June in Review

June 30, 2014

Well, the last of June has snuck up on me. Goodness, this last week has been crazy busy and didn't realize this was the last day. I'm back on track now! :-)

It's been a good month for books again. Summer time to me is when a lot of fun and fantastic books come out. So many books, so little time!

For Review:
 The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart (Litfuse Publicity)
Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer (From the Author)
I Need Some Help Here! by Kathi Lipp (Revell Blog Tours)
A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino (Revell Blog Tours)
A Moment in Time by Tracie Peterson (Bethany House)
Review will be posted soon.
Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White (Harvest House)
Body & Soul by Bethany Hamilton (Zonderkidz)
Four Weddings & a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, & Robin Lee Hatcher (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 6/19-7/8
All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti (Litfuse Publicity)
Life Behind the Wall 3-Books in -1 by Robert Elmer (BookLook)
Review will be posted soon.

How was your month of reading?  I really enjoyed this month and I'm looking forward to July! I already quite a lineup laid out.

Stacking the Shelves (50)

June 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week you offers you the opportunity to spotlight the books you have gotten this past week. They can be the books you received as review, bought, borrowed, or won.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Litfuse Publicity)
All for a Sister by Allison Pittman (Tyndale House)

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
 A Match of Wits by Jen Turno
Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering

My TBR is growing faster then I can read, but I don't mind. I love looking at all of these wonderful books on my shelf. :-)

How was your book week?

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wishing Season

June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. It offers you the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release you are excited about.

Waiting On:
Title: The Wishing Season
Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014

From GoodReads
She daydreams of whipping up sauces and souffles in her own restaurant. His heart is set on helping foster children. Both dreams are at stake. So are their hearts.

With grand plans to open her own bed & breakfast in Chapel Springs, PJ McKinley can't afford the most crucial part: the brick and mortar. But when the owner of a local historic home announces a contest and promises her property to the worthiest candidate, PJ makes a fervent wish and tosses her name into the hat.

Cole Evans is cool, confident, and successful, but he'll never forget his roots. He's thankful for how far he's come and knows his life could have turned out drastically different. If he can win the stately old mansion, he'll turn it into a home for children aging out of the foster system.

When the eccentric house owner narrows the entries down to only two applicants, she extends the contest, giving PJ and Cole one year to prove which one of them can make the best use of her beloved home. As the pair competes in close proximity, something deeper than rivalry sparks between PJ and Cole. And in this battle, they're likely to lose their hearts.
Why I'm Waiting:
Denise Hunter was a new to me author when I read her latest book Dancing with Fireflies and I loved it! Her story had such a hold on me, I read it all in a day. I can't wait to see what will go on with the McKinley clan in this book!

What are you waiting on this week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers

June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new book related topic that gives you the opportunity to spotlight your Top Ten.

Ten Book Cover Trends I Like

The cover trend I really like is a simple one. I'm drawn to book covers that offer such a beautiful simplicity, but it fully captures the story.

The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate
Gods & Kings by Lynn Austin
The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley

I love each of these covers. As I read these stories, the covers meshed so well and you get to see how the cover offered you a wonderful glance into the story before you even read it.

Review: Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White

June 21, 2014

Title: Circle of Spies
Author: Roseanna M. White
Publisher: Harvest House
Pages: 361
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5103-6
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

1865—Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle—a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for—has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?

Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him—it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.

Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?
I've probably have mention this a time or two before, but I'll say it again, I love books based around the Civil War. I love that era. There is so much that happened during that time. So, it is safe to say that if there is a book set in that time, I'm going to do my level headed best to read it!

Circle of Spies did no disappoint. This book brings your right into the story with out any preamble. Gettysburg is over but the nation still battles, families all over the nation are in mourning, and our heroine, Mari is brought into her families business when she discovers something about her deceased husband and his brother, who is trying to court her, from her grandfather that is dark and disturbing.

Intriguing right?

I enjoyed this story right from the start. Mari is handed some staggering information, and in her stubborn style, she has to verify the information herself. In doing so reveals to everyone the secret underground society in the northern boarder states, that her deceased husband was in charge of and now her brother-in-law has taken over, for southern sympathizers who want to find a way to win for the South through spying. However, the Culper Ring isn't the only agency on to this group, the Pinkerton agents have infiltrated with a mole. A cool and closed off individual, Slade, who knows he has to walk a fine line showing is support for the group, while gaining the information he needs.

The setting was fantastic, each of the characters were unique and played off of each other well. I also enjoyed seeing Mari's grandparents in this story, they were the focus in Whispers from the Shadows, Thad and Gwyn. They were spunkier in this story and offered a bit of a laugh.

The nation collides it seems in this story not only on the battlefield but in the homes as each group of spies is doing their best to help their side in secret. The story also makes you question, how well do you really know the people around you? Mari is surrounded by people she believes thinks the same way she does, but that isn't the case. It's interesting how material possessions and connections can play such a big role in perception, especially in Mari's case.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Roseanna M. White pens her novels under the Betsy Ross flag hanging above her desk, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When she isn’t writing fiction, she’s editing it for WhiteFire Publishing or reviewing it for the Christian Review of Books, both of which she cofounded with her husband. www.roseannawhite.com

Thank you to Harvest House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Stacking the Shelves (49)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week offers you the opportunity to spotlight the books you got this past week. They can be the book you received for review, bought, borrowed, or won.

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green

I love Civil War era books and I have to say, I've been really looking forward to getting the 3rd in the Heroines Behind the Lines series. I love the historical aspects in each of Jocelyn's novels.

How was your book week?

Review: Body & Soul: A Girl's Guide to a Fit, Fun, and Fabulous Life by Bethany Hamilton

June 20, 2014

Title: Body & Soul: A Girl's Guide to a Fit, Fun, and Fabulous Life
Author: Bethany Hamilton w/ Dustin Dillberg
Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 157
ISBN: 978-0-310-73105-4
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014

Bethany Hamilton has become a fitness expert by virtue of being a professional athlete who has excelled---and she's done it while overcoming incredible challenges. Whether you know Bethany or not, whether you surf or not, everyone has challenges, and in Body and amp; Soul, Bethany shares some of her core experiences with body, mind and spirit. Sharing her expertise as an athlete, Body and amp; Soul helps young girls develop a healthy lifestyle, understand their changing bodies, gain confidence, and establish a pattern of healthy living starting at a young age. This book includes workouts specially developed for young girls by Bethany’s personal trainer, recipes and information on healthy eating based on “Bethany’s food pyramid,” which follows the Mediterranean diet, and advice on deepening your spiritual health, for a total body wellness book perfect for growing girls. This isn't a book about Bethany, this is a book about wellness, becoming your best “you,” through physical and spiritual balance, because spiritual health is just as important as physical health.
Being a preteen-teenager is hard. It was the most awkward part of my life and I still shutter at pictures from that time. Granted for a part of that time I had a loose perm (don't judge, it was the the 90's and there were no flat irons at that time). But that wasn't the most difficult time. It was the not knowing of how to take care of myself in a healthy way. Starting those habits need to be started early, and I didn't know where to start, and like a stubborn teen, I didn't want to talk to my parents. Some of the books I found, they were dry and just didn't click with me.

I want to avoid that with my kiddo, so I was interested to see what Body & Soul was like. I remember the story of Bethany Hamilton from years ago and then really liked the movie Soul Surfer that came out a few years ago. I figured, if there was anyone who could relate with girls, she was the girl. Every time I saw her in interviews or hear her story, she always was positive and was a wonderful motivator, and she had a wonderful passion for Jesus.

I have to say, that the book she crafted with the help of her trainer really is a wonderful book for girls. It is a positive book that offers such encouragement that is needed at that age. It also presents the reader with a wonderful assortment of workouts and some fantastic recipes, simple, but good and healthy ideas. I loved how there was so much ginger. I feel in love with ginger when I was pregnant, it was one of the few things that helped my stomach. I love seeing the different ideas to add it to.

This book focused on healthy eating and clean living, but it also focused on confidence. What a hard struggle for a girl to battle in this day and age and Bethany covered it well and incorporated some wonderful verses through out the book.

I think this book is wonderful for mothers of girls and for preteen/teenage girls. It is a wonderful mix of information.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Bethany Hamilton: Bethany has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of determination, faith and hope. In 2003, Bethany lost her left arm while surfing to a 14-foot tiger shark. Rather than let her career as a rising surf star come crashing down, Bethany miraculously returned to the water one month after the attack, a year later won her first National title, and has since realized her dream of surfing professionally. Her unbelievably positive attitude fascinated the world, and her story has been told in an autobiography and later adapted to the 2011 film, Soul Surfer. Bethany and her husband, Adam Dirks, are involved in many charitable efforts, including Friends of Bethany, which she and her family created to help shark attack survivors, traumatic amputees, and serves to inspire others through her life story. Now as a professional surfer, motivational speaker, and healthy lifestyle advocate, Bethany continues to touch and inspire lives globally.

Thank you to Zondervan, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week features a book related topic that allows you to spotlight your Top Ten.

Top Ten Twelve Books On My Summer TBR list

Some of these books are on my TBR shelf as the next in line to read or they soon will be. I'm looking forward to them all! I couldn't keep it at 10 this week. And there are many other that I just couldn't list!

1. Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund
2. Four Weddings and a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, & Robin Lee Hatcher
3. A Moment in Time by Tracie Peterson
4. Persecuted by Robin Parrish
5. Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green
6. Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz
7. Body & Soul by Bethany Hamilton
8. Life Behind the Wall by Robert Elmer
9. A Match of Wits by Jen Turano
10. With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden
11. Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering
12. All For a Sister by Allison Pittman

I may not be a fan of summer because of the heat, but I do love the books that come out this time of year!

What's on your list for the summer?

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