Showing posts with label 3.5 Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3.5 Stars. Show all posts

Friday, April 14, 2017

In the Shadow of Lakecrest


In the Shadow of LakecrestIn the Shadow of Lakecrest


By: Elizabeth Blackwell
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Gothic
Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary:
The year is 1928. Kate Moore is looking for a way out of the poverty and violence of her childhood. When a chance encounter on a transatlantic ocean liner brings her face-to-face with the handsome heir to a Chicago fortune, she thinks she may have found her escape—as long as she can keep her past concealed.


After exchanging wedding vows, Kate quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right with her husband—or her new family. As Mrs. Matthew Lemont, she must contend with her husband’s disturbing past, his domineering mother, and his overly close sister. Isolated at Lakecrest, the sprawling, secluded Lemont estate, she searches desperately for clues to Matthew’s terrors, which she suspects stem from the mysterious disappearance of his aunt years before. As Kate stumbles deeper into a maze of family secrets, she begins to question everyone’s sanity—especially her own. But just how far will she go to break free of this family’s twisted past?


My Thoughts:


I will start out by saying that Gothic stories are not my favorite. I don't have much patience for the woman going mad story. I prefer to cut to the chase, figure out what is going on and actually having problems that you are capable of facing. Ghosts are not my things, thinking that you are being driven insane is also not my thing, being put in a position where you feel that all of your power is taken away from you - MOST DEFINITELY NOT. MY. THING.

 
I read it in just 2 days - so it was compelling. Irritating as anything, but compelling.


Kate makes a case for not marrying a man until you know who your mother-in-law is going to be. The first Mrs. Lemont is controlling, cold, manipulative and really I couldn't find anything redemptive about her. She is the spider and everyone in her family is caught in a web of her design and she comes across - at least to me - as flat out evil. Emphasis on the "flat" there wasn't enough of a development of her character to make her compelling. 


With all of the frustration from the MIL I will say that this was a book that made my lunch hours fly by. I was entertained by it and I needed to read it faster so that the book would actually get to the part that it had been hinting at so heavily.

If I find more of Elizabeth Blackwell's work I will definitely give it a go though this isn't a book that I would buy for my shelves. 


I was given a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. 





Monday, March 13, 2017

Everything


AlwaysAlways


by 
Genre: General Fiction
Rating 3.5 stars

Summary:

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt "right." But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants. 



My Thoughts:


I have difficulty figuring out how I felt about this book. There aren't very many books that I actually like the whole flip-flopping between two time periods. Kate Morton is one of the few authors where I have to read what is going on with each generation/time period. About halfway through I just passed on all of the parts taking place in the 90's. I knew how that part would end and that the mystery wouldn't be resolved there but rather in the present time.


It was good subject matter. I live and work in an area that has a rather high homeless population and it really is easy to forget that these people didn't start out here, they had a past and perhaps - if they accept help - they can have a much better future. 


Kailey is a well rounded woman - at least she would be if Cade hadn't suddenly popped into her life. The feminist part of me is thinking "Girl, finish your work focus on the life you have and don't let some boyfriend from the past mess it up." The nurturing part of me thinks "good job, way to take care of your man - even if he hasn't been yours for a long time." The only thing that drove me nuts was the fact that she wasn't straight up and honest with Ryan.  I think that it was a childish move and that she could have avoided a lot of pain had she done the adult thing and practiced open communication with her partner.

Overall I thought it was decent. I'm not racing out to purchase my own hard copy, but if I see anything else by Jio I most likely will get it. 


I received a galley for free in exchange for a review. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Misc Monday: Love Water Memory


Love Water MemoryLove Water Memory

By: Jennie Shortridge
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars
Caution for conservative readers - multiple uses of strong expletives and adult content.

Summary:
Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can't answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ever fall in love with her handsome, kindhearted fiance, Grady? Can he devote himself to the vulnerable, easygoing Lucie 2.0, who is so unlike her controlling former self? When Lucie learns that Grady has been hiding some very painful secrets that could change the course of their relationship, she musters the courage to search for the shocking, long-repressed childhood memories that will finally set her free.


My Thoughts:
What an interesting premise. What would you do if one day you found yourself somewhere with no memory of how you got there, nor of who you were? And what are you to do if that happens to someone you love?

It was an idea which got me thinking. What would I do in that position. Which of my habits would I go back to and what would I think was idiotic/strange/foreign? Lucie wonderfully captured what I imagine all of the confusion, heart ache and loss which would come with such an event. So many times trying to figure out who she was, and who she is going to choose to become. It was great to see her rebuild from the tragedy and become a woman even better than she was before. 

Throwing in an approaching wedding added a depth of complexity. Could Grady still love a woman who was so entirely different from the one he proposed to? Both versions of Lucie were so completely different but Grady managed to find the similarities, and I liked seeing the two of them begin to reconnect.

I just wished that it hadn't been so needlessly laced with profanity. Are there times that call for it - occasionally it can be justified. But there was just too much of it for me personally.

I liked the premise and the characters, it was well executed. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

YA Wednesday - The Girl in the Steel Corset


The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)The Girl in the Steel Corset

By: Kady Cross
Genre: Steampunk, YA
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one... except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch...

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on even if it seems no one believes her.

My Thoughts:
This book, has a great story, a fun plot, characters who I adore - it's steampunk, which is my favorite thing ever right now, but it did not in anyway live up to the standards set by Gail Carriger (and one more). The writing, or better said editing, didn't help the story reach it's full potential. I loved Finley, and how different sci-fi stories such as Jekyll and Hyde, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Frankenstein were all woven into the narrative. I am not a love triangle fan, but this one was ok, I am excited to see how Finley will resolve this in the future. 

My main problems are best summarized in how when asking for forgiveness a character just looks and says "We good?" WHAT? This isn't taking place in downtown LA or in modern society for that matter. If you are trying to convince me that this is in London, stop with the slang and let the characters speak how they are supposed to. It irked me to no end to see this pop up through out the novel. Also if I figure things out about 250 pages before the characters it's a problem. 

It had potential to be amazingly wonderful, but because of poor editing it fell flat. Though, I will be reading the sequel because I love the characters that much

Monday, February 9, 2015

Misc Monday - The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs


The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs (Cyrus Mills, #1)The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs

By: Nick Trout
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
After fifteen years, Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to rural Vermont to inherit the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the failing veterinary practice of his recently deceased and long-estranged father. Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist far more comfortable with cold clinical facts than living, breathing animals (not to mention their quirky, demanding owners), intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can.

Then his first patient—a down-on-her-luck golden retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws—wags her way through the door, and suddenly life gets complicated. With the help of a black Labrador gifted in the art of swallowing underwear, a Persian cat determined to expose her owner’s lover as a gold digger, and the allure of a feisty, pretty waitress from the local diner, Cyrus gets caught up in a new community and its endearing residents, both human and animal. Sensing he may have misjudged the past, he begins to realize it’s not just his patients that need healing.

My Thoughts:
I thought this was a sweet novel, I just got Netflix and am on a Gilmore Girls binge right now, and this fit right in with the whole "small town/bad relationship with my parents" vibe. The characters are quirky and fun, and the reason why I love small towns - particularly the receptionist - she really is her own person - and the pets are cute too. 

I found this to be a sweet read, though too much whining about how parents weren't there and so I am going to be grumpy about it. Though it looks as like it the story continues in Dog Gone, Back Soon, so I will be interested to see how things further develop.

It was a sweet read, and I will get the sequel to see how it goes. It also probably rings truer for those who are huge pet owners. Go ahead, try it. It is a fun way to pass the time. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Historical Tuesday - The Brickmaker's Bride


The Brickmaker's Bride (Refined by Love, #1)

The Brickmaker's Bride


By: Judith Miller

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business
and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.

My thoughts:
This was a fun little read. When you want good clean romance this is a great book for that. I loved Laura and her mother and their interactions. It was a great mother daughter relationship to read. It was also nice to have a new time period and problem faced. Ewan was a great leading man and I found myself rooting for them.

The only reason I kept it from 4 stars was that the villains seemed far too one dimensional for my liking and  it at points I was just wondering why anyone still talked to them. 

It was a sweet christian romance and if that is what you are wanting to read this is a good pick for you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Misc Monday - Driftwood Tides

Driftwood TidesDriftwood Tides

By: Gina Holmes
Genre: Christian
Rating 3.5 stars
Summary:He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore.When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making driftwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife's illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he'd given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby's father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.


My Thoughts:
"And wasn't that what humanity was really? Nothing by weeds in God's garden, waiting for the day they would be changed into flowers."

This is one of my favorite quotes from the book, and one which I believe wonderfully describes the content. It is a book of people growing and overcoming the natural flaws which they have. All of the characters are flawed (some far more than others) but it was nice to get to know them, see them in their flaws and like them anyway. It was a good Christian novel in the fact that it wasn't preachy, it was just normal religious people letting their belief in God show. I like those far more than some of the others I have read.

A lot of elements come together to make this a sweet read - the stormy relationship between Libby and her mother, along with the confusion of two worlds colliding and the toll which it takes on Libby's relationships.

It was a sweet read, one that left me feeling happy and content with how everything turned out. It was relaxing and enjoyable and good if you have some time and just want a feel-good, warm fuzzy novel.



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chocolat


ChocolatChocolat

By:Joanne Harris
Genre: General Fiction
Rating:3.5 stars

Summary:
In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival. 

My Thoughts: 
I first watched the movie on this one in my high school French class (It was in French and I wasn't too fluent yet so I didn't get too much from it except for the imagery.) I loved the imagery and well I love chocolate so this looked like a fun little read. I loved the characterizations of the different townspeople and the relationship between Vianne and her daughter Anouk. It was a little bit slow in the middle while the priest seemed to be doing the same thing over and over again, but overall I really liked this one. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Misc Monday - Uneasy Fortunes

Uneasy FortunesUneasy Fortunes
By: Mandi Ellsworth
Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Battered by his past, Pete knows he has no business falling for anyone. But when time can’t heal a wound, love steps in to make it right. Based on a true story of the post–Civil War South, this gentle rustic romance will pull you in from the first page and leave you with a renewed hope in the power of real love.


My  Thoughts:
I found this to be a very sweet novel.  All of the characters were more real than what is generally found in romance novels. There wasn't some bolt of lightning romance, as the characters grew their relationships grew with them.  Everyone was facing challenges and figuring out how to deal with them in the best way they could. It's less a story about love and more a story about growing up and learning to live life after tragedy. 


It was a perfect "de-stressor" and something that I read a chapter or two of before going to bed to help calm down after finals. If there was one thing I would change it would be the going back and forth in dialect. Sometimes the characters were speaking "southern" and sometimes "yankee" I wouldn't really care which one was picked, I just wanted the author to choose.


Many Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this book for review.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fluffy Friday - Secrets on the Wind


Secrets on the WindSecrets on the Wind

by: Stephanie Grace Whitson
Genre: Historical, Christian Romance
Rating: 3.5

Summary:
After two people experience things which no person should have to endure one woman brings them together and helps set them on the path to healing. Laina, who was saved from certain death, struggles to overcome what has happened to her and the resulting nightmares. Sargent Nathan Boone still fights to get past the death of his wife. Granny Max helps to guide them to inner peace.

My Thoughts:
Before we seriously begin, I'd like to state that I have no idea where the title came from. It still confuses me. Now on to the real review. 

I have already read a Whitson novel, and find this one to be much less confusing than the other.  It is nice to read about a hero and a heroine who have had pasts that aren't something to be proud of. Too often the knight in shining armor is perfect...and while perfect is nice, for me personally that would be a little daunting. 
I loved Laina. Her inner conflict was fun to watch and see how she grew up and past what she was into the best version of who she could be. 
Also, this book thankfully didn't take the path of least resistance. the characters who I marked as ending up together never did, I like it when that happens. Too often I find things to be too predictable and I get bored.

I would recommend this for people who love historical christian romance.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

YA Wednesday - The Académie


The AcadémieThe Académie

By: Susanne Dunlap
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
As Eliza Monroe goes off to school in Paris she meets Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. Quickly she realizes she is in for a summer that it not at all what she expected. Drawn into the competition between the two, Eliza finds herself interacting with people such as Madeline, a young actress in the Comedie Francaise. All she can do is hope that she doesn't get in too much trouble during a summer she will never forget.

My thoughts:
First off, I love this cover...so much! Ok, now that's out of the way on to the real review. 
This is very loosely based off of historical events but it is fun to read about the time of change that was between the French Revolution and the coming of Bonaparte to power. There were a lot of different viewpoints in this novel and well, I got confused. It took me about a third of the way through the book to figure out exactly who was who and what they wanted and such.  But once I figured that out I thought it was a lot of fun. It was a fun set of misadventures of 3 teenage girls. Not too much silly teen-romance, and just a lot of innocent adventures. 

I found Hortense to be my favorite of all the characters, Eliza was a little too teenage whiny for me, but since that's what she was supposed to be, I wasn't too annoyed by that, I just wanted to get to Hortense's part. 

Overall I really liked it and will be reading more by Susanne Dunlap in the future

Thank you Netgalley for giving me this book for review!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Misc. Monday - 60 Acres and a Bride

Sixty Acres and a Bride60 Acres and a Bride
By: Regina Jennings
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars


Summary from GR:
With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay. Though facing eviction, Rosa can't keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can't help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future.


My Thoughts:
I had a lot of fun reading this...though I probably should have been writing papers for school at the time. (I can't wait for summer to come!) Rosa was a sweet character who showed the culture clash between America and Mexico in Texas at this time. The fact that this is a debut novel makes me happy because I believe that as she grows and matures as an author, Jennings will be one of the better historical writers. 


Her characters were warm and likable. Weston was the perfect combination of fortitude and protectiveness without seeming to be overbearing. This of course is enough to make the females reading this swoon. Rosa was a good counterpart to him with her genuine goodness and innocence. With both of them struggling to adjust to the curve balls life has thrown at them it is fun to see how they come grow into their new selves. 

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishing for providing me with a book for review!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Historical Thursday - Yellow Crocus

Yellow CrocusYellow Crocus
By: Laila Ibrahim
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars


Summary From Goodreads:
Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story... 

So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds. Growing up under the tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie. This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.



My Thoughts:
This book claimed to be one which those who loved The Help and so going in with that I thought I was going to get a totally different experience. Had I not been told that however, I think I would have liked the book a lot more.


Mattie was a character who I truly loved. She was the wonderful stable parent for little Lisbeth and it was obvious by Lisbeth's later change in the novel that she was a necessary one. Mattie never forgot who she was and was still able to love others unconditionally. She was the character who made this book wroth while for me.


That is the reason I am so sad she disappears for half of the book.


Lisbeth was a character who I took a long time to warm up to, almost the entire novel. But I am very pleased with the woman she turned out to be.


The plot as a whole was pretty good but nothing stellar. There were some vulgarities that I really didn't like. I definitely wouldn't recommend this to people under the age of 16.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Historical Thursday - Raven's Bride


The Raven's BrideThe Raven's Bride
By: Lenore Hart
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:

When eight-year-old Virginia "Sissy" Clemm meets her handsome cousin, Eddy, she sees the perfect husband she's conjured up in childhood games. Thirteen years her elder, he's soft-spoken, brooding, and handsome. Eddy fails his way through West Point and the army yet each time he returns to Baltimore, their friendship grows. As Sissy trains for a musical career, her childhood crush turns to love. When she's thirteen, Eddy proposes. But as their happy life darkens, Sissy endures Poe's abrupt disappearances, self-destructive moods, and alcoholic binges. When she falls ill, his greatest fear– that he’ll lose the woman he loves– drives him both madness, and to his greatest literary achievement.

My Thoughts:
Reading this while studying Poe was quite a fun experience. Having a knowledge of his works, while not mandatory is definitely helpful as you read what the author thought was going on during his life as he wrote them. 


This was a darker story, not at all romantic, but well, it's Edgar Allen Poe, I really didn't expect any real romance. Having read many of these kinds of novels (particularly by Nancy Moser) I must say I did enjoy this writing style and content. 


I found Sissy to be correctly portrayed as a girl who was never entirely sure how to grow up. It wasn't until much later in life...well almost in death did she really come into herself. In most circumstances this would have annoyed me but here I found it quite appropriate, considering how her mother never left her to her own devices and how she married so young.


Loved it, and I know this is nerdy, but I giggled to myself when I saw that the name of the person writing this was Lenore. 


Great Job.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fun Friday - A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A NovelA Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
by: Suzanne Joinson
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: General Fiction

Summary from Goodreads:

It is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and her sister Lizzie are missionaries heading for the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Though Lizzie is on fire with her religious calling, Eva’s motives are not quite as noble, but with her green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, she is ready for adventure.
In present day London, a young woman, Frieda, returns from a long trip abroad to find a man sleeping outside her front door. She gives him a blanket and a pillow, and in the morning finds the bedding neatly folded and an exquisite drawing of a bird with a long feathery tail, some delicate Arabic writing, and a boat made out of a flock of seagulls on her wall. Tayeb, in flight from his Yemeni homeland, befriends Frieda and, when she learns she has inherited the contents of an apartment belonging to a dead woman she has never heard of, they embark on an unexpected journey together.


My Thoughts:
This is one of the most enjoyable novels I have read in a long time. It tells two stories - Eva's and Freida's - in alternating chapters. This is among my favorite of narrative styles so I was greatly pleased. Also I loved the fact that Eva's story was told in a rather obscure location and time period - Western China in the 1920's. 

Freida while in modern day London, still is exploring different cultures both in her personal in professional life. And that really is what I feel this story is about. Both parts of the story explore the differences in culture and if they could possibly mesh. 

This was such a complex story all of the details which you think are irrelevant combine and are woven into a wonderful ending. 

Only thing I would change if I could would be the occasional strong language. This is something which fairly conservative readers might want to be cautious about.



Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for giving me a copy for review.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Historical Thursday - The Guardian Duke

The Guardian Duke: A Forgotten Castles NovelThe Guardian Duke
By: Jamie Carie
Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars


Summary From Goodreads:

The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.
Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.
My Thoughts:

Well this ending was the very definition of cliff-hanger. I just finished the book and was saddened to see how long of a wait it is until the next one. I loved Alex as a heroine. She is the headstrong, idiotic young adult who forgets that everything doesn't go according to plan and gets into some fun scrapes because of this. 

Now that is not to say that the book is perfect. There is one aspect of it which I find so confusing and which I am praying will be better explained - the Dukes odd and sudden deafness. (you find that out right away so no worries on spoilers). Also I was a little unconvinced that this Duke could fall in love after a few letters (Hey it's Christian Romance, it's supposed to happen so once again, no worries, I'm not really giving anything away.)
I loved the secondary characters, each one had a loving and lovable personality and I think this series will (once it is resolved, and not until then!) be a very good one.


Thank you to B&H Publishing Group for giving me a copy for review.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Historical Thursday - Pirate of My Heart

Pirate of My Heart: A NovelPirate of My Heart
By: Jamie Carie
Genre: Christian Romance
Rating 3.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.


My Thoughts:

I liked this book. It fits in the mold of its genre perfectly as a wonderfully, almost predictable Christian Romance. Placed in both England and America close after the American Revolution it was a nice setting for it. 


Kendra was good, strong and not entirely prone to fainting. She does what she can to save herself when the need arises but also is willing to accept the help of others. Her faith seemed sincere not constrained which is always a plus.
Dorian was a pretty standard hero with a tragic past and wonderful family. I loved the descriptions of his family and all of their interactions; they seemed exactly what a family ought to be and were a wonderful addition to the plot.


I do wish that there had been some follow up with the antagonists of the story. They seemed to just sort of fade to the background. They were a couple of loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up. 
Overall I liked the plot, the setting and the characters. It was a very fun read. Many thanks to B&H Publishing for letting me read this book for review.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Misc. Monday - Year of Wonders

Year of WondersYear of Wonders
By: Geraldine Brooks
Genre: Historical Fiction,
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
In 1666 a little town outside of London finds itself dealing with the Plague. Anna Firth finds herself without a family and becoming the healer and helper to those around her. As the year, and death toll, progress she is the voice of reason which tries to keep her village from losing absolutely everything.

I would like to say, that had it not been for the last 20 or so pages this would have deserved 5 stars. It is written beautifully, all of the characters are well developed and there is a vivid recreation of humanity as a whole which is typically hard to capture.

Brooks did a marvelous job in showing how the human condition can sink when faced with extreme difficulty. The research which was put into it, not only into the plague itself but also into how different people dealt with it and the many challenges the village as a whole faced was marvelous to read. The novel was both of historical and psychological dealings which is what made it so well done.

Seeing how different families dealt with the grief of losing everyone, some turning to alcohol, others preying on the panic of their fellows, some simply shutting down completely, illustrated a great diversity in humanity which I loved reading about.

Anna too was a character who was real and honest. She didn't come across as this great super-heroine. She was merely a person who was doing her best to get through each day no matter what it had in store for her. There were some episodes which showed how she too suffered from human frailty and wasn't some paragon of virtue and fortitude.

Had it ended with a nice scene at the official end of the plague in the town I would have been not only satisfied but I would have had to buy the book for my permanent collection.

But it didn't. It was all set up to, it could easily have done that...but she just kept on writing. It went south as the writer put in the seemingly mandatory romance which detracted rather than added to the novel. Had that 6 or so pages not been there, this would have been one of the top 5 books I read this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Historical Thursday - Captive Trail

Captive Trail (The Texas Trail Series)Captive Trail 
by: Susan Paige Davis
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family's teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu is Billie Morgan. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. 

Through Taabe (Billie) and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.



This is the second book a series (I already reviewed the first) but works very well as a stand alone novel. It is nice to see characters from the last one come into play but if you haven't read it you won't be confused.

I have a thing for Indian captive books, I always have though generally it has been during the French and Indian War so this was a nice change of pace. Also this was less about the capture and more about re-acclimating into society after being gone for 12 years. 
I really liked how Davis tried to show the confusion at concepts which seem very basic to those of us who have grown up in "civilized" society. I also loved the side character of Quinta. She is a little 9 year old girl who comes to live with the sisters for a proper education. She is a spitfire and can hold her own in almost every situation that is thrown at her. 
The only thing that I wish could have got from this novel is more background on Ned. First of all, what caused his initial aversion to nuns? And religion in general? I think a little more back story on him would have been an nice addition.
Overall, I liked this book and most likely will read the next one in the series.

Many thanks to Moody publishing for giving me this book for review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Classic Tuesday: To the Lighthouse

To the LighthouseTo The Lighthouse
by: Virginia Woolf
Genre: Modernist, Classic
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
The lives of the Ramsay family are followed at their summer home which over looks a lighthouse.

Short summary I know, but you don't really read modernist literature for the plot. You read it for the words and for the ideas which they evoke.

I don't like modernism as a general rule, my modernist class this year is trying to change that, but unless you're Conrad, you don't really stand much chance.

So with that in mind that's why I have refrained from giving it a superb rating.

There are passages in the novel which are truly stunning, especially in the third portion of the book. Woolf has a wonderful way with words about her. The thing about the book that clung to me the most is the idea of identity.

Identity is what other people label our souls.

Mrs. Ramsay, for instance, is labeled: wife, mother, hostess, daughter. None of these are labels which she has given herself. When she is in those moments of alone she faces this blackness which is really what we are without the identity which others have given us.

I liked this one and if you are looking for a slower read (really emphasize "slower") which has some pretty deep currents this one will work perfectly.


Shame Nation

Shame Nation Genre: Non-Fiction Rating: 4 Stars Summary My Thoughts: This is a book everyone needs to read. The title perfectly fits ...