Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Alpha/Omega" by Kutless + Giveaway


For a time, I was a member of my church's worship choir. It was an amazing experience until I had to step away due to some health issues (which are thankfully under control now). Our director taught us some wonderful worship songs that I'd never heard before but that resonated with me on a deep level: songs like "Cornerstone" and "Great Are You Lord." So when I started listening to Kutless' new album and realized both those songs were on it, I knew that I'd found an album I'd love.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book or Movie? "Miss Christmas"


Last week, a Christmas book popped up in one of the free book newsletters I subscribe to. Nothing unusual about that—free Christmas books are a dime a dozen this time of year. But this one caught my eye because of the elongated title: Miss Christmas: A Heartwarming Romance and 2017 Hallmark Film. (It's still free as of this writing, by the way.) It's a stupid title but brilliant marketing—Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas is wildly popular, so proclaiming a book's connection to Hallmark in the title is sure to catch a few eyes. It did for me, anyway!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"The Distance Between Us" by Kasie West


Of the now 3-1/4 Kasie West books I've read, The Distance Between Us falls somewhere in the middle. I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it ... probably because I read it right on the heels of On the Fence, which is shaping up to be one of my favorite reads of the whole year 🙂.

(One day, I might be able to drop that 1/4 book ... I'm just not sure if I'll ever go back and finish Lucky in Love. Why spend time on a book I can't get into? Lucky in Love seems to be an anomaly, though, so if you've tried it and not loved it, you should still give West's other books a chance.)

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Blue Ridge Sunrise" by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter is one of my must-read authors. Her books routinely make my yearly "best books" lists, and I often stay up far too long while reading her books.

That's why I was so disappointed when her last book, Sweetbriar Cottage, didn't land for me. Of course, I still had hope for the books to come, saying,
I have great hope that Hunter's next book, Blue Ridge Sunrise (also set in Copper Creek, Georgia), will be a return to the achingly romantic, captivating stories that are Hunter's hallmark.
Thankfully, my hope wasn't misplaced, as Blue Ridge Sunrise is wonderful!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

"The Road to Paradise" by Karen Barnett


The first thing that drew me to this novel? That cover. I think it perfectly captures the vintage spirit of the novel 🙂.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Book or Movie? "Marry Me at Christmas"


I've often heard this saying, and I'm sure you have, too: "The book is better than the movie." While I've found that to often be the case, I can think of a handful of movies that I enjoyed more than the books that came before them. The Time Traveler's Wife is always the first example I think of, but I could come up with several others.

Now that Hallmark Channel has started showing Christmas movies, it's giving me ample opportunity to compare movies to the books they're based on.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What's Val Reading? (October 2017)


Welcome back for the next installment of "What's Val Reading?" Please take note of how timely we are with this post—it's November 1, and I'm posting it today, which is quite the improvement over last month 😃.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Library Love


Growing up, visiting my local public library was one of my favorite things to do. I was a voracious reader from the moment I learned to read, and the library opened up so many worlds to me.

We moved into town when I was in the 6th grade, and suddenly I could go to the library basically whenever I wanted. I walked, rode my bike, and eventually drove to the library constantly. I checked out every Baby-Sitters Club book ever and discovered Janette Oke and Gilbert Morris on the shelves of the adult section. (At the time, Christian books lived with all the other fiction books, but they were marked by a round sticker on the spine.)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"On the Fence" by Kasie West

Moms of teenage girls, listen up: If you're looking for YA romance novels that are safe for everyone, check out Kasie West's books. I've now read 2-1/4 of her books (that 1/4 is her latest, Lucky in Love, which I just couldn't get into), and I can't remember a single swear word, instance of teen drinking, or sexual content that goes beyond fairly undescriptive kisses. Plus, the books are, for the most part, so much fun to read!

I read On the Fence in about three hours because I simply couldn't put it down! It's easily my favorite of West's books ... so far, anyway!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Colors of Christmas" by Olivia Newport

If the Hallmark Channel can show Christmas movies in October, then I can read Christmas stories in October, right?

Olivia Newport's Colors of Christmas novella collection features two sweet Christmas stories—and they're low on romance, so if that's not your thing, you can still enjoy them!

Friday, October 27, 2017

"Champion" Movie Giveaway

Now that it's getting colder, one of my favorite things to do in the evening is curl up on the couch with a blanket and a movie. So I'm really excited that I have a great film to give away to one of my readers—it's perfect for one of those cold nights on the couch, and it's great for the whole family!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey" by Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers of regency romance. Her Legacy of Grace series has been a treat to read from start to finish, and I think this final installment, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, is the best yet!

Monday, October 23, 2017

"Turtles All the Way Down" by John Green

Full disclosure: The Fault in Our Stars is one of my DNF (did not finish) books. So I probably wasn't the best candidate to read John Green's new novel, Turtles All the Way Down. But I saw it on the new release shelf at my local library and snagged it. I mean, how could I not? With so many book lovers so excited for its release, I thought I should give Mr. Green another chance.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review Wrap-Up #4: October 15, 2017


Welcome to Review Wrap-Up #4! I'm prepping this post as I watch Game 5 of the National League Division Series. The Nationals are currently beating the Cubs 4-1. By the time you see this post, there's a good chance the Cubs won't be playing anymore this season, and that makes me sad. I started following the Cubs more than casually almost exactly a year ago (Game 4 of the NLDS vs the Giants). It still astounds me when I think about the fact that I knew none of these guys' names a year ago. That I knew nothing about baseball. That I found baseball to be the most boring thing ever. What a ride this year has been! Even if the Cubs don't win tonight, I had great fun following the season.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"An Inconvenient Beauty" by Kristi Ann Hunter


Earlier this year, I read Kristi Ann Hunter's An Uncommon Courtship. I really enjoyed it, and one of my favorite supporting characters was Griffith, brother of the main male character. So of course when Griffith's story released, I had to get my hands on it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Ninja Girl" by Cookie O'Gorman


After reading Cookie O'Gorman's Adorkable last month, I couldn't wait to read her next novel, Ninja Girl.

Except I had to.

Adorkable and Ninja Girl are both part of Kindle Unlimited, and Kindle owners can choose one KU book per month to read for free. Adorkable was my September pick, so I had to wait until October 1st to check out Ninja Girl.

Trust me, I checked it out as soon as I could 🙂

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Christmas at Gate 18" by Amy Matayo


I love Christmas. I love Amy Matayo books. Combine Christmas and an Amy Matayo book, and you've got a read I can't resist!

Monday, October 9, 2017

"All This Time" by Melissa Tagg


All This Time took me, well, all this time to read for one simple reason: I didn't want the Walker Family series to come to an end!

(Yes, that is a bad joke, but I don't apologize for it!)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

"Blind Spot" by Dani Pettrey


If you're looking for inspirational romantic suspense that's both believably romantic and believably suspenseful, you can't go wrong with a Dani Pettrey novel! (Believe me, it's hard to find romantic suspense novels that hit both of those aspects well, but Pettrey has the formula down.)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

What's Val Reading? (September 2017)



You may not know this, but I'm not the only avid reader in my family. In fact, I think everyone in my immediate family (parents, siblings) loves to read, though two of us read much more than the rest. My sister Val reads nearly as much as I do, but we rarely read the same books. Since our reading tastes are so different, we thought it would be fun for Val to do a monthly wrap-up of her reads here on Christian Chick's Thoughts. So here's Val, and from here on out I'll try to be more timely in posting her monthly recap!

Friday, October 6, 2017

"The Answer" by Jeremy Camp + Giveaway


It's been a while since I've had a music review + giveaway for you, so I'm really excited about this one! It's Jeremy Camp's new album, which released today!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Justice Buried" by Patricia Bradley


Apparently, reading about cold case detectives is becoming my thing ... last week, I read Bringing Maggie Home, where one of the main characters is a cold case detective, and I just finished reading Justice Buried, which is part of a series about cold case detectives!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

"Bringing Maggie Home" by Kim Vogel Sawyer


In Bringing Maggie Home, Kim Vogel Sawyer has written a novel that pulls you in with the mother-daughter-granddaughter dynamic and keeps you engaged with a decades-old mystery.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tackle Your TBR Read-A-Thon Wrap Up

I knew I was being ambitious when I chose the books I wanted to read during the Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon challenge ...

I've finished exactly two books. But I'm also halfway through another, I just started another, AND I discovered that one is going to be one of my rare DNF (did not finish) books. So I guess that's a win, right?

One thing this read-a-thon helped me do was focus my reading. I've been kind of all over the map with my reading lately, picking up whatever strikes my fancy. While that's fun, it also puts me in a bind when I have a review due date coming up, and I've been reading everything except that book! During the read-a-thon, I only read books from the list, so that helped me finish things in a timely manner. I'm disappointed that I didn't get farther through my list, but I'm happy that I read what I did!

So, here's my progress (clicking on the book title will take you to the Amazon page, which is an affiliate link, and clicking on the rating will take you to my review):

Books I Finished

All of You by Sarah Monzon. In this dual timeline story, I strongly connected with the contemporary story and basically sped-read through the WWII story. Overall, I did enjoy the book, and I'll be looking for more from Monzon. (3-1/2 stars)

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton. Oh my goodness! This book just gets better the more I think about it. It's set just prior to the Revolutionary War, which is not generally a time period I enjoy reading about, but wow. Soooooo good! I realize all I've done here is gush, so if you'd like to actually know what the book is about, go check out my review 😉 (4-1/2 stars)

Books I'm Still Reading

All This Time by Melissa Tagg. According to my Kindle, I'm 53% of the way through this book. I'm hesitating to read more because, well, I just don't want the Walker series to end!

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley. I've only read 21 pages so far, but I really enjoyed Justice Delayed (the first book in this series), so I'm looking forward to reading more.

Book I Will Not Finish

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I've heard great things about Rowell's writing for a long time, but I'm thinking Fangirl wasn't the right book to start with. While I do appreciate the setting (the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska), I'm not enjoying the characters, the blatant rip-off of the Harry Potter series (and normally I'm all for adaptations of other works), or the content of the fan fiction written by the main character. While I still want to try Rowell's Attachments and Eleanor & Park, I've decided that Fangirl just isn't for me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

"Many Sparrows" by Lori Benton


Revolutionary War-era historical fiction isn't usually what I'd choose (I tend to stay firmly in contemporary land with occasional forays into the World War II era), but I'd heard so many wonderful things about Lori Benton's writing from bloggers and authors I respect that I decided to try out Many Sparrows.

I wasn't disappointed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

"All of You" by Sarah Monzon


Besides the cover (which I love), what drew me to All of You is the dual timeline—it's set both in the present and during World War II. While I vastly prefer contemporary novels, my favorite historicals are set during the World War II era, so I figured that All of You would be a win-win for me.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review Wrap-Up #3: September 15, 2017


Welcome to Review Wrap-Up #3! Over the past month, I reviewed nine books, and I enjoyed most of them! I also read a disproportionate amount of YA fiction—sometimes I do that; I get "stuck" in a genre and read whatever I can get my hands on.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"Adorkable" by Cookie O'Gorman


In my apparent recent quest to read all the YA things, I stumbled across Cookie O'Gorman's Adorkable. I got this one with another awesome Amazon benefit—the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. This allows you to check out one book per month off of a select list (which I think is just about anything available in Kindle Unlimited, but I could be wrong there). There's a much larger selection here than in Prime Reading, but you're limited to one a month. (This is a total bummer right now, as I would be reading O'Gorman's next book, Ninja Girl, at this moment if I could.)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Another Reading Challenge: Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon


Over the last few weeks, I've been choosing my books on a whim, reading literally whatever I felt like reading. Meanwhile, my TBR pile has continued increasing! So the Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon challenge is coming at the perfect time. Hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, this read-a-thon is for all readers—you don't need a blog to participate!

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Dating on the Dork Side" by Charity Tahmaseb & Darcy Vance

Did you know that if you're an Amazon Prime member, you have access to Prime Reading? I haven't used it much, though I do always have the allotted 10 titles checked out ... I just generally return something I haven't yet read when I want to check out another title. (You can learn more about Prime Reading here.)

Anyway, after I finished reading Tell Me Three Things, I knew I wanted to follow it up with another YA novel, so I went looking through my Kindle library, and I came across Dating on the Dork Side, which I borrowed through Prime Reading on a whim several weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"A Twist of Faith" by Pepper Basham


If you—like me—enjoy modern adaptations of classics, then you'll want to check out A Twist of Faith, a modern-day retelling of Pygmalion.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were a Chore to Read


As a book blogger, I sometimes choose poorly (though I've gotten much more selective and better at picking books to review), yet I always finish the book because I agreed to read and review it. Sometimes, I end up really liking the book ... and other times, it's a struggle the whole.way.through. If I'm reading a book I haven't accepted for review, if I don't like it, I quit reading—sometimes immediately, and other times after struggling for a while.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about those books that we struggle with. I'm going to split my list of Books That Were a Chore to Read into several sections: books I ended up liking, books that were OK, books that I struggled to finish, and books I gave up on. Because why make it simple, right?

Monday, September 4, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (9-4-17)


After a long hiatus, I'm back! It's been a busy month, for sure, in which I didn't do much reading or blogging. (Only eight posts in the whole month of August!) If you want to see some of what I read in the intervening time, check out my Review Wrap-Up #2. I'm going to try to do those posts once a month ... we'll see how long I stick with it.

One of the reasons I haven't been reading and blogging as much, besides the start of school, is the Cubs. Yes, I'm still on the Cubs train. I finally broke down and purchased a subscription to the radio broadcasts of the games (which is much more affordable than purchasing the video feed) because I was getting tired of only being able to follow games through the app on my phone. The Cubs' playoff chances are looking good (they currently lead the NL Central by 3.5 games and are in good position for a wildcard if it comes to that), but I'm thinking they'd be lucky to get past the Nationals in the division series, and it would take something akin to a miracle to beat the Dodgers in the NLCS.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

"Tell Me Three Things" by Julie Buxbaum


What is it about YA? I am well, well past the target demographic for YA novels, but I still love them. It's interesting, though—while I love reading about teenagers falling in love, it really bugs me when adult romances feature women in their early 20's. I'm not exactly sure why that is ...

Anyway, I picked up Tell Me Three Things on the recommendation of Modern Mrs. Darcy, but, as I'm wont to do, I never read it. Then yesterday I saw that one of my blogger friends had featured it on Instagram, and I'm between books right now, so I thought, "Why not?" I started reading this afternoon, and I basically didn't stop until I'd finished.

Friday, September 1, 2017

"The Two of Us" by Victoria Bylin


Last year, I read and really enjoyed Victoria Bylin's Someone Like You. When I saw her next book, The Two of Us, up for review, I knew I wanted to read it ... and that cover didn't hurt!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

"God's Crime Scene for Kids" by J. Warner Wallace & Susie Wallace


I've read a couple of J. Warner Wallace's books—I'd describe them as apologetics for the common man (or child, depending on the title). Last year, I was pretty impressed by Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, so I was eager to read his latest children's release, God's Crime Scene for Kids.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Inspy Fiction


For this week's Top Ten Tuesday post, I'm taking some liberties ... the official topic is Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre. The books that I'm featuring today may or may not be underrated by readers of inspirational fiction, but they're all books I'd like my sister, who will read practically anything except inspirational fiction, to check out. So they're hidden gems in that Val would never pick these books up on her own, but I think she'd like them if she ever did read them.

One of Val's biggest complaints about Christian fiction is that the interweaving of God and faith into a story can be clunky and inauthentic—like the faith aspect is shoehorned in just because it "should" be present. That's totally valid, but I also believe that many authors are doing it well. All of the books I'm recommending either have a very light faith thread (some you wouldn't be able to identify as Christian without looking at the publisher) or feature characters whose faith journeys feel real. You won't find much romance on this list, as romance is much more my thing than Val's, but I did manage to sneak a couple in 😉

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Chasing Secrets" by Lynette Eason


A 25-year-old murder. A teenager who needs protection. A long-forgotten past. An intriguing new cop on the police force. These things converge to take Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan on a ride she'd never anticipated in the finale of Lynette Eason's Elite Guardians series.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"High as the Heavens" by Kate Breslin


Danger. Romance. Second Chances. All are found in abundance in Kate Breslin's latest World War I-set novel, High as the Heavens.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Anne of the Island" by L.M. Montgomery

As a preteen, I read all of L.M. Montgomery's "Anne" books. In fact, the first book-induced ugly cry that I can remember came as I read of a death in Rilla of Ingleside. (If you'd like to know the specifics, go here. I'm purposely trying not to spoil you!)

As a young teen, I was completely obsessed with Anne of Avonlea (a.k.a. Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel), and Gilbert Blythe (as portrayed by the late Jonathan Crombie) was pretty much my dream man. (True confession: I wore out our videotape because I kept rewinding and rewatching the final proposal scene.) I still have yet to watch any Anne, as I'm just not sure I want to see anyone besides Crombie and Megan Follows portraying Gil and Anne!

When I saw that Audiobookworm Promotions had the first three "Anne" books up for review, my first thought was, "GET THEM ALL!!!" Then I came back to reality as I remembered that it takes much longer for me to get through an audiobook than it does a regular book, so I should pick just one. I chose Anne of the Island, as I remembered (and confirmed through a quick Google search) that it's the book where Anne finally realizes she's in love with Gil 💗

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review Wrap-Up #2: August 15, 2017


Here we go with Review Wrap-Up #2! It's looking like maybe this will be a once a month thing :-) These are the books I've reviewed in the last month, and I'm so glad to report that I loved most of them!

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (8-7-17)


Happy Monday! I haven't done too much reading recently because ... life.

1) My uncle moved from Los Angeles to my small town last Wednesday. He's living in a really nice assisted living facility, and though the transition has been a bit rough so far, I'm hopeful that he'll soon settle into his new life.

2) One of my best friends is getting married this Saturday, and her bachelorette party was last weekend. At said party, I had my first massage ever ... it was very nice!

3) I spent some time with my sister in Omaha. We went to a Lady Antebellum concert with our cousin, and the next morning, Blendy treated me to breakfast out for my birthday (which is this coming Saturday—I'll be a little busy with wedding things!), where I had the best gluten free cinnamon roll ever!

4) School. This time next week, I'll be at our back-to-school night, and we start back next Tuesday. Where did the summer go?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"The Captivating Lady Charlotte" by Carolyn Miller


Earlier this year, I read Carolyn Miller's The Elusive Miss Ellison. In the novel, readers met Lavinia Ellison's cousin Charlotte, a young woman about to make her debut into society. Charlotte intrigued me, so of course I wanted to read The Captivating Lady Charlotte (which happens to have quite the captivating cover, I must say!).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

"Can't Help Falling" by Kara Isaac


Can't Help Falling
 was one of the books shortlisted for the Inspy Award in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense category, which I had the honor of helping judge. I'd never read anything by author Kara Isaac before, but by the time I was about 25% into the book, I'd gone back and purchased Close to You, Isaac's debut novel about two of the minor characters from Can't Help Falling.

I'm pretty careful about spending book money, so that shows you just how much I was loving Can't Help Falling!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

"A Name Unknown" by Roseanna M. White


Last year, I read the last two novels in Roseanna M. White's Ladies of the Manor series, and I knew then that I definitely wanted to keep reading her novels. When the first book in her new Shadows Over England series came up for review, I eagerly requested it.