Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill

I just know you want to read all about this book. I'm switching over to my new blog though (see the last post to see why if you missed it) so check it out here: Through the Fog. I hope you like the new blog and will decide to "follow" me over there. lol

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Blog

I think most of you know that I've been toying with becoming a writer. Lots of "life" has happened and there has been a lot about the industry I needed and continue to learn. I have one manuscript I'm working on and two more I'm in currently planning and researching. I also will be attending my first writing conference this fall. One of the things I had to look at was name recognition. There is more than one author that shares my name - and I've already been confused more than once with one of the most popular ones.

I sought the advice of people much more experienced than I am and all of them thought that a pen name would be best. I looked at several variations and ended up with Margaret Metz. I've got a new facebook page under that name, changed my Goodreads account to that name, and I've established a new blog called Through the Fog where I'll be posting from now on. Please join me there. It's pretty empty right now, but I could use all the friends I could get. It's hard starting over.

Thanks and I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Friday 56

Freda @ Freda's Voice is hosting The Friday 56.

Here are the rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.

Then you go to her blog and enter your blog URL in her linky area on her Friday 56 post. :o)

Here's mine:

    "He's gentle with his children, well respected in the community, doesn't indulge in tobacco or alcohol."
    "Guess he didn't tell you about my drinking habit."

That's from Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two Brides Too Many

Kat and Nell Sinclair are headed west—away from the manicured lawns of Maine to the boisterous, booming mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado to start new lives for themselves as mail-order brides. Aboard the train, romantic dreamer Nell carries a photo of her intended close to her heart and imagines an exciting and love-filled future, while her pragmatic older sister Kat resigns herself to marriage as a duty, not a delight. But when the ladies disembark at the train depot, neither fiancĂ© Patrick Maloney or Judson Archer awaits them with open arms. The well-bred Sinclair sisters find themselves unexpectedly alone in the wild, frontier town—a place where fire threatens to reduce the buildings to rubble, the working women strut the streets, rogues will gamble for the shoes on one’s feet, and God’s grace is found amongst the most unlikely of folks. Two sisters,Two missing misters,A shocking welcome to the wild west that leaves both Kat and Nell Sinclair questioning their dreams­ and the hope for true love.

My Take: 

One of the things I liked about this book was the way the cover and the writing made me think of my own sister. I've got dark hair and my sister is a blond. She's the social butterfly and I tend to have just a few close friends. I could go on and on. Just like Kat & Nell, we would have fought anyone who tried to hurt the other. 

These sisters are also very different from each other but they have their world turned upside down. Their tight-knit family is broken apart and they are forced to become mail order brides far from home and everything they know and dreamed of. When they arrive they find even those plans have gone awry. 

I loved the characters the author created in this book. Hattie and Boney are especially memorable. This is a "sweet" romance and though it features romances for both sisters - one of them has to wait for so long that it feels almost like it was skipped over and then inserted. 

I kind of wondered why some minor characters were given point of view in scenes. I can only guess that they will be featured in the rest of the series. 

Those tiny negatives were not enough to take away from two very well written characters. Nell and Kat both stood out as individuals and as women who were taking risks to try and settle in a very turbulent area that wasn't safe for single women. Both showed courage and compassion as well as loyalty to each other and those they came to know and care for. Both were willing to sacrifice for strangers as well. It's just that kind of spirit that got our country started. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Musings

Right now my thoughts and prayers go out to those in Joplin that were devastated by the latest tornado. That's close to where I live and my husband often travels there for work. I can't even imagine what the people there are going through.

What is truly amazing is that in Joplin - and in so many other areas that have been hard hit lately - volunteers have stepped up and the community has rallied to help one another. They aren't waiting for a government hand out or even for FEMA to show up. These are ordinary citizens standing up and doing what needs to be done to help one another and rebuild.

That's the kind of character and spirit that made America strong. We don't need more government programs and interference. Americans have shown they have what it takes to do what has to be done on their own. They can stand on their own two feet and they like to do it. They want to help one another. Americans are a generous people. We have always been one of the most charitable people on the planet.

We showed unity and strength after 9-11 and we're showing it now. It's not about politics - it's about character. I'm proud to be an American.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Surrender the Night

Summary: When British soldiers invade Baltimore amid the War of 1812, Rose McGuire, alone on her family farm, is easy prey for a brutal lieutenant. In the midst of the attack, she’s saved by British 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Reed. Will she now have to heal, as well as hide, this enemy soldier?

            Alex hadn’t meant to kill his superior or get shot in the process. Now badly wounded, he’s at the mercy of this tomboy who obviously hates him. Can he trust her, or will she turn him over to the Americans?

            Rose is having trouble keeping Alex hidden from her family, the townspeople, and the man intent on courting her. Will the discovery of Alex’s presence force her to accept an abhorrent proposal?

            As their love blooms, trouble looms, for the British are on the move again. This time, their target is the city of Washington. Will these young lovers at heart find themselves enemies at war?

My Take:

I love MaryLu Tyndall. She writes about real history and then adds in these fabulous characters that tear at your heart and make you feel as if you lived their story right alongside them. This is one of her best so far.

Rose has gone through some horrific experiences and has come through it with a strength that covers fear. She hides away on the farm and shuns the social life in town. She likes animals more than people and spends copious amounts of time in the barn instead of dressing up and tea parties. She certainly isn't interested in men, especially the one that comes calling most often - and wants her land more than her. She's fiercely patriotic and hates what the British have done -- especially to innocent women and civilians.

Alex is a man of integrity. He's a loyal subject in His Majesty's Navy who has an overwhelming desire to prove himself. He can't ignore what he sees around him though. When a particularly nasty man attempts to rape a young rebel girl he tries to talk him out of it and the encounter ends up with him killing him in self defense. He's badly wounded and though it's clear she hates him, he has to trust her to take care of him until he's well enough to get back to his ship. They know his being there is dangerous for them both.

Alex is protective, honorable and attractive. Rose is intelligent, caring, independent, and beautiful. The sparks fly between them for many reasons. I love how the relationship develops slowly and how they fight so realistically over things that would have truly divided them. It was also wonderful how the author used the different relationships between her Aunt and Uncle and their wishes for Rose. There were a lot of unexpected plot twists and turns. It was an exciting and satisfying book. This one goes on my favorites list for the year.   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Win Her Heart

Summary: Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...
Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.
Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian's affections?

My Take:  Karen Witemeyer creates some of the most appealing heroes in the business. This book is no exception. Levi is a complex man with a past he hasn't totally forgiven himself for - even if he has made peace with God. He settles in to the new town, determined to keep a low profile and somehow trouble just keeps finding him. A man picks a fight with him - bringing back old memories and guilt. Then he's brought work from the mine - and he'd sworn to stay as far away from that as possible. The worst thing is the librarian. She is as prickly as a hedgehog but he can't seem to stay away from her. The sparks fly between them like striking hot metal. Levi believes in his heart that his past makes him unworthy of her and he decides to stay away...

Eden is strong, driven and intelligent. She has been hurt badly before by a man who just wanted to use her for her father's money so she doesn't trust easy. Living out in these towns has also shown her too many men willing to resort to violence to get what they want. She doesn't want anything to do with criminals and fighters. She despises people who push her around and try to control her - like the Sheriff of their town who insists they are betrothed when she has no interest in him at all. She likes Levi but he seems to be keeping secrets from her and that's one thing she can't abide.

Both these people grow over the course of the book and learn from each other and from Chloe, a girl Eden takes in that Levi helped rescue. Faith is challenged and there are some who learn a valuable lesson about what it means to be "rock toters" instead of those who share grace. Having said all that, this is not one of those books that beats you over the head with preaching and the romance was realistic. I truly enjoyed it would suggest it to anyone who likes this genre.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

May we be thankful for the many wonderful mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and "substitute" mothers who stepped in and influenced us to be better people, to reach for the dreams we were afraid to hope for, who loved us despite our faults and taught us so many things.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Larkspur Cove

Summary: Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she's struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith.For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn't an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself.
But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Mart and Andrea are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.

My Take: If you've never read a book by Lisa Wingate before, you are missing out. One of the things she is truly gifted at is making a setting come alive. Each book I've read has a place that becomes a character itself -- it has its own special feeling, rhythm, atmosphere... magic about it. I feel like I've been to Moses Lake and know the people there after reading this book. That's a special gift.

The story has powerful messages of forgiveness, acceptance and healing without being preachy. Andrea and Mart are both realistic and like able. Andrea's relationship with her son also feels real - as do his struggles. This book is not as funny as her Daily, Texas series, but it will tug at your heart and make you fall in love with the characters. When you close the back cover it's the very essence of bittersweet. You feel like everything is just as it should be, but you're sad to see it end.

I want to thank Bethany House for my copy though it did not influence my review.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Max on Life

Summary: We have questions. Child-like inquiries. And deep, heavy ones.In more than twenty-five years of writing and ministry, Max Lucado has been the receiving line for thousands of such questions. The questions come in letters, e-mails, even on Dunkin Donuts napkins. In Max on Life he offers thoughtful answers to more than 150 of the most pressing questions on topics ranging from hope to hurt, from home to the hereafter.
Max writes about the role of prayer, the purpose of pain, and the reason for our ultimate hope. He responds to the day-to-day questions-parenting quandaries, financial challenges, difficult relationships-as well as to the profound: Is God really listening?
A special addendum includes Max's advice on writing and publishing.
Including topical and scriptural indexes and filled with classic Lucado encouragement and insight, Max on Life will quickly become a favorite resource for pastors and ministry leaders as well as new and mature believers.

My Take: I'm a huge fan of Max Lucado. I think he takes complicated issues and makes them simple. I think he manages to stay true to the gospel without being self-righteous or judgmental. I loved the format of the book because it fits who we are and seemed so honest. People ask these kinds of questions - these are the things that bother, hurt and trouble us. The answers were brief but honest and I thought they were handled very well. I think this is an excellent book to have on any church library bookshelf and for gifts to new believers or those wanting answers and not knowing who to trust. The topics range from everything to basic faith to parenting, marriage, friendships... anything and everything.

As a writer I wished that section was a little longer, but I wish I had the money to buy a thousand copies and pass them out to everyone I could think of. 

I want to thank Thomas Nelson for my copy although their gift did not influence this review.


Everyone has troubles and mine are not any bigger than those faced by those you know and love. You may remember that we moved here about 9 months ago because my husband got a new job. That blessing hasn't worked out as well as we hoped.

His new boss doesn't care for him. My husband is doing very well. He's ranked 7th in the nation for his company. He's improved the numbers and quota for his area and now has 115%. When it came time to give raises a couple months ago, he was recommended for the highest level available. Now the boss has decided my husband doesn't know what he's doing and just doesn't "fit in" with this company and maybe his profession. He gave him a verbal warning - put it in his file and then suggested that he get his resume ready and look for other opportunities before it got to the point where a written warning was in his record. He's also going around to all the people my husband deals with and trying to get them to complain about my husband. It's a bad situation.

We went six months without a job before he got hired this time, so our financial situation isn't great. If we don't find something before his boss decides to fire him... I'm concerned how we'll manage.

The stress of that has been bad enough, but I also had to switch doctors and our insurance company is switching us over to a mail order program at the same time. That has caused a lot of confusion with prescriptions and I've been without some of my meds for a while and I still haven't gotten them all switched over in the system.

The good news is that I'm seeing a wonderful doctor, I took a trip and got to see my oldest son and visit with my old church members as well.... I'm also sure that God has a plan. I would appreciate your prayers and patience as we go through this stressful time.

Blessings to you all ~