Book Review: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Something is wrong. The Greystone kids get home from school one day and learn that kids in another state have been kidnapped. The weird thing is, the kids have the same names as the Greystone siblings and they look the same too. The news makes Mom act strange, and she keeps acting stranger.

The Strangers

Hi there. I’m back! Maybe?

Over the past several months, I’ve been writing for the Equipping Godly Women blog, and it reminded me how much I enjoy blogging. Every time I write a post over there, I tell myself I should write one here. Unfortunately, procrastination is real, and it’s hard to break out of a year and a half rut of not posting.

Joining the blog tour for Jaye’s new book release forced me come up with a post for Leah’s Bookshelf, and then it seemed natural to share this book I just read.

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Book Review & Bonus Content: No Chance Meeting

No Chance Meeting

Summary of No Chance Meeting

Alex has been a different person since she lost her brother to the war in Afghanistan. Somewhere along the way, her relationship with God grew cold, and she can’t find anything that makes life worth living. The weariness almost causes her to do the unthinkable, but God has other plans.

Just before Alex follows through with a plan to end her life, she meets Riley Conrad. He seems to sense something is wrong, and his invitation to breakfast saves her life. When he turns out to be a Christian, and his interest in her continues, Alex wonders if there is a way out of the fog she’s been living in.

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Book Review: October

How well do we know the people around us? What lies beneath the surface? How much is real and how much is the mask that we present the world? How much “mask” is okay–even necessary?

October Graphic

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Book Review & Giveaway: Goth by Kimberly Koch

Remember the good old-fashioned book reviews this blog was built on? It’s been a lot of fun branching out with devotional posts that delve into the themes of various books, but sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics and just share some thoughts on the book itself. Right? (Do you guys want more book reviews or do you like the theme based posts better?)

Goth

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Book Review: My Soul To Keep

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I learned to be happy with the small triumph of a good day. –pg 44

My brother took one look at the front cover of this book and decided it must fit into the sappy category of novels. While it did remind me of Kingsbury’s Firstborn Series in a lot of ways, it wasn’t the sappy sort of love story you’d expect from a novel about a down-and-out movie star cautiously re-entering the world of film. Bunn chose to focus on the nuts and bolts of movie making, the cutthroat world of Hollywood, and the personal journey of people learning to trust God with the scars from their pasts.

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Author Interview: Sandra Orchard

Remember I promised you a cool interview with Sandra Orchard? Here it is! Sandra was kind enough to follow through with this interview even though she was on her way to be with her grandson who had an extremely serious accident. (Check out her Facebook page to learn how to pray for little Jed.)

If you missed my review of Sandra’s novel, A Fool and His Monet, check it out now! 🙂

Sandra Orchard Banner

If I was going to write a mystery, the art crime specialty division wouldn’t be the first thing I reached for! What made you aware of/interested in writing about it?

I read a newspaper article about the detective who founded Montreal’s art crime unit, which led me to research the FBI’s Art Crime Team and read the biography of its founder. I sensed immediately there was lots of fodder for potential mysteries. I’ve even read a couple of biographies and blogs of (former) art thieves.

What’s your favorite thing about museum-quality art and why?

The sense of stepping back in time and experiencing a different era or ethos.

What non-fiction (or fiction!) book(s) would you recommend to someone who wants to learn more?

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures 
by Robert K Wittman.

There are many others, but that is a good place to start.

If Serena time-traveled to the civil war, what role do you think she’d play in the war?

Hmm, she’d probably be a spy or scout.

What else would you like readers to know about yourself and your Serena Jones books?

My next Serena Jones novel, Another Day, Another Dali, is dedicated to my grandson Jed who inspired a character in the book. That dedication was written long before the tragic accident that recently left him struggling for survival. Prayers for his recovery would be greatly appreciated. The novel releases in October.

A great big ‘thank you’ to Sandra for being here today. I’m going to have to check out that book she recommended! What about you? Do you enjoy art? Does the idea of being an art crime detective intrigue you?

Book Review: A Fool and His Monet

Fool and His Monet, ASpecial Agent Serena Jones is trying to calm her jittery nerves following a painting recovery when she receives a panicked call from her best friend. Two valuable paintings are missing from the storage vault at the museum her friend works for. Serena dives headfirst into the mystery. Getting the paintings back to the museum turns out to be a tall order. The trail is months cold, and Serena has big distractions–like a stalker who might be trying to take her out and a slew of guys trying to impress her.

I purchased this book on a whim. Usually I dismiss anything art related, but I recently spent a week going to museums with a friend of mine who loves art. After several days of geek outs over Degas, Monet, and Van Gogh, I couldn’t help but noticed this book at a local homeschool conference. It took me a chapter or two to orient myself when I started reading. I don’t read a ton of mysteries, and at first I wasn’t sure what to make of Serena’s quirky commentary on life. Turns out, it’s Serena’s unique perspectives that make this story delightful. She’s tough without loosing her femininity, observant, and delightfully clueless about guys.

If you enjoy lighthearted, quirky, fast-paced mysteries, this is a no-brainer for your to-read list.

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One of the galleries at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Stay tuned for an interview with author Sandra Orchard.

P.S. Please take time to pray for Sandra’s grandson who had a bad accident and is fighting for his life.

Book Review: The Mystery of the Indian Carvings

Mystery of the Indian CarvingsYoung Julie is troubled by her mother’s death and her dislike for her new stepmother, who doesn’t want Julie around for the summer. Instead, Julie is being sent to live on an island with relatives she doesn’t know. To make matters worse, her first weeks don’t go well. Her uncle rarely shows his face, her aunt is plagued by anxiety, and her cousin seems to hate her. Julie begins to think her time on the island will be short lived.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking a step back from the intense, emotionally wringing tales of young adult, new adult, and adult fiction to enjoy the simple clarity of this middle grade story. The Mystery of the Indian Carvings is fast paced and perfect for it’s target audience. Tween readers will get a thrill of adventure and solid lessons about trusting God, just like I did when I read Repp’s Mik-Shrok series as a tween.

If you have younger siblings or are the parent of readers age 8-13, this is a great book to share with them.