Saturday, December 14, 2013

Review: A Talent For Trouble by Jen Turano

About the book:

A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano
Ladies of Distinction: Book 3
Bethany House

For years, Miss Felicia Murdock's every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister's wife. When the minister she'd set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change--and soon--before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she's not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who's to say nay?

Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.

Just as Grayson decides he's had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia's life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?

My review:

For the past several years, Felicia Murdocch has been queen of the fashion faux pas after receiving a misguided compliment from a certain minister she had set her sights on. When the previously mentioned minister marries another lady Felicia decides she has had enough ribbons and feathers to last her a life time. With a new wardrobe and attitude in tow she is ready for a fresh start.
Lord Grayson Sumner has already put his wild days behind him and is looking to settle down. So when he is recruited to left Felicia’s spirits by his sister he isn’t entirely too pleased by her new found ability to create trouble, but he is unable to deny his growing attraction to her just the same.
 I was hooked on this author’s work once I started A Most Peculiar Circumstance this summer and have been looking forward to Felicia’s story. I instantly fell in love with her sass and fashion woes, although I was happy to see she actually did have a good sense of fashion. Mrs. Murdoch was also a favorite character as I always enjoy a good, matchmaking mother. Grayson was a cool and collected hero who was perfect to offset Felicia.
 The books in this series have been fun, light hearted reads that I have thoroughly enjoyed! I absolutely recommend them. While these books can be read as standalones, reading them in order really gives the full effect of the story.

***I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*** 

Review: Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn

About the book:

Strait of Hormuz by Davis Bunn
Marc Royce: Book 3
Bethany House
An under-the-radar phone call from the U.S. State Department puts Marc Royce once again on assignment--ferreting out rumors of a clandestine operation stretching from Asia to the Mideast. At stake is Iran's threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, cutting off vital shipping routes and escalating global tensions beyond the breaking point.

Under the guise of investigating money laundering via high-end art purchases in Europe, Royce finds himself in Switzerland with only sketchy information, no backup, and without a single weapon other than his wits.

His appointment with a gallery owner in Geneva is a dead end--the man is on the floor with a bullet through his chest. But it turns out Royce does have backup. The Mossad has sent someone to keep an eye on this undercover op, which is of more than casual interest to the Israelis. And it's someone Royce knows...

A small team gathers around Royce--
a single objective against multiple enemies.

My review:

I had never read anything by this Davis Bunn before but this sort of book is right up my alley and I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis. I have to say that after finishing Strait of Hormuz I cannot wait to pick up some more of Bunn’s stories. Let me also say that this is the third book in the Marc Royce series but I had no problems reading the story on its own. I always suggest reading a series in order though for the best reading experience.
            Bunn was never stingy with the action and intrigue which is just how I like my thrillers! There were more than enough twists and turns to keep me up reading long into the night. The romance between Marc and Kitra was just right, not too much to distract from the story and enough so it didn’t feel ignored.
            This is a definite must read for action/thriller fans and a wonderful introduction to the author me.
***I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review: Fired Up by Mary Connealy

About the book:

Fired Up by Mary Connealy
Trouble in Texas: Book 2
Bethany House

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she's terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner—never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.

Glynna can't help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna's diner into Dare's back. Are Flint's cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna's son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?

My review:

Between house fires, a very angry young boy and one truly crazy cook with a penchant for sharp knives, Dare Riker is wondering how he will make it out of this alive. Glynna Greer is newly freed from a disastrous marriage and plans on providing for herself and her children by taking ownership of the local diner. The only problem is she can’t cook worth a lick. When the sparks start to fly will these two be able to stand the heat?

Fired Up is the second book in Mary Connealy’s Trouble in Texas series and my favorite so far. The story picks up pretty much where the first one left off and my favorite characters are back for round two. Including Vince, the no nonsense lawyer, and Jonas, the priest who’s not always as heavenly as one might expect. A wonderful new character makes her debut as well and she promises to bring plenty of laughs and one raging headache for Vince. That character is Tina Cahill, Jonas ‘fat, bald, sister he hasn’t seen in years.

Dare and Glynna were my favorite characters in Swept Away and they did not disappoint this time around. Glynna has been through two terrible marriages and the effects are starting to show in her children through her son’s uncontrollable anger towards anything male and her daughter’s too timid silence. Glynna is a fantastic mother who is always trying to put her children first while struggling to still maintain the newfound control of her life. She quickly climbed her way to the spot of my favorite character with her humor and her fear of undercooking anything.

Although this book can be read as a standalone I would suggest reading the series in order to get the full effect of the story.

 ***I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson

About the book:

The Miner's Lady by Tracie Peterson
Land of Shining Water: Book 3
Bethany House

When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando. . .only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother. The older, more handsome one.

Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

My review:

            I’ve come to expect only the best from Tracie Peterson and The Miner’s Lady was no exception. A Romeo and Juliet style family feud between two Italian immigrant families is the backdrop for Peterson’s newest novel. What’s not to love?

Chantel Panetta returns from a trip Italy to find that her sister Isabella is in love and plans to marry Orlando Calarco. This would be a joyous occasion if it weren’t for one small detail. The Panettas and Calarcos are in the middle of an intense, hateful family feud. Isabella and Orlando believe their love is exactly what is needed to heal the rift between their families but Chantel is less than certain. Matters only get worse Orlando’s maddening older brother Dante demands the pair stop seeing each other. After Mr. Panetta survives a mining accident he believes God is calling him to end the feud but Mr. Calarco refuses and things quickly spiral out of control.

This story had me hooked form the very first chapter and after that I couldn’t be stopped. Chantel is a charming heroine who is willing to make great sacrifices to secure her sister’s happiness and to do what she feels is right in the eyes of God. The interactions and romance between her and Dante are enjoyable and sweet without suffering from insta-love. Dante spends much of the book torn between loyalty to his father and the ridiculousness of the quarrel between these two families. However, as he starts to let go of his dislike for the Panettas and spends time in their company his true personality shines. I loved his sense of humor and how sweet he was with his grandmother. Speaking of Nonna Barbato, she has got to be, hands down, my favorite character. She has spunk, sass and a no nonsense attitude that really made me love her more every time she was on the page.
The only thing I didn’t care for was secondary storyline involving Marco Panetta and the owner of a local saloon that never panned out and ended up seeming rather pointless to me. I enjoyed Marco story but it just never seemed to fit in with the rest of the book.

The lessons of forgiveness and love were very well done without seeming pushy and the characters were fleshed out excellently. I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend this read.  

***I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*** 


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

About the book:

Rules of Murder  by Julianna Deering
A Drew Farthing Mystery: Book 1
Bethany House

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. When a weekend party at Farthering Place is ruined by murder and the police seem flummoxed, Drew decides to look into the crime himself. With the help of his best friend, Nick Dennison, an avid mystery reader, and Madeline Parker, a beautiful and whip-smart American debutante staying as a guest, the three try to solve the mystery as a lark, using the methods from their favorite novels.

Soon, financial irregularities at Drew’s stepfather’s company come to light and it’s clear that all who remain at Farthering Place could be in danger. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer–and trying harder to impress Madeline–Drew must decide how far to take this game.

My review:

Drew Farthing, charming lord of Fathering Place, and his good friend Nick Dennison are murder mystery aficionados. So when they return home for yet another boring party the last thing they expect to find is a shocking and personal double murder. Along with Madeline Parker, a lovely and smart visitor from America, the trio set out to solve the crime. Plenty of twists and turns along the way will keep even the biggest mystery buffs guessing till the end.
 Drew was a strong, refreshing male voice who was easy to love. The flirtations between Drew and Madeline were adorable and believable without the dreaded insta love. Drew and Nick’s interactions were also one of my favorite parts of the book and their banter had me chuckling the whole way through.
 The mystery element of the story had the feel of a favorite Agatha Christie novel. Just when I thought I had figured out “who-dun-it” the author throws in a twist and I was back to square one.
 Oozing with British charm, Rules of Murder is a must read for any mystery fan. Deering has found a new fan and I am looking forward to the sequel, Death by the Book, releasing in February 2014.

***I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***