Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E.Ladd

From the publisher: At twenty-five, Patience Creighton is already a spinster. The busy headmistress of Rosemere always expected a dashing man to sweep her off her feet and take her away . . . but that man never came. And since her father’s death, keeping the school running and her mother happy has been plenty to keep her occupied.
William Sterling dallied his way into financial trouble and mortal danger. When he is assaulted by his creditors’ henchmen on the road home from a tavern, he guides his horse to the doorstep of his tenant, the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. After being tended to by Patience, the wounded William rides off into the dawn—but makes a point to learn more about the lovely headmistress.
As he spends more time at Rosemere, something delicate begins to develop between William and Patience. But that will not deter William’s creditors. With little money to repay his debts, and less for the upkeep of his estate, it becomes clear that sacrificing Rosemere may be the only way to preserve his legacy. But it may also cost him his happiness.

As I was reading this book I was trying to think about why many readers like to read Jane Austen, etc. styled books.  And I thought that perhaps it is because love and life in these books is subtle.  The love is drawn out where a small look or word means more than all the modern "love" often shown. 

 This being said Sarah E. Ladd does an excellent job of doing exactly what I feel readers of this time period love.  She weaves in a love so sweet, innocent, and yet committed that the reader will find themselves wishing they lived back in that day.  Yet, Sarah Ladd also weaves in tension and mystery for the reader that will keep them turning the pages to figure out the ending and see the resolution of money and love.

I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A December Bride by Denise Hunter

From the publisher:
What started as a whim turned into an accidental---and very public---engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the façade in Chapel Springs this holiday season---for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?
Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy - the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiancé - would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency - a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client.
For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart.
This is part of a novella series of bride stories for each month.  This is the first one to come out and it is a fun read.  I finished it quickly as it was entertaining, romantic, and only a little over 100 pages. 
This is a novella so the story moves quickly, it would be fun to have Denise Hunter write a full length novel from this book and republish it so we could read more of the story.  Seth and Layla are both likeable and enjoyable characters to read.  It was also fun to read some characters from Denise Hunter's book Barefoot Summer in this book and see more of what has happened since that book.
Readers will enjoy the quick paced yet sweet love story.  Denise Hunter is a talented author and if this is the first taste of her work you will be eager to read her other full length novels.
I received this e-book free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top Ten Books of 2013

Top Ten Books of 2013

These are not in order except for the first one.  The first one was the best book I read this year.

Total Books: 111 (Most I've read in a year!)
Approximate Pages Read/Listened to: 35,147

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
This book was life changing to me.  Counting blessings has changed my outlook on life and the daily practice of looking for and counting blessings has really brought joy.  I loved this book because it changed my life in a daily practical way and helped my heart.

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert

I love Katie Ganshert's writing.  Her stories weave heartache and God's goodness together in such beautiful ways.  Through some very real and difficult situations,when it is hardest to see God, Katie Ganshert reveals God--and I love reading how she does it.  She has another book coming out, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, and I cannot wait to read it.

The Cadence of Grace Series (Be Still My Soul, Though My Heart is Torn, My Hope is Found) by Joanne Bischof

This series was heart-wrenching and beautiful all at the same time.  It truly is a series about grace and true love--self-sacrificing love, God's love.  Joanne Bischof's writing is something you will want to experience.

YA Series (Fireflies in December, Cottonwood Whispers, Catching Moondrops) by Jennifer Erin Valent
I love To Kill a Mockingbird and to me these books had pieces from that book that I loved.  Teenagers and adults alike will be drawn to the stories told.  I got the first book for free and then went and bought the other two.  I only buy books if I love them and I bought those two on faith, so that shows how much I liked the first one.

24/6 by Matthew Sleeth

A Sabbath Rest.  Such a beautiful, practical, and Biblical portrayal of why God asks us to rest.  Read it.

In Broken Places by Michele Phoenix

I put this on the top ten because I have never read a book that described to me the relationship between a brother and sister that matched how I feel about my brother so well.  Maybe no one else will get it but it was wonderful.  I don't even remember if the rest of the book was great or I just loved that one aspect so much that the book became a top 10.

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

The American frontier, a white child stolen away by the Indians--it showed up in my mailbox one day, so I read it.  What I found was a great book. Lori Benton weaves a layered story of trust, prejudice, grief, forgiveness, freedom, and love beautifully written.

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

I have to say that the reason I chose this book as a top ten because of Steven and Mary Beth's relationship.  Somehow I expected that they had an easy and loving marriage all along (perhaps it is because they are a famous Christian couple) but Mary Beth vulnerably shares their struggles and the strong commitment to God and each other that saw them through the hard times.  Marriage isn't easy and it was so encouraging to read a true story of a marriage that didn't start out well but will finish well because they run with God.  The whole book is inspirational on multiple levels.

The Penny by Joyce Meyers and Deborah Bedford

This book surprised me in a very good way.  This book is God showing up in unexpected ways and places.  Seeing His love in the little things.

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander

It could be that I liked it because it is set in Tennessee, or the fact that Bob Green is such a fascinating real-life person, but I just really enjoyed this book.  It is a long book but I loved every page of it.

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reary

What can I say?  This book was just plain fun.  Yet, I was also touched by the call the author made, through the characters, for caring for orphans.  When I think of this book I smile, so I put it on my top ten.  :)

Honorable mentions:

A Woman's Guide to Hearing God's Voice by Leighann McCoy

Last year I read A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Warefare by Leghann McCoy and that changed my life.  This one was very, very good as well and I highly recommend both.

Calm My Anxious Heart by Lisa Dillow

I read this book for a Bible study group and have found myself referring to it as I talk to others about ways to deal with stress or anxiety.  

There are a few books that I had read years ago and re-read this year.  So while they would have made the top 10 I put them here.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I love this book.  One of my favorite of all time.  Atticus Finch is my fictional hero.

Education by Ellen White

I have't read this since I was "made to" in my education classes in high school and I found so many wonderful things in it this second time around.  Great for not only educators but parents as well.

Joseph by Terri Fivash

I was fascinated by all the things I learned about historical and ancient Egypt in this book the first time I read it, and when I had my husband read it this year I had to re-read it after him.  Really great book.

Dishonorable Mention:
Quest for the Nailprints by Don Furr. (not worthy of a picture)
Ugh.  Just save yourself the time and money.  Don't read it.