Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
April 16, 2014

Review - The Queen's Handmaid

The Queen's Handmaid
By Tracy L. Higley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: March 18, 2014
Retail: $15.99
ISBN: 978-1401686840
Pages: 400
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:


I can't believe this month is half way over already. 2014 is flying by way to quickly, but I have made time to read several new titles, including The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley.

Now, I'm mostly a fan of books set in the 1800s, but The Queen's Handmaid is set in 39BC, which is a bit of a stretch from the wild wild west era. Though I don't read books from this time period, however, I do watch movies (Gladiator) and television series (Spartacus) that are sent around that era, so I thought I would give the book a shot.

The Queen's Handmaid centers on a young woman named Lydia, who happens to be the handmaid for Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. She doesn't have a family, as she has been an orphan since birth, and she now resides in the Queen's palace, where she spends her days taking care of the Queen's children.

Age is catching up with Cleopatra and having a beautiful young handmaid is causing a few problems, as men are taking notice of Lydia, especially Herod, the Galilean governor.

April 14, 2014

Easter Gift Guide: Entertain Like A Gentleman

Entertain Like A Gentleman
by David Harp
Publisher: New Year Publishing
Pub. Date: January 1, 2011
Retail: $21.95
ISBN: 978-1935547181
Pages: 228

Buy Links:

Book Description:

Knowing how to entertain for that special date or for a large crowd is the epitome of being a gentleman. There is no stronger way to impress someone than by showcasing your culinary skills. Bachelor Chef and culinary instructor David Harap has created a series of menus that any man can make his own. This book helps men create unforgettable meals for their guests without stress or needing years of cooking school. In addition to many exciting recipes for every occasion, that are tons of tips and secrets on how to become the ultimate host. Memorable meals made easy.

About the Author:

Culinary instructor David Harap has a passion for food and cooking since he was a child. Working in commercial kitchens and catering halls to help put himself through Cornell University, David built a solid knowledge base of culinary fundamentals. His cooking style is very much influenced by his global travels and blends international culinary techniques with local and seasonal products. David teaches a wide range of classes, including many on entertaining, at the Central Market Cooking School and hosts an underground supper club, Austin Bite Club. He is also a partner with Stanton Chase International, a leading global executive search firm.

April 13, 2014

Easter Gift Guide: My Friend Paris Book Series

Since this is primarily a book blog, I thought I should at least feature a few books for the Easter Gift Guide. I was contacted by Near Year Publishing about featuring the My Friend Paris picture book series, which I eagerly agreed to review one of the books.

The series was created by a fourteen-year-old author, Paris Morris. The first book, I'm Having Twins, in the "My Twins" series was published when she was a ten-year-old. The main character is loosely based on herself and is also named Paris. Paris is a three-year-old who is trying to adjust to the fact that she will no longer be an only child, as her parents are expecting twin girls.

Four sequels were published, titled My Twins Are Coming Home, My Twins' First Halloween, My Twins' First Christmas and My Twin's First Birthday. More adventures with Paris continued in Paris Goes to Lake Tahoe, Paris Goes To Los Angeles and Paris Goes To San Francisco. Three additional titles, Paris Goes to Italy, Paris Goes To France and Paris Goes To New York, are being released soon.

I was sent the fourth book in from the"My Twins" series, titled My Twin's First Christmas. The young author is Jewish, so she enlisted her friend, Jackie Singer, to help her write the Christmas themed installment of the series.

April 12, 2014

Easter Gift Guide: The Melting Pot Cookbook

The Melting Pot Cookbook
A Jewish Grandmother's Stories and Good Old Recipes From the Good Old Days
By Belle Serbin Fields
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pub. Date: December 13, 2013
Retail: $10.49
ISBN: 978-1490462660
Pages: 242

Where to Buy:

Book Description from Amazon:

The best recipes collected over the years by a 100 year old Jewish Grandmother who considers entertaining a competitive sport. Her recipes not only taste good, but they have to look good, too. Belle's recipes are practical and unusual, and her ingredients are everyday item found in every kitchen. Although the book is written by a Jewish grandmother, this is not a kosher or even strictly Jewish cookbook. There are Chinese, Italian, German, Danish, and other nationalities represented among the recipes. Another lure to the book are the interesting tales of where and how she found many of the recipes, and events where she has used them. Finally, there are ideas of recipes that can be combined to present and unusual visual effect, like her 7 layer Jello mold table centerpiece, or her combination salad mold appetizer. Belle is a kitchen artist as well as a great cook and baker.


Many of you probably don't know that I'm a decent cook. Though I learned a few things from mother, I'm mostly self-taught,which started when I became in charge of cooking dinners when my mother went back to work when I was a teenager (I believe it was in 1995). As an adult, I have continued to cook my own meals (though I do get takeout once in awhile) and I own a wide variety of cookbooks (Taste of Home, Rachel Ray, etc.). 

April 8, 2014

Easter Gift Guide: My Hare Line and the Hat

My Hare Line and the Hat
My Hare Line, book 4 
by Patsy M. Henry
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pub. Date: October 11, 2011
Retail: $9.99 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1613462164
Pages: 28

Where can “My Hare Line” series books be purchased? :

Book Description: 

After a pine tree falls and knocks the rabbit pen fence, Brownie asks Rascal if anyone escaped. Rascal thinks this was the silliest thing he had ever heard. As usual, Rascal talks to Aunt Paula Rabbit about what Brownie had said to him. Rascal is shocked to learn that his family is actually quite adventurous! Join Rascal and his adventurous bunny family in My Hare Line and the Hat.

About the Author:

Patsy M. Henry is newly retired, having worked twenty-five years in banking and eight years as an office manager. Her goals for retirement were to take better care of herself and to write. The first goal was easy to slip into. The second goal has been both challenging and rewarding. She had been encouraged to write by family and friends who told her that she missed her calling. It came naturally for her to write about her newfound love for her rabbits first. The author of My Hare Line Meets the Brown Rabbit is from a large family that gets together often. Patsy and her husband, Jerry, live in Bainbridge, Georgia where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They enjoy spending time in to the mountains. They have two grown sons and four grandchildren.

April 4, 2014

Easter Gift Guide: Middle School: Ultimate Showdown

Middle School: Ultimate Showdown
By James Patterson and Julia Bergen
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date: March 31, 2014
Retail: $13.99
ISBN: 978-0316322119
Pages: 256

Buy Link:

Book Description: 

Readers get a chance to participate in James Patterson's wildly successful Middle School series in this interactive book featuring more than 80 hilarious anecdotes from dueling siblings Rafe and Georgia Khatchadorian--plus dozens of fun-filled activities!

The Khatchadorian kids are an opinionated duo, and as readers of the Middle School stories know, they don't exactly see eye to eye. But when wild-card Rafe and mostly-straight-laced Georgia go at it, the only thing more fun than their ranting is getting to join in! Their back-and-forth banter on a range of topics--from bullying to cafeteria food to school dress codes--introduces more than 40 writing and drawing prompts and other games, along with room for readers to share their own points of view. (Includes over 200 illustrations.)


April 3, 2014

Review - Dancing With Dragonflies

Dancing with Fireflies
A Chapel Spring Romance, book 2
By Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: March 11, 2014
ISBN: 978-1401687021
Pages: 352
Blog Tour:
Buy Link:


Typically when I'm in a bookstore (well, Walmart), I only look for certain authors I have read before and avoid any new authors, but since I have started blogging I have been introduced to many other authors, including Denise Hunter.

In this sequel to last year's Barefoot Summer,  Jade McKinley finds herself returning to her hometown of Chapel Springs, Indiana, as she doesn't have anywhere else to go. She is also completely broke. Plus, she is pregnant!

Jade's family is more than surprised to see her return from the big city after only a year. She doesn't want to them to know about her upcoming bundle of joy.

The Chapel Springs mayor, Daniel Dawson, grew up with the McKinley family and has also had a crush on Jade, whom he has always called "squirt," though she had never thought of him as more than a honorary brother. After running into Jade again, those old feelings for her return.

Review - Maybelle in Stitches

Maybelle in Stitches
Quilts of Love Series, Book16
By Joyce Magnin
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Pub. Date: March 18, 2014
ISBN: 978-1426752803
Pages: 240
Buy Link: Paperback
Blog Tour:


I have had the privilege to read several installments of the

Quilts of Love Series this year. No, I'm not a quilter, actually I don't even know how to run a sewing machine, but I have plenty of quilters in my family, so I do respect the hobby. I do love reading almost any kind of novel, which is one of the reasons why I first signed up to read the Quilts of Love Series.

The 16th installment, Maybelle in Stitches, is set during WWII and is centered on Maybelle Kazinski. Her husband, Holden, was called off to war, so she finds herself working at the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock in Chester, Pennsylvania as a welderette. A woman working in a shipyard may seem a little odd at first for 1943, but many women during the war had to get jobs to support their family while their husbands were fighting overseas.

March 31, 2014

Review - Scooby-Doo!: The Secret of the Sea Creature

Scooby-Doo! The Secret of the Sea Creature
Written by Laurie S. Sutton
Illustrated by Scott Neely
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Pub. Date: April 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-1434279255
Pages: 112 pages


Back in the late '70s thru to the late '90s, Choose Your Own Adventure type books were popular with middle-graders and young adults. In these stories, the character's fate is in the readers' hands, as they must decide where to go, what to do and which page to turn to.

Though these types of books are nearly extinct for young adults, there are several chapter book series for ages 7-12 being written with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" theme, like the new You Choose Stories starring those loveable Mystery Inc. Gang.

Scooby-Doo!: The Secret of the Sea Creature finds Fred Jones Jr., Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo arriving at the Wild-World Beach for a much needed R&R. The gang splits up upon arriving, as Fed wants to go snorkeling, Daphne wants to go kite-surfing, Daphne wants to go hunting for shells and Shaggy and Scooby-Doo just want to find something eat.

March 27, 2014

Review - It Had To Be You

It Had To Be You  
A Christiansen Family novel, book two
By Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale
Pub. Date: January 17, 2014
Pages: 480
Blog Tour:
Buy Link: Paperback


As most of my blog readers already know, I prefer historical romances over most contemporary romances, but I signed up to review It Had To Be You because the cover reminded of the romance book jackets from the 80s. Plus, I'm already fan of Susan May Warren's novels.

It Had To Be You centers on Eden Christiansen, who has put a hold on her dreams to help her younger brother, Owen, get his life on track. She would rather be focusing on her writing career, but she is stuck writing obituaries. Plus, she gets sidetracked every time a family member or friend needs her help. In this case, Owen doesn't even want her help, which makes the whole situation even more stressful for Eden.

Owen is an NHL rookie and if he doesn't get the correct guidance, his life will easily run off course in a hurry. Eden steps in, less like a sister and more like a surrogate mother, when she approaches the hockey star enforcer, Jace Jacobsen, who acts tough on and off the ice. Asking this hothead to help her brother is not going to be harder than what she thought it would be.

March 25, 2014

Review - Wildwood Creek

Wildwood Creek
Moses Lake series, book 4
By Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: February 4, 2014
ISBN: 978-0764208249
Pages: 384


There are many writers in the Christian market today and, sadly, many of them don't standout of the crowd for me. If I don't recall the author's name, then the book probably didn't leave a lasting effect on me. However, I do recall reading "Never Say Never" by Lisa Wingate when I first started blogging. Though I haven't read very many of her other titles, her name stood out for me when I decided to sign up to review the title, Wildwood Creek, courtesy of Bethany House.

Wildwood Creek centers on two women, Allie Kirkland and Bonnie Rose, from two different times. Allie is a modern day woman who takes a production assistant job on a docudrama set near Moses Lake, Texas. Bonnie Rose is an Irish schoolteacher back in the year 1861.

Allie has been kinda lost. Her still mourns for her late father. Her relationship with her mother, stepfather and her step-siblings is estranged. Her father was a director and she finally has a chance to follow in his footsteps when she takes a job working on a docudrama.

She multitasks by working in the costume department and playing the part of Bonnie Rose. The docudrama is about what happened at Wildwood Creek when the townspeople mysteriously disappeared in 1861. During the production, Allie begins researching the real-life events that occurred in the town, but there is danger just around the corner for her.

March 24, 2014

Review - Robert Ludlum's The Janson Option

Robert Ludlum's The Janson Option
By Paul Garrison
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: March 18, 2014
ISBN: 978-0446564489
Pages: 368


Author Robert Ludlum died over a decade, but stories based on his characters and ideas are still being published; written by other authors; similar to the ghostwritten V.C. Andrews’s paperbacks or the recent continuation of Robert P. Parker's book series. Last week, Grand Central Publishing released the third installment in the Janson series, titled The Janson Option.

The first book in the series, The Janson Directive, was published posthumous, a year after the author's death. Author Paul Garrison stepped into Ludlum's shoes to pen the sequel, The Janson Command, in 2012 and returned to write the third installment.

The Janson Option centers on ex-Navy Seal and former member of the U.S. government covert agency, Consular Operations, who now spends his time as a corporate security consultant. This time around Janson is hired by the president of the petroleum division of American Synergy Corp., Kingsman Helms, to help rescue his wife, Allegra Helms.

Allegra is a 30-year-old Italian countess, whose last known whereabouts was aboard the yacht Tarantula when it was hijacked by the Somali pirate Maxammed and his goons in the Indian Ocean. This sort of rescue mission would typically be easy for Janson and his partner, Jessica Kincaid, but they encounter several twists and turns around every corner.

March 21, 2014

Review - A Sky Without Stars

A Sky Without Stars
Quilts of Love, Book 15
By Linda S. Clare
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Pub. Date: February 18, 2014
ISBN: 978-1426752797
Pages: 272
Blog Tour:
Buy Link: Amazon


Last year, I happen to stumble across the Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press. Though I don't know how to quilt, I have several family members that do, so I do respect the hobby and is one of the reasons why I signed up to review the newest book in the series, A Sky Without Stars, written by Linda S. Clare.

Set in 1951, the fifteenth installment centers on a Lakota woman, Frankie Chasing Bear, who finds herself raising her son, Harold, alone after husband is suddenly killed. To honor their heritage, she is trying to pass down the Lakota ways to her son, but it is difficult for her to do with her son uninterested in his past.

Lakota decides the only way to help her son respect their ancestors is to make a Lakota Star-pattern quilt, something that can be passed down to him one day and become a reminder of his heritage.

March 19, 2014

Review - Hocus Pocus Hotel: The Thirteenth Mystery

Hocus Pocus Hotel: The Thirteenth Mystery
By Michael Dahl
Illustrator: Lisa K. Weber
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Pub. Date: March 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-1434265098
Pages: 214


Arriving in bookstores earlier this month is the third and final book in the Hocus Pocus Hotel trilogy.  I enjoyed reading the first two books in the series, so I was eager to read third installment from author Michael Dahl.

Charlie Hitchcock is pulled out of class by his so-called friend, Tyler Yu, because the magician, Abracadabra, is missing. Abracadabra, or as his friends call him, Brack, is a famous magician that owns the Abracadabra Hotel, and occasionally he does have a habit of faking his death.

Tyler Yu, along with his parents, lives and works at the hotel. Though he isn't exactly friends with Charlie Hitchcock, they do get together to solve the strange mysteries hidden in the hotel. And once again Tyler needs Charlie's help in finding out what happened to Brack.

March 17, 2014

Review - All Things Hidden

All Things Hidden
By: Tracie Peterson & Kimberly Woodhouse
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: January 7, 2014
ISBN: 978-0764211195
Pages: 352


Arriving in bookstores earlier this year is All Things Hidden written by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse. I'm a fan of Tracie Peterson's Heirs of Montana series, so I eagerly signed up to review this book.

All Things Hidden centers on a young nurse named Gwyn Hillerman, who has been working at her father's clinic in Alaska.
Business at the clinic picks up with the Matanuska Project occurred, where 200 families were relocated to Alaska in 1935.

The novel jumps to Chicago and centers on Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan, who has just lost his medical license after the death of a patient. Shortly after losing his job, his fiancee calls off their engagement. Out the of blue, he receives a job opportunity from Dr. Hillerman to join his clinic in the Alaska Territory. Dr. Vaughan accepts the offer, as his career doesn't have any other choice.

Remember this is a love story, so it isn't too long after Dr. Vaughan's arrival that sparks fly between him and Gwyn.

March 16, 2014

Review - Friend Me

Friend Me
By John Faubion
Publisher: Howard Books
Pub. Date: February 4, 2014
ISBN: 978-1476738727
Pages: 368
Blog Tour:
Buy Link: Print, Kindle


When I sign up for a blog tour, I make it my mission to make sure my review, author interview or author guest post gets scheduled on the blog and posted, but for some odd reason I didn't get the blog tour schedule for Friend Me, as this was suppose to be published on February 14th. I must have accidentally deleted the blog tour email. I would like to apologize to the author, John Faubion, and to Liftuse Publicity Group for my lateness with my review.

It seems everyone these days has a smart phone, tablet, computer or some kind device to access the internet. In my opinion, we are all getting a little too lazy with all the advanced technology. That being said, the internet is full of online friend finders and dating sites. It can be a great place to find someone special and it can also be a place to find danger.

Friend Me centers on a troubled businessman, Scott, and his lonely housewife, Rachel, both of whom seek to find friendships on the world-wide-web through a website called Virtual Friend Me. At first neither one knows the other one is on the website, but that doesn't stop one dangerous woman, Melissa, from entering their lives.

March 9, 2014

Book review: God Matters

God Matters
Peter and Charlotte VARDY
Pub. Date: 2013
By SCM Press
ISBN: 978-0334043928
Pages:  287
Genre: Nonfiction / Religion / Philosophy
received for review
Reading Challenge

At a time when religion tends to disappear from the public sphere, the authors invite here to put again God at the center of reflection on man, truth, and the world. Their book is intended for students in philosophy or theology and anyone taking the time to think. 

March 8, 2014

Review - Distortion

Moonlighter Series, Book Two
By Terri Blackstock
Publisher: Zondervan
Pub. Date: March 11, 2014
ISBN: 978-0310283140
Pages: 352
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:


I have seen Terri Blackstock's books in book catalogs, but I only started reading her books about two years ago. Her writing style is different than most Christian authors. Most books in the genre tend to be strictly a romantic story, but Terri Blackstock centers the majority of her books (at least the ones I have read) around a mystery of some sorts. Last spring, I reviewed her novel Truth Stained Lies, book one in the Moonlighter Series, and earlier this year I got a change to review a ARC of the second book in the series titled, Distortion.

Distortion centers on Juliet Cole, whose life is completely torn away when she witnesses her husband of fifteen-years gunned down before her very own eyes. Now a widow and the only parent to her boys, she is determined to keep them safe no matter what the costs.

What she thought was a random murder turns into something else when she discovers threatening voice-mails. Afraid for the lives of her children, Juliet turns toward her sisters, Holly and Cathy, for help, but the mystery may be too big for them to handle, so they once again enlist PI Michael Hogan to help them find the killers.

March 5, 2014

Review - Robert B. Parker's Bull River

Robert B. Parker's Bull River
A Cole and Hitch Novel 
By Robert Knott
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Pub. Date: January 7, 2014
ISBN: 978-0399165269
Pages: 352
Buy Links: Hardback, Kindle


I didn't take an interest in the western genre until I was in my early 20s, when I had stumbled upon a few $5 Clint Eastwood movies at Walmart, which lead me to buy every Clint Eastwood film. I also took interests in reading a few westerns by Max Brand, Matt Braun and Zane Grey. I stumbled upon Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker after watching the film version starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. I quickly became a fan of Robert B. Parker's writings; reading a few Spenser novels and of course the Cole and Hitch sagas (Resolution, Brimestone and Blue-Eyed-Devil).

Blue-Eyed -Devil was published after the author's death, so I thought that would be end of of Cole and Hitch's adventures, but that wasn't the case, as author Robert Knott took over series with the release of Ironhorse in 2013. The newest entry, Bull River, was released in January and I was eagerly looking forward to reading it, but a few other books arrived before this one, so it had landed in my TBR stack until I finally got to reading it last month.

In Bull River, Marshal Virgil Cole and Deputy Everett Hitch have captured the outlaw Alejandro Vasquez and have escorted him to San Cristobal to stand trail. There is no time to rest for the duo, as soon as they arrive there is a big bank robbery and they quickly go after the robbers in the hope of recovering the money and capturing the criminals, but things go a bit rocky for them.

Review - The Descent by Alma Katsu

The Descent
Book Three of the Taker Trilogy
By Alma Katsu
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pub. Date: January 7, 2014
ISBN: 978-1451651829
Pages: 352
Buy Links: Paperback, Kindle


I haven't been more exciting about reading a book than I have been with The Descent; book three of The Taker Trilogy. There was almost a year and a half gap between the second (The Reckoning) and the third book, The Descent, so I was patiently waiting on pins and needles for the release, which finally arrived back in January. Gallery Books kindly sent me a free copy to read and review, but, sadly, a few other books arrived before The Descent did; therefore it sat in the TBR pile longer than I wanted it to. I finally got around to reading it in late February.

There are have not been many books that have grabbed a hold of me within the first few pages, leaving the characters still in my mind years later. Alma Katsu has created a beautiful trilogy full of love, revenge, sacrifice and redemption. There has been an overload of vampire and werewolves books over the years and Alma Katsu gives us a refreshing supernatural love story without blood-sucking demons or shape-shifters.

The Taker Trilogy centers on Lanore "Lanny" McIlvrae, who fell in love with the charming, rich and older, Jonathan St. Andrew, at a young age during the 1800s. After becoming pregnant, her family sends her away to Boston to have the baby (which results in a miscarriage), but within minutes of arriving in Boston she meets the charming Adair, whom forever changes her life, introducing her to a world of immortality.


Rating System

AMAZING!!! Go get this book right now!!

Great! Highly Recommend

It's ok. Borrow from a friend material.

Not that good but at least read the blurb.

Leave it on the shelf!

Currently Reading

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog


Designed by Blogovation Design. Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email


Grab My Badge

Find Me On


Blog Stats

Google PageRank Checker

Future Google PR for - 5.16