Thursday, 30 August 2012

To Love and Cherish



Back Cover
Melinda Colson has been waiting months for Evan, the assistant gamekeeper at the Bridal Veil Island resort, to propose.  Without an offer of marriage, she must return to Cleveland with the family she works for as a lady’s maid.
 
Evan isn’t afraid of hard work, and he hopes to be promoted soon.  He wants to marry Melinda – but not until he’s sure he can support her and a family.
 
Letters strengthen their romance until a devastating storm strikes the island.  With no word from Evan, Melinda knows she must journey back to Bridal Veil in search of her beloved.
 
But the hurricane isn’t the last calamity to shake up Bridal Veil.  Melinda finds a new job on the island, but still no offer of marriage comes her way.  Has she given her heart to the wrong person?  Will she ever find a man to love and cherish?
 
Review
 
To Love and Cherish brings veteran authors, Tracie Peterson and Judith Pella, together for a romantic historical collaboration.  This is the second novel in the “Bridal Veil Island” series, but I had no trouble jumping in mid-series.
 
This novel centres around two people very much in love, but having some serious communication issues.  Melinda desperately wants to marry Evan – the sooner the better.  She loves him so much and just wants to live the rest of her live with him.  Evan equally loves Melinda with the same fervour, and does want to marry her as soon as possible, but his moral convictions keep him from popping the question.  He knows that he is not financially able to support both himself and Melinda, and doesn’t want to put Melinda into poverty.  With a promised promotion coming soon, Evan has a hard time understanding why Melinda cannot wait until that comes.
 
The writing in this novel is really well-done.  The vast amount of expertise shared between Tracie and Judith is readily seen and much appreciated.  Too many novels are haphazardly put together without much attention paid to story development and grammar, and also the historical research.
 
But despite the high caliber writing, I found myself getting annoyed and frustrated with the characters for the greater part of the novel.  Melinda and Evan, for as much as they love each other, have a hard time understanding and communicating to one another.  For Melinda, she is unable to respect Evan’s desire to be in a position where he can support himself and her (and not to mention the children they will eventually have), and is constantly pouting and making Evan feel bad about his reasonable decision.
 
It felt like Evan, however, seemingly wasn’t making all the efforts he could have to seal the promotion.  Initially, he didn’t even want the promotion, and when the promotion was continually delayed, he didn’t raise the issue with his employer.  It leaves the reader wondering if the characters did have true love between them, or if at the end of the novel they would go their separate ways.
 
Overall, I was left with mixed feelings regarding the book.  The writing was well-done and the book had great potential, but I just didn’t connect very well with the main characters.  I am still looking forward to further collaborations between Tracie and Judith, however, as I have read some of their previous series (“Bells of Lowell” and “Lights of Lowell”), and thoroughly enjoyed them.


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Dying to Read



Back Cover

All she wanted was a paycheck.

What she got was a murder.

Cate Kinkaid’s life is…well, frankly it’s floundering.  Her social life, her career, her haircut—they’re all a mess.  Unemployed, she jumps at the chance to work for her PI uncle, even though she has no experience and no instincts.  After all, she is just dabbling in a world of private investigating until she can find a “real” job.

All she has to do for her first assignment is determine that a particular woman lives at a particular address.  Simple, right?  But when she reaches the dark Victorian house, she runs into an hungry horde of gray-haired mystery readers and a dead body.  This routine PI job is turning out to be anything but simple.  Is Cate in over her head?

Review

Cate Kinkaid is just trying to find her way in life.  She has a failed engagement behind her, and a string of not-so-successful jobs.  Cate doesn’t even know what she wants to do.  Helping her uncle with his private investigating company would just be a temporary employment until she found something more permanent elsewhere.

However, what Cate didn’t expect was how she was going to be drawn into a complex web of money, lies, and murder.  Common sense keeps telling her to step back from the foray and let more experienced individuals handle matters, but her curiosity gets the best of her.  She just can’t let a murder go unsolved and a criminal unpunished, even if a certain handsome painter is encouraging her to play it safe and leave everything for the police.

Dying to Read was a delightful novel full of quirky characters, witty dialogue, and intriguing storyline, reminiscent of a Murder, She Wrote mystery.  It was highly entertaining and I loved every second I was buried in the book.  This is the first book I have read by Lorena McCourtney, but it most definitely won’t be the last!


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Stress Point



Back Cover
Body image.  Friendship.  Career.  Money. Dating.  All these issues and more serve as points of stress for the 20-something woman, and combined they can make for a decade of drama in a girl’s life.  Sarah Francis Martin is the slightly older girlfriend who’s been there, done that, and got the not-so-cute t-shirt.  Through this interactive Bible study, Sarah helps young adult women address each stress point by encouraging them to wait on the Lord, worship Him, and make Him the focus of their lives.

In Stress Point, you will:

·         Find interactive chapters covering ten stress points for the 20-something woman

·         Dig through Scripture to apply truth to each stress point

·         Engage with real, raw, and relevant stories from girlfriends just like you

·         Journal through each chapter to engage with God in a meaningful way

·         Interact with Sarah through her video blogs for each chapter

·         Connect with your girlfriends in a Stress Point Survival Group; leader guide included

Review

This was such a fabulous book.  Being an 20-something myself, I have readily discovered that the 20s is the decade of drama.  It’s when everything in your life changes dramatically.  There are no small changes, but rather huge, explosive decisions that need to be made that end up pointing you on your life path.  And in the midst of these big decisions and changes, all a girl wants is some security in her decision, in knowing that she is making the right choices.  In Stress Point, Ms. Martin pushes you to always go to the throne of God when making decisions.  It is so important that God is the number one focus in your life, because in that way, you can then tackle anything that life throws at you.  God is your stable support system that will never waver or break, so it`s okay to lean on Him!

I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a great devotional tool in my own life.  I especially liked the journal breaks through the book, as it encourages you to ``dig deeper`` into the Scriptures and in your relationship with God.  I would highly recommend this for any 20-something woman looking to find that balance in their life and seeking to have a deeper relationship with God, your El Shaddai (``the all-sufficient One`` or ``Almighty God``).


Click here to see a book trailer and read an excerpt from the book.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Nightmare


Back Cover

Ghost Town is the hottest amusement park in the country, but when Maia Peters visits, she's not expecting to be impressed. The daughter of two world-renowned "ghost hunters", she's grown up around the paranormal and to her most of the park is just Hollywood special effects. Until the very last attraction.

There, in a haunted house, a face appears from the mist. The face of Jordin Cole, a girl Maia knows. A girl, Maia discovers, who has gone missing.

Convinced what she saw wasn't a hoax and desperate to find Jordin, Maia launches into a quest for answers. Joined by Jordin's boyfriend - a pastor's kid with very different ideas about the paranormal - the two soon find themselves in a struggle on the edge of the spirit realm as dangerous forces try to keep the truth from emerging.

Review

Nightmare is a great thrill ride that will give you lots of goosebumps. Maia grew up in the world of the paranormal and supernatural, starring alongside her parents in their own ghost-hunting/busting reality TV show.  Eventually, however, Maia wanted to forge her own path and is now taking criminal justice courses at university, desiring to have case files about physical beings, rather than the ghostly ones.

Her fame precedes her, however, and fellow student Jordin Cole, an ultra-rich heiress, commissions her to help her experience the supernatural.  Reluctantly, Maia agrees, more or less because of Jordin’s very deep pockets. 

What follows is a tour of the top ten most ghostly haunts in America.  From a sanatorium, hotel, cemetery, and even Alcatraz, Maia is struck by the high level of paranormal activity they experience at each place.  It’s just not possible for them to be that lucky with the numerous sightings and reads, and she begins to wonder if they are attracting something else…something more sinister.

Then Jordin goes missing, and the mysterious and troubling events that follow her disappearance will test Maia more than ever.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, scares and all.  Everyone has some curiosity about ghosts and allegedly haunted places and wonder why these places are “haunted”, and if so, by whom?  What are ghosts, really?  Are they the souls of the dead, caught between heaven and hell?  Or are they demonic beings wreaking havoc with God’s creation?  This book makes no effort to provide an absolute answer to those questions, but rather presents the two opposing viewpoints and lets the reader decide for themselves. 

Potential readers will be excited to know that as per an Author’s Note at the end of the novel, “…every instance of paranormal activity depicted herein is based on events that have really happened at one haunted location or another, all of which have been verified by recordings and/or multiple eye-witness accounts…”   

Got chills yet?