Posted in Historical

Lisa T. Bergren’s Glittering Promises

About

For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had, and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. And yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging …
Hounded by journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.
Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention. Cora must stand up for what she believes—regardless of how that might challenge current family and cultural norms—in order to remain true to who she really is.
And as she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it’s time to decide Who and what defines her … and who and what does not.

Review

Glittering Promises concludes Cora’s grand tour. And what a tour it was. I will admit, if I was Cora, I would have wanted it to end a long time ago. The group faced kidnappings, deaths, illness, exhaustion and the list goes on. I felt a bit tired myself and more than a little thrilled when they finally got on the boat for America. To a certain degree the series felt a bit longer than it needed to be. That said, Cora was a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed watching her grow and fall in love.

I found the romance to be realistic even as it dealt with the issues that would surely occur in such a situation. Will was a terrific hero though a tad bit insecure (understandable). However, I will say that he was probably strongest in the earlier novels. The resolution to the kidnappings, however, did manage to surprise me.

Spiritually, I love Cora’s dependence upon the Lord and the fact that she listened to the Lord. You could really see her grow throughout the entire series and I liked who she became.

Overall, the novel was written really well, intriguing, and very much needed to read to bring closure to the series . I am not sure if it was my expectations (I wanted to see Cora back in Montana) that were disappointed or what, but, having read the whole of the series, it perhaps could have been condensed a bit.

Romantic Scale: 8

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Types of Romance novels (Pt.3)

My least favorite type of romance is instant-love or insta-love. This type of romance is when the hero and heroine meet and fall in love instantly. There is little to no development between them. If you had to trace their relationship, there would be very little to discuss. These are the types of romance novels I rarely finish because they are already in love and anything keeping them a part is usually silly and contrived. 

The real problem with this kind of romance, if I had to narrow it down, is that most times that I’ve seen this kind of romance used, the hero and heroine are willing to lay everything on the line for each other, while I’m sitting there scratching my head wondering why. Or I find myself simply not caring at if the hero dies or the heroine has to marry someone else. It’s really hard to care about a relationship that appears to have no substance. This is really bad done if they try to say that the hero never thought he would fall in love, or if he’s something of a player when it comes to women, but then he meets the heroine and she changes him in an instant. Fail. There must be development!

Can this kind of romance ever work? Yes, I think. The best example of this working as a novel is if the couple gets married right away and then has to deal with issues they ignored in the beginning. Or, if somehow whatever keeps the couple separated really makes sense, like war. I think WWII novels can really do this trope well (I have read a secular novel like this, but nothing in the Christian arena to recommend; Sarah Sundin, my resident WWII novelist hasn’t used this trope yet.)

It is very rare that I like novels that have this. In fact it is so rare, that as I studied all the books that I own, I could only think of one that came close to insta-love that I liked. And yet, this novel is sci-fi, and really the insta-love is only one sided.  This would be Firebird by Kathy Tyers. It’s a wonderful novel if you love sci-fi and I really liked the romance. Also, if you like renditions of Romeo and Juliet, I would recommend Leslie Gould’s Adoring Addie. This novel is beautifully written, but I myself am not a fan of Romeo and Juliet. 

So, agree or disagree? Are there any insta-love novels that defy my reasonings that you would recommend for me to read?

Posted in Uncategorized

Feature Friday…Deeanne Gist!

Deeanne Gist is something of a revolutionary author. Aside from Francine Rivers, I would say, she ought to be credited with starting Edgy Christian Fiction. If you read her works, I promise, you will fall in love with her writing. Here are some of my favorites by this fantastic author:

Original, unique, romantic

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this book for the resolution. I loved it for the romance.

SO different from what’s out there!

The heroine is hilarious!

Such a clever premise to often a familiar backdrop!

 

Read any of these and you won’t be disappointed. She has several others that are good, but these are the ones that stayed with me the longest!

Does anyone else have a particular favorite by Ms. Gist?

Posted in Uncategorized

Serena B. Miller’s Under a Blackberry Moon

About

Just a few days after she gives birth alone in the Northwoods, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman stumbles into a nearby lumber camp in search of refuge and sustenance. Come summer, the camp owner sends Skypilot, his most trusted friend, to accompany Moon Song and her baby on the long and treacherous journey back to her people. But when tragedy strikes off the shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula wilderness, Moon Song and Skypilot must depend on each other for survival. With every step they take into the forbidding woods, they are drawn closer together, until the tough questions must be asked. Will she leave her culture to enter his? Will he leave his world to enter hers? Or will they walk away from a love that seems too complicated to last?

Review

Under a Blackberry Moon is the story of Moon Song and Skypilot, two characters from The Measure of Katie Calloway. I found this historical romance novel to be rich with history and love and a delightful read!

First, Moon Song is quite the tough cookie. This girl has a lot thrown at her in life and she throws it right back. Moon Song is a joy to read and Ms. Miller does a fabulous job of making her come to life. Skypilot was a hero who only made me want to know more. He was complex and fascinating and you could see why he captured Moon Song’s heart. I will say that the foundation of the romance happened off screen. There are quite a few references to Moon Song and Skypilot’s time together in the first novel. I found this to be a bit frustrating at first as I didn’t remember them together as much in the first novel. However, the way Skypilot loved Moon Song and the things he was willing to do for her really cemented the relationship and made it a joy to read. 

Historically, I felt like I learned so much about the Chippewa and Michigan. It was a hard life and Ms. Miller was able to teach me about this time and tell a story effortlessly. 

Spiritually, I love the importance Skypilot places on not be unequally yoked. He was willing to wait on God in spite of his love for Moon Song. I also liked how the novel showed that hatred is a disease that can kill you and only love and forgiveness can really heal you. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading about Moon Song and Skypilot. To be honest, towards the middle it slowed a bit, but keep reading, it picks back up and you won’t want to put it down!

Romantic Scale: 8.5

**I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Interview of Irene Hannon

Thank you for being willing to be interviewed!

1.       When writing mystery novels, what comes first? The bad guy or how the mystery is solved?

Definitely the bad guy—I usually don’t know the exact resolution until I write it! But I don’t really write mysteries; I write suspense. Big difference. In a mystery, the reader typically doesn’t know the identity of the villain until the end. That’s why they’re called whodunits! J In my books, I reveal the villain early on. That allows me to take readers into the bad guy’s head. So the tension in my books comes not from wondering who did it, but from wondering whether the villain will succeed with his or her nefarious plan. As a result, it’s always a race-against-the-clock finish in my stories, with readers on the edge of their seats wondering if the good guys will stop the villain in time.

 2.       What would you say inspired you to write mystery novels?

Nancy Drew. Seriously. I devoured those books as a child. And Nancy was a great role model—strong, independent, smart, loyal, clever, kind. Hmm…kind of like my own heroines, come to think of it!

 3.       Your novels have a lot of law enforcement people in them, how much research do you have to do for them?

Tons! I always have 75-100 single-spaced typed pages of research notes and citations when I finish a suspense novel. I also work closely with the various expert sources I’ve cultivated in the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, police departments, medical field, forensic anthropology…the list is long and grows with every book. Accuracy is essential to credibility, and I try very, very hard to get the facts right. One of my most gratifying moments was when I got an email from a former commander of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (featured in Against All Odds and An Eye for an Eye), who said I got it right, down to the actual radio call signals the HRT uses on missions.

 4.       You have written a number of books and several series, is there any one character(s) that has  stayed with you longer than the rest?

In a way, that’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child! The truth is, all of my characters are unique and special in their own way. I do have to say, though, that the villain in my newest novel, Trapped, may be my creepiest one yet! I won’t forget him for a while!

 5.       Can you tell us about your next project?

My next book will be a contemporary romance/women’s fiction novel called One Perfect Spring. It’s a heartwarming, uplifting book that readers of Karen Kingsbury and Debbie Macomber will enjoy. (In fact, Debbie has endorsed this book!) That comes out in May. I’ll finish the Private Justice series late next summer with Book 3, Deceived (Trapped was Book 2). And just to make it clear—the books in all my series are standalone stories. Each book is a complete novel, with all loose ends tied up at the end and no continuing plot threads from book to book. With the Private Justice series, each of the three P.I.s in the agency has his own book; the link is the agency. I hope readers will give both One Perfect Spring and Deceived a try next year!

 

If you haven’t, check out Trapped!

Posted in Contemporary

Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightly

About

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Review

Dear Ms. Reay,

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this book! When I first heard about it, I was so excited! How did you know I love epistolary novels? How did you know Daddy Long Legs is one of my favorite books (not the movie, per se, Fred Astaire came off as a bit creepy lol)? And that Emma was my favorite Jane Austen novel? Mr. Knightly far surpasses Darcy in my opinion. And then, to top if off, the novel took place in my hometown of Chicago! Amazing.

I will say, that at first, I was nervous, because to do a kind of remake might not have turned out so well. Let me just say, that Samantha is her own person and infuses the novel with her personality. I loved everything about her. Her insecurities, her love of reading, and her awkwardness.  I even liked her age and dealing with grad school and finding a job (yes, that might be about where I am in life). Her experiences felt real. I know people like that. And the guy? I loved him on so many different levels, even when he messed up. I thought the romance was beautifully done, real and raw. I did however wish that it wasn’t tied up so quickly. I wish there could be a book two. I want to see more of Sam and her guy together.

As an English major with a love for all things British, I felt like you got me. I recognized the quotes, I understood the references, I got it. None Austen-Bronte fans may not get every reference, but for those of us who do, the novel was very rich.

Spiritually, I loved how you showed God’s love through his people and how you can do things your way, but only God will bring you contentment and joy.*

Overall, Ms. Reay, this novel warmed my heart and made me want to immediately reread it again. Loved your novel, and I look forward to anything you write from here on!

Your new biggest fan,

remaininhislove

*For my sensitive readers, there is a swear word in the novel that may or may not be jarring.

Romantic Scale: 9.5

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