Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review: The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
When Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain's worlds collide after twelve years apart, the spark that was once between them immediately reignites into a romance neither of them thought possible.

But time has changed them both.
Daniel is an industrial titan with powerful enemies. Clara is an idealistic journalist determined to defend underprivileged workers.

Can they withstand the cost of their convictions while their hearts--and lives--hang in the balance?
Elizabeth Camden’s debut book "The Lady of Bolton Hill" was a great read. She has given her readers a lovely story filled with conflicted characters. The main one being Daniel Tremain. I struggled to like Daniel for much of the book. His need for revenge and his unwillingness to even discuss matters of faith made him difficult to like. Having said that, haven’t we all met someone who was consumed with one thing or another and as a result couldn’t see the truth in front of them? Daniel’s journey to God was one that I felt was genuine and when the book ended, I knew he was right with God, yet he still battled with anger and the need for control.

Clara and Daniel spark and clash together beautifully. I like that Elizabeth has given them genuine conflict that can seriously make or break a romance. She has gifted Clara with a compassionate, honest, caring heart and combined it with strength and resiliency born from her faith in Christ. Together these traits have made her a great journalist and a truth seeker – sometimes to the pain of the ones she loves. 

Overall, this is a great book. I’m eagerly awaiting Elizabeth’s next book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Musings: Aussies and Ebooks Survey - Win a $15 voucher!

Morning all! Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend, and particularly our American friends - hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

You'll have to excuse that this is going to be a short post. I cut my finger with a knife on the weekend and had some stitches, so I'm not able to type very well!

Christmas is coming up, and it's got me thinking about presents. Which has me thinking about Kindles ... hmmm ... yes, I'm still undecided on the matter. But I'm starting to think that I would like one. I'm torn because I just have to have my books in print as well. I need to see them sitting on my bookshelf! But the lure of the convenience of having lots of books so easily at my disposal is getting stronger. And I do like the benefit of being able to read at night without switching the light on :)

Can I have both please?? I would gladly pay for the more expensive print copy if it came with an electronic version as well!

Ok, what I want to know today is directed as Aussies. The Kindle has only been available out here for a few months. I have a survey below which asks some questions regarding your use of ebook readers. All survey participants will go into the draw to win a $15 voucher for use at Fishpond, an Australian discount book/movie/music seller. Great for buying Christmas presents! And delivery is free in Australia :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad have been on the move--four towns in two years. Each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is.

Sarah Dessen's books were the first I happened upon the YA shelf when I started searching them a couple of years ago for something other than paranormal fiction.  "What Happened to Goodbye" is her latest book, and the second of hers that I've read.  She is not a Christian writer, but I find her books clean and respectable, though this one in particular had about three swear words.

I really enjoy Sarah's style.  In "What Happened to Goodbye", McLean is somewhat forced by circumstances to be herself for the first time in a couple of years.  She makes new and interesting friends, and has to deal with her feelings of resentment towards her mother regarding her parents breakup.  I like the heroines that Sarah creates.  Whilst being outsiders in their environment, they don't let their uniqueness get them down.  Her focus is on the heroine dealing with and making peace with her family issues.  I'm sure these issues are something most teens can relate to.

What I love about Sarah's writing is that she makes scene settings poignant and meaningful.  She ties it in with the character's feelings.  It's very clever and paints such a clear picture of the circumstances, irony and emotions that are truly lying under the surface.

I thoroughly enjoyed "What Happened to Goodbye".  I loved McLean (though, not her name!) and her next door neighbour Dave is a cute, likeable nerd who is serving community service for a past demeanor.

Book Review: The Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
As Charlotte drew closer to the looming grey edifice that was to become her temporary home, she could not help but notice the secretive shuttered windows. Then she noticed the milkweeds...
Even a proper vicar's daughter can make a mistake--and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London's forbidding "Milkweed Manor," a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.

But once there, she comes face to face with a suitor from her past--a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God's help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required. 
It’s been so lovely to have a change of scenery – a trip to England is just what I needed after spending the last few books on the American Frontier. This book enthralled me from the beginning and held my attention until the very end. I did not know how this book was going to end. Charlotte’s plight just gripped me and her poise and grace through everything was beautiful to read. Truth be told, to me this book was bittersweet. As a mother myself, I don’t know if I could have made some of the decisions Charlotte made and yes her heart was heavy from such decisions

Julie Klassen has given her readers a beautiful, poignant story of love – sacrificial and honest love that is hard to capture. I was also fascinated by the lives of wet nurses, early medicine and lying-in hospitals for unwed pregnant women. 

I have left this book feeling satisfied and also still longing for Charlotte to have had everything to complete her life rather than most of everything. A beautiful, engaging read.

Book Review: Composing Amelia by Alison Strobel

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Can a brand new marriage withstand the weight of generations-old baggage?
Newlyweds Amelia and Marcus Sheffield are recent college grads trying to stay afloat in LA while searching for their dream jobs. Marcus hopes to become a mega-church pastor. Amelia has an esteemed music degree and longs to play piano professionally. The Sheffields are clearly city people.

But when a small town church offers Marcus a job, the couple’s dedication to their dreams and each other is tested. After a risky compromise is made, Amelia falls into a dark emotional place, where she finds skeletons she’d fought hard to deny. In desperation, she calls out to God. But why can’t she find Him? While Amelia struggles, Marcus learns news that nearly crushes him. He must lean on his faith to withstand the pressure… or risk losing his wife forever.

Me with "Composing Amelia" at the beach

It is no secret that I relish being able to read an Alison Strobel book! Her latest book is certainly no different. I can vividly recall by half way through the fourth chapter I wanted to smack Marcus for his behaviour and attitude! Mind you, Amelia was at the receiving end of my readers wrath a few times too with her actions as well. You might be wondering if I actually enjoyed the book considering I had such a strong reaction to the characters. It’s because of those strong reactions that I loved the book, and it’s what propelled me through the book at lightning speed. 

When an author is able to inspire such strong emotional reactions from a reader I know it’s good – even if the emotions are uncomfortable, difficult or frustrating. Alison has certainly made for evocative reading.

Amelia and Marcus are a young Christian couple trying to make ends meet, reach their dreams and be Godly spouses towards each other. That’s not easy at the best of times, let alone what these guys go through. Even when I despaired at the decisions these two people make, I still liked them. By and large Marcus and Amelia have been shaped by their formative years with parents that have been less than stellar in their child rearing. They have made little room for God to change them and make them whole unto him. Of course it takes them a while to figure out they need God to shape them not their family. 

This book touched me deeply on many levels, most which are too personal to go into, but it was worth the read. Alison again gives her reader’s difficult people and situations and shines God’s grace and love upon them. Answers do come, but they are not easily solved and the reader knows the journey is still going for Marcus and Amelia. The most important thing though is that they are now letting God travel along their journey to wholeness. 

Can’t wait to read more from you, Alison!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November Feature Author: Laura Frantz – Interview & Book Giveaway

I am SO excited to have for you today, Christian historical fiction author, Laura Frantz! Laura is just the nicest lady and the author of "The Colonel's Lady" - which is -if you've been following our blog you'll already know - one of my favourite favourite books. (See my review.) "The Colonel's Lady" is her latest book release. Her two previous books, "The Frontiersman's Daughter" and "Courting Morrow Little" were both Carol Award finalists.

We're giving away a copy of Laura's book "The Colonel's Lady", see the end of this interview for how to enter. Would make a lovely Christmas present for yourself, or someone else :)

1. Thanks so much Laura for joining us on our blog today. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Any hobbies you have?

Oh, Helen, thanks so much for hosting me here. I’ve become quite a fan of your sisterly blog, so much so that I wish I had a Helen or Jess instead of one brother, wonderful as he is :)! Love the questions you’ve asked. As for hobbies, I love to write, obviously, and cook, bake, do cross-stitch, and be with my family. Only not in that order! I love to take walks and be in the woods or by the ocean. I’m so thrilled with the natural world and see the Creator everywhere.

Helen: We're so humbled that you're a fan of our blog! We do love doing this blog together.  The internet is a blessing that we can do a project like this even though we live miles apart. And that we can meet with lovely people such as yourself!

2. Your latest book, "The Colonel's Lady" instantly became one of my absolutely favourite books, and largely because of the faint-worthy Colonel McLinn! What resources do you utilise when creating your heroes? 

Thanks for being smitten with McLinn! I confess I am, too. As far as creating memorable heroes, I really don’t know how it’s done, except that I imagine myself the heroine in my books and enjoy discovering what makes my heroes tick, so to speak. I always cover a project with prayer which really helps created godly heroes, or heroes that grow in godliness. Redeemable heroes are delicious :) to write and then read.

3. What has drawn you to write historical fiction?

Reading historical fiction. I’ve been a fan since I was a little girl, always choosing history over anything else. Guess I’m kind of hard-wired that way. I rarely read contemporary books but gobble up history, biographies, old journals and letters, historical fiction, etc.

Helen: I love history too! But took me a long time to discover that there was such a thing as historical fiction .. and then when I did, it was like, "Wow, this is just the best thing ever!" :)

4. How much time do you usually spend on the research element for your books? Do you visit locations and conduct interviews?

It seems like I do more researching than reading fiction. Nearly every day I’m researching which is hard to keep track of because it’s not like work to me. I have a hard time turning the research off! My little house is overflowing with history books, mostly of the early American or colonial periods, which are my favorites.

5. Can you tell us about any of your current works in progress, and any books that are coming out soon?

My next book will release in September of 2012 and I’m a bit giddy as I wait for a title and cover any day now. My publisher is known for their beautiful covers and they never disappoint so please stay tuned… This upcoming one is a rags to riches story of an apprentice and two sisters, both of whom fall in love with him. He only chooses one, of course, and lots of historical fireworks ensue!

Helen: Love the sound of this new book! Hmmm ... two sisters, hey? ... ooh the intrigue!

**Make sure you check out Laura's blog, she has announced her new book title there this week!**

6. What books did you read as a teenager?

Ever heard of Victoria Holt? She was the queen of romantic suspense in my day and was so prolific, writing under a variety of pen names. I just adored her writing and still have some of her books. I think that’s why my books have a suspenseful element in them, thanks to her. I read anything historical I could get my hands on really, even the “bodice rippers” back then, something I don’t do now. I’ve been convicted to keep my mind and heart clean for the Lord and since there’s so much God-honoring fiction out there it’s easy to do.

Helen: No, I haven't heard of Victoria Holt.  But you're right, it's so wonderful to have such a vast and diverse array of Christian fiction. 
7. Whose writing do you admire?

My favorite historical writers are Liz Curtis Higgs, James Alexander Thom, and Allan Eckert. Heavy historical reading with the last two but stellar stories. I learn so much when I read these three authors – about history and the craft of writing excellent fiction. Allan Eckert was a friend of mine who recently passed away and I’m sad no more will come from his pen. But he leaves a wonderful legacy of books.

8. When you get writers block, what do you do to try and get out of it?

I’m afraid I’m one of those writers who have writer’s flood instead of block! I have a hard time shutting the writing channel off. Sometimes I do have trouble deciding which path a plot should take. Then I take a long walk. I try to walk 2-3 miles a day normally. Research says walking or exercise in general boosts creativity and I really think this is true. Some of my best ideas come while walking and I have to keep a pen and paper handy :). Plus walking is a great anecdote to writer’s rear, the old author malady.

Helen: Oh you're one of those blessed people without writers block! I'm a Class A procrastinator, prone to getting bogged down with semantics and it freezes my ability to write.   Definitely taking note of your walking advice :)

9. If you could be any fictional book character for a day, who would you be, and why?

Oh, what a wonderful question! I think I’d be Margaret in North&South, the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. I love the BBC drama of the same. She falls in love with John Thornton and it’s quite a story!

Helen: You really have my curiosity peaked regarding this North & South! Since you mentioned it to me before, I've bought the DVD and just waiting for a good time to watch it with Jess. Hopefully this Christmas :)
10. What do you know about Australia, and is there anything in particular you would like to see if you came for a visit?

I’m so curious about Vegemite. Did I spell that right? I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste but it sounds so good. Kind of like American peanut butter? Not sure. My grandmother toured Australia years ago and fell in love with it. I remember her talking about it when she returned. I think it’s charming that people refer to it as “Oz.” I didn’t know that until recently. I’m so thrilled my books are in some Australian and New Zealand libraries! That’s so humbling and inspiring. And I’ve been able to connect with readers like you and that means so much to me. You’re the best! And God bless you.

Helen: Vegemite, yes you spelt it correctly! I think it must be an acquired taste, but we don't notice since we're reared on the stuff.  I mean literally.  All our kids are having it on their toast almost as soon as they start solids.  Interestingly enough, they don't flinch or look surprised on their first taste - they just take it right in their stride.  I think you will find it's nothing like American peanut butter.  I don't know how that tastes, but one thing I hear from all Aussies who have been to the US is that your food is generally sweeter than ours (even bread).  And vegemite is not sweet.  I wouldn't call it sour though ... I actually don't know how to describe it! A common mistake is to try it for the first time with a spoon, and this is just wrong wrong! It should be tried on toast - sparingly - and with butter.

Thanks again so much, Laura, for doing this interview with us :) It's such a pleasure to be able to promote you and your wonderful books to our readers - many of them Aussie!

Find Laura on the Web

Laura's Books

The Frontiersman's Daughter
Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father's former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family's past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded. Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills. But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself--and the power of grace and redemption.
Courting Morrow Little
Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men--ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable--vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones--and garner suspicion from her friends--by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love? This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop readers as it takes them from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness to the west in search of true love.

The Colonel's Lady
In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father's place as scrivener. Before long, it's clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own--some of which have to do with her father's sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?

Book Giveaway!

Ok, here's your chance to win "The Colonel's Lady"!  This is a beautiful book which I heartily recommend, so make sure you get your name in the draw.

To enter the competition, you just need to complete the form below.  Entries must include a valid email address, or we won't be able to contact you if you win!

All information provided remains confidential and will not be given to any third party.  Your email address will only be used by Book Review Sisters to contact you in the event that you win.

If you are contacted and advised you are the winner, you will have 1 week to provide us with the address for postage of your prize.

Entries close Thursday 24th November 2011

Optional Extra Entries!
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If you opt in for any of these bonus entries, please indicate so by ticking the appropriate boxes on the form.

Please also leave a comment on the post after filling out the entry form.  Laura (and we!) would love your feedback and to know you've dropped by.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known?

'A Heart Revealed'
went on holidays with me!
Hi folks, Helen here!

Finally I have this second book in the “Winds of Change” series in my hot little hands.  I'd basically been blog stalking Julie at all her giveaways until I won a copy.  Whilst I'm waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail, Jess calls me, "Oh I bought 'A Heart Revealed' today".

Me: "Huh? Why?"
Jess: "Because I want to read it."
Me: "You do realise that's the book I'm waiting to arrive - the one I'd been trying to win for weeks."
Jess: "Oh.  Oh well, now we both have a copy!"

Luckily my copy arrived not long after Jess bought hers.  So we read it at the same time, though Jess finished it about a day ahead of me since I lost a day travelling.  Both of us are going to be reviewing this book for you today!

I can’t read a Julie Lessman’s book quietly.  There’s always exclamations of outrage, gasps of shock and cries of indignation.  And this time, I shed some quiet tears as well – of sadness and happiness.

The tempo of “A Heart Revealed” is more like what I'm used to, and so I settled into it immediately.  I didn’t feel like I’d been winded as I did with “A Hope Undaunted”, where it took me a couple of chapters to catch my breath!Smile

I have been quite desperate to discover the mysteries behind both Emma Malloy and Sean O’Connor after reading “A Hope Undaunted”.  Julie has lovingly revealed and unravelled their tale throughout this book.  Particularly at the end when we finally discover the true depths of guilt and sorrow that Emma has been living with. I think the pain that she has gone through and her struggle to be freed from the guilt is something many of us can empathise with. There was no avoiding the tears there!

Now, just because the general tone of this book is not as dramatic as Julie’s other books, does not mean it is void of drama! There’s still plenty to be had, largely courtesy of Charity.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t advise going after Charity’s husband! And as always, there's twists in the plot that you wouldn't be able to see coming.  For a large portion of the book I kept wondering, "How is Julie going to fix this mess they're in?"

Fix it, she does! If you like a satisfied ending, then this certainly has that.  The dependable Sean is just the kind of hero I like, and to see him throw off the shackles of his own past and open his arms to a future he had been running from touches my heart.  Emma has more sass than we realise and the banter between her and Sean is very entertaining.  Loved this book!

Now I'll hand it over to Jess.

I agree wholeheartedly with Helen when she said the tempo of this book is much more low key.  I too felt like I had been winded with the sheer pace of "A Hope Undaunted". I always liked Sean and Emma from the previous book and was eager to see what happened to them. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of their friendship as they really are best friends. Watching them encourage, inspire and cheer each other on through the big and little stuff of life and faith was just awesome. They really are best friends first and that is how it should be. 

How Julie dealt with Emma's marriage situation was not what I expected and it kept me is suspense the whole time and yes watching Charity "fight" for her husband was funny. I would have done something similar I think!

Great read Julie! Looking forward to more from you!

Book Review: Sophie's Daughters Book 3: Sharpshooter in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Sharpshooter Mandy McClellan Gray is a self-sufficient widow who wants nothing more than to live on her mountain and raise her children--alone. But how long can she hold off outlaws determined to steal her gold? Tom Linscott has his hands full with breeding horses and raising cattle. Yet when he hears outlaws have Mandy trapped, he's danged if he's gonna leave her to fend for herself. But how can you rescue a woman who refuses to be saved? Who will win this battle of wills--Mandy, Tom, or the outlaws who want nothing better than to silence them both?
I was so excited to pick this book up! I just wanted to know what happened between Mandy McClellan Gray and Tom Lindscott. Again this novel was fast paced, action packed and filled with romance. I was very happy to see Mandy finally get the guy she should have always had. I guess I was a little disappointed because Tom got Mandy by the end of the second chapter. By saying this I’m not giving away the ending or storyline, as there is still so much more Tom and Mandy have to go through by the time the book ends. I was disappointed because I think I had a different idea in mind as to what Mary Connealy would come up with to bring these two together.

However, I still enjoyed this book for pure, lovely escapism. This series has started me on the rest of Mary’s books: Lassoed in Texas Series and Montana Marriages Series. I’m looking forward to reading more from Mary.

Book Review: Sophie's Daughter's Book 2: Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Ride into the Rockies where love peaks between a tough Texas tomboy and a passionate artist. On her way to Montana, Sally McClellan's party is attacked and robbed. But then artist Logan McKenzie saves the badly wounded cowgirl who has been left for dead. Can this landscape painter tame the tomboy without breaking her spirit? Sally doesn't know much about ribbons and lace, but Logan's presence makes her want to connect with her feminine side. Will this fractured female discover a way to capture the artist's love-or find herself captured and killed by outlaws?

This is the second book in the Sophie’s Daughters Trilogy. I have to say this story was my least favourite. I couldn’t seem to connect with either Sally or Logan all that much. I much preferred Beth’s gung ho mixed with healer personality to Sally’s tomboy with a secret delight for ribbons and lace. This book was action packed and full of romance but for some reason I couldn’t see Logan and Sally as a legitimate couple. Even though they knew each other longer than Beth and Alex did from the previous book, I still wanted to fight the notion that they would end up together. 

What has kept me glued to the story however is the one Mary Connealy weaves into the first two books and that is of Mandy McClellan - the eldest of Sophie’s daughters. I am absolutely compelled by her plight – having to suffer an idiot of a husband with not a single shred of common sense, living far from her family and often left alone for long periods of time. Not that Mandy is defenceless by any means with her trusty rifle at her side at all times. I have really enjoyed watching her struggle to respect her husband and her constant prayers for God to save her husband from her temper. 

I was so excited to learn that the third book is all Mandy’s! I’m almost giddy with excitement to run to my local bookstore and pick up the book and devour it. I’m exercising self-control so I’m going to see if I can wait until Friday to get it. We’ll see how that goes…

Book Review: Sophie's Daughters Book 1: Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

Doctor Alex Buchanan is a wanted man- a deserter from the army stalked by a bounty hunter- but he'd rather be dead than inflict any more pain on his patients. Beth McClellan is idealistic, believing the nursing training she received will be enough to help her serve as doctor to her home town in West Texas. When Alex and Beth meet in a stagecoach accident, they find that they work well together. But are his demons and her dreams too deeply rooted for either of them to pay the price required for a future together?
I have not read anything by Mary Connealy before; from what I understand her books are full of action, romance and humour. I’ll admit it took me a while to get into gear with this book. At the moment I’m starting a new book every two days and so I’m swinging from genre to genre like a wild monkey in a jungle. 

Yes, this book is funny, action packed and romantic. It took me a little bit to figure out the humour, I wasn’t laughing out loud but I did chuckle throughout the book. Beth McClellan is one sure-fire tough girl, capable, level headed and a girl with no time for time wasters. Which is exactly what Alex Buchanan, army deserter and failed doctor is. Until Beth repeatedly yells some sense into him so he can doctor the people of their small town. 

I was entertained and surprised by this book. I’m also very glad that I bought the second book to this series.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Back on Deck Next Week

We've been a bit quiet this week since I've been away and then all the kids have been sick.  So we're sorry you missed out on your weekly dose of book reviews.  We're back in full swing next week, so hope to see you around then :)  Here's what you can expect.

Monday - We have an interesting MMM about personality types.  Are you a Powerful Choleric, Perfect Melancholy, Peaceful Phlegmatic or Popular Sanguine? Come by and check it out, and find out where Jess and I fit in the spectrum.
Wednesday - We'll have a couple of book reviews, including one for "A Heart Revealed" by Julie Lessman.

Thursday - Time for our feature author of the month! This is one lovely lady, so make sure you drop by to say hi and get your name in the running to win one of her books.

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Morning Musings: Sorry, We Went Out!

We don't have anything deep, meaningful or profound to share with you today.  My kids and I have taken a trip to visit Jess, so we're theoretically having a 'holiday'.

On Saturday night, after finally getting all the kids down and asleep, Jess and I managed to escape the house on our own and hit the town! Well, we hit a cafe anyway.  But for us mums, we may as well have been out partying until the early hours.  As it was, it was nearly 10pm when we sat at the cafe by the harbour and had our drinks (strong stuff too, I might add).

Jess enjoying her hot chocolate

Me being slightly more adventurous, a cappuccino ... decaf, of course

See, it's nearly 10pm!!

Shared gelato for dessert
We didn't want the fun to end too quickly, so we also enjoyed a nice stroll along the harbour before we got home at about 11pm.  We are such party animals! 

Never mind that Jess' daughter proceeded to cry half the night, and today both my girls have got temperatures.  Our little outing was just want we needed to relax and rejuvenate.  Praise God for these little pleasures :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

Available @

Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement. That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut. Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry.

Joan Sanderson is 25 years old and lives with her mother and grandmother.

Then a cute, single young doctor moves in next door.  Need I say more?!

Well, perhaps I don't.  But I will - because there is more to this story.

This story isn't just about a girl and a guy.  It's about family and it's about sisters.  It's also about taking that extra step with God and allowing Him into your life to heal your pain. And then it's about taking that love from God and extending it to other people.  I loved hearing Joan's inner dialogue as she struggled with her distant perspective of God and discovered her yearning for a closer relationship with Him.

Despite these themes, "Stuck in the Middle" is a funny and entertaining book.  The antics and dynamics between Joan and her two sisters is fun and so easy to identify with, particularly if you have siblings of your own.

I didn't mean to read this book yet, I had a pile of other titles in front of it on my to-read list.  It was sitting on my smart phone ready for it's turn.  But I was waiting somewhere, so I picked up my phone and started to read it to pass the time. It took me probably two chapters and then suddenly it had cut in the waiting line and planted itself at the top.

Don't forget, a cute ... and caring ... young doctor moves in next door to Joan :)

Book Review: Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon
Smokejumper Silas Kent never expected to see pilot Elle Westmore again. In fact, reuniting makes him realize what a mistake he made all those years ago. But before he has a chance to try to make amends, he's called to lead a new crew into battle against a massive fire in the Sierra Nevada’s.
And then things go very wrong, very quickly.

A suspicious engine explosion forces the crew to parachute early while Elle barely survives a crash landing. Silas reaches the ground safely, but in beginning a desperate race to reach the downed plane, he soon realizes he has more to fear than just a raging forest fire.

I liked the sound of this book and I often really enjoy fiction books written by men. It’s a fresh perspective. I’ve never read Shawn before, so I was keen to see what he had to offer. I really enjoyed this trill a minute ride. From beginning to end I was enthralled. The action, adventure and romance held me captive. 

I told my husband he would like this book. It’s still at heart a boy’s book but can appeal to all people who like to read a fast paced well-written novel. Can’t wait to read more from him.

Final note: The guy on the cover actually looks the like the Silas described in the book – a first!