Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Secret of the Journal: Rope of Sand by C.F. Dunn (book #3)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book for free from the publisher through the Kregel Publications' book  blogger campaign and 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the Book: (Information taken from the Kregel Publications site)

The third installment of the acclaimed romantic thriller series

This third volume, set in rural Maine’s deep winter, follows the developing relationship between British historian, Emma D’Eresby, and American surgeon, Matthew Lynes. Emma unravels Matthew’s alarming past and begins to comprehend how very different her future might be with a man whose identity must never be revealed.

Emma nervously meets Matthew’s family. She encounters his seventy-year-old son, Henry, and learns how unique the family really is. As Christmas approaches, it is clear that Emma is not welcomed by all: what does Matthew’s great-granddaughter have against her, and what might his sinister psychiatrist granddaughter, Maggie, be prepared to do?

Bound by their faith, Matthew and Emma have accepted that they must wait to be together until his wife dies. Very reluctantly, Emma meets Ellen—an elderly woman with a core of steel—and learns how living with Matthew will mean concealment and lies. How can they have a life together?

Read an Excerpt here!

About the Author: (Information taken from her Goodreads Author Page)
Writing as CF Dunn, I thrive on creating romantic thrillers with a historical twist, drawing on a degree in history and a career in literacy development to write stories that touch on people’s frailty and their unexpected strengths. Everyone has a story to tell, and I explore how the legacy of the past impacts on the present and shapes the future. The question is, can anyone escape their history, and how will it determine the path they choose to take?

My love of Maine and my family's long legacy in the county of Lincolnshire provide a rich heritage and vital elements in the evolving story of The Secret of the Journal series.

Blessed with a historian husband, two creative daughters and a quirky Corgi, I divide my time between running a specialist dyslexia and autism school we founded in Kent, and writing in Cornwall.

Stalk the Author: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook

Dynamic Uno here: I fell in love with The Secret of the Journal series while reading book #1, Mortal Fire.  The characters had so many facets and intricacies woven into their stories that I became engrossed in learning more and more about their lives, and ultimately, worried about their outcomes.  (Can you say addicted?) 

Somehow I missed the release of book #2, Death Be Not Proud, so I was unaware that the lives of Matthew, Emma, and the others were continuing without me.  Thankfully, I ordered it through Amazon: Death Be Not Proud (The Secret of the Journal)  and started reading it right away so that I could find out what happened after the cliffhanger of Mortal Fire.  (It was just as captivating!) 

I immediately dove into book #3, Rope of Sand, when I finished book #2.  The beginning pages of this book were a recap from the ending of Death Be Not Proud, but some of the details were changed a bit so it threw me for a bit of a loop at first.  However briefly distracted, I was immediately sucked back into the story as Emma celebrated Christmas with Matthew and was introduced to his "extended" family members.

While most of Matthew's family accepted Emma into their fold, there were a few family members who resisted the idea that she would eventually become a permanent fixture within their household. The resentment resulted in a bit of mischief that almost caused Emma to die.  Fortunately, Matthew and his son, Henry, are doctors, so they were able to revive Emma before she was lost to them all.  Tests were run, and it was discovered that Emma had her own special gift of helping others (although you'll have to read the book to find out about her talent).

When classes resume on campus, Emma learns that Professor Staahl is accusing her for his damaged reputation when she gets served with the court papers. Realizing that her nightmare has returned in real life, she grows concerned when she realizes that the only people who really know what happened on the night she was attacked were Staahl, Matthew, and herself--inevitably throwing Matthew in the spotlight, a place he has learned to avoid.

Will Matthew's secret be divulged through the trial?  Will Emma be able to produce evidence that she was not complicit in the attack by Staahl, or will his hidden allies manage to set him free?  All these and questions and more will be answered by reading Rope of Sand.

I enjoyed reading this installment of The Secret of the Journal series because we finally met characters we had only been introduced to briefly and were able to see how they interacted with one another.  I felt that this book was a bit heavy and drawn-out with the court case thrown in because it wreaked havoc on everyone's lives, but it did bring more of the "family secrets" to life and caused Emma and Matthew's family to claim "sides."  

I was a bit disappointed because I had hoped we would see a wedding  and get the "happily ever after" ending that I so want to see for Matthew and Emma, but this was not the case at this point in their lives.  Guess I'll have to wait for the penultimate book #4, Realm of Darkness, to be released.  (Yay!  More Matthew and Emma!!)

If you enjoy suspense, mystery, intrigue, and history, you'll love this series--although you MUST start at the beginning or you'll have no idea of what's happening and why certain details and story-lines are so important.  

Purchase the Book here: Kregel Publications 

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because by Chelsea Jacobs

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book for free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book  blogger campaign and 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the book: (Information taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Landing Page.)

Avery is a seventeen-year-old girl whose reality has just been shattered by the death of her mother. Feeling a desperate need to flee from what has become her life, she follows a travel plan meant for her mom and her that leads her to the little beach town where her mom grew up. It's there that she meets a group of three adventurous friends who adopt her into their circle, allowing her to experience a summer she never thought would be possible after suffering such a great loss. Unfortunately, her summer full of experiences threatens to end abruptly when she realizes that one of the three has a secret that causes her to question everything about the new life she has been building.
Avery must learn to balance her grief and her desire for a future in order to achieve her mother's final wish for her: That she would be happy to be alive.

Purchase a copy:

About the author: 
(Information taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Landing Page.)

Chelsea grew up with an immense love for words---both reading them and writing them. She obtained her degree in English and has spent the time since then getting married to her high school sweetheart and chasing adventure so she'll have something to write about. When she's not drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing, she spends her time reading, playing with her puppy named Gatsby, and dreaming, always dreaming.

Chelsea can be found at: websiteTwitter

Dynamic Uno here: When I closed the last page of this book I literally could only say, "Wow," because that was the only word I could find to describe how I felt after reading Happy to be Alive, Because.  I sat on the couch and really thought about my life and how I take many people for granted, because they've always been there for me.  How would I cope if they suddenly were not around and would never be again?

After reading Avery's story about the loss of her mother to cancer, I thought back to my own  mother going in to Moffitt at the beginning of the year (New Years Eve) to have a tumor removed that was possibly cancerous.  After the surgery, her doctor told us that it was the size of a small football-about 8 lbs.-and thankfully, was not cancerous, but I remember having to prepare myself to help her battle something that could possibly end her life.  What would I do without my mom?

Reading about Avery's goal to follow through with the trip to Florida, her mother had planned, reminded me of what I tend to do when faced with situations I don't want to particularly deal with, and that is to flee/pretend it's not happening.

While Avery still deeply felt the loss of her mother, she was able to go through the grieving process with the help of her new friends-Rob, Major, and Lily.  By hanging out with them and developing a routine that led to some semblance of a "normal" life, Avery was able to finally look past her grief into the life she wanted to live.

Despite a set-back when learning a dark secret Rob had kept hidden, Avery learned that she truly could be "Happy to be Alive," as she journaled each thing that led her to being happy on a daily basis.  (Something I think I may pick up to help me through the crazy dark days.)

Happy to be Alive, Because was an enjoyable book.  While it's geared towards young adults, I can see this book quickly gaining popularity with adults as well.  It will definitely be one that I recommend to my students and teachers when they are going through tough times as well.

You can purchase Ms. Jacobs' book here.  What are you waiting for?  Go buy it now--you won't regret it!

1. Happy to be Alive, Because...I get to enjoy playing with my little girl (cat) Madison!

2. Happy to be Alive, Because...I get to read and blog about awesome books!

3. Happy to be Alive, Because...chocolate was invented to soothe my savage inner beast.

4.  Your turn...

As always, let me know what you think,  and Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to those Fathers of the two or four-legged variety! I hope you have a wonderful day today!

Happy Father's Day Dad!  Love you!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A SEASON OF CHANGE from Lynette Sowell | Kindle HDX giveaway and Facebook Party!

In A Season of Change, book one of Lynette Sowell's new series, Seasons of Pinecraft, readers will discover a different side of the Amish community. A Season of Change follows Natalie and Amish widower Jacob Miller as they each discover the mysterious ways God works. Inspired by the image of a Plain woman sitting on a three-wheeled bicycle by the Pinecraft (an Amish community in Florida) post office, Sowell’s latest is a new take on the popular trend in fiction.

Lynette is celebrating with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on June 12th.

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 12th. Winner will be announced at the A Season of Change Facebook author chat party on June 12th. Connect with Lynette for an evening of fun book chat, Amish-themed trivia, and prizes. Lynette will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in the Seasons of Pinecraft series!

So grab your copy of A Season of Change and join Lynette on the evening of June 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New from @RonieKendig | Raptor 6! Enter to win a Kindle HDX.

Don't miss the first book, Raptor 6, in Ronie Kendig's new Quiet Professionals series. Ronie combines a dangerous romance and explosive action for a thrilling and satisfying ride. "Lock and load for this Spec Op, fighting under God’s 'rules of engagement.'" —Bob Hamer, veteran FBI undercover agent and award-winning author

Ronie is celebrating with a Kindle HDX Giveaway!

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced June 16th on Ronie's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Ronie's blog on June 16th to see if you won.