review: Beguiled

by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker for some of Charleston's wealthiest citizens, loves her job, and the simple life that she's created for herself now that both her parents are gone. unfortunately, there is someone out there, with keen insight into Rylee's past, who is intent on brutally robbing the same people that Rylee works for putting both her job, and her life at risk.

Logan Woods, a reporter covering the break-ins is intrigued by the dogwalker, but the farther down he digs into the story, the more it looks like Rylee is at the center of all the trouble.

romance author Deeanne Gist and suspense writer J. Mark Bertrand combine their skills to come up with this excellent romantic suspense novel. to say that i couldn't put the book down would be almost an understatement. they had me guessing until almost the very end, which is difficult to do!

Beguiled is definitely well worth reading.

This book is courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favorite bookseller.

review: Swinging on a Star

by Janice Thompson

in this second of the Weddings By Bella series, Bella Rossi has definitely taken on more than she can handle.

her second wedding as the family's wedding facility planner is a Renaissance-themed fairy tale, complete with costumes, horse-drawn carriages and a castle. at the same time, her Aunt Rosa's dream of cooking for the Food Network is coming true, also at their home. Add to this her large family's already busy life, and a relationship with a great guy, and you can understand the stress she's under.

the last thing she needs is to discover that the best man is Hollywood's hottest bachelor, and part of Bella's wedding coordinator job is to keep his presence a secret before the big day.

Swinging on a Star is a fun book that you'll probably need to catch your breath while reading! it took me a bit to get into the book, but for the most part, i loved the family dynamics, the relationships, and let me say that the descriptions of Aunt Rosa's cooking made me more than hungry.

if you're looking for some light, enjoyable fiction, this is an excellent choice.

Book is courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller.

review: Anything But Normal

by Melody Carlson

it is Sophie Ramsay's senior year, and outwardly, everything seems to be going her way. she's just become the school newspaper's new editor, she's got some great friends, and a bright future ahead of her.

but that's not all she's got.

even though the summer is behind her, and she wants nothing more than to forget it, Sophie is about to learn that the repercussions of some mistakes are easier to hide than others.

this young adult book by Melody Carlson tells a very real tale that so many young girls find themselves in, despite their best intentions. Ms. Carlson does s superb job of relating Sophie's struggles with her situation, and all the corresponding emotions, not to mention reactions, while never condoning the reason she found herself there in the first place.

Anything But Normal is definitely worth reading, i read the whole book in one sitting.

This book is courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller.

what i'm reading...

i've never been one to read only one book at a time.

so, right now, i am reading...

Small Surrenders... daily lent readings. i've only just begun it, but already i can tell that it's a good one, and i can see it being my lenten companion for years to come.

Swinging on a Star... some romantic fiction. it's not exceedingly memorable yet, but i've barely begun it. here's hoping!

The Liturgical Year
... a fascinating book on the entire christian year. you'll be hearing more about this one.

Flickering Pixels... a mind-bending look at how media itself {apart from the message} shapes us, and how it changes not only the Gospel, but how we think and interact with our world.

what are you reading right now?

reading challenge: day 45

thanks to a day off on friday, i was able to finish books 9, 10 and 11!

number 9 was Cara Black's Murder in Montmartre, number 10 was Cupidity, which i reviewed yesterday. by friday, i had read much of both of these. which was good, since i think i had a bout of sleeping sickness on friday! i was simply so tired that all the plans i had made had to postponed, but when i was awake, i could read.

after i finished the first two books, then i went to check the mail and behold! there were three more books! so i began Melody Carlson's Anything But Normal, and before i fell back to sleep on friday evening, i had finished that one as well.

so this puts me well ahead of schedule, as book number 12 isn't due to be read until february 24!

i've got a couple that could be next, but the one i REALLY want to be reading is the sequel to Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief, called The Sea of Monsters, which my friend alicia brought over last night for me to borrow. after seeing the movie Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief on saturday afternoon. it's been a while since i saw a movie at the theater, but trust me, this one was well worth the wait!

review: Cupidity

find me a person who has never done something stupid for the sake of love, and i'll show you someone who probably still needs to read this book anyway! written equally for both the single and the married, Cupidity: 50 Stupid Things People Do For Love (And How To Avoid Them) is the best friend we all need to tell us the truth when we're making less than stellar love decisions, both before and after 'I do'.

the authors define Cupidity as 'where stupid and love meet', and break down the 50 things into five sections: emotional, mental, physical, social and spiritual acts of Cupidity. some of these acts were not really a surprise, such as 'believing romance equals love' or 'using sex to get love', but others were things i have simply never thought of before. such as 'letting technology define your relationship', something that even ten years ago wouldn't have been much of an issue, but today is far too easy to do.

there were one or two of the 50 that i am not sure about, but for the most part, this book offers great insight in an informal style, laced with the authors' own examples of their Cupidity.

so on this day that our culture sets aside to celebrate love, whether or not you have someone to buy daisies and sea salt chocolates for, i recommend this book.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

book number nine... Murder in Montmartre by Cara Black.

truly, if i cannot be in paris myself, reading about the adventures of Parisian private investigator Aimee Leduc is as close to bliss as i'm going to get.

while i've only ever driven through montmartre, never actually explored it for myself, after having read this chapter in Aimee Leduc's story, the next time i am in paris, i will definitely make it a destination.

oh, and pure excitment! the movie for book one of this year, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief opens today! how fun is that?


ah, the first post to a new blog...

you may be wondering why i'm here. well, grab a coffee and let me explain.

it all started with a challenge. this challenge to read 75 books in 2010 has been a good thing. it is forcing me to closely examine how i spend my leisure time. if you're anything like me, too many moments when you could be doing something productive get eaten up by mindless diversions.

but while it's a good thing on that front, i have noticed that it is taking over my original blog, shards of light, which i began for my own writing... and the last thing that i would want for all this reading to do would be to stop me from doing my own writing,

so this is my solution.

while i will, from time to time, mention books and my love of them on shards of light—when something is as big a part of ones life as reading is to me, it is inevitable—this is the place where you will find my book reviews, thoughts, etc.

so, welcome, kick off your shoes, grab another coffee and let's talk about books!

...and because there isn't much about the actual books themselves, here is a bit of where i am...
currently reading: Murder in Montmartre by Cara Black {book number 9, which will be completed today}
favorite book read in 2010 so far: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan