Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Review - The Reckoning

In one word - AMAZING!
5 out of 5 stars
THE RECKONING was ADVENTURE at its most adventurous and ROMANCE at its most romantic! The climax had as many swelling whitecaps and crashing waves as The Reckoning itself had to navigate. Though this book has a time traveling aspect to it—something new for Ms. Tyndall—it was a direct hit!
Morgan Shaw’s life is careening out of control. Diagnosed with cancer, being dumped by her boyfriend, and navigating a difficult relationship with her divorced parents is just the tip of the iceberg Morgan is dealing with. At a Tall Ships Festival with her friends, Morgan wants nothing more than to hide away from the world and her problems. When she seeks refuge in the belly of a replica ship of The Reckoning, Morgan awakes to find she’s been transported back in time three hundred years. Convinced her wealthy father has gone to the extreme to stage an adventurous distraction from her upcoming cancer treatments, Morgan goes along with the elaborate display. But her indifference turns to irritation, and her irritation quickly turns to anger when no one will help her put an end to this ridiculous charade. As her staged adventure continues, Morgan begins to realize even her father could not have engineered such an elaborate scheme, but the thought of her actually traveling through time is more than she can comprehend.  Soon, Morgan is swept up in the adventure and romance of being at sea with a man that is quite handsome with a personality one part chivalrous hero and two parts captivating rouge.  
Pirate Rowan Dutton, captain of The Reckoning, is on a quest to reinstate his name and his family fortune. Just as he positions himself to overtake a ship carrying great wealth, a woman he’s never seen before appears on his ship, distracting him and giving the ship he hopes to plunder enough time to slip away. Infuriated by her untimely appearance, Rowan’s anger is quickly turned to curiosity. This woman is like none he has seen before. Her clothes, her actions, her insistence that he is nothing more than an actor hired by her father, has him intrigued.  When she seems indifferent to his charm and debonair ways, he finds his curiosity of the woman has turned to infatuation. An infatuation that could lead to his death when she divulges his lucrative plan to one of his long held archenemies.
WOW!  I mean WOW! First, let me say, I do not do fantasy/Sci-Fi/time travel. It’s just not my thing. Well, once again I have been challenged to broaden my horizons by Ms. Tyndall’s writing.  THE RECKONING was an incredible journey that not only fed the adventurous spirit, but challenged the spiritual heart. It was clear to me that Ms. Tyndall’s intention in writing THE RECKONING was not just to give her readers another swashbuckling tale, but to remind them that God is there always! In all things! From tragedies to triumphs, our God is there. It is up to us to seek Him out and trust Him always. Some conservatives might question some of the spiritual aspects of her writing (make sure and read the author’s note), but her objective in pointing out the sovereignty of God rings true.
Thank you, MaryLu for another exciting escapade!


My Review - JUSTIFIED - book two in the Mended Heart series.

5 out of 5 stars
JUSTIFIED—book two in the Mended Heart series—has genuine characters you fall in love with and rings with authenticity.
Fawn Blaylock’s life has done a one-eighty. From rich, judgmental, daughter-of-a-pillar-of-the-community adolescent, to out-of-wedlock, pregnant, fall-from-grace college student. Fawn has always had a sharp tongue and a caustic thing to say about anyone that didn’t measure up in her eyes. Now, the subject of town gossip because of her unexpected pregnancy, Fawn begins to see the people of Trapp, Texas through different eyes. When she is kicked out the house by her affluent parents without a penny to her name, Ruthie Turner—Fawn’s longtime nemesis—befriends her. When Tyler Cruz—the baby’s father becomes violent, JohnScott—the town’s football coach—befriends her. People she has always looked at as beneath her are now the very people Fawn is relying on to help her through the most pivotal time in her life.
Even with her newfound friends encouraging her, Fawn’s confused and scared by her uncertain future. She fears for her safety when she’s with Tyler but keeps giving him chances to prove himself. But it’s the comfort, safety, and chemistry she feels when she’s with JohnScott that gives her hope, and stirs her heart. Though her future, and the future of her baby are the most important thing to Fawn, long held secrets from the past will also impact Fawn in ways she never imagined.
JUSTIFIED was the perfect follow-up to JADED. Though JUSTIFIED gives you all the information you need to follow Fawn’s story, I would definitely recommend reading JADED first so you can really appreciate the characters Ms. Denman developed in book one. Unfortunately, JUSTIFIED vividly portrays the hypocrisy that so many times taints churches today, and accurately brings to life the good and the bad of small town living. The takeaway from the Mended Heart series so far is—be slow to judge and quick to forgive, because you too will someday be in need of that forgiveness.
I look forward to JILTED, book three in the series. It should prove to be interesting since it revolves around one of the longtime residents of Trapp, Texas, instead of one of its young adults.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Review - JADED by Varina Denman

4 out of 5 stars
JADED is a novel that not only entertains but challenges the reader in the areas of judgment, forgiveness, and grace. Though the pacing is slow the message is worth your time.
Ruthie Turner is a young woman who experiences firsthand the hurt of being excommunicated from the local church. After her father leaves town—for reasons Ruthie still doesn’t understand—she and her mother are asked to leave the church on the word of one of the elders. This sets Ruthie’s course for life and leaves her bitter and resentful towards all Christians. So, when a new pastor comes to Trapp, Texas to lead the flock that casted her aside, she turns a blind eye to his supposed interest in her. Unfortunately, her heart can’t be as easily swayed. Her feelings for Dodd Cunningham confuse and anger her. He is one of them. But the way her treats her is so different than anything she’s experienced. But knowing her mother would be devastated by such a relationship, Ruthie continues to fight her attraction for Dodd.
Dodd Cunningham is new to Trapp, Texas, and quickly gets a crash course on small town living. In a town where everyone knows everyone else’s business—and feels they have a right to weigh in on each decision he makes—Dodd tries to straddle the fence between acceptance and changing the heart of the people. His attraction for Ruthie is unique and unsettling. But when he is encouraged by the church elders to disassociate himself from the Turner family and a local ex-convict, he realizes the church has set itself up as a place of condemnation instead of a place of hope to the lost and wounded. He sets out to change public opinion at the threat of losing his position in the church.
JADED was recommended to me, so I dove in with high expectations. I might have set the bar a little too high, but I still enjoyed it and the message it gave. Ruthie is quite a pistol. I loved her candidness and her this-is-who-I-am-take-it-over-leave-it personality. Dodd was the consummate hero with his always doing the right thing for the right reasons persona. Though I thought it was a bit of a stretch that a conservative pastor would be so intrigued by someone who doesn’t share his faith or lifestyle (almost at times becoming an obsession), the pacing of the story lent to the development of his relationship with Ruthie. This story reminded me quite a bit of KEPT by Sally Bradley, and SWAY by Amy Matayo, which isn’t a bad thing because I thoroughly enjoyed both of those books, but the ‘pastor meets a woman from outside the evangelical realm’ seems to be a hot topic of late. None of these observations dampened by desire to read JUSTIFIED, the second installment in the Mended Hearts series. I will just have a better understanding of Ms. Denman’s writing style and pacing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Review of TAKEN by Dee Henderson

4 out of 5 stars
TAKEN is captivating, in a slow, methodical way.
After being held against her will for eleven years, Shannon Bliss has gained her freedom and is looking for someone to help her traverse the road from victim to survivor. Shannon carefully chooses Matthew Dane. Matthew is an ex-cop turned private investigator who has a lot of experience dealing with a kidnap victim—his own daughter. Matthew’s daughter was kidnapped when she was young, and it’s that fact that drew Shannon to Matthew. She knows he’ll be able to handle the layers she’s dealing with, and has the connections necessary to keep her safe as she turns over evidence against the people who have held her captive.
Matthew Dane is surprised to find a woman waiting for him outside his hotel room.  He is utterly shocked to find out it is kidnap victim Shannon Bliss. Shannon wants his help to acclimate to her new world, but she also needs his help to put away the people that took her eleven years ago. The more time Matthew spends with Shannon, the more surprised he is with how well she is recovering from her ordeal. Though he is waiting for her emotional dam to break, Shannon surprises him with how well she is adjusting to her freedom.
I really enjoyed TAKEN, especially since it brought back characters like Bryce and Charlotte, and Paul and Ann. The tempo of the book was slow and methodical, there were never really any highs or lows. I didn’t even necessarily feel any suspense because there wasn’t ever a time I thought Shannon was in danger. I loved the interaction between Shannon and Matthew, I just wished their relationship had progressed to the next step before the end of the book. The chemistry these two had was palatable, my favorite parts being their shared dinners and movies. It made sense for the relationship to build slowly after all that Shannon had been through, but I would’ve enjoyed a little more action.