Thursday, July 30, 2015

An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd - Book Blog Tour Stop


An Unwilling Accomplice cover

About An Unwilling Accomplice

• Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch.
 
Bess Crawford has been summoned by the War Office to accompany a wounded soldier from Shropshire to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated for gallantry by King George himself.
 
Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, Sergeant Jason Wilkins will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty. How could such a severely wounded man vanish without a trace?
 
Both the Army and the Nursing Service hold Bess to blame for losing the war hero. The Army now considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions Bess when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man in cold blood. If Bess is to clear her name and return to duty in France, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared again and neither the Army nor the police can find him.
Following a trail of clues across England, Bess is drawn into a mystery that seems to grow darker with every discovery. But will uncovering the truth put more innocent people in jeopardy?
 
 
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My Thoughts:

First of all, I adore the Bess Crawford series from author Charles Todd - I love that Bess is a nurse (kind of like a grown-up version of the Cherry Ames books that I loved as a young girl) and I love the setting of the World War I action in England and France.

However ...

I was a bit disappointed in "An Unwilling Accomplice."  The sixth book in the series finds Bess in the midst of a horrible situation that has her suspected of murder, and it's up to her and Simon, the Sergeant-Major who appears in her life just when she needs him, to clear her name and solve the mystery as well. So the two friends (admirers of each other?) jump in their car and drive and drive and drive - back and forth, here and there, following clues and leads, most of which are frustrating dead-ends.

I would have liked to see a little more character development of the secondary characters, and I would love to see more movement in the Bess/Simon relationship arena.  That being said, I still adore Bess Crawford and will remain a faithful reader looking forward to the next book in the series which is coming up soon.

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.

Visit their website at Charlestodd.com and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook.



My thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour and to William Morrow for providing the review copy.  I was not compensated for my opinion.



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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When The Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi - Book Review




About The Book:

Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power. Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family. Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.



My Thoughts:

When the world as she knows it falls apart, young Afghani mother Fereiba finds herself widowed, her children fatherless and the very real possibility of her entire family being in danger from the Taliban. She knows that she has to do whatever she can to keep her family safe, and sets out to leave their Afghanistan home and travel to England where her sister is.  It is a difficult journey and the small family meet tragedy and heartache all along the way.

I found "When The Moon Is Low" to be a fascinating but heart-wrenching story. Author Nadia Hashimi's storytelling is exquisite as she weaves the story using the voices of Fereiba and her son, Saleem. It was interesting to see the journey Fereiba's family takes through the eyes of the mother and of the son. This is a powerfully emotional story and I found myself tearing up at the most difficult situations, and cheering Fereiba's bravery as she always pushes forward for her family.

This novel is a brilliant look into the other side of Afghanistan and the people of the country who have suffered so much for so long.  I highly recommend this book to those interested in learning more about our world.


About The Author:



Nadia Hashimi is a pediatrician of Afghan descent. Both her parents left Afghanistan in the early 1970s and settled in the United States to chase the American dream. Her debut novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell (Harper Collins, 2014) is an international bestseller and was a 2014 Goodreads finalist in the categories of Debut Author and Fiction.

 Her second novel, When The Moon Is Low, is a story of terror, survival, perseverance and hope that chronicles one Afghan woman's odyssey to save her family and find asylum in the West.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or via her website (www.nadiahashimi.com) to learn more or request a virtual book club visit.


My thanks to William Morrow for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.


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Monday, July 27, 2015

Home Is Where My People Are and A Little Salty To Cut The Sweet by Sophie Hudson


I recently ran across Southern author Sophie Hudson's books, "Home Is Where My People Are" and "A Little Salty To Cut The Sweet," and I am so glad that I did.  These are two of the funniest family friendly and inspirational books I've run across in quite a while.

Sophie, who is the genius behind the BooMama blog (www.boomama.net), writes about family love, faithful relationships and she mixed in a huge helping of Southern fun and the result are books that are just a hoot to read.  And best of all, Sophie includes a measure of inspirational stories and advice that just give the books the cherry to the top that they need.  I highly recommend both books for fans of Southern humor and memoirs!  You will be so glad you grabbed these books!

Here is a little more about each book:



About The Book:

(From the back cover): LISTEN. It’s easy to go through life believing we can satisfy our longing for home with a three-bedroom, two-bath slice of the American dream that we mortgage at 4 percent and pay for over the course of thirty years.

Well, you know what? I think what we’re really looking for is to belong and to be known. And rest as-sured, wherever we are on the long and winding road of life, God is at work in the jour-ney―teaching us, shaping us, and refining us―sometimes through the most unlikely people and circumstances. Because at the end of the day, it’s not the numbers on the front door or even the name on the mailbox that says home, but the peo-ple who live and laugh and love there, wherever “there” might happen to be.

This book is about my journey and all the amazing people and places I found along the way. I hope you’ll enjoy the trip as much as I did.


My Thoughts:

In Sophie Hudson's most recent book, she details her journey through life looking for and longing for home. Not that she didn't have a fabulous family home growing up, but as she became an adult she found herself longing to have a place to call her very own, and in her humorous way, she takes her readers along her journey with charming tales of family, friends, love, and faith.

I really enjoyed this second book from Sophie, as much as I did her first book - "A Little Salty To Cut The Sweet."  This book was a bit more serious in parts and I so appreciated Sophie's honest and open manner of presenting her story. 

I would dare say that Sophie could very well give Fannie Flagg a run for her money as the premier Southern funny lady! 




About The Book:

(From the back cover):  Here’s the Thing: Family is worth celebrating.And since I’m Southern, I would almost always advise that the celebrating should involve a table where both the fried chicken and the laughter are abundant.

But as wonderful as family life can be, it can also be complicated. Family can get under your skin like nobody’s business.

No matter what, though, I love my people to pieces. I imagine you feel the same way about your family. And while food may be what brings us to the table when we get together, it’s the people who provide the real nourishment. As we join hands and bow heads and break bread, God faithfully teaches us deep, lasting lessons about loyalty. About love. About Him.

This book is a collection of some of my favorite family stories. I’m just as tickled as I can be to share them with you.

And I hope you’ll feel right at home.


My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness!  Sophie Hudson needs to put warning sticker on her books stating "Warning - you just might have an accident from laughing too much!"  I just absolutely adored every single word of this fun-filled and family-filled book. 

Sophie tells tales on her beloved family and friends in such a manner that you "bless their hearts" and shake your head at the same time!  Being blessed with a Southern family of my own, I could relate to most of the hilarious stories collected here.  But what I most appreciated about this book was Sophie's very real love of her God and the faith she shares so readily.  I want to be this gal's best friend - or at least in her circle - for the food alone!  (Sophie and her mother graciously share several of their family recipes at the end of the book - as sweet Southern women would!)

I highly recommend this book as well as Sophie's second book, "Home Is Where My People Are,"




About The Author:



Sophie Hudson began her blog, www.BooMama.net, in 2005, which means she’s now been blogging for three times as long as the mid-90s stirrup pants craze. She is also a contributor to the Pioneer Woman’s blog, serves as co-emcee of LifeWay’s dotMOM event, and the author of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet and Home Is Where My People Are.

She enjoys laughing until she cries, cheering like crazy during college football games, and hanging out with her people (preferably while wearing pajama pants). She lives with her husband and son in Birmingham, Alabama.

Connect elsewhere: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram



I purchased these books for my personal collection. I was not compensated for my opinion.


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading?





It's Monday again, and time again to take a look at what is on my To-Be-Read pile. 

I'm excited about this week's selections.  Four are written by ladies from other countries and I think they will be fascinating.  Plus I have two book blog tour stops featuring lovely books as well.

So here we go ...

What I'm Reading Now:



What I Plan To Read:





The Inspirational Book I'm Reading:



Special Events:

Wednesday - Book Blog Tour Stop - An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd



Saturday - Book Blog Tour stop - Among The Fair Magnolias



Hope you have something wonderful to read this week as well!  And as always,


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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Friends of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury - Book Review




About The Book:

America’s favorite inspirational novelist and #1 New York Times bestselling author offers a richly told tale about six of Jesus’ closest friends and companions, bringing biblical truths to life in this captivating continuation of her Life-Changing Bible Study series.

In our everyday lives, friends are the people whom we spend the most time with, go through struggles with at times, and who know us best. Each of Jesus’ friends—Peter, John, Matthew, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus—traveled with Jesus and were part of His daily ministry, and each has a compelling story to tell. There were some who would question or doubt Him…and one would even betray Him. Kingsbury brings these fascinating personalities to life in ways that will not only help bring you closer to the truths found in Scripture, but also to Christ.

By combining valuable, instructive Bible study with compelling, insightful character sketches of Jesus’ companions, Kingsbury provides you with a deeper understanding of the scriptural teachings featuring these fascinating people. Emotionally powerful, thought-provoking, and soulful, The Friends of Jesus will help you to appreciate the Bible and understand how it applies to your relationships with the most important people in your life.



My Thoughts:

Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite Christian authors and I'm so pleased to be able to recommend her latest book series, the "Life Changing Bible Study Series," and the 2nd book in that series is "The Friends of Jesus."  Karen gives an indepth look at six of Jesus' most important and influential friends and how their lives might have been and how their relationship with the Son of God might have been like.

Karen presents these fictional but inspirational accounts in everyday language that is easily readable, allowing the reader to delve deeper into the people who surrounded Jesus. Karen also includes a bible study guide on her website - www.karenkingsbury.com - that follows along with the book.

I really enjoyed this book, as well as the first book in the series - "The Family of Jesus."  Both books would be perfect for small group bible studies as well as individual study.  I highly recommend them both!









About The Author:



#1 New York Times bestselling novelist Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller charts and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Don and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their actress daughter Kelsey lives nearby and is married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky.



I purchased this book for my personal collection. I was not compensated for my opinion.


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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Ladies of Fox News - Gretchen Carlson, Dana Perino and Kimberly Guilfoyle - Book Reviews


Whether you're a fan of Fox News or not, you have to admire the ladies who bring us the news on that network. These ladies are smart and they bring a wide variety of experience to their jobs.

Three of the leading ladies of the news have memoirs currently out and they are each fascinating.  Here is a little more about each -



About The Book:

Celebrity news anchorwoman Gretchen Carlson shares her inspiring story and offers important takeaways for women (and men) about what it means to strive for and find success in the real world. With warmth and wit, she takes readers from her Minnesota childhood, where she became a violin prodigy, through college at Stanford and her in-the-trenches years as a cub reporter on local television stations before becoming a national news reporter. She describes her rise to anchor of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on FOX News channel as a testament to personal strength and perseverance.

Carlson addresses the intense competitive effort of winning the Miss America Pageant, the challenges she’s faced as a woman in broadcast television, and how she manages to balance work and family as the wife of high-profile sports agent Casey Close and devoted mother to their two children. An unceasing advocate for respect and equality for women, Carlson writes openly about her own struggles with body image, pageant stereotypes, building her career, and having the courage to speak her mind. She encourages women to strive for their goals, never give up, and always believe in themselves.

In Getting Real, Carlson emerges as a living example of a woman not afraid to chase her dreams and embrace life fully.
 
 
My Thoughts:
 
"Getting Real" is an interesting look into Gretchen Carlson's life - from her Minnesota childhood, to her days as Miss America, to her start in the news media. She had a rough time when she first started out as an anchor-woman, but she kept the course and rose in the ranks of the ladies at Fox to become one of their leading ladies of news.  I enjoy her positive outlook on life and her dedication to family. 
 
 
 

About The Book:

From her years as the presidential press secretary to her debates with colleagues on Fox News' The Five, Dana Perino reveals the lessons she's learned that have guided her through life, kept her level-headed, and led to her success, even in the face of adversity.

Thoughtful, inspiring, and often surprising, AND THE GOOD NEWS IS . . . traces Dana Perino's unlikely journey through politics and television. It's a remarkable American story-made up of equal parts determination and clear-eyed optimism. From facing professional challenges and confronting personal fears to stepping up to a podium for a President, Dana has come to expect the unexpected and has an uncanny ability to find the good news in any tough situation.  AND THE GOOD NEWS IS . . . takes us from her Western childhood in Wyoming and Colorado to a chance meeting on an airplane that changes her life entirely. Then, with refreshing honesty and humor, she recounts her frustration with a string of unsatisfying jobs and living circumstances until a key career tip leads her back to Washington, D.C. to work for the Bush Administration.
Dana also shares here her best work and life lessons-tips that will help you to get your point across convincingly while allowing your own grace and personality to shine through. As someone who still believes in working together to solve the problems our nation faces, Dana offers clear, practical advice on how to restore civility to our personal and public conversations. The result is a fascinating read that can help anyone become more successful, productive, and joyously content.


My Thoughts:

The elegant and intelligent Dana Perino is always the class act in any aspect of her job at Fox News - who knew she had grown up as a little cowgirl in Wyoming!  I really enjoyed reading of Dana's journey from Wyoming to the White House - she writes with attention to detail while keeping the story light and lively.  She's a great storyteller and a great journalist to boot. 





About The Book:

After an eleven-year-old Kimberly Guilfoyle lost her mother to leukemia, her dad wanted her to become as resilient and self-empowered as she could be. He wisely taught her to build a solid case for the things she wanted. Creating a strong logical argument was the best way to ensure she could always meet her needs. That childhood lesson led her to become the fearless advocate and quick-thinking spitfire she is today. In Making the Case, Guilfoyle interweaves stories and anecdotes from her life and career with practical advice that can help you win arguments, get what you want, help others along the way, and come out ahead in any situation. Learning how to state your case effectively is not just important for lawyers—it's something every person should know how to do, no matter what stage of life they are in. From landing her dream job right out of school, switching careers seamlessly midstream, and managing personal finances for greater growth and stability to divorcing amicably and teaching her young child to advocate for himself, Guilfoyle has been there and done it. Now she shares those stories, showing you how to organize your thoughts and plans, have meaningful discussions with the people around you, and achieve your goals in all aspects of your life. You'll also learn the tips and strategies that make the best advocates so successful, some of which come directly from courtroom scenarios where the stakes are highest. Told in her winning and humorous voice, Guilfoyle's experiences and the wisdom drawn from them are a ready guide to help you reach your potential and live a fulfilling and happy life at work and at home.

My Thoughts:

I've always thought of Kimberly Guilfoyle as the "tough gal" of the Fox News ladies - she is plain-spoken and stands up for what she believes in. As an attorney, she breaks down the most complicated cases in layman's terms that everyone can understand. Plus she keeps Greg Gutfield under control on "The Five!"  With her new book, "Making The Case," I enjoyed reading about her background and appreciated the advice she shares with how to be as successful as you want to be.  She has achieved great success in her life, and it's an amazing journey to read about.


I purchased these books for my personal collection. I was not compensated for my opinions.
 


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