In My Mailbox (91)


In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.


for review:


"Between the Sea and Sky" by Jaclyn Dolamore


I can't resist a mermaid book!

 "Family Storms" by V.C. Andrews


 "Cloudburst" by V.C. Andrews


 Two new books by VC Andrews, just in time for Halloween!

"Valley of Dreams" by Lauraine Snelling


A fantastic author and a book about a Wild West show! Sounds awesome!!

"Too Wicked to Wed" by Cara Elliott


I loved the first two books by this author, so I can't wait to give this one a try!

I also won an autographed booklet about Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series from Forever Romance on twitter! So excited to have an autograph from one of my favorite authors!


What did you receive in your mailbox this week???

Follow Friday and TGIF Oct 28

Happy Friday, everyone! 


Hopefully I'll be able to find more new blogs to read this week!

If it's your first time here, please leave a comment and I'll come check out your blog too!











Short and Sweet Answer:

"Ruined" by Paula Morris is one of my fave Halloween reads! I was really hoping to read "Dark Souls" by her this year but I am quickly running out of time to buy it and read it!


While you're here, you can win 6 spooky ARCs in my 1300 Followers Contest!


Click the button below to enter!





"The Doctor's Lady" Review

"The Doctor's Lady"
by Jody Hedlund

Publisher: Bethany House
Release Date: Sep 1, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  

Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.
Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

My Review:

I really loved the beginning half of the novel, but towards the end it really slowed down for me. I didn't feel like the romance was developing enough. And so much happened, it seemed to hop from event to even really quickly.

I enjoyed the start of the book very much, before they started their journey west. Priscilla was downright unlikeable, but I really liked the author's choice to portray her this way. She was so sheltered and close-minded at the beginning, we were really able to appreciate her growth so much more.

I really appreciated the fact that the story was based on the true story of a real life heroine. I was glad the author showed us a little of the real doctor's wife's story in the author's note at the end. Ironically, some of the stranger plots from the story were ones based on true events!




Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: I think this will appeal to fans of American pioneer stories as well as fans of sweet romance.

"Dark Passage" Review

"Dark Passage"
by M. J. Putney

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: Sep 13, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:  

The Irregulars return home to 1803 England safely, but their worldview has changed.  Not only have their heroic efforts at Dunkirk given them pride and confidence but their dangerous mission has increased their magical powers. 
Tory delights in the ever deepening bond she shares with Allarde until she discovers how powerfully he is connected to his ancient family estate—the lands he will not inherit unless he denies his magical powers and chooses a nonmagical mate. If Tory really loves him, she must walk away—but does she have the strength to leave the love of her life?
Cynthia’s heroic efforts at Dunkirk have won her the respect of the Irregulars, but her sharp tongue keeps everyone at a distance. Isolated and very alone at Lackland Abbey over the Christmas holidays, she reluctantly agrees to join Jack Rainford and his family for their celebration even though they’re commoners, far below her own noble rank. The warm welcome of the Rainfords makes her feel happier and more accepted than she has ever been. But she can’t possibly be falling in love with flirtatious Jack! Can she?
Then the Irregulars are drawn into a dangerous attempt to rescue a vitally important French scientist from Nazi-occupied France. Tory and Allarde must work together because countless lives are at stake. Disaster strikes and not only is their mission threatened, but their very lives. Can magic and their loyalty to each other help them survive to return home? 

My Review:

This book had a little bit of everything that I like. It was historical, YA, and had magic. And it had a lot of something that I love-romance! You can really tell the author was a romance writer first because she really knows how to do romance!

Tory and Allarde were a great lead couple. Allarde, especially, was so noble, but yet never seemed too good to be true. His love for Tory was above everything else for him, and he wasn't afraid to show it.

But I have to admit that I liked the gorgeously flawed Cynthia more than the too perfect Tory. Cynthia was so prickly on the outside, but the author always let us in on how she was really feeling on the inside. She was so vulnerable, and afraid of being hurt again, like she was when her family wouldn't accept her magic. Cynthia's friendship with the adorable Jack and the slow growth of their relationship was just so good!

My favorite part of the book was the Christmas holiday that Cynthia spent with Jack and his family. She finally fit in somewhere and felt accepted and loved. Plus, it's a Christmas party with lots of mistletoe, what's not to love!


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5



Bottom Line: I loved this book and I especially enjoyed the two very different romances. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves historical romances with a lot of magic too.

Waiting on Wednesday (91)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:


"Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink"
by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Graphia/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: May 8, 2012

The following description is from goodreads.com:

Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem.
This looks just too cute! I love that it's set in a historical village! The setting sounds so fun and I've already read great reviews!

What are you waiting for this week???

Teaser Tuesday (52)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:



  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser Tuesday pick:




" When she chanced another glance, she caught sight of Eli watching her and Henry. Storm clouds were gathering in his eyes. "




p 118 "The Doctor's Lady" by Jody Hedlund

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!!


Welcome to my stop on the "Spooktacular Giveaway Hop"

hosted by Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Rhianna at Diary of a Bookworm.


Here at In the Hammock Blog, I'm giving away an
ARC of "Tempest Rising" by Tracy Deebs!!


I'm passing my copy of the ARC on to one of my readers!

GIVEAWAY RULES:

The winner will receive an ARC of "Tempest Rising" by Tracy Deebs


All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this post with your email address!
Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.
 
There are no extra entries for this one, I know you all are wanting to get to each giveaway quickly! All you have to do is be a GFC follower!

Rules:



  • US only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Must be 18 to enter
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by me 
  • Ends Oct 31 at midnight
  • Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


    While you're here, check out my two other contests!



    Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

    In My Mailbox (90)


    In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.


    for review:

    "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern 


    I received a special edition ARC from the publisher! So nice!

    "Scandalous Desires" by Elizabeth Hoyt


    I absolutely can't wait to read this!

    "Shadow Horse" by Alison Hart



    "Whirlwind" by Alison Hart


    I received both books from the author and will be having a contest soon!


    I also received a movie this week, but it's based on a book by Beverly Lewis:) 

    "The Shunning"


    won from Texas Kitchen



    Click the button below to enter my contest for 6 Spooky ARC's!





    Giveaway and Review: "Song of the Nile"

    "Song of the Nile"
     by Stephanie Dray

    Publisher: Penguin
    Release Date: Oct 4, 2011 
    Source: sent by publicist

    My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


    Summary from goodreads.com:

    Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.
    The magic of Isis flowing through her veins is what makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra's daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother's throne be more than she's willing to pay?


    My Review:


    I love reading about Cleopatra, so I already knew a little about her daughter, Cleopatra Selene. Maybe I had too many preconceived notions to really enjoy this version of the story, plus a lot of the elements really took me out of my comfort zone. I think I would have liked the story more if it had been a YA book or historical romance. The Historical Fiction genre is often too gritty and dark for me, which was true of this book. I just didn't like reading detailed rape scenes or the main character having sex with her twin brother. If you are ok with reading these types of things, this may be the book for you.

    I'm not sure about the magic in the book. While I understand that the magic and goddesses theme ties in with the beliefs of that time period, it's hard to read a book based on real people and really believe that they had magical powers.

    There was a lot of action and lot of drama here so the book was very fast paced. It's almost like an R-rated soap opera set in ancient times. This book has been getting many amazing reviews, so I encourage you to try it if you think you will be okay with the difficult themes.



    Main Characters: 3/5
    Supporting Characters: 3/5

    Setting: 5/5

    Romance: 3/5

    Uniqueness: 4/5
    Cover: 5/5
    Writing: 4/5



    Bottom Line: A fast-paced read, however a lot of the themes were too graphic for my tastes.




    GIVEAWAY RULES:

    Stephanie's publicist has generously offered a copy of "Song of the Nile" to one lucky reader of my blog!

    Mandatory entries:
    GFC follower of In the Hammock


    and by the author's request, do one of the following:

    Follow Stephanie Dray's Twitter @stephaniehdray
    Facebook fan of Stephanie Dray
    Join Stephanie Dray's Newsletter
    Leave a comment on this post with your email address and let me know which way you follow Stephanie Dray.
    For each additional way you follow Ms. Dray you will receive an additional entry.
    Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :)


    Extra Entries:
    +1 for each additional way you follow Ms. Dray
    +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
    +1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)



    Rules:
    • US and Canada only
    • No PO boxes
    • Must be a follower to enter
    • Must follow Stephanie Dray in one way
    • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
    • Leave a comment with your email address
    • Books will be mailed out by the publicist, In the Hammock is not responsible for lost or missing books, or the amount of time taken to ship the books
    • Must be 18 or over 
    • Ends Fri Oct 28
    Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


    Follow Friday and TGIF Oct 21

    Happy Friday, everyone! 


    Hopefully I'll be able to find more new blogs to read this week!

    If it's your first time here, please leave a comment and I'll come check out your blog too!








    TGIF Answer:

    5 Great Bloggers: 5?? I can only pick 5?? There are many more :)

    Confessions of a Book Addict

    Black and Gold Girl's Book Spot

    Reading Extensively

    A Girl, Books, and Other Things

    For What It's Worth



    While you're here, you can win 6 spooky ARCs in my 1300 Followers Contest!


    Click the button below to enter!


    "Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels" Review

    "Everything I Know About Love, I Learned from Romance Novels"
    by Sarah Wendell

    Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    Release Date: Oct 1, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    Straight from the heart of influential romance blogger Sarah Wendell, this inventive gift book provides the best wisdom about love that the romance genre has to offer. Laced with signature witty commentary and peppered with thoughts from bestselling romance authors and avid readers, these pages will reveal what every romance reader already knows: while romances are certainly steamy, they have more to offer than just a sexy hero. In fact, they might have more to say about love than we give them credit for.

    My Review:

    Don't you love it when a book reinforces what you already believe? Over and over during this book, I found myself saying "That's what I always tell people!" and "See, I knew what I was talking about!" Many of you  may know Sarah Wendell from her blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and her new book is a must read for romance novel addicts like me.

    This book is all about all of the positive things about romance novels, including contemporaries, paranormals, and my romance of choice-historicals. There are two main points that really stand out in my head that are reasons why I love the genre, too. First, the books focus on women, women are important, and women are worth it. This is a huge reason why I read romances. The other main point I agree with is that romances are overall positive and hopeful. Even when there are tough issues in the book, the main message about hope and the books stay positive.

    It's also interesting to me that the romances that I have really just not enjoyed have broken some of the 'rules' that are talked about in the book. One example that the author gave was that we don't want to read about how fat the main character thinks she is. Another deal breaker in romances is when the heroine is repeatedly beaten down in her self esteem-yes even by the 'hero'. She also makes the point that sexual fidelity is a main component of romances. If the hero cheats on the heroine, you can count me out for the rest of the story.

    If you know someone who doesn't 'get' why we read romances, maybe they could page through this book and see all of the real and positive aspects about the genre. 


    Bottom Line: Let's celebrate romance novels! And in doing so, we celebrate women, love and hope.

    "There You'll Find Me" Review

    "There You'll Find Me"
    by Jenny B. Jones

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson
    Release Date: Oct 4, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    When Finley travels to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, she hopes to create a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother away and seems to have left her high and dry.
    But from the moment she boards the plane and sits by Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to Finley's plan.
    When she gets too close to Beckett, a classmate goes on a mission to make sure Finley packs her bags, departs Ireland-and leaves Beckett alone.
    Finley feels the pressure all around. As things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not-so-healthy method of taking control of her life.
    Finley tries to balance it all-disasters on the set of Beckett's new movie, the demands of school, and her growing romance with one actor who is not what he seems. Yet Finley is also not who she portrays to Beckett and her friends.
    For the first time in her life, Finley must get honest with herself to get right with God.

    My Review:

    What an intense book! There is so much going on in this story. Sometimes, I felt like there were too many different aspects of the story, but then everything really ties together in the end.

    The romance between Finley and Becket was absolutely swoon-worthy. Who wouldn't want the most gorgeous movie star to also be such an amazing guy on the inside too? It's interesting how this most ultimate of romantic fantasies is in the book along with such traumatic issues and experiences that make up the rest of the book.

    The cover blurb says that Finley picks up a "dangerous vice" so I suppose it would be a spoiler to explain what the vice is. It's strange because I picked up on the warning signs early on but I was wondering if the problem was every going to be addressed. But since the tale was told in first person, I guess we had to wait until Finley figured it out for herself.

    The story is so well told and the characters are so finely crafted, you will certainly need a box of tissues by the end of the book.


    Main Characters: 5/5
    Supporting Characters: 4/5

    Setting: 5/5

    Romance: 5/5

    Uniqueness: 4/5
    Cover: 5/5 (pretty much in love with the cover)
    Writing: 4/5



    Bottom Line: I think fans of contemporary YA with a strong message and great romance will really take this book to heart. I don't think you need to be a fan of Christian Fiction to enjoy it.

    Waiting on Wednesday (90)

    Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

    This week I chose:


    "Winterling"
    by Sarh Prineas
    Harper Collins
    Release Date: Jan 3, 2012

    The following description is from goodreads.com:

    "A girl named Fer who travels to a magical land where she has to discover who she truly is while putting right a terrible wrong. She’s helped by a tricksy puck-boy named Rook and a wild horse named Phouka."

    "What a wonderful, imaginative alternate world Prineas has created for this book!" --Kristin Cashore, author of the New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire.

    "Filled with wonder and with characters both devious and charming, Winterling is a mischievous delight!" --Ingrid Law, New York Times bestselling author of Scumble and the Newbery honor book Savvy.
    There's not too much of a summary yet, but the wild horse sounds awesome and how can you say no to that cover!!?

    What are you waiting for this week???

    "Dael and the Painted People" Review

    "Dael and the Painted People" (Zan-Gah #3)
    by Allan Richard Shickman

    Publisher: Earthshaker Books
    Release Date: Aug 30, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    A prehistoric adventure, this is the third of the Zan-Gah young adult books. When Dael, guilty and tormented, came to live with the tribe of the painted people, he longed for peace and restoration; but without knowing it, he made a powerful enemy. Luckily, Dael had friends-including a troop of crows-and his own mystical powers. The disturbed and violent hero learns from the Children of the Earth, and from his submissive wife, a new way of life that is peaceful and generous. Dael and the Painted People is a story of conflict, healing, hate, and love by the winner of the Eric Hoffer Award, a finalist for the ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Award, and the Mom's Choice Gold Seal for Excellence in a family-friendly book series.

    My Review:

    The Zan Gah series is so well done and this book is a welcome addition to the series. This is the first book where Zan Gah's twin, Dael, is the lead instead of Zan Gah. I have to admit that I missed Zan Gah in this one, but I did like being able to see Dael finally grow and be happy.

    The second book in the series is still my favorite, because I loved meeting all of the fantastic characters. Most of my favorite characters are back in this story, but it seemed like not as much time was devoted to characters other than Dael and his wife, Sparrow. I was so glad that Rydl was back, he was one of my favorite characters, and after all, we had to see how he and Sparrow would interact after what happened between them.

    The thing I liked the best about this series is that you see it doesn't matter whether it's the 21st century, or prehistoric times, people are pretty much the same. We still want and need the same things. We still have the same types of social relationships. This is a series that I never would have picked up based on the summary, but I am so glad I did. Now, I'm totally immersed in this prehistoric world and anxiously awaiting the next installment.


    Main Characters: 5/5
    Supporting Characters: 5/5
    (I just wanted to see them more!)
    Setting: 5/5

    Romance: 4/5

    Uniqueness: 5/5
    Cover: 3/5 (it is straight from the story though)
    Writing: 5/5



    Bottom Line: A nice addition to the Zan Gah books, this time focusing on Zan's troubled twin brother, Dael. It's an adventure filled trip back to Zan Gah's prehistoric world, full of lessons we can learn from today.

    "A Heart Revealed" Review

    "A Heart Revealed"
    by Julie Lessman

    Publisher: Revell
    Release Date: Sep 1, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known?
    Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold readers in its grip until the very last page.

    My Review:

    This book was very different from what I had anticipated. It's part of a series, and I'm not really sure that it can be read as a standalone novel. There were a lot of characters to keep straight right from the very beginning. It was a struggle to keep up with all of the different couples and become invested in all of them at the same time. I had thought the book would focus on Emma and Sean, but there was just as much time and pages devoted to the other two couples as well. I'm sure this contributes to the hefty 500 page count.

    I wasn't fully able to become immersed in Emma and Sean's romance for a few reasons, including the fact that she was still married to an abusive husband who didn't even live in the same country. But another reason I couldn't embrace their love story was because of Rose. I really squirmed every time I had to read about the "hero" kissing another woman and how much he liked it. Plus this doesn't make sense based on the other views on cheating in the book.

    One thing I enjoyed reading about immensely was the time period in American history. I love to read about how different things were, but mostly what has stayed the same. I loved all the 1920s/30s name dropping. Their little shop sells Brooks Brothers? Way to go! And Charity wore an Elsa Schiaparelli dress? Wow! High roller! This was by far the most fun of the book for me.


    Main Characters: 3/5
    Supporting Characters: 3/5

    Setting: 5/5

    Romance: 3/5

    Uniqueness: 4/5
    Cover: 4/5
    Writing: 4/5



    Bottom Line: This would probably be a welcome addition to fans of the series just because there is so much continuation of the other characters' stories. But I just couldn't get on board with the main romance in the book.


    “Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

    "A Necessary Deception" Review

    "A Necessary Deception"
    by Laurie Alice Eakes

    Publisher: Revell
    Release Date: Oct 1, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  

    When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entré into London society, Lady Lydia finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?

    Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.

    My Review:

    This is a nice regency spy/double agent type of mystery. The romance and lead characters could have been developed a little more but all in all, it was a fun, relaxing read. The book was almost fluffy, nothing too heavy here, which makes for a nice, cozy read.

    In my opinion, Lydia's two sisters outshone her. I was much more interested in Cassandra's and Honore's lives and romances than in Lydia's. They both seemed to have more spunk and backbone than Lydia and they weren't quite so goody-goody.

    Cassandra and Honore were much more real to me than Lydia was. i couldn't wait to see what would happen next with Cassandra and Wittaker. Their relationship was so tumultuous! Perhaps they will get an entire book in the series too. Also, Honore's starry-eyed love for a forbidden gentleman was so unexpected and I didn't know what would happen next.

    Christien did have some heart-stoppingly romantic moments. Who wouldn't like sweet nothings whispered in her ear in French? 

    The Christian message of the story was very relaxed, which I did like. I think it would appeal to those who don't normally read the genre but who like a cozy Regency mystery.


    Main Characters: 3/5
    Supporting Characters: 4/5

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 4/5

    Uniqueness: 3/5
    Cover: 4/5
    Writing: 4/5



    Bottom Line: A cute Regency era spy mystery with fun supporting characters.

    “Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

    In My Mailbox (89)

    In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

    contest wins:

    "The Diva Haunts the House" by Krista Davis


    Just in time for Halloween! Won from Bookin' with Bingo

    "Risky Chance" (Horse Diaries #7) by Alison Hart, illustrated by Ruth Sanderson


    I've already finished this book and I loved it! Won from Two Bears Farm and the author, Alison Hart.

    What did you receive in your mailbox this week??




    While you're here, you can win 6 spooky ARCs in my 

    1300 Followers Contest!



    Click the button below to enter!





    Winner Announced! "Kiss of Night"



    Winner Announced!!
     

    The winner of Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie is:
    cherry
    Winner was chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to the winner!! I have emailed the winner for her mailing address. Winner has 3 days to respond :) Please allow at least 8 weeks for delivery, delivery time is determined by the publisher. Book is mailed by the publisher, In the Hammock Blog is not responsible for lost or missing books or the length of time that it takes to receive the book. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who entered and huge thanks to Faithwords for sponsoring the contest!! Congrats!!

    "Reasons to be Happy" Review

    "Reasons to be Happy"
     by Katrina Kittle

    Publisher: Sourcebooks
    Release Date: Oct 1, 2011 
    Source: sent by publisher

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    Summary from goodreads.com:  


    Hannah's parents are glamorous Hollywood royalty, and sometimes she feels like the ugly duckling in a family of swans. After her mother's tragic death, Hannah's grief is compounded by her desperate need to live up to her mother's image. She tries to control her weight through Bulimia, and her devastated father is too distracted to notice. The secret of her eating disorder weighs heavily on Hannah, but the new eighth grade Beverly Hills clique she's befriended only reinforces her desire to be beautiful. The only one who seems to notice, or care, that something is wrong is Jasper, the quirky mistfit.

    My Review:

    I usually consider it a spoiler to reveal too much more than what the back cover of a book delivers, but this book is about bulimia. I thought I knew what bulimia was before I read this book, but I realize now I barely knew anything. The author paints a gruesome look at all of the dirty, embarrassing details of the eating disorder, without sugar coating anything. She creates an honest, and still very compassionate, view of a young girl with bulimia.

    I think this book could be really helpful if you know someone with this eating disorder. It really helps to understand what the disease is and what the person is going through. 

    Hannah's relationship with her dad is so honest, especially since he is going through a disease that has many similar qualities. In the end when you can tell he finally understands, it is really bittersweet. 

    When Hannah goes to Ghana with her aunt, it really puts her decisions into perspective for both Hannah and the reader. I thought this was a really interesting perspective on the disease.

    Jasper was too adorable as a love interest. He was much more mature and accepting than most 8th grade boys in my opinion (and probably more mature than most adults for that matter). Sometimes, I felt like Hannah was a little older than 8th grade as well. The book felt more mature than a middle grade book, so I think I would classify it as YA instead of MG.



    Main Characters: 5/5
    Supporting Characters: 4/5

    Setting: 4/5

    Romance: 4/5

    Uniqueness: 4/5
    Cover: 3/5
    Writing: 4/5



    Bottom Line: There's so much to mention about this book and not enough space. But overall, it is an honest, compassionate look at the effects of bulimia.

    Follow Friday and TGIF Oct 14

    Happy Friday, everyone! 

    Last week was my first week participating in TGIF and it was a lot of fun and I found many great new blogs!!

    Hopefully I'll be able to find more new blogs to read this week!

    If it's your first time here, please leave a comment and I'll come check out your blog too!










    TGIF Answer: Poolside or beachside, even though it doesn't happen too often!

    While you're here, you can win 6 spooky ARCs in my 1300 Followers Contest!


    Click the button below to enter!




    Kindle and Nook Ebook Freebies!


    There are some interesting new free ebooks for Kindle and Nook! 

    Not all are available for free for Nook, though.


    "Jenny Pox" by JL Bryan


     I've seen some great reviews of this, I had always thought it was YA, but the Kindle page notes that it's for ages 18+ .



    "Skulduggery Pleasant: Skepter of the Ancients" by Derek Landry and Tom Perciva


    This is the first I've seen of this middle grade novel, but it looks really fun!


    "Ascent" by Amy Kinzer


    I haven't seen this one before either, but it seems to be YA dystopian which is a super popular genre!


    "Just the Way You Are" by Barbara Freethy



    Enjoy the books!

    Waiting on Wednesday (89)

    Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

    This week I chose:

    "The Alchemy of Forever"
    by Avery Williams
    Simon & Schuster
    Release Date: Jan 3, 2012

    The following description is from goodreads.com:

    Seraphina’s first love made her immortal…her second might get her killed. Incarnation is a new series that introduces a fresh mythology perfect for fans of bestselling series like The Immortals by Alyson Noel and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

    After spending six hundred years on earth, Seraphina Ames has seen it all. Eternal life provides her with the world’s riches, but at a very high price: innocent lives. Centuries ago, her boyfriend, Cyrus, discovered a method of alchemy that allows them to swap bodies with other humans, jumping from one vessel to the next, taking the human’s life in the process. No longer able to bear the guilt of what she’s done, Sera escapes from Cyrus and vows to never kill again.

    Then sixteen-year-old Kailey Morgan gets into a horrific car accident right in front of her, and Sera accidentally takes over her body. For the first time, Sera finds herself enjoying the life of the person she’s inhabiting—and falls for the human boy who lives next door. But Cyrus will stop at nothing until she’s his again, and every moment she stays, she’s putting herself and the people she’s grown to care for in great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that’s eluded her for centuries: true love?
    What are you waiting for this week???

    Teaser Tuesday (51)

    Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:



    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


    My teaser Tuesday pick:




    " Beckett tapped the seat beside him. 'Sit. Eat. I promise you're safe. I'm too tired to tick you off.' "




    p 35 "There You'll Find Me" by Jenny B. Jones

    "Ella Finds Love Again" Review and Tour

    It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

    You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


    Today's Wild Card author is:


    and the book:

    Harvest House Publishers; 1st ptg thus edition (September 1, 2011)
    ***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


    Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

    Visit the author's website.

    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

    Bestselling author Jerry Eicher concludes the Little Valley Series with one more glimpse into young Ella’s Amish world. She loves the widower Ivan Stutzman’s children and enjoys caring for them. Although she is genuinely devoted to Preacher Stutzman and keenly aware of his desire to propose, her feelings for him stop short of romantic love. Yet Ella yearns for marriage and wonders if what she and Ivan have is enough.

    When the handsome Englisha stops by and asks about converting to the Amish faith, Ella is intrigued and warily agrees to meet with him. Soon Ella realizes she’s torn between her devotion to Ivan and his children and her growing feelings for the Englisha. With dire consequences at stake, Ella must determine what the truth is, if her feelings are dependable, and how to stay faithful to the will of God.

    About This Series: The Little Valley Series follows Ella Yoder, a young independent Amish woman who has suffered the loss of her beloved fiancé. Relying on her faith and the support of her community, she picks up the pieces of her shattered life and learns to live, love, and dream again.





    Product Details:

    List Price: $11.99
    Paperback: 304 pages
    Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; 1st ptg thus edition (September 1, 2011)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0736928065
    ISBN-13: 978-0736928069

    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

    The light snow swirled around Ella Yoder’s buggy, the drifts along the ditch already high for this early in winter. Ella pulled the waterproof buggy blanket higher over her legs. Oh, to be home at Seager Hill, sitting near the warmth of the old woodstove, the whole family gathered at the supper table under the hiss of a gas lantern. There to experience the long evening with the dishes done and nothing to do but enjoy reading a good book.

    “I have to try!” Ella said, the words echoing in the empty buggy. “I have to make a real home for us. The girls deserve that much.” Her thoughts wandered back to Aden and his untimely death. I have to forget him and our dreams and hopes. I must move on. Ella slapped the lines. And yet I have no feelings for Ivan Stutzman. How can I marry him?

    Snowflakes drifted into the open storm front. They perched like white crystal gems on her black shawl—fragile, breakable…breathless beauty sent from heaven. She shook her blanket and sent the snowflakes flying off her lap. The horse jerked his head with the movement on the lines, as if to tell her he was going as fast as he could in this weather. At least the wind was coming from behind. The return journey would be another matter, driving straight into the teeth of what was turning out to be a fierce winter storm.

    How like her life. The time since Aden’s death had flown like the wind at her back, pushing her along with its force and fury—and by men who proclaimed their love for her—Wayne Miller, the bishop, and Preacher Stutzman…Ivan.

    Now the time had come to leave behind the memories of the past, to turn her heart toward love. And that journey looked to be as fierce as this trip home after supper at Ivan’s house. She could have said no to the invitation…but the girls…It was always about the girls, really. They needed a mother and a home. They needed her, and she could make the decision that would make her their mother. She would surely marry Ivan.

    “You can love him, and the feelings will come later,” Ella’s mamm had said, her voice firm. “He’s a gut man of God. He loves you. And Aden’s gone forever. You can make a home for Ivan’s girls. They need that from you, and you do love them.”

    From behind her she heard the sound of an Englisha vehicle approaching even though the engine was muffled by the snowdrifts on either side and the heavy cloud cover. The noise was approaching much too swiftly. She tensed. Headlights reflected off the snowbanks. Her horse turned its head sideways and his blinder slipped, leaving him blinded on that side. Ella tightened the reins to keep him away from the ditch.

    The vehicle behind her sounded like it was accelerating, the motor much louder now. Ella checked her lights outside the buggy with a quick sideways glance. Were they working? The intensity of the headlights behind her drowned the feeble glow her buggy lights were putting out. Surely the driver could see her. The road behind her was a straight stretch—no curves to hide the buggy’s profile.

    Ella pulled right, her horse protesting with an arch of his neck, hesitating to follow her directions. She held him to the side of the road with the sheer force of her hands on the lines.

    “Slow boy,” she hollered, hoping he could hear her above the roar of the motor. “It’s safe. Come on over—just a little more, Moonbeam. Give that driver plenty of room.”

    Surely it was a man in the Englisha vehicle behind her. There were women who drove as they pleased, even among the Amish. Yet it was hard to imagine that anyone but a man would drive so recklessly on slippery, snow-covered roads.

    The headlights wavered and then moved away from the buggy. Ella drew in a deep breath and willed the pounding of her heart to slow down. Surely she had been spotted, and the driver was turning out in time.

    She waited for the crunch of tires beside her and the swirl of snow as the vehicle passed her. Instead, it slowed as it drew alongside her, keeping pace with the horse’s slow gait. She glanced out the small buggy window. The pickup truck window was rolled down, but no faces were visible in the darkness inside the cab. Was she about to be waylaid on this lonely stretch of road during this cold winter night? Ivan’s place was still at least a mile ahead, and she would never be able to outrun a truck.

    “Are you by yourself    ?” the question came.

    The voice was female, and Ella opened the buggy door, pushing it aside. Not that it would have done much good, but if it had been a man’s voice, she would have let out on the lines, whipping the horse with her cries and at least made a dash for Ivan’s place.

    “I don’t have far to go,” she said, hoping her weak voice carried to the speaker.

    “There’s a big storm comin’,” a male voice said from the other side of the truck. “Straight off the lake, the radio said. It’s supposed to dump the worst in a few hours. You’d best get off the road. It’s bound to be dangerous weather…especially for you Amish folks.”

    “Ach, thanks,” Ella said. “I’m just goin’ another mile or so.”

    “You’re not driving back tonight?” the man asked.

    “I had thought I would, but I imagine I can stay over if things look too bad.”

    “We’d best be getting inside ourselves,” the woman said. The motor roared again. Quickly the red taillights bounced and faded in the falling snow before disappearing into the blinding whiteness.

    So the approaching storm was a bad one. She’d been suspecting as much the last fifteen minutes or so. Her initial hopes had gotten the best of her. She didn’t want to stay with Susanna, Ivan’s sister, but surely she could if she must. Certainly, she couldn’t stay at the main house. Should she turn back now? Yet going back was farther than moving ahead, and Ivan would worry. He would think she had gotten stuck in some ditch and would set out to find her.

    She slapped the reins. There was no choice but to go on. Perhaps Moonbeam could increase his pace. He shook his head, but lifted his feet faster, his hoofbeats all but soundless on the snowy road.

    In the heavy darkness, Ella stayed in the center of the road. Already the drifts were sending tentative feelers out from the edges of the banks. She kept the lines tight, glad to see a house come up ahead. The soft shine of a gas lantern glowed from the window and across the sparkling snow.

    It looked Amish, the familiarity a gut thing. Like the feeling of a warm blanket at night, making the darkness beyond the glow seem less deep, the distance yet to travel closer. Inside the house would be people like her, who saw the world as she did, who experienced life in a way she could understand. Surely the Englisha felt the same about their people.

    Ella drove on. No other headlights appeared, the darkness of the woods deepening on either side of her, the snow increasing by the minute. This invitation to supper from Ivan had seemed such a wise idea at the time. If only they had put the occasion off until next week. She opened the buggy door again, glancing out. There was no doubt the Englisha man had been correct—she would not be returning tonight. She would surely be spending the night at Susanna’s place. But perhaps it wouldn’t be too bad. Maybe it was Da Hah’s way to expose her to Ivan’s extended family.

    Her mamm often said, “Da Hah makes use of all things for His own good.”

    Since Mamm was usually right, she would simply accept tonight’s change of plans. The snowstorm was none of her doing.

    Ella peered into the falling snow, recognizing the turn toward Ivan’s farm. She dodged a long stringy snowdrift, pulling sharply left, before turning into Ivan’s lane. Before her rose the familiar outlines of his white, paint-peeling home and the brown barn, both of them standing like ghostly forms in the falling snow. A light was still on in the barn, and Ella drove toward its door, pulling past the hitching post, which sat closer to the house. Moonbeam would need to be taken inside on a night like this, and since Ivan wasn’t likely to notice her arrival, Ella pulled the buggy to a stop and climbed out, preparing to unhitch by herself.

    One tug was off, the leather frozen under her gloves, when the barn door swung open. Ivan rushed out, leaving the door swinging in the wind, the warm glow of the barn lantern flooding the yard and reaching the buggy. Ella blinked, her head bent against the sting of the snow.

    “Ach, I didn’t hear you drive in,” Ivan said, quickly unhitching the other side of the horse. “I’m sorry about that. I half expected you to turn back.”

    “The storm came up faster than I thought it would,” Ella said. “Someone did stop to warn me on the road, but I was closer here than home.”

    “I’d hoped to have a better welcome for you,” Ivan said, smiling through the snowflakes that were settling on his eyebrows and beard.

    “It is awful tonight,” Ella said, forcing a laugh.

    Ivan grabbed the horse’s bridle, and Ella shut the buggy doors against the force and howl of the wind. She paused, opening her mouth on impulse, feeling the cold snowflakes against her tongue. How strange this evening was—so cold and yet joy stirred within from the snow. She felt young again, perhaps even ready to move on with life.

    “Makes me feel like a child again,” Ella said into the wind, repeating the gesture, her mouth open longer this time. Ivan would surely think her silly, would he not?

    But Ivan laughed easily with her as he led the horse forward, the shafts dropping softly onto the ground. He had paused while watching her. “Da Hah gives pleasure even in snow, doesn’t He? I just don’t look forward to all the shovelin’ tomorrow morning.”

    “If it even stops by tomorrow. The Englisha couple said the storm was a bad one.”

    “I think they’re right. The barometer is falling fast. I don’t think you’ll be able to get back home tonight, Ella.”

    “No, I don’t suppose I can,” she said as they entered the barn. She shut the door behind them. “Can I keep Moonbeam in here for the night? And perhaps Susanna can put me up?”

    Ivan turned to look at her over the horse’s mane. “I see my invitation put you in a pickle. I’m sorry about that. Susanna has room for you. I guess we could have called supper off if the storm hadn’t come so suddenly.”

    “It’s not a problem,” Ella said with a nervous smile. “I really wanted to come—snowstorm or not. And this will give me more time to spend with the girls…and you. And perhaps get used to the place.”

    Thankfully Ivan seemed to understand. He nodded his head. The horse bumped him, reaching its head toward the stall and the wisps of hay hanging in the manger.

    Ella waited for Ivan, standing under the lantern as he led the horse forward and into the stall. He came out and shut the latch on the stall before pulling more hay down into the manger with a pitchfork.

    “There!” he said. “That should keep him satisfied for the night.”

    Ella rubbed her gloved hands together, the little warmth from the gas lantern on the ceiling not reaching her.

    Ivan walked toward her, his face fully visible now. The snow melted from his beard, leaving wet spots that glittered in the glare of the lantern light. He seemed burdened, worried, the lines on his face longer than usual.




    My Review:

    3 Stars


    This story is very well written and the author has a vast knowledge of the day to day life of the Amish people. However, the story didn't hold my interest as much as I had expected.

    I thought that the romance would be more of a love triangle/square, when actually it was very obvious from the start whom Ella would choose.

    If you enjoy reading about taking care of small children, I think you will really like this book. The meatiest story line seemed to be Ella's role as caretaker of  Ivan's small girls. I enjoy kids in books very much, but it seemed to go overboard here for me. The kids weren't so much individual characters as much as they were an obligation, which was sad for me.

    Overall, a sweet, well-written story that fans of Amish fiction will embrace.
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