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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Lock, Stock, And Over A Barrel

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Title: Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel
Series: Dear Daphne
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: B&H Books
Published: June 1, 2013
Pages: 316

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Daphne Ballinger, armed with high hopes, lands her dream job at The New York Times. However, it’s not long before writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her failed relationship. It also doesn’t take long before her perception if the big city begins to lose its luster and her opinion of it begins to sour. Because of that she slowly starts to realize that her life needs a change of pace from her usual predictable life. She just doesn’t know how to change anything.

Her life is changed when her beloved Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizable estate to Daphne. She now has a change of pace, but it might not last long wit the strings attached to the estate. Coming home was easy, fulfilling the conditions of the estate, getting married within a year of signing the paperwork, isn’t quite as easy, especially since she has to really fall in love within a year.

With the year deadline looming over her, Daphne only hopes for a year in the house before she has to leave, but with so many bachelors in town it seems only a matter of time before she falls in love with one of them. But Daphne is focusing on her transition and her change of lifestyle then falling in love, along with all the secrets her aunt was hiding and whether she should tell them. But maybe God and her deceased Aunt Dee might have different plans for her life and her time in her small town.

Can Daphne fall in love before the allotted time or will she only get a year in her favorite childhood home? What will daphne do if she fails to me the deadline? What secrets will Daphne discover about her aunt and are there any more to be found? Who will Daphne fall in love with if anyone? Will Daphne find that she enjoys life in her small hometown better than life in the big city or will she miss the lights and luster of New York?
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I’m a huge fan of Melody Carlson’s and because of her popularity it’s a struggle to get any of her books, so I was thrilled to get the chance to review this one. I’m used to reading her young adult novels, so I believe this is my first adult novel by her and I must say that it was a new experience and one that I wouldn’t mind experiencing again.

This novel wasn’t quite what I expected. I didn’t expect it to be a series and I definitely didn’t expect it to end at the point or on the note that it did. I did enjoy this novel, but because my expectations were a bit more exciting and romantic I think I’m a bit disappointed with what I got. However, knowing this is a series eases my disappointment just a bit because I know she has to fall in love at some point.

There really isn’t much romance in this book it’s more of flirting and establishing who Daphne’s options are and there are quite a few. There are at least six different guys that are bachelors and are a possibility. I know I’m rooting for Mick, but maybe that’s just because I’m a sucker for an Australian accent. But I have a feeling that I know who the author will pick for Daphne and he’s my second choice. I’m really interested to see how the author navigates half of a dozen men and how she will pick one without disappointing too many people.

The story line of this book isn’t fast paced and isn’t one that’ll keep you up at night but it is one that’s worth reading and I think it holds a lesson all of us single people ought to learn, that we need to look for God for fulfillment instead of the perfect guy or girl. That was my favorite part of the novel because it was an epiphany for Daphne and allowed her to get her priorities straight. It progressed the story nicely and allowed a great finish.

I love this author and though this book was a bit of a disappointment for me and the title sounds better suited to a western, I don’t plan on stopping being this author’s fan and I do plan on reading the next books in this series because I want to know who Daphne ends up with. Though I don’t fully recommend this book I recommend the author’s other books.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment but still a good novel and the start to a good series. I think this book is perfect for those who want more of a serial romance series and not a quick romance read. This book is best left to the adults and possibly older teens. I give this a three out of five.

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

When The Heart Heals

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Title: When The Heart Heals
Series: Sisters At Heart
Author: Ann Shorey
Publisher: Revell
Published: February 15, 2013
Pages: 352

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Rosemary Saxon is a courageous, unconventional and stubborn woman who served as a nurse during the Civil War. Her past has caused most women in town to view her as unfeminine and even downright vulgar. Despite the fact that she would like to leave that part of herself in the past, she needs a way to support herself and this is all she knows beside herbs and their healing powers. So she gets a job as a nurse at the handsome new doctor’s office, but every time they’re near each other they clash and Rosemary struggles to hold back her flaming temper.

Doctor Elijah Stewart moved away from his father’s past to the small town he now calls home and just wants a quiet life completely different from his father’s. When Rosemary comes in wanting a nursing job he figures she would come in handy. Little does he know how she will turn his life upside-down or how she will make him question things about his life and his beliefs. Or how she will make him view a future with her in it.

As their attraction for each other grows, a man threatens Rosemary. The bolder he gets the more Rosemary must rely on others, a thing she isn’t good at and stand talk when all she wants to do is run away forever. Elijah must decide if he wants a quiet life with Rosemary or a fast life in his father’s practice and a woman that wants him for his title. He must also show Rosemary that letting someone help you doesn’t mean charity but love.

Will Rosemary leave nursing behind or will she find that she loves it way too much to give it up? Will Elijah and Rosemary fall in love or will life and circumstance get in their way? Will Elijah be able to convince Rosemary that love means letting someone take care of you or will Rosemary forever want to do things herself? Will Elijah choose Rosemary over fortune or will he choose money over his values and the woman he could see himself spending his life with?
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I read the first book in this series and enjoyed it but it wasn’t one of my favorites. I decided to read this one because I wanted to finish the series but I hoped that maybe this one would be better than the first. My hope was a reality. The author definitely improved on storyline and execution in this new installment of the series. However, the book wasn’t perfect, but compared to the first in this series, it was a huge improvement.

The romance in this book is a little sudden. Like the prequel to this one, the main characters start a relationship suddenly and say “I love you” way too suddenly. Despite the quick pace of the romance, the romance was actually quite adorable and I think it’s a fantasy of every nurse or nurse-to-be to possibly fall in love with a doctor. The romance was adorable and the idea of it was really romantic. The author improved on her previous one and did pretty well with this romance.

The storyline was kind of neat. A Civil War nurse falls in love with her boss, a doctor, but just when life seems bright a man threatens her because of her herbal remedies. The execution was a little bit less exciting than the idea, but considering how difficult it is to mesh two different genres into one, the execution was pretty good. I’ve only read two books by this author, but out of those two this one has the better storyline.

Obviously from the synopsis, this book has a little bit of suspense in it. It seems to be there only to add a bit of conflict and to keep you more interested in what would’ve been a fairly conflict-less storyline. Considering that, the culprit is fairly easy to figure out because there is only a handful of people it could be and most of them wouldn’t do that to Rosemary. This suspense was pretty good for a background side conflict.

This author captured my attention with the first book in this series and though she still isn’t at the top of my favorites list she is on my list of authors to watch and she is slowly getting toward that list. This is an author that’s growing on me slowly and is one that I have to get used to their writing style, but I do enjoy her books and will read more from her and definitely finish this series.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read but the romance seems sudden and the suspense is easy to figure out. This book is perfect for historical romance lovers who like a less passionate read. I think this book can be read by adults and teens. I give this book a three 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.*

Over The Edge

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Title: Over The Edge
Series: The Kincaid Brides
Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: August 1, 2012
Pages: 336

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Callie Kincaid came out west with nothing except the clothes on her and her son’s backs and she’s determined either chase down her runaway husband or find shelter with his brothers. However, her plan doesn’t work quite the way she intended. Within a few minutes of entering the west she’s engaged in a shoot out and is now injured and at the mercy of none other than her husband!

Years ago Seth Kincaid survived a fire that altered his life forever and then he went war and came back crazier than ever. There are pieces to his past that he doesn’t remember, but you would think he would remember having a wife let alone a son! However, he doesn’t and his newly discovered wife doesn’t seem to happy about that. Seth wants nothing more than to start over and make amends, but Callie just wants to shoot him. Now Seth has to convince her that he’s different and worthy of trust.

The more time Callie and Seth spend together the more the attraction that Callie can’t forget and Seth wants to remember comes roaring back and Callie is finding it difficult to not trust the man she married. Seth wants nothing more than to be the husband and father he couldn’t have been as I’ll as he was, but convincing Callie that he’s different is going to test everything he knows and possibly show him he isn’t as different as he once thought.

Will Callie be able to forgive the past and move on with her husband or will she spend her life alone because of her lack of mercy? Will Seth be able to prove that he’s different than the man that walked out on her or will he lose the best thing that ever happened to him? Will Callie and Seth find that the love that they felt for each other is gone or never really existed at all or will they find that the love they felt for each other is still there and as strong as ever? Will this Kincaid family end on a happy note or a sad one?
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Having never read the first two books in this series, I didn’t know what to expect and I was hoping that this wasn’t a continuation series. Thankfully, the series isn’t a continuation series but there are aspects that can get confusing at times. Also, though the book wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t fantastic either. There seemed to be some scenes that were continued from the previous two books and at times, some of those scenes are a little too unrealistic. Having started this book with no real expectations, I wasn’t really surprised by the outcome or execution of the novel.

The storyline of this book is solid, though at times too unrealistic. I liked the action scenes of the novel, though they seemed a little unrealistic, at least the beginning did. The bullets flew with very few reloads on either side and the heroine was concerned with conserving bullets for her husband one minute and the next she’s firing blindly into the bushes! I also felt it odd that Seth can’t remember anything about his wife or their brief time together until all of a sudden. Though I know that happens, it seemed a little too sudden in this book. I did like the direction this book wanted to go, though. It was a nice storyline if it didn’t seem too rose-colored. I mean what person goes through a shoot-out in a stagecoach without getting hit with a real bullet?

The romance in this novel was actually nice. It had some passion, which I prefer, but not too much to seem like the author was trying too hard to force it. Most of the romance revolved around him not remembering but knowing that what he was feeling wasn’t something that was new. I didn’t like how angry Callie got when Seth tried to figure stuff out about her. I would imagine that if you loved a man and he suddenly forgot you, you would do almost anything to help him remember. Callie was just mad that he didn’t remember. The more emotional or intimate scenes were sweet and I wished that there were more of them. This romance had the makings of a special one but kind of fell short where it mattered.

The hero and heroine were a tad bit hard to feel sorry for or feel for because Callie was completely unforgiving toward her husband and unwilling to help him remember anything about their life together and Seth is so busy convincing people that he’s changed that he doesn’t stop to consider that maybe he hasn’t. The worst part of that though is that we’re not really given any proof that he has changed just that he says he has. There is a lot that prevented me to getting into the characters, mostly the women of the book and that made the book suffer.

This book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I usually get in a romance or historical and I’m not sure that’s a compliment. Though I loved the premise of the story, I didn’t love the execution and felt that the story really didn’t follow the path of the synopsis and had major twists that weren’t even hinted at in the synopsis. Though, I wasn’t completely satisfied with this book, I feel like the author is right on the edge of a good western romance, if she improves just a little, and because of that I do plan on reading more from this author, just with less gusto than I read this book.

Overall, it’s you’re average romance but a slightly lower quality action. It’s perfect for a person who loves western romances with a little action and suspense. I think that adults and older teens could read this without much trouble, but it probably shouldn’t be handed to anyone much younger than that. I give this book a three out of five.

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

Over the Edge

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Title: Over The Edge
Author: Brandilyn Collins
Publisher: B&H Books
Pages: 352
Released: May 1, 2011

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Janessa McNeil’s husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, is a researcher and professor at Stanford University’s Department of Medicine. He specializes in tick borne diseases, especially Lyme disease. He’s known for his adamant denial that chronic Lyme exists, even when patients get sicker in front of his face.

In an act of revenge and a twisted sense that he’s helping Lyme patients everywhere, a man plants a diseased tick, filled with not only Lyme but three coinfections, on Janessa McNeil. After which he states his demands, convince your husband to publicly reverse his statements on Lyme, or it’ll be there daughter next.

With Janessa’s marriage on the rocks and her husband denying she even has Lyme, how is she supposed to change his mind? Particularly when he never admits when he’s wrong?
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Brandilyn Collins is very good at writing suspense novels. I became a huge fan when she wrote Always Watching with her daughter. Though, she didn’t tag-team with her daughter in this book, she did an incredible job with this book.

The author did extensive research and used her own experience with Lyme and it is very prevalent in the detail and facts about Lyme throughout the book. There is a ton of details on what Lyme does to your body as well as coinfections and and what is known as the Lyme Wars. It really delves into the trouble that most Lyme patients have an issue with, treatment. I never knew much about Lyme, let alone that it was so difficult to get properly treated. This book was a huge eye-opener on Lyme Disease.

However, despite how many facts you stuff into one suspense novel, you still have to take into account the suspense part of the novel. The suspenseful and scary part of the novel is the fact that an unknown man plants a diseased tick on you, walking past your daughter’s bedroom to do so, without leaving a trace. Now, I can understand how that would freak you out, but just in general, the suspense is weak.

The suspense is mostly on the back burner. The main chunk of the book seems to be about Janessa’s illness and convincing her husband she actually has it, not about the mystery man, though he is mentioned quite often. In my opinion a suspense book should be a majority of teeth-biting suspense. This book was disappointment in that area.

Despite that, the book is well written and the author decided to not really give you any substantial hints as to who the mystery man was until about three quarters of the way through the book. I appreciated that because it delayed my figuring it out for most of the book. But, like the last suspense book that I read, I did figure it out. I don’t really like to do that, but I think with how much I like suspense and how many I’ve read it’ll probably be a rare book when I don’t guess correctly.

The author kind of made the husband the more prevalent villain than the actual villain. Almost to the point that it was literally unbelievable. Her husband is overly harsh and cruel, but it worked wit who was portrayed to be, I just wish that he was more realistic.

Overall, this book is great if you want to learn more about Lyme and Lyme sufferers, but if your looking for a strong suspense you might want to keep looking. It’s perfect for anyone wants a medical suspense, heavy on medical and less on suspense. I give it a three and a half out of five.

I received this complimentary book for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.