Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble (Review)

  • Series: A Sunset Cove Novel
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 12, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690281

  • Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

    Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

    Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart and left—without a word—years ago.

    When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

    As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

    My Review:

    This was a good Christian romantic mystery/suspense book. I really enjoyed reading the first book in the series so I could not wait to read this one. It is book two in the Sunset Cove series but can stand alone. The setting and some of the characters flow into this book too. The setting is not one that I have read often. Semi Rural Maine Coast was really interesting.The plot lines for this series are unique and well written. The main focus in this book is Mallory and Kevin. They were high school sweethearts who did not work out and Mallory moved away. There was a scandal but it seemed like only his parents held it against her.  She got married, had a child, and husband passed away. Kevin got married, had a child, and his wife deserted them. They meet back up when her dad passes away under mysterious circumstances in Maine. Mallory comes home to do the funeral and investigate his death. After she leaves someone breaks in her house and scares her neighbor and daughter. They decide to follow her to Maine immediately. There is a lot of action once they get there too. Mallory and Kevin got back together like they had never been apart. This book held my attention from beginning to end. There was a few twists and turns. I can't wait for the next book in the series. I recommend starting with the first, The Inn at Ocean's Edge since I loved it too.

    Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at

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

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Thin Ice by Irene Hannon (Review)

  • Series: Men of Valor (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (January 5, 2016)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800724535

  • After losing her parents in a car accident and her sister to a house fire, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Life is finally starting to feel normal again when an envelope arrives in the mail--addressed in her sister's handwriting. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

    FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case, but he's coming up with more questions than answers. If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave? Where is Ginny? And is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As he digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: whoever is behind the bizarre ruse has a deadly agenda.

    Bestselling author and two-time Christy Award finalist Irene Hannon warms readers' hearts as they root for a romance between Lance and Christy, but she pulls out all the stops as this high-stakes thriller chills to the bone in a race to the finish.

    My Review:

    This was an okay romantic suspense book by one of my favorite authors. There were several plot details that bothered me. I thought some of Lance's thoughts toward Christy pushed the button for a Christian fiction book. Also, the villain tortures mice and abuses his grandmother. I guessed pretty early who the bad guy was but it was more a suspense book than mystery. The writing was good and the plot unique. Overall an okay book but not one of my favorites.

    Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon pulls out all the stops in this high-stakes thriller that races to a bone-chilling finish.|Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Buried Secrets and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of that organization's elite Hall of Fame. Learn more at

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

    Friday, January 15, 2016

    An Amish Year by Beth Wiseman (Review)

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 8, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401689773

  • Spend a year in Amish country with four sweet romances.

    Rooted in Love (previously published in An Amish Garden)
    Rosemary Lantz is doing her best to run her family’s household. She excels at all her tasks except one: gardening. Saul Petersheim has pursued Rosemary for years, but Rosemary keeps turning him down. What Saul doesn’t know is that she has good reason—something no one can know—especially not him.

    A Love for Irma Rose
    The year is 1957, and young Irma Rose has a choice to make. Date the man who is “right” for her? Or give Jonas a chance, the wild and reckless suitor who refuses to take no for an answer?  Irma Rose steps onto the path she believes God has planned for her, but when she loses her footing, she is forced to rethink her choice.  

    Patchwork Perfect
    Eli Byler has been a widower for two years when he chooses to make a fresh start in Paradise, Pennsylvania. As Eli juggles the admiration of two women, he meets Miriam Fisher—the most unconventional Amish woman he’s ever met. She doesn’t fit the mold for what Eli is looking for, but it isn’t long before Eli realizes that Miriam is everything he wants. But Miriam has no plans to get married—ever.  Will Eli be able to change her mind?

    When Christmas Comes Again (previously published in An Amish Second Christmas)
    Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.

    My Review:

    I was disappointed to find out that two of the four stories in this collection were previously published.  I have both of those books so I should have realized it. I still enjoyed reading them. I like the easy to read sweet Amish stories. The other two collections were really good. So whether you get this one or the other two or all of them, you are getting some good stories. :)

    Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's The Promise is inspired by a true story. Website: Twitter: @bethwiseman Facebook: Fans-of-Beth-Wiseman

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

    Reading Goals for 2016

    2015 was a good reading year in numbers. I finished 201 books. I did not achieve all my individual goals though. My semi new job takes a lot more brain power than my old one so I only felt like reading my comfort books aka Christian fiction. I love my job and Christian fiction though so it turned out good!

    My goals for 2016 are:

    1. Read a really long book.

    2. Read more classics.

    3. Re read the entire Anne of Green Gables series.

    4. Read more non fiction.

    5. Listen to an audio book in the car.

    6. Read more of a variety overall but not feel guilty for reading my favorites.

    7. Do more blog posts that are not book reviews like a weekly update.

    8. Participate in some online reading challenges again

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    God & Churchill: How the Great Leader's Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley (Review)

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale Momentum (October 1, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496406026

  • When Winston Churchill was a boy of sixteen, he already had a vision for his purpose in life. “This country will be subjected somehow to a tremendous invasion . . . I shall be in command of the defenses of London . . . it will fall to me to save the Capital, to save the Empire.”

    It was a most unlikely prediction. Perceived as a failure for much of his life, Churchill was the last person anyone would have expected to rise to national prominence as prime minister and influence the fate of the world during World War II. But Churchill persevered, on a mission to achieve his purpose. God and Churchill tells the remarkable story of how one man, armed with belief in his divine destiny, embarked on a course to save Christian civilization when Adolf Hitler and the forces of evil stood opposed. It traces the personal, political, and spiritual path of one of history’s greatest leaders and offers hope for our own violent and troubled times.

    More than a spiritual biography, God and Churchill is also a deeply personal quest. Written by Jonathan Sandys (Churchill’s great-grandson) and former White House staffer Wallace Henley, God and Churchill explores Sandys’ intense search to discover his great-grandfather―and how it changed his own destiny forever.

    My Review:

    I struggled to make it through this book. I thought it was a lot of speculation and not enough facts on his personal relationship with God. I did not enjoy reading it. It felt forced in spots. I was disappointed. I was expecting a lot more from the book.  

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

    Sunday, January 10, 2016

    Back to the Classics Challenge 2016 My List

    Karen K at Books and Chocolate is hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge again.

    My List:

    1.  A 19th Century Classic – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

    2.  A 20th Century Classic – Celia's house by D.E. Stevenson or The Hobbit

    3.  A classic by a woman author – The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford or Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

    4.  A classic in translationThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank or Don Quixote by Cervantes

    5.  A classic by a non-white authorThe Art of War, Sun Tzu or To Sir With Love by E. R. Braithwaite

    6.  An adventure classic – Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson or Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

    7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic – The Time Machine by H. G. Wells or 1984 by George Orwell

    8.  A classic detective novelThe Mysterious Affair At Styles: The First Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie

    9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title – Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen or Bleak House by Charles Dickens or Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

    10.  A classic which has been banned or censoredThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien or The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    11.  Re-read a classic you read in school – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    12.  A volume of classic short stories- The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury or A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

    Here's how it works:

    The challenge will be exactly the same as last year, 12 classic books, but with slightly different categories. You do not have to read 12 books to participate in this challenge!

    • Complete six categories, and you get one entry in the drawing
    • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries in the drawing
    • Complete all twelve categories, and you get three entries in the drawing
    And here are the categories for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge:

    1.  A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

    2.  A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

    3.  A classic by a woman author

    4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

    5.  A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

    6.  An adventure classic - can be fiction or non-fiction. Children's classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category. 

    7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children's classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also. 

    8.  A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you're looking for ideas.

    9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title.  It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

    10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

    11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time?  If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

    12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category also.

    And now, the rest of the rules:

    • All books must be read in 2016. Books started before January 1, 2016 do not qualify. All reviews must be linked to this challenge by December 31, 2016. I'll post links each category the first week of January which will be featured on a sidebar on this blog for the entire year. 
    • You must also post a wrap-up review and link it to the challenge no later than December 31, 2016. Please include links within your final wrap-up to that I can easily confirm all your categories. 
    • All books must have been written at least 50 years ago; therefore, books must have been written by1966 to qualify for this challenge. The ONLY exceptions are books published posthumously.
    • E-books and audiobooks are eligible! You may also count books that you read for other challenges.
    • Books may NOT crossover within this challenge. You must read a different book for EACH category, or it doesn't count.
    • Updated: Children's classics are acceptable, but please, no more than 3 total for the challenge.
    • If you do not have a blog, you may link to reviews on Goodreads or any other publicly accessible online format. 
    • The deadline to sign up for the challenge is March 1, 2016. After that I will close the link and you'll have to wait until the next year! Please include a link to your original sign-up post, not your blog URL. 
    • You do NOT have to list all the books you're going to read for the challenge in your sign-up post, but it's more fun if you do! Of course, you can change your list any time. Books may also be read in any order. 
    • The winner will be announced on this blog the first week of January, 2017. All qualifying participants will receive one or more entries, depending on the number of categories completed. One winner will be selected at random for all qualifying entries. The winner will receive a gift certificate in the amount of $30 (US currency) from either OR $30 worth of books from The Book Depository. The winner MUST live in a country that will receive shipments from one or the other. For a list of countries that receive shipments from The Book Depository, click here

    2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge My Post

    Jen at the Introverted Reader is hosting the 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge. One of my reading goals every year is to read more nonfiction. I am signing up at the Explorer level which is to read 6-10 books. I read a combination of health/nutrition/exercise/fitness/Christian books. I am about to start reading the new book from Mark Sisson called Primal Endurance. Thank you Jen for giving me a push to read more nonfiction. :)

    To sign up go here:

    The Challenge:  Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That's it. You can choose anything. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.

    I always like levels in my challenges, so here are mine:

    Dilettante--Read 1-5 non-fiction books

    Explorer--Read 6-10

    Seeker--Read 11-15

    Master--Read 16-20

    This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2016. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.

    I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers. You can also link to a review you wrote on another site, such as GoodReads or LibraryThing.

    Crossovers with other challenges are acceptable, and feel free to read your books in any format you like.

    Thursday, January 7, 2016

    The Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge 2016

    I love re-reading my favorite books. Thank you Lois at You, Me, and a Cup of Tea for hosting this.There are different levels to this challenge. I am doing the itch. On my list to re-read is the entire Anne of Green Gables series, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and Lady Susan by Jane Austen. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I will probably add to the list throughout the year.

    If you would like to sign up to participate go here:

    Level 1 0-15 Re-reading itch
    Level 2 16-25 Re-reading bug
    Level 3 26-35 Re-reading fever
    Level 4 36-50 Re-reading paralysis
    Level 5 50+ Re-reading coma (if you can do this I highly commend you!)

    Rules (And when I say rules please realize I'm one of the most flexible people in existence)
    • First off, this challenge is for EVERYBODY! That means YOU! I want anyone and everyone to join in on the fun!
    • I suggest you make a list of books that you want to re-read for 2015 and post it with your sign up post. You are welcome to add to it as the year goes on and you definitely don't have to read them all. I recommend it be a suggested list and you can just chose books off of it as you go along.
    • The challenge officially runs from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. ONLY books started AND finished in that time frame will count. 
    • The link where you can post your reviews will be up shortly. That way not only can everyone enjoy other people's review but also that is how I'll keep track of how many books you complete for the drawing at the end (see below). I don't care how short or long your review is. :)
    • For every ten books you re-read your name will be entered in a drawing and if you complete the challenge you signed up for it is entered again. So even if you go overboard and think you can re-read fifty books but only end up re-reading 20, you can still be eligible for prizes! There will be three winners. The first place winner will get their choice of a book or a literary trinket (costing $20 or less) from Amazon. Second place will have the same option only costing $15 or less and third place the same costing $10 or less.
    • All forms of books are allowable including actual book, ebook and audiobook. 
    • If you don't have a blog but still want to participate you can sign up with a comment and use Goodreads for reviews or I suppose even comment on the reviews page with your reviews. I don't want to exclude anyone from joining in the fun. :)
    • You can sign up below with the Linky tool. Registration is open from now right up until the end on December 31, 2016.

    L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge hosted by Reading to Know

    L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

    Carrie at Reading to Know host this reading challenge every January. This is also one of my all time favorite authors. This January I plan to re-read Anne of Green Gables. I have read most of L. M. Montgomery's books and loved them.

    Life-Changing Magic: A Journal: spark joy every day by Marie Kondo

  • Stationery: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Jou edition (December 29, 2015)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804189095
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches

  • My Review:

    This was not what I expected it to be. I read and loved her other two books. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo was my favorite book I read last year. I just finished Spark Joy. Unfortunately I do not like this journal. It is super basic. There is a page a day for a whole year with the page divided into three sections so you can fit three years in the book. Every so often there is a page with a quote from her written on it. It is not guided like I expected. Does it spark joy is written on the top of some of the pages. I recommend her first two books.

    Marie "KonMari" Kondo runs an acclaimed consulting business in Tokyo helping clients transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration. She is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (also a best seller in Japan, Germany, and the UK, with more than 3 million copies sold) and was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2015. She is the founder of the KonMari Method.

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

    Classics Club Spin 18

    My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...