Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen is back with another historical novel. This time it's The Tutor's Daughter. This book is reminiscent of The Secret Garden and I loved it! It took me back to when I was little and read TSG for the first time.

Full of mystery, some romance, secrets, and heroism, this is one not to be missed. I spent way too much time this week devouring this 400+ page book. Definitely a winner from Julie Klassen, my favorite of her works so far.

From the back cover:
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?
The baronet's older sons, Philip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems-and secrets-of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectantly drawn to her...
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma find out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?
Filled with page turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast-a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions-where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

About the author:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Julie and her family live in Minnesota.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse.      

The Five Money Personalities by Scott & Bethany Palmer

The Five Money Personalities by Scott & Bethany Palmer is not at all what I expected it to be. This is more of a marriage help book than a financial help book. I have no problem with marriage books, I love them in fact. This one was just a little....boring. I felt that the "five personalities" could have just been written as a magazine article instead of an entire book. I lost interest about halfway through, put the book down and forgot about it for a few weeks until I happened upon it again yesterday.

Maybe this would be a good resource for newly married couples who are finding their way in the world of finances. Just isn't doing anything for this 20+ year married chick.

About the book:
  The hidden key to a healthy relationship is not just managing money but understanding how the other approaches money.

Every couple argues about money. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 40 years or dating for 4 months, money touches every decision you make as a couple—from the $5 cup of coffee to the $50,000 car. And when the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye on how much to spend or how much to save, that’s when arguments turn into ugly toxic fights that leave both persons feeling hurt and angry. It’s why money has become the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. Obviously, something needs to change. The reason this crisis has not been addressed is because it has never been identified, defined, or given a name. Scott and Bethany Palmer, aka “The Money Couple,” have identified and defined this problem and offer concrete solutions to fix it.

Once you know your Money Personality, you can get to the root of money arguments and start really working together. You’ll discover what has an impact on your loved one’s money decisions, and you’ll learn how to talk about money in a way that’s actually fun! You’ll figure out how to put an end to money secrets and lies once and for all.

It’s not just about money management, and it’s definitely not just about overcoming debt. It is a whole new way of living that will change everything in your relationship. Tens of thousands have already been transformed. Are you ready?

This book was provided for review by FlyBy Promotions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Abel's Field

If you're looking for an uplifting family movie that will impact your life, Abel's Field is not the film for you.
While the premise is a good one, it failed to move me. There were parts where a character said, "You said.....(such and such)" and I was left scratching my head because I'd never heard the other character do what they'd said he'd done. Maybe it got left on the editing room floor.
One character, the clerk at the local convenience store, wears such low-cut shirts that I'm surprised she didn't have a wardrobe malfunction. 
This could have had a bigger impact if more back story was shared. 
It was also very slow moving.
Definitely not one that I'll watch again.

From the back cover:
Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle is under enormous pressure to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying from of the football team. When he fights back, he's singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of Abel, a reserved groundskeeper. Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth towards desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back to the light.

This was provided for review by FlyBy Promotions and they've also provided a copy to give away. Leave a comment below if you'd like to be entered into the drawing.

Cheaper, Better, Faster by Mary Hunt

Mary Hunt is back with another book on saving money, but this one is so different that it will cause even the biggest tightwad to stop and take notice. Cheaper, Better, Faster is full of hints and tips to help you not only save money, but save time as well. 
Some of the ideas aren't new, but are worth hearing again. Others are new and are brilliant. Like, why didn't I think of that? brilliant. There are pages and pages of ideas, and they're separated into sections, arraigned alphabetically,  such as cleaning, food & cooking, health & beauty, home, and travel & entertainment. 
This book will keep you entertained as you learn while reading it. Some ideas I've already implemented.

This is a good one to keep on hand. You'll never stop reading it!

From the back cover:
Make gourmet coffee without the gourmet price. Remove hairspray baked on a curling iron. Clean just about any stain off of any surface. Keep your cat out of your houseplants. Get the best deal on your next car. And thousands of other helpful tips and tricks.
Cheaper, Better, Faster is all the best advice you've ever heard (and plenty you've never heard) collected into one handy volume.
Every tip is short, to the point, and helps you make the most of your money and your time, making everyday life less hectic and more enjoyable. Collected over the years by financial expert Mary Hunt, these little nuggets of advice are sure to make your life easier, one tip at a time.

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is the second in the Avenue of Dreams series by Olivia Newport (first being The Pursuit of Lucy Banning). This time we return to Chicago during the World's Fair. Charlotte is still in the employ of the Banning family and one day the woman who takes care of her secret infant son drops him off and leaves town. Charlotte is torn between revealing her secret and losing her job and giving him up for good. Things get worse when she receives a letter from the husband that she fled from. He wants what she has and she decides to do what ever is best, no matter the cost.

These novels in this series provide a fascinating look at the wealthy and elite of Chicago in its heyday. I'm enjoying the series and can't wait to see what comes next.

This book was provided for review by Revell.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Choices of the Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes

Choices of the Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes was extremely hard for me to get into. I couldn't get past the back-woods language that was used and I got disinterested rather quickly. I was unable to finish this book though I found the premise to be interesting. 

From the back cover:
Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. When a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western m ountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a dealy family feud--and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.

Yet could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation--and love?

In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you'll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.

This book was provided for review by Revell.    ..

Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot

Amanda Cabot's Waiting for Spring returns us to the life of Charlotte in book number two of the Westward Winds series. And a welcome return it is. In this volume we watch Charlotte grow as a woman who is on the run from secrets in her past to a pillar of her new community. The way she cares for others in need brought tears to my eyes. Though the simplicity of the time this story is set in seems idyllic, we are reminded through this novel that these times were anything but easy. The people who founded the western parts of our country  had a very hard life, never knowing what would come at them next. I loved the romances that bloomed in this novel and found it hard to put down. Can't wait until the next one comes out.
Thanks, Amanda Cabot, for this clean read!

From the back cover:
After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.
Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful, Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.
Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

About the author:
Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow's Garden and Summer of Promise, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.   

This book was provided for review by Revell. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish

Wow. Just wow. Sometimes you read a book and think, "Yeah, I saw that coming." Not so with this one. Every time I thought I knew what was coming next I was wrong. This latest novel by Christa Parrish has just blown me away and has risen her to the likes of Lynn Austen and Ann Tatlock. This was fantastic from start to finish. It had me sobbing (that's a good thing!) in several parts and I will always remember this one as being special. This is the kind of book that I crave. They are few and far between and I will always buy a Christa Parrish novel after this one.
The story follows several hurting people as their lives intersect and then separate. It also shows how God moves and woos people into His arms gently and tenderly. It truly captured the love that the Father has for his little ones. 

From the back cover:
Seventeen year old Molly does not go outside. For so long she has run away from a moment long in the past, but she's not running anymore. She's hiding. Ruled by anxiety, she can only stare out the window of the tiny tourist-town museum she and her mother call home, longing to go outside--to maybe take a walk with the cute boy who works in the pizza place across the street.

Then the chance arrival of a woman Molly knew years ago changes everything. Back then, Claire Rodriguez was an empty shell. Only in the unique friendship she struck up with a little girl--a silent girl who would only talk to Claire-- did she see the possibility of healing. But one day the girl and her mother vanished, their house left abandoned.  
What happened that drove them away? And can Claire now help Molly the same chance at finding a new life?

This book was provided for review by Bethany House  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Vanished by Irene Hannon

This is the first book I've read by Irene Hannon and I can promise that it won't be the last. It had me riveted with the suspense in it. I didn't want to put it down, but it made me so nervous I didn't want to keep reading!

A car accident in the middle of the night leaves Moira confused. She's sure she hit someone but the evidence has all but disappeared. Her instinct as a reporter is telling her to dig deeper, but digging deeper may cause her her life. 

This is the kind of book that I like. One that grabs your attention and holds it to the end with an exciting storyline that is completely clean. Kudos to the author for this clean read.

About the book & author:
In her newest romantic-suspense novel, critically-acclaimed author Irene Hannon asks herself what would happen if the victim of a deadly car crash on a secluded country road simply disappeared? Vanished is the gripping first novel in Hannon’s Private Justice series. It opens with a shadowy figure caught in the beam of reporter Moira Harrison’s headlights – followed by a solid thump before she loses control and crashes into a tree. But when Moira regains consciousness, the victim is nowhere to be seen.

The police say the disappearance never happened, but Moira can’t forget the look of sheer terror she saw on the person’s face in the instant it was caught in the glare of her headlights. Now her only hope of discovering the truth is a former police detective turned private eye—and her own investigate skills.

As often happens for Hannon, the genesis of this story came out of the blue, triggered by a simple incident.

“I was driving home from church one rainy night and my headlights fell on a bicyclist on the edge of the narrow road. I swerved to avoid him, thinking what a risk he was taking. Then the wheels in my brain started turning and I began what-iffing. What if a woman was driving alone on a country road and suddenly caught a desperate figure in her headlights? What if she swerved, but hit the figure? What if a stranger appeared out of the darkness to offer assistance before she lost consciousness? What if she woke up and both the stranger and the victim had disappeared? My five-second encounter on that rainy night was the impetus not only for this book, but for my whole Private Justice series, which focuses on situations that have fallen through the cracks of official law enforcement or been dismissed by the police.”

Hannon, a former communications executive for a Fortune 500 company, left the corporate world in 2003 to focus on her growing fiction brand. While continuing to write contemporary romance, she also delved into suspense. From the beginning, her romantic suspense books have garnered rave reviews. Booklist named Deadly Pursuit (Revell, 2011) one of the top ten inspirational fiction titles for 2011. The final book in her Guardians of Justice series, Lethal Legacy (Revell, 2011) received a starred review from Library Journal, which praised the book for its “compelling characters and edge-of-your-seat action.”

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 40 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Daphne du Maurier Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.

This book provided for review by The Baker Publishing Group 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Reading List

1. Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
2. Waiting for Spring by Amanda Cabot
3. The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport 
4. The Air we Breathe by Christa Parrish 
5. Moon White: Color Me Enchanted by Melody Carlson (Kindle)
6. Torch Red: Color Me Torn by Melody Carlson (Kindle)
7. Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble
8. Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove 
9. His Other Wife by Deborah Bedford 
10. Swimming to the Surface by Kristin Billerbeck (Kindle) 
11. The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen  

12. Blood Sisters by Melody Carlson (Kindle)  
13. Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes 
14. The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher 
15. Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert
16. Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate  
17. Payne & Misery by Catherine Leggitt 
18. Still Life in Shadows by Alice J Wisler 

19. Scent of Lilacs by Ann H. Gabhart 
20. Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell 
21. A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl & April Henry (Kindle)
22. Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl 
23. The Dance by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley
24. Rescuing Hope by Susan Norris
25. Home Run by Travis Thrasher  
26. The Moment Between by Nicole Baart 

27. The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman (Kindle)
28. A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund 
29. Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death by Barbara Johnson
30. Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren 
31. Stress Test by Richard Mabry
32. When A Secret Kills by Lynette Eason 
33. Operation Oleander by Valerie O Patterson 
34. Perfectly Invisible by Kristin Billerbeck 
35. When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad
36. Pastors' Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
37. Son of a Preacher Man by Jay Bakker 
38. Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

39. Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes
40. Afloat by Erin Healy (Kindle)
41. Catch a Falling Star by Beth K. Vogt
42. A Simple Song by Melody Carlson
43. Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer
44. Damaged: A Violated Trust by Melody Carlson (Kindle) 
45. That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon 

46. If The Shoe Fits by Sandra D. Brinker (Kindle) 
47. Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer 
48. Cooking the Books: A Sloane Templeton Mystery by Bonnie S Calhoun (Kindle)
49. Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
50. The Good Girl by Christy Barritt (Kindle) 
51. Angels by My Side by Betty Malz
52. Dolled Up to Die by Lorena McCourtney
53. Trouble in Store by Carol Cox

54. Gone South by Meg Moseley 
55. Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart 
56. Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck (Kindle) 
57. Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble 
58. Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock 
59. Anomaly by Krista McGee 
60. Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser 
61. Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot (Kindle) 

62. Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
63. Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leninger Craven 
64. The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson 
65. Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden 
66. Trapped by Irene Hannon 
67. Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold by Joyce Magnin
68. The Promise by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley 

69. Unlimited by Davis Bunn
70. Grace Unplugged by Melody Carlson 
71. The Invention of Sarah Cummings by Olivia Newport 
72. Beauty to Die For: A Spa Mystery by Kim Alexis and Mindy Starns Clark (Kindle)
73. Love by the Book by Cara Lynn James 
74. Who, Me Lord? by Edith M. MacLennan-Cochrane 
75. The Secret's in the Sauce by Linda Evans Shepherd & Eva Marie Everson 
76. A Taste of Fame by Linda Evans Shepherd & Eva Marie Everson 
77. Bake Until Golden by Linda Evans Shepherd & Eva Marie Everson (Kindle)
78. The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser 
79. Ciao, Bella by Ryan M Phillips (Kindle)
80. First Date by Melody Carlson 

81. Glittering Promises by Lisa T Bergren 
82. A Search for Purple Cows by Susan Call
83. Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge & John Ward 
84. Elusive by Sara Rosette (Kindle) 
85. Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge  
86. The Six-Liter Club by Harry Kraus 
87. Return to Me by Lynn Austin 
88. To Know You by Shannon Ethridge & Kathryn Mackel 
89. Heart Failure by Richard L Mabry M.D. 
90. I'm No Angel by Kylie Bisutti (Kindle) 
91. Mistaken by Karen Barnett
92. Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum (Kindle) 
93. Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis 
94. Debbie by John Benton 

95. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
96. Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum (Kindle) 
97. Serendipity by Kathy Marie Hake 
98. Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish 

99. The Tie That Binds by C.J. Darlington (Kindle)
100. The Prodigal by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett 
101. Ministering to Problem People in Your Church by Marshall Shelley 
102. Hurt by Travis Thrasher 
103. The White Umbrella by Mary Frances Bowley 
104. Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock (Kindle)


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick

A Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick is a re-release originally published in 2006. I'd never heard of this title before agreeing to review it and was blown away by the story. I was fascinated by the cultic actions of the group leader and the way the people followed him without question. Based on a true story, it amazed me to think about the journey that these people made across our great land. Immigrants from Germany, first settling in Pennsylvania, then Missouri, and finally traveling to the Pacific North West. What hard workers they must have been. 
Emma, the main character, is a refreshing change from wimpy helpless women, and she is based on a real person. Fascinating! I highly recommend this novel. 

From the back cover:
A community searching for refuge, a woman finding her voice. The people of Bethel, Missouri, seek to live with simplicity and generosity, existing in the world of the 1850s but remaining set apart from its distractions and vanities. Rather than finding peace in this would-be utopia, spirited young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of a culture that values conformity over independent thought, especially in women.
When Emma's outspoken ways and growing skepticism lead to a clash with the colony's beloved leader, she finds new opportunities to pursue her dreams of independence. But as she clears a pathway West to her truest and deepest self, she discovers something she never expected: a yearning for the warm embrace of community.

Jane Kirkpatrick is the award-winning, best-selling author of two non-fiction books and eleven novels, including A Name of Her Own and the acclaimed Kinship and Courage series. Jane is the winner of the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center and National Cowboy Hall of Fame. A licensed clinical social worker as well as an inspirational retreat leader and speaker, she lives with her husband on 160 acres in Eastern Oregon. 
 I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.