Tuesday, August 28, 2012

House of Mercy by Erin Healy

Beth wants to become a vet to help their family run their cattle ranch. But one foolish decision threatens to destroy everything her family has worked for over several generations. While Beth tries to do everything she can to fix her mistake, things only seem to get more complicated. Beth feels that her only hope is to go find the grandfather she never met. But she must journey across the mountains on horseback, guided by a wild wolf. Will she find the answers she is looking for? Will her grandfather help her reunite her family?
I had a hard time getting into this book. It seemed too slow for me at the beginning. But I was in the midst of a move when I was reading it, so that didn't help things. I do look forward to going back and reading Healy's previous book, The Baker's Wife, before making any judgments.
I give this book 3.5 stars. I received this book from the B&B Media Group for the purpose of this review.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix

From the Back Cover
After invading Lamorlaye, France, Nazi officials don’t hesitate to take over the beautiful Meunier manor as their headquarters, hiring two young Frenchwomen, Marie and Elise, who clean and launder to help supplement their families’ meager incomes. But the girls begin to grow suspicious when medical equipment arrives, followed by an influx of pregnant women. As the Nazis’ plans for the manor become clear, the girls must decide where their loyalties truly lie.

More than fifty years later . . .
Architect Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.

Becker explores the castle’s shadowy history as he seeks to cope with the demons from his own past. Only Jade, the feisty nanny of the owner’s children, is willing to stand up to him. But Becker soon discovers that every one of the ch√Ęteau’s inhabitants seems to have something to hide and something to protect—and something worth fighting for.

My Review: I enjoyed reading about the renovation of the castle, but this was another book that had me more interested in the secondary, historical story, more than the contemporary story, until they intersected at the very end. I enjoyed both stories, but I could not wait to get to the next section that was set in the 1940's.
I received the ARC of this book from the author. This book comes out Oct 1, 2012. I give this book 4 stars.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yesterday's Stardust by Becky Melby

Yesterday's Stardust is the second book in the Lost Sanctuary Series, with the first being Tomorrow's Sun. In this book, Dani Gallagher, a journalist, is trying to write some articles about a local gang, and decides to essentially go undercover to get the real scoop. In the process she finds an old diary from the 1920's that contain clues to a lost treasure. Dani doesn't know enough of the history of the people to figure out these clues on her own, so she enlists a local chef and her neighbor, Nicky Firorini, to help her, as Nicky's family is mentioned in the diary. But things are just not as easy as Dani hopes. 

I enjoyed reading the book, and loved the history of the characters from the Roaring Twenties. In fact, I enjoyed reading the diary portions of the book more than the rest of the book. But I found Tomorrow's Sun, the first book in the series to be more interesting overall. I give this book 4 stars.
I received this book from the author herself for this review.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food Family Style by Leigh Oliver Vickery

This cookbook, by "Queso Queen" Leigh Oliver Vickery, is filled with family friendly recipes. There are designations for recipes that are easy for kids to help with, double easily, freeze well, are gluten-free or vegetarian, made in a slow cooker and more. Vickery's books also includes tips on involving kids in the meal preparation, and even conversations starters.
I was excited by this cookbook when i saw it. I thought there would be a lot of recipes I wanted to try. But when we picked out a couple recipes to try, they didn't come out as good as I was hoping they would. The three recipes we tried were the Lemon Punch Cake (page 241), Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash (page 72), and Tater Tot Casserole (page 30).
The Lemon cake didn't have the flavor that we hoped it would, and the glaze didn't penetrate the cake. The Tater tot casserole had too much milk in it, for it to set in the given time. The Sweet Potato Hash was probably the best of the meals. 
As much as we had some issues with the recipes, I want to keep trying more recipes. It was a cookbook that I wanted to try every recipe in it. While I may not do that, I will try more in the future. I give this cookbook 4 stars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hide and Seek by Maj. (Ret.) Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky

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!

Today's Wild Card authors are:

Jeff Struecker

Alton L. Gansky

and the book:

Hide and Seek

B&H Books (July 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson, The B&B Media Group, Inc for sending me a review copy.***


Jeff Struecker was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa. At age 18, he enlisted the US Army as an infantryman and retired as a Chaplain with over 22 years of active federal service. He currently serves as Associate Pastor of Ministry Development at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, GA. Throughout his career Jeff has attended numerous professional military schools and has received many awards and commendations. His combat experience includes participation in Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Iris Gold in Kuwait, Operation Gothic Serpent, in Mogadishu, Somalia, and multiple tours in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jeff holds a Master of Divinity Degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, a Bachelor of Science Degree and Associate of Science Degree from Troy University in Alabama. Jeff and his wife, Dawn, have five children: Aaron, Jacob, Joseph, Abigail and Lydia.
Visit the author's website.

Alton L. Gansky is the author of 23 novels and 7 nonfiction works, as well as principle writer of 7 novels and 2 nonfiction books. He has been a Christie Award finalist (A Ship Possessed) and an Angel Award winner (Terminal Justice). He holds a BA and MA in biblical studies. He lives in central California with his wife.

Visit the author's website.


Amelia Lennon no longer wears a uniform or carries a weapon. An Army trained Foreign Affairs Officer, she's negotiating a dispute with the Kyrgyzstan government that threatens to leave the U.S. without an airbase in that region. She traded her gun for the power of words, but now she needs both. While following her government contact-Jildiz Oskonbaeva, the lawyer daughter of Kyrgyzstan's president-Amelia witnesses an attempt to abduct her. She manages to prevent the kidnapping, but now the two women are on the run in a city that's erupting into chaos.

Master Sergeant J.J. Bartley is the Special Operations team leader tasked to rescue Amelia and Jildiz. With two new members in his unit-one with a secret that could endanger everyone's life-J.J. must soldier his unit through crazed mobs intent on overthrowing the government. Back home, his pregnant wife is misinformed that her husband and the team have been killed. But before this is over, Bartley will find out that's the least of his problems.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
  • Paperback: 400 pages

  • Publisher: B&H Books (July 1, 2012)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1433671425

  • ISBN-13: 978-1433671425

  • My review: This book took a little while to set up the stories but once they intersected, they came together beautifully and I really enjoyed reading the book. The author made me really feel for the characters and I wanted to see them triumph in their struggles to survive. The three different story lines were intriguing. I especially thought about the story line of J.J.'s wife and wondered what I would do in that situation. This was a book that I knew how I wanted it to end, but I wasn't sure what was going to happen when I turned each page. I give this book 4.5 stars.

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    The Romanov Conspiracy by Glenn Meade

    The Romanov Royal Family

    What really happened on that night in July 1918 when the Romanov royal family was executed. Did they all die that night, or did Princess Anastasia and her brother escape? Dr. Laura Pavlov, an American forensic archaeologist, and an international team are digging in the outskirts of Ekaterinburg, Russia where the Royal family was executed. In one of the mine shafts, Pavlov and her team find a perfectly preserved body. Laura then leaves Russia in search of answers because of what was found on the body. She finds a clue that takes her to Ireland to understand what happened in the days leading up to the Romanov family execution.

    I've learned about the history of Russia first taking a Russian literature class in high school and then visiting Belarus as a freshman in college. So when i saw this book was available for a blog tour, I had to get it! I was a little taken aback by the length (over 500 pages), but I as I read it, I was hooked from the beginning. It was a little slow going just trying to concentrate on all that was happening and keeping all the characters straight. I found myself having to reread a page or two when I got distracted so I could keep up with the story. I planned on reading just one part a day, figuring the book would take me all week, but I finished it in just over 3 days. I did not want to put the book down! The story line of the Romanov family intrigued me. The author put in twists and turns that I would have never figured out. I'd love to sit down and read this book again!
    I give this book 4.5 stars. I received The Romanov Conspiracy from Howard for the purpose of this review.