Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Taken by Dee Henderson

Shannon Bliss has been missing for 11 years. Kidnapped when she was 16 years old she was finally able to escape her abductors. She has chosen Matthew Dane to help her come back into society. Matthew's daughter was kidnapped years before and found 8 years later. He knows how to help kidnapped victims re-acclimate with their family and society.

From the moment they meet Shannon seems to have a better hold on her emotions than most kidnap victims. There is a maturity about her that impresses Matthew, but also worries him. He wonders when the dam will break. Shannon's mission now is to meet her family and reveal to Matthew slowly what happened over the last 11 years of her life. She has information about the group that kidnapped her and wants them all brought to justice. With her brother running for governor Shannon's safety is of the utmost importance.


This story has Ann and Paul from FULL DISCLOSURE, and Charlotte and Bryce from UNSPOKEN, and even Rachel and Cole from the O'Malley series helping Shannon to ease back into social settings. What I think some of us "old" Dee Henderson fans are having a hard time with is comparing these new books with our old loves The O'Malley's. The O'Malley series was a suspense series while these newer books are more plodding and steady without the suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. That is not to say that these books aren't good. I think that Dee Henderson is an excellent story teller and frankly anything her name is on I will probably buy. TAKEN had me setting aside all of my other books that I was reading and focusing only on it. There is a bit of mystery in the fact that the reader wants to know what happened the 11 years Shannon was gone, who instigated her kidnapping and what about her relationship with Matthew now. A tad bit of romance helps move the story along. Even though Matthew is quite a bit older than Shannon they do have a connection and a relationship to explore. Nothing is settled by the end of the story except the fact that they want to pursue their relationship. I enjoy how characters from the other books make an appearance in TAKEN, it is like old friends dropping by to say hello. These books don't need to be read in order, as I think each one could stand alone. So if you are like me and have read everything that Dee Henderson has ever written then I definitely recommend reading TAKEN!

Reviews of other books by Dee Henderson:

The O'Malley Series
Full Disclosure

**Thank you to the publisher through NetGalley for my copy for review purposes. All opinions are my own.**

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Berenstain Bears God Made You Special by Mike Berenstain

I've been reading The Berenstain Bears books for years. One of the things I'm really liking about Stan and Jan Berenstain's son now writing the books is the spiritual aspect of each book. The Berenstain Bears books have always taught morality and good behavior, but these new books written by Mike Berenstain teach lessons about God and His relationship with His people.

In God Made You Special a new Bear comes with the Bruins on their visit to the Bear family. Sister notices that Tommy is not like herself, brother and their other friends. She asks Mama Bear why Tommy is different and Mama explains to her about God making everyone different and special. Another thing I am liking in these books are the questions at the end of the book to help your child put into practice what they have learned from the Bears.

My grandchildren get very excited each time a new Berenstain Bears book arrives so I am definitely looking forward to sharing this one with them.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Big 5-Oh! By Sandra D. Bricker

Olivia is headed to Florida for a much needed vacation. Surviving the death of her husband, and a bout of cancer Olivia is in need of a change of scenery. On the plane she meets a handsome man named Jared. They hit it off right away and enjoy their flight. When they arrive in Florida they lose sight of each other and think that that was the end of their acquaintance. Imagine their surprise when the house that Liv is staying at is right next door to Jared's!

Liv's big 5-0 birthday is coming up. She believes her birthday is jinxed because it seems like some disaster or other crops up to ruin it. She expects the same for this birthday. House-sitting for her best friends mother comes with a gassy dog named Missy Boofer. Once they establish a friendship Missy Boofer and Liv have some funny (of course one-way) dialog.

Jared and Liv spend quite a few hours getting to know each other and are attracted to each other but Liv's intention of going back home to Ohio is looming ahead for both of them. And of course they are too old for the "love at first sight" deal. Then why does it rip their hearts apart to even think about Liv departing?

I thought this was a delightful story! Interspersed with humor and broken up by a parallel tale of Pru the donkey I found The Big 5-Oh! to be a fun read. If you've never read any of Sandra Bricker's books you should pick one up and give it a try. They always make me smile!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fifth Avenue Fidos by Holly Schindler

About The Book:

Mable Barker has left her family home and moved to New York City. Always upbeat, Mable has had a string of failed employment and a failed romance that leave her ready to throw in the towel.

Jason Mead's family raise Pekinese show dogs. Jason is a veterinarian with dreams of raising his own Pekinese show dogs apart from his parents. Unfortunately the dog that he thought would be his ticket to stardom has a mind of his own. Innis is a misbehaved puppy, but there is something about him that Jason adores. Of course nobody else sees Innis's potential, until Mable Barker comes along.

With words of advice from a hot dog vendor to "find her calling" Mable snatches up one more job as a dog walker. When she meets Innis it is love at first sight, for both dog and human. Mable manages to find her calling and find romance through one disobedient Pekinese show dog.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Fifth Avenue Fidos. The humor throughout the story sometimes had me rolling with laughter. Mable tends to use humor to cover up her insecurities, but then her life kind of lends itself to humor. With 4 brothers(all named after the Beatles, unintentionally of course), bent on protecting their sister in the big bad city, of course there are going to be some wonderful comedic scenes. The romance was sweet but I have to mention there is one sex scene. While not overly graphic, it is there and since my blog is mostly "clean" reads it needs to be mentioned. While the scene did provide some comedic entertainment to the story I could have done without it and it bumps this from a cute story that anyone could read to a more adult audience. That being said, I found the story entertaining and the characters engaging. Actually Fifth Avenue Fidos could be considered two stories for the price of one. Along with Mable's story is a parallel fairy tale that breaks out now and then throughout the book. It too is a sweet story with a lesson learned, but I found it sometimes interrupted the flow of the main story. Kind of like a commercial cutting in right at "the good part" of a movie. At the end of the book there is a Q & A between Mable and the author that explains the reason for the parallel story. As for the Happily Ever After ending that all fairy tales are known for, I was quite happy with how everything turned out in both stories.

For more information on the book and the author check out the post I did for the cover reveal

**Warnings: mild language and a brief sex scene may be offensive to some readers**

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

When buried bones are found in a field being excavated Mac McGregor is called out to help the local Police Chief investigate. His first mistake is assuming that the police chief is a man. Chief Grant turns out to be the beautiful woman standing by the buried bones. Mac has to quickly make amends and hope that the Chief is a forgiving woman.

First impressions aside Mac and Lisa are soon investigating what turn out to be bones having been buried for over 20 years. As the case heats up so does their attraction for each other. They are both looking forward to what the future holds after this case is put to rest, but a killer is out there determined to not be thwarted.

I feel like I always say the same thing with an Irene Hannon book, she writes a great suspense! It is so true though! Loved the action. I really liked being able to read the killers thought process and motive behind the killings. And definitely loved the romance between Mac and Lisa...sigh!

This is the first book in the Men of Valor series and I can tell you I am hooked and ready for the next one. There are a couple of teaser chapters at the end of Buried Secrets and as always it starts out with some heart-pounding action. Looking forward to seeing what happens with Mac's brother Lance. If you are a fan of Irene Hannon, suspense, romance then this is definitely a must-read.

**Thanks to the publisher Revell through NetGalley for my copy for review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher

From the Press Release:

O Threepio, Threepio, Wherefore art thou, Threepio?

Join us, good gentles, for a merry re-imagining of Star Wars: Episode I as only Shakespeare could have written it. The entire saga starts here, with a thrilling tale featuring a disguised queen, a young hero, and two fearless knights facing a hidden, vengeful enemy.

'Tis a true Shakespearean drama, filled with sword fights, soliloquies, and doomed romance...all in glorious iambic pentameter and coupled with gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations. Hold on to your midi-chlorians: the play's the thing, wherein you'll catch the rise of Anakin!

A journey through yonder galaxy far, far away! Witness the origins of the Force! 'Tis the epic tale as never seen before in William Shakespear's the Phantom of Menace

Release Date: April 7, 2015

My Thoughts:

If you are a lover of Shakespeare, a lover of Star Wars and a lover of parody then the Shakespeare and Star Wars books are definitely something you will want to read. Just like the movies, to us "old guard" the first Star Wars will always be the originals. So it is with the books. I read William Shakespeare's Star Wars Parts IV, V, VI before coming to The Phantom of Menace. Okay, honestly I read them that way because that is the order in which they were written, but even if I had all 6 of the books available to read I probably would have started with book IV! The Phantom of Menace is the beginning of the Star Wars saga and pretty much follows the movie. I noticed in this installment that there seemed to be a lot more soliloquies amongst the characters, and a lot more "asides" as well. Those helped set the stage to what was going on in a scene. I also noticed less quotations from Shakespeare, but that may be my lack of knowledge of all things Shakespeare. Something I haven't really paid attention to in the former Shakespeare and Star Wars books I've read were the illustrations. This time around they captured my attention. They are quite detailed and helped me to see what exactly was going on in some of the scenes. If I had paid better attention in English class I could tell you more about the ins and outs of Iambic Pentameter, but my understanding is that it has to do with the number of syllables in a line(pentameter=5). For my simple mind it determines the cadence of the verses. Shakespeare and Ian Doescher do it pretty well! As far as the character of Jar Jar Binks is concerned people either loved him or hated him in the movie and I imagine they will love him or hate him in the book as well. I happen to have enjoyed his character in both the movie and the book, although I found his character portrayed a bit more intelligent in the book. So whether you are old school, and like the original versions of Star Wars or new school(is that what they call it?), and like the new versions here is your chance to start this epic series beginning with Star Wars Part The First, William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace.

Coming Soon:

The Clone Army Attacketh-July 7, 2015
The Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge-September 8, 2015

Check out my reviews of the original Shakespeare and Star Wars books:

William Shakespeare's Star Wars

The Empire Striketh Back

The Jedi Doth Return

**I received my copy for review from Quirk Books. All opinions are my own**


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook by Mike Berenstain

As you all may know, I am a huge fan of anything Berenstain Bears. I have been since my girls were little, so I was very excited when I saw this book available for review through BookLook Bloggers. I snatched it up quick! It has 40 recipes in it that young children can help put together. The recipe's are all fairly simple and honey seems to be the featured ingredient in a lot of the recipes. Of course honey is a huge part of what the Bear family eats! There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, main dishes and desserts & snacks. Again, fairly simple to put together so those little ones can help prepare. I'm looking forward to having our granddaughters help when they stay for a week in the summertime. At the beginning of each section there is a bit of an introduction that the Bears share with the reader about what is to come, so not only is the book a recipe book, but also a story book. Along with each recipe there is a full color photo of the completed item you are making. I can't wait to let my granddaughters look through and see what draws their attention. This is a great addition to any Berenstain Bear collection!

**I received my copy from BookLook Bloggers for review purposes. All opinions are my own**