What I've Been Readin'

Good morning everyone! Here is the list of books I have read over the last two weeks. :-)

Tomorrow's Garden: A Novel (Texas Dreams)First off, I read Tomorrow's Garden, a new release by Amanda Cabot. The final book in her Texas Dreams series, this book is a sweet ending. Getting to know Lawrence more was great - after the way his story ended in Scattered Petals, I was hoping he'd have his chance at happiness. The way he reached out to Harriet's brothers also was very sweet. If you'd like to read my full review of this, you can go HERE.

Bound by GuiltThe first book I have read by C.J. Darlington, and it was awesome!!! Bound By Guilt is the story of Roxi, an unloved teenager who has gone from foster home to foster home, longing for love. My heart bled with Roxi through it all. When Jan stepped into her life, I could almost imagine how she seemed to Roxi - a guardian angel. As the story approached the ending, the tensions mounted and I could not put the book down. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Read my review HERE.

The Priest's GraveyardAre you a Ted Dekker fan? If so, you MUST get his newest release, The Priest's Graveyard. As I read, only one word could describe my thoughts of this amazing thriller--AWESOME!!!  While a bit on the violent and goary side, I still enjoyed the adventure with Danny and Renee. When the book finally came to a pulse-pounding conclusion, I was left satisfied with the way it ended, but sad that it was over. Its one of those books that, when you reach the ending, you flip back and begin re-reading the highlights again. Go HERE to read my review.

Mine Is the Night: A NovelAfter my heart rate slowed down from that read, I picked up Liz Curtis Higgs new book, Mine is the Night. I confess that I had a bad impression of Liz Higgs writings after reading one of her other historical Scottish series when I was too young for the content, so I admit that I went into this story with some trepidation. But I was pleasently surprised. It was wonderful! My review of this book can be found HERE. An easy read, I found myself getting lost in their adventures. When I finished, I was sad to leave Elisabeth, Jack, Marjory, Gibson, Anne, Michael, and Peter. What an endearing cast of characters!

Dawn of a Dream, The (At Home in Beldon Grove)The Dawn of a Dream by Ann Shorey was a very nice read. The beginning is swift and almost before you can comprehend, Luellen is faced with a big tragedy--her husband leaves her. As she tries to pick up her shattered life and get the teaching degree she has always wanted, one after another thing comes into her life and tries to knock her down. You can read my review HERE. I was a little dissapointed in the way she handled one situation, but I know that is probably just me. I am sure that fans of Ann's work will love this last book in her At Home in Beldon Grove series.

Yesterday's TomorrowNext on my list was debut author Cathrine West's book, Yesterday's Tomorrow. I can tell you I wasn't all sure what to expect from here, but I was completely taken back by this gritty story of a woman's journey over to war-torn Vietnam. It didn't take me long to become completely lost in Kristin's adventures. I was cheering for her to the very end. I haven't posted my review yet, but will be posting it on Monday, so feel free to stop by Legacy of a Writer! :-)

Undaunted Faith (Seasons of Redemption)I've seen Andrea Boeshaar's previous three books around a lot, but was only just able to read her upcoming release, Undaunted Faith. The last book in her Seasons of Redemption series, this book tells the story of two of the McCall men, Luke and Jacob. I enjoyed this read and will have a review posted on Legacy of a Writer on Tuesday. Stop by! :-)

Livvie's Song (River of Hope, Book 1)And finally, I just finished Livvie's Song by Sharlene MacLaren the other day. I still haven't written a review for this book, but will be posting it on my blog in a week or so. It was a fun read and threw me a few surprises as the story progressed that I wasn't expecting. All the characters were fun to get to know, and one in paticular really got under my skin! (always a sign of a well-written character!)

Book Beginnings - Artemis Fowl

It's Friday, so here is my Book Beginnings on Friday!Katy, over at A Few More Pages, hosts this every week and we thought it'd be fun to have Book Ponderings join! If you are interested in doing this for your blog, check out Katy's blog for details on what to include in the post!

Artemis Fowl (new cover)

How does one describe Artemis Fowl? Various psychiatrists have tried and failed. The main problem is Artemis's own intelligence. He bamboozles every test thrown at him. He has puzzled the greatest medical minds, and sent many of them gibbering to their own hospitals. 
There is no doubt that Artemis is a child prodigy. But why does someone of such brilliance dedicate himself to criminal activities? This is a question that can be answered by only one person.And he delights in not talking.
This immediately makes you want to know who this Artemis guy is. Criminal activities? Exceptional intelligence? Who is this kid?!  And as you continue reading through the prologue and into the first chapter, you learn a lot about Artemis - he's quite the character! But I shall stop here so I don't give anything away. ;)

We'd love to hear what's the first line - or paragraph - of your current read. Feel free to share it with us in the comments! Are you liking the book so far? Was the first few lines enough to grip your attention? We're looking forward to hearing from you! :-)

Book Review - Tomorrow's Garden

As a seed awaits the spring sunshine, so one young woman hopes for a brighter tomorrow.

Harriet Kirk is certain that becoming the new schoolteacher in Ladreville, Texas, is just what she needs--a chance to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a brighter tomorrow. What she didn't count on was the presence of handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood--or the way he affects her fragile heart. But can Harriet and Lawrence ever truly conquer the past in order to find happiness?

Book 3 in the Texas Dreams series, Tomorrow's Garden is a powerful story of overcoming the odds and grabbing hold of happiness.




Overall Opinion:


With some knowledge of the people in the Texas Dreams series behind me (I have read Scattered Petals) and the pretty, cheerful, springtime cover, I was very confident that I would enjoy this new release. Amanda Cabot did not disappoint me. Tomorrow’s Garden was a very pleasant read; the perfect book to curl up with under a tree outside on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.

Harriet was a rather complex character that, while I enjoyed getting to know her in this book, I didn’t connect with her as much as I would have liked. Though we did share one thing in common—the enjoyment we get when discussing books. But even though I didn’t connect with this character as completely as I would have liked, I still enjoyed reading about her. She reminds me a lot of my older sister—she’s a mother hen as well. Ruth was probably the one I grew to understand and connect with the most, and maybe that is because I am a second-oldest daughter myself! :-) I was glad to see that Lawrence—now a former Texas Ranger—was back, as I really grew to like him in Scattered Petals. He is a complex character as well, which makes him the perfect match for Harriet.

While a bit predictable almost from the very first pages, Tomorrow’s Garden still delivered a few surprises along the way. The courtship of Karl was rather humorous, though if I had been the one he was courting I would not have born it! I was rather disappointed in Harriet’s reaction over Lawrence’s occasional drink. I felt it was a bit overmuch on Harriet’s part. But maybe that is just me. The addition of her troubled teenage brother, Jake, also threw in some surprises along the way and added to the story. In the end, I was right in how the book would end, but it didn’t make me enjoy the book less. There were enough surprises and special moments to keep me turning the pages.

Amanda weaves together a lovely story, her words bringing the characters to life. While it didn’t play on my emotions as much as I usually like books to do, it still was written with an undercurrent of feelings. Both Harriet and Lawrence deal with many things during the course of this book and though I never connect enough to ache with the characters, these emotional struggles were still believable.

Tomorrow’s Garden is the third and last installment to Amanda’s Texas Dreams series. It’s a lovely ending, though I am sure fans of this series will be sad to leave Ladreville. But with more from Amanda promised in the near future, I think they will be able to leave Harriet and Lawrence in Ladreville with Sarah, Clay, Priscilla, and Zach. It’s a sweet conclusion to this series.
Photo credit: Lori Warman