Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: Lady of Light by Kathleen Morgan

About the book:

Infused with the same warmth and excitement of the two previous books in her popular Brides of Culdee Creek series, Kathleen Morgan's third book tells Evan MacKay and Claire Sutherland's story.

Heartbroken at losing his first love to another man, Evan leaves Culdee Creek in hopes of forgetting her. When his searching heart brings him to his ancestral home of Scotland, he encounters a beautiful young woman who begins to fill the empty corners of his soul.

After a whirlwind courtship, the tempestuous lovers return to Culdee Creek ranch. But when their hopes and dreams are confronted by the realities and challenges of married live, will love be enough to keep them together?

My thoughts:

Kathleen's writing has such a charm and authentic feel to it that I can't help but like it. While there's not a lot in the story that is really historical per se, the old homes and other landmarks described pull you right back to the late 1800's. Also, her characters are all believable, each one having their own flaws and individuality. Even though the story was primarily about Evan and Claire, I found myself really enjoying Hannah's role in this book. If you've read the previous book in this series, you know Hannah's background and what occurred between her, Evan, and Devlin MacKay. While things could be awkward for Claire, Hannah quickly becomes her friend. She also gives Evan time to explain everything in their past, as painful as it will be.

Lady of Light is book 3 in the Brides of Culdee Creek Series. It's been awhile since I read the first two books in this series, and I was really afraid that I would just be lost the entire time when I started this book. Thankfully, I wasn't. Lady of Light, while book 3 in a 4-book series, easily can be read as a stand-alone novel.

4 Stars

Waiting on Wednesday: Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury set to release on 10/20/09.

Sometimes hope lies somewhere in the shades of blue!

Brad Cutler, twenty-eight, is a rising star at his New York ad agency, about to marry the girl of his dreams. Anyone would agree he has it all--a great career, a beautiful and loving fiancee, and a fairy tale life ahead of him--when memories of a high school girlfriend begin to torment him.

Lost innocence and one very difficult choice flood his conscience, and he is no longer sure what the future will bring except for this: He must find his old love and make amends. Haunted by the past and confused about the future, he turns to God seeking forgiveness and redemption.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

New meme this week....A-Z Wednesday! It's hosted by Vicki at Reading at the Beach. The rules are pretty simple.....

1. Visit Reading at the Beach to get this week's letter.
2. Find a book on your shelf that starts with this week's letter.
3. Post the title, picture, description and link of the book on your blog.
4. Go back to Reading at the Beach to post a comment with a link to your post.

How easy is that! :o) This week's letter is H.

My choice for this week is Havah by Tosca Lee.

About the book:

Eve, called Havah by her mate Adam, came to the Garden in awe and innocence. When she and Adam broke God's rule, they were kicked out of their earthly paradise to live in the wilderness. She tries everything she can think of to obtain forgiveness from the One and return to the Garden, but fails. Instead she learns to survive as she gives birth to children only to learn one son murdered another. If anything, Eve has become a survivor although she has never given up hope of redemption from the One, but as she ages she prays that the next generation gets to go to the Garden.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from page 75 of If Only You Knew by Mags Storey.

"Now the problem with flirting is it involves being kind of...well...subtle. You end up making these little half-statements and hoping the other person is able to read between the lines and catch on to what you are actually trying to say. So, as I went around showing Kevin the rest of the store--looking at the terrifyingly filthy toilet, and the small back room that looked like a hurricane had sweept through it--I was having a really hard time telling if he was actually interested in me, or just naturally slightly incoherent."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mailbox Monday

It's time again for Mailbox Monday! If you'd like to join in the fun, just go to The Printed Page...Marcia hosts this event every week.

Here's what came in my mailbox last week.....it was sort of a slow week. :o(

Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove (for blog tour)
Around the World in 80 Dates by Christa Bannister (BookMooch)
Let Freedem Ring by Al Lacy (Frugal Reader)
Shield of Honor by Gilbert Morris (Frugal Reader)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Book Review: Bo's Cafe by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch/5 Stars

About the book:

High-power tech executive, Steven Kerner, is living the American dream in Southern California. But he isn’t enjoying it. After another fight with his wife, he finds himself at a seedy bar far from home where an eccentric mystery man named Andy Monroe reveals that he knows more about Steven than he might suspect. When Steven drives home, his bottled pain ignites in anger, and his wife kicks him out to work out his anger and controlling issues on his own.

Reluctantly, Steven begins driving around with Andy in his 1970 Chevy Electra convertible, unravelling his tightly-wound world, and leading to a series of frustrating and painful encounters intended to help Steven let go of his tight grip on fear, shame, relationships, and control. Through the genuine friendship that develops, and the grace and love of a God who’s been patiently directing him to it, Steven finally accepts the very thing he’s needed all along.

A fictionalized version of a true story of healing, the profound but simple steps move from awakening to one’s emotions, to exchanging safety for messy vulnerability, and finally to transforming from self-focus to the destiny God intended. An unusually powerful story of challenging one’s fears and encouraging deep trust, Bo’s CafĂ© is a model journey for all who struggle with unresolved anger, trust issues, and a performance-based life. There is a fuller, more authentic way of living, and this semi-fictional journey of healing shows the way to find it through God’s unbridled grace.

My thoughts:

Fans of The Shack will love this new offering from Windblown Media--Bo's Cafe. It's crammed with just as much depth as The Shack, but just with a much better story, in my opinion.

You'd be hard-pressed not to find yourself doing a lot of self-examining after reading this. This book will step on your toes, get under your skin, and cause you to realize that not everything in life can be fixed by just putting a Band-aid on it. Some things simply take longer to understand and resolve, and after reading Bo's Cafe, you realize that that's okay.

The characters are fabulous, too. Each one is so real, and any one of them could easily be part of your own circle of friends. Also, the description of the cafe itself is very real. You can practically smell the aroma of fish and shrimp, and it makes you want to drive your nearest favorite seafood restaurant for a great meal.

Bo's Cafe will leave you saying "Wow" after you finish the final page. It's a book that should be passed around and talked about just as much as The Shack has been. No doubt about it....this is a book that everyone needs to read. It's just that good.

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

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

Waiting on Wednesday: Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand set to release on Feb. 1, 2010.

When novelists Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand first met in a Houston critique group, they never expected where friendship would take them. She wrote romance; he wrote crime novels. But growing respect for each other's work culminated in the decision to try blending their talents into this wonderfully engaging story merging romance and mystery.

Rylee Monroe walks dogs in old-money Charleston, a part of the city recently targeted by a daring thief. Logan Woods works the crime beat for the local paper but dreams of a life as a nonfiction writer. When the string of robberies takes a strange twist, Logan sees the making of a once-in-a-lifetime book that seems to circle around this charming, eye-catching dogwalker. But pursuing the truth means ignoring that he seems to be falling for her. And what is she hiding in her past that could crack the story wide open?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand--September

What's On Your Nightstand? is hosted once a month by 5 Minutes for Books. It happens on the fourth Tuesday of every month. It's a great chance to let others know what you like to read, and to find new bloggers with the same taste in books as you have. It's been awhile since I participated in this, but I need to set up some small goals for the next few weeks because I've got some books I need to get to. I usually choose option 1--Take a picture or simply give a list of the stack of books that you are in the process of reading or planning to read (it might be on your nightstand, on a bookshelf, or like me, under your bed).

So, here's what's on my nightstand for the next month:

Bo's Cafe by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, & John Lynch
If Only You Knew by Mags Storey
The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall
Stretch Marks by Kimberly Stuart
Lady of Light by Kathleen Morgan
A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick
Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove

I'm no where near my camera or my nightstand, so I'm sorry that I can't provide you a picture! :o)

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser this week comes from page 138 of Sunset Beach by Trish Perry:

"Melanie's heart ached for Sonny. She didn't know when she had seen anyone so tense while sitting in a comfy beach chair. By the ocean. On a gorgeous afternoon."

I just got this book a few days ago in the mail, and while I've never read anything by Trish Perry, I've heard lots of great things about her. And doesn't the cover of this book just make you wanna take a trip to the beach...it's simply breathtaking to me! :o)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday 56

a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_LiUMpCu2DzI/Sqr3nTR7rmI/AAAAAAAAATM/r0WWAEVg5z4/s1600-h/56.jpg"> I found a new meme last week, and I liked it so much, I wanted to participate again! :o) Friday 56 is hosted by Storytime with Tonya and Friends.

Here are the rules:

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

The closest book to me right now is Bo's Cafe which I started on last night. Here's my sentence(s):

"She looks so totally at peace and comfortable with herself in the midst of a noticeably younger crowd. She is tapping away at a laptop. She glances over and gives me a kind smile and nod. Andy notices my staring as he returns to the table."

Be watching in the next few weeks for a review of this book. :o)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour and Book Review: In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett

My thoughts:

First of all, let me just say that I don't want to discourage anyone from reading this book. I just know that after 120 pages, I cannot continue reading it. In my opinion, the plot moves too slowly, and overall, it's a little bit darker than what I'm used to reading. On the other hand, the research that went into the book is truly incredible, and it is evident in each chapter. Also, the "scribe" scenes in this book are much better and add more to the story than they did in Ms. Garrett's previous book, In the Shadow of Lions. It pains me that I could not finish this book since I had great expectations of it after reading the first book in this series.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:



In the Arms of Immortals: A Novel of Darkness and Light (Chronicles Of The Scribe)


David C. Cook (2009)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



An expert in ancient women’s history, critically acclaimed author Ginger Garrett (Dark Hour, Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, and most recently In the Shadow of Lions) creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. In addition to her writing, Garrett is a frequent radio and television guest. She resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

Visit the author's website.





Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: David C. Cook (2009)
ISBN: 0781448883
ISBN-13: 9780781448888

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



In the Arms of Immortals

Chapter One


Thirty thousand dollars bought her the right to avoid being scalded alive.


Mariskka Curtis did not miss the shoddy built-in shower that had been in her old apartment. Now she owned a penthouse, and one of her first decisions as a new millionaire was to have a high-end luxury shower installed.


“For thirty grand, it should make my breakfast, too,” Mariskka said to no one.


At least the bathroom was warm, making goose bumps and bad leg shaves a thing of the past. The maid had lit the fireplace in the master bath an hour ago and brought a fresh careen of coffee up. The milk still needed to be frothed, but Mariskka didn't mind that.


She pumped the handle six times and the milk bubbled up. She poured coffee into her monogrammed cup, then the foamy milk over the coffee. Mariskka inhaled, surprised that coffee could still bring her so much pleasure.


Rolling her neck to get the morning kinks out, she swung open the shower door and sat inside. The shower began as a slow warm mist around her feet, giving her a few minutes to finish her coffee before the gentle raindrops started from the overhead faucet and the dawn lights bounced pink off the shower glass.


Later this morning she was scheduled for an appearance on yet another talk show to dazzle America with her rags to riches tale. She hated the hollow feeling in her stomach that came from lying. She had stolen her best-selling manuscript from a patient's room. The patient, Bridget, had been a famous editor, and left it behind when she died. Mariskka stole it on impulse, thinking it might be valuable if sold on eBay. Only later, when packing the editor's belongings, had Mariskka seen the business cards thrown in the bottom of her bags. One was for an agent. Mariskka had contacted the agent, passing the manuscript off as her own. It couldn't hurt anyone, she had thought. Mariskka had also stolen Bridget's watch, but only because she intended to return it to the family. Only later did she realize Bridget had no family.


When the agent sold that manuscript in a seven-figure deal, it was as if God answered her prayers. Mariskka made a pile of easy money. She bought things she never dreamed of owning. She even donated some of it, paying hospice bills that threatened to bankrupt families and sent worn out care givers on vacations. Good things had happened to plenty of people because of her decision to steal.


As the mist rose she finished her coffee and waited for the overhead shower to turn on. Hard rock blared suddenly through the shower speakers, and she dropped her coffee cup in surprise. It shattered at her feet. Instinctively she yanked her feet out of the scalding puddle. Losing her balance in the wet mist, she hit her head on the imported tile and blacked out.


The smoke stung Mariskka's eyes.


She blinked, trying to clear her mind, groping in the darkness for the shower door. The shower had stopped, and the music was dead. She wondered if the building had lost electricity.


She crawled over something sharp and jagged. The lights must have shattered above. It was too dark to see anything; she wished she had windows in her bath as she pushed back the shower door.


Something was coming.


She felt the vibrations through her legs, shaking her to her stomach. Straining to hear above her thundering heart, she heard a heavy scraping against her hardwood floors, the sound of a sharp tool being dragged over the floors, catching every second or so, bumping over a seam. Heavy footfalls shook the floor, and metal screeched together with each step. She thought of the armored boots she had seen on medieval knights in museums.


Something slammed against the door, making the wood split.


It hit again.


“There is no Blood here,” someone said.


“God help me,” she whispered.


When she said the word God, the thing outside the door shrieked like an animal. A sword pierced through the door, creating a jagged seam as the intruder jerked it back and forth in the split wood. Light streamed in from her bedroom windows, but she could see nothing except a sword sawing its way through the door.


They should be testing the microphones for the television hosts right now, she thought. Amber-Marie Gates, her publicist, was going to be furious when Mariskka didn't arrive on time. Or when she didn't arrive at all.… Mariskka's mind was gone, traveling down more familiar tracks, unable to process her death.


Then the door burst apart, and she was showered with wood fragments. A figure too large to pass through the doorframe stood, stood, twisting its head in different directions, staring at her. The glowing blue dawn outlined its frame. Morning sunrays shot up from behind its head and between its flexed arms, illuminating dust particles spinning down and turning the shifting light into a kaleidoscope.


Metal wings reflected the light at their sharp ice-pick tips; below these, the shoulders of a man were layered with scales. Each finger was tipped with dozens of iron claws, all pointing backwards. Once it grabbed her, she wouldn't get free without tearing herself to shreds. It was built for death.


“There is no Blood here,” he said.


“What?” she screamed.


“You have no Christ.”


A tail with an iron tip, long and scalpel sharp, raised behind him as he pointed his sword at her. He turned his shoulder to come through the door. As he thrust his wings against the frame, cracks ran up the walls above the door.


He lifted his sword, aiming for her neck. She wondered if her lips would still be moving after death, the way Anne Boleyn's had.


He spun back around, his sword in motion.


A shower of sparks was burning her.


She remembered lights like this.


She was a child at Disney, watching the Magical Parade of Lights. A green, scaled dragon floated past her as she sat on the sidewalk, full of lemonade and ice cream. When the dragon swung its head in her direction, with its blind paper eyes and red paper streamers coming from its mouth to look like fire, Mariskka vomited right between her shoes. No one noticed, not the least her mom, who had taken the wide white pills so she could get through the day, one of their last together. Mariskka wanted her to take the pills so she wouldn't be in pain, so she wouldn't groan in the night, but the pills made her dull and distant. Either way, Mariskka lost her mother a little more each day.


She stood, grabbing her mother's hand, pulling at her to run. Her mother laughed, tipsy from the combination of opiates and Disney princesses, swinging her around in a dance, not understanding the panic in her daughter's eyes. Mariskka struggled to get free, to see where the dragon went, but it was gone. She would lie awake for years after that, wondering where it was now. The eyes had only been paper, but she knew. It had seen her. It had seen something inside her.


Mariskka was still remembering herself as a little girl when she noticed her impending death had been delayed. Another creature was here, holding a sword, blocking the iron-winged monster from killing her. He had gold-and-straw colored dreadlocks that ran down his back and the body of a linebacker. Judging from how close his head was to her ceiling, Mariskka guessed he was about eight feet tall.


The man picked up the dark iron angel by the neck and slammed it against the wall. Plaster rained down.


“She is ours,” the iron-angel said. “We can take her.”


“Not yet,” the new creature said.


A dark stain spread underneath the iron-angel on the tile floor. The stain shimmered as teeth began to appear, ringing the edges.


The new creature yelled over his shoulders. “Cover your eyes!”


Mariskka stared at the stain, which was devouring the iron-angel as it moved up it his legs.


The new one screamed again, “Mariskka! Now!”


Mariskka obeyed.


She heard the sound of an animal screaming in pain, and then all was quiet.


She looked up to see the new creature staring down at her. His nose was inches from her face, and his dreadlocks fell forward, tickling her cheeks. If he were human, she thought, he would be beautiful. But he could not be real, not with his strange eyes that were like big, gold saucers and canine teeth that peeked out from his lips. His breath smelled of meat, too. She collapsed, losing all control over limb and thought.


His arms slipped behind her knees and under her neck, lifting her without effort. He carried her to the bed and laid her down, drawing the curtains and stepping back into the shadows. He sat in a chair, resting one arm on the armrest, watching her. A thick, numbing sensation started in her toes and poured slowly into her body. She felt it filling her, working its way through her abdomen, then her arms. When it got to her eyes, they closed and she slept.


©2009 Cook Communications Ministries. In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: Angel's Den by Jamie Carie

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Angel's Den by Jamie Carie, set to release on Feb. 1, 2010.


In 1808, when Emma meets and marries Eric Montclaire (the famed “most handsome man west of the Appalachians”), this young daughter of prominent St. Louis citizens believes a fairy tale has just begun. Instead, her husband’s angelic looks quickly prove only to mask a monstrous soul all too capable of possessive emotions and physical abuse. Praying for mercy, she is devastated when Eric insists on her joining his yearlong group expedition to the Pacific Ocean, following the trail Lewis and Clark blazed just a few years earlier. By the time cartographer Luke Bowen realizes Emma’s plight, it’s too late to easily untangle what has become an epic web of lies, theft, murder, courtroom drama, and a deep longing for love. Only God can show them the way out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser is from page 52 of In the Shadow of Lions by Ginger Garrett.

"It was a cold rain the day she got off the ship and it rained still--at least in her soul--a sour rain that could cause nothing to grow. Perhaps soon she would be finished here, the family's name restored, and she would sleep beside Percy every night. Her small act of rebellion, bringing a forbidden book into the country, had gone unnoticed."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mailbox Monday

It's time again for Mailbox Monday! If you'd like to join in the fun, just go to The Printed Page...Marcia hosts this event every week.

Here's what came in my mailbox last week.....I had a GREAT week!

A Place in the Sun by Michael Phillips
The Recital by Robert Elmer
One Little Secret by Allison Bottke
The Presence by Bill Myers
A Mile in my Flip-Flops by Melody Carlson
The Night Watchmen by Mark Mynheir
Wisconsin by Andrea Boeshaar
Safe Haven by Hannah Alexander
Texas Belles by Kimberley Comeaux
The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall
Glimpses of Paradise by James Scott Bell
Home to Willowbrook by Carole Gift Page
Storms over Willowbrook by Carole Gift Page
Red and Lowering Sky by Lynn Morris
A Covenant of Love by Gilbert Morris
Empire Builders by Linda Chaikin
Tenderness and Fire by Robert Funderburk

Told ya I had a great week!!! Just about every one of these was because of BookMooch. If you haven't checked it out, and are just looking for a reason to....well, just look at that list! :o)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Countdown 2010 Challenge

Guess I just can't stay away from the challenges. :o) I just finished one last weekend, and I guess I'm a glutton for punishment since I decided to start up another one. The Countdown 2010 Challenge is being hosted by 1morechapter.

So, here's how it'll work....

1. The goal of this challenge is to read the number of books first published in a given year that corresponds to the last digit of each year in the 2000s — 10 books from 2010, 9 books from 2009, 8 books from 2008, etc. The total number of books required, therefore, is 55.

2. This challenge lasts from 9/9/09 through 10/10/10.

3. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and your lists may change at any time.

I'm not going to list anything ahead of time, but just list as I go. Wish me luck! :o)

2010
1. The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher--1/2/10
2. Burn by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy--1/26/10
3. Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand--1/29/10
4. The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer AlLee--2/4/10
5. Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith--2/20/2010
6. Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge--2/25/2010
7. Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson--3/19/2010
8. Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis--3/24/2010
9. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson--4/2/2010
10. Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd--4/4/2010

2009
1. Mohamed's Moon by Keith Clemons--9/10/09
2. In the Arms of Immortals by Ginger Garrett--9/21/09
3. Bo's Cafe by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch--9/23/09
4. The Red Siren by MaryLu Tyndall--10/3/09
5. Stretch Marks by Kimberly Stuart--10/7/09
6. If Only You Knew by Mags Storey--10/8/09
7. The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall--10/11/09
8. Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety--10/18/09
9. Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh--10/22/09

2008
1. A Cut Above by Ginny Aiken--9/13/09
2. In the Shadow of Lions by Ginger Garrett--9/16/09
3. Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray--10/24/09
4. Someday by Karen Kingsbury--10/28/09
5. The Cat That Made Nothing Something Again--12/10/09
6. Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl and April Henry--12/21/09
7. The Face by Angela Hunt--12/29/09
8. The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake--3/22/2010

2007
1. The Parting by Beverly Lewis--2/22/2010
2. One Smooth Stone by Marcia Lee Laycock--3/12/2010
3. Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy--5/1/2010
4. The Other Daughter by Miralee Ferrell--7/8/2010
5. Shattered Dreams by Irene Spencer--7/16/2010
6. Where My Heart Belongs by Tracie Peterson--9/3/2010
7. The Lumberjack's Lady by Susan Page Davis--10/07/2010

2006
1. The Soldier's Lady by Michael Phillips--10/18/09
2. Diamond Place by Robin Lee Hatcher--10/24/09
3. Abide with Me by Delia Parr--11/3/09
4. Weaving a Future by Susan Page Davis--10/01/2010
5. Banking on Love by Janice A. Thompson--10/10/2010
6. Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser--10/10/2010

2005
1. Gardenias for Breakfast by Robin Jones Gunn--2/21/2010
2. Fighting for Bread and Roses by Lynn A. Coleman--9/14/2010
3. Over the Waters by Deborah Raney--10/09/2010
4. Hearts Twice Met by Freda Chrisma--10/09/2010
5. Sooner or Later by Vickie McDonough--10/10/2010

2004
1. Torch Red by Melody Carlson--3/6/2010
2. The Winter Pearl by Molly Noble Bull--5/29/2010
3. Brink of Death by Brandilyn Collins--7/26/2010
4. Light of My Heart by Ginny Aiken--8/2/2010
5. Stain of Guilt by Brandilyn Collins--8/7/2010

2003
1. Babylon Rising by Tim Lahaye--11/10/2009
2. The Price of Freedom by Carol Umberger--8/9/2010
3. The Mark of Salvation by Carol Umberger--8/14/2010

2002
1. A Sinister Silence by Jane Peart--1/9/2010
2. Halfway to Forever by Karen Kingsbury--3/14/2010

2001
1. Lady of Light by Kathleen Morgan--9/28/09

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Review: Mohamed's Moon by Keith Clemons




This month, CFRB presents Mohamed's Moon by Keith Clemons.

About the Book:

Two brothers separated at birth grow up worlds apart. Outwardly, they’re exactly alike, but inwardly, nothing’s the same – one is a devotee of fundamentalist Islam; the other, a Christian. In this modern-day Cain and Abel story, the lines are drawn not just over whose God is right, but also over the fact that they’re both in love with the same girl.

It’s a conflict with grave repercussions, little hope of resolution – and time is running out. In the background, a plan has been set in motion that will bring the United States government to its knees. Will an unexpected visitation reconcile the brothers in time to save the woman they love – and ultimately, themselves – from the coming devastation?

In his award-winning style, author Keith Clemons delivers a profound comparison between Christianity and Islam, a dichotomy of life versus death, love versus hate, and grace versus legalism. Mohamed’s Moon will plunge you into a world where hatred and heinous acts are justified. But if hatred is potent, it pales in comparison to the power of God’s love.

My thoughts:

I have to admit....I was really not expecting to like this book. The style is so different from anything else I normally read, and I just prepared myself to get through it and somehow, find something to like about it. Well, I learned something along the way, and that is simply to not set expectations until I've given something a chance. Boy, am I glad I gave Mohamed's Moon a chance! It was
just impossible to put this book down! It had such a fast pace that literally left me on the edge of my seat. Just when I thought I had everything figured out, wham! I'm thrown for a loop, and have to set myself right...over and over again.

Also, it's pretty unusual to have the topic of Islam in a Christian fiction book. I don't think I've ever come across it until now, and I managed to get a little bit of an education in the process. I was not expecting to see passages from the Quran scattered throughout the book, but it really made a difference in the overall tone of the book. If the author had written, "Mohamed remembered a verse from the Quran," but didn't list said verse, it wouldn't have added anything to the book. Instead, he did interject passages from the Quran, and it put a whole different spin on things. I could now see reasons why Mohamed felt about Islam the way he did.

It also made the internal conflict that Mohamed was experiencing so much more believable. Once Mohamed meets his brother, they challenge each other to read the other person's holy book. I didn't doubt that Matthew, Mohamed's brother, would hold true to his Christian upbringing. Mohamed, on the other hand, felt that he had a little more to prove. Not only is he trying to prove to Matthew that Allah is the supreme god, but he's also got to find a way to convince Layla, Matthew's girlfriend and a Christian, that she has strayed. So, he keeps his promise, buys a Bible, and sets out on his course to convert these two "infidels" (all non-Muslims). However, I think he got a little more than he bargained for. :o)

I can say without a doubt that I'm very impressed with Keith Clemons as an author. Choosing such an explosive theme of the coexistance of Christians and Muslims couldn't have been easy, but it's definitely relevant to present times. I certainly hope he's got a sequel in the works, or if not that, something else that follows this same topic. I'll definitely be reading more about it in the future.

4 1/2 stars

About the Author:

Keith Clemons, a native of Southern California, is an alumnus of California State University – Fullerton where he earned a degree in English literature. He lives with his wife, Kathryn, in Caledon, Ontario, Canada. His four previous novels, Angel in the Alley, If I should Die, These Little Ones and Above the Stars, have accumulated a total of six writing awards.


Purchase Mohamed's Moon at
Barnes and Noble and Amazon
.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.


Friday 56

I found a new meme today that looked like SO MUCH FUN! :o) It's called the Friday 56, and it's hosted by Storytime with Tonya and Friends. Here are the rules:

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

So here's what I've got... It's from A Place in the Sun by Michael Phillips.

By the time we got through the door, Pa was already in Mr. Royce's office. His voice was loud enough that you could hear it through the whole building. Everyone else's business had ceased, and they stood stock-still with wide open eyes, listening to the argument going on in the next room.

This book is book 4 in the Journals of Corrie Belle Hollister series. I've only read the first 2 in this series, so I can't really say anything about this particular one. However, I can say that if you've never read anything by Michael Phillips, you are missing out on a real treat. He writes some great historicals that you can tell he's done some research on. I would also highly recommend one of his newer series--Shenandoah Sisters. Those four books are some of the best books I've read set during the Civil War that I've read in a long time.

Book Review and Giveaway: The Art of Compassion by Martin Smith

About the book:

What happens when musicians from around the world get together to dream, to write songs, to create an album and give away all the proceeds to the poorest of the world's poor?

Challenged by the poverty he saw all over the world, musician Martin Smith of the band Delirious? gathered together twelve of today's most talented and respected Christian singer-songwriters, to write and record an album of songs with the direct aim of the relief of global poverty.

This book is the record of the journeys that brought them there.

My thoughts:

Through all the stories told by the Christian artists in this book, there is no doubt that they feel very strongly about this new journey God is taking them on. Each one has a similar opinion on poverty, and what it's going to take to turn things around. I was especially moved by Martin Smith's chapter when he felt God calling him to take this step. He and his wife wrote a diary of their experiences in third-world countries, and their longing to make a difference.

In addition to the book, all of the Christian artists got together and recorded a CD. All of the proceeds from the book and CD will go directly to Compassion Art charities around the world....WOW! Talk about amazing....not one of these artists is in it for themselves. Not a one of them is getting a single dime for their efforts, and they wouldn't have it any other way. After reading each chapter and each artist's thoughts on worship and music, I really want to get a copy of this CD. From what I've gathered from the book, the CD isn't the typical worship music that you hear in church or on the radio, but rather songs that have a deep message and a call to action for all Christians.

For more information, please visit http://www.compassionart.tv/.

4 stars
___________________________________

The fabulous people at Hatchette have given me one copy of this book to giveaway. If you'd like to be entered, simply leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. If you do not leave your email address, you will not be entered in the drawing. Drawing will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19th.

Odds of winning are based upon the number of entrants. Contest open to U.S. residents only. Void where prohibited.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I Read

I originally found this over on J. Kaye's Book Blog, but then I went and got the original from Psychotic State's blog. These things are very beneficial to me, especially when I'm trying to determine what book to read next. :o)

1. What author do you own the most books by?
Not quite sure about this, but it would probably be Angela Hunt.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
The Bible.

3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Um, not sure.

4. What book have you read more than any other?
The Bible

5. What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old?
Probably something from The Babysitter's Club....I really have no clue.

6. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y'Barbo

7. What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Wow, there are several...but I think I can narrow it down to 2: The Veil by Diane Noble and Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark

8. If you could tell everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

9. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
If by difficult, you mean it took a long time to get through, I'd have to say The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel by Walter Warengin. It's not that it's a bad book; it's just REALLY long! I'm actually still trying to finish this book, and I started it at least 3 years ago.

10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
If I have to read about them, the French.

11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?
Shakespeare

12. Austen or Eliot?
I've never read either, but I've seen plenty of Jane Austen films, so I'd probably lean towards her.

13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Um, maybe 2 months?

14. What is your favorite novel?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

15. What is your favorite play?
Les Miserables

16. Poem?
Don't really care for poetry all that much. Had to read some in college, and I haven't had a desire to read any since.

17. Essay?
Don't go out of my way to read those, either.

18. Short Story?
L.M. Montgomery writes some that I like.

19. Nonfiction?
I generally don't read non-fiction because it takes so long for me to get through them. I'd have to choose biographies for this, but I don't read too many of those, either.

20. Graphic Novel?
I don't read them, but my hubby does.

21. Science Fiction?
Hubby takes care of these for me, too. :o)

22. Who is your favorite writer?
Francine Rivers and Deborah Raney

23. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
In the Christian fiction genre (since that's all I read), I'd almost have to say Karen Kingsbury. (Please, don't shoot me.) I love her earlier works, but lately, all of her books are exactly the same with very few differences. No wonder she can churn out 3-4 books a year.

24. What are you reading right now?
The Red Siren by M.L. Tyndall.

25. Best memoir?
Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall

26. Best history?
If we're talking historical fiction....um, how much time do you have?

27. Best mystery or noir?
I don't read a whole lot of mystery, but I'd have to list (yet again) Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark. It's got lots of mystery--2 or 3 going at the same time, as a matter of fact--as well as some romance, and a book that you'll actually feel a little smarter after reading! :o)

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It allows bloggers to feature pre-publication books that they are eagerly anticipating!

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall--scheduled to release on 10/06/09

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancĂ©. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

I'm so late getting my teaser up today, but better late than never! Many thanks to MizB at Should Be Reading for hosting Teaser Tuesdays every week. :o)

Here's the rules:
  1. Grab your current read.
  2. Let the book fall open to a random page.
  3. Share two teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  4. Share the title of the book that the “teaser” comes from ~ so people can find the book if they like the teaser.
  5. And remember – AVOID SPOILERS!!
My teaser is from page 96 of Mohamed's Moon:

"No matter who you are, there's one thing you're going to do: old, young, middle-aged, wealthy, poor, gifted, intelligent, dull, it doesn't matter; you are going to die. And there's nothing you can do to prevent that."

Well, it's a little depressing...but certainly true. Be watching later on this week for a review of this book. :o)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Big thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Mondays every week.

It was a slow week for me in comparison to last week. Oh, well...that's not exactly a bad thing for me since I'm already overflowing with books. :o) Here's what I got:

A Window to the World by Susan Meissner
(PBS)
The Wounded Yankee by Gilbert Morris (BookMooch)
A Hilltop in Tuscany by Stephanie Grace Whitson (BookMooch)
If Only You Knew by Mags Storey (blog tour)

Not too bad since I've had a couple of those on my wishlist for some time now. :o)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Book Review: Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark/5 Stars

About the book:

Anna Bailey thought she left the tragedies of the past behind when she took on a new identity and moved from Pennsylvania to California. But now that her brother has vanished and his wife is crying out for help, Anna knows she has no choice but to come out of hiding, go home, and find him. Back in Lancaster County, Anna follows the high-tech trail her brother left behind, a trail that leads from the simple world of Amish farming to the cutting edge of DNA research and gene therapy.

During the course of her pursuit, Anna soon realizes that she has something others want, something worth killing for. In a world where nothing is as it seems, Anna seeks to protect herself, find her brother, and keep a rein on her heart despite the sudden reappearance of Reed Thornton, the only man she has ever loved.

My thoughts:

This book has so many great qualities that I almost don't know where to start! It's got a fast-paced storyline, a good romantic element, and a mystery that will have you guessing the "who-done-it" all the way through. Not only that, but it's a hard book to put down. I was reading it every spare minute that I could!

Lately, I've been on the Amish fiction bandwagon, so I really liked the fact that this book was set in Amish country. This was my first experience with an Amish story that was combined with a mystery, with the mystery being the main focus of the story instead of the Amish. With that said, the author does include the important things one needs to know to understand the Amish culture. So, if you've never read Amish fiction before, you'd definitely get a good knowledge of what you need to know to understand their lifestyle.

Probably the most interesting thing that I liked about this book was that the DNA testing and research that goes on in Amish communities is factual. I had no idea that there were several genetic disorders that they have to deal with, but it's understandable since they're all so tight-knit and marry within their community. The author did an incredible amount of research that shows when the DNA lingo starts to get really technical, but she writes it in a way that makes sense.

Mindy Starns Clark
is definitely an author I'll be on the lookout for in the future. Make no mistake--you'll not be sorry if you read Shadows of Lancaster County. It is not a book you want to miss out on!

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

Support Your Local Library Challenge Completed!

Hooray!! I finished my first challenge of the year!!

Seriously, I knew that I could do this one when I signed up for it. Since I live in a large city with a large library system, the amount of books to choose from is overwhelming. The Christian fiction they have to choose from is a little limited, but I've noticed an improvement in recent months. In addition to the public library, my church library is LOADED with Christian fiction, so needless to say, there's no shortage of books for me to choose from. :o)

Many thanks to J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog for hosting this wonderful challenge, as well as several others. I've got 2 more challenges left to finish up for the year--100+ Book Challenge and the Chunkster Challenge--and I think both of them are being hosted by her.

Here's a final listing of what I read:

1. Kiss by Ted Dekker and Erin Healy--1/5/09
2. A Bouquet of Love by Ginny Aiken/Ranee McCollum/Jeri Odell/Debra White Smith--1/10/09
3. Daring Bride by Jane Peart--1/22/09
4. Indigo Waters by Lisa Samson--2/10/09
5. End of State by Neesa Hart--5/18/09
6. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall--6/3/09
7. Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory--6/20/09
8. A Day with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory--7/13/09
9. This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury--7/23/09
10. Priced to Move by Ginny Aiken--8/15/09
11. A Steal of a Deal by Ginny Aiken--9/4/09
12. Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark--9/6/09

Friday, September 4, 2009

Review Policy and Rating System

I am always open for review requests for Christian fiction novels and various products.  If my review conditions below are satisfactory for you or your company, please feel free to email me at southernsassythings@gmail.com with your review request.  I will respond to your review request if I'm interested.  Thank you!  :o)

Review Policy for Books
  • All books requested to be reviewed WILL be reviewed. In addition to posting a review on this blog, reviews will be posted on Amazon and CBD.
  • I am not a professional book reviewer, but I do my best to give my honest opinion. I don't come across many books that I don't like, so negative reviews on this blog will seldom appear.
  • Books are not reviewed in the order they are received. This is partly due to the blog tours (see below) that I participate in, and I try to make sure those are taken care of first. I do not object to receiving books in ARC or e-book/Kindle format.
  • I participate in several blog tours which are set up in advance. If I have not had a chance to review your book by the date of the blog tour, I will post a synopsis of the book on the date the tour is scheduled.
Rating System for Books
  • 5 stars - One of the best books I have ever read.
  • 4 stars - Very well written, but not something that will stick with me.
  • 3 stars - Just an okay book, probably mediocre and predictable.
  • 2 stars - Not my cup of tea, but it may have a couple of redeeming qualities.
  • 1 star - No way, no how will I recommend this book to anyone.
  • As a side note..... I have only ever given a handful of books a 1-2 star rating as most books that I read, I generally like.
Product Review Policy
  • All products requested for review will be reviewed.  If the item is one that is available for sale on a consumer website (such as Amazon), my review will be posted there as well.
  • Items currently being accepted for review:  cooking and kitchen items; cookbooks; household items; cleaning products.
  • As with books, I am not a professional reviewer.  However, I am an honest one.  Products submitted for review will not be guaranteed a positive review, but an honest review, whether good or bad.

    Book Review: A Steal of a Deal by Ginny Aiken

    About the book:

    It Was Supposed to Be a Simple Trip . . .

    When gemologist Andie Adams gets a chance to go to the Kashmir region of Pakistan for a mission trip, she jumps at the opportunity to spearhead the efforts. But her boss at the S.T.U.D. home shopping network wants to turn the trip into another on-location shoot for the station. And that means Andie's hunky but irritating co-host Max is part of the deal--can't a girl get a break?

    When a mysterious death lands Andie and Co. in hot water, it's only the beginning of their problems. Between Pakistani prisons, suspicious gurus, and tension in the S.T.U.D. family, this trip is turning into a disaster.

    Will all of Andie's worst fears about Max be realized? Does she really want the know-nothing pretty boy out of her life? Or is it already out of her hands?

    My thoughts:

    I really enjoyed book 1 of this series, and had really high hopes that the next book would be just as good. Sadly, I was slightly disappointed. One of the main things that endeared me to book 1 was that much of the storyline was set in the south, which is where I'm from. I picked up on so many little nuances like sweet tea and antiques, and it was so easy to relate to. So, the fact that 2/3rds of the book was set across the globe in Kashmir just wasn't as exciting for me.

    During the time the gang was in Kashmir, I found myself struggling to read the book, and it was more than just not liking the setting. Everyone's dialog seemed a bit disjointed, and there were times that I had trouble following along. Also, the "who-done-it" was very predictable, and I knew who it was very early on.

    I do plan to read the last book in the series, A Cut Above, just to finish out the whole story. Book 3 so far picks up immediately where book 2 leaves off, and I'm just hoping that I'll like it a lot more.

    3 Stars

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