Aug 28, 2014

A New Day Rising

A New Day Rising (Red River of the North, #2)A New Day Rising by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm sold on this series! It reminds me of the old TV mini-series, Centennial, that was so popular in the 1970s. A true saga of a family with all their trials and triumphs.

This is book 2 and it's every bit as good as the first one. Ingeborg Bjorklund is an easy heroine to love. She's no one-dimensional stick figure. Complicated and complex, she's a little bit of most of the women I know and admire. After the heartbreak and spiritual renewal in book 1, I was thrilled to cheer her on as she continued to scratch a living out of the thick North Dakota sod.

I love finding a series like this that is more than a decade old and completely written. No waiting for the next book to be published! Highly recommend... and moving on to book 3.

Aug 21, 2014

An Untamed Land

An Untamed Land (Red River of the North, #1)An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I'm reading the series on the recommendation - and loan - from a friend. But wow... I didn't expect the grittiness within these pages.

The raw emotions, the struggles, the realities of life with no sugar coating to glaze them over. This is powerful reading. It's the type of book where you want to have the next one in the series sitting next to you when you finish the one you're reading. This isn't a simple "happily ever after" type of story. It more real than that.

I highly recommend this book to people who like historical fiction, well researched and true to its time period. Set in North Dakota in the 1880s, Lauraine Snelling paints a picture of hardship, sacrifice, and triumph over the untamed prairie. But it's not without cost.

Ingeborg Bjorklund immigrates from Norway with her husband, his son, his brother and sister-in-law. They make their way to the plains of North Dakota and find a land that will work as hard to break them as they work to tame the land.

Aug 16, 2014

The Lady and the Officer

The Lady and the Officer (Civil War Heroines #2)The Lady and the Officer by Mary Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read several of Mary Ellis's books and this one is my favorite so far. A touching depiction of the Civil War from a woman's point of view, it centers on divided loyalties.

Madeline Howard is a widow, left alone when her Union soldier husband was killed at the beginning of the war. During the battle of Gettysburg, she is rescued by a handsome Union soldier from her burning home. Sparks fly between them that have nothing to do with the fire.

With little more than the clothes on her back, Madeline makes her way to her closest relatives. . .in the Confederate capitol of Richmond.

Very enjoyable story with strong, likable characters. I highly recommend this one!

Aug 7, 2014

One Nation

One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's FutureOne Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future by Ben Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book. I decided to read it based on interviews I'd read and heard from Dr. Carson. Every time the man opens his mouth, common sense falls out. I wanted to know more.

The book is a collection of Dr. Carson's thoughts on today's hot-button issues. He pulls no punches and takes no prisoners, discussing everything from political correctness to Washington in-fighting and everything in between. He offers practical - common sense - ways to look at the issues and suggests strategies - common sense - to deal with them.

This isn't a bash-and-dash-to-the-polls type of book. It's a thoughtful look at what it's going to take to move past the morass that is our current political system. Dr. Carson offers hope. It's a refreshing read for that alone.

I'm tickled pink and every other color I can think of to know that Dr. Carson is considering a run for the White House. We need common sense in Washington again. It's been a long, long time.

Jul 31, 2014

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake MethodHow to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Randy Ingermanson presents his Snowflake Method of plotting a story by... telling a story. Filled with characters you'll recognize from childhood, Randy's story follows a wannabe writer's journey to completing her manuscript. As the heroine attends a writer's conference, we learn along with her as she slugs through a couple of classes before landing in the Snowflake Method class. Put on the hot seat, she learns - and we learn through her - how to craft a novel by taking it 10 steps at a time.

Entertaining and helpful. I can't say I learned anything new, but I am intrigued to try some of the ways Randy applies the principles he lays out in the story. Worth the cost of the e-book for sure.

Jul 27, 2014

Rekindled

Rekindled (Fountain Creek Chronicles, #1)Rekindled by Tamera Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up on a free e-book offer because, you know, it was free. And it looked interesting enough. I hadn't read any of Tamera Alexander's books before, although I have seen them on the shelves of our church library. But - stop me if you've heard this before - now I'm sucked into buying the next two in this series, because it was that good.

But here's my tip: skip the prologue. In my opinion, it gives too much of the story away. I rarely read prologues, but I did this one and kicked myself about 1/4 of the way into the story.

Larson Jennings disappears on Christmas Day. He leaves his wife a note saying he'll return by week's end. But months go by, and he doesn't come back.

Kathryn learns that their ranch is in a dire financial situation. Determined to keep the land her husband loves and convinced he'll be back, she's determined to find a way to save the ranch.

This story has incredible secondary characters. As much as I liked the hero and heroine, I loved these secondary characters. Some are saintly, and others are anything but. I don't want to give anything away, so I won't say anything more.

I highly recommend this book.

Jul 21, 2014

The Lightkeeper's Bride

The Lightkeeper's Bride (Mercy Falls, #2)The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Lightkeeper's Bride is the second in Colleen Coble's Mercy Falls series. It's not a bad read, but it didn't live up to the first book in the series, The Lightkeeper's Daughter.

Katie Russell is content to marry wealthy Bart Foster and become "someone" in the town of Mercy Falls until the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson, comes to town. Together she and Will embark on an adventure involving a murder, an orphan child, stolen treasure, and pirates.

Below there be spoilers:

There were inconsistencies in this story that bothered me. Katie was supposedly all about keeping her job as telephone operator in the beginning of the story and that whole idea fizzles without any closure. There is an assumed murder, but the body is never found and the murder is never identified. Katie is supposed to move to the lighthouse to help care for the toddler, but leaves that up to the chaperone while she runs around after Will, trying to find the pirates. There are several scary moments with the bad guys threatening Katie if she talks - but she's never hurt while the same bad guys killed another woman.

I'll probably read the third book in the series, The Lightkeeper's Ball and hope it's as good as the first book.