Monday, October 31, 2016

The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese

I love to read Nicole Deese novels. She sucks me into her made up worlds and leaves me mourning when my visit is over. Her latest story is a prime example.

Rayne Shelby is a beauty. The daughter of the Governor of Idaho and the granddaughter of the former Governor of Idaho, she is a political princess. She has raven hair and a heart of gold. All she has ever wanted was to be worthy of the Shelby name. Yet, her choice to do business with an enemy of her family may undermine all of her dreams.

Nicole draws the reader into Shelby Falls, Idaho and into a story that is full of familial deceit. Rayne wants to focus on social work, primarily reconnecting with the citizens of Shelby Falls. Her family wants to focus on only those things that will further them in the political realm. Family members that don't contribute to the family goals are ostracized.

This story has a clean, swoon worthy romance. It has elements of faith that should not be overwhelming to someone who isn't a Christian. It has an old mystery and the danger of a large forest fire. And in all the layers, there are so many nuggets of truth, words that will resonate with me far past my reading of this book. Just as these first words did: Desperation undermines wisdom.

I cannot wait for future installments of Shelby Falls!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

Do you think that an obsessive compulsive, neat freak and a womanizing ball player can find love? Well, you are about to find out.

CRAZY, crazy, crazy! There are so many levels of crazy that you just have to shake your head and keep reading.

Let's start with the fact that Olivia walks her cat on a leash. I know that there are people out there that do this. I may even have been guilty of this at one point except for the fact that my cat wasn't having anything to do with it. The moment the harness was put on him, he would flop over as if his legs no longer worked.

The second example is that Olivia agrees to a pretend relationship to help her neighbor evade a negative publicity moment. I might be willing to go on one "date" but there is no way I would be willing to give up my whole summer just to make sure that someone else can save face.

Olivia is so quirky and over analytical. Her inner dialogue is definitely worse than mine, but I could relate to her moments of crazy. Her heart is kind and she looks out for the children in her classroom. This is where she and I diverge. I struggle at being neat, let alone as focused on it as Olivia. My lack of risk taking behavior would never allow me to even pretend date a womanizing athlete. And yet, I loved reading about her journey.

Will Vandergriff is the bad boy we all love and hope will reform his errant ways. He is the perfect foil to Olivia. He is handsome and easy going, if a bit irresponsible. He may have full command of his social grace, but his disposable attitude toward women and his penchant for making bad choices really challenge his leading man status.

Read The Thirteenth Chance to discover what happens to Olivia and Will during their crazy fake relationship.

Pointe and Shoot by Alison Stone

Wow! I just finished reading this and it was definitely a good chase. Although I ultimately guessed the answer to Jayne's dilemma, the author placed so many red herrings in the story that I was second guessing myself. So, it was with a sense of relief that one of my original guesses was proved accurate.

Here are the stand out bits for me:
Jayne is Catholic. I read a ton of inspirational fiction and was a little surprised by this fact. I cannot remember the last time I read a story where the characters where Catholic. I appreciated the break from the norm. This being said, the faith aspect of this story, while present, should not be overwhelming for someone who doesn't believe or who has different beliefs.

The victim has a voice in the story and is well-loved by the heroine. This one was hard for me. While I love a good mystery, this book has made me realize that I prefer the victim to be someone unknown to me or someone who wasn't nice. This added a mournful quality to the read for me.

Miss Natalie has early onset Alzheimer's disease. I felt that the author's portrayal of this was respectful. Based on my own experience with a loved one having Parkinson's, I felt that it was an accurate portrayal. The very real struggle of choosing to crush their world by reintroducing a truth they had forgotten or lying to save them unnecessary grief is one I know all too well.

The conclusion was both bitter and sweet. I was so happy that the truth became known but the truth revealed was also very sad. The circumstances surrounding the cause of the victims death were multi-layered and messy. I'm trying really hard not to include any spoilers!

I enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what else comes from this author. I am really hoping that it involves Jayne finding a balance and the chance to pursue her dreams.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Since You've Been Gone by Christa Allan

This is not a typical genre that I would read. I generally avoid anything that is likely to make me cry.  And yet, I found Christa's book gut-wrenching in it's honesty. There was not a moment of doubt that this story line could have been a true story. It did not feel rushed and had equal moments of despair and healing. Olivia walks through some of the darkest moments a woman can face, one on top of the other.  This story, although fictional, is evidence that our faith can continue to be small and yet still present. I found it interesting that those closest to Olivia were the ones most likely to overly protect her. It took strangers and former friends to help her emerge out of her sorrow. And yet, each person was necessary for Olivia to be able to heal.  I think that Ruthie was probably my favorite character and I love the quiet tenacity of Evan. In all, Olivia's journey is one of sorrow and healing and definitely worth your time to read.Read Since You've Been Gone today!

A Soldier Finds His Way by Irene Onorato

This book was a well-timed romance. I did not feel that the story moved too quickly or too sluggishly. It had the feel of a real life romance. The two have a chance encounter, time passes and then a friend is enlisted to get the two back together.

The appeal of this book for me was the struggle the characters had to go through in order to  have a romance. Audra must battle against separation from Edward in both a physical and emotional realm. Edward must battle his own insecurities and tragic past. They both must contend with Audra's father who thinks that no one else but Audra's  childhood friend can marry Audra.

There is an evident romantic and emotional tension between Audra and Edward. The redemption plot line is also done tactfully and not forcefully. I loved their story and, if you love romances, I recommend that you read A Soldier Finds His Way also.