Sunday, January 31, 2010

Review: Angel's Den



Angel's Den
Author: Jamie Carie
Publisher: B&H Publishing Groups
ISBN: 9780805448146
Audience: Older Teens through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: February 1, 2010

Synopsis (from B&H website)

In 1808, when Emma meets and marries Eric Montclaire (the famed “most handsome man west of the Appalachians”), this young daughter of prominent St. Louis citizens believes a fairy tale has just begun. Instead, her husband’s angelic looks quickly prove only to mask a monstrous soul all too capable of possessive emotions and physical abuse. Praying for mercy, she is devastated when Eric insists on her joining his yearlong group expedition to the Pacific Ocean, following the trail Lewis and Clark blazed just a few years earlier. By the time cartographer Luke Bowen realizes Emma’s plight, it’s too late to easily untangle what has become an epic web of lies, theft, murder, courtroom drama, and a deep longing for love. Only God can show them the way out.

My comments:

On Friday night, when I crawled into bed with this book, I had all intentions of only reading a chapter or two before going to sleep. I was exhausted and had an early morning ahead of me on Saturday. Almost 150 pages later, I reluctantly tucked "Angel's Den" away. As soon as everything was done on Saturday, I grabbed a cup of coffee and off I went to my favorite reading spot, where I sat reading until I finished the book. Yes, it was that captivating. Full of suspense and with a surprise twist I never saw coming, there was just no way to put it down!

"Angel's Den" was my first exposure to Jamie Carie's work. With four books before this, I wondered how I had missed such a brilliant author. All of Jamie's characters were so real and so true to character. My favorite character was the main character, Emma. I adored her. She was sweet and innocent, and such a testament to finding hope and strength through the power of God's Word, when things seemed their darkest. Her coming from a point of hopelessness and darkness to finding hope and believing, should be a lesson for all of us.

There were so many wonderful messages in "Angel's Den", that to read it is far more than just entertainment. It is a lesson in life, hope and faith. It will touch and enrich the life of every reader and poetically illustrates where the Truth can lead us.

To find out more about the author, please visit Jamie Carie's website at: www.JamieCarie.com

A huge thank you to B&H for providing this book for me to review.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: Plain Pursuit



Plain Pursuit (Book 2 of the Daughters of Promise Series)
Author: Beth Wiseman
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 9781595547194
Audience: Teens through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

Carley Marek experienced a horrific tragedy that has interfered with her life and her job as a writer. With the realization that this is the problem, Carley's editor forces her to take a month vacation with hopes that she will come back refreshed and back on her game. Carley doesn't want to take the vacation, but decides to stay with an old friend, Lillian Stolfus, on her farm in Amish country. Her idea is to write about Amish life and get work done while she is vacationing.

Carley has no idea what she is in for, but she knows the Plain Life has been good for Lillian. Just after Carley arrives, the Stolfus's son becomes ill. They take David to the hospital, where they meet a doctor that Lillian's husband, Samuel, doesn't want treating his son. What is Samuel's aversion to Dr. Noah?

As Carley becomes more involved with Lillian and Samuel's family, she learns more about her relationship with God, what it's like to be part of a community, the consequences of the choices we make, and what really is important in life.

My Comments:

I love reading Amish novels, but it's hard finding authors that can live up to the standard that Beverly Lewis set. Beth Wiseman seems to be the exception, and may have even passed that standard. In Plain Pursuit, Wiseman flawlessly blends both views and feelings of the Amish and the Englisch when she puts Carley in the Stolfus household and in the middle of the Amish community. It gave the book a certain realism and made the characters multidimensional. I enjoyed the book being centered around an Englischer intruding into the lives of the Amish instead of being focused on just the Amish point of view. I found the book refreshing, faith building and heartwarming. (Shhhh... don't tell anyone, but there were even times I found tears trying to surface.)

This is the second book of Wiseman's Daughters of the Promise series, however, I read it as a stand alone novel, and didn't feel lost or like I was missing anything. I did love the book enough to order the first book Plain Perfection and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.

One last note... In the back of the book are some absolutely delicious authentic Amish recipes. What a lovely bonus to a delightful novel!

If you would like to learn more about the author, you can visit Beth Wiseman's site at: http://www.bethwiseman.net There, you will find out about the other books in the Daughters of Promise Series, including book 4, which will be out in March 2010!

This book was sent to me through Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze program. This in no way influences my review. This review is my own honest opinion of the book.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

MegaBook Giveaway at Teens Read and Write




Teens Read and Write is having another MegaBook Giveaway because they hit 500 followers! Their last giveaway was a grand success with an amazing amount of winners. They had had 37 winners and gave away 41 books!! This time looks even better.

Make sure to get on over there and sign up. The more followers - the more books and prizes!!!

Contest ends on midnight PST on March 17, 2010.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birthday Box o Books Giveaway



The Book Junkie is having an amazing Birthday Celebration Giveaway on her blog. From January 27 until February 22, she will be adding a book or two or even 3!! to the box. On February 22 at 8 pm cst, she will pick a winner. That winner will receive the WHOLE BOX!!!

Stop by Book Junkie's blog and enter her amazing Birthday Box o Books Giveaway today!

Review: Impatient with Desire



Impatient with Desire
Author: Gabrielle Burton
Publisher: Voice/Hyperion
ISBN: 9781401341015
Release date: March 2010
Audience: Teens through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis (from Amazon.com):

In the spring of 1846, Tamsen Donner, her husband, George, their five daughters, and eighty other pioneers headed to California on the California-Oregon Trail in eager anticipation of new lives out West. Everything that could go wrong did, and an American legend was born.

The Donner Party. We think we know their story--pioneers trapped in the mountains performing an unspeakable act to survive--but we know only that one harrowing part of it. Impatient with Desire brings us answers to the unanswerable question: What really happened in the four months the Donners were trapped in the mountains? And it brings to stunning life a woman--and a love story--behind the myth.

Tamsen Eustis Donner, born in 1801, taught school, wrote poetry, painted, botanized, and was fluent in French. At twenty-three, she sailed alone from Massachusetts to North Carolina when respectable women didn't travel alone. Years after losing her first husband, Tully, she married again for love, this time to George Donner, a prosperous farmer, and in 1846, they set out for California with their five youngest children. Unlike many women who embarked reluctantly on the Oregon Trail, Tamsen was eager to go. Later, trapped in the mountains by early snows, she had plenty of time to contemplate the wisdom of her decision and the cost of her wanderlust.

Historians have long known that Tamsen kept a journal, though it was never found. In Impatient with Desire, Burton draws on years of historical research to vividly imagine this lost journal--and paints a picture of a remarkable heroine in an extraordinary situation. Tamsen's unforgettable journey takes us from the cornfields of Illinois to the dusty Oregon Trail to the freezing Sierra Nevada Mountains, where she was forced to confront an impossible choice.

Impatient with Desire is a passionate, heart-wrenching story of courage, hope, and love in hardship, all told at a breathless pace. Intimate in tone and epic in scope, Impatient with Desire is absolutely hypnotic.


My comments:

I had never heard of the Donner Party nor knew anything about another way to travel west besides the Oregon Trail. So, when I sat down with this book, I had no expectations besides being entertained. I didn't expect Tamsen Donner to catch my heart and hold it through her journal entries and letters to her sister. My heart went out to the families and men that traveled in the party, and every time one died, I could feel the heartbreak and mounting concern that each one brought, as if I, too, was traveling with them. Tamsen was a strong and courageous voice that had such spirit and dignity, even in times when she felt her hope dwindling.

Gabrielle Burton gave Tamsen such a powerful voice. One, that I'm sure, captured the essence of who Tamsen was. I was impressed by how much research went into this novel, and how Gabrielle spent time on the same trail to get the feel of what it must have been like for the Donners. This was an amazing book and a fantastic piece of historical fiction that should be read by everyone. Impatient with Desire is a masterful piece of work that captures the pioneer spirit and brings to light the sacrifice, commitment and disappointments each adventurer had to endure. I look forward to reading more by this author!

If you would like to learn more about Gabrielle Burton and her other works, you can visit her page at: http://www.gabrielleburton.com/ She has just released a new book, "Searching for Tamsen Donner" which includes all 17 of Tamsen's known letters.

"Impatient with Desire" was an Early Reviewers win from Librarything.com and was received with a promise of a review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

"Lillian knew Samuel well enough to know what was happening. Even though he believed with all his heart that all things were God's will, being human, he still needed someone to blame."

~page 139 Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman

What's your teaser? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in the comment section here. Thanks!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Magic Under Glass, Give it a try Giveaway! $20 BN GC Giveaway!

You must stop over to:

Cleverly Inked Button


Liz is giving away a lovely hardbound copy of Magic Under Glass. She's also giving away a $20 Gift card for Barnes & Nobles. You can enter either or both. It's up to you. Hurry and get on over to Cleverly Inked as you won't want to miss these fantastic giveaways!

Review: Buried Alive


Buried Alive: The True Story of Kidnapping, Captivity, and a Dramatic Rescue
by Roy Hallums
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 9781595551702
Audience: Teen through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

Roy Hallums was a 56 year old retired Navel Commander who was working for a food supply contractor in Iraq. On November 1, 2004, Roy was abducted and held hostage for 311 days. During his first few months, Roy was beaten and mentally tortured while he was moved from place to place. Then, he came to his last prison, a 4 foot high basement that he was kept in, blindfolded and bound, until he was finally rescued.

My comments:

I was eager to read Roy's story, as I remember when Roy was abducted, and the video that was sent to the media, as well as the interviews with his family. Roy's book held me in it's grips from beginning to end. I am amazed at his resilience and bravery not only to go back over his time in captivity, but to how he told his story so eloquently. I cannot imagine one surviving what Roy had, let alone staying sane and in control all throughout the ordeal.

I cannot speak highly enough about this book, nor highly enough of how Roy is helping others to get a grasp of what happens to someone who is abducted in Iraq. This book was an excellent read and very well written and should be put on everyone's to-read list for this year!

This book was supplied through Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze program in exchange for a review.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Review: Get Out of the Way


Get Out of the Way
by: Daniel Dinges
Tate Publishing
ISBN: 9781615662746
Audience: Teens through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5
Release date: February 16, 2010

Synopsis:

Tom Daniels sat in the waiting room of the VA hospital. While waiting to be seen by the doctor, he remembers back to his two years of service in the time of the Vietnam War.

Tom, as well as his family, did not support the Vietnam War. It wasn't because they weren't patriotic, as Tom came from a family of soldiers, but because of the politics behind the war. Tom knew the way to stay out of the war and how to stay out of the clutches of the draft board, but he grew tired of the game and decided to enlist. Because of his education and age, he's quite sure that since he enlisted, his chances will be good to stay out of combat. He spends his next 2 years trying to "Get Out of the Way" of being sent to Vietnam and to survive his enlisted time.

My comments:

I was too young to remember the Vietnam war. Those that came home didn't speak about it. I was excited to be able to review this book, but at the same time, a bit apprehensive, because I was concerned about the political views, especially since this book is fiction. I had no reason to worry. Get Out of the Way was an amazingly enjoyable read. Written from Tom's point of view, Daniel Dinges did a wonderful job capturing the spirit of a young man and his struggle to survive the war. Written from the first person point of view, Tom was a likable voice. His walk down memory lane brought to life his problems, fears, and struggles of his choice to enlist. His account was so lifelike, that I felt like I was there along with him throughout his two years of service.

I enjoyed Mr. Dinges captivating style of writing. I look forward to seeing more from this author and will be keeping him on my watch list.

If you would like to find out more about Daniel Dinges, you can visit his website at: http://danieldinges.tatepublishing.net.

This book was supplied to me for a review. Thank you, Stephanie Barko, for sending me this copy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review: Blaze of Glory





Blaze of Glory
by Major Jeff Struecker with Alton Gansky
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Audience: Teens to Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Release date: May 1, 2010

A short synopsis:


Sergent First Class Jerry Zinsser was a decorated hero, who after rehabilitation, was assigned to Sergent Major Eric Moyer's team as his new surveillance specialist. Moyer's Special Operations unit has been assigned to track down an Egyptian terrorist that uses women suicide bombers to fulfill his "contract" with a Mexican drug Lord. Zinsser, who struggles with hidden demons, tries his best to be an asset to the team, but instead, may put the whole team at risk.

My comments:


If you only read one book this year, Blaze of Glory should be the one. Written by Major Jeff Struecker, (one of the heroes featured in Black Hawk Down), this book kept me on pins and needles throughout the whole story. It was so realistic I had to keep telling myself it's fiction. The characters were amazing and have left such an impression that won't easily be forgotten. The situations the team dealt with were terrifying, and I had to remind myself to breathe at times. This military thriller is most definitely a real page-turner that held me spell-bound in its clutches from the first chapter. This is truly one of the best books I've ever read. Major Jeff Struecker is one author that should be noticed and put on everyone's to-watch list. His gripping realism has left me awestruck and I can't wait to read more of his work!

To read more about Major Struecker, you can visit his website at: http://www.jeffstruecker.com/
To read more about Alton Gansky, you can visit his website at: http://altongansky.com/

This book was sent to me by B&H Books for review. Thank you so much, Julie!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book Review: The Sweet By and By



The Sweet By and By
by: Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 9781595544896
Audience: Teen through Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Jade Fitzgerald is smart, successful, sweet, and is engaged to the man she loves. They agree on almost everything, especially keeping "the past in the past". As the wedding draws closer, can her past really be kept under wraps, especially when she invites her hippie mother to the wedding and she arrives early? Jade finds out that sometimes we must look back to move forward, as this is where true happiness begins.

A beautiful story about secrets and mistakes, love and forgiveness, and faith. Sara Evens created a wonderful cast of characters and situations that were so real and believable that I found myself both laughing and crying throughout the story. What an amazing tale of what happens when secrets are kept and how they will haunt you until you meet them head on and deal with them. This is one book that needs to be read by every mother and daughter, sister and girlfriend as there are lessons to be learned from the pages of this book. I look forward to seeing more by this amazing author!

This book was supplied by Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers for review.

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