Sunday Showcase #21

Another week hanging at the NetGalley has brought me a few reads. 🙂 Thank you NetGalley for creating such an awesome system… and special thanks to all the publishers offering the goodies.

If I Tell by Janet GurtlerJasmine Evans knows one thing for sure… people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a one night stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn’t raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she’s never fit in hasn’t been easy. But she’s been surviving. Until she sees her mom’s new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?

Why I Picked It Up: Normally, contemporary works aren’t my thing. The title sort of pulled me in on this one. It reminded me of Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala. I know… silly reason, but it got my interest. I’m really hopeful about this work. I don’t have anything against contemporary. It’s just mundania has never really called to me as unique. I know I miss out on a lot of fantastic works because I’ve constantly got my eye out for paranormal goodies. It’s time for me to get a taste of realistic drama. 🙂

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly LongShe isn’t looking for love. He’s mending a broken heart. It will take divine intervention for these two to get together.

Local Amish schoolteacher Lilly Lapp is tired of weddings, afraid of horses, and immersed in caring for her depressed mother. But when Jacob Wyse, a handsome horse breeder from her small community rescues her from a dangerous accident, Lilly discovers a renewed interest in life and the possibility of love.

Yet Jacob has lost the one true love of his life to another man and doesn’t care to expose himself to the vulnerabilities of loving again.

God works to bring this unlikely pair into a sweet romance to produce a pattern of faith, which leads to the creation and comfort of Lilly’s Wedding Quilt.

Why I Picked It Up: Simply put, I’ve become addicted to Amish romances. There’s just something about reading about a group of people who are so far removed from the materialistic rat race.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Practical Jean by Trevor ColeJean Vale Horemarsh is an ordinary, small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age. She’s content, mostly, with the life she’s built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (if you ignore the terrible falling out she had with Cheryl all those years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if otherwise unextraordinary man. And then Jean sees her mother go through the final devastating months of cancer, and realizes that her fondest wish is to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of aging and illness. That’s when she decides to kill them . . .

Why I Picked It Up: Now Chicklit typically isn’t my thing, and I’m pretty sure this is what this is. The premises is just so out there, I had to check it out.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

So this was a unique week of requests (other than Lilly’s Wedding Quilt) for me. Have you stepped out of your normal reading habit recently? How did you fare?

Sunday Showcase #20

Cinderella’s Prince Charming is divorced and at a dead-end in his career, so he opens a bookstore and travels the land ordering books and discovering new authors. Still handsome and still charming, he has given up on women, royalty, and anything that smacks of a future.

Mellie is sick and tired of being called the Evil Stepmother. She did her best by her stepdaughter Snow White, but the girl resented her to no end and made all kinds of false accusations.

Neither of them believes in happily ever after anymore, but both of them believe in happily for the moment…

Why I Picked It Up: Mark Fassett and I were talking books for some reason or another… oh that’s right! because we’re authors and that’s what authors do way too much. He asked me if I’d picked up her latest book (which was free on Amazon). Nope… never heard of her. Come to find out, she’s the wife of Dean Wesley Smith. Okay. That’s a name I’ve heard before. So I headed to Amazon to pick up this title. Besides the nifty looking cover, the time travel situation really sounds awesome!

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game. A magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death, The winning house ruling the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn’t enough, Jack finds out that he s not just another member of Weirlind, he’s one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack’s performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he’s in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack’s official sponsor, they’ll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them.

Why I Picked It Up: I guess the author is coming out with a new book for this series. To celebrate, she offered the first at NetGalley. The plot sounded so cool, I totally had to take her up on her offer.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . .She’s something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Why I Picked It Up: Originally, I wasn’t going to bother with this book. It just seemed so iffy to my tastes. Then I saw a mini-trailer on Goodreads and said, why not? So here we have it. This NetGalley takeaway will go to the top of my list come the end of November.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Emma has put everyone else first in her life. Now at nearly 25, has she missed her chance at marriage?

Emma was Adam’s first love but circumstances made them both choose different paths in life. Emma’s heart breaks all over again when Adam returns to the Amish community of Middlefield, Ohio, years later.

For the past ten years, Emma has been raising her siblings after their parents’ untimely death. She’s put their needs above her own and now, with them grown, she can focus on herself and her dream of opening a yarn store in the vacant cider house on her land.

With Adam’s return come feelings Emma’s long buried. They’re older and life hasn’t turned out the way they thought it would. Adam’s feelings for Emma are stronger than ever, but will he be able to convince her to put others aside and give their love a chance?

Why I Picked It Up: So you know, I’ve been on an Amish romance kick. What can I say? I’m hooked. Interesting tidbit, the publishing company has put a limit on the  number of NetGalley reads I can checkout at a time. 🙂 Slow down, Reena. First read what you have, then you can ask for another. I just knocked out two of their books, so I might try for another even though I’m just starting Treasuring Emma tonight.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther’s beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith’s great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.

Why I Picked It Up: Esther in the bible has one of my favorite biblical stories. I just couldn’t resist checking this one out. This is also another offering by the publisher above. I just finished reading it today and will be posting my review for October 31, 2011. Let’s see if the publisher will allow me to checkout another work from NetGalley now that this one is ready for review.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

What goodies did you get in this week?

Sunday Showcase #19

I totally almost forgot I received a book this week. 🙂 A pretty tastie looking one too. I hope judging a book by the cover pans out this time around.

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Why I Picked It Up: Besides the nifty looking cover, the time travel situation really sounds awesome!

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Well that’s all I got. Make me jealous. What did you get?


Sunday Showcase #18

I got a newsletter from Netgalley featuring some non-fiction Christian works. I bit. 🙂

Pastor and author Martin Thielen has compiled a list of ten things Christians need to believe—and ten things they don’t—to “qualify” as Christians. This lively and engaging book will be a help to seekers as well as a comfort to believers who may find themselves questioning some of the assumptions they grew up with.

Many people in the twenty-first century hunger for an expression of Christian faith that is different from the judgmental and narrow-minded caricatures they see on television or in the news. With an accessible style that’s grounded in solid biblical scholarship, Thielen shows how Christians don’t need to believe that sinners will be “left behind” to burn in hell or that it’s heresy to believe in evolution. And while we must always take the Bible seriously, we don’t always have to take it literally. At the same time, Christians do need to believe in Jesus—his life, his teachings, his death and resurrection, and his vision for the world. Thielen articulates centrist, mainline Christianity in a way that’s fresh and easy to understand and offers authentic Christian insights that speak to our deepest needs.

This is an ideal book for individual, group, or congregational study. A free leader’s guide that shows how the book can be used in these various settings is available at

Why I picked it up: Mostly curiosity. What does the author have to say for the bare minimum Christians? Hmm… we shall find out, won’t we?

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Fea offers an even-handed primer on whether America was founded to be a Christian nation, as many evangelicals assert, or a secular state, as others contend. He approaches the title’s question from a historical perspective, helping readers see past the emotional rhetoric of today to the recorded facts of our past. Readers on both sides of the issues will appreciate that this book occupies a middle ground, noting the good points and the less-nuanced arguments of both sides and leading us always back to the primary sources that our shared American history comprises.

Why I picked it up: I hear so many people say America was founded on Christianity. I’ll be honest. I don’t believe it. Sure, many of those who signed the Constitution and such might have been Christian, but my understanding is many were not. Basically, I want to read what this author has to say about the issue.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

N. T. Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the back of the book. The series is suitable for group study, personal study, or daily devotions.

Why I picked it up: Research mostly. I’ve been considering a post-apocalytic like book based on Revelations. I’m hoping this work will make some connections for me. We’ll see. 🙂

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

I read very little non-fiction books. Some aspects of Christianity really pique my interest. I’m what one would call an information whore on that topic. I like to examine what other people believe… see how it matches up with what’s actually in the bible. I guess it’s rather morbid… maybe even judgmental. <sigh> It’s a flaw.

What about you? When you get into non-fiction, what topic absorbs your interest?