Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Book Talk

Rose City Reader hosts this meme asking you to "share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name."
18630484 "Nadzia tucked the cleaning rag into her apron in exchange 
for her feather duster.  She held it out like it was a dance partner and placed her 
other hand against her chest in mock modesty."  ~Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton

I am enjoying this book ever so much! I'm about half-way through and am a teensy bit worried that this book is going to be a part of the story and that I'll have to wait a long time to see the conclusion. It opens towards the end of World War II and the author is exploring the theme of women's place in society in a very well done way.

Freda's Voice hosts this fun meme. Turn to page 56 or 56% on ereader and post a non-spoiler sentence or two.
17986389 "She loves the consistency, loves that they always
return to the same well-lit classroom."   ~Mannequin Girl by Ellen Litman

Book Blogger Hop
Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer poses a weekly question that you can answer. 

Q: How many posts do you normally publish per week?

A: It varies. I don't have a set schedule like many bloggers do.

Thanks for stopping by! 

A January Bride by Deborah Raney, A Review ★★★


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Books-A-Million            Christian Book

Book Description

Who can work in a house that's overrun by contractors and carpenters? Not Madeleine Houser, a successful novelist who gladly accepts the help of her octogenarian friend, Ginny, to arrange for a temporary office in the charming bed and breakfast owned by Ginny's friend, Arthur. Maddie’s never met the innkeeper––but a friendship grows between them as Maddie and Arthur leave messages for each other each day. To Maddie’s alternate delight and chagrin, she seems to be falling for the inn’s owner––a man who's likely many years her senior––and who she’s never even met.


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

This is the second book in the A Year of Weddings series. Just like the first novella, this one is sweet and an enjoyable read. 

What I really enjoyed in this book was the fact that Meredith and Art began their romance with a series of daily notes and a misconception that the other was older. The fact that they connected through the written word in a honest and genuine way made it more believable that they would be marrying within four, five months of that first note being exchanged. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Thursday, May 29, 2014

There's A Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse (And Other Ways Motherhood Changes Us) by Jessie Clemence ★★★★

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 Christian Book

I am recording this for the Parenting Reading Challenge.

Book Description

There’s no doubt about it! Motherhood changes your life—mentally, emotionally, and physically. “So if you’re feeling inadequate for the job, join the crowd!” says Jessie Clemence. “No one is adequate! We all need to humbly seek God’s wisdom and blessings to raise these children.”
There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse creatively expresses many parenting issues faced by moms and offers encouragement to help you on your journey. You’ll enjoy Clemence’s sense of humor and casual tone as she explores God’s perspective on motherhood and also shares her personal experiences as a mother of two. Not only will you find practical insights and biblical wisdom, but you’ll also find a funny quiz, interesting interviews with moms, study questions, and more.
Reminding you to rely on God to help you display humility, patience, and love, Clemence says, “Thanks to God’s grace, I have far more patience than I ever knew existed. And you, too, can have this blessing. May God teach you about His patience as He continues to teach me.”
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.
I really enjoyed this book. I expected it to be more humor - and there were bits of humor but that is not the focus.
Clemence really hits the profound truth of Motherhood as God designed it in a no-holds barred kind of way....but full of love and grace at the same time. The big truth - as mothers we are to be selfless - and she points that out in scripture. There were many points that I highlighted as gentle reminders that I should be more focused on my family, than myself. Early in the book, Clemence states "I can become the mother I want to be because God is the parent who loved me first". I am so thankful for His patience with me --- of course my child deserves that from me as well. He sets an example of how to love our children. 
One reason I found this book enjoyable was Clemence's writing style - it was easy to follow and felt very genuine. I appreciated her first person point of view and perspective that she doesn't have it all figured out exactly - but she knows what the goal is and has identified the steps (actions and attitudes) to get there. 
I have an eARC copy of this book but will eventually add the printed version to my library to refer back when I need encouragement and gentle reminders of how I can be a better mother.
I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Kindle Giveaway

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash!
The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

Kindle Fire May

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

Or $229 Gift Card (International)

Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

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Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International).

There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash.

Ends 5/31/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


Loving Ellie by Lindsey Brookes, A Review ★


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by Lindsey Brookes

Book Description

Ellie Sanders is pregnant and alone. Carrying a child she’d conceived the one and only time she’d lain with her closest friend, Jarrett Tanner. A man she’d agreed to marry for the sake of their child. A man she’d loved, but not as he’d deserved. And now he was gone. 

Lucas Tanner returns home to settle his younger brother Jarrett’s estate only to discover his brother left behind a very pregnant fiancĂ©e. Having lost his own wife and their baby she’d been carrying years before, he’s bound and determined to stick around and make sure Ellie’s child makes it safely into the world. Even if it means facing the ghosts of his past. 

Struggling financially and emotionally, Ellie is torn between keeping her baby and giving it up for adoption. She wants to give her child the chance she never had - to be raised by two loving parents. If only she could make Lucas understand. And, if only she wasn’t falling for a man with no heart left to give. 

Lucas finds himself wanting more. Wanting Ellie. But what if he gives in to his deepening feelings and loses her, too? 

One fears abandonment. The other fears loss. Can Ellie and Lucas put their painful pasts behind them and finally find true happiness? Or are the emotional walls they’ve built up around their hearts too strong to tear down?


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

I was looking forward to reading this story.  It was okay as far as a romance story goes but it didn't wow me.  Having no experience in considering a giving a child up for adoption, I do feel like Brookes captured the emotions that Ellie would feel in that process very well.  Overall I feel like there is nothing that stands out in this book.  

I gave this book: ★ Technically I give it 1.5 stars, but I can't convince myself round up to 2 stars.

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Picture This Challenge


The Book Monsters are hosting a really fun challenge. Take a book you have finished or are reading and compile picture images that reflect what is happening in the book. 

I recently finished Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.
(you should click through to see the rest of the photos - engagement photo shoot and they are gorgeous! Just throwing that in here!)

Red Riding Hood
Photo Credit

I am about halfway through Cress at the moment and not really looking forward to having to wait another year to find out how the story ends. For series that leave off with cliffhangers, I much prefer reading the entire series at once.

Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different - and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men by Steve Biddulph, A Review ★★

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I am participating in the Parenting Books Challenge hosted by Julie over at Books Are Portable Magic. You can see more on my progress HERE on my blog.

Book Description

A revised edition of the bestselling and practical guide to the issues parents face in raising sons--including sex, violence, homework, sports, the Internet, and more--and how to best aid boys' development from birth to manhood.

Raising a happy, loving, responsible boy in today’s world can be challenging. In this third edition of his international best seller, Steve Biddulph looks at the most important issues in a boy’s development from birth to manhood. With gentle humor and proven wisdom backed by decades as a family psychologist and father, he shows parents how to provide the firm, loving guidance that boys need. Updates include information on mitigating the dangerous effects of online pornography, male specific hearing problems, and teen driving on boys. Biddulph also discusses:
• The three stages of boyhood, and how to help them go smoothly.
• Testosterone! How it changes behavior and what to do about it.
• How boys’ brain development differs from girls’.
• How to help boys cultivate a caring attitude toward sex.
• The impact of competitive sports on boys, and how to ensure it stays positive.
• Questions to assist in finding boy-friendly schools.


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

As I started this book I really liked it and it had a much higher star rating; close to the end, it took a twist that I wasn't expecting and lost stars. I am only giving it two stars because while I don't like the book and wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends, I do feel like the author had some valid points and insights.  

What I agreed with: 
The author maintains that there are three stages of a boys/young mans life and that their needs are met by different people during those times. I thought this made sense - it is certainly something that I see in my son as he is in primary school and I notice that he is gravitating more and more to his father rather than me. Pretty tough for this mommy to handle, but I know it is needed. I also think it is smart that teen boys have other adults to play positive roles in their lives as they move towards adulthood more. 

There were other specific parts of boyhood that I agreed with. However, What I couldn't agree with:

The author spends a good deal of time addressing the sexuality of boys. This certainly needs to be addressed and there were a few - very small bits - that made some sense to me as a women (who can't fully grasp the male mind or body). I was hoping that there would be some real clarity and examples of how to talk about this topic with my son. 
What I couldn't believe was when the author suggested that as parents, we should make sure that our sons have quality porn/erotica. 
This was especially confusing because the author spent a good bit of time explaining how pornography is damaging to boys as they become men (which I completely agree with). He also made references that adults should be steering young men into how to interact with women along with how to treat them. 
And pornography in no way honors women.

I was disappointed that the author took the approach he did regarding developing sexuality of boys. I had hoped that it would be a moral - yes, Christian-based - approach. However, I found nothing faith-based in this book at all.  That being said, let me add that while I didn't agree with everything Biddulph proposed, it certainly made me think about what I want for my son as he matures and how I would assist in making that happen. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Top Ten Tuesday: Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week is a "freebie" at Top Ten Tuesday. I thought I would see if I could create top ten list of my favorite heroines in literature.

1. Anne Shirley. Full of spunk and blessed with an uncanny ability to find something possible in every situation. She is also brave and tells one exactly what the truth is.

2. Jo March. A fellow lover of books. Definitely female but doesn't get caught up in all the girly-girl traps of womanhood.

3. Nancy Drew. Very clever girl.

4. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Sweet grandmotherly type that knows exactly how to show children the error of their ways without screaming or threats. 

5. Olivia Dunn. Willing to persevere through an unexpected pregnancy and marriage of convenience and find love and forgiveness.

6. Hermione Granger. Devoted friend and proud of intelligence. Refuses to be caught up in the shallow girlyness of the teen years.

7. Art Teacher. Encouraging spirit that embraces creativity rather than squashing a child's artistic spirit. Demonstrates the power of a few words and simple actions.

8. Elizabeth Bennet. Sharp wit and independent spirit.

Well....looks like it is top eight this week. Perhaps I will start next week's list today and manage to get a complete list.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Delectable by Adrianne Lee, A Review ★★


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Book Description

Montana real estate agent Quint McCoy will tell you that the most important thing is location, location, location. It's a lesson he learns all too well when he goes incommunicado for a four-week fishing trip to Alaska. While he's away, his mother Molly turns his office into the pie shop she has always dreamed of, Big Sky Pie. But that's not the only surprise in store for him.

On her way out of town, Callee McCoy only wants to say a fond farewell to her beloved mother-in-law. But Molly soon persuades Callee to stay and lend a hand at the new shop, even if it means heating up the kitchen with her soon-to-be ex. As Callee and Quint rediscover their recipe for love, they realize that some couples are so sinfully good together that one delectable taste is never enough . . .


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book.  
Cons: Quint - as a hero, he may be good looking but he seems like a spoiled man-child.  
There was quite a bit of cursing in this book and I'm not a prude, but it was so much and seemed so gratitous that it stuck out at me and really bothered me.  The love scenes also seemed really shallow.

Pros:  It is the first book in a series. Jane, a secondary character is my favorite from the book and I am looking forward to her story. 
Callee, as a heroine she definitely exhibits some strength and doesn't immediately lay down and let Quint run over her. That being said, I do wonder at her giving up her dream for cooking school a second time. I felt like there wasn't anything that happened in the story that revealed that her dream to be a cook wasn't really her dream. It was just thrown in there at the end as an explanation. I think Clements really missed this development in both Callee and Quint (she never shared her plans with him and he never asked) as well as the storyline.  (Is this a con within a pro?)
Gorgeous cover. I tend to choose books based on the cover art and the title without paying attention to the synopsis at all. The covers for the entire series are mouth-watering! 

I did like the story - a married couple that reconnects and calls off their divorce is certainly romantic and highlights commitment. If I could give it 2.5 stars I would. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Love for Beginners by Sally Clements, A Review ★★


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The release date for this book is today: May 27, 2014

Book Description

Mechanic Melody Swan is looking for a man who can share her hopes and dreams, but she swore she would never lose herself to passion. When sexy Heath Starr agrees to temporarily sub in the Under the Hood garage for his sister, Mel sees the perfect opportunity to enjoy being with a man without becoming attached. 

Heath came to Meadowsweet to photograph nature, not find a hookup, especially since his last relationship ended in disaster. He vowed he’d never break another woman’s heart, and in turn, protect his own. Still, when Mel offers to serve as his outdoor guide, he can’t refuse. 

Mel may say she’s only looking for right now, but her body is speaking a whole different language. And Heath’s viewfinder is drawn to her time and again. When the two find themselves isolated in a rustic cabin, they could both break their promises if they aren’t careful…


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

This is the first book I have read in the Under the Hood series yet it can be read without having read the first book. The series follows a group of women trained as mechanics that band together and open their own garage.  I think this is such a great setting for a romance book. Mel was fairly likeable as the heroine. She is shy and hesitant about love - which is a bit of a stretch. I think if there had been a little more development to highlight her shyness and tomboy spirit it would have been more believable. Heath (what a name for a romance hero, right?) is such a laid-back, yet hard-working guy it was hard to believe he was from New York City. However he was super sweet yet completely a guyat the same time. 

One thing that Clements did that I appreciated was that both Mel and Heath were determined to reach out for the happily ever after - even though Mel beat him to it!

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it