Elusive Hope

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Title: Elusive Hope
Series: Escape To Paradise
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour Books
Published: November 1, 2013
Pages: 320

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Magnolia Scott is a Southern Belle forced against her will into the forests of Brazil. With her overbearing father insisting on uprooting her family to escape the uncertainty of Southern life after the Civil War, Magnolia doesn’t have much of a say in the matter. As Magnolia sees her life full of suitors, parties, dresses, and beauty fade, she realizes she needs to find a way out of this horrid jungle, even if she has to run away to do it.

Hayden Gale had spent years seeking revenge against his scoundrel of a father. His search leads him to Brazil, where he’s believed to be helping colonize the jungle, and he plans to seek out his father and finish his search once as for all. With nothing to lose, definitely not a good reputation, Hayden keeps searching, but he didn’t think he’d have a companion particularly not the snooty Magnolia Scott.

As they journey to Rio de Janeiro, each for different purposes, they both try and use the other for their own purposes, but the more they travel together the closer they get and the harder the deception is to uphold. Magnolia begins to love the place she used to hate and Hayden begins to see a different side of Magnolia he never knew existed and both begin to feel differently towards each other with every step. One thing’s for certain, falling in love wasn’t in the plans.

Can Magnolia Scott learn to love the tropical land that is Brazil or will she leave to try and find love back home? Will Hayden get his revenge against his father or will he realize that revenge isn’t healthy? Can Magnolia an Hayden fall in love despite their differences or will their love be ripped apart by life and status? Can Hayden and Magnolia realize that the only One who truly matters in this life is Jesus?
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I love MaryLu Tyndall’s work. I have since the beginning and her first book, a pirate series that captured my heart. Since that first book MaryLu has definitely improved as an author and this book proves it. This book was eloquently written and heart tugging and I couldn’t get enough. Only MaryLu could make a book involving a con-man and a woman obsessed with her looks into a viable and romantic romance.

This romance is one of the best I’ve ever read! It had complexities and issues that made the romance feel realistic yet and kept my interest. This isn’t a hugely passionate romance, but neither is it stale. It has enough kisses and emotional connections to keep your attention without making it feel forced. The whole romance is just terribly romantic and plays on pretty much any historical romance buff’s fantasies. I absolutely loved this one!

The storyline of this novel is actually more than just a romance which definitely keeps your interest and because of the suspense of it, I actually stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to read it just because I couldn’t stop. There’s actually a really interesting secondary plot line that completely fascinates me and definitely makes me want to read the third book in the series. Without saying too much, it involves some creepy happenings and visions. It’s so gripping!

The setting of this book is gorgeous. I’ve never been to Brazil but MaryLu Tyndall’s description of this lush and green terrain creates a mental image that makes you feel like you’ve been there. In this book you really get to “experience” Brazil and because of that my opinion has kind of changed toward these colonists and their leaving America. This terrain has captured my heart along with the quirky mix of colonists that call it home.

MaryLu Tyndall captured me with her very first words in print and the inspiration for them, but this book captured me for a different reason and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see her grow into the amazing author she is today. This book is absolutely amazing and is definitely worthy rereading let alone reading. This author and all of her books come very highly recommended by me.

Overall, I loved it. It captured me from the beginning and I loved every second of the journey I got to go on. This book is perfect for romance lovers and lovers of the forest. This book is best left to adults and very mature teenagers. I give this book a five out of five.

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

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All For A Story

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Title: All For A Story
Author: Allison Pittman
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 354

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Monica Brisbane loves being a modem girl in the Roaring Twenties. Her job writing a gossip column takes her to all the local speakeasies in Washington D. C. and she loves dancing the night away scoping put new stories for her column. However, her future takes an uncertain turn when the owner of Capitol Chatter passes away, leaving Monica what will happen to her job and her beloved lifestyle.

Max Moore might hold the position of editor-in-chief for evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson’s paper, the Bridal Call, but it’s clear that Aimee calls all the shots. So when Max finds out that his great uncle has passed away and left him all his earthly possessions, Max resigns and moves to Washington D.C. to hopefully become a real editor-in-chief. He tries to clean up the scandalous paper and infuse it with his own values, but he’s soon bumping heads with the equally determined Monica Brisbane.

With Max’s guidance Monica goes on her most challenging assignment yet, infiltrating and reporting on the Anti-Flirt Society. Reluctant at first, Monica meets and mi goes with the girls but soon begins to doubt the wisdom of her flirtatious ways and when romance starts to blossom between her and Max, Monica must choose between the lifestyle the club chooses or the lifestyle she lived for so long.

Will Monica ever change her party and flirtatious lifestyle or will she continue down the path of destruction? Will Max trade everything for Monica or will he be able to convince Monica that there is a life without speakeasies and flirting? Will Max be able to turn the Capitol Chatter into a respectable paper or will he lose the fight against immorality? Can Monica change her ways or is she forever a party girl?
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Due to my opinion of Allison Pittman’s last novel, I wasn’t expecting much out of this book. I fully expected to struggle through this one like the last and hate it at the end. I didn’t. I actually enjoyed this one. Though my opinion of the enigmatic Aimee Semple McPherson hasn’t budged an inch, I did enjoy the plot line for this and how radically different it was from the previous book in this series. I think Allison Pittman did a much better job with this book than the last.

This book had a romance! And a fairly good one at that. The character of Monica is uniquely lovable from the get-go and Max’s serious nature didn’t seem like it would mesh with Monica’s but somehow the author managed to craft a romance that was sweet and lovable. Though it wasn’t the best romance I’ve ever read, it was definitely welcomed compared to the completely confusing disaster of a semi-romance in the last book.

Usually I don’t love women crusaders or women evangelist ever in a story, but I loved Alice Reighly and her Anti-Flirt campaign, probably because even though some of her rules are a bit stiff and outrageous, the general idea is one I follow everyday and never thought twice about it. It basically encourages women to not encourage the bad behavior of men by flirting back or making light of it. I think the idea is one every woman should consider to follow.

The story of this one was more engaging and felt less like I was watching a horrible tragedy happen right before my eyes, thankfully in that story the accident never happened but it still left a sour mark for me. In this story, there were moments of disappointment or like it might go down the disastrous path again but it pulled out of those situations and was actually a pretty nice story. I would’ve liked to have seen more of a transformation in Monica but part of me felt like this was a different look at how some people come to Christ.

This author gave me a much better story with this or and made me very glad that I didn’t throw out all hope with the last book. Though I still don’ love the radical type style that this author chooses, I think I’m becoming more accustomed to it and haven’t given up hope yet of finding an amazing book by her. This book was good but I don’t recommend it for just anyone.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than the previous book by her but I’ still not sold on her writing just yet. This book is perfect for fans of Allison Pittman or fans of the Roaring Twenties. Keep this book away from your children this one is definitely not recommended for anyone other than adults. I give this book a four out of five.

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

Severed Trust

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Title: Severed Trust
Series: The Men Of The Texas Rangers
Author: Margaret Daley
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 320

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Sadie Thompson, a high school teacher, is thrust into the issue of drug abuse after a beloved student dies under suspicious circumstances and everyone feels the sting of his loss. She becomes more aware of the ever growing problem of prescription drug abuse by teenagers and is determined to help eradicate the problem to help current and future students be safe in school. Because of her determination to stifle the problem, she’s put in the crosshairs of some nasty pranks and she might need help if those threats ever come true.

For Texas Ranger Ethan Stone this wasn’t the case he wanted after just moving back. However, the case becomes personal when Ethan’s niece, Lexie, is drugged in an attempt to silence her of what she knows. After this Sadie joins up with Ethan and they discover that the drug ring goes way deeper than just Sadie’s high school. They also must work together to help Lexie piece her life back together from the betrayal and hurt that has been piled on her.

Progress is made until Lexie’s best friend commits suicide, or so it looks to the authorities. When Lexie confides in Sadie about her doubts about her friend’s death, Sadie tells Ethan and they work together to stop abuse and a murder before they have another crime scene on their hands. Their closeness brings them together and their digging puts them in danger but they’re not going to stop until they stop the drug ring completely.

Will Ethan and Sadie be able to find out who’s responsible for all the deaths or will they lose another person before they figure it out? Will Ethan and Sadie be able to have a relationship or will circumstances and a brother keep them apart? Can Lexie help find her friend’s killer and help stop another from dying or will she keep information to herself? Can Ethan and Sadie stop the drug ring or will it still go strong?
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I believe this is the first book I’ve ever read by Margaret Daley and I must say that she did a very good job at making a very believable storyline and mystery. Her choice of topic is an interesting one and one I don’t think many know even exists let alone is a big problem in our culture. She did an amazing job at capturing the severity of the topic and forming a believable suspense from it. It really asks the question how far would you go to keep your secret?

Like most suspenses written by women, this boom has some romance to it. Also like most suspenses, the romance takes second stage to the actual mystery and that’s how I like it. Actually I got two small romances out of this novel, but the main focus was on Sadie and Ethan, their investigation and romance. I thought that their love was sweet and made sense and I loved it.

The suspense isn’t very intense which means that the majority of the book is spent with threats and secrets and not much action which can make the book drag on a bit at points. However, the action points are nicely handled and the end if the suspense was a perfect end to the mystery. The author also chose to make the murderer almost impossible to figure out as they are only really mentioned once or twice throughout the book. I was actually a bit surprised at the author’s choice for the killer and their motive. The killer was handled excellently.

I think the topic of this novel is one we should all pay more attention to, our prescriptions and potential abuse. People think that their child would never take their pills but peer pressure is very strong and you never know what your children might decide to do with the right coaxing. That’s why anyone that has a child that lives at home needs to be aware of their medications, even ones that seem harmless or ones that don’t seem desirable. Keep track of how many you actually have and if you have medication that you don’t use anymore, properly dispose of it instead of letting it sit in your medicine cabinet ready for the taking. If every one of us does this maybe we can at least deter substance abuse, at least in our own homes. This book carries a heavy cautionary tale that we should all take seriously.

The author is a new one for one but this book, even though it wasn’t the best I’ve ever read, definitely made me want to read the other three in the series and see what other serious and fatal topics that this author broaches. The fact that she chose a topic that isn’t widely known or light made me a fan an gives her major points in my book. If all of her books are like this you can expect to see more reviews for books of hers popping up on this website.

Overall, even though this book wasn’t perfect, the topic made this book memorable and because of that I gave it more points than I normally would’ve given it. This book is perfect for fans of Margaret Daley and suspense or people who want fiction novel that will show them the dangers of prescription medication abuse. This book is definitely best left to the adults but teenagers could read this to show them what could happen if they start taking medication that isn’t theirs. I give this book a four out of five.

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

Peril

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Title: Peril
Series: Bloodlines Trilogy
Author: Jordyn Redwood
Publisher: Kregel
Published: September 1, 2013
Pages: 272

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Morgan Adams, a pediatric nurse, feels like she can’t bear to face life anymore. With her infant daughter dead, her kidneys failing, and the horrors of the hospital confronting her everyday, she doesn’t see a point on holding on when everything died with her daughter. She tries to hold on for her husband and tries to hold onto a faith that’s crumbling around her. Her faith isn’t helped when her mother reveals a shocking secret that spins Morgan’s life out of control and shakes her faith to the core.

Dr. Tyler Adams, Morgan’s husband and a consultant for a medical trial, is trying to move on from the death of their daughter, but with his wife sick and unable to rejoin life Tyler can’t seem to let go of their daughter. There is one thin he does know though, he’s not letting Morgan go too. The added stress of trying to keep Morgan alive and fighting on top of his duties as a doctor are starting to put pressure on not only himself but his marriage too, making him wonder if they’ll even make it.

When a rogue soldier from Tyler’s medical trials comes after Morgan, she’s almost grateful, until the people she loves are put in danger. Now Morgan must make a decision, fight for her life or give into the sweet relief death will bring. Tyler must decide whether he’s going to let God hold Morgan or if he’s going to hold too tight an possibly lose her. Their past, present and future are put to the test and they must decide which path they’re going to take.
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Jordyn Redwood became a favorite for me with her last novel, but this one definitely made her rise through the ranks and has easily become my favorite medical fiction author ever. Her experience in critical care and emergency nursing and passion for what she does flows onto the pages and gets me excited about my chosen career path. I love finding out what else she’s come up with and can’t wait to see what else she’s going to bring me next.

This is one of the few suspense novels that I’ve read with no discernible romance, but I didn’t miss it because Morgan and Tyler’s shaky relationship is put to the test throughout the book and I loved seeing each character grow and decide what they wanted. Because of that I got to see a marriage healed, which in this case might’ve been better than an actual romance. After all, after the romance comes the marriage and I liked the realistic portrayal of marriage and the image that with God any marriage can succeed.

The topic of this book is one that I love, which is a bit odd because usually I hate medical suspenses. I don’t fully know why I love these more than others, maybe it’s the fact that these suspenses use some obscure or unbelievable medical phenomena to sculpt them, or maybe it’s the fact that there’s always some awesome nursing and medical scenarios that excite my desire, even more, to be a nurse. All I know is that Jordyn Redwood has created an amazing trilogy of suspense novels that are thrilling yet teach medical terms and even some safety along the way. I loved this book!

Having never had a child let alone lost one makes it a bit hard to relate to what Morgan and her husband are going through, however I think the author did an amazing job portraying the sadness and despair that this couple’s going through and made it a lot easier for me to feel their pain. The character development is great and I truly enjoyed watching Morgan make a decision to live and fight or give in and see her daughter again. I also enjoyed watching Morgan realize how much pain losing her would cause her husband. I think this author hit out of the park on this one.

Jordyn Redwood has become a favorite and has easily skyrocketed to the top of a very long list. I loved this book about a nurse and would love to see more of her expertise showcased. She created a believably heart wrenching medical suspense that will stick with me forever. This book paints a unique picture of infant stem cell research and abortion and because of that it made a huge impact with me. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, I loved this book! This book is perfect for lovers of medical suspenses and those who like books about strange occurrences in the medical world. This book is best left to the adults. I give this book a five out of five.

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

The Governess Of Highland Hall

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Title: The Governess Of Highland Hall
Author: Carrie Turansky
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 320

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Julia Foster, a missionary, loves working with her parents to help and care for the young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden of her family’s financial support. Because of that, she accepts a job as a governess at Highland Hall and soon finds that being a governess to her four ill-mannered, privileged charges is a lot harder than expected.

Sir William Ramsey, a widower left to care for his two young children and his cousin Randolph’s two teenaged daughters, he’s consumed with saving Highland Hall from financial ruin and saving it from the astronomical death charges placed upon him to pay. To him, the last thing he needs is a kind-hearted yet determined governess to distract him, but the subtle transformation she does to his household seems too much to let go of.

The harder Julia works at trying to fix his unruly household, the more William starts to notice her and the closer they get, but both know that any relationship between them is forbidden and improper. Too bad that neither can figure each other out let alone stop their feelings from developing. Both are tending to past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, but they’re both determined to save their families and that seems to be the breaking point of their resolve.

Can Julia be the governess that William is looking for or will she be fired before as has a true chance? Will Julia and William be able to conquer society and all its woes or will class break them apart? Can William potentially give up Highland Hall for Julia or will he lose her to save his home? Will Julia go back to India or will she find that she has a bigger purpose in England?
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I had high hopes for this book because I’ve really enjoyed governess and estate master love stories before, but unfortunately this one didn’t resonate with me like the others that I’ve read. This book was enjoyable, but it read more like a novella, which for a novel of 320 pages it seems a bit too un-descriptive to really hit the mark. Though this book was a nice read, it left me disappointed with the romance.

The romance in this book reads like a movie on fast forward. I got the general sense of a connection but none of the true emotional moments that brings a couple together. It was like they were skipped altogether. I didn’t get kisses or more than two or three moments where the couple were even alone together let alone connecting emotionally. This romance frustrated me so much. I felt like a third party that just got glimpses of a promising love story.

The characters in this story varied drastically but I never really found a character with a happy medium. The characters either had to be completely good or completely bad. I guess the only character that kind of falls into the category of happy medium is Penelope, the sister that just follows along with what her sister does but even she makes a choice as to which side she chooses. For me Julia felt too perfect and William seemed too confused himself which left me having no clue what I truly thought of him. Some of the characters felt too nice while others felt too mean for no reason, but my favorite characters are Sarah, Clark, Andrew, and Millie. I think the author needs to work on her character development and on the character’s personality traits just a little more.

The storyline was nice, though I think it focused more in the household and the running of it than to the actual romance, but I did like the story and even though the author needs to learn how to transition from novellas to novels a little bit more, she did a fairly good job and she created an enjoyable, albeit a little bit slow, novel. Though this wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m sure someone will love this book, but be forewarned if you love a lot of romance because you will be disappointed.

This author didn’t really impress me with this one but I feel like she has some great potential and greatly look forward to seeing what else she can put out and how much she can improve. She hasn’t totally lost me yet, but next time I probably won’t have as high of hopes as I did this time. Though this book isn’t for me, it’s perfect for people who love romances that are simple and not mushy.

Overall, not my cup of tea. This book is good for people who are either just starting out on romances or like their romances simple and to the point. This book shouldn’t be left for little kids but maybe teens and definitely adults will enjoy this one. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

*I received a complementary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Perfectly Matched

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Title: Perfectly Matched
Series: The Blue Willow Brides
Author: Maggie Brendan
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 1, 2013
Pages: 352

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Anna Olsen knows it’s time to leave her sister’s ever growing and cramped house and start a life of her own. So, following both of her sister’s examples, she becomes a mail order bride, and after a short correspondence, moves to Denver to become a wife to a man she knows next to nothing about. Anna looks forward to becoming a wife and moving to Denver. Her free spirit and artistic tendencies are in love with her new home, but they may clash with her new husband’s.

Clock maker and jeweler Edward Parker is a very fastidious man who likes things just so. Wanting everything to be perfect, Edward knows there needs to be expectations and schedules so he does the unthinkable, he hands his brand new wife a list of chores on their wedding day. After that, it soon becomes apparent to Edward just how different their personalities are and he wonders how it will ever work between them.

With obvious differences when it comes to house work, ideas, and hobbies, Anna and Edward have to try and look past their differences to make their marriage work, even if it means some changing for the both of them. As the two of them try an figure out how to be married, their attraction and love for one another grows and the more they realize that neither wants to end what they have, despite their differences. If they can work through their problems, they might just have a loving, happy home.

Can Anna learn to do things Edward’s way or will she be stubborn when it comes to his ways? Will Edward learn to relax or will he remain too particular and drive his new wife away wit his unrealistic expectations? Will they be able to accept and love the others differences or will they grow to resent each other because of them? Will rah persons passion bring them closer together or farther apart?
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I haven’t read very many of Maggie Brendan’s books but the few that I have read, I’ve enjoyed. This book is no different. I think this is one of my favorites by her and I enjoyed following along with Anna and Edward’s story. Maggie Brendan did an amazing job with this story and the different take on romance. Maggie Brendan created a wonderful book and another fan to add to her roster.

The romance was my favorite part of this book. What I loved was the fact that I got to see the characters fall in love and figure out how to be married all at the same time. It’s not very often that I get to read a book based in the beginning stages of marriage and I loved the realistic outlook on love and marriage. This romance was a realistic view of how I imagine most mail order bride relationships started. I absolutely loved the new perspective on mail order brides.

My favorite character was actually Edward because, even though he wasn’t perfect, once he learned to relax a little, he became my dream husband. Even though he struggled with his OCD like ways and his jealousy, he was supportive of Anna and gave her flowers and romance frequently. His change was the most apparent and amazing. Anna’s character was captivating in a different way, but because my passions didn’t really align with hers, I had a hard time relating to her.

The storyline of this book isn’t very fast-paced but packed with strife nonetheless. I really enjoyed the whole “after the wedding but before they know each other” phase that this book is placed in. Not many books take place during that time that a couple learns to be married and co-habitate with a spouse. The working through phase was definitely the spotlight in this book and I loved the different point of view this gave me about marriage.

Maggie Brendan has created another fan with this book. I think this book is the perfect conclusion to this series all about mail order brides. Her ability to create believable characters and lovable pets and gorgeous scenery is a gift all in its own. Maggie is a natural storyteller and is great at what she does. I look forward for reading more from this author and I highly recommend this book.

Overall, I loved this book and I think this is perfect for people who want a little bit different of a western romance. This book is definitely best left to the adults. I give this book a four out of five.

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

Borders Of The Heart

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Title: Borders Of The Heart
Author: Chris Fabry
Publisher: Tyndale House
Published: September 15, 2013
Pages: 400

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J. D. Jessup left his old life to come find solace in the desert near Tucson, Arizona. He’s traded his guitar and the songs in his head for the daily grind of an organic farm. It’s a mind-numbing existence that helps him forget his past and dulls the pain of his memories. His boss just has one rule for him: if he sees an illegal, call Border Patrol. A fairly simple rule that he has been able to follow very easily, until one Thursday morning.

One early ride along the fence line leads him to a beautiful young woman named Maria. Despite his boss’s rule, J. D. can’t leave a near death woman to the authorities. So following his heart, J. D. decides to hide her and heal her instead of turning her in. Little does he know the chain of events he unleashes at that choice. Now everything he knew has changed his simple mundane life has gotten a lot more exciting.

On the run from a determined killer, J. D. tries to decipher what is going on and why Maria’s life is in danger. Struggling to stay alive becomes harder than they thought when they seem to know exactly where they are at all times. When J. D.’s secrets collides with Maria’s past, J. D. begins to realize that saving her may be the only way to save himself.

Can J. D. and Maria stay alive from a determined a killer or will they’re attempts to stay alive be for naught? Can J. D.’s past and secrets be the death of his new life and his budding attraction to Maria or will it just make him closer to everyone? Will Maria be able to stop the killer before he succeeds in his plans or will he get to her and finish his plan too? Can J. D. and Maria be together despite their differences or will those differences keep them apart?
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I’ve never read a book by Chris Fabry before today and after this exciting book I’m a little upset with myself for not picking up one of his books before now! The imagery and intensity of this book was memorable and made me want to find another one of his books and dig in. I had no idea what I was missing but if any of his books are like this one, sign me up for more from him. I have just become a fan!

My favorite part of this novel has to be the imagery. He described the desert as only a person who lives there could. It may be October but I felt the scorching heat and saw the flat sun bleached terrain like it was July. I’ve read quite few books set in the desert but the author never really dwelled on what desert heat felt like until Chris Fabry. His descriptions are exactly what my sister and I complained about more times than I can count and completely described desert living. Even in air conditioning you sweat! The completely accurate descriptions in this book have to be my favorite part.

The suspense in this book is one part action and one part mystery. You know who’s chasing them in the beginning but you have no idea why or what he really plans on doing. Though parts of this seem unrealistic to me (I mean who can really outrun and outsmart several trained assassins), some parts felt realistic and realistic or not it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and also gave me a new perspective about illegal aliens in my state.

This book had an attempt at a romance, though the suspense took center stage, and though it wasn’t terribly romantic or very memorable I did enjoy it. I think it has more to do with the circumstances of their meeting more than anything, but for some reason I thought that they made a nice couple and enjoyed reading their somewhat romance story. I think it was one the best romances that I’ve gotten from a male author yet.

Before now Chris Fabry has been a name I was familiar with but never read and now that I’ve enjoyed one of his novels, I don’t want to go back. I’m now a fan of his work and want to read anything else he has to offer whether it be western or romance. He completely captured me with his suspense and his accurate description of the terrain I call home definitely earned him some brownie points in my book. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, great book. It had some flaws but nothing that really detracted away from the amazing story. This is perfect for people who love suspense novels. This book is best left to the adults and maybe mature teens. I give this book a four out of five.

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

Under A Blackberry Moon

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Title: Under A Blackberry Moon
Author: Serena B. Miller
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 352

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Moon Song, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman, stumbled into nearby lumber camp looking for shelter from the harsh winters just days after giving birth alone in the northwoods. Once summer hits, Moon Song realizes that she can’t stay amongst the rough and tumble world of white lumbermen and so she leaves along with the camp owner’s best friend who is going to accompany her on the long and treacherous journey back to her people.

Skypilot came to the lumber camp to escape his Southern background and to find a new career after her completely failed at preaching. Skypilot has always liked Moon Song so it’s no trouble to escort her back home, or so he thinks. What was a simple back and forth journey, turns into a long revealing journey for both of them and he begins to view Moon Song in a different light then he did before. If only that didn’t come with it’s own set of problems.

When disaster strikes off the shore of Lake Superior, Moon Song and Skypilot must rely on each other to survive the danger of the wilderness. The deeper they go into the forbidding woods, the closer they become and attraction begins to spark. But their cultures are so far apart and with bad memories, distrust is rampant, but maybe love is enough. One of them must decide if love is enough for them to leave everything they’ve ever known.

Will love conquer all or will their love crumble under the pressures of society? Will Moon Song leave her world to enter his or will she refuse to leave where she is welcome? Will Skypilot leave his world to live with the Chippewa or will she decide that she isn’t worth the massive change? Will the differences be too much for them and will they walk away or will they fight the pull or them to separate and love each other for life?
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Serena Miller is a fairly new author for me and I’ve noticed a pattern in her books that is a bit more unique than her counterparts. She likes to focus on strong females that don’t need a man to do everything for them instead of the usual damsel in distress type heroines. Though I don’t know if I could read these kinds of books all the time, I do think that it is very refreshing every once and a while to have a woman as the strong character in a book.

The romance in this book is a bit unique and yet still romantic in a weird way. I found Isaac Ross, aka Skypilot, to be a unique kind of guy. He struggled with feelings of inadequacy but mostly he just loved seeing Moon Song in her element instead of resenting her for doing what he couldn’t. That along with more situations on both parts set up a sweet yet romantic romance that made my heart sing. There wasn’t much in physical affection but watching feelings grow and seeing the lengths each went to made up for that.

The back cover of this book does nothing to really prepare for the story that this book is. I mean you know that disaster strikes and they have to rely on each other but just how much they do doesn’t hit you until they actually have to. Also, there’s a good quarter of the book that you aren’t set up for before hand and it makes it unexpected but endearing further cementing this book in my mind. I loved this story line and the journey that I got to go in with these characters. It really came alive for me.

The characters in this book are complex and interesting. Moon Song is very unemotional and though at time that can come across as hard, it fits her and overall her character seems realistic and lovable. Skypilot isn’t what I imagined and is definitely not your typical fictional guy, which makes him stick out and be completely unique. The other characters both good or bad seem to have a niche that makes them lovable and understood and adds some depth to this book.

Serena Miller didn’t really impress me with her last book but despite that, I had high hopes for this book because of the topic and Serena not only met my expectations she surpassed them and I am completely satisfied with her newest novel. This book put her on my “favorite” list and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for me. I highly recommend this book.

Overall, great book with a unique romance and group of characters. Great for readers who like books about American Indians. This book is best left to the adults and not given to kids but maybe mature teens can handle this one. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

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

Forsaken Dreams

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Title: Forsaken Dreams
Series: Escape To Paradise
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
Publisher: Barbour
Published: March 1, 2013
Pages: 320

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Eliza Crawford can barely remember the days of her youth spent in opulence and comfort at Georgian home. She can’t help but wonder how her life would’ve been different had she not met her late husband, Stanton Watts, a general in the Northern army. She’s a war widow with no home. The South calls her a traitor and the North rejects her. Naturally she’s desperate to keep her marriage a secret and hopefully start over in Brazil, but the odds of keeping her secret completely are slim with a boatload of people from the same place.

Colonel Blake Wallace has seen enough death and destruction to last a lifetime. Slapped with defeat and loss, he’s weary and disillusioned about his country. With his entire family slaughtered by the North and his name appearing on a list of wanted officers for war crimes, Blake sees no choice but to leave permanently. So he assembles a group of southerner who long to escape the horrors of war and start over in a foreign land called Brazil.

Eliza and Blake feel an incredible draw to each other, but when secrets are revealed it seems unlikely that they will be able to broach the past and make a life with each other. With un-forgiveness abounding aboard, Eliza must try and survive the hatred and hostility angled her way. Blake must conquer his own feelings of anger toward a woman that captivates him and makes him want to forgive and start a life, if only his head would agree with his heart.

Can Eliza keep her secret or will it spill out and cost her everything? Will Blake be able to forgive Eliza for her mistakes and the decisions of her late husband or will he be anger and bitter towards her and force her away? Will love survive the hostilities and bitterness left over from war or will it be stomped under the feet of anger and pain? Can turn Eliza’s bad choices into something good or will she just pile on more heartbreak?
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MaryLu Tyndall captured me from the very beginning and she has a very good track record for engaging me and keeping me interested. This book is no different and it brought me great joy to see that she had brought back elements of her first books that I loved, particularly the boat fights and and life at sea aspects. Though this book is no pirate romance, it was definitely one of my favorites and I absolutely must finish the series.

When I first started reading this book, I got captured by the somewhat cowardly actions of the southern people. My opinions changed somewhat about the southerners the more I read, because the more the book progressed and the more light that was shed on the North’s actions made me question whether I would’ve stayed or left with them. I imagine that it was a difficult decision for them to make and I appreciated the different viewpoint of the war and a different perspective of what really happened. It was a new piece of history that I never really learned.

The romance in this book is a bit choppy and full of anger and un-forgiveness. This a different approach for this author and though I didn’t particularly love it, neither did I hate it. I think it was a good choice for the story I just wish there had been more tender moments between Eliza and Blake. The little tender moments there was was familiar, exciting, and sweet. Though this romance wasn’t quite what I expected, I still found it oddly sweet and definitely astounding because it showed the power of God.

The storyline of this book varies between slow-paced and fast-paced. There are quite a few fast-paced or intriguing scenes that tide you over until the next one. Despite the fluctuating pace, I felt that the slow-paced scenes for perfectly into the novel and didn’t detract from the story at all, in fact it improved on it. There are also some unexplainable mishaps and I hope that those get explained soon, even tough I have an idea as to who is causing the disturbances. Overall, I loved this storyline and can’t wait to meet up with these characters again.

MaryLu Tyndall has been a favorite of mine for years after her pirate romance series and ever since then, I’ve tried relentlessly to get every book I can and have only missed a couple. This new book by her and done nothing to lower her esteemed status in my mind, in fact it probably solidified it more. I highly recommend this author and any of her wide array of novels.

Overall, this book is very good despite the less than awesome romance and fluctuating pace. This book is perfect for fans of the author and lovers of historical romance. This book is definitely best left for the adults. I wouldn’t even recommend this to teens. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. all opinions expressed are my own.*