Monday, August 5, 2013

The Falcon and the Sparrow

The Falcon and the SparrowThe Falcon and the Sparrow by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it! Mary Lu Tyndall writes books the way I like them. Darn near perfection in my mind. I read this book in a single day it was that good.

Again, cheesy book cover but she has no control over that one, so no fault there Mary Lu! Glad they are improving her covers these days.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't realize this was YA, but once you got past the quirky little teenage talk of some characters, it was really a very darling book. It was fun to read and a real page turner. A nice light read.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unbroken, perfectly titled. But I think forgiveness should have been in the book title too.

I found this book to be the most eye opening book reading experience ever. It's so hard to try to imagine the horrors the Pacific theater POW's experience yet alone read it. You can't make this stuff up. It's so, so sad that I found myself getting a little down. But I was pleasantly surprised by the end that that is where I ended up in tears. I think I was just too shocked for tears before the end.

I'm so glad I finally read this book. I've wanted to since it came out. I think everyone should read this book to obtain a great understanding of the WWII POW experience. They and other war veterans deserve more respect than our government has given them. WAY more.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise #1)

Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise, #1)Forsaken Dreams by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book though it seemed a little different than her other books. I liked all of the characters, even down to the "bad guy" who was just straight CREEPY!

This book really was about escaping. These war-exhausted southerners are ready to leave their roots in the south after the civil war. They seek to start a new colony in Brazil where they can start fresh and away from the Union.

Ms. Tyndall is a talented author (my favorite) but this book really shows her growth I think. It's beautifully written, it was seamless to me.

As always, I love her journey into faith for the characters, though the journey for each of them was not quite as powerful as I have read in some of her other books. But that did not take away from it at all.

I am so very excited to read more in this series and see what lies ahead in Brazil!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Fly Away

Fly AwayFly Away by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll call this a 3.75 rating. :)

I do not recall much about Firefly Lane except that I liked it. I'd almost like to reread it to see how the characters early days were as I'm drawing a complete blank.

Kristin Hannah can either blow my mind or I can feel a little disappointed. This one was a little disappointing only because it is not a writing method that I love. It switches points of views so much, and the same character can be first or third person. It was easy to follow but I simply don't favor this method.

That being said, it was still a great story. It was incredibly sad and very moving as are most of her books. The character development in this book was major and I really enjoyed seeing each of the characters grow and move on from tragedy at their own pace.

I love Kristin Hannah's story telling. She is a master and I will eagerly await each and every book she writes! They are all SO different, you never know what you are going to get.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Restitution

The RestitutionThe Restitution by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I forgot to mark that I finished this book, I've been so busy I haven't picked up a book other than the Bible in a few weeks.

I don't remember all the detail of this book but I know I loved every second of this pirating adventure written by MaryLu Tyndall. I think there is only one book I have left of hers to read and then I can say I've read every one. By far, she is my favorite author.

Her amazing ability to combine real life emotions, battles, adventure, and Christianity into one fantastic book makes her undeniably talented. I look forward to keep reading her books as she publishes them!

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Highlander Most Wanted (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs #2)

Highlander Most Wanted (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #2)Highlander Most Wanted by Maya Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one, but not as much as the first. It's a sad story of an abused woman who is rescued by a handsome Scot. It was sweet and intense like the first book, but didn't quite have "it", whatever "it" is. Good read though.

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Surrender the Dawn (Surrender to Destiny #3)

Surrender the Dawn (Surrender to Destiny #3)Surrender the Dawn by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will never tire of reading her books. I cannot say enough how fun, adventurous, and romantic they are! The spirituality of these books make them that much better. Books you can totally feel good about reading.

This was the final book in this series and it wrapped up nicely. All of the books are loosely connected and this and the book preceding it are definitely tied together during a particular event.

This was so, so good. Can't wait to read every single book she publishes!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Madman's Daughter

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I should start off saying the low rating is my own fault! I'm not sure why, but I did not read what this book was about. I saw it was a "mover & shaker" so I put a hold on it at the library. NOTE TO SELF: Read the summary of the book first! This book was a gothic, science fiction horror yet it was labeled young adult. I wouldn't want my teen-aged kids to read this.

Again, not the authors fault, she is a storyteller and I'm sure a good one, I just didn't like this story. I did not like thinking of the grotesque images of animals cut apart to create half human/half animal aberrations. It felt wrong, wrong, wrong to read, just so unnatural and disturbing. It totally grossed me out and honestly I skipped the third quarter of the book and read the last quarter. I was fine with the ending and really didn't give two thoughts to the cliffhanger. It was over for me.

I also did not realize this was a series, DUH, of course it was. Is there any young adult books that aren't series these days? (I find that incredibly annoying.) Needless to say, I will not continue with this series. It simply is not a genre that interests me in the least.

Again, my own fault and I'm sorry if this offends anyone, especially the author, but I gave my honest personal perception of a story I never should have started in the first place.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Surrender the Night (Surrender to Destiny, #2)

Surrender the Night (Surrender to Destiny, # 2)Surrender the Night by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another fantastic book by MaryLu Tyndall. The very first book of hers I read was the first book in this series, Surrender the Heart. Unfortunately, The county library didn't have the rest of the series so I nearly forgot there was more. Yes, I could have bought the book but I contacted the library to see if they could purchase the final two books to complete the series and they did! Now other readers in the area can be blessed to read the complete Surrender to Destiny series.

Her books are fantastic. She sure knows how to write an excellent historic, faith based, romance. While this book was not a sea faring adventures like so many others, there was a strong connection to the water once again. I loved the quick interaction with Dolly Madison, the first lady at the time. Great stuff.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Between Sisters

Between SistersBetween Sisters by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ahh, Ms. Hannah, you've pulled at my heart strings yet again. Her books always are an emotional read, tears and laughter every time!

Two sisters who had a tough up bringing and drifted apart struggle to connect when life brings them back together many years into their adult life. Meghan is an emotionally detached divorce lawyer who sees the worst of the worst in life and it skews her thoughts on marriage. Claire just wants to be loved and finds a man whom she quickly decides is the one and wants to marry now! Meghan wants to be there for her sister but struggles to keep her jaded view on marriage to herself. Meghan finds something in a mysterious man in town to whom she feels a connection and it scares her to death. Running away seems the easiest thing to do rather than get hurt like she has seen happen so many others so many times before.

Tragedy strikes one of the sisters and they realize that they need to confront their past, forgive, and catch up on the years of sisterly love they missed out on. To learn that past hurts cannot continue to define who you thought you were. Love and forgiving others and especially yourself is the main theme in this book.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cinderella Deal

The Cinderella DealThe Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so cute! Yes, this fake marriage story line has been told before, but I really, really liked this one. I've said so many times before that I'm not a huge contemporary romance fan, but every once in a while a cute, sweet, little gem pops up and I can appreciate the genre again.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)

Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)Vision in White by Nora Roberts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cheeeeeese. That has a double meaning. The main character in this book is a slightly neurotic wedding photographer who is also emotionally abused and manipulated by her extremely neurotic mother, and is kept company by her mousy new boyfriend. I didn't care much for her or her cavity sweet boyfriend. This book was not my cup of tea. These are the types of books that make me hate contemporary romances. I like conversations in a book, but this was too much. No prose, no purpose on my shelf.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Love's Reckoning (The Ballantyne Legacy #1)

Love's Reckoning (The Ballantyne Legacy, #1)Love's Reckoning by Laura Frantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honestly I struggled with this book a little bit in the beginning. I just couldn't connect with the language or the story, I have no idea why. However a quarter of the way through the book I was hooked except for one little thing...

I have a family member struggling with a past and when something heart breaking happened in this book that reminded me of this person, it hit me really hard and I had to let the book sit for a while. It disturbed me and made me so sad and ask, "why did this have to be in the book? Why does such evil have to happen to people?" I'm not sure I felt the book dealt with it well, but it was the late 1700's and those things were not discussed.

I am glad I picked the book back up and was able to finish reading what ended up being a gloriously happy ending.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Never Seduce a Scot

Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #1)Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good and enjoyable read. Title doesn't match the book though. The title might lead one to believe its your typical cheesy romance, but it's not. I was pleasantly surprised by it's plot and look forward to reading more by this author.

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Blue Moon Promise

Blue Moon PromiseBlue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet Christian romance read. Maybe more like 3.5 stars but it's a good, clean read so I'll give it 4 stars.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To Whisper Her Name

To Whisper Her Name (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel)To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really sweet, endearing Christian love story set in post civil-war Tennessee. I felt the first quarter of the book was boring but it picked up from there and was a very enjoyable read.

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A Week to Be Wicked

Abandoned. Was about half way through it. I just couldn't read this. It was okay, thin plot, very cheesy. I had a horrible time sleeping last night thinking about the evils of life and decided I would give up this book for some sleep. I didn't get the sleep as I had wished, but I will follow through on my vow to stop reading it.

A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2)A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Central Park Rendezvous

Central Park RendezvousCentral Park Rendezvous by Ronie Kendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easily the best four-author book I've ever read. The stories were of four generations of the Wolfe family, each written by an incredibly talented Christian fiction author. Each of the men and women were a part of a war, from the war in Afghanistan to the Civil War. All of the stories are tied together by a coin which is inscribed with "Love Never Fails". There is more meaning to the saying than just romance, it also speaks of God's love never failing too.

MaryLu Tyndall is the author for the Civil War story and she is one of my favorite authors, but this book has led me to discover the wonderful talent of the other authors as well. I'm looking forward to reading other works by these lovely ladies!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)Winter of the World by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not quite as gripping as the first in the series, but still amazing!

This book is primarily about the children of the characters from the first book. This book felt more scientific and historic and a little less dramatic and was primarily about WWII. I still learned a lot, though I do not rely on it to be perfectly accurate! It's enough to quench my thirst for history.

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Redeeming Love

Redeeming LoveRedeeming Love by Francine Rivers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing book. It was sad, it was beautiful, it was haunting, it was lovely. It was powerful !

This brings love and forgiveness to a level that not many people would possibly consider these days. To be broken in so many ways, body and soul, unable to see that there is a higher power who can cleanse you entirely. To go through hell and think you cannot be loved and be told again and again that there is One who can cleanse you, love you, cherish you. Trying to find a purpose in life when all you have to do is believe. It may take time, it may be hard, but in the end, there will be peace.

There were times I would get a little irritated with the dialogue, but it was minor. The ending was moving and brought me to tears. I even loved the authors note at the end. I was very happy to read that finding Christ for her was not a mountain top experience, but a journey.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Always You

Always YouAlways You by Kirsty Moseley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel generous giving this book two stars, but if it had been properly edited by a publisher, it might have received a higher rating.

Terribly overdramatic, poorly written, poorly researched story. I suppose every author starts with something and we live in a time of self published books, but this is the kind of junk that leaks into the ebook world and people haphazardly buy for $.99 and feel it was a waste. I know that's incredibly harsh, but I honestly think it could have been good if it had gone through the proper publishing channels.

I just finished reading a phenomenal book, Winter of the World by Ken Follet. He's a Welsh author writing not only about his home country, but Germany, Russia, and the United States. The lesson here? An author really ought to do their homework if they truly want to be a respected author.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

All The Way Home

All the Way Home All the Way Home by Ann Tatlock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall the story (stories) were decent. It felt like two books, almost like it could have been a series, but it was a two part book. The first half of the book took place with the two main characters as children living in southern California leading up to and during WWII. Sunny is a second generation Japanese American who has an incredibly loving and supportive family who feel they are as American as anyone else. Augie comes from a broken family and quickly comes to love Sunny's family when they quickly become best friends.

World War II erupts and Sunny's family is forced to leave their lives behind to live in Japanese internment camps. Augie is devastated as she had become so much a part of Sunny's family, she even thinks of herself as Japanese at heart.

Augie and Sunny's family lose contact and Auguie thinks they have abandoned her and is devastated by what she sees as betrayal.

Fast forward twenty something years and Sunny, now Helen, finds Augie and invites her to her home to write a magazine article about anti-civil rights Mississippi. Augie is shocked to learn that the invitation to Mississippi is from her childhood best friend; there is a weird twist there I won't spoil.

Augie is there to write a story about a school that prepares African Americans to register to vote. She meets a really great guy...blah blah blah, he turns out to be something completely different than she thought...blah, blah, blah...the KKK are everywhere, they are bad, horrible people. I do not mean to demean what happened there, it's disgusting, but the story dragged on too much for me to read every fine detail.

The second part started out good, but then I just lost interest. It could have been shortened substantially. I skimmed over many pages just trying to get to the end quickly.

Great basis for a story, just not as interesting as I think it could have been. And have I mentioned how much I HATE reading accents? It is one of the more annoying parts of this book.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Wait For Me

Wait For MeWait For Me by Elisabeth Naughton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really, really good book...and free on Kindle too! The story line was great and main characters were all fabulous. There were a few continuity and grammatical errors that could be fixed though. I wasn't a huge fan of all swearing and how many times, "son of a bitch" was (over) used. If a really good editor got their hands on this book, it could definitely be a five star read.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013


SwimSwim by Jennifer Weiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Um, okay. Short? Yes. Good enough to draw me into reading, The Next Best Thing? Uh, maybe. Not in a rush though.

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Short-Straw Bride

Short-Straw BrideShort-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute and clean Christian romance set in the late 1800's Texas. Fun, sweet story with cowboys, love, and faith in the Almighty.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Fall of Giants (Century Trilogy #1)

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1)Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy cow. By far the best book I have ever read and I hear it’s not his best!! I am hooked on this guys writing. It's a 985 page, hard back book...very heave to carry around.

The main characters are from Wales, Russia, Germany, and The United States of America. They come from different classes in life, from always hungry thieves to overindulgent earls. Most of their paths cross at some point or another, either before World War 1 starts or during the war itself. Each person is very passionate about the war whether for or against it. In common they all have a fear of what the war will bring them, or worse, take away from them.

The main characters are fictional but they interact with real historical figures, like Woodrow Wilson, Josef Lenin, and Winston Churchill to name a few. The author explains at the end of the book that the interaction may have been fictional, but what the real historical figures said was in fact something they actually did speak or write about.

I can see how this book could anger some people. I don't know whether the book was biased in any way, I will admit I am not as well informed about worldly topics such as World War 1. But the author seemed to have a stereotype for each of the character's home country. Like Russians as alcoholics, thieves, and communists. Germans as hard headed louts, English as pompous aristocrats, and Americans as self ascribed domineering world police. I think there is a bit of truth to each of the descriptions, but there are truly a lot of well intentioned people in the book too.

I learned so much from this book. What I mean is that I found myself putting the book down and looking up more information on my iPad about World War 1. I had no idea what started WW1. I had no idea that Germany and Austria-Hungary were diminished to mere blips on the map after the peace treaty. I feel a bit ashamed that I knew so little about it, but I do know a lot more now. The very basics at least.

His next book, Winter of the World, takes place with the children of the main characters of this book. It sounds like the lead up to World War II. I really look forward to reading it but I need a light reading break in between. It's a huge book; my little wrists need a break!

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bible Verse...

A new type of post for me, but I think it's high time. Some Bible verses just hit me in the gut at the right time, really affecting my attitude when it seriously needs some affecting. So here is the verse I want to remember for today:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Favorite Books in 2012...

I read some really, really good books this year. Out of the past four years I've been on Goodreads, I have rated more five star books this year than any other. I read four less books in 2012 than in 2011, but only 62 pages less. I was going to pick five of my favorite books this year, but once I started listing them, I came up with seven that I just had to pick!

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson was by far the best romance I have read, maybe ever. I loved it because it was sweet, it was clean, it was proper, and was so romantic. I could easily read this book again which I never do! Here is my full review here.

The word that comes to mind when I think of The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani, is epic. That is probably the wrong us of the word , but it was such an amazing, thrilling, perfectly written book. Starting from the early 1900's in Italy to mid-century America, it was an incredible journey of a couples life. While I think the cover is pretty, I don't think it fits the book well. Anyway, here is my full review.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah. I still get goosebumps thinking of this story. It is haunting, it is sad, it is about the most heartsick I have ever felt reading a book. I think it is so moving because it could happen to you. Being the child or the parent, it's a worst nightmare. I loved her writing and I couldn't have suggested anything different about this story if I tried. It is perfection. Full review here.

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris is another bit of a history lesson on Japanese Internment camps in the United States. This is the second novel I've read about this huge blemish on the United States past. I shall never be tired of hearing of it though. It amazes me and this book was told with beautiful and powerful writing. Review here.

Divergent by Veronica Roth was the first book in the Divergent series. I have read the second book but didn't like it as much. I found this dystopian themed book to be fascinating and creative. These books are all the rage now, but this one stood out the most to me. Very cool book. Full review can be found here.

I just love MaryLu Tyndall. I have had a few personal words with her via email, she is a cool and as genuine as they come. Veil of Pearls was simply amazing. I love reading early American history, especially her swashbuckling sea adventures. While this book didn't take to sea as much as her others, it was no less amazing. Tackling slavery can be tricky, but she mastered this with perfect insertions of Christianity and romance. Here is my full review. (Oops, it appears I forgot to post this review when I wrote in on Goodreads in November. On here it has a 2013 posting.)

The Fault in our Stars was very hard to read. It was such a mixed bag of literature and a mixed bag of emotions. Some describe this book as far fetched claiming the two main characters, teenagers with cancer, talk way above their maturity level. I noticed that too, but I didn't care. It was a great book with a great story and take note: have tissues handy. Full review here.

NOTE: These books weren't all published in 2012, I simply just read them in 2012. My favorite books that I read. That's all it is!

Here are the honorable mentions, all very, very good, all of these were five star books to me as well:

Veil of Pearls

Veil of PearlsVeil of Pearls by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been wanting to read this for so long and it was worth the wait. This was an excellent book! Taking place in 1800's Charleston, SC, it had a lot to do with slavery. A hard subject to tackle but Ms. Tyndall handled and delivered it with grace.

As with most, if not all, of her books, many lessons were learned and souls were changed by accepting the Lord as their savior. Of course there was an incredibly sweet romance plot that I think may be one of my favorites. It was a hard one to read, thinking about how the southern culture existed before slavery was abolished, but like I said, she did a great job with this book!

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