Thursday, January 27, 2011
Falon Ashby was sent to live with her uncle Charles when her mother became to sick to look out for her. Her uncle was a drinker and abuser and Falon found herself in a terrible situation. Trader Donovan owns the land that Charles' house sits on. When Trader comes to collect the rent and Charles can't pay he threatens to evict him. When a storm arises Falon allows Trader to sleep before the fire. But when her uncle walks in and sees Falon and Trader in each others arms he demands Trader marry Falon. Trader does marry her but makes it clear that it's a marriage in name only. And though that seems to be working for Trader, Falon finds herself falling in love with this hooded tower of strength. Will Trader find the courage to unveil himself before Falon? Will Falon have the love and patiences to show Trader that she'll love him no matter what?
This was sort of a Beauty and The Beast type tale. It did keep me interested the whole way through. I like the unusual names this author always chooses for her stories and Trader and Falon was no exception. I have to admit that it isn't my favorite Marcia Lynn McClure book but I still really liked it. It had suspense, romance, bad guys and a great hero who, of course, is shirtless at some point in the story. If you like this author's work then you will want to pick this one up as well!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
A Million Reasons Why was such an enchanting tale full of likable characters and zippy dialog. Katie McKenna now leads a very practical life as a teacher to Special Ed kids. Having once been burned by the love of her life, Luc DeForges, she decides she would marry a very predictable and practical man, Dexter. Everything seems great until Luc walks back into her life requesting her to sing at his brothers wedding as his date. She does return home with the idea of having closure between them but what she discovers is that her feelings for Luc have never waned. Will she marry Dexter who's predictable and safe or will she discover that truly loving someone is worth risking your heart?
Okay, the cover drew me in but the whole setting for this story totally enchanted me. The whole 40s theme which Katie loved was really fun. I am also a fan of those old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies and the music they sang. This author just brought all those memories back in a really neat way. I liked that Katie was so feisty but yet possessed a tender heart in the way she dealt with people. Luc was an awesome hero. Even though he had money you could just tell that it didn't define who he was. I loved how tender and charming he was with Katie yet very committed to what he wanted. You just wanted to keep reading to find out what he was going to do next. Even Dexter was a likable guy but you understood why he might not be the one for her. This was a charming feel-good story where I would find myself smiling but there were also some very touching moments that just made me sigh. I felt the story imparted a good message that we need to seek what the Lord would want us to do instead of deciding what's best for us. Because what we think is best isn't always the best! Thank you to Thomas Nelson (Booksneeze) for providing me with this complimentary copy for my review.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Jari Collins took over her parents thoroughbred ranch when her parents died. She was doing very well and gaining a reputation in the equine community. She was even engaged to the love of her life, Andrew Kerrigan. But then she caught Brenda with her arms wrapped around Andrew and she broke their engagement. After Andrew's many attempts to give Jari an explanation, he finally heads for England to work on a deal he had going there. Now someone is trying to steel Jari's prize stallion. Not really knowing what to do she asks Andrew to return and help her figure it out. They suspect Brenda is behind it but they need evidence to convict her. Andrew explains that part of the plan is for them to become engaged again. The difficulty is that neither one will have to pretend because the feelings are still very strong and they really do want to work things out. When the situation becomes bigger than expected and Andrew is forced to keep secrets from Jari, will she be able to trust him and more importantly will she be able to forgive him?
I enjoyed Hopeful Chances but I must admit that I had a hard time feeling endeared to these characters. I kinda felt like the emotional attachment between out lead couple just wasn't there. Andrew was a likable guy but I really felt like he wasn't very smooth. He wasn't really one who took time with Jari. He would just swoop in for kiss and then be somewhat cold. Part of the reason for that is revealed in the story but it still seemed stilted to me. Jari was not a heroine I particularly cared for. She kinda came across as whiny at times. She's the one who called Andrew back to help but then most of the time it seemed like she was working against him. I did like the secondary characters and their personalities though, and I enjoyed how the story played out. You know who's involved but to watch everything from a birds-eye view was interesting. I might add that this wouldn't be considered 'Christian Fiction' but it was a clean story with the exception of a few 'words'.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Carrie Dickson was devastated when her long term boyfriend up and left. She decided she wouldn't find herself in that position again. Then her friend's boyfriend introduces her to his friend Andrew. She is swept off her feet by his sweet talking ways and the flashiness of his money. It isn't long before he not only proposes marriage but wants the marriage to take place within a couple of month. But there is an uneasiness in Carrie that she continues to shove aside. When she goes home to her folks house she finds that the boy she had a crush on in high school is living in her parents guest house while his parents work on their addition. As she takes up a friendship with him she begins to feel drawn to him. He seems to be everything Andrew isn't, especially a strong Christian with values. Will she go ahead with her marriage to Andrew or will she find the faith and courage to following the Lord's leading.
This was a great little tale. As a reader there were many times I wanted to shake Carrie and say "wake up" girl. But I also know that I probably wouldn't have behaved much differently than Carrie. Love is blind as they say and I think that's what happens in real life. We choose to see what we want to see and pride keeps us from admitting that we have made a mistake. Andrew was likable guy but he did things that would definitely cause you question whether he was the right guy or not. Scott Spencer was a great guy. A wonderful Christian fellow who was very family minded. He's had feelings for Carrie since high school but never found the opportunity to say anything. Now he sees she is going to marry someone who's all wrong for her but he doesn't say anything, he just prays and leaves with the Lord. You come away from the story with the understanding of how important not only a relationship with the Lord is but also our reliance upon Him and what could happen if you do have it.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
For some reason 'marriage of convenience' stories always attract me. Love Arranged is such a story. Nicole's mother has been diagnosed with Leukemia right before she heads for college. She works hard to earn her Masters degree in four years so she can return home and be with her mother. Now home, her mom seems okay but the disease has taken its tole. But what she doesn't know, yet, is that her dad is only given about 6 months to live. Nicole is her parents only child and they want to make sure she's well cared for when they are gone. So, her father turns to the one man he trusts. The one who has been like a son to him and makes a rather unusual request. He wants Justin to take over his company, marry his daughter and make sure she's taken care of. After spending time in prayer Justin feels the Lord's leading in going ahead with the plan but what will happen when Nicole finds out the truth? Can a Love Arranged really survive and thrive?
This was a great tale. I liked how the author gave you both the perspectives of Justin and Nicole throughout the story. As I would read the things that Nicole was feeling I found myself asking... is that how I would react? How would I feel? What would I do? There were some places where I just felt Nicole was really way out of line. Justin was so good and kind and caring. But you realize that each was interpreting the situation incorrectly. That happens a lot in real-life and it was believable in this story as well. I liked how the author created Justin as a true man. He had a faith in God but he also experience failure but was willing to allow God to change him. He truly wanted to lead in the home but wasn't sure how to do that when he was unsure about Nicole's feelings. Despite all of that. he always seemed to seek the Lords guidance. If you enjoy a good marriage of convenience story then don't miss Love Arranged.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Marcia McClure once again offers up and simply delightful and delicious romantic tale in An Old Fashioned Romance. To me this had all the earmarks of a great 'Hallmark' movie. Break McCall lives in the city but has country in her blood. She is the great-granddaughter of of Jackson McCall (from Desert Fire) and the niece of Michael McCall (from To Echo the Past). She has sweet childhood memories of going to her uncle's ranch with it's wide open spaces and seeing all the fun interaction of family and hearing stories of her great grandfather. She feels such a connection with that way of life. The one perk of working in the city however, is her boss, Reece Thatcher.
Reece Thatcher is a great investigator. Working for Wilson Investigations is something to be proud of. But he was beginning to hate his job. All he sees are the ugly things in life. Especially infidelity. He's not really a city boy at heart but he can't really go home either. Well, he can, but a certain memory prevents him from even considering it. He really likes Break McCall. She's been his assistant for awhile and she's different from other women he's come across. When her friends ask him to dress up like her favorite book character and come to the restaurant where they are having dinner something happens that will change the future for them forever.
I just LOVE the way this author writes. Reese was such a great guy. He loved his family and had such a great respect for them. He really is a hero. Breck was a fun character. The inter-play with her friends is a lot of fun and laughs. I loved the way she wrote into this story that Breck's favorite book was The Highwayman of Tanglewood. What a great touch. You'll find some great romantic tension here and some wonderful kissing scenes but I appreciate how the author always brings it back to the moral decision of not going beyond that. To me that makes it so much more appealing to read. I loved meeting Reese's family. They were a hoot. Especially his two little nieces. You will find yourself laughing out loud as poor Breck blushes with embarrassment. And let me tell you, the ending is worth reading the entire book. Oh man! If you're in the mood for a great romantic tale then I would highly recommend An Old Fashioned Romance. You'll want to be sure and read the author's note at the end as she shares some interesting trivia about the story!
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Jade Benson is happily married to Max and runs two upscale 'thrift' type stores. She longs to begin a family of her own but has only been faced with miscarriages. Max seems to be very supportive and continues to encourage Jade about how much he wants a son of his own. Jade's world is turned upside down when the truth comes out that he already has a son by his ex-fiance. A secret that he and his mother have kept from her for the last 18 months. She has dealt with Max's addiction, the guilt of an abortion and the impending death of her mother and now this. So Jade decides to give her mother her dying wish. To take her home to her farmhouse in Iowa. Max's mother comes along and they make it a girls road trip in a pink caddy. Jade feels like some space between her and max will give her some room to breath. The problem is her first love and ex-husband, Dustin is there and is willing to supply all the comfort she needs. But as the end of her mother's days draw near, Jade questions her new found faith and tries to deal with the guilt of hating her mother for so many years. Is Jesus really who he says he is? Is He truly strong enough to help her through this mass of issues?
WOW! This was not at all what I was expecting when I picked up Softly and Tenderly. I guess I was thinking it would be a sweet southern type story but what a grand surprise I had! This is a story loaded with human emotion. Jade was a such complex character who was dealing with lots of baggage not only from her growing up years but because she was married before and had had an abortion. Max was a great guy who I think truly loves Jade but he also deals with baggage of his own. His own family's problems, his addiction to pain killers and a secret he's keeping from his wife. I reeled with emotion as these characters dealt with very difficult issues. I cringed when Jade and her mother-in-law caught her father-in-law in an 'indiscretion'. I felt my heart wrenching as Jade finds out that her husband has a son already by someone she also counted as a friend. I was afraid was I saw Jade leaning her heart toward her first love. I wept as Jade slowly said goodbye to her mother. I hoped as I saw that maybe something hopeful would come out of all this trauma. If you like an emotionally charged story where the characters are truly flawed and realistic, then this is the story for you. My only complaint was when I got to the back of the book and it said that the next installment isn't due out until winter of 2012. That's a long time to wait because the story did leave you hanging! A thank you goes to Booksneeze for providing this complimentary review copy.