Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Merely Magic by Patricia Rice (Book Review)

Title: Merely Magic
Author: Patricia Rice
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

She has the magic as her birthright. . .

Ninian is a healer, but she's a Malcolm first and foremost, and Malcolms have always had a bit of magic -- unpredictable though it is -- to aid them in their pursuits.  She knows she must accept what she is or perish, but then Lord Drogo Ives arrives, bringing the deepest, most powerful magic she's ever experienced and turning Ninian's world upside down. . .

A man of science doesn't believe in anything he can't see. . .

Drogo Ives has no time for foolish musings or legends, even if he can't seem to resist the local witch.  Thrown together by a series of disastrous events, Ninian won't give herself fully to Drogo until she can make him trust and believe in her, and that's the last thing he'll ever do. . .

As the danger and chaos surrounding them escalates, Drogo and Ninian will be forced to decide: their love or their lives. . .

My thoughts: This book pulled me in from the beginning. Even the setting is magical - a village in the woods, secluded.  Everything sounded lush and green, until they discovered that something was poisoning the water.  Ninian discovers this just as she meets Drogo - because the stream is on his property that she collects her plants from for her cures.  She is the local healer - it is what she was born to do and all that she knows. Even the villagers steer clear of her unless they have need of her potions.

Drogo on the other hand is city bred and lives by logic.  He does not trust anything mystical or magical - or let's just say he doesn't believe in it.  He is the oldest Ives brother and has spent his entire life making sure that the rest of his family is provided for.  This leaves him alone with just his ledgers and his books most of the time.

Somehow these two lonely people are thrown together - well, they have help from Drogo's half sister Sarah, who seems to think that Ninian is the only one who can have Drogo's child.  I love the way that they fight each other through out the whole book - both wanting what they think they can't have.  It is almost like they can't see what is standing right in front of them. 

This is a reprint as this book was first published about 10 years ago.  It is the first in a series and I am looking forward to learning more about these two families - the Ives and the Malcolms.  They have a rich history and much legend in the village is built around what would happen if two of them ever got together.  If you like the current batch of paranormal/historical romances that are out, I would recommend giving this one a shot!

~I received a  complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my review.~

Merely Magic (Magic Series)
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Reprint March 1, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4022-5193-1
352 pages

Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent (Book Review)

Title: Murder Takes the Cake
Author: Gayle Trent
Publisher: Gallery Books

A routine cake delivery becomes a culinary nightmare when a small-town baker discovers her first client's dead body in this irresistible new mystery series.

It'll take more than a little sugar to convince folks Daphne Martin's freshly baked spice cake was not to blame for the mysterious death of town gossip Yodel Watson.  Getting her new cake decorating business, Daphne's Delectable Cakes, off the ground is hard enough now that Daphne's moved back to her southern Virginia hometown, but orders have been even slower since she found Yodel's body.  She soon realizes, however, that just about everybody in town had a reason to poison the cantankerous busybody, from the philandering pet shop owner, to Yodel's church potluck nemesis, to the Save-A-Buck's cranky produce manager-turned-bagger.  Now, to help prove she's no confectionary killer, Daphne recruits her old flame, Ben Jacobs, editor of the local newspaper, and quickly stirs up a long-hidden family scandal that just might hold the secret ingredient she needs to solve the case.  All she's got to do is roll up her sleeves and get her hands a little dirty before the real culprit decides that taking sweet revenge on Daphne will be icing on the cake.

My thoughts:  This was a fun cozy mystery to read.  It is the typical small town where everybody knows everybody else's business - or at least they think they do. And the more you learn, the more secrets are uncovered.  Daphne is a fun character and has a good sense of humor.  She tends to plunge into situations without thinking too much about the repercussions - which is, of course, what is necessary in a cozy mystery!  Otherwise how would the crime ever be solved?  :)    This is a revised edition as the original book came out a couple of years ago.  I am glad that it did as I would not have been introduced to this author.  There is a second book out in the series, Dead Pan, which I have added to my TBR list.

The book also contains lots of cake decorating tips which has given me the urge to want to decorate a cake!  She includes the recipes in the back of the book for the cakes in the story as well - YUM!

~I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Gallery Books.~

Murder Takes the Cake: A Daphne Martin Cake Mystery (Daphne Reynolds Cake Mysteries)
Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery, Reprint edition, March 29, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0001-8
288 pages

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Wild Card Tour: God's Healing Words (Book Review)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

My thoughts:  When you hear the title of this book - you might think "This isn't for me, I am not sick," but the book goes much deeper than just physical healing. It starts out talking about who God is and why he wants us - no, has promised us healing.  This healing just isn't for they physically ill.  It is for anyone who may be suffering depression, or a broken marriage, or problems with children.

Each chapter focuses on a different  area of your life where you may need healing.  At the end of each chapter are great scriptures regarding - Principles for your Healing, Promises for your Healing, Prayers for your Healing and Praise for your Healing.  It isn't really a book that I might pick up to read, or to have daily devotions from, but it will be one that I keep near when I need comfort either physically, mentally or spiritually.  It would make an excellent gift for those needing to "heal" areas of their life.

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Siloam (March 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


With more than four million books sold, Siloam is the undisputed leader in Christian health publishing with over two hundred published books. The combined experience of Siloam’s authors represents more than three hundred years of experience, research, and wealth of knowledge. Now we are pleased to offer you this inspirational book on healing.


This insightful little book provides you with what the Bible has to say about healing, allowing you to meditate on healing scriptures, and then pray for yourself and your loved ones to receive the precious promise of healing God has given us in the Bible.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Siloam (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781616381554
ISBN-13: 978-1616381554
ASIN: 1616381558


I am the Lord who heals you.

—Exodus 15:26

The three-year-old girl was asked by the reporter to tell him her father’s name. She looked bewildered, grasped her father’s hand more tightly, and then replied softly, “Daddy.” Her father—a five-star army general and highly decorated, powerfully influential man—smiled tenderly at his daughter upon hearing her response. To her young mind, he was not a man in her life with auspicious titles, honors, or even a first and last name. He was only a very special person she called “Daddy.” In that title resided all she needed in her young life: love, provision, protection, fun, security, and comfort. To others he might be “General” or “Sir”; to this little girl he was simply “Daddy.” What’s in a name? According to Webster’s dictionary, a name is a “designated distinction of a person or thing.” It describes the character, quality, status, location, and significance of whatever it is attached to. Names of persons in biblical cultures had much greater significance of meaning than they do in our modern culture. They reflected an aspect of the nature of the person. Often a child was named “prophetically” according to a defining characteristic, divine destiny, or a significant event surrounding his or her birth.

The better we know Jesus, the more we are convinced of the magnitude of His redemption! We have done nothing to deserve it, and we can do nothing to repay Him for it. [His redemption] was born in Love, cradled in Mercy, and imparted in Grace. It covers body, soul, and spirit! It touches every part of man. It permeates his will. It transforms his nature. It converts his disposition. So wonderful is it in its operation that not in doctrine, but in actuality, we are made new creations in Christ Jesus! —Charles S. Price

For example, Jacob, which means “supplanter or cheat,”2 characterized the deceitful nature of this son of Isaac who stole the birthright from his brother and tricked his father into giving him the patriarchal blessing that belonged to his twin. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (“God rules” or “a prince of God”) after Jacob’s redemptive encounter with God.

A son of Phinehas the priest was born when the ark of the covenant was being stolen from backslidden Israel in their defeat at the hands of their enemies. The ark was the habitation for the glory of God’s presence to live among them. So his mother named the baby Ichabod, which means “no glory.” His name characterized the tragic event that occurred at the time of his birth.

Joseph was a follower of Christ whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement or consolation” (Acts 4:36). He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need (v. 37). And he was the first to befriend Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul) when the other apostles were afraid of him.

Barnabas defended Saul and helped convince the churches that he had truly been converted and was no longer a danger to believers. Barnabas’s life reflected the meaning of his name; he was known for encouraging and consoling those in need.

In that same way, God reveals His character by the names He designates to Himself. His predominant name is Jehovah, which occurs more than six thousand times in the Bible.4 Jehovah signifies one supreme God and Lord, the one true God, the “existing One.”

When God told Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, He instructed Moses to tell the people, “I AM has sent me to you” (Exod. 3:14). To our minds, “I AM” begs for a qualifier, a limiting description to follow the present tense of the “to be” verb: I am . . . what? Without that qualifier, we must understand that God has no limits; He is supreme over all—Creator, God, Lord, ruler of the universe, and a thousand other “qualifiers”

that reveal to us His character and nature.

Awesome is the only word that describes this great, infinite, all-powerful Lord God, Jehovah. As finite creatures we feel insignificant and powerless before such infinite greatness. Though God is the great I AM, without limitations, it may seem astounding that He prefers to be known to us as “Daddy.”

This revelation of God as our Father is the greatest insight we can receive into the nature of the loving heart of God. His entire premise for creating mankind, according to the Scriptures, was to have a family—sons and daughters who would learn to know Him as “Abba Father”:

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

—Romans 8:15–16, kjv

What caring parent does not suffer when they see their child in pain, sick, or distressed? Many have said they would rather be enduring what their child is enduring than to see their little one suffer. How much more does love Himself (“God is love”—1 John 4:8) suffer when He sees one of His children in distress? It stands to reason that the I AM would have a solution to the misery of His children. He desires to fill our hearts with His joy.

One of those wonderful qualifiers of I AM that God gave to His people Israel is Jehovah Rapha, which means “I am the Lord who heals you” (Exod. 15:26). Rapha’ means “to heal” in a broad sense and can refer to being the physician of men literally, as He meant it here when He first revealed His healing nature. It also refers to healing individual distresses, hurts of nations, restored favor, healing bitter waters, and any other situation that requires restoration to wholeness.

F. F. Bosworth explains the significance of the healing name of God: “Jehovah-Rapha is the name given to reveal to us our redemptive privilege of being healed. This privilege is purchased by the Atonement. . . . This is as sacred and binding on every church today as the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Christian baptism. Jehovah-Rapha is one of His redemptive names, sealing the covenant of healing.”7 Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. —Corrie ten Boom 8 You cannot divorce God from His names and expect to know the living God, the I AM. He is who He says He is, or He is not God. And God never changes. This principle of His unchangeableness repudiates any false claim that He is one kind of God in the Old Testament and another in the New Testament.

Rather, we understand that God’s unfolding revelation of His person, character, and nature were partially revealed in the Old Testament. God’s nature was revealed perfectly through His Son, Jesus, in the New Testament. Jesus taught His disciples that He came to reveal the Father. He said, “If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (John 14:7).

We can only conclude that since the time God revealed Himself to Israel as Jehovah Rapha—“the Lord that heals”— He has continued to be the healer to His children. He has not changed His name. Jesus confirmed that fact by performing wonderful miracles of healing when He walked on the earth.

As our loving heavenly Father, God offers us His very nature, the divine attribute of His healing love. He cannot change His character. He declared through His prophet, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not a human, so he does not change his mind” (Num. 23:19). Today God says to you, “I AM Jehovah Rapha—the Lord, your healer.”

Smith Wigglesworth, world-renowned British evangelist known for his powerful healing ministry, is credited with raising at least fourteen people from the dead. He and his wife founded a mission in the poor part of town and reached out to needy people all their lives. Wigglesworth’s ministry took him to many nations, where the blind would see, the deaf were healed, people came out of wheelchairs, and cancers were destroyed.

As a believer, you will receive your ultimate healing in the context of being prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2). You will be fully satisfied with the greatest intimacy with your blessed Savior that is possible. —James P. Gills, MD

Wigglesworth, known as the apostle of faith, placed all his faith in the power of the name of Jesus. In his book, Smith Wigglesworth on Healing, he tells the story of a church leader who was very ill; he was bedfast and too weak to walk. The minister sent for friends to come and pray “the prayer of faith” for him (James 5:14–15). They came and anointed him with oil according to the scriptural pattern, but nothing happened. When they left, sadly, their leader’s condition was unchanged.

Once outside, one of the six said, “There is one thing we could have done. I wish you would all go back with me and try it.” They all went back and began to whisper the name of Jesus over this clergyman. At first, nothing seemed to happen. But as they continued to whisper “Jesus,” they saw that God was beginning to work. In a few minutes, the man rose from his bed and dressed himself, completely healed. Their faith grasped the power in His name. Smith Wigglesworth exclaimed, “Oh, if people would only appreciate the power in this name, there is no telling what would happen.”

As you rejoice in the fact that healing is available in the name of God and that His desire to heal is reflected in His very nature, you can live life as a recipient of God’s covenant of healing.

Principles for Your Healing

[God’s name, Jehovah Rapha, reveals His identity as the God who heals:] I am the Lord who heals you.

—Exodus 15:26

God is not a man, so he does not lie.

—Numbers 23:19

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

—Proverbs 18:10, kjv

Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence!

—Psalm 68:4

Promises for Your Healing

I am the Lord [Jehovah], and I do not change.

—Malachi 3:6

You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

—John 14:13–14

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

—Hebrews 13:8

Prayers for Your Healing

You are my refuge, O God, and I rejoice in You. I will sing joyful praises to You forever. Protect me, so that I will be filled with joy. I will love Your name forever!

—From Psalm 5:11

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until You restore me? Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of Your unfailing love. Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my

body is in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until You restore me? Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of Your unfailing love.

—Psalm 6:2–4

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but I will remember the name of the Lord my God. Save me, Lord: let the king hear me when I call.

—From Psalm 20:7, 9

Blessed be the name of the Lord forever and ever. Who can be compared with the Lord my God who is enthroned on high? He lifts the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage dump.

—From Psalm 113:2, 5, 7

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

—Mark 10:47

Praise for Your Healing

The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake! The Lord is great in Zion, and He is exalted above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name; holy is He!

—Psalm 99:1–3, nas

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name.

—Psalm 138:1–2

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Mar 28, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 

Currently Reading:  
Merely Magic (Magic (Sourcebooks Casablanca)) by Patricia Rice

Next Up:
Legacy by Jeanette Baker
Surrender the Dark by L.A. Banks
The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

Sudden Moves: A Young Adult Mystery by Kelli Sue Landon

Next E-Books up:
The Witches Lottery (Enchanted Island Series) by Krystal McLaughlin
Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford
Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler

Bathroom Book:
Murder Takes the Cake: A Daphne Martin Cake Mystery by Gayle Trent

Audio Book
One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, No. 1) by Janet Evanovich

Reviewed Last Week:
The Truth About Vampires by Theresa Meyers
Darklands: A Vampire's Tale by Donna Burgess
It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare
Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington

Waiting for Reviews:

Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing/Waking Up in the Land of Glitter
The Truth About Vampires

Upcoming giveaways:
The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
Redeemer by Jeffrey S. Williams
Daddy's Little Squirrel by Kayla Shurley Davidson



I have some winners to announce!

Seduced by Destiny was won by:

Hana Kabashi

Highland Master was won by:


All winners have been emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Happy Reading!

Mailbox Monday (Mar 28, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday's host for March is I'm Booking It. In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 

Until Tuesday
by Luis Carlos Montalvan
with Bret Witter

"We aren't just service dog and master; Tuesday and I are also best friends.  Kindred souls.  Brothers. Whatever you want to call it. We weren't made for each other, but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed."

Until Tuesday is the true and touching story of a wounded man and a wounded dog -- and how they came together to help make each other whole.  A highly decorated former Captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalvan, served two tours of duty in Iraq.  After returning home from combat, the pressures of his physical injuries, agoraphobia, and crippling post traumatic stress disorder proved more than he could endure.  Haunted by images of war, he found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or ride the subway without intense pain and difficulty, and wondered if he would ever recover.

Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever, had suffered his own heartbreaks during his intensive training to become a service dog.  He had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives on his way to Luis, but the rigorous training and separation anxiety he endured when passed from one trainer to the next caused him significant emotional and behavioral problems.  So, when Tuesday was finally placed with Luis, it was a match made in heaven.  Until Tuesday tells the inspiring unforgettable story of how these two wounded warriors, man and dog, found salvation together. 

Secret Daughter
by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Somer's life is everything she imagined it would be -- she's newly married and has started her career as a physician in San Francisco -- until she makes the devastating discovery she never will be able to have children.

The same year in India, a poor mother makes the heartbreaking choice to save her newborn daughter's life by giving her away.  It is a decision that will haunt Kavita for the rest of her life, and cause a ripple effect that travels across the world and back again.

Asha, adopted out of a Mumbai orphanage, is the child that binds the destinies of these two women.  We follow both families, invisibly connected until Asha's journey of self-discovery leads her back to India.

Compulsively readable and deeply touching, Secret Daughter is a story of the unforeseen ways in which our choices and families affect our lives, and the indelible power of love in all its many forms. 

Sons and Princes
by James LePore

Chris Massi has been running from his world his entire life.

The son of a Mafia assassin and the former son-in-law of a mob kingpin, Massi has tried to stay on the right side of the law, building a prestigious career as an attorney, and insulating his children as much as possible.  But now a series of tragedies have left him without a law license and without several of his loved ones.  And at the same time, his teenaged son is beginning to gravitate toward the gangster world Chris has tried so hard to protect him from.

Michele Mathias has been running away from her life for more than a decade. Once a promising young woman with a future, she's now a drug addicted street player living with the knowledge that her daughter -- the only bright thing in her life -- was taken away from her.  When her roommate is murdered in a mob-related hit, her life intersects with Chris's life -- and their worlds change forever.

For Chris, a showdown is coming.  The only way for him to save his son and regain his future is to face -- and maybe even embrace -- the demon he's always avoided.  For Michele, her last chance at redemption has arrived.  How their journeys collide with the dark New York underworld is the stuff of the kind of suspenseful, passionate drama we've come to expect from James LePore. 

The Baby Planner
by Josie Brown

First comes love, then comes marriage.
Who added the designer baby carriage?

In a world where zygotes need preschool applications and the wrong stroller can label you an unfit mother, pregnant professionals turn to Katie Johnson, San Francisco's most prestigious baby planner, long before their baby bumps become obvious under their Armani suits.  But setting up her clients with the latest must-have baby gadgets, top-notch doulas, and most desirable playgroups is just the start.  For the anxious mommies who have her on speed dial, Katie is also therapist, referee, and best friend all in one.

Secretly, however, Katie longs for a baby of her own.  Her husband, Alex, refuses to do more than what he calls keeping an open mind, but when he gives her reason to doubt he means even that, Katie throws herself into helping her most clueless client of all.  Seth Harris is raising his newborn daughter solo, and as Katie helps him navigate his difficult journey, she realizes that life, love, and families are precious gifts. . . ones that can't always be planned. 

Heart of Deception
by M.L. Malcolm

From M.L. Malcolm, the acclaimed author of Heart of Lies, comes a powerful sequel that spans the years from World War II to the turbulent 1960's -- the riveting story of a family struggling with choices forced upon them by war. . . and the consequences that will take a generation to unfold.

A man of many contradictions, Leo Hoffman is a Hungarian national with a French passport, a wealthy businessman with no visible means of support, and a devoted father who hasn't seen his daughter in years.  He is also a spy.

Recruited by the Allies to help lay the groundwork for their invasion of North Africa, Leo intends to engage in as little espionage as possible -- just enough to earn his American citizenship so he can get to New York and reunite with his daughter, Maddy.  But while Leo dodges death in France and Morocco, Maddy is learning shocking truths about her father's mysterious past -- haunting knowledge that will compel her down her own dangerous path of deception and discovery. 

Red on Red
by Edward Conlon

From the author of the celebrated bestseller Blue Blood comes this highly anticipated fiction debut.  In Red on Red, Edward Conlon tells the story of two NYPD detectives, Meehan and Esposito: one damaged and introspective, the other ambitious and unscrupulous.  Meehan is compelled by haunting and elusive stories that defy easy resolution, while Esposito is drawn to cases of rough and ordinary combat.  A fierce and unlikely friendship develops between them and plays out against a tangle of mysteries:  a lonely immigrant who hangs herself in Inwood Hill Park, a serial rapist preying on upper Manhattan, a troubled Catholic schoolgirl who appears in the wrong place with uncanny regularity, and a savage gang war that erupts over a case of mistaken identity.  Red on Red captures the vibrant dynamic of a successful police partnership -- the tests of loyalty, the necessary betrayals, the wedding of life and work -- and tells an unrelenting and exciting story that captures the grittiness, complexity, ironies, and compromises of life on the Job. 

Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion

R is a young man with an existential crisis -- he is a zombie.  He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.  His ability to connect with the outside world is limited to a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend.  Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R.  His choice to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.  Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies explores what happens when the cold heart of a zombie is tempted by the warmth of human love. 

Ghellow Road
by T.H. Waters

Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl's journey through life.  Theresa's story begins in a large midwestern city where she is born to loving parents in 1965.  For a brief moment in time, her life is full, as is her heart, and the world is hers to receive without consequence.  As time passes and Theresa grows, supernatural forces begin to shape her existence, no matter how carefully her father colors the empty spaces of her world.  After a series of tragic events.  Theresa and her family seek refuge in a small Minnesota town nestled near the shores of Rainy Lake.  She creates a new life for herself there, sharing adventures with friends and riding the ups and downs of adolescence.  Yet through it all, her mother remains forever lost in the prison of her own mind and forever lost to Theresa.  The young girl feels as though she is leading a double life, one that no one else could possibly understand.  She begins to peer at the world as if looking through a thick, black veil, never certain which pieces are illusion and which are not.  Through the kindness and support of the townspeople, she eventually summons the strength to survive.  This is a story of tragedy and triumph.  This is the story of my life. . .

Economic Meltdown: A Family Preparedness Plan for Disaster
by Karen McHale

It's 2012 -- Did the world end yet?

Inflation in the United States is at 27%, unemployment at 32%.  The dollar is only worth 49 cents and the DOW can't seem to rise above 3,217.  Gas is $15 a gallon and now there is no electricity.  What if there was a meltdown of the United States financial system and the government isn't there to save you?

A man-made disaster is looming and is your family prepared for famines or runaway inflation that may send the US dollar into free fall.  What would you do?  How would you feed your family?  Are you prepared to take care of yourself?

In Economic Meltdown, emergency planner Karen McHale takes you on a fast paced ride and shows you what could happen and how to prepare for it.

I won this next one in a giveaway from the author.

The Tudor Secret
by C. W. Gortner

The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and above all, spies.

Summer 1553: a time of danger and deceit.  Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family.  Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king's brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth.  But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth's protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seirously ill brother, King Edward VI.  With only a bold stable boy and audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder.  Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington (Book Review)

TitleTrakk.com Blog Tours Presents:

Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House

Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free?

My thoughts:  I met some of these characters in Thicker than Blood, which I enjoyed very much.  I felt for Roxi right from the beginning - must be the mom in me.  She seemed like such a good kid and was just craving someone to take notice of her and be proud of her.  Because of this she was willing to do what she knew was wrong in the hopes that her mom's cousin and her current foster mom would be proud of her.  When one of their planned robberies goes bad, Roxi has had enough and decides to head out on her own.

Even though she doesn't know it, God is preparing the road ahead of her and puts people in her path that help her make the right decisions.  It is a great story about forgiveness - both for the people DOING the forgiving and those NEEDING it. 

Like Thicker than Blood, it is definitely not a preachy book but very much sets down beliefs in a "take it or leave it" fashion.  A reader does not need to have the same beliefs to enjoy and be touched by this story.  I found myself with tears in my eyes a couple of times while reading this one. Keep writing C.J. - can't wait to see what you have in store next!

Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
--Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author

C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
--Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles

This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild

Watch the book trailer:

About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site http://www.titletrakk.com/ with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website http://www.cjdarlington.com/


It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare (Book Review)

Title: It Happened One Bite
Author: Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

He's lost, trapped, doomed for all eternity. . .

Rich titled, and undead, gentleman vampyre James Maitland, Lord Kettering, fears himself doomed to a cold and lonely existence -- trapped for decades in an abandoned castle.  Then, beautiful Scottish witch Blaire Lindsay arrives and things begin to heat up considerably. . .

Unless he can persuade her to set him free. . .

Feisty Blaire Lindsay laughs off the local gossip surrounding her mother's ancestral home -- stories of haunting cannot scare off this battle-born witch.  But when she discovers the handsome prisoner in the bowels of the castle.  Blaire has no idea that she has unleashed anything more than a man who sets her heart on fire. . .

My thoughts: This is the first book in Lydia Dare's new Gentleman Vampire series, with two more books due out later this year.  What I found interesting about this series though, is that you meet some of the coven of witches in it from her Westfield Wolves series (A Certain Wolfish Charm, Tall Dark and Wolfish, The Wolf Next Door, and The Taming of the Wolf.)Two of which I have previously reviewed and enjoyed.

Where I have previously raved over Lydia Dare's lycans, I have now come to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be lycans to make me love her books - it is just her books!  This was a quick read with quite the romantic conclusion. 

Blaire is very headstrong and doesn't listen to any man in her life.  She had grown up with an abusive drunken father so pretty much raised herself and her brothers.  So even though one of her brothers is older than her, she is the one who pretty much rules the roost. When she discovers the man locked in the cellar of the castle that her brother has just inherited, she not only lets him out, but invites him to stay!  Because she is a "battle-born" witch, she thinks that she is able to handle any situation - but she has never been up against vampyres before. It is a good thing that Lord Kettering is taken with her and vows to protect her - as he has a couple of vampyres that have been looking for him for the last 20 years.

Lord Kettering and his good friend and creator Matthew Blodswell aren't your run-of-the-mill vampyres.  They are truly the gentleman vampyres that the series suggest.  They do not kill for food and they never change a person into a vampyre unless the person wants to be changed. (They reminded me of the vampires from The Twilight series - difference is that this all takes place in the early 1800's.)

Being a paranormal romance, you have to ask about the sex scenes.  Yes, there are sex scenes in the book, but I found them to be romantic - the kind you read while sort of holding your breath just waiting for what will happen next.

I am definitely a Lydia Dare fan and can't wait for the next book in the series.  In the Heat of the Bite is due out in July with Never Been Bit following in September of this year.

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my review.~

It Happened One Bite
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4507-7
416 pages

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting ready for the read-a-thon!

The read-a-thon is almost here!  It has been penciled in on my calendar for months and a babysitter for my son has been lined up.  He gets to go spend the night at his aunt's house, which I think is his favorite place to be, so I know he will be having fun!  Now I just need to find a sitter for my husband

I am hoping that the weather continues to warm up so that I can read in my favorite spot - our new three season room!  Ok, it has been 2 years since we put it in, but it still feels new to me!  We are still searching for the right lighting for this room though.   What do you think of this one?

I kind of like it because it doesn't look like a floor lamp - I think it sort of looks like a table lamp.  I don't know whether that makes it cool or weird. (lol) 
Are you going to be reading in the read-a-thon?  What is your favorite place to read?  Do you like natural light or table lamps?  I'm counting the days!

Giveaway Announcement!

EZ Read is having a book giveaway in honor of the new Jane Eyre movie out this month.  They were offering some movie tickets, but the time for that has already passed - but you still have time to win won of 5 copies of the new Penguin classics hardcover edition of Jane Eyre.  Just go here to enter.  The contest ends March 31.

Darklands: A Vampire's Tale by Donna Burgess (Book Review)

Title: Darklands: A Vampire's Tale (Darklands Vampires)
Author: Donna Burgess
Publisher: Naked Snake Press

Halloween night, twenty years ago, college student Susan Archer watched as her beloved twin brother was brutally murdered at the hands of a stranger she invited into their home. Still haunted by the guilt of that night, Susan is now a tough but bitter cop in a nowhere town, trying as best she can to lead a normal life. When she is nearly killed during a wild shoot-out, she realizes she is not as strong as she first thought.

Fearing a breakdown, she flees the confines of her safe boyfriend and familiar surroundings to find salvation in the arms of “Deathwalker” Devin McCree—the very man who killed her brother.

But things aren’t always what they seem and she quickly realizes Devin was not the monster she originally thought, but a kind of guardian angel instead.

On the run from a crazed Nazi vampire-hunter named Kasper, she and Devin must find a way to endure the dreary urban landscape of a dying metropolis and escape Kasper’s wrath.

Darklands: A Vampire’s Tale is a sexy and violent tale of survival, bloodlust and two people grasping to the edge of immortality while trying to hang on the last shreds of their humanity.

My Thoughts:  This was the opposite side of the coin from The Truth About Vampires that I reviewed yesterday.  It was the dark, seamier side of being a vampire - complete with lots of gore, violence, and sex.  The majority of the story takes place in a little seaside town called Dunwich.  This is where Susan and her brother Peter were living when he was killed.  She had since moved away, but when Devin reentered her life they wound up back in Dunwich.  It was not the Dunwich she remembered though, and I loved the was Ms. Burgess made you feel like you were in a deserted town that was filled with transients, lost souls, druggies. . .very dystopian.  Like many seaside towns it is complete with an amusement park, long since deserted, which contains creepy aspects all by itself.

She fills you in with just enough of the past through flashbacks to leave you wanting to know more about the main characters and how they became the people or things that they are in the present.  As this is just the first book in the series though, she doesn't give you everything.  There is still a lot of history between Kasper and Devin that is unknown.

I liked Susan's character and how she changed through out the course of the book.  In the beginning she was just a young college kid looking for a good time - which inevitably led to her brother's death.  Now, years later, if you didn't look too close, you would think that she had a pretty good life and relationship with her live-in, Michael.  Underneath though, she still seemed to be drifting, never really getting passed Peter's death.

When Devin resurfaces after all this time, it doesn't appear that she willingly goes with him, but that he forces her hand.  I think she was just looking for an excuse to leave her mundane life and try to figure out where she fit. I see her becoming stronger throughout the book and beginning to embrace her new lifestyle - to go from just surviving to actually fighting to survive.

~I received a complimentary pdf copy of this book from Bewitching Blog Tours in exchange for my review.~
Darklands: A Vampire's Tale (Darklands Vampires)
Publisher/Publication Date: Naked Snake Press - Second Edition - Dec 18, 2010
544 KB (368 pages)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Truth About Vampires by Theresa Meyers (Book Review)

Title: The Truth About Vampires
Author: Theresa Meyers
Publisher: Harlequin Nocture

Pulling back the veil on a world shrouded in darkness, Theresa Meyers' stunning debut reveals a sinfully handsome vampire whose secret is about to exposed...

All her life Seattle reporter Kristin Reed sought her breakout story. She never thought she'd find it in the crimson lair of a real life creature of the night. Kristin never believed vampires existed—until with dark brooding eyes and a decadent chocolate scent, Dmitri Dionotte called out to her...

Dmitri and his clan's true nature was cloaked in secrecy until a warring vampire order threatened their existence. Kristin was just the woman he needed. She couldn't resist their story...or Dmitri. Her blood pulsed hot and furious when he touched her, and with his kiss, all logic fled. But each night she spent with her vampire lover brought her closer to death and destruction. A death not even an immortal could triumph over.

My Thoughts: This book pulled me in quickly with the discovery of 4 bodies that had been drained of blood and had their organs removed.  I wanted to find out what that had to do with vampires. . .

It didn't read so much like a romance in the beginning, though there was a strong attraction between Dmitri and Kristin, but I sort of felt like I was reading a cozy mystery - with a paranormal twist of course.  You had these murders and then you had a reporter and a vampire, but mainly the reporter, trying to solve them. Along the way she was looking to break a story big enough to win a Pulitzer.  What better than to prove vampires exist? 

I liked the book, but keep in mind that it is Harlequin - I know, I am probably opening myself up to a world of criticism there, but it seems like everything I have read with Harlequin on it, is sort of lightweight. I will be the first to admit though, that I need some lightweight every once in a while! 

All of Kristin's friends and her boss seemed a little too willing to me to accept the reality of vampires, not even really questioning Kristin when she told them.  I think my first reaction would be a big "NO WAY!"  and lots of astonishment. It would take a lot more convincing than just a "Hey, I've been hanging out with this guy that runs Sangria downtown - and guess what?  He's a vampire."

Now, this is only Book 1 in the Sons of Midnight series, so I am hopeful that we will learn more about the characters as the series progresses. You do get the story Salvation of the Damned at the end of this book that started out the Sons of Midnight series.  It was orgininally published in electronic form for Harlequin Nocturne Bites.
I am currently having a giveaway for one autographed print copy of this book - I would love to have lots of entries so someone could win it and share their thoughts with me and my readers!  You can also find out a lot more about Ms. Meyers at the giveaway post!  Enter here!
~I received a complimentary E-copy of this book from Bewitching Blog Tours in exchange for my review.~

The Truth about Vampires: The Truth about Vampires\Salvation of the Damned (Harlequin Nocturne)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harlequin, Feb 15, 2011
ISBN: 978-0373618545

288 pages

It's Monday! What are you reading? (March 21, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 

Currently Reading:  
Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington

Next Up:
Legacy by Jeanette Baker
The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

Sudden Moves: A Young Adult Mystery by Kelli Sue Landon

Next E-Books up:
The Witches Lottery (Enchanted Island Series) by Krystal McLaughlin
Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford
Deadly Errors by Allen Wyler

Bathroom Book:
Merely Magic (Magic (Sourcebooks Casablanca)) by Patricia Rice

Reviewed Last Week:
Redemption by Laurel Dewey
Seduced by Destiny by Kira Morgan
Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith

Waiting for Reviews:
Darklands: A Vampire's Tale (Darklands Vampires) by Donna Burgess
It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare
The Truth about Vampires: The Truth about Vampires\Salvation of the Damned (Harlequin Nocturne) by Theresa Meyers

Highland Master
Seduced by Destiny
Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing/Waking Up in the Land of Glitter
The Truth About Vampires

Upcoming giveaways:
The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
Redeemer by Jeffrey S. Williams
Daddy's Little Squirrel by Kayla Shurley Davidson



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