Monday, December 10, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Nearly two years ago, in the first months of 2011, I bought a Kindle. Of course, since that time, at least three new versions of the Kindle have appeared on the scene. Though mine is now "old" and being phased out, it is still in great condition considering how many books I've read on it. (Kind of like how I got an iPod Nano for Christmas one year and now I'm three or four generations behind.)
I was a skeptic in the beginning. Though I was willing to put my hard-earned cash on the table and spent roughly $150 for a Kindle and a leather case, I wasn't entirely sure that I would enjoy the reading experience as much as I did when I held a beloved, weighty book in my hands. I wasn't even sure that I would read that many books on it because paying for books on top of the Kindle price seemed a bit ridiculous.
The first book I downloaded was Lady Susan by Jane Austen. It was free. (Hilariously enough I haven't read it yet.) The second was a free one called After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart, and it was wonderful. The next book I downloaded was free too, and so was the next one. Out of the 70ish books I have on my Kindle today, I've actually paid for only 5 of them.
The Kindle Store offers plenty of free ebooks that are worthwhile. A lot of new books are free for a short amount of time, and sometimes when a new book by a particular author comes out, another of his or her books is free for a limited time. Almost all classics are free, and though they aren't the kind with endless footnotes and endnotes and explanations, they are the unabridged classics themselves and worth delving into. I also review books for this blog, and many publishers are switching to ebooks for their reviewers. And liking or following authors and publishers on Facebook and Twitter will lead you straight to announcements about free ebooks.
While this may be coming across as a marketing campaign, my point is hopefully not lost. E-readers don't remove that wonderful reading experience that comes when you curl up on the couch with a book, wrapped in a blanket and with hot chocolate by your side. A curled up cat would be nice too, unless you're allergic. For me, a Kindle has only tweaked the experience. Now I can carry a ton of books with me, and when I decide to read that thick Les Miserables I can put aside my fear that I'll knock myself out with it while reading beneath my covers.
Certainly you can get enjoy your reading life without an e-reader, but if you decide to get one, don't forget to look for the freebies.
Free for Kindle
Thicker than Blood by C.J. Darlington.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
The Covenant by Beverly Lewis.
When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
The Grand Tour Series details the life of Cora Diehl Kensington, a woman of the Montana plains, swept up into a life of riches and privilege. Belatedly finding out a terrible secret about her parentage, Cora struggles to find out who she really is–as a child of God–in the midst of an enlightening, as well as dangerous, trip across Europe. (http://lisatawnbergren.com/books/)Why I have I waited so long to read a book by Lisa T. Bergren? I have no idea. I would say that her books are a step above Tracie Peterson's and on par with Julie Klassen's (no offence to either author).
Set in the early 1900s, Glamorous Illusions is a beautiful book from cover to cover. I loved every bit of it, which isn't something I say too often about the books I read. From the first pages I fell in love with Cora. She's a spirited, often stubborn, young woman, but she truly wants to trust God in all parts of her life. It's just not that easy. I can relate.
When Cora is told a secret about her parentage, she's whisked off to a new family and a new life, starting with a grand tour to Europe. It's the perfect setting for discovery: of Europe, of her family, of herself. And of course, we have to throw in a couple of love interests to make it all the more interesting. Bergren crafts the most interesting characters like William, Pierre, and, most fascinating to me, Mr. Kensington. I just can't figure him out. At the beginning I did not like him, but when he writes that letter to Cora... I'm having a hard time making up my mind! Hopefully I'll get a chance to figure him out in book two, Grave Consequences, which doesn't come out until (sigh) March 2013. The best part about the characters is that they seem so real. I'm tired of books that idealize people, or make them so one-sided; Glamorous Illusions does not disappoint.
Glamorous Illusions is written in first person but switches from the point of view of Cora to a narrator (third -person) view of Will. That's interesting but at times a bit odd to me. I think it would have been better if both were in first person, but maybe Bergren felt that would be too confusing to the reader (which it definitely could be). Still, I liked seeing Will's perspective. And of course, since this is the start of a series, the ending was unfortunately abrupt and left me dangling off the cliff by a small thread.
Shockingly, I got this book free on my Kindle several months ago. Soon after I finished Glamorous Illusions I looked up when the second book is coming out. So far away! (Ha, not really.) Thankfully, I found Bergren's first book in the River of Time Series, Waterfall, on sale for $1.99. :) A good way to cope, I thought, but it only took me a day to read. Review of that coming soon, because it was good.
2012 Goal: Book 38 of 50
Monday, November 5, 2012
After the death of her husband, Corrie Saunders retreats to the home in Saunders Creek that Jarrod loved in the hopes of remaining somehow connected to the man she loved and lost. In the midst of her grief, she begins to think that she can actually feel Jarrod in the house. If it isn't him, then something definitely strange is happening in the old house. Is it possible that her husband has come back to her? Jarrod's cousin Eli doesn't think so, but as he notices the oddities going on in Corrie's house, he begins to wonder about the realm of the unseen as well. The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman is filled with suspense, intrigue, and superstition giving us a look at what could be and a clear picture of the truth.
I'm sorry to have waited so long to review this book. I read it a couple of months ago and for some reason thought that I had reviewed it, but the page was still sitting in my draft box. The Widow of Saunders Creek is very good. It's different, and that's what I really liked about it. I was curious to see how Bateman would tackle the subject between the covers of Christian fiction, and I think she did a really good job. The book gets slightly weird in places when Corrie thinks she can feel Jarrod in the house, but Eli is a good counterpart because he knows the Truth and he desperately wants Corrie to know it too. I think it's a good story about superstition and about wanting something so bad that you can almost taste it. Bateman does a great job of showing Corrie's grief and desperation.
This isn't typical Christian fiction or suspense. It's a nice blend that kept me flipping the pages, and its one that sort of haunted me a few days after I read it (which is a really weird thing to say considering the topic). Pick it up; you won't be sorry.
Many thanks to the WaterBrook Multnomah for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.