Monthly Archives: January 2015

Emissary by Thomas Locke

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam’s extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light–and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path–which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities–and dangers.

With lyrical prose that unveils a richly imaginative world, Thomas Locke takes readers on a journey into the Realm. There he invites them to awaken their sense of wonder. This cracking adventure moves like a contemporary thriller but harkens back to the enduring genre of classic fantasy.”

My thoughts:

I love the gorgeous, eye-catching cover. It helped me envision things as I read the book. I enjoyed the vivid details in the storytelling of this imaginary world. It was great for pure mystery and intrigue and I was surprised with many of the twists. But I was disappointed with the lack of character development, where I felt no connections or emotions for these characters. They seemed so distant most of the time, but then suddenly they would act in a way like they were full of personality in spots and then go back to their distant personality. That is what makes or breaks a book for me if I love it or don’t really connect with it, I need to understand why the character do what they do. I was confused and surprised with Hyam’s lack of direction or knowing what he was to do, yet at times made fast decisions with absolute certainty with no context clues for the reader on how he came to that decision. There was no outward Christian theme and quite frankly, if there was symbolism of it, it was completely lost on me. There are spells and wizardry in this this, just a disclaimer for those who like to know that ahead of time. I know others will enjoy this book, but I think those type of people need to be less literal in their learning process than me. I have read other fantasy books that I love, so I am able to understand and love and have re-read some fantasy books.

I rate Emissary 2.5 stars, as I was mostly lost and confused in it, so I was not able to fully enjoy Emissary.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

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What it’s about:
From the publisher:
“Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship.
Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for themselves?”

My thoughts:
I was so excited to see Elizabeth Camden come out with a new book! As soon as I read a book of her’s, she has fast become a favorite of mine. Beyond All Dreams did not disappoint! I loved it! I giggled and laughed more through this book than any others of Ms. Camden’s. These characters were so fun! They are plenty flawed, but remorseful of their sins. I absolutely adored Anna! It has been a long time since I have read a book with such a spunky, quick-witted and minded lead female. Luke’s personality is normally one I wouldn’t really like all the much, but I really did like him also. He is flamboyant and over-confident, yet struggles with his own sins in such a way to be likable.

The history incorporated in this book is fascinating too. As a book-lover and avid reader, it was really neat to learn more about the Library of Congress. The wonderful descriptions had me right in the old Library and the beautiful new one too. I was sucked in and didn’t want to leave. There were a few twists I didn’t see coming and I was truly surprised and I love that.

This book has it all. And towards the end of Beyond All Dreams, I started really hoping that there will be a continuation of Luke’s sister in another book!

I give Beyond All Dreams 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to historical romance lovers!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Find out more about the author at her website: http://elizabethcamden.com

Spinstered by Sharyn Kopf

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What it’s about:
From the publisher: “Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single.

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that’s been God’s will all along.

Catie’s friends, Jolene and Uli, have their own struggles with men, careers, and family.

Then into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart.

With their hearts on the line, these three friends search for hope … and find it in unexpected places.”

My thoughts:

I am finding that I am reading more and more books that are written in the first person POV. I am not sure if I happen to be picking these, or if more are being written, but I am finding they are written so well! Spinstered tackled not only one person in first-person, but THREE characters! I was able to identify in different ways with every main character and that always makes more a more enjoyable read.

I would categorize Spinstered as more realistic and just plain more “real” than most Christian fiction. It doesn’t sugar-coat or ignore issues and it isn’t all wrapped-up with a bow at the end like most books. This is one reason why I love this book so much. As a single woman, it can get frustrating reading all stories that end happily-ever-after while real life isn’t like that. At least mine isn’t. I’m not complaining either! I have a good life, I just am single.

Spinstered made me giggle and laugh-out-loud many times throughout! I had so much fun with Catie, Uli and Jolene! It got more serious towards the end, but still had comical moments or thoughts that lightened the mood.

The Christian messages in this book are what makes it so great. It deals with women’s emotions and insecurities with Biblical truths. I would say this book is geared to women, especially those who have ever or are dealing with “spinster” type emotions and struggles. It has a component of romance, but is not really a romance book.

The last book I read this compulsively was Dr. Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay about a year ago and that made my “favorites of 2014” list, so Spinstered is looking good for a top spot in 2015.

I give Spinstered 5 out of 5 stars. It touched my heart and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this, especially single women!

I received a digital form of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Find out more about the author at her blog: http://sharynkopf.blogspot.com

A Match for Meghan by Kimberly Rose Johnson

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What it’s about:
From the back cover:
“MEGHAN BLACK HAS FINALLY MET HER MATCH
The veterinary assistant never backs down from a dare…and what greater challenge than finding die-hard bachelor Ben Young his ideal mate? But what’s an incurable cupid to do when the handsome vet turns the tables and asks her out?

Ben is perfectly content with his single life. And he figures there’s only one way to get the petite dynamo to quit her matchmaking—date her himself! But his plan backfires when he realizes that Meghan could be The One. Can he convince a woman who believes in happy endings for everyone but herself that he’s her Mr. Right?”

My thoughts:

I was really excited to read Meghan’s story after meeting her in previous books of Ms. Johnson’s. I was not disappointed! I laughed and cried in this book! I laughed with Meghan and her big, fun personality and I cried towards the end with a scene with a dog (I won’t give any more details, so I won’t spoil it it for anyone!) I love Meghan’s wacky outgoing personality, yet she has great insights that I really relate to. They make her feel a bit like an outsider in the story. I don’t want to give too much away and take away from other readers enjoyment or write any spoilers so I will just say that I really loved Meghan’s honesty in chapter 1 towards the end of the chapter. Not only was A Match for Meghan a fun and enjoyable read, it has a good message. Ben’s dad has some great advice in chapter 6 that really resonated with me. I have to say this is my favorite book of Kimberly Rose Johnson’s so far and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

I give A Match for Meghan 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Find out more about this author, her books and her blog at: http://www.kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

My favorite books I read in 2014

2014 was a GREAT year of reading for me! I read so many wonderful books that they all can’t be included in this list, but I do want to share the books that made the top of my list. These are books that I read in 2014, not necessarily when they were published.

My favorite full length novels of 2014:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Larkspur-Kelsey-Kilgore-ebook/dp/B002IT6QTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420406772&sr=8-1&keywords=A+love+of+larkspur

A Love for Larkspur by Kelsey Kilgore
-Please write more! Seriously. Please!? I laughed and laughed while reading this book!

http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Mr-Knightley-Katherine-Reay-ebook/dp/B00C5QA78M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420406831&sr=8-1&keywords=dear+mr+knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Rea
-This was a book that when I finished it, I just stopped everything and thought about how I NEED to read more books like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Full-Steam-Ahead-Karen-Witemeyer-ebook/dp/B00GHXRQ6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420406895&sr=8-1&keywords=Full+steam+ahead

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
-This book is historical romance at its best with a good dose of humor to make this a prime example of what Christian fiction should be!

http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Time-Wings-Nightingale-Book-ebook/dp/B00GHXREIK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420406958&sr=8-1&keywords=In+perfect+time
In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin
-I became obsessed with WWII fiction after this series, and especially this book!

http://www.amazon.com/Meant-Mine-Porter-Family-Novel-ebook/dp/B00GHXRQ0Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407031&sr=8-1&keywords=Meant+to+be+mine
Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade

-*Sigh* I just like to sigh and dream when I think about this book. I wish Becky Wade would write my own romance story.

http://www.amazon.com/One-Trust-Hidden-Identity-Book-ebook/dp/B00DY9FOVO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407082&sr=8-2&keywords=No+one+to+trust

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason
-Lynette Eason was a new-to-me author this year and is now one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read the rest of her books!

http://www.amazon.com/Silenced-Alaskan-Courage-Book-4-ebook/dp/B00GHXROW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407128&sr=8-1&keywords=Silenced

Silenced by Dani Petrey
-Action, romance, suspense and breathtaking settings… What is not to love?

http://www.amazon.com/Slave-Again-Alana-Terry-ebook/dp/B00N95UOL8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407174&sr=8-1&keywords=Slave+again
Slave Again by Alana Terry
-The message and cause behind this story is awesome and the book itself is hard to put down.

http://www.amazon.com/Bound-Heart-Everstone-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00P2YEFSC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407251&sr=8-1&keywords=The+bound+heart
The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall
-I fell in love with the main character, Lawry, in this book. I don’t understand why I have not met my man like this yet. 😉

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Cat-Melody-Carlson-ebook/dp/B00KDN87XG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407346&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Christmas+cat

The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson
-I am a cat lover and this was just a fun, comical shorter Christmas read that I loved.

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Stained-Lies-Moonlighters-Book-ebook/dp/B008EGRFWI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407399&sr=8-1&keywords=Truth+stained+lies
Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock
-Gripping suspense with a great message.

http://www.amazon.com/Wish-You-Were-Here-Novel-ebook/dp/B005C6GDSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407497&sr=8-1&keywords=wish+you+were+here+Beth+Vogt
Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt
-Ms. Vogt is now one of my favorite authors. I wish I was there…

http://www.amazon.com/Every-Breath-Elizabeth-Camden-ebook/dp/B00GHXRREQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407568&sr=8-1&keywords=With+every+breath
With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden
-I sat in shock with my mouth hanging open as my heart broke for these main characters at one point. If you make me feel like that while reading, I love your writing.

http://www.amazon.com/Worth-Wait-Waltham-Academy-Book-ebook/dp/B00I7IVTMA/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407626&sr=8-10&keywords=Worth+the+wait
Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson

-This is a YA book and while I am not a young adult, I loved this book. It was a book that I was supposed to be reading when I was and God put it in my life for a purpose. When a book touches your heart like that, you can’t help but love it.

My favorite novellas of 2014:

http://www.amazon.com/Mercies-Sake-Sharon-Srock-ebook/dp/B00I6MYBSG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407682&sr=8-1&keywords=for+mercies+sake

For Mercies Sake by Sharon Srock

-This story touched my heart in a way that very few novellas can.

http://www.amazon.com/Sheriff-Bride-Robs-Story-Copeland-ebook/dp/B00ATUZHLI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407767&sr=8-1&keywords=Sheriff+bride+Rob%27s+story

Sheriff Bride Rob’s Story by Joi Copeland

-This is such a fun, laugh-out-loud marriage of convenience story!

http://www.amazon.com/Sincerely-Yours-Collection-Jane-Kirkpatrick-ebook/dp/B00HAJWS5Y/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1420407931&sr=8-5&keywords=sincerely+yours

Sincerely Yours Novella Collection by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes and Ann Shorey

-I loved every novella in this book!

http://www.amazon.com/You-Made-Me-Love-eShort-ebook/dp/B00HL6SL0M/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1420408004&sr=8-4&keywords=You+made+me+love+you
You Made Me Love You by Beth K Vogt

-I think this novella might be one of my favorite novellas ever.

My favorite non-fiction books of 2014:

I am not normally a huge fan of non-fiction, but these were so good that I had to include them in my favorites!

http://www.amazon.com/Moms-Night-Other-Things-Miss-ebook/dp/B00JKV3F0C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420406470&sr=8-1&keywords=Moms+nights+out+and+other+things+I+miss

Mom’s Night Out and Other Things I Miss by Kerri Pomarolli

http://www.amazon.com/Youre-Going-Okay-Encouraging-Especially-ebook/dp/B00I8NT73M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420406684&sr=8-1&keywords=You%27re+going+to+be+okay

You’re Going to Be Okay by Holley Gerth

I have so many books in my TBR pile that I have seen on other blog posts as top reads of the year, so they might make on my 2015 list! A few books and authors that I cannot wait to read are:

-Denise Hunter’s newest books
-Susan May Warren’s newest books
-the Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance
-For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
-Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
-Valerie Comer
-Laura Jackson’s new one coming out
-Jocelyn Green’s books
-MaryLu Tyndall’s newest books
-many of Tamara Leigh’s books
-Lynette Eason
-Beth K Vogt’s book coming out in May
-Dawn Crandall’s book coming out in February

-Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
-Kristy Combron
-Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg
-The Wedding Game by Amy Matayo
-Julianne Donaldson
-Tracy Groot
-Cathy Gohlke
-and So MANY MORE!!!!!

I am currently reading Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camdon and I am absolutely LOVING it!

I would love for you to comment with your favorite book(s) that you read in 2014 to expand my reading list!