Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Review: A Creed Country Christmas

A Creed Country Christmas (Montana Creeds, #4)A Creed Country Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

Christmas can bring the unexpected. Lincoln Creed didn't expect Julianna Mitchell. Julianna Mitchell didn't expect her brother to not send her inheritance. Gracie Creed didn't expect a teacher. Christmas brings people together. Miller writes a quick read in celebration of the season. A Creed Country Christmas is also part of her Montana Creeds series.

Time Period: Western, 1910
Location: Montana, USA

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Review: The First Love Cookie Club

The First Love Cookie Club (Twilight, Texas, #3)The First Love Cookie Club by Lori Wilde

Lori Wilde adds a Christmas novel to her Twilight, Texas series. If you are not familiar with Twilight, you do not need to back paddle and read #1 and #2. The First Love Cookie Clue stands as its own novel. If you enjoyed the town of Twilight, you can easily continue reading the series.

I prefer historical fiction, but this modern Christmas tale was enjoyable. Snow appeared, cookies were baked, and gifts were given as well as received. Past and present overlapped to create a bright future for everyone in the little town of Twilight.

On a side note, for the over 21 crowd, Wilde also included a holiday mixer called Cranberry Snowdrifts. "They're made with cranberry juice cocktail, creme de cacao, and white chocolate liqueur; it tastes like white chocolate-covered cranberries. Help yourself."

Time Period: Present Day
Location: Twilight, Texas, USA

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Review: Mary Balogh

Under The Mistletoe (Signet Eclipse)Under The Mistletoe by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh compiles five novellas (or short stories) under the theme of Christmas and mistletoe. If you're looking for a quick historical Christmas read, Under the Mistletoe would be an excellent choice.

Time Period: Regency, 1800's
Location: England


A Christmas PromiseA Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh writes a complete Christmas novel to celebrate the beauty of family gatherings during the holiday. Sometimes individuals can be worlds apart, but traditions can bring people together. Family activities included trimming the house, sledding, and hosting a snowball fight.

Time Period: Regency, 1800's
Location: England

Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: The Measure of Katie Calloway

Measure of Katie Calloway, The: A NovelMeasure of Katie Calloway, The: A Novel by Serena Miller

Katie Calloway survived Sherman's march through Georgia, but she might not survive the return of her unstable and abusive husband. After another hurtful beating, she takes her younger brother and ran away to the wild Michigan woods. Lumber camp owner, Robert Foster, offers Katie the job as camp cook and promises that everyone will treat her with respect. Katie revels in the daily camp life and keeps her fears to herself. Will her past catch up with her future?
Serena Miller shares an enjoyable story set in the Post Civil War era. She highlights the lumberjack life that is well known in the Midwestern states. Miller could have fleshed out a few details, but overall everything wove together for a great read. If you enjoyed this tale, I would recommend The White Pines Chronicles by Hilda Stahl.

Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge? Yes! Miller includes a memorable Christmas scene in her novel.

Time Period: Post Civil War, 1860's
Location: Georgia and Michigan, USA

Reviewed from a library copy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Review: A Lawman's Christmas

A Lawman's Christmas: A McKettricks of Texas Novel (McKettricks of Texas)A Lawman's Christmas: A McKettricks of Texas Novel by Linda Lael Miller

If you are familiar with the McKettrick series and enjoy holiday novellas, find a copy of A Lawman's Christmas. Clay McKettrick is out on his own to carve a place for himself. Upon entering his new position as Blue River's sheriff, Clay meets widow Dara Rose Nolan and her daughters. She is currently living in the sheriff's house, but he's not interested in uprooting her, just helping her.

The joy and giving of Christmas comes before the holiday and follows through this special time of year. Miller shares the story of Clay McKettrick and leaves openings for further McKettrick clan tales. It's a quick holiday read. If you're not a fan of amorous scenes the epilogue can be easily skipped.

Time Period: Western, 1914
Location: Texas, USA

Reviewed from a library copy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays!

The True Book Addict hosts a special blog focused on Christmas. During the holidays, she hosts a special challenge for readers: The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. You are challenged to read and enjoy holiday books...fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories...anything related to the holidays. The challenge began November 21st and runs until January 6th! I am looking forward to enjoying some holiday reads. I'll be sharing my holiday finds here at Miss Pippi Reads. Happy reading, friends!

Review: Prudence Wants a Pet

Prudence Wants a PetPrudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly

Have you desperately wanted a pet? When you are young, it can be difficult to own a pet. Some children beg, whine or cry. Prudence asks - over and over again. Every rejection turns into an opportunity to find her very own, one of kind pet.

I love the creativity of this story. It brings a pet rock to a whole new level. This book would go along well with A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Review: Little Miss Austen - Pride & Prejudice

Little Miss Austen: Pride & PrejudiceLittle Miss Austen: Pride & Prejudice by Jennifer Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For any reader who enjoys a classic story, please find a copy to read! I never thought I would see a British novel in board book form. I have enjoyed graphic novels created from historic tomes, but this form is quite enjoyable for all ages. I would suggest this counting primer for readers, teachers, librarians and their children. I look forward to reading more classics as board books.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: Mail Order Cowboy

Mail Order Cowboy (Love Inspired Historical)Mail Order Cowboy by Laurie Kingery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laurie Kingery wrote a Western with a new twist! Mail order theme books are popular, but Kingery sets the scene with a husband coming to town instead of a bride. Mail Order Cowboy is the first in a series entitled Brides of Simpson Creek.

In addition to a traditional Western tale, the Civil War has ended and young men are scarce in the town of Simpson Creek. The Matthews sisters are running a ranch with help from their few hands. Milly and Sarah band together with the Ladies Aide Society and form the Simpson Creek Society for the Promotion of Marriage. Others in town simply refer to the group as the "Spinster Society." Enter the first mail order cowboy...Nicholas Brookfield from England. I'll let you finish the rest of the tale. I look forward to Kingery's next installment in this new series.

What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. ~ Micah 6:8

Time Period: Western, 1860's

Location: Texas, USA

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Rats on the Page

Rats on the Page (Return to the Library of Doom)Rats on the Page by Michael Dahl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Return to the Library of Doom! When I saw the title at my local library, I was trilled! I thought the Library of Doom was at an end. Lo, and behold, on the children's shelf, was a new library book. Michael Dahl created a wonderful easy reader with suspense, adventure, magic and rodents. Many readers love to discover dark sides, especially in literature, not so much in reality. I found this title uniquely dark for myself, because I am not a fan of rodents. If you enjoy a good rodent book, pick up Rats on the Page for a quick read. I look forward to discovering more books in this new series.

If you missed the original Library of Doom series by Michael Dahl, I would encourage you to go back and read the first series.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Review: Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors

Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors: Stone Arch Fairy Tales Volume 2Secrets, Monsters, and Magic Mirrors: Stone Arch Fairy Tales Volume 2 by Donald B. Lemke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Graphic novels are one of my favorite reads. They lend themselves well to the adaptations and retellings. Editor Donald Lemke gathered together a solid collection of fairytales that include Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina and Snow White. Each story is retold by a different author and illustrated by a different artist. Readers will delight in the different stories brought to life in pictures. I look forward to discovering Volume 1 in Stone arch Fairy Tales.

In particular, I enjoyed illustrators Jeffrey Stewart Timmins (Rapunzel) and M. A. Lamoreaux (Princess and the Pea). I also appreciated the added historical information at the end of each story. History behind the stories are fascinating. It's wonderful to know that stories don't spring up from under rocks. Stories are created, edited, shared and recreated.

Digital copy received from Capstone. Thank you, Capstone!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Jewelry Upcycled!

Jewelry Upcycled!: Techniques and Projects for Reusing Metal, Plastic, Glass, Fiber, and Found ObjectsJewelry Upcycled!: Techniques and Projects for Reusing Metal, Plastic, Glass, Fiber, and Found Objects by Sherri Haab

Sherri Haab and daughter Michelle Haab create a fun and entertaining new jewelry technique and project book. They provide over twenty projects for beginning to advanced crafters. Upcycled materials include metal, plastics, glass, cloth, found objects and more! Along with how-to's they include mini galleries after each chapter. The galleries create great springboards for making your own jewelry.

I browsed through the book I enjoyed the following projects:

Gift Card Jewelry (any plastic cards)

Plastic Bottle Jewelry (PET plastic bottle, soda or water type)

Shampoo Bottle Bead Charm Bracelet (shampoo or soap bottles)

Sewing Snap Jewelry (snaps, hook-and-eye closure)

Electronic Scrap Ring (broken cell phone or electronic parts)

Happy crafting!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Review: The Thirteenth Princess

The Thirteenth PrincessThe Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler

"My name is Zita, and I am the thirteenth princess. My twelve sisters are legendary, even in faraway kingdoms, but I am sure that you have never heard of me."

Zita was the last princess born. The king lost his wife and his daughters lost their mother. In his grief, the king banished his youngest daughter to the servants' quarters. Zita struggles not be noticed by her unhappy father, yet yearns to know her sisters. Triumph and tragedy mingle when the princesses discover an abandoned dumb waiter in the castle.

Diane Zahler recreated a new twist on the classic tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses from the Brothers Grimm. Zahler's adaptation is beautifully written for middle school fairytale lovers. She adds mystery, adventure, magic and splashes of romance. If readers enjoy this classic tale, I would also recommend Entwined by Heather Dixon.

Reviewed from a library copy.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Review: The Betrayal of Maggie Blair

The Betrayal of Maggie BlairThe Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

Maggie Blair is accused of witchcraft. Being targeted as a witch means one thing - death. Maggie's on the run for her life. Her safe haven is her unseen father's brother - Blair. She journeys forth to find a new home away from home. But is her new haven safe? Her Uncle's family is defying the king, the soldiers are flooding the hills and old acquaintances arrive to mingle with her new family and friends.

The cover art is wonderfully haunting with a young woman's silhouette against the hills and water. It evokes the characters belief of standing alone. Maggie's life moves from stable to hectic when life dishes blow after blow. The feeling of hope and despair intermingle as Maggie struggles to find her place in life. I enjoyed the travel across historic Scotland as Maggie traveled from one side to the other and back again. Her questions about faith are appropriate and understandable. I was disappointed at the ending, but it's a fine read if you're interested in history, witch-hunts and battles of faith.

Time Period: Seventeenth-Century

Location: Scotland

Reviewed from a library copy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: To Catch a Pirate

To Catch a PirateTo Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Townsend's, Annalisa and her father, are sailing to the governorship of Mourning in the Caribbean. The Phantom Mist intercepts their course and in dashes the unforgettable pirate James Sterling. James and his mentor Crimson steal the king's gold. Mr. Townsend is sent to prison and Annalisa takes up the call to be a privateer and hunt down the man you ruined her world - James Sterling.

If you're in the mood for a summer read, here is a book for you. Parker takes you to a world full of sailing on warm breezes, dangerous swordplay, treasure hunts and revenge. Excellent heroine novel with a touch of romance and sassiness. If Ms. Parker were to write more historical fiction, I would love to read them!

Reviewed from a library copy.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Geocache Surprise

Geocache Surprise (Jake Maddox)Geocache Surprise by Jake Maddox

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tim was looking forward to spending the final day of summer with his friends at the beach. But his friends had other plans - geocaching. What on earth is geocaching? It couldn't be better than a day hanging out at the beach.

A geocache fiction book for kids!? How fantastic! Geocaching is a new(er) outdoor craze that is very entertaining. Anyone can do it! The big ticket item needed is a GPS device. Tim didn't own one in the story but receives one in the end. The story called for it, but it seemed unrealistic. Jake Maddox does explain the sport very well and it can definitely interest others into going geocaching. He doesn't leave you hanging for more information either. At the end of the book, Maddox shares more information about GPSs and geocaching. I would highly recommend going on a geocache adventure of your own.

Reviewed from a library copy.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Timeless & An Unlikely Suitor

Timeless (Timeless, #1)Timeless by Alexandra Monir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Story...  Michele Windsor is forced to live with her New York City grandparents after tragedy strikes her small family. While she resides in her family's historical house, she uncovers her family history and their secrets. Yet, it goes beyond journal entries and faded photographs...she travels through Time and meets her ancestors and the man of her dreams.

An Unlikely Suitor
An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Story...  The Scarpelli family is undergoing changes: a sudden death, an eviction and new jobs. Lucy is looking out for her mother and younger sister. In her new job as a New York dressmaker, she befriends Roaring 20's socialite Rowena Langdon. After meeting Rowena, her life takes a new path as she is asked to visit the vacation hot-spot: Newport.

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

~ Psalm 139:7-10

--- --- ---

I read these stories one right after the other. The reason? They were both due at the library on the same day. In all honesty, I didn't know the premisis of either story. It was a very pleasant surprise that such different books linked so well together. I began reading Nancy Moser's An Unlikely Suitor. I followed up Moser's book with Timeless by Alexander Monir. Each book discusses the 1920's from different viewpoints. Moser tackles life as an immigrant seamstress and New York society. Monir continues with New York society, but adds a time travel twist. Both stories were very enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised to find detailed historical notes at the end of each book. Historical accuracy and explanations are greatly appreciated. I look forward to more novels by Moser and Monir.

Reviewed from library copies.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Dark Mirror

Dark Mirror (Dark Passage, #1)Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

M.J. Putney weaves a very compelling story about magic in 1800's England. Lady Victoria Mansfield, called Tory, discovers the curse of being a mageling in the world of England's aristocracy. The lower classes welcome magic, but families of higher rank look down upon any family member with a hint of magic. Children are sent to Lackland Abbey to be cured of her magic abilities. Yet, Tory discovers a whole new world at Lackland. She meets Elspeth, who loves magic and the young Marquis of Allarde who remains standoffish to everyone. Their journeys combine as they unite to save England from war.

I cannot wait to read the next installment in the Dark Passage series. (It is due out this fall.) Regency period is one of my favorite genres to read and adding magic to this piece was fantastic. M.J.'s author's note is a perfect final touch to this historical novel. She explains a true historic event she wove into the story. Her addition was wonderful with this note in particular, "People ask where I get my story ideas. Believe me, history offers lots of great stories!" Too true. Thank you for sharing an interesting piece of British history.

Reviewed from a Library Copy.

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