Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review: Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist/5 Stars

About the book:

Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye.

And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune--not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope.

That’s how life is ... Deep in the Heart of Trouble.

My thoughts:

I thought this book was a wonderful conclusion to Essie's story! While I didn't think there was as much humor in this book as there was in the last one (or in her first two novels), I did still find myself laughing in quite a few places. The other characters in the story were portrayed beautifully, especially Mrs. Lockhart with her romantic novels. :o) Also, there was a bit of a twist at the end that I did not see coming. Part of me almost wishes there was another book about this wonderful town in the works!! I'd love to read about Anna Morgan. Sadly, though, I think we've heard the last from the town of Corsicana.

Southern? No
Sass?  Yes

5 Stars

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Book Review: Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner/4 Stars

About the book:

Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art–but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty, can shield her thoughts from the mother she can barely recall. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search of a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is as enigmatic and stirring as it is startling in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

My thoughts:

I generally shy away from reading books by a brand new author, but I was glad I made an exception in this case. Ruby Among Us is a positively beautiful story! I loved the vivid descriptions throughout the book of the gardens, the vineyards, and the town of La Roseleda itself. The author kept me turning the pages waiting to discover secrets that had been kept in this family for many years.

The only thing I thought lacking in this book was the Christian message, which was just far too subtle for my tastes. I noticed the themes of grace and forgiveness, but there was very little shared about personal relationships with Christ.

3 Stars

Southern? No
Sass?  No

**Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Look what happens when you unpack!!

Well, since Wednesday, my book/craft room has made a dramatic improvement! I can actually see the floor, and there are far less boxes in there! :o) I managed to unpack stuff that was still packed from when Alex and I moved last year into an apartment. Don't you just love it when you find something that you forgot you had? It makes me feel like I've just gone on a really good shopping trip, if you know what I mean.... :o) I think I managed to find all my art supplies that were just hidden away for the longest time. Makes me wanna break out the pencils, ink, and paper and get to drawing or something......hopefully, I'll have some time for that soon because I'm really itching to do it.

Unpacking is not all that I wanted to share with you in this post. Alex asked me to cook something for breakfast this morning so that he'd have something to take to work for a Bible study that he's part of. So, I got this recipe from my mother-in-law last night, and I was just praying it would be a success. I'm always a little nervous about cooking new things, especially when I'm not there to try it myself. Anyway, it was a Honey Bun Cake, and apparently, it was a hit! :o) Here's the recipe, if you're interested.....

Honey Bun Cake

Cake Mixture
1 box yellow cake mix
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs

Nut Mixture
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar

Glaze Mixture
3/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9' X 13' pan with Pam cooking spray. Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour half of cake mixture into pan. Mix nut mixture, and sprinkle 1/3 of it on top of cake mixture already in pan. Pour in remaining half of cake mixture. Sprinkle another 1/3 of nut mixture on top of cake mixture. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Upon removing from oven, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in top of cake. Mix glaze mixture together, then pour on top of cake and let it seep through the holes. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 mixture on top of glaze. Enjoy!!

Hopefully, there'll be at least one piece left that he can bring home to me because I really would like to try it! :o)

As far as books go, I'm in the middle of two right now--True Valor by Dee Henderson and Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner (which I mentioned in my last post). Both seem to be taking a lot of time to get into, in my opinion. I hope they'll pick up soon because I'm really struggling to keep reading them!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tryin' to make it through the days....

Let me just tell ya....things are busy for me!! Alex and I have moved into our new house (YEA!!!), and are still trying to get settled in. My craft/book room is still a mess, and hasn't even been completely unpacked yet, but it's getting there. Meanwhile, summer classes at school started a week ago, and I'm just trying to keep up! Not with school per se, but with school, the house, the dogs, my job, extra jobs (jewelry making and calligraphy and such), etc. Needless to say, I have been quite busy. :o)

In spite of everything, though, I've managed to read a few pretty good books. I've gotten caught up with Deeanne Gist's books (finished The Measure of a Lady and Courting Trouble a few weeks ago), and I enjoyed both of them immensely!! She's got a new book that just came out (Deep in the Heart of Trouble) that I can't wait to read. :o) In addition to those, I've also managed to read Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd and Split Ends by Kristin Billerbeck, both of which were also wonderful. Both of them are probably classified as chick lit, if I had to guess a genre. Thankfully, there will be a sequel released some time this summer for Let Them Eat Cake--that book was just TOO GOOD to not have a sequel so I can find out what happened to the main character!!!

Right now, I'm working on Ruby Among Us by Tina Ann Forkner. This book was just released a few weeks ago, and I have already come across some great reviews. I can't wait to finish it! :o)