Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rachel Hauck Fires Up the Romance with “A Brush with Love” Kindle Giveaway!

"Fire" up the romance in the new year with Rachel Hauck's newest book, A Brush with Love, by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway! And be sure to catch a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-released How to Catch a Prince!
 One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway only runs for a week, 12/30 – 1/5. Winner will be announced January 6th on Rachel's blog.

Monday, December 29, 2014

These Broken Stars Review

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Visit their websites are HERE and HERE
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date: December 10, 2013
Goodreads Summary:
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
I checked out a copy from the library. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today.

My Thoughts:
Two and half words describe my joy with this book: SPACE TRAVEL...kinda. Knowing 'Beyond the Stars' would fit in with my (failed) Sci Fi November attempt, I eagerly checked it out from the library. So while I was quite looking forward to a lot of space travel, I wasn't all that disappointed to find out it only lasts a few chapters. Lilac's father's ship crashes into a mysterious planet and miraculously, Lilac and Tarver are the only survivors.

Once I overlooked the easy coincidence of just the two surviving amongst thousands, I was quite able to fall in love with the whole story. The authors created a whole galaxy from planet to far out planet with a military and social caste complete. It feels a bit odd to pull attention to this as the majority of the novel revolves around a single, isolated planet. But I truly admired how easily the authors built a world without spending much time actually world-building. The small glimpses we do get say a lot.

And Lilac and Tarver? A great love story. Realistic. Believable. And absolutely adorable. I love how they both slowly change and learn to trust, first just to survive but then morphing into something deeper. And what I truly appreciated? No insta-love! The book does begin with an initial attraction, but Lilac was more than ready to kick him to the curb permanently before fate threw them back together. As a result we get plenty of friction and personality clashes, which just makes the read that much more fun ;)

Each character has a strong and identifiable voice which works perfectly for the dual perspective and effortlessly draws the reader in. I wasn't sure I was going to like Lilac at all as she seemed too wrapped in herself and her (overly rich) world. Being stranded on the planet helps Lilac become real, both to the reader and in the story. She learns so much about herself. It is truly beautiful.

I can easily admit that I am petrified to read book two. It features a different couple, which is good because I'm not sure I could handle what comes next for Lilac and Tarver. What we were given was good enough. But I'm also worried it is going to be so wildly different. And I will have high expectations. As much as I love 'These Broken Stars', a part of me still feels torn giving this book the full five stars. That is why reading the review is so important! 4.5 Stars. ...for now :D

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Angel Fire Nerd Blast

Publisher: Candlewick Press,U.S.
Format: Paperback | 449 pages
Publication date: December 27 2011


They're out for your soul.
And they don't have heaven in mind...

Willow knows she's different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people's dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. 
But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he's one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems; least of all good and evil.


Lee Weatherly was born in 1967 and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. She lives with her husband in Hampshire, England, where she writes, goes on walks, tries out new recipes and has a cat named Bernard.

L.A. Weatherly is the pseudonym for Lee Weatherly. You can follow her on Twitter at @LA_Weatherly

WEBSITE: http://www.leeweatherly.com/index.html
TWITTER: @LA_Weatherly

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/angel.trilogy

-Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

6 Winners will receive a Copy of Angel Burn by L.A. Weatherly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Importance of the Review

This post was completely inspired by Josephine from Word Revel. Stop everything you are doing and go read her well articulated post right HERE. I will wait here for you to come back. She has some good points and shares it very thought out. Expect nothing similar here. While I LOVE words, I struggle picking the right ones :/

I have thought similar thoughts before, wondering if it is even worth rating a book with a rating system (stars, coffee cups, smiley faces). I have also witnessed several bloggers do away with their rating system completely because they found it too subjective. And I completely get it. Plus their reviews are still top notch and worth reading even without that expected star rating. 

Will I do away with my rating system, loose as it is? I'm not sure yet. As much as I understand that rating books is so subjective, it is kind of stuck in my brain. Review a book, rate a book. Goes hand in hand, doesn't it? And what about when I want to review the book on Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble? 

And this is where the post's title finally comes in :) Reviews are important! I've said it before and I will say it again, when I see book bloggers saying they don't read reviews, I am shocked. You cannot just look at a blogger's book rating and assume you know how good the book will be. A book can be rated 5 stars by one friend and then only 2 stars by the next. So which is it? And what about your two friends who both rated it 4 stars but only one friend is truly raving about the book? Reviews hold the answers. 

Reviews should explain why we liked or didn't like a book. They should easily convey to others who read the review what we believed made or broke the story. "Why did I like Book X? Well because the characters were relatable, realistic, and charming. But I didn't like the way Author carried the pace so slowly through the first half..." Someone should be able to read this and go 'Hey, I can see why Blogger rated it with 4 stars. When I read Book X, I can expect it to be a bit slow and that's okay'. 

The review should explain and reinforce the rating. Reading will always be subjective, but a review helps others understand how you interpreted the book. Reviews offer clarity, sparks discussion and helps us relate to other readers, bloggers, authors, etc. 

Could you ever do away with your rating system? Are the relevant any more? Other thoughts??

Monday, December 22, 2014

50 Women Every Christian Should Know Review

50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith
50 Women Every Christian Should Know by Michelle DeRusha
Visit her website HERE
Publisher: Baker Books
Publishing Date: September 16, 2014
Goodreads Summary:
Throughout history, countless women have boldly stepped out in faith and courage, leaving their indelible mark on those around them and on the kingdom of God. In lively prose Michelle DeRusha tells their stories, bringing into focus fifty incredible heroines of the faith. From Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Anne Hutchison to Susanna Wesley, Harriet Tubman, and Corrie ten Boom, women both famous and admirable live again under DeRusha's expert pen. These engaging narratives are a potent reminder to readers that we are not alone, the battles we face today are not new, and God is always with us in the midst of the struggle. 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy of the book today

My Thoughts: 
It is not an overstatement to say that EVERY CHRISTIAN needs to read this book, male or female, newbie or 'junkie'. Having this collection of fifty women who were self-less, faithful, and wavemakers is truly an inspiration. I follow author Michelle DeRusha's blog so I have had the privilege of seeing a few behind the scenes moments. The struggles, time and effort the author put into writing about FIFTY separate, amazing women and culling each giant story into a few short pages. Nothing short of astounding in itself.

First, the obvious: I just loved reading through these tiny glimpses of these giant women of faith! It is like a Hebrews 11 book of women. And I truly mean it, these ladies were FAITHFUL. Writing and reading when it was frowned upon for women, trusting and loving the Lord when it meant certain death, standing up for the weak and destitute, and raising, and losing, hundreds of kids. How could this book NOT be an inspiration? Each time you set the book down these fifty women will stick to your heart, you will ponder their lives and your own guaranteed.


I just have two nitpicky things to say about the book, and only because I was trying to look with a critical eye. First, some of the women's chapters felt more purposeful, with a clear conclusion and take away. But others just felt like they...ended. They may have had a compelling life story, but sometimes I was left wondering 'And now what?'

Second, I wish the editor had allowed for a 'Further Reading' section at the end of each chapter. I would love to read more on some of these women of faith. The very back of the book includes DeRusha's notes and Bibliography so I will try to cull some extra reading from there. 

"50 Women" will be sticking with me for a long while, and will hopefully be making it's way onto my Re-Read 2015 list. Until then I will be trying to push everyone I know to read it and become inspired themselves. 5 stars. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Library Challenge 2015


I'm joining Sheila at Book Journey in her 2015 Library Challenge. Returning my passions back to the library is something I was already contemplating for the new year. Joining up with this challenge was a no-brainer. 

Here are the challenge levels:
1-5 check outs in 2015 – NOVICE
6-11 check outs in 2015 – ROOKIE
12- 16 check outs in 2015 – INTERMEDIATE
17 – 22 check outs in 2015 – SEASONED
23 – 27 check outs in 2015 – EXPERIENCED
28 + check outs in 2015 – GOING PRO!
I'm aiming for Seasoned, but hopefully by June (the midway point) I can confidently up that to Experienced. 
Yes the shiny new covers still call to me, but I also want to support the library systems. They do an awesome wonderful thing that should never fade away.
Join us??

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Get Wise Review

Get Wise: Make Great Decisions Every Day
Get Wise by Bob Merritt
Visit his website HERE
Publisher: Baker Books
Publishing Date: October 21, 2014
Goodreads Summary:
We make dozens of decisions, big and small every day--some without much thought at all. But with many decisions, there's a certain amount of danger. One wrong decision can destroy a career or a marriage. A string of wrong decisions can derail a life. So how do we know if our decisions are wise ones? 
Pastor Bob Merritt has found that the best way to get it right is to cultivate godly wisdom. In "Get Wise," he takes God's best wisdom as found in the book of Proverbs and applies it to the top decisions every person has to make--decisions about education, work, family, friends, sex, parenting, money, and more. Topic by topic, he shows readers how to make choices that result in long-term benefits in health, reputation, peace, and finances.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy through the church's bookstore Beyond Books

My Thoughts:
Bob Merritt stations us firmly in the Book of Proverbs, a place I honestly don't read much from. 'Get Wisdom' breaks up into five different sections; "Wisdom, Weaknesses, and God" discusses why we should trust Solomon's wisdom and how we can acquire the same, "Personal Wisdom" covers the heart, mouth and feet. From there we move into relational and family wisdom and end with "Successful Wisdom''.

Having read Merritt's first book, 'When Life's Not Working', I knew I was in for a practical, hard-hitting read. Merritt combines entertaining real life stories with Biblical truth in a seamless manner. The pastor's willingness to share both wins and failures is encouraging. Plus, the combination helps the reader make some sense out of what can be a difficult Biblical book. I didn't feel that this book was trying to replace the Bible in some way, but rather drive the reader to the original text, which I love.
'But there's a difference between being foolish and being a fool. Everyone trips up and does foolish things at times, but some people are fools by their very nature. A fool is a fool all the time.'
And much like his last book, Merritt knows how to go after the re-read. 'Get Wise' covers most of the major aspects of life (money, friends, parenting, etc) which easily ensures that any reader will need to return to the book again and again to glean more wisdom. I've read his previous book twice, and have contemplated a third, and I can already tell that I would love a re-read of this one as well.

Incredibly well written and well thought out, do I have any choice but to give this book 5 stars?? I am also proud to announce that this is my husband's FIFTH book he read in 2014. Doesn't that count for a little something? ;) Add 'Get Wise' to your reading list for January 2015 and get ready to feel motivated in all aspects of life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Re-Read Challenge 2015

The 2015 Re-Read Challenge

My first challenge for 2015?? A re-read challenge! I don't know which books I will re-read yet; I will post a list near the end of the month hopefully here on this post. BUT I am setting a goal of at least six re-reads! 

I am planning on reviewing each re-read with the awesome questions provided by our lovely hosts:
WHEN I First Read

WHAT I Remember

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading

WOULD I Re-Read Again

Consider joining us? Just click the round badge above!