Saturday, December 3, 2011

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball


Let's begin the Christmas books reviews with this wonderful story for the holiday season!


By Donita K. Paul

From the back of the book:

In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. As she searches for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Just my opinion:

Oh, my goodness, this has to be one of the most fun and pleasant books I’ve read in a long time and just right for the holiday season!

Cora is a very shy and reserved young woman. She’s the kind of person who easily gets lost in the crowd. Not often noticed, she likes being anonymous. She doesn’t have many friends and is estranged from her family. It’s just her and her cat (who also often ignores her) living in her plain and quiet apartment. Each morning, she goes to work and each evening, she returns home for another peaceful night. For many, it would seem like a boring existence, but Cora is quite content. All that changes when she runs into Simon Derrick, one of her supervisors, while visiting an unusual bookstore in the middle of one of the oldest sections of the city. Owned and operated by three odd gentlemen, it’s a shop of the kind you just don’t find very often. She purchases a book as a Christmas gift, says a few words to Simon and heads back to her little apartment. As she looks through the book, a slip of paper falls out. It’s a ticket to a Christmas ball.

And because of that ticket, Cora’s life is about to change.

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball is such a wonderful story. With wizards and magic sprinkled into the mix, it’s a completely new take on the holiday season. It’s such fun to read and is bound to lighten the stress that often comes with preparing for Christmas. You really must read this one!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HAPPY HOLIDAYS


I'm so excited about this holiday season! Now that it's December, I will be posting a variety of reviews for holiday reads (along with my usual reviews), so come back often for a visit. Share your thoughts in the comments box and I may have few surprises for my loyal followers along the way. Reviews start this week, so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dark Song


By Gail Giles

From the back of the book:

Marc said he heard that darkness when he creeped houses, when he stood over people while they slept. The song the predator’s heart sings when it hears the heart of the prey.

Ames is not the person she was a few months ago. Her father lost his job, and her family is crumbling apart. No more private school, cushy mansions, or best friend to hang with … now, all she has is Marc.

Marc, who loves her more than anything. Marc, who is so obsessed with his gun collection. Marc, who won’t let anyone stand in his way where Ames is concerned—especially her parents. Mom and Dad, role models of lies and self-absorption, aren’t exactly innocent … but is Ames prepared to commit the ultimate betrayal against them?

Just my opinion:

Written for young adults, this story describes what happens when family situations go horribly wrong. Here’s a father who loses his job for embezzling funds, a mother who is often emotionally distant, a spoiled teenage girl who is on the verge of rebellion and a younger daughter who is being groomed to act just like her older sister someday.

Ames is the consummate spoiled teen. She’s always been given everything she wants and expects that. Raised in an upper-class neighborhood with like-minded friends at a private school, she is so self-absorbed that she can’t understand when her father is suddenly without a job and they have to find a way to cope with no money. No, she won’t give up her cell phone or her $50 a month iTunes budget. She also still expects to have all the clothes she’s used to.

Matters only get worse when they have to sell the “extras” they have accumulated just to put food on the table and pay the bills. Plus, her mother is so angry at Ames’ father for the situation they are now in that she further distances herself from her children.

Nightly arguments soon become the norm and Ames is shocked when her father comes close to striking her for talking back.

The only solution seems to be uprooting the family and moving from Boulder, Colorado, to Texas where Ames’ grandparents – who she didn’t know existed – live. They are landlords for a series of low-income houses that are in poor condition and have agreed to let them stay in one and fix it up to pay the rent. Unfortunately, they also have a serious grudge against their son, who stole from them and disappeared with the money.

Ames meets Marc and falls head-over-heels in love. Yet, Marc has his own set of issues. He’s 23, violent and attracted to young teen girls, such as Ames, who is only 15. He worms her way into her heart and he offers her the ultimate solution to her family problems.

This is a very well-written book that could potentially open the eyes of young girls who are also on the verge of striking out against their parents, whether physically or verbally. As you read the words on these pages, you can see the results of Ames attitude and you hope you never sounded like that with your own mother or father. It’s quite a story and one both teens and parents will get something out of.

My favorite passage from the book:

Were we all born smart and then learn to be stupid? Do we lost our honesty when we lose our innocence?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring Those Who Served


Happy Veterans Day, everyone. This is the day we take time to honor those who have served to protect our country and preserve our Constitutional rights. I love the picture above, which I found on Yahoo images. The silhouette reminds me of my husband when he is wearing his uniform. He wore it proudly for 40 years! Today, he is selling Buddy Poppies to help support those veterans in need in our community.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life, Liberty, and Pursuit


By Susan Kaye Quinn

From the back of the book:

When college-bound Eliza falls into a cruise-ship pool, she doesn’t expect to fall in love. And when navy recruit David pulls her from the water, he finds her surprisingly hard to resist. But a whirlwind of rescues, candlelit nights, and beachside misunderstandings pulls them into a four day love affair that threatens to break their hearts before their love has a chance to start.

Just my opinion:

Eliza’s mother and new stepfather decide to take a cruise and invite her along before she heads off to college. As she stands on the deck enjoying the view of the ocean, she spots a very attractive young man near the rail. When he turns and looks her way, she quickly backs into the shadows, falling into the pool.

David is on the cruise with his family and sees a pretty young woman standing on the deck late at night. When she backs into the pool, he rushes over to find her floundering. He jumps in and pulls her out of the water and takes her right away to the infirmary. Not satisfied with the care they are giving her, he brings his father, who just happens to be a doctor, to look her over.

It’s definitely a set-up for a whirlwind romance between these two young adults, yet they keep finding reasons why they shouldn’t attempt a relationship. For one, David is getting ready to leave for boot camp as he is a new Navy recruit. Secondly, Eliza will be heading for college once she gets back from home.

To complicate matters, David’s sister is doing everything she can to get them together, but their parents aren’t very keen about the idea. But after Eliza saves David from a band of robbers on shore, there’s no stopping them from falling in love.

This is such a fun book! Written for young adults, Susan Kaye Quinn creates a story that has a wonderful flow to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters. I especially liked David’s brother Tomasz, who is such an entertaining flirt! He brought such exuberance to the book.

I had put off reading this book for a while because the print is so small and I wasn’t sure if my eyes would get too tired, but it turned out to be OK. I’m glad it did … I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this story for the world!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pump Up Your Book blog tour: Space by Emily Sue Harvey


From the back of the book:

Emily Sue (Harvey) delivers us a deeply moving story of a family on the brink. Dan and Deede Stowe have worked for year, planning and saving for their idyllic retirement years. Just when they finally are about to realize their dream, their adult, recovering drug-addict daughter, Faith, moves back in with them and everything changes. Their “miracle child,” complete with druggie baggage, upsets the tranquil balance of the Stowes’s existence. Private romantic moments evaporate. Faith’s endless needs intrude hour by hour, devouring their finances, their emotions, and most crucially, their space. In turn, Faith finds herself bereft of everything she cherished most: her health, her marriage, her child, her family, her reputation and, most of all, a space to call her own.

About the author:

Emily Sue Harvey, author and speaker, writes to make a difference. She is a past president of the Southeastern Writers Association and has contributed to several volumes in the bestselling Chicken Soup and Chocolate for Women series. She has also published articles in multiple women’s magazines, websites and other anthologies.

She is the author of the novels Song of Renewal and Homefires, as well as the novella Flavors. Her new novel Spaces will be followed by another novel (Unto these Hills) later in 2011. To find out more about Emily, visit www.renewalstories.com or www.emilysueharvey.com.

Just my opinion:

This is a book that will definitely grip your heart. Here is a happily married couple who are looking forward to the golden years. They’ve spent years planning for it and everything seems to be going according to that plan until their grown daughter returns home – complete with a number of issues revolving around her drug addictions. Between her lies and stealing from them, as well as the court and rehabilitation costs, the couple watches their life savings begin to disappear. It’s a horrible situation any family could, unfortunately, find themselves in.

Emily Sue Harvey delivers the story with such finesse and understanding. She relates the pain and agony the characters must deal with in a way that takes you right into their hearts. You feel their anger, their frustrations and their sadness as they try to fix what’s gone wrong in their lives.

I’ve been a fan of Emily’s writing for quite a while now. I took part in the Pump Up Your Book Homefires blog tour in June (you can find that review here). And I’ve also read her novella Flavors, so I’m looking forward to her newest novel Unto These Hills when it hits the stands.

Emily certainly has a way of pulling the reader right onto the pages of her stories, often not an easy thing to do for an author. She also shows how a little hope and trusting in God to see you through difficult situations can be an immense help in times of need.

Please check out her books and give them a try. I’m sure you will enjoy them.

For more information about this blog tour, go to the Pump UpYour Book website. For information on purchasing Space, check out this link to Amazon, where it is available in both paperback and Kindle editions