Monday, December 19, 2011

My favorite Christmas reading

I know it's a little close to Christmas to post about great Christmas reads but these are well worth it. My favorite Christmas reading is a two book series by Robin Jones Gunn. The books are entitled "Finding Father Christmas" and "Engaging Father Christmas". Gunn is one of my favorite authors and these books take us along with the heroine Miranda Carson on an adventure to England. Miranda was raised by her mother Eve Carson the actress (as she always introduced herself). Miranda never knew her father and finds a few clues that may lead her to him in her mother's belongings. Her mother died when Miranda was a child and, after an unconventional upbringing, she decides to pursue the search for her father. This search takes her to a little village in England on her Christmas vacation. The people she meets and what she discovers there is not what she expected. I can't really give you any information about the second book in the interest of not ruining any surprises in the first. The lovely setting and the inviting people you meet along the way will make you feel like you're in the book and watching it happen. The books are a quick read not just because they keep your attention the whole way through but also because they are a bit shorter than normal. Each are only about 150 pages. These are a wonderful addition or start to any Christmas reading list you may have!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

The Charlatan's Boy is a tale of an orphan and the traveling showman that took him in. We travel around with the duo and take part in their various schemes and search for information about Grady's missing past. I was very excited to see another book by Jonathan Rogers. I had previously read his Wilderking Trilogy and absolutely loved it. The trilogy is a re-telling of the life of King David in a new and unique way. I am from South Georgia and the Okefenokee Swamp area so I could definitely identify with the setting in both these books and the Charlatan's Boy. While the Charlatan's Boy was an easy read, it wasn't quite what I expected. It was a bit slow for me and I found myself wondering when we were going to get to the good stuff. I did thoroughly enjoy the dialect and unique word choice used throughout the book. I also enjoyed the variety of characters we met along the way. It felt like too much background was given and setting up the end result. The last of the book was my favorite and finally gave me some of what I was looking for throughout the book. As such, it does set itself up for a sequel but it just wasn't as engaging as his previous books in my opinion. Still worth a shot, however, especially for a young boy. I would still highly recommend the Wilderking series first though and that series gives you some background and connecting information with this book although they do not have to be read first. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review through their Blogging For Books program.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo

Another good read! This book is advertised as "a modern day novel of Jane Austen". Now, don't despair if you don't enjoy reading Jane Austen. It is set in current day and written in current language. And it is not one of the Jane Austen books re-written for current times. Each relates somehow to a specific Austen work. This is the third book in this series. However, you don't necessarily have to read them in order. The characters and stories are not intertwined. However, it can be more beneficial to read them in order as a certain secret society reveals certain information in each book but that's all I'm saying so I won't spoil the surprise. In each book, the main heroine (or heroines in this book) goes to England and finds herself intertwined somehow in the world of Jane Austen. Each is either in search of or in possession of a unknown and unpublished work of Jane Austen - letters, manuscript, diary. In this book, two sisters have been tasked by their mother's dying wish to go on a Jane Austen walking tour of Hampshire, England. Their mother has also left them a diary - Jane Austen's sister Cassandra's diary which has many secrets to reveal. I am an Austen fan and so these fictitious details and added historical information are quite interesting and entertaining in light of her published works and biographical information. However, I believe if you are not an Austen fan you would enjoy these books as well. They describe the rich pastoral scenery of Jane Austen's England and provide a good mix of mystery/intrigue and romance. I love reading about these fascinating places across the pond and "seeing" them through the pages. It's also rather fun to follow the clues and try to figure out the mystery before it's revealed in the book. The series in its entirety to date and in order of publication are:

Jane Austen Ruined My Life
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
The Dashwood Sisters Tell All

Monday, July 18, 2011

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh

Well, this is my first book I received through the "Blogging for Books" program! As such, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is the third book in the series. I had previously purchased the first book when it came out as I have many of the author's other books. I didn't even finish half of that book. I just couldn't get into it. So, I was a little remiss about starting this one. However, it turned out okay - but just okay. The writing style was good with one exception - the dialect style. Whenever conversations are written in dialect, it somehow detracts from the writing and story for me. I can imagine the dialect for myself without having to read it. And I am from the deep south so I totally understand the point. I did enjoy some of the eccentricities such as the main character's odd choice of pet and I always appreciate what I consider the author's sometimes unconventional religious views. However, the story line was predictable, at times unrealistic (you only know someone a very short time and blurt out "I'm interested in you" - a little freaky for me), and a bit anticlimactic. A major theme was also that of widowdom and overcoming that loss. I think it was handled very well but I have no experience in that area and it is not an area I wish to dwell on or read about for leisure. All in all, it was an easy read that flowed well but I wouldn't give it any extreme accolades. However, I would give the first and second books another shot. Each book is about a different family member and deals with different subject material. I'll still continue to read Tamara Leigh but I would much more highly recommend "Stealing Adda" by this author.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Web Finds

I've got two fun web sites to share with you. The first is Goodreads. I have the link for it in my Links sidebar to the right. This is a site like Virtual Bookshelf if you are familiar with that. You can add any and all books you have read, are currently reading, or are on your to-be-read list. You can also rate them and review them. You can search for other books and see what others have to say about them as well as follow friends and their recommendations. It's a pretty good site. I am in the process of adding to my online shelf but I've just started so it will be a while until I'm up to speed but it's lots of fun!

The other website is Blogging for Books. I found this by reading an Amazon review of a book and the reviewer said they got the book through the blogging for books program with Waterbrook Multnomah publishing - a Christian publisher. If you have a blog, you can sign up to receive free books as long as you post a review about them. How awesome is that! The website for this is

First Review: Its a Double! - Waterfall and Cascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren

So, my terrific book I was talking about in my last post has now turned into two! Before I could even talk about the first one, I ordered and read the sequel as well. I can't say enough good things about them. They were fabulous! The books are the first two in a three book series called the The River of Time Series by Lisa Tawn Bergren. The first book is entitled Waterfall and the second is Cascade. The first book introduces us to Gabi and Lia. These are two teenage daughters of archeologists researching the Etruscan society in Italy. They decide to sneak into the latest tomb site and find some odd handprints on the wall. One each fits the girls hands. As they put their hands in each respective print, they are transported back in time. When Gabi finally gets her hand off of the wall, Lia is nowhere to be find and Gabi finds herself in the middle of a battle in 14th century Italy complete with knights, swords, and castles. I won't go further than that to keep from spoiling any of the good stuff. I was totally engrossed in these books. I couldn't put them down! They had the same feeling as when I read the Twilight series. It was as if the book had drug laced ink. I was definitely hooked reading that series as I am with this one. The medieval setting, the historical details, the beautiful romance, the action and adventure all made me feel like I was in the book taking part or watching it all unfold in an academy award winning movie. I could tell you so much more that would peak your interest but it would give too much away. I'm someone who doesn't even like to read the back of a book if I think I'll like the book or know and like the author because even that back cover synopsis can ruin some details I'd rather let unfold as I read. This book is classified as a young adult book but don't let that sway you. I am not in the young adult age category anymore and enjoyed this book much more then I have my adult reading for the past few months. Just take my word for it and go get these books now! The third and final book in the series will be out in September and I am already anxiously awaiting the release. This one will definitely be on my pre-order list. If you like this book, I would highly suggest other books written by Mrs. Bergren. I have read several other books by her and am never disappointed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Welcome to my cozy corner! I hope you enjoy your visit! I'm going to be posting some random thoughts and observations but mostly some book reviews. To borrow from the words of Mrs. Elton, I never compliment myself but my friends tell me I choose rather good books. ;0) I suppose that rests in the eye of the beholder but I hope you may find a treasure here as well. If not, thanks for stopping by anyway. Maybe you can use my recommendations in the reverse. What I like, you won't. Haha! I've just finished a terrific book I'm dying to rave about but don't have the time at the moment to do it justice. I'll be back soon to share!