Monday, April 30, 2012

April Recap Post

Here are all the books I read and reviewed in April. I managed to update my yearly list, but I still have to update my challenge posts. I'm lazy like that!

I think I had a pretty good reading month. A lot of these books were either from Net Galley or the library.

Julia Fox - Sister Queens: The Tragic & Noble Lives of Katherine of Aragon & Juana of Castile (4/1/2012)
Elizabeth Noble - The Reading Group (4/3/2012)
Kate Lloyd - Leaving Lancaster (4/8/2012)
Leslie Meier - Bake Sale Murder (4/9/2012)
Amanda Stevens = The Kingdom (4/11/2012)
Tamer Myers - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Crime (4/12/2012)
Donna Andrews - Murder With Puffins (4/13/2012)
Allie Pleiter - Homefront Hero (4/16/2012)
Joanne Fluke - Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (4/17/2012)
Portia Da Costa - In The Flesh (4/20/2012)
Eva Clancy - Lord Atwood's Lovers A Spice Brief (4/21/2012)
Karen Harper - Return To Grace (4/24/2012)
Jamie Carie - The Forgotten Duke (4/26/2012)
Beverly Lewis - The Missing (4/27/2012)
Leslie Meier - Valentine Murder (4/29/2012)

How well did you do this month? And where did your books come from?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Book Review: Valentine Murder

Author: Leslie Meier
Title: Valentine Murder
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: February 1, 1999
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: It’s Valentine’s Day in Tinker’s Cove. And while the cupcakes Lucy Stone is baking for her children will have pink frosting and candy hearts, Lucy’s thoughts aren’t centered on sugary sentiments. She’s barely arrived at her first board meeting of the newly-renovated library when Bitsy Howell, the new librarian, is found dead in the basement, shot only minutes before story hour was to start. The agitated board members assume that Bitsy was killed by an outsider, until Detective Lt. Horowitz arrives on the scene and announces that the killer is among them.

Lucy was already aware that Bitsy’s uppity big city ways rubbed some people in Tinker’s Cove the wrong way. But she has a hunch that motives for the librarian’s violent death run a lot deeper. From Hayden Norcross’s elegant antique shop to Corney Clark’s chic kitchen, Lucy relentlessly snoops into the curious lifestyles and shocking secrets of Tinker’s Cove’s most solid citizens—secrets that will plunge her into a terrifying confrontation with a conniving killer.
Valentine Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery #6)

Review: Lucy Stone mysteries are good for a quiet afternoon. Leslie's books are shorter than your average cozy. In fact they are really about the same length as most Harlequin Romances.

I love Lucy and her family and friends. They feel like real small town people to me, when I read these books, but I have to say there are a few things that bother me, not just with this book, but with some other cozies like this.

1. How do people find other people to kill in these small towns? I mean, I've lived in a small town for all of my 37 years and there haven't been that many murders here.

2. It is 1999 and Lucy doesn't understand the internet and the web? I had my first computer in that year and I felt like I was way behind the times! What's up with that.

3. How does she get away with not turning assignments in at the newspaper. Freelance or no, a deadline's a deadline.

All these things aside, this was a really cute story. A murdered librarian. a stolen pewter tankard, and a caterer who cheats with her recipes. The clues point to so many different people and believe it or not, for as cheesy as these stories are,  you won't guess the killer. However I had a hard time figuring out what happened and to whom towards the end.

A cute fluffy read, but not one of the best in the Lucy Stone series.

Rating: 3 flowers

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: When Life Interrupts Books

I hate when life interrupts my reading. Especially when I had three books I wanted to finish today, or at least come close to finish.

But life had other plans for me. Plans that involved me losing what little was left of my mind for about 7 hours.

See this cat:


This is my Dewey aka Dewbee Doo.  I am a crazy cat lady, but of the 11, yes I said 11 cats that I own, this one has an extra special place in my heart.

She was a stray...almost feral when she started coming around my yard. It took months of coaxing, but I finally tamed her. Last fall, her companion, Creamsicle. (I name all cats even ones I can't touch) was hit by a car. Dewey and Creamsicle had lived in my yard now for a year.

They weren't my cats but they were. If that makes any sense

We gave Creamsicle a proper burial with our beloved pets, and I gave Dewey a forever home.

Today she decided she wanted adventure, and escaped when I walked in the door.

7 hours later, I finally caught her.

All the neighbors now know I'm nuts.

How did I catch her...

She came in through the bedroom window! She crawled up on the porch roof via the honeysuckle bush.

I really hope I don't have a kittens to contend with in a few months..but with my luck, she got knocked up in those hours she was outside.

That my friends, is why I got absolutely no reading done today.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: The Missing

Author:Beverly Lewis
Title The Missing
Publisher: Bethany House
Publish Date: Sept 8, 2009
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Twenty-one-year-old Grace Byler longs to find her missing mother and to uncover the secret that drove her to leave them three weeks before. Grace suspects the reason has to do with her father and his reserved, uncommunicative ways. This conviction led Grace to break off her betrothal to her quiet, staid beau, and she is now resigned to remain single. But when the young Amishman she thought was courting her best friend takes a sudden interest in her, Grace is befuddled and wonders if he can be trusted. "Englisher" Heather Lang has come to Amish country to relive fond memories of her mother and to contemplate a grave medical prognosis of her own. While in Bird-in-Hand, Heather meets Grace Byler and the two young women strike up a fast friendship, amazed by how well they click. Following the only clue they have, Grace and Heather travel together in hopes of finding Grace's mother and bringing her home. Will they find what they're looking for...or something much more?

Review: The Missing picks up where The Secret left off, such is the nature of all Beverly Lewis novels. They are like a three part made for tv movie that airs on Lifetime or Oxygen or some other girlie channel.

Certain aspects of this story were wonderful, while others were just too laid out. There are things I know are going to be found out in book three without even having to turn a page, and that makes me wonder why I'm going to read The Telling. I guess it is because, once you start something, it is hard to stop it.

In this book Grace is still trying to find clues as to where her mother had gone. There's also a new guy who wants to court her, Yonnie, who just happens to be the guy her best friend, Becky likes.

Ah the drama of being Amish.

We also see Lettie, Grace's mother and her journey to find the child she gave up for adoption some 20 + years before.

Lastly there is the english girl, Heather, suffering from Stage III non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Guess who she is? She wants to try a natural way to beat cancer. (And even though that won't be dealt with in this book, you know she will)

This story dragged, yet it was an easy read. I liked Lewis' characters, well, not so much Heather, because I really found her abandonment of traditional medicine a bit stupid, especially at Stage III of any cancer.

I'll be picking up The Telling, so I can see the rest of the story through. I have to say, I don't know why Lewis can't just write one longer book, rather than dragging her stories out through 3.

Rating: 3 Flowers

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: The Forgotten Duke

Author: Jamie Carie
Title: The Forgotten Duke A Forgotten Castles Novel
Publisher: B & H Books
Publish Date: July 1, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.
The Forgiven Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel

Review: The first thing you must know is that this book is part of a series, and when I say part of a series, I mean one that focuses on the same characters in each book. I wish I had known that before I took the plunge on this one, because you really should read The Guardian Duke before this one. Things will make a lot more sense if you do.

That said, I didn't, but I still read on. It made things a bit more challenging, because it gave me a feeling of being late for a big party, but overall, the author did her best to keep you up to date with things that had happened before the start of this book.

The book has a lot of pros and cons though.


The heroine is very strong willed. You have to admire a women who would keep on searching for her parents after they had been missing for a year, especially when the conditions she faced in her search were so dangerous.

The Christian aspect is certainly a strong part of the story, but it isn't the most important part of the story. I liked how Alexendria and Gabriel's faith felt like a natural part of their lives.

There was a lot of attention to detail, especially when the characters were in Iceland. I learned quite a bit about Icelandic Horses from this book.

Gabriel was truly the best character. He had flaws but he wasn't truly doing what he felt best and trying to do so without hurting anyone...well until that moment in Iceland. He faced quite a bit of hardship for Alex. I'm not quite sure she deserved him.


John Lemon: Is he or isn't he truly a villain? He's a character that I really had mixed feelings about. Did he really want her for her money? What really motivated him? Too many unanswered questions. Like did he really seduce Alex. ARGH!

Alexandria's feelings for the Duke. Most of the time, her running away to search for her parents seemed rash. She trusted Gabriel, why did she run? I guess I'd know if I read the first book.

I didn't like how she treated John. I understand that she needed him to keep up her search, but she really did lead him on, in a not so nice way.

OMG what the heck is the thing her parents were searching for!! This machine that the manuscript is about seems to give the story an otherworldly feel.

Overall, this was a nice regency story. I probably would have connected better with the characters if I had read the first book, but it did passably well as a stand alone. I'm definitely curious to read what happens in the final book of the trilogy.

Rating:3 flowers

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest Post: Andrea Heltsey

Check out my new book Dissolve by Andrea Heltsley For those of you who don’t know, I have just recently published my YA paranormal romance book: Dissolve.

Here are some things I want to share about the book.

Description: Everything seemed to be going right for Cora.  She had a wonderful fiance, a great best friend and a fulfilling life.  One day, a tragic event causes that life to crumble around her.  She turns to her best friend in her time of need.  They embark on a search for answers, delving deeper into a web of magic and destruction.  The closer they get to the truth, the more questions they have.  To Cora, magic was the stuff of fairy tales.  Immersed into a very different kind of world, the real storm was just beginning to take hold. “It felt like I was nowhere yet everywhere all at once.  I was invisible and completely panicked.  The millions of pieces I had dissolved to drift on the breeze and away from my nightmares.  It was kind of like floating weightless in a pool, perfectly relaxing.  The warm breeze from the window embraced and soothed me.  I let the air current carry me as far as it could through the summer city.” “Defeated, I closed my eyes and took a few calming breaths trying to relax myself.  I pictured the dandelion in the park today and took a deep breath as to blow the fluffy seeds in all directions.  I pretended I was light and fluffy and started to feel a tingling in my body.  I began to feel as light as the dandelion seeds and soon I felt like mist floating.  This time, I tried to keep myself in the room, swirling in a humid block.” Word count 81,521

Road Trip Playlist for Dissolve
Codes and Keys- Death Cab for Cutie
Dark Blue- Jack’s Mannequin
The Creationist- Kerli
Secrets - One Republic
Just Tonight- The Pretty Wreckless
Drown- Carolina Liar
AM/FM Sound- Matt & Kim
Fixed at Zero- Versa Emerge
This is For Real- Motion City Soundtrack
Done- Charlotte Sometimes
What You Want- Evanescence
Saying Sorry- Hawthorne Heights
Northern Downpour- Panic! At The Disco
Firefight- Jimmy Eat World
Make a Run for It- Hit the Lights
This is War- Thirty Seconds to Mars

An excerpt from Dissolve

Through all the mess, I managed to actually have a peaceful dream.  I dreamt I was an incandescent purple butterfly floating lightly through the summer air.  I reveled in the warm night and the soft breeze I was encompassed in.  Looking up, I revealed a gibbon’s moon waning in the inky night amongst the twinkling stars. Gentle as the breeze itself, I landed on a blade of grass.  I was surrounded by an entire field of swaying grass and I sank down to the soft earth.  Time seemed to stand still as I took in the warm peaceful night. That was when I woke up, and I meant that I really woke up.  I was lying in a meadow, the cool earth beneath me.  My blue eyes snapped open in panic.  I soon realized that the moon, the breeze and the grass were no figment of my imagination.Naked and panicked, my mind began racing as all the thoughts course through it at once.  Where was I?  How was I going to get back to the motel?  Naked and exposed, I tried to steady my breathing for fear of the panic.  I stood up, looking around under the cover of darkness.  My heart raced and then skipped a beat as I saw the motel just off to the left of my field of vision.  Knowing that I couldn’t walk back there naked, I chose the option to dissolve.  I was shaking and it was hard to gain my bearings.  Sinking down to the ground, I remembered the trick Nessa taught me.  After a few tries, I managed to succeed.  I was a dandelion and my particles were molecules floating carelessly on the wind like fluffy bits of seeds. Once again, the feeling of the soft breeze surrounded me.  I swirled with the flow of the air towards the motel and soon I was seeping into the corners of the mildew laden door.  Wasting no time, I reformed on the other side and quietly slid on my clothes.  Too freaked to process any of this, I climbed back into bed and slowed my breathing to a steady rhythm.

There will be a sequel: Detour in early 2013
Follow me at:

Learn more about Dissolve and Andrea Heltsey:
Andrea Heltsey's Bio: I am a biology nerd who loves reading just about anything paranormal and some chick lit. I enjoy sunshine and my two Italian greyhounds with my husband. I always write to music, it helps the creative process. Dissolve is my first novel. I have been writing ever since I was in grade school and have finally decided to make a career out of it. More books to come summer 2012 and 2013.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Return To Grace

Author: Karen Harper
Title: Return To Grace
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: Feb 21,2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: In the shadows of a graveyard, a SHOT rings out…

Hannah Esh fled the Home Valley Amish community with a broken heart, throwing herself into her worldly dreams of a singing career instead. But as much as she tries to run from her past, something keeps pulling her back. On a whim, she brings four worldly friends to the Amish graveyard near her family's home for a midnight party on Halloween. But when shots are fired and one of her friends is killed, Hannah is pulled back into the world of her past.

The investigation into the shooting uncovers deep-buried secrets that shock the peaceful Amish village to its core. Determined to prove her value to the community she left behind, Hannah attempts to bridge two cultures, working closely with both handsome, arrogant FBI agent Linc Armstrong and her former betrothed, Seth Lantz, now widowed with a young daughter.

Caught between Seth and Linc, between old and new, Amish and worldly, Hannah must choose her future. Unless a killer, bent on secrecy, chooses it for her.
Return to Grace

Review: Return To Grace combines two of my favorite genres, Amish Fiction and Mystery. What I loved about Karen Harper's writing is that she doesn't instill a lot of Christian elements that are found in most books containing Amish characters. She made both the English and the Amish "real."

Seth, who was Hannah's original sweetheart, got a girl pregnant, and that's why he had to break things off with her, causing her to leave the Amish before she was baptized.

Let me tell you the things that were awesome about this story:

1. I loved Hannah and Seth and how they were tied together from their past through the present and how their relationship blossomed through the murder investigation.

2. It was impossible to guess who the real culprit was in the killings, though you had a few clues toward the end of the story.

3. The story had great secondary characters that you really connect with like Ray-Lynn and the Sheriff.

4. A gripping mystery that keeps the pages turning. This isn't a cozy, but it isn't quite a thriller. It starts with a shooting on Halloween and then balloons from there.

5. She portrayed Seth as a sexual being! It isn't all prayer caps and whoopie pies! There was no sex, but there was sexual tension between the characters.

There were a few things that bugged me.

1. Why was Hannah Goth? I would have liked to have known a little more about how she turned to that lifestyle.

2. Her father told a huge lie to a record producer about her, so she wouldn't get a recording contract? Not very believable.

3. Her ease of turning away from Linc (the FBI agent) at the end. I would have liked a little more indecision there.

All in all though, the good outweighed the bad, and Karen Harper is now on my list of must read authors. This was a superb book and one I'd highly recommend if you like mysteries or Amish fiction.

Rating: 5 flowers

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Books and Being Broke

I have to admit, I'm jealous of all the people that can buy loads of books. Finances are tough here, and if it weren't for the local library, well, I'd be forced to tackle my TBR pile at home!


But it is no joke. Right now the only new books that are coming into my life have to be free. I've had some medical expenses that I didn't need or want as well as having to lose time at work because my father has doctor's appointments every two weeks, and his COPD keeps him from driving.

Ho Hum!

So all that means is my book budget is a big ole ZERO! (Unless I could get to Goodwill, but I haven't even been there in months)

Thank goodness the John K Tener Library has a good cozy mystery section, as well as a good romance section or I would be up the creek without a paddle and my boat would be leaking!

The good thing about the library is that I've discovered some older books that I might have passed up if I hadn't found my library card.

The other thing keeping me going is Net Galley. The only problem there, is that I tend to go a little request happy and I can't get to all the books I want to read.

Too many books, too little time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review: Lord Atwood's Lovers (A Spice Brief)

Author: Eva Clancy
Title: Lord Atwood's Lovers
Publisher: Spice Brief
Publish Date: June 1, 2012
Book Blurb:To the rest of the ton, Lord and Lady Atwood seem to have the perfect marriage. They wed for love and their marriage bed doesn't lack for passion—but Imogen is haunted by the memory of her first marriage…while Charles harbors secret thoughts and desires he's been unable to confess to his wife.

Then Charles's ex-lover, Alexander Lambert, arrives in town, throwing Charles into a tailspin—and awakening a surprising attraction in Imogen. Now, both have to face the possibility that they may need more than just each other to be truly complete….

Review: This is a Spice Brief, so it is a short story for the Harlequin Spice line. I wasn't sure how I felt about reading another erotic tale after the last book, but this one had an interesting premise, and I'm a sucker for erotic historical fiction.

This one is definitely a good bedtime read. If you like your stories spicy, that is. I was really amazed at how well you got to know Imogen and Charles in 43 pages. And then there's Alex, Charles' old lover. Personally, I liked him better than Charles, not that Charles did anything wrong, Alex was just more my type.

It was a good mixture of sex and plot. You came to like the characters which is somewhat difficult to accomplish in such a short story, but Eva shared some back story on Imogen and Charles. It was just enough that when you finish the last page that you'll wish that there was more. That's usually how I feel when reading these Spice briefs. I want more story!!! I want to see how the triangle manages to stay together after the initial coupling.

But for a quickie (hee hee pun intended) this was a goodie!

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: In The Flesh

Author: Portia Da Costa
Title: In The Flesh
Publisher: HQN
Publish Date: March 20, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Society already believes she's a scarlet woman. Why not become one?
Posing nude to appease her now ex-fiancé perhaps wasn't the most prudent idea Beatrice Weatherly has ever had. With the photographs scrutinized up and down the ton and her brother running them into debt, Beatrice's hopes of making a respectable marriage are dashed.

After one glance at Beatrice's infamous racy cabinet cards, wealthy, powerful Edmund Ellsworth Richie is soon obsessed with Beatrice's voluptuous figure. His indecent proposal—one month of hedonistic servitude in exchange for enough money to pay her brother's debts—is one she can hardly refuse.

Determined not to let the rogue best her, Beatrice sets out for the infamous House of Madame Chamfleur to learn how to appease Edmund's well-known appetite. Soon the couple is playing out exquisite fantasies…and feeling emotion that goes deeper than flesh. But Edmund harbors a shocking secret, and Beatrice must decide if she's prepared to give up everything for a man who can offer her nothing, but who means everything.
In the Flesh

Review: I wish I could say this was a great erotic story. The problem with it is that it is trying to be two things and it doesn't succeed in either. Portia has a great plot, but it never follows through.


The story is told through too many perspectives, Bea, Edmund Ellsworth Ritchie (and by the end of the book when you see his whole name written out, you will want to hurl your book or device at the wall), and Polly.

Along with too many insights, you have too much sex and not enough story. Bea and Richie have sex, but their relationship almost progresses in a historical romance kind of way.  Polly has sex with Bea's brother, Charlie and Ritchie's servant Jamie..who is also having sex with Charlie..oh and they all have sex together..I mean, Charlie, Polly and Jamie.

Yeah. Lots of sex here.

Oh and allow me to add...STOP CALLING IT A PUSS!!!!!


I think this could have been a great book, if it hadn't tried to be erotica. I would have liked to have known about each character, as it stands, none of the characters really make you care about them, and the sex doesn't even get you all bothered when you are reading it. The abrupt ending of certain scenes doesn't help the story much.

It took me much more time to finish this book then I wanted to. It is a shame the book was such a disappointment.

Rating: 2 flowers

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

The last time I was at the library I had a field day. I got three books and two movies! I don't usually check out films at the library, but I saw two that caught my eye, so I figured, why not!

So here's my stash..which has to go back on the 28th. ARGH! Must get to reading!

And now for the movies

So have you read these or seen the movies?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Chick Ponders Bookish Things: Erotica

You probably shouldn't read any modern erotica if your first exposure to the genre is Anais Nin or Pauline Reage. The Story Of O and Delta of the Venus are erotic perfection. There's not necessarily a happy ever after at the end and the sex, is hot and steamy, but not written for the sake of writing about sex.

I have issues with a lot of the erotica that I've read lately, especially when it takes place in a historical setting. The language is usually too modern to be believable or just too ridiculous. I'm reading an erotic historical now, and parts of it are painful. I've always laughed at the words they use to describe certain body parts in fiction. The throbbing spearhead of longing was always my favorite. I mean, wouldn't that put you off sex? I don't want a throbbing spearhead coming after my nether regions!!!

But back to the book at hand, which I'll be reviewing in a day or two. The hero calls Bea's lady parts her puss. I busted out laughing the first time I read that. Of course its better than getting all technical too.

I guess I just want my erotica to be erotic, not rude, crude and dirty. Please tell me I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Author: Joanne Fluke
Title: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: January 2008
Book Blurb: Discover the delicious mystery that started it all!
No one cooks up a delectable, suspense-filled mystery quite like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke’s dessert-baking, red-haired heroine whose gingersnaps are as tart as her comebacks, and whose penchant for solving crimes—one delicious clue at a time—has made her a bestselling favorite. And it all began on these pages, with a bakery, a murder, and some suddenly scandalous chocolate-chip crunchies. Featuring a bonus short story and brand new, mouthwatering recipes, this limited edition of the very first Hannah Swensen mystery is sure to have readers coming back for seconds…

Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer.

Who would have the sheer audacity—and the motive—to kill the most punctual delivery man Hannah ever had? Topping the list is the high school football coach. What exactly was his wife doing, making the rounds with the milkman? Could Max Turner, owner of Cozy Cow Dairy, have had a secret he didn’t want to share with his top employee? The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. Why has Lake Eden’s most prominent prodigal son, Benton Woodley, just resurfaced? And what about the mysterious Mr. Harris who seemed interested in buying the property next to the dairy, but then disappeared? This is one murder that’s starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah’s mouth. And if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)

Review: This is the reissue of the first book in the Hannah Swensen series. It comes complete with the added short story Candy For Christmas. I have to say that I'm not sure what I love the most about the series, the characters or the recipes. I made the Chocolate Chip Crunches a few weeks ago and everyone raved about them. So Joanne gets props for having awesome cookie recipes. I plan on trying a few more from this book too.

The story is like most of the others in the series, only you get to see everything from the beginning. I've read a few of the books already and I have to tell you, it doesn't matter if you read them in order or not.

This book is pure fluff, and I don't mean that in a bad way. This is the kind of fluff you reach for when you've had a bad day and you need to just enjoy your reading time. I really liked getting to see the start of Hannah's relationships with Mike and Norman. I don't usually "ship" with these stories, but finally reading this book, I have to say, I'm Team Norman.

The murders were amusing, and being the dunce that I am, I never figured out whodunit until I reached the end. I always find myself laughing when the amateur sleuths go breaking in to places and they never get in trouble, even when they find bodies there!

This edition also includes a short story, Candy For Christmas. This was really a sweet story, no murder involved here, just a runaway girl and a whole lot of great holiday cookie recipes.

Lake Eden is one of my favorite places to visit, because Hannah and her family and friends are just so much fun to spend time with!

Rating:  5 flowers

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: Homefront Hero

Author: Allie Pleiter
Title: Homefront Heroes
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical
Publish Date: May 1, 2012
Review Copy Provided By: The author
Book Blurb: Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can't help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war's final push. As soon as he's well enough, he'll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne's hero.
Homefront Hero

Review: Allie's Homefront Hero is set in one of my favorite periods of modern history, World War One. So much time is spent on Nazi Germany that The Great War is often ignored these days. So when I had the opportunity to read this book, I jumped at it.

The first thing I noticed about this book was how wonderfully real the characters were. Leanne was so real and so was John. I loved the scenes at the beginning of the book where she's trying to teach him to knit for the war effort.

John is an injured soldier that Leanne and her friend Ida meet when he's giving a speech to recruit new soldiers. His injury has made him a hero and he has a way with words that make men and women want to do his bidding. I really expected his character to be more arrogant than he was. Harlequin's are full of alpha males. But he didn't really strike me as that. What he did strike me as was very human. You could feel his frustration with his injury and you could definitely feel his desire to get back to the front lines.

John Gallows was probably the most real hero I've read in a romance novel. To make John even more wonderful, he ends up staying in SC to help the sick (Leanne included) when an influenza epidemic occurs, rather than travel to Chicago and then to flight training.

This is a sweet wartime love story. It is also Christian fiction, so there is a good measure of faith involved and the story is clean, so it can be read by any age group.

Lovely book! Oh and can I just say, I adore the cover for this book. The Love Inspired Historicals always have the prettiest covers!

Rating: 5 flowers

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Tea Time kit and the Saturday Night kit by MK-Designs