These are the ramblings of a wanna-be writer and enamored reader. They promise to be raw, enthusiastic and probably repetitive and ramble-y. But they are a true representation of my word-filled mind trying desperately to sort out the feelings and thoughts that consume me as I read. Enjoy?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I got the coolest surprise in the mail last week - an advanced copy of Learning, the second book in the Bailey Flanigan series by Karen Kingsbury. I had the privilege of review the first book, Leaving in March, but I didn't know that I was going to be doing the same with Learning. I knew it was a possibility, but when she didn't contact me, I assumed I hadn't been chosen again. So I was stoked to find it in the mailbox! I love love LOVE being on "Team KK." What an honor, and it's so much fun!

Book: Learning

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Pages: 328

Summary: Learning is the second book in the Bailey Flanigan series. It takes us with Bailey and Cody as they experience many new changes, choices, up and downs. We're also still checking in on the Baxters, thank goodness - I would miss them so much if we didn't!

Thoughts: (this is the review I submitted to Karen)

Oh my goodness!

Learning took me on an emotional roller coaster ride! I went from feeling happy to sad, to very, very frustrated and then back to happy all within a few pages. And I loved every minute of it!

Picking up right where Leaving left off, Learning takes us with Bailey as she faces a whole new set of trials and opportunities. I feel like we get to see a new side of Bailey in Learning, as she discovers a new side of life in NYC and on Broadway. It's exciting, terrifying, wonderful and challenging, and I felt like I was experiencing it all right along with her.

Cody Coleman is also experiencing new things, and it was awesome to watch the way God worked through him. I love how I can feel such a sense of pride for a book character. He's just such a great guy! After reading Learning, I am even more certain that I will always be on Team Cody!

Another great guy that I have grown to love dearly is Landon Blake. I am so glad we still get to check in on him and his wonderful family, and I can't wait to see what's next for the Baxters!

The faith we've always seen from our fictional friends is tested and stretched once again in Learning, and you'll be praying, as they are, that it will be refined and grow even stronger. The best part is, yours just might too!

Now that I've finished Learning, here comes the hard part: waiting til October
for Longing!

Favorite things: Visiting with old friends! Seriously, Karen has such an incredible gift for making her characters feel like real people that I know and love. I don't know how to describe it - she does the best job of that too!

Least favorite: Oh good grief, I was so angry/frustrated/irritated while I read this book! Certain characters were just NOT doing what I wanted!

The Cover Story: See that handsome guy on the cover? That's Cody Coleman aka Guy Who is Definitely in my Top 10 - make that Top 5 - Fictional Crushes/Loves. :D The "model" is Solomon Rexius of the band Caleb and Sol. I love how Karen uses people she knows and cares about for so many of her covers. Sol won a Cody Coleman contest a while back, and I am so glad! He is exactly how I imagined Cody - tall and athletic, with a great smile and gorgeous eyes. What a cutie! *blush*. Best part is, he seems like a fantastic guy in real life too! He couldn't be more perfect for such a wonderful character.

My favorite quote: Well, I started to write them down, but had to rush through it to have time to review before the deadline, so I didn't keep it up. My favorite that I wrote down was from Bob Keller, the husband of the couple Bailey is living with in NYC. He said it in a prayer...

"For it is only in our nervousness and inability that we find the strength to succeed in You."

I love it, and can totally relate! As I said with Leaving, you just HAVE to go out and buy this book! I absolutely CANNOT wait until Longing comes out - I'm desperate to know where Cody and Bailey go next!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Killer Among Us...

Usually, I go at least a week (usually two or more) without posting a review. But this past week, I've read 3 books, and have fallen behind on the reviews! Woah! So be ready for some reviews!

Book: A Killer Among Us

Author: Lynette Eason

Pages: 343

Summary: (back cover) Kit Kenyon is a first rate hostage negotiator. Noah Lambert is a good detective with excellent instincts. These new partners have hardly had time to get used to each other when they are thrown into a grisly murder case. As evidence mounts up and more victims are found, Kit and Noah realize they are on the hunt for a serial killer. The problem is,
he may be hunting one of them too.

Thoughts: A Killer Among us is the third and final book in the Women of Justice series.

I feel like I hit the jackpot when I discovered Lynette Eason and this fantastic series. Although I am sad that it has ended, I love that it went out with a bang!

As with the first two novels, I was completely hooked from page 1. Lynette jumps right in on the action, opening in the middle of a hostage situation, and the action does not stop until you get to the last page. In book 2, I knew who the killer w
as right away. In this one, I had my suspicions about a few people. The actual killer was on my "suspect list", but not as high as
others, so I was still surprised.

I absolutely love the characters in this series. I love that, even from book 1, you feel for them and feel so involved in their lives. By book 3, they're almost like friends. I felt for them as they went through all their ordeals.

I didn't think I would like Noah and Kit as much as Jamie and Dakota, but I did! I love the strength of the women in these series. I think I'm unlike most people in the way I almost prefer a woman who "needs" the man, because hardheadedness and pride gets old fast, I think. But I loved the stubborn streak each "woman of justice
" had, while still letting their feelings show. It made it so much easier to relate to them, and to admire their determination, without wishing they'd give it up already!

I love the men in this series as well. All three are great, Godly, manly men. I love a man with a badge, a gun and a Bible. *sigh* Noah was wonderful. I loved the way he reached out to every person he met. I liked that he made it clear that he was pointing them to God, not himself. I loved that he encouraged Kit in her walk, without judging or shoving it down her throat. I loved the flirting between the two of them - subtle, but so cute!

Another thing I love about this series is the familiar setting. I live in Columbia, SC, where they are set, and it gives such a neat perspective as I'm reading to be able to visualize exactly where the characters are. Then, in A Killer Among Us, Noah an
d Kit travel to Raleigh, NC, where I grew up. It was so cool!

As I said before, I hate to see this series end. It's the perfect blend of faith and love with non-stop action and heart-stopping suspense. Absolutely incredible! I would love to see at least two more books - one focusing on Serena, the ME, and one on Alena, Kit's neighbor (and maybe Brian?). *sigh* Oh, well. I throughly enjoyed it while it lasted!

Favorite things: I love everything about this series! I love the action and suspense, and, of course, I love the little dashes of love. Oh, and Noah gave me butterflies. :D

Least favorite: It's the last book! After I read this, I found out that Lynette is writing a follow-up novella for Samantha and Connor from book one, but I wish there were more full-length novels. I would love to see one featuring the ME, Serena, and one featuring Alena, Kit's neighbor (with Brian from AKAU, maybe?)

The Cover Story: The cover of book one is what made me stop to check it out. I love the crime scene tape look, with the eye-catching yellow, with the beautiful sister being featured in each particular book. I think it give a good idea of what you'll find inside - a crime novel with a bit of beauty and romance. There's no mistaking it for a mushy, fluffy read. And they look great on my shelf.

My favorite quote: With the romance and "religion" being on the subtle side in these books, there aren't a lot of quotes that stand out. I liked when Noah would share his faith in a unique, real way when he gave people his pastor's card. I think there was a way he put his
reasons that I liked, but I didn't keep track of it. Oops.

Casting Call:

Noah Lambert - Chris Pine, who also gives me butterflies. haha. He's just so handsome! I tried to find a picture with a "playful" expression, since I imagine Noah like that, with the teasing between him and Kit.

Kit Kenyon - After a lot of searching, I have settled on Leslie Bibb for Kit Kenyon (and Jamie Cash). There were other pictures of her that I think fit what I imagine better, but they were too big. I think she's gorgeous.

I've (obviously) read the first two books in the Women of Justice series, and reviewed them on Shelfari.com, but maybe someday I'll post them here too. I HIGHLY recommend this series.