Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Prize of My Heart...Review

About the book: 
An unsolved mystery separates ex-privateersman Captain Brogan Talvis from his lost son--his only living relation, his only family. Shortly before her tragic demise, his wife abandoned their infant to strangers, refusing to reveal the child's whereabouts. Now, three years later, Brogan has discovered the boy at the home of a shipbuilder's daughter, Lorena Huntley. 

Lorena guards a dark secret about her young charge. She finds herself falling for the heroic captain who has come to claim his newly built ship, unaware his motive for wooing her is to befriend the boy he plans on reclaiming as his own--until the day another's evil deceit leaves her helplessly shipbound, heading toward England. 

 As the perfect opportunity to reclaim his son unfolds, Brogan is haunted by thoughts of Lorena in her dire circumstance, and he is forced to make a heartrending choice between his child and the woman who has begun to capture his heart. But only his unselfish sacrifice can win him the greatest prize of all--love.

I liked it well enough, it just didn't capture me.  The story is a bit slow and the characterizations aren't great.  A twist at the end was unexpected.  The first word that comes to mind is insipid although it's not quite an uninteresting as the word implies and it is sweet.  But, just a bit meh for me and I know it's not one that I would reread.  I think most fans of historical fiction will enjoy it and there are many 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon to attest to that fact.

Thanks to Noelle at Bethany House for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Lisa Norato here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/12

* * *
3/5 Stars

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't Panic! Cookbook

About the book: 
Great meals for your busy family! 

We're all busy, but that doesn't mean we have to eat like we are. You don't have to settle for feeding your family commercially packaged meals full of sodium and preservatives or fat-laced fast food. Quick and healthy meals from your very own kitchen are easy with delicious recipes like: 

Southwestern Baked Cheese Dip 
Thai Chicken Wraps 
Walnut Spinach Salad 
Homestyle Mac & Cheese 
Slow Cooker Pork Chops
Oven Roasted Orange Chicken 
Grilled Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches 
Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry 
Fruit Pizza 
Mexican Chocolate Mousse 
and many more 

From quick meals made on the grill or in the sauté pan to crockpot dishes that require little prep and cook while you're out for the day, the recipes in this cookbook are tasty and nutritious--and require less hands-on preparation than traditional meals. Easy appetizers and desserts; one-dish casseroles and pastas; simple soups, salads, and side dishes; and even fast breakfasts round out the selections. Meals that are freezer-friendly are marked for those who want to make ahead. 

Give your family the best--the easy way!

An easy to follow, practical cookbook that will appeal to many.  The recipes are clear and fairly simple,as are the cooking tips and suggestions in the front of the book.

With a few exceptions, most recipes included ingredients I already have on hand.  I also liked that these were recipes which could be frozen. I wish cookbooks had a photo for every recipe, but that's my personal pet peeve.

A great cookbook for people looking for go-to recipes and variations of old favorites.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna from Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about the Don't Panic books here.  You can purchase your own here.

Read 4/12

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Midwife of Venice...Review

About the book:
Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Not since
The Red Tent or People of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.

I love Venice.  I loved visiting that beautiful city and I love when Venice is the setting for a story, whatever the time or era.  I'd seen this book and was intrigued.  Unfortunately, it just wasn't one that lived up to my expectations.  I liked Hannah, I liked the historical aspect of childbirth and midwifery.  I didn't connect with Isaac nor with his parallel story.

The descriptions are vivid and the research well done, but the story fell flat.  I ended up skimming most of it and I don't think I missed much.

Thanks to Melissa from Simon and Shuster for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Roberta Rich here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/12

* *
2/5 Stars

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Wedding Dress...Review

About the book:
Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can't she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new-shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been "redeemed."

Charlotte's search for the gown's history-and its new bride-begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte's heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

Charlotte Malone has a knack for finding the perfect dress for each bride who comes into her shop.  Finding the perfect dress for herself is another story.  As she questions her decision to marry Tim Rose, she inadvertently purchases an old trunk at an auction and when the trunk is opened, discovers a gorgeous, vintage wedding gown.  As Charlotte searches for answers to who the previous owner was, she discovers more than she ever imagined.

As these stories are woven together and as Charlotte begins to make connections and find answers not only about the dress, but about her own life  Christian without being preachy, this is a story about love, family and friendship. I loved these characters.  I loved this story of one wedding dress and the effect is has on four different women of different generations.

Thanks to Amy at Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Rachel Hauck here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here.

Read 4/12

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Discovery...Review

An Engrossing Story of Family Secrets and a Love for the Ages

When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather's venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel. But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone--but clearly intended Michael to find. As he delves deeper into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael realizes this story is different from all of his grandfather's other books. It's actually a love story. And he discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Laced with suspense and intrigue,
The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime. Author Dan Walsh delivers yet another unique and heartfelt story that will stick with readers long after they turn the last page.

When Michael Warner's beloved grandfather dies, Michael inherits his Charleston estate and has one goal in mind:  to write his own novel at the same desk his grandfather wrote all of his.  Instead of starting his own novel, however, Michael discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather left behind and as he reads it, Michael learns secrets about his grandfather and his family.

A beautiful story about love, family and country.  Michael learns his grandfather's history, how he met Michael's grandmother during World War 2 and secrets he never dreamed of.  I love that this is a WW2 story set in America.  Because that war was fought away from mainland America, there are few stories from this perspective.  It was, quite simply, fascinating.  I loved these characters.  I laughed with them and cried with them.

It's hard to tell you why I love this story so much without giving away too many spoilers.  Suffice it to say, this is a remarkable book and one that will stay with you.

I have loved everything I've read by Dan Walsh. I think The Discovery is my favorite. At least, so far.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Dan Walsh here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/12

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Echoes of the Titanic...Review

About the book:
Kelsey Tate comes from sturdy stock. Her great-grandmother Adele endured the sinking of Titanic and made it safely to America, where she not only survived but thrived. Generations later, Kelsey works for the firm Adele founded nearly 100 years ago.

Now facing a hostile takeover, the firm’s origins are challenged when new facts emerge about Adele’s actions on the night Titanic sank. Kelsey tries to defend the company and the great-grandmother she has long admired, but the stakes are raised when Kelsey’s boss is murdered and her own life threatened.

Forced to seek help from Cole Thornton, a man Kelsey once loved—and lost, thanks to her success-at-all-costs mentality—she pursues mysteries both past and present. Aided by Cole and strengthened by the faith she’d all but forgotten in her climb up the corporate ladder, Kelsey races the clock to defend her family legacy, her livelihood, and ultimately her life.

With this year being the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the number of Titanic related books shouldn't surprise any one.  However, given that most men aboard the ship didn't survive, it's hard to write a happy love story with the Titanic as backdrop.

This was a pleasant surprise.  The Clark's have taken the sinking of the Titanic and made it part of the story, but the real stories are those of Adele and Jocelyn 100 years ago and Kelsey today.  As Kelsey fights a hostile takeover of her family's company, she must also discover the truth about her great-grandmother:  is she really who she said she was or is everything Kelsey knows, based on a lie?

I enjoyed the parallel stories and reading about Adele's life as Kelsey is trying to discover the truth about it as well.  There was just the right amount of romance and suspense here.  An engaging, easy read.

Thanks to First Wildcard and Harvest House Publishers for the opportunity to review this book.  You can read the first chapter here.  You can learn more about Mindy and John Clark here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/12

* * * *
4/5 Stars