Saturday, 21 February 2015

Book Review: Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma

About the Book:  Can Irene and Rand stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom?

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor's office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what's happening, she's drawn into a web of secrets and danger.

Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till---and has news that could threaten Rand's reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.

When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness---if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.

My Thoughts: I was very interested in reading this book, particularly after watching and reading Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini and his experience of being a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp.  I must admit to being a bit disappointed.  

The book was good and a decent read, and maybe my expectations were simply too high, but the story line was a bit slow moving for me; the characters were rather shallowly developed; I didn't gain a strong attachment to any of the characters; the dramatic portions of the storyline could have been written with more, well, drama; and I felt like there needed to be a bit more of an explanation about how, why, and when they all ended up in the internment camp.  The story just didn't capture me like I was expecting it to.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Book Review: The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

About the book:
This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn't need a man to fight her battles.

After Raine's dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter's youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that's compromised when Raine reveals she's pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend's son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: "The baby is mine."

Knowing gossip of Raine's pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin's reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin's feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

My Thoughts:  This is the first book I've read by Springer and I really enjoyed it!  The story immediately pulled me in, and I appreciated the depth of character she gave to several different characters - Raine, Cody, Dan, Ginevieve, and Evie (Cody's mom).

This book definitely does not shy away from the reality of life and that it is not easy.  The book tackles several tough issues including abuse, abandonment, teen pregnancy, single parenting, and death - and yet woven through it all is hope.  Hope in God, and knowing that even when we are alone, we are not alone.

I appreciated the realism in this book - including both the flattering and unflattering (sinful!) reactions of the church people to Cody and Raine's pre-marital relationship.  It is a harsh truth that one moment of weakness, one wrong decision, can impact your life forever.  And yet is is a beautiful truth that God can work, even through our sin, to bring joy and hope in the midst of life's hard times.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Book Review: The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues by Cindy Vincent

About the book:
Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most complicated ever! It all starts when someone hides a mysterious package in their Mom's antique store --- in the middle of the night! Of course, the boys find it, and put it in a nice, safe place, until they can open it . . . and, find the rightful owner. But that's when a whole bunch of suspicious people show up in St. Gertrude, and every single one of them seems to be after that package! Holy Catnip! Plus, everything happens just when a priceless, jeweled statue collection goes on display at the St. Gertrude Museum. Missing from that collection are two jewel covered cat statues that disappeared almost a hundred and fifty years ago.

But soon Buckley and Bogey wonder how long those statues will stay missing. Because this is one case that really keeps them on their paws! From a trip to the Museum, and to an old church for the Blessing of the Animals; and from dinosaurs to diamonds, they end up dodging shady suspects the whole time. It sure helps to have their friends with them, especially when the bad guys make a beeline for boys. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick --- the priceless cat statues aren't the only cats those crooks are after! Holy Mackerel!

Olivia's Thoughts: I had my 9 year old daughter read and review this book for me.  These are her thoughts.....

The book begins when Buckley and Bogey are in their house while the humans in the family are sleeping, the mom's store is broken into in the night and Buckley and Bogey go with their mom to her store. A small package is left at the store and the mom and officer Phoebe don't notice it. Buckley and Bogey find it and hide it. The next day they go to the museum for ''take your cat to museum day''. The two cat detectives plan a distraction so they can look at the exhibit. while looking they find two little statues called ''the best friends'' statues''. in the exhibit they find two bad guys who used to be friends that are now enemies. the two little statues had been either missing or stolen. The next day they go to their mom's store and a pirate comes in claiming he left a package there. But the mom said they don't have any package. Later on the two cat detectives are going to their mom's store, and open the package and take it home. In the end they solve the mystery.

What I liked about the story is that Buckley is trying to be a good cat detective even if he makes mistakes, and that he has somebody to look up to.

What I didn't like very much about it is that near the end it's a little scary because of all the bad guys trying to kill the cats.

Some parts were a little boring and others were really suspenseful.

Overall it was a really good book and it would be very interesting to some other people.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.


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