Cute story about a snobby cheerleader who learns through agreeing to a bet how insulting and critical she is to others. There was character growth and...moreCute story about a snobby cheerleader who learns through agreeing to a bet how insulting and critical she is to others. There was character growth and a sweet romance.(less)
Joyce did a wonderful job with Illuminations of the Heart. The large amount of thorough research is evident throughout the book. No one can quite writ...moreJoyce did a wonderful job with Illuminations of the Heart. The large amount of thorough research is evident throughout the book. No one can quite write a medieval romance the way Joyce can. Well done!(less)
Liz Adair, author of The Spider Latham Mystery series and The Mist of Quarry Harbor, has written a memorable story, inspired by her own family history, about two people willing to give up what they know for love.
Counting the Cost is a fitting title at the beginning of the book, and even more so by the end. It is the story of Heck and Ruth, their lives and their love.
Heck Benham’s simple and steady cowboy life is disrupted by the arrival of the lovely Mrs. Ruth Reynolds. Heck does his best to stay out of her way, but after a violent incident involving her husband, Ruth leaves with Heck, both of them knowing that their actions will cause them to be shunned and outcast. After the death of Ruth’s husband, she and Heck marry and live happily until circumstances make each of them aware of what they have given up to be together, and what more they will have to sacrifice to stay together.
Liz has told an endearing, honest story. Her characters have depth and feeling, and are easy to care about. The tale flows in a natural, believable course through the characters’ lives, including the full spectrum of events from the mundane to the blissful and tragic. The reader learns about the history and geography of the New Mexican locales through conversation and description that never feels forced or lecturing.
While I didn’t find Counting the Cost to be an intense page-turner, I looked forward to picking the book up again every time I had to put it down.
Well done, Liz.
What worked for me: I loved Heck right away with his laid-back cowboy style and thoughtful ways. All of the characters were well written, including the minor characters that were present for short times throughout the story. Sometimes I wished Ruth didn’t want so much, but having experienced a more “advanced” lifestyle I could understand her desire to have certain things in her life. Sometimes I wished Heck wouldn’t sacrifice so much of himself, but I could understand how much he loved Ruth and what it is to have someone love you that much. I cried twice; and not just a tear or two, either.
What didn’t work for me: I almost wish there was a short epilogue or summary at the end of the story so I could know a little more about how things ended up in the future.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (definitely left an impression on me) Would I read it again? Eventually, once I feel like my heart could take it Would I recommend it? Yes, just keep a couple of tissues handy Would I read more of Liz Adair’s books? Yes. I thought her Spider Latham Mystery series was enjoyable, too FTC FYI: The copy of Counting the Cost that I reviewed was borrowed from my local library.(less)
Dangerous Connections is full of suspense and intrigue. Having spent time in France, Julie's knowledge of the locale is apparent throughout the book....moreDangerous Connections is full of suspense and intrigue. Having spent time in France, Julie's knowledge of the locale is apparent throughout the book. Julie's respect for those who sacrifice to serve our country shows in the way she wrote Tyler. It's easy to see that Julie enjoys writing international intrigue.
Drops of Gold is another Sarah M. Eden masterpiece. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read that I would have finished in one sitting if my body didn’t insi...moreDrops of Gold is another Sarah M. Eden masterpiece. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read that I would have finished in one sitting if my body didn’t insist on sleeping at night.
I liked both Layton and Marion. Layton is a good father to Caroline as far as he is able through his grief and struggle, but not a particularly friendly person, even with his brothers. When faced with a very difficult situation, Marion doesn’t hesitate to do what is necessary to get by with as much dignity as she can. Despite her desperate and lonely circumstances, she retains a cheerful disposition and doesn’t hesitate to show love and understanding to others whenever possible. I liked Marion’s stories and the glimpses into her history and character they provided. Caroline is cute, if a bit mature for a four-year-old, though as an only child in that time period it is entirely plausible that she could have been comparatively more articulate and mature than the four-year-olds I know.
I loved how everything in the story played out, especially the ending. I felt for Marion, stranded between two worlds, belonging neither above nor below stairs. Layton was torn between preventing his staff from isolating Marion even more if he showed her any favoritism and his daughter’s desire to include Marion in events that, as governess, she really shouldn’t be participating in, especially because he found that he wanted Marion included as well. My heart broke for Marion as I learned her story, and for Layton’s as well, once the truth of his situation was discovered.
I love reading about the Jonquil brothers and can’t wait to read about more of them, specifically Corbin. I enjoyed seeing Philip and Sorrel from Friends and Foes again.
Drops of Gold is one of my favorites of Sarah’s books, which is saying a lot because I love all of them. I know when I want to read a good, clean, well-written romance that I can pick up anything by Sarah Eden and be happily satisfied. For those of you who have read Sarah’s books, I’m preaching to the choir. If you haven’t read any of Sarah’s books, what are you waiting for?
Leaning into the Curves allowed me a peek into two different lifestyles that I previously knew nothing about: 1) life after retirement, and 2) what it is to be a motorcycle enthusiast.
Through the telling of Molly and Hank's story, it is apparent that the authors have had their share of life experiences. Several life lessons and timely messages appear as events in the book take place.
As someone who is still raising young children, I couldn't relate to the book quite the same way a woman with grown children might. I did, however, take the themes woven through the story as one might take advice from someone who has "been there" and "done that."
Leaning into the Curves is a pleasant, mellow read about Molly and Hank, a married couple adjusting to life after Hank retires. Through some miscommunication, Hank buys himself a motorcycle for his birthday, thinking that Molly has overcome her strong feelings against them. The motorcycle, and their experiences with the Temple Riders Association, a Mormon motorcycle club, become the catalysts that bring to the surface several issues that Molly and Hank have never really had the time or need to deal with previously, both personally and within their marriage.
Leaning into the Curves is a story about the sacrifices we make for our families, finding common ground, overcoming fears, trying new things, moving past first impressions, and most of all, the importance of openness and communication.
My Rating: 3.5 stars/5 - it has a nice writing style and interesting characters
Would I- read it again? Probably not, simply because I'm not really the book's intended audience recommend it? Yes, especially to empty nesters and motorcycle enthusiasts read more by the authors? Yes (less)
Excellent. Well written characters that a lot of LDS members can relate to with struggles we all know. Good, spiritual and natural-feeling resolution....moreExcellent. Well written characters that a lot of LDS members can relate to with struggles we all know. Good, spiritual and natural-feeling resolution. Moving story (I got teary-eyed a couple of times.) I highly recommend it. (less)