With Autumn’s Return

20140318-205338.jpg

Title: With Autumn’s Return
Series: Westward Winds
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Published: January 21, 2014
Pages: 416

——————————-

Elizabeth Harding came to Cheyenne, Wyoming to open her medical practice with high hopes. She’s certain she’ll have a line of patients eager for her services, but she quickly realizes that the town isn’t ready to welcome a new physician, particularly a lady doctor. Friends tell her that people will warm up, but Elizabeth has her doubts, particularly after a confrontation with the only other doctor in town.

Jason Nordling, a handsome young attorney and Elizabeth’s new neighbor, seems to also disapprove of Elizabeth’s chosen profession, but the more they get to know each other the more his opinion starts to change. He does, however, know that he can’t marry someone who will be a part time mother, particularly after his childhood. So, despite his attraction for Elizabeth and his ease at being around her, he’s determined to not fall in love.

Jason’s best laid plans might be futile when a web of deceit blankets Cheyenne’s wealthiest residents and threatens to entangle both him and Elizabeth. Despite the danger and the odds, they must work together to save one of Elizabeth’s patients and catch a criminal, even if it means falling in love in the process. Something neither of them want.

Can Elizabeth overcome the bias in town and become a successful doctor or will people avoid her because of her gender? Can Jason fall for Elizabeth despite of her career or is he too dead set on his idea of the perfect wife and mother? Can Elizabeth and Jason work together to set a trap without falling in love or will they fall hard as fast for each other? Can both Jason and Elizabeth follow God’s plan or will they be too caught up in their own stubbornness to follow?
—————————-

I’ve followed the Harding sisters’ journeys since the first book and have enjoyed every one, but this one has to be my favorite of the three. I loved the set up of this book and how it all came to an end. This book was definitely well written and captured me until the last page. I greatly look forward to what other adventures Amanda Cabot sends me on and how each one will play out.

The romance in this book is a slow and steady one. It’s not one with a ton of kissing or anything like that but it’s definitely very well written and was a favorite because of the sweetness. As the romance progresses you see Jason struggle with his idea of a perfect wife and mother and how Elizabeth isn’t that and you see Elizabeth struggle with how a family wasn’t in her plans. I loved the realistic look at love and I loved the fact that I got to watch it play out.

There’s a bit of intrigue in this book as well, but it’s a small chunk and the romance takes the limelight. However, this suspense is a critical part of the book and it gives the characters the shove they need to finally be together, not to mention it just works really well in the story. The culprit is fairly easy to figure out but it’s still a nice nail-biting suspense to complete the book. It makes the book more interesting and helps break up what could be called monotony that is an average romance.

Because this is the last book in the series, some loose ends that have been there since the beginning are tied up and I’m left with a feeling of completeness that I sometimes don’t get. All of my questions ended up answered and all the little side stories were completed and it made it easier to say goodbye to a series I have been reading for almost two or three years now. It makes me look forward to the future endeavors of this author.

Amanda Cabot created a hit in this one for me. Though it wasn’t my all time favorite, I definitely enjoyed it and the escape I got from it. This book is my favorite of the three and can be read alone but I usually recommend that you read them in order and this is one of those times. You just don’t get the same effect if you tea them out of order. I highly recommend this book and its series to any lover of historical romance.

Overall, I loved this book the most out of the series but I don’t think it’ll make it onto my all time favorite list. I did however absolutely adore the romance and it did make it up there. This book is perfect for anybody who like historical romance novels. I think this book is best left to the adults though the content can easily accommodate teens. I give this book a four out of five.

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

Advertisements

Dare To Love Again

20140306-213455.jpg

Title: Dare To Love Again
Series: The Heart Of San Francisco
Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
Published: January 7, 2014
Pages: 416

—————————————-

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless independent woman, but when she decides to explore the wild Barbary Coast at dusk, she quickly realizes that she’s no match or the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets. However, she’s determined to be independent and do what she wants without fear, so her uncle does a little arranging and sets her up with someone who might be able to teach her how to defend herself, the only problem, they can’t stand each other.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything then teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has very little choice. So he gets to work to help Allison but it’s not easy to do with sparks flying every time they’re near each other, so they come to a grudging agreement to be friends, but when that starts to become more Nick knows he has to make a choice.

With a past that he can’t outrun and a contract he can’t break, everything in him is telling him to run away far and fast from Allison, but his heart tells him to stay, even if he swore he’s never get involved. Allison must also make a choice give her heart away and risk deceit and heartbreak for the third time or miss out on something that could be beautiful. They both have everything on the line but something won’t let them pull away and maybe that’s a good thing.

Can Nick gain peace with his past or will he constantly be bitter and anger over his life? Can Allison risk heartbreak again or will she hide her heart away and possibly miss out on true love? Is love worth giving up everything or will the risks be too great? Is Nick another liar or is he genuine? Can two enemies reconcile and become a couple or is it too much to overcome?
—————————–

Having read every single Julie Lessman book on the market to date, I can tell you that even though the O’Connors will forever hold a special place in my heart, this series is the product of Julie finding her happy medium. So far this series is very well crafted and thought out and, as much as I hate to admit it, better formed than her previous two series. I’m very impressed with how far Julie has come and so glad that I’ve been able to be along for the ride thus far.

That said, this book as a novel is actually very good. It gave me my romantic gestures, like kissing, and gave me my emotional development to make it seem more realistic. Though, at the end it seemed to resolve a bit too easily, it was still very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. I absolutely can’t wait to see what other magnificent story I get next, I hope it’s about Bram, and what drama could be stirred up in this next one.

The concept of this story is pretty good and I loved watching the romance go from swatting to teasing to kissing in about half a book, and yes ladies and gentlemen there is some swatting involved. The conflicts seem a bit far fetched at times but are well done enough that I believed it all hook, line, and sinker. It’s hard to tell about the the last half of the book because it’s spoiler alert after spoiler alert, but let’s just say that the drama kicks in and it’s definitely worth the wait.

My favorite character in this story has to be Allison. She’s not your average heroine from romance novels. She’s awesome and independent and doesn’t want to rely on any man for stuff she’s perfectly capable of doing herself. Most of this attitude comes from being deceived twice but it comes across as strength not bitterness or fear so I greatly loved the change of pace. The other characters all have their quirks and are all lovable in their own ways so I can’t help but look forward to every new Julie Lessman book that comes out.

Julie Lessman has been a favorite since her first book and I’ve had the pleasure of being able to watch, book by book, her grow into the wonderful author that she is. This book is definitely one of her great ones and I completely look forward to falling in love with this new family just like I did her last. I highly recommend this book and any of this author’s others, as long as you read them in order.

Overall, it had some unrealistic moments but in general I loved it. This book is perfect for fans of the author or fans of early-1900s fiction. This book is bed left in the hands of the adults only. 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.*

Singularity

20140113-194233.jpg

Title: Singularity
Series: The Jevin Banks Experience
Author: Steven James
Publisher: Revell
Published: November 5, 2013
Pages: 464

————————————

Illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what happened when his friend is murdered deep in the jungle. Labeled as an accident, Jevin and his crew know differently and are drawn to the mystery that no one seems interested in solving. So the hunt begins and the more Jevin digs the deeper he’s drawn into a dark world of secrets and conspiracies until Jevin and his crew are in too deep to escape unscathed.

Jevin is determined to find out the truth, no matter what and that leads him and his crew into a world few even thought existed, a world where the human body is only a suggestion and the human consciousness can be uploaded into a robot. This discovery only leads to more confusion on Jevin’s side and questions about why his friend was involved in this world.

With more questions than answers Jevin keeps digging but the more he digs the bigger and more complicated the puzzle gets until it seems like it’ll never be solved. Still Jevin persists and soon the puzzle starts to get solved but what they discover is a dark secret that could change the fabric and future of humanity forever. Now Jevin and his crew must try and defeat an enemy that is different than any of them expected and hopefully come out alive.

Can Jevin find the reason his friend was killed or will he get lost in the puzzle? Will Jevin defeat the madman who’s after them or will they end up as mere casualties to his plan? Will Jevin be able to help save humanity or will he be too late to save anyone? Can Jevin and his crew outsmart the enemy and win the battle or will they be defeated by someone smarter?
——————————

Having loved the first book in the series, Placebo, I was excited to get my hands on Singularity. Having extremely high hopes, I embarked on yet another journey with our lovable and trouble-prone hero/illusionist, Jevin Banks, and thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed. Steven James concocted yet another spine tingling, mind boggling, intellectually stumping suspense that definitely kept me on my toes.

My favorite part about all Steven James novels is the creepy almost horror-like bad guy and the realistic torture and gore scenes. Morbid but true. Steven James has a real talent for making a sadistic killer and thinking up new and unique ways to kill people. The one that I felt was the most gruesome and unique was at the very end. This may sound sadistic and morbid to those that have never read a Steven James novel, but for those of us that have and keep coming back for more, it makes total sense.

This book had a much thicker plot than Placebo and frankly at times it felt almost too thick. There was so many threads and people to keep track of that half the time you forgot who somebody was or why that part of the story was significant. In the end all the threads are connected and the story makes sense but the road getting there is a long, mind boggling one, which I guess help it be unpredictable but it still felt a little overwhelming at times. Not to mention that almost half of the research and technical talk I didn’t understand and because of that found myself skimming. I’m not a dummy, but I’m not a genius either and I found it very difficult to follow when they started talking about artificial intelligence. I am still very curious how the next book is going to go, though, because of how this one ended. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a plot left for a third, but knowing Steven James, he will find a way.

This book is set in one my favorite cities and my future home, Las Vegas. It’s also the home to Jevin Banks and his illusion show on the Strip. The book was chock full of fun facts and history about Vegas that were handy, but probably not very necessary to the storyline, not that you’ll find me complaining. Though for those of you who don’t like the city or don’ care about learning about it, this will definitely get in the way for you. I loved it though, because it helped me learn about the city I will soon call home.

Steven James definitely knows how to construct a complex and unique suspense and I love it. I fully intend to keep coming back for more horror, gore, and mystery, because Steven James has hooked me yet again and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. I will eagerly anticipate the next installment of Jevin and his girlfriend Charlene’s story. This author, series, and book come very highly recommend.

Overall, though it can be confusing at times, it’s still a classic Steven James novel and fans of him will flock to this book and fall in love with his writing all over again. Fans of Steven James and fans of edgy suspense will love this book and it’s predecessor. I don’t recommend this book for anyone but adults as some scenes can be horrific and terrifying. 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.*

A Reluctant Courtship

20131029-184418.jpg

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

————————————-

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?
——————————-

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.*

Under A Blackberry Moon

20131020-201224.jpg

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

————————————

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

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

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

Will love conquer all or will their love crumble under the pressures of society? Will Moon Song leave her world to enter his or will she refuse to leave where she is welcome? Will Skypilot leave his world to live with the Chippewa or will she decide that she isn’t worth the massive change? Will the differences be too much for them and will they walk away or will they fight the pull or them to separate and love each other for life?
—————————–

Serena Miller is a fairly new author for me and I’ve noticed a pattern in her books that is a bit more unique than her counterparts. She likes to focus on strong females that don’t need a man to do everything for them instead of the usual damsel in distress type heroines. Though I don’t know if I could read these kinds of books all the time, I do think that it is very refreshing every once and a while to have a woman as the strong character in a book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Date

20131012-195908.jpg

Title: First Date
Series: The Dating Games
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Published: October 15, 2013
Pages: 224

———————————

Devon has just transferred to the Christian Northwood Academy and is bored not only with school but with the environment and the lack of attention boys give her. So determined to make her junior year something to remember, she decides to try ad get her and her new friends to get dates to the dance coming up and break the daze everyone seems to be in.

Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby are completely different from each other but they all have one thing in common: none of them have been on a “real” date. So determined to get a date to homecoming, the girls decide to make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective – dates for the dance. If only it turns out as easy as it sounds.

As the girls overcome insecurities and try ad nab dates, they learn a lot about themselves and each other. However, just when it seems like everything is going okay, the girls seem to get on edge and start bickering amongst themselves turning what was a good idea into a disaster. If they can get along long enough they might just grab dates to homecoming, but if they can’t they might just fail in their main goal.

Can the girls get dates to homecoming or will their differences year them apart? Is the DG a good idea or is it a bad thing waiting to happen? Can DG be something good for them all or will it turn into a disaster? What will each girl learn along the way about themselves and the other girls in their group? Can the girls combat dating and still keep their values or will they sacrifice them to get a date?
———————————-

Melody Carlson has been a favorite Young Adult author of mine ever since I discovered her a few years ago and ever since then I have looked forward to her ingenious stories and engaging storyline. So far there has never been a book by her that I haven’t liked and this book was no different. In fact, I found this book dramatic but fun and an awesome idea on how to date for teens.

The concept at first sounds a but weird and I couldn’t help but view the club, at first, like Cassidy. However, the more the story progressed and the more each girl’s limits and values came to light, I started to change my views and by the end of the book I felt that this is an incredibly genius way to date safely and smartly for teens. Not only do the girls group date, awesome idea, but they share about their dates and experiences so that the other girls I the group can assess whether said guy is good or bad for them. It’s genius! I might have to initiate this for myself someday.

Each character in this book are different, some in more ways than others and I thought it was really neat how the author played upon each character’s strengths and weaknesses and made each one part of the story. I also liked seeing the transformation in the characters, some changed quite a bit and some definitely need some work but all changed somewhat and it was nice to see how each changed and grew, tough I would’ve liked to have delved more deeply into their lives just a bit.

I always say it but Melody’s grip on teens and the way they think astounds me every time. Though a bit of her slang could be updated, the overall tone of the book is very teen-like and I always feel like a teen wrote it whenever I pick up one of Melody’s books. I think this newest book’s club is a genius idea and something teens everywhere should consider doing, particularly since girls love talking about their dates anyway. I absolutely loved the teen tone and felt it hit the nail on the head as far as relatibility goes.

Melody Carlson has written over two hundred books and though I haven’t near that many from her, I still know that her writing is amazing and her style is completely teen. I love her books so much and even though I won’t be a teen for much longer, I feel like I will read her books for years to come, even as I venture into a new chapter in my life. This author’s books come highly recommended, particularly this one.

Overall, I really liked this one. I would’ve liked to have delved more deeply into each character’s life, but I still really liked this book and the idea of a dating club stuck with me and I can’t wait to see what other hiking the group will get into. This book is perfect for fans of Young Adult fiction. This book is perfect for teens and YA friendly adults, though it’s probably best to keep it out of children’s hands just yet. 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.*

Love’s Awakening

20130930-212424.jpg

Title: Love’s Reckoning
Series: The Ballantyne Legacy
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 17, 2013
Pages: 416

———————————

Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school in the spring of 1822 and returns to her family home in Pittsburgh. When she arrives home, she finds that her parents are away and her siblings don’t seem like they want her around. Determined to stay as find her place in the world, Ellie opens a day school for young ladies. She has no idea what her school will lead to or how it will effect her future.

Jack Turlock isn’t glad about the sea of his sister going to a day school, in fact he’s out right opposed to it, especially with the school being run by none other than Ellie Ballantyne. With slaveholder a and whiskey magnates as a calling card, Jack knows that Ellie could never be involved with someone like him. His father is a sworn enemy of Silas Ballantyne and is envious of his power and suspicious of his abolitionist leanings. If only Jack could stop thinking about something that will never be.

When Ellie gets the opportunity to teach Jack’s little sister she takes it, not knowing how involved with the Turlocks she will become or how attached to Jack she will get. When life seems to try and rip them apart Ellie must make a critical decision to either pick her family or cross enemy lines and side with the enemy, Jack. Jack must also realize that the way that works is God’s way and must find a way to break the chains of his father’s past.

Can Ellie find her place in life or will she be lost and alone forever? Will Jack be able to realize that he isn’t his father or will he carry his guilt to his grave? Can Ellie fall in love with Jack and still keep her family or will she have to choose one or the other? Can Jack find God or will it be over before he has the chance? What will Ellie’s parent’s think when they find out about Ellie’s love for Jack?
———————————-

After reading Love’s Reckoning I knew that I would have to read the next in this series and that it would be even better than the first. I was right. This book tugged on heart strings and actually made me cry! I can’t believe the emotions that were packed into this book and the tender yet passionate romance that wrapped around it. I was captivated yet again by the craftsmanship of Laura Frantz and I absolutely can’t wait for Fall 2014 to read the next book in the series.

The romance in this novel was one of the best I’ve read. It combined an emotional connection and some passionate moments and just made the romance seem realistic, heart-tugging, and beautiful. The romance in this book was similar to the first in the sense of theme. They both were about forbidden love, which for some reason captivates and moves us all. I can’t believe how well this romance was put together.

The storyline was impeccable. I got caught up in the story and was disappointed when it was over. It was full of intrigue and suspense, not to mention the awesome romance. It also gave a glimpse into the lives of those that smuggle slaves out of danger. I learned a lot and felt emotions that I very rarely feel from a book and I loved it so much. I absolutely have to read more from Laura Frantz!

The thing I liked most about this book was Ellie. Her character is rich and has always been, has gone to finishing school, and has every extravagance known to man yet she’s a very down to earth character and I loved her. She never came across as spoiled and I never once felt like she felt better than anyone. Because of that her character was very much a lovable character to me and I felt that she had amazing character development and was a strong character despite her appearance.

Laura Frantz captured me again! I’m shocked at how well she put together tis book and got my emotions involved. Any book deserves a great rating if it can make me cry. That’s a fear not many have accomplished. Laura’s impeccable storytelling skills and understanding of human emotion made me never want to put tis book down. This book, series, and author come very highly recommended.

Overall, I loved this book! I don’t even have any complaints about it. I wouldn’t change a thing. Tis book is perfect for someone who wants a historical fiction romance about forbidden love. This book is best left to adults. My rating of this book is five out of five.

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

The Invention Of Sarah Cummings

20130925-214331.jpg

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

———————————–

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?
————————-

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.*

Dangerous Passage

20130920-211652.jpg

Title: Dangerous Passage
Series: Southern Crimes
Author: Lisa Harris
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2013
Pages: 320

—————————————–

Avery North, detective and behavioral specialist for the Atlanta Police Department, is on the hunt for what she believes to be serial killer when she finds two Jane Does with something in common, a magnolia tattoo in their shoulders. If these two deaths are connected, Avery knows she only has a limited window before her killer strikes again and she’s determined to catch him before he gets another girl.

Jackson Bryant, a medical examiner, teams up with her to stop a killer. Finding anything substantial seems unlikely, but when he finds an interesting clue it might just crack this case wide open and possibly uncover something even more sinister than a death. But Jackson becomes even more determined to take down the criminal when he tries to scare off Avery from the case.

As Avery struggles with taking on yet another responsibility that will stretch her even more thin, a relationship with Jackson, Jackson is trying to show her that what they have is worth the risk and strain. But with them close to discovering what’s behind this death and the connection it holds to a rich neighborhood, their relationship will have to take a backseat. At least until they catch their killer.

Can Avery catch what might be a serial killer or will she have to investigate yet another murder? What will they discover as they dig deeper into the dark side of Atlanta? Will Avery be scared off by a threat or will she be even more determined to go after her criminal? Can Jackson convince Avery to give him a chance or will she just deny him? Can Avery and Jackson catch a killer before another person ends up dead or will someone else die at the clutches of evil?
————————————

Lisa Harris has captivated me with this one. Though it’s not perfect, I still enjoyed this book. It had a very relevant topic that had a different method, so to speak, and I wasn’t aware it was even about that topic until I dug further into this unique story. Mrs. Harris has made it so that I have to read more and conclude this cliffhanger series. I had no idea what I was getting into with this story but I’m glad I started it.

The romance in this book takes a bit of a backseat to the suspense and I didn’t mind at all. In fact, it seemed to fit the story fairly well and has a promising future in the next few books of this series. I loved how supportive Jackson was and how he completely made me reevaluate what my perception of what a medical examiner was like. I look forward to seeing how this romance concludes in books to come.

The suspense in this book is a very interesting combination of secrets and reality. I loved how this author was able to make this book suspenseful not on how fast paced it was, though it was that, but by the subject matter. It plays on your heart strings and makes your heart hurt for the injustices that are taken place to these women and that is what the main felling of the book is, at least for me. I loved this suspense even though I would’ve liked to have seen Avery’s behavioral specialist skills utilized more in the book.

This story is a huge mixture of emotions and feelings. Not to mention there is a plethora of things that can be in the next book. It even ends on a cliffhanger that isn’t huge but enough for you to be dying to know how it ends. I have a love-hate relationship with cliffhangers and I always seem to pick them, but I look forward to seeing how the cliffhanger is resolved in the next book and whether that one will end on a cliffhanger too.

This author captivated me with this book and I look forward to seeing what else she can come up with for the next one. This book touched a very sensitive and touchy topic that isn’t really talked about and I would love to see another one similar to it at least in the sense of it’s something we try not to think about. I loved that this author wasn’t afraid to go “there” and can’t to see if she will again.

Overall, I was captivated by this book and despite the lack of behavioral specialism used and the use of a cliffhanger I truly enjoyed this take on a very real topic. This book is perfect for those who want a different kind of suspense novel. This book is best left to the adults. I give this book a four out of five.

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