Friday, December 30, 2011

Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale

Persuasion: A Latter-day TalePersuasion: A Latter-day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anne keeps busy as a stock broker and is always helping her somewhat dysfunctional parents and siblings. She's happy, but would love to find Mr. Right and have a family of her own to focus on.

Totally unexpectedly, her ex-fiance comes back into the picture. She was the one who called off the engagement eight years earlier due to fear and family pressure, but she's always loved Neil. Seeing him dating others is hard on her, but she's determined to get over him.

I felt like I could relate to Anne from the very beginning when she was trying to price items for her father's yard (I mean estate) sale. She's the go-to person in her family too (although her familial situation doesn't resemble mine at all).

Some parts were predictable, but others caught you off guard (in a good, twisty sort of way). At times it was really heavy on LDSisms, but the characters were great and the story was fun to read.

I haven't read Jane Austen's Persuasion yet, but this definitely made me want to add it to my to-read stack.

This was an Advanced Readers Copy read through NetGalley.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rearview Mirror

Rearview MirrorRearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Fiona Claridge is a young college professor in New England. After catching a student plagiarizing, Fiona starts receiving threatening notes involving an accident in her past. She's convinced that the threats are coming from the student, but things get worse after attending the funeral of her ex-boyfriend's mother.

Stephanie Black did a great job with this story. I was certain that I'd figured out who the bad guy was (a few times), only to be wrong.

This book reminded me of the movie "Brigham City" in some ways. The LDS angle with nasty crimes isn't really my cup of tea. I don't like to think of people I know being capable of such evil.

My library only had the audiobook of Rearview Mirror. I prefer to read a book before I listen to it, but the story was intense enough that I was able to focus on it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Caller ID

Caller IDCaller ID by Rachelle Christensen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Courtney Beckham stumbles upon something she wasn't meant to see in the forest near her home, her life is changed forever. She is kidnapped, and when a ransom is demanded for her return the FBI gets involved.

FBI agent Jason Edwards is known for going with his gut feeling in solving crimes. Something doesn't feel right about the Beckham case, and he follows his instincts to determine what really happened.

Rachelle J. Christensen does a great job writing a suspenseful novel. The story was believable and intense, and done in such a way that it was still clean.

Those who have read Christensen's other novel Wrong Number will recognize Jason. I liked his character in that story, and was glad to have him play a much bigger role this time.

Thanks to NetGalley and publisher Cedar Fort for the opportunity to read this advanced copy.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Assignment

The AssignmentThe Assignment by Jean Holbrook Mathews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Julia is asked by her employer to go to Manila to organize a rescue team to find his kidnapped granddaughter. Julia hesitates, but decides the assignment is just what she needs to keep her mind off her deceased husband and her comatose son. Little did she know how involved she'd become.

It took me awhile to get into this story, probably due to all of the details on the location and the different groups of people who live there. The information about the author made it sound like she loves the Philippines, but this story made it sound like a very scary and dangerous place.

I was happy when the focus got to the characters and their plight. Things got pretty intense, but good prevailed over evil for a pretty happy ending. It looked like there was going to be a romance, but that just didn't materialize. If there isn't a sequel in the works, the romance angle didn't make sense.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not My Type

Not My Type: A Single Girl's Guide to Doing It All WrongNot My Type: A Single Girl's Guide to Doing It All Wrong by Melanie Jacobson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been hearing (great things) about this book for months, but finding a library copy hasn't been easy. And then, miracle of miracles, I won a copy on a blog. I was so excited when it arrived in my mailbox the other day.

I was quite nervous that I had built it up so much in my mind that it'd be a let down. Thankfully, it did not disappoint!

Pepper Spicer (yes, the name is funny, but it totally works) is 23 and doesn't have a very enviable life. She is living at home, sharing a room with her little sister, and managing a sandwich shop to pay off the credit card debt she accumulated for her wedding (that didn't happen). Her attitude is hard to live with and her parents finally go with the tough love approach. She won't be able to keep living at home if she doesn't take some steps to change her attitude (finding a job she likes and writing thank you notes).

Pepper definitely has an uphill battle, but Jacobson's writing style and humor makes it a very enjoyable read. It is also a great reminder to look for the good in our lives, and share our gratitude with others.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1)Invisible by Lorena McCourtney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ivy Malone is a "LOL" (little old lady) who comes to realize that she is invisible-people just don't seem to notice her. She decides to put her invisibility to good use to discover who is vandalizing an out of the way cemetery. And while she's at it, she does some investigating about a missing neighbor.

Ivy is definitely not your average widow.

A very entertaining story that grabbed my attention and held it until almost the end.

I had no idea that this was the first of several Ivy Malone mysteries. The way the first book ended sort of lost my interest (not the author's intent, I'm sure). I'll probably give the 2nd book a try if I come across it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on December 4th, President Thomas S. Monson mentioned how A Christmas Carol is one of the books he reads every Christmas. I'm definitely familiar with the story, but that is mostly due to watching Disney's "Mickey's Christmas Carol". But, there are times when a person should read good books (those with more substance than fluff), so I got an e-copy and started reading.

Of course, the point of the story is excellent. A greedy old man seeing the light and understanding that it is better to give than to receive. I'll admit I prefer the brevity of the cartoon version. This was a little verbose at times. But, there were some details not included in the cartoon that definitely added to the story.

I'm not sure that I'm ready to read A Tale of Two Cities at this point, but I'm glad I read A Christmas Carol.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Death Cure

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)The Death Cure by James Dashner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read the first and second books in The Maze Runner series quite awhile ago, so it took me a chapter or two to get back into the story.

Thomas and his friends are still fighting for their lives, and are pawns in WICKED's game to find a cure for the Flare.

Overall, I was pleased with how things turned out. The resolution wasn't all smiles (by any means), but it seemed right.

I liked that the gore was toned down in this book. The fake swearing still bothered me (along with a few real swear words that were throw in), but it didn't stand out as much this time.

The story was intense. I didn't want to put it down.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lost December

Lost DecemberLost December by Richard Paul Evans

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lost December is Richard Paul Evans' story about a prodigal son.

I really felt for his main character, Luke. He was making some pretty bad decisions. He seemed so naive much of the time, and I kept wishing he'd open his eyes and see what was happening.

Evan's did an excellent job portraying the influence that friends can have. It is so important to surround ourselves with people that will build us up and bring out the best in us. If we don't, it can destroy us.

In the end, Luke's humility and the love of Luke's father were inspirational.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas on Mill Street

Christmas on Mill StreetChristmas on Mill Street by Joseph Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute story that looks back on a man's life when he was nine-years-old. He wasn't concerned about the Cuban Missel Crisis or any of the world issues. He was concerned about fitting in and conquering a very huge hill on a sled.

It was a very enjoyable story, and a fast read. I still cringe when I think about the backdrop Santa.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Just In

This Just inThis Just in by Kerry Blair

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kerry Blair is hilarious. Her writing is so entertaining.

This Just In is about a beauty queen turned reporter who joins the search for a missing four-year-old she teaches in church. Her city-girl lifestyle hasn't prepared her for roughing it in the Arizona desert, but handsome tracker Clay helps her survive.

I really enjoyed reading this. It was just right for my mood.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Mansion

The MansionThe Mansion by Henry Van Dyke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I heard about this book the other night while listening to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. President Thomas S. Monson said he reads this every Christmas. What better recommendation does one need to read a book?

It is a short story about a very wealthy man who has his priorities wrong. He does plenty of good, but only if it will be beneficial for him. His focus is on the recognition, and in a dream he sees that his mansion in heaven is a shack. He hasn't given Heaven much to work with, and he's already had his reward. The dream changes him.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Michelle Davidson Argyle's eBooks Only 99-Cents This Month!

Great news! Author Michelle Davidson Argyle is having a December sale on her eBooks. Head over to her blog for links to get Cinders, Monarch and True Colors for your Kindle, Nook, or Smashwords.

Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, #1)Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thanks to free Kindle books, I now have quite a few books to read. As I found with some of my earlier free "purchases", some are great, some are not.

Fools Rush In reminded me of "My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding" (except with Italians). It was really cute . . . for about the first half of the book. Unfortunately, it kept going long after it passed a good stopping place (not that everything had been resolved, but it could have been closed up a lot sooner).

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Cassidy (Big Sky Dreams #1)Cassidy by Lori Wick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm not sure why I decided to check this book out. I think the publisher may have caught my eye. I figured it would be clean, and since I didn't have anything else to read I decided to give it a try.

Cassidy has her own business as a seamstress in Token Creek, Montana Territory. She's fairly new to the area, but has made some close friends, and her business is doing well. She dreams of getting married, but worries that her past might get in the way.

It was definitely a clean story-sermons included. I ended up doing a lot of skimming. I didn't care for the author's writing style (like when she used "that lady" instead of saying the person's name or "she").

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Unfair Godmother

My Unfair GodmotherMy Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Janette Rallison writes a very entertaining story!

Chrysanthemum Everstar wants to get into the Fairy Godmother University, but her grades have only given her fair status, so she tries for some extra credit. Tansy Miller ends up being that extra credit.

Just like in My Fair Godmother, Chrissy's too focused on herself to do a job for someone else smoothly. Her extra credit project has major issues (much to Tansy's dismay).

A very fun story!

I'm not sure if there will be anymore Fairy Godmother stories by Rallison, but this second one wasn't a disappointment like the other seconds I've read recently.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Kiss in Time

A Kiss in TimeA Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was on display next to a book I wanted. I picked this solely for its cover, and was happy to find it to be very entertaining.

It is a modern tale of Sleeping Beauty (well, modern in that it ends now, it started 300 years ago when Princess Talia pricked her finger on a spindle and her father's kingdom was put to sleep awaiting Talia's "true love's kiss").

This snippet from the jacket gives you a taste of the characters:

Talia fell under a spell...Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic...

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels...The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Variant (Variant, #1)Variant by Robison Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although I didn't win her giveaway (can't win 'em all), Donna over at Weaving a Tale or Two was 100% right about Variant. An excellent YA novel by Robison Wells! I'm so glad my mom's library had a copy.

Benson Fisher has been passed around the foster care system for years. When a scholarship becomes available for Maxfield Academy, he jumps at the opportunity. But, it doesn't take long to realize that Maxfield Academy isn't what he thought it was.

Staying isn't an option, but escaping is nearly impossible. And, the punishment for breaking the rules is death.

A very creative story. I really enjoyed the characters, and was totally surprised by the twist.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wrong Number

Wrong NumberWrong Number by Rachelle Christensen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aubree Stewart is ready to turn in her Realtor's license for diapers and bottles, but the life change she gets isn't at all what she was planning on. One wrong number changes Aubree's life, and she finds herself running for her life.

This was a very creative story. The characters were great, and the suspense was well done. I also enjoyed the references to places I've been as Aubree was on the run.

I learned about the author, Rachelle J. Christensen, and this book when I entered a giveaway for Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson. Miracle of miracles, I WON the giveaway. So, entering the giveaway turned out to be a double bonus.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miles to Go

Miles to Go (Walk, #2)Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Miles to Go is the second book in The Walk Series. The series is Alan Christofferson's journey (on foot) from Seattle to Key West, Florida, as a way to deal with his life after his wife died and his life fell apart.

I really enjoyed The Walk and had high expectations for this book.

I liked it, especially the new characters that were introduced. I was a little disappointed that Alan's journey didn't make more progress (distance-wise). His experiences were touching even though the telling was a little slow.

But, I would recommend it. It was a very fast read, and I will definitely read other books in the series when they come out.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Cover Model

The cover model for When the Soul Mends (that I posted about earlier today) looks so familiar to me. Does anyone else see the resemblance to Katherine Heigl?

When the Soul Mends

When the Soul Mends: A Novel (Sisters of the Quilt, #3)When the Soul Mends: A Novel by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book three in the Sisters of the Quilt series had a pretty satisfying ending to Hannah's journey.

I liked how she met some great friends (and estranged family) along the way, and was able to have support in figuring out what was best for her.

I was a little thrown by how one of the characters seemed to change so much in this book, although it was probably supposed to be a change in perception.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

When the Morning Comes

When the Morning Comes (Sisters of the Quilt, book #2)When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been able to get in a lot of reading lately, some of which has been the second books in a series. And, sadly, the second books in all my recent reading have been a bit of a let down.

When the Morning Comes was a bit slow. Big events were happening in Hannah's life, but the progress in the overall story wasn't as much as I'd hoped for.

I did enjoy the new characters though, and was interested enough to read the third and final book in the series.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Variant Giveaway

Donna over at Weaving a Tale or Two is giving away two copies of Robison Wells' latest novel, Variant.

I've heard great things about this book (and my library still doesn't have a copy-so disappointing), so I'm very excited for this giveaway. Head on over to Donna's blog if you want a chance to win.

When the Heart Cries

When the Heart Cries (Sisters of the Quilt, #1)When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hannah is a 17-year-old Old Order Amish girl who has fallen in love with a Mennonite. Following her heart could mean being shunned by her family and leaving everything she's ever known. But, she becomes victim to a terrible crime, and everything (including her new love) is put in jeopardy.

I've read several novels about Amish people. Their culture is fascinating, even though many author's don't really put it in a very positive light (with their main characters wanting to leave the faith).

I'm interested to read the rest of this series to see where Hannah's decisions take her.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


CrossedCrossed by Ally Condie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was so excited a few months ago when I heard that Crossed was being released at the beginning of November. I LOVED Matched and was very antsy to get my hands on a copy of the sequel.

Here is the book description found on Amazon:

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Crossed didn't meet my high expectations, but it's hard to put my finger on what exactly let me down. It must have something to do with what seemed to be lack of progress. Don't get me wrong, some major things happen, but I guess I wanted more. There was also some relationship confusion which made Cassia's strong, determined character seem wishy-washy.

My sister is borrowing the copy I read, and I can't wait to talk to her about what she thought.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My very thoughtful librarian put this book on hold for me thinking I'd asked when they were going to get a copy of Silence. I wasn't actually the person who asked for it, but I figured I'd give it a try even though I hadn't read the other books in the series.

Diving into book three of a series, I was a little worried that I'd be really confused. But, I felt like Silence could almost be a stand alone book (if it weren't for the whole not ending part).

The main character, Nora, wakes up in a cemetery and can't remember anything that has happened for the last five months. This was helpful to me, seeing as I didn't know anything about the past five months either.

Nora struggles to figure out what she can't remember, and it's very apparent that those closest to her aren't telling her everything they know.

Nora's forgotten past involves interaction with fallen angels and Nephilim. I never did figure out if either group is supposed to be good though (they were mostly portrayed as evil).

I was drawn into the story quickly, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. I don't have a burning desire to read the first two books in this series, but if I come across any of them when I don't have something else to read, I'll probably give them a try.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mary Emma & Company

Mary Emma and CompanyMary Emma and Company by Ralph Moody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My bookmobile librarian recommended this book to me. I was happy to see that it would help me reach my non-fiction goal for the year. I've mentioned it before, but I'll admit once again that I struggle with non-fiction. It makes me think of textbooks, and I don't recall any textbooks that I enjoyed reading.

But, Mary Emma and Company did not read like a textbook. It is part of Ralph Moody's autobiographical works. When I first started the book, I kept wondering if it was really fiction, because it read like a novel.

This period of Ralph's life was very interesting. Almost two years his father died, his mother and his five siblings moved from their home in Colorado to Medford, Massachusetts. This was in 1912, and life during that time was very interesting to read about. Ralph's mom and his older sister, Grace, decided they'd support the family laundering fine garments. Ralph worked at a grocery store and his income ($1.50/week) went to help support the family.

His family was very close and very strong. They all did their part to help and were hard workers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Grave Secrets

Grave SecretsGrave Secrets by Marlene Austin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

All Bethany has ever wanted is the love and approval of her grandmother, the woman who raised her after her parents died. She is distraught when she hears that her grandmother passed away, and confused that her inheritance from the wealthy woman is a run down cottage in a secluded area in Maine.

Bethany finds some joy in fixing up the cottage, and researching the history of the first woman who lived there for a book she wants to write. But, her world turns up-side-down again with increasing "accidents" and threatening messages.

At times the story moved a little slowly for me. I imagined crossing out paragraphs that didn't seem to help move the story along. But, the mystery was intriguing, so I kept reading.

This isn't a book I'd read a second time, but it was ok.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Free is Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

I recently saw a post on Deal Seeking Mom that listed free Kindle books. I don't have a Kindle, but I do have Kindle for Mac that allows me to read eBooks on my iMac or my husband's iPod. I've liked books by a couple of the authors, so I decided to download all of them.

It's not uncommon for free items to be free because they're not worth much. So, I didn't have really high expectations for my free books. However, the first two books I read (Maid to Match and While We're Far Apart) were really enjoyable.

Then I started reading Sold to the Highest Bidder. I wanted to like it, but there was a lot of swearing right off. The story line also seemed very similar to the movie "Sweet Home Alabama". I actually enjoyed that movie, but I had hoped for a new story to catch my attention. Back to the archives it went.

Next I read The Girl in the Lighthouse. A young girl and her parents start a new job at a lighthouse in post Civil War Maine. Lillian's parents have always kept the family secluded, but this new position allows her to be near another family, and she finds a lot of happiness with her family and new friends. I was enjoying the book fairly well, and then things just went downhill. The link above lists the many crazy things about this book, but it is enough to say that it isn't worth reading.

I typically don't know how to take book or movie reviews from strangers since everyone's tastes are so different. But, glancing at the reviews for either of these books probably would have been helpful.

I really hope I have better luck with my other freebies. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

Monday, October 31, 2011


EdenEden by Keary Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The human race has nearly been destroyed by a scientific attempt to heal disease and illness through cybernetics. Those who have been able to hide from the Fallen (the infected who've essentially become robots) struggle everyday to survive.

Eve is among the remaining humans. "While fighting to keep Eden alive, Eve will discover that being human is about what you will do for those you love, not what your insides may be made of."

A very creative story with enjoyable characters. I had no idea who Eve would chose until she made her decision.

Self publishing seems to lend to more typos and grammatical errors than novels traditionally published, but Keary has made lots of improvement in both areas.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune  (Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to love this book, but sadly I did not.

Don't get me wrong, it was good. Some parts were laugh out loud funny, and the new characters in this book were great. But, I was expecting it to flow with book one of this series, and although it comes together (sort of) at the end, those great new characters weren't in this book.

If you didn't get enough of Percy Jackson in Riordan's other series about Percy, then you'll probably love this book. If you were hoping for Jason to play a role, you'll be somewhat disappointed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Maid to Match

Maid to MatchMaid to Match by Deeanne Gist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this Kindle eBook for free on Amazon the other day, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.

The story follows two Vanderbilt servants. Tilly is aspiring to become Mrs. Vanderbilt's lady's maid, and Mack is working there to earn money quickly to get his younger sister out of an orphanage. There is an instant attraction between the two; however, Tilly fights it because a relationship doesn't fit into a lady's maid's lifestyle.

The glimpse into the Vanderbilt lifestyle was very interesting. Certain aspects were created for the novel, but the author definitely did her research.

The overall story was very entertaining, and the characters were enjoyable. The romance was great too.

A quick read that has me curious about Deeanne Gist's other books.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Book Thief

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My mind is still whirling from this novel. The subject (World War II) is not one that I like to dwell on, because I can't understand why so many people went along with Adolph Hitler. Or why, even today, so many people hate groups of people (like Muslims or Hispanics). Even if a person doesn't believe that we are all children of God, how can they not understand that each person deserves a chance? People should not be judged based on others of their faith or ethnic background. I'm not a fan of war, and the hatred (and power seeking) that is behind it.

I'm pretty sure this is the only book I've ever read where Death is the narrator. Being WWII, he is quite busy. While collecting a soul in Germany, Death takes notice of a young girl that shouldn't be on his radar. He tells us her story, and it's very interesting.

I'm a little at odds with myself, because I found Death to be likeable. But, then again, Death was just doing his job. He wasn't the killer, just the collector. And, he always carried the children's souls in his arms.

The way the story was told was very unique. Not just that it was told by Death, but that Death gave spoilers. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. At least one of the spoilers bothered me because I really wanted something to happen, but I knew that it wasn't going to.

The events in the story weren't told sequentially. I typically don't love jumping around, but it was ok here. I also am not a fan of swearing, but I guess it didn't really bother me in this book because for the most part it was in German.

All in all, I was moved by this story. I am happy for the goodness in people.

Monday, October 24, 2011

While We're Far Apart

While We're Far ApartWhile We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While We're Far Apart was a very satisfying read. Not only is the story good, but I actually learned. Historical fiction, when done well, is my favorite (assuming there is at least a little romance thrown in). ;)

The story takes place in New York during World War II. I hadn't thought much about the prejudices against Jews in the US. And, I learned about efforts at home and abroad to help those suffering that I hadn't heard about before. I was surprised that I'd never learned about Raoul Wallenberg in my history classes.

At times the story moved pretty slowly for me, but it seemed appropriate for the time. Life at home must have dragged at times while loved ones were away.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The List

The ListThe List by Melanie Jacobson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally got my hands on a copy of Melanie Jacobson's The List (thanks Tarah). This is a "mind candy" book that you can finish in one sitting (although it might mean reading until 2 AM).

Ashley made a list of 25 things to do before she gets married. In the past six years she has made a lot of progress on The List, but with graduate school starting in the fall, she decides now is the time to cross Surfing and Summer Fling off. She's beautiful and smart, and knows how to get what she wants. But, will love get in the way of her life plan?

Melanie's writing is very entertaining. The LDS Singles setting was hilarious (and real). It flowed, and wasn't preachy at all. I loved the characters, and even though one of the surprises to Ashley was pretty obvious, I mostly liked how it played out.

It was also fun to see similarities to some of my past silly relationships.

I'm looking forward to reading Melanie's latest novel, Not My Type.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Unwind (Unwind, #1)Unwind by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I was sucked into Unwind and didn't want to put it down.

Set in the future, the resolution to our Second Civil War is "The Bill of Life". It "states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively 'abort' a child . . . on the condition that the child's life doesn't 'technically' end." Every part of the child becomes part of a donor pool.

What a horrible concept! I can't even imagine how it would feel to have your parents sign the order to have you unwound. Sorry kid-we just can't handle you anymore, so we're washing our hands of you. Hopefully the many others who get pieces of you will use them better than you did.


At least many kids don't just take their fate. They run away, and some even fight the system!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Letters for Emily

Letters for EmilyLetters for Emily by Camron Steve Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Letters for Emily tells a touching story about familial relationships, and the importance of communication.

Grandpa Whitney leaves mysterious poems to his favorite granddaughter, that when solved give passwords to letters he wrote for her. The letters offer advice, and help his children understand their father.

An enjoyable read. I didn't devour it, but I liked it (other than the few swear words included in the book).

Friday, October 7, 2011


Passion (Fallen, #3)Passion by Lauren Kate

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Luce and Daniel have a very complicated relationship. They have been soul mates since the beginning of time, but a curse keeps them apart. In Passion, Luce is on a dangerous journey through time to discover the truth about their relationship and the curse. Daniel is always one step behind, just missing her everywhere he goes.

I liked the glimpses of history as Luce traveled back in time. And, I was happy to learn the secret behind the cursed relationship.

Passion was very different from the previous two books in the Fallen series. I missed the supporting characters that were so prominent in the other books, and the pace was slow. It didn't help that I thought this was the final book in the series. Had I realized it wasn't the end, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I am struggling to find a good book to devour. The last few I've checked out just aren't doing it for me.

One of the books is by Carol Higgins Clark. I've never read any of her books; in fact, I just heard about her last week. Two people told me that she isn't as good as her mom (Mary Higgins Clark). I think I've only read one Mary Higgins Clark (and, I ended up skipping to the end because it was uber creepy), but I think hearing this may have affected my feelings on the book.

Has anyone else read any of Carol's books? Is it just me, and my allergy induced fog, or is her writing bad? A big distraction could be that my library only had large print editions. Is the larger font making the dialogue seem worse than it really is?

Sorry Carol, but I think seven chapters is all I'm going to give you. I wish you the best, really I do.

I need to find a good book to read. I'm typically in the mood for what my sister calls "mind candy". I think this is the same type of book that I refer to as "fluff". Whatever it is, it's easy to read, and doesn't take much mind power to do so.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Giveaway of Variant

Matched author Ally Condie is giving away a copy of Robison Wells' latest novel, Variant on her blog.

This is the Variant synopsis from Robison Wells' site:

Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

Head on over to Ally's blog if you are interested in winning. Or don't, because if you enter my chances of winning go down. ;)

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Month of Summer

A Month of Summer (Blue Sky Hill #1)A Month of Summer by Lisa Wingate

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

"For Rebecca Macklin, an ordinary summer brings about an extraordinary change of heart when she discovers that her aging father has been wandering the Dallas streets alone, and his wife, Hanna Beth, has landed in a nursing home. Now Rebecca must put aside old resentments and return to her childhood home. In this moving story of separation and forgiveness, two women will unravel the betrayals of the past and discover the true meaning of family."-B& overview

My favorite books are those that pull me in early, and are so captivating that I don't want to put them down. Unfortunately, A Month of Summer wasn't that type of book for me. In fact, I read or listened to several other books while I worked my way through this one.

The story was pretty good, but it was really slow (at least for the first half of the book or so). The alternating view points were both good and bad. I liked to know what Hanna Beth and Rebecca were thinking, but switching back and forth seemed to drag the progress on.

I did find Hannah Beth's POV as a stroke victim really interesting. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to not be able to communicate (or even move) the way you've been used to for your entire life. The attitude of some of the nursing home employees was very disheartening.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin RollPumpkin Roll by Josi S. Kilpack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sadie Hoffmiller is at it again in the 6th culinary mystery by Josi S. Kilpack.

Sadie accompanies her boyfriend, Pete, to Boston to babysit his grandchildren. The kids get along well with "Aunt Sadie" and everyone is having a great time. That is, until Sadie notices a neighbor (Mrs. Wapple-thought to be a witch) in pain. Sadie, being the caring (and nosy) person she is, can't help but get involved.

I was concerned that I might have built up my expectations too much waiting to get my hands on a copy of Pumpkin Roll. Luckily, I wasn't let down. It was a great story, especially this time of year (Halloween creepy).

For awhile I was bothered that Sadie (master of noticing details) missed a very important clue. But, it turned out that it wasn't a clue after all! I was totally caught off guard by "who done it". It will be interesting to see how the "bad guy" plays into further books.

And speaking of that, the sneak peak of Banana Split left me wanting to read more. (Too bad it doesn't come out until Spring of 2012.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Hunger Games & Audio Books

The other day I was doing a canning project that was taking forever. The audiobook of Catching Fire was on my iPod, so I turned it on to keep me company. Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games series.

If you haven't read this series, you might want to consider it. It's set in the future where a corrupt government annually punishes its citizens by selecting a boy and girl from each of its 12 districts to fight to the death. This is a reminder that citizens shouldn't rebel against the Capital.

It's brutal, but the writing really draws you in. The characters are very well done. It's not a happy book (which I tend to prefer), but it's sort of addicting. The end of the series isn't totally satisfying (because it's not dripping with happiness), but it works. And, it makes you think. About Peeta. A lot! Poor, poor Peeta.

The reader for The Hunger Games audiobooks is Carolyn McCormick. I don't know anything about her, but she does a great job with this series.

The reader really makes or breaks an audiobook for me. Jim Dale=awesome. Can you even imagine anyone else as the reader for the Harry Potter series?

My husband and I checked out an audiobook (I think it was The Smoke Jumper) for a road trip. Having Luke Perry as the reader didn't work for me. His voice was just too familiar, in a very distracting way (and I'm not sure that I really liked the book either).

I loved the book Matched, but I heard a little snippet of the audiobook, and I'm not sure that I like the reader. She might grow on you if you heard more than a minute or so though.

What audiobooks really work (or don't work) for you?

Monday, September 19, 2011


Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've taken a few days to digest how I felt about Forever, the final book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

The wolves are a problem in Mercy Falls. People are dying, and some powerful citizens decide it's time to take a stand and get rid of the wolves-permanently.

Unfortunately, they don't realize that many of the wolves are humans (or were until they stopped shifting). Sam, Cole, Isabel, and Grace try to figure out a plan to relocate the wolves. Cole is also determined to find a cure.

I think that the ending was decent. I didn't love it, but the conflict was resolved.

Cole and Isabel are more likable in this book, although they are somewhat frustrating at times. They are also really fond of cursing. I could have done without that.

There were also a few instances where the characters were quite intimate. I can't remember all of the ages of the characters, but I think that Grace and Isabel are 17. I would have liked a more toned down approach to the young love/lust.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Monarch Winner!

Thanks to the "Truly Random Number Generator" I found online, the lucky winner for a copy of Monarch is commenter #18:

Congratulations Kendra! I hope you enjoy Monarch.

As mentioned in the giveaway, I need the address you want it mailed to by Sunday, September 11th.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Cross Gardener

The Cross GardenerThe Cross Gardener by Jason F. Wright

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tearjerker would be an understated way to describe The Cross Gardener. Just when I thought I was finished crying, I'd start all over again. My poor, poofy eyes and stuffy nose.

The Cross Gardener tells the emotional story of John Bevan. The details of his birth and then adoption were given factually. Although the birth story wasn't happy, it was a detail. But, Jason F. Wright painted a picture of John's adolescence and young adulthood that drew me in.

I was heartbroken when John's wife and baby died in a car accident. I mourned along with him and his daughter. I was curious about the cross gardener. I worried about John, and hoped that Lou Lou would start talking again.

A very touching story about love and loss, hope and living.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Until We Reach Home

Until We Reach HomeUntil We Reach Home by Lynn Austin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Until We Reach Home follows the journey of three orphaned Swedish sisters as they immigrate to America, and try to find a new home.

There were many struggles along the way, and even more once they reached America. Each sister had to overcome her own internal battles as well as the physical difficulties of the journey.

I enjoy historical fiction, and found the details of the journey and the procedures at Ellis Island very interesting.

One of the sisters found comfort in reading her mother's Bible, and several scriptures were quoted in the story. It would be interesting to know what version of the Bible Austin was using for these quotes-it definitely wasn't the King James version.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Broken Road

The Broken RoadThe Broken Road by Shannon Guymon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Allison Vaughn's father is a con man, and is nearing the end of his prison sentence in Texas. When her mother dies in a car accident Allison gets custody of her younger siblings. They move back to Alpine, Utah, hoping that their father won't follow them since many people are still feeling the repercussions of his cons from years before.

Unfortunately, the Vaughn's have a hard time fitting in as many people judge them for what their father did. Overtime, most people are able to look past what Max Vaughn did, and accept Allison and her siblings for who they are.

I really wanted to like this book, but it was a struggle to finish. The characters were pretty well done, but relationships felt rushed, and some of the dialogue didn't catch my attention very well.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Theodore Boone, The Abduction

Theodore Boone, The AbductionTheodore Boone, The Abduction by John Grisham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't love The Abduction as much as the first Theodore Boone novel. Not that it wasn't well done. It had more of the fast paced, throw the facts out there, parts that a lot of Grisham novels have. I think what bothered me was that somewhere I saw that these books were intended for a very young, pre-teen audience. I have a daughter that will be in that age range very soon, and I felt that this would have been too scary for her.

The focus on the story is the disappearance of Theo's good friend April. It appeared that she was taken from her home in the middle of the night. The main suspect is a distant relative who just escaped from prison. Theo and his friends are on the case to find April, dead or alive.

There was a lot of detective work in this story and just a little bit of legal/courtroom work. It was clean (no profanity and most details on a kid's level), but I wouldn't recommend it to younger kids who would be bothered by the kidnapping and possible murder of a child.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Win an iPad2 from the Author Josi S. Kilpack and Shadow Mountain Publishers

In just a few short days the sixth Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery will be released. I'm very excited to read Pumpkin Roll. Especially since I've heard that it's the best of the six books so far. I'll have to make a trip to my bookmobile ASAP to make sure they have this on their list to order (it helps that I'm pretty tight with my local bookmobile personnel). ;)

If you haven't read any of these Culinary Mysteries, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. Sadie is such an interesting, quirky character. She doesn't fit into your typical investigator role (which is what makes the books so entertaining). And, the recipes included in the books are pretty sweet too!

In conjunction with the release of Pumpkin Roll the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for a new iPad. To enter, leave a comment in the comment section of this blog before November 1, 2011. Winners will be announced and notified November 3rd 2011.

For additional ways to enter, go to

Feel free to browse around while you are here. Don't miss the giveaway noted in the previous post.


Monarch takes you on a wild ride from the jungles of Brazil to the isolated Monarch Inn in West Virginia.

Nick is a CIA spy hot on the trail of elusive drug lord, Matheus Ferreira. But, Nick's mission turns terribly wrong, and he's forced to run for his life. Keeping his daughters safe while trying to clear his name leads him back to Lillian Love and the Monarch Inn.

Like the monarchs for which the inn was named, each character undergoes their own metamorphosis. Only time will tell if their transformation will be beautiful or not.

If you are a fan of thrillers, and don't mind some adult language and situations, then this is the novel for you.

Michelle has a great talent for writing. Although I didn't love everything in her novel (I am one who "minds adult language and situations"), I very much appreciated her talent for telling a story. Monarch has great character development, and just the right amount of detail. I was captivated and not overloaded by unimportant drivel.

I received an advanced reader copy of Monarch from Rhemalda Publishing, and another copy is up for grabs to one of my readers. Enter to win on the Monarch Giveaway post.

Michelle Davidson Argyle was gracious enough to let me ask her a few questions about Monarch and writing.

Q: What was your inspiration for Monarch?

A: Monarch was inspired by a few things, but not all at once. I first gleaned the idea from reading Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek where she has a section about monarch butterflies. It struck such a chord in me that I knew I had to write a story based on butterflies one day.

Q: Who is your favorite character, and why?

A: It's difficult to choose a favorite character, but I'd have to say that Catarina is a solid favorite of mine aside from a few others. I think she's my favorite because her story is the most dynamic for me - even though none of the story is told from her point of view. Her story comes full circle, and despite her being such an evil character, I greatly admire her strength and the decisions she makes at the end of the book.

Q: Your reader guide mentions symbolism. What is the most important symbolism in the book that you wouldn't want readers to misunderstand?

A: I'd have to say the monarch butterflies, of course. I don't want them misinterpreted as a way to get across some political view about their endangerment. I hope every reader can look at the butterfly cycle and see a similar cycle in each of the main characters.

Q: What do you hope that readers will take from Monarch?

A: I hope readers understand by the end of the story that we are all flawed in pretty drastic ways, but that there is always hope to overcome those flaws, especially if we allow others to help us see those flaws and fix them - and sometimes simply accept them and live with them depending on what they are. For instance, Nick is a very flawed character and is extremely selfish in a lot of ways, but I think even the reader might not see that at first, and neither does he. By the end of the book he begins to emerge from his cocoon, so to speak, in order to see the world in a different light. I hope we can all do that throughout our lives in different stages.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be an author?

A: That's easy. I was literally thinking up stories and loving language from the moment I knew the alphabet. I distinctly remember learning the letter "O" in kindergarten and dreaming about the ocean and what happened on those choppy waves.

Q: Do you pattern any of your characters or locations after people/places you know?

A: People, no. Places, sometimes. In Monarch, however, I don't remember patterning any of the locations or people after anything I knew specifically.

Q: Did you have to do a lot of research about the CIA, Brazil, and West Virginia for Monarch?

A: I did! Just try researching the CIA, though. It's kind of tricky! Brazil I didn't quite get right, and I was lucky that my publisher had lived there for awhile and could help me fix some details. West Virginia I researched pretty heavily to get the feel right since I've never been there. I also talked to some friends who have lived there before.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Fair Godmother

My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #1)My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed My Fair Godmother.

Savannah is broken-hearted (or at least embarrassed) when her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister. Enter Chrissy, Savannah's Fair Godmother (she is only a fair student in Fairy school). Unfortunately for Savannah, Chrissy misunderstands her three wishes and Savannah's life is turned upside down.

The characters were well developed and the story was fun and entertaining. There was some predictability, but other things happened that I never saw coming. I hope I'll be able to find more of Jannette Rallison's books at my library.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Richard Paul Evans' novels. When I saw his latest novel (his first for young adults) at the library, I couldn't resist checking it out.

Other than having Tourette's syndrome, Michael Vey appears to be your average fourteen-year-old. But, Michael has a secret that has kept him and his mother on the move for years. Michael has powers-electric powers. He discovers that he's not one of a kind, and this discovery puts him and those he loves in danger.

This was very different than Evans' other stories, but it was well done. I enjoyed the characters and thought the story was original.