Monday, August 29, 2011

False Colours

Summary: Something is very wrong, and the Honourable Christopher "Kit" Fancot can sense it. Kit returns to London on leave from the diplomatic service to find that his twin brother Evelyn has disappeared and his extravagant mother's debts have mounted alarmingly.

The Fancot family's fortunes are riding on Evelyn's marriage to the self-possessed Cressy Stavely, and her formidable grandmother's approval of the match. If Evelyn fails to meet the Dowager Lady Stavely in a few days as planned, the betrothal could be off.

When the incorrigible Lady Fancot persuades her son to impersonate his twin (just for one night, she promises) the masquerade sets off a tangled sequence of events that engage Kit's heart far more deeply than he?d ever anticipated with his brother's fiancee who might know much more about what's going on than she cares to reveal...

My Take: They have been celebrating Georgette Heyer's birthday this month by discounting her e-books at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon for $1.99. I took advantage of it to grab a few titles I haven't read yet (just don't tell my husband). :o)

Heyer is like Calgon, Dove chocolates, fresh baked bread and cuddling with my pets -- it's a guaranteed good time that will melt away my stress and make me feel ten times better than when I sat down. She has a wonderful sense of humor and she has fabulous characters! 

I've heard a lot of stories about twins being able to sense when the other is in trouble or pain so this didn't seem like a far-fetched idea to me. It was a lot of fun to see how both (very different) brothers reacted to the situations that came about from their having switched places. I also loved the names and nicknames in this one. I know it may not be considered a major element of the story, but how often do you have a man named Evelyn? I thought it was wonderful to have such unique and historical names. 

You still have a couple days (until the end of August). If you haven't tried Heyer yet, or you are a fan and want to pick up this or another of her novels, it's a great time to indulge. :o)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quote It Saturday

Quote It Saturday is hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice. Visit her blog for the rules and to link up your blog to participate.

My quote:

Ambition is that grit in the soul which creates disenchantment with the ordinary and puts the dare into dreams.  --- Max Lucado

Dare to dream today. Have a great weekend! :o)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Summary: Step into the boots of a former Marine in this heart-pounding adventure in life and love. Colton “Cowboy” Neeley is a Marine trying to find his footing as he battles flashbacks now that he’s back home. Piper Blum is a woman in hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. When their hearts collide, more than their lives are at stake. Will Colton find a way to forgive Piper’s lies? Can Piper find a way to rescue her father, trapped in Israel? Is there any way their love, founded on her lies, can survive?

My Take: Reading any of Ronie Kendig's books is like watching the latest action-adventure blockbuster. I feel like they should come with the standard warning they give you when you get on a roller-coaster: "Keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times and keep your seat-belt securely fastened." lol This author knows how to write an exciting book!

Piper and Cowboy are very sweet together. I liked both of them very much and the way they cared about one another and the problems that caused was ... difficult and yet beautifully done.

The team feels like family and they all have their own identities. Instead of seeming like secondary characters she's written to prop up the book, these are more like people she's met and is just describing on the page. 

I'm a bit behind, but Wolfsbane is already on my Kindle so it won't be long before I'm caught up. :o)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Research and James Bond

If you've read my bio you know that I used to be in the Army. I worked in Counterintelligence. People thought that was a glamorous job and always asked me if I was like James Bond. Hardly. It was mostly paperwork. Mostly. {wink}

Writing is sometimes seen as a glamorous job too. I used to look at the really successful writers and think -- wouldn't it be great to have their lives? They must be able to do the coolest things, have the nicest stuff ... experiences most of us could only dream of.

Some of that is true. They've worked hard for their success and have some pretty cool things to show for it. Every writer does research though and, depending on the project, the process is as varied as the author and the book being written. Nearly every book requires online and library research. The only exception I can think of would be memoirs. In some cases even they use resources to check facts. I read a lot of historical fiction and really admire the work those authors put into getting all the little details right. Many authors travel to settings in their books. Some try activities their characters regularly do - like riding horses.

I have two and a half writing projects I'm working on/researching right now. Two of them are novels and one is a sort of memoir about my journey with fibromyalgia. None of it has been as glamorous as a James Bond movie. lol I have an inspiration board full of notes and pictures, a folder bursting with information I've gathered from various sources, a couple books I've bought and I'm reading to try and make my characters sound more realistic, and I've done several interviews (so scary).

Glamorous or not, every author does research to try and make the final product the best it can be. Speaking of the best -- who do you think made the best James Bond?  ;o)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quote It Saturday

Quote it Saturday is hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice. Visit her blog to sign up and get the rules. My quote is:

"A person's mind, stretched by a new idea, can never go back to its original dimensions." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes


Summary: Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir.
Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

My Take: This one was a surprise on many levels. It's darker than a lot of the YA novels I've read - but it's still clean. There is no "hooking up" in this book. The romance is more about her dreams for romance and waiting for her prince to return for her.

Usually the books I read are character focused and a lot of work goes into developing and focusing on them. In this case the story is king. I would say at least ... two thirds of the story have strong elements of allegory. Although a Christian can read these elements into the story, there is no overt mention of anything Biblical so this might be something that could bridge the gap for fans of fantasy.

I thought this was a really unique story with lots of interesting types of characters. The author has populated her world with fairies, goblins, dragons, and everything in between. This is her debut book and I look forward to seeing what she has for the rest of the series.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Colonel's Lady

In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father's place as scrivener. Before long, it's clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realizes the colonel has grave secrets of his own—some of which have to do with her father's sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?
Readers will be enchanted by this powerful story of love, faith, and forgiveness from reader favorite Laura Frantz. Her solid research and deft writing immerse readers in the world of the early frontier while her realistic characters become intimate friends.

My Take: I have become such a huge fan of this author since reading Courting Morrow Little. This was another book that touched my heart and captured my imagination from the beautiful front cover to the very last page.

This was one of those stories that had it all. The leading lady and man were both richly drawn and I wanted their story never to end. They had a romance that was tender and had moments of wonderful electricity. I re-read parts just because they were so good. I was pulling for them to make it as a couple and she genuinely had me worried at several points in the story.

There is a whole cast of secondary characters that don't just stand idly by on the sidelines either. They walk boldly up and steal your heart. :o)

I loved the way she dealt with the Indians in the story. There is a mystery about someone who might be at the fort and betraying them to the British and that was handled really well. I have another book to add to my favorites list and I hope you'll consider adding it you your reading list as well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beyond All Measure

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady's companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.
Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada's friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a "colored" settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.
When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt's primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas.
With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

My Take: I really looked forward to this book and was not let down at all. The inside is as wonderful as its cover. It's amazing to me that this is Dorothy Love's debut novel. Now I can't wait for her new book, Beauty for Ashes. :o)

The characters are what make a book come alive for me and this has some gems. Ada is a southern belle by birth who grew up in the north. She wants to be independent, has the drive to start her own business, and a sort of stubborn pride that gets her into trouble on more than one occasion. She also is refined, doesn't know how to cook well, or drive a team of horses. She is smart, compassionate, beautiful and haunted by hurts and mysteries from her past.

Lillian is demanding, intelligent, and driven. She doesn't want to be cared for by anybody and resents that age and illness have made that necessary. She loves Wyatt very much and wants the best for him - and is very dedicated to other charitable causes as well. She loves God and encourages Ada to trust Him.

Sophie is like the perfect accessory to an outfit. In a way, I think her character made this book. She is a beautiful mulatto orphan girl Ada becomes attached to. She is a talented storyteller but not getting any education. Ada's relationship with Sophie bring out all the turmoil the city has been going through and shows both the best and worst of Hickory Ridge.

Then we come to Wyatt. He's handsome, funny, charming, dedicated to Lillian and very good at his business. He's still bothered by memories of the war and nurses resentment towards the person who ruined his father. He's very generous and normally fair-minded but he can be stubborn.

I fell in love with the people in Hickory Ridge and can't wait to read more about them in her next book. This one goes on my favorites list. I hope you'll put it on your list if you haven't read it already.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Life Support

Summary: A tragic accident in the Carolina mountains leaves a young man paralyzed and in a coma. Soon, a fierce legal battle erupts between the man's wife who wants to terminate life support and the young man's father who wants to keep his son alive at all costs.  Caught up in the turmoil is a young female attorney who takes the case and finds out that her client's husband isn't the only person in need of life saving measures. 

My Take: This is a departure from the norm for me. This is a legal drama sort of book with elements of mystery and romance. 

There are all sorts of questions. You wonder who really has the best interests of Baxter at heart, if he's a good person, and does that matter in the end. One of the biggest questions many readers may grapple with (if they haven't already) is how they feel about the question of extended life support and when or if it should be stopped. 

Robert Whitlow examines all of this in the context of one case and one group of people who all seem to have questionable motives. The lawyer at the heart of it all only knows part of the story and has to try and navigate through treacherous waters. 

The book was well done and I was surprised by some of the plot developments. It read like a stand alone novel and I kept waiting for the big pay off and then there was this sort of sudden ending. That's when I went back and saw this is the first book in a series. It's not a cliffhanger - and almost everything is resolved so you don't feel frustrated or anything. It just feels like you've been walking on a fast escalator and suddenly stepped off onto the sidewalk. It's startling - which may have been exactly what the author was after.

I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing my electronic copy for review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My buddy Thomas. He looks like I feel. Plum tuckered out. 
He's a lot cuter while doing it though. :o)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Surrender the Dawn

Summary: You’ll be gasping for air in this seafaring romance by popular author and Christy Award nominee MaryLu Tyndall. Baltimore’s Cassandra Channing will do anything to provide for her family—even if it means hiring the town rogue as a privateer. Luke Heaton is a handsome rake with a tortured past who is blackmailed by the British into selling supplies to their ships just off the coast. Cassandra and Luke’s worlds collide as they are drawn into danger, secrets, romance, and war. But when the British begin to bombard Fort McHenry, how long can they protect their love—and each other?

My Take: I had this book pre-ordered for so long I almost forgot and was tempted so many times to enter for a copy ... {wink} The story didn't let me down at all. Although I thought the cover was very pretty, I did wish the model had red hair. Luke mentions her hair many times and the model has either very dark brown or black hair but certainly not the gorgeous red locks that so enchant Mr. Heaton.

Luke and Cassandra are a great couple. They are both likable in their own right and I loved their interactions as well. They have some of that ... "opposites attract" thing going for them but they are also both loyal to family, smart, resourceful, strong-willed, and they have had hard times in their past that make them reluctant to rely upon on believe in God. So they have a lot more in common than either would probably like to admit. More than that - they need each other.

That need starts off as a business relationship and leads down some very interesting and adventurous paths. There are betrayals, thefts, abductions, bribery ... Oh - and a great romance. Leave it to the imagination of Mary Lu Tyndall. :o) This is making the list of my favorites. I hope you'll put it on your TBR pile.