Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review - Quest for the Nailprints

Quest for the Nail Prints by Don Furr
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

From the Back Cover:Three ordinary people are chosen by God for an extraordinary experience, one so incredible that even they have a hard time believing it is real. Through unrelated circumstances, the three travelers find themselves sharing a journey to the Holy Land--when suddenly they are thrust back in time nearly two thousand years, coming face to face with the rugged radical Nazarene known throughout the land as Jesus of Nazareth.

Rachel's thoughts:
I surprised myself by liking this book. It isn't the sort of thing that I would pick out, but it was well written and enjoyable. It is written as historical fiction set during Christ's time and covers much of the last week of his life. I found this to be an appealing way to review some of the events of that week.

I did feel like the story had flaws. There were a few times that I felt as though the characters were oversimplified or didn't act in a way that seemed true to themselves. Also, I felt that the ending was too predictable and easy. However, there is an interesting twist at the end that leads to the second book.
Overall, I would recommend this book with 3 stars out of 5. It was an intriguing story with engrossing characters.


Freedom Giveaway Hop!

Time again for another hop.  This hop is brought to you by I am a Reader Not a Writer and Simply Stacie!
This one is International.  I have picked 4 titles that I think are fun summer reads.  You can take them to the beach, watch your kids in the wading pool in the back yard, or sit down and relax for a nice evening.  Even if you don't have kids, I think you might like one of these books.

I will be ordering them from the Book Depository, so as long as they ship to your country.... you are eligible to enter.  There will be two winners.  Each winner will be able to win one of the books  that I will show you in just a little bit.  You must be 13 or older to enter.  The books have kissing... all of them do, that's why they are great summer reads, so you have to be mature enough to handle a little romance. 

You enter by filling out the form. I will ask for a follow in one way that you feel comfortable with.  You can choose GFC, twitter , Networked Blogs, or friends on Goodreads.  Each way will give you one entry. (There are links for each way to follow in the right side bar.  They are all in a row, so it should be easy to find.)

Click on the titles under the books to take you to a synopsis at GoodReads.  

Here are the books that you can choose from:
Austenland by Shannon Hale (This is the Audio CD edition)

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Called Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann

Rugged and Relentless by Kelly Eileen Hake

As always, have fun hopping around from blog to blog and I hope that you win!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review of "Laney"

Laney (The Brookehaven Vampires, #1)Laney by Joann I. Martin Sowles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Recommended to: Ages 16 and over

Description from Goodreads: In a small college town in Northern California, Laney Alexander leads a regular, uneventful life-that is, until the charming and alluring Oliver Knight enters her world. Who is this gorgeous and mysterious stranger? Or, rather, what is he? As Laney's sophomore year of college begins, so does an unbelievable adventure-including a love she didn't know she longed for. She soon learns that Oliver is not ordinary, nor is the rest of his family, including a sister who openly hates her and a brother who will stop at nothing for revenge. As she fights for her life, and Oliver's love, Laney discovers that the fictional world of vampires isn't so fictional after all. Nobody is safe, especially Laney, Oliver's most important priority, and he will stop at nothing to protect her. With her mortality at risk, and a commitment revealed that she, without a doubt, knows she wants, Laney's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn...

My thoughts:Laney is your average 18 year old college student. She lives with her best friend off campus and attends courses at a University.

On the first day of classes her roommate, Kiera, faints in English class and the gorgeous guy they had been checking out carries her to the nurses office. Laney and the guy, Oliver, hit it off fairly quickly. The attraction is pretty instantaneous and intense.

Things are not what they seem, of course, this is a paranormal romance story. Oliver has secrets. You will notice that it is the Brookehaven Vampires series. I think that is a huge hint as to what Oliver may be. He also doesn't eat in front of Laney and others. Hmmm....

There is a feud between Oliver and a rogue vampire. The other vampire is ruthless and wants revenge against Oliver. There is a deeper connection between them, but I will not reveal what it is, you will need to read the story.

The only concern that I had is for younger YA readers, There is quite a bit of sex talk and innuendo. It wasn't offensive, but I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers. Personally, I loved it and I am looking forward to the next installment. I have some unanswered questions that I am looking forward to finding out about. One of them has to do with Laney's parentage. (Joann, that's a hint for you!)

Thank you Joann for contacting me to read your story.  I had actually noticed this book on goodreads and it was on my to read list when she contacted me.  I jumped at the chance to read it, and I would again. 

I am grateful for help!

My friend Rachel is an angel.  She is on bedrest for the next six weeks.  Many of her friends, including myself are trying to help her keep that baby in for a while.  We are all anxious for her to have a happy and healthy baby.  In six weeks she will be 34 weeks along and the baby can come safely.

I have been lending her a few books to help keep her occupied.  I just asked her if she would be willing to read a few of my hard copy review books and help me out.  Life happens and I am behind on my review books.  I just looked at my calendar.  I keep track of the books scheduled to read for the week and keep a running list of the books that  I didn't get to.  Transferring June books to July and the ones from previous months, I am 31 books behind schedule.  That is why I am grateful for friends!  If you have been waiting for me to review a book, I apologize for the delay.  I will get to it. It may not be as soon as I thought.

I will still do all of my blog tours that I have commited to, but I am taking several books to her house tonight.  Thanks Rachel!  Stay in bed and read and keep that baby in!  :0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:

          ~Grab your current read.

          ~Open to a random page.

          ~Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. (Sometimes I cheat a bit on this one and do a few more sentences.)

          ~Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give to much away.               You don't want to ruin the book for others.)

          ~Share the title and author, so the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.  :0)

It's taking me a while to get this up today.  The laptop that I work on stopped working over the weekend and the backup computer that I use is also not functioning properly.  I am now using my kids computer that I have to stand in line to get on.  I don't have a user on this computer, I am on my son's user.  Fortunately I am laughing and not crying at the moment.

My teaser this week comes from "Laney" by Joann J. Martin Sowles

I felt goose bumps emerge and my whole body quivered.  "Vampires, dragons, leprechauns, and such seem just as likely as what some people believe.  Plus, no one's disproved it."  pg 89

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review of Second Kiss

Second KissSecond Kiss by Natalie Palmer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult

Description from Goodreads: Gemma Mitchell is a normal girl who somehow gets herself into abnormally embarrassing circumstances. And while she thinks she's the biggest loser in school because of them, there are a few people in her life who would disagree. One of those people is her best friend, Jess Tyler, who is opposite to her in every way. He's popular, good looking, athletic, and intelligent, and he can't get enough of Gemma. But while Gemma is dealing with problems like wrong locker combinations and Valentine's Day dances, Jess is living in a world of serious issues that are foreign to Gemma, until she realizes that he's holding on to her for dear life.

Humorous and true to life, Second Kiss is an entertaining saga about a boy and girl who find that their lives have a lot more meaning once they have shared them with each other.

Gemma and Jess are beat friends. They confide in each other and walk home from school together everyday. Jess is a year older than Gemma . He is going into high school and leaving her to face 9th grade alone.

This book is a look at trials with friends, family, and health. Gemma and Jess deal with issues that are very real to life and I think many readers will relate. Ultimately this book is about growing up, facing life, and realizing that best friends can be also romantic friends.

I liked that there is a message to kids that it's OK to be yourself.  It's a good thing to stick up for your standards and that you don't need to fall into the pit falls of peer pressure.

This is a clean read that I can highly recommend to all teens and their parents.

I checked this book out from my local library.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Winners for the Midsummers Eve hop!

The winners were chosen using  The winner of "The Lens and the Looker" & "The Bronze and the Brimstone is Tabathia B.  The winner of Rugged and Relentless is Rachel Fewell.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  I will be participating in another blog hop next week that will be International.  Please stop by again and enter for that contest.

The winners will have 72 hours to respond to the email that I sent them, or else I will pick another winner.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Great Romance book ~ REVIEW of "Called Home: Two Hearts Answer"

Called Home: Two Hearts AnswerCalled Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: Adult

Description from Goodreads:
Emma Benson's view of life was crafted by the death of her brother as a child, abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry, until David Schlosser-back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels-threatens her neatly tended life. Romance blooms. Emma and David eventually persevere in the face of tragedy, refusing to leave their dreams behind.

My thougths:
Gloria contacted me and asked me to read and review her book and I am glad that she did. I was not previously aware of this good book. I'm glad that it was pulled into my radar.

Emma has come home to her small town to help her mother who has a farm that is failing financially. She is stressed out and dealing with quite a bit of heartache and abandonment issues. The last thing that she wants is to become involved in a romantic relationship.  She has to learn how to trust.

David has a successful career as a novelist. He realizes that success and the big city are not the life that he wishes to lead and finds himself back home in the same small town as Emma. He wants to settle down and live a quite life.

It literally takes a tornado to bring them together. Once their paths have crossed the sparks begin to fly. The tornado is really a foreshadowing of the relationship that comes: intense, a whirlwind, and at times volatile. The kissing scenes are pretty intense, but kissing is as far as Gloria takes us. This is a clean read that I would recommend to anyone who likes a good romance with a bit of a thriller and mystery element.

My only issue is that sometimes it became a little confusing with who is speaking. Once you catch Gloria's rhythm in writing it is easier to follow along.

I look forward to reading more from Gloria.  I became a fan on GoodReads.  Thanks Gloria for sending me a digital version of the book.  Click on her name next to the title to be taken to  her GoodReads page.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"The Lowlands of Heaven" blog tour

The Lowlands of HeavenThe Lowlands of Heaven by F. J. Dagg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description from Goodreads:
An angel’s unfinished mission on Earth, a young woman’s yearning to be complete, the evil will of an emissary of darkness­­—these threads weave together where two worlds intersect in a magical tale of love and hope, resolve and commitment. The Lowlands of Heaven is a classic tale of Good vs. Evil, a glimpse into a world “halfway to Heaven,” and a Christmas story. Haunting and lyrical, mystical and romantic, this masterwork of high fantasy will linger with readers long after they have read the final chapter.

My thoughts:
This is a beautifully written story. Kate is a woman who is missing something vital in her life. She is not sure why she is missing it, just that she is. Her parents died in a crash with a locomotive.  Her mother held onto life long enough for help to arrive and the Doctor to deliver her unborn child, Kate is the orphaned baby.

Kate is a nurse in the 1940's, the world is breaking out into war. A girl is brought to her hospital ward suffering from severe burns during the Blitz in London. Kate believes that if she helps the girl survive and get better that her missing piece will become a part of her. Kate is drawn to Sam. He is a pilot who is giving her flying lessons. She tells him her plan to help the children in the world and he agrees to help her. He develops feelings for her, but she cannot commit because of her missing piece.

Laurel is an angel sent on a mission to give Kate the missing piece. Because Kate has a role to play in doing good for the world, it is vital that Laurel reach her before it is too late. Music is vital to Laurel's health and well being. She has an amazing talent on the violin.. I loved the imagery and emotions that F.J. eloquently described with the music. F.J. weaves a rich tapestry with music.  Music in this story does calm the troubled soul.  It makes me almost yearn for the days when my violin was played according to my mood, fast and furious fiddle music when I was upset and sonata's when I was at peace with the world. (I'm 20 years out of practice.)

The book is called the Lowlands of Heaven because while things are happening on Earth, help is also being given from a station in heaven called Branch 92.  This is a way station of sorts, spirits who are not ready to progress into the glory of Heaven stop here until they are ready to ascend.  It's also an aviary.  Birds come to Branch 92 and help carry messages.  Laurel finds herself receiving help from the residents of Branch 92 to fulfil her Divine duty.

The book starts off slowly to set the plot and characters. History is revealed concerning Kate and why she suffers from missing a part of her fundamental make up. The second section is where the book gains some action.

I was very impressed with F. J. Dagg's writing style. It is haunting in it's beauty and complexity. At times his choice of words are more poetry than storytelling.

About F. J. Dagg: F.J. Dagg grew up in Michigan, where for a time he was a musician in a variety of rock and blues bands. He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan with a degree in Philosophy and an additional concentration in Music Theory and History. After moving to California, his focus turned from music to the writing of fiction, which he pursued as various day jobs 
allowed. Though not a member of any religious denomination, the mainstay of the author’s life is his faith, a fact reflected in his writing. His pastimes include playing the guitar and violin, reading, and surfing.
You can visit F.J. Dagg’s website at (Taken from Pump Up Your Book's page)

He is also on twitter:!/fjdagg

I received a copy of this book to review by participating with Pump Up Your Book.  The opinions expressed are my  honest thoughts and opinions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:

          ~Grab your current read.

          ~Open to a random page.

          ~Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. (Sometimes I cheat a bit on this one and do a few more sentences.)
          ~Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give to much away.               You don't want to ruin the book for others.)

          ~Share the title and author, so the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.  :0)

I almost forgot that it was Teaser Tuesday.  The blog hop is today and I saw someone else's post.  That is how I remembered.

Anyway..... Today my teaser comes from "Called Home: Two Hearts Answer" by Gloria Schumann.

"I'm home now so you can take off and maybe I'll see you tomorrow."
"Oh you will see me tomorrow, but I am not leaving.  We haven't been  in the house yet to satisfy my curiosity.  The house needs to pass inspection before I go anywhere."  pg 225

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mid Summer's Eve Giveaway Hop

Many thanks to Kathy at I am a Reader Not a Writer for her exceptional organizational skills 
in putting this hop together.

I am once again doing a US/Canada giveaway because I am giving away books that 
I have reviewed. Postage is expensive and money is tight.  Doesn't make for a great situation in giveaways. There will be two winners.  You can enter one or both contests.
You must be 13 years of age to enter.  I will link the titles of the books to my reviews. Comments
are wonderful, but in order to enter, you must fill out the form.
Following is not a requirement and there will be one entry per person.

Giveaway #1
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S. Kaufman

This is book one and two in a trilogy.  They are technically YA, but run with a more adult theme.
The Bronze and the Brimstone has a little bit of water damage on about 5 pages.
I was camping and the wind picked up and blew water from the awning onto me and the book.
Both books have been read by me, they were received to review and  are signed by the author.

Giveaway #2

The second giveaway is Rugged and Relentless.  I loved this book when I reviewed it from Netgalley.
I purchased two copies, one for me and one to give away.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.  It's a way  let other's know about the books that we receive and may not be able to get to quickly.  It 's also fun to interact and get to know each other .  I love to get ideas for books to read from the pages that I visit.  I hope you see something fun or interesting  to read here as well.

This was mainly a purchase week for me.  There are so many great books out there that I haven't discovered yet.  Too many that I have discovered.  Nah, there can never be too many books?  My husband definitely thinks that there can. :0)  

I'm linking the titles to Goodreads.  If it looks interesting to you, click on the title that is a different color from the rest of the print and it will take you to the book description.

Hard copy books:

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate - Purchased
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter - purchased ( I read an ARC from Netgalley and had to have the actual book!)
In the Company of Angels by David Farland - purchased
Witch Song by Amber Argyle - ARC to review (This is being given away on Goodreads.  Contest ends September 1st.  Click on the title to go to Goodreads and enter!)
Trapped by Michael Northrop - purchased


Won from Books R Us - Of Witches and Warlocks: The Demon Kiss by 
Lacey Weatherford 

I am very happy with my week and I am looking forward to many happy hours of reading.  Let me know what you got in your eBox, mailbox, library, or purchased at the store.  Leave me a link to your IMM or leave me a comment.

Have a great week of reading. :0)

FYI... The books are pictured on my favorite reading chair.  It rocks back and I rest my feet on the arms of the couch next to it.  It is super comfortable and my fish tank is right next to it.  Very relaxing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Tour ~ The Bronze and the Brimstone

Today I am featuring "The Bronze and the Brimstone" by Lory S. Kaufman.  He is currently on tour with Pump Up Your Book and was kind enough to send me a copy to review.  This is the second installment of  The Verona Trilogy.

In a nutshell, this trilogy features three troublemakers from the 24th century.  They are sent to History Camp to learn how easy they have it in their time period.  They are sent to a camp that simulates life in the past.  The children must learn to work and how to function in society. (Is there a history camp I can send my kids to?  :0) ) There is of course a twist in this series.  A rogue camp director from the future sends them back to real life Verona, Italy.  The children are taken from the safe camp to the harsh conditions and realities of the past.

The first book in the trilogy is "The Lens and the Looker".  You can find my review... here!

Lets start with the synopsis from Goodreads:
What could go wrong in the 14th-century 
for three time-traveling teens? 
How about – EVERYTHING! 

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention to the rich and powerful. 

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move. 

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disastrous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens. 

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone. 

Do they have a future in this past? 

My thoughts:

I like the premise of the trilogy.  I like the idea of kids from the future learning to appreciate what they have in their modern day lives by learning from the past. Lincoln, Hansum and Shamira are troublemakers.  They are also extremely smart and adaptable.

In this second book the teens are entrenched in the 14th century Verona culture.  They have done surprisingly well in learning how to behave and take care of themselves in the primitive circumstances.  They do have the help of their artificial intelligence "genie" named Pan.  They wouldn't have been able to do as well without him.  In fact, they probably would have failed miserably.  He has given them much needed information about the political structure and how to interact within the caste system.  He has given them fantastical ideas (at least for the time period) to make them invaluable.

I was not as impressed with the second book as I was with the first.  This book seems to be more harsh.  But then, it was a harsh environment, definitely survival of the fittest.  This book is full of detail.  It details the social culture, the art of war, the making of gunpowder and of cannon.  There are plots within plots.  The Podesta (local ruler) plots to keep Hansum at his side and Hansum plots to be with the woman he loves.  The workers plot, other leaders plot, apprentices plot, everyone plots.  I found the plotting to be very interesting.  I loved to see how everyone reacts to each other and that they are sometimes able to get what they want and which plots fail.

I couldn't help but notice that there is a link to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet".  Hansum has been given the name Romero for history camp and his love  interest is Guilietta.  They are secretly married, forces are trying to keep them apart, there are bloody battles, two powerful houses are warring, there are poisons used, and it is set in Verona.

The book is well written.  Lory Kaufman does a wonderful job at expressing himself and getting his ideas across.  You can tell that he has done extensive research of the time period.  I was very impressed with his knowledge and the descriptions that he used.

There will be third book and I think it will be very interesting to see where the youth are taken in the last book.  The book will be "The Loved and the Lost."  The titles that he uses give clues to part of the content of the book.  "The Lens and the Looker" refer to eyeglasses and telescopes.  "The Bronze and the Brimstone" refer to cannon and the making of gunpowder.

This is technically a young adult book, but I would not recommend it to a younger audience.  The time period is brutal and violent.  Some of the aftermath is graphic in description and there is sexual innuendo. I would only recommend to those 16 and older. I am giving it a 3.5 rating.

About the author: “I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter.” -Lory Kaufman
On the artistic side of Lory’s career, he’s written, acted and directed children’s theatre and musical theatre. He enjoys art, especially sculpture. He loves science fiction and historical fiction and he has been deeply involved in the green movement all across North America. All this shows through when you read his work. Lory has three grown children and works and lives in Kingston, Canada.
To find out more about Lory visit

FYI - This book up for grabs on Goodreads!  The contest ends on June 17th.  It is open for US, Canada, and GB.  Go and enter now!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:

          ~Grab your current read.

          ~Open to a random page.

          ~Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. (Sometimes I cheat a bit on this one and do a few more sentences.)

          ~Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give to much away.               You don't want to ruin the book for others.)

          ~Share the title and author, so the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.  :0)

This weeks teaser comes from a book I checked out of the library.  I am doing the summer reading program. Yes, I am crazy!  But I have the opportunity to win prizes by participating.  Reading and prizes, sounds like a golden opportunity to me!  I mean if I'm going to be reading anyway......

The book is My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking

"I'm so sorry!" I cried, trying to slow my heart down.  Jack looked as if I was actually killing him, and his agony ripped through me.  pg. 202

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In my Mailbox #24

In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.  It's a way  let other's know about the books that we receive and may not be able to get to quickly.  It 's also fun to interact and get to know each other .  I love to get ideas for books to read from the pages that I visit.  I hope you see something fun or interesting  to read here as well.

Another big week for me!  I requested some books at Netgalley a LONG time ago and I had assumed that I wasn't going to get to read them.  I was very surprised when my request was accepted. So.... a big Netgalley week for me.  I am linking titles to Goodreads.

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Won from Embrace Your Oddities


The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty

The Star Shard by Frederic S Durbin
Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Deviant by Adrian McKinty

Received from Author's:

Dreams Unleashed by Linda Hawley
Solstice by P.J. Hoover