Monday, November 26, 2012

At Every Turn - Anne Mateer

"At Every Turn" is Anne Mateer's second novel published with Bethany House.  Since I didn't have the pleasure of reading her first novel, "Wings of a Dream," I was looking forward to seeing what she had in store for us.
In this novel, the main character, Alyce Benson, impetuously pledges three thousand dollars to a missionary couple and challenges her church to match the donation. The near-impossible figure is comparable to many people's annual salary. The problem is, Alyce doesn't have a job or any money of her own.  Since her wealthy father has always given her everything she's ever asked for she is depending on him to simply give her the money.  Her father refuses, however, because he wants nothing to do with religion.  Alyce must decide whether to confess to her church publicly her inability to follow through or to raise the money herself. She decides the only viable option is to race cars and collect the prize money. Her close relationship with the estate's mechanic, Webster, allows her the privilege of doing this without anyone else's knowledge -- even her father's, who is sponsoring the driver and paying his (her!) salary.
This was a fun, light romance with not much emotion shared between the two characters.  I would have liked to see a much stronger attraction there, especially with the additional drama of the employee/employer's daughter factor.  The author worked in a mild mystery that added depth to the plot.  All in all, it was a good book and kept me interested to the very end.
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an objective review.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Against the Tide - Elizabeth Camden

"Against the Tide" is the book we have all been waiting for!  Ever since reading "The Lady of Bolten Hill," I have been craving a follow-up book focusing on Alexander Banebridge as the main character.  This is not considered a series, because the main characters from the first book are not re-introduced in this book, nor are you required to read the first book in order to be up to speed.  However, with both books being so good, you'll definitely want to read both starting with "The Lady of Bolten Hill."
The author ramped up the attraction between the characters to an exciting degree.  I'm hoping more authors will follow her lead.  The book was romantic, but also rife with mystery and suspense -- an absolutely perfect combination.
Alexander Banebridge was kidnapped as a young boy and raised in an opium den.  His evil adopted father crafted him to take over the opium  empire when he got older.  When Bane left the opium industry he had a target on his back and still does.  He meets Lydia Pallas and convinces her to start working with him on his crusade against opium use.  She loses her job, and consequently her beloved apartment, as a result.  To make matters even worse, Lydia can't seem to stay away from Bane.  He needs her help, but she'll have to risk her life to give it.
This will be one of the best books you read all year.  It certainly was for me!
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an objective review.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Courting Cate - Leslie Gould

I thoroughly enjoyed this rendition of "The Taming of the Shrew"!  "Courting Cate" was unique enough to stand on its own merit, but the connections between this novel and Shakespeare's original added interest and dimension.  This is not your average Amish novel!
Leslie Gould is a talented author that held my attention the entire way through the book. She crafted the main character in such a way that I could easily relate and identify with her right from the start.
When Cate's father makes the unbending decision that he will not allow her younger sister to court until Cate courts, and marry until Cate marries it makes for a very stressful family environment.  The tension increases as Cate realizes that her sister is plotting along with her friends to set her up so that her sis can continue to court.  When the unexpected happens, Cate is compelled to go through with a marriage of convenience in order that her sister can marry quickly.  Throughout the rest of the book we get to watch Cate's demeanor change as she faces challenges.  This isn't a fairy tale, but it does have a satisfying ending that I was very happy with.  The story was fun, light, and heartily satisfying.
This book was a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an objective review.