Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: The Girl In The Glass by Susan Meissner


Here is a great book for those of you that like to read historical, romance, coming of age, and travel memoirs.  I really enjoyed this story from beginning to end.  Being the second book of Ms. Meissner's that I've read, I knew her style going into it.  I remember not really liking how the last book ended and was worried this one would be the same. You know, they just up and end or seem to be hurried to a finish.  Thankfully, this was not the case.  I loved how she tied up the loose ends in the prologue.

"The Girl In The Glass" is the story of Meg.  Meg has always wanted to travel to Florence, Italy.  When she was little her grandmother promised to take her there.  When her grandmother passed away, the task of taking Meg fell onto her ne'er-do-well father. 

Here is an excerpt from the back jacket of the book:

When her dad finally tells Meg to book the trip, she prays that the experience will heal the fissures left on her life by her parents’ divorce. But when Meg arrives in Florence, her father is nowhere to be found, leaving aspiring memoir-writer Sophia Borelli to introduce Meg to the rich beauty of the ancient city. Sofia claims to be one of the last surviving members of the Medici family and that a long-ago Medici princess, Nora Orsini, communicates with her from within the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.

When Sophia, Meg, and Nora’s stories intersect, their lives will be indelibly changed as they each answer the question: What if renaissance isn’t just a word? What if that’s what happens when you dare to believe that what is isn’t what has to be?

 
I highly recommend this book.  The characters and interactions were very "real."  The setting was wonderful! Who doesn't want to visit Florence?  I know I'm ready to go now.

Disclaimer:  This book was given to me for review by WaterBrook/Multnomah publishing at bloggingforbooks.com.  All opinions are my own and I was not forced to say anything.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown





Calling all Downton Abbey fans! I have a great story for you to read.  Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown is set in the same era as Downton.  If you are addicted to the PBS show then you will be gripped by this book.

This is the story of two sisters, Rowena and Victoria, and their friend, Prudence.  Prudence is more than a friend, she is practically another sister.  Prudence was the daughter of the sisters governess.  She was raised from a young child right along side of Rowena and Victoria. The girls never thought anything of having Prudence with them until their father passed away. 

Although the girls were of age, when their father died, their uncle, the Earl of Summerset, decided that they needed to come live with he and his wife. When the uncle moved the girls out of their home he didn't want to bring Prudence since she was just the former governess' daughter.  Rowena talked her uncle into letting her come as their ladies maid.

What followed was all the glitz, glamour, and intrigue of Downton Abbey. Why does the Earl and his wife dislike Prudence so much?  How will Rowena find her own way in life? Will Victoria be able to continue her education? 

The only complaint that I have about this book is that all of the questions do not get answered.  I'm hopeful that there will be other books that take up the saga of Summerset Abbey.

I was given this book to read for review by netgalley.com and Simon & Schuster.  All opinions are my own.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Review: Sneek by Evan Angler

I can't believe I forgot to write a review for this book!!! I guess it was so good that I forgot that I "had" to read it.  "Sneak" is the second book in the Swipe Series by Evan Angler.  I did a review on the first book "Swipe" back in March.  Here is a link to that review.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed the first book so I jumped at the chance to review "Sneak."  I couldn't wait to find out the next step in Logan Langley's adventure.  When "Swipe" ended, Logan had escaped from getting his mark.  He was on the run from the government.  This book picks right up where the other left off.

Logan spends the majority of this book on the run alone.  We meet a host of new characters that are part of the resistance against the government and just plain Markless.  One of these gives Logan the most controversial banned book, the Bible.  When Logan reads the stories in the Bible, he understands more about how the government is controlling the people.

We also get to see how the Dust fare on their run from the government. We find out how the Markless communicate between areas and how a Underground Railroad of sorts operates.  I found the networking of the resistance very interesting.  You came to feel what it must have been like for different groups, (civil rights, early Christians), to stand up to a government that most people didn't think was wrong.

I highly recommend that you start with "Swipe" and continue the saga with "Sneak" by Evan Angler.  They are both really entertaining young adult, Christian books.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Sorry I've been neglectful of my writing duties.  We switched things up at home and I'm working more than I was before.  I'm not reading less. I'm just not as able to devote time to writing.  I need to do better about just allowing myself time for this. Enough excuses, let's get into the review.

I received a sneak peek look at Vicotria Schwab's book "The Archived" from Netgalley.com. I'm not sure that I'll sign up for more sneak peeks in the future.  It is killing me not knowing what happens next in the story.  Of course, they leave you at a "cliff hanger" point in the story.

The story is told from the view point of 16 year-old Makenzie Bishop.  She is a Keeper.  This is a job handed down to her from her grandfather.  A Keeper is a person who finds Histories and returns them to the Archive.  I'm sure that none of that made sense to you.  It is explained wonderfully in the book.  It is a different take on what happens to a person when they die.

This is a young adult novel.  I found it to be fast paced and engaging.  It has just enough mystery to keep you turning the pages.  I know that I will be tracking down a copy of the entire book so that I can find out what happens next.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Time for another book review.  Can you tell that I slacked off during the summer? I read just as much.  I just didn't manage to put down reviews.  I'll try to play catch up over the next few days.

The first book I'm going to review is titled, "Angel Eyes" by Shannon Dittemore.  It is written for the teen aged book reader.  It is an action packed paranormal romance.  I found it to be very enjoyable.

 The main characters, Bree and Jake, were flawed enough to be believable.   Bree is a local girl who has returned home from a prestigious dance school amid tragic circumstances.  Jake is the new kid in town that nobody knows anything about.  I'm sure you can see where this is going.

The paranormal part of the book is also not that bad, at least as far as paranormal things go.  The title gives you a clue into what the paranormal parts are about.  Both,  Jake and Bree, have the ability to see into the angel realm.  Of course, "real" angels are involved and are important characters to the story.

I never like to give away the story in my reviews.  I hate it when others do that.  I feel like there is no point in reading it if you are just going to tell me everything about it.   I will tell you that this book has a good action based story.  You can't wait to find how things will turn out.  The romance is just a side story. 

This is the first in a trilogy.  I look forward to reading more in the future.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Although We Walk...

Although my family and I walk on many of our daily excursions, I still see that it is an exception rather than the rule.  Why is that?  When did it become so abnormal to walk to buy a few items at the store? 
These are the thoughts that were running through my mind as I walked to the library with my daughter today.

I live in a pedestrian friendly town.  We could stand to have more sidewalks but the side streets aren't crazy busy, so for the most part it's fine.  The university campus is less than a mile, general store is a few blocks, the post office & banks are even closer than that, and restaurants and entertainment are literally just around the corner.  Why is it when I go out I find that I am the only person on foot?

When did we, as a society, decide that we had to buy twenty bags of grocery items when we go to the store?  I don't know about you but I have a lot of food in my pantry and yet I still come home with more bags than I can carry.  Are we that spoiled? 

Having a child that, because of blindness, will not be driving in her future, I think about how people get from place to place.  Rather than being reliant on cars, public transportation, or taxi service, why don't many people feel that walking is a viable form of transportation?  People spend tons of time and walk many miles on treadmills.  Wouldn't it be time better spent if they walk those same miles to the store and walked home with an errand done?  Instead, we go from the gym to our cars and drive to the store and then back home.  That just seems like a waste of time when you spend any logical time thinking about it.

All this thinking has gotten to me.  I've decided to put my walking shoes where they belong, on the road to the store.  I'm going to be walking for my groceries here in town.  So, if you see me walking down the main drag (pictured above), you'll know why.  It's not that my car is in the shop or that my divers license got revoked.  I just think more people should use their feet for the purpose that God gave them to you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: Quiet; The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain


What an enjoyable read.  I admit that when I ordered this book, I didn't think that I was going to like it very much.  I thought that it would be a very dry and academic study.  Wow, was I surprised by the content of this book.

"Quiet" gives numerous examples of how the U.S. came to prize extroverts.  Ms. Cain illuminates the transition from honoring the quiet, wise elder to idolizing the all American Ken doll ideal.  She pointed out things that I had noticed but never put much thought into connecting.  Such as, the people that we, as a society, hold up as "pillars" are those that enjoy being in the spotlight, those that enjoy speaking out, or those that can deliver a message the best.  They are not those that may have the best idea or those that can relate to a person on an individual basis.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the empowerment I felt when reading it.  I found myself saying, "that's what I do." or  "I always feel that way."  It made me understand that I wasn't being anti-social or mean because I needed quiet time.   I felt that all the things that I thought made me weird or different than everyone, was really me just being an introvert.  That the idea of everyone being a social butterfly was skewed.  I had fallen prey to the marketing of the extrovert as an ideal!

For all those closet introverts out there, I would highly recommend this book.  For those of you with children that seem withdrawn and you just don't get it, run out and buy this book!

I was given this book by the publisher for the purpose of review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher.