Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: October 29-Nov. 1

Book Blogger Hop
Sorry I've been kind of MIA this week... it's been SO busy and I haven't made any progress on the books I've currently reading. Hopefully this weekend will offer some time for relaxation and reading :)

The Book Blogger Hop is sponsored by Jennifer at Crazy for Books, and in her own words it is "a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!"

This week's question: "What is one bookish thing you'd love to have, no matter the cost?"
 Like I said a few weeks ago when I wrote the post "I Dream of Libraries", I would LOVE a big library with wall-to-wall bookshelves, plenty of comfy leather club chairs to curl up in and lots of natural light. In more practical terms, my two biggest wants are a chair with an ottoman so I can stretch out while reading and a bookshelf big enough to display all my books!

What is your bookish dream?

Have a great weekend, and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Makes A Classic?

A conversation with one of my close friends last week got me thinking about which books become essential to us and how we each define a classic. She noticed that my to-read shelf on the right side of my blog had To Kill A Mockinbird listed and was stunned that I had never read it (and I was an English major in college!) Somehow through middle school, high school and college I was never exposed to the book, and though I want to read it I haven't gotten around to it yet. Add to that Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Catcher in the Rye and I feel much less well-read than I sometimes think I am! On the other hand, I consider John Steinbeck one of the best American writers and The Grapes of Wrath an absolute must-read while others have an adverse reaction to his writing. It's humbling to realize that there is still a wide world of literature to be read and exposed to and so fascinating to see what each person considers a "classic."

Are there any classics that you haven't read? Any that you're planning to get to or don't feel bad about skipping?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is sponsored by Jennifer at Crazy for Books, and in her own words it is "a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!"

This week's question is "Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

Though I will read anywhere, even in less desirable places like the DMV or doctor's office, I mostly read on the comfy chair in my room. Also, when it's nice outside I love to read in a little park near my apartment because I can (almost) block out the cars and street noise and pretend I'm in the country somewhere.

Where's your favorite spot to read?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Free E-book Alert!

If you're a fan of inspirational fiction and you own a Kindle, here are some great books Amazon currently has for FREE! I'm not sure how long the promotions last, but as of Tuesday night these were all no cost (summaries below from goodreads).

The Choice (Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

With a vibrant, fresh style Suzanne Woods Fisher brings readers into the world of a young Amish woman torn between following the man she loves--or joining the community of faith that sustains her, even as she questions some of the decisions of her elders. Her choice begins a torrent of change for her and her family, including a marriage of convenience to silent Daniel Miller. Both bring broken hearts into their arrangement--and secrets that have been held too long. Filled with gentle romance, The Choice opens the world of the Amish--their strong communities, their simple life, and their willingness to put each other first. Combined with Fisher's exceptional gift for character development, this novel, the first in a series, is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God.

The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown

Set in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United States, The Malacca Conspiracy is a bone-chilling tale of terrorism on the high seas, of political assassination and nuclear brinkmanship. And for Zack and Diane---your favorite JAG characters from Don Brown's popular Navy Justice Series---a story of hope for a longstanding romance that is now or never. When a dastardly plot is hatched in the Malaysian seaport of Malacca to attack civilian oil tankers at sea, to drive up the price of crude oil futures, and to assassinate the Indonesian president and use fat windfall profits to finance a nuclear attack against American cities, Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Cocernian reunite in a sizzling race against the clock to foil the conspiracy before disaster strikes. But as President Mack Williams sends ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malacca Straights to reassert control over the sea lanes, will Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death? You won't be able to put this thriller down until you find out.

Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser

Nannerl Mozart's early days seem to be the stuff of fairy tales--traveling far and wide, performing piano concerts with her younger brother, Wolfgang, before the crowned heads of Europe. But behind the glamour lurk dark difficulties--the hardship of travel, agonizing bouts of illness, and the constant concern over money. Their father, Leopold, is driven by a desire to bring his son's genius to the attention of the world. But what about Nannerl? Is she not just as talented? In a world where women's choices are limited, what hope does she have of ever realizing her own dreams? In this lovingly crafted novel, author Nancy Moser brings to life one of history's hidden heroines.

Naomi and Her Daughters by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

Master storyteller Walter Wangerin Jr. pens the historically accurate biblical tale of Naomi and Ruth in this riveting novel. Contemporary echoes of love, deceit, war, and political instability will resonate with readers today, while rich descriptions and gritty realism cast new light on the ancient narrative. A powerful story that you won't soon forget!

The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23 Mysteries) by Debbie Viguie

Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Happy reading!

Monday, October 18, 2010

One Month Until...



I have to admit I haven't seen all of the Harry Potter movies (I'll always love the books best) but for some reason I am really excited for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows! I can't wait to see how Hermione and Ron's relationship develops and the conclusion of the series brought to the screen. I feel like I've grown up with these characters so it will be sad to say goodbye to them again!

Will you be going to see Harry Potter 7 as soon as it hits theaters? Or do you prefer just to read the books?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's Monday-What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are you Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This is where we share what we've been reading the previous week and what we plan to read this week.
Fall is definitely in the air up here in the Northeast and while I'm dreading the winter I'm looking forward to having more time to curl up with some coffee and a good book!

Finished Last Week:
Last week I finished and reviewed Tricia Goyer's From Dust and Ashes, Book I in her WWII Liberators series. I thought it was a powerful and moving read about people putting their lives back together after the horrors of WWII.

Should Finish This Week:
I'm hoping to finish Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Grave this week and start one of the books I have out from the library, either The Leavenworth Case (which I keep renewing but never actually reading,) The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen or Front Page Teaser by Rosemary Herbert.

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Dream of Libraries...

As the resident of a teeny apartment, I daydream a lot about having a house/larger space to decorate. And most of the decorating dreams revolve around my library. You know the type... floor to ceiling bookshelves, ladders on wheels to get around the stacks (for some reason I've coveted these since I was a kid), lots of natural light and leather club chairs perfect for lounging. My book collection has overflowed from shelves into a drawer under my bed, but I'd love to have enough room to prominently display them all. Enjoy these gorgeous photos of bookshelves from Lonny mag, one of my favorite decorating magazines (, online and totally free!).

Oct/Nov 2010
So gorgeous! I love all the light and how they've arranged the shelves.

Apr/May 2010
Don't you just want to curl up here with a great book?

Jun/Jul 2010
I love how this is a cool mix of books and knickknacks.

What would be a requirement in your dream library?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Tricia Goyer's From Dust and Ashes: A Story of Liberation/Who Doesn't Like Free Books?

Amidst the dark horror of 1945 Austria, a cowardly SS officer abandons his wife Helene as U.S. forces advance on Nazi death camps. Alone and guilt-ridden, Helene begins helping the holocaust survivors---and experiences her own liberation from spiritual bondage. But when she meets Peter, an American soldier who helped free the town's concentration camp, will old shame overcome the promise of new hope and forgiveness?
(summary from

I really enjoyed From Dust and Ashes, Book 1 in Goyer's WWII Liberators Series, and the best part is I got the book for free! The Kindle store on runs promotions for free ebooks, and while a lot of them are cheesy romance novels with titles like Slow Hands (?!) and Dancing in the Moonlight, they often feature inspirational fiction. I've gotten books by Tracie Peterson, Tamera Alexander and Judith Miller, not to mention all the classic literature written before 1923 that Amazon has for no cost.

From Dust and Ashes is an incredibly moving story of people struggling to piece their lives together after the Germans surrender to the Allies. Sgt. Peter Scott, a GI and one of the first liberators of the Gusen camp, is struggling with his faith after viewing the atrocities of wartime while Helene Volkner, married to an SS officer who worked at the concentration camp, is dealing with the guilt of having stood by silently while thousands were killed. Michaela Perl, a Christian imprisoned at Gusen for helping a Jewish family hide from the Nazis, barely survives the ordeal and is left without a home or any family left. Goyer doesn't shy away from describing the brutality and evil that men can enact on each other, and that made the story and the characters' inner struggles regarding the presence of a God much more realistic and gripping. The only part I found less satisfying was the ending, which seemed a bit rushed and lacking the motivation behind a character's action. However, the subject matter was fascinating and moving so I definitely plan to read the next book in the series, Night Song: A Story of Sacrifice.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of fiction set during WWII and like to read about characters forming a relationship with Christ through hardship and doubt, I'd definitely recommend this. However, I felt disappointed that some of the plot aspects seemed thrown together-- I'd have loved to know more of the characters' reasons for doing certain things.

Source: personal copy (free on

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's Monday--What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are you Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. This is where we share what we've been reading the previous week and what we plan to read this week.

Finished Last Week
Nothing. I blame a busy week but my reading was downright anemic. Here's hoping this week is better!

Should Finish This Week:

From Dust to Ashes: A Story of Liberation by Tricia Goyer. So far I'm really enjoying this inspirational novel set after the surrender of the Germans in WWII. The plotting is a bit slow but the detail is fascinating and I'm really starting to love the characters.

Up Next from the TBR Pile:
I picked up two new books from the library hold shelf this week and am trying to decide which one to read first. I always get so excited about a book when I first check it out but then lose interest when I actually go to read it. This week I will either start Silent in the Grave (first in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series) or The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green (considered the first modern mystery novel but not very well-known.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Annie Get Your Gun, or Change Youself to Get a Man

I just finished watching the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun, starring Howard Keel as Frank Butler and Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley. While I loved the musical numbers and performances, one thing about the story reallllly bothered me- the fact that Annie has to essentially change herself and throw a shooting competition to win Frank Butler's love. I know that this movie was made in 1950 so certain stereotypes are to be expected (I'm not even going to mention the depiction of Indians) but I couldn't get past that. As depicted in this movie, Frank is arrogant, jealous and petty--why is Annie willing to change everything for him? Are men so insecure that they can't handle a woman who is more successful than them? (I'm not an expert on men, but I'm going to say probably not.) There's nothing wrong with wanting to be the best version of yourself, but totally changing doesn't exactly lead to an honest or deep relationship.

Why yes, Frank, I'll happily bleach my freckles for you.
On the positive side, Howard Keel and Betty Hutton are great and capture the couple's sparring relationship to perfection, though Hutton tends to overexaggerate every facial expression. So many of the songs have become classics, including this one below. "Anything You Can Do" perfectly  illustrates Annie's spunk and I love the chemistry and energy they have as they try to one-up each other.

(there seems to be only one video of this on YouTube, and they've disabled embedding... grrr. Click here to watch! )
Have you seen Annie Get Your Gun? What are your thoughts on Annie and Frank's relationship?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz

One of the coolest things about modern technology is how blogs and websites have made authors so accessible and allowed for a vibrant community of readers (it seems even more so in the inspirational market). I actually had read Laura Frantz's blog before reading any of her books, and it was her warm writing style and rave reviews on other blogs that made me pick up Courting Morrow Little. For the most part I wasn't disappointed. The hero and heroine are appealing characters, and Frantz's description of frontier life was both detailed and realistic. I read part of Courting Morrow Little during a lull at work and found myself so transported to the Kentucky wilderness I was startled when my co-worker asked me a question. To me that's definitely the mark of good writing!

I also enjoyed how the characters struggled and came to terms with their faith and the extremely difficult task of forgiveness. On the negative side, Morrow's settlement friends Jemima and Lizzy had very little depth to them, and I wondered why on earth Morrow had ever been friends with Jemima when her description and behavior lacked anything positive. I wish Frantz had gone deeper with some of the character development in the book, but overall I found Courting Morrow Little entertaining and engaging.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. The description and romantic elements were excellent, and a few character development issues didn't what was overall a transporting read.
source: library copy
Favorite PASTtimes review
Laura Frantz's blog

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

All I have to say about Sarah Sundin's A Distant Melody is You know a book is great when you have to set deadlines for yourself to stop reading. I told myself I'd go to bed at 10:30...then 11... then 11:30. Finally at midnight, with a 6:30 a.m. wake up call looming, I reluctantly set it on the nightstand. It is that good! To me the greatest strength of Sundin's writing lies in her development of the two main characters, Walt and Allie. One of my pet peeves (and the reason why I've never really caught on to conventional romance novels) is characters that are one-dimensional. Escapism is great, but a perfect ivory-skinned heroine and ruggedly handsome hero with a six-pack just don't have the same impact that a well-drawn character does. Walt and Allie hurt, bleed, love, lie and forgive just like we all do, and though neither think they are conventionally attractive they find and bring out the beauty in each other.

I also though Sundin's description was excellent. In a scene where Walt's plane and the other B-17s taxi to the runway for their first mission, you can literally hear the rumble of whirling propellers and feel the nervous excitement of the pilots. Her depiction of faith and the struggles Christians often go through was right on target, and she didn't trivialize the faith aspect or become overly preachy. Walt and Allie grow in their faith as they encourage each other, and as a single Christian woman I definitely found myself hoping for a man as sweet and strong as Walt!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This is the first book in a while that has made me turn off the TV, put away the computer and read for hours. With likable and relatable characters, a sweet and poignant love story, and even some action, I cannot recommend this highly enough! I am eagerly waiting to finish my current book so I can get to the 2nd book in the series, A Memory Between Us, which tells the story of Walter's older brother Jack. I loved the secondary characters (George, Betty, Helen, Dorothy, Art) and hope to see more of them, so I was really excited to read on Sarah Sundin's website that the 3rd book will focus on the relationship between the oldest Novak brother Ray and Helen Carlisle.

source: personal copy


Welcome to Roving Reads! I'm a 20-something Southerner who currently lives in NYC, and my 2 biggest passions are reading and traveling. I don't work in publishing but I try to actively follow the latest news in the book world as best I can. I love historical and inspirational fiction, classic literature, bestsellers and non-fiction that reads like fiction (so basically every genre except sci-fi and "bodice-ripper" romances... I've never really been into those). I'm also a huge fan of British dramas and classic movies, so I might review those here on occasion. Any reviews on Roving Reads are based on my personal opinion and not in any way affected by publishers or publicists. Direct questions, comments or suggestions to