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.*

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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.*

The Invention Of Sarah Cummings

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Title: The Invention Of Sarah Cummings
Series: Avenue Of Dreams
Author: Olivia Newport
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 15, 2013
Pages: 304

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Sarah Cummings has one goal in life – to break free from her job as a maid and be part of Chicago’s high society. She’s desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start being served. In her free time, meager though it is, she alters cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future life. So when opportunity knocks Serena Cuthbert is born.

Simon Tewell is director of St. Andrea’s Orphanage and knows Sarah from her past as an orphan who loved there. Simon wants to get Sarah involved in working inside the walls of he former home, but Sarah’s reluctance to do so baffles him. He finds her interesting and and wants to possibly pursue something with her, but she doesn’t seem interested, making him think it might be best to just leave her alone. But for some reason, he can’t.

As Sarah juggles being a maid and Serena and her full social calendar, she can’t seem to get Simon out of her head, even though he’s everything she wants to avoid in her life. With two men pursuing her, Sarah must decide which life she wants and what is worth more to her. Her lies and duplicity can only be juggled for so long before everything crashes around her, but will she be standing on top or crushed underneath her lies when that happens.

Can Sarah have the life she always dreamed of or is the cost of it too much for her? Can Simon show Sarah that life doesn’t mean fancy things or will he lose to shiny and sparkly things? Will Sarah realize that her drive to be rich and famous might be the ruin of her or will she crumble in the wind? What will Sarah decide to do with her life? Who will she choose and what life will she have?
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The sorry of Sarah Cummings was one I was greatly looking forward to. After seeing her in Charlotte Farrow’s story and seeing her attitude towards service, I desired to see her change into a character I could love or at least understand her. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get the opportunity to see that. Sarah Cummings’ story was a great disappointment for me because the entire time I tried to read this book, all I felt for her was dislike. This definitely wasn’t the best I’ve seen from this author.

The romance in this book doesn’t fully exist nor does it make a lot of sense. Simon is interested in Sarah even though she snubs her nose up at everything he holds dear and ignores him. Sarah is chasing a dream that will never come true because it’s built on a lie and completely ignores the best man to come into her life. The whole thing is confusing and the whole time I was wondering what Simon saw in Sarah because I sure didn’t see anything. Not to mention that Sarah has a mild interest until the end and then all of a sudden she loves him? I’m so confused with this one.

Sarah wasn’t a lovable character to me. She risked everything and hurt a lot of people all so she could have a chance at being rich. I didn’t like how she felt she was too good to serve and deserved to be served instead. I didn’t see any dramatic improvement to these qualities as the story progressed. I was disappointed with the lack of conversion and humility that Sarah showed and overall just thought she was an uppity and unlikable character.

The storyline was a good idea but not the execution. I felt that the author should’ve focused more on the real romance and the alterations to her character than the parties and fake lifestyle Sarah crafted for herself. I was gravely disappointed in this book and didn’t feel like this was the best ending to this otherwise good series. This storyline definitely wasn’t a hit with me and I don’t think I’ll ever read it again.

Though I appreciate this author’s work and so far have enjoyed her work, this book didn’t really strike a chord with me not did it make me like Sarah any more with this novel. This author captured me with Charlotte Farrow’s story but Sarah Cummings’ fell short for me. I intend to read more from this author because I know she can do better. This author but not this book come recommended.

Overall, I didn’t like this book much. I didn’t feel a connection to Sarah at all and just plain didn’t like her character or her character development. This book is good for those looking to finish up the series. I don’t recommend this for anyone other than adults. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

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