Friday, August 19, 2011

Rally Round Green

More than anything, Lois and Chris just want to get settled and enjoy their married life together.  Unfortunately, they're going to have to wait a little longer before the word "calm" can even begin to describe their life together.

The town of Green is still recovering from a tornado that nearly wiped out the whole town, when the state of Louisiana decides to close Green's schools due to poor academic performance and the shrinking population.

Everyone knows that without a school, the town will cease to exist.  They are all willing to fight to keep their local school, and they look to Lois and Chris to lead the way.  Between fighting for the school, restoring an old house, and comforting her husband after a freak accident, Lois is just trying to keep her head above water in Rally Round Green.

When I started the 4th installment of the Green series, I really wasn't sure where the story would take me.  Louis had bought the paper, fought to keep it, got married, and helped rebuild the town after a tornado.  The school story line was a pleasant surprise.  I love the continued stories of faith, compassion, and forgiveness.

Given the way Rally Round Green ended, I think I may know what one of the next story lines in Lois' life will be, and I. can't. wait.

Rally Round Green is scheduled to hit stores on November 1, 2011.  Read it.  Until then, spend a little time reading the first three books in the series: Gone to Green, Goodness Gracious Green, and The Glory of Green.

Copy provided by publisher for review.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Book of Lies

When a story begins with a confession of murder, and the murderer insists the victim deserved her fate, I have to read the whole thing.

From the Publisher:
Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.

A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable—going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.

Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey—from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted—in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words—recorded on tapes before his own death— a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story.

My opinion:
It took me forever to get through this book. I liked it, wasn't a book that I had a problem putting down, though I did sometimes have to force myself to pick it back up.  I found Cat's story interesting, and as a history buff, I also enjoyed her uncle Charlie's story.  It was a slow moving book, especially in the beginning, but I'm glad I finished The Book of Lies.  Overall, it is an interesting story.  You just have to force yourself through it at times.

Copy provided by publisher for review.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Glory of Green

Lois and Chris are finally getting married!  It's a beautiful spring day in Green, Louisiana, and everyone is so excited to attend the wedding they've been waiting for.  Within minutes of Chris and Lois being pronounced man and wife, a tornado hits, and their world is turned upside down.  In The Glory of Green, Lois struggles with the joys of being a newlywed, the stress of rebuilding, and the sorrow of losing loved ones.

What I liked about this book:  It's short, sweet, to the point, and I couldn't put it down (which is why I like that it is less than 300 pages!).  It's a story about strength, hope, and faith, as are all the books in the Green series.

What I didn't like about this book:  It was too short, and it made me jealous of Lois' life!  Don't tell my husband, but I think I'm in love with a Coach Chris Craig!

This series deserves to be read, and you deserve to read it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II

Yesterday, I reviewed Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan. Today, I'm telling you about a similar book, Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II.

Each page will bring you a new story and corresponding scripture.  Along with the true stories told, the book is also filled with maps, summaries, and photos that brings a new and unique look at the history of WWII.

Truly an uplifting and inspirational book filled with first hand accounts from soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen hanging on and turning to their faith when facing and enduring the most horrific circumstances.

Copy provided by publisher for review.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan

We've all seen and possibly read daily devotional books, calendars, etc.  Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq and Afghanistan is so much more than the average daily. 

Every day, there is a new story from those who personally witnessed the 9/11 attacks, deployed soldiers, chaplains, military wives and parents, organizers of humanitarian efforts, and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  With each story, you will also find a prayer and corresponding scripture.

This is a wonderfully inspirational book, and I truly appreciated being able to read the first hand accounts from so many remarkable men and women.

Copy provided by publisher for review.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Goodness Gracious Green

Journalist Lois Barker has decided to stay in Green, Louisiana to run the newspaper she has inherited.  In Goodness Gracious Green, she begins to question that decision when someone sets multiple fires at the newspaper office, and even burns down the garage at her house. 

Lois also gets served with a lawsuit, trying to take the newspaper away from her.  With the support of friends, the comfort of a budding relationship, and a tip from an unexpected source, Lois is ready to fight tooth and nail for the life she has grown to love.

I enjoyed the second book in the Green series just as much as the first.  Judy Christie is great at keeping the story going and keeping the reader interested.  If you're looking for a new series to read, this is a good one!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Oriental Wife

The Oriental Wife begins in 1930's Nuremberg, and tells the story of two Jewish children, Louisa and Rolf, who flee Hilter's Germany.  They spend the next several years struggling to put down new roots and begin rebuilding their lives.

When Louisa travels to New York, she meets up again with Rolf.  They soon fall in love with each other, and begin planning the rest of their lives together in America.  Just as it looks as though they'll live out the rest of the their days living the American dream, a freak accident and a betrayal shatters the life that they hold so dear.

I honestly can't say that I loved this book, but I can say that I disliked it, either.  It took me a little while to get into it, but then I had a hard time putting it down...until I got to Part 3.  That's where the author started to lose me again.  While it was nice to know where Louisa and Rolf ended up, the whole Emma story line was a bit much.  I skipped large chunks of that story line because it felt as though the author was trying to add in a whole new story.

All in all, I'm glad I took the time to read The Oriental Wife.  However, I don't think this is one that I'll be reading again.

Copy provided by publisher for review.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gone to Green

Lois Barker is a journalist working for a Dayton newspaper.  When she inherits a newspaper in a small north-Louisiana town, she puts her life on hold for a year till she can sell that newspaper and return to Dayton.

I knew nothing about this series when I started reading Gone to Green.  I read it because had offered the second book in the series for free on the Kindle, so I figured I may as well start at the beginning.

I had no idea what to expect, but I am so glad I decided to read it.  When I started, I was worried this would be the typical big city girl moves to a small country town story.  While that is the basis of the story line, the story itself is great.

Sometimes it's nice to be able to pick up a good book and get through it in a day or two without my neglected laundry and dishes taking over the whole house.  At less than 300 pages each, the Green books are perfect for curling up in my chair for a couple of hours and enjoy a good book.

I look forward to continuing this series.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen

Stephanie and Lula are back!  In Smokin' Seventeen, somebody is dumping bodies in the bail bonds office lot.  A couple of them even have a note for Stephanie.  Between trying to capture FTA's, deciding between Ranger and Morelli, avoiding at least 2 people who have threatened to kill her, and trying to get rid of the latest guy her mom set her up with, Stephanie is trying to keep her sanity.

I was quite entertained by this latest installment, although it could be a fairly predictable at times.  I also didn't really care for the Stephanie/Morelli/Ranger story line in this book.  I think it's time for Ms. Plum to make her choice and stick with it, instead of turning her into a floozy. Lula and Grandma Mazur are still the same wacky women that provide quite a bit of comic relief. 

Like the previous 16 books in the series, I found the book to be an easy, quick, and entertaining read.  If you're looking for a laugh, and have enjoyed the series so far, you'll enjoy this book, too.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Last Letter From Your Lover

In the fall of 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital with no memory of her past.  Until she regains her memory, Jennifer relies on what she is told by her friends and family, and her gut feelings.  More questions are raised when she finds a love letter that was obviously written to her, and was obviously not from her husband.

The Last Letter from your Lover is a love story than spans more than 40 years.  At times, I found the story predictable, and it wasn't till I was almost half-way through that I had a hard time putting the book down.  The author almost lost me when she skipped ahead 40 years, but quickly regained my interest.

All in all, I enjoyed the book.  It was a nice, easy read, but I'll warn you - if you don't pay attention to the dates at the beginning of the chapters, you could get a little confused!

Although it was released in the UK sometime last year, The Last Letter from your Lover releases in the US July 7th.  Perfect timing for a great summer read!

Copy provided by publisher for review.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Growing Up Amish

At 2:00 in the morning, 17-year-old Ira Wagler tucks a note under his pillow, and leaves home.  He spends the next decade struggling to find himself and his place in the world.

I really enjoyed Growing Up Amish.  I didn't know much about the Amish world, and found that at least some of my assumptions were wrong.  Author Ira Wagler gives us a peek into a lifestyle that most of us would otherwise know nothing about.

Mr. Wagler takes us along on his journey trying to figure out if he belongs in the Amish world or the English world.  He shows us the love, forgiveness, and strict structure of the Amish families and their church.

I found this book quite easy to read in that it flowed from chapter to chapter well.  I had to put it down for 5 days while I was away chaperoning a camp.  When I picked it back up, I was able to jump right back in without having to go back for reminders of what had happened.

Growing Up Amish is a great book for summer, and is on bookshelves today!

Advance copy provided by publisher for review.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Everything Beautiful Began After

Everything Beautiful Began After took me by surprise. It begins with a little girl playing in the "wild end of the garden". She's thinking about how she came to be, and realizing there was life before her, she decides she again wants to hear the story about how her parents met.

I thought I had an idea of the story this book would tell, but I was taken down a completely different path. 

Rebecca is a beautiful, young, former French stewardess turned aspiring artist. 

George is an American, with a bit of a drinking problem, who grew up in boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. 

Henry is a British archeologist who has been trying to find a way to live with a single, tragic moment from his childhood.

They all find themselves in Athens one summer where three chance meetings forge friendships that will shape the rest of their lives.  When a catastrophe hits, their lives and relationships are changed forever.

It's intriguing, heartbreaking, and hopeful. July 5th. Buy it. You won't be sorry.

Advance copy provided by publisher for review.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Migrant Mother

A last minute decision caused photographer Dorthea Lange to turn around and check out what was beyond the sign along Highway 101.  A 10-minute introduction and photo session produced a series of photos, one of which became one of the most iconic photographs in American history.

What made this photograph so compelling?  Who was this woman?  What became of her?

Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression answers those three questions and more.  The author shares with us what led up to this photo session, and the series of 6 photos taken during that 10 minutes.  We learn who the woman in the photo was, where she ended up, and how she felt about practically every US citizen seeing her face.  In short, Don Nardo tells us the whole story behind the photo that shocked the government back into reality about the human toll during the Great Depression.

If you enjoy learning about the human aspects of history, especially through photographic evidence, you will enjoy this book as much as I have.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home to Woefield

This book was such a fun read!  I was looking for some new books, but I wanted something that wasn't serious or depressing.  I didn't want a love story, or even a story about love, overcoming diversity or addictions, or forgiveness.  I just wanted something that was fun, lighthearted, and easy to read.

Home to Woefield was full of what I thought I didn't want, and was exactly what I did want.

Prudence is a 24-year-old city girl from Brooklyn who is concerned about the environment and strives to eat only organic foods.  When she inherits her uncle's farm, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to make her dreams happen.  When she arrives at the farm, she finds a run-down house that probably hasn't been cleaned anytime within the last decade; 30 acres of rocks, grass, and weeds;  Bertie the half sheared sheep; and Earl.

Earl is the 60-something-year-old farm foreman.  Once the old man died, Earl figured he would just pack up his belongings, and find a new place to call home, but Prudence convinces him to stay on the farm.  Seth is the 21-year-old celebrity gossip and heavy metal blogger with a drinking problem who lives across the road with his mother.  He dropped out of high school after an embarrassing experience, and hasn't left the house in years.  When his mom moves her boyfriend in, Seth has no option but to move out, and lucky for him, Prudence has room to spare.  Sara in an 11-year-old local girl who needs a place for her chickens.  As her parents' marriage deteriorates, it's not just the chickens who finds refuge at the Woefield farm.

The story is told from 4 different perspectives which just adds to the amusement.  It is such a delight to read, and is the perfect book for the beach or pool.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Back!

Where have I been for the past 4 months? Here, there, everywhere. I have been reading, of course, but not as much as I would have liked. I'm currently reading a great book, and can't wait to tell you about it soon!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Secret Kept

Sarah's Key author, Tatiana de Rosnay, takes us back to Paris to introduce us to another family who is keeping secrets.  A Secret Kept begins with an accident that leads brother and sister, Antoine and Melanie, down a long road into their past and the secrets that are hidden there.

What they find out is that sometimes things are better left hidden, and other times, things are just as they seem.  The book is filled with unexpected twists and turns that make it hard to put down.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jane Goes Batty

Jane Goes Batty is the sequel to Michael Thomas Ford's hit book Jane Bites Back.  This book picks up shortly after the first book left off.  Jane Fairfax (a.k.a. Jane Austen) still owns a book store, but has let Lucy take over the managerial duties.
She is still dating Walter, and refuses to mention about Charlotte Bronte by name.

Since the release and success of Janes latest book, she has had to work even harder to keep a low profile, so she has agreed to embrace her vampirism, and is taking lessons from Lord Byron.

These lessons come in especially handy when the stars and crew from her book's movie come to town to film, and even more so when Walter's Jewish mother comes to town for a visit.

Between the trouble the movie's young starlet is causing, taking Jewish lessons (because Walter's mother wants him to marry a nice Jewish girl), and trying to find out Miriam's secret and whether or not she knows Jane's secret, the last thing Jane needs or wants is to run into her old friend, Charlotte again.

Once again, Mr. Ford has provided a fun, quick, and witty read, and I look forward to the next book in this series.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Beyond Band of Brothers

The recent death of Major Dick Winters inspired me to finally read his memoir, Beyond Band of Brothers.  I'd been considering this book for quite some time, but just wasn't sure if I wanted to read it.  I've seen the HBO miniseries a thousand times, and I was worried that this book would just be the written version, telling the same stories.

While BBOB does touch on the stories told in the miniseries, it is also so much more.  As his war memoir, the stories are all told from Major Winters' view, and we not only get a deeper look into his mind, but we also get to "hear" stories that didn't make it onto film.

I don't think it would be possible for me to do this book justice, so I'll just say this:  Read it.  If you're a history buff, you'll appreciate the historical significance.  If you're not a history buff, you'll take away a deeper appreciation for our veterans.  Despite whatever your interests may be, after reading this book written by an amazing and much admired man, you will want to live your life better.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I first fell in love with Cranford when I saw the mini series and it's sequel (Return to Cranford) on PBS, and I have checked the DVD's out from my local library several times, so I decided it was probably time I read the book.

Elizabeth Gaskell introduces us to the ladies of Cranford, and what a group of ladies they are!  The story is told from the point of view of a young woman who is visiting the Jenkyns sisters, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah.  She tells us her opinions of all the goings-on with the Jenkyns sisters, their friends, and the rural town of Cranford that is filled with mostly middle-aged and older women who are afraid of change.

I don't want to give too much away, but I do recommend seeing both the movies and reading the book.  The two are quite different in many aspects (I understand that the movies are a combination of several different books written by Gaskell that take place in Cranford), but they have the same delightful tone.

There is just something about this group of ladies that I can't get enough of!