Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I'm moving the blog to wordpress, not because I dislike blogger, but because wordpress has a great app for my Blackberry and I should be able to blog more frequently. I am in the process of importing all of my posts from blogger, so I shouldn't loose any content.

The new site is:

:-)  See you there!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Here Burns My Candle, by Liz Curtis Higgs

I'll admit that I'm a history buff.  I have a weakness for a good historical romance.  And I have always been interested in Scotland (since my family comes from there).  I've read stories of the Rising or the '45 (you might know these by their more formal name of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745), so I was eager to get my hands on a new tale set in that period. 

Higgs' characters seemed weak as I began the novel, but grew stronger in my eyes as they learned more about each other and themselves throughout the book.  I liked that she was able to convey much of the emotion in Edinburgh and surrounding the Young Pretender, bonny Prince Charlie, and his attempt to regain the throne for the Stuarts.  It was even more impressive that she was able to do this while maintaining language that was unoffensive.  She didn't shy away from honest topics, but she dealt with them without making them the focus of the narrative.

I also liked watching Elisabeth and Marjory deal with their respective faiths, both in higher powers and their own selves.  It was fascinating without being "preachy" and was also inspirational.

The only thing I did not like about Here Burns My Candle was the way Higgs jumped from one person's point of view to another with the chapter changes, but only while the character was in Edinburgh.  I quickly became accustomed to these jumps, but I feel that it could have been made smoother by, at the very least, using the current character's name as a heading for the chapter.  There were a few passages where I was half a page or more into the chapter before knowing which person was the focus of that portion of the story.

Overall, this was a good, clean book.  If you have ever read any of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, you would most likely enjoy this view of the Jacobite Rebellion.  If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a good one to pick up.

You can find this book at Barnes and Noble here, or Amazon here

I was forwarded a print copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Talk of the Town, by Lisa Wingate

Talk of the Town was such a fun read.  It was lighthearted and funny, sweet and romantic without crossing the line.  Lisa Wingate's language was clean and her storytelling was superb.  I downloaded this book because, at the time, it was being offered for free.  Even though it is not free any longer, I still encourage you to get a copy.
It is worth the read!

Most of us here in the South can relate to the small town setting.  The plot is based primarily on an American Idol type show with one of the finalist's coming home for a "surprise" concert.  As anyone in any small town can tell you, there is no such thing as a surprise.  Watching the big city people from the show interact with the small town inhabitants is funny enough, but adding in the antics of stars and the egos of executives and this is laugh-out-loud funny.  I will admit that the descriptions of the residents of Daily, Texas made me picture them just as Wingate described them; strangely, they seemed just like many of my family members!

Here's where you can find your own copy of this book at Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, and at Kobo.

Check out Lisa Wingate's Talk of the Town yourself and let me know what you think!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Divine Appointments, by Charlene Baumbich

This was an interesting novel. At first glance, it appears that it is going to be somewhat mystical and otherworldly. The story is engaging, however, and quickly draws you in. The characters are realistic and well-formed. The story provides a good message in a non-imposing format. It is definitely a book to lend to a friend.

Josie is strong and independent, and set in her ways. She is also single and menopausal. Watching her try to keep her life as fiercely controlled and regimented while things spiral beyond her control is humorous and something most of us can relate to.

Barb comes across as the typical grandmotherly figure. She is there for everyone and always has a treat and some advice for you. The glimpses into her personal life help round out and make her human.

Marsha's creative writing therapy is humorous when used in the overall narrative, but seems out of place when chapters of her fiction are placed in between chapters of Baumbich's novel. Overall, Marsha was my least favorite of the primary characters.

Overall, this is a clean book, and one that I would (and did!) loan to a friend... my mother. :-)

You can find your copy of Divine Appointments here at Barnes and Noble or here at Amazon.  I was forwarded a print copy for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Pirate Queen, by Patricia Hickman

This was the first of Hickman's books that I have read.  The description on the back cover was interesting enough to cause me to pick it up and start reading.

The Pirate Queen opens with a Southern Living party at the magazine-worthy home of Bender and Saphora Warren.  Saphora is in the midst of plotting her escape from the world in which she lives.  Just as she is about to be free, Bender comes home and informs her that he is dying and he wants her to take him to their vacation home to die.

Hickman's story is a tale of love lost and love found, forgiveness, faith discovered, and family.  The plot was strong and engaging.  I was hooked and didn't want to stop reading before I found out how it all ended.  The characters were well formed and realistic.  The dialogue was also realistic and, with few exceptions, flowed smoothly and did not feel forced.  All in all, this is a well-written novel.

Hickman places Saphora in many situations that are similar to life situations most people face frequently.  It's nice to see Saphora struggle with the choices she must make, and to see her deal with outcomes that she did not want.  It's easy to identify with her as we all do the same in our lives.

Ultimately, I liked The Pirate Queen.  I will certainly encourage others to read it and will be loaning my copy to friends.  It's clean and touches on being spiritual.  I would classify it as a vacation book.

Here's where to find it on Barnes and Noble as an ebook, and here's where to find it on Amazon.  I was forwarded a print copy for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Smash Cut, by Sandra Brown; Tough Customer, by Sandra Brown

I've said it many times:  I will pick up and start reading anything.  Most of the time, I enjoy whatever it is and am pleased with my decision to read it.  Occasionally I am thrilled to find a new series or author to add to my ever-growing list of "must-reads."  Rarely does it happen that I regret reading anything.  I may dislike the book, or the author, or the story, but I rarely truly regret reading a novel. 

I borrowed a copy of Sandra Brown's Smash Cut from my mother-in-law.  I've read other novels by Brown and, while not my favorites, they were enjoyable enough.  I considered Brown to be a fairly decent author and her books have been good enough that I would read one when my favorites were between new releases.  Smash Cut was one of the more difficult books for me to finish.  I'm not sure why.  The plot was decent enough, despite being predictable.  The characters were realistic.  It was the type of story I typically enjoy.  There was suspense, murder, romance, etc.  It just fell flat for me this time.  It may have been because the one mystery that wasn't explained in the first half of the novel was the least important.  It could have been my mindset at the time.  I don't know.  I do know that I struggled to finish it.  I would find excuses to put the book down.  I actually read another book while reading this one.  Three days after starting it, I finally finished it.  I felt more relief for having completed it than anything else.

To convince myself that Smash Cut was an anomaly, I began reading the sequel, Tough Customer.  It doesn't continue the entire story, but carries on the characters.  I found it even harder to make myself read and finish.  It seems to me that Brown was nearing her deadline and forced a book that wasn't ready out to print.  It took me longer to finish Tough Customer than it did Smash Cut

I have taken Sandra Brown off my list of back-up authors.  I am sure that, in the future, I will read something of hers and enjoy it, but that day will be a while in coming.  It doesn't happen often, but I have to admit that I regret reading Tough Customer.  I disliked Smash Cut, but it was my own fault that I picked up and began reading Tough Customer. 

If you read or have read either of these, I hope you enjoyed them more than I did.  If you want to check them out for yourself, Smash Cut is here on Barnes and Noble and here on Amazon.  Tough Customer is here on Barnes and Noble and here on Amazon.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Odiwe

Like most women, I enjoy Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, and not just for the images of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy it brings to mind.  Since I enjoy the story so much, I am typically eager to read any new books that tell more of the Bennet/Darcy tale.  I've purchased many and borrowed just as many from my mom, who is responsible for this aspect of my character.  Imagine my surprise then, when browsing the ebooks online, to find Lydia Bennet's Story:  A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice available for free.  It is on Barnes and Noble for free here, Kobo is also free here, and Amazon here.

This is not exactly a sequel, as it begins during the story of Pride and Prejudice.  It tells Lydia's side of things from the time that Elizabeth is visiting Charlotte Collins and Jane is with their aunt and uncle in London.  To see Lydia's logic behind her choices makes for a new and different twist on the classic.  Odiwe's novel continues beyond the marriage to Wickham and on in the future, continuing the stories of the rest of the family as well.  This is worth reading if you enjoy Pride and Prejudice.

I will point out that Ms. Odiwe tried to write in a style similar to that of Jane Austen, but she was unable to completely achieve that goal.  While remaining completely clean, she was not able to be as completely innocent as writers in Austen's time were.  However, most of these incidents of impropriety were from Lydia herself, which is appropriate given her character.  One other observation is that, when mentioning locations, Odiwe wrote out the full name, as opposed to Austen and her contemporaries who would use the first letter followed by a line (H--).  While nice to have the full name to read, I found I missed the discretion of the original.  That's a personal preference, though, and had no bearing whatsoever on the novel itself.

Overall, I would encourage you to download a copy of Lydia Bennet's Story:  A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice while it is still free.  Much like Pride and Prejudice can be read at any time, this can also be read and enjoyed just about anywhere.  I have classified it as a vacation book because it is light and silly and has romance and comedy, but is serves as a mental vacation on it's own.  I will warn you, though, once you read this you will want to pick up your copy of Pride and Prejudice and read it again!  (it's available for free from all the major ebook sites:  Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Amazon.)

I hope you enjoy this one; please let me know what you think!


Friday, February 4, 2011

The Centurion's Wife, by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

Yesterday I finished reading The Centurion's Wife.  I meant to post about it last night,but discovered I needed more time to think on it before I did.

I've read other books by Janette Oke.  I have found her writing in the past to be somewhat simplistic and repetitive.  While the stories were good, they were not soul-stirring.  The Centurion's Wife did not have that problem.  I was hooked.  I found the story to be thought provoking and very well written.  Of all her books I have read, this is my favorite.  I am looking forward to continuing the Acts of Faith series (this is book one; books two and three are focused on secondary characters from this one).

When I downloaded this, it was a free download on Kobo.  When I went back today to find the link, I found it is no longer free.  I still encourage you to buy this book.  It is available as an ebook on Kobo here and on Amazon here and in print from Barnes and Noble here

Oke used a simple woman in Pilate's household to show a new side of the story of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.  Her retelling of THE story is fascinating.  Having the people from Jesus' story brought to life makes it that much more real.  What I liked the most was the fact that Leah and Alban were both looking for the truth of what happened to "the prophet" and neither were followers of Jesus.  Without changing facts from the Bible, Oke created a story that tied so many major and minor characters together to bring it all to life.

Personally, I think this is a great book to read during the Easter season.  I also think it would be a great companion to a Bible study of the same time.  While you can read this book as merely a story and take it lightly, I found that nearly impossible to do.  To me, it was much more than just a story.

I hope that you enjoy The Centurion's Wife as much as I did.  Let me know what you think of it!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, by Lisa Patton

As 2011 began, Mom loaned me Lisa Patton's Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter.  Naturally, I read it.  It was funny - laugh-out-loud funny.  Even though the stories are not the same, it reminded me of the movie Hope Floats.  Honestly, I think this is because I envisioned the lead character as being portrayed by Sandra Bullock.

Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, is, as you may have guessed, about a Southern belle who has been transplanted up North where she must survive the winter.  The story follows Leelee as she follows her husband and his dream of owning a bed and breakfast in Vermont.  The environment and culture shock make Leelee want to turn tail and run home to Memphis, but her steel magnolia spirit pushes her to stay the course.  I found myself cheering for her accomplishments and could easily envision just how one would come to such a place in life.

This is certainly a book to loan to a girlfriend.  It deals with heartbreak, finding yourself in the least likely of places, true friendship, and the ability to find the fun and funny no matter what happens.

Barnes and Noble offers this an an ebook or in print; click here to purchase.  Take a copy with you on your next vacation - you won't regret it!

Let me know what you think of Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter!


Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers, by Michael Scott Miller

Sometimes I come across a book listed in the free section of Kobo that is a Smashwords Edition.  This makes me wary.  These are the books that are self-published.  They are written by unknown authors and are available for free or almost free download.  Occasionally they will pop up on and you can order a printed copy for $10 or so.  I'm glad I took the chance on this one.

I read the description of Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers and it sounded promising.  A story about a group of has-been and wannabe musicians trying to make it big was something I could appreciate since I enjoy going to hear up-and-coming bands play live.  This book has heart.  It's funny, it's sad, but most of all, it's real.  It's a story of hope, a story about a leap of faith, and a story about letting nothing stop you from your dreams.  It's a tale of redemption.

Unlike the other books I've read lately, this book has no spirituality or religion in it.  It has some mild language, but not much.  (I think I counted 5 curse words in the entire 71,000 words. *thank you Smashwords for the word count.*)  Overall, this is a clean book.  It's a fun story.  This is a book a man or a woman could read and enjoy.  I read the book in one night (which isn't saying a lot, I know).  I didn't want to put it down.  I was rooting for Bert to get the band together and to make it big.  This book was written so well that I became emotionally invested in the characters.

I will definitely be looking for more of Michael Scott Miller's writing.  I urge you to download a copy of Ladies and Gentlemen... The Redeemers.  The Smashwords website has several download types available for free here.  Just find the one that works with your reader.  Let me know what you think of it!

** per the author, there is a printed version of the book available here on Amazon.  Thanks for the information, Michael!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fools Rush In, by Janice Thompson

Last night's book was another cute, flirty comedic romance.  It was also very clean and had more emphasis on Christianity/spirituality than the others I've read so far this year.  Best of all, like many of the others this year, it was a free download on both Barnes and Noble and Kobo.  Click here to find it on Barnes and Noble's website. 

Fools Rush In is the first book in Thompson's Weddings by Bella series.  If the other books are as delightful as this, I will certainly check out the rest of the series!  Bella and her family are Italians who first lived in New Jersey and have landed on Galveston Island, Texas.  One of the family businesses, a wedding chapel and reception area, has just been handed down to Bella, who decides to branch out and offer themed weddings.  This story follows her as she plans her first big wedding and tries to avoid all the mishaps along the way.

The story is sweet, slightly predictable but not in a bad way, and is laugh-out-loud funny.  Several times I found myself reading passages aloud to Dave because they were so entertaining.  This is certainly a book I would share with a girlfriend and one I would suggest for a vacation.  It's a fun, easy read.  The 330+ pages fly by.

Please, let me know what you think of Fools Rush In or any of the other books in the Weddings by Bella series.



Monday, January 31, 2011

Against All Odds: A Novel, by Irene Hannon

I read this book over the weekend.  It was a free download on Kobo (and also here on Barnes and Noble). 

This book intrigued me, as it was an author I had not heard of.  The plot sounded like almost any suspense movie that tries to also attract women with a bit of romance.  While parts of the story were predictable, others were not.  The characters were believable and realistic.  Overall, the story was entertaining and held my attention.  What I enjoyed most was the fact that there was a religious aspect to the story, but not so much as to detract from the primary story line.  The language was completely free of vulgarities, slurs, innuendos, etc.  There were a couple of scenes that, while still clean, were not suited to children.

This author's writing style and subject matter (the combination of faith/spirituality, suspense, and romance) reminds me of Dee Henderson.  If you enjoy any of Ms. Henderson's novels, you will likely enjoy this one as well.  And the reverse is also true.  If you enjoy this novel, check out some of Henderson's novels.

My verdict:  I would suggest this book to a friend.  So, friend, read this book!  :-)  Actually, I do encourage you to check it out, especially while it is available as a free download. 


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The eReader Debate

I love books.  I love holding a book, smelling the ink of the print, feeling the weight of the author's effort, eagerly turning a page to see what happens next.  I just love books.  That having been said, I'm becoming more practical as I age.  As it is right now, I have one area of the largest room in the house devoted to books.  I have seven full-sized bookcases there.  All of the bookcases are full.  They are actually beyond full, with sets (like Harry Potter, The Wimpy Kid books, and Twilight) "displayed" on top with bookends.  There are also boxes of books waiting to be put on the shelves in the floor in front of them because I have no room on the shelves.  These are just the books I have now.  I have four moving boxes full of books in the attic.  Those are the books that I would like to have out, but don't use regularly or they are my reference materials... some are even books I was assigned to read in middle school, high school, and college.  Since I am taking over the house one bookcase at a time, I needed an alternative.  I used the library for a while, but the library in town is not located near anything I do, so that made it difficult to make a special trip across town.  Until I started my job, I didn't have access to the MTSU library, so I've been in the habit of not using it.  (which is probably a good thing.  When I start back taking classes, I don't need to be thinking about pleasure reading when I'm using the library!)  So, how to solve this problem?

My first solution was to download the Barnes and Noble eReader app on my iPhone.  They offered free books with the download (classics like Pride and Prejudice and Dracula), as well as a large selection of free downloads.  They also have an extensive group of books under $5.00, which is great.  They had more books that I was interested in than Amazon offered in the Kindle store (which also has an app that I downloaded).  On new releases, Barnes and Noble has regularly come in with a cheaper price for the eBook than Amazon or Sony or Borders/Kobo.  For a while, I thought I would purchase a Nook (Barnes and Noble's eReader device) since it was a color reader, had instant downloading, and was also able to read PDF files (you can occasionally download eBooks as PDF files from other vendors).

What stopped me from purchasing a Nook?  My husband.  For my birthday last year, Dave bought me the Sony eReader Pocket Edition.  I read about it.  It had a battery that would last up to two weeks without needing a charge.  It would hold hundreds of books.  It had an anti-glare screen so you can read outside or under a light.  I was in love.  I set up a Sony account and began perusing the online bookstore.  I purchased some books, I downloaded the one available for free, and life was good.  It was a little annoying to have to connect the device to my laptop to shop for books and download them to the Reader, but that was okay.  It was frustrating to have to use a book light to read in darker areas because the screen wasn't back-lit, but I managed.  Things were good.  I still used my apps on my iPhone because, as I mentioned, the free selections were better on Barnes and Noble.  And I still purchased books on there.  Then Apple released iBooks, their own bookstore app for all things i.  Their selection wasn't huge at the time, but they had great free books (like the Winnie the Pooh collection).  So I added that app.

Jump forward a few months to right around Thanksgiving.  I've had my Sony reader about six months (Dave gave it to me about six weeks after my birthday; it was back ordered).  Suddenly, it won't hold a charge more than a few days.  I'm concerned, but it's okay because I can plug it in and charge it.  Then it freezes and won't let me turn a page.  I reset it.  It won't load my library.  I reset it.  It loads my library but freezes.  I reset it.  It won't even power on.  I charge it.  I reset it.  I research and learn I am not the only one with these issues.  My Reader is fried.  I'm not pleased.  Dave is not pleased.  We are out of the warranty on it.  I am now back to using my apps exclusively, but cannot access the books I purchased from Sony.

After much research, I have decided which Reader I will purchase next.  The Apple iPad.  The iPad has apps for Barnes and Noble, Kobo/Borders, Amazon, and iBooks.  Sony is in the process of creating an app for the iPad.  I can transfer ALL of my books to the iPad.  Plus, the iPad will stream Netflix, go online, let me write documents, and play games.  For the price (starting at $499), it is a much better deal than the exclusive readers.  Those readers cost around $200-250, but will only read books from their own store.  With the iPad, I can shop each store to find the best price on a book or find the best free books to read.  Just as an eReader, that's a better deal.  Factor in the other things that the iPad will do and it's far more useful and financially sound.  I had already planned to get one at some point; I'm hoping now to get one for my birthday this year.

If you have an eReader, let me know your experiences with it.  If you haven't purchased one yet but you're wanting one, I hope this has helped some. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

One of the first books I read this year was Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.  This is a gem of a novel.  It's a little over 300 pages and very sweet.  It's a Southern coming-home, find-yourself novel.  I loved how real the characters seemed, how familiar the settings were, and how clean the language and scenes were.  This is a book I wouldn't cringe to see my child read.  It's a book I would (and did!) lend to my mother without worrying what she would think.

This falls under the category of "vacation books" in my mind.  It's an easy read, it's lighthearted, and it's fun.  Perfect for a day on the beach, a rainy/snowy day on the couch in front of a fire, or your next flight out of town.  It's definitely worth the read and a great impulse buy at the book store.  This is a book you will want to lend to your friends or put in a care package for a girlfriend.

Click here to buy from Barnes and Noble.

Let me know what you think of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt!



This is just a brief note to welcome everyone to my blog.  

My plan is to write a short review of each book that I read and post it on here.  Ideally, I'll also post purchasing information in the review.  I read a lot, so there should be a lot of posts.  Feel free to comment on the books I post, let me and anyone else who reads the blog know what you thought about it as well.  

I have no problem with anyone sharing this blog address with others who may benefit from it.  I also have no problem with people sending me suggestions of books to read - so please do!  

If you are an author and would like for me to read and post about a book you have written, let me know.  I will be glad to post purchasing information for you, even if the book is not available everywhere.  I love finding local authors and encouraging my friends to read their work!

Happy reading!