Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monthly Reflections #2: February 2012


February was another awesome reading month for me! I read 23 books, wrote 14 blog posts including 7 reviews and joined 1 more reading challenge. I completed the Goodreads Historical Challenge but since I signed up for 12+ I'm gonna keep on adding books!

Books I Read

Reviews I Wrote
In Too Deep by Mary Connealy (CFBA Tour)
Beauty For Ashes by Dorothy Love (Booksneeze)
Pure Love Pure Life by Elsa Kok Colopy (Zondervan)
The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake
A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo (Blogging for Books)

Challenges Progress
Goodreads Historical Fiction Challenge-I read 7 Historical Fiction books (15 Total)
2012 E-Book Challenge-I read 2 books on my kindle app (3 Total)
Mount TBR Reading Challenge-I read 17 of my To Be Read books (37 Total)
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge-I read 3 Young Adult books (4 Total)
New Author Challenge 2012-I read 9 new authors this month (19 Total)
50 States Challenge-I read books set in 6 different states (18 Total)
Read Your Name Challenge-I read a book for A B A I out of ABIGAIL (ABIAI Total)
What's In A Name Challenge-I read 1 book with a body of water in the title (3/6)

In March I hope to:
Read at least 20 books
Write at least 10 reviews 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top Ten Books I'd Give A Theme Song To

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks Top Ten was a little difficult, but I managed to do it! Though it took going through almost all of the over 2,000 songs on my iPod. I used a little imagination for some and there is one that the song was actually inspired by the book but I was running out of options! So I hope you enjoy my Top Ten Book Theme Songs!

1. Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren-There You'll Be by Faith Hill 
2. The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren-In A Moment by Chris Sligh
3. The Miracle Girls Series by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt-We Will Stand-Avalon
4. The Gifted Sophomores by Terri Blackstock-Alive and Running by Kristian Stanfill
5. Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis-One Heartbeat At A Time by Steven Curtis Chapman
6. The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beckby Kathleen Y'Barbo-I Can Do Without You from Calamity Jane
7. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis-Something to Believe In by Newsboys
8. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks-Walking Her Home by Mark Schultz
9. Sweet Seasons series by Debbie Viguie-I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow
10. The Plainsman by Lori Wick-Bring It On by Steven Curtis Chapman

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading #8

 Hosted By: Book Journey

Here is what I read last week:
I really enjoyed all of these books. 
With In A Pit With A Lion... I wrote down 6 pages of quotes.
 It was a really powerful book. 
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck and 
Her Only Protector were really good, fun reads

What I am currently reading:
Yep still reading Little Women-someday soon I'll finish it! 
Washington's Lady is amazing! George Washington is one of my favorite
 historical figures and I'm loving this whole new perspective on his and Martha's lives.
I've only barely begun Be the Change but it looks to be a pretty powerful book!

What I hope to read this week:
Ok I'll admit it-I caved. My goal is to read all of the books I own before borrowing any but when I saw that my church library had Susan May Warren's (my favorite author) new book I couldn't resist, so yes I caved. I hope I can read all of these books this week, but we shall see!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Book Description
Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away
Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.
Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.
But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

My Thoughts
This book is third in a series but was quite easy to read on it's own. I really enjoyed this book, It was well written and constantly had me laughing out loud. Alex and Charlotte were so much fun, I loved all their sparring, and how even as they were at odds with each other deep down they were slowly falling in love. I thought it was cool how Charlotte's father saw how perfect they were for each other long before either of them. This type of story, marrying than falling in love, is one of my favorites so I was quite thrilled to find another great story to add to my collection!

About the Author
Kathleen Y'Barbo is a bestselling author of 40 award-winning novels and novellas with over 950,000 books in print. Kathleen is a tenth generation Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, and the mother of three grown sons and a daughter. She recently enlisted for a happily-ever-after of her own with her hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was not required to give a positive review, only to give my honest opinion of the book 

Top Ten Books To Save If My House Were Abducted By Aliens (or any other disaster struck)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This is my first time participating in this meme and I'm going to "break" the rules slightly! I have WAY to many books to only pick ten, so I'm going to list the top 10 series that I'd save!  And since I have at least eight suitcases right outside my bedroom door (my room's in the basement) I'd probably be able to do it! These won't be listed in any particular order and this is only based on what I own.

1. Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke

2. The Californians by Lori Wick

3. Men of the Saddle by Lori Copeland

4. Team Hope by Susan May Warren

5. The O'Malley Series by Dee Henderson

6. Lassoed In Texas by Mary Connealy

7. Sophie's Daughters by Mary Connealy

8. Uncommon Heroes by Dee Henderson

9. Heroes of Quantico by Irene Hannon

10. Select Cathy Marie Hake Books

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #7

 Hosted By: Book Journey

Here is what I read last week:

These books surprised me by being decently good reads!
Check out my reviews for: The Bride Bargain
                                        A Woman's Place

What I am currently reading:

Yep still working through these two! 
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck has been extremely good so far.

What I hope to read this week:

I also am going to try to get a novella collection done but there were no good pictures of it.

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Ok so it's been a little while since I read this, but I'm finally posting my review!

My Thoughts
WOW! What a great book! Honestly this has to be one of my favorite stories ever. I'm normally not into the whole time travel thing, but my sister told me it was really good so I figured I'd give it try. And am I glad I did! This book literally has it all, romance, intrigue, battles, humor, and not least of all great heroes and heroines.

Book Description 
Gabi and Lia Bentarrini have spent every summer in Italy with their parents who are Etruscan scholars. While at yet another archaeological site the sisters place their hands on top of hand prints inside an ancient tomb and are suddenly thrust into an adventure they never expected. Somehow they are separated during the time travel and Gabi finds herself alone in the tomb. When she emerges she is shocked to see a battle taking place between two Italian families, the Forellis and the Paratores. She is also surprised to discover that she is now in the 14th century. She is taken under the protection of Castello Forelli where she meets the hansome-but spoken for-Marcello Forelli. By "joining" with the Forellis Gabi makes herself a target for the evil Paratores who, she later discovers, are holding her sister captive. Gabi's main goals are to find Lia and return to her old life, but as more time passes and she finds herself falling for the unattainable Marcello, everything becomes oh so much more complicated.

About the Author 
Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. Lisa's time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphical designer and musician. they have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7). All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Bio gotten from Lisa's website

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Woman's Place by Lynn Austin

This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I picked it up at my church's library book sale, because I had read another book by this author that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wasn't too sure about reading it. Then in the process of my goal to read all of my books this year it came up as next on the list. So I figured I just get it done with, but I actually really enjoyed it. The story, set during WWII is about four different women who take up the challenge to aid the war effort by going to work at a shipyard.

Virginia, or Ginny as she likes to be called, feels like she's not all that useful at home now that both of her boys are in school and don't need coddling anymore. Ginny's husband, Harold, has been acting aloof for awhile now and Ginny begins to fear he may leave her, but she is too timid to approach him about things she finds, that she feels points to the the fact that he's been cheating on her. As Ginny works at the shipyard (without Harold's knowledge) she begins to find a new strength and confidence.

Helen is a retired single schoolteacher, whose parents have died leaving her a large fortune. But money can't buy happiness or erase loneliness, so in an effort to escape her large empty house Helen decides to take a job at the Stockton shipyard. She tries to not become involved with her coworkers lives, but little by little they wear down her defenses and Helen finds herself growing deeply attached to the girls she works with.

Rosa is a little rough around  the edges, due to growing up on the streets of New York with her rather un-mother-like mother. She elopes with sweet and wholesome Dirk Voorhees a corpsman-in-training and goes to live with his parents in Stockton while he is in the service. But Dirk's religious and somewhat uptight family mix like oil and water with Rosa. So in order to get away from he in-laws for at least part of the day she goes to work at the shipyard. While there the other women help smooth some of her rough edges and she begins to wonder if there is more to this God-thing than she thought.

Jean moves from Indiana to Stockton in order to work at the shipyard. Her lifelong dream is to attend college, but she is waiting until after the war to attend with her twin brother who jumped at the chance to enlist.  But her long-time boyfriend, Russ, back in Indiana took the farmers exemption to stay out of the war, which kind of irks Jean even though she tries to be happy that he's not in danger. Russ doesn't communicate much and when he does it's often only to get her to change her plans to fit his. And to make it more complicated, while Jean is trying to figure out what to do with Russ she also has to decide what to do about the mutual attraction between her and Earl Seaborn who couldn't fight do to having polio as a child.

As these four women's lives intertwine they discover new things about themselves, God, and the people around them.

About the Author

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won six Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake

Book Description

A resolute woman

When dropped from their wagon train for not pulling their load, Clara Fields is desperate to provide for her newly-widowed aunt. Josiah Reed, owner of the Buttonwood Feed and Dry Goods Store, makes Clara what seems like a heaven-sent bargain: he'll sign over his two-story house if she can marry his son off to a local girl in the next month....

And a determined doctor

Dr. Saul Reed agrees to watch his father's store while Josiah is away, thinking the slow pace of the prairie will be a welcome respite before Saul establishes his medical practice in Baltimore. But when he finds pretty Clara Fields installed in his father's house, the gleam in her eyes promises anything but peace and quiet.

Find more than they bargained for

With his bachelorhood at stake, and her ability to provide for herself and her aunt hanging in ythe balance, Saul and Clara face off in an unlikely battle...

Will God soften two stubborn hearts and strike a new bride bargain?

My Thoughts

When I heard that Cathy Marie Hake's daughter Kelly had written a series of books I was quite anxious to read them but because of my limited budget I didn't ended up purchasing the books when they came out. So when I saw a deal I couldn't pass up I snagged the set, though due to the amount of books I had to read I took me awhile to get around to actually reading them.

Boy, was I sorry I waited! This book was extremely well written and funny too! One of my favorite character's was Josiah Reed. All of his plotting to get his son married was hysterical. Saul and Clara were an awesome couple, it was great how they kept acting all upset with each other but under it all were growing quite attracted. I can't wait to read The Bride Backfire and get to see more of the feuding Specks and Grogans!

About The Author

Sorry that this bio is a little long and outdated but it's all I could find! But I do know that on January 14, 2o12, Kelly was married to a man named Shannan (no clue as to last name).

Life doesn't wait, and neither does Kelly Eileen Hake. In her short twenty-three years of life, she's achieved much. Her secret? Embracing opportunities and multitasking. Kelly received her first writing contract at the tender age of seventeen and arranged to wait three months until she was able to legally sign it. Since that first contract five years ago, she's reached several life goals. Aside from fulfilling fourteen contracts ranging from short stories to novels, she's also attained her BA in English Literature and Composition and earned her credential to teach English in secondary schools. If that weren't enough, she's taken positions as a college preparation tutor, bookstore clerk, and in-classroom learning assistant to pay for the education she values so highly. Currently, she is working toward her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. No matter what goal she pursues, Kelly knows what it means to work for it!

Kelly's dual careers as English teacher and author give her the opportunity explore and share her love of the written word. A CBA bestselling author and dedicated member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kelly is a reader favorite of Barbour's Heartsong Presents program, where she's been privileged to earn numerous Heartsong Presents Reader's Choice Awards; including Favorite New Author 2005, Top 5 Favorite Historical Novel 2005, and Top Five Favorite Author Overall 2006 in addition to winning the Second Favorite Historical Novel 2006!

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #6

 Hosted By: Book Journey

Here is what I read last week:
I really enjoyed this reading week! 
Pure Love Pure Life was amazing! You can read my review HERE
I also LOVED A Little Help From My Friends, Prairie Hills, 
and Beauty For Ashes The other 2 were pretty good but not amazing.

What I am currently reading:
Yes I'm reading four books at once-I like multitasking 
I like to have a fiction hard copy book, a non-fiction book, 
and a classic all going at once. 
And there usually is a review book thrown in too!

What I hope to read this week:
Considering that I hope to finish 2 if not 3 of the books 
I'm currently reading, I only put 2 on my "hope to read" list!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pure Love Pure Life by Elsa Kok Colopy

Book Description

I crafted every portion of you and I am delighted with my work. I have a purpose and a plan for your life, and I will walk with you every step of the way. Will you trust me? When you think of purity, what comes to mind? Perfect behavior? Impossible standards? Everything focused on waiting for that special guy? If so, you're not alone. The good news is purity isn't just a list of don'ts---don't think that way, don't look that way, don't act that way. It's a God-designed plan for a happy life. Honest, humorous, and real, Pure Love, Pure Life provides practical tools to help you navigate the temptations and frustrations you face every day, stories from girls who have been there, and tips on what to do if your pure life takes a detour. Discover a new vision of purity, how you can live it in today's broken reality, and why it's worth the effort. 

My Thoughts

Wow! What a great book! I've grown up in a Christian family, was saved when I was 4, and have been involved in two different purity Bible studies. So when I got this book on purity I went into it with the mindset of, “I know all there is to know about staying pure, so I'm not going to get much out of this book.” But boy did this book change my mind fast! I can honestly say that this was the first time everything I knew about purity went from being head knowledge to heart knowledge. I just kept wanting to read more to see what else I would discover! I believe that every girl from 13 on up should get a chance to read this book-it is a life changer!

About the Author
Elsa Kok Colopy is passionate about purity. As a MOPS author and former editor for Focus on the Family's Thriving Family magazine, Elsa understands the profound impact of teen purity on the hearts of young women and on the health of their future families. Author of five books and hundreds of articles, Elsa is a sought after speaker with a deep desire to communicate God's heart in a compelling and authentic way. Elsa and her husband, Brian, live in Colorado Springs, CO and are the proud parents of four adult children and two handsome pups.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Beauty For Ashes by Dorothy Love

Book Description
She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.

Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.

Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes.

My Thoughts
This book is the second in the series but you don't necessarily need to read them in order. I didn't and had no problems with it.
The main character, Carrie Daly, was very easy to relate to and I found myself mad, happy, and sad when she was. I loved how Carrie did what needed to be down with little thought to herself. Not that she was always happy with what was required of her but she did it in spite of her feelings, which I admire. 

The romance between Carrie and Griff was nice but the author did a great job of not making it the overwhelming focus of the story. Instead she split the plot between their romance and each of the character's personal and spiritual growth. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more from Dorothy Love.

 I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com 
 book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #5

 Hosted By: Book Journey

Here is what I read last week:
Breaking Up is Hard to Do was my favorite read of the week, 
but I still enjoyed all the others. 

What I am currently reading:
These both are really good reads!

What I hope to read this week:
Most looking forward to A Little Help From My Friends 
and Susan May Warren's story in Prairie Hills

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Monthly Reflections #1: January 2012

Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Reviews is currently having 
a blogoversary celebration (with giveaways) so check it out!

January was a GREAT reading month for me! I read 23 books, wrote 8 reviews and joined 7 reading challenges. 

Books I Read

Reviews I Wrote
The Maid of Fairboure Hall by Julie Klassen (CFBA Tour)
Heiress by Susan May Warren
First Date by Krista McGee (Booksneeze)
Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus
Ransome's Crossing by Kaye Dacus 
Ransome's Quest by Kaye Dacus
Ten Plagues by Mary Nealy
Sweeter Than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott (Booksneeze)

Challenges Progress
Goodreads Historical Fiction Challenge-I read 8 Historical Fiction books
2012 E-Book Challenge-I only read 1 book on my kindle
Mount TBR Reading Challenge-I read 20 of my To Be Read books
2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge-I only read 1 for this challenge too
New Author Challenge 2012-I read 10 new authors this month
50 States Challenge-I read books set in 12 different states
Read Your Name Challenge-I read a book for I out of ABIGAIL

I'm not much for goal making but in February I hope to:
Read at least 12 books
Write at least 4 reviews 

In Too Deep by Mary Connealy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In Too Deep
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Mary Connealy

I know I say this a lot but it bears repeating, Mary Connealy is an AMAZING author! Honestly I have yet to read a book of hers that I wasn't instantly drawn into.

So needless to say I loved this book. I was laughing so often my sister is probably ready to kill me. I really enjoy all the ribbing between the brothers, whether spoken aloud or thought. They just have such an interesting relationship that it makes for some great times. Ethan and Audra were a great couple and I loved watching them bond as they struggled to overcome their fears and discovered that There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” 1 John 4:18 


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.


In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they'd planned.

Ethan doesn't expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he's terrified of the pain he's felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He's determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch. Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another--and they've done a poor job of it. Now she's planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way!

What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Too Deep, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer: