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Book Review- Shine Like Dawn

Shine Like the Dawn immediately pulled me in and kept me interested…until around page 100. I read this book during a long and busy work week, requiring that I pick it up several times before finishing it. The beginning of the story was very engaging, Maggie’s heartbreaking story and how she provides for her sister and grandmother is a great testament of devotion and loyalty. I also enjoyed Maggie’s spiritual journey of forgiveness and drawing closer to God for healing. I would have liked to read more about Lilly and Rob, their journey intrigued me. I had a hard time staying interested in this novel, the mystery was ok- similar to the characters, but not memorable.

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I think my underlying issue as to why Shine Like the Dawn was an average read for me, is because I found several parallels to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Due to North and South being one of my favorite novels, the standard was set high. However, I think Turansky did well portraying the labor tensions of the factory workers, but a resolve from both sides was so easily resolved.

Book Review- The Ebb Tide

The Ebb Tide, is a coming to age book for our main character Sallie. Sallie is a Amish woman who is coming to a point in her community where she must either join the church or go against the church. Sallie’s family assumes that she will join the church, even though they know she is a very curious woman who longs to see the world outside of her community. I was in awe when Sallie donated her money that she had been saving for years for traveling. I couldn’t help to wonder, what would I do if I was in the same situation? Sallie’s obedience to God’s will was a great testament of faith. It’s amazing how God works! When he closes one door for Sallie, he opened another allowing Sallie a summer by the ocean.
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I really enjoyed the characters in the Ebb Tide, with Kevin and Autumn as my favorites. I really enjoy novels with multiple POVs, and I am convinced that the Ebb Tide would have been a 4 or 5 star read for me if we could have seen the story through the eyes of Kevin as well. However, I understand why Lewis chose not to do this, due to the novel focusing on Sallie’s journey. I would love to have read more about Kevin’s journey. Kevin’s struggle between learning more of his heritage and his call to be Amish and remaining English in order to peruse his love for marine biology was very interesting to me.

In all, I enjoyed The Ebb Tide but as a stand alone novel I was surprised by the ending, that left me with a lot of unanswered questions. The Ebb Tide is an average read for me from Beverly Lewis.

Book Review- Close To You

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I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud while reading Close To You. I lost count of the number of times I found myself wishing I payed closer attention to The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy my husband made me watch with him. Kara’s Issac’s debut novel is witty, sweet, thought provoking, and downright interesting. More Kara Issac novels?…yes please!

 

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The amount of Tolkien references Issac provided was just enough to keep any Lord of the Rings fan happy, while not highly confusing non Tolkienist. Issac’s two main characters Allie & Jackson have purposeful connections to both Fans of the Lord of the Rings (Allie) and Lord of the Ring novices (Jackson).

Allie & Jackson’s bantering back and forth made this novel a 5 star read for me. I also highly respected both character’s restraint and maturity when it came to many aspects but especially their relationship. We live in a fallen world where most would say a married man or woman that is separated can date and do as they please. Even though Allie was hardly married at all, she made vows and felt conviction to not commit to anyone else before things were officially dissolved. Even when she realized she had fallen in love with Jackson, she showed restraint and checked her morals, and surprisingly not at the door. In contrast, instead of acting on his temporary feelings Jackson gave her space and the opportunity to work things out before perusing her. This ladies and gentlemen is classy behavior, and it’s what we all should aim for!

Can we talk about the ending?!? Well I guess we can’t due to spoilers, but let’s just say this is one ending that does not disappoint. Now I’ll just sit here and wish for the sequel….

Book Review- Justice Delayed

I went out on a limb to read Justice Delayed, as I prefer historical fiction to crime mysteries. I found myself immediately draw into the story, but also confused due to the vast amount of characters I was asked to keep up with. These characters, and by characters I mean stars in our contemporary soap opera were but not limited to; Andie, Will, JD, Brad, Chloe, Adam, Jullian, Lacy, David, Jimmie…and that is just to name a few! I did appreciate how the author kept the book clean, alot of crime novels/shows tend to bombard us with lots of language that takes away from the case.

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I’m probably alone in this, but I would have preferred a touch of more romance in the story line, but with it being a few days to solve the case, I can see why kissing under the mistletoe is on no one’s priority list…however they really did enjoy their pizza and driving around places.

Thankfully Justice was Delayed…or so we think?? The ending of the novel felt very rushed to me, leaving me with many unanswered loose ends. Perhaps some of them are answered in the follow up Memphis Cold case novel #2?

Sadly, the AH HA! moment of “who done it” was more of a “ok..well that makes sense” moment for me. The build up was adequate, and at times interesting. If you are looking for a suspenseful and mind blowing crime novel this is not for you.

Book Review-Fearless #1

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When I first read the fearless series in middle/high school, I was captivated by Gaia’s strength, humor, and awkward social skills. Now years later re-reading the series…nothing has changed. Gaia, or as she explains to readers “guy. uh. ” is a 17 year old high schooler born without the fear gene. Gaia was bred and shaped into a lethal weapon starting at a young age by her father. However, now her father is MIA, and she is stuck living with her father’s friend George and his delusional wife Ella.
Fearless #1 is action packed and introduces the love triangle of Gaia, Ed, and Sam…and don’t forget Heather..even though you probably will want to…

Often, when we pick up a book from our adolescence, we wonder if the book now (at a much older and wiser age) will still spark our interest and give us a sense of “nostalgia”. In this particular case for me, Fearless #1 was hard to put down. The first time I began to read the series, I didn’t finish it all the way trough ending around book #20. I am looking forward to finishing the series!

Book Review- Masquerade

Where to begin with reviewing Masquerade? What a plot! Masquerade is a very plot driven historical fiction novel set in New York…. Bends and turns in the plot can be a very hard to believe at times. Be prepared to say out loud, “seriously, what are the chances of that?!” several times out loud while reading this novel. You have been warned!
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Lottie is a spoiled woman bred from high English society, and is forced to marry a man of immense financial standing, in America. Lottie’s ladies maid, Dora has been in service since she was 12 years old and comes from a poverty stricken family. When Lottie’s mother becomes ill and cannot travel overseas with her to meet her betrothed, Dora is asked to go with her as a companion….not as her maid. Lottie and Dora make the voyage to America, where they begin to justify lying and creating facades with everyone they meet and come in contact with by switching places. On the voyage, Dora meets a charming doctor who showers her with attention, meanwhile Lottie has a hard time coping with the attention Dora is getting since she is no longer beneath her in society. Lottie wishes for the ability to make her own decisions and to marry for love, rather than fulfilling her family’s wishes of her arranged marriage. Dora on the other hand, relishes at the chance to live the life of Lottie, a life of beautiful dresses, a luxurious home to call her own, and without wondering where her next meal would come from.

Sounds like a great story, huh? Hold on…it’s gonna be a BUMPY RIDE!

So many twists and turns happen in Masquerade, it sometimes is hard to keep up. Just when we think Lottie’s character has finally made a breakthrough by learning how to feel empathy and regret….she messes things up …AGAIN! As for Dora, well I’m not sure how she sleeps at night without guilt eating her alive. Finally when Lottie’s spoiled tenancies resurface, she plans to ruin Dora’s life by revealing her true identity. Which honestly had to happen one way or they other, we all know that Dora can’t keep up this vast lie forever..I mean come on!

The major issue for me, and why this novel is not a 4 star or more, is because I prefer a more character driven novel, where Masquerade is clearly plot driven. Many of the “main characters” and secondary characters are introduced but hardly are expanded upon, which is a huge downer for me. I had a really hard time connecting with several characters, as well as struggling with the imagining aspect of reading a book. Sven, who? Conrad, who? On a positive note, Moser did an excellent job describing the slums of Five Points, reading about the conditions really resignated with me. I am interested in reading another novel from Nancy Moser, to see if I can forge a greater connection with another set of characters. There were many instances when I wanted to shake both Dora and Lottie for their decisions.