Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano (TLC Book Tours Review and GIVEAWAY!)

Looking for a fix for your Downtown Abbey withdrawal?  A Diamond in the Rough is the story of a spirited heiress who makes a splash in New York City as she has her first social season in town amongst the elite 400.  Poppy Garrison has been raised on a horse farm in Pennsylvania.  Her parents have fallen on hard financial times and her grandmother, Violet, will only help them out if they agree to send Poppy to town for a social season.  Violet is determined to turn Poppy into a “diamond of the first water” although Poppy seems to be a magnet for trouble. 

Violet hires Reginald Blackburn to help Poppy on etiquette and turn her into a diamond of the first water.  Reginald has traveled to America to help his cousin Charles, who also happens to be an Earl, to find an heiress. Reginald agrees to help, but finds himself entranced by the impossible women.  Will Poppy be able to make a success of her social season?  Will the two find love?

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  It is the second in a series, but I didn’t realize it until after I had finished the novel.  It serves well as a standalone novel.  It is a Christian fiction novel and had a great part of the novel about forgiveness as Poppy’s family works through past wrongs.  I loved Poppy’s independence, but even more so, I loved how Violet discovered herself in the novel.  The romance, humor, and adventure were very entertaining.  This was exactly the book I needed right now.

Favorite Quotes:
“I’m not really a gentleman who is comfortable discussing feelings.  If you’ve forgotten, I’m British.  We don’t discuss our feelings.”

Overall, A Diamond in the Rough is a great historical Christian romance with humor, adventure, and love in high society.

Book Source:  Digital Review Copy as a part of the TLC Book Tour!  For more stops on this tour, check out this link.

As a part of the TLC Book Tour, I am giving away one copy of this novel. If you would like to win this book, please leave a comment on what interests you about this book.  
As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using random.org (or a Monte Carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to addresses in the United States.

The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday September 27th!

Please make sure to check the week of September 30th to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.

Good luck!

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Genius Files (#1): Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

Title: The Genius Files (#1):  Mission Unstoppable
Author: Dan Gutman
Read by:  Michael Goldstrom
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Length: Approximately 6 hours
Source: Kewaunee Public Library.  Thank-you!

My sons read The Genius Files (#1):  Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman a few years ago for the library Youth Book Club and they loved it.  Ever since they read it, my now 11-year old son Daniel has wanted to visit the location of the book’s climax, The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  I had visited The House on the Rock as a college student nineteen years ago, but I’m the only one in my family who had seen it.  We let Daniel plan our summer vacation this year and visiting The House on the Rock was high on the list.  As we drove to the Wisconsin Dells area and back, we listed to The Genius Files (#1):  Mission Unstoppable.

Coke and Pepsi McDonald are twins and very bright.  They are recruited to a secret organization, The Genius Files, but they also are now being chased and almost killed by mysterious men in bowler hats as well as by one of their teachers, Mrs. Higgins.  The summer family vacation is renting an RV and driving it from California to Washington DC for their estranged Aunt’s wedding.  Mrs. McDonald runs a blog about unique destinations so they have plenty of interesting stops along the way including visiting the Pez Museum and the largest ball of twine.  Mr. McDonald gets a destination as well when he races the rented RV across the salt flats, which was my husband’s favorite part of the book. Why are people trying to kill the twins?  What are the mysterious genius files?  Will they make it to the wedding?

The climax of the book takes place at the The House on the Rock.  We listened to this part of the audiobook right after we had visited and it was spot on with the description . . . although it took us so long to get around the House that we questioned the timing of the characters as they made their way around the house.  It was extra thrilling for Daniel (and for all of us) to listen to the book and having it fit with a place he had just visited.

If you haven’t visited The House on the Rock, it’s one of the most interesting and peculiar places you could visit.  Alex Jordan Jr was an eccentric man who built a party house around a unique rock structure in the 1950’s.  It became a tourist destination and Jordan Jr kept adding on and building a collection of unique items.  It is a LARGE collection and very unique.  My kids really liked all of the musical items and looking at everything, but I think we were all numb by the end as there was so much to take in.  My husband Ben and I decided we wished we could have hung out with Alex Jordan Jr in the 1950’s at one of his get togethers in the original house.  It sounds like a good time.

Overall, I highly recommend The Genius File series as an audiobook for the entire family to listen to on road trips.  We’ve listened to the series before and we have loved it.  It’s full of action and humor. It’s highly entertaining.

The Littles Have a Wedding by John Peterson

 My eight-year-old daughter Penelope read The Littles earlier this year.  She loved the book so much, we looked up the series on Google. Once we discovered there was a book in the series with a wedding in it, she eagerly had me order it from the library.  We have enjoyed reading it.

The Littles are small people, about six inches high, with tails that live in the homes of humans.  They try to stay hidden from the humans, which leads to all sorts of adventures. In The Littles Have a Wedding, Cousin Dinky has found the love of his life and is getting married to Della Kett.  In order to have a proper wedding, the Littles have to find another home where a human wedding is taking place to put on a wedding of their own.  Getting to the wedding turns into quite an adventure.

Penelope loved the adventure at the beginning as Cousin Dinky used his glider to save people. Penelope also loves romance so she really liked that this novel was all about a wedding.

Overall,  The Littles is a fun chapter series for beginning readers.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library