Thursday, February 24, 2011

CFBA Blog Tour: Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart





This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Operation Bonnet
David C. Cook; New edition (February 1, 2011)
by
Kimberly Stuart




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kimberly says:

I am a writer of comedic fiction, and would like to suggest that you laugh regularly when reading my books. Let’s also try for one to two teary moments. If you are crying more than that, you don’t understand my sense of humor and should move on to another author.

I grew up in a book-loving home. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. My mom loves books. My dad loves to read the first chapters of books and then make us all listen as he recites his favorite passages. I, however, enjoy reading books in their entirety and came into writing as a result of book-love. After earning two fancy degrees in education and Spanish, I promptly let the thinking part of my brain take a breather and instead became pregnant. (I’m sure a lot of other things happened between early literacy and pregnancy but I don’t really remember any of that. If you also have shared your uterus with another human, you understand.)

In an effort to author a book that would entertain my sassy, irreverent, breast-feeding/drooping friends, I wrote my first novel, Balancing Act. People were so nice to me after that, I decided to continue with writing. Also, I can’t craft, knit, or scrapbook, so what else was a nice, Christian girl to do?

In addition to writing books to make my friends laugh and cry, I observe the chaos at the home I share with my unfailingly supportive husband and three offspring. We’re doing our best and so far, no one’s been to prison.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients. Until she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind.

So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish. But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case.

Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Operation Bonnet, go HERE.

Watch the book video trailer:






Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Montana Hearts by Charlotte Carter/3.5 Stars

About the book:

Sarah Barkley has come to Sweet Grass Valley, Montana, with a mission in mind. Ever since her heart transplant, she's wanted to secretly help the family of the woman whose heart saved her life. And with two motherless children and a sprawling ranch to care for, Kurt Ryder could sure use some support. Falling for the rugged rancher is an unexpected complication. Does Kurt want Sarah for herself—or for her connection to the past? Her heart brought her to Sweet Grass Valley, but only love—and a leap of faith—will make it her home.

My thoughts:

Love Inspired books are not typically something that I go out of my way to read. I often get bored with the happy endings, the cheesy plots, the guy and the girl that always end up together, a single mom with a kid who finds the perfect man (and dad) for her and her kid, etc. etc. Because of all that, Love Inspired books rarely make it into my hands.

But....

I'm so very glad that I made an exception with this one. Until reading Montana Hearts, I'd never heard of Charlotte Carter before, and I have to compliment her on her excellent style of writing. This story would have been terrible if everything had been too rushed, and if the romance had moved any quicker. Instead, it was paced very well, with little morsels of drama and heart-flutterings along the way.

I'd be more than happy to read more of this author in the future (even if it is another LI book...*grin*). My rating for Montana Hearts is 3.5 Stars.

Southern?  No
Sass?  No



CFBA Blog Tour: Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Save The Date
Thomas Nelson (February 1, 2011)
by
Jenny B. Jones




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.
When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.
Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Some facts that are true include:

I've always been refined!

A. I got my camera confiscated by big boys with guns at the American Embassy in Europe this past summer. O la la!

B. I once worked in a seed mill office and cleaned out mice on a regular basis. Ew.

C. I’m a former drama teacher.

D. I didn’t pass my drivers test the first time. Or the second…

E. I attract stray animals like a magnet.

F. I used to assemble and test paint ball guns for a local factory...

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

watching E!

-updating my status on Facebook

-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and

-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year.

When the funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir of Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s Saving Grace organization. Alex Sinclair has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other wants. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancée in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart – and her future – on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Save The Date, go HERE


Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes/3 Stars

About the book:

By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets: the names of fathers of illegitimate children, the level of love and harmony within many a marriage, and now the identity of a man who may have caused his wife's death. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, what he, a British nobleman, is doing on American soil working as a bondsman in the home of Mayor Kendall, a Southern gentleman with his eye on a higher office.

By chance one morning before the dawn has broken, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths on a misty beachhead, leading them on a twisted path through kidnappings, death threats, public disgrace, and . . . love? Can Tabitha trust Dominick? What might he be hiding? And can either of them find true love in a world that seems set against them?


My thoughts:


This was another one of those books that I tried so very hard to like, but it was oh-so-difficult.  I think that the author had a great idea to base a series of books on midwives, but this first book just fell flat.  There was so little information about midwives and their roles in society that I was left wanting by the book's end.  This may have had something to do with so few women in the book that were pregnant (only 3 deliveries of babies and one litter of puppies in a 400 page novel).


Another thing that kept me from really enjoying the book was all the filler.  One chapter left me on a climax, then the next chapter switched to a different scene entirely, and it usually was one that had no excitement at all.  By the time I got back around to the resolution of the cliffhanger from 2 chapters before, my anticipation to know what happened had vanished.  This is something that I've noticed with authors that typically write short novels (Heartsong or Love Inspired), who then switch to writing a full-length novel.  The plot of the story may be good, but the delivery gets choked up by all the filler to make it a longer book.  (At this point, I have not read any of Ms. Eakes' other novels, but I know she has some shorter novels that have been released, and that's why I am drawing this conclusion.)


I am still interested to read the next book in this series, and I hope that there will be more of a midwife feel to it as opposed to another historical Regency.  Ms. Eakes' has a great deal of talent with her writing; I just hope that it will be more focused in her next full-length book.


3 Stars

Southern?  Yes
Sass?  No


**Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy for review.





Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review: Critical Care by Candace Calvert/2 Stars

About the book:

After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She's determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she's called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she's forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.

My thoughts:

Medical dramas are not usually my thing. I've read one or two over the years, and while some are good, those stories don't tend to stick with me in the long run. But because I was a fan of Grey's Anatomy (until recently), and because of all the reviews that say all the drama is there just like in the tv show, I decided to give it a shot.

Well.....

I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit. There seemed to be zero creativity, and instead, seemed to be a book that wanted to copy everything from the tv show (not everyone has seen Grey's, ya know). Now, I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but really... McSnarly? Giving the one lone male doctor in that hospital that nickname showed no imagination at all. And wait for it...we get a glimpse of another guy later on in the story named McMuffin (he, thankfully, didn't stay around long). The "Mc" names were so irritating, and really, could've been left out of the book altogether.

Then, there was the drama. This book was loaded with it, but that wasn't necessarily a good thing. One review I read prior to reading this book said that all the characters needed a good dose of therapy to get through all their problems, and she hit the nail on the head with that statement. Therapy was never mentioned one single time. I don't know if that's because the author intended for her audience to see that all problems can be solved through prayer and relying on God to see them through, but that seems a tad unrealistic. Don't get me wrong when I say that because I believe God answers our prayers, I believe He meets us in our times of need, and so on. BUT...He gave us doctors (whether that means physical or psychological) for a reason, and sometimes, they are the ones to assist us through life's storms and heartaches, along with our trust and faith in God.

I cannot give more than 2 stars for this book. The issues I've mentioned really just scratch the surface as to why I didn't enjoy this book. The only reason I gave it more than one was because out of all the characters, Erin was the one I liked the most. The end of this book gave a good intro to the next book which will center on her character.

Southern?  No
Sass?  No



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CFBA Blog Tour: Words by Ginny Yttrup




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Words
B&H Books (February 1, 2011)
by
Ginny Yttrup




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ginny Yttrup is an author, freelance writer, and writing coach. As she writes, speaks, and coaches, her prayer is that God will use her words to replace the lies so many believe about themselves with the truth of His unconditional love and grace. To see someone grasp, perhaps for the first time, the truth of God's love, is truly an honor. Through a relationship with the Truth, Jesus Christ, the bonds of shame are loosed and freedom abounds!

When Ginny is not working, she loves spending time with her two college-age sons or with friends. She is surrounded by the most amazing people--each a gift in their own way. If she can spend time outdoors with those she love, it's even better. And she thoroughly adores her dog, Bear. He's a book lover too.

She has two grown sons and lives near Sacramento, California. Words is her first novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

"I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Words, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer video:



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall/5 Stars

About the book:

Betrayed by the man she longed to marry, Hope Westcott finds herself on an island in the Caribbean being auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder. Raised in an unloving home and after enduring a difficult childhood, Hope's search for love and self-worth have led her down a very dangerous path. All she ever wanted was to find true love and to some day open an orphanage where she could raise children with all the love she never experienced as a child. But how can a woman with a sordid past ever hope to run an orphanage, let alone attract the love of an honorable man?

Determined to overcome the shame of his mother's past, Nathaniel Mason worked for many years to build his own fleet of merchant ships in an effort to finally acquire the respect of Charles Towne society. Ignoring the call of God on his life to become a preacher, he forges ahead with his plans for success at a distant port in the Caribbean, when he sees a young lady he knows from Charles Towne being sold as a slave. In an effort to save Hope, he is forced to sell one of his two ships, only to discover that her predicament was caused by her own bad behavior. Angry and determined to rid himself of her as soon as possible, Nathaniel embarks on a journey that will change the course of his life.

My thoughts:

I have always thought that MaryLu Tyndall had enormous talent when it comes to writing adventurous stories, but The Blue Enchantress was fabulous on a whole other level!  It was thrilling, captivating, and fascinating, and I simply could not turn the pages fast enough!  Hope Westcott truly was a sassy enchantress, as the title implies, and Nathaniel Mason was a handsome gentleman that has been smitten with Hope for years.  Their brief tale of adventure on the high seas, that turned into being shipwrecked on a deserted island, made this my favorite of all the Tyndall books I've read to date.  I have no doubt that the final installment of this series, The Raven Saint, will be an excellent conclusion to the story of the Westcott family.

5 Stars

Southern?  So-so; it starts in Charles Towne, but then, switches to the Caribbean.
Sass?  Hope fits this category to a T!

**Many thanks to Barbour Books for providing a copy for review.



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: Stars Collide by Janice Thompson/4.5 Stars

About the book:

Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy don't just play two people who are secretly in love on a television sitcom--they are also head over heels for each other in real life. When the lines between reality and TV land blur, they hope they can keep their relationship under wraps. But when Kat's grandmother, an aging Hollywood starlet with a penchant for wearing elaborate evening gowns from Golden Age movies, mistakes their on-screen wedding proposal for the real deal, things begin to spiral out of their control. Will their secret be front-page news in the tabloids tomorrow? And can their budding romance survive the onslaught of paparazzi, wedding preparations, and misinformed in-laws?

From the sound stage to a Beverly Hills mansion to the gleaming Pacific Ocean, Stars Collide takes readers on a roller-coaster tour of Tinseltown, packing both comedic punch and tender emotion.

My thoughts:

I have to admit that I had a little bit of trepidation before diving into this book.  I've had one other experience with a Christian/Hollywood-type story, and while it was good, it wasn't a book that I would recommend on a regular basis.  Well.....the same will not be said about Stars Collide!  Wowza (as Kat would say)!!  This was the most fun I've had with a book in ages!

While the main story really was about Kat and Scott, the two stars on the set of Stars Collide, the character that stole my heart from the beginning was Grandma Lenora.  What a hoot she was!!  The underlying story of the ongoing debacle with the maps was hilarious, especially the IHOP scene.  I could not stop laughing after I read that!  :o)  And her love of all those beautiful dresses was so sweet.  She appreciated what the past from Hollywood had to offer--from clothes, to friendships, to movies, and everything in between.

This book had a dash of old Hollywood glamour, some new Hollywood romance, and a whole lot of laughs to go along with 'em.  Janice's style of writing was so enjoyable, and I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book!  I've read a couple of her older novels (mostly by Heartsong), but this was my first experience with one of her full-length novels.  I have no doubt that I will be back for more!

4.5 Stars

Southern? No
Sass?  Yes

**Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy for review.