Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof



  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Mason Jar Books (July 26, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997513705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997513707

About the Book:

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it's away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet--freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella's own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl--boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

My Thoughts:
It frightens me just how closely I came to missing out on this book.  A few friends had posted a comment or two on a social media site, and knowing we have similar tastes I took a chance and sampled a few chapters.

I read chapter one...bought a copy...and settled in for a reading experience that can only be described as exquisite.  You'll be tempted to read the entire story in one sitting.  Go ahead, because I understand. Joanne leaves a trail of breadcrumbs, urging the reader to turn just one more page to uncover just one more hidden treasure within the pages.

But, after you've finished, do me a favor.  Take a deep breath, and dive back in.  Savor the nuances of the tale, feel the magical, fairytale essence, and wrap yourself in the comfort of the faith you'll discover in "The Lady and the Lionheart."

The reading world is captivated by fairytales, and a well crafted retelling tends to make a mark on the publishing world.  "The Lady and the Lionheart" packs the passion of a classic 'Beauty and the Beast' story, but layers a message of hope and eternity over the well known tapestry of love and seeing beyond the outer person to the heart and soul.

I'm struggling for words to convey my love for this book.  The cover is gorgeous, and the story within the pages is even more beautiful than anything I've read this year.  If you don't think book reviews/recommendations are effective, keep in mind that this was how I discovered this treasure!  My thanks to the friends who took the time to write reviews and to share their hearts.

My life is enriched by having encountered "The Lady and the Lionheart".  In a world of fixation on the superficial, this book is so timely and so appropriate.  That's why Joanne's novel receives my "For Such a Time" award.  I purchased a copy online, and "The Lady and the Lionheart" is available now.  Don't hesitate.

You'll be so glad you read this one.  Don't forget...

Mark Your Place,

Deena



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My Must Read Authors List



Top Ten Tuesday: My Must Read Authors!

1) Katie Ganshert: Contemporary Fiction and YA Fiction

2) Melissa Tagg: Contemporary Fiction

3) Ronie Kendig: Military Suspense and YA Fantasy

4) Susan May Warren: Contemporary Fiction

5) Lynette Eason: Romantic Suspense

6) Serena Chase: YA Fantasy

7) Kara Isaac: Contemporary Fiction (with a classic twist!)

8) Rachel Hauck: Royalty Wedding Fiction (Yeah, it's a thing--because Rachel created it!)

9) Nadine Brandes: Fantasy Fiction

10) Irene Hannon: Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Fiction

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Monday, August 29, 2016

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post



About the Book:

Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.

The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Waterfall Press (October 25, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503937690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503937697

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed my time with Grant and Jami!  Carol has created an engaging story and memorable characters and this is a great end-of-summer book!

Betrayal is a familiar feeling, and we all know what it's like to be lied to about something.  Both Jami and Grant bring hurt and a fractured past into their reluctant relationship.  She's desperate to prove herself as a stellar reporter, and he's equally desperate to unload the family mansion that's brought him nothing but grief.

I loved the entire cast of characters (well, except Robert!), and this comedy of errors warmed my heart.  A myriad of miscues brought lots of laughs, but when these imaginary people began to share their hearts the tears were quick to appear.

Carol has a gift for heartwarming and humorous stories, and I'm looking forward to reading her next book.  Until then, "Trust My Heart" is getting my "One to Watch", with a hint of "Oh, The Feels" mixed in.  My thanks to Carol and Waterfall Press for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

"Trust My Heart" releases October 2016, so be sure to put this one on you wish list!  Don't forget to...

Mark Your Place,

Deena

Friday, August 26, 2016

My General Market Rating System



When I am reviewing a novel or non-fiction title from the general market, I'll be using a different rating system.

DNF (Did Not Finish) is lowest.

Library Card Worthy is next.

One to watch is for a book that has potential, but isn't quite there yet.

Yes, buy it is in third place.

Oh, the feels ranks the book with a four.

And finally, my ultimate rank for gm books.....

Keep for all eternity.

My 'Uh-Oh" system


When I review any books from the general market, I'll give you my 'uh-oh' ratings for

Sexual content, Violence, Language, Inappropriate Behavior with No Real Consequence (IBWNRC)

If I find nothing in a particular category, I'll give it a no uh-oh.

If it's mild, 1 uh-oh, and for cautious reader alert, 2 uh-oh.

If it's for mature readers only, 3 uh-oh.  For a book to receive 4 uh-oh, the content in graphic in nature.

And if a book is completely inappropriate in any way, you'll see my 5 uh-oh, and a Did Not Finish (DNF) as an overall rating.

My Ratings and Standards



Greetings to my faithful followers!

This is the last of the informational posts, with the official launch and inaugural book review debuting on Monday.  For today, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at my review standards...

In the past, I awarded bookmarks, ranging from one to five (low to high), and the highest honor was to receive my Golden Bookmark.  Eventually I changed that to a five star scale.

While I have no problem with that kind of system, I wanted something more meaningful.  A system that truly reflected my thoughts and opinions of the books I've been reading.  This is what I have crafted:

Just Can't: for the books I am unable to finish.  Either the writing is very poor, or the plot is weak/predictable to the point of embarrassing.  I don't expect to use this rating, but one never knows.

Library Pick: if I've enjoyed the story but within a few days I have difficulty remembering details, or it was more of a 'fluffy' read, I'd recommend you pick the book up at the local library or a used book store.  It's enjoyable, but not memorable.

One To Watch: this goes to those authors I discover, either writing their debut book or self-publishing their work.  I'm intrigued, but it's hard to base a solid fandom on one book.  If I believe the writer is on the verge of something fabulous, I'll recommend the book and advise you to check out the author's web presence.

Something Good Here: a book that I thoroughly enjoy, but not quite excited about.

Oh The Feels!:  pretty much equal to a four star rating, but this rating lets you know the story packs an emotional punch.  Either exercises your funny bone, or will encourage you to purchase multi-packs of tissues, these books are to quickly be added to your 'must read' list.

Packs A Punch!: prepare to have your mind blown by this story.  Not so much emotionally as much as intellectually.  Again, similar to a four star rating, but appealing to your imagination rather than your heart.

Such A Time:  those words, found in the Book of Esther, have always greatly impacted my life.  This is when reviewing is most enjoyable.  For instance, I have an author friend who crafts the most intense military suspense you'll find in today's market.  Recently she explored a dream of a story, creating a high fantasy world and gearing her book to a young adult audience.  Either the material is timely, the message is powerful and profound, or the book is genre changing (think Frank Peretti's 'This Present Darkness')

For the Ages:  destined to become a classic, and so well written the book will stand the test of time. These are the books I wish I could experience fresh once again.  If I was independently wealthy, I would be buying cases of the book and handing them out to everyone I met.

So, there you have it!  My personal standards and rating system for this new chapter of my reviewing adventure.  Thoughts?  I'd love to know what you think...

Until then...

Mark your place,

Deena

Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Promise To My Readers


Greetings!

I intended to post daily, but my home life took a turn and I was needed elsewhere.  Now, let the journey continue...

As a blogger, my biggest struggle lately is two-fold: quality reading material, and consistency.  Basically, I read whatever and blog whenever, and that is no way to operate a blog designed to serve readers.

So, as of Monday, August 29, 2016, I make this promise to my readers:

1) I will never lie to you.  I won't hide behind 'being nice' and mislead you into purchasing a book that isn't worth your money or time.  And I won't 'slam' a book just because I feel like it.

2) I will not throw my words around lightly.  If I believe a book is a stinker, I will make my case.  If I believe a book is dangerous, I will make my case.  And if I believe in a book so passionately I cannot stand myself...I will make my case.

3) I will be consistent.  My current goal is three new reviews a week.  That will be adjusted as my time is consumed by other needs.  But I also commit to share memes, photos, reveals, coming attractions, and all bookish things that make me smile, cry, laugh, or shake my head.

So that is my commitment to you, my readers.  Any thoughts?

Until next time...

Mark your place,

Deena

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Philosophy of Book Reviewing

Greetings again!

If you are still with me on this new journey, thank you very much!  If you are not, well, you won't read this anyway, but thank you, too!

So, for my philosophy of book reviewing...it's fairly simple:

1) Respect the author.  Don't attack him or her on views, beliefs, or intelligence.  Yes, a book is a reflection of said author, but unless the views are extremely contrary to Scripture, be gentle and kind.

2) Respect the reader.  Don't talk down, and don't criticize anyone who might enjoy a book you didn't care much for.  Every book isn't for every reader, and that's okay.

3) Respect the time line.  This is the most difficult one for me because my time can vanish before I blink, and I've missed a critical deadline.  It's so easy for me to overbook (pun intended!), and I rob the author of a timely review.

4) Respect the reviewer.  We all have different tastes, preferences and beliefs.  Find a way to disagree that is respectful and non-offensive.  After all, to someone else you are 'that' reviewer, too.

5) Respect the Word.  I'll be honest...God's Word is my litmus test.  If I find an element in a story that is contrary to His Word, I'll point it out.  That's it...just point it out.  You'll have to decide if said element is a deal breaker for you.

6) Respect the truth.  It is difficult to be critical of someone's baby.  But there isn't much point in writing reviews if I'm not going to be honest with you.  No, it isn't fun to not enjoy someone's hard work, but as I said before...we are all drawn to different things, and that's okay.

7) Respect the process.  Sometimes I write reviews and those reviews get criticized.  Sometimes it's fair and sometimes it isn't fair.  But I can't waste time getting offended, or getting caught up in a war of opinions.  All I can do is ask for respect...and making sure I give respect in kind.

So, that's basically my philosophy of reviewing.  Any thoughts?  I'd love to hear from you!  What's your philosophy??

Until later...

Mark your place...

Deena

Monday, August 22, 2016

Welcome To My New Home!

Greetings!

Some of you may remember me from "A Peek At My Bookshelf", and many of you may be meeting me for the first time.  So, a brief introduction...

My mom was my best friend and my reading buddy.  I would find delicious reading material and share with her, and then we would discuss the books we read.  We had very similar tastes, and it was just one more way we connected as friends.

In 2006, at the age of 78, Mom was promoted home and now reads in Heaven's library.  In those early months I found reading difficult...especially if I was reading an author we both loved.

Eventually, the grief began to ebb, and I realized I had no one to talk books with.  My husband and my children were readers, but we didn't read in the same circles, so to speak.

When my husband and pastor decided to start blogging, I was curious.  I did some research and realized I could share about my reading and bookish adventures through blogging!  Thus, "A Peek At My Bookshelf" was born.

That was early 2007, and it's been a wild adventure!  I've met some amazing reading friends, and connected with authors in ways I'd only dreamed of previously.  As I approached my ten year bloggoversary I began to feel...blah.  A bit stale.  And I lost my reading mojo...

...then it hit me.  Maybe it was time for a fresh start.  After all, I still adore books, words, and those that craft amazing stories.  Again, I did some research, found a new purpose, and I welcome you to my new home...

"Just One More"--one more book, one more chapter, one more page, one more discussion.  Hopefully you will enjoy your time spent here.  I'd love to hear from you, so leave me lots of comments!  All I ask is that you be respectful of yourself and others.

That's it for now.  I'll be sharing my philosophy of reading and reviewing and sharing my new rating system--I think you'll like it!

Until then,

Mark your place.

Deena
 

Just One More Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon