Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson (Review)






The one thing she can't direct is her heart.

Tia Morales is used to calling the shots. She's the director of the popular sitcom Stars Collide, and her life on the set is calculated and orderly. Well, most of the time. Life outside the studio is another matter. If only she could get other people to behave as well as her stars do! When she starts to have feelings for handsome cameraman Jason Harris--with whom she's been butting heads for months--it's enough to send a girl over the edge. Will she ever learn to let go and take life--and love--as it comes?

Full of the humor and crazy family dynamics Janice Thompson fans have come to love, this colorful story gives you an inside look at Hollywood and a healthy dose of romance. If you want more of Bella, DJ, Brock Benson, and other favorite characters from Janice Thompson, you'll love the Backstage Pass series.


My Review:
This is the third book in the backstage pass series. Several characters from the previous books make an appearance in this one so it is nice to catch up with them but this book can be read alone too. All of the stories are engaging and funny. I espically like the main character in this one, Tia. I can identify with her control/OCD tendacies. lol I love the romance between her and Jason. I am sorry to see this series end. I throughly enjoyed reading each one. Recommended. :)



A special message from the author:
A very special "Hello!" from author Janice Thompson. I'm excited about The Director's Cut because I lived and worked in the Los Angeles area years ago and enjoy reminiscing about my experiences while there. (Yep. I was involved in the movie business back then!) Writing this story gave me the opportunity to share my experiences as a director. No, I don't direct a Hollywood sitcom. I wear my director's hat at a Houston-area Christian theater, where my cast members know me as "Ms. Janice." One of them, an actress/co-director named Erin, served as inspiration for a character in The Director's Cut. I'm excited about this book, in part, because the story gave me the opportunity to re-introduce Brock Benson, a character from the "Weddings by Bella" series. What fun, to add him to the Stars Collide cast! I'm also tickled because this story ties the whole "Backstage Pass" series to my (previously published) "Weddings by Bella" series and permanently links the two. Look for more to come, readers! The characters you've grown to love live on in an upcoming series. I can't wait!


Thank you Donna at Revell/Baker books for my review copy.

“Available June  2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

  • Paperback: 296 pages

  • Publisher: Revell (June 1, 2012)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0800733476
  • Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt (Review)

     
     
     
    About the book:
     
    Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather's legacy and she enjoys being a pillar of the community . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.
     
    Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that a botched throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home.
     
    Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she's created, but when she meets a man haunted by tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place. 


    My Review:
    I really enjoyed reading this new southern literary Christian book by Angela Hunt. She is a very profilic author and one of my favorites. The characters and plot are interesting and engaging. The setting was small town Florida. It kept my attention from page one and I wanted to know what happened to the characters. Carlene and Darlene are a little harder to like than Nolie but in the end you feel for all three of them. The ending was good and wrapped up all three sisters storylines. There are surprises and turns for all three sisters. Recommended. :)





    About the author:

    With nearly 4 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including The Tale of Three Trees, Don't Bet Against Me, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Her nonfiction book Don't Bet Against Me, written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She and her husband make their home in Florida with their dogs. Learn more about Angela at AngelaElwellHunt.com.
     
    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Doctor's Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt (Review)


    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Doctor's Devotion
    Love Inspired (June 19, 2012)
    by
    Cheryl Wyatt


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Born Valentine’s Day on a Navy base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. Cheryl loves interacting with her readers and can be found almost daily on Facebook.

    Word from the Author:
    I do regular giveaways including a Kindle for every 250 people who join (aka "Like) my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CherylWyattAuthor and I'd LOVE for word to spread about that. We have a lot of fun there as I ask for frequent reader input on current books, with helpers being mentioned in the acknowledgements and fun stuff like that.


    ABOUT THE BOOK



    A Doctor’s Vow.

    When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former air force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he’s back with a new dream—opening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn’t believe she deserves to help anyone. Mitch knows firsthand what loss feels like. And it’ll take all his devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, community—and love.

    Eagle Point Emergency: Saving lives—and losing their hearts—in a small Illinois town.

    If you would like to read an excerpt of the first chapter of Doctor's Devotion, go HERE.

    My Review:
    I have read and loved all of this author's work. This book is a good start to a new series by her. The characters pop off the page and the plot line is interesting. It held my attention from page one. I love military romances like these. Mitch and Lauren had good chemistry and you felt for both of their positions. Grandpa Lem is hilirous! There are several lol moments in all of this author's books and a solid Christian message without being preachy. Recommended espically for fans of Christian military romances. :)

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray

    No Review yet. I just got my book this weekend but I have read all of her books and liked them. :)

    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    The Search
    Avon Inspire; Original edition (June 19, 2012)
    by
    Shelley Shepard Gray


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

    Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

    Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

    When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

    Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page


    ABOUT THE BOOK

    In the second book in her Secrets of Crittenden County series, New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray delivers another page-turning romance set in Amish country

    The serenity of the quiet Amish community of Crittenden, Kentucky is disrupted when Abby Anderson discovers the body of Perry Borntrager in an abandoned well. Perry had been missing for months. Everyone figured he had left the order during his rumspringa. As friends and family reel from this news, and are faced with the first death by mysterious circumstance to occur in their small town in over 20 years, a homicide detective arrives to help solve the crime

    Before Perry disappeared, Frannie Eicher and Perry had been secretly courting. Now that it’s common knowledge that he was murdered, it’s up to Fannie to decide whether or not to tell everyone about the secrets he told her.

    After much deliberation, she decides to tell Luke Reynolds, the visiting police officer, what she knows. At first, the two meet only on the context of discussing Perry’s death. Then, Luke begins to feel more and more at home, both with Frannie, and in Marion. The only problem is that he feels a romantic pull toward Frannie. Frannie feels that same attraction toward Luke, but is afraid to give her heart to him. After all, she doesn’t want to leave her faith.

    As Luke uncovers more secrets about Perry and the case draws out, his time in Marion runs out. He has to decide whether to go back to his job with the Cincinnati Police Department…or stay in Marion.

    If you would like to read the Prologue of The Search, go HERE.

    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    The Sunday Salon June 24, 2012

    The Sunday Salon.com

    * Wow Summer is here already although here in the Deep South Spring kinda felt like Summer this year. lol

    * I have been reading some. I have four book tours this week so hopefully I can finish and review all the books. I have two of them done. They were both good.

    * I am still working out but still gaining weight too. I am trying to cut carbs but it is not going so good. I have an ice cream addiction. lol And the dried fruit and nuts get me into trouble too.

    * Right now I am reading The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson for review this week. I am also reading It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. I love it so far. They are the founders of the Whole 30 program. I have only managed to do it successfully one time but I really want to do it again.

    * Really busy so not watching a lot of TV this summer. The only show I record is Cake Boss. I'll watch some stuff when in my sister's room on the computer at night but thats it. I am not a big tv watcher anyway. Have yall seen the show Duck Dynasty. It is a new reality show and it is freaking hilarious.

    * Still getting things ready for the week. I need to peel eggs, put a salad together, pack my lunch box, wrap a present, unload the dishwasher, do a load of laundry, and sweep at least the kitchen. lol

    * I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time. :)

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo (Review)

     
    About the book:
    Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away…
    Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college.
    Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.
    Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.
    But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?
     
     
    My Review:
    This was a light at times humorous Christian historical fiction book. There is barely any faith element in it though. Charlotte does not have a relationship with God for most of the book. Her father does mention it some and tries to have conversations with her about it. Alex seems to have a relationship with God which is good. I like the chemistry between Alex and Charlotte. She is a spoiled brat for at least half the book but Alex still thinks she is attractive. Alex is a Viscount in England when they meet and Charlotte is there to meet and party. Although at times they bicker it makes for a rousing book. It is third in a series but you do not have to read the first two for this one to make sense.
     
    About the author:
    Kathleen Y'Barbo is a bestselling author of 40 award-winning novels and novellas with over 950,000 books in print. Kathleen is a tenth generation Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, and the mother of three grown sons and a daughter. She recently enlisted for a happily-ever-after of her own with her hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at http://www.kathleenybarbo.com/.

    Review copy provided by publisher which in no way influenced my review.

    Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Review)


    This week, the
    Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
    is introducing
    Short-Straw Bride
    Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)
    by
    Karen Witemeyer


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


    Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.

    After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.

    Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House.



    ABOUT THE BOOK

    No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

    Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

    if you would like to read the first chapter of Short-Straw Bride, go HERE.

    My Review:
    This is one of the best Christian historical fiction books I have read this year. I enjoyed the authors first two books too but this one is my favorite. I love the characters and the way Meredith and Travis fall in love. Travis Archer swore to his father on his deathbed that he would protect his younger brothers and stay only on family property. Meredith stumbles on the land when she is young and Travis rescues her. Years later Meredith ends up on Archer land to warn them that someone is coming to burn them out to get possession of their land. She has been thinking about Travis since he rescued her. Meredith ends up staying and has to marry one of the brothers which turns out to be Travis. True love does not always work out without kinks though. There are several lol moments in the book too. The brothers are delightful secondary characters and I hope there is a book about where they end up too. Recommended. :)

    Attracted to Fire by Diann Mills (Review)



     
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website at: http://www.diannmills.com/ or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


    ABOUT THE BOOK

    Special Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.

    My Review:
    I enjoyed reading this Christian romantic suspense book. It is a fun read too. I liked the chemistry between Ash and Meghan. Some parts were a little hard to believe but for me I made it past fine and still liked the book. I love this genre of books. This author reminds me of my all time favorite author Dee Henderson. I recommend both of there books especially if you like this genre. :)

    Watch the book trailer:



    I received this book from the publisher for free which in no way influenced my review.

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    Dead Running by Cami Checketts (Review)


    Publisher: Birch River Publishing

    Release Date: April 21, 2012

    ISBN: 978-1475166606

    Size: 246 pages, 6×9, softcover


    About the book:

    Cassidy Christensen is running.
    Running from the mercenaries who killed her parents.
    Running from a scheming redhead intent on making her life miserable. 
    Running from painful memories that sabotage her dreams of happiness.
    With two very tempting men competing for her attention, she hopes she’ll finally have someone to run to, but can she trust either of them? When secrets from her past threaten her family, Cassidy decides to stop running and fight for her future.

    My Review:

    I really enjoyed reading this romantic suspense book. This is my first book by this author and I will be reading more. It held my attention and the characters were well developed. There were also some funny things in it too like Cassidy's nicknames for other characters like hot redhead for Elizabeth and Dr. Tattoo. There was definite chemistry between Cassidy and the two male love interests and the author kept you guessing on whether either one of them turns out to be one of the bad guys. You will have to read the book to find out. The ending was okay. I am glad she is writing a sequel write now to hopefully wrap things up better. Recommended. :)

    A portion of the proceeds from Cami’s books will be donated to The Child & Family Support Center. For more information on this worthy cause, please go to http://www.cachecfsc.org/

    About the author:
     
    Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

    Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. She writes health and fitness articles for The Christian Pulse, Your LDS Neighborhood, and online at http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com.

    Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

    http://www.camichecketts.com/
     
     
    Review copy provided by author which in no way influenced the review.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    13 Rue Therese by Elena Shapiro (Review)


  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (February 2, 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316083287

  • Book Summary:

    American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

    As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.

    My Review:
    I thought the premise of this novel was unique and interesting. It did keep my attention. But I was disturbed by the sensual and s*x content which grew as the novel progressed. There were a lot of images in the book of the objects Trevor found in the box. I liked that historical aspect of it. The book did jump around time wise which made some parts a little confusing. Otherwise the prose was fine. The ending had a twist I did not see coming and I do not quite know how I feel about it. It definitely left me speculating. No spoilers though from me. lol Some people will love it, some in the middle, and some won't. I am leaving it up to you to determine if its a book you would like. :)


    About the author:

    Elena Mauli Shapiro grew up in Paris, and currently lives in California with her husband. She has accumulated literature and writing degrees in and around the Bay Area (Stanford, Mills, Davis). Her novel 13 rue Thérèse will be published in February 2011. For more information visit Elena Mauli Shapiro’s blog.

    Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    The Sunday Salon June 3, 2012

    The Sunday Salon.com

    * It's been awhile since my last Sunday Salon post. Life has been busy and I've been so tired.

    * I will not be reading the 50 Shades of Grey book. It is not my cup of tea, I do not like funky s*x in my books. I have read several reviews and several people I work with are reading it too.

    * I have read Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth recently and they were both good. The second one had some stuff in it that made me a little upset at the author because these are supposed to be teen books. I still can't wait for the third book next year to see how it ends. If you liked Hunger Games or dystopian fiction I recommend these.

    * I am changing my workouts up some so hopefully I will be home a little earlier from now on. I want to do my strength training in the morning and train for a half marathon in December in the afternoons. The only thing is every time I run the groin area on my left side hurts bad which worries me some. Does anyone run and know what I can do to fix it? Any suggestions welcome.

    * I need to clean floors tonight but I despise sweeping and mopping. What is your least favorite thing to clean?

    * I want to read but I need to clean so off I go to clean hopefully quick. lol

    * I hope everyone has a great week and lots of reading time. :)

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad (Review)


  • Paperback: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800734473

  • From the Back Cover
     She's planted firmly on solid ground. He's ready to sweep her off her feet. The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six-year-old. Widowed for three years, Lilly has decided to leave the home of her intrusive in-laws to stand on her own. However, her in-laws find her new life as a cook at Lake Manawa utterly unsuitable for their grandson. When an argument ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. But Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life. Filled with the sweet romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life will have you laughing out loud and sighing contentedly as you spend the summer of 1906 at Lake Manawa. "With her expected wit and humor, Lorna Seilstad has penned another winner. Hang on and enjoy--this book is truly a fun ride."--Judith Miller, bestselling author of the Daughters of Amana series "Buckle up! With a sparkle of humor, heart-pumping romance, and a writing style that is fresh, fun, and addictive, Lorna Seilstad takes you along the fun-filled shores of Lake Manawa."--Julie Lessman, award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and the Winds of Change series

    My Review:
    I enjoyed reading this third book in the Lake Manawa series. It can stand alone although characters from the previous books are side characters in it. Lilly reminded me of my own mother in how overprotective she is of her son. She only does it because she loves him and lost his father in a train accident. I loved the sparks between Lilly and Nick and how Nick would not give up on her. I also liked being back in Lake Manawa setting which makes it a perfect summer read. Overall this was a good Christian historical romance novel. Recommended. :)



    About the Author
    A history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and A Great Catch. She draws her setting from her home state of Iowa. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers

    Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

    Thank you Donna at Revell for my review copy.