Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Antiques Roadkill

Brandy arrives to find small-town Serenity anything but serene. It seems Clint Carson, an unscrupulous antiques dealer, has swindled Vivian out of the family's heirlooms. But when Brandy impulsively confronts him, her outburst amounts to about as much as what Carson paid for the Borne antiques. And when Carson is found run over in a country lane near his farmhouse, Brandy has made herself Murder Suspect Number One - with her mother coming in a very close second. The number of other suspects in Carson's hit-and-run ruin is impressive - his business seems to have been based primarily on bilking seniors out of their heirlooms. When Brandy and her mother begin poking, an avalanche of warnings follows - from the mysterious, charismatic chief of police, from a handsome young cop who once busted Brandy for speeding...even from Brandy's childhood friend turned grown-up wild child. Tracking down clues proves even more challenging than sorting trash from treasure at the local garage sales, and when the Borne "girls" uncover a few very unsavoury Serenity secrets, they become targets for a murderer whose favourite hobby seems to be collecting victims.

I got this book as a free Kindle download and was kind of worried because of all the customer reviews that were less than complimentary - but it was free so what did I have to lose but a bit of time?

I loved it - as a matter of fact I was thrilled to find that it's the first book of a series and there are already three more books.

I will admit that I did find it a bit annoying when Ms. Allan (okay, I know it's not Ms. Allan - Barbara is the Ms. and Allan is the Mr. of the writing team) felt the need to tell us the label name of every piece of clothing and make up mentioned. I really don't see how it advances the story that she uses L'Oreal black mascara instead of her just putting some mascara on. But I don't see that it detracts from the story either.

The story didn't drag, there was plenty of action, enough characters to keep it interesting but not so many that you can't keep them straight and the action seemed plausible.

Give it a look - you might just find a new series you can revisit time and time again.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mine Is The Night

Liz Curtis Higgs' follow up book to Here Burns My Candle continues Bess and Marjory's journey after losing everything they hold dear - Marjory's sons, Donald, who was Bess' husband and Andrew, and all their physical possessions after they are charged with treason for Donald and Andrew's support of Prince Charlie.

Stepping from a battered coach on a rainy April eve, newly widowed Elisabeth Kerr must begin again, without husband or title, property or fortune. She is unafraid of work and gifted with a needle, but how will she stitch together the tattered remnants of her life? And who will mend her heart, torn asunder by betrayal and deception?
Elisabeth has not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman undone, having buried her husband, her sons, and any promise of grandchildren. Dependent upon a distant cousin with meager resources, Marjory dreads the future almost as much as she regrets the past. Yet joy still comes knocking, and hope is often found in unexpected places.
Then a worthy hero steps forward, rekindling a spark of hope. Will he risk his reputation to defend two women labeled as traitors to the Crown? Or will a wealthy beauty, untainted by scandal, capture his affections?
The heartrending journey of the Kerr women comes to a glorious finish in Mine Is the Night, a sparkling gem of redemption and restoration set in eighteenth-century Scotland.

The only struggle I had with this book is the language. Ms. Higgs does a wonderful job using authentic Scottish terms. It takes a bit of getting used to but it adds so much to the book that the effort is definitely worthwhile.

As these books are based on the Biblical story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz the outcome is pretty certain - but getting to it is the fun part. The characters continue to develop and some change to the point their former character is all but lost. Love finds not only Bess but other major characters - some crossing class lines.

These two books are must reads. Ms. Higgs has a gift for story telling and her descriptions - whether they be of people or places - make you feel like you are there in person. I'm only sorry the story ended here.

Highly recommended.


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Secret

Beverly Lewis is one of my all-time favorite authors and Amish fiction books are also favorites. The Secret is the first book in her Seasons of Grace series.

I so wanted to like this book. As you can tell from the title, the book is about a secret. There are so many mentions made of the secret, so many times it is almost told. But it got to the point where I felt like we had had enough obstacles and it was time to just reveal the secret and be done with it. I found myself not wanting to put the book down but not because I was engrossed in the story but because I was tired of waiting and I wanted to know what the book was about already.

But even more than that, I just could not get interested in this book. The characters didn't pull me in. I didn't have that terrible desire to find out what happens to them. To be honest, I didn't even finish the book.

If you have a Kindle (or Kindle app) you can get this book free from Amazon right now.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Plain Proposal

Beth Wiseman has written a wonderful story about a young Amish woman named Miriam who is in love with a young Amish man named Saul and is willing to follow him wherever he leads her.

During the later teen years, Amish men and women go through a time called rumspringa. It's basically a "running around" period where they can experience things not common to the Amish faith. During this time is when men and women will possibly drive a car, watch tv or go to the movies, dress in "English" clothes and see if the draw of the "world" will pull them away from their community or if they will try all things available and find that what's waiting in their own back yard is all that they've ever really wanted. During this time Saul has found a job outside of the community that he feels will help him to follow a dream.

As Saul is ready to leave the community and Miriam is ready to follow him, Miriam's cousin Shelby arrives for the summer. Shelby is not Amish but since her parents have divorced and she's made some rather poor choices, her parents decide to send her to Paradise to stay with the relatives for the summer.

How will Miriam's "English" cousin affect Miriam and Saul's plans? How will Shelby's time with her Amish relatives change Shelby?

Very good book. Highly recommended.


My copy of this book was provided by BookSneeze.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Union Quilters

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that Jennifer Chiaverini's latest installment in the Elm Creek Quilts series has arrived! The Union Quilters is set in the Civil War era and this time we're right in the middle of the battle!

This book is a win-win for me - I love the Elm Creek series and I love the Civil War. Ms. Chiaverini has done her homework for this book. I happen to be lucky enough to be geographically located less than 1/2 hour outside of Gettysburg. I am familiar with Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Harrisburg, and quite a few of the other locations in the book.

We were privy to two sides of the story in this novel. The men who went away to war and the women who stayed home and found ways to support their men. We saw the convictions of the men who left their homes and families and took up arms. And we saw the equally strong convictions of those who would not take up arms for any reason. We saw the compassion one soldier had for another - whether on the same side of the fight or on the opposite. And we saw the compassion the civilians had for each other as many had to flee their homes and many others opened theirs.

Some things were not a surprise but were heart wrenching nonetheless. If you have read all the prior novels you will know some of the people who will not be coming home from the war. But at one point my heart just clutched and the tears threatened.

All in all a wonderful read.

I can't recommend this novel highly enough.