Monday, May 20, 2013

Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

Firefly Island

 I'd seen lots of buzz about this one, so I was excited to read it. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

At thirty-four, congressional staffer Mallory Hale is about to embark on an adventure completely off the map. After a whirlwind romance, she is hopelessly in love with two men--fortunately, they're related. Daniel Everson and his little boy, Nick, are a package deal, and Mallory suddenly can't imagine her future without them.

Mallory couldn't be more shocked when Daniel asks her to marry him, move to Texas, and form a family with him and motherless Nick. The idea is both thrilling and terrifying.

Mallory takes a leap of faith and begins a sweet, mishap-filled journey into ranch living, Moses Lake society, and a marriage that at times reminds her of the mail-order-bride stories. But despite the wild adventure of her new life, she discovers secrets and questions beneath her rosy new life. Can she find answers on Firefly Island, a little chunk of property just off the lakeshore, where mysterious lights glisten at night?

And now, my review:

Mallory is in for an adventure! She’s uprooted from everything she’s built and off following her new husband on a hare-brained journey. I liked how outside the box this story was. The characters are quirky, and I enjoyed the humor. Some of the elements weren’t quite believable. 

I like how this story was about sort of waking up out of denial. But the elements of her new husband skipping along in life seemed far-fetched and frustrating. He didn’t seem concerned enough about his new wife, especially when they first arrive at their new “home.” His behavior struck me as not quite believable and not respectable. 

As with a few other novels (not by this author) of late, I didn’t finish this one. The quest sort of fizzled out in light of the hero’s inept job as a husband. I grew impatient with the mishaps and couldn’t fathom enduring more of them without a clear payoff. I’ve enjoyed this author’s work in the past. This story just didn’t appeal to me. I’m certain her fans will love it. 

The Prayer Box
Her next book, The Prayer Box releases in September, 2013. She solicited the opinions of her Facebook fans for votes on the final cover of The Prayer Box. Fun to see it come together. Looking forward to checking that one out once it releases.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

All For a Song by Allison Pittman

All for a Song

Every now and then publishers send me books for review. After all the buzz I saw on this book, I was excited at this surprise in my mailbox.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and plans to marry the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life—movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

And now, my review:

I love learning more about Aimee Semple McPherson’s life. She was such a pivotal person in church history, especially certain denominations. With Aimee as a key feature in this story, I thought I’d enjoy this read. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into the story. Dorothy Lynn’s adventures eventually take her to her sister’s house, but even through the first several chapters, I kept feeling like I was waiting for the story to actually begin, so tedious was her journey to that point. Her name is too long to see it as often as you see a heroine’s name in a novel. I also had a hard time respecting her. I know part of my response to this novel was expectation. Perhaps moving up the Aimee portion would have helped. Honestly, I didn’t read far enough to know. After over five chapters, I moved on to the next book in my to-be-read pile. 

I enjoy stories set in the Roaring Twenties as I picture my grandparents, so this element interested me. However, the characters’ speech and inner thoughts were presented with simple language. So, the writing (of this particular story) felt stilted. This was my first novel by this author, and I sincerely wish her the best. I’m sure I’ll give her another try. The next book in this series, All for a Story releases in October, 2013.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall

Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall

This cover won me over from the first moment I saw it! Gorgeous! Wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s begin with the summary:

Embark on a seafaring adventure in a brand-new series from bestselling author MaryLu Tyndall. After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new utopian community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret—and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for?

And now, my review:

I love MaryLu’s knowledge of historical maritime things—the ships and routes, the crew’s jobs, all of it. Great research!

She included some elements from the Civil War fallout that I hadn’t considered before, which I found very interesting. For example, I always naively thought both sides just settled down after the war. That none of the soldiers (in the know) carried on, pursuing anyone from the other side. Very interesting. 

These characters have the hope of new lives in a new place—of starting over. They dream of a place where their pasts can’t find them, where their mistakes, regrets, associations can no longer condemn them. New beginnings are universal. Readers will relate with this hope.  

I’ve really enjoyed MaryLu’s books in the past. One thing I noticed this time was a bit more redundancy. The hero shields the heroine’s body with his several times in the first third of the book. I love a noble hero, a protective hero, but that repetition didn’t work for me. Also, the beginning of the story (about that same length, or one-third) seemed to move rather slowly. And I got a little lost in the opening scenes when we went forward, then back, and then back again for additional characters’ backstories. 

Yet, overall, there were plenty of elements to delight in. MaryLu’s fans will enjoy this swashbuckling tale!  
(print)           (e-book)