Friday, February 28, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up (Feb. 28) - Month In Review!

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!
Current Giveaway
 Enter to win your choice of three books and a $10 e-giftcard to your favorite book retailer!
Leap Into Books Here
*Ends March 7*

What I've Read:
Wildwood Creek (Moses Creek, #4)The Colonel's Lady 

Reviews Posted
Wildwood Creek 
The Colonel's Lady 

What I'm Reading now
The Quilted Heart Omnibus (Quilted Hearts #1-3) 

What I Plan on Reading:
The Beloved DaughterSixteen BridesThe Icecutter's Daughter (Land of Shining Water, #1)A Heart's RebellionLove Redeemed (New Hope Amish #2)A Shining Light (Home to Amana #3)Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Spring #2)A Talent for Trouble (Ladies of Distinction, #3)    

What I completed in February
Dangerous Depths (The Aloha Reef Series #3)Echoes of MercyA Miracle of Hope (The Amish Wonders, #1)Wildwood Creek (Moses Creek, #4)The Colonel's Lady 
Not as successful as last month, but I still feel good about what I accomplished. What did you accomplish this month?! 

That about wraps it up! 

Leap into Books - Giveaway Hop!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Leap into Books giveaway! I don't know about you, but I love to read. Reading allows me to explore the world, both historically and currently, from the comfort of my own home. I can "leap" into another time and place. That's why I am so excited to be a part of this giveaway blog hop!

The Giveaway:
1. A copy of one of the following books (winner's choice)

Tattler's Branch by Jan Watson: My Review
Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge: My Review
Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustria: My Review

2. An e-giftcard in the amount of $10 at your favorite book retailer (i.e. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.)

Enter here!:

Leap into Books is a giveaway HOP. Make sure you hop over to the other blogs as well!


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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

As you all know, I've been participating in the Christian Fiction Bloggers "Book Cover Bingo" game on Goodreads. If you haven't joined Goodreads, I highly recommend it. I've connected with some many cool people in the various groups through Goodreads and learned about countless new authors. Anyway, I read The Colonel's Lady for the Book Cover Bingo locket cover. Here's my review!

Overview: Can love survive the secrets kept buried within a tormented heart?

Roxanna Rowan may be a genteel Virginia woman, but she is determined to brave the wilds of the untamed frontier to reach a remote Kentucky fort. Eager to reunite with her father, who serves under Colonel Cassius McLinn, Roxanna is devastated to find that her father has been killed on a campaign.

Penniless and out of options, Roxanna is forced to remain at the fort. As she spends more and more time with the fiery Colonel McLinn, the fort is abuzz with intrigue and innuendo. Can Roxanna truly know who the colonel is—and what he's done?

Immerse yourself in this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness set in the tumultuous world of the frontier in 1779.

My Review:  I have been waiting for a chance to read this book since I received in for Christmas two years ago. I have heard so many good things about this author's books, and I wasn't disappointed. Let me start off by saying I generally tend to stay away from books so closely related to war and war-like times for personal reasons, so I was a little hesitant when I started reading this book and realized it was set in the middle of a war. However, as I got further into the book, the war faded from my mind because the author does such a wonderful job of bringing her characters to life. The plot is set in Kentucky at Fort Endeavor. The author gives such a rich description of life on the remote Kentucky fort that I felt like I was living in that time! The picture she painted was bleak and depressing at times, as I'm sure it was for some of the soldiers who were sent to the remote forts with no settlements near. 

The main characters, Roxanna Rowan and Colonel Cassius McLinn, were very well developed in my opinion. Because the author does not focus too much on the secondary characters, even though they were important to the story, I feel like I really got to know Roxie and Cass and could feel their emotions and love, as they did. There were times when I could have shaken both of them silly because of their stubbornness and hard-headed ways. I loved watching their lives unfold individually and together.

For a Christian novel, I was surprised as the amount of drinking that was done in the book. However, it was vitally important to the story. For one, the remoteness of the fort caused soldier morale to slip very easily. Giving the soldiers something to numb their pain was probably one of the only ways to keep their morale up. Second, it allowed the reader to really connect with the changes in Cass throughout the book. The author, by no means, glamorized the drunken state of things. Instead, she effectively showed the reader that drinking does nothing but numb the pain for a short time. The only thing that Cass could rely on to take the pain away and ease his guilt was God. The author does a fantastic job of showing both Cass' and Roxie's spiritual development.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would love to read more by this author!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

Overview: With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?

Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father's unfinished destiny. When she's offered a production assistant's job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father's footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region's folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood—including Blake Fulton, Allie's handsome neighbor on the film set—seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn't know whom she can trust. If she can't find the answers in time, history may repeat itself...with the most unthinkable results.

My Review: I absolutely loved how this book was written.  Switching back and forth between Bonnie Rose and Allie Kirkland's point of view made the story more compelling. The mystery of what happened to Bonnie Rose was well written and captivating. The author chose her writing well because I did not want to put this book down. 

The romance between Blake and Allie was downplayed, and I understand why. There were so many other, more important things going on in this book that the romance would have taken away from. It was clear that they would be a good fit for each other, so I'm glad the author didn't try to force the romance into the story. 

I have mixed feelings about the character development, especially Allie. I feel like her journey of faith could have been played up a little more. There was a Christian theme to the book, but I feel it was a secondary theme to the mystery surrounding Wildwood Creek and Bonnie Rose. I would have liked to see that aspect developed a little more.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. Even though it is part of the Moses Lake series, this can absolutely be read as a stand alone novel. I look forward to reading more from this author.

*Thank you Bethany House for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

About the Author: Selected among BOOKLIST'S Top 10 of 2012 and Top 10 of 2013, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable Southern settings with elements of women's fiction, history, and mystery to create stories that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and ForeWord Magazine refers to as "Filled with lyrical prose, hope, and healing.” Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over over twenty novels and countless magazine pieces.

Her books have held positions on many bestseller lists, both in the U.S. and internationally. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, a LORIES Best Fiction Award winner, and a Utah Library Award winner. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up (Feb. 21)

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!
AND It's on time this week!!! :)
What I've Read
A Ranger's Trail (Texas Trails #4) 
Reviews Posted

What I'm Currently Reading:
Wildwood Creek (Moses Creek, #4) 

On my "to-read" list:
The Beloved DaughterSixteen BridesThe Icecutter's Daughter (Land of Shining Water, #1)A Heart's RebellionThe Quilted Heart Omnibus (Quilted Hearts #1-3)The Colonel's LadyLove Redeemed (New Hope Amish #2)A Shining Light (Home to Amana #3)Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Spring #2) 

That about wraps it up!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Ranger's Trail by Darlene Franklin

A Ranger's Trail is the fourth book in the Texas Trails: A Morgan Family Series. The series was written by a collaboration of three authors: Vickie McDonough, Susan Page Davis, and Darlene Franklin. It's been a great series so far, and I look forward to reading the rest!

Overview: A widow vows to seek vengeance | A Texas Ranger swears to uphold the law | A blood feud splits Mason County in half

When Leta Denning's husband is murdered at the beginning of the Mason County War, she wants one thing: revenge. Buck Morgan, a Texas Ranger called in to investigate, has ties to a German family involved in Denning's death.

Buck's ability to remain impartial and bring the murderer to justice has Leta anxious. As she struggles to keep her ranch afloat, Buck offers to help - all the while searching for the truth.  A tentative trail emerges ... one forged by respect and bound by vengeance and forgiveness.

Doubt meets faith, and fear gives way to faith in the Morgan family.

My Review:  I really enjoyed this book. This is my second book by Darlene Franklin, so I had few expectations for this book. Of course, I wanted it to be as enjoyable as the rest of the series, and I was not disappointed on that account. The first chapter of the book pulls you in. The action is not fast paced, but it's fast enough to keep you interested. The Mason County War reflects the society at the time, and unfortunately, the society of today (to an extent). 

The main characters, and even the secondary characters are pretty well developed throughout the story. Leta Denning's journey from revenge to trusting God's vengeance is natural and Buck Morgan's character undergoes a similar journey. The secondary characters, Andy and Henry, take a more dramatic journey towards the end of the book. Stella is a character I would love to read more about and hope to catch up with her in a later book!

My only complaint is the romance aspect of the book. I agree that Leta and Buck are a good match. However, their romance seemed kind of down played. I almost couldn't detect the point that Buck stopped viewing Leta as a widow that God commands his people to provide for and care for, to someone he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

Over all, the book was very enjoyable and I would recommend it to all my reading friends!

**I received this book free from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
More fun! with links:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Midnight Sea by Colleen Coble

Happy Wednesday everyone! I'm still trying to recover from the LONG hotel stay we had last week. Charlotte got over 10 inches of snow!!! I'm just glad I didn't have to drive back and forth all week, especially since I have an hour commute! You would think I would have had more time to read last week, but that was just not the case. We were exhausted every night by the time we got back to our rooms, and busy all day during the day! I did finally manage to finish this book, completing my first series of the year!

Overview: "Lani opened her eyes fully, straining to see something, anything. It was as though she swam in a black sea that blacked out all light, all visual sensation. 'I can't see,' she whispered. 'I can't see!' Her shriek rose and echoed off the blackness."

A seemingly random shooting at her aunt's coffee farm has left Lani Tagama blind. Now she must learn to navigate in a world of darkness. With the help of an embittered ex-cop, Ben, and a half-trained guide dog, Fisher, Lani discovers she can regain a shadow of her former independence.

But strange and dangerous secrets lurk behind the beauty of this seaside paradise. Suspicion grows that this was not a random shooting, but an attempted murder, one with its roots in a hippie commune burned over thirty year ago. Lani realizes she is a target, and that she must find the shooter before he strikes again.

My Review: Colleen Coble does it again! I cannot say enough good things about this writer. From the first page, I was hooked. The mystery, suspense, and romance were expertly weaved into a story of deception and trust. The plot was interesting and kept me guessing the entire time.

Lani Tagama was my favorite character. After her ordeal in Black Sands, she becomes a Christian. It's nice to see the human side of someone who is a new Christian. She struggles to put her trust in someone she can't see, and that makes her more real. Ben Mahoney is struggling to cope with the accident that claimed his friend's sight. He is also struggling with trusting the One who controls all things in our lives. The author did a very good job of portraying their development in this area.

The message, as I've stated before, is trust. Learning to trust that God has everything under control, especially when you feel your life is spinning out of control, is hard. Colleen Coble does a great job of weaving that message throughout the story.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable story and I'm sad the series has come to an end. Go read it, today!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up (Feb. 14) - Monday Edition

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 apologize for not posting this on Friday. We had a crazy week last week. North Carolina and surrounding states experienced inclement weather. We got about a foot of snow. I was trapped at work all week :)
And the winner is....
Kristin Lail! Congratulations, Kristin! You will receive one copy of The Sinner's Garden by William Sirls. *The winner will have one week to respond. If no response is received, another winner will be chosen.*
What I've Read
Echoes of MercyA Miracle of Hope (The Amish Wonders, #1)Midnight Sea (The Aloha Reef Series #4)  
Reviews Posted

What I'm Currently Reading
A Ranger's Trail (Texas Trails #4) 
What I Plan on Reading
The Beloved DaughterWildwood Creek (Moses Creek, #4)Sixteen BridesThe Icecutter's Daughter (Land of Shining Water, #1)A Heart's RebellionThe Quilted Heart Omnibus (Quilted Hearts #1-3)The Colonel's Lady 

That about wraps it up!