Saturday, November 12, 2016

To Warm a Wintered Heart, by Deborah M. Hathaway

Charlotte Rosebury, a friendly and kind eligible lady of means, meets Gabriel Worthington, a grieving man who has closed off his heart to love. After the death of his elder brother and father, he cares for his matchmaking mother and their estate. He wants nothing more. His mother, of course, wants nothing more than for him to fall in love and marry.

This had an interesting premise and I enjoyed the back and forth between the two characters, I just hoped for a little more growth on Gabriel's part. He is a hard character to like, and requires a lot of understanding for all the misunderstandings he causes. I enjoyed the side characters of Mrs. Worthington and Charlotte's boisterous younger sister. But the villainous side characters who live near Mr. Worthington were a little over-the-top and Gabriel did very little to protect Charlotte from them.
Regardless, the romance is sweet, clean, and swoon-worthy, and the style of the writing matched the regency period well. There were no grammatical errors to detract from the pleasure of reading.

Disclosure: I received an early review copy of this book.

To Warm a Wintered Heart by [Hathaway, Deborah M.]

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Emma's Match by Franky A. Brown

I love Jane Austen and I have a love/hate relationship with Austen off-shoots, but I have to say, I LOVE this version of Emma. I was lucky enough to be an early reader of this novel and Emma Wallace is the perfect character. You want to simultaneously hug her and strangle her. She's adorably snobby, stubborn, and yet trying desperately to improve herself. And swoon alert - from the first few pages you'll fall in love with her neighbor and best friend, Will Knight. This modern take on a classic is funny, clean, romantic, and a definite recommend.

Emma's Match (Austen Inspirations Book 3) by [Brown, Franky A.]

Friday, September 23, 2016

Almost There, by Laurel Garver

I'm so used to reading books driven by a romantic plot, or fantasy adventure, that it took me a little while to get used to this one. I would categorize it as YA Christian Family Drama. Dani has a flawed family she's trying to keep together, and big dreams. Her boyfriend Theo has his own issues, but he's seems to own them and share them in a way that Dani can't yet.

I loved the fact that when Dani makes a mistake, it comes back to bite her, and she must unravel it on her own, rather than somehow getting resolved through unrealistic machinations like in many other books.

This book felt real. All the characters are working through their own stuff, good and bad. My only caveat was the grandfather. I had a hard time dealing with the fact that everything in the book revolves around helping such a horrible person.

Well edited, interesting, and hard to put down, a definite recommend. 3.99 for Kindle. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Almost There by [Garver, Laurel]

Friday, September 16, 2016

Lady Maybe, by Julie Klassen

Julie Klassen is one of those authors where you just buy her book off of name recognition. I saw this for 1.99 and needed something to read, so I bought it. And it started out intriguing, and different than other regency novels. The protagonist, Hannah, is a lady's companion to an unfaithful, and silly woman, but left for unknown reasons. She comes back, needing money and reluctantly agrees to join her employers at a new house. After a horrible carriage accident, there is a case of mistaken identity and she realizes she must keep up the farce to go rescue her baby who was left behind, being held by an unscrupulous caretaker until she can pay up.

At this point, things start getting ridiculous. I liked the unfolding mystery and the series of detailed memories that reveal different things, but the love triangle served no other purpose except to add unnecessary sexual tension. Both guys had a Mr. Rochester/Jane Eyre feel to them, which the author admitted was part of her inspiration for certain scenes. For me, it just made both guys unlikable. I kept thinking, is this really a Julie Klassen novel? It had Christian themes of forgiveness, grace, and truth, but the protagonist didn't match the ideals she claimed to want to live up to. I saw little growth in her character. She was not careful about her reputation or her amorous feelings, or how she allowed men to treat her, even after having just experienced the effects of having a child out of wedlock.

The setting was carefully researched and it was free from grammatical errors, but I did not really enjoy this and almost gave up on it about halfway through.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQS4F76/

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Princess Companion: A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea (The Four Kingdoms Book 1) by Melanie Cellier

In this fairy tale remix, The Princess of the Pea is closely tied to Cinderella, as in, Cinderella, now a mom, is obsessed with the idea of her son marrying a "real" princess. So she gets a pea from her fairy godmother and is told to put it under the mattress for visiting princesses as a test.

Pros:
This author is GREAT at world building and developing characters. She sets things up nicely for subsequent books and has interesting, real ideas of things that might have happened to these fairy tale people.

This is a perfectly clean, romantic read (sigh), which I love.

Cons:
This author (or her editor) needs to fall in love with the comma. There were several sentences that made no sense with the comma missing and I had to go back and re-read to understand. And I'm no grammar snob. Also, she loves adverbs, to the point that I started to count them as I read.

The point of view was almost always through the eyes of the princess companion (a.k.a. pea-feeler), but there were short stints from the point of view of the mom, the prince, the villain, etc. It was kinda weird. I would have preferred a back and forth with the princess companion and the prince.

2.99 or free to borrow. A definite recommend.

The Princess Companion: A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea (The Four Kingdoms Book 1) by [Cellier, Melanie]

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Girl Who Heard Demons, by Janette Rallison

Adelle is starting over at a new school for her senior year, in a new state, living with her aunt. The reason: She hears demons, and telling people hasn't gone well in the past. She plans to lay low and keep it a secret, until getting wrapped up in protecting the cute quarterback, Levi.

I'm a huge fan, and maybe that's why this one threw me. I would say that while The Girl Who Heard Demons was entertaining and I devoured it in two days, this is my least favorite Janette Rallison novel. It wasn't too dark, but darker than I'm used to from her, with authentic teenage language full of innuendo. It was funny, but not as funny as I'm used to. And while it was a mystery, it wasn't too hard to figure out what was going on well before the end.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Book Trek

I have a million writing things to do, but I always find time for reading. My book is featured in the 2016 New LDS Fiction Summer Book Trek so I thought I'd play along. Here is my reading/wish list so far. I'll cross through as I read them. And I may add or subtract!

From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher, by Wain Myers
The Girl Who Heard Demons, by Janette Rallison
The Match Up by Laura L Walker
Duchess by Nikki Wilson
Eun Na and the Phantom by Erica Laurie


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Buxton Peak: Who Is Ian Taylor?

Buxton Peak: Who is Ian Taylor? Ian Taylor is the main character in this LDS novel about a rock band and the choices that come when you have high standards in an immoral world with rabid fans and constant travel.  The author, Julie Spencer is my writer friend and her book releases today. I got to be an early reader on this project and Julie's writing is absorbing, drawing you in and leaving you wanting to read more. 2.99 for Kindle or free to borrow.

Buxton Peak Book One: Who Is Ian Taylor? by [Spencer, Julie]

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile

I thoroughly enjoyed this alternate version of Pride and Prejudice which added a little bit of the supernatural with a Christian twist. The usual characters are stranded by a freak storm shortly after a freak accident, leaving Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy in a Freaky Friday swap. I loved the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy (as Collins). It was interesting who the author focused on, and what direction she took their characters. Ann, Lady Catherine's Daughter, in this version, fakes illness to avoid the pressure put on her by her mother. Collins is not only bumbling and miserly, but truly awful when left to limitless options of things he's never had the opportunity to embrace. I was super annoyed with Charlotte Lucas, and I would have preferred more of Mr. Bennett's wit. However, I love many of the aspects added that were well researched and allowed me to fully immerse in the story and time. At 453 pages, it's a little on the long side. It took me several days to finish and I have to admit, I lost some sleep. Recommended. 4.99 for Kindle.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Gladiator and the Guard, by Annie Douglass Lima

I had the opportunity to be a beta reader (early critiquer) on this novel and the last one. I normally read contemporary romance or regency novels, so this is not my normal genre. Having said that, I really loved the fight scenes and the drama involved with being unjustly accused of a crime and fighting for survival. I think I prefer it to book one, the Collar and the Cavvarach. Although they build on each other, you could read this as a stand-alone and be just fine.

Can't wait for the next one. This series (The Krillonian Chronicles) would be great for just about anyone who can handle serious themes and some battle violence, but especially for middle grade or older boys who like to read, but have a hard time finding something that's doesn't have angsty romance. The book is currently .99 for Kindle, although that may be a limited time introductory price. It's a worthwhile read.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tidal Patterns, by Rachelle Paige

Tidal Patterns is about two workaholics with troubled pasts who vie for the same events job on the island they live on. I actually liked the work conflict better than the romance aspect. Mark and Lizzie spend a lot of time thinking about each other, with little going on between them other than a few very short conversations at first. This is clean, but aimed at adults. A nice, light read.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Third Daughter, by Susan Kaye Quinn

This fantasy/steampunk romance was very unique, and I give it props for that. Lately, it seems like I have a hard time finishing anything I start reading (at least for enjoyment). I've been swapping critiques a lot, so sometimes it's hard to turn off the editor and just live in the book.

Strangely, I loved the book up until about three-quarters through. Then it got a little too steam-punkish for me, and also, I was super frustrated with the princess's choices. She's one of those characters that constantly has to learn the hard way, but then the hard way miraculously becomes the easy way. Regardless, it was a clean, fun, adventurous novel and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Since this is book one of The Royals of Dharia, it has an introductory price of 99 cents. The other books in the series are 3.99