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.*

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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.*

The Promise

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Title: The Promise
Series: The Restoration
Author: Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2013
Pages: 304

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Tom Anderson lost his job five months ago and hasn’t told anyone, not even his wife. He leaves each morning pretending nothing has changed and spends his days in coffee shops and bookstores job hunting. The stress of keeping his unemployment a secret is pushing him and his wife apart and putting his marriage in danger. Tom is going to tell her after he finds a job, if his marriage lasts that long.

Jean Anderson knows something is wrong with her husband. He’s been coming home angry and bitter for months now and he doesn’t want to talk to her about anything anymore and it’s scaring her. With the chasm growing between her and her husband, she begins to suspect that her deepest fears might be a reality and she has no idea what to do about it.

When Jean goes to the doctor, she realizes just what has her husband so frugal and it makes he think about what he has done with his day all these months. It’s up to Tom to prove to her that he hasn’t done anything but lie and that it’s her he loves. With his marriage on the line, Tom must really evaluate his life, marriage, and his goals in life. Also, he must realize why he kept his secret for so long and try and make it up to Jean.

Can Tom win back Jean after a five month long lie or will he lose her forever? Can Jean forgive Tom for his lie or will she leave him despite his pleas? Will Jean believe Tom when he says he hasn’t cheated or will she believe her fears instead? Will Tom’s reasons for keeping his secret be confronted and conquered or just buried for another time?
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The first book in this series wasn’t very relatable to me because of the wide age gap between myself and the main characters. This book is a tad different. Though there is still that wide age gap, it’s much smaller and Tom’s story was much more relatable to me. I was able to see bits and pieces of my childhood amidst the memories of the characters and that definitely made me be able to connect with this book more than the first.

First things first, I have to address Tom and his real reasoning for hiding his unemployment. I won’t give to much away but I will say this, though his method was extreme, the reasons he kept his unemployment a secret made quite a bit of sense and seemed like something someone would do if they didn’t want to disappoint someone who had put a lot of pressure on them. Though I wouldn’t be able to keep a secret that big for that long, I can understand his reasoning and understand the desire to not disappoint someone you love.

The storyline is interesting and, though it’s not very fast paced, engaging if the topic is relatable to you. There were times I had a hard time keeping my attention on the book, but that might be because I’m not married and am not very knowledgable about marriages, so I might not be a very good judge of this book as far as pacing goes. However, one thing I can’t deny and see despite my lack of marriage experience, is that the marriage advice and images on how to heal a breaking marriage were spot on and very helpful for me for the future.

My favorite part of this entire book was seeing the transformation of all The marriages in this book once they put the Lord first in their marriages and lives. The transformation was into something I rarely see anymore and it gives me great hope that marriages don’t have to be this awful institution that many make it seem. This book portrays marriages as work and sacrifice and love and trust and I felt that that was very accurate and gave me a realistic view as to what marriage entails.

I’ve been reading Dan Walsh’s books for a while now and his storytelling ability never ceases to amaze me. That’s why I keep coming back for more from him. Dan’s coauthor is another story. I haven’t read much by him. My fourth book by him, all fiction, but all of those books have one thing in common, they either show what a marriage that revolves around Christ looks like or how to fix a marriage at its breaking point and I love seeing that. Both authors are amazing at what they do and both authors and this book come highly recommended.

Overall, a great book about fixing a marriage. The pace for me got a bit slow at times, but in general, I liked the pacing. This is great for people who want a great story about marriage or want to figure out how to fix a marriage in fiction form. Keep your kids away from this one but it’s great for 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.*

Once Upon A Prince

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Title: Once Upon A Prince
Series: The Royal Wedding
Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Published: May 7, 2013
Pages: 352

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Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a fantastic romance or being treated like a princess. She just wars to marry the man she’s loved for twelve years, but life isn’t going according to her well though out plan. Susanna is left scrambling to rebuild her life when her Marine officer high school sweetheart boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing. All her plans are falling apart and that might just be the best thing for her.

Prince Nathaniel came to America to make a speech and hopefully take a little vacation to get away from the stress of royal life, especially since it seems his ailing father won’t get better, leaving him king of an entire country. His family’s tense political situation has chosen his wife for him, so the last thing he expects to find in America is love, but when he meets the lovely Susanna under Lover’s Oak it seems that that is exactly what he’s found.

As they grow closer, Susanna finds out he’s a prince and is shocked but not enough to leave. However, their romance might not be anything but a romance due to a two hundred year old law that doesn’t allow foreigners to marry into the royal family. They try to move on and forget each other, but it’s not that easy and everything seems to change when Susanna gets an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

Can Nathaniel’s and Susanna’s romance become more or will they have to love each other from afar? Will Nathaniel be able to take the throne or will he give it up for Susanna? Will Susanna fall in love again even if the love seems forbidden or will she guard her heart and possibly lose the best thing for her? Is there any way for Nathaniel and Susanna to be together or will law and duty tear them apart for good?
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With all the attention Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have been getting, both in the UK and in the US, it’s no real wonder why this book was created. I will admit to eagerly anticipating Kate and Will’s baby and wondering what they will name him and that was why I was so excited to get the opportunity to read this one. I think every girl has had their dreams of marrying a prince reawakened when William chose to marry a woman with a common background and because of that this book came to fruition and I imagine more will follow it. Though I’m not sure this was the best one to lead the pack.

Though I enjoyed this book and the idea of it, there seemed to be something missing and it wasn’t until I put down the book that I finally realized what it was, a lack of romance! Frankly, I think the two character fell in love way too soon and the romance in general felt a bit rushed. I find it a bit unrealistic for two characters to fall in love after two weeks of seeing each other.I also felt jilted because most of those two weeks were glossed over leaving me feeling robbed of falling in love alongside the characters and seeing them emotionally connect and slowly fall in love. I felt a total lack of emotion towards the characters because of the rushed feel and I just didn’t really get a chance to get attached to them as a couple.

The storyline was a good idea, but maybe not executed as well as it could have been. The storyline lagged in some areas delving into politics instead of the actual storyline and I felt like that time could’ve been used to develop the romance instead. While I enjoyed the parts that included romance and pushed the story along, a lot of the pages included useless repetitions and boring politics. Though the author tried, this execution wasn’t the best and felt a bit slow.

Despite that, I did like the characters, particularly the small ones that always interject a bit of knowledge or humor into the book. Each character had their own opinions and wisdom to impart on our guarded and scared heroine and love struck prince. Though Nate’s supposed walls weren’t properly represented, I felt like the majority of the characters were perfectly fallible and likable, making this book a much better story to read.

This is my first book by Rachel Haick and I have heard amazing things about her, but I wasn’t amazed or wowed by this book. However, all of these high marks for her writing can’t be wrong so I think I’m going to count this book as an anomaly and keep my eyes and mind open for more of her books. I really want to like this author and I really wanted to like this book but it ended up being a disappointment for me and I hope the author isn’t going to be.

Overall, it lacked romance and it was the only thing about this book that was rushed. I also felt that the story chugged along at a too slow pace and had too much politics about a fake country in it. This book is good for those who like stories about love overcoming social differences. This book is good for teens and adults but not as great for the younger readers in your life. 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.*

Dolled Up To Die

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Title: Dolled Up To Die
Series: The Cate Kinkaid Files
Author: Lorena McCourtney
Publisher: Revell
Published: July 15, 2013
Pages: 320

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When Assistant Private Investigator Cate Kinkaid gets a frantic call about a triple homicide, Cate goes to the scene of the crime against her better judgment. After all Belmont Investigations doesn’t do murders. Only, the victims aren’t what she expected. Now she has a new rule and three shot dolls and no way of knowing why someone would shoot this nice lady’s dolls.

Just when Cate is ready to leave this to the police she finds another victim, this time an actual person. Cate wants to leave it in the hands of the police but her client and her PI instincts get in the way of her letting this one go. So she goes on the hunt for the killer and with an endless amount of suspects, she knows it isn’t going to be easy to track down the killer or his weapon.

As Cate narrows down her suspects and tries to solve this crime, she finds she always ends up at the scene of a crime. But when she and the killer have an altercation, Cate knows she doesn’t have long before he either recognizes her or she recognizes him and she needs to nail him before then. Join Cate on another adventure as she tries to solve yet another murder with her deaf cat and all the hilarious hi jinx that come along with her.

Can Cate manage to catch another killer or will this one grab her before she grabs him? Will Cate’s client end up being the killer or will she find out who really did it in time? Can Cate manage to not get kidnapped like last time or will she yet again be nabbed and held hostage? Will Mitch have to come to the rescue again or will Cate be able to catch a killer by herself?
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I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series and was excited to get the chance to read the second book in this hilarious mystery series. And I must say that the hi jinx and clumsy encounters just get even funnier. This book made me week and was easy to get hooked on. Though, for me it was a bit too easy to figure out the killer, I still enjoyed watching Cate try and figure out just who did what.

This book is a mixture of humor and mystery with a dash of romance and I loved every minute of it. As far as romance goes, this book is a follow-up on the first and made up for the lack of romance in the first with showing the reader their little quirks and interactions as a couple in this one. It allowed me to really see them become close emotionally. Also, the added humor in this book not only lightened it up when it needed to but also added a bit of character to the story and characters, making this story memorable.

The murder mystery was interesting. Though I figured out the killer about halfway through the book, with such a wide array of characters as suspects, I spent most of that time trying to figure out if my guess really did do it. I liked that. It made me feel like I was just starting out again. I also loved how the story played out and the motive behind the killings. It gave the story a whole new air of mystery to it.

The thing I loved most about this book, though, was Cate. She’s clumsy, sometimes naive, and she always manages to get herself in sticky situations but that’s what makes her so lovable. I love watching her become an even better PI as the series goes along and I love the fact that she always uses Mitch as a bodyguard/tech geek, because I would too. Her character is fallible, literally, yet sound in her beliefs and I love her. She’s the real reason I pick up these books.

The author captured my attention with her mysteries in the first book in this series, but she really grabbed me in this one. I can see why she’s award winning and is a best selling author. I look forward to reading more in this series and seeing how many books there will be. I can’t wait to see what other adventures I will go on with this author. This author, series, and book come highly recommended.

Overall, I loved this one. It’s the perfect mixture of humor, mystery, and romance. I recommend this book to people who like a good mystery with a comical twist. I think this book is perfect for teens, adults, and Tweens with adult supervision. I give this book a four 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.*

Slow Moon Rising

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Title: Slow Moon Rising
Series: Cedar Key
Author: Eva Marie Everson
Publisher: Revell
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 384

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Cedar Key has long been a place of rest, healing and release for the Claybourne family. But it’s also the birthplace of a dark secret that’s tearing their family apart from within. Everyone in this family had unique struggles and secrets that they keep and each have a journey they must go through to conquer their secrets and be released from the darkness haunting their lives, but the journey to that point is long, hard, and filled with many tear along the way.

Join the strong Claybourne women – Anise, Kimberly, Jayme-Leigh, Heather, and Ami as they face heartbreak, misunderstandings, and pain to bring reconciliation with each other and renewed love into their lives. Cedar Key had long been a place to turn to in times of confusion, loss, and hurt. They go their to get their spirits renewed and their hearts restored. Cedar Key is part of their journey and not all of it is easy.

As these women start down their journey, none could have anticipated how hard it would be or how much yet would lean on their family to help them through their times of trial. No one could’ve anticipated how hat those trials would’ve been or how much healing would happen along the way, but one thing thy do know is that a family isn’t made up of the secrets but how you survive them.

Can Anise win over her new family or will she be forever shunned? Can Kimberly overcome her husband’s choices or will she forever be scarred by her husband’s choices? Will Jayme-Leigh recover from a life altering disease and decision or will she be resentful about it forever? Will Heather’s journey help her heal from a problem or will she end up similar to her mother? Will Ami be able to forgive her dad and herself or will the guilt engulf her until she dies?
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The one thing I love about Eva Marie Everson is that she is a master at creating characters that captivate and capture your heart. These characters were no different than the last book in this beautifully heartbreaking series. She manages to create such realistically broken characters and create a story that’s heart wrenching yet hopeful and full of healing too in every story she crafts and I love the complexity and uniqueness of every story she weaves.

Each character had their own set of struggles to overcome and I could relate to every character in some way. Even when I couldn’t relate I still felt for every character in the story. Each struggle was something that became real for me. I felt the weight of the secrets they carried and felt their frustration and sorrow. I have no idea how the author manages to do it but it amazes me every time I read one of her lovingly painful books.

The setting is perfect too. What a better place for healing and peace than a place like Cedar Key. It sounds like an idyllic small town and the perfect place to go if you need some time and space to think or even to just be. I can imagine what the town might look like and how many people have found healing there. I don’t know if this place exists but it’s my wish to find a place that I can escape to just like Cedar Key.

The storyline is a mixture of problems ranging in severity and duration but each is special and a common problem. Though there was possibly too many characters I never felt too confused as to who was who (except for the husbands, those were hard to keep track of), but I did find that the amount of characters made some of their journeys shorter than I would’ve liked. It’s also written in first person, but in this book’s case it fit so perfectly that I actually enjoyed it.

This author captured me with her amazing characters with the second book in this series and I had to come back for more. This story is no different and made the characters real for me. I love this author’s gift for characters and that’s why I will be reading more from her in the future ad hopefully enjoy them as much as this one.

Overall, this is a great book about struggles and family. There was a but too many characters which cut all their stories a bit short but I still enjoyed it and recommend it. I recommend this to people who like books that are more about family secrets and the drama that comes with them. Keep this book away from your kids, teen and children alike, and leave this one strictly for 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.*

Glamorous Illusions

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Title: Glamorous Illusions
Series: Grand Tour
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Published: June 1, 2012
Pages: 416

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Cora Diehl’s life gets turned upside down when she arrives home from Common School to find out her father had a stroke. With a struggling farm and a sick father Cora knows she might not be able to continue school. She knows something is about to change but she has no idea just how much until a man arrives and says he’s her real father and the world that Cora knew changes forever.

Cora is now a Kensington and is thrust into the life of a copper king and his family. She now has to navigate Europe on her Grand Tour but also her new half-brothers and sisters, when they’ve made it perfectly clear that they don’t like her or want her around. On the journey of a lifetime, Cora realizes just how hard it is to fit into a crowd that you weren’t born into and how difficult it is to penetrate the pack, even if they are family.

In Europe, Cora begins to find herself again and figure out who she really is, not who her parents or newfound father wants her to be. She meets two men who start to change her life and open doors she thought were closed and start to show her that she’s not defined by her title or how she came into this world but rather who she is and how she lives her life. This journey will push her and her faith to the limits but it might justly her become the person she wants to be.

Will Cora forgive her parents for keeping this from her or will she live with bitterness forever? Will Cora fall in love on this journey or will she break the hearts of two different men? Will Cora find out who she is or will she go home as confused as she left? Will Cora be able to make her siblings see her as more than a nuisance or will she forever be known as the outcast?
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I’ve never read a book by this author before but I’ve always admired and been attracted to Lisa Bergren’s covers. This one was no different and it captured my attention with the stunning dress on the front with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. I found that I was just as captivated by the story of Cora Deihl once I started reading this interesting book. Though there wasn’t much excitement in this book, I still enjoyed it and the growth I saw in Cora’s character.

The story is a pretty uneventful one from the point that Cora leaves her hometown and until about two or three chapters from the end. That leaves a lot of space for basically history lessons and for Cora to be shunned by her siblings. It also leaves some space for a little infatuation to bloom. Though this book isn’t the most exciting book out there I somehow got hooked by Cora’s story and struggle to fit in with siblings and settle into a role that she wasn’t prepared for, however I would’ve liked to have had a bit more excitement throughout instead of clumped at the ends. I guess her and Will made the story worth reading for me.

This book technically isn’t a romance but it’s a precursor to one, or at least it seems that way, and Cora starts to fall for not one but two completely different men. One is a French duke and very powerful, the other is Will a guide and bodyguard and someone who always seems to make her heart flutter. There’s definitely a love triangle going on and the real question is who’s going to win over Cora’s heart in the end. (I’m thinking Will)

The author chose a rather odd set up for the writing style. Instead of making the entire book one style, like all first person or all second person, she chose to mix them up. Cora’s point of view is written in first person while Will’s and everyone else’s is written in second person. It’s a weird method and one I’m not totally sure I liked. It felt a bit disjointed at times and I’m not sure that was a good blend, but I am happy that she did write in point of views other than just Cora’s.

This author is completely new to me and I enjoyed my first book by her, but I wish there would’ve been some excitement in what can be considered a very vanilla book. I look forward to reading the next book in the series though, because now that we have some excitement going I feel like she should keep it up, but also because I want to see Cora grow into the woman she deserves to be and the only way to see that is to finish the book. I do recommend this book to select people and I think I can recommend this author.

Overall, this is a good but unexciting book. The character growth and love triangle is the only thing keeping it interesting. I recommend this to people who like continuos novels and love triangles. I don’t recommend this to younger resets but possibly mature teens and adults. I give this book a three 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.*

Love At Any Cost

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Title: Love At Any Cost
Series: The Heart Of San Francisco
Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
Published: April 15, 2013
Pages: 416

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Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without fortune who just got jilted by a fortune hunter. Because of that she just as soon hogtie a man than look at him and she hopes to stay as far away from men as possible while she spends the summer with her cousins in San Francisco. She hopes her wealthy family will be able to keep her kind off her broken heart and distract her from any men. Little does she know that one man will do anything to turn her head.

Jamie McKenna has spent his life in the slums of San Francisco and he wants to bring his mom out of poverty and pay for a much needed surgery for his sister. But to do that he has to marry well. Jamie will do anything to do better for his family even give up love, but when he meets the captivating Cassidy he starts to believe that maybe he can get love and money.

Cassidy refuses to give her heart up to another handsome man, but when she loses her heart she must make the choice to take the leap or lose what could possibly be the love of her life. When Jamie finds out that Cassidy is broke he must make a choice between love or money. As they fall harder they have to combat fears and pasts and past mistakes to try and find that love that neither thought was possible.

Can Cassidy trust Jamie or will she get hurt again? Will Jamie pick Cassidy or money? Is he willing to give up love for a life filled with shallow relationships and money? Will Cassidy get her heart broken again or will she find the love she always wanted but could never find? Is love enough to conquer money and stubbornness? Can Cassidy show Jamie that God’s love covers all and will give him what he needs with less effort on his part?
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This is Julie Lessman’s seventh novel and the seventh novel of hers that I’ve read. After saying goodbye to the O’Connors, I knew that her next was going to be a change, but thankfully she made the transition easier by making each character lovable and by making me excited for who will be next to fall in love. This author has another hit on her hands and she has grown into her niche even more than her previous. Though I miss the O’Connors, I think I’ll love this new Irish family as much as the ever lovable O’Connors.

The romance in this novel is, I think, the perfect mixture of passion and purity. Her style has mellowed out a bit from her first trilogy, in a good way, you no longer blush while reading these books but you still get an understated heat that makes girls dream. I loved the story of Cassidy and Jamie. I liked how Cassie fell in love with the man she wanted to avoid and I loved the decision Jamie made for love. This one made me dream of a dark haired Irish man with stubbornness and passion abundantly.

The storyline of this one is top-notch. It’s not really unique yet it is somehow. I liked how the story progressed, though I do feel like some important issues were passed over a little too quickly, overall I loved this storyline and how she hated him then fell in love with him. The twists have gotten better, story development has gotten better, her passionate stories has gotten better. Everything has gotten better. In fact, for years A Passion Most Pure has been my favorite, but this one may have dethroned that one. GASP. This author should be extremely proud of this one.

The characters are really well developed. Each one has their own personality and I can’t wait to see each one paired up with someone who matches them perfectly. Who will be next? I hope it’s Allison or Blake. They seem like their story will be the most dramatic. This might sound crazy but I actually hope to see Lydia again. I feel sorry for her, she grasps for love so hard that she hurts people around her. Call me crazy but, dare I say it, Bram would be a great match for her. That’s just me.

I have been behind Julie since her first book was published. She captured me with the O’Connor family and now she, I, and any other fan of her novels is going through a new faze or chapter, if you will and I’m extremely excited to continue on with her. She still holds the position as my favorite romance author and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. This author and any of her novels come highly recommended.

Overall, another fantastic hit from a fantastic author. This book is perfect for romance lovers of all shapes and sizes. I’d probably keep this away from kids and maybe teens but adults, have at it. 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 Dance

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Title: The Dance
Series: The Restoration Series
Authors: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
Publisher: Revell
Published: April 1, 2013
Pages: 352

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Marilyn Anderson is tired of playing the role of perfect wife. After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn’s marriage has gotten as cold as the arctic and all appearances are just that. She has everything she could ever want – a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, the financial freedom to be a stay at home mom, and an enviable collection of stuff. But the one thing she desires she doesn’t have, love. She’s tired of trying to connect with a man that doesn’t want to, so she moves out to collect herself and see what happens.

Jim Anderson is a successful businessman that gives his wife everything she needs, except love and attention. With him so busy with his real state business, he doesn’t even realize anything’s wrong let alone listen to his wife when she drops many hints for him to help her fix their marriage. When Marilyn leaves, Jim is shocked and furious. He has to sort through the past to fin what went wrong and to get his wife to talk to him.

As Marilyn rediscovers herself amidst a new job, a new roommate, and dance lessons, she begins to see what she almost gave up. Meanwhile, Jim is being illuminated as to what went wrong in his marriage and how he can fix it. Jim is doing the unthinkable to save his marriage but Marilyn still doesn’t want to talk to him and definitely doesn’t want to see him. He has to find a way to show her he’s changed.

Will Marilyn go back to Jim or will she like her newfound freedom too much to go back? Will Jim be able to change enough to get his wife back or will his stubbornness ruin his marriage? Will Jim win back his wife and do something he never did or will he decide that his wife isn’t worth what he took away? Will Marilyn’s bitterness of her rocky marriage destroy any chance of repair?
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I’ve read fiction by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley before and loved Dan Walsh’s books and Gary Smalley’s co-author-ship with Karen Kingsbury and those memories were what drove me to review this book. I may have erred in that decision. This book is fantastic and one of the best that I’ve read like this, but like the others I feel like this book is beyond my reach. I’m not married nor even in a relationship right now, so this book, though probably great for the future, isn’t written for me and isn’t on my list of favorites.

The overall storyline is fantastic and with two veteran writers behind it, it can’t help but be perfectly executed. The story progressed very well and I loved how the story ended. I loved how Jim changed and what he did to win Marilyn back. Though I don’t wish bad times on my future marriage, this is what I want my future husband to do if it ever got that bad. Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh crafted the perfect marriage fiction book with this one.

The subject of this book is something every marriage needs and possibly will go through. The potential end. Though I’m not married and probably won’t be for another five to ten years, I learned a lot and I learned about core fears. I also learned that a core fear of mine is the fear of failure. I don’t want to fail at anything and the idea makes me extremely scared. I think that this book married, engaged, or single can help you and show you what makes a good relationship.

Though this book wasn’t really for me, I can appreciate the subject and the story. The smoothness and progressiveness of the story alone makes this a fantastic book, but add on some teaching for anyone who is or will be married and you get a fantastic book. These authors work really well together and I look forward to reading more from them as a team and singularly.

These two work awesome together. Dan Walsh is an amazing storyteller and Gary Smalley is one of the best marriage counselors out there. As a team they created the best fiction book about marriage I’ve ever read and recently I’ve read quite a few. Like I said, though this book wasn’t for me, it was still a fantastic story and that alone makes this a great book. I fully intend to read the rest of this series.

Overall, a great story just for pure enjoyment by also a great book to help with a marriage. Though the subject and audience is a little bit older than me, I loved the story and the hope it gives me. I highly recommend this book to readers who like their story to have substance. This book really isn’t best for anyone than adults, but maybe this book could be used to show teens to not give up just because it gets tough. 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 her own.*