Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Monday, September 1, 2014
Alls Fair in Love and Cupcakes
By Betsy St Amant
About the book:
Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.
As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.
The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.
I loved the premise in "Alls Fair in Love and Cupcakes". Kat feels stuck in her life of baking only strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate cupcakes at her aunts bakery yet she's afraid to step out on her own in ever career, her family, and with her best friend, Lucas, whom she wishes to be so much more.
In hopes of being both encouraging to Kat and to win her over, Lucas signs her up for a cupcake competition reality tv show and tags-a - long as her assistant. Sounds perfect, right? But what if Kat wins and is whisked off to New York C to work at a large, successful bakery?
The book was very descriptive and really got into both Kat and Lucas's head. It's pretty clear to us how each of them feel, so much so that I wished they would have just blurted it out instead of trying to make everything perfect for each other.
Overall, I really like the book, it as fun, lighthearted, and relate able.
* I received this book free for review from Zondervan Publishers through netgalley.com*
Monday, August 18, 2014
A Bouquet of Love
By Janice Thompson
About the book:
Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family--especially her father--has other ideas. They've all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand--directly across the street from the Rossis' popular pizza place--and they want Cassia's full participation.
To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston's premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family's faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella's good graces!
Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .
Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers one more romp with Bella, Galveston, and the bustling wedding biz in the final installment of her popular series. Anyone who loves quirky families, loads of laughter, and tender romance will find themselves hooked.
Bouquet of Love reminded me of My Big Fat Greek wedding, which was a fun movie so this book was very fun too.
The Pappas family has moved from California to Texas to open a Greek resteraunt that also happens to be across the a street from an Italian family's resteraunt. This makes them become instant enemies is Cassia's fathers eyes and he basically refuses them to interact with each other. But what happens when Cassia befriends members in the Italian family?
My favorite part of Janice Thompson's stories is that they have a lighthearted, easy going feel but aren't boring. She makes the characters funny without being weird and in this particular book she weakens in a lot of emotion to top it all off.
*i received this book free for review from Baker Publishing Group*
Rating: 5 carats
Monday, August 11, 2014
The Butterfly and the Violin
By Kristy Cambron
About the book:
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
Sera James feels trapped in her current life and haunted by her past.
She decides the only thing to do is to throw herself into her work as an art dealer. She behind searching out the owner of painting she saw as a child that never left her. It was a painting of a violinist during the Holucost.
Adele, is the violinist in the painting intertwined and carries a haunting take with her. The stories intertwine as Sera's search begins to impact her personal life.
Almost every chapter flips between Sera's story and the story of Adele. Even with the switching I never felt lost. Both stories were written in their own distinct voice and clarity.
"The Butterfly and the violin" is both haunting and moving. Sera realizes want is really important in her life and sees that light can come from the darkest nights when we put lives in Gods hands.
* I received this book free for review from BookLook Bloggers*
Rating: 5 carats
Monday, August 4, 2014
By Mary Hunt
About the book:
Mortgages, credit card balances, student loans, car loans, and home improvement loans have become a way of life for the majority of us. And debt is putting not only our present at risk as we live paycheck to paycheck, but our futures in jeopardy as shockingly few of us have enough put away for retirement. Personal financial expert Mary Hunt wants readers to embrace the radical but simple truth that they don't need more credit or more stuff--that they can live their lives debt-free.
In her classic book Debt-Proof Living, Mary reveals the secrets to getting out of debt and staying out of debt for the rest of your life. At no time in history has this liberating approach to a no-debt lifestyle been more desperately needed. Those who have been struggling to pay the bills or feel like they just can't make their finances work without taking on debt need this book. It can change their lives.
Debt-Proof Living by Mary Hunt is filled with the basic consistent principles commonly used by most financial advisers counseling people on ways to get out of debt and better manage money. This is because those core principles of money management are the foundation for debt free living. People have to spend less money then they make, always save something and have a solid plan for paying off existing debt and preventing future debt.
Where I find Mary Hunt's approach different is in her first principle for debt proof living "Principle 1: Never keep it all. The first things you must do when money flows into your life is give some of it away." The voice of greed whispers entitlement into our lives. How can we combat the greed enemy? With giving, giving brings balance to our lives connecting us to something greater than ourselves.
Debt-Proof Living is a simple to understand, easy to apply, road map anyone can use to live a life free if debt if they choose.
*I received this book free for review from Baker Publishing Group*
Rating: 5 carats
Friday, August 1, 2014
"One Small Step..." can Create One Giant LEAP!
That's what popular young adult authors Shannon Delany, Judith Graves, and Jen Murgia hope. The bold trio recently took on management (and in Delany's case ownership) of established small publisher Leap Books LLC.
The three women come from diverse backgrounds in publishing but have pooled their skills and resources to breathe new life into Leap.
Established in 2009 by Laurie Edwards, Leap has earned a respected place in the young adult and middle grade markets, gaining recognition from the Green Earth Books Award program, the Young Adult Library Services Association Popular Paperbacks program, and receiving recommended reading status from authoritative review sources, such as Kirkus Reviews, the Midwest Book Review, and CM Magazine.
What should readers look forward to with the relaunch of Leap? "We already have a backlist of strong stories thanks to the foundation Laurie Edwards built for Leap Books, but it seems like people have overlooked many of them while swimming in the sea of current YA and MG novels. We're going to change that and build on the existing list with our upcoming SHINE list of edgy YA and NA e-novellas and a re-branding and re-launching of both our YA novel line SURGE and our middle grade novel line."
What should authors look forward to with Leap Books? "Although Leap's SURGE line usually only accepts agented submissions, in mid-October we'll be opening our doors wide for unagented works, too. If you have a well-polished YA or MG novel that grabs us and holds us, we may have a spot in our lineup for you. Watch the Leap Books blog--no, stalk the blog--to find out when to submit. And watch for special anthologies to submit to--we have some great ones coming up!"
For now Delany suggests readers and writers alike leap into the contest running until August 8th at http://leapbks.blogspot.ca/ and if you're serious about writing for a publisher, first give a few of their books a read.
You can find Leap Books at:
Enter the Rafflecopter contest to win three Leap e-books of YOUR choice!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Monday, July 21, 2014
Let's All Be Brave
By Annie F. Downs
About the book:
Annie Downs admits she’s not exactly the bravest girl in the world. She still cries sometimes when she leaves her parents’ home in Georgia, she’s never jumped out of a plane, and she only rides roller coasters to impress boys. But Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she’s on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging the reader to do the same. As a single young woman, writer, speaker, and blogger, Annie Downs shares her journey toward bravery with honesty and humor. Using wonderful stories from her own life, contemporary real-life examples, and fascinating historical and biblical references, Annie encourages readers to grab hold of the brave life that they desperately desire. How often does fear hold us back from the very things we most want to taste, touch, and experience? The call to be brave isn’t just for one person---it’s for everyone. Let’s All Be Brave is more than a book, it’s a battle cry. Annie challenges us to live boldly, she calls us to step into those places that require courage, and she gives us the help to take the next step forward---even when it’s scary. This non-fiction, essay-driven book opens the door to many different views of courage---nudging, encouraging, and inspiring readers to be brave whenever given the chance. Let’s All Be Brave features: * Funny/interesting stories that draw readers into each chapter * God’s surprising answers to finding courage and boldness * Challenging questions and advice to help readers make real-life changes to live fully and glorify God more every day. The companion Web site (www.letsallbebrave.com) offers more resources and an opportunity for readers to share personal stories of courage with other
I've followed Annie F. Downs blog for years, I love her, and have loved each of her books.
Let's All Be Brave is Annie's first adult book and a challenge for all of us to look to The Lord and be brave in out loves where He plants us and leads us.
What I like most about "Let's All Be Brave" is how relatable it is. So often we think in order to be brave we have to do something big. Annie says differently, being brave comes from following Jesus where He leads you and sometimes that's doing everyday things.
Others may not realize it but for some of being brave is calling up an old friend of verbalizing our dream to someone we're close to.
Annoe draws from stories in her own life big and little. For those of us who have followed her blog we see a deeper look into what she went through at different times as well as what she learned from them.
She so uses a lot of stories from her real life friends.
I loved "Let's All Be Brave" as much as I have loved everyone of Annie's books. I hope that you'll be brave and grab a copy for yourself, too.
*I received this book free for review from Zondervan Publishers through netgalley.com*
Rating: 5 carats