Sunday, May 31, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway: Stealing Home by Allison Pittman/4 Stars

About the book:

It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.

That’s when sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville, Missouri, so he can sober up in anonymity. He bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.

Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.

Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.

Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?

My thoughts:

It's not often that books and sports come together at the same time for me. I happen to dearly love a good dose of both, and this book was the perfect solution. Baseball happens to provide the backdrop for this story, and I was a captive spectator through the whole thing. I cheered along with Duke as Morris continued to practice his pitching, and with Ned as he hoped to make a catch with Ellie Jane. Allison Pittman has created a masterpiece of a book with delightful characters and an enjoyable story that will definitely stick with you.

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

One other thing....

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of Allison's book, simply leave a comment at the end of this post with your email address like this--yourname at gmail dot com--or something similar. Sorry, but if you do not leave your email address, you will not be entered in the giveaway. Your email address is the only way I can contact you. Giveaway is open only to US residents, and the winner will be announced on Monday, June 8th.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece here ( about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.
And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.


P.S. If you have not read Cindy's first series of books, let me encourage you to pick them up at your local bookstore or order them online. In my opinion, she is handsdown the BEST author of Amish stories in the marketplace today. Each one of these books will just grab you from the first page, and will not let go. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee it! :o)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wonderous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

I've been working up a list for the past week to participate here, and this may be my favorite meme to date. I hate it when I come across a word in a book and I have no idea what it means. This meme gets me motivated to keep track of such words, and then, expand my vocab just a little bit more. So, here goes.....

garrulity -- n.
the quality of being garrulous; talkativeness; loquacity

expatiate -- v.
to enlarge in discourse or writing; be copious in description or discussion

expostulate -- v.
to reason earnestly with someone against something that person intends to do or has done; remonstrate

Wow, that was fun! I feel just a little bit smarter today than I did yesterday! :o)

Book Review: A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman/5 Stars

About the book:

A Passion Denied, is the story of Faith and Charity’s little sister, Lizzie, a shy bookworm who dreams of a fairy-tale romance. It unfolds a man’s dark past and a young girl’s shattered dreams … and the God who redeems it all.

Elizabeth O’Connor is the little sister John always longed for. With a fire for God in his belly, he has been her spiritual mentor since she was thirteen, sharing her love of literature and her thirst for God. But when his gangly protégé blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving him, he refuses to act on the attraction he feels. His past won’t let him go there.

Unfortunately, “Lizzie” won’t let him go anywhere else…until his dark and shocking secrets push her away.

My thoughts:

If you are looking for the greatest series in Christian fiction right now, then look no further than the Daughters of Boston series by Julie Lessman. I put off reading these books for months (why, I have no idea), but they were so well worth the wait. Never have I read such an edgy series that just sucked me in so much that I couldn’t seem to read fast enough.

I have to admit that this third book, A Passion Denied, was probably my favorite of the Daughters of Boston series. While the first two are wonderful (and you definitely should read them in order), book three brought a little bit more “real life” to the whole picture. Faith and Charity are now married, and thus, have to deal with the joys and challenges that married life brings. Also, Marcy and Patrick’s relationship has a wrench thrown into it that just adds more depth to the story. I felt that Julie did a great job of giving insight to both the good and the bad with each couple, all while giving advice through her characters on how certain situations should be handled. Scattered throughout the book are numerous snippets of Scripture that help prove the points Julie’s trying to get across, and not once does it come across as preachy.

So, with all that said, don’t even think about starting this series if you’re not willing to stay up ‘til at least midnight or later! Every single book in this series has been nothing short of fantastic, and I cannot wait for more!

You can find Julie as well as other info about all her books at

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  It comes in spades in all of Julie's books!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mailbox Monday--Great week for me!

Many thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday every week. :o)

It was a great week for me last week. I didn't realize until today just how great a week it really was! :o) Here's the list of what I had show up in my mailbox:

Jamie MacLeod: Highland Lass by Michael Phillips/Judith Pella
Robbie Taggart: Highland Sailor by Michael Phillips/Judith Pella
Freedom's Shadow by Marlo Schalesky
Nothing but the Right Thing by Stacy Hawkins Adams
Just Above a Whisper by Lori Wick
Tonopah by Christopher Lane
Shadowed by Jerry Jenkins
A Name of Her Own by Jane Kirkpatrick
A Sinister Silence by Jane Peart (I have been trying to find this book for years....finally got my hands on a copy!!!)

Pretty much all of these are older books, but stuff that I've been looking trying to find for awhile. Many thanks to all my friends at Bookmooch for bringing such wonderful treasures to my mailbox this week! :o)

(Oh, and if you're not on don't know what you're missing!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Gluttony

Here's what we're talking about today on Booking Through Thursday:

Mariel suggested this week’s question:

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

Well, I'd have to say that I can answer yes to two of these questions (while covering my face in slight embarrassment). Yes, my eyes are definitely bigger than my book belly. And yes, I have a habit of buying up books far quicker than I could ever possibly read them. Right now, I've got 1,182 books in my house that are waiting to be read. Here's how I managed to get there.....Paperbackswap and Bookmooch. Oh, and used bookstores. And library book sales. And even Goodwill once in awhile. I just cannot seem to resist. Right now, I do have space for every single one of them....but they are getting a little cramped in my bookshelves.

What's to become of me?!?!?! Guess I just need to read faster, huh?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Book Review: A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher

About the book:

In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “man’s world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life. For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

My thoughts:

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to read a historical novel by one of my favorite authors. A Vote of Confidence recently gave me that opportunity. Hatcher has written some great historical novels (i.e. the Coming to America series), but unfortunately, I thought that this one was a little flat.

There is no doubt that Hatcher can create very likable characters, as well as conjure up a great story. However, as much as I tried to enjoy the story, I found that it really had no originality. In fact, I struggled at times to get through the book because I knew how it would all turn out in the end.

In my opinion, some of Hatcher’s best works (besides the previously mentioned historical series) are her contemporary novels that deal with real issues (abortion, alcoholism, etc.). Most of her novels that I have read recently have just been fluff, and not what originally endeared me to this great author.

3 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  Yes

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday: What's Your Line?

Faith 'n Fiction Saturdays is a weekly meme hosted by My Friend Amy. If you're interested in participating, click here.

Here's today's question:

Christian fiction is generally known for being clean and non-offensive, but lately there's been a lot of chatter about edgy Christian fiction and the need for Christian fiction to be more realistic. Christian fiction has certainly changed and contains a lot more edge than it used to. This makes some readers uncomfortable and I was wondering what you line is? What would push the envelope too far for a Christian fiction novel for you? Language? Sex? Violence? Main characters who never believe in Jesus? If you came across something that offended you in a Christian fiction book, how would you handle it?

My answer:

I have definitely noticed an edgier trend in Christian fiction within the last year or so. I remember reading all of Deeanne Gist's books last summer, and thinking, "Wow, she is really pushing some boundaries here!" But at the same time, I have loved each and every one of her books. With that said, I'll post a little something about each subject that was brought up....

Language: I don't want to read a single curse word in any Christian fiction book. If I did, I would switch over to a secular book. I remember reading "The Shack" a few months ago, and the language in it did not sit well with me at all.

Sex: I think it's pretty obvious that most people would be uncomfortable reading a sex scene in a CF book. Personally, it doesn't bother me to read about hot and steamy kissing, but that's about as far as I want to go. Most of the time, things can be left to a reader's imagination. So if I see something like.....hubby and wife went upstairs to enjoy a night in each other's arms.....well, I know what's happening! With that said, very soon I'll start on the Daughters of Boston series by Julie Lessman (which I've heard so much about), and I'm curious to know how edgy it will be in comparison to Deeanne Gist's books.

Violence: Because I don't read suspense/thrillers very often, I don't have a strong opinion on this one. I don't mind reading that someone was shot, but don't give me gore.

Main characters who don't believe in Jesus: There's only been one book that I've come across that never had a conversion resolution. By the end of that particular book, the main character seemed to have the most flimsy relationship (if it could even be called that) with God, and it sort of ruined the book for me. I don't need to have a conversion in every CF book that I read, but by the end of that book or series of books, it ought to be pretty clear where their faith lies.