May 31, 2014

Mom's Night Out by Tricia Goyer

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Mom's Night Out by Tricia Goyer
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Mom’s Night Out is a novelization of the hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life—where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right.
All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours—what could go wrong?
Chronicling one night out gone awry, three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to embrace the beautiful mess called parenting. This book spotlights the unfulfilled expectations and serial self-doubts many moms feel . . . then reassures us that the key is raising kids in a loving home. Mom’s Night Out is an endearing, true-to-life comedy.

My review: I was not sure of this book at first when I saw it but I am glad I gave it a chance. It was a funny quick read for me. The fact that is is about everyday people made it seem real to me. I can see this happening on any given night in any given town. I think most moms would enjoy reading this book as there is at least one part or another that you have lived through yourself so now is your chance to sit back and laugh about it. If you are looking for a book to read when you are feeling down this is a good one as it will have you smiling by then end When you are done reading the book grab your friends and head to the movies as you guessed it this book has been made into a movie as well staring some great actors 

The MOMS’ NIGHT OUT film features Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Sean Astin (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves RaymondThe Middle), Alex Kendrick (COURAGEOUS), Robert Amaya (COURAGEOUS), Andrea Logan White (REVELATION ROAD), Kevin Downes (COURAGEOUS), and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (THE LINCOLN LAWYER)

An Amish Garden by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer and Vanetta Chapman

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

An Amish Garden by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer and Vanetta Chapman
ISBN: 9781401689797
Trade Paperback 

Synopsis: “A Place of Healing” Vannetta Chapman
Emma discovers a run-away teen in her barn, and the bishop asks her to provide a haven for a woman and her two children. Then her mother-in-law reveals a secret about her garden. Will Emma choose loneliness or learn to accept God’s gifts?
“Flowers for Rachael” Kathleen Fuller
Rachael’s garden is beautiful, but she is lonely. Gideon is in love with Rachael, but when Rachael finds her garden in shambles after a crisis, she rejects his help. Will she realize she doesn’t have to do everything on her own?
“Seeds of Love” Tricia Goyer
When a corporation shows interest in buying Sadie’s heirloom seeds, she panics. They are all she has left of her Dat and Mem. Eli believes he can help Sadie, but a misunderstanding leaves her heartbroken. Will she trust him again, and will the seeds of a new relationship take root?
“Planting a Future” Beth Wiseman
Rosemary is doing her best to run her family’s household. She excels at all her tasks except one: gardening. Saul has been interested in her for years, but Rosemary has turned him down repeatedly. Saul begins helping with her family’s garden, but someone is sabotaging his efforts—and keeping a secret that could change their lives.

My review: I enjoyed this book with all four stories from four great authors. I think it is fun to read each of these stories with a "gardening" theme. Each of these stories contained their own message as you work your way through the book. To me this book read pretty quickly since it was four stories all rolled into one book. You can read one story or all four as they are good stand alone stories well. Another thing I liked about these stories is that they were about young people working through a problem. A good book to read on a rainy day. 

The Kissing Bridge by Tricia Goyer

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Kissing Bridge by Tricia Goyer
Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors #3
ISBN: 9780310335153
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: Rebecca is an Amish woman whose pained past compels her to leave everything to become a nurse---abandoning her family and community. Caleb is an Amish man who is counting down the days until hunting season. At a crossroads in his own life, the excitement of hunting game is all he looks forward to. All the while he wonders what to do with the rest of his life. Even though he likes the Amish lifestyle, what good is an Amish man without faith in God?An unexpected meeting pushes them together, and they embark with friends on a two-week-long wilderness wagon journey. Hardship tears down the flimsy walls of protection they've placed around their hearts, and as their friendship grows they open up to each other and eventually reveal their deepest secrets. While on the outside they appear to be traditional Amish people, inside they both know they are anything but that. Will their secrets pull them together or draw them apart? And will their faith in God grow? There is a bridge to cross at the end of the journey. Will true love take them across?

My review: As with the other two books in this series I enjoyed reading this. I like how Tricia's books are a quick read yet packed with lots of meaning and a great message. It was nice to meet Rebecca and Caleb and to hear their stories. This was a nice love story to read without being to sappy or too overdone. Tricia does a good job of telling how these two work through their hardship to cross over the "bridge" to a happier place for each of them. The ending was very good to me. I look forward to reading more books in this series. 

May 29, 2014

A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell
Seasons of Pinecraft Series #1
ISBN: 9781426753558
Trade Paperback

Synopsis: An Amish widower finds love in unexpected places.
Amish widower Jacob Miller believes it was a mistake to visit the Amish village of Pinecraft for winter vacation, especially after his daughter is struck by a car. Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers, Jacob grows increasingly wary of events that unfold in his unfamiliar surroundings—including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett.
Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret—that she was once Amish.
When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she is attracted to their warm hospitality and simple ways—and soon wonders if they can help her find her mother’s family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures?
My review: This is my first book by this author and I thought she did a very good job on this book. I enjoyed reading about Jacob, I felt really bad for hi and the pain he was going through while his daughter was healing and him being in an unfamiliar place. I liked how the circus was a part of this story and how Natalie's mom used to be Amish. It was neat to see this in an Amish story. One thing that I liked about this is that I have been to Sarasota and the village of Pinecraft so I could imagine myself right in this story line. The author did a good job of writing a nice clean story with a little romance involved without making it sappy. I am looking forward to the rest of this series. 
Join Lynette Sowell for a live Facebook author chat on June 12 at 8:00 PM EDT. Readers will be able to discuss the book, answer and ask questions and win prizes. Watch Lynette Sowell, Author on Facebookfor details.
Keep up with Lynette Sowell via her blog(, Facebook page (Lynette Sowell, Author), or Twitter (@LynetteSowell).


Lynette Sowell is the award-winning novelist of more than fifteen titles. When she’s not writing fiction, Lynette works covering local news for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press, where she also writes a weekly column called My Front Porch. She enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies and is always up for a Texas road trip. Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the eastern shore of Maryland, but makes her home in Copperas Cove, Texas, with her husband, along with a spoiled Texas heeler and a pair of cats who have them all well-trained.

May 25, 2014

Book Blast - Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Arthur A. Levine Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Genre: YA Historical

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

About the Author

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

May 24, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert
ISBN: 9781601425904

Synopsis: Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she's learned a sacred truth -- appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows -- so when it starts to unravel, she'll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother's bridal wear line -- an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 

My review: This was my second book by this author and what pulled my attention to this book was not only the great cover but because it was about a model in the fashion industry. While I am not model or a girly girl stories about the fashion industry are fun for me to read. I found myself drawn to Ivy from the first page and that is in part due to the writing of the author and how she developed Ivy into a person everyone knows. Ivy could be your best friend and when she felt pain so did I. This book was so much more than what I expected it to be, it was a story of healing. There was a great message the was shown throughout the entire story. There is not enough I can say about this book other than give it a chance and you will not be disappointed. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a great read. 

About the Author: Christy Award finalist, Katie Ganshert is the author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows. She lives in Iowa with her handsome husband, their dinosaur-loving son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption, which she and her husband hope to complete sometime before they are fifty. - See more at: Katie's website You can also check her out on Facebook

May 23, 2014

The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli
ISBN: 9780989367103

Synopsis: From the author of Made in Italy comes a tale of artisanal tradition and family bonds set in one of the world's most magnificent settings: Renaissance Venice. 

When Luca Vianello, the heir to a renowned gondola-making enterprise, experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice

My review: This was a nice book to read that told the story not only of the tradition of gondola makers but of the family of Luca Vianello. This is the first book by this author that I have read and I think she did a good job of keeping me interested as I read the book. I enjoyed that it was set in Italy and I learned a little about something I did not know as I read it. I think Laura did a good job with the character development and I enjoyed getting to know them. I also liked that it was a very detailed story that included some of Italy's history and for me that was a plus. If you are a fan of historical fiction or of Italy you will enjoy this book. I look forward to seeing more books by this author. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the book tour

April 28 -The Written World - Historical Tapestry - review / guest post
April 28 - Chronicles - review
April 29 - Reviews by Molly - review / giveaway
April 30 - The YA Lit Chick - review
May 1 -  Pix Me! Photography - review
May 2 -  Black'n Gold Girl's Book Spot - review / giveaway
May 5 -  Reading, Writing, Working, Playing - review / giveaway
May 6 -  View From the Birdhouse - review / giveaway
May 7 -  Peeking Between the Pages - review / giveaway
May 7 -  Paulette's Papers - book spotlight / giveaway
May 8 -  She Reads Novels - review
May 9 -  Book Dilettante - review
May 12 - Savings is Seconds - review / giveaway
May 13 - Library of Clean Reads - review / author interview
May 14 - The 1000th Voice - review
May 14 - Bless Their Hearts Mom - book spotlight / giveaway
May 15 - All Things Bookie - review
May 16 - Based on a True Story... - review / giveaway
May 19 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review / spotlight
May 20 - FLY HIGH! - guest post / giveaway
May 20 - Views From the Countryside - review
May 21 - Tales of the Marvelous - review
May 22 - Musings from Sri Lanka - review
May 23 - In This World of Books - review
May 23 - Griperang's Bookmarks - review
May 26 - Every Free Chance Reader - book spotlight/ giveaway
May 27 - Rose & Beps Blog - book spotlight
May 28 - Ivory Owl Reviews - review / author interview
May 29 - PageCravings - review
May 30 - 2 Kids and Tired Books - review

Where to buy the book:

Author's Bio:
Laura Morelli earned a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and an Andrew W. Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She has taught college art history in the U.S. and at Trinity College in Rome. She is the creator of the authentic guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, published by Rizzoli. Laura is a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler and other national magazines and newspapers. A native of coastal Georgia, she is married and is busy raising four children. The Gondola Maker is her first work of fiction.

May 22, 2014

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton
ISBN: 9780451417794

SynopsisEgypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt…and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall….

Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

My Review: I really enjoyed this book and like how the author paid close attention to details. The writing of this book was so good and I felt as if I was a part of the story. In all my history reading I have not read many books set in Egypt not because I don't want I just have not had the chance to yet, so I am glad I picked this book up. I enjoyed learning more about Hatshepsut, I have not heard of her before. Hatshepsut was the first female pharaoh which I thought was interesting in itself. She had to be strong and her life was not exactly easy - first she loses her sister, then is in a marriage she did not want, and then becomes pharaoh after her husband (half-brother) dies. I can't not imagine the things she went through. This book grabbed me from the first page and kept me interested until the very last one. If you like historical fiction books or books about strong women this is the book for you. 

Praise for Daughter of the Gods

“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile
“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City
“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon “An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile

Buy the Book

About the Author

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” is available from NAL/Penguin, and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” will hit the shelvesMay 2014 and “The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan” will follow in Fall 2014.
For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Be sure to check out Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (click here) to see all the stops on the book tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 20, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Collector o Dying Breaths
Reincarnationist #6
By M.J. Rose
ISBN: 9781451621532

Synopsis: From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.
Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

My review: As with the rest of this series I was drawn in from page one. I liked how there was time travel, history and mystery all rolled into one. MJ did such a good job with this story that at times I could not tell if I was in the past or the present. She always does such a good job with the details she puts into stories from descriptions of places to history to great characters and including the scents that you can almost smell as you are reading. How MJ tells the story of perfumers was very interesting to me and I enjoyed learning as I was reading. The fact that this book is set in 16th century France was a bonus for me. If you are a lover of time travel or historical fiction books you will enjoy this book. Also I want to point out that you did not have to read the others in this series to enjoy this book, it works well as a stand alone. 

Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths

“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.” – B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger
“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” – Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author

Buy the Book

About the Author

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of and
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.
For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Please be sure to stop by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (click here) to see the rest of the stops on the tour

Guest Post by:

M.J. Rose

"It is with irony now, forty years later, to think that if I had not been called a 
murderer on the most frightening night of my life, there might not be any perfume 
in Paris today. And that scent—to which I gave my all and which gave me all the 
power and riches I could have hoped for—is at the heart of why now it is I who call 
myself a murderer." 

From The Collector of Dying Breaths

"Smell is a word, perfume is literature." 
—Jean-Claude Ellena, perfumer to Hermès