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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Fire Storm

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Title: Fire Storm
Author: Mackenzie Dare
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published: February 16, 2013
Pages: 288

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When an incident occurs that threatens the life of young, happily married, mother Jess, it’s chocked up as an accident. That is until another incident happens right after with no logical explanation why. Jess is now a target in a murderer’s sights and no one knows why. She’s innocent and untouched by evil but she is marked for murder despite not having any enemies.

Jess’s husband, Jim, is a firefighter and loves excitement and danger, that is until that danger creeps closer to the one thing he loves most – his wife. Jim is trying to protect his family, but protecting them from someone unseen is harder than it sounds and Jim begins to feel helpless as more attempts begin to occur and he can’t stop them. He’s determined to keep his family safe but with an unknown enemy the only thing he can do is pray.

With Jim and Jess struggling to stay alive, their relationships to each other and God begin to grow but their determination to find the killer is just as strong. When one attempt goes too far, both Jim and Jess are pushed to the limit and their faith is tested as they find out just how much they trust God to take care of the ones they love and just how much they’re willing to let God have.

Why would a killer come after this family? Who is a secret enemy of the family or do they even know them at all? Will Jim and Jess be able to live through attempt after attempt or will one or both of them succumb to killer’s weapons? How will they find a killer that leaves almost no trace that he was there? Will everything work out for this farm grown Illinois family or will their lives be destroyed by the attempts of a killer?
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I tend to avoid self published books or books published by upstart or little known publishers because the quality of story usually isn’t as high as a well known publisher’s offerings, not to mention the covers and editing usually isn’t up to par. However, I’m very glad to have broken habit here because this book genuinely surprised me with how well it was written. There are some typos and flow issues but in general this book’s story was a very well written one and one I’m glad I got to read.

Being a first book by Mackenzie Dare, this book was actually really good. The suspense was actually pretty unpredictable with an unknown enemy, that I didn’t guess and was shocked to find out who he actually was, and a surprisingly taut pace. I was pleasantly surprised at the ability of the author to successfully keep me hooked until the very end, particularly after a somewhat slow start to the action. There was some pacing issues and at the end it felt a little forced and had a bit too much action but was still enjoyable and actually was one of the better suspenses that I’ve read.

The characters in this story were a bit too perfect with absolutely no real doubts about God or anything, but one part of this book stuck with me and I think it deserves a little nod. Without saying too much it’s basically a scene where Jess, instead of disregarding same instruction and being a hero, listens to her husband and goes and gets help without second thought. That’s usually not something a heroine does in a story and it showed extreme trust for her husband’s leadership to me. I felt it was worth noting. I think that detail was a nice addition on the author’s part.

There was a touch too little dialogue, a bit too much repetition of thoughts and ideas, and not enough portrayal of the character’s feelings so I could connect to them, but as I type this I remember my own failed attempts at a novel and how I struggled with these very same things so I give every new author a little leeway in this area. Another thing worth noting is that this book delves into some deep issues about Christianity and people sensitive to that could possibly did this book a bit preachy but for me I liked all the bible verses and answers to tough questions, I don’t get that very often in books so it was refreshing.

I don’t know anything about this author but I think I know that she lives around horses, possibly in the Mid-West, maybe even in Illinois herself because her knowledge and love of the area came out through these pages and made me fall for the land and horses too (and I’m a city girl). I also know that this author has amazing talent and with some work, she could easily become a household name in Christian fiction. If she isn’t published with a big publishing company in five to ten years I think I’ll have take up a petition to get her published. I actually really look forward to Mackenzie Dare’s next book and to seeing how she grows as an author.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad book particularly for a self-published debut. Fans of complex suspenses will enjoy this one and people who like a book that answers the tough questions will enjoy parts of this book. This book is actually a pretty family friendly read despite the genre it falls in. I’d say be careful of the age range but anyone thirteen and over should enjoy this one. I give this book a three out of five.

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

A Light In The Window Contest

So as you all might remember, I did a review of a Light In the Window by Julie Lessman about a year ago and now Julie is throwing a contest for the book. Not only is the ebook on sale for $.99 relight now but it’s also being turned into a paperback! In honor of that Julie is throwing a contest with three lucky winners and the links are below for those of you that are interested in trying our hand at winning a character Ned after you in Julie’s newest book!

Also, for those of you that have Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, you can post a blurb on Facebook and Twitter for two points awarded towards the contest, but if you post a blurb to your blog, like I’m doing now, you get ten whole points towards the contest! The link to the contest is here:
http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/
And here’s the link to the book video for those that want to see it:

A Reluctant Courtship

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Title: A Reluctant Courtship
Series: The Daughters Of Bainbridge House
Author: Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Publisher: October 15, 2013
Pages: 368

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Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor and the other a murderer. Because of that and the reputation she has, she’s been banished to her family’s country estate, where her family hopes that she will stay out of trouble. Honore and trouble seem to be far apart until she meets a man with another checkered past and suspicions hanging over his head. Honore’s sure this man is the one for her, if she can figure out whether she’s fallen for another miscreant or the man he shows her.

Americus “Meric” Poole Lord of Ashmoor has just come into his lordship but already he’s realizing just how different England is from his American upbringing and how out of place he really is. Because of his upbringing, his loyalties are under suspicion as well as his involvement with escaped prisoners from Dartmoor Prison. With all the suspicions and accusations swirling around him he needs a wife beyond reproach, something the beautiful Honore is not. So he distances himself from her, or so he tries.

Drawn together even with social and family obligations trying to pull them apart, they work together to try and prove Meric innocent of the crimes he’s being accused of. Meanwhile, Honore wrestles with her decision to help him and getting involved with someone that could be another criminal and Meric’s attempt to not fall for Honore begin to slip leaving him confused and disappointed. The two must work together and somehow not fall victim to the same crimes that took Meric’s father to America and not ruin their reputations beyond repair.

Can the two of them stay together despite attempts to keep them apart or will social and family obligations get in the way of love? Can Honore prove Lord Ashmoor’s innocence or will she be fooled yet again by a criminal? Can Meric find a way to win Honore’s heart and keep his reputation intact or will he decide that she’s not good enough for him?
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Laurie Alice Eakes captivated me with her Midwives’ series and then gave me a glimpse at England in the early 1800’s. Originally, I didn’t care much for the transition and got a little bit bored over England’s high society. However, with this novel, I finally fell in love with her Regency novels and, though I felt the emphasis on reputations and whatnot was a bit tedious, I truly enjoyed her newest Regency novel.

The setting of this book is my main problem with it. Regency has never been my favorite time period because of the emphasis that’s put on reputations and what others think of you and this book isn’t any different in that respect. It gets tiresome and tedious. However, I do think that this is one of the best Regency’s that I’ve read and will most likely read more of them from Laurie Eakes but they still won’t be my first choice for a genre.

The romance in this book is sweet and romantic. Honore is determined to win him over and Lord Ashmoor is determined to stay away from her and her bad reputation. I won’t give too much away but after a series of dramatic and fast-paced events, Lord Ashmoor realizes that Honore is the one for him and isn’t beneath him and the last two chapters of their romance was just plain romantic, heart-warming, and suspenseful. I think this romance will stick in my head for a while.

There’s a bit of suspense in this book as well and though it’s not very prevalent or will truly satisfy the appetite of true suspense fans, it played a pretty big role in the outcome of the book, particularly towards the end, and really livened up what would’ve been an otherwise boring book. It was also pretty hard to guess the culprit in this one as there was really no indication as to who was responsible for a lot of things, so that added mystery left me feeling completely occupied and satisfied with the outcome. I think the suspense and the choices that made up it, we’re a huge plus for this book.

Laurie Alice Eakes has been a favorite ever since I read the Kindle version of her first Midwives’ series book. Ever since then I have tried to get my hands on anything else she writes and this is the best one I’ve read outside her Midwives’ series. I plan on reading more from this author and hopefully being as happy, if not more so, as I was with this book. It wasn’t perfect but it was enjoyable. I recommend this book for Regency lovers.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it much more than the previous in this series, but I still can’t get past the Regency setting. This book is perfect for Regency lovers and lovers of historical romances. I’d keep this book away from the kids but adults and maybe mature teenagers will love this one. I g e 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.*

Glittering Promises

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Title: Glittering Promises
Series: The Grand Tour
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Published: October 1, 2013
Pages: 464

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Cora Diehl Kensington’s summer has been full of adventure and life changing events. During this trip of a lifetime, she’s discovered family she never knew she had and possibly even kind the love she’s been waiting for in Will. However, her life seem to get more complicated day after day with more responsibility, more notability, and more struggles in love. Cora’s life seems to have taken a turn into a life that’s even more complicated than before.

Will McCabe, bear of their Grand Tour, knows he loves Cora, but her newfound wealth is becoming something hard to swallow. The one thing he doesn’t want to be is a kept man and he’s having a hard time with the idea that Cora is wealthy and he doesn’t have anything. Not to mention that Cora is still being hounded relentlessly by Pierre de Richelieu and Will is scared she might just realize she made a mistake in choosing him.

While being hounded by Pierre and journalists chasing the story of the new American heiress, Cora struggles to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. And as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, both begin to wonder if love is strong enough to withstand all the obstacles that stand in their way. All the while Cora must make the decision on Who and what defines her ad who and what doesn’t.

Can Cora remain true to who God made her or will the pressure on her and wealth change her into something she isn’t? Can Will accept her new wealth and will he be okay with it or will it be another thing that is pulling them apart? What will Cora decide to do wit her money? Live it up or help others? Can love conquer all things or will their love crumble under the pressure of life? Will Cora change her mind and pick Pierre over Will or will she decide that she chose correctly?
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Lisa T. Bergren has another hit on her hands! At a whopping 464 pages, this weighs in at about one and a half times your average book and every page was captivating and full of history and delicious details of places I’ve always dreamed of going. I got dragged into this book jus like the last two and I was sad to see Cora, her family, Will, and their bodyguards go. I will miss them and look forward to seeing what other captivating story Lisa Bergren will give me.

This story is so complex that it wouldn’t have been possible to have this book have any less pages than it did. It’s full of action, romance, fights, struggles, and discovering who they really are. Some issues I thought were resolved showed up again and caused a lot of drama and heartache, but fully resolved itself by the end. The depth to this book amazed me and I couldn’t believe how much I loved this book. I think this one was my favorite so far.

The romance in this book was a continuation of the past two and I was expecting this romance would be simple and strife less. I was wrong. As I’ve learned with this author, all is not as it seems. Cora and Will had a lot to work out in this book and it ended up drawing the closer as a couple. Even desire Pierre giving it his all, another thing I thought wouldn’t be in this novel, Cora and Will seemed to get through it all worse for wear but stronger.

I think my most favorite part of this book was Cora. The other two books of this series Cora was trying to adjust to her new family and wealth as well as trying to find out who she is in her new life. In this book I feel like she finally figured it out and I loved who she became. She finally grew into who God intended her to be and even though she has money she never let it alter her, just her lifestyle. I love it so much! The faith she exhibited throughout the book is incredible and I fully fell in love with her all over again.

The ending to this book is definitely intense and sweet all rolled up into one. Or rather it goes from intense to sweet at the flip of a chapter. I think some people will be disappointed in which man Cora chose or what said character decided to do in the end. With a love triangle there’s bound to be lines drawn and stances taken and disappointment and anger felt. This book is probably no different. For me I felt that the author and Cora made the perfect decision, though I was shocked at how the end was handled. This book was definitely awesome.

This author captivated me from the beginning and has held my attention until the end. I greatly look forward to seeing what else she has for me and to read those four books of hers that I have on my kindle. I greatly look forward to seeing what else she can do and see what other genres she broaches. Lisa T. Bergren has captured my heart and I hope to see more from her in the near future. This author, series, and book come very highly recommended.

Overall, I loved this book, but I don’t recommend just picking it up until you’ve read the other two or else I guarantee you’ll be lost. This book is perfect for those who have read the other books and want to do oath the series or those who want a deeply dramatic, romantic, and suspenseful novel. Not recommended for children but maybe mature teens. I give this book a five out of five.

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

What Once Was Lost

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Title: What Once Was Lost
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Published: September 17, 2013
Pages: 352

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Christina Willems life is about serving. She Lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals on a small Kansas farm. Her charges count on her leadership and have come to see Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out and makes their home unlivable, Christina must scramble to find shelter for all her charges, scattering her “family”.

Levi Jonnson is a mill owner and a notorious recluse. So when he is approached about taking in Tommy Kilgore, a young blind boy, he doesn’t want to, but reluctantly agrees with the stipulation that she find somewhere else for him to stay. However, Levi is surprised at the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. He’s also surprised at his new reluctance to go back to being a hermit.

With with repairs stopped by obstacle after obstacle, Christina wonders if she can finish the mission that she dedicated her life to. And when an old adversary shows up, Christina needs help, so she turns to Levi, hoping that he will help her. Levi is trying to stay aloof but Christina and Tommy are making it very difficult to keep his lifestyle and maybe that’s just what he needs.

Can Christina repair the poor house before she loses all of her charges or will they lose hope and leave before it’s finished? Can Levi hold onto his reclusive lifestyle or will he give it up for a blind boy and a selfless woman? Will Levi help Christina when she needs it or will he leave her hanging in the wind? What will happen because of one tragedy and a blind boy with no home? Will love blossom?
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Kim Vogel Sawyer has been a favorite of mine for years. I actually started reading her books and haven’t had the opportunity to read a novel by her in quite some time. Because of that, I jumped at the chance to read this one and I must say that this novel reminded me why I love her writing so much. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to review this one and got to get reacquainted with one of my all time favorite authors.

This story was by far my favorite by this author. I got dragged in so completely that I devoured this book and was sad to put it down. The thing I loved most about the story was the gritty and realistic feeling throughout it. I never once felt that something was unrealistic or implausible. The author’s descriptions and amazing character development kept this story at a good pace and made my mind’s eye go crazy with color and feelings. I loved this storyline so much!

The characters were awesome. I felt that they were well developed and likable, a hard quality to find as of late. I also felt that their fears and feelings made a ton of sense and I could see myself being the same way in their situation. I also liked the wide range of characters that were there. There was the snooty one, the sullen one, the chipper ones, and the spiritual ones and it pieced together book and made it well rounded.

The only real complaint I have is about the romance. Their wasn’t much of it as there wasn’t much contact between Levi and Christina and what little contact they had wasn’t intimate in any sense. However, what little romance I saw was awesome and typical of this author. Surprisingly though, even with the lack of romance I still love this book and completely fell for the character. Enough to even ask for a sequel to this one. (Please?!)

This author captured my heart with Waiting For Summer’s Return and recaptured it with this one. I can’t wait to see what else she has for me and I can’t believe I’ve gone as long as I have without a dose of her books. It can’t happen again. I absolutely recommend this book and author and I definitely think this book belongs up on the “favorites” shelf and is definitely worth rereading.

Overall, I felt it could use more romance but despite that I loved this book and highly recommend it. This book is perfect who like historical fiction and like it a bit different. I think this book is good for teens and adults. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

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

Welcome To Last Chance

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Title: Welcome To Last Chance
Series: A Place To Call Home
Author: Cathleen Armstrong
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 1, 2013
Pages: 288

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When Lainie Davis sees that red warning light come on in her car, she thinks nothing of it, until her car breaks down in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. Lainie is determined to find a way to leave this tiny one-horse town any way possible, until she starts to meet the people. These people who call this town their home are way too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life, and with her on the run that can become a problem.

Because she’s stuck in Last Chance for the time being, Lainie finds herself getting to know the colorful residents and integrating herself into the town. The more she does that the more she finds herself drawn to the town and the people, particularly to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Lainie can start to imagine herself staying here but it’s too dangerous and she knows it.

With Lainie growing closer to the people and Ray, she starts to fall in love, but she also starts to feeling an overwhelming sense of danger and she knows her time is limited before her past finds her. She’s not willing to risk being found, but she doesn’t want to leave either. For once her word seems to finally be good, but the arrival of who’s she running from can alter her world forever.

Can Lainie leave Last Chance or will she decide to stay? Will Lainie fall in love with Ray and stay or will they fall apart and make it easy for her to leave? Can Lainie outrun her past or will it catch up to her? What will happen if her past does find her? How will Lainie react to Ray’s secret? Who is chasing Lainie and who is she running from? Can Last Chance be all that Lainie needs or will El Paso be more for her?
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This book captured my eye as soon as I saw the cover and I figured a story about a girl on the run was even better. Add a romance in there and I’m practically jumping up and down ready to dig in. However, my expectations for this book weren’t quite fulfilled and I was a bit disappointed about that. This book was enjoyable but this wasn’t a book that really captured me nor is it one that I would read again.

The story started out pretty good. The urgency and frustration of Lainie’s situation flows through the pages, but as the story progressed the less I felt connected to the character. Also, the sense of urgency about who Lainie’s running from is almost abandoned for most of the book and picked up all of a sudden towards the end, giving it a choppy feel. Because of that, I didn’t love the execution of this story, though I did love the concept.

The romance isn’t my favorite either. I felt that the majority of it was physical and that there wasn’t much emotional growth between Lainie and Ray. Their conversations never really got really deep and it left me feeling like I got left out of a major part of the story. Though I liked the fact that there was kissing in this book, I really wish the author would’ve put more into the emotional side and less on the physical.

The thing I loved most about this story was the unique and overly kind characters that made up Last Chance, New Mexico. Books with characters like this are why I imagine an idyllic life in a small town. These characters are all unique and quirky and just plain lovable. I wish I lived around these loving folks just so I could experience the family-like atmosphere they create with their open and kind ways. This is something g the author did amazingly.

Cathleen Armstrong didn’t “wow” me with this book, but I believe this is a debut for her and as far as a debut goes this is pretty good. The author has a ways to go before her books will top the charts for me but she has amazing potential and I look forward to seeing what she can do. I think in a few books she will be amazing and I can’t wait to see it.

Overall, I didn’t love it. I felt the concept was better than the execution but the lively characters that love in the small town can capture your heart. I think this book is good for people who want a romance with a twist and don’t mind a debut novel to get that. I think this book is best left to the adults, though teens might enjoy this one too. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

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

Carolina Reckoning

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Title: Carolina Reckoning
Author: Lisa Carter
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Published: August 6, 2013
Pages: 336

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When Alison Monaghan discovered evidence of her husband’s infidelity in his coat pocket, she was furious. She had intended to confront him when he came home that night but he never made it home. Soon, Frank’s body is discovered with a bullet wound to the head and Alison is suspect number one. Alison wants to know why her husband was on the lonely back-country road when he was murdered and she wants to prove her innocence, even if it means stepping on the killer’s toes to do it.

Detective Mike Barefoot, a Cherokee native from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, immediately suspects Alison as the killer. She has motive and opportunity, but for some reason he’s drawn to her in an unusual way that has nothing to do with the crime. He usually keeps his emotional walls high and never gets involved with murder suspects, so his attraction to Alison is odd and uncharacteristic for him. His goal is to find the killer and hopefully stop them from killing again.

As Alison and Mike struggle to find the truth about her husband, Alison can’t help but feel something for the younger detective. This is something she hasn’t felt for a long time and might just lead to more, if she lets it. Their attraction grows but so does the danger of their situation. Mike is trying to keep Alison safe but she refuses to let Mike do all the work, putting a target on her back and making it nearly impossible for Mike to keep her safe.

Can Alison and Mike discover who killed her husband or will the murderer silence them both before it’s too late? Can Mike keep Alison safe or will she put herself in too much danger? Will Alison open her heart to love again or will she forever hold onto the scars of her previous marriage? Can Mike break down his walls and love not only Alison but God too or will he lose them both because of his pain?
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When I saw this book and read the cover, I was in love. It seemed like the perfect suspense novel and one that I would really enjoy. However, it was a bit disappointing for me. When I picked up this book I expected an amazing romance and suspense but what I got wasn’t at all what I expected. Despite the disappointment, I tried to enjoy this book and I did when the suspenseful rolled around but unfortunately they weren’t very frequent.

The whole story has an amazingly slow pace, especially for a suspense. I could’ve easily walked away from this book, except I wanted to find out which of the dozen women was the killer, because I believed along with the heroine that the killer was a woman. Other than that detail, I probably would’ve walked away from this book and never come back. It took me too long to finish it anyway.

The suspense not only was slow but was shockingly not suspenseful. There’s maybe three attempts to scare her off the case and for a 300 something page book that is a sorry excuse for a suspense and the death knell to any suspense. The killer is actually pretty difficult to pick because of the wide array of women in this book. However, if you pay attention to details and go with your gut you might just get it right, though I can guarantee you will be surprised at some details that come to light, which was the saving grace for this suspense.

The romance was a bit lackluster as well. Mike is the most unromantic unchivalrous man ever and Alison is having a hard time deciding between two men, one Mike and the other very similar to her dead husband. Not to mention that both the heroine and hero both find Christ but neither have a big conversion which, in my opinion, really makes the book realistic because people who fight God their entire lives don’t usually just start talking to him and that’s it. I don’t know, this romance wasn’t what I dream of and isn’t really what I look forward to. I didn’t feel the love pour through the pages.

This author didn’t wow me with this one. I have no idea how many books this author has written but I’m hesitant to pick them up if there are any. However, something tells me this is a debut and if so, I might read her next books later on after she’s grown a bit. I hope this author can find a balance in the delicate dance between suspense, romance, and growth. I don’t really recommend this book.

Overall, I didn’t love this book. Disappointment might’ve clouded my opinion but for me the only thing that saved this book was the plot twist at the end of the book. People who like slower suspense and suspense about murdering women might like this one. This book is best kept to the adults. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

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

It Happened At The Fair

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Title: It Happened At The Fair
Author: Deeanne Gist
Publisher: Howard Books
Published: April 30, 2013
Pages: 432

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Cullen McNamara, farmer’s son with bad allergies to plants, risks everything, including the family farm, to travel to the Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. Unfortunately he has a a problem that the Machinery Hall makes more prevalent, he has trouble hearing with a lot of background noise. So in an act if desperation he hires a tutor but he might’ve gotten more than he bargained for with his beautiful new teacher.

Della Wentworth is teacher of the deaf and has spent her entire career teaching children how to lip-read. When Cullen asks for her help she is reluctant to agree, but his desperate plea and interesting situation win Della over and she begins to teach him. However, Della begins to find herself feeling things that don’t belong in a student-teacher relationship and Cullen finds himself having a hard time concentrating when he has to stare at her lips all day.

The more the two are together the more their attraction grows and the more they find themselves looking forward to seeing each other daily. But, Cullen has a secret that could cause him to lose her forever and Della isn’t such a fan of secrets. Their relationship might be over before the World’s Fair if they can’t hold on to each other and let go of all their hesitations.

How will Della react to Cullen’s secret? Will she leave him or will she decide that he’s too important to lose? Will Cullen be able to hold onto what he has back home or will he lose everything because of one very expensive trip to the Chicago’s World Fair? Can Della and Cullen’s relationship stand the test of time or will it fizzle out before the fair comes to a close?
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For years I have been a fan of Deeanne Gist’s. I’ve only four books by her but ever since I read A Bride Most Begrudging, I was hooked. Because I love A Bride Most Begrudging so much, I had really high hopes for this book and, thankfully, this book didn’t disappoint me. I loved this book and I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to read it.

The romance in this book is just what I’ve come to expect from this author, steamy for a Christian novel but with a lot of emotional growth as well. I became fully immersed in their romance and how the author would work it out in the end. I loved seeing Della realize that not all men were what her father warned her about and seeing Cullen realize that lukewarm just isn’t enough. I absolutely loved this romance and can’t wait to see what else I can get from this author (maybe a sequel :D).

The storyline of this book is pretty impeccable. It moves along at a nice pace, the only wrinkle, for me, was how quickly and easily Della decided to forgive Cullen and take him back. I felt that it was a bit rushed and took away a bit front he overall story. Other than that small wrinkle, though, this story is utterly satisfying and completely worthy of not only being read, but being read a second time.

The characters of the story were really realistic. In a lot of cases I felt Della’s caution, particularly with what her father told her about men, was granted and I genuinely felt that Cullen’s struggle with his attraction to Della was believable. Every supporting character enhanced the story and made it even better. I also felt each character was well developed and their feelings at each interval were completely understandable. I think the author did an amazing job with the character and has a gift of storytelling.

The setting of this novel is one that I don’t usually see written about in this amount of detail and I loved it. I felt the author’s love for it and I wanted to be able to travel back in time to see the Chicago’s World Fair in all it’s glory. Even though the author wasn’t able to include all the details about the fair that she wanted, what she did include was spectacular and I drank it up. I’m actually a little upset that I didn’t get to see that magnificent fair, but at least we have people like Deeanne Gist who are willing to resurrect interest in it and write pages and pages about it.

Deanne Gist captured my heart with A Bride Most Begrudging and for a while now I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of her books, but I’m extremely happy that this was the one I was able to get. This book captured me just like my first, by her, and I can’t wait to see what I else I can read by her. I’ve found that even if it take years to get a book by her, it’s completely worth the wait. I completely recommend this author and any of her work.

Overall, I loved this book. The romance, the storyline, the setting. All of it captured me and held me hostage until the last page. I think this is perfect for those who like their story a little bit more steamy and who like historical fiction placed in a historical event. This book is definitely best left to the adults. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

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