & Joy

Comfort And Joy Comfort And Joy by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a surprise this book turned out to be. It is so not what I expected out of Kristin Hannah!

I just read someone elses review stating that they couldn't get past 50 pages. If I wasn't such a huge Kristin Hannah fan I may have abandoned it as well. Boy am I glad I didn't.

Initially I felt really disappointed in her story, it just wasn't her normal beautiful, deep story that all of her others are. It felt cheap, short and awkward. It didn't add up to me at all. However, when I got two thirds of the way through, the twist was huge, so unexpected but it all made sense like...BAM! I'm glad I stuck with it.

It may seem like an unusual and weird book overall to some but I've read similar books to this and enjoyed them too. But be warned, this is a different Kristin Hannah book than most of her other writings. Faithful Kristin Hannah readers, give it a chance!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Splendor (Luxe #4)

Splendor (Luxe, #4)Splendor by Anna Godbersen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm a little underwhelmed with the finale to this four book series. The romance in the series was mostly well written and focused but the last book almost went too many places with the affections of its main characters; as if to throw the reader off and surprise them but I guess it didn't surprise me.

There were some loose ends and oddities that bugged me throughout the series that causes me to give this book (the last) a three star. Relationships that were pivotal to many storylines just kind of dissipated. I feel like I could have liked this series more if it had delved a bit more deeply into the familial relationships...the basis for the main characters traits. Perhaps that's it, some relationship descriptions were superficial and could have used more attention, but I will give her kudos on the few places she did get it right (Henry & Diane, Elizabeth & two beaus, Penelope & herself righteousness)!

I really did like how the author took a lot of time to explain what everyone was wearing down to the stitching. A very glamorous group and the book did not scrimp on the fabulousness of their clothing! That was fun.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Envy (luxe #3)

Envy (Luxe, #3)Envy by Anna Godbersen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dang! This is truly more a three than a four merely because of the ending. It was so good up until the end, it just felt fake and rushed and too much going on. I'm now reading the last book and I have to say I'm eagerly awaiting it to be over (resolved). I have, as a whole, mostly liked the series though.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

The Peach Keeper

The Peach KeeperThe Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm going to say this is her best book yet. Another romantic and adventuresome story with fantastic writing about magic, mystery, love and friendship. Sarah Addison Allen is so unique; while you can always expect big elements of magic and mystery, each story goes in a direction that is its own fairy tale. Each of her characters have their quirks but you root that the twists and turns in the story will go in their favor and they will have the "happily ever after" ending.

If you have liked SAA's other books, you simply will not be disappointed with this one.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Luxe

The Luxe (Luxe, #1)The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm really torn between and 3 and 4 star for this book. I liked the book but it was a little slow to start with. I'll write out my review and come up with a final number by the end!

The book starts off at the funeral of Elizabeth Holland, a beautiful, prim and proper socialite in Manhattan from the late 1800's. We are set up with a few of the main cast of characters at the funeral including Elizabeth's sister, Diana, her best friend, Penelope Hayes and her future husband, the dapper Henry Schoonmaker. Not attending the funeral but are thoroughly entwined in this story are Elizabeth's personal maid, Lina Broud and the family coachman, Will Keller.

The book moves on to the events leading up to the funeral for Elizabeth Holland. It starts off a little slow but picks up about half way through the book as we start to understand what might have lead to the funeral for Elizabeth Holland. We read about affairs of the heart, social enemies, the rich and lavish life with luxurious parties, gossip, betrayal, familial obligations, heartache and on and on.

This story shows that there are a lot of layers beneath the finely polished exterior of the rich and debonair families with proper manners that are mostly for show. Beneath there are dark secrets that threaten the way of life they are so greedily accustomed to. Are they willing to risk their heart or are they willing to risk the riches they have been afforded? And who will they bring down to get what they want?

Okay, I'll give it 4 stars! It was mildly juicy but I really liked the setting of the book. Very nice. :)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Angel Falls

Angel FallsAngel Falls by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm torn about this book. It was written over 10 years ago by Kristin Hannah (my fave author!) but it lacks the appeal that her most recent books do. It is mildly farfetched but Ms. Hannah knows how to make it not too over-the-top and mildly relatable.

As always this book focuses on trials and tribulations on the family bond and love. The main characters learned about themselves and grew on their new found knowledge of themselves and their loved ones.

Some things that bothered me about this book, for one, was the little boy acted too young, it wasn't an accurate portrayal of a nine year old. A minor irritation but I had to point it out. And really? Would someone love another so much to be completely blind to the built up wall of the past? I wasn't quite sold on that either.

I liked how the story played out for the most part but of all of the books I've read of Kristin Hannah's, this is my least favorite.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A creative story narrated by a five year old speaking about his life in the Room he lives in with his Mom. Jack was born in the Room and knows nothing of Outside of Room, to him it's all imagination until his Mom explains to him after he turns 5 that the things he sees on TV are for real and she once had a life outside of Room. This is hard for Jack to comprehend because to him, there is nothing that exists except for the things he has in their 11 x 11 foot Room. You'll have to read the story to see what brought Mom there...

This is a very strange, intriguing story that started out a little bit slow and confusing for me but as things started to pick up, it grabbed my attention and didn't let go. It's sad and amazing but in every right Jack makes you understand his confusion in his own words. What a sweet little boy; you will cheer for him, you will cry for him, he will steal your heart!

I can't quite give this a five star as I don't think I would ever read it again and I'm not sure this is a book for everyone. However, I really, really liked it and am curious to see how else this author writes other books.

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