"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."--Groucho Marx

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Plain Death: An Appleseed Creek Mystery, by Amanda Flower

B&H Publishing

Chloe Humphrey, a big city girl, moved to Appleseed Creek to take over the IT department at the local college. On her drive to the town she notices a young Amish girl being hassled by two scary looking men, so she gives her a ride. This act of generosity opens the door to other Amish friends, dangers, and problems. When her new roommate, the young Amish girl, borrows her car and kills an Amish Bishop, she decides to get involved to try to save her young friends.

I totally enjoyed this book, and will definitely read the next in the series.  This is not a typical Amish fiction book, it is just based in Amish country, and the Amish play background roles. The mystery has enough twists and turns to hold interest, and the characters have the depth that makes them friends. I would definitely recommend this for readers who are looking for a fun read that is not too simple.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com

Published by B&H Publishing Group, July 1, 2012.

The Forgiven Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel, by Jamie Carle

B&H Publishing

Alexandria Featherstone’s parents have spent their lives chasing mysteries, now they have disappeared. Alexandria is determined to find them. In this second part of the story, Alexandria agrees to marry Lord John Lemon since he agreed to go with her and help her on her quest.  Just before the ship takes off for Iceland, Alexandria catches a glimpse of her guardian on the shore. Since the King sent her guardian to bring her home, she doesn’t want to connect with him, but they have been exchanging letters and he holds her heart. Now, her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton, and men from Spain and France all want to find her so that they can track her parents or keep her from tracking her parents. Alexandria races across the beautiful vistas of Iceland as she tries to beat the others and find her parents.

I enjoyed this story because it is more than a romance with lots of history as well as interesting descriptions of interesting people and places. More than once, I looked up pictures on the Internet to see if it could possibly be as beautiful as described. Now, I can’t wait to visit Iceland.  This is a fun enjoyable read, recommended for readers of romance with mystery and travel.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com.

Mariah's Quest, by Dianna Crawford and Sally Laity

Barbour Publishing

Mariah relied on her beauty all her life to catch eyes and gather marriage proposals. Now, she and her sisters have sold themselves into indentured servitude to help their father and she believes that her beauty will catch her a wealthy bachelor. When she stands on the block a good looking, young man calls out the winning bid and she rides next to him to live with his family. When she gets there, though, his mother is a powerful woman who has other ideas for her son than to marry a bondswoman. Just when things are looking up, Colin goes off to war against the French with George Washington. Mariah doesn’t know if he will ever come back, and if he does, will he still want to marry her?

This is a fun well-written Christian romance that follows the silly Mariah as she grows up and learns to rely on Jesus instead of her looks. The historical setting is during the pre-Revolutionary War era, when most of the east coast was still unsettled. If you enjoy Christian historical romances, put this one on your list.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com

Published by Barbour Publishing on July 1, 2012.

Hunter's Prize, by Marcia Gruver

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Since Addie is old enough to leave her family, she is ecstatic when she is passed a letter from a friend requesting a teacher to move to Texas to care for a special child. Today, such a child has a diagnosis of Autistic.  Addie has never seen a child with such problems, and it takes all her skills to deal with Ceddy Whitfield.

Ceddy Whitfield’s parents learned to handle his issues, but when they are killed in an accident, he moves to Texas to live with an elderly aunt.  Before leaving South Africa, he picks up a diamond.  A couple of evil men realize that Ceddy is holding a valuable diamond in the rough, so they track him to Texas to steal it from him.

Pearson Foster’s family drowned in the hurricane in Galveston in 1900, since then he has drifted through life as a fortune hunter. He moves to Lake Caddo to find the wreck of the Mittie Stephens.  Pearson, Addie, and Ceddy lives cross in East Texas, along with villains, townfolk, and Ceddy’s great aunt.  Fun, engaging read for those who enjoy historical Christian romances.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. on July 1, 2012.

Lily, by Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McGrovern

Barbour Publishing

Lily is a young Southern girl in the years before the Civil War. Her mother was killed in a riverboat accident, and her father abandoned Lily and her sisters.  After the accident, lily and her sisters lived with her grandparents, but when her grandfather dies, her aunt and uncle pressure her to marry a widowerer almost twenty years her senior.  Aft asking for her dowry money from her grandmother, she purchases half of a riverboat and moves in with her sisters, much to the dismay of the other owner, a riverboat gambler. Negotiating agreements with her parter, her sisters, and the river as well as villains, keeps Lily almost too busy to fall in love and find the path the Lord has chosen for her.

The story is rich with the south and the problems facing the people of the day.  Lily's story is fun to read and affirming, especially for the women who has to choose to be alone rather than become unequally yoked. As Lilly attempts to make solid choices in her life, the application of passages of the Bible lift up the Christian reader and help to strengthen one’s choices today. I would recommend this for readers who enjoy historical romances with heroines who look to the Lord for their dtrength. This one is definitely appealing to the heart.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com

Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. on June 1, 2012.

Don't Ever Get Old, by Daniel Friedman

Lately, I've run across several books that have heros that are older than the typical 20 something.  Since, I am definitely older that that, I've really enjoyed reading these books. So, I'm actively looking for books that have older main characters, as does this one.

Minotaur Books

Busk Schatz is an old man, who lived a long and active life that included fighting Nazis in WWII and thirty years as a police detective. Now, in his late 80s, he just wants to be left alone, but when his old army buddy calls him to his deathbed, his wife forces him to go. His buddy tells him that he let the prison camp commander that tried to kill Buck, escape, taking a gold bar as payment.  Buck looses his temper and refuses to forgive Jim, causing Jim to die. Unfortunately, Jim told others about the gold the Nazi was carrying, and now everybody thinks that Buck is out to find the gold, along with his old enemy.

I laughed. I cried. I loved this. It is definitely not Christian, nor is it clean. Buck is Jewish and there were several words I had to look up, along with the language that coincides the job of police detective. So, be prepared for a little profanity. It is great to see a hero that is a geriatric patient, too, but the way he blasts through life saying what ever he wants and doing whatever he wants is definitely good for a laugh. His fear of being put in a rest home is palpable.  Great, fun read for mature men and women who like a mystery. Reminiscent of Clint Eastwood in that movie Grand Torino, not for the faint of heart.

Received Galley from NetGalley.com.

Published by St. Martin’s Press on May 22, 2012.

Siri for Dummies, by Marc Saltzman

John Wiley & Sons

I choose to review this book because I have an iPhone, but I've never been able to utilize Siri to the extent that I wanted.  I am so delighted to have found this book.

Siri is the name for the virtual assistant on iPhone.  I have an iPhone that I’ve used since December of 2011, but I have not been able to utilize Siri with much success.  After reading this book, I can now use my Siri with confidence. I have typed on a full keyboard most of my life, so I was thankful when I was able to get a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, so that I could enter the world of texting with some speed.  Unfortunately, my thumbs don’t easily and quickly move to the tiny keyboard.  Now, I can just talk to Siri and she does it for me.  I have gotten so used to Siri, that now I resent when I cannot use my voice to text and have to slow down.  This is great for people like me as well as people who just have hands and fingers that are too big to text on a tiny keyboard.

If you have an iPhone, and have not let Siri become a big part of your life, you should definitely get this book.  You will be surprised at how easy it is to use and how much

Received Galley from NetGalley.com

Published by John Wiley & Sons on April 24, 2012.

July, July...is Rushing By

            Summer is racing by, and I’ve noticed a few things about myself. I can find time to read because I can read anywhere. What is difficult is actually getting my thoughts down on paper and into the blog and other places that I post. So, I’m guessing that this blog with continue to be a once-a-month posting, with a few occasional posts in between. I have several books to post today to catch up on my end of the day reading. 
            Our garden has kept me busy this summer and away from the books. I’ve enjoyed canning, freezing, and pickling. Then after I filled up all the spaces in our pantry and freezer, I turned to a food dehydrator to learn some new tricks. I’ve enjoyed following the blog of fellow blogger / canner Marisa McClellan on http://www.foodinjars.com/. Although she is not in my neck of the woods, she has provided me with support this summer as I’ve ventured further down the canning road that I’ve ever gone before, and actually come up with edible things.
            This has left me little time for posting since I would never cut into my reading time. Posting actually requires me to sit in front of the computer, while I can read in the car, in bed, and waiting for appointments.
            I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but just in case you didn’t know; there are websites where you can keep track of what you have read and what you are planning to read. If you are not currently using one, check out Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/, LibraryThing, http://www.librarything.com/home/, and Shelfari, http://www.shelfari.com/. I post my reviews on those sites, too. You can follow other readers who have similar tastes, and you can follow some of your favorite authors to see what they are reading. This can help with that irritating habit of picking up book to read, and not realizing that you’ve read it until you are half way through it. They can also help you find other books you might like.
            If you don’t have an electronic reader yet, I encourage you to jump on the bandwagon.  They are so easy to use and you can read in the dark, one of my favorite attributes. If you didn’t know, you can now download books from most local libraries, without ever actually visiting the library over your home Wi-Fi. You can get them after hours, and they return themselves, so they are never over due.
            Well, I’ve got to get on to my reviews. I hope your summer if moving along smoothly. I’ve read some great books this summer; I hope you have, too. Stay out of the heat, and read a book! gs