Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Moon and the Tide by Derrolyn Anderson

My Review:
5 STARS


One of my favorite things about series or trilogy's is that the story continues on and you get to hear more about what is happening with the characters that you fall in love with! The Moon and the Tide was everything I wanted in a sequel; Derrolyn continues the story of Marina and her quest to figure out her family history, the mermaids’ life and her relationship with Ethan.  This story is jammed packed with more unique twists, adventures and dangers that I felt like I couldn't read it fast enough!

To say that this book was as good as the first book is not enough, I felt it was better just because the first book laid down the characters and the story line and book two is bringing the characters more alive and the story more adventurous.   Just like in the first book there are secrets that unfold and new mystery that is added which makes The Moon and the Tide more intense!

The best thing to love in this book, at least for me, is the romantic development between Marina and Ethan.  Their relationship starts off sweet and innocent in book one but in book two it really feels like it matures a lot more as they learn more about each other’s personalities and deal with stress!  I love that Derrolyn doesn't add another guy to the mix to make this like every other YA novel that has a love triangle! That just gets old! And it stays clean-thank you Derrolyn!!

The new characters that are added make the story even better also! There is the professional surfer Kimo that is woven through the story line a couple of times and I really enjoyed his Hawaiian accent! There is also the bully Shayla in book one that is more in book two now and it really is fun to see this character develop in to someone lovable!

I love hearing more about the mermaids and their unique history and culture and I just really felt like I was right there watching the story on the big screen in front of me. The description to details about everything going makes this story come alive!

If you loved the first book, Between the Land and the Sea, then you have to devour The Moon and the Tide.  There is so much to love about it and I'm not sure I am even able to give you enough of a glimpse to satisfy you because I could just go on and on and about all I loved!

I received a copy of this book to read and review from the author. My review is not biased by the fact that I was given this book. I HONESTLY read and review any book whether bought or given to me. If I did not like the book I would definitely not give a rave review or recommend it.

Book Blurb:

The Moon And The Tide is book # 2 in the Marina's Tales series.
Just when things seem to be all figured out, Marina discovers that there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than she ever imagined. When a terrible accident exposes her secret, she discovers that her whole life has been one big lie, and has to cope with more than one kind of betrayal.
A dangerous enemy arrives on the scene, putting her bravery to the test and forcing her to use all of her new-found talents to protect her family. Will good win out over evil? Can love triumph over jealousy?
 

You can buy the book online at Amazon:
  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Between the Land and the Sea by Derrolyn Anderson

My Review:
5 STARS

This is not a Disney book about the Little Mermaid! Between The Land and the Sea is so much more than a sweet little fairy tale! This is an enchanting story of mermaids with a unique perspective of their lives.

Between the Land and the Sea is about an eccentric young girl who gets sent to live with her Aunt Abby and her cousin Cruz while her dad is away on business for the year.  Her dad wants her to experience a "normal" teenage high school experience but being is Aptos turns out to be anything but a normal experience. Marina is new to the idea of going to school and struggles to fit in.  She is so drawn to the sea and actually almost drowns twice, most all the people around her start calling her a freak.  She meets local hunky surfer Ethan right when she moves and he is the best thing in her new life is Aptos.

I have read only one other story about mermaids, called Forgive My Fins and while I loved that story, I also loved this one even though they were nothing alike! This is a unique plot that I've never heard of about mermaids.  You think of mermaids as being all sweet and enchanted but not all mermaids in this story are sweet, some are very dangerous! This story flows beautifully throughout, with Marina learning how to fit in to school and her sudden eagerness to learn more about the sea and its creatures.

One thing I loved about this book was the characters! They were all really well developed and my favorite would have to be the main characters Ethan and Marina although the secondary characters were all amazing also.  I connected right away to the life of Marina and you can't help but to root for her to succeed right from the beginning, she is such a sweet selfless young girl and I loved her!  I also loved the eccentric Cruz, and all that he brought to the story with his fashion! And Marina's Aunt Evie was a hilarious typical rich designer!

The dialogue is great and the relationships that develop are all sweet and genuine! The romance that blooms is realistic and so sweet.  There is some kissing involved but it is all sweet and done tastefully! I loved that Derrolyn keeps it clean yet passionate! There was a few touchy language moments but nothing bad and it didn't take away from the story at all.

My only complaint is that I felt like things got off to a bit of slow start and I wanted to speed things up a bit.  The slow start is worth the wait though because this story is so intriguing, unique, suspenseful, humorous and sweet that I think most YA fantasy lovers would love this story! I finished the first book and instantly started on the second book because I was so drawn in to Marina's life!!

I received a copy of this book to read and review from the author. My review is not biased by the fact that I was given this book. I HONESTLY read and review any book whether bought or given to me. If I did not like the book I would definitely not give a rave review or recommend it.

Book Blurb:
Something extraordinary is lurking in the deep ocean waters off the coast of Aptos, California. In just a few weeks after moving to the small beach town, sixteen year old Marina has nearly drowned twice, enchanted the hottest guy in high school, and discovered a supernatural creature. If she can only manage to survive her increasingly dangerous encounters with unpredictable mermaids, she might just be able to unlock the mystery of her past to learn how to appease the mysterious forces that seem to want something from her...and maybe even find true love along the way.
Between The Land And The Sea is the first book in the series "Marina's Tales". Her story continues on in book two, The Moon And The Tide.


You can buy this book online at Amazon:

   

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf

My Review:
5 STARS

I really enjoyed this fictional love story about Esther!! I knew this story was fictional right from the start and the fact that it doesn't 100% line up biblically does not bother me at all like it did other readers! This was just a twist to the story of Esther and I found it extremely fun to wonder what it would have been like at those times for Esther and other woman. 

The characters of A Reluctant Queen really came alive for me! I loved Esther right from the start; her love for her family, her people, and God are radiant and I just really was drawn in to her life and rooting for her happiness immediately.  The other characters were memorable also; there was Mordecai (who was Esther's Uncle), Haman and of course the Great King.

My favorite part of this story was the romance that bloomed between the Great King and Esther.  One thing I always forget when reading a biblical time story is that the men of those days had multiple woman and as the Great King he received woman as gifts and had many illegitimate children.  This showed us what Esther must have felt like having to share her husband with other woman and children.  This was very emotional to me.

This was also a story of loyalty and trust.  The King had to learn quickly who was trust worthy and who wasn't.  This was also about following God even when you don't think you are the right person for the job. God can use you in any situation.

If you are looking for a wonderful love story weaved with a touch of history then you'll love this book. If you are wanting an accurate retelling of Esther this is not the book, but it is so fun to read and delightful I recommend anyone to give it a try!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

About the Book:

An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.
See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther's beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.
Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith's great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.
 
About the Author:

Joan Wolf is a USA TODAY bestselling American writer, whose acclaimed Regency romances have earned her national recognition as a master of the genre. Her many historical and contemporary romances, some of which have been chosen as Literary Guild selections, have been highly praised by reviewers and authors alike.

Joan was born in 1951 and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. A former English teacher, she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Mercy College and Master in English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College. An avid rider and horse owner, Joan lives in Connecticut with her husband Joe and two grown children, Jay and Pam.
  

Buy the book on Amazon:

  

Winners

I wanted to congratulate the winners of my last two giveaways....

The winner of Witness on the Run by Hope White is:
  Jodan

And the winner of A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason is:
  Debbie

Contrats to both of you! If you are not a lucky winner, you can purchase the books at Amazon!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

My Review:
5 STARS


Are you looking for a laugh-out-loud contemporary Christian romance? Well, look no further. This is such a hilarious story about a marriage of convenience, well more like an engagement of convenience.  Lucy is in need of funding for her girls home and Alex, former hunky football quarterback turned wannabe governor, needs a "fiancĂ©" to help him win the upcoming election.  These two strike a deal where he'll help with the funding of her girls home if she'll pretend to be his fake fiancĂ©'.

This was such a great story I'm not sure even where to begin to say the things I liked about it. My favorite thing about this story was the dialogue between Alex and Lucy; it is sarcastic, funny, quick-witted and snippy.  Lucy can barely speak without something sarcastic coming out of her mouth and she is convinced Alex is still a playboy and she is always poking at him about his past.  The banter between these two will have you laughing out loud.  There were times though that the banter got a bit old and I wanted to just yell at them both and say "shut up already and admit your feelings".

The characters are all lovable and genuine! Lucy is not a size 2 Barbie girl but she is a size 10 normal beauty with a huge heart which makes her very relatable.  Alex is my favorite character; he has been changed by tragedy and wants to be a more Godly man and make a difference in the world.

The secondary characters were all great and added a bit more humor to this already hilarious story.  At first I did not care for Julian and Clare but then I really got to enjoy those personalities.  I really loved Chuck, the youth pastor, and the tidbits that were in the story from his sermons!

I did feel that the story line was a bit predictable and familiar to me! Save the Date reminded me of a story I recently read about a "fake marriage" called the "Convenient Groom" but I enjoyed both of these stories differently.  I knew right from the beginning of this story how it was going to end but I still couldn't put the book down, I had to continue reading this delightful story!

This is story about so much more than romance! There are so much spiritual threads than I expected but it was very enjoyable! Save the Date was about the baggage we all carry around that God is asking us to give to Him to carry, our guilt that we need to let go and forgiveness we need to seek and hand out! I loved this story and I plan on reading more by Jones!

I was graciously provided a digital copy of this book by Thomas Nelson through the NetGalley program. All opinions expressed were my own and I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Blurb:
When Alex and Lucy pick out wedding invitations, they wonder if they can be printed in vanishing ink.
Former NFL star Alex Sinclair is a man who has it all--except the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy will find her heart on the line--and maybe even her life. When God asks Alex and Lucy to scrap their playbook and follow his rules, will they finally say, "I do"?

About the Author:

Four-time Carol Award winner Jenny B. Jones writes Christian Fiction romance with equal parts wit, sass, and untamed hilarity. Since writing for both women and teens leaves her with very little free time, she believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as watching E!, going to the movies and inhaling large buckets of popcorn, and writing her name in the dust on her furniture. She is the author of romantic comedies for women such as Save the Date as well as books for teens, like A Charmed Life series and fall 2011 release There You'll Find Me.

Buy the book at Amazon:
 
  
 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter


My Review:
 5++ STARS



Why did I let this book sit on my shelf for 2 weeks? That is the question that I ask myself now.  I loved this book!

An established marriage counselor that just released a new book How to find Mr. Right gets stood up on her wedding day.  Her friend/enemy Lucas steps up to help her and become her husband so that nobody ever has to know that she got stood up! You can imagine all the craziness that happens in this story!

This is the second book by Denise Hunter that I've read and I think I've found a new favorite Christian Romance author! Her stories are so amazing.  The characters are so realistic and gripping that you are instantly invested in their lives.  The plot is unpredictable and always unique.

The characters were all very genuine.  Kate was such an easy character to connect to; she was dealing with the loss of her mom, her parents’ divorce, her failed relationship and her new found friendship with Lucas all while trying to figure out what God wanted of her life.  Lucas was dreamy; he is manly man, who was sloppy and unpredictable but oh so romantic-by far my favorite character!

The story line was unlike any of heard before. I loved that this book showed what can happen if we don't follow God's plans for our lives but instead try to control our lives with our plans! God always has bigger blessings in store for us than we have for ourselves and this book proved that again and again. The spiritual threads were subtle yet very necessary to the story line. 

Oh boy was the romance was delicious! I am big fan of love/hate tension going on in a romance and there was that.  The kissing scenes were so passionate!

I highly recommend this Christian Romance book to any fans of Christian romance, historical or contemporary. I am not a big fan of contemporary romances so that is probably why I won this book a couple months ago but let it sit on my shelf for so long, but Denise is changing my mind on contemporary romances, she makes them so desirable! I can't wait to read more of her books!

Book Blurb:

She wrote the book--literally--on finding the right mate. But does she really understand what love's about?
Five hours before her Nantucket beach wedding--and on the eve of her big book launch--celebrity marriage counselor Kate Lawrence has everything in place.
Everything, that is, but the groom. She might not have a career, either, when her nationwide audience finds out their marriage guru has been left at the altar.
Enter Lucas Wright, who offers to stand in for the missing husband-to-be and marry her. Kate's desperate enough to agree--although she's sure this Mr. Wright is completely wrong for her. But can they pull it off? And why would Lucas marry her in the first place?
Could it be that "Dr. Kate" doesn't know the first thing about love?
An inspiring tale of enduring love set in romantic Nantucket.
Each Romance For Good™ novel offers a story of hope and love that positively portrays the eternal impact of relationships.

About the Author:

Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of eight novels, including Surrender Bay and Convenient Groom.

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.
 

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