Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

Very few things get me quite as excited as seeing that Ms. Francine Rivers has published a new book!!  When I saw that Bridge to Haven was released, it was the only thing I requested on my birthday wish list :-)

I fell in love with her writing in high school - close to 20 years ago. Gah! Has it been that long!?!?!

Ever since then, I've read absolutely everything she's published.  I would say she is for sure one of my top 2 favorite authors.  A large reason for that is she keeps things so real and honest - and without apology brings in God's truth in the most rawest of situations.  I freaking love that.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's hard to find good quality Christian fiction without it being preachy or cheeseball.  I never get that from Francine - and I savor every sentence she crafts in her stories.

Bridge to Haven was a bit reminiscent of one of my all time favorite books (which happens to also be her best-selling novel, Redeeming Love). But that was quite alright by me - it was beautiful, heart breaking, redeeming, sobering and convicting.  Loved it (as if you couldn't tell by now).  My only wish is that she published books more frequently. Grab your copy here!

Description: To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she's paid to finally feel like she's somebody.

To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua--Abra's closest friend--watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. 

Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what's expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, "New York Times" best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.

Rating: *****

Recommend: Absolutely!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Fever by Megan Abbott

The best word that captures the essence of this book in my opinion is "Eerie".

As a matter of fact when you look the word "Eerie" up, its defined as:

1. Inspiring inexplicable fear, dread or uneasiness; strange or frightening.
2. Suggestive of the supernatural; mysterious.

I mean if you've read this - you know those 2 definitions pretty much sums this novel up.  I couldn't figure out if it was going to turn creepy sci-fi on me or dark and twisty like the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley.  Did you see that movie?  It totally creeped me out much like The Fever did.

I thought it was well told and for sure kept me guessing till the very end.  It was so intense but I also was a bit unsettled by the description of the some of the more intimate scenes.

Overall, a wonderful surprising suspense story filled with twists & turns you won't see coming!

Thank you so much NetGalley and Little, Brown & Company for the opportunity to read and review an advance ebook of The Fever by Megan Abbott.  I seriously am so grateful and blessed to have this opportunity and love every single minute (or page rather!) that I get to enjoy!  If you're interested in pre-ordering your copy of The Fever before it releases on June 17, go here.

Description: "The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire,The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman)"

Rating: ****

Recommend: I would say yes - but really only for mature audiences.  If I had a teenager, I think it would be a bit too much.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal

Well I think I've discovered yet another favorite author ALL THANKS TO NETGALLEY!!!!!  Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That and the fact that now I'm obsessed with finding my very own adorable vintage camper trailer.  *sigh*  I mean really.  I now have this ridiculous itch to find a cute trailer to make all our own and travel across the country parking at little lakes and beaches, mountains, rivers and discovering little restaurants and bakeries along the way (with my 3 labs of course!).

This story was SO dang adorable.  It was fun, it was romantic, it was heart-warming, it was emotionally moving - it had everything INCLUDING some mouth-watering recipes (which I'm not usually a fan of in novels), but this totally worked.

If I could change only one teensy-weensy thing - it would be the use of the "F" word.  It was like discovering a sour grape in the midst of a bunch of luscious, juicy, sweet, vine-ripened ones.  Some stories call for it - and it doesn't detract from the mood of the story.  But here - it was just out of place in the midst of such a sweet story about friendship, courage, loss and love.

Regardless of that tiny preference of my own - I am definitely adding other books of Barbara O'Neal's to my ever-expanding list to check out!

Thank you so much to Random House Publishing - Bantam and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review a copy!! If you enjoy Susan Wiggs or Kristin Hannah (much like I do), then you should definitely get your hands on a copy here.

Description: "Popular blogger and foodie queen Lavender Wills reigns over Lavender Honey Farms, a serene slice of organic heaven nestled in Oregon wine country. Lavender is determined to keep her legacy from falling into the profit-driven hands of uncaring relatives, and she wants an heir to sustain her life’s work after she’s gone. So she invites her three closest online friends—fellow food bloggers, women of varied ages and backgrounds—out to her farm. She hopes to choose one of them to inherit it—but who?
There’s Ginny, the freckle-faced Kansas cake baker whose online writing is about to lead her out of a broken marriage and into a world of sensual delights. And Ruby, young, pregnant, devoted to the organic movement, who’s looking for roots—and the perfect recipe to heal a shattered heart. Finally, Val, smart and sophisticated, a wine enthusiast who needs a fresh start for her teenage daughter after tragedy has rocked their lives. Coming together will change the Foodie Four in ways they could never have imagined, uniting them in love and a common purpose. As they realize that life doesn’t always offer a perfect recipe for happiness, they also discover that the moments worth savoring are flavored with some tears, a few surprises, and generous helping of joy."

Rating: ****

Recommend: For sure!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

I thoroughly enjoyed perusing every once of food porn in my advance copy ebook of My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.

I mean really, the cover alone will get anyone salivating almost immediately.  My favorite recipe that was a huge hit in our home was the Parisian Gnocchi.  Um hello intense rich creaminess with fluffy gnocchi goodness.  For reals. And the leftovers were just as good the ensuing days after.

I might have also printed out a couple pages of more recipes that I'm DYING to try soon - like the Caramel Pork Ribs (whhaaaat), the Chicken Pot Parmentier (similar to a pot pie), the Butternut Squash Crumble (is fall here yet?), the Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse (once I'm no longer dieting of course), the Chocolate-Dulce De Leche Tart (I MEAN COME ON!), the Honey Spice Bread (this has my name all over it) and finally the Apricot Kernel Ice Cream (yes I might have finally pulled the trigger on buying a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker just because of this one recipe).

I'd like to give proper credit of the extra dimples in my thighs to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for graciously allowing me an advance glimpse into this amazingness of yummy recipes!

Y'all, what are you waiting for?  Buy.  Here.  Now.

Recommend: Without hesitation.

Rating **** (so why not 5 stars after all the ranting & raving?  I'm not the biggest fan of stories mixed in with all the recipes, it just doesn't do much for me.)