Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Review - Tidewater Inn

4 out of 5 stars
TIDEWATER INN had a unique storyline with plenty of suspense and romance.
Libby Holladay and her partner Nicole renovate and save buildings with historical value.  It’s Libby’s true passion in life.  Well, Libby’s life has just turned upside down.  Thinking her father died when she was young, Libby has just found out his death was more recent and that he left her an inheritance in the form of an old seaside house.  She’s also just learned she has a half brother and sister that want nothing to do with her, and her business partner, Nicole, has been kidnapped before her eyes.  Feeling overwhelmed by all that is going on around her, she also learns she is the sheriff’s main suspect in Nicole’s disappearance.  Finding Nicole is Libby’s top priority even though her own life is being threatened.  Though Coast Guard Lieutenant, Alec Bourne, makes it clear he’s suspicious of Libby, he’s the only one that seems willing to help her find Nicole.  What follows is a race against time to find Nicole and her kidnappers, before they find Libby.
I really enjoyed TIDEWATER INN.  Though I read the three books that comprise the Hope Beach series out of order, it did not lessen my enjoyment of the story or the characters of Libby and Alex.  The pace was fast-moving, and I was surprised by not only who the culprit was that was trying to silence Libby, but some of the discoveries Libby made as well.  Alec was a stand-up guy who was honest with Libby about his suspicions, but soon saw that Libby was genuinely kind and carry, and would never intentionally hurt someone.  Libby couldn’t help but be drawn to Alec’s protective manner but tried to keep her feelings under wraps.  Libby’s need to gain her brother and sister’s approval was admirable considering how poorly they treated her.
Out of the three books in the series, I think TIDEWATER INN was my favorite.  A good read with good characters.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Review - Seagrass Pier

3.5 out of 5 stars
SEAGRASS PIER is the second installment in the Hope Beach series.  I enjoyed the story, but must say, parts of it were confusing, and other storylines seemed to drop off without resolution.
Elin Summerall’s life of late has been filled with difficulties.  The loss of her husband and a heart transplant has brought her to Seagrass Pier, a place where she can concentrate on her recovery and building a new life for her and her daughter, Josie.  Unfortunately, that is not to be.  When Elin experiences terrifying flashbacks of events she doesn’t remember, she realizes she is witnessing her heart donor’s murder.
FBI agent, Marc Everton isn’t sure he believes Elin’s fantastical story of having her donor’s memories, but something else convinces Marc to stay close to Elin to make sure she and Josie are not in danger.  It doesn’t take long for Marc to realize the flashbacks Elin is experiencing are real and she is being stalked by a killer.  He and Elin have to filter through a list of suspects before the murderer makes good on his threat to eliminate Marc and take Elin for himself.
I enjoyed SEAGRASS PIER, but was frustrated at times by inconsistencies and dropped storylines.  I love the story that developed between Elin and Marc, and the historical background of the house, but with so many characters to keep straight, things got a bit confusing.  I felt like the drug smuggling storyline was thrown in there just for the sake of having a character planted in Elin’s house, a major discrepancy regarding Ben was a bit disappointing, and the story of a lost city was never even tied-up.  Even with all that, it was the story of Elin and Marc that kept me hooked, so the other issues were never big enough to keep me from wanting to finish the book.  But, to be honest, it did seem like there was a lack of proofing that might’ve led to these minor inconsistencies to slip through the cracks. 

My Review - Tears of the Sea

5 out of 5 stars
TEARS OF THE SEA is a fantastical story, the likes of which I have never read before!
Perdita was once a woman who dreamt of true love but the evil warlock, Forwin insists such love does not exist. Entering into a bargain with him, Perdita’s world is shattered when her beloved proves Forwin’s words true. Now cursed to swim the oceans as a mermaid, Perdita is given an opportunity every ten years to seek out this true love she so believes in.  But after three hundred years, her hope is dwindling.  Until she meets Savion. A man of exemplary noble character, Perdita is convinced he will be the one to break her curse.  But Savion is not taken with her seductions.  Perdita does everything she can conjure up to make Savion fall in love with her.  And though she feels his love, he does not concede to her immoral ways.
Savion in many ways is under his own curse.  Separated from his father and his kingdom, Savion goes about doing good, knowing one day he and his father will be reunited.  A gifted man who is led by an amulet and his heart, he goes to those in need and provides them with justice and care.  When Savion meets Perdita, he is drawn to her, but is exasperated all the same.  A siren who wishes to entangle him, he does his best to keep her safe but not give into her sensual behavior.  He knows there is more to Perdita, and doesn’t understand why she is so willingly gives herself to men.  He sees the good in her, but unfortunately, that good is buried under layers of conniving and deceit.
Perdita and Savion’s story is an allegory of Christ and those who are lost.  The more you read, the more you pick up on the subtleties Ms. Tyndall as woven into this unique love story.  This is a slight departure from MaryLu’s other novels.  Though she stays true to her passion for adventure on the high seas, she creates a world of fantasy that quickly draws you in.  I am not a reader of fantasy or Sci-fi, but I am a fan of Ms. Tyndall, so I was willing to read outside my genre.  I must say, I am glad I did.  I truly enjoyed both the story of Perdita and Savion, and the reminder that Christ loves us in spite of ourselves..  TEARS OF THE SEA is a cross between Narnia and the Little Mermaid with a rich undertow of love, redemption, and sacrifice.
TEARS OF THE SEA is a page-turner for sure!

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Review - Recipe for Love

4.5 out of 5
RECIPE FOR LOVE is the second book I’ve read from Brandy Bruce, both were quite entertaining and enjoyable. 
Alison Taylor is facing an uncertain future.  Widowed, raising a young son, and running a struggling B&B, Alison has to decide if it’s time to give up on her dream. 
Chef Jeremy Mitchell needs some time away. Though he is passionate about his work, a bed and breakfast and some fishing seems like the perfect getaway.  When he arrives at the Mountain View B&B, he notices it looks a little tired, but his hostess more than makes up for that.  Immediately, Jeremy feels a connection with Alison and Nicholas, and enjoys spending time with them. 
Not thinking she could ever have feelings for another man, Alison is confused by the attraction she feels for Jeremy.  Hesitant, but wanting to pursue her feelings, she know she has to take it slow for Nicholas’ sake.  Jeremy is more than accommodating and willing to give Alison as much time as she needs-because he knows what he’s feeling is love.
I have to say, there’s something about Brandy’s writing I really enjoy.  There’s no suspense or high drama, just a simple story with genuine characters and a natural realism in their interaction.  Usually stories either lean towards suspense or are a little too sweet for me.  Somehow Brandy takes a simple story, removes the saccharine, and leaves a rich full story for the reader to enjoy.
Book provide for review purposes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My review - A Heartbeat Away

5 out of 5 stars

A HEARTBEAT AWAY by Harry Kraus was thought-provoking, suspenseful, and pulled me in at every turn.

Dr. Tori Taylor is cold, abrupt, and has no tolerance for incompetence.  She has little need for anyone but her patients.  But that’s all about to change.  After undergoing a heart transplant, Tori realizes, with chilling regret, she has no friends among her colleagues.  Alone in her recovery, Tori begins to have nightmares that feel all too real.  She also experiences a change in her emotions.  Never the expressive, touchy-feely type, Tori now finds herself crying all the time, and needing the physical touch of others.  When she realizes the hospital she works at has put her on administrative leave because of her intolerant behavior, she has no recourse but to apologize to the nursing staff and undergo counseling.  Those are the least of her worries.  Tori is convinced the nightmares she’s having are events in the life of her donor.  Tragic events.  So she begins to investigate.  Soon Tori becomes the hunted.  With the help of Phin, her counselor, she begins to unravel the events leading up to her donor’s death.

A HEARTBEAT AWAY was captivating!  Though Tori is a complete pain in the butt, she becomes a character you empathize with and only want the best for her.  Her relationship with Phin is unique and endearing and just what Tori needs.  The storyline is a bit twisted but believable, especially since Harry Kraus is a doctor.  The flow of the book is unique since Kraus highlight’s several characters that could be Tori’s donor, keeping the reader guessing until the end.  A fascinating read I would highly recommend.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Review - Surprised by Love

4 out of 5 stars
SURPRISED BY LOVE is the third installment in the Heart of San Francisco series.  It had been a while since I read book one and two so I had to reacquaint myself with the characters and couplings that had previously taken place. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the plotline, characters, and Ms. Lessman’s unique style.
Megan McClare has experienced quite the makeover.  Before leaving San Francisco, she was shy, awkward, and weighed down with insecurities and a few extra pounds.  But when she returns from a year in Paris, she has shed not only her extra weight, but her wallflower mentality.   She is a new woman, transformed and ready to tackle the world. When her mother makes arrangements for her to intern at the District Attorney’s Office, she is beyond thrilled.  That is until she finds out her arch nemesis; Devin Caldwell will be working side-by-side with her.  Devin’s cruel and merciless ridicule made Megan an outcast throughout her school years, and even though she hated him for it, she was always secretly enamored with him.  But Megan’s true friend and confident is and always will be Bram Hughes.  Bram, a family friend, ten years her senior has treated Megan just like a little sister.  His constant encouragement and care helped Megan through the awkward stages of life.  Now, Megan can’t wait to see Bram again and see if their relationship can move past friendship.  What happens next it not at all what Megan had expected.  While Devin is doing everything he can’t to win her over, Bram is keeping his distance and at times even pushing her away.  Confused, Megan must decide if she can trust Devin with her heart, a heart that has always belonged to Bram.
SURPRISED BY LOVE was very enjoyable with not only the main story of Megan and Bram, but it also brought closure to the story of Cait and Logan.  The McClare family is large, with many siblings and spouses so you have to work at keeping everyone straight.  But once you do, you will be thoroughly immersed in the affection this family has for each other.  My only one critique would be that the author constantly reminds the reader of the characters past woes and predicaments.  At times, this got a bit heavy-handed.  Other than that, SURPRISED BY LOVE has all the components you would expect from a Lessman novel.
This book provided by Revell, a divison of Baker Publishing for review purposes. 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

My Review - At Bluebonnet Lake

3 out of 5 stars
AT BLUEBONNET LAKE is a sweet romance, predictable but enjoyable.
Kate Sherwood is on her way up.  An advertising professional, she’s close to her goal of making partner with her current firm.  The last thing she wants to do is go off the grid for a month, but that’s what she has to do.  She’s promised to accompany her grandmother to Rainbow’s End, a resort in Texas that hold fond memories for her.  What Kate’s not ready for is to spend time in a rundown ranch with very little charm and no internet or cell reception.  Doing her best to enjoy herself and time spent with her grandmother, it gets a little easier when Kate meets Greg, another guest of the ranch.  Encouraged by her matchmaking grandmother to spend time with Greg, Kate does, but has no interest it striking up a romance.  Texas is a long way from Manhattan, and that’s where she’ll be returning after the month is over.  Or so she thinks.
I enjoyed AT BLUEBONNET LAKE for its simplicity.  There were no amazing hooks or plot twists but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment.  We, as the readers, know what Greg’s background is, even if Kate doesn’t.  We are just waiting for the time she finds out and what her reaction will be.  I enjoyed the simple town feel of this story.  I could picture the town of Dupree and enjoyed the secondary characters Ms. Cabot highlighted from the town.  The relationship between Kate’s grandmother and Roy was sweet and added to the overall enjoyable of the story.  Like I said, no surprise twists or turns, just a simple story of love found in unexpected places.