Friday, 24 March 2017

Review - Grace by Max Lucado

My Copy of the Book

Year Published: 2012
Genre: Christian; Non-Fiction

Blurb:
Grace.
We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and premeal prayers. We talk as though we know what grace means.
But bestselling author Max Lucado says we’ve settled for a wimpy grace, a goldfish grace that sits in a bowl on the shelf and never causes trouble or demands a response.
Now available as a trade paperback, Lucado's bestselling book reminds readers that there’s more to grace than we’ve ever imagined. In this cornerstone message of Lucado's ministry, he challenges readers to not only receive grace but also to be changed by grace. Shaped by grace. Strengthened by grace. Emboldened by grace. Softened by grace. Snatched by the nape of their neck and shaken to their senses by grace.

About the Author:
In just under two decades of writing, Max Lucado has accomplished more than most writers hope for in a lifetime. Most of his books have appeared on one or more best seller lists, including those published by the "New York Times," "USA Today," "Publishers Weekly," and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). Aside from hardcover books, Lucado's writings have also been published as children's books, videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs, music CDs, mass paperback booklets, apparel, giftware, bookmarks, calendars, study Bibles, workbooks, curricula, and plush products. In spring 2003, Hallmark/Dayspring Cards launched a new gift card line featuring excerpts from Lucado's writings--and has already sold more than one million cards. 
All this success has drawn more than a little attention to a previously low-profile Texas author and minister. Lucado has been featured in a wide range of media, including "USA Today," "Larry King Live," and "NBC Nightly News." He has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast before the President of the United States. He has traveled with internationally renowned musicians as a special speaker on their music tours, such as the highly successful "Come Together & Worship Tour" (sponsored by Chevrolet) with Grammy Award-winning artists Michael W. Smith and Third Day. 
From all accounts, Max Lucado is not a man consumed by sales, awards, and achievements. He often turns down media interviews since they impede on family and ministry commitments. He spends the bulk of his week serving as senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. And he is truly surprised by his own success--more impressed by his one-in-a-million wife and three amazing daughters than by his successful writing career.

Connect with the Author:
Author Website: Max Lucado Author Website

My Take on the Book:
As this book is read; it gives a person hope. You might even feel some peace after reading the book. The imagery and examples used in this book is quite relatable. This was a leisurely read for me, and I ended up giving it a four star rating.  

Last Word:
Out of the books that I've read of Max Lucado; 'Fearless' and this one; I would have to say that I like this one better out of the two.

Enjoy,
Carmen.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

My Week of Reading (13 - 18 March 2017)

Hello Everyone,

I've had a nice week of reading - and blogging.
Just to recap: I've done three reviews this week (can you believe it?!), and I've also done a post on my blog post for the one year that this book blog has been going (which you can find here).

Anyways, let's get on to the book reviews that I've done:

Defining Her by Samantha March:
Here is my blog review of the book: Blog Review - Defining Her

The Night We Fell by Lindy Dale:
Here is my blog review of the book: Blog Review - The Night We Fell 

And last but not least:

Double Identity by Jaye C. Blakemore:
Goodreads: Goodreads Review - Double Identity
Here is my blog review of the book: Blog Review - Double Identity

I'm hoping that my good streak of reading will carry on; but we all know how life goes. At the moment, I'm three books ahead of schedule on the Goodreads Reading Challenge, and it's nice to be ahead for a change.

Monthly Reading Goals:
I haven't made any more progress on this front; though I have managed to get going with another Christian book, which I will mention below. I'm still hoping to get to the psychological thriller this month, though I can't guarantee anything at this stage.

Last Word:
At the moment, I'm busy reading 'Grace' by Max Lucado (which is the christian book that I'm currently reading), and will be starting 'Deep Water' by Deborah Coonts. I also want to try and see if I can start a third book; I'm thinking 'Destined to Fail' by Samantha March, and if I can also try and get 'The Widow' by Fiona Barton read before the end of March; it would be great.

Hope you had a great week of reading,
Chat Soon,
Carmen.

Review - Double Identity by Jaye C. Blakemore

My Copy of the Book

Year Published: 2015
Genre: Suspense; Drama; Women's Fiction

Blurb:
Identical Twins and Secret Lives...with Deceit, Murder, and Revenge! A passionate star-crossed romance between charismatic French vintner Cecile Cardin and elusive billionaire art collector Paul Allenwerth leads to the birth of beautiful twins Gillian and Julianne, who are separated at the age of three during a mysterious divorce, and raised in completely different environments: Julianne absorbs the artsy bohemian life of a small French winery, and Gillian lives in lonely luxury in New York City. Cecile and Paul take their shocking secrets to their graves…but they also leave their daughters with great wealth, an empire to run, and a strongbox that reveals a legacy they could never have imagined. As Julianne and Gillian learn of their parents’ past, and a family history steeped in unimaginable courage and tragedy, they must come to terms with the gifts and challenges that their parents have bequeathed to them, while making their way as independent women in the changing world of the 1970s. Only one twin will have the perfect life…but both will skyrocket through incredible journeys. Double Identity is a richly characterized, inventive thrill ride with plenty of suspense and romance!

About the Author:
Having grown up in a small California town, Jaye C. Blakemore’s imagination was always alive and creative. Though she never wrote fiction growing up, she’s always been interested in people and the past. Traveling across the United States, she’s been to every state capital, visited many Civil War battlefields, Arlington National Cemetery where JFK’s grave struck a deep chord within her heart, her love of museums, including The Getty, a favorite because one of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral, a very special painting to Jaye C., which resides within. DOUBLE IDENTITY almost came as an accident, as Jaye C. began to write at night in hotel rooms as she traveled the country. Before she knew it, a book had been written. While more novels on the way, Jaye C. is continuing this new passion and vocation with the same fervor and excitement that art and history fills in her life. In her spare time, Jaye C. enjoys the theatre, salmon fishing, star gazing, and even a little adventure like glacier climbing in Alaska. A people person, Jaye C. has never met a stranger and hopes to connect with her lovely readers in the near future.

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: Jaye C. Blakemore Twitter
Facebook: Jaye C Blakemore

My Take on the Book:
I absolutely loved this book! We follow the lives of two sisters, Gillian Allenwerth-Hamilton and Julianne Allenwerth. Out of the two, Gillian appears to be very composed, though, as composed as she was, she also had a lot of business knowledge; a person would initially think that she wouldn't get involved with things like that. Julianne seems to have a more relaxed deposition. I gave this awesome book a five star rating and got a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Last Word:
It's the first time I've read a novel by this author - and have enjoyed every bit of it. Out of all the review platforms I'm writing on, I don't think I've had this much to say about a book for a long time. 

Enjoy,
Carmen. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Review - The Night We Fell by Lindy Dale

My Copy of the Book

Year Published: 2017
Genre: Contemporary; Romance with a small dose of erotica

Blurb:
Mack Hamilton has spent a decade building Woolton Farm Estate into a thriving business with his brother, Miles. He's not used to failure. In fact, the only time he's ever failed was in marriage and understandably, he's not keen to go there again. Not if it means his daughter, Harriet will suffer. 
Teacher, Layla Williams is the new girl in a town that's very set in it's ways. A city girl in need of a change, Layla's keen to become part of the small community, to build friendships and maybe make a home. Because a family who love each other, is the one thing she's always dreamed of.
From the moment they meet, it's love at first sight for Mack and Layla. She's besotted to the point she'll deceive her housemates and risk her job.Mack wants Layla so much he's willing to consider the very thing he promised himself he'd never do again. Enter into a long term relationship.
Everything should work out fine... as long as they keep it on the down low. But this is Matilda Plains. Nothing is EVER on the quiet for more than two minutes.
The Night We Fell is the first book in the steamy new small town romance series from award-winning author LIndy Dale. Meet the Hamilton clan and fall in love with Matilda Plains.

About the Author:
Lindy began writing at University but never really wanted to be 'an author'. She wanted to be a princess or at worst a Kindergarten teacher. Her first novel, Heart of Glass, was penned in 2006 and since then she has become known for writing funny, forthright romantic fiction with a cast of crazy, comic characters in outrageous situations - many of which have actually occurred in her life. Lindy is also well-known for her romantic novellas which have repeatedly topped the short stories charts in the US and UK. She gains most of her inspiration from her dreams, listening to music and watching ridiculous amounts of reality TV.

Connect with the Author:
Author Website: Lindy Dale Author Website

My Take on the Book:
I was hoping for a little bit more character development for Layla Williams; the character development that Mack Hamilton had was a bit fuller and fleshed out. One line I loved was when Mack and Layla were messaging at the show; where Layla replied that 'Quoting Eric Clapton won't help you'. I ended up giving this book a three star rating and got an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Last Word:
Out of the books that I've read of Lindy Dale's, my favourite is probably 'Always and Eternal'; with this book and the Seven Days Series coming tie in second place. 

Enjoy,
Carmen. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Review - Defining Her by Samantha March

Book Cover

Year Published: 2017
Genre: Chick Lit; Contemporary; Women's Fiction

Blurb:
Nellie Hawthorne is a woman who has it all. A devoted husband, her own business, a wealthy lifestyle. But the Nellie she is now is much different from her past. A past filled with abuse, addiction, and men. Nellie’s carefully constructed new life is suddenly in jeopardy when a blast from the past emerges in her small town and her overbearing mother-in-law starts pushing for grandchildren and questions start being asked. A budding new friendship presents itself at an opportune time, and a once friendless Nellie finds herself growing closer to Prue Doherty.
Prue Doherty is the quintessential good girl. Always making the right decisions, always playing it safe. Until she meets a man that could change all of that. Still reeling from a devastating breakup and betrayal that had her fleeing from Chicago and settling into suburb life with her mom close by, Prue finds herself in a damaging funk. But everything changes when she befriends Nellie Hawthorne.
Nellie is trying to escape her past. Prue wants that perfect future. While both women strive to change their lives, they continue to cling to the past. But what defines us? Who we were then . . . or who we are trying to be now? Lies, manipulation, and deceit are woven throughout the pages of this edgy women’s fiction novel, with an ending you won’t see coming.

About the Author:
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up To I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Connect with the Author:
Author Website/Blog: Samantha March Author Website/Blog

My Take on the Book:
There were times when it was difficult to read some scenes in this book. I ended up really enjoying this book that also made me think as well. I got an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review, and gave this book a 5 star rating.
Last Word:
What I love about Samantha's novels is that she gives a person something to think about, and this one was quite a thinking one for me; and was most certainly worth the read.

Enjoy,
Carmen.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

One Year!

Hello Everyone,

I can't believe that it's a year since I've started this book blog! Time has flown by; and this blog has come a long way since I started my first post. 

I've had the privilege of being able to read books that I wouldn't normally either because of availability and/or the cost of buying the book. I've also had the privilege of being able to connect and work with new authors as well that I wouldn't have normally been able to had I not started a book blog.

The only thing I do wish, is that I had more time to connect with people on social media; namely Twitter, but since I have a full time job, that isn't always possible. Though feel free to chat with me anytime over Twitter, link to my Twitter is here

I also appreciate everyone that I manage to interact with over Twitter as well, and those that I interact with on my book blog. I still have some book blogging plans in the works, that I'm hoping to do this year still.

I'd also like to continue making new connections, with authors as well as other bloggers. Being part of a support network is important, and I try to do that as much as I possibly can.

One thing I'd also like to do is read more. If I could spend my days blogging and reading; I would be so happy. Maybe that will still happen...one day.

I try to be as open as possible when considering whether I should read a book or not. I've had quite a few indie and self-published authors approach me to read their books; and it has been a wonderful experience to share those books on my blog and try to give these authors a platform and possibly new fans for their books. Sometimes I have to put my own books that I've purchased aside to review a book; and this is where 'time' would come in very nicely, so that I'm able to read other books as well.

Though recently I have been able to do that with the 'Monthly Reading Goals' that I've been setting for myself. When I've got a quietish reading month, I try to get other reading books in as well.

Thank you so much for the support over the past year, I hope that this next year will be full of awesome reading and expanding my bookish world.

Chat Soon,
Carmen.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

My Week of Reading (6 - 11 March 2017)

Hello Everyone,

I had quite a decent week of reading. I managed to get one review out.

Me Too by Jon Weece:
Here is my blog review of the book: Blog Review - Me Too

At the moment I'm busy reading 'Double Identity' by Jaye C. Blakemore, and 'The Night We Fell' by Lindy Dale. So far I've been having a good reading month in terms of reading material. 

Monthly Reading Goals:
The book that I put into the Christian category was 'Me Too' by Jon Weece. I'm hoping to be able to still get to the Psychological Thriller this month. I've been wanting to put a third book into my current reading pile, so I'm still deciding if I should add the Psychological Thriller to it.

Last Word:
I'm going to be doing another review next week; on the 15th, which as previously mentioned, will by 'Defining Her' by Samantha March. I also managed to read a book for 'All The Short Ones Read-a-thon', which was Jon Weece's 'Me Too'. If I had to do another book for this read-a-thon, I'd also do '#Girlboss' by Sophia Amoruso. But if there's another [planned] book that I could add to that read-a-thon, it would be 'Destined To Fail' by Samantha March. So at the moment, you can see that I'm quite indecisive about which book I'd like to read next. If you'd like to, you can comment below as to which book you think I should read from the ones I've mentioned above.

Hope you had a great week of reading,
Chat Soon,
Carmen.