Two years after Lucy Trotter leaves the loveless but familiar confines of Brooding Cranesbill (the orphanage and school for underprivileged gi...moreSynopsis
Two years after Lucy Trotter leaves the loveless but familiar confines of Brooding Cranesbill (the orphanage and school for underprivileged girls where she was raised), and takes employment as the nanny to the aristocratic Sedley family, Lucy is accused of murdering Lord Sedley, mainly because she is poor and without family. Lady Sedley calls upon the national hero, Lord Adair to solve the crime and prove that Lucy is the murderess, along with finding a set of family jewels that disappeared around the same time. Lucy is mesmerized by the unearthly beauty of Lord Adair, however, she knows that if she doesn't give him a helping hand solving the murder, there's a real chance she will end up hanging for a crime she didn't commit, while the real culprit walks away a free person. Lord Adair has his hands full solving a crime in a house full of strange characters, including a ghost, an animal obsessed male heir, and an amorous valet having an affair with the lady of the house.
Anya Wylde has written another novel chock full of puns and slapstick humor that will make even the most hardened reader chuckle. Her heroine, Lucy is very lovable, because of her indomitable spirit and her atypical view of the world. Every character in this book is weird, which makes the distinguished recurring character of Lord Adair feel almost normal. The mystery was well done, and actually was a complete surprise to me.
While I enjoyed this book, I didn't find it as hilariously funny as her previous books. Sometimes, it even felt like Wylde was trying too hard to get laughs. There were a few odd moments that seemed so random; it was hard to be convinced they were being played for laughs. For some reason, the writing feels less cohesive. The story, while a shorter length novel, tends to meander a bit, prompting me to wonder when it would get to the climax.
It was a very pleasant surprise to see the character of Lord Adair again. His presence in previous books has endeared this reader and no doubt all of Wylde's other readers. I would have liked to see more chemistry between him and Lucy, although I am not sure this novel is meant to be a romance. It seems as though Lucy's attraction to him was one-sided, despite Lucy being highly endearing. This seemed like a missed romantic opportunity for Lord Adair's lonely character.
Lucy will appeal to readers who love characters like Bronte's Jane Eyre. She is a strong-minded, vibrant, unique and indefatigable young woman who deserves a happy ending, and no doubt readers will root for her. Her poor treatment by the family and servants alike inspired pathos in me as I read, and her antics made me laugh.
Overall, Murder at Rudhall Manor is a good book. The humor is quirky and entertaining, and the touch of the supernatural, teamed with a mystery that the readers have to work to solve, makes for a diverting read overall. A more cohesive storyline and a plot with greater momentum would have made this a close to flawless book. But even with its flaws, this was a fun read.
I enjoyed this latest volume in the antics of Marnie Baranuik, one unusual paranormal investigator. I did miss having more interactions between Marnie...moreI enjoyed this latest volume in the antics of Marnie Baranuik, one unusual paranormal investigator. I did miss having more interactions between Marnie and Harry and Marnie and Batten, but I really liked Schenk. He's a good foil for Marnie, and they formed a genuine bond of friendship. Fans of this series should enjoy it!
This is a crazy series and this second book is even crazier than the first. The dialogue is so ridiculously inappropriate at times, and the characters...moreThis is a crazy series and this second book is even crazier than the first. The dialogue is so ridiculously inappropriate at times, and the characters are pretty out there. But I really enjoy this series and this book. There is some really disturbing content, so be warned.
Lady Ayla is threatened with either marriage to the powerful, conquering lord Margrave von Falkenstein or for her lands to be confiscated and...more Synopsis
Lady Ayla is threatened with either marriage to the powerful, conquering lord Margrave von Falkenstein or for her lands to be confiscated and her people killed in war. With her father ailing from a long-term degenerative condition, she has assumed command of his lands in his stead. She refuses the Margrave's offer of marriage, knowing that it will mean war, because she realizes giving into him is the wrong decision to make for herself and her people. On a trip through a nearby forest to notify her vassals of her need for men to protect Luntberg Castle and its villagers, she is robbed by the fearsome, dreaded, red-armor-wearing Robber Knight, who dares to take her money, property and her beloved horse, although he spares her life and doesn't harm a hair on her head. Lady Ayla vows to see him caught and hanged.
When Ayla and her steward find a sole-surviving, wounded man in a field of bloody, mutilated bodies, they bring him back to the castle. His name is Reuben, and he claims to be a merchant, but he is really the same Red Knight. If he reveals his identity, he will be hanged as a thief. And he is too weak to flee for his life from his wounds and a subsequent fever and infection. As he is nursed back to health by the beautiful Lady Ayla, his cynicism and overpowering self-interest gives way to love. Can Ayla keep her people safe from a deadly siege, and avoid falling for a man below her station who she believes is not telling her the whole truth about his identity?
The Robber Knight is an entertaining trip back in time to the medieval era. The narrative voice is lively, with subtle humor and vivid characterizations. Reuben is the perfect rogue character, a man who hasn't decided if he wants to take the trouble to be a better man again, until Lady Ayla shows him he is capable of it. Ayla is sweet and determined, a woman of her times. Beneath her ladylike exterior, she has the heart of a lion and a backbone of steel. The secondary characters, such as the old vassal but still capable knight and fighter, Sir Isenbard, are well-developed.
Mr. Thier clearly has a background in medieval history, and a talent for writing a story that is enlightening about the period, but in a very entertaining, readable fashion. The depiction of medieval castle warfare is lifelike and realistic without being overly graphic. The reader learns the ins and outs of protecting a castle against invaders alongside Lady Ayla, and her people, most of whom have lived in a time of peace and whose war skills are limited to non-existent. I cheered along with them as they survived numerous assaults due to the advice of the injured Reuben.
Readers who enjoy romance stories will appreciate the slow build of attraction and feelings between Ayla and Reuben. The author makes the most of their every moment together to show romantic tension and growing love between the characters.
The Robber Knight is a story that will appeal to readers who have interest in the medieval period. It's an edifying read, flows and keeps the reader's interest with engaging characters and a well-paced narrative. This reader recommends it, despite the fact that the cliffhanger ending pricks at one of the biggest pet peeves of mine.
This is a really good first novel about monster hunters who bond to their almost living weapons. I was impressed with this dark and intense action hor...moreThis is a really good first novel about monster hunters who bond to their almost living weapons. I was impressed with this dark and intense action horror/dark urban fantasy novel. I recommend it to fans of the series "Supernatural" or other fiction about monster hunters.
Sarah Pendleton returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley, Oregon, to get her deceased grandmother's affairs in order, especially the sale o...moreSynopsis
Sarah Pendleton returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley, Oregon, to get her deceased grandmother's affairs in order, especially the sale of her grandmother's home. Her past memories of Mistletoe Valley are painful, including her rebellious behavior and earned reputation as a "Preacher's Kid," her subsequent failed marriage, and most of all, having to give her baby daughter up for adoption. Her first day back, she meets handsome and friendly real estate agent, Rich Stevens, who happens to have an adorable daughter named Carly (who coincidentally is the same age as her daughter). An instant spark and connection develops between them, but Sarah knows she doesn't intend to stay in Mistletoe Valley, where the past has eliminated her hope for a good future. Besides, Rich is also a part-time youth pastor and a grieving widower, not an ideal choice for a romance, considering Sarah's bad reputation as a rebellious "Preacher's Kid" when she was younger. Can they spend the short time they have together, knowing that they will have to walk away from any love developing between them?
The Heart Leads Home is a sweet contemporary romance that has a meaningful message about letting go of past mistakes and pain and being open to a future. Both leads have distinctive burdens to carry, and they clearly help each other through their pain, although each has to work through the bulk of their emotional issues themselves. I could feel Sarah's anguish over having to give up her daughter, failing her grandparents, and her regrets over her short-lived marriage. Her fears are reasonable, and her desire not to ‘go back' is completely understandable. She showed a lot of courage to face people who knew about her mistakes, so when she had occasional lapses in mettle in being open to a future romance and letting go of the past, it's forgivable.
Rich's issues seem to take a backseat in the story. The author does mention his pain about his wife's death, and there is a sense that he is grieving, but not as much page time is spent on processing his grief as is spent on Sarah's journey. Also the stress of his juggling his single father status with his full-time job as a realtor and his work as a youth pastor wasn't as well-described as I would have liked. I felt that his portrayal was lacking, as a result.
The romance is well done. I appreciated that even though this is a sweet/lightly inspirational romance, the author does establish romantic chemistry with some sexual attraction between Sarah and Rich. One of my pet peeves with Christian romances is the way that the characters are often sexually neutered by the author, perhaps out of the sense that any sexual content is inappropriate. While I respect that not all readers would feel comfortable with graphic sexual descriptions, I see nothing wrong with a passionate kiss between the characters or even an acknowledgement that they feel attraction to each other. Voeller achieved a good balance in her portrayal of Sarah and Rich's developing feelings for each other. How, yes, they initially feel physically attracted to each other, although their love is built on a foundation of friendship and respect.
I did feel that the secondary characters lacked definition and development. Because they seemed one-dimensional, some of the dialogue between the characters seemed disingenuous. Overall, Carly was well-done as a child character, although the scene where she behaves badly could have been more authentic.
For readers who enjoy sweeter contemporary romance with a light inspirational theme, The Heart Leads Home will probably be an enjoyable read. In some ways it seemed to have an identity crisis, because the Christian message felt a little sidelined/watered down. For readers who don't really identify with the faith message, this might appeal. But for Christian readers or those who read books to gain insight into the way believers live out their faith, this might be disappointing. Additionally, the crises faced by both leads were watered down in how they were described (another pet peeve of mine with Christian romance). Being a Christian is hard, and Christians face some serious challenges in life, and the tendency in Christian fiction novels is to sanitize the content to the point that the message lacks profundity. Despite the way the end dragged, leading to the loss of some of my emotional investment, this was a well-paced, well-written book overall.
Wow, this novella is so action-packed, it feels like a full-length book! I seriously love this series now. The magic is fantastic and McHugh clearly k...moreWow, this novella is so action-packed, it feels like a full-length book! I seriously love this series now. The magic is fantastic and McHugh clearly knows his legends. Nate is a guy I would love defending me, but I'd hate to have as an enemy. This is a series not to be missed.
Sarah is one of the "poor" kids at the exclusive prep school she attends. Her father lost his money, and with it, any claim she had to social...moreSynopsis
Sarah is one of the "poor" kids at the exclusive prep school she attends. Her father lost his money, and with it, any claim she had to social status in the environment where how much money your parents have determine how many friends you have and if the boys want to date you. She admires Dan, the heir to a lucrative technology enterprise from afar (with no hope of him ever noticing her that way), even though he's dating her best friend Jillian. Sarah is biding her time until she can graduate, enjoying her art class the most, out of a love for art and the fact that Dan is also in her class. She also spends her time trying to avoid the disturbing attentions of Frank, a mean-spirited classmate with an unhealthy attraction to her. In short, her life is rather mundane, until things change in a spectacular fashion, and events beyond her comprehension show her that her world is nothing like she believed.
I enjoyed reading The Heir. The writing is smooth and it kept my interest. Sarah is an appealing lead character. I appreciated how the story begins in a very mundane fashion, but with the continued narrative, the reader slowly becomes aware that things are far from what they seem. This links the reader's emotions very tangibly to Sarah's, as we experience things concurrently with her. As tragedy befalls Sarah, I felt so much sympathy for her, as well as unease at the strange developments in her situation and in the relationships she has with pivotal characters around her.
The science fiction angle is well done. However, I think seasoned science fiction readers might find her world-building thin. While I would have liked more complexity and description in the world-building in the later part of the book, the developing plot details perked my interest, and I appreciated the creativity on offer. I also liked the societal concepts she presents in the science fiction aspect of this novel.
While the romance is a strong part of this story, it did feel a bit subdued. The chemistry between Sarah and Dan could have been better developed and touched on earlier in the book, and their changing relationship toward the end of the book would have felt more authentic and believable.
The Heir is a good start to a promising series. Lynne Stringer has crafted a young adult science fiction romance that feels distinct, with a lead character that readers will root for and feel sympathy with in her journey.
This is by far the darkest book in the series so far, which is saying something. I think it might also be my favorite. I loved the magic and the super...moreThis is by far the darkest book in the series so far, which is saying something. I think it might also be my favorite. I loved the magic and the supernatural entities in the book, and Nate when he's peeved is something to watch out for. This would make a great action movie, although I'd cringe on some parts. Nate is the man!!
I'm loving the Hellequin series even more after reading this book. Nate is a Grade A Kickbutt Artist. The magic is pretty darn enthralling. Sensitive...moreI'm loving the Hellequin series even more after reading this book. Nate is a Grade A Kickbutt Artist. The magic is pretty darn enthralling. Sensitive readers will find aspects of the storyline hard to read at times, but I am glad that Nate is there to deliver some hard justice to horrible villains in this book. This series is not to be missed if you're a fan of urban fantasy.
I suppose I could only give this one 3.5 stars, because each day's devotional focus is so short. I think that's an advantage for readers who want some...moreI suppose I could only give this one 3.5 stars, because each day's devotional focus is so short. I think that's an advantage for readers who want something really quick, but I think I like a longer reading for my devotionals. Thus, I was a mite disappointed. I do have to say that the Gospel of John cannot fail to inspire believers with the majesty and power of the deity of Jesus, and his profound love for everyone. John called himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved." That man was so tapped into the love that Jesus has for us that the Romans couldn't even kill him when they tried boiling him in oil. That's a lesson for every believer to learn right there. So I was thrilled to get a copy of this devotional for free on Amazon Kindle. I have been specifically meditating on God's love for me (right believing leads to right living), and I already feel it has changed my life profoundly. John's gospel is required reading for believers who are on the same path for that reason stated above. I loved the prayers at the end of each devotion, and they definitely packed a punch for their short length.
So even though I didn't give this one a higher rating, I still feel it is a very worthwhile daily journal for less than a month of study.(less)
This was a nice, one month freebie devotional that I downloaded from Amazon Kindle. I was pretty happy with this overall. There is a daily writing, ba...moreThis was a nice, one month freebie devotional that I downloaded from Amazon Kindle. I was pretty happy with this overall. There is a daily writing, based on a scripture reference, with a nice prayer at the end. I found each day helpful to me, which I think is the mystery of the Holy Spirit, that each day can have something applicable, no matter what is going on in your life. I thought the prayers were well written, and short and sweet. It's good to have a nice little pre-written prayer if you're not confident in your prayers, even though prayer is just conversation with God, who loves you no matter what. I do have to say the one prayer about being a submissive wife didn't work for me (yeah, I'm not a big believer in that), but otherwise, they were all great.
I can't say anything more other than I recommend this one if you happened to pick it up free.