Sunday, November 24, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent Series #3)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

My thoughts:
I wanted to love this book, but I didn't.  It isn't that I disliked it or didn't enjoy it, but it was too easy to put down and walk away from.  It lacked the sticking power of the first two books where it was hard to break away and do something else.  I was able to put this down for days at a time.  Part of me gets that way when I know a series is almost over, I want to prolong what is left of the storyline, but I think at the same time the last installment of any trilogy is hard and where readers start to get the most critical.

Tris and Tobias are living in Evelyn's post faction world with a new movement afoot, the Allegiant are forming to rebel against the anti-faction order that has been imposed on Chicago.  Meanwhile, many are wondering about the message about the need for the Divergent citizens to leave the city to help heal the world. 

The outside world reminded me of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.  There are issues of control and issues of who is more worthy of time and attention.  Is the reason for why we act the way we do all because of our genes, or do we have some control over what we do with what we have?

I don't want give any spoilers, but I am conflicted over the ending, I can see why Roth chose the route she did, but I would have liked to have seen it all go a different way.  I still look forward to seeing what is done with the movie version of Divergent, but this story let me down a bit and took both Tris and Tobias in different directions than I saw them in the other books.  Tris got much more regimented and set in her ways, passing judgments and holding people up to very high standards and expecting others to go along with her way or to be quiet and Tobias, who was always so strong and sure of himself, succumbed to a lot of self-pity and whining.  Almost as if Roth took the normal stereotypes of male and female characters and flipped them.  Not sure it works all that well either way though.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062209276
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/22/2013
  • Series: Divergent Series , #3
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 544

Meet the Author

Veronica Roth
Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divergent and Insurgent, the first two books in the Divergent trilogy. Now a full-time writer, Ms. Roth and her husband live in Chicago. You can visit her online at Twitter, Tumblr, her blog, and her website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter

About the book: When Laney Carrigan's adoptive parents encourage her as an adult to seek out her birth family, her only clue is the Lokelani quilt in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island, she battles fears of rejection from a family that abandoned her once before while her faith struggles to embrace God's love.

Along the path to her true heritage, she meets Hawaiian cowboy/helicopter pilot, Kai Barnes. Kai is determined to protect the people he's come to regard as family against a woman he suspects of being nothing more than a gold-digger, but he finds himself drawn to Laney in spite of his reservations. He's spent his entire life seeking forgiveness from past mistakes and longs for a second chance at happiness. 

Laney's painstaking journey to find restoration and a place to belong among the breathtaking allure of the Big Island will lead her closer to her past and maybe even something more.

Purchase a copy:

Landing page: 

Meet the author:
 Lisa Carter has been published in MomSense and Christian Parenting Today. Lisa is currently teaching music at a preschool and enjoying the enthusiasm and joy for life for which preschoolers are famous. She and David have two beautiful daughters.

Find out more at:

My thoughts:
I was excited to join this Litfuse blog tour for this new book.  I love quilts.  There is a local fair each summer in a nearby city and one of their attractions is the quilt barn.  Walking though and admiring all the different quilts is one of my family's favorite parts of the festival.  There is always one quilt up for a raffle drawing and we enter every year for the chance to win it. 

This book was about a woman who was adopted as an infant after being left by her mother on the doorstep of her adoptive parents.  The only thing her birth mother left her was a quilt with the words Aloha, Rose.  Feeling that she was abandoned and unwanted as a baby, even though she found loving parents, she has decided to find out what she can of her past so she can move past these childhood wounds.  She meets a grandmother who is suffering dementia and assorted adopted family which included Kai, a man who came to live with her aunt when he was child after his mother passed away.  Both Kai and Laney are walking around with a lot of baggage from their childhoods and their time with current wars.

Laney allows herself to get close to these people who claim to be her family, but always holds a part or herself back and keeps her escape route intact, as she has all her life.  How can she trust the people who let her mother leave the island and never followed or looked for her?  How can she know for sure she is in the right place solely based on a quilt her mother made?  If her grandfather didn't want her as an unborn infant can her grandmother really want her as an adult?

Laney has to allow herself to work through all her protective layers and trust that God is guiding her to a place she will feel at home.  She stumbles off this path more than once and questions her own decisions as well as those of the people around her, until she allows herself to stand still and listen to God and her heart and her family.  Sometimes we are so busy moving and running that we fail to just listen in order to know the truth.


Friday, November 22, 2013

The Christmas Quilt: Quilts of Love Series by Vanneta Chapman Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book: Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie's sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

Purchase a copy:

Meet the author:
 Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.

Find out more at:

Landing page: 


My review:
This was the perfect book for the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.  It is so easy to get grumpy and stressed about all there is to do and to lose sight of all the everyday things there are to be thankful and grateful for.  Almost every negative can be turned around if you look at it from a different angle.  Leah is pregnant with twins and feels a great distance from her husband.  She is sharp with him, he feels too busy to spend time with her, he thinks she is always prickly and she starts to lose her trust in him and where he goes.  Then, six weeks before her due date, she goes into preterm labor.  Luckily her sister-in-law spent her rumspringa going to nursing school and worked at the English hospital that Leah is moved to.  The two women spend time in the hospital getting a quilt ready for the babies.  As they make each of the nine squares they share stories that touch on the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.  The women take their time with the quilt and share stories from their lives plus a few shared by another patient, a doctor and Leah's husband.  In having the time to contemplate and pray, Leah changes her attitude and feels remorse for how she has been acting.  Even though they are separated and must communicate via phone, Leah and Adam manage to find their way back to each other and become closer while farther apart than they have ever been before.  Leah and Adam learn through crisis what it means to trust in God's will and to make time for a true connection with each other.  They are able to make real changes in themselves by developing and allowing themselves to trust a higher power and each other.
So many people focus on getting things perfect and on their to do list, but if you are able to let yourself step back from the busyness of life you can see that we are all being guided if we are willing to accept the guidance. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Starting Now (Blossom Street Series #10) by Debbie Macomber

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle’s beloved Blossom Street in this heartfelt tale of friendship, renewal, and discovering what’s truly important in life.
For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.
With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.
As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear.
Warmly told and richly textured, Starting Now is filled with the promise of new beginnings and the unending delights of companionship and love.
My thoughts:
I haven't read a Debbie Macomber book in a while, but they always feel like a cozy warm blanket.  The characters feel like friends and I love that some of these Blossom Street characters have been weaving in and out of her books for years.  It is like catching up with old friends!
Libby  has been so focused on the career aspect of her life that she has been neglecting the other areas of her life.  In working towards her goal of making partner she has been thinking that when she achieves that goal she will have time for friends, relationships and hobbies, but her life is passing her by.  When she is let go from the firm she has worked for for many years it feels to her that life is over, but the advice her boss gave her keeps coming back until she reaches out and leaves her comfort zone.  She finds that the knitting that gave her comfort when her mother was dying of cancer, still has the power to relax her.  She finds comfort in rocking babies and starts going to the gym and connecting with friends.  As she makes changes in her life she finds that it is so much more full and rich than it was when she was totally focused on her law career.
What I took away from this book is that without meaningful relationships and connections to other people, we are just going through the motions.  I think too many businesses are expecting more and more of their employees, but if they gave everyone the chance to have a well rounded life with time for fulfillment both at home and at work there would be more satisfied employees overall and less problems.  I think some of the problems businesses encounter is caused by asking people to give more and more of their time to a job, instead of allowing for a balance that might make people  more productive overall instead of dreading long hours.
I hope to not wait so long until I read another Macomber book!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345528810
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Series: Blossom Street Series , #10
  • Pages: 352

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cinderella Goes to the Potty by Justin Blaney and Benji Todd Litfuse Blog Tour

An Isfits book.

Isfits . . . postmodern fairy tales and cautionary confessions.

Cinderella scratched a new line on the wall every night when the clock struck twelve. For 999 nights, she'd sworn to herself that she wouldn't stay long enough to see 1000. Cinderella heard the old man and the old woman clunking up the stairs. The clock began to chime. Cinderella was out of time. She had a decision to make---the kind of decision that could change her life or take it from her.

What Is Isfits?

A cast of characters sampled from icons of adolescence, re-imagined.

A graphic novel, like you've never seen before.

This eBook is 1/6th the full length graphic novel. Read it in about 5 minutes. Enjoy for years.

Purchase a copy:

Join the Isfits' launch team:

Support the Kickstart (Do good and get COOL stuff!):

About the author: Justin Blaney is the author of the Amazon bestseller Evan Burl and the Falling which reached the #1 position in fantasy, teen and thriller categories. His latest project is "Isfits," a series of graphically illustrated postmodern fairytales and cautionary confessions for young adults. The stories follow the adventures of a cast of characters based on icons of adolescence placed in a darkly-humored world of blissful brokenness where they possess the power to affect cultural and personal change in the real world. Blaney is the founder of Innovate for Jesus ( and Inkliss, a film production company. He lives outside Seattle with his wife and three daughters.

Learn more about Justin at:
Landing page: 
My thoughts:  I received this book from Litfuse in return for an honest review.  I must admit that when I first read the title I thought it was going to be a humorous potty training book along the line of Once Upon a Potty, but it is not.  It actually has nothing to do with potty training.  My first time reading it through  had me wondering a but, but my second read through was much more satisfactory.
Cinderella is being held captive by an old man and an old woman who want to, wait for it, feed her to the potty.  The potty is a tree and it is hungry.  Cinderella, of course, does not want to be a meal for a potty tree so she does he best to elude the man and woman and get away from the castle where she is being held.
The illustrations are dark, but nuanced and the text varies in both font and direction, some pages have text both right side up and upside down, some pages it goes sideways, you have to look to see which way to read from page to page.  In the second read through I could see the similarities to other fairy tale characters such as Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzle.  I read this book to my children the second tiem through and they had some interesting observations.  They thought, as I  had the first tiem through, that it might be scary for a younger child to hear about a carnivorous potty, so we decided that it must have a target audience of older children.  
This book was a fun and unusual take on a fairy tale character.  I loved that Cinderella had to rely on herself instead of being saved by a prince, as well as how she used her own ideas and resourcefulness to work towards saving herself.   The illustrations were unusual in a pleasing way and I love how the text varied from page to page.  I would recommend this to tween and older readers as it might be too much for young children and would caution that it is not a potty training book for young children.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

This week I was a bit more successful with reading, but our car CD player started acting up and wasn't able to read the disks from our new library books.  I'm not sure what we are going to do about that at the moment, but here is what I managed to finish this week.  All three are review books from Litfuse and will have reviews posted this week.

Cinderella Goes to the Potty:  An Isfits Postmodern Fairytale by Justin Blaney and Benji Todd
Aloha Rose by Lisa Carter
The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

What did you read this week?  This is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.

Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there's something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it's mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there's a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they're determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you're worth more dead than alive.

My thoughts:
I have conflicted feelings about this series.  While I think it is well done, it is a bit more violent than I would like.  The suggested age range for the book is 12 to 17, but I often listen to books in the car with my children and we do rotate in young adult books since we are listening together.  By being together we can pause the story and discuss, pose questions and explain as we go.  I regret that I started this series with them as the senseless disease that causes sufferers to go crazy is a very scary concept and not really explainable.  It fits in with the Walking Dead and the zombie genre to me.  Had I done better research before we started the first one I would have skipped these books with my kids.  On my own I think they would be a different experience.  They are suspenseful and scary and pose questions about catastrophes and government's role in the aftermath.  I think I could have focused more on the story and less on how to talk about it with my kids.

Mark and Trina were on some future version of a subway when the solar flares hit.  They survived the chaos and met a group of people they would then spend time with in the post flare world of melted polar ice caps and people fighting each other for survival.  People are rebuilding and working together until bergs start arriving with darts and shooting people.  From there begins the quest to find out why the people in the bergs are shooting these darts, why people are going crazy and if the two are connected.  It is a fast paced story full of some pretty big horrors and big revelations about what people are capable of in the name of survival.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449810118
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Series: Maze Runner Series
  • Edition description: B&N Exclusive Edition
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday Snapshot-Rides and animals!

 A couple weeks ago we took one last trip to our local amusement park on their last day of the season.
 The kids road some rides, trick or treated with characters and dinosaurs and visited the petting zoo.
 It was a low key kind of day with some really nice weather!
 We took our time and didn't rush.
 They visited all the animals.
 Petting some
 while not being so sure of some of the others.
 We decided not to feed them this time, as none of them were all that interested in food with so many little hands offering it.
 This was our last ride on our way out of the park.
I'm going to miss these days when they decide they are all too big for the kiddie area!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's Monday, What are you reading?

I've missed out on doing this for a week or more as I haven't been doing much reading.  Balance can be hard to find, I know, but I am working on it.  I did finish reading a few things in the last few weeks, I promise.  Here is what I finished:
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Kill Order by James Dashner
Starting Over by Debbie Macomber
I hope there are more that I just can't think of right now, but I am afraid that may be all I have finished lately. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Snapshot- Fall fun!

 We finally had a weekend with no plans to spend as a family so we spent some time on the land we bought last summer.
 A lot of the trees have already lost their leaves, but we found a lot of pretty views to see and explore.

I wish I could get this one to rotate as it looked so nice going down the path.  I am sure I will figure it out at some point!