Thursday, September 30, 2010

Head in the Clouds

Title: Head in the Clouds
Author: Karen Witemeyer

Goodreads Blurb:

Instead of returning home after a humiliating breakup, Adelaide Proctor becomes the governess at a ranch where Gideon Westcott's promise to a dying woman obliges him to raise 5-year-old Isabella. But when the girl's evil uncle comes to claim her---and her inheritance---can Gideon and Adelaide put their growing attraction aside to protect her? 352 pages, softcover from Bethany.

My Take:

I was a huge fan of Karen's last book and couldn't pass up the chance when she asked for reviewers for this one. So I thank her and Bethany Books ahead of time for the opportunity to read the book. It didn't influence my review. I would have loved it just as much if I'd bought it. :o)

Adelaide Proctor was a really interesting heroine. She was shy, insecure in some ways but she also had a spine of steel - especially when it came down to someone she loved being in trouble. Watching her evolve into a woman who balances her strengths and is willing to trust God and others for the rest - well it was brilliant. She really was amazing and I grew to admire and love her.

Gideon. What can I say about Gideon? I have this... weakness for the British accent. Add in someone who isn't afraid to get dirty, treats his workers like family and yet still dresses up like English royalty having high tea every now and then. Who knocks your socks off with impeccable manners, charm and dimples no less? I was totally in love with him. 

These two had to face adversity of all kinds and overcome their distrust of each other. It's a book packed with great romance and action. I think it's a real winner and one I wouldn't hesitate to suggest to any of my friends.  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Return The Heart

Title: Return the Heart
Author: T.K. Richardson

Goodreads blurb:

What if your gift was a curse?

To a casual passerby, Lilly Paige is anything but special. As a seventeen year old, she is faced with all the complications of a teenager, but deep down there is much more. Lilly has a gift, though sometimes it seems to be a curse.

Lilly can peer into the hearts of others - their deepest, darkest secrets are there for Lilly to see - but to what end? Raised by aloof parents, Lilly has been independent her whole life, but soon she will need to rely on her friends to evade an evil that has sold her gift to the highest bidder on the black market. Lilly and her four closest friends are immersed in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, that will not only reveal more about Lilly's gift, but also her link to an old Russian prophecy.

Can Lilly and her friends escape the danger that is so close they can practically feel it? Where will their perilous journey lead them - to darkness or light? 

My Take:

I have been blown away by the number of really fascinating young adult novels coming out in the last few years. Whatever the cause, I have a number of young adult books on my "TBR" pile and most of them are books my teenage son wouldn't wouldn't look twice at. :o) I can't even use the excuse that I'm pre-reading anymore, I'm picking them because they interest me.

This book is targeted for young adults as well, but it had plenty to keep my interest. All of the characters are nearing the end of high school and gifted in more ways than one. Lilly is the central character, but the whole group has a lot of personality and depth. All of them feel at once like teenagers and more mature. They've had to go through a lot in the book and before it so it makes sense. 

There is a lot to this book. It has interesting glimpses into all kinds of different people and their motives. It challenges stereotypes and you get to see Lilly move from being an individual who is very isolated and doesn't trust pretty much anyone - to being part of a team, more of an extended family, that she depends on for her life. 

It has mystery, action, romance, folklore... something for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I want to thank the author and Goodreads for providing the book (I won it in a drawing).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Hope Undaunted

Title: A Hope Undaunted

Author: Julie Lessman

Goodreads Blurb:

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jake fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jake? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever? A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the WINDS OF CHANGE series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story. 

My take:

Katie has a lot of admirable qualities. She might even be described as a woman slightly ahead of her time. Many woman of her era are embracing new ideas about what it means to be feminine and what kind of role they should play in society. One of the big differences in Katie's life is that she has grown up in a family that treasures faith and values morality.

Still, she chafes at the restrictions placed on her and believes she should be in control of her destiny. She doesn't need or want a man to do that. In fact, she has a master plan to get everything she wants. That plan includes a husband, but it's one on her terms - one she knows won't be controlling her every move the way she views her father doing.

Someone once told me that if you want to hear God laugh then show Him your plans. :o) It's a joke, but not only are our plans simple in comparison to His, but often they aren't really in our best interest. Katie has a lot to learn, but she has to decide whether or not she's willing to surrender control over to God. It's a question we all have to face.

She's a fabulous character. Julie always delivers with people you care about and can connect with. She also keeps you riveted to the page with a romance that is breathless and totally real. There were moments when I wasn't sure which choice Katie was going to make. Julie's writing is top-notch. I can't wait to read the next book and all her books are on my "re-read" list. If you haven't read this yet, you have to add it to your pile.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seasons in the Mist

Title: Seasons in the Mist
Author: Deborah Kinnard

Goodreads Blurb:

Stranded in 1353 Cornwall, American graduate student Bethany Lindstrom knows she must find a way back to her own time or face a life of falsehoods and peril. But with the stern overlord Sir Michael Veryan, she is swept into the intrigues of King Edward's court, which will test their mettle and their faith in God to the limits-and forever bind their lives together. 

My Take:

I have been buried in cardboard boxes and have hardly come up for air. When I started reading this book, I didn't stop until nearly 300 pages were done (and that was an emergency). I promptly returned and finished the rest. Some would say I inhaled it. lol This has all the elements you want in a good romance. 

The main character is wonderful. She has a spunk and a vulnerability at the same time. Her strength helps those around her and keep her sane and alive in a very alien environment. Let's face it, no amount of study could prepare you for finding yourself in a drastically different time and unfamiliar territory. She doesn't have a friend in sight and the only thing she can cling to is a faith she had abandoned. 

Her hero is also a great blend.  He's strong and yet been hurt so he's not very trusting. Unfortunately, trust is what Bethany needs the most. The closer they get, the more tension you feel between his desire to trust her and his very real reasons not to. Would you believe her? Yet not trusting her could cost her life - and maybe even more than that.

Add in a rich background of characters, setting, mystery, faith... and you have a story that kept me flipping pages well into the night. I hope you'll consider adding it to your pile of books to read. Oh - and isn't the cover awesome? I think it strikes just the right chord of her walking from the present and into the past. I can't wait to read more from this author.    

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

Title: The Butterfly Effect
Author: Andy Andrews

Blurb from Goodreads:

The decisions you make and the way you treat others have more impact than you may ever realize.
Speaker and New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews shares a compelling and powerful story about a decision one man made over a hundred years ago, and the ripple effect it's had on us individually, and nationwide, today. It's a story that will inspire courage and wisdom in the decisions we make, as well as affect the way we treat others through our lifetime. Andrews speaks over 100 times a year, and The Butterfly Effect is his #1 most requested story. 
Also included with the purchase of the book is a link to view a 9-minute message of Andrews telling The Butterfly Effect story to a live audience.

My take:

How could I not review this book? lol This is a very short book that will take only minutes to read, but will stay in your heart and mind for a while. The concept is simple and familiar, but it is one we too often ignore. We don't live in a bubble. Our actions spread out like ripples on a pond - touching people across great distances and time. Knowing that should give us a greater sense of purpose and inspire us to make our choices more carefully. The little stories amaze and inspire. This makes a great gift as well. I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing my electronic review copy.