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Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon

About the Book:
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2011
Series: “Guardians of Justice” (book 2 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Suspense
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

My Thoughts: Alison Taylor is finally recovering from the scars – both mental and physical, from the accident that robbed her of one of her most coveted dreams. Having one elder brother is bad enough, but Alison has two and she is about to her limit! Her detective brother, Cole is asking her to be his new partner’s date for a family wedding to deflect the wondering eyes and questions of the women with single daughters. Little does Alison – or Mitch realize that this one “favor” may turn out to be the start of something more. Continue reading “Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon”

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Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson

About the Book
Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Series: “Land of the Lone Star” (book 2 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 out of 5

My Thoughts: Book two in Peterson’s ‘Lone Star’ series tells an unrelated story with new names from book one (though Will is briefly in ‘Sky’), and characters from the third and final novel, Taming the Wind play an important role. Set in a post civil war era, this weaves together the lives of the affluent Marquardt family and the challenges they face in the aftermath of their support of the Union in a state that either considers itself for the south or not yet a part of the U.S. It isn’t until youngest daughter, Carissa marries a known supporter of the south and eldest, Laura meets the handsome captain, Brandon Reid that their lives change. There is something interesting driving Peterson’s latest series – but I am not entirely sure that I can pin down what it is. Continue reading “Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson”

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Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon

About the Book:
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2011
Series: “Guardians of Justice” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Suspense
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

My Thoughts: Dedicated and professional are words that U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor lives by. He doesn’t slouch in his responsibilities but there may be a first time for everything. Barely home from his latest mission, Jake is called in on protection duty for a federal judge, only she turns out to be not just any judge but his best friend’s wife. Blaming Liz Michaels for the death of Doug, Jake may hold a grudge but he is determined that it won’t affect his work. Mourning the loss of her sister, who was murdered by a killer who thought he was pulling the trigger on Judge Michaels, Liz has never known why Jake doesn’t like her… but she even blames herself for Doug’s death. Now the two off them discover that there is more to the other person than first impressions. Opening, this is one book that starts too slow for its own good but that one “issue” doesn’t ruin what is otherwise an entertaining read albeit one that is, in my opinion flawed. Continue reading “Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon”

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Remembrance by Michelle Madow

About the book:
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication Date: 2011
Author: Michelle Madow
Series: “Transcend Time” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Teen Fiction
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Synopsis: high-school junior, Lizzie Davenport isn’t the most popular girl in school but she is intelligent with good grades. Her jock boyfriend wants desperately to change their “status” at school. He is now on the soccer team and is a rising star amidst his senior peers – and he wants Lizzie to ditch her closest friends and form new, less rewarding friendships with his teammates girlfriends. Turns out, Jeremy’s petty grievances are going to be the least of Lizzie’s concerns when she meets and feels an instant connection to the new transfer student, Drew Charmichael… and his arrival triggers memories in Lizzie’s sub-conscious mind that she never expected to feel… with results she never would have imagined…

My thoughts: in reading about Michelle Madow’s journey to writing this novel, she has unknowingly inspired my ambitious aspiration to write something – and actually complete a first draft of a novel. Even though it has barely gotten started I am more determined than ever to complete the measly few paragraphs that I have written until they resemble something like a story. This is Michelle’s debut novel and while it is definitely for the young pre-teen and teen crowd, I really enjoyed the creativeness that she put into its pages. Continue reading “Remembrance by Michelle Madow”

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Heiress by Susan May Warren

About the book:
Publisher: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2011
Author: Susan May Warren
Series: “Daughters of Fortune” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: two privileged sisters living in the gilded age fight for their way of life… and hearts. One sister, the elder Esme believes in a cause. She feels deeply for the people less fortunate than she and wants to make a difference in their world – to share the wealth she has. Her father comes into society with new money having made it in the publishing world but all he wants is to marry off his daughter to a respectable match that will ensure the family’s place in society. Restless and with no desire to marry – especially a match born out of convenience and not love, Esme determines to become a journalist following in her father’s footsteps, but her plan is forbidden and instead of entering the loveless marriage her father assumes she will abide, Esme flees the glittering New York society for the western frontier.

Younger daughter Jinx would do anything her family asks of her. Often jealous that she wasn’t the daughter with the birthright, she is only too ready to pick up the pieces her sister’s foolish romance and headstrong notions left their family in. Marrying the man her sister spurned – the man Jinx herself loved, Jinx is soon hardened to her idea of duty when cruel circumstances leave her bitter.

Will these two very different sisters learn that prestige and wealth cannot bring true happiness… or are they destined to never again come together as family?

My thoughts: Susan May Warren is a first-class author in my opinion. Her novels are always skillfully penned and although I have as yet to read a couple of her more recent series, I have read several of her more popular series like the Deep Haven novels and the pulse-pounding Team Hope series. To be honest, Heiress gets off to a rough start. The writing is confusing and as the reader, I was unsure whose thoughts I was reading – was it meant to be Jinx or Esme? All of those doubts were gone by chapter two as the novel settled into an easy pattern. What this novel is reminiscent of is Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & Southor the acclaimed ITV series Downton Abbey, so much does it mirror the latter (by its setting), one has to wonder if the author drew on the series as inspiration. Needless to say making that distinction only fueled my enchantment with this novel. I adore that series… and I lovedthis book. Heiress is rich in period detail and that perhaps, is its crowning achievement. Continue reading “Heiress by Susan May Warren”

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Love Finds you in Mackinac Island, Michigan

About the Book:
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

The StoryAs the Gilded Age comes to a close, Elena Bissette’s once-wealthy family has nearly lost its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. But Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money.

Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls, Elena spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac’s rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse, where they work together to solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary.

As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island’s most eligible bachelor. Marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes’ financial woes, and Elena is torn between duty and love.

via the publisher

My Thoughts: Elena’s story, one of a young woman whose wealthy family must learn to adapt after a bad rap from a business partner sees their fortune gone, is not a new one. It begins with she along with her parents arriving to the island to summer at their home for possibly their last year. Unsure what she wants from it, the one thing Elena is certain of is that in order to save her family she will have to marry but first she wants to enjoy every moment that her mother doesn’t dictate – the times when she is “free” to be whomever she wants, without the constraints of proper dress or the disapproving frowns of society. Back-dropped on a lovely island in a time when expectations of women was to marry well, this novel may not have been my favorite but it is a pleasurable read. Continue reading “Love Finds you in Mackinac Island, Michigan”

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

About the Book:
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2012
Series: Book 1
Genre: Contemporary, Teen, Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5The Story: Illea’s prince and heir to the throne has come of age. This means one thing. Invitations are sent out to the event of the decade. His title demands that he have a wife by his side to rule and as a result, each of the households with eligible young women between the ages of sixteen and twenty are invited to send their daughters to the palace to participate in the events. For America Singer, that invitation is the worst thing to happen. She already has plans – plans that include marrying her sweetheart, Aspen; not even his being one degree beneath her socially is going to stop the determined redhead. But then… there is her mother. What is a girl to do?

From thirty-five girls, tradition and the rules of the land dictate that the handsome Prince Maxon must choose a bride. America assumes he is an arrogant royal who cares little for his subjects… but is he? America’s fiery beauty and honesty soon captures the young princes’ attentions but will she – and can she, sacrifice everything to make her family happy?

The Selection has just begun…

My Thoughts: Reading young adult or teen fiction is really not where my interest in books is – or so I thought. Recent years have found my bookshelf filling with more secular fiction, and among that, the subgenre of teen fiction. I don’t think I can say what drew me to read this one save for the cover art was probably what caught my eye (isn’t it captivating?). Then the story sounded intriguing. Touted as being another version of The Hunger Games, this revolves around a strong-willed female protagonist who lives by a set of rules in a world that separates the social classes. She works to help provide for her “Five” family but her one mistake may be falling in love with a “Six.” And, then she receives the royal invitation to take part in The Selection. Her mother is delighted. America isn’t, fighting off the idea of becoming one of “them.” Is it logical to accept… or will an acceptance break hearts? Continue reading “The Selection by Kiera Cass”

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There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

About the book:
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction, Young Adult, Teen
Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: eighteen-year-old Finley Sinclair has had everything her heart could desire. Someday she’ll be the heiress to the Sinclair hotel branches and the fortune that comes along with it, but for now her focus is on getting through school – and nailing her musical audition after a failed first attempt. Grieving a loved one, and with emotional stability slow to heal, Finley boards a plane to Ireland – the place where her brother grew close to God, and finds herself right smack dab in the middle of a Hollywood star’s location shoot. Beckett Rush is the latest teen heartthrob – he has found fame and fortune in vampire scene, and he wants Finley as his personal assistant during her stay.

What held promise to be a peaceful year of learning… letting go… and growing closer to God is turning out to be a very hectic time for one already fragile girl.

My thoughts: I haven’t gotten this excited about any one author’s works since discovering Jenny B. Jones – well, with maybe the exception of Susan May Warren. If any of you have read Jenny’s novels before – and laughed your head off… or until the tears rolled down your cheeks, then you’ll “get” just how much I was looking forward to her latest release. My first – and only novel I had read by her was Save the Date, although I do have Just Between You and Me waiting in the wings, I was more keen to read Finley’s story than something with unfamiliar characters.You may remember Finley as the little sister of Alex Sinclair – ex-NFL superstar and budding politician – whose story was told in Save the Date. Finley was something of a rebel in Alex’s story whose life had become mundane after the loss of one brother and being ignored by the other. Reading her story was set-up for readers before we even realized how much we wanted her story to be told. In this young adult novel, Finley is a distraught eighteen-year-old who has been protected from life’s dangers. She is just coming off of a bad relationship and in need of a quiet, hopeful Christ-centered season. At 18, she was more confused about herself not only because she was becoming an adult but because of grief and I admired her character because she as not only opinionated but also – despite contrary appearances, in many ways, she was firm in her convictions. Continue reading “There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones”

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Bewitching by Alex Flinn

About the book:
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Fiction, Teen, Fantasy

The Story: Meet Kendra. This is her story. If we think we have it bad – try living in her world. In Bewitching, her escapades are told of what life as a witch is like. Always trying to help people often backfires on the eccentric Kendra but still she tries to make a better world for unsuspecting people in need – weather it is a princely snob or a young girl trying to do battle with her teenage step-sister in the 21st century, she is always vetting potential “projects.”  After all, a beast of a curse on a popular dude who stomped on everyone’s feelings was just one of her curses.

My Thoughts: An introduction to this author did not come about until one of her novels was turned into a major motion picture early last year – that was what caught my attentions. This NY Times bestselling author swept me into her version of Beauty and the Beast with the novel,Beastly. Best known for writing fairy-tales “updated” into our modern world and culture, Alex’s novels, I’ve found to be quite entertaining. Continue reading “Bewitching by Alex Flinn”

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Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson

About the Book:
Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Series: “Land of the Lone Star” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 out of 5

The Story: Thrown into turmoil by the Civil war, the state of Texas is divided. Most consider themselves Southerners but for the state that isn’t long a part of America, there are those who set their support for the North.

Hannah Dandridge along with her father and her two half siblings have left Vicksburg to start afresh after Mr. Dandridge’s second wife dies. As thanks for his help in support of the south, the man is given one of the ranch properties seized from a family who fought for the “wrong” side… and then Hannah receives word that her father has gone missing following a trip to visit relatives.

Will Barnett is not a happy man. Returning from war, he is not surprised that the people in the small Texas town he hails from feel betrayed at the side he fought for but Will wanted nothing to do with the war – it was his father’s decision after all. The biggest disappointment is yet to come when he finds the ranch under ownership of the lovely Miss Dandridge and the two young children in her care. Two broken people have to learn to work together to salvage dreams or both will end up wronged.

My Thoughts: Tracie Peterson usually writes an excellent story but I found myself irritated more than pleasured by this, the first book of Peterson’s latest series. It tells one about a man returned from the horrors of war not the same person. Not only was Will suffering physical wounds from a war he despised but also emotional ones while Hannah found her survival threatened when the place she didn’t want to be at but had come to think of as home by a man who she knew was really the rightful owner. Such a premise isn’t new to any genre and unfortunately, I don’t think Peterson brought any sort of “new” spin on the story to lessen the clichés. Continue reading “Chasing the Sun by Tracie Peterson”