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!!