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Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Coming back soon!!


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I'll be returning to book reviewing this fall.  Check back on September 1st for some great book suggestions and a giveaway or two!  :)


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin



Victoria

About The Book:
 Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin—creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter—brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.

Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.

Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”

Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.

On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.




My Thoughts:

I love reading about the British royal family, be it the current reigning family or the families of past rulers, and I have always been especially fond of Queen Victoria. So I was thrilled to discover Daisy Goodwin's last book, "Victoria."

Goodwin takes her readers deep into the life of the young monarch Victoria and all the people who surrounded her and tried to influence her life.  I absolutely loved the feistiness of the diminutive queen who had her own strong-willed ways and definitely a mind of her own. 

This book, which goes along with the PBS production of "Victoria" (due to air January 15th), follows Victoria's life up until she meet the man of her dreams, Prince Albert, the man who would become her husband and the father of her vast amount of children.  I can't wait to see how these stories play out onscreen.

If you are interested in real-life tales of this remarkable woman, "Victoria" is the book for you.  I hope that Goodwin has plans to continue the look into the life of the Queen that an entire way of life is named for, I know I'll be waiting ...




About The Author:



DAISY GOODWIN is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter. She is a Harkness Scholar who attended Columbia University's film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, and was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. The creator and screenwriter of the Masterpiece presentation Victoria on PBS, she lives in London.




My thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! Finding One Perfect Word!


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Happy New Year everyone!

I am so happy to be back with blogging and I'm excited about the books that I have to share with you this upcoming year! 

As in past years, I have chosen a word to inspire me and to guide me. This year my word choice is JOY! 

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I want to remind myself to look for the joys that can be found all around!  It can be something as simple as watching a squirrel cavorting in the back yard, playing with my adorable grandsons Oliver and Avett, or seeing my beloved church family singing the old time hymns during Sunday services!



I spent my New Year's Day re-reading a special book, "One Perfect Word," by Debbie Macomber. In this inspiring book, Debbie tells of how she has chosen one word a year to live by.

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Debbie shares personal stories, as well as stories of others, regarding finding guidance and comfort in focusing on one word, and she tells of how her faith in God plays a huge part of discovering that one special word to guide her through the year.

"When I find my word and begin to explore it, God takes me deep into that one word," Debbie says in her opening chapter. "When we choose one single word from His Word and spend a year with it, I've found that the Lord takes us by the hand and walks us through the year, teaching us about that word, about ourselves, and even more, about God Himself."

Debbie has chosen fourteen words that she has used in previous years and shares stories that illustrate each particular word and what she has learned. She also offers tips and hints throughout the book to help the reader in this inspirational practice as well as her own personal prayers.

I love how Debbie is so open about her faith, about her life and it's ups and downs, and how her relationship with God has guided her through the adventurous journey of life.  She quotes the Bible, using John 15:7, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you." What a powerful statement that has the ability to bless everyone who follows God and Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

While "One Perfect Word" was published in 2012, I still highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for guidance and comfort in this topsy-turvy world we live in today.

My wish for all of you is to find your one perfect word for this year, and to look for joy wherever you can! 




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pocket Prayers for Friends: 40 Simple Prayers That Bring Joy and Serenity by Max Lucado and Betsy St. Amant



Pocket_Friends

About The Book:

Good friends are one of God's most cherished blessings. They share our lives, celebrating our joys with us, and comforting us when we face tough times. For these specials friends, bestselling author and encourager Max Lucado offers 40 selected Scriptures and guided prayers in Pocket Prayers for Friends.

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My Thoughts:

I am truly blessed to have a wide array of friends in my life. I have friends that I have known since kindergarten, I have friends at church and I have friends in music.  And recently I have met a wonderful group of ladies that are some of the strongest prayer warriors that I've ever known!  We pray for each other in times of sadness, in times of joy, whenever one of us needs uplifting to the Lord! We laugh, we cry, we praise the Lord - it's a great sisterhood!

So, keeping my friends in mind, I was thrilled to be ask to review Max Lucado's latest book, "Pocket Prayers for Friends - 40 Simple Prayers That Bring Joy and Serenity."  What a treasure trove of affirming and loving prayers and devotions!! There are prayers here for just about any situation friends might find themselves in!  Sections include:

Grace and Wisdom
Joy and Companionship
Help and Protection
Peace and Problem Solving
Longevity and the Future
Love and Forgiveness

Each prayer is accompanied by a Bible verse, and each prayer is so lovingly written and presented!  One of my favorites includes the verse:

 "Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works - Hebrews 10:24.

The companion prayer includes the sweet request - "Please be with my friends as they strive to live for you. Help them stir one another toward good things. Let their hearts be focused on you alone."  Just lovely!

If you are looking for a charming gift for a friend, or want to have access to prayers to say for your friends, the "Pocket Prayers for Friends" is just perfect! I'm looking forward to sharing these prayers with my friends in days to come!

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About The Author:

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More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

Check out his website at www.maxlucado.com for more information on his books and his ministry.

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My thanks to Thomas Nelson Books for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Welcome Autumn - A new season full of wonderful new changes!





Hello dear readers!

I love autumn!  To me it is a season of fresh outlooks, and lovely possibilities!

And with this new season, the Garden of Books is taking a new pathway that I am so excited about!  Beginning Sunday, September 4th, I will be concentrating on and featuring the best of Christian and inspirational fiction and non-fiction! There are so many wonderful titles coming up this fall that I am thrilled to be sharing with you all!

Some of the types I'll be featuring will be fiction that has an inspirational message, non-fiction book that will include self-help, encouragement, devotionals, even a cookbook or two!  And with the holiday season quickly approaching, there will be plenty of Christmas cheer to spread around as well!

I'll also occasionally be sharing my joy of bible journaling as well as some of the paper-crafts that are my passion!

I hope that you, my dear readers, will join me in this new venture.  In my heart I know this is what God is calling me to do, and I am truly blessed to be able to share my thoughts and insights to the literary world via this small blog.

Thank you for your support and readership all these years!  I hope you will join me on this new faith-filled journey!

Many blessings,

Sharon

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Whiskey Sea by Ann Howard Creel - Book Blog Tour Stop and Review


The Whiskey Sea

About The Whiskey Sea
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 23, 2016)
Motherless and destitute, Frieda Hope grows up during Prohibition determined to make a better life for herself and her sister, Bea. The girls are taken in by a kindly fisherman named Silver, and Frieda begins to feel at home whenever she is on the water.

When Silver sells his fishing boat to WWI veteran Sam Hicks, thinking Sam would be a fine husband for Frieda, she’s outraged. But Frieda manages to talk Sam into teaching her to repair boat engines instead, so she has a trade of her own and won’t have to marry.

Frieda quickly discovers that a mechanic’s wages won’t support Bea and Silver, so she joins a team of rumrunners, speeding into dangerous waters to transport illegal liquor. Frieda becomes swept up in the lucrative, risky work—and swept off her feet by a handsome Ivy Leaguer who’s in it just for fun.

As danger mounts and her own feelings threaten to drown her, can Frieda find her way back to solid ground—and to a love that will sustain her?

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoy reading historical fiction - I like the history aspect, I like the people, I like the simpler times. Author Ann Howard Creel captures all theses crucial pieces of the pie in her new book, "The Whiskey Sea," and presents a perfect book for the fall reading season.

I really enjoyed the fast-paced storyline of this story of the Prohibition-era 1920s, and I loved the relationship between the two Hope sisters, Frieda and Bea. There is intrigue, romance, and action all rolled into this story and I was genuinely sad to see it come to an end when I reached the final page.

Fans of historical fiction will find "The Whiskey Sea" to be a great read, as will fans of romantic fiction as well.  I highly recommend it!


About Ann Howard Creel

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Ann Howard Creel was born in Austin, Texas, and worked as a registered nurse before becoming a full-time writer. She is the author of numerous children’s and young adult books as well as fiction for adults. Her children’s books have won several awards, and her novel The Magic of Ordinary Days was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for CBS. Creel currently lives and writes in Chicago. For more information about Ann’s work, visit her website, annhowardcreel.com.

Ann Howard Creel’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Monday, August 22nd: Musings of  a Bookish Kitty
Tuesday, August 23rd: You Can Read Me Anything
Wednesday, August 24th: Staircase Wit
Thursday, August 25th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Friday, August 26th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, August 29th: BookNAround
Tuesday, August 30th: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Reviews
Wednesday, August 31st: Caryn, The Book Whisperer
Thursday, September 1st: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, September 2nd: The Warlock’s Gray Book
Monday, September 5th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 6th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, September 7th: Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, September 8th: Write Read Life
Monday, September 12th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, September 13th: Melissa Lee’s Many Reads
Thursday, September 15th: View from the Birdhouse
Friday, September 16th: FictionZeal
Monday, September 19th: Reading the Past



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


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Friday, July 8, 2016

The Daredevil Snared: The Adventurers Quartet Volume 3 by Stephanie Laurens - Book Blog Tour Stop and Review



The Daredevil Snared

About The Daredevil Snared

  • Mass Market Paperbook: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MIRA (June 28, 2016)
Responsibility knocks, and a reckless, hedonistic man responds and opens the door to love—thus is a daredevil snared.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens brings you the third installment in THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, continuing the drama of Regency-era high seas adventure, laced with a mystery shrouded in the heat of tropical jungles, and spiced with the passionate romances of four couples and their unexpected journeys into love.

Captain Caleb Frobisher, hedonistic youngest son of a seafaring dynasty, wants to be taken seriously by his family, and understands he has to prove himself sufficiently reformed. When opportunity strikes, he seizes the next leg of the covert mission his brothers have been pursuing and sails to Freetown. His actions are decisive, and he completes the mission’s next stage—but responsibility, once exercised, has taken root, and he remains in the jungle to guard the captives whose rescue is the mission’s ultimate goal.

Katherine Fortescue has fled the life of poverty her wastrel father had bequeathed her and come to Freetown as a governess, only to be kidnapped and put to work overseeing a child workforce at a mine. She and the other captured adults understand that their lives are limited by the life of the mine. Guarded by well-armed and well-trained mercenaries, the captives have been searching for some means of escape, but in vain.

Then Katherine meets a handsome man—a captain—in the jungle, and he and his crew bring the sweet promise of rescue.

The sadistic mercenary captain who runs the mine has other ideas, but Caleb’s true strength lies in extracting advantage from adversity, and through the clashes that follow, he matures into the leader of men he was always destined to be. The sort of man Katherine can trust—with her body, with her life. With her love.

The first voyage is one of exploration, the second one of discovery. The third journey brings maturity, while the fourth is a voyage of second chances. Continue the journey and follow the adventure, the mystery, and the romances to the dramatic end.

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Praise for the works of Stephanie Laurens

“Stephanie Laurens’ heroines are marvelous tributes to Georgette Heyer: feisty and strong.” —Cathy Kelly

“Stephanie Laurens never fails to entertain and charm her readers with vibrant plots, snappy dialogue, and unforgettable characters.” —Historical Romance Reviews

“Stephanie Laurens plays into readers’ fantasies like a master and claims their hearts time and again.” —Romantic Times Magazine

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

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My Thoughts:

Stephanie Laurens has always been a favorite author of mine - her "Cynster Family" series and the "Black Cobra Quartet" are among some of my favorite romances! So I was thrilled to be asked to review her latest book, "The Daredevil Snared."

This is the third book of Laurens' The Adventurers Quartet series, so it took a little bit to get into the flow of the story, but there is enough backstory provided that readers can understand the story's history and jump into the action of the present adventures.  The characters in this tale are feisty, brave, and well, romantic in the face of all the danger that lurks around them.

If you're looking for a bit of spice and a bit of excitement in your romance reading this summer, then "The Daredevil Snared" is the book for you.  And you might want to pick up the previous two books in the series - "The Lady's Command" and "A Buccaneer At Heart" - you'll be glad you did!

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About Stephanie Laurens

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New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

Connect with Stephanie

Website | Facebook

Stephanie Laurens’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS

Monday, June 27th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, June 28th: From the TBR Pile – excerpt
Wednesday, June 29th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
Friday, July 1st: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, July 4th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, July 5th: A Bookaholic Swede – excerpt
Wednesday, July 6th: The Maiden’s Court
Friday, July 8th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 12th: Becky on Books
Wednesday, July 13th: A Holland Reads
Thursday, July 14th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Friday, July 15th: What I’m Reading
Monday, July 18th: Broken Teepee – excerpt
Monday, July 18th: Buried Under Romance – excerpt and review
Tuesday, July 19th: Beverages and Books
Wednesday, July 20th: Diary of a Stay At Home Mom
Thursday, July 21st: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Reviews
Friday, July 22nd: Moonlight Rendezvous
Monday, July 25th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, July 26th: The Reading Wench

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


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams - Book Blog Tour Stop and Review


The Last Woman Standing

About The Last Woman Standing: A Novel of Mrs. Wyatt Earp

Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 1, 2016)

Thelma Adams has built a successful career writing profiles of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars. From Julianne Moore and George Clooney to Jessica Chastain and Matthew McConaughey, her portfolio is dazzling and reputation as a film critic in the industry stellar.

Now, Adams shifts from Hollywood to the Wild West with THE LAST WOMAN STANDING (Lake Union Publishing; on-sale July 1, 2016), the first biographical novel about Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp’s wife, the gutsy Jewish beauty who captured the lawman’s heart in 1881, the year he fought the legendary Gunfight at the OK Corral.

In her well-researched and vividly composed novel, Adams doesn’t waste any time proving her talent as a dynamic writer with a cinematic flair. She explores the brief defining period when Josephine comes-of-age on the American frontier, weaving action, wit, and clever introspection.

The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Josephine shames her tight-knit family (her over-bearing mother begins to sit-shiva the minute Josephine walks out the door) when the 19-year-old follows the smooth-talking and attractive lawman, Johnny Behan, from San Francisco, California to Tombstone, Arizona. Hanging on the slim promise of a wedding, the naïve young woman eventually discovers the older man’s untrustworthy side. She also learns that divided loyalties and corruption plague the silver boom town—with her fiancé at the conflict’s heart. And she can’t pretend she hasn’t noticed the courageous straight-shooter Wyatt Earp who becomes Behan’s sworn enemy.

When Behan betrays Josephine, she leaves him—and immediately faces the harsh realities of being a woman on her own in the Wild West, a world where a lady’s every action depends on a man’s approval.

Adams’s storytelling from a female perspective, and her rich and descriptive style, allow the reader to feel Josephine’s desperation as she realizes the only available options she has are prostitution or returning home. That is—until Wyatt Earp declares his love for her. As their romance blossoms and their bond deepens, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books.

THE LAST WOMAN STANDING is a compelling novel: both an epic tale of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American legend through a female lens. Josephine is a charismatic, fierce heroine who seeks to reinvent herself—and find her soul mate—in a lawless outpost among cowboys and lawmen, where few people are what they seem on the surface.

“Adams is that rare, vivid author who brings a cinematic quality to her wildly entertaining fiction.” —Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

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Purchase Links

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My Thoughts:

I've always been a big fan of western history, and I've always been especially keen on learning more about the women that played huge roles in history but who are often put into the background.

In her new book, Last Woman Standing, author Thelma Adams brings to the forefront of history the amazing and dazzling story of Josephine Marcus Earp, the wife of famed gunman Wyatt Earp. Writing in the voice of "Josie," Adams takes her readers to Tombstone, Arizona where the West was really wild and Josie Marcus found herself right in the middle of all the action. Sassy and fearless, this lady was besotted by the handsome and daring Wyatt Earp and he by her, and the adventures they set out on are the type that fantastic stories are made of, and Adams does this brilliantly.

While this book is a work of fiction, Adams had done her research, bringing meticulous detail to a fast-paced, lively story of one lady and how she just might have changed Western history for the better in some ways!  (I'm a big admirer of the movie, "Tombstone," and kept envisioning the characters in this story as the same from the movie - Kurt Russell as Wyatt, Dana Delany as Josie - silly, but made the reading extra enjoyable!)

I absolutely loved this book, and highly recommend it to history fans, fans of western fiction, and fans of strong women characters!



About Thelma Adams

Thelma AdamsThelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and criticism for high-profile publications. Her portfolio of actor interviews includes Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey, among many others.

While covering film for the New York PostUs Weekly, and Yahoo Movies, Thelma became a regular at film festivals from Berlin to Dubai, Toronto to Tribeca. She sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board and twice chaired the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle.

Her debut novel, Playdate, published by Thomas Dunne Books, won high critical acclaim. Adams is often recognized, as she has been invited to share her expertise on many broadcast outlets, including appearances on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Early Show, and CNN.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a history degree from UC Berkeley and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Hyde Park, New York, with her family.

Connect with Thelma

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

Thelma Adams’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, June 27th: WV Stitcher
Tuesday, June 28th: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, June 29th: The Magic All Around Us
Friday, July 1st: Lavish Bookshelf
Tuesday, July 5th: A. Holland Reads
Wednesday, July 6th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, July 7th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, July 11th: Books Without Any Pictures
Monday, July 11th: FictionZeal
Wednesday, July 13th: Laura’s Reviews
Thursday, July 14th: Reading is My Superpower
Friday, July 15th: Write Read Life
Monday, July 18th: A Bookaholic Swede
Tuesday, July 19th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, July 20th: West Metro Mommy Reads
Friday, July 22nd: Worth Getting in Bed For
Monday, July 25th: Just Commonly
Wednesday, July 27th: Mom in Love with Fiction
TBD: Open Book Society


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


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