Friday, July 20, 2012

The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie

I have absolutely adored this series! From the covers to the stories beyond the cover, these are great reads! 

Here’s the summary:

Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemonthe path of least resistanceAlexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Eastonthe path less traveled by on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.

And now, my review:

Our heroine is still in pursuit of her parents. She’s gotten herself into quite a predicament, but the duke is also in pursuit, and because of the letters these two have exchanged, the duke is personally invested and motivated to find her. And the chase continues. 

I liked watching the duke grow through this story. His isn’t an easy journey. First of all, his hearing continues to fade in and out. Imagine experiencing his adventures without the benefit of hearing. He’s lived a privileged life, but suddenly, in pursuit of our heroine, he’s out in the world, away from the protection of his castle and his country. Self-entitlement is beaten out of him as he faces down the enemies who want to capture and harm Alexandria. 

Jamie is very adept at keeping us guessing where she’s going to take us. Readers who have waited through book one for certain key elements will not be disappointed. The romantic thread in this book is very satisfying, just what you’d expect from Jamie. I’ve read her work before and really enjoy her voice, her characters, and her romances. Cannot wait to read the third book in this series: A Duke’s Promise.

Highly recommended.
  (print)      (e-book)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson

Ever wonder what it's like behind the scenes of a Hollywood sitcom? Janice Thompson's Backstage Pass series gives us a glimpse. Director's Cut is the latest in this series.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Tia Morales is used to calling the shots. She's the director of the popular sitcom Stars Collide, and her life on set is calculated and orderly. Well, most of the time. But her life outside the studio is another matter. If only she could get her family to behave as well as her stars do! When she starts butting heads with handsome camera operator Jason Harris, it's enough to send a girl over the edge. Will she ever learn to let go and take lifeand loveas it comes?

Full of the humor and crazy family dynamics Janice Thompson fans have come to love, this colorful story gives readers an inside look at Hollywood and a healthy dose of romance.

And now, my review: 

I like seeing behind the scenes in Hollywood. That setting has always fascinated me. Janice has been there. She’s been a screenwriter. So reading about her characters gives us an inside glimpse. Her characters are fun to watch, and she carries off an ensemble cast very well. 

This is a light read, as many rom coms (romantic comedies) are. The perfect escape. However, I felt the pace moved slowly as did the romance. I did like how the story is classified as a romance, but is written entirely in first person. She’s done this before in this series, and I like it. She makes it work.

I liked the theme of control—the fact that control is a myth, that we can't really control every element of our lives. The heroine is the director of a sitcom, but she can't control (direct) her own life. Her family is out of control. Her love life isn't all she wants it to be. She'll have to learn that God alone is in control. A great theme. 

The story has relatable themes without bearing the heaviness of some stories. If you enjoy a light read, an escape, you'll appreciate this book.

(print)             (e-book)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

There has been a lot of buzz about this book, so I was very curious to read it.

Let's begin with the summary:

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance, takes a leave of absence from her job as a social worker, and the two of them set off. 

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man her grandmother has hired to renovate the house. From the first moment she meets Matt, Kate can't help her attraction to him--he's got a combination of good looks and charisma that draw and tug at her. But she knows there's zero chance of a romance between them. Matt's in love with his dead wife, and even if he weren't, Kate realizes that she's way too ordinary for him. For Matt Jarreau is no ordinary guy. Kate discovers that he was once a great NHL hockey player who left the sport when his wife--an honest-to-goodness former Miss America--was diagnosed with brain cancer. Matt's been hiding from people, from God, and from his past ever since.

Yet Kate is absolutely determined to befriend him, to try to reach him, to help him in some small way. No, Kate's not looking for love. She knows better than that by now. But when the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?

And now, my review:

This review challenged me because on the one hand, this was one of my favorite books this year. On the other, the publisher and author included offensive language that jarred me out of the story on a few occasions. 

I’d heard, ahead of reading the novel, that there were specific words included. So I was curious about why and in what context. How far would they go? If they allowed bad language, would they include sexual situations? Is this publisher breaking into another market now? As an avid reader of Christian fiction, I’ve come to trust I won’t run into degrading slang terms and swear words, etc. Most of the time character realism is expressed through implication. Honestly, after that first instance in the book, I debated reading on. The choice to include that language made me question my previous trust of this publisher, as well as questioning what direction the story would go. But if you can ignore/overlook the few instances of offensive language, you’ll be rewarded with a very good story by a fresh voice in Christian romance. 

The hero’s brooding, wounded approach to life immediately had my interest and sympathy. Maybe we would see behind the scenes. Gain understanding. I watched the heroine’s interactions with him and wondered how she’d get anywhere with her quirky personality and determination to break through his walls. Oh, that was fun to watch.

I liked the secondary characters, how the author used some of them as a mirror of Matt’s and Kate’s relationship. 

Their fiery attraction kept me turning pages. The remodeling of the old house was a good metaphor for Matt’s revamped life, and though we’ve seen this setup before, it worked as a setting and vehicle for forcing our characters together. 

As I mentioned, I liked the author’s fresh voice. I believe the story would have been just as strong without the jarring language choices. Characters can be realistic without being crass. This book would have gained a lot of buzz based on the well-done story alone. 

(print) (ebook)