Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Brave / Review

Author: Nicholas Evans
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
(October 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316033782

Book Description:

There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy Ray Montane, Tom's life is transformed. They move to Hollywood and all his dreams seem to have come true. Soon, however, the sinister side of Tinseltown casts its shadow and a shocking act of violence changes their lives forever. What happened all those years ago remains a secret that corrodes Tom's life and wrecks his marriage. Only when his estranged son, a US Marine, is charged with murder do the events resurface, forcing him to confront his demons. As he struggles to save his son's life, he will learn the true meaning of bravery.

Powerfully written and intensely moving, The Brave traces the legacy of violence behind the myth of the American West and explores our quest for love and identity, the fallibility of heroes and the devastating effects of family secrets.

My Review:

Many will remember the author's best-selling book "The Horse Whisperer," with fondness. Nicholas Evans fans will find "The Brave" fascinating, as well.

The book starts with young Tom visiting his mother before she is to go to the gas chamber, then moves back and forth with ease, giving us bits of his life and the relationships he struggles with. In the end, Tom, fighting to save the life of his son, Danny, finds courage and reconciliation.

The story is told with skill by a master novelist--bold, complex, engrossing, larger-than-life. I highly recommend "The Brave."

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

City of Tranquil Light / Review

Author: Bo Caldwell
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
(September 28, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0805092285

Book Description:

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P'ing Ch'eng— City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love—and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?
Told through Will and Katherine's alternating viewpoints—and inspired by the lives of the author's maternal grandparents—City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation.

A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn.

My Review:

This historical novel, inspired by the author's grandparents, takes us on a spiritual journey-- into the lives of two lovers and their experiences within China. Great hardships threaten to destroy a faith that seems unshakable. The story in electric, beautiful, passionate, and tender. Will faith and love survive? 5 stars*****

(Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for my review copy.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

At Witt's End / Review

Author: Beth Solheim
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Echelon Press
(March 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 159080662X

Book Description:

Things are really bustling at the Witt's End resort in Northern Minnesota. Clients are vying for one of the few remaining rentals, except Cabin 14 thing is no--one gets out of Cabin 14 alive. Sadie isn't your typical sixty-four year old senior citizen. She has things she wants to do and shouldn't be expected to solve a murder while trying to prevent an unscrupulous sheriff's deputy from shutting down the lakeside resort she owns with her straight arrow sister. But that's exactly what Sadie Witt must do. When five guests with hidden agendas arrive at Cabin 14, they're stunned to learn that the flamboyant Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in the latest fashion trends--fads typically reserved for those without sagging body parts--and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can't, Sadie realizes one of the guests has been murdered and must work against the clock to untangle the web and prevent further mayhem.

My Review:

At Witt's End by Beth Solheim is one of those easy reading, fasting moving, enjoyable books you can't put down. The characters are well-developed, a little quirky, and completely memorable. Definitely a page-turner. 4 stars.

(thank you to the author for my review copy.)

The Confident Woman Devotional / Review

Author: Joyce Meyer
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: FaithWords
(November 22, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446568880

Book Description:
THE CONFIDENT WOMAN has sold over 400,000 copies since its publication in 2006 and remains Joyce Meyer's only #1 New York Times bestselling book. It continues to sell an average of over 100,000 copies a year; clearly, she tapped into the concerns and issues that trouble women most. In this devotional, Meyer provides encouragement and tools to help address and resolve problems in an area of life that women struggle with.It is easy to get caught up in what the coming weeks, months or years might hold and forget to slow down and live in the present. This powerful daily devotional will help women on their journey towards a confident life filled with love, laughter and God's acceptance, one day at time.

My Review:
This 365 day devotional for women is another example of Joyce Meyers outstanding ministry. It is scripturally sound, easy to read, and uplifting. Each page includes a scripture, message, and prayer. Devotions are short and to the point--a quick way to start the day in a positive way.

Topics address areas of interest to women: self-confidence and building strong relationships.

This is a beautiful volume that would fit into a tote/purse and would also make a lovely gift.

(thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Clinton St. Baking Company / Review

Author: DeDe Lahman & Neil Kleinberg
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
(November 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0316083372

The Clinton St. Baking Company is one of the hottest brunch spots in a city obsessed with brunch. A tiny thirty-two-seat eatery on Manhattan's trendy Lower East Side, the restaurant draws long lines of customers who come from far and wide to sample fresh-baked goods, hearty omelets, sugar-cured bacon, and light-as-air pancakes with maple butter.

In the Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook, owners DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg share more than 100 treasured recipes that have made their restaurant a sensation. Learn the secret to their house-made buttermilk biscuits and tomato jam, irresistible muffins and scones, delicious soups and sandwiches, and their decadent, eye-catching desserts. Helpful techniques, like Neil's patented omelet "flip and tuck," and gorgeous color photographs throughout will have readers cooking like pros in no time, and sharing the delicious results.

My Review:
This cookbook is fabulous! It has all the foods you would expect from your local bakery/coffee shop. The recipes are not complicated and look delicious in the colorful full-page photos.I can't wait to try Smoked Salmon Scramble and the Scones!

This is one of those cookbooks we take off the shelf and use often for a simple and delicious breakfast or lunch. It will also make a great gift for the baker/cook. Definitely 5 stars *****

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Winner Is....

The winner of the new book It Writes Itself is Anita! Congratulations!! **Please send your address by email so I can put your book in the mail

Monday, November 8, 2010

The American Patriot's Almanac

Authors: William J. Bennett
John T.E. Cribb
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
(September 28, 2010)

My Review:

The American Patriot’s Almanac (Daily readings on America), a national bestseller which has now been revised, updated, and expanded, offers the reader 365 days of historic facts and inspiration. The book is packed with Americana which includes: Twelve Great Reasons to Love a Great Country; Flags of the Revolutionary War; The History of the Stars and Stripes; Fifty All-American Movies; Fifty American Quotes; Flag Etiquette; How the Declaration of Independence Was Written and Signed; The Declaration of Independence; The Gettysburg Address; The American’s Creed; Poems of American Patriotism; Prayers for the American People; and much more.

I found inspiration on every page of this beautiful volume. I also found answers to questions I have had in the past. For instance, why are our national elections held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November; who was the oldest person to become president; who was the youngest person to become president; which presidents were impeached; how are ships in the Navy named, etc.

This would be a perfect tool for the home-school library or a gift for anyone who enjoys American history. All the vitality of the this wonderful country comes alive page after page, giving the reader a sense of pride in our country and the freedoms we all enjoy. I definitely give this book 5 stars*****

(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for my review copy!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

He Blew Her A Kiss / Review

Authors: A. P. Printup and K. S. Dollar
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press
(July 23, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1432760920

Book Description:

It comes as a brush of the shoulder, a breath, a familiar scent, or perhaps a gentle breeze when everything else is still. These remarkable sensations are all examples of our loved ones communicating to us after they are gone from this life-letting us know they are in a better place, and yet still with us.

He Blew Her a Kiss collects dozens of such stories of after-death communication, in which husbands, wives, children, grandparents, and others, gently let us know that their spirit lives on.

This series of short, delightfully written vignettes-based on real-life stories from all over the country-describes:
-How a simple note tied to a balloon proves the incredible power of love to transcend all, following the death of a beloved wife
-The voicemail message a sister receives after her brother has passed-and its incredible tidings of hope
-The uncanny revelation contained in a TV game show that supplies comfort to a family after the death of their patriarch
-The nightlight that flickers only when a granddaughter speaks of her late grandmother-and how it refuses to go out...and much more.

Filled with touching accounts that will make you smile and cry at the same time, He Blew Her a Kiss is required reading for anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a loved one and needs a little help to carry on.

My Review:

I love personal accounts like these! They are tender, reassuring, compassionate, and sometimes even funny. I've collected dozens of books on life after death over the years and will proudly add this one to my library.

The stories are all short and to the point; well-edited and easy to read, while giving hope for an extension of life hereafter. The reader does not feel like they must read the entire book in one sitting, but can read each personal story as time permits.

I'm definitely looking forward to the next book. 5 stars*****

(Thank you to the authors for my review copy.)

The Family Dinner / Review

Author: Laurie David
w/recipes by Kirstin Uhrenholdt
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
(November 3, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446565466

Book Description:
Laurie David's new mission is to help America's overwhelmed families sit down to a Family Dinner, and she provides all the reasons, recipes and fun tools to do so.

Laurie David speaks from her own experience confronting the challenges of raising two teenage girls. Today's parents have lots to deal with and technology is making their job harder than ever. Research has proven that everything we worry about as parents--from drugs to alcohol, promiscuity, to obesity, academic achievement and just good old nutrition--can all be improved by the simple act of eating and talking together around the table.

Laurie has written a practical, inspirational, fun (and, of course, green) guide to the most important hour in any parent's day. Chock-full chapters include: Over seventy-five kid approved fantastic recipes; tips on teaching green values; conversation starters; games to play to help even the shyest family member become engaged; ways to express gratitude; the family dinner after divorce (hint: keep eating together) and much more. Filled with moving memories and advice from the country's experts and teachers, this book will get everyone away from electronic screens and back to the dinner table.

My Review:
This is NOT only a book of recipes, but a book about the importance of family togetherness that includes recipes. It is about bringing back the family table and the healing benefits of the evening meal.

The Family Dinner is a book to be read from cover to cover; to be used daily--unlike cookbooks that are taken off the shelf on special occasions. The reader will not only enjoy perusing this beautiful volume, but also reading it as a serious, reflective tool in stabilizing family bonds.

The Family dinner offers foods that kids will like to eat; conversation starters; games to play at the table; ways to express gratitude; words of wisdom; cook's tips; color photos; and much more. It is a treasure chest of ideas! I highly recommend it. Definitely 5 stars*****!!
(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my beautiful review copy!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Giveaway / It Writes Itself

I'm giving away a new copy of It Writes Itself by Susannah Raulino. The winner will be announced on November 10th.

Rules are simple:
*Leave a comment telling why you would like to receive this book.
*You must be a follower of my blog.

Book Description:
An innovative How-To book on creative writing that helps writers enter their fictional worlds so vividly that writing becomes the act of listening, watching, and writing down what happens.

Please enter. Wishing everyone good luck!!

(Thank you to the author for this copy.)