The Guardian Duke

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Title: The Guardian Duke
Author: Jamie Carie
Series: Forgotten Castles
Publisher: B & H Books
Published: February 1, 2012
Pages: 320

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Lady Alexandria Featherstone’s parents have been missing for a year now and the king has officially declared them dead. However, Alex doesn’t believe they’re dead. With a feeling that she would know if they were dead and a guardian coming to get her, she makes the decision to strike it out on her own and try and follow her parents’ trail.

Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, has a problem, unexplained sudden deafness. He also has to be a guardian to an independent young woman who is determined to find her parents. After exchanging letters with Alexandria, he soon realizes that he’s falling in love with a woman that he’s never even seen, let alone met. Just as soon as he makes this realization, he has to chase her across England and Ireland as she tries and unravel the mystery of her parents’ location.

As the chase continues, Gabriel gets more determined to find and Alex becomes more determined to run from him. With the difficulty of finding someone who seems to be one step ahead of him, Gabriel’s search is more difficult by the day. But he’s not giving up, in fact, the more she runs the more he wants to find her and the more he falls in love with her.

Will Gabriel find Alex before something happens to her or will she give him the slip before he can find her? Will Alex finally stop running long enough to realize that Gabriel just wants to help or will she keep running from him? Will Alex’s parents be alive when she finds them, if so will they be in danger, or will they be dead? Will Gabriel’s hearing come back or will he live the rest of his life living in silence?
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After reading a book that ended in a cliffhanger and an unfinished ending, the last thing I wanted was another book like it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. This book ended with an unfinished ending that left me unsatisfied and hooked me at the same time. Jamie Carie created a frustratingly great book that made me want to read more of the adventures of Gabriel, Alex, and Alex’s parents.

The descriptions in the book are what you can expect from this author. She describes the landscapes and events, making you feel like your there along with the character. She also describes the affliction of Gabriel that makes you happy when he is and your heart breaks when his does. The descriptions definitely make the book and draws you in and doesn’t release you until the last page.

The romance, however, is lackluster. Actually, it’s practically nonexistent. Gabriel falls in love with Alex through a series of letters without ever meeting or seeing her, which is kind of romantic, just not very realistic. Alex has feelings for him as well, she’s just not really willing to admit it. Though the romance wasn’t really there, the feeling that there will be later on is another reason that I have to continue reading this series.

The thing that is kind of a bummer for this book is the lack of instinct in Alex. I find it hard to believe that her parents, on a secretive mission, would leave such a large trial for anyone to follow. Also, Alex tends to tell everyone who she’s looking for and why. I’m no detective, but even I know that discretion is a necessity in something like this. I’m hoping that as the books continue Alex will gain some sense about this, but have a feeling she won’t which is a huge downer for the series as a whole.

Jamie Carie charmed me with Pirate Of My Heart and placed herself on my favorite’s list. This book didn’t help her positioning on that list but it hurt it too much either. She is still a great author and I can’t wait to read more from her. The only thing I’m asking myself right now is why I waited this long to read this boook.

Overall, a good book with fantastic description, but if your looking for a book with a definite ending and romance, this book isn’t for you. I recommend this book for someone who wants an ongoing series and wants a unique romance. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received tis complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

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Dying to Read

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Title: Dying to Read
Author: Lorena McCourtney
Series: Cate Kinkaid Files
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 1, 2012
Pages: 320

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Cate Kinkaid’s life is well, floundering. Her social life, career, and haircut are all a mess. When she becomes unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, just until she can find a “real” job. With no experience, she begins to realize that investigative work is a little bit harder than she realized and she can’t wait to find a job she actually knows how to do.

Her first assignment is simple, determine whether a particular woman lives at a particular address. When she reaches the old, dark Victorian mansion, she’s greeted by an angry horde of gray-haired mystery readers and a dead body that held all the answers. Now her “simple” PI job is turning into a nightmare. Her uncle assured her that there was no excitement and nothing like the television, but with this job, Cate doesn’t really believe him.

Now Cate must traverse a boatload of suspects, finding her client, and trying to figure out the murder. Also, add the fact that there is a handsome man who wants to be in her life and Cate feels like a kite with no string. Care feels lost and out of control not to mention, she has no idea what she’s doing.

How is Cate going to solve a murder when she can’t even find her client? Is she going to be able to solve the murder or will she die not knowing who is the murderer? Will she open up her heart to love or will she let past experiences close her heart? Will Cate continue her search for a “real” job or will she find that enjoys being a PI?
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This book surprised me in many ways. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book quite as much as I did, nor did I expect to not guess the killer. Thankfully, I was surprised on both accounts and I ended up enjoying the beginning and ending and every part in between. Lorena McCourtney was able to capture my attention and keep me interested until the very end.

However, there did seem to be a lot of characters, and by a lot I mean too much. It was character after character that was on the edge of being hard to remember who was who. Not too mention, that almost every character was a suspect, which was great for throwing people off the scent of the murderer, but horrible for a manageable number of characters.

Another thing that I didn’t like, was the senseless romance. Her love interest came in handy for rescues and Internet searches, but other than that, the romance seemed pretty pointless. However, I do like how the author handled it. She tried to make the romance realistic and in the background, which I appreciate, and I look forward to seeing their relationship progress as the books continue, but I’m still not totally sure that it was a necessary part to add to the book.

The one thing that I really liked about this book was the fact that Cate had no idea what she is doing and only knows what she’s seen on TV, which isn’t much. It added some comedy to the book to see her inexperience, not to mention, some of the situations she gets into trying to find and help her client.

Lorena McCourtney’s book isn’t perfect, but it is an enjoyable read that’ll keep you hooked until the very last page. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author and I will definitely read every book in this series that I can get my hands on. This book got me hooked and I can’t wait to see what trouble Cate’s going to get into next.

Overall, this book is a great read but expect a lot of characters. I recommend this to anyone looking for a mystery that’s difficult to solve or anyone who just wants a good mystery. I give it’s book a three out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

The Last Temple + Giveaway

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Title: The Last Temple
Author: Hank Hanegraaff and Sugmund Brouwer
Series: The Last Disciple
Publisher: Tyndale House
Published: July 20, 2012
Pages: 368

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Gallus Sergius Vitas has been through a near death in the arena and by crucifixion and just wants to settle down with his wife and child. Vitas is denied that comfort by powerful men who are conspiring against the emperor, Nero, and Vitas has his own motives to seek revenge against Nero. Now, Vitas goes in search of Nero do he can kill him and be done with it all, if only it were that easy.

All of Rome either wants him dead, which makes his task a lot more difficult and more dangerous. It makes him question whether he will survive this or if he will die and never get to see his family again. Watching his back where ever he goes, Vitas knows his life is at stake and is determined to survive this task and finally get to live in peace.

After Nero dies, Vitas still is unable to live with his family for long before he is again called to help again. With his life again on line all he can think about is survival and his family, not to mention the strange and secretive circumstances that led him here to Jerusalem, the Holy City, at the peak of the Roman invasion.

Will he make home to his family or will he end up dying in the chaos that is Jerusalem? Will he find out what led him here or will he spend his entire life wondering what was so important? Will Vitas finally acknowledge that Jesus from Nazareth might actually be the Christos or will he live his entire life believing nothing?
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This book wasn’t what I expected at all. I expected a book chock full of action kind of like Cliff Graham’s Lion of War series, and though it had a lot of action, it was more of a history lesson portrayed in fiction, which I live almost as much. Though I expected something different, the authors were incredible at making this book an interesting history lesson and letting me learn something new from a time period I love.

Despite the action, the book tended to lag in parts and made it a bit difficult to stay interested, but I felt that most of the lags were necessary and added some background. Also, without the lags, I probably would’ve felt that the story jumped around too much and I wasn’t able to follow it as easily. Though the lags could’ve been a little but better they could’ve been a lot worse as well.

The story telling in this book is just amazing. Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer work very well together and created a wonderful and descriptive story. They were particularly descriptive in the gory or traumatic scenes, yet were somehow very selective in what they described and what they just skimmed over. The details that they revealed and the ones they withheld made the book, it showed just what you wanted to know without shocking or horrifying you.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t any romance in the book, everyone was already married, in a relationship, or not looking for love. It was a change that I didn’t mind, in fact, I found it refreshing. Too many authors try to squeeze in a romance that doesn’t make much sense. These authors decided that their book was fine as is and didn’t need it, and I completely agree. This book would’ve been lowered in it quality if a romance was forced into the storyline and I’m thankful they left it out.

These authors work very well together and this book made me a huge fan of theirs. I didn’t read the first two in the series but thankfully they made the story fairly easy to follow as a stand-alone. I plan on reading more from these authors in the future whether together or alone. They hooked me with their history lesson disguised as fiction and I can’t wait to read more from them.

Overall, this book is a great historically accurate fiction book but it can get a little boring at times. This book is perfect for any man who loves action or anyone who loves biblical set historical fiction. I give this book a three and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the publisher, I am able to giveaway ONE copy of this book. Now here’s how to enter:
1. Comment the answer to this question before the 2nd of September. If you’ve read books by either or both authors: Why do you like them as authors? If you haven’t read a single book by either: Why do you think you’ll like this book?
2. Make sure I can get in contact with you. If I can’t contact you, you won’t receive the book.

Make sure to tell your friends and stay tuned for more giveaways from me. I intend to do a lot more in the future. Thanks for all your support and get commenting. The contest starts now.

The Baron’s Governess Bride

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Title: The Baron’s Governess Bride
Author: Deborah Hale
Publisher: Love Inspired – Harlequin
Published: June 5, 2012
Pages: 288

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Grace Ellerby is looking for a family needing a governess, but with a past full of unwanted attentions from previous employers she decides to cover up her golden locks and her beautiful features. Now, in a dowdy cap, unstylish clothes, and glasses, she feels reasonably confident that no man will find her attractive enough to try anything and she goes on the hunt for a family she can stay with for a while.

Rupert Steadwell’s three motherless daughters were heartbroken when their last governess ran off to get married. Now, Lord Steadwell is determined to find a governess that is the dowdiest and most uninterested in marriage that he find. Grace Ellerby seems like the ideal replacement for him and his family.

When their attraction for each other keeps growing, they both try to ignore them, Grace by avoidance and denial, Rupert by deciding to marry a woman he doesn’t love. Now Grace feels the need to stop him from making a terrible mistake she feels both him and the kids will regret in no time at all. After several attempts don’t work, she wonders just what measures she’ll have to go to to keep him from ruining all their lives.

Will Grace be able to stop him in time or will she have to stand by and watch as their lives fall apart? Will she be able to keep her secret or will she be forced to reveal who she really is for the sake of the family? Will Rupert realize his error before or after the wedding? Will their love for each other grow or diminish if he finds out who she is?
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One of the challenges that the authors to these books face is cramming a lot of content into about two-thirds the space of a normal book. However, this author didn’t seem to have much problem with this dilemma. Her book was actually one of the best Love Inspired book I’ve read ever. She managed to create a book that was almost if not novel quality. It was a very nice surprise for me.

The romance in the book was perfect for the timeframe and was a typical Christian romance. The way this romance was formed wasn’t completely unique but the execution of it is. Also, the author used the children as the one that drew them together unintentionally. Again, not terribly original, but the execution of it was. It made me really enjoy this book.

The characters in this book were realistic and improved the story and romance. Their reactions to situations were something you could see happen and wasn’t too dramatic or too relaxed. Some of the character’s fears are a little too much, though. Grace is scared that Rupert will marry a monster just because her father did and it seems a little over the top for an ordinary situation, but it worked out well for the story.

The part with any real Harlequin book is that you never know if the book you’re going to pick up is going to make you feel rushed through the story or if it will be a good novella. This book is amazing for a quick weekend read and will definitely keep you interested until the last page. Tills I said at the beginning of this review, this is one of the best Love Inspired books I’ve ever read.

This author did the almost impossible, created a novella that felt like it was a full sized novel. I actually want to see what this author can do with a full length novel. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author, novel or novella. This is an author to watch for.

Overall, a great quick read that’ll keep you interested until the last page. I recommend this for romance lovers or Love Inspired Historical lovers. I give this book a four out of five.

*I receive this complimentary galley of this book from Harlequin through Net Galley in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Proof

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Title: Proof
Author: Jordyn Redwood
Series: Bloodline Trilogy
Publisher: Kregel
Released: June 1, 2012
Pages: 304

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When several women are the victims of a serial rapist with a few very distinguishing features, the police are determined to find him. With different colored eyes and a tattoo of a three-headed beast, he seems like a ghost and the police are having trouble catching this elusive criminal. Not to mention that when a woman ends up pregnant, she also ends up dead, leaving police back to where they started. That is, until Dr. Lilly Reeves gets attacked too.

Dr. Lilly Reeves’s life is turned upside down when she wakes up in the hospital with pain to some traumatic news – she’s the victim of a horrendous crime. Now Lilly must try and move on from the ultimate invasion, though it’s not proving easy. After a few months and a few more shocking discoveries, Lilly is convinced she found her attacker even though DNA testing denies it. Now, Lilly feels that she must find out a way to prove that he is the serial rapist the cops are looking for.

Detective Nathan Long is looking for the elusive attacker and is determined to find him. When he meets Lilly Reeves, there’s something about her can’t forget and when she turns up as the fifth victim of this criminal, he immediately feels protective over her, despite her anger with him over not revealing the rapist to the public. Even though DNA testing denies their suspect is the rapist, he can’t help believe Lilly and tries to help prove her right, even though it means he could lose his job. And Lilly starts to learn what real friends are about.

Will Lilly be able to stop her attacker before he gets someone else or will her efforts cause him to want he dead? Will Lilly finally turn to the God her friends keep telling her about or will she still try to do this on her own? Will the right killer be caught or will he run free while someone else pays for his crimes?
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This book wasn’t what I expected and is completely different from what you would expect from a suspense novel. The uniqueness of this novel is a major high point for me. The author decided to use topics and subjects usually skimmed over or avoided altogether by others in her genre and it was interesting to see a book solely about a topic most of us try to avoid at all costs. After reading for a little while, I finally got rid of my shock about the topic and formed an opinion on the sensitive topic. The opinion I formed was that the author picked a topic that fit her well and I felt that she portrayed the whole situation well. She helped me see how much a rape will affect your life and the way you live it.

However, I did feel emotionally disconnected from the characters. I feel like the feelings of the characters were more told than projected and I wasn’t really given a good glimpse into the characters’ thoughts and fears. Also, because of the disconnect, I didn’t feel on edge or involved in the story, the only reason I did feel anything was because I wanted to see the right guy pay for the crimes he committed. I do feel that this has more to do with the author’s inexperience rather than a conscious chose to not add that detail. I also feel that this detail will improve with time and experience.

My favorite part, by far, of this novel was the medical information in the novel. It’s easy to see that this author takes medical accuracy serious in novels and I applaud her for that. It’s also easy to see that this is her strong suit and that she will probably stick with the medical genre for most, if not all, of her career as an author and I will look forward to reading more of her books solely for the medical aspect.

There’s also a little romance in this book. But, it’s more of an afterthought and doesn’t really make a ton of sense. I think it probably would’ve flowed a little better if the author had either done away with the idea altogether or made the romance continue in the next novel. Though I appreciate the effort, I just don’t feel that this romance made a ton of sense or was something that needed to be done. I do, however, encourage her to keep trying, though. She seems like the perfect author to make that fantastic romantic suspense.

This author’s debut novel wasn’t perfect, but with a little practice and some more experience, I’d say that this author will go far in her career as an author and I actually look forward to reading more from her. Her medical experience works well in novels and she has the potential for a great romance. I feel that this author is one to watch out for because she has the potential to be a bestselling author someday.

Overall, it’s a unique suspense that is full of accurate medical information, but it needs some work. I recommend this to anyone who wants a change from the normal suspense. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received this complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Christian Manifesto in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

GIVEAWAY INFO

Okay guys! More info on The Last Temple giveaway coming up. The giveaway date is going to be August 20- September 2. That gives you guys two whole weeks to win this book.

That’s all I’m going to tell you guys now but stay tuned. Also, there will be more in the future so if you don’t win it’s time there will be more for you to try and win. Thanks guys do much for reading this post and being such faithful followers.

Lethal Legacy

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Title: Lethal Legacy
Author: Irene Hannon
Series: Guardians Of Justice
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 1, 2012
Pages: 352

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Kelly Warren believes that her fathers suicide wasn’t really a suicide. After she receives a note attached to some flower bulbs her father sent her, she believes that her father’s death was murder, not suicide. She’s convinced this new evidence is enough to reopen her father’s case, even if the police aren’t as convinced. And after a near death she is even more charged to find something to prove that her father was murdered.

Detective Cole Taylor doesn’t fully believe that her evidence is proof that he was murdered, but he does think it is strange. However, nothing in the case file suggests foul play and he’s more apt to believe that than circumstantial evidence. But, when he digs deeper into the past, he finds shocking information linking Kelly and her family to long buried secret. Then the danger escalates and he feels the need to protect her.

Though they feel an attraction, they can’t explore it until after the case is closed again, but that can get difficult when they’re pushed together during difficult situations. Their attraction starts to grow as they uncover more and more secrets about Kelly’s life and her family that she had no idea existed, but will their growing relationship be cut short by someone looking to keep their deeds a secret?

Will they be able to find proof to find an convict the killer or will he be free to kill again? Will they be able to find the killer before he comes after Kelly or will her life be cut short? Will their relationship last through this ordeal or will it die along with the adrenaline?
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I’ve been a huge fan of Irene Hannon ever since I read one of her Love Inspired books and have enjoyed every single one that I’ve read from her. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to read the first two books in this series, but this book is great as a stand-alone title and it stood up to great reputation, in my mind, as a wonderfully unique suspense author.

By “wonderfully unique” I mean that she does things a little differently. Most suspense books that I read don’t really divulge who the killer is, they let you come to a conclusion and then show you who it is. This author shows the killer’s point of view, which I love, and then eases you into who the killer is. It’s a nice change from the normal and makes the story something that’s remembered because of it’s uniqueness.

Naturally, because of my obsession with the genre, I guessed who it was, but not too soon into the story. In fact, it took me a while to guess. So I spent a lot of my time trying to figure out who did it, and I must say that this author did a fantastic job at making a killer that wouldn’t be who you’d suspect. Also, the reason as to why he did it makes sense and is somewhat plausible. No complaints at all about the suspense in this book.

The romance in this story in typical for this genre. It focuses more on the suspense than the relationship between the two characters, which I don’t mind. It keeps the storyline simple and not too complicated. Though I probably would’ve liked a little more in the romance category, I appreciate this author’s way of focusing on the suspense instead of the romance. Though it leaves a little to be wanted, I’ve found that I love this author’s novels the way they are and they’re amazing, detailed romance or not.

This book improved my like of Irene Hannon, and I look forward to reading more from her and her suspense novels. Her style of writing perfectly fits the genre she writes in and the way she writes makes her an author that you must check out. I highly recommend her for those who haven’t read anything by her. I guarantee that you will become a fan like me.

Overall, a fantastic suspense novel from a fantastic author. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves suspense or romantic suspense. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

GIVEAWAY INFO
Okay guys, I have some super exciting news! I’m am going to host my first book giveaway! The book that you are going to be trying to win is Last Temple by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer. I’m still working through the details so stay tuned for dates and more rules, but I will tell you some of the things I’ve worked through now.

When the giveaway goes live, you guys will be asked to answer a question like “Why do you love this author or authors?” and if you comment but don’t answer the question, you won’t get your entry. Also, you only get one entry per person.

After the allotted time is over no more entries will be counted and a winner will be chosen at random. I will make several attempts to contact you, but if I can’t contact you after several days, the prize will go to winner number two. And will keep going through that process until someone answers with their contact information.

Like I said, I haven’t worked out all the details at this moment, so stay tuned for more information on how to win this awesome looking book. I’m excited to read and giveaway a copy of this book to some lucky winner, but if you don’t win, don’t worry, I intend to have more in the future. Stay tuned.