I did not like this book at all. It was all over the place, and very distracting to have Jane "talking" to Ellie constantly, especially when Ellie was in the middle of a conversation with someone else. Plus, the story just seemed to drag on and on.
This was my first experience with Marilyn's work, but I always try to give new-to-me authors at least 2 chances to catch my interest.
I had a hard time deciding what to say about this book. It was not at all what I expected, but it turned out to be okay. The story didn't flow smoothly, in my opinion, and I was easily distracted, but I was determined to finish it so I could give an honest review.
At the beginning of the story, we meet Lucinda Bishop, just as she's leaving her parents funeral. Next, we travel with her to the Oklahoma Territory, where she will be living with her Aunt Mellie and Uncle Ben, and their 2 children, Matt and Becky. Here we meet Jake Starnes, who works for her uncle, but has only been around for about six months. Right off the bat, there are sparks between Lucinda and Jake, though they've only known one another for a few days. But, since Jake is an unbeliever, Lucinda must bury her growing feelings of love towards him. From here on out, the story goes all over the place.
If you're not a fan of "preachy" romances, then you probably won't enjoy this book. A good portion of the story revolves around getting Jake to see that God loves him and will forgive him for his sins, no matter how big they are. While I completely agree, when I pick up a romance, that's what I'm looking forward to reading about. I felt that Becoming Lucy was seriously lacking in that aspect.
However, I did enjoy getting to know the many different characters, especially Dove Morris and her family. I can't imagine how hard it must be to grow up in a town where you are looked down upon by many of the townspeople. It would be devastating to have your friends be told by their parents that they're not allowed to associate themselves with you because of your heritage. It was nice to see Lucinda and her family stand up to the opposition and become close friends with the Morris family. Dove will have her own book, Morning for Dove, set to release in May 2010.
First of all, you need to know that this is not your typical Deeanne Gist novel. It's not Historical; it does not have her trademark "edgy" romance vibe; nor is it really a Romance. I would have to classify it as Mystery/Suspense with a light romantic vein. To me, it felt like this story showed more of J. Mark Bertrand's writing style, since he "comes from a hard-boiled crime thriller background" (as stated on the back cover), than Deeanne's. I kept waiting for her "edgy" romance to shine through, but was really disappointed. A few romantic parts I thought had the potential to turn "edgy", but they stayed low-key. Taking all of this into consideration, it was a pretty good read...if you enjoy a good mystery, which I do on occasion. You will most likely be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out who the bad guy(s) is/are. I stuck with my gut feeling, and turned out to be partially right! I guess that was thanks to my fascination with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys when I was growing up, before I became enamored with romance novels. :)
Since the excerpt from the back cover pretty much covers the gist of the story, there's not much more I can add, without giving away any vital parts. Although I do want to mention that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of Rylee's "clients"...they were a great addition to the story. Romeo and Toro were my favorites.
For some reason, I just could not immerse myself in Hope and Nathaniel's story. I was really looking forward to it, because I enjoyed The Red Siren immensely. Maybe I just wasn't in a "pirate" mood at the time, but I was about two-thirds of the way through the book before I became emotionally involved with the characters. If the characters are hard for me to relate to, it's harder to get wrapped up in the story. I did finally reach that point, which was a huge relief! Normally, when reading Mary Lu's "pirate" books, I'm hooked from page one....such as with her Legacy of the King's Pirates series, which I couldn't read fast enough. =)
I think Hope was part of my problem. She was really hard to like at times, much less feel compassion for. Once God got His hands on her though, I started to like her more and more! As we come to discover, she has a reason for acting the way she does, and it all stems from a horrible tragedy that she has kept a secret for many years. In no way does this excuse her actions, but it does explain a lot. This is when I started to become emotionally involved with her, and began to understand what she was going through. Mary Lu's unique brand of writing shines through in certain parts of the story, which I'm always happy to see.
It was a pleasure getting to know Nathaniel better. It's amazing what all he endures to keep Hope safe, though at times he practically despises her. He is a true gentleman in every sense of the word, and does his best to defend her honor, even when it seems she doesn't deserve it. Growing up, Nathaniel was practically an orphan, but he is determined to make something of himself, even if it mean's ignoring God's call for his life.
As it turns out, both Hope and Nathaniel discover that when God has a plan for you, He works it out however He sees fit. The Blue Enchantress is full of adventure, sacrifice, painful memories, and forgiveness. I thought the most important lesson of all was, learning to accept yourself as God sees you.
If you haven't had a chance to enjoy any of Mary Lu's books, please visit her at her website to find out more about her, and them...you'll be glad you did!
This is my first time reading anything by Allison Pittman, though I have her other books on my bookshelf, just waiting to be read. I must say that I have very mixed emotions about The Bridegrooms, and the baseball aspect did nothing to help that--it seemed a little random to me. The first half or so was really hard for me to get thru, but the second half moved a little quicker. It has the potential to be a great story, but I'm thinking it would have been a lot better had it been a series, or even an anthology.
Each of the Allenhouse daughters deserve their very own story, with plenty of time to flesh out their foray into falling in love. Each story would have been completely different, just as each daughter is different. Let me try to explain...
Vada Allenhouse is the oldest daughter, and has pretty much been a mother to her three youngest sisters since the disappearance of their own mother when Vada was only eight. She has been in love with Garrison Walker for over three years, but he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to ask for her hand in marriage. Vada is starting to feel as though he doesn't love her, and she herself is beginning to doubt if she really loves him. Her and Garrison's story is the most prominent in this book, so their story could have been the start of a series. Perhaps it is, and we were only given glimpses of the other three sister's love interests in preparation for the rest of the series.
Hazel Allenhouse is the next daughter, and she despairs that she will never marry because she doesn't feel as pretty as her other sisters. She thinks that she is 'fat' and no man will ever find her attractive, so she has decided to take matters into her own hands, so to speak. She wants to move to Wyoming, where she will have the ability to vote (she is a suffragette), and is in the process of looking for potential suitors via correspondence. In my opinion, Hazel's "book" would have a "Mail-Order Bride" theme.
Althea Allenhouse is the silent sister. She hasn't spoken a single word since being told that her mother had disappeared; she instead uses a notepad, suspended with string around her neck, to communicate anything that can't be said using either her facial expressions, or her hands. She is completely innocent when it comes to love, but is very talented at penning amorous poetry. Althea falls hard for a patient of her father's who is lingering at death's door. I would classify her "book" as a heartwarming Historical Romance. Althea is my favorite sister and I would love to read a more detailed version of her story.
The baby of the family is Lisette (Lissy) Allenhouse, and she is a true spoiled brat! She made me want to paddle her behind, or just slap her, more than once. I couldn't believe how rude, even heartless, she was at times toward her sisters. At first, Lisette is completely surrounded by boys--falling all over themselves to get her attention. The girl is only seventeen, but seems to think she deserves to be fawned over and even encourages it. She finally has a change of heart towards one of the young men, quite quickly I might add, after treating him like the dirt under her dainty shoes. I don't rightly know how I would classify her "book", but I don't see it as one I would bother reading. I didn't like her at all.
Though God is mentioned quite frequently throughout the story, I didn't feel that the characters had a very close relationship with Him. It seemed almost like he was added as an after-thought since this is a Christian Fiction romance. I don't mean to sound harsh at all, I'm just trying to be honest with my review.
If you enjoy Historical Romance, or baseball, perhaps this is just the book for you!
Another excellent *yarn* from Terri DuLong! I fell in love with the unique and quirky character in Spinning Forward, and was overjoyed to catch up with them in Casting About, but also make some new friends. Being able to watch Monica's relationship develop and grow with Adam's daughter, Clarissa Jo, and her friend, "Billie" was a very touching story.
Even though I've tried over and over again to teach myself to knit, I just can't seem to get the hang of it - I'm all thumbs! LOL I think it would be a wonderful hobby to learn, so I plan to keep trying. ;)
I really, really hope this is going to be a long-standing series! I'm already impatiently waiting to see when/if the third installment will be available.
First of all, I gotta tell you, Richard L. Mabry has been added to my "must read" authors list -- I loved this book! It's a very fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, medical suspense, with a healthy dose of romance. Just what the doctor ordered *pun intended* to get me out of my reading slump. ;)
I'm not big on in-depth reviewing for mystery/suspense books, as I don't want to give away any key, or surprise, elements of the story, but I'll do my best. Honestly, the synopsis from Amazon pretty much says it all.
When I requested this book to review, it was with mixed feelings. I wondered if I would be able to understand what was going on since I'm not all that knowledgeable on medical jargon (though I did take a Medical Terminology class a couple of years ago, and am now working in a medical environment); this book is written by a retired physician/medical school professor. I thought Dr. Mabry did an excellent job with making everything understandable for the average person; I found it very easy to follow along with Dr. Cathy Sewell's life-threatening journey.
I'm already looking forward to the second book in this series, Medical Error, set to release in September 2010. Not long to wait -- yay!! If you're interested in finding out more about Dr. Richard L. Mabry, MD, or his publications/books, be sure to check out his website.
*** I received my review copy compliments of Susan Salley @ Abingdon Press. Thank you! ***
This is a tough review for me to write. Though I was excited to read this book when I first saw it was gonna be released, I was also wary of requesting it to review. Reading about the battles/massacres the Indians had to fight/endure are very hard for me; I don't enjoy how it makes me feel. It really upsets me to read how horribly they were mistreated by my very own countrymen, and it breaks my heart to see what they were forced to go through, especially the women and children. That being said, I did enjoy this book, to a certain extent.
Getting to know Morrow, her Dad, Surrounded, and Red Shirt, and seeing the events take place through their eyes, made everything so real. The story moves right along and had me on the edge of my seat quite a bit. I was in tears on more than one occasion, and even found myself laughing at some of Morrow's antics a couple of times. For the most part, I felt heartsick over what everyone was forced to endure.
There were a few people I abhorred with all my heart and would have gladly killed with my own two hands had I been given the chance. They were just simply disgusting, and didn't deserve to live, even though I know it's wrong to kill another person. However, in circumstances such as these, I think it's completely justified. On the other hand, I fell in love with Morrow, her Dad, Libby, Abe, and Red Shirt, along with a few others. Their journey touched my heart on so many levels that I can't begin to explain it all.
One thing I LOVED about this book, was the fact that Morrow actually got to marry her true love well before the end of the story. It annoys me to no end that most couples get together on the very last page of the book, never to be heard from again. UGH! I was ecstatic to be able to read about their married life, and how they were planning for the future. It was a very nice change from the normal romance "pattern".
Even though I had a hard time with parts of this book, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to give it a try. I don't think you'll be sorry you took the time to read it -- I know I'm not. If you'd like to find out more about Laura Frantz and/or her books, be sure to drop by her blog and see what she's been up to.
***A sincere "thank you" to Revell Publishing for allowing me to read/review this book.***
First of all, let me explain that I normally do not gravitate towards "war-themed" romances as they have never really interested me. However, with that being said, something about Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody, grabbed my attention just from the cover art and the very short synopsis I received from Revell when they offered me the chance to review it. I am sooooo glad I listened to my gut-reaction because I absolutely, positively LOVED this book! I read it in less than a day, and was so upset to find out that I have to wait 'til September to see what happens next!
Sarah Sundin is exceptional at drawing you into her characters lives. I felt like I was right there with Allie as she dealt with her parents continuous rejections, her very low self-esteem, and as she made some of the hardest decisions of her life. I found myself wishing that I had half the courage she did, to make those decisions. Even though her life is completely turned upside down, Allie follows God's will for her life. I could even associate with Walt as he dealt with the horrors of flying Flossie's Fort, his B-17 bomber, in the heart of WWII.
Allie feels that the church she has been attending with her parents since childhood, is no longer helping her to grow in her faith. She finally decides to find another church better suited to her needs. She also desires to somehow personally contribute to the war effort, but she doesn't know where to start. Once she starts attending her new church, Groveside Bible Church, she quickly becomes friends with Daisy and Cressie, and they suggest maybe becoming a Red Cross volunteer. Allie is soon immersed in doing her part to help the injured soldiers being cared for at March Field, as well as, enjoying her new position as the pianist for Groveside. Needless to say, neither her parents, nor Baxter (Allie's fiance) are thrilled with her life-changing decisions.
Lt. Walter Novak, first met Allie Martin on the train ride home to attend the wedding of their mutual best friends, George Anello and Betty Jamison. He initially thought she was traveling with her children, and had no problem striking up a conversation with her. However, he soon found out that he was mistaken, but his usual reaction of freezing up in the presence of "available" women didn't overcome him. That in itself was a major accomplishment on his part.
Walt and Allie thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent with their friends, the week before the wedding. They seemed to get paired up continuously during their daily activities and soon discovered that they had quite a bit in common. When it was time for Allie to return home, and for Walt to head back to Wendover Army Air Field, they decided to exchange addresses so they could keep in touch. Little do they know how big a part "silence is a truthful solution to a dilemma" and a few "little white lies" will play in their relationship.
This is a very fast-paced book, with lots of heartache, heart-break, loss of loved ones, forgiveness, romance, and searching for the courage to do God's will in one's own life. I won't go any further into detail for fear of giving away vital information. In no way do I want to disclose anything to ruin the intensity of this book for anyone!
If you ever have a chance to get your hands on a copy of Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody, I encourage you to do so immediately...you will not be sorry!
Yet another terrifying, edge-of-your-seat suspense from Lynette Eason! She has quickly made a permanent spot for herself on my Top 10 "must read authors" list. I just can't seem to get enough! I don't know how I'm gonna survive until book #3, A Killer Among Us, releases in May 2011. *SIGH*
Don't Look Back is Jamie Cash's story. We first met Jamie in her sister Samantha's story, Too Close To Home. I have to tell you right now, Jamie's story is a LOT more graphic, and down-right sickening, imo. I'm not normally a violent person, but if I could have gotten close enough to "the Hero" -- I would have been tempted to kill him myself. This guy is the creepiest of creeps. Just like in the first book, I knew who "the Hero" was as soon as I met him. He just seemed to radiate evil, even in the most normal of circumstances.
The Cash family feels like a part of my family, I just love them all! Especially Jamie -- it just amazes me how strong her relationship is with God, after all she's been through. She turns to Him anytime she has a problem, whether big or small, and that's a great lesson for us all. Watching Jamie as she tries her hardest to find out who is responsible for kidnapping, and killing, all the teenage girls that keep turning up was really heart-breaking. You can see how tough it is for her to face her horrific past, as well as her own panic, because she knows in her heart that she will once again be in the clutches of "the Hero" before his reign of terror comes to an end.
Can I puh-leeze take a minute to talk about FBI Special Agent Dakota Richards? OH. MY. Stars! *dreamy sigh* He is such a sweetheart! Dakota has been in love with Jamie since practically the moment he met her, but he realizes that she still has issues dealing with her very scary, very traumatizing past. He's there for Jamie no matter what, and it is SO romantic to watch their relationship slowly build amidst the tragic events that are currently taking place in their lives.
It still amazes me to no end that I even LIKE this series, much less LOVE it! Normally, I can't handle reading stories such as these, but Lynette just has this incredible ability to hook me from the very first page. I read each of these books in a matter of hours!
Please, please, please get your hands on this series as quickly as you can -- I think you'll be really glad you did! Be sure to visit Lynette Eason at her website, or her blog, in the meantime.
After first meeting the Callahans of Texas in Jenna's Cowboy, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Emily's Chance. Now, I'm impatiently waiting to see what takes place in Megan's Hero (due out 6/1/2011) -- it sounds like another touching story.
We very briefly met Emily Rose at the end of Jenna and Nate's story, when Chance helped her haul boxes out of the Callahan Crossing Historical Museum during the wildfire that destroyed so many homes and businesses. Emily's Chance picks up shortly after. The people of Callahan Crossing are still trying to clean up their town, and rebuild their lives after such devastating losses.
Chance realizes right off the bat that he's fallen head-over-heels for Emily Rose, and feels that she is God's choice for his wife -- now he just needs to be sure Emily feels the same way. He discovers that it won't be as easy as he thought, once he begins to realize she has quite a few issues from her childhood that seriously cloud her vision of her worthiness to any man.
I'm not a huge history fan, so there were a few slower parts (for me personally), but the overall story is heartwarming. I especially like how Chance is so patient with Emily, as she tries to come to terms with her insecurities, and his willingness to sacrifice things in his own life just to help her achieve her personal dreams.
It was such a pleasure to catch-up with the Callahan family again. I really enjoyed getting a peek at how Jenna and Nate's marriage is progressing, as well as, seeing Zach again. He's just the sweetest little boy ever! I also loved watching Dalton and Lindsey's tentative relationship start to grow -- they're gonna make such a cute couple. :)
Be sure to check out Sharon's website to find out more about her books -- you'll be so glad you did!
Available October 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Essie in Progress was another venture outside my normal realm of reading. It's definitely something I wouldn't normally choose to read, and I have mixed feelings about it. Let me try to explain. I feel that Essie in Progress mostly targets moms, soon-to-be moms, stay-at-home moms, etc., and since I'm none of those, I didn't really identify with Essie. However, on the other hand, this book has a lot to offer for those of us that aren't moms. There are important "life" lessons to be learned by all. For example, whether you're a wife, someone's best friend, a sister, or "just" a woman; there is something here for you, too.
While seeing the world thru Essie's eyes, and living her daily life with her, you will experience many different aspects of life: being a wife, a daughter, a mother, a friend, a part of the community, an employee trying to decide where you want to go with your job, etc. This book covers so many different areas of life, that I could go on and on, but I'll let you experience them for yourself.
There are a few characters that I feel are worth mentioning...first of which is Ham. Ham was my favorite character of all. I never knew what he would be doing next, or what words would be coming out of his mouth...he's great! I also enjoyed Essie's kids, Cole and Juliet. Even though they could be really annoying at times, you just can't help loving them and their childish antics. The one person who annoyed me the most was Pearl, Essie's mom. She got under my skin more than once!
This was my very first glimpse of Janice Thompson's work as a writer, but it will definitely not be my last! I absolutely adored Fools Rush In!! It is my new favorite Christian Fiction Contemporary Romance for 2009. If you haven't given Janice's books a try...please grab your own copy of Fools Rush In...that's right, I'll be putting MY copy on my Keeper Shelf, to read again and again! :o)
Get ready for some side-splitting fun when you meet the Rossi's and the Neeley's!!! They are a GREAT bunch of people! I'm having a hard time deciding who is my favorite...I don't think I can have just one. I'll be doing this review a little differently ~ instead of just highlighting the main characters ~ I'm going to tell you a little bit about some of the quirky folks in this book, so hang on to your seat, it's gonna be loads of fun!
The story is mainly about Bella Rossi and Duh-wayne Neeley (you will get this when you read the book!!), but I can't tell you much about the Neeley's without giving away some key parts of the story, so I'll tell you a little about the Rossi's.
Bella has recently taken over the family wedding-planning business from her parents, and is in the process of planning her very first wedding, on her own. She lives at home with her parents (Cosmo and Imelda), her younger siblings: Joey and Sophia, her Uncle Lazarro (Laz), and her Aunt Rosa. Needless to say, there is always something happening in the Rossi household! Bella has two older brothers: Nick, who is married to Marcella, they have 2 sons, Deany-boy and Frankie; and Armando, who lives at home, "when he isn't in love."
Now a little about some of the family members...and a few friends... Uncle Laz...hmmm...where to start??? Okay, he is the owner/manager of Parma John's; he is a HUGE Dean Martin fan...he only plays Dean Martin music in his restaurant; he even names the daily specials after Dean Martin song titles! He and Aunt Rosa have a long-standing argument over who is the better singer, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, but they also fight about who is the better cook...which makes for some really funny events throughout the story! Oh, I've got to mention that Uncle Laz was once "affiliated" with the mob, which is how he ends up "baby-sitting" Guido...and more hilarity ensues! :o)
Aunt Rosa is Imelda's older sister. She is the designated cook at the Rossi home. She loves playing Frank Sinatra songs while she's in the kitchen, cooking or cleaning. She has a very short Italian temper, and tries her best the keep the family straight. She is always muttering Italian sayings under her breath...which Bella translates for those of us who can't speak Italian. LOL She had me laughing so hard at times, I couldn't read for the tears in my eyes!
Sophia is mostly responsible for watching after Deany-boy and Frankie during their summer vacation, but they quickly drive her insane with their annoying antics. She has to think fast to stay ahead of them. She's also having boyfriend issues, such as, will she ever find a "real" boyfriend? Sophia has a major crush on someone, but is sure he doesn't return her feelings.
Jenna works at Parma John's and is Bella's very best friend in the world. She is famous for spouting off the daily specials, with her Texas-twang. She's practically engaged to her long-time boyfriend, David. There's also Patti-Lou...she's the best florist in town and one of Bella's friends. They both seem destined to end up single, since there are no men in their lives at the moment. There are so many other quirky people who contribute to making this story a huge success, but I'm not going to be able to tell you about them all without going on and on for another couple of hours! You're just going to have to get your own copy of Fools Rush In and meet all these crazy folks for yourself! :o)
This was my first experience reading Vicki Hinze, but let me tell you, if will not be my last! I'm already looking forward to the next book in this series, but will have to wait 'til Spring 2011 to get my hands on it. Bummer!
I can't give one of my typical reviews of this book, because I would end up giving too much away. Anyone who is familiar with my reviews knows that I like to focus on each of the main characters lives, as well as add a little something about any secondary characters who might have caught my attention; well, that's just not possible with Forget Me Not. I can't even tell you the female lead-character's name w/o spoiling a big part of the story! Yes...it's that intriguing!
Forget Me Not is a fast-pasted book, from the very first sentence, and I read it in a matter of a few hours. It has it all: international terrorists, corrupt politicians/town leaders, back-stabbing family members, even a few tear-inducing moments. I think guys would even enjoy this one---it would make an awesome movie!
Let me also mention, for those of you who may not be fond of the "stronger" faith-themed Christian Fiction books, this one might not be for you, but you should definitely give it a chance as it's well worth your time. God is a major part of the female character's life and the story just wouldn't be the same w/o His influence throughout the entire book. Her life revolves around her strong faith in her Heavenly Father.
In case y'all are wondering if I have completely strayed from my "all-Romance/all the time" roots....no, I have not! This book even has a romantic angle for us Romance junkies, which I was so excited to discover. LOL
If you want to check out Vicki Hinze's first foray into Christian Fiction, be sure to grab a copy of Forget Me Not for yourself. I think you'll be glad you did --- I know I am! I'm hoping to get my hands on more of her books, as soon as I can.
*** Thank you to Liz and Waterbrook Multnomah for the opportunity to review this book, and offer a copy to one lucky commenter! ***