Posted in Historical

Jessica Dotta’s Born of Persuasion

About

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

Review

What I liked about this book:

The setting. I thought Ms. Dotta did a fabulous job of taking the reader back to 1838 in Great Britain. Her knowledge of the times led a credibility to the story. I also think she managed to capture the gothic lean of the novel that happened towards the middle of the book with the recluse and the house and locks on doors, etc.  I also found her premise to an original and fresh look at Merry old England.

What I didn’t like:

The main character. Julia was not very kind. She based her decisions off of her feelings rather than on what was logically in front of her, and she just wasn’t trustworthy as a narrator. Let me just premise this with the fact that I love gothic fiction. I’ve read Victoria Holt, Daphne Du Maurier, T.E. Huff, to name a few. A huge part of gothic fiction is secrets and trusting people who may not be what they seem, but there was a certain person that she trusted in this book who was glaringly off on so many different levels. In fact, there was no one person in the novel that made me sigh with relief when they stepped on the pages. All of the characters seemed to make me more hesitant to read the book than excited.

I will say, the book ends and implies that in the sequel, Julia will have it all together. Perhaps. But in this one she had me simply confused.

Spiritually, you have one person who is supposed to be the kind of spiritual rock. Except he kept charging into things head first without seeking God. I loved his passion for the things of God. I loved how he wanted to change the world. He was, perhaps, not very wise in his doings however.

Now, let me just say, that I generally like novels where I can kind of see where they are going. I could not see where this one was going and that might be why I didn’t enjoy it as much. If that doesn’t bother you, than you will probably enjoy this much more than I did.

Romantic scale: 6

** I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Historical

Laura Frantz’s Love’s Awakening

About

Ellie Ballantyne, youngest child of Silas and Eden, has left finishing school. But back at her family home in Pittsburgh, Ellie finds that her parents are away on a long trip and her siblings don’t seem to want her to stay. When she opens a day school for young ladies, she begins tutoring the incorrigible daughter of the enemy Turlock clan. The Turlocks are slaveholders and whiskey magnates, envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly tangled with the Turlocks, she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future–and Jack Turlock, a young man striving to free himself from his family’s violent legacy. How can she betray her family and side with the enemy? And will Jack ever allow her into his world?

Masterful storyteller Laura Frantz continues to unfold the stirring saga of the Ballantyne family in this majestic tale of love, loyalty, and the makings of a legacy. With rich descriptions of the people who settled and civilized a wild landscape, Frantz weaves a tapestry of characters and places that stick with the reader long after they turn the last page.

Review

What I loved about this book: the setting, the premise, the love story. The setting was flawlessly written like only Ms. Frantz can right. Her historical facts were presented in such a way that I didn’t feel like there was some public service announcement highlighting to me what was important. I was able to learn so much about a young Pittsburgh without feeling like I’ve been in school. And yes, Silas and Eden are in this book, and there presence is like a breath of fresh air. Loved them! The premise. Who doesn’t love a good Romeo and Juliet story and without the silly premature deaths? I really liked the whole forbidden Turlocks and the wealthy Ballantynes set up. It’s what I was looking forward to reading about the whole time and Ms. Frantz really delivered. And then there is the love story. Every time Jack and Ellie were on the pages it was like time froze. Ms Frantz can really capture a lot in subtle moments. I must say, I really liked both Jack and Ellie. Jack was kind of a different hero for Ms. Frantz, as he was a bit rough around the edges and had no connection with the things of God, but I still found myself loving him just the same. Ellie just seemed to epitomize grace. In other words, they were perfect for each other.

What I didn’t like as much: not enough Jack and Ellie. They fell in love kind of quick for me (either that or I just wanted more of them). Because so much of their relationship was surrounded by other things (i.e. Ellie tutoring Chloe) I felt like they didn’t spend that much time with just them two together.

Also, there is a lot going on. Ellie has several siblings and they each kind of have a little story being told in the wings. I found some siblings more interesting than others, and so I had the urge to skip when certain people were on the page. And, lastly…there’s a lot going on in this book.

Spiritually, I liked watching Jack’s awakening to the things of God. It was handled really nicely and I liked that Ellie is a woman of prayer. The spiritual aspect of the novel unfolds beautifully. Looking forward to the next one!

Romantic Scale: 7

Posted in Uncategorized

Giveaway! Laura Frantz’s Love’s Reckoning

In honor of Laura Frantz’s new novel, Love’s Awakening, that has just been released, I decided to give away a copy of her old novel Love’s Reckoning! The giveaway will last until two weeks from today. You must leave a comment below stating what you love about historical fiction and I will randomly draw a winner*. Said winner must respond within 48 hours. So, have fun!

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege’s daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other’s jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. Love’s Reckoning is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.

 

*Winner must live in the U.S.

Posted in Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

Dani Pettrey’s Stranded

About

Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to join a journalist friend undercover on the trail of a big story. But when Darcy arrives, she finds her friend has disappeared. Troubled by the cruise ship’s vague explanation, Darcy uses her cover as a travel reporter to investigate further.

The last person Gage McKenna expects to see during his summer aboard a cruise ship leading adventure excursions is Darcy. And in typical Darcy fashion, she’s digging up more trouble.

He’d love to just forget her–but something won’t let him. And he can’t help but worry about her as they are heading into more remote regions of Alaska and eventually into foreign waters. Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they push, the more Gage fears they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

Review

This book was fast-paced, action-packed, sweet & romantic all in one. Naturally, I’ve been looking forward to reading about Gage and Darcy since the last novel by Ms. Pettrey. Once again we are brought back to the beautiful, yet harsh environment of Alaska and the welcoming arms of the McKenna family.

One thing I kind of liked was that the foundation of Gage’s and Darcy’s relationship had already been laid in Shattered and so in this book you can just watch the two of them recognize their feelings for each other. Darcy continued to be a very likeable heroine. Though she was driven, I didn’t find her annoying.

I liked Gage and his emphasis on safety to be very realistic (considering where they live). I found the mystery to be engaging and not overwhelming, make no mistake this is a character driven novel. Spiritually, Gage learns to trust God in spite of the fact that sometimes things don’t always go our way. I couldn’t help but appreciate the way Darcy consistently prayed until she got her prayer answered. Fun book, looking forward to the next one!

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Romantic Scale: 8.5

Posted in Uncategorized

Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Adventures

Stranded by Author Dani Pettrey

About the Sweepstakes

In Stranded, Book 3 in author Dani Pettrey’s acclaimed Alaskan Courage series, reporter Darcy St. James knows something is wrong when her friend vanishes from her job on a cruise ship. Everyone else believes Abby simply left of her own accord, but something isn’t lining up, and Darcy knows the only way to find the truth is to put herself in Abby’s position.

Gage McKenna has taken a summer-long stint leading adventure excursions for the passengers of various cruise lines that dock in Alaska for a few days of sightseeing. He’s surprised to find Darcy onboard one of the ships, working undercover as a reporter.

Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they dig, the more they realize they’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

To celebrate the story, author Dani Pettrey and Bethany House Publishers are pleased to present the ALASKAN ADVENTURES Sweepstakes, and your chance to win one of three fabulous prizes connected with the story!

Timeframe & Notifications:

This giveaway starts September 2, 2013 and ends September 19, 2013 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Winners will be selected Friday, September 20, 2013, and announced at DaniPettrey.com.

Amazing Prizes:

GRAND PRIZE:

BUILD-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE PACKAGE

In Stranded, Darcy, Gage, and the McKenna family launch into all kinds of adventures: from high-octane ocean kayaking, to rugged island camping beneath the vast Alaskan skies.

Our grand prize winner will have the chance to build their own adventure, with a $300 adventure gear gift card of their choice from either Eddie Bauer or L.L. Bean.

And what would our hero and heroine do if they won the prize? Gage use it towards one of L.L. Bean’s gorgeous ocean kayaks, while Darcy would go for “Glamping” gear:)

SECOND PRIZE:

CULINARY CONQUEROR PACKAGE

Everyone knows Gage McKenna’s campfire cooking is second to none. But inStranded, Darcy discovers that before Gage was a search and rescue hero, he secretly dreamed of attending culinary school.

Our second prize winner will have the chance to fulfill Gage’s dream with a$200 value, 1-year membership to Top Chef University.

Membership includes over 200 video lessons taught by Top Chef contestants, covering everything from soups to desserts.

THIRD PRIZE:

SHIMMER & SHINE PACKAGE

Darcy once gave her missing friend, Abby, a beautiful shell necklace, engraved with a special message that made it one-of-a-kind.

Our third prize winner will receive their very own, one-of-a-kind “Earth & Sea” necklace valued at $100.

Handmade of New Zealand Paua shells, hammered copper, and Tahitian pearls, this necklace is the perfect compliment for a soft sweater and jeans, or a unique finishing touch for a little black dress on a special date night.

How to Enter:

Go to http://www.danipettrey.com/alaskan-adventures-sweepstakes/ and complete the entry box, anytime between September 2 and September 19.

Review will be posted tomorrow!