Thursday, December 30, 2010


I received a copy of LOVE ON ASSIGNMENT by Cara Lynn James, from Thomas Nelson. It is the second novel in the “Ladies of Summerhill” series. I read the first book, LOVE ON A DIME, and absolutely loved it. This second novel did not disappoint. Cara Lynn James is one of my new favorite authors. Her characters are realistic and catchy, as well as endearing. I loved the whole thing, except the last chapter. It left me wanting more, but not in a good way. Rather, it left me feeling like something had been cut.

This story, LOVE ON ASSIGNMENT, involves Charlotte Hale, an aspiring journalist. Her paper’s editor asks her to go undercover and discover the dirty secrets behind Professor Daniel Wilmont, who writes a controversial column for a rivaling newspaper. Charlotte agrees, hoping it will bring her prestige, and becomes the governess for his two children. While in his house, she learns he is a wonderful man who follows his religion strongly. His children, a boy and girl, become close to her, and the girl, Ruthie, wishes Charlotte could become her new mother. Things get rockier when the professor’s mother returns to the home and dislikes Charlotte. She also does not have any evidence of Daniel’s amoral deeds – because there are not any. Her editor decides to take her off the case and replace her with another of his secretaries. Charlotte does not want Daniel, or his family hurt, so she quits the newspaper, even though she is the breadwinner for her sister and aunt. Through Daniel, she has renewed her faith and she knows God will see her through any perils.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I received a copy of AN AMISH LOVE, from Thomas Nelson. The book is comprised of three novellas concerning modern-day Amish couples. Each story is heartwarming, and quick, so the book is very fast paced. I read all 387 pages in one afternoon. The end of the book includes Amish recipes and a reading guide for each novella.

The first novella in the book is A MARRIAGE OF THE HEART by Kelly Long. The story involves young Abigail Kauffman, who makes up a story about Joseph Lambert kissing her. He has recently returned from the English world, and she hopes he’ll take her away from her father. Ever since her mother’s death when she was five, Abigail has not enjoyed her home life. Joseph, however, is interested in staying Amish, and putting behind his past, when he suffered drug addictions and lived on city streets. The two manage to make a happy life for themselves with her father. I loved this story, and found it very engaging. I wished it were longer.

The second novella in the book is WHAT THE HEART SEES by Kathleen Fuller. This story involves Ellie Chipp, who lost her eyesight in an automobile accident years before. Her friend, Christopher Miller, was so distraught by the accident because it took his sister’s life, that he left the Amish community, unable to forgive the car’s driver. He returns, hoping to finally set things straight, and strikes up a friendship with Ellie. The friendship blossoms into love, he forgives, and rejoins the community. I also loved this story.

The third novella is HEALING HEARTS by Beth Wiseman. Of the three, I disliked this one the most, although it was still good. Naaman Lapp returns to the community after being away, and hopes to make amends with his family. They have a hard time forgiving him for his absence, and feel as though he had abandoned them. I really could not get into this story the way I could with the others, but it was still enjoyable to read.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I received a copy of THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER by Andrew Klavan, book three in the Homelanders series, from Thomas Nelson. The novel involves a boy named Charlie West, age eighteen. A terrorist group known as the Homelanders is hunting him. Somehow, he has lost a year of his life. During that time, people believe he killed a boy named Alex. He wants to recover that year. Overall, the book seemed too adult at times, and then at others, too childish. It is juvenile fiction, but some of the subject matter, and his age, made me think it would work better as an adult thriller. I also felt like there was a lot of repetition within paragraphs. The author used the same word multiple times, and it lost its potency. Other than that, the action kept me on the edge of my seat and the characters were not only believable, but incredible as well. The dialogue was believable, and there was not any swearing. It is a great story about loving your country and family. I will look for the two previous books in the series, and then reread this after. I assume it will make more sense then, and be more enjoyable. I recommend this novel to anyone seeking a fun, intelligent, adventure.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I received a copy of THE SLEEPWALKERS by Paul Grossman from GoodReads and St. Martin’s Press. The novel takes place in Berlin, in the year 1932. Willi, a Jewish detective, is on the case of a dead woman who had her legs mutilated. I love historical mysteries, and this one did not fail to bring edge of the seat action. Since this is a mystery, I will not say more. I do not want to spoil the story for anyone.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I received a copy of A RUSH OF WINGS by Kristen Heitzmann from Bethany House. The cover deeply intrigued me. It displays birds flying across a red-gold sky above luscious mountains with a girl’s pensive face above – the perfect way to describe the novel. The setting involves those glorious Rocky Mountains in Colorado where the girl, Noelle, flees. Noelle seeks to leave behind her ex-fiancĂ©, Michael, in New York City, subsequently abandoning her father in the process. Taking cash so as not to use her credit cards and be followed, Noelle ends up on a horse ranch in the mountains. The owner, Rick Spencer, allows her to help with the horses, and his brother, Morgan, tries to woo her. She finds friendship with both, as well as inspiration in her surroundings to watercolor. She sells the painting in the town and is thrilled to be able to make money for herself. Around the ranch, she also learns how to cook in the kitchen, taught by Marta, a kind woman who is also a little prickly around the edges at times. After an accident, Rick and Noelle grow closer. At Christmastime, he asks her to marry him, and she accepts despite the memories she has of Michael’s cruelness. Through Rick, she learns how to trust God and deal with her tumultuous past. Noelle finds romance, freedom, and a love for God.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I received a copy of HATTERAS GIRL by Alice J. Wisler from Bethany House. I was slightly put off by the cover – a large pair of sand-encrusted feet is not my idea of a good time, but maybe it is for someone who loves the beach. The book, however, was entertaining. I read it in one day while listening to the rain drum against the roof. The story involves Jackie Donovan and her dream of owning a bed and breakfast. Growing up, she and her best friend Minnie visited the Bailey House in their hometown often. Both always wanted to run it. Now, Jackie works for a magazine and widowed Minnie has two jobs in order to support her son. During an interview for the magazine, Jackie meets the current owner of the Bailey House, who happens to be the grandson of the original owners. He agrees to rent it to her and Jackie begins to hold romantic feelings for him. Things go downhill when Jackie realizes he has not kept the house up to safe standards, and that he has another girlfriend. A man she has known her entire life as one of her brother’s friends agrees to help her restore the house and, at the end of the book, asks her to become romantically involved with him. The novel contained love and excitement, but many moments dragged. The author provided too much information about minor characters that rarely held a place in the book, other than to prod the main characters along. There were also touching moments, such as when Minnie’s mother died and she remembered her husband’s tragic boating death. The families in the story were very strong and inspirational.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


DON’T SING AT THE TABLE: LIFE LESSONS FROM MY GRANDMOTHERS by Adriana Trigiani is the perfect book to curl up with beside a roaring fire. I was thrilled to win a copy from HarperCollins and Goodreads. I am very close to my grandmother and love hearing her childhood tales while looking through her old photographs. This story lent me the same cozy feeling. Each page involves a different story about the author’s grandmothers, including black and white photographs. The two women, Lucy and Viola, are strong individuals, perfect role models for any woman.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


From Bethany House, I received a copy of WITHIN MY HEART, a novel based in 1877. Rachel Boyd had never recovered from the loss of her husband. Her youngest son, Kurt, is a delinquent at school, causing her endless amounts of pain. Her good friend Ben, the shopkeeper, has fallen ill with heart troubles. He has very little time left in world, despite the efforts administered to him by Rand, the town’s only physician. Rachel knows medicine from her father, who was a doctor for whom she felt little love, and assists Rand with his medical practices. At first, she is wary, expecting Rand to be just like her father. In the end, she recognizes him for the caring individual he really is, and welcomes him into her life. He offers a strong, manly figure for her and her two sons. She offers him the chance to feel complete. Ben remains strong throughout the medical procedures and offers a bravery that touches all those who love him, including his beloved wife, Lyda. Although Rachel never forgets her husband, Thomas, she finds a new place in her life for Rand. The book is touching, a tear-jerker, and a page-turner. I never wanted to put it down, nor did I want it to end.


From Thomas Nelson, I received a copy of THE WAY HOME, a movie based on an inspirational true story. Five minutes into the movie, it easily became the best movie my family and I have seen in months. My dad rated it a 9.75. The story centers on Randy Simpkins, a man who concentrates too much on work. His wife is upset with him for not caring enough about his family, and insists they take a vacation. While packing the van, Randy goes into the house to check his work emails and leaves his two-year-old son, Joe, playing in the driveway. When he comes back outside, Joe is gone. What ensues is a desperate search by the whole neighborhood. Many people pray with Randy and his wife, others start prayer circles in towns across Georgia, and the rest of the community heads off to search with rescue teams. An older man named Ed Walker joins the search, although he has heart trouble, with his son. They break away from their team and travel to a spot known as the “four-corners,” an area of the woods where four one-hundred acre farms meet. Ed played there often as a child, and feels compelled to search for Joe in the area. As night falls, Ed spots Joe’s dog, Cleo…and there nearby is Joe. The movie brings to life how quick a tragedy can happen, and how relying on God can help everything to work out well in the end. Dean Cain, who plays Randy, brings across great emotion. The woman who played his wife, however, could have seemed more upset.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


From Bethany House, I received a copy of MASQUERADE by Nancy Moser. By page twp, I was enchanted by the characters and storyline. It is one of those books that are impossible to put down. The plot involves Charlotte Gleason, who discovers on her birthday that her family is being shunned. They have lost a great deal of wealth and her father is mentioned in a divorce suit in regards to his “secret” mistress. Stricken with disgrace and poverty, Charlotte – Lottie – is being sent to America to marry a young man of means. Not only is Lottie devastated by leaving home and her family, she fears the new world. When her mother becomes too ill to travel with her, Lottie receives her Lady’s Maid, Dora, as a companion. She dresses Dora in her clothes and teaches her how to act like a Lady. Upon arrival in New York City, the girls decide to switch places. Dora will receive a wealthy heir and a marvelous life. On the other hand, Lottie will have freedom. The book was enchanting with memorable characters, painting a beautiful picture of historic America, as well as a bit of England, and included factual notes at the end. The whole story felt more like a young adult novel than an adult novel.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Thomas Nelson gave me a copy of LOVE, CHARLESTON by Beth Webb Hart. The story takes place in – yup, you guessed it – Charlestown. The first family you meet is Roy and his daughter Rose. Rose’s mother passed away and since then, Roy has been having a hard time with life. He is a small town Reverend who is recommended for a position at Saint Michael’s, an ancient and prestigious church in Charlestown. He doesn’t want to take the job, but eventually gives in because he feels like it is his calling. Those at Saint Michael’s are wary, yet accepting, and he soon feels right at home, along with his daughter, who is excited to live in a Big City. The second family belongs to Lish, her sister Anne, and their cousin Della. Lish’s baby comes early and results in post-partum depression. It becomes so severe that Lish considers suffocating the baby and begins to fall apart. Lish’s husband leaves her for a new job, and as she declines deeper into depression, he files for separation. Della is having trouble finding money. Her artist husband is unreliable for income and she wants what is best for their daughter. She considers leaving her husband for an old, and successful, flame, but eventually decides to stay together as a family. Anne is seeking love, and finds it for Roy. They all find happiness staying with Lish, helping her find mental peace while taking care of her children. The story is touching and hard to put down.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was received a copy of SAINT FRANCES by Robert West from Thomas Nelson. This book is part of a series called Christian Encounters. I was thrilled for this edition, for I had heard of Saint Francis, but not known much. He is truly a fascinating character. The book follows eighteen chapters, an epilogue, conclusion, notes, bibliography, and a section about the author. While reading, I was especially pleased with references to an actual autobiography by Saint Francis. It made the story more real. Despite being a biography, at times the book read more like a novel. The opening chapter begins with a vivid description of a city street. There are also very interesting facts, such as that Saint Francis was originally named John. When his father returned home and discovered that name, he insisted it be changed to Francis. Francis was not a common name. It meant “the French one” and was in honor of Saint Francis’s mother, and his father’s livelihood. Something I found interesting was that many people in his home lived in elaborate towers. I think it would be exciting to live in one now. My only real criticism of the book was that dates were not included enough. I had trouble placing different events on a timeline in my head to keep everything straight. In the first chapter, dates seemed slow in arriving, so I was confused how to picture things. For the story being historical, there were a lot of facts included, such as weather, that helped to paint powerful scenes in the life of an inspirational saint.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I was deeply thrilled with a book from Thomas Nelson, the book being ANNE BRADSTREET by D. B. Kellogg. It is a biography in the Christian Encounters series. Thomas Nelson offered many titles in the series, yet I chose the one about Anne Bradstreet because I am related distantly to her through marriage. Unlike dry biographies, this one read as smoothly as a novel. It includes an introduction, fourteen chapters, notes, and a selected bibliography, as well as words about the author. Anne Bradstreet’s poetry is touching and powerful; as the book states, she became “the first woman poet to be published in colonial America.” (The quote can be found on page xii, part of the introduction) In a nutshell, Anne Bradstreet was born in England, in 1612. At the age of eighteen, she arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, part of the New World. Her new lifestyle was nothing like she had been accustomed to; this land was untamed wilderness. Despite her fears and woes, Anne Bradstreet’s family and her strong faith in God conquered her misgivings. This is a biography of a strong Puritan woman who became a poet, shining in her belief that everything is created by God. I had never known much about Anne Bradstreet, other than the fact that she was a famous poet, so this book really opened my eyes to the woman, not just the poet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Victorian Fair Interviews

Interviews are at 6pm on Thursday, July 29th, at the Erie Canal Village in Rome. There are many positions still open!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Victorian Leisure Fair - Hiring

The Victorian Leisure Fair is coming to Rome, NY for 6 weekends during this summer. If you would like to be a part of the action, the fair is still hiring, and is always open to volunteers. Email me at for more information.

Friday, July 16, 2010


RESURRECTION IN MAY by Lisa Samson, given by Thomas Nelson, was as exciting as depicted. The story involves Claudius Borne. He is a kind, elderly man who lives alone on his farm since the death of his devoted mother. While driving, he comes across May Seymour, who is drunk and in need of help. After bringing her back to his farm, they become friends, and parental feelings develop in him. May is a recent college graduate who has decided to travel to Rwanda, Africa. She stays with Claudius Borne for a while, and then embarks on her African journey. During her African adventures, genocide occurs. The UN asks her to return to America, yet she chooses to stay in her village. Shortly after, everyone in her village is killed. After being raped and cut, she is left for dead. May works to heal herself, and then gathers the bodies together, trying to pair up body parts, and lights it all on fire. She lives in this manner for a few months, and then is rescued by the UN. Back in America, May moves back in with Claudius. Beneath his love, she is able to heal and move on with her life. The book is touching and realistic; however, there is a lot of death concerning animals, something that bothered me. For example, Claudius shoots a turkey for Thanksgiving, and murders one of his chickens in order to make soup for May. It also seemed a little unrealistic May’s parents would willingly allow her to live for long periods with Claudius, essentially a stranger. Overall, though, the book is a thoughtful read.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Venom and Song

As an avid fantasy lover, I was thrilled to receive a copy of VENOM AND SONG by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, from Thomas Nelson, ISBN 978-1-4003-15062. It is the second novel in the series entitled the Berinfell Prophecies. This young adult novel involves seven Elf Lords who must stop the Spider King, who wishes to kill them. Perhaps due to the fact that I have not read the first book, I found the beginning chapters to be very confusing. Many characters were introduced at once, and it was challenging to keep track of who had what special ability. The world was also difficult to imagine at times, and I wished for more details in order to form a more concrete image in my mind while reading. Once I managed to keep the characters straight in my head, the novel became exciting. Each character is fully realized. Dialogue is snappy and realistic. Before the novel begins, the authors have included a list of places and names, which helps, but it becomes tedious to constantly flip back and forth. The cover is shiny, complete with a castle, a giant red beam, and people riding on huge birds and insects. Certainly, this is the kind of cover that will attract young adults. The characters are also very relatable to today’s teenagers. Since there is such a wide variety, the reader will certainly be able to connect with at least one. Despite flaws, the heroes are wholesome, perfect for teens to root for!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Girl's Guide to Life

I was unsure of what to expect from A GIRL’S GUIDE TO LIFE by Katie Meier, from Thomas Nelson. The back of the novel, however, sums it up perfectly. The book shows teenage girls how they can be the best person they can be. There are three parts: Mind, Body, and Soul. Amongst those parts are chapters, which cover everything from self-esteem to family. The book also affords pop quizzes so that the reader is not only reading, but also participating, therefore making the chapters seem more relevant and alive. There are short blurbs in colored boxes that display common myths and the truth behind them, such as “Skipping meals will help me lose weight.” Every issue mentioned in the book is real, something that all girls go through and struggle with; the book will help them to see the light of facts and really consider what they are doing to their bodies. The purple print is catchy, so girls won’t shy away from the book thinking it’s “un-cool.” I had expected a little more religion, in the pages, however. Something that really upset me about the book occurred in the Religion chapter. The author discusses different religions – which was informative. The author then went on to say why Christianity is the best. Everyone has different beliefs, and for them, that belief is the best. By saying that Christianity is the best, the author was not allowing girls to decide for themselves, which should be a main focus of everyone’s life – deciding which religion is best for them and why. Overall, I would recommend this book to teen girls. It could really make a difference in someone’s life.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love on a Dime

The cover of LOVE ON A DIME by Cara Lynn James, from Thomas Nelson, won me at first glance. A young woman holds a book entitled DOROTHEA’S DILEMMA, using a corner of it to hide her mouth. Once opening the book, the reader comes to realize the significance. Lilly, the main character, is the author of DOROTHEA’S DILEMMA, as well as other dime novels. Despite praising God, her dime novels are considered scandalous by the wealthy society she grew up in, and so she writes beneath the pen name of Fannie Cole. Her father suffers from a lung ailment, and removes his family to Newport for the summer holiday. While there, Lilly is courted by the dashing Harlan. Her mother is convinced that he will soon ask for Lilly’s hand in marriage. It will bring greater wealth and prestige to the family, as well as gain a prosperous job in Harlan’s company for George, Lilly’s older brother. His wife, Irene, spends and gambles away her husband’s wealth, and even forces Lilly to beg needed cash from Harlan. Lilly is also in dire need of money, for her favorite Christian charity is losing sponsorship and may have to close its doors. All proceeds from her books go to the charity for helping immigrants, but Lilly knows it will not be enough. Then, her past lover Jack reappears in her life, hoping to not only win her back, but also locate the secretive Fannie Cole – for Jack has recently purchased Fannie Cole’s publishing company. Lilly is horrified that Jack will discover her secret, as well as jeopardize her relationship with Harlan. The story ends on an uplifting note, and is part of a series entitled LADIES OF SUMMERHILL.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

She Walks in Beauty

I was thrilled to receive a copy of SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY by Siri Mitchell, from Bethany House, one of my favorite publishing companies. Plagued by a cough, I relaxed on the sofa with the novel and planned to read an hour before bed. Around midnight, I closed the book, finished, and wished for more. The characters are not only believable, and the dialogue realistic, but they worm their way into your heart. The main character, Clara, is forced into her New York City debut (in the year 1891) by her widowed aunt. It is an early debut because an heir has returned to the city seeking a wife, and both Clara’s aunt and father have their eyes set on him. Clara loves nothing more than reading and learning, but her aunt forces her to succumb to society. This includes a restraining corset, fan flirting, and “cutting” those who get in her way, including her best friend. Clara discovers that she dislikes the heir, but finds close friendship in his younger brother Harry – a match her family strongly disapproves of, and thereby forbids. When Clara’s father suddenly dies, she is rendered penniless and the heir proposes to her best friend. Clara decides to become a helper to an elderly woman touring Europe, and when she tells Harry, he asks her to elope with him. The story is flavored with intrigue and secrets, delving into the tenement and Tammany Hall situations that had plagued the New York City of that time. Clara also discovers that her father, a doctor, has been poisoning his patients with a fake tonic and that he was responsible for the early death of her mother. It was a book well worth reading.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


At first glimpse, I was unsure of what to expect from I AM HUTTERITE by Mary-Ann Kirkby, received from Thomas Nelson. I knew very little about the Hutterites, but this book opened my eyes to their communities. The book is told as the true story of a young girl, but it flows like a novel. I read it in one sitting; it is impossible to put down. The narrative begins by describing the girl’s mother and how she met the man she would later marry. He came from another community, and faced opposition from her people. The story continues to show the narrator’s childhood. Hutterite life is described in beautiful language. When you read, you feel like the characters come to life. Real black-and-white photographs that begin each chapter aid this imagery. As the narrator grows older, her parents become more unsettled with life in the community, especially after one of their children dies. Her parents decide to move away, and sneak off the community to live in an abandoned house. Once out in the “real world,” she faces many challenges that “English” people take for granted. For example, her mother is unable to pack standard lunches for her and she ends up collecting discarded saran wrap in order to fit in. She also learns how to deal with dressing differently than everyone else. Eventually, she connects with a Mennonite group. Her struggles are real, and more than just trying to fit in, she must embrace her culture and religion.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sixteen Brides

Excitement ensued when I received a copy of SIXTEEN BRIDES by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House. As an avid reader of historical fiction, I eagerly ate this book up. I had it read cover to cover in one day. The characters are very realistic, and I felt like I knew them in real life. The scenery “out west” is easy to picture, and the dialogue is easy to follow. One issue I had involved Caroline’s speech. Sometimes it was “Southern,” other times not. The story follows sixteen women as they travel out west to gain land. Once there, they discover that they are actually meant to be brides, not homesteaders. Most of the women go on to meet the men, while others stay in a small town seeking land and jobs. These women are the ones that the story follows more closely. They meet some men, most of them questionable, who they eventually end up marrying. One of the men has a mysterious past, but the clues give away what it is too soon in the story. He turned out to be a very lovable character, and his motherless daughter was a sweetheart. Hettie’s portion of the story made me sad. I understood the troubles between her and her husband, but at the end, I was left wanting much more. Ruth’s story made me smile, and I felt like Jackson, her son, led into a sequel. I will definitely read the sequel. I hope that, if there is a sequel, Jackson falls in love with Matthew’s daughter.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

If I Could Ask God Anything

When I received a copy of IF I COULD ASK GOD ANYTHING by Kathryn Slattery from Thomas Nelson, I was expecting it to be more of a child’s book. I was afraid it was going to put faithful doubts into the minds of children, but after reading it, I was happy to find it was answers to questions that are more factual. It is presented as a book that answers children’s questions but I found it to be more of a reference book. It is also a good book for adults to read to children in order to answer the questions commonly asked. This book of knowledge is written so that anyone of any age can enjoy its contents. Many of the questions, such as “Why do some Christians put fish-shaped symbols on their cars?” were questions I had often wondered myself. Other questions, such as whether or not is okay to pray with a friend over the phone, were geared toward a younger sect. It includes quotes from the bible to back up the answers to the questions. I found the book to be very informative. I had no idea why the word Selah is in the margins of Psalms. I would not have known to where to look up the answer, but this book gives the reader not only the answer to this, but also to many other puzzling bible questions. Although it is a biblical reference source, it is also a page-turner. I found myself getting out my bible to look up the bible citations to read further. So far, my parents have also read it, and found it greatly informational.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Here is an exciting contest I found through a group on YALitChat. If you are interested in writing, check it out!

Hand of Fate review

I received through Thomas Nelson a copy of Hand of Fate, which is by Lis Wiehl with April Henry. Upon completion of the novel, my first reflection involved the fact that there was very little religion in the text. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the book and had a hard time putting it down. The novel begins with the brutal murder of a radio talk show host. The story then follows three women who are investigating his death. They track down the killer, only to find themselves suddenly caught up in the aftermath with their own lives in danger. Throughout, the backdrop is set with information about the lives of the three women. One of them even knew the talk show host on a very “personal” level. Another of the women is trying to deal with the release from jail of her rapist – as he tries to meet their daughter. The third woman suffers a miscarriage, but manages to save a little girl’s life during a supposed terrorist attack. At the end, it is discovered that the killer was right there in front of them, but completely unexpected. Each chapter is filled with action and drama. For aesthetic value, the cover is intriguing. At the end, Lis Wiehl enclosed letters sent to her asking if they were the inspiration for her talk show host victim. I had never read another book by her, but this one has gotten me hooked on the author. I will definitely seek out her other books, especially those in this series.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Excellent Biography

I was excited to receive from Thomas Nelson a copy of The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller. Despite my addiction to history, I was expecting the novel to be a bit dry. Biographies usually are, but this one is the exception. I read the book in two days, barely able to bring myself to put it down. The story was fast-paced and reminded me of a fiction novel due to the flowing verse. The story begins by describing the life of his father. Most of the facts in the story are ones I had never heard of before. Some of these facts were how Paul Revere became a silversmith. Paul Revere is a character that children grow up with, knowing that he warned of the British coming, but little else. This book opens up a new world and introduces a beloved character that has always been shrouded in an enigma. The book is interspersed with actual pictures that portray aspects of the story as it is being told. I loved the book up until the end. It ended abruptly with his death. Yes, the book was about him (and therefore, when he died, the material dwindled), but I wanted to know much more about the aftermath of his death. The ending left me wanting more. Overall, the book left a good aftertaste. I had left the book on the table and my mother picked it up and started looking at it. She too started reading and could not put it down. It is a well-written, sometimes witty book, that is a must read for all history lovers or anyone wanting more information on the backdrop of the Revolutionary War.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This time, I am reviewing a DVD as opposed to a book...

I was excited to receive a copy of Gigi’s Big Break from Thomas Nelson. The DVD includes two stories about Gigi, God’s Little Princess. The first “episode” involves Gigi breaking a vase and then lying to her parents about the cat breaking it. Her lie was so fabricated that it was funny. The second episode involved her dealing with the fact that her mother is going to have a baby. The shows are cute, and in Gigi’s imagination, her cat speaks. Gigi’s voice is entertaining and incredible. The stories, however, were not as religious as I had hoped. Gigi seemed very materialistic. There was a bible quote at the end and the family said grace at the table, but that was all. The guessing game at the end of the first video seemed a little unrelated. I felt that again it was materialistic as the words to be guessed were crown, thrown and boa. At first, when it said the guessing game, I thought it would be religious verses or commandments. I also did not get why she was called God’s Little Princess. The Bonus material was fun. The trivia game at the end was good and played back parts of the show to reinforce the answers to the questions. The lessons on drawing the characters were also good. Overall, I liked the video and thought it was entertaining and catchy, I was just disappointed that it seemed to show Gigi in such a materialistic light and there was too little religion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Not a Sparrow Falls

Sorry for the delay in writing, but here it is, another book review!

When I first received Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols from Bethany House Publishers, I was not sure what to expect. The cover is very intriguing, but the back cover explained a story that I normally do not read. However, I am glad to have read the book. The storyline stuck with me long after I finished. The prologue began a little slowly. I was confused as to how the characters applied, and even more confused when the following chapters never referenced them (the two beginning characters did not return until a final chapter). The story involves Mary, who later changes her name to Bridie. She makes drugs along with two men, but hates that lifestyle and runs away. In her new town under a new alias, Bridie encounters a Reverend and his family. The wife and mother died a few years before, and they are still recovering. Bridie recognizes her own youthful turmoil in the Reverend’s daughter. When she tries to help her, she is hired by the Reverend’s sister to become the nanny/housekeeper for the Reverend. Her life seems to be getting better when Bridie discovers that one of the drug dealers she used to work for is coming after her, she decides to run away. While getting on a bus, Bridie is captured by the drug dealer. He believes that she has hidden his money at her grandmother’s and takes her there, holding them at gunpoint. The grandmother is the woman from the prologue. The pages are heated, turning quickly, and the resolution arrives at Bridie turning herself in to the police and discovering that the Reverend cares for her by posting bail. They are married. He decides to give up his church and they move in with her grandmother. The story was interesting, but the middle dragged. The end and beginning were fast paced, however, and I recommend the book for rainy day reading.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Not quite a book, more like a magazine...

I received from Thomas Nelson, Revolve 2010, the Complete New Testament. The words of the Bible are enhanced by bold, catchy headings and thoughtful questions that really make you look deep, questioning your level of faith, only to emerge stronger than ever in your belief of Christ. There are blurbs mixed in which bring the characters of the Bible to life. The biblezine “interviews” these characters to make it sound like they are actually speaking to the reader. There are also interviews with the voices behind The World of Promise Next Generation New Testament, such as Jordin Sparks and Alyson Stoner. They are popular females in the media these days, and their strong reflections on religion make them excellent role models. The biblezine also includes messages from real girls, just like those reading the pages. These girls tell stories that are embarrassing and thoughtful. They mention how their faith has brought them through challenging times. Other articles include “Ask Jenna” and advice from Chad, an intelligent young man. The advice given is helpful to teenage girls. Oftentimes girls do not understand guys, so hearing about how guys think through a guy’s perspective can help them to avoid awkward situations. I read this biblezine in one evening, cover to cover, in front of a roaring fire with snow falling gently outside. I felt at peace, reveling in faith.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Writing Contest

Very cool writing contest I came across:

Kidlit Contest

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another for Today

My mother was rearranging the family room today. She set up the coffee table with some pretty decorations, and a book - her version of a coffee table book. It is John Adams by David McCullough. It is a great book, one I really enjoyed reading. (I am very into history. I probably should have majored in it. I'm also obsessed with the Revolutionary War, and used to volunteer at Fort Stanwix) It might not be my idea of a coffee table book, but so far it has sparked conversation. My mother and I are also going to start taking quotes from it to use on a daily basis.

Today's Novel

Today I shall talk about The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns. Dobyns, Stephen. (1997). The Church of dead girls. Henry Holt & Co. The characters are all very believable, and by the end, I felt like I knew them. I felt like I could drive to their village of Aurelius and see them all there. This might also have to do with the fact that Aurelius exists near my actual hometown, so throughout the novel, places I ACTUALLY KNOW OF were mentioned. It kept me riveted to my seat, anxiously awaiting the next time Syracuse or Utica were mentioned, to name a few. I even grinned - yes, I grinned - when a Hamilton shirt was mentioned. I pictured my boyfriend wearing his Hamilton hoodie. Really though, this was a good book and I enjoyed it from cover to cover. The first chapter is amazing, although gruesome.

In all honesty, I really didn't get to read today. As one of my last days of summer vacation, I spent it watching Supernatural on television and then playing a video game. I shall try to read more tonight, but I may write instead.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why to review...

I love books. A few years ago, my father built some bookshelves for me in the cellar. They filled up quickly, spilling over into cardboard boxes and piles atop a table left over from the move. A few small bookshelves were well as more books, and as time continued onwards, I decided to log all of the books that I've read into a document. 1,318 books later, I decided to share my love of literature with others. Hopefully this blog will be read by fellow book-a-holics, and we can compare and contrast our thoughts. Books can be reviewed, analyzed, and recommended.

The book I shall start with is Life Mask by Emma Donoghue. Donoghue, Emma. (2004). Life mask. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Yes, I've been taught well in college. I always cite books in APA format) I finished reading it the other day, purchased from the used bookroom at the local public library. I grabbed it due to it's setting in England, the eighteenth-century to be exact. I have always had a strong fondness for history. It was exciting and enjoyable. I looked forward to picking it up to read some more.