Saturday, 27 October 2012

Borders of the Heart, Chris Fabry

Borders of the Heart was a good read.  It was my first Chris Fabry book and I do believe I will read more of his work.

J.D. found Maria in the desert, and she was not doing well.  Taking her home (against his employers instructions about finding 'illegals') he tried to help her.  But there is an evil man after her.  And somehow he always seems one step ahead.  J.D. and Maria end up on the run together.  He wonders, "Why get involved in the first place?", but knows he can't leave her.  He feels responsible for her well being.  She is evasive, hiding something she'd rather not divulge.  Can these two ever be safe?  With bodies piling up in their wake, it doesn't look likely.

I loved the writing.  It was fast paced and kept me reading through to the end.  I can normally peg the outcome of a book pretty easily but this had me guessing a few times.  I loved the two main characters, flaws and all and I really enjoyed the bad guy because he was reallllly bad!
I was given a copy of this book to review by
Tyndale House Publishers and am including here, for fun, a Q&A and a link to the trailer:
Well done and enjoyable, I definitely recommend this book.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thief, by Linda Windsor, Brides of Alba Series

This is book number two that I ordered and have been waiting for!  I read book number one, Healer, a while ago and I  really loved it.  So I went to The Treasure House and ordered numbers two and three.  Three became available first and I just couldn't wait so I read it before I read number two.  And now, Book number Two, Thief has come in.  I picked it up at the bookstore and have been avidly reading ever since. 

In Thief, outcast Caden is living in a hell on earth.  He doesn't see a way past his personal pain but finally the priest tells him that they way out would be to focus on helping someone else.  After almost dying and being nursed back to health, he agrees to set out and find the long lost daughter of the woman who nursed him.
Sorcha, is just trying to get buy.  The money lender is after her, she is betrothed to a man twice her age and her future step-son is lusting after her.  Can it get any worse?  Yes, apparently, because soon she is in even more trouble than she was. 
Throw in a plot against her fiance, a dead woman come back to life and a bunch of orphans in need of rescue and you have a novel that will keep you awake at nights reading just "one more page". 

This was well written and I have said more than once that Linda Windsor is in my list of favourite authors.  And I think what I really love is the reason she knows so much about this particular time period.  She wrote a small personal testimony in one of her books about how she reached out to her daughter through this historical search and they connected on their love of history.  She was able to woo her daughter back to Christ. 

I will be looking for more of Linda Windsor in the future!  Of course I recommend this book!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Enduring Justice, Defenders of Hope Series, by Amy Wallace

This might have been my favourite of the three novels in this series! 
Hannah is in trouble and nobody can help her.  At least that's how she feels.  She finally decides to do something about it but the man who might love her may not be able to handle her secret. 
Michael is in the Crimes Against Children Unit of the FBI.  He's learning that the world is an even uglier place than he thought.  Michael is handling a very difficult case and then he gets pulled from the investigation.  His whole team is put on a new case.  Dealing with his angry father, his injured girlfriend and her cranky big brother, and a case that keeps him awake at night is enough to drive him nuts.  But Michael needs to be strong.  Can he accomplish such a feat?

This book was heart wrenching.  Mostly because this kind of thing happens all over the world every day.  And it's wrong and it's tragic. 

I have to say I love a happy ending!  And I'm glad this series ended on a positive note.  Sometimes the good guys win. Definitely recommend.

Healing Promises, Amy Wallace, Defenders of Hope Series

I, having helped my mom walk through a cancer diagnosis, can totally feel for the main character of this book.  Clint works for the FBI.  He's strong, he's manly, he's married to the love of his life and everything is going his way.

Now, he's weak, and his wife is trying to take care of him, but Clint feels that's his job.  She's an oncologist and can't fix her own husband.  She feels like a total and complete utter failure!  And now, she is trying to burn the candle at both ends and she starts to feel a little sick herself. 

Then there is work, another venue where he feels like a loser.  And where is God is this whole mess?  Chemo brain is affecting his memory and his work.  Something plays around the edges of his consciousness and he knows it's important but he can't seem to grasp the memory. 

The case is heading south and they are running out of time.  Can he trust God to take care of him?  Of his family?  Of this case?

Suspenseful from start to finish, I recommend this novel.

A Cowboy's Touch, by Denise Hunter

I have read a lot of Denise Hunter's books and I think, of all I have thus far, this just might be my favourite of her titles.

Abigail travels to her aunts for health reasons and lands herself a job as a nanny while there.  She stumbles across the story of a lifetime that could literally save her mother's floundering magazine.

Wade is in hiding.  He has his daughter and his ranch and that's all he needs, or so he thinks.  When Abigail moves in to take care of his daughter, his heart can barely take it.  He needs to keep his distance.

When they learn that they can't  he;p but fall in love, secrets are revealed that may drive them apart forever.  Is he willing to let this pretty woman into his life forever or is just easier to cut and run?  And what is he hiding anyways

Ransomed Dreams, by Amy Wallace (Defenders of Hope Series)

Please bear with me here.  I don't know why but somehow I can't go back and fix stuff once I've typed past it without deleting all of which I have written.  I can fix spelling, but not missed words or, if I want to (which I usually do) tweak it or add words/sentences.  So.... sometimes my blogs may seem a bit...'off'.

The Defenders of Hope Series was awesome.  I think I may have to expand my ten favourite authors to my favourite TWENTY because I am coming across some really great reads lately.

Ransomed Dreams finds Gracie, a teacher alone.  Her family, gone.  Her life is shattered by one moment in time.  Tragic.  She lives each day just going through the motions.
Steven is bitter.  His ex has stomped all over his life.  She abandoned him and their child and leaves him trying to hold it altogether.  Thankfully his dad is there to help him out while he works at the FBI in the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Steven works for the FBI and Gracie is a teacher at a high profile school with excellent security.  But oddly, not secure enough.  Wonder of wonders, Steven's boy is in Gracie's class and when tragedy strikes, maybe, just maybe she can help pick up the pieces.

Amy Wallace is incredible!  Her writing is really heartfelt and I had such compassion for Gracie and I felt the hatred Steven has for his ex-wife.  I could (and likely will) read this novel more than once.

Yes, absolutely recommend!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Deirdre, by Linda Windsor

Deirdre is book number three in a fantastic series set in the sixth (or seventh?) century.  She is attempting to negotiate her brother's ransom and along the way falls prey to pirates. 
Alric's mother prophesied shortly before dying that Alric would meet a woman and she described Deirdre.  She described her clan's colours and her character.  Is this unbelieving Alric going to believe they were put together by God?  Will he make her his wife?  And what about the sinister plot that is afoot.  Someone is after the very kingdom.

A really great read.  I have mentioned that I enjoy Linda Windsor's writing.  I was sad to see the series end and I don't lightly say that.  Often when a series ends, I'm ready for it to end.  This time, I wanted there to be another novel! 

Highly recommended!

Saturday, 29 September 2012


Yes, I've been naughty.  I have read probably a dozen or so books this month but haven't blogged about any of them!  So this evening, I have reviewed four and will review more quite soon!   I just have to remember where I actually put the books I have finished reading!  This stack was in my room so they were easy to find. Either I need more book shelves, or I need to begin buying strictly Kindle editions because I have piles of books everywhere. 
Weight wise, I'm down 27 pounds right now and am still planning on losing a bunch more.  I fell off the exercise wagon in August and September and really need to get going at that again.
I'm hoping that all these book reviews are coming in handy to someone out there!  I don't mind telling you that my first 'not-so-positive review' is coming soon!

Heart of Glass, by Jill Marie Landis

I had been waiting for this book!  I read book number one and was hooked by the storyline.  Book number two was also fascinating so of course, I couldn't WAIT for book number three.  And I was not disappointed! 

Heart of Glass, the third book in the Irish Angel Series finds us rooting for Kate Keene.  She arrives at her friend's childhood home to find it in ruins.  After paying the back taxes, she determines that she'll fix it up.  But Belle Fleuve's owner, Colin Delany, doesn't want anything to do with her or her new pet project.  He wants her off his property and away from his injured self.

This book was so much different than book one and two yet totally an interesting read.  Jill Marie Landis knows how to write a great novel.

I will warn you that some titles by this author are not Christian fiction.  I'm assuming that, somewhere along her path, she had a come to Jesus moment because her works now have a Christian flare.  I prefer this style of writing so heartily recommend this author.  I do challenge you, however, to thumb through her novels to find out if it's worth your read.  For myself, I can be assured by the publisher.  If it's put out by Zondervan, I'm pretty sure I'm getting a 'clean' novel.  If you're diligent, you won't pick up one of her older works by mistake.

A Duke's Promise, by Jamie Carie

I picked this book up on sale at The Treasure House and started reading it.  I was a few pages in when I realized this must be part of a series.  I found out it's book number three.  While a tiny bit confusing as it hinted at past events, I was able to read it as a stand alone and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. 

I have read a few of Jamie Carie's books and I enoy the writing style.  It just seems to flow from one page to the next and I liked the edge of suspense.

The newly married Duke and Duchess of St. Easton set out to find her missing parents.  They travel under the guise of their 'honeymoon' so they can get away to Italy.  Many trials and tribulations along the way  make for a great storyline.

I recommend this book.

Lethal Legacy by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon is in my top ten list of favourite authors.  I definitely recommend her writing.  She has a fantastic blend of suspense, mystery and a touch of romance.  Lethal Legacy is the final book in the Heroes of Quantico Series.  I have read all three books in the series and enjoyed each one.

Lethal Legacy follows Detective Cole Taylor.  Disgruntled by a past event, he has fallen away from God and finds himself attracted to a woman on the case he is working.  He wants to get to know her better but has a personal work ethic and she doesn't want to get involved with anyone that lives in the fast lane.  She wants a solid, Christian man....can Cole BE that man?

I loved Cole's character.  He is honourable and strong but doesn't crush a girl with his expectations.  He treats his love interest with gentleness and determines to watch out for her.  Kelly has had so many rough moments but is such a trooper.  I hoped they would get together in the end as I am a complete sucker for a happy ending.  I won't tell you how it ended but I will say that I was impressed with how the crime was resolved.

Riona, Linda Windsor

Riona is book number two in the Fires of Glennmara series.  I really enjoyed this series.  I found the writing refreshing and the hero all too human.  The love interest of Kieran, the warrior king was feisty and wouldn't take any 'guff' from Kieran.  I loved the the suspense in the book as well.  It was not predictable and I will definitely be reviewing book number three for you all soon!

Kieran makes a promise to his dying friend to marry Riona and keep her safe.  He would give his life for her if necessary.  Now, to only convince Riona that marriage is the best answer.  The problem is she feels like she should wed the church, not a mere man, and a wholly frustrating one at that! 

Linda Windsor is one of my top ten favourite authors and I highly recommend her novels to anyone who loves a little romance mixed in with a little mystery and some sixth century history.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

High Desert Haven, Sherpherd's Heart Series, Book Two; by Lynette Bonner

I wasn't sure if I'd like this book. In Book #1, Jason is a lousy excuse of a man, although he does redeem himself in the end.  Now in Book Two, Jason is the main character and I wasn't sure he had what it takes to be the 'leading man'.  I was quite pleasantly surprised.
I loved the leading lady as well.  I didn't like that she seemed so strong in the Lord and yet didn't really catch on to the villain.  You'd think she would have prayed about that a wee bit more.  I really enjoyed seeing more of the characters from the previous book but it was such that you could easily read this as a stand alone or out of order if you wanted.  You might miss some little things but overall, it'd be fine.

Looking for work, Jason takes a job as ranch manager and finds he wants to manage Nicki almost as much as he wants to manage the ranch.  One feisty girl and one stubborn man.  Hopefully they can begin to work together because someone is after the land they are on and will stop at nothing to get it.  When Jason is arrested for committing a crime, Nicki feels that maybe she has misread his heart badly.  Whatever happens, God must know the big picture....right?

Can't wait to start Book #3!


Rocky Mountain Oasis, The Shepherd's Heart, Book 1 by Lynette Bonner

Brooke has been sold as a mail order bride.  But the man she ends up married to is not the actual man her uncle sold her to.  This man, Sky, is different than the other men she has had in her life.  Can she learn to trust and learn to love when she is afraid to give her heart away?  Will he hurt her just like the others have?

I really enjoyed this book.  The way she reacts to sudden movement or what she thinks is Sky's anger was just heart wrenching.  I found myself hoping that she would just be open and honest right from the beginning.  Sky's reactions to her and his vows to her were so gentle and sweet that I thought he was the perfect choice to show her what a real husband is supposed to look like.

With a little suspense and intrigue and a touch of romance, this was an enjoyable read.  I downloaded this (Book One) free from Amazon to my kindle and I have purchased book two and three from Amazon, and will read number four when it comes out in the fall of 2012

Friday, 24 August 2012

Texas Whirlwind, By Bonnie Blyth

Emma has come back to Texas.  Living there for a year in her teens and then having to move on was really rough on young Emma.  That was the pretty much the longest she had ever stayed in one place.  Her relationship with her parents is strained, her fiance is no longer in the picture and she has adopted two little girls from an orphanage in Haiti.  Coming back to Texas puts her into contact with her old flame, Travis, who is now the doctor that was recommended to care for the twins.  Will old love rise up?  Or is it as dead as a doornail?  When the adoption is contested, things really hit the fan.  And chaos ensues.

I really enjoyed this book!  The 'bad guys' were really despicable!  I loved it.  I hated them.  I wanted to go slap somebody.  I wanted good to win and I wanted love to conquer all.  Did I get my wish?  You'll have to read it to find out!

Bonnie Blyth's writing is really well done.  When I get emotionally involved in a book, I know it's going to be good.  The characters were really brought to life for me.  I could actually picture Steven standing in her livingroom and what he said and did gave me the shivers.  Bonnie had me hooked an I will definitely read more of her work.

Highly recommend.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

To Protect and Serve, The Courage Series, by Staci Stallings

I really enjoyed this book (that I downloaded for free from Amazon to my Kindle app). My uncle is a firefighter and often I have wondered how his family handles his line of work. This book gave me a really in-depth look at how both a firefighter and his family can feel. Jeff is a very shy firefighter who has absolutely no interest in dancing or clubs. So when he is dragged there by his friends for their graduation celebration, he resigns himself to just endure the evening. Lisa's little sister is getting married and the bachelorette party is at a little club downtown. Lisa is so focused on her work that had they not come to pick her up, she would have missed it...and she is the maid of honour. Now, that would have been disastrous! Jeff and Lisa meet and, after a lot of second guessing themselves, start dating. When Jeff is in a particular heavy fire, something goes terribly wrong. And after that, nothing seems to go right. His past comes back to haunt him and the life he thought he might have with Lisa slips through his fingers. Working like dogs, Jeff and Lisa think if they can keep their brains occupied, their hearts will eventually get over the unrequited love. This book had me teary, smiling, and even chuckling out loud at times. I think Staci is a great author that can bring such realness to the book that it feels like you're right there in the thick of the action. Her life lessons are deep, though surprisingly simple. You say to yourself, "Duh" (as in 'I can't believe I have never looked at it that way') over and over. I will definitely read more of her work. To compare her to Dee Henderson or Irene Hannon is not a stretch; I can easily see her becoming one of top ten favourite authors if her next book is as good as this one! Definitely recommend.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Her Best Catch, by Lindi Peterson

Allison is in her late twenties, lives at home with her mom and grandma and goes to church every Sunday.  When she meets Ashton, famous baseball pitcher, she starts to forget her priorities and her convictions.  She wants a happy ending but is she willing to compromise? 

I found this book a little long and drawn out.  Some of the dating angst seemed so teen-ish.  I would assume that by the time a woman hits her mid-twenties she knows herself well enough to forego all the mind games that one tends to experience in their youth.  Hey, maybe I'm wrong about that. 

I'll read more of her work, I don't like to judge an author too quickly or too harshly.  I will read a couple more of her works before deciding if she is worth my time.  So far, I'd say yes....if I bought the book at a discount.  ;-)

Rebel, by Linda Windsor

This is the third in the 'Brides of Alba' series.  I have read one and three so I'm pretty confident when I say that they can be stand alone's.  I read number one, having downloaded it (from Amazon for free) to my kindle and enjoyed it so much that I went to my local Christian bookstore and sought out one and two.  They didn't have number two so I went ahead and bought number three.  And I wasn't disappointed.  I will likely buy number two very soon!

In this series finale, we find Alyn, a "disallusioned, somewhat hopeless, non-priest, not quite scientist"~ man who just wants to go home.  It's about 6 AD and, sadly, Alyn arrives to find Merlin has died and Arthur is now accepting counsel from Cassian, a druid who seems to have his own best interests at heart, rather than what is best for his country.  Alyn also finds Kella, a scribe, a girl he grew up with who is no longer a girl but a feisty young woman who still doesn't listen to him.  She is as frustrating as she is beautiful.  Together the two must carry out orders from the queen.  Kella's heart is breaking.  Having found out her fiance is dead and her father is missing, the secret she harbours near bursts from her mouth the minute she first sets eyes on Alyn, the boy she loved as a youth.  She places her hope in him, hoping Alyn will help her find her loved ones. 

I love this series.  Linda Windsor's writing is terrific.  She kept me hooked the entire book through.  Her descriptions are complete while not being overly wordy.  I like that she has really done her research and even offers hints and tips at the end if you'd like to read more about that time period. 
Because I have read parts of two series now, I did see some reference from one to the other which I thought was intriguing.  I will definitely track down the ones I am missing.  Highly recommend!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Free Kindle Books!

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet!  Most books I review are books I have downloaded for free. 

On Facebook, if you search "Inspired Reads," you'll come across a page you can 'like'.  This will now allow Inspired Reads to post to your news-feed, free (or severely reduced prices) Christian books.  Some fiction, some non-fiction, self help, etc.  If you search 'Pixel of Ink,' you'll receive notifications of some Christian material and lots of non-Christian material.  So, ya, be careful what you download.....some stuff you just can't unread (or un-see).  Be careful little eyes!

Personally, I have downloaded 431 free e-books since I came across those pages last August (so, that would be about one year).  I downloaded the free kindle app for my PC laptop and have been happily reading ever since.  I would guesstimate that I have easily read 100 of those books.  I have cookbooks, self help, fiction, non-fiction, some biographies etc. 

I have purchased one book during this time and it was reduced to $2.99....

So ya, happy reading!!!  Thank you Amazon!

(To Clarify:  You download by clicking the link on the freebie list page which takes you to the free e-book download made available by Amazon.) 

More weight gone

So, I'm down 25 pounds.  Slow and steady wins the race!  I am feeling great, although I need to begin exercising again.  Summer came along and things went by the wayside.  As soon as September rolls around (which is what?  next weekish?) I'll get back to it.  During the school year I am in a much better routine.  Homeschooling my kids requires me to be on the ball and when we were schooling,  I was exercising almost an hour a day.  MUST GET BACK TO THAT!  For now, I'll be happy with minus 25 pounds, but I can't wait to be even 'less of me' than I currently am!  When I finally reach my goal, I may even post before and after pics!

Liberty Belle, by Patricia PacJac Carroll

Liberty Belle is tired of being told what to do and whom to marry.  She takes off with her aunt on an adventure west with little forethought or planning....and totally forgot about food provisions.  When the stage gets robbed and she loses her dowry money and her prized horse, the fun really starts.  Now she has very little money, and apparently her dream job may not be such a dream after all.  When she meets Wade, she believes he is the one....but does he feel the same way?

This book was 'okay'.  I didn't love it but it was well written and the characters were a good mix.  I think the saloon owner was a favourite of mine.  He seemed quite an interesting character, almost an oxymoron, which is why I enjoyed him so much.  I couldn't peg his 'ending'.  Usually I can guess the outcome of each character in a book so this is why I enjoyed him so much; he was surprising.  I also loved/hated Liberty's conniving mother.  If she was my mother, I'd likely run away from home too!  But I enjoyed her antics (obviously because she is NOT my mother).  She was super manipulative and made a great antagonist at times.  I thought Wade was an idiot in the beginning.  All the ungodly beliefs that guy had caused him to think and do things that were just stupid.  He needed to learn a lesson or two and apparently, he finally got his act together.  But, does he get the girl?  Or does the saloon owner have a great come to Jesus moment and become a worthy prospect?

I would read more by P.Carroll.  Obviously her book kept my attention.  It ran a little long at times but overall, I enjoyed it.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

From a Distance, Timber Ridge Reflections, Book 1, by Tamera Alexander

I really enjoy Tamera Alexander!  This is book 1 of yet another series and yes, can totally be a stand alone.

Elisabeth has come to the Rockies to take pictures of the untamed territory.  She stumbles across a dead body but it disappears!  What is going on?  In the meantime, she quickly decides that pushy, bossy Daniel really isn't so bad.  Set back in the days just after the civil war when slavery was abolished, there are still really harsh feelings on both sides of the situation.  Josiah is about to be branded a murderer, based on his previous history and the colour of his skin.  Stories of hurt, loss and pain abound. 

Tamera Alexander is one of my favourite authors.  She uses subtle humour so nicely!  At times I chuckled out loud.  Her books are fast-paced, full of feeling and, in this case, mystery.  Her books are a delightful read.  I have purchased almost all of her titles.  I think a new one has recently been released but it is not yet in my bookstore.  I must check online as I don't mind if I have an e-book or a paper copy. 

Highly recommend!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Healer, by Linda Windsor

Brief Synopsis:
Ronan, future king and Brenna, healer of all, meet under terrible circumstances.  But love blooms and he decides to take her home as his bride.  But sinister events happen, under an evil so great it can hardly be stopped.  Deception, attack and plotting keep them from having the bright, happy, peaceful marriage they desire.

As I have said before, Linda Windsor has become one of my favourite authors lately.  She constantly has me turning page after page, leaving things that I should be doing in favour of reading 'just one more' page.  Her stories are exciting, fast paced, and full of intrigue and mystery.  I can't wait to read more.  This is book one of a series and I must ferret out the next one to find out what happens in the life of one of the characters introduced in this book.  This particular book could stand alone....but I fully believe that once you begin, you will want to read the next and the next in her series. 

Highly enjoyable, highly recommended.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Angel in the Saloon, by Jeanne Marie Leach

Twenty year old blind Amelia, has been shipped off to live with an aunt she never knew existed.  Her parents are gone and someone needs to take of her.   Along life's path, she meets two men, best friends, that both fall head over heels for her and the competition to win her hand begins.

I liked this book but it was pretty syrupy.  Set back in the days when a proper lady was treated with the utmost respect, the author has everyone tripping over themselves to accommodate Amelia.  I really do wonder if that is truly how it was.  I trust she did her research well so I assume this is an accurate reflection of that time period.
The book was well written although there were some editing issues to be sure.  The story of forgiveness portrays how God has loved and forgiven us regardless of our actions.  That is true unconditional love.  Having everything wrapped up a neat little package is a bit unrealistic.....but hey, I love a happy ending!

I would read more of this author's work but have to say that there are many other titles I would choose first.  But, it was a good read on yet ANOTHER rainy day.  (Yes, I have been reading a LOT this past week due to the amount of rainfall around here!)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Rekindled, by Tamera Alexander

I loved this book.  Tamera Alexander is an amazing author.  I will most definitely read more of her work.  I think she will become a staple in my library.

Brief Synopsis:
Larson Jennings is a man tormented.  There is something just beyond his reach; he has no idea what.  Turns out he was missing Jesus.  After he is injured to the point of dis-figuration, he comes home to a wife who appears to have moved on and doesn't even recognize him.  Can he win her back, despite her recent activities?  Does he even want her back?  Does she want someone so disfigured that she doesn't even recognize him?  The love of a man and wife is supposed to endure all things....isn't it?  Well, read on, my friends, because this is one ending you're going to love.

The plot was quite steadily moving along, the characters were rich and the emotion was strong.  I could almost feel the heart ache being experienced.  The author really does a great job of pulling you in.
Tamera Alexander is a great writer.  Plot twists and turns and things happening all over the place will keep you glued to this book until the very last page.  I loved it.  I recommend it highly!

Aging with Gracie, by Heather Hunt

This book was cute.  Syrupy sweet and a cast of delightful characters! 

Grace has basically been shipped off to do an overhaul of an old-age home in the middle of nowhere. Nothing prestigious about the old folks' home!   But then she meets someone.  Throw in two sinister villains and a bunch of nosy old people along with Grace, a super klutzy twenty-something, and you have yourself a fun, delightful afternoon read.

I would totally recommend this and will likely read book number two. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Cecelia, by Patricia Strefling

This must be book two of a series.  It can be read as a stand alone but there were moments when you know you missed something - nothing huge - and most of the blanks are filled in at one point or another.

Brief Outline:
Cecelia is busy organizing her life.  She is successful in business but not in relationships.  She is somewhat cold and aloof.  Spencer might as well be invisible.  What will it take to get her to notice him in that way?  Learning to let go and let God has been a serious struggle for him.  And Cecelia has no interest in God.  She does wonder what she is missing and why her accomplishments don't seem to be enough.  Flitting from one project to the next keeps her busy.  Always busy.

I didn't like Cecelia.  I wanted Spencer to move on to a 'worthy' girl.  I thought he deserved better.  She treated him terribly in the beginning and another girl, Becca, in my opinion, was more soft, kinder, and she loved God.  She and Spencer would have made a fantastic power couple with the common ground of a solid foundation.
The writing was good, although I found some descriptions lengthy and irritating.  Honestly, I don't really care what fantastic outfit they are wearing and I felt like I was reading a Birkenstock commercial at times.  Seriously, they should be paying the author because she plugs the name so often and with such glowing review. 

I liked the story of forgiveness and acceptance and I did end up liking Spencer and Cecelia as a couple in the end when she was more open and likable.
I thought the character Evan was a great addition, although I would have liked Cecelia to stand her ground, but that wouldn't have made it as good a storyline as what the author penned.   And I liked that the author wasn't afraid to show that life is not always a happy ending for all in the way we assume it should be.  God works all things together for good and I loved that we see just how God does that in this story.

I would read the original book and I bet I would prefer it to this one because Cecelia will not be the main character.  I know I'd like Edwina as a main character; she seems approachable and kind, although a bit insecure.

Overall, an okay read on yet another rainy day.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Heiress, Susan May Warren (Daughters of Fortune Series)

This is book one in a series but can be a stand alone.

This story is set in a time where society rules and dictates what is acceptable or not.  Arranged marriages for the sake of title is quite common.  Men married with no intention of being faithful.  Women suffer in loveless marriages and really have no alternative options as it is not proper for them to work outside the home.  They aer relegated to organizing cotillions and trying to stay in the good graces of the women in the upper echelon that can cause anyone to be snubbed for any (sometimes insane) reason.
The book really pulls at the heart strings but sometimes I just wanted to shake a character or two.  Misunderstandings and misguided notions really affect the lives of two sisters.  I wanted to skip to the ending and make sure everyone lives happily ever after.  MOST of the story line is sewn up nice and tight and I can only assume that the unfinished business will be resolved in book number two.
I will likely read book number two but I did find the first book rather drawn out at times...and yet I wanted more of some of the lesser explained moments.  All in all, a satisfying read.  Not my favourite, but pretty perfect for a rainy afternoon!

Accused - Pacific Coast Justice Series by Janice Cantore

I just finished reading Accused, from the Pacific Coast Justice Series, by Janice Cantore.  I'm not sure where this fits into the series so obviously, it can be a stand alone.
A Brief Synopsis:
Carly Edwards's life is really in a downward spiral.  After being in an officer involved shooting, she is relegated to working the juenilve department which, for her, is more boring than watching paint dry.  Her husband is now an ex-husband after he couldn't bother keeping his wedding vows.  And to top it all off, she has somehow stumbled into a really big case and is now running for her life.  What else can go wrong?!?!
I liked this book.  It was edgy and real.  The characters were not your average clean cut Christian.  They struggle too.  There are some real moments of frustration aimed at the "christian speak" that a lot of people have struggled with.  Let's get real.  Let's cut to the chase.  I enjoyed that.  I loved that, at the end of the day, each person must make a personal choice. 
I did find that there were MANY characters, and at times it was hard to remember who was who, especially because in 'cop-land', their last names are used as often, or more, than their first names, so that was a bit tricky to keep straight.  Because it's a series, I assume some of the lesser characters will be the main feature in a future novel, although I could be wrong.nd
Yes, I do recommend this book.  A little suspense, a little romance, and a LOT of action!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Changes of Heart by Paige Lee Elliston

Just finished reading another book.  I was not at all happy with the ending.  It was a very well written book and did really keep me guessing till the end! 
It's about a recently widowed woman who has two very different men interested in her.  At first she can't even fathom looking at someone romantically.  Eventually she realizes she has a decision to make.
I wanted her to pick the opposite person.  I won't say much more because I don't want to wreck the ending.  Suffice to say, there is a happy ending but that it wasn't the man that I would have picked.  Maybe you will feel differently!

Gifts of Hope by Heather Hunt

Gifts of Hope is the second in The Gift Series.  This can be read as a stand alone, however, so if you haven't read the first one yet, no big deal!  Dive right in.  I think you'll like it.
I enjoyed this book.  I liked that it wasn't trying to be the typical Christian fiction, you know, all nice and tidy and neat.  For instance, where the worst transgression is a huge misunderstanding between friends.  Don't get me wrong, I like that too!  This one had a misunderstanding of mammoth proportion.  But I liked that that the author wasn't afraid to show the messy side of things.  I liked thinking, "Boy, if they had just followed the path that God lays out, none of this would have happened."  It gives me hope that my own kids will, hopefully, follow the paths of righteousness.  Yet, if they did mess up, there is forgiveness, grace, and mercy.  I, for one, am SO relieved that God majors in grace!
The story was intriguing, the characters well developed and the love portrayed seemed very realistic.  I did find the 6 year old a bit older than her age.  I found her quite precocious though, so I was able to get past it.  I do wish sometimes, that characters would open up and be honest a little sooner.  Of course, that would have considerably shortened the novel, so I can understand why the book wasn't written that way. 
Overall, a great book.  I will definitely read more of her work.

Gifts of Life by Heather Hunt - a review

I just finished reading Gifts of Life by Heather Hunt.  I liked it a lot.  So much so, that my next read is Gifts of Hope which I will start right after this blog post!
The main character experiences some serious tragedy and I like that it was realistic.  I also like that the author didn't focus on the crime as much as she focussed on the woman.  We got very good insight into her heart and head.  I enjoyed that.  I also liked that things weren't so tied in a pretty bow from the outset.  I love that the rascally man had anothe side to him.  And I enjoyed that the author focussed on both of them, their thoughts, their actions and their hearts.
The story itself was pretty fast paced.  We got a very good look at what life as helicopter pilot and nurse looks like.  The intrigue, the adrenaline rush, the sad fact that not everyone can be saved.
It was a really good story with incredibly descriptive moments.  I would recommend it and I will definitely be reading more of Heather Hunt's material! 
Happy Reading everyone!

Down 23 pounds!

Actually, if I take the measurement off the scale from this morning, it's close to 25....but after I hit a new number, it goes up and down a bit (time of day etc) for a couple days before holding steady. So I'll just report the 23....for now.  Yay!  I have never lost weight like this before and am so pleased! 
To date, I've lost six inches off my waist, my chest has gone down so much, I probably need new bras and today I tried on a 'large' at Labels and it fit!  So ya, I'm pretty pumped!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Weight Loss

So, I'm down 19 pounds.  This is not an overnight thing.  I have been working at it since January.  I started following a weight loss blog.  If you want the link, let me know and I'll dig it up for you.  I joined  I started drinking a protein smoothie, by Visalus every morning and I began exercising thirty minutes to an hour after dinner each evening.
Just tracking my food has made quite a bit of difference.  Not that I am a huge eater, it's just that I was eating the wrong things.  Too many starches/carbs, not enough fruits and veggies, that kind of thing.  I started to try and get the most nutrition out of my food and began substituting things that would fill me AND give the best amounts of protein, fiber etc while keeping the calories to a minimum.  The site is fabulous for aiding in creating a caloric amount specifically for you.  You plug in your current weight and your weight goal, and it generates a calorie, carb, protein, sugar etc. goal for your day.  As you go about your day, you log what you've eaten.  This can take a bit of time initally, but if you keep plugging away at it, it gets easier.
I have also had a thyroid issue and my doctor has finally figured out the correct dosage so the things I have been doing are finally making a difference.  I aim to be a 'fraction of my former self' (size wise) by this time next year.  It has become my motto.  "A Fraction of My Former Weight."  I won't mention what that fraction is but I will say that I have a few multiples of 19 to go!
I am so encourgaed to see this change.  I have felt so discouraged about this aspect of myself for so long that this is an entirely new feeling for me.  I was content in everything about my life....except my size.  And there was nothing I could do to change it.  Now, the things I do actually make a difference to my body.  I still fight discouragement when I hit a small lull and things don't happen as quickly as I'd like.  But I remind myself often that things ARE happening.  God has me going slow and steady for a reason.  I believe that reason to be that it will STAY off.  I'm not fad dieting, I'm making a series of lifestyle changes and I'm feeling pretty good about that.
Stay tuned, I'll mention this again!

Honor Redeemed by Lorie Lough

Normally, I love Lorie Lough.  Her characters are rich, she writes in a way that you can actually feel what the characters feel.  Her stories are great, intriguing and gripping.

But I'm having an issue with her First Responder Series.  I read the first one, From Ashes to Honor, and enjoyed it.  But it didn't end the way I would have chosen.  Enter book two, Honor Redeemed.  It lets you know what happened to the characters from book one.  But it was done in such a way that I felt like I had missed out on something.  I didn't like that part but since Honor Redeemed was a book about a new couple, I figured I'd give it a try.  Except this book ended just like the first, with things left hanging in the balance.  That is not my kind of book.  You become so invested in the characters that to jump forward to such a degree without reading what happened, at the time it happened, and not in retrospect, left me feeling somewhat removed....or empty.
I'll likely read the third of the series.  Eventually there will be a happy ending.  At least I hope there will be!  This series is worth reading, but it's not the type of series where one feels absolutely compelled to get the next book.  It's more of an "It's on my list; I'll read it someday"...which I will.

Having said that, not all people like a happy ending.  So if you want angst and a dangling ending, this is just the book for you!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Maire, by Linda Windsor

Okay, Linda Windsor is my new favourite author of the week.  This is the first book (of hers) that I have read and I have already determined I will be adding others to my collection as soon as possible.

A Brief Synopsis: 
Maire, warrior queen has come to invade.  She pillages, she plunders, but she really does not have a taste for violence. Conquering? Yes, absolutely; but violence, not so much.  And then she meets Rowan.  Rowan is a warrior and he has the scars to prove it.  But he refuses to kill.  He doesn't even want to fight.  So, being the smart, sassy woman that she is, she decides he will make a great hostage husband - even if he is a Christian.  And she will rule.  But along the way, something happens.  Rowan is not easily controlled.  He really does become king in his own right.  But danger lurks.  Evil is waiting.  The horrid Morlach is ready to curse the two of them in order to take over all the land.  Will they ever be one in spirit?  Will they overcome the evil of the enemy? 

This was a great read.  The characters were gripping.  The heroine was real; she had confidence, she had doubts, she was human; she was not just a warrior or a queen but she was a woman.  The hero, was a perfect blend of strength and softness.....and the 'bad guy' was really bad!   The other characters all had distinguishing personalities and they were each very easy to get to know.  The village of Glennmara is quaintly described and the peasants are just everyday folk trying to eke out an existence in a land that has been robbed of its value. I found myself really gripped by this book and found myself wanting to read the next in the series right away.  The book was serious, engaging, often fun and light-hearted and at times heart-wrenching....which makes a great recipe for a novel. 

I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

I read A Necessary Deception yesterday afternoon.  I enjoyed the book, of course, as I enjoy MOST books.  I did find it a little hard to follow.  This is the first book I have read by Laurie Alice Eakes and I have to say that I would definitely read more of her work.

A brief synopsis:  The book started with a widow woman helping a fellow out of jail.  Little does she know that he is a spy; or is he?  He suddenly shows up at her home, looking to be introduced to the upper echelon of society.  Begrudgingly she helps him and begins to fall for his handsome ways.  And he is totally smitten with her.  Danger is all around them and then upon them.  Will the two ever be free to express their feelings? Will a man be named traitor?  Will they even survive to tell the tale?  The intrigue builds.

I felt maybe I didn't give this book enough of my brain space.  I was looking for a quick easy read but this, for me, required me to take things a bit slower.  Would I recommend it?  Yes, actually, I would.  It had a plotline that kept me guessing and I really liked that aspect of it and I found the writing to be very well done.  The descriptions were good without being too flowery.  I found the one sister's role almost unnecessary except for the redeeming part where she dispenses some good advice.  Overall, I enjoyed it even though I think she could have cut out a character or two.  Since this is the beginning of a series, though, I'm guessing we'll be seeing more of these 'side characters' at a later date.  I would definitely continue the series.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Messenger, Siri Mitchell

I just finished The Messenger by Siri Mitchell.

This one tugged at the heart-strings. 
The Messenger is a story of one Quaker woman's quest to free her brother from prison.  The life of a Quaker would dictate that she not get involved.  After all, they abhor violence.  But this woman understands why her brother joined the fight and when he is captured, she feels she has no choice; she must help him.  Little does she know that she will be called upon to begin sending private messages thus making her a spy.  A spy who won't lie. 

The writing of this novel was well done.  I enjoy Siri Mitchell's work. The author paints a vivid picture of the squalor of prisons.  You can almost feel the despair some of the prisoners feel.  You can get a very real sense of the Quaker's angst as she goes against her people, knowing that at some point, she'll likely be un-friended.  I love that the spy Hannah was passing notes to was handicapped.  All too often, the male character is a perfect specimen and you can't help but fall in love with him.  Jeremiah was almost abrasive because he felt shorted by the unfairness shown him.  He lost a hand to an arrow and was left for dead.  It made him somewhat bitter.  His character felt very real to me.  I think I would feel just as justifiably angry....and yet, he is an overcomer. 

What hurt my heart the most about this book was reading about the conditions of the prison.  Knowing this is a true reflection of things that can happen during war time is most unsettling.  And I'm thanking God once again, that I have not been in a similar situation.  I am so thankful I live in Canada.  Where to date we have been safe from war on our soil (at least during my lifetime).  And I pray it stays that way.  I don't know if I would have the strength and fortitude needed to endure such a terrible thing.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

So, why did you start a blog? 
Let me tell you why I started mine.  To get free e-books.  Really.  I LOVE reading.  I figured I might as well put my fiction reading to good use.  I thought I would start publishing reviews of the books I read.  And to do that, I either needed a rather large budget, or I needed free access to these books.  I read fiction.  I tried to join a site and guess what?  They came to look at my newly formed blog and noticed I just created it.  So, in a most humiliating, yet kind fashion, I was declined.  How truly embarrassing. 
The good news is, I get free ebooks from Amazon quite often so will maybe review those instead.  I read one today.

Here's the deal: Prize of My Heart, by Lisa Norato, was a good piece of fluff to read on a gorgeous spring day.  The characters were well developed and I enjoyed the pace of the novel.  I did think she got a bit wordy in her description of places and people but overall, I enjoyed it.  (Obviously, I read it in two days and would have likely read it all at once (as is my M.O.) but alas, other things also required my attention.)
Normally, I can pretty much catch the drift of how a book will go, what events will transpire and what the end will be.  Now, since I read happy fiction, it, of course, had a great ending. But there was one event in this novel that I didn't anticipate. And I don't dare mention it for fear of spoiling it for you.

A brief synopsis:
Lorena, a young girl of suitable marrying age (although some would say she was old enough to be approaching spinsterhood) is caught between two men.  One a long time friend, and the other, a man she doesn't know much about.  She senses he is hiding something, something that makes him seem almost burdened but yet she loves the heart he shows in relation to her young charge, Drew, and she is drawn to that gentle way he has of truly loving her little man.  Trouble is afoot and there is no happy sailing.....until, that is, they could almost sail into the sunset.

Would I read more of her work?  Absolutely.  Is she my favourite author?  No, but she is new to me and I do enjoy her writing.  Would I recommend her to others?  You bet.  I'm recommending her to you! 
Here is my endorsement:  If you enjoy period pieces, happy ending romances with a little suspense, and a heart-tugging moment or two about orphans being mistreated back in the day, then this just might be the book for you.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sun Exposure

Twas able to get out in the garden today for a couple hours.  Strangely I am hyper-sensitive to the sun right now and have seriously itchy arms.  Rather than scratch my arms raw, I have found that slapping myself silly seems to help....temporarily.  But now - my arms are red not from scratching but from slapping. 
Imagine the conversation:
Friend: What happened to you?
Me: Slapped myself.
Friend: Why, what did you do that was so bad you had to beat yourself?
Me: I was outside unattended for a little too long.
I don't know if you know what a Dutch Cheese Slicer looks like, but I toyed with the idea of using one on my arm.  I'm kidding....but if y'all have any tips, I'd be forever grateful.

Friday, 4 May 2012

So ya, here's some news.  DO NOT step on your weigh scale daily.  It's not as fun as it sounds, especially since a body can fluctuate a couple pounds throughout the day.  And if you weigh yourself at breakfast one day and dinner the next (or after you've finished the required 8 glasses of water) well, you might have gone up a bit. Note to self: Stop obsessing.  Step on that thing....weekly, maybe monthly but not daily.  Never daily.  Not cool, not cool at all.

It's me!

Hey it's me!  Starting a new blog today!  I plan to review books and such.  Maybe blog a wee bit about my life and my family.  Just wanted to say hello! 
And to leave off with a cheesy saying that fits for today:  May the fourth be with you!