Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Seagrass Pier

I received a copy of SEAGRASS PIER by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.  I was thrilled for the chance to read this, as I have greatly enjoyed earlier books by Colleen Coble.  Plus, this one took place at the beach.  It was perfect summer reading and I was able to pass it on to my mother, who adores anything that takes place near the water, in particular the beach.   

SEAGRASS PIER is the third installment of the Hope Beach series.  It started a little slow for me, but I quickly got into it and rushed to the end.  I don’t like to take a lot of time between first chapter and last so that I stay engaged in the story. 

In the story, Elin Summerall has had a heart transplant.  This reminded me of my uncle, who had open heart surgery.  For Elin, she is doing well, but she is having nightmares of a murder.  She thinks the nightmares are memories from the heart’s first owner.  What an incredible premise for a story!  There is so much suspense and you keep guessing right up until the end.  Fans of Colleen Coble, and any mystery lovers, will enjoy this story.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Edwin: High King of Britain

I received a copy of EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN by Edoardo Albert from Lion Fiction via Kregel.  It is the first story in the Northumbrian Thrones series.  I was thrilled for the chance to read not only historical fiction, but one about royalty. My favorite subject.  While researching my family tree, I learned that from my maternal grandmother’s side, I’m descended from English royalty. 

The book includes a map, a list of characters, and a glossary of terms.  The story itself takes place in the 7th century and follows Edwin as he journeys from exile to become High King.  Edwin seeks to unite Britain as one entity.  A central point of the novel is his conversion to Christianity, told with precision and artistry. 

The entire novel flows; I found no parts to be dull or dragging, as sometimes happens with historical fiction.  The details were rich.  I felt as though I feasted along with the characters.  I do read a lot of historical fiction, but never before have I read about Edwin the High King.  I highly recommend this to fans of history, royalty – with an emphasis on court intrigue, and anyone looking for a fast read.  I look forward to future installations in the series.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Child of Mine

I received a copy of CHILD OF MINE by David and Beverly Lewis from Bethany House.  Overall, the novel is enjoyable.  You want to find out what happens next.  It is a standalone book, but the storytelling follows the line of strong fiction from beloved author Beverly Lewis.  I kept guessing at the ending and was still surprised when it arrived. 

Without giving much away, the novel involves Jack Livingston and Kelly Maines.  Jack is raising his adopted niece, Natalie, after the sudden death of her parents.  Natalie is a sweetheart, but longs for more of a family unit.  To help him, Jack hires an Amish nanny.

Kelly is looking for her long-lost daughter.  Her ex-husband kidnapped the baby and sold it.  Kelly is hoping that Natalie is that long-lost daughter.

Sadly, the book wasn’t a fast read.  At times, it seemed to drag.  I had to force myself to keep going once I reached the middle.  The Amish nanny also bothered me.  Amish fiction by Beverly Lewis is usually a captivating insight into the Amish lifestyle; this, however, seemed more like an afterthought.  The Amish nanny could have been any sort of nanny.  She even drove a car.  In the novel, she is called a Beach Amish, but that term is never fully explained.  The cover of the book is also misleading – it seems to focus on the Amish nanny, Laura. 

I requested this book to share with my mother, who loves Amish fiction as I do, but I fear she will be disappointed.  I would recommend this more for mystery fans.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Joan Leotta, Guest Author

Once again, we have a guest author joining us!  This time we get to meet Joan Leotta.

Blog: www.joanleotta.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Leotta-Author-and-Story-Performer/188479350973

Kissed by Literature: How long have you been writing?

Joan Leotta: I've been writing since childhood. Poetry was my first commercial success at age 14. There is a photo of me in the family album holding my first check. For the past thirty years I've worked at writing, primarily as a journalist, but when I could, pursuing other things, such as doing my own scripts for adapted folklore and one woman history shows, poetry, short stories and more.

KBL: What have you gotten published?

JL: Hundreds of articles and three years of columns in travel writing for a newspaper and another three years of columns on storytelling and parenting, Business topics, travel, food, disability, and personality profiles formed the basis of my non-fiction. I've also published and own awards in poetry and short story.

KBL: What do you love best about writing?

JL: Telling a good story--something that will help and or catch the imagination of my reader--in both my fiction and non-fiction.

KBL: What do you hate about writing?

JL: That it takes me longer now to do it than it did before!

KBL: What has been your most challenging work?

JL: Working with my current series--making sure I keep family relationships straight!

KBL: What is your favorite book?

JL: Don't have a single favorite--Just as I write in many genres, I read many genres. I really admire Robert Harris as a fiction author--he tackles many subjects all with equal skill!

KBL: Do you watch the movies first, or do you read the books?

JL: Usually I read the book first, but I plan to break that rule with Monuments Men--history light with the movie because I am under some heavy deadline pressure with my fourth book.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss

I received a copy of FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.  It is an anthology of historical fiction short stories that involve the rugged Wild West.  It is part of A Western Bride Collection series, but you don’t need the other stories to enjoy this anthology.  When I say “enjoy,” it is with a huge smile.  This book delighted my day and I couldn’t wait to read on once I started.

The overall theme involves a reverend who is talking to his peers about the girl he likes, who is utterly unsuitable.  Each of his friends offers him a story about unlikely love. 

SPITFIRE SWEETHEART by Mary Connealy: Maizy is a tomboy and loves working on her father’s ranch.  She harms fellow rancher Ryan Carstens, so her father makes her work for him to pay off the debt.  This was a sweet story, as the title suggests, although I couldn’t picture things well.

A LOVE LETTER TO THE EDITOR by Robin Lee Hatcher: This was quite unusual, as it is about a female columnist and her new male editor.  She wanted the editor position, so she strives to make his life unpleasant so that he’ll move.  I enjoyed the unusual aspect, for I haven’t read other historical fiction books about a female columnist in the west.

A COWBOY FOR KATIE by Debra Clopton: This is my new favorite story for historical fiction, only though it is only a few chapters long.  Katie struggles with personal fears – something I can relate to well lately – and she hires Treb to help rebuild her house.  They fall in love.  This story warmed my heart, and I smiled throughout it.  This story is perfect in my eyes.

COURTING TROUBLE by Margaret Brownley: This was, sadly, my least favorite story of the group.  I couldn’t get into it well.  Mainly, Brock is a lawyer and he’s trying to help out young widow Grace. 

Overall, the collection was entertaining and I have a new author to keep watch for – Debra Clopton!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Deeper than Red

I received a copy of DEEPER THAN RED by Sue Duffy from Kregel.  It is the third book in the Red Returning series. 

Sadly, I had only read one of the previous books, so I was confused on a few points.  Overall, though, I enjoyed the story and look forward to catching up on the other book, especially if it is anything like this one.  I understand it is a Russian Conspirator trilogy.  I will also be rereading RED DAWN RISING  now that I’ve finished this third installation. 

Tally Greyson is trying to free her mother from a colony of… mediums.  I was surprised at that.  They are really more like a cult.  Of course, the cult isn’t just a threat to Tally and her mother.  It could harm the entire world.  I hope you can see why I was hooked on this book.  The other main characters in the book are Liesl Bower, a concert pianist, and Max Morozov, a violinist.  I don’t read many novels where the leads are musicians, so this whet my appetite. 

There is also romance, but overall this a suspenseful mystery.  I had to keep turning the pages to see what happened next.  I started reading it before bed, thinking I would do a chapter, sleep, and read the next chapter the following night.  Instead, I stayed up way too late to keep going.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

50 Things You Need to Know about Heaven

I received a copy of 50 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEAVEN by Dr. John Hart from Bethany House.  The title alone caught my attention, but once I read the synopsis, I knew this would be a book to share.   

Many people question what happens after death.  They wonder if everyone goes to Heaven and what people do there.  They also wonder if they will see loved ones.  I’ve heard people ask these things many time, from many religions and backgrounds.  Well, this book dives into the Bible to answer these queries.  On page 11, the book states that it is a “guide to what the Bible says about heaven.”

Once I started reading, I settled back in my chair and kept going.  The chapters are short, fifty chapters total, and the book is altogether 137 pages.  Because the sections are short, you’re able to read, ponder, and then discuss them.  It is also a great opportunity to pull out a copy of the Bible to read the verses mentioned.  The chapter endings also include a “for further study” paragraph that lists crucial verses. 

Overall, this is an excellent book to compliment your bookshelves and to share with others, especially for a Bible study group.