Saturday, March 26, 2011

"The Death and Life of Monterey Bay" by Stephen R. Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka

With an interesting title - Death and Life - Palumbi and Sotka open the door to the history of Monterey Bay. What was almost totally descimated is now a resplendent coastline full of wildlife and areas of enjoyment for all. But it hasn't always been this way and it was a long, hard struggle to reclaim the area. Commerce, canneries, and consequences threatened to completely destroy this area, killing off the animals, and driving people away. But, a mayor with a vision and the help of many around her, reclaimed the area for all to enjoy.

I enjoyed reading the history of Monterey Bay, something I hadn't spent much time really thinking about. It was interesting to read about the unintended consequences of the canneries and the fight to reclaim the area. If you love coastlines and the plethora of creatures that inhabit them, you will enjoy this book. Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book on my Nook. The opinions here are my own.

"Let Them Eat Shrimp" by Kennedy Warne

Mangrove forests harbor many incredible creatures and help provide storm barriers for our land. So many times they have been taken for granted or treated as dispensible. As civilization pushes forward into new areas, mangrove areas have been not only disturbed, but in some cases destroyed. Why? Many times it is to produce new areas for shrimp farming. In this book, Kennedy Warne takes the time to explain the importance of mangroves and the habitat they provide. It is an interesting wake-up call about simply moving forward without considering the consequences.

I didn't really know much about mangroves and their importance until reading this book. I recommend it to those who want to know more about this wonderful earth we inhabit, and the little known environments all around us. I had the opportunity to read this through and thank them for that opportunity.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"A Cowboy's Touch" by Denise Hunter

Abigail is a reporter who needs time off due to health problems, but she doesn't want to let her story go. Her mother and sister (her doctor) force her to take three months off and go Montana to visit her Aunt Lucy, maker of dolls. Montana holds a lot more for Abigail than her zany Aunt Lucy. Rest and relaxation seem to be the order of the day when she meets Maddy and Wade, but is that true? Maddy is an eleven year old girl whose mother died when she was five. Her father, Wade, is a very good looking cowboy hiding from something in Montana. Abigail becomes Maddy's summer nanny and the interesting sparks between Wade and Abigail begin to  fly. Then Abigail find out that there are problems with "Viewpoint," the magazine she writes for. Is there anything she can do to help? What really happened to Wade's wife? What is he hiding/running from? Will Abigail fall in love with him, or will she keep digging for a story until she "out's" him? Is Aunt Lucy just an eccentric old lady, or does she have Alzheimers?
"A Cowboy's Touch" has a lot to offer a reader. It has an interesting story to keep you reading and characters that seem like friends. This wonderful story will have individuals and groups alike discussing topics like: high blood pressure, learning to rest, letting God have control, "running," Alzheimer's Disease vs. quirkiness, and more. Thank you, BookSneeze Program, for the opportunity to read this book and give it an unbiased review!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Here Burns My Candle" by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Jacobite Uprising of 1745 in Scotland is the setting for this retelling of the Biblical story of Naomi and Ruth. Lady Marjory Kerr and her daughter-in-law, Lady Elisabeth Kerr, are beset by scandal, hidden truths, guilt, and regret; benefiting along the way from the blessings of faith and forgiveness. But, will Elisabeth ever truly be accepted by Marjory? How many times will Donald expect his wife to forgive him for his repeated behavior? Will Prince Charlie recapture the crown and what will that do to the Kerr family if he does? These are just a few of the questions you will find answered within the pages of "Here Burns My Candle."

Historical fiction lovers, this one's for you! Liz Curtis Higgs does her best to bring history to life. Her characters are realistic and compelling; the story rich and teeming with life. I had never read anything by this author before, but am now looking for more! This book is great for both the individual reader and group discussion because it puts things (i.e. regret, forgiveness, etc.) front and center for us to examine in our own lives. The discussions could be lively. Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group's Blogging for Books program for the opportunity to read this book. These opinions are mine alone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"The Promises She Keeps" by Erin Healy

Two women in search of immortality; one because she has had a terminal illness all of her life and wants to be remembered, the other because of greed. Will either of them find the real answer to life everlasting? Promise is a singer who has cystic fibrosis. She goes through the treatments to stay alive hoping that she will have one big break that will enable people to know she lived. But, when Zack enters her life, she meets with many freak accidents that threaten to take her life just as her break is happening. Portia is an older woman looking to the "gods and goddesses" for immortality. She turns away from the true God, driving her son (Zack) to his own ruinous behavior. Is Promise the one she has been searching for? Is either woman's death more imminent than she thinks? Chelsea and Chase are twins who share a home because Chase has autism and Chelsea provides care for the brother she loves. What do Chase's drawings have to do with the others in the book? What does the statue of the boy at the gallery have to do with them? This story has many twists and turns to keep a reader interested!

This book was a great joy to read. I love a book that keeps my attention with interconnections between characters, things I have to try to figure out before the author gives me the final piece. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy novels that make you think and keep you guessing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Deeper into the Word: Reflections on 100 Words from the New Testament" by Keri Wyatt Kent

Studying the Bible is meant to instruct us, to uplift us, to bring us closer to God, and to make us want more. Word studies is just one of the wonderful ways we can study the Bible, a way to find a fuller, richer meaning to Scripture passages. "Deeper Into the Word" gives us information on 100 words from the New Testament. Words such as: rest, hungry, care, pray, remain, and chosen are given special treatment by Keri Kent as she gives us Scripture references, Greek meanings, and cross-references as needed; even treating us to thoughts from other people and commentaries. Each word study gives enough to enlighten the reader and encourage him/her to delve deeper. Each word study is relatively short, very easy to read and understand, and well worth sharing with others.

I have enjoyed reading this book and learning more about these special New Testament words. It has spurred me to get back into word studies for my personal devotions. This book is great for personal or group Bible study, and will make a wonderful gift for Bible lovers. Many thanks to Bethany House for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Heart of Ice" by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

The "Triple Threat Club" is at it again in this latest collaboration of Lis Wiehl and April Henry. Three friends: Allison - prosecutor, Cassidy - TV news reporter, and Nicole - FBI special agent; once again become embroiled in a case of arson and murder that will take all three of them to solve.There are also other story lines interwoven as: Allison is confronted with her very troubled sister Lindsay and the family dynamics that come with drug addiction; Nicole is faced with the possibility of breast cancer and its treatment; and Cassidy is sucked into a domination scheme by the fitness instructor, Elizabeth. Elizabeth likes to be better than everyone else, constantly looking for new "victims." Her goal is to get rid of anyone standing in her way, no matter what she has to plan for them. Then there is Jenna, the reporter who wants to make a name for herself but is caught on the wrong side of a gun. What will happen to each of these women? What is the truth about Elizabeth (Sissy), and will she ever be discovered?

I love this series and while I have read them in order, they can each stand alone as well. We get to meet three strong women who are faced with real problems and real decisions. When one falters, the others are there to pick herm up, just as we should be to each other. The characters are realistic, the storyline interesting, and this book has left me wanting to read more about these characters. I recommend this book to mystery/suspense lovers, both individuals and groups. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for the opportunity to read and review this book on my Nook.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Like Water for Chocolate" by Laura Esquivel

Tita is the youngest daughter in her family, a fantastic cook, and in love with Pedro. But, when Pedro comes to ask for her hand in marriage, her mother tells her no because as the youngest daughter, Tita must take care of her mother until she dies. This causes coldness to enter Tita's body which affects everything she does, especially when her sister marries Pedro. Her cooking takes on new consequences to the consumer as it takes on Tita's emotions. Her life is one of heartache and loss, yet one with happy moments as well. Come, enjoy the romance, recipes, and intriguing story, and discover Tita's fate.
I loved how the chapters each began with a recipe, causing my mind to be filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the kitchen. The story gives us the rational to food preparation and procedures as well, making it easy to see how emotions would affect the outcome.  This is a fun read for book lovers everywhere.