Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Review - When Love Comes My Way

4 out of 5 stars
WHEN LOVE COMES MY WAY is not your run-of-the-mill romance.  And while some reviewers found that as a negative, I thoroughly enjoyed its unconventional style
Tess Wakefield has inherited Wakefield Timber from her uncle. Since she knows nothing about the timber industry, her fiancĂ© encourages her to sell it and invest her assets into her own chain of haberdasheries. She has communicated with Jake Lannigan, the foreman of Wakefield Timber, her intentions of selling, but he has not been accommodating or agreeable to her plans.  So, Tess sets out to meet with a buyer and the foreman on Wakefield property.  Unfortunately, Tess is in a devastating wagon accident. Losing her memory, Tess is convinced she is the new schoolmarm. Though every day is a struggle in the small logging town, Tess is determined to make it work and put her mark on the town
Jake Lannigan is beyond frustrated with Tess Wakefield, a spoiled socialite who knows nothing about logging.  Jake and Tess’ uncle had an agreement to replant the groves they were lumbering.  Tess sees replanting as a waste of finances.  She refuses to listen to Jake’s suggestions and decides to sell to Sven Templeton, an adversary of Jake’s.  When Tess is in a wagon accident and losses her memory, Jake allows her to believe she is the new school teacher, even though he instinctively knows she is Tess Wakefield.  Without Tess Wakefield around to sell Wakefield Lumber, Jake figures he still has a chance of seeing his dream of replanting happen.  What he didn’t figure on, was falling in love with the beautiful, engaged, heiress.
Tess has more than fallen for the handsome, Jake Lannigan.  But she doesn’t understand his resistance in having a relationship with her.  She knows he’s attracted to her, but every time they get close, he pulls back.  When Tess finally regains her memory, she doesn’t know how she should feel about Jake.  He’s lied to her about who she really is. But deep down she knows she’s in love with him and willing to forgive him everything.
A really enjoyed WHEN LOVE COMES MY WAY because of its unconventional characters.  When Tess realizes she’s attracted to Jake, she doesn’t hold back.  Being quite forward, she isn’t your typical woman of society.  She sees what she wants and goes after it.  I found that fun and refreshing.  Jake as well wasn’t your normal hero.  He had his flaws but it didn’t distract from the man you knew him to be.  The secondary characters were very well written.  Andre and Echo, even Talbot, Tess’ fiancĂ© was genuine and likable.  A very fun story with a great ending.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Review - Inescapable

a3.5 out of 5 stars
INESCAPABLE by Nancy Mehl was a pleasant surprise. I am not a fan of the Amish genre, and when I saw the buggy on the cover of this book, I thought, “Oh great, how did I accidently order this?” But, I’m glad I did. To clarify, this book is not set in the Amish community, but a Mennonite community; and was an entertaining story filled with romance and suspense.
After an unplanned pregnancy at the age of eighteen, Lizzie Engel left Kingdom, Kansas, feeling shunned by the community and reviled by her father. Though it hasn’t been easy, she’s made a life for her and her daughter. But that life is now slowly falling apart. Accused of stealing money at her current job, she is fired; with the possibility of prosecution. But that is the least of her problems. Threatening letters, and a man stalking her, has Lizzie fearing for her daughter’s safety.  Feeling she has no choice, Lizzie does the one thing she vowed she would never do.  She runs home to Kingdom.
When her father refuses to accept her back, Lizzie gets a job at a local diner.  Once back in Kingdom, Lizzie realizes a lot has changed.  Many of the people she thought would shun her, accept her and her daughter; among them is Noah Housler.  Noah, a childhood friend, expresses more than just a passing interest in Lizzie.  And when Lizzie concedes to him the reason she is back in Kingdom, he vows to protect her.
As Lizzie dares to dream that she and her daughter are safe in Kingdom, and maybe she and Noah could have a future together, she sees her stalker and realizes she’s been followed. Now it’s not only her daughter that’s in danger, but all those she loves and cares about.
I really enjoyed the approach Nancy Mehl took in INESCAPABLE. Having someone close to the conservative Mennonite community and a history with it, but not having to be entrenched in it, allowed the story to have so much more dimension than most stories in this genre.  The characters were well written and likable.  The tug-o-war Lizzie experiences with her suitors added to the depth of the story. I’m glad I accidently ordered this book.  INESCAPABLE was an enjoyable read.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Review - Blind Trust by Sandra Orchard

5 out of 5 stars
BLIND TRUST by Sandra Orchard was a riveting story with plenty of suspense, and enough romance to keep the story moving.
Kate Adams finds herself once again entangled with Detective Tom Parker.  First, it was while she was adamant to prove her friend, Daisy, was murdered.  Now, she finds herself as a suspect in a counterfeiting ring.  Though she has no intentions of getting involved with Tom on a personal level, she’s thankful he is overseeing her case.  She knows he will do whatever’s possible to prove her innocence.  What Kate doesn’t count on is their worlds being drastically rocked when secrets from her past, and that of Port Aster’s converge in another case Tom is working on.  As Kate’s feelings for Tom grow, their relationship is shattered by distrust.  Determined to clear her father’s name, Kate will do whatever it takes.  Even if that means going toe to toe with the conglomerate she is convinced is not only responsible for setting her father up, but for his ultimate death.
Detective Tom Parker not only wants to prove Kate Adam’s innocence in the counterfeiting operation that has moved into Port Aster, he can’t help but be drawn to her on a personal level.  Knowing he has to deal with her in a professional matter, Tom tries to put his budding feelings for her on the backburner until he can prove her innocence.  That becomes increasingly difficult when Tom realizes someone is trying to kill her.  When he discovers Kate’s connection is not to counterfeiters but to murderers, he has no choice but to keep her within arm’s length.  Not only is he providing for her safety, but he is protecting the woman he loves.  His only hope is Kate will forgive him when she finds out the devastating secret he’s keeping from her.
BLIND TRUST was very enjoyable.  The interaction between Kate and Tom was very electric, even when they were pushing each other way.  Kate was the perfect heroine−strong and driven.  And Tom had plenty of magnetism; making him the perfect hero.  Plenty of twist. Some expected, some not.  I will definitely be back tracking and purchasing DEADLY DEVOTION, book one in the series.
Book provided for review purposes.
Available June 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Review - Undetected by Dee Henderson

4.5 out of 5 stars
UNDETECTED by Dee Henderson might’ve had a few flaws, but I still had a hard time putting it down.
Gina Gray is a genius.  A gift she has struggled with her entire life.  Socially awkward, Gina has a tendency to put too much pressure on herself, causing her to freeze up in stressful situations.   After yet another failed relationship, Gina decides to go to her brother’s and await his return from sea.  A submariner for the US navy, Jeff is all the family Gina has, and seems to be the only person who understands her. That is, except for Commander Mark Bishop.  Mark, one of Jeff’s best friends, knows Gina and some of the challenges she faces.  Gina feels like she can be real with Mark, and trusts him with her sonar discovery that has the potential of changing submarine warfare. 
Commander Mark Bishop loves his job.  As commander of a ballistic submarine, he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  But he wears the mantle with calm, humility, and a deep-seeded respect for the responsibility given to him.  When Gina Gray shows up on base and confides in him what it is she’s discovered, he realizes Gina’s intelligence places her as a security risk, and immediately steps in as her protector.
Both Gina and Mark are at a crossroads in life.  Mark is a widower longing to be married again, and Gina is looking for a relationship that won’t let her down.  When Jeff suggests Mark date his sister, Mark balks.  Gina is ten years his junior, and someone he’s thought of as a younger sister.  He ignores Jeff’s suggestion and even helps Jeff find a decent guy for Gina to date.  All too soon Mark realizes his feelings for Gina have changed. Now he must prove to her he’s the better man.
My summary can’t even begin to explain the complexity of UNDETECTED.  At times the story is bogged down with complicated scientific explanations. But watching the comfortable relationship develop between Gina and Mark makes the sometimes over-the-top details worth it. Though their relationship is not what I would consider passionate, it’s very real.  Very deep.  Very genuine.  The only other negative comment I have is regarding the manner in which Mark and Daniel handle the fact that they’re both in love with Gina.  The politeness and willingness to step aside for each other seemed a bit over the top.  If they were passionately in love with her, I think there would’ve been a little more jealousy between the two men.  Instead, they always seemed to encourage Gina to spend time with their competition.  Other than these two negatives, I loved the characters.  Gina was very complex; much like Charlotte in UNSPOKEN, and Mark had a soft spoken; but very much in control persona.  UNDETECTED was slow in developing these characters, which only added to their depth. This was a very complex book, again, much like UNSPOKEN.  Henderson took time to develop characters that were inherently strong on the outside but tremendously vulnerable on the inside.  A great combination.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

My Review - A Place in His Heart

3 out of 5 stars

A PLACE IN HIS HEART seemed to have all the elements for a heart-warming historical romance, yet there was that something special that was missing for me.
When Mary Langton is left at the altar, her father strongly encourages her to marry an eligible milliner from London.  But Mary wants to marry for love.  Barnabas Horton grieves the loss of his wife, but continues to be strong for his two young boys.  Knowing Joseph and Benjamin need a mother, Barnabas considers the idea of remarrying.  Mary knows Barnabas is still in love with his first wife, but she wants to provide stability for him and his two sons, and she thinks eventually she will win Barnabas’ heart.
When Barnabas moves his family to the New World, Mary must leave behind her own family and cleave to an uncertain future.  Mary is committed to Barnabas, and does everything she can to show him her love, and provide for him another child.  But, even after years of togetherness, Mary is still without a child, and it pains her to realize she may never hold Barnabas’ heart.  Barnabas does not see Mary’s pain until it is too late.  Now it is he who must prove to Mary that she has indeed captured his heart.
Like I said previously, A PLACE IN HIS HEART had all the key elements for a satisfying romance, but somehow it just didn’t click for me on all levels.  I felt the momentum was slow and most times I found myself not liking Barnabas.  I had a multi-published, award winning, author once caution a group of novice writers regarding the development of a hero or heroine.  She acknowledged they could be imperfect, even annoying, but the reader must genuinely care about the character for the reader’s attachment to that character to grow.  And though I did like the character of Mary, at times I felt Barnabas was too cold and self-absorbed.  In fact, I like the character of Jeremy, his brother, much more so, and he was just a secondary character without many pages dedicated to him.  The ending should have won me over.  But quite frankly, by the end of the book, I didn’t think Barnabas deserved Mary. 
Book provided for review purposes.
Available June 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Monday, June 02, 2014

My Review - Deeper Than Red by Sue Duffy

3 out of 5 stars
DEEPER THAN RED is the third book in the Red Returning series by Sue Duffy.  Though this installment went a little slower, and was a little more difficult to get in to, I’m glad I stuck with it because the ride was worth the wait.
Liesl Bower had hopes that espionage, assassinations, and diabolical plots were behind her.  But once again, she and Max Morozov are right in the middle of an international plot with explosive proportions.  Not the likely life for a pianist and violinist, but here they are again, trying to figure why they are still targeted by a man that is supposedly dead.
Tally Greyson will do whatever necessary to get her mother out of the clutches of Vandoren, a man steep in mind control and the occult.  When she finds an unexpected ally, Tally feels she has a chance.  But when even stranger happenings draw the interest of the FBI to the medium community, she realizes her mother is in even more danger than first thought.
DEEPER THAN RED is so intricately woven together, you have to pay attention to every sigh and every silent glance.  Liesl and Cade are wonderful together.  And the secondary characters of Henry, Ian, Max, and Evgeny, add layers to an already multi-layered conspiracy.  I did find the beginning difficult to get into, and with so many characters, especially with Russian names, it made it hard to keep all the characters straight.  But once the story gained momentum it was easy to stay in the rhythm of the story.  I’m not usually drawn to political dramas, but DEEPER THAN RED had the right amount of romance, edge, and twists to keep me interested.
Book provided for review purposes.
Available March 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



Sunday, June 01, 2014

My Review - A Woman of Fortune

5 out of 5 stars
A WOMAN OF FORTUNE was an amazing read!
Texas socialite, Claire Massey, has everything.  An amazing husband that dotes on her, three terrific children, designer clothes, luxury cars, a stunning home, and her only worry is matching the right shoes to the right outfit.  That is, until her husband is arrested in what may be the biggest cattle fraud case in history.
Claire barely has time to take a breath before her perfect world crumbles into moments of heartache, loss, and humiliation.  She feels betrayed by her husband, and stupid for not seeing the signs of his demise.  Her love for him is so strong, she doesn’t think twice about standing by him while her family is stripped of everything.  Garrett, her oldest son, distances himself from his father so he isn’t implicated in his scams, and in the process deserts Claire.  Their daughter, Lainie’s own life is in shambles because of her father’s crimes.  She abandons her family and spirals into her own darkness. But Max, the family underachiever, stands by his mother and helps her navigate what is left of her life.  Claire insists on looking at the positive.  With her husband’s full cooperation, he is promised a light sentence, even if he has to give up all his assets to pay for his crimes.  Claire is willing to wait out his sentence and rebuild her life with the man she loves.  That is, until their future is no longer secured. 
A WOMAN OF FORTUNE was so enthralling, I couldn’t put it down.  Ms. Gilbert did an amazing job fleshing out dynamic characters.  Because of the love Claire had for Tuck, I understood her need to stand by him, and hated it when more was piled on her. The reactions of Garrett, Lainie, and Max, were all understandable, but even still, my heart broke for what it did to Claire.  Even in Claire’s self-examination and self-blame, I wanted to pull her aside and assure her she wasn’t to blame.  I didn’t want her to take the blame for what her husband did, and I applauded her for wanting to stand by the man she knew and fell in love with so many years ago.  A great book. A great story of true love and forgiveness.  And I loved the way, in the end, Ms. Gilbert revealed to us the true heart of Reece Sandell. Great touch.
Book provided for review purposes.

Available June 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.