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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Bethany House / 2009
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book:

Lillian Haswell, brilliant daughter of the local apothecary, yearns for more adventure and experience than life in her father's shop and their small village provides. She also longs to know the truth behind her mother's disappearance, which villagers whisper about but her father refuses to discuss. Opportunity comes when a distant aunt offers to educate her as a lady in London. Exposed to fashionable society and romance--as well as clues about her mother--Lilly is torn when she is summoned back to her ailing father's bedside. Women are forbidden to work as apothecaries, so to save the family legacy, Lilly will have to make it appear as if her father is still making all the diagnoses and decisions. But the suspicious eyes of a scholarly physician and a competing apothecary are upon her. As they vie for village prominence, three men also vie for Lilly's heart.

My rating:

My thoughts:

Having read one of Julie Klassen's newer books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, last year (loved it!) and hearing great things about The Apothecary's Daughter, I had high expectations going in. While I did really enjoy some parts of this book, I was disappointed in the last portion.

I can't really put my finger on the exact reason either. While Lilly didn't end up with the guy I had hoped in the beginning, I was actually happy with who she did end up with, so that wasn't it. I'd say my main disappointment was how rushed the ending seemed. I was left wondering about quite a few things and I just wish things would have been explained a little more. Also, I wish it wouldn't have taken so long for Lilly to decide on a beau. The wondering of who it was going to be got a little tiring to me.

Don't get me wrong, The Apothecary's Daughter was still a good book and I know lots of people loved it. I have really mixed feelings and struggled with what to rate it. I wasn't sure whether to give it 2, 3, or 4 stars, because I really enjoyed parts, but other things were just okay. In the end, I decided to go with 3 since I did overall like it.

Lilly was a nice main character, although she did annoy me slightly when she seemed to look down on certain people (though she redeemed herself in the end). I really liked Charlie and Mary. I was surprised by many things that happened in The Apothecary's Daughter - it had some definite twists.

All in all, a nice one-time read. I'm glad I read it. As I said earlier, I know lots of people loved The Apothecary's Daughter, so I may have had too high of expectations. I know Julie Klassen writes great historicals, so I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

*I did not get this book for review. I read a Kindle copy I had. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason

Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason
Women of Justice Series: Book Two
Revell / 2010
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book:

One man lives to see her dead--the other is fighting to keep her alive.

Twelve years ago, forensic anthropologist Jamie Cash survived a brutal kidnapping. After years of therapy, she has made a life for herself--though one that is haunted by memories of her terrifying past. She finally lets herself believe that she can have a close relationship with a man, when signs start appearing that point to one frightening fact--her attacker is back and ready to finish the job he started all those years ago.

Can she escape his grasp a second time? And will she ever be able to let down her guard enough to find true love?

Filled with heart-stopping suspense, gritty realism, and a touch of romance, Don't Look Back pulls you into its twists and turns to hold you there until the very last page.

My rating:

My thoughts:

Don't Look Back was fantastic! I enjoyed it even more than book one, Too Close To Home, which I loved! The suspense was great and I found a lot of scenes very intense... I also got creeped out a little by things the killer did/said.

I loved getting to know Dakota and Jamie more. After having been introduced to them in Too Close To Home, I could hardly wait to read their story as Dakota was one of my favorite characters.

While I did guess who the killer was, I was still surprised by quite a few things in Don't Look Back and the ending was very thrilling! There were some really sad scenes, but also some very happy ones. I loved how Jamie and Dakota interacted with each other. ;)

All in all, a great read and I am really looking forward to reading A Killer Among Us as soon as I can. This book's epilogue definitely grabbed my attention and now I want to know what is going to happen next.

*I borrowed this book from the library. I was not required to write a review, but chose to. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Interview & Giveaway! Anne Patrick ~ Author of Betrayal!!

Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Anne!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?

Born and raised in Oklahoma (yep, I'm a okie), I now make my home in Kansas where I share a home with my faithful and loveable German Shepherd, Zoe, and two ornery cats, Sailor and Keisha.  My days are spent working part-time as a secretary in my church, my nights dwelling in the make believe worlds of my imagination.

What is your new book, Betrayal, about?

Army veteran Drew Presley has returned home from the war still mourning the loss of his wife who was murdered a year ago in what the local sheriff has determined a mugging.  Drew isn't convinced though.  The more he digs into her murder, though, the dangerous it becomes.  Just as troubling is his attraction to his son's teacher, Trudy.  With her help, Drew is able to conquer some of the demons from his past but they face many obstacles that could keep them apart.

What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?

I love to travel.  Every couple of years I join some friends on short-term mission trips.  We've been to Central America several times, Jamaica, and in January we'll be going to Haiti.  I've seen some amazing things in the mission field and highly recommend it if you're ever given the opportunity to serve.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I can't remember a time I wasn't making up stories in my head.  As a kid I had a hunch I was either going to be a writer or an actor because I was always planning crazy adventures for me and my friends.  After some encouraging from my mother, when I was a teenager, I began to write the adventures down.  I didn’t get into as much trouble that way J.

How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite?

I have fifteen published and three others under contract.  I'd have to say my favorite is Fire and Ash.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Believe it or not, I do my best writing in my rocking chair.  Bet you don't know too many writers who rock and write at the same time.

Where do you like to write?

If I'm not at home in my rocking chair, I enjoy writing at the lake.

What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?

The best part is hearing from a reader who enjoyed one of my stories.  The worst is waking up in the middle of the night with an idea or scene that must be written. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Spend time with family and friends.  I also like to hike and go camping.

What is your favorite genre to read and why?

Romantic suspense.  I've loved solving mysteries since I was a kid, and who doesn't like a good romance thrown in.

Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?

London, England.  I'd love to see Buckingham Palace and watch the changing of the guards.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me". Philippians 4:13.

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?

"Viva la Vida" by Coldplay and "Sleepless in Seattle".

What is your favorite holiday?

A few this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms? Thunderstorms
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Tea or Coffee?  Tea
Call or Text?  Call
Early-bird or Night-owl?  Night-owl
Facebook or Twitter?  Facebook

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?

I'm currently working on Secrets, book #4 in my Wounded Heroes Series.  After being wounded in a firefight in Afghanistan, Caleb 'Digger' Malone retired from the army and has accepted a job at his brother's private investigation firm. Caleb's first assignment may be as dangerous as the front lines though.

Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?  

I'd like to thank my readers for your continued support.  I appreciate each and every one of you!  You can find me on the web at: http://www.annepatrickbooks.com, http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/anne.patrick.98, and https://mobile.twitter.com/suspensebyanne


Enter to win an eBook copy of Kill Shot, Trespasses, and Betrayal! Winner can choose between Kindle or PDF format. Open Internationally! Ends 3/12

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review: When The Heart Heals by Ann Shorey

When The Heart Heals by Ann Shorey
Sisters At Heart: Book Two
Revell / 2013
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book:

In a country healing from war, can a young woman find healing for her heart?

Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and even downright vulgar. Although she would like to put that part of her life behind her, she needs to support herself. She takes a nursing position with Dr. Elijah Stewart, but whenever they are together they always seem to do or say the wrong things. When someone threatens Rosemary, will she find the courage to stand, or will she leave town--and Elijah--forever?

With tenderness and grace, Ann Shorey invites you back to the town of Noble Springs, Missouri, for an engrossing story of love's tentative first steps and fragile future in the face of opposition.

My rating:
My thoughts:

When the Heart Heals is book two in the Sisters at Heart series and the second book I've read by Ann Shorey. Like Where Wildflowers Bloom, it was a really good read, but I have to say, I enjoyed book one a little more.

I liked Elijah's character a lot - he is my favorite character from When the Heart Heals. Rosemary was also very endearing and I found myself caring about what happened in her life - especially regarding the threats she received.

I loved how the main characters from Where Wildflowers Bloom also played major roles in When the Heart Heals - it was great getting updates on their lives. =)

One of the only complaints I had was the ending. It seemed a little rushed - like things wrapped up suddenly. This may only be me, but I wish things wouldn't have ended quite so soon.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading any future books in this series. I recommend it if you enjoy historical romance novels. You'll probably want to read book one first (so you'll know completely what had happened earlier in Rosemary's life and why she felt a certain way towards one of the characters) even though it's not completely necessary for you to enjoy this one. Good read!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up & Blogoversary Winners!!

Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and hope to read this coming week, and (when applicable) the current giveaways/giveaway winners. Occasionally I'll post some other stuff as well.

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've accomplished (reading-wise) this past week. :)

 What I've read this week:

Loved Don't Look Back! Mixed feelings about The Apothecary's Daughter... will post review later.

What I'm currently reading:

About a third of the way done with When the Heart Heals, 53% done with Code Blue, and almost halfway done with Temptation.

  What I hope to read next week:

Excited to read all of these! Hope to start at least three of them this week. :)

Reviews posted this week:

Current Giveaways!

EBOOK Giveaway!!


Blogoversary Winners!!

Set one:

The winner is...

Mia (meme_braddock@...)!*

Set two:

The winner is...

Robin (coramdeo540@...)!+

The winners of a copy of Shattered by Dani Pettrey along with a keepsake bookmark are...

Merry (worthworthy2bpraised@...)!*
Amy (campbellamyd@...)!*

The winner of a copy of Swept Away by Mary Connealy is...

Bonnie (bonnieroof60@...)!*

The winner of a copy of To Die For and The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd plus a bar of Anne Boleyn Essence of Oakmoss soap is...

Lu Ann (worley.la@...)!*

The winner of their choice of one of Laura Frantz's books is...

Jasmine (montanamade@...)!*

The winner of a copy of Placebo by Steven James is...

Elizabeth (elizabeth@...)!*

The winner of a copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn is...

Lu Ann (worley.la@...)!*

The winner of their choice of one of the River of Time books by Lisa T. Bergren is...

Nicole (elocin9-10@...)!+

*Winner has claimed their prize
+Winner has been contacted and has until 2/25 to claim their prize, otherwise another winner will be chosen.

Congrats to all the winners! Thanks to everyone that stopped by my blogoversary celebration - I hope you enjoyed the party, even if you didn't win a prize. :)
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