Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review: Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses
by Jenny Hale
Advanced Reader Copy, Kindle, pages 305

2 1/2 stars

Synopsis: Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble…

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?
My view on the book:  This is the third book that I have read by Jenny Hale, the second Christmas book. This book starts out slow, but picks up just between the halfway point and two-thirds into the story. I also saw quite a few similarities in the other Christmas book that I read, A Christmas to Remember. Both involve a woman, who is struggling to make ends meet, goes to work at the estate of a millionaire, there is a developing relationship between the two, although the millionaire is a workaholic, he learns to take time and appreciate life, beyond just working and making money. Summer by the Sea did not follow the same formula as the 2 Christmas stories. Next Christmas, I hope to see Ms. Hale not follow the same formula in her holiday book. I'd give this 2.5 stars on Goodreads if I could.

I do recommend this if you enjoy sweet holiday romances.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#T5W Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books You Are Thankful For

This week's topic is Top 5 Books You are Thankful For.  In no particular order:

1.   Ready-made Family I must have read this in grade school and enjoyed it.  Don't really remember that many specifics, but I credit this for my interest and love of adoption ever since I was young.  I remember thinking I will adopt when I am adult Some 30+ years later, my husband and I adopted our son.

2. The Little House Books Without these books, I may not have had such a long-lasting love of reading.    I know I read the about half of these, but I do not think I read the last few of the original series.  I wish these books were available for the Kindle, I don't often re-read books, but I think these would be enjoyable and probably quick reads.

3. Although I have yet to read the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series of books, I am thankful that they have resulted in a whole new generation of readers.  Many of whom may not have been ones who typically were readers, especially in this age of electronic everything.

4.  I am thankful that I picked up that first historical romance back in the late 80s.  I believe it was Janelle Taylor's First Love, Wild Love and though it was not quite a 5 star read (or looking at my rating at the time maybe it was), it resulted in me reading many other historical romances and finding many great historical romance authors. 

5.  I am thankful that my mother instilled the love of reading, although she herself is not really much of a reader except for the newspaper; over the years, she has occasionally read a book here and there.  But having a parent read to a young child is probably one of the best ways to get that child to want and to enjoy reading.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#T5W Top 5 Wednesday: Top Authors You Discovered This Year

Although the actual topic for this week is Top 5 Hunger Games Moments (movies or books), I have never read the Hunger Games (not a fan of dystopian fiction) since this is my 1st Wednesday book blogging.  I thought I'd pick a Top 5 from the other month (I think it was from October).  Since it is November, I'm going back 12 months to December 2014 to choose the authors that I discovered..

In no particular order the Top 5 authors I discovered this year are:

1.  Stacy Finz - She writes the Nugget series, which takes place in Nugget. California, a small town in the Sierra Nevadas.  I started at the beginning of the year reading an ARC of the 2nd book in the series, Finding Hope. I loved the book and she hooked me into reading the first one, Going Home and since then have been lucky enough to get the next 3 as ARCs.  I'll be reading #4, Starting Over within the next couple weeks, I hope and #5, Getting Lucky just came out last week. and a new one is coming in February, Borrowing Trouble.  I'm looking forward to reading them all.

2.  H.Y. Hanna - I discovered her last December.  She is an Australian writer and wrote her first contemporary romance series, Summer Beach Vets, which takes place in Australia and consists of 5 short books.  This summer, she continued with a spin-off series, Summer Beach Brides.  I'm anxiously awaiting the release of her next book.

3. Jenny Hale - I discovered her also last December, also through an ARC from NetGalley.  I'm on the third book written by her.  I think she has 5 books out, 3 Christmas ones and 2 that aren't.  She writes sweet romance novels.  It is refreshing to be able to read a book where the characters don't either jump in bed way too soon or just have steamy, love scenes.  I do enjoy those too (although not  Fifty Shades of Grey).  I am currently reading her newest release, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses.

4.  Collen Coble - Although she has written quite a number of books, I first read her earlier this year.  The Inn at Ocean's Edge, which was the first book in the Sunset Cove series.  She is a Christian fiction writer.  But boy was that a good book.  Mystery, suspense, romance, it had it all and was full of plenty of twists and turns.  She has Mermaid Moon, which will be released in January as the second in the Sunset Cove series.  I have this as an ARC and hope to be able to read this in the next month or so.

5, Linda L.T. Blair - Like the other authors, I discovered her through an ARC I received on NetGalley.  She wrote a memoir/auto-biography of her life in Vietnam during and before the time of the Vietnam War.  I usually do not enjoy books on the war, but as this was her personal story, it was extremely interesting. She is coming out with a 2nd book that I believe follows her life after Red Blood, Yellow Skin: A Young Girl's Survival in War-Torn Vietnam.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Audiobook Review: Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War
Helen Thorpe
Dreamscape Media, LLC
Narrated by: Donna Postel
Length: 15 hours, 54 minutes

4 Stars

Synopsis: In Soldier Girls, Helen Thorpe follows the lives of three women over twelve years on their paths to the military, overseas to combat, and back home, and then overseas again for two of them. These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated. We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children. We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home. We see some of them drink too much, have illicit affairs, and react to the deaths of fellow soldiers. And we see what happens to one of them when the truck she is driving hits an explosive in the road, blowing it up. She survives, but her life may never be the same again.

My view on the book:   I found this book extremely interesting.  It covers from before the women enlisted with the National Guard, either the late 1990s or early 2000s, even before 9/11 had occurred up until 2013 or so.  Why they enlisted, what was going on in their lives at the time through the time that were sent over to Afghanistan and for 2 out of 3 of the women also later to Iraq, as well as when they returned home.  Just seeing how their lives caused then to enlist and later as they faced deployment to the Middle East and how they coped upon their return to their lives in the United States.  At nearly 16 hours of audio, it seemed long, but at the same time very thorough as it described the effects on both the three women and their families.  The narrator at times seemed to robotic and I found myself several times having to replay parts of what I just heard because I tuned out.  But other times, I stayed focused if not enthralled and narrating a non-fiction book, I would assume would be more difficult than navigating a fictional book. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Book Review: Dogtology: Bark. Live. Believe.

Dogtology: Live. Bark. Believe.
by Jeff Lazarus
Greenleaf Book Group Press
Advanced Reader Copy, Kindle , pages: 179

5 stars

Brief Synopsis: Live. Bark. Believe. Dogtology is a humorous exploration of man’s fanatical devotion to Dog. In this book, Lazarus makes the case that Dogtology has become a bone-a-fide belief system on par with the world’s great philosophies and religions.

My view on the book: I just loved this book. It is all about our devotion to our four-legged BFF, the dog. I found myself nodding yes, I did this back when I had a dog growing up or yes, so and so does this, who is extremely obsessed about her little "Fi-fi".  I laughed and smiled through out the book and must admit that I am definitely, a Dogtologist, although currently not a practicing one.

I received this book as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book to any dog lovers out there. You are not alone in your love and devotion to this wonderful species.