©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Echoes, Echoes, Echoes

I am not new to Robin Jones Gunn as an author. I find her books to be quite entertaining and a great way to while away an evening or two. Sometimes I just need an escape from the realities of my life and Robin's books fit that bill to a T.

In Echoes, Lauren Phillips has just been jilted by Jeff, her fiance who thinks he can't wait around for Lauren. Her brother, Brad shows up at her place with a computer and sets her up with an email account. Rad, as Lauren calls him, sets her up with a God-loving man named KC. Her screen name is Wren. From there begins an open communication that develops into something else. They find that they both love the Brownings and classical literature.

Instead of waiting for life, Lauren finishes getting her teaching credentials so that she can fulfill her dream of teaching in a small town. When her college roommate gets married, she takes a trip to Glenbrooke, Oregon, to attend her roommate's reception. While there, she meets Jessica and Kyle, and then takes a trip with them to Lana'i, Hawaii. Before going to the reception, she and KC had decided to meet in person at Multnomah Falls. She made the date to meet KC, but chickened out after seeing him. When he shows up in Hawaii, Lauren faints at his feet.

In the year that Lauren and Kenton were corresponding, both were pursuing dreams, and finding themselves looking for God. I like Robin's books because she never ignores how God works in peoples lives.

I have only one criticism for this book and that is the ease that Lauren was able to begin teaching in Oregon without checking into the legal aspects of transferring a teaching certificate from one state to another. It's never addressed. Other than that, for a light read, this book meets all criteria. While this book is part of a series, it still reads well on its own.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a romantic email.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Lesson

MK Lapp is one who flies by the seat of her pants, with the exuberance of the youth she so willingly embraces. In "flying" around Stoney Ridge on her scooter, she runs into Alice Smucker, the teacher, and causes her to fall down. The school board and MK's parents feel that MK would be the perfect substitute. MK knew nothing could be further from the truth. She struggled with her students, with making learning enticing, with the frustrations of the police who won't investigate the murder of a sheep farmer.

Chris Yoder has just moved to town with his little sister, Jenny. Their mother is a drug addict, their guardian has passed away, and Chris doesn't want people to dig into his past even as he moves into his grandfather's old house.

There's a bit of mystery, a bit of humor, and a whole lot real life in Suzanne Woods Fisher's new book, The Lesson.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a flashy red scooter.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Firefly Island

I haven't had a chance to read much of Lisa Wingate, but when I picked up this book through NetGalley, I decided to give her a whirl. I thought Firefly Island might be a really good toe-wetter to wade into Lisa's world. I was looking for a bit of humor as well as a bit of romance.

I don't normally give bad reviews because I am pretty good at choosing books to fit my tastes. HOWEVER, I missed on this one. There was a consistent story, but not enough to keep me truly engaged. There were bits and pieces of humor, but not much. There was romance, but it was secondary to the story. I did read the book all the way through, yet I have to say that the build up in the story took way too long.

Mallory was a DC mover and shaker working as an assistant to a Congressman pushing a clean energy act. Daniel was a biologist who had been offered a job in Texas. They are engaged after a short, whirlwind romance and married a short month later. The day after the wedding finds them on the road to Texas and Daniel's new job. Oh, yeah, Daniel has a son, Nick, by a previous marriage. Even when they get to where they are going in Texas, all is not as it should be: Daniel works long hours, Mallory is adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom while trying to clean their house to make it livable, Daniel's new boss is aloof while the townspeople whisper about his last wife and stepson who disappeared suddenly and have never been seen since, Jack (Daniel's boss)tries reconnecting with his son which leads to disastrous events, Jack's son Mason is a sleeze ball who has his hands in some underhanded dealings, and in the meantime, Mallory finds out she's pregnant.

The story seemed at times to be a ponderously slow up-hill climb, with a rapid descent to the finish. A bit of mystery mixed in keeps the reader engaged, but I truly wish there had been more to Daniel and Mallory's story.

Three and a half stars.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I love it when I get to read books that will change how I live. My One Word is one that will live with me for a looooooooooooooooooong time. I want copies to give my children, friends, and other unsuspecting people. I want my small group from church to study it.

I have chosen for my word for this year: Legacy--I want my life to be a legacy that I hand down to younger generations. My mother left me her legacy of prayer and I learned that legacies are not the same as inheritances. They are not to be spent, but to be handed down and then picked up by future generations and carried on. This is the lesson I have learned and will keep learning through the year. I want to live my life so that it is an enticing legacy for others to pick up and carry on.

My One Word will change how you make "New Year's Resolutions" because My One Word teaches you how to concentrate on on word that the Lord lays on your heart, to learn from that word, and then to make it such a part of your life that you will only build on your words from year to year. It's an exciting way to allow God to work in your life and change you one step at a time, one word at a time. This book takes you through the steps of choosing your word, making it part of your life, and learning what God wants to teach you about your word. I took my time reading this book because I wanted to soak in every single word and then make the choice for my word this year.

Thank you Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen for allowing me to review your book.

Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a Legacy to carry on.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ring of Secrets

This book has just the right amount of humor, mystery, suspense, and romance to keep anyone interested. But Ring of Secrets kept me engaged from beginning to end.

Winter is not your ordinary, everyday spy; she's even more special than that. She lives with her grandparents, the Hamptons, in New York City. They treat her badly because they believe her mother married outside her class in marrying her father. Her father is Colonel Reeves in the Continental Army.

Winter feels that she is called to help the Culper Ring of spies, but only her friend Robbie Townsend knows where she gets her information. Her grandparents position in society allows her to eavesdrop on conversations of Loyalist army officers who come to the various soirees given by Society Matrons.

Bennet Lane is not who he seems to be either. While he befriends various Loyalists, you never know his true leanings until near the end of the book. He falls in love with Winter, desires to protect her from her grandparents, and wants nothing more than to remove her from New York and take her back to Connecticut where he is a professor of philosophy and science at Yale.

Isaac Fairchild is a Loyalist Colonel who is also in love with Winter, and the source of much of Winter's information. He allows friendship to trump his loyalty to his army in the end after becoming disillusioned with the whole war.

Roseanna M White has written a winner of a book that will keep your attention riveted throughout. It definitely ranks five stars, two thumbs up, and a vial of invisible ink.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I finished reading Camellia a couple of days ago, but I have let my thoughts stew a bit before I wrote my review. I was originally disappointed with the book but the more I thought about it, my disappointments stem from the fact that I haven't read the first book in the series. As a stand-alone book, Camellia is more confusing than if read in sequence.

Camellia is a young lady who wishes to go to finishing school, the middle sister of three girls, a girl with dreams, and a woman with a calling on her life. To find the mature woman inside of the girl, to find the calling, to find her place in this world is one of the hardest things she must do.

Lily, the oldest sister, is the one who makes the decision to allow Camellia to go to finishing school. She's reluctant to let Camellia go because the War Between the States is heating up, and life in the South is changing. Lily and her husband, Blake, take Camellia to New Orleans and stop in to see family friends, the Thorntons, on the way. This is where Camellia first meets Jonah Thornton and the sparks fly. The only problem is that Jonah often visits the school under the pretense of visiting Camellia while actually keeping the real reasons secret.

In the meantime, Camellia meets her roommate's brother, Thad, who is the very image of the dreamboat Camellia thinks she wants to marry. Through Jonah, Camellia learns what truly matters in life. Through Thad, she actually finds what her true calling is--although he comes to object to her fulfilling her calling.

I have read books by Diane Ashley before and found them truly enjoyable. This one is no less so.