Friday, November 29, 2013

Week End Wrap Up (Nov 29)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a great day yesterday! Did anyone venture out to go shopping on Black Friday?? We stopped by Toys-R-Us (which opened at 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day). Let me just say that is probably the most organized Black Friday event I've ever been to. They did a great job with it! Anyways, here's my week in review!

Current Giveaway
I'm giving away a signed copy of Sushi for One? and Formula for Danger by Camy Tang! 
Be sure to check out the other 200+ blogs for other giveaways, as well!

What I've Read
Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier 
Reviews Posted:

What I'm Currently reading:

What I plan on Reading:
A Kiss in TimeDaughter of Silk (The Silk House, #1) 

And that about wraps it up!

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Hello, hello, hello! Happy (late) Thanksgiving everyone! I feel like such a slacker this week. I haven't gotten nearly as much reading done as I anticipated I would. That's ok though! I finally finished Burning Sky by Lori Benton! Here's my review! :)

Burning Sky: A Novel of the American FrontierOverview: New York frontier, 1784 ~ Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path and she feels obliged to nurse his injuries. The two quickly find much has changed during Willa’s twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman once called Burning Sky must find a new courage—the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

"A bruised reed shall he  not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench."

My Review: The characters in this book are awesome! Willa Obenchain (aka Burning Sky) is a complex character because of the life she had to live. Taken at a young age by Mohawk Indians, she did what she had to in order to survive. She adapted to their way of life, never forgetting her heritage. So when all was lost to her, she decides to go back to the "white world" only to discover everyone she loved is gone. "I am the place where two rivers meet, sitled with upheaval and loss." - Willa Obenchain  Neil MacGregor, despite his past, does not treat Willa like she's less than human (as some folks do because of her time with the Indians). Instead, he shows her kindness, compassion, and love. Is she willing to open her heart to him?

The story was good. I think I would have enjoyed it so much better had I not just finished a very similar book. It was also a little long, but not enough to lose my interest completely.  At one point, I caught myself saying "how much more can this poor woman go through?!" I believe even the slow parts were necessary in order to understand each character and the situation at hand. The author did a great job in describing the time period, effects of the war, and the characters actions as related to their situations.

The message was one of trust. As Neil MacGregor, in his Scottish barogue states: "Dinna put your trust in men - not foremost. Men will come and go from your life, even those you love, some before you're ready to see them go. But I'll tell you this I've learnt: the Almighty loves you more than any man could, and He willna forsake ye. Not ever." 

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I wish I would have read it at a later date, rather than right after another book with a similar plot. I would still recommend it to anyone!

**I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Week End Wrap Up (Nov 22)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

Three weeks left. That's all I have until I graduate! I cannot wait! I would love to get my reading life back on track. Wedding planning is coming along! I got all of my flowers in. We opted to go with the fake flowers, so I've gotten them all ordered. It's going to be beautiful! 

Current Giveaway
I'm giving away a signed copy of Sushi for One? and Formula for Danger by Camy Tang! Be sure to check out the other 200+ blogs for other giveaways, as well!

What I've Read:
Captive Trail (Texas Trails #2) 

Review Posted:

What I'm Currently Reading:
Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier

What I Plan on Reading Next:

That about wraps it up!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis

It's Monday! What better way to get over the Monday doldrums than to read a book review by me! :p
I had a very busy weekend, so I didn't get to read like I wanted to. However, once I picked this book up, I had to finish it! I was up WAYYYY to late last night! Captive Trail is the second book in the Texas Trails: A Morgan Family Series and I just loved it! So, let me tell you about it:

Captive Trail (Texas Trails #2)Overview: Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family's teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across Taabe who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.

With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu's identity. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas. Through Taabe and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.

My Review: This book was captivating.  I've never read a book on this subject and I think the author did a wonderful job of capturing the emotions and depth of the issues the characters had to face! Taabe Waipu remembers the live she was taken from. She remembers that her place is not with the Comanche people with whom she resides, but she doesn't remember anything else.  I loved her character. I felt like I was watching her struggle to remember the old way of life. I felt her joy and frustration at learning "white man ways" again. Susan Page Davis did an excellent job on Taabe's character. Ned Bright was a simple man. I liked him because he wasn't trying to be tough or macho. He was just a normal guy who falls in love with a girl. He was certainly protective and "manly," but I think he more closely represents real life men.

The story was fantastic. Again, I've never read a story with this subject before and as also stated previously, Susan Page Davis did a fantastic job of capturing the depth of emotions and issues these characters had to face. While the story was predictable (in that I knew Taabe and Ned would be together), it was very enjoyable. There were facets of the story that I absolutely loved, like Ned's devotion and dedication to Taabe and her best interests. The interaction with the Comanche at the end kept me rooted to my seat with my eyes reading and furiously scanning the pages!

The message of the book was to trust in God to take care of you and all your needs. I wished this theme was communicated more clearly in the book, but that's what I got out of the story. Overall, I absolutely loved this book and would definitely read it again!

**I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (Nov 15)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

I've found a dress! It is absolutely perfect! Wedding planning is moving along quite smoothly.. at this rate, we'll be done planning by June! :) 

Current Giveaway:
I'm giving away a signed copy of Sushi for One? and Formula for Danger by Camy Tang! Be sure to check out the other 200+ blogs for other giveaways, as well!

What I've Read:
Formula for Danger 

Reviews Posted:
See Gratitude Giveaway post for these reviews! 

What I'm Currently Reading
Captive Trail (Texas Trails #2) 

What I Plan on Reading Next:
Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier 

Don't forget to check out the Gratitude Giveaway! That about wraps it up!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

4th Annual Gratitude Giveaway Hop!

gratitude 2013
Welcome to the 4th Annual Gratitude Giveaway Hop! hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer.
What is this? This is my way of saying THANK YOU for being a faithful follower of my blog. I've got a great post for y'all today: a review, an interview, AND the giveaway! Brace yourselves for this fantastic post!

My Review of Sushi For One?:  I could not have asked for a better book. Camy Tang is a phenomenal writer! The dialogue was entertaining and had me laughing out loud. Lex Sakai is a character to be reckoned with. She is strong, stubborn, and determined to make her way in the world, regardless of what her grandmother thinks is best for her. Aiden is patient, caring, and a bit close-minded (in the beginning). I loved watching their relationship blossom. I loved watching Aiden's relationship with the Lord blossom as well. Camy didn't make it feel rushed and she showed us, through side characters, how sitting back and listening and really trying to connect with the other person can open their eyes to the Lord. 

The story, itself, was absolutely fantastic. I loved getting a look into the Japanese and Chinese cultures. It was interesting to see how Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans still practice some of their cultural norms. The message of the book is waiting on the Lord and seeking Him in all areas of our lives. Trust him with everything. Be patient and wait on Him. It was phenomenal to see how Lex's decisions affected her life and at the end she realized she made her life harder than it had to be. I absolutely loved it. I can't say enough great things about this book and I can't wait to get my hands on the next books in the series, Sushi Series.

Formula for DangerFormula for Danger by Camy Tang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was absolutely fantastic. I loved the characters. Rachel reminds me of me. She starts off reserved, easily intimidated, and dedicated to her job. By the end of the book, she has begun a journey of change for the better. I love Edward's protective nature. He is independent and loyal.

I wish the story could have been longer! The action kicks off from the very first page of the book. I loved the mix of suspense and the romance between the characters. It was also nice to hear from Naomi and Devon again. The message was one of trust. Trust in the Lord, who created everything and is in everything on Earth to take care of you.

Overall, I loved this book and will definitely be reading more in the Sonoma series!

Interview! With Camy Tang
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
I’m Camy Tang, an author with Zondervan, Love Inspired Suspense, and Guideposts. I grew up in Hawaii but I now live in northern California with my engineer husband and my rambunctious dog. I graduated from Stanford University in psychology with a focus on biology,  but for nine years I worked as a biologist researcher. Then God guided my path in a completely different direction and now I’m writing full time, using my original psychology degree as I create the characters in my novels. In my free time, I’m a staff worker for my church youth group and I lead one of my church’s Sunday worship teams. I also love to knit, I recently learned how to spin wool into yarn, and I’m training to (very slowly) run a marathon.

2. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love knitting and I’ve also taken up spinning wool into yarn--I bought a used spinning wheel on I also enjoy running, although lately I’ve been nursing an injured ankle and a few blisters from my last run. :) I ran my first marathon in December 2010, and I hope it won’t be my last.

3. What challenges did you face in getting your first book published?
I’ve always loved writing. I wrote my first novel in high school—a 600-something page monstronsity. High fantasy. :)

But then I felt God convicting me that my writing was for me, not for Him. That I was more interested in my name on a book cover than writing for Him. And He told me to lay it down.

Boy, that was World War 3. But I eventually did it, and stopped writing for years. I still had ideas filtering through my head, but I rarely put them down on paper.

Then I got laid off from work (I worked in biology research) and I felt God telling me to take up writing again. Didn’t have to tell me twice!

From that day until the day I sold was about 3 jam-packed years—reading hundreds of online writing articles, a couple dozen writing books, taking the Fiction 101 track at Mount Hermon taught by Randy Ingermanson and Brandilyn Collins, and several dozen workshops.

I got lots of rejections. I had horrible comments from judges in the contests I entered. I wrote five complete manuscripts with Asian American characters during a time when publishing houses weren’t actively looking for multicultural stories. And I had to eventually go back to work because it’s just too expensive to be a writer without a contract in the San Francisco bay area.

I guess I had an advantage because I had already laid down my writing once, and God had clearly told me to take it up again. I knew without a doubt that I had His blessing for my writing, so even though things were really hard, I didn’t give up. I knew this was what God wanted me to do.

Sushi for One released in 2007. My husband was so proud of me—holding that book in his hands affirmed to him that this “writing thing” really is what God wants me to do.

4. What project are you working on now? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I just finished the full manuscript for a Christian Regency romance with a bit of suspense, titled Prelude for a Lord. It will release next summer with Zondervan under a pseudonym, Camille Elliot. I’m really excited about it since I’ve been reading Regency romances since I was 14 years old but never tried writing one until now. I went to England last year as my 40th birthday present to myself and did a lot of research for the book.

5.How did you know you wanted to be a writer? Where did you get your inspiration from to become a writer?
I love writing. I couldn’t not write. Even those years when God had asked me to lay down my writing, I was still making up stories in my head (just not writing them down).

My family is always great about supporting and encouraging me. My mom was a high school English teacher, and she always encouraged me to read. When I said I wanted to be a writer, she and my dad never tried to discourage me with the reality that writers don’t make much money, and they never pushed me to be a doctor or lawyer or something with a more stable income.

My greatest motivation is knowing that God wants me to do this. It’s like when I first started working with the youth at my church—I knew, deep down, deeper than emotions, that the youth work was what God wanted me to do. My writing is the same way—although I keep it in constant prayer, too.

The knowledge that God has given me this to do—even if I never contract another book, if I’m only writing for myself—is what keeps me going.

6. If you could pick any author to interview, who would it be and why?
Hands down, Jane Austen. She’s my favorite author and I want to know where she got her ideas for her characters, because they’re so complex and yet so relatable to real life.

7. What was your favorite part about writing Sushi For One? Which character do you connect with most?
I’m not sure if this was my favorite part of writing Sushi for One, but it was the part that drove me the most deeply. One common theme I notice in all my writing is the theme of submission to God. No one likes the word “submission,” but it’s become a key word for my own life. Everything about being a Christian is about submission—but in a positive way. When I submit to God, He’s always faithful to me. I’m always glad to submit to God because I trust Him to know what’s best for me. My characters tend to learn the same lessons.

The one issue my heroine deals with is realizing that she can’t do it all for herself. As a Christian, I struggle with this a lot—I want to fix my own problems, and often I’ll forget to ask God what HE thinks about it. And there are times when nothing else matters but God’s love for us, and that we just need to be quiet and be held by God’s grace and love.

8. Can you give any advice for aspiring writers who are trying to get published?
At my first Mount Hermon Writers Conference, Brandilyn Collins mentioned how all writers should be constantly striving to improve their craft. That advice has stuck with me for years.

I started off voraciously reading writing craft books and articles, avidly listening to workshops on MP3s, and forking out the money to take classes at conferences. That desire to keep learning helped me to improve my craft a great deal in the first few years I started writing.

I think a lot of writers just start writing—and keep writing for years afterward—without learning enough about the craft. While it’s important to just write, it’s also important to learn how to write well.

I can honestly say I spend about 30 minutes a day, five days a week either listening to a workshop or reading a writing craft book or article. That’s not a boast—that’s a challenge to other writers to keep striving to improve your craft. There is never a point when a writer has “made it.”

9. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Some novels are allegorical. Others are outright evangelical. Mine are neither of those. My novels are, first and foremost, fun reads. Second, the characters are Christians like you and me, with flaws and skills, with good choices and bad choices. Some readers will relate to the good choices, some will relate to the bad choices. I am praying that God will use different things in my novels to speak to different people. But most of all, I hope people will just relax and enjoy the read.

10. A little bit of fun!:
a.      Chocolate or Vanilla? Depends on my mood. I can honestly say I’m 50/50 on this.
b.      Tea or Coffee? Tea!
c.      Favorite Color? PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK! PINK!
d.      Dogs or cats? Dogs--my doggie is named Snickers, and she’s a pound puppy we rescued from the Santa Clara Humane Society. God has really blessed us through her.
e.       Favorite Food? I’m not sure I can answer this one because I love food so much! Mayb French fries. But I also just tried a Creme Feuillete that my husband brought home that was TO. DIE.FOR. And then ... but I’ll stop or I’ll talk about food all day!

Thanks so much for the interview! Fans can read more about my books, read free short stories, and sign up for my email newsletter at
Visit Camy Tang*Camy's Loft*Follow Camy on Facebook*Twitter

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (Nov 8)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

I'm going wedding dress shopping this weekend! WOOOHOOOO! I'm so excited! I'm also working on catching up on my school work that got sadly neglected while I was studying for my life license. I'm almost done with that. I can't wait to graduate so I can devote even more time to reviews for you, my faithful followers! :)

What I've Read
A Most Unsuitable Match 
Reviews posted

What I'm Currently Reading
Sushi for One? 

What I Plan on Reading
Formula for DangerBurning Sky: A Novel of the American FrontierCaptive Trail (Texas Trails #2) 

That about wraps it up!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Oh, I have been so slack! I had so  much going on that I am way behind on my reading! I'm desperately trying to catch up, though!!

A Most Unsuitable Match - Stephanie Grace WhitsonOverview: An unlikely attraction occurs between two passengers on a steamboat journey up the Missouri River to Montana...

She is a self-centered young woman from a privileged family who fears the outdoors and avoids anything rustic. He is a preacher living under a sense of duty and obligation to love the unlovable people in the world. She isn't letting anything deter her from solving a family mystery that surfaced after her mother's death. He is on a mission to reach the rejects of society in the remote wilderness regions of Montana. Miss Fannie Rousseau and Reverend Samuel Beck are opposites in every way... except in how they both keep wondering if their paths will ever cross again.

My Review: The characters in this book were ok. Fannie Rousseau seems shallow and spoiled at the beginning of the book. As the story progresses, though, you see that she is just unexperienced and sheltered. Samuel Beck is your typical male lead. He is strong and handsome, sweet and protective. The side characters are almost more interesting than the main characters. Edie LeClerc Bonaparte has an interesting story. Lamar is a man who is strong in his faith and loyal to those he cares about. Edmund and Patrick are sweet characters, as well.

The story felt very disjointed to me. There were things that happened that I didn't understand the need for.  The story just didn't flow very nicely for me. The romance felt forced. I understood that Fannie and Sam were supposed to be together, but I didn't feel the attraction or *sparks* if you will. I don't know, there was just something about this story that didn't quite hold my attention.

The message is the reason I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. "Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2
That is the reason I kept reading! This message of patience and looking to God for everything in our lives is so important! It's so easy to be patient and pray when everything is good and going right, but the trying and testing of our faith (which these characters endure/ed a lot of) is when it's most important to "keep your eye on the prize."

Overall, I would recommend this book because of the wonderful message of patience and redemption.

More fun! with links:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Week End Wrap-Up (Nov 1)

Hello everyone! We have come to the end of another exciting week! This is the 13th addition of the Weekend Wrap-Up, inspired by Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Review. This is where I will tell you what I've read in the past week, what I'm currently reading, and what I plan to read in the week ahead. I might also share some interesting events from the past week!

I feel like I have been neglecting everyone! I have been SO busy with studying for my life insurance license and then taking the actual exam (which I PASSED, by the way) that I have not even had time to read! It's been a VERY long couple of weeks!

Goodreads is a great website. If you haven't ever visited, you should! There are book "communities" you can join and interact with other book lovers. I've been introduced to so many new authors through the website! One of the groups I've joined, Christian Fiction Bloggers, is playing a game! It's called "Book Cover Bingo." Every other week, a category is called. Each group has to read a book with that category on the cover. Once the whole group has finished their chosen book, a stamp is requested. The first group to get a BINGO wins!

What I've Read
What Once Was LostDeadly Intent 

Reviews Posted
What Once Was Lost 
Book Cover Bingo: CANDLE 

Deadly IntentDeadly Intent by Camy Tang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read by Camy Tang and let me tell you, I was enthralled from the beginning! I was very sad that is was such a short story. The character development was quick, but didn't feel rushed. I understand that it had to be because of the length of the story. Still, I felt like I got to know Naomi and Devon in that short time!

The suspense and romance were very well-written! I had no idea what was going to happen or who was behind all the mayhem until Naomi figured it out. That, to me, is a very well done mystery! The romance was sweet. I like that Naomi and Devon had met before the beginning of the story, so the romance didn't feel rushed.

Overall, this was a great story and I will definitely be adding Camy Tang to my must-read author's list!

What I'm Currently Reading:

A Most Unsuitable Match

What I Plan On Reading Next:
Sushi for One?Formula for DangerBurning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier

October Wrap-Up:
What Once Was LostDeadly IntentWaiting for MorningGunpowder TeaDawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series #1)Cape Refuge (Cape Refuge Series #1)

That about wraps it up!