Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Tailor-Made Bride

Title: A Tailor-Made Bride
Author: Karen Witemeyer
ISBN: 978-0-7642-07556

From Goodreads:

A dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, yet when something deeper than vexation sparks between them, will it be enough to unknot their differences?

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her ilk – shallow women more devoted to the latest fashions than to the true beauty of godly service. Yet as his daily routine intertwines with hers, he discovers that except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.

Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery across the street. The unsmiling fellow riles her at every turn with his arrogant assumptions, but his acts of kindness contradict his cantankerous attitude. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?

When Hannah spruces up Jericho's sister to help her catch a beau, will Jericho and Hannah find enough grace and understanding to bridge the gap between them, or will prejudice and stubborn pride keep them apart?

My Take:

This is one of those books I looked forward to ever since I saw the cover art last year. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to read it. It didn't disappoint.

I know you shouldn't judge a book by a cover ~ but how many of us do just that? We either are drawn to the gorgeous dress (like on this one) or repelled by what we don't like on another. It's like that in life too. Jericho Tucker has done just that in this book. He takes one look at Hannah Richards and sees all the things he hates and fears. He certainly doesn't want to get to get entangled with the seamstress himself - no matter how nice she seems.

The two of them are like watching an old fashioned bumper cars at night. They slam into each other and seem to be causing quite a fuss ~ but beneath all the noise and clamor you see the sparks flying.

Jericho is a wonderful hero. He is two parts stubborn and three parts generous. Add in a little bit wounded, handy with his tools, protective, and thoughtful. He looks out for his sister, the widow that works next door to Hannah, his assistant, Tom, and even Hannah. He may not want to get involved with her, but he doesn't want her to get hurt or not have what she needs.

Hannah can't understand why the livery owner is so grouchy and mad at her - and yet helps her so often. Even worse, she finds she likes him far more than she'd like to admit. When she finds out he objects to her job and thinks she is trying to lead women astray by appealing to their vanity, she knows there is no hope he'll ever like her.

Hannah is great. She's determined, independent, kind and trusting. She is a little insecure and fearful, but she is willing to work hard to overcome any difficulties that come her way. She was a really like-able person. I found myself wanting to have her for a friend. Maybe we could meet for hot cocoa in the morning after she went for her "constitutional." :o)

When you want to sit down with the characters in the book then you know the author has done an excellent job. This was one of my favorite books so far. I have to thank the author and the publisher for providing my copy of the book. I am very thankful, but it in no way influenced my review.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lonestar Homecoming

Title: Lonestar Homecoming
Author: Colleen Coble
ISBN: 978-1-59554-734-7

From Goodreads:

"Gracie has spent her life running from her problems. This time, it's a matter of life and death.

With nothing but five dollars, a train ticket, and the wedding dress she's wearing, Gracie Lister escapes with her daughter to the West Texas country where her family fell apart years ago. There, Lieutenant Michael Wayne-devoted single father, dedicated soldier-gives Gracie the hiding place she needs, and a job caring for his two children. Michael and Gracie aren't looking for love, but it finds them right away.

The couple doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye, though. A vengeful druglord has put a price on Michael's head, and he's determined to face the enemy head-on. When Gracie's ex-fiance catches up to her, her impulse is to flee the danger … and the father she lacks the courage to confront.

Will Michael and Gracie find the strength they need in each other to protect their family and the home they've created?"

My Take:

This was a truly wonderful book. It had an inventive and fast-paced plot and characters I cared about. Colleen Coble is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. :o)

You meet Gracie first and see her settling in order to provide for her daughter, Hope. She wants her to have everything. She's sure that she's doing the right thing by marrying Cid and providing a father for Hope. That's when everything starts going wrong. Men show up and tell her that he's suspected of being involved with smugglers and she may be in danger. They want her as a witness. She claims she doesn't know anything and decides to run in order to keep her and Hope safe. She decides to go to the last place she wants to and hopefully the last place anyone would look for her.

The bullets start flying before she can even pack. Gracie and Hope have to start over with nothing. That's when they meet Michael. He arranges to have Gracie work to take care of his children. He isn't sure what she's hiding from, but she proves to be telling the truth when he checks out her references so she gets to stay ... for now.

Michael has problems of his own. He's a soldier who came back from overseas because his ex-wife died. His brother was killed by the smugglers in the area and he's training to be a border control agent too.

This story packs a lot of action and tension in many ways. The characters are thrown together because they both have a need but neither trusts the other. They also are grateful for each other and can tell the other is a good person. They both have enemies and withhold information about those enemies from each other. The action and tension is good throughout the story.

One of the things that makes the book the most interesting is the characters themselves. Both of them are complex people with issues from their past and present they're dealing with. Michael has to deal with how to be a dad after being away from them for most of their lives. Gracie tells him that "they are not small soldiers." He has to try and keep his family safe from the threats of Vargas, the man responsible for his brother's death and deal with his own desire to exact revenge.

Gracie is not sure what to think about Cid. She ran away before she could find out what happened and now he keeps calling and wanting her to come back to him. She has a father she hasn't spoken to since she became pregnant with Hope and she has guilt about what happened to her mother that she has never come to grips with. One of the things that makes her most unusual to me is that she can see and taste sounds. It's called synesthesia.

What started out as convenience leads to something else and soon the two will stand together against whatever comes against their family. I really enjoyed this book and thank Thomas Nelson for sending me my copy to review.

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