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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Bridge of Peace...Review

About the book:
Love alone isn’t enough to overcome the obstacles between a man and a woman.

Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and the use of ideas that don’t line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board’s case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble.

One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife Elsie has shut him out of her life, and he doesn’t know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family.

Lena and Grey have been life-long friends but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?

I really liked The Hope of Refuge and was anxious for this book, but will admit to being a little disappointed in it.  While I loved Lena and Grey, I felt the whole premise/plot was a bit of a stretch. I had a very hard time believing Dwayne's psychopathic character and how he was able to influence so many people against Lena. I also admit to not understanding Grey's relationship with Elsie and I was very, very annoyed that there were no repercussions/apologies forthcoming from Peter's parents. 

Ada and Deborah return as do Ephraim and Cara who are dealing with Cara's struggles to accept the Amish way of life and abandon her Englischer ways.  Ada and Deborah finally figure out how to make Ada's House a successful business and Deborah begins to find healing after Mahlon's desertion.

The tone of this book is a bit more serious and there are certainly darker elements one does not normally associate with Amish fiction. Cindy Woodsmall has a wonderful way of showing the human side of people, regardless of faith or lifestyle. 

While not as good as The Hope of Refuge, I do look forward to the next one. 

This is the second book in the Ada's house series and it helps if you've read the first one, The Hope of Refuge.

Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Cindy Woodsmall here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * *
3/5 Stars

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bloggiesta Mini Challenge: Organize your books

I'm not officially doing Bloggiesta this time around.  But,  I liked the mini challenge hosted by Jenn's Bookshelves about organizing your books.

I don't know that I'm super organized. I always schedule reviews that have set dates. I just create a draft post in blogger on the date the review is to be published. When I finish the book, I add the review and it's ready. If a book has an open date, I still schedule the reviews. Ideally, I like one post/review a week day. Sometimes it's less. But,  I don't like doing multiple posts in a day.  I will sometimes have reviews scheduled for weeks out.

I should let people know when I receive books, but I don't.  I do try to let publicists know when reviews are posted.

I always note in the review where I got the book, whether it's mine, the library's or from a publicist/author.  I've gone back through old posts and added that information.

When I first started reviewing and was offered books, I took everything. I quickly figured out that wasn't a realistic thing to do. I read quickly, but it's very easy to get overwhelmed with review books.  I realized very early on that if I had to force myself to read a book, chances are I wasn't going to like it.  Because of that, I've learned that if I think I might not like a book, I don't take it. I don't relish writing negative reviews or doing DNF posts. So, sometimes if I don't like a book or simply cannot finish it, I'll do a preview post with an "about the book" and an "about the author" instead, rather than doing a negative or DNF.  I do, however, believe in being honest and I like knowing when someone doesn't like a book and why.

I have all of my review books in a stack on the end table by my bed.  They stay in one place unless I'm currently reading one of them.  I can tell, at a glance, how many are actual review books.  I also have a category in Goodreads called, "In My Reading Basket" and those are the books I have in my possession that need to be read.

What about you?  Do you have an organizing system?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Search...Review

About the book:
Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many. Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past.

Another terrific story from Suzanne Woods Fisher.  Her characters jump off the page.  Bertha is so unlike your traditional Amish grandmother.  She can be prickly, but she's also a bit sneaky and not above breaking some rules to get her own way.  Lainey is just someone you wish you could know and Bess is a sweetheart.

Lainey spent part of her childhood in Stoney Ridge and when she returns as an adult, she discovers that her past choices have consequences.  As she immerses herself back into the community and decides whether or not to become Amish, she also learns about herself and what she truly wants out of life.

Bess returns to Stoney Ridge at the manipulation of her grandmother, Bertha who wants to see her family reunited. As Bess begins to feel comfortable at Rose Hill Farm, she falls for Billy Lapp who can't see anything beyond a flirty local girl.

As these three lives intertwine and relationships begin to grow, we see a story about strong women and the importance of friendship, family and community.

This was an enthralling, heartwarming and enjoyable story about choices and consequences and love and family.  Easily recommended.

The third book in the Lancaster County Secrets series, this one stands alone just fine.  In fact, all three books are really stand alone novels. 

Available January 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  Thanks to Donna Hausler and the Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Suzanne Woods Fisher here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Hope of Refuge...Review

About the book:
Raised in foster care and now a widowed single parent, New Yorker Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and her daughter, Lori, away from the city toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers to mysteries from her past and a fresh start. She quickly discovers that Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, is no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God- "Be me to her"- despite how it threatens his way of life.

Ephraim’s sister Deborah is fearful of the strange Englischer woman causing turmoil for her family, but she keeps focused on the marriage and home she longs to begin with Mahlon Stoltzfus. Her dreams are threatened when Mahlon begins behaving oddly, withdrawing, and causing concern for Deborah and Mahlon’s mother, Ada. Will the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose-or push Mahlon away forever?

As Ephraim is torn between trying to do what he believes is right and the requirements of his community, he risks losing everything, including a developing friendship with the guarded single mother. And he knows that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake-secrets with the power to tear apart the home Cara is desperately trying to find.

While it took me a bit to like Cara, and I thought Ephraim a little too good to be true, I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  The premise is a bit different than other Amish fiction, but the story is good.   We see a human side of the Amish that is most refreshing.  Cara was a very prickly character, but given her life experiences you can understand it.  She was raised in foster care and believes that she was abandoned by her father.  Her foster care experience was about as stereotypically wrong as you could get.  I found the stalker problem a bit farfetched and it wasn't resolved, which was disappointing.  Still, this is an enthralling story and one that easily captures your attention.

I enjoy reading Amish novels, but I have very little real life understanding of the Amish faith and I can't tell you what is accurate or inaccurate in any novel I read.  I do know that I cannot understand the concept of shunning.  I well know the need for rules and consequences, but to shun someone for any kind of sin or mistake is simply beyond my comprehension and goes against everything in me that says "love thy neighbor" and "when you have done it unto the least of these...".

Also, in many Amish novels the bishops rarely show any compassion. I appreciated that Cindy Woodsmall portrays the bishops differently here.  When the community realizes who Cara is, they rally around her as best they can, even while constrained by the tenets of their faith.  The bishop apologizes for his harsh criticism and treatment of her, even as he explains the reasons and stays true to his faith, and as Cara has begun to let her heart soften she is able to forgive.  It's a wonderful interaction. 

The first in the Ada's House series, I am anxious for more.

You can learn more about Cindy Woodsmall here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Personal copy.

Read 1/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Tapestry of Love...Review

About the book:
A rural idyll: that's what Catherine Parkstone is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains. Divorced and with her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you're no longer just on holiday, and Catherine finds herself with unexpected battles to fight. French bureaucracy, the mountain weather, the reserve of her neighbours - and most unsettling of all, her own fascination with the intriguing Patrick Castagnol.

The Tapestry of Love is the story of how a woman falls in love with a place and its people: a portrait of landscape, a community and a fragile way of life. 

Needing a life change, Catherine Parkstone leaves England and moves to a tiny city in France.  Once there, she find the rural, idyllic life she envisioned not only includes French bureaucracy, but friendship and romance.  She misses her children and feels guilty for leaving England when  her mother is suffering from Alzheimer's.  Her newly formed world is shaken a bit when her sister arrives, yet Catherine manages to adapt there as well.  As she meets local people, makes new friends and becomes part of the community, she discovers what she really wants from her life and learns just what part Patrick Castagnol will play in it. 

Reminiscent of Under the Tuscan Sun, this is just one of those books you savor.  You sit on the veranda with a cool drink, or by the fire with a warm one.  This is not a rushing river of story, it's a meandering stream.  You don't read it trying to find the ultimate purpose or plot, you simply read it to enjoy your visit with Catherine.

I so appreciated Catherine's age and stage of life!  She's someone I would love to have as a friend and neighbor.  Rosy Thornton has a beautiful, lyrical way of writing.  This was a charming journey of discovery. 

There is incidental, disappointing use of the F word, as well as incidental, non-marital sex without the details.

Thanks to the author for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Rosy Thornton here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Tapestry Shop...Review

About the book:
The Tapestry Shop is the story of the trouvère, Adam de la Halle, a thirteenth-century poet/musician who entertained in France's royal courts. Adam's secular play, Robin et Marion, led to the birth of the comic opera form and the first penning of the Robin Hood legend.

The book draws the reader into the Middle Ages, where women joined the crusades and students held discourse on the Street of Straw, but the overriding appeal of The Tapestry Shop is Adam's connection to the legend of Robin Hood.

After enduring political exile, Adam returns to the city of his birth to confront the reality of his failed marriage, but first, he must find the hangmen who stole his purse and his dignity.

As protégé of King Louis's nephew, Adam attends the university in Paris. When he meets Catherine, a shopkeeper's daughter, his life takes an unexpected turn.

Catherine is bound to another by a secret she cannot reveal. Her deep religious convictions and guilt for her past bring danger to her and to those she loves. When she decides to join the king's latest crusade, Adam must confront his disdain for what he considers an intolerant Church, based on his knowledge of its treatment of Cathars and Jews.

Torn by conflicting ideals, they move toward their destiny, each determined to prevail, but the choices they make bring them both to heights and depths neither could ever imagine.

The Robin Hood story has always fascinated me; how the legend came to be, is it based on a real man or is it simply a tale.  The premise of The Tapestry Shop is that the minstrel Adam de la Halle, a real 13th century musician, wrote the play which became the basis for the Robin Hood legend.

The story is Adam's and his experiences as he endures exile, robbery, a failed marriage, gains an education and falls in love.  Catherine's story is told alongside Adam's:  her arranged marriage to a lecherous man, her life working with tapestry, her desire to join the crusades as well as meeting Adam and falling in love.

Historically, this is a rich, well researched story with beautiful descriptions.  You can smell the markets and hear the rattles of the wagons.  It was easy to feel the drastic comparisons between Adam's time staying in common roadside inns and his time staying in the Count's luxurious home. But for all the lovely descriptions, I wished for more detail about the story.  Especially towards the end of the book when it felt rushed.

Ultimately, I would have preferred less detailed description if it meant more detailed story. 

What also surprised me was that the Robin Hood play was a fairly minor part of the story.  More like an incidental piece that Adam needed to finish, rather than a focused plot point.  Still, this is a fascinating story and one that readers of historical fiction will probably enjoy.

Thanks to Andrea Clift of Carol Fass Publicity & Public Relations, Inc. for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Joyce Elson Moore here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * *
3/5 Stars

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Heart with Joy...Review

About the book:
In Heart With Joy, fifteen-year-old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Venice, Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.

Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.

Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make. But ultimately, it’s about the importance of following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.

Julian is a thoughtful, introspective teenage boy and reading Heart with Joy, is like reading his journal.  He's conflicted about his mother leaving and open about missing her.  He loves to cook and is quite the budding gourmet chef and Food Network aficionado.  He likes a girl, but is shy about admitting it and following through.  He enjoys a developing friendship with his elderly neighbor even when his best friend makes fun of him.

What should be a story about teenage angst, is instead a sweet narrative about Julian's experiences growing up.  I loved the relationship Julian and his dad developed.  I do wish there was more closure at the end, but the ending also fit the story.  An engaging read that is easily recommended for teens or adults.

Some readers will be interested to know that there are incidental teenage references about sex.

Thanks to the author for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Steve Cushman here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * *
3/5 Stars

Friday, January 14, 2011

Life Without Limits...Review

About the book:
Life Without Limits is an inspiring book by an extraordinary man. Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disability to live not just independently but a rich, fulfilling life, becoming a model for anyone seeking true happiness. Now an internationally successful motivational speaker, his central message is that the most important goal for anyone is to find their life’s purpose despite whatever difficulties or seemingly impossible odds stand in their way.

Nick tells the story of his physical disabilities and the emotional battle he endured trying to deal with them as a child, a teen, and a young adult. “For the longest, loneliest time, I wondered if there was anyone on earth like me, and whether there was any purpose to my life other than pain and humiliation.” He shares how his faith in God has been his central source of strength and explains that once he found his own sense of purpose—inspiring others to make their lives and the world better—he found the confidence to build a rewarding and productive life without limits.

Nick offers practical advice for realizing a life of fulfillment and happiness by building trust in others, developing supportive relationships, and gaining strength for the journey. He encourages the reader by showing how he learned to accept what he could not control and focus instead on what he could.

I first became aware of Nick Vujicic when my husband showed me one of Nick's You Tube videos.  I was incredibly moved by Nick's story.  When I learned that Nick was writing a book, I knew I wanted to read it.  I jumped at the chance to review it and I wasn't disappointed.  My 12-year old son is anxiously awaiting his turn at reading the book next!

Nick is very open about his faith in God.  Refreshingly, he's also open about the struggles and doubts he's had over the years because of the life God gave him.  However, Nick has embraced and accepted his life and has used his experiences to reach out and help others.  It's very clear from his writing and his actions that he lives his life trying to serve other people.  The happiness he has found in doing so is palpable and contagious.

He is a very positive person and believes that each one of us has a choice about how we live and react to our circumstances in life. Nick advocates finding your life's purpose and focusing on the things you can control in your life, rather than the things you can't.  His company is called "Attitude Is Altitude" because he believes that there is real power in controlling your own attitude.

Reading Nick's story is like having a comfortable conversation with him.  He's warm and engaging and I can easily and wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their own life or simply have an inspirational uplift.  I think that the audio version of this book would be even better because Nick is a terrific speaker and I love his Australian accent!

Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Nick Vujicic here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Lady's Slipper...Review

About the book:
1660. King Charles II has returned from exile, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. There are old scores to settle, and religious differences threaten to overturn a fragile peace. 

When Alice Ibbetson discovers a rare orchid, the Lady’s Slipper, growing in a wood belonging to Richard Wheeler, she is captivated by its beauty— though Wheeler, a Quaker, is determined to keep the flower where God intended it to grow. Knowing that the orchid is the last of its kind, she steals the flower, little dreaming that her seemingly simple act will set off a chain of events that will lead to murder and exile, and change her life forever…

This one sounds so good, and from an historical standpoint it is.  It's a fascinating account of England in the 17th century as it recovers from Oliver Cromwell's parliamentary rule.  The novel also explores the origins and establishment of the Quaker religion.  I thought that using a rare flower as a main plot device was certainly unique and unusual and was one reason I was drawn to the book. The writing is lyrical and the descriptions vivid.

However, the story itself was simply not something that ultimately appealed to me.  I didn't really care for the characters and found myself more annoyed than enthralled.  This isn't a fast read, it's more of an ambitious one that can hamper a reader's enjoyment.  The sex scenes were unexpected, unnecessary and quite vulgar in their descriptions. 

I found the religious aspect fascinating, especially the lengths one character went to in order to become a Quaker and the ease with which another ultimately disregarded his Quaker faith. 

Thanks to Reading Group Gold (Macmillan/St. Martin's Press) for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Deborah Swift here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* *
2/5 Stars

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Caroline's Choice...Review

About the book:
When Caroline leaves her hometown for a fresh start, will she finally find the adventure she longs for—or is she fleeing the very things that matter most?

At age twenty-six, Caroline Frankston is certain life is passing her by in the town of Barton Creek. Her feelings for Matthew Haynes appear unrequited, so she decides the time has come for her to move to the big city for a fresh start.

Once in Oklahoma City, Caroline is fascinated by the many opportunities there and begins moving on with her life. As time passes, Matt realizes his true feelings for her and plans to tell her on her next trip home. When Caroline goes missing after her train is in an accident, Matt sets out in search of her, wondering if any chance of spending his life with Caroline has disappeared.

Book four in the Winds Across the Prairie series brings you back to the town of Barton Creek, providing a glimpse into everyday life at a time when Oklahoma was drawing homesteaders to its territory before the days of statehood.

Caroline Frankston was always the dutiful daughter and faithful girl.  The reliable one in the background.  But, tired of waiting for Matt to realize how he feels, and tired of following her mothers orders, Caroline finally takes control of her own life and leaves Barton Creek.  She finds a good job, shares a home with roommates and gets a taste of life on her own.  But, as she finds her way and learns who she is, Caroline also begins to realize what things are truly important to her.

Back home in Barton Creek, her mother Charlotte, the proud and prickly wife of Barton Creek's mayor, also begins to discover that she doesn't like the woman she has become, but she has no idea how to change.  Matt finally realizes he's a stupid fool and wonders if it's too late for him and Caroline.

This is a fantastic end to the Winds Across the Prairie series.  I'm so sorry to see it end as I have so enjoyed getting to know these characters.  While I didn't love the first book, Becoming Lucy I'm so glad I gave the rest of the series a chance.  It's been a delightful adventure.  The series wraps up satisfyingly well and I was pleased to see Charlotte's story included here.  This is a book and a series I can easily recommend.  I have loaned out my copies several times over to friends.

Thanks to First Wildcard and Strang Book Group for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Martha Rogers here.  You can read the first chapter here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Love on Assignment...DNF...Review

About the book:
While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.

During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as a temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont’s children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man. They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him—a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.

I just hit the jackpot, recently, on books that I couldn't finish.  I guess it's bound to happen occasionally.

I liked the first book in the Ladies of Summerhill series, Love on a Dime.  It was light, but entertaining and I really liked the character of Lilly.  Because of that, when I was offered Love on Assignment for review, I took it, thinking I'd enjoy the story just as much as the first one. I didn't.  I couldn't even finish it.

The whole premise for the story just didn't sit well with me and it was so completely predictable that there was no enjoyment in reading it.  Many stories are predictable, but can still captivate a reader's interest. Here, however, Charlotte wasn't very likeable and I found myself not even caring about her or wanting her to redeem herself.  This one wasn't light, it was shallow.  I wanted to like it, but finally just had to set it aside.  Fans of Cara Lynn James will no doubt love it.  Because I liked Love on a Dime so much, I do look forward to the next one in this series, hoping it will be more like the first and not the second.

This is part of a series, but stands alone just fine.

Thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Cara Lynn James here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other tour stops and more positive reviews here.

Read 1/11

1/5 Stars

Monday, January 10, 2011

Threads West...DNF...Review

About the book:
The romance of America, her people, her spirit, and the West. The ongoing story of us. This first book and namesake of the six-novel series is being compared by reviewers and authors to Lonesome Dove and Centennial. The tale bursts with the adventure, romance and promise of historical America and the West. 

The epic saga of Threads West begins in 1855 with the first of four richly-textured, complex generations of unforgettable characters. The separate lives of these driven men and independent women are drawn to a common destiny that beckons seductively from the wild and remote flanks of the American West. They are swept into the dangerous currents of the far-distant frontier by the mysterious rivers of fate, the power of the land and the American spirit. 

Their turbulent journeys are heartbreaking quests intertwined with romance and adversity, passions and pathos, despair and triumph. This is not only their story. It is our story. It is Threads West, An American Saga.

I love a good, epic saga. I enjoy those series' that span generations.  What I don't like are an abundance of sex scenes, especially those that include rape.  That the book opens with a scene which is the aftermath of an adulterous, intimate encounter, should have been a fair warning to me.  However, I skimmed through it as the story intrigued me and I decided to read on.  This book obviously sets up the rest of the series and introduces those characters whose stories will intersect, intertwine and unfold together.  They come from all countries and all walks of life.

This series has the potential to be a fascinating look at western immigration and it will appeal to many, especially those who like Larry McMurtry and John Jakes. The writing is lyrical and beautifully descriptive. It's just not a book I can finish.  I'm no prude and I have no problem skipping over a sex scene or two in a book, but there are too many here for me, especially when all are premarital, adulterous or involve multiple rape encounters.

I was disappointed, but those love epic westerns and who don't mind sex scenes will enjoy it.

Thanks to Rebecca Brown at The Cadence Group for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Reid Lance Rosenthal here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/11

1/5 Stars

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Unexpected Love...Review

About the book:
Nurse Lorenna Fields is drawn to a blind patient searching for his past. But as his memories return, will there be a place for her in his future?

Lorenna Fields has always taken her job at Chicago's Mercy Hospital seriously, determined never to become personally involved with her patients. But when a mysterious man with eyes like onyx is admitted after a shipwreck on Lake Michigan, she develops a connection with him that she can’t deny.

Slowly her patient regains consciousness, but to Renna’s dismay he has lost both his sight and his memory. Dubbed "Mr. Blackeyes" by her, the two build a strong, trusting friendship as they search for clues to his past. But part of her dreads the day of his recovery, convinced that his memories will take him away from her and his regained sight will reveal a secret about herself that Renna has been trying hard to hide.

Renna is a fantastic character.  Strong willed, capable and beautiful, she is burdened by the very noticeable birthmark on her face.  Believing that no man will love her because of it, she dedicates her life to nursing.  "Mr. Blackeyes" is the blind amnesiac she falls in love with.  As he regains his sight, Renna's fear is that her face will turn him away.

"Mr. Blackeyes" is the rogue turned believer, who wishes to change his ways as he remembers and regrets his past actions.  Can he convince Renna that his love is real and that she is the woman he wants by his side.

There was a teaser for this book at the end of Uncertain Heart  which made me anxious for its release.   I was so curious about Captain Sinclair and what happened to him and I wasn't disappointed.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and read it in an evening.

This is the third book in the Seasons of Redemption series by Andrea Boeshaar.  While it can stand alone, it's a far richer story if you've read the first two books.  A terrific story and one that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Thanks to Anita Silva at Strang Communications and First Wildcard for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Andrea Boeshaar here.  You can read the first chapter here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/10

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Wrap-Up

As near as I can tell, I read and reviewed 163 books in 2010.  Of those, 11 were DNF.  163 doesn't seem like very many, but it's just over 3 books per week, so I guess it is quite an accomplishment.

Some of my absolute favorites:

Petra: City of Stone
A Season of Miracles

In a Heartbeat

The Mailbox
Courting Morrow Little

She Walks in Beauty
Lipstick in Afghanistan

Some not so favorites:

Lydia's Charm
For Time and Eternity

Confessions of Catherine de Medici
Heidegger's Glasses

The Mermaid's Pendant 
Winter Bloom

True Disappointments:

The Help

Thanks for stopping by this past year.  Thanks for your comments and suggestions.  Here's to a fantastic 2011 and lots of good book discoveries!