Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Review - Valley of Dreams

Valley of Dreams
BY: Lauraine Snelling
PUBLISHED BY: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0415-9
Pages: 352
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Valley of Dreams, the first novel in the Wild West Wind series, has been sitting on my desk for several weeks now. After reading a few negative reviews about the book, I hesitated about reading this historical fiction. I was intrigued by the first chapter, as you are introduced to the main heroine, Cassie Lockwood, - a young sharpshooter for the Lockwood and Talbot Wild West Show. Uncle Jason (her dad’s business partner) has been running the show every since her dad’s death. Unfortunately, times are tough and the show is going go close, as the bank investors are coming to repossess everything. Uncle Jason gives her what little money he has, a wagon, horse, and supplies.

Cassie’s father had dreamed of living in the Black Hills of South Dakota and now that is Cassie’s dream too. With Chief, a Sioux Indian from the Wild West Show, and Micah, the head wrangler, she sets off to find the valley. Of course, things are so easy, as there are many dangerous situations ahead.

The author, Lauraine Snelling has done a remarkable job creating beautiful descriptions throughout the novel. The characters are well written and so is the plot. Valley of Dreams is my first read from the author and it won’t be the last. I recommend the book to everyone.

*I would like to thank Bethany House for sending me a copy to review!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Review - Smart Piggy

Smarty Pig
BY: Molly Nero
PUBLISHED IN: December 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61244-048-4
Pages: 30
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

"Smarty Pig" is a delightful tale about a house full of little piggies. After school, they like to play cards, watch TV and play tag instead of doing their homework. Only one red-haired piggy does her homework and study for her tests. The other piggies call her “Teacher’s Pet”, but she surprises all of them when she is only one who gets good grades on report card day. The other piggies are upset and they all want to know how to get good grades. The red-haired piggy eagerly agrees to teach them math and science.

I enjoyed reading “Smarty Pig”, and I loved the beautiful illustrations throughout the picture book. Young readers can easily relate to story, as I am sure all them would rather be playing than studying or doing their homework. I liked how the little red-haired piggy in the story used simple household items, like play-money and cookies to help the piggies learn math and science. “Smarty Pig” is a cute read for young readers.

About the Author:

Molly Nero grew up in Texas loving to sing, dance, and read. She spent over 18 years teaching elementary school.  Reading to her own children, she was inspired to write. Molly Nero recently moved to Pennsylvania where she resides with her family, 2 dogs, and a leopard spotted Gecko and enjoys writing, cooking, and making snowmen.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Review: Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia & Mike Yorkey

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

In this sequel to The Swiss Courier, OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler are back and this time the are trying to rescue Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa before it falls into the clutches of the Germans. Set during World War II, the agents have their hands full as travel from Paris to a Swiss chateau, in a race to save the painting.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Follow Friday

Question of the Week: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

My Answer: 

Singers: Natasha Bedingfield, Kelly Clarkson, Colbie Caillat
Bands: The Civil Wars, A Fine Frenzy, Evanescence

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Review - The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Keeper

BY: Suzanne Woods Fisher


ISBN: 978-0-8007-1987-6
Pages: 320
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

         In the first book of the Stoney Ridge Seasons series,  Julia Lapp and her siblings, Menno, Sadie, and Mary Kate (M.K.) are running their family farm because their father, Amos, has a bad heart and can no longer do day to day chores on the farm. Amos is an old school Amish and doesn’t want to have a heart transplant, even though it could save his life.

 Julia has other things on her mind, like marrying Paul Fisher. She has dreamed of being his wife since she was a child, but her wedding plans are constantly being delayed by Paul’s overprotected mother, Edith, who will do anything to stop the wedding.

Running a farm can be difficult, so the Lapp family has their Uncle Hank to help them with the farm. Fern Graber arrives at the farm as a caregiver for Amos. Soon enough the Bee Man arrives. The Bee Man, travels through the Amish communities with his hives of bees and then rents them out to farmers.

Will Julia marry Paul?

Will Amos changes his ways and have a heart transplant?

“The Keeper” is slightly different than the typical Amish fiction, adding witty characters and realism that any reader can connect with. Life is full of twists and turns that challenges your faith as the main character Julia findsout. There is heartache, laughter and wonderful storytelling to be found in “The Keeper”. I recommend the book to all readers.

*I would like to thank the Baker Publishing Company for sending me a copy to review!

About the author:

Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. She has many, many Plain relatives living in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and travels back to Pennsylvania, as well as to Ohio, a couple of times each year for research. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they provide wonderful examples to the world. In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don't have to "go Amish" to incorporate many of their principles--simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily-- into your life. When Suzanne isn't writing or bragging to her friends about her first new grandbaby (!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you just can't take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth. 

 Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.