Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Bride for Keeps

Back Cover
Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride.  Not again.  He’s already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn’t in his future.  However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn’t given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.
Julie Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiancĂ©.  A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she’ll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she’s experienced there.
Although Everett doesn’t see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead.  Determined to prove she’s more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only.  Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitate to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?
I started reading A Bride for Keeps feeling unsure of how it would turn out.  I worried that the premise of the novel (marriages of convenience) had been done so many times (Janette Oak’s Love Comes Softly and Deeanne Gist’s A Bride Most Begrudging come to mind), that it would be difficult to bring something new to the table.  But Melissa sure surprised me!  She crafted a wonderful romance with characters that have depth - they had real-life issues and insecurities to work through.  Over the course of their journey, they begin to realize that with God, all things are possible.  A rich and lovely story, it ended all too soon and left me wanting more. 
 A debut novel for Melissa, A Bride for Keeps, shows a great deal of promise for this new author.  It was a great historical romance and I will be looking forward to her next book!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.   Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

First Date

Back Cover
When it comes to catching the eye of that cute boy at school,
sometimes you just need a little help from your friends.
Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year:  none of them have ever been on a “real” date.  With homecoming looming, the girls make a pact and start a secret club thy call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective – dates for the dance.
They’re sworn to secrecy, but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG.  They’ll have to navigate expectations and rules from their parents, figure out how to act on a date, and endear themselves to the guys they like.
What could possibly go wrong?
Ah, a hard-working teenager starting high school.  It is one of the  most crazy and chaotic times in a person’s life as they become who they are and juggle meeting parents’, teachers’, friends’, and even employers’ expectations at the same time.   And, more often than not, it can also be a time when you are introduced to an entirely new (and possibly scary) terrain:  dating.
I don’t often read teen fiction, but Melody Carlson was one of my favourite authors growing up, and I thought First Date would be an interesting book to read.  Turns out, my hunch was correct:  First Date is a great novel for teen girls.  While the girls' agendas are getting dates for the dance, the book didn't just cover dating.  Values such as loyalty, friendship, faith, and parental respect are highlighted throughout the book.  Sprinkled with a bit of humour, and some real-life drama, First Date was a fun trip back to high school - but minus all the homework!  
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

A Talent for Trouble

Back Cover
For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife.  When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change—and soon—before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not.  If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had his fill of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman.  Prompted by friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her.  As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping each other out of trouble?
I’m afraid I’m starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to reviewing Jen’s novels…seriously, she has not turned out a bad story yet! 
A Talent for Trouble showcases Jen’s consistent writing style: intriguing plot highlighted by colourful characters and sparked with liberal doses of wit and humour. 
I’ve talked often of the wit and humour in Jen’s novels, but I just want to touch on the characters, which are really be the backbone to any novel.  I (personally) believe that if you have a flat character, your story, even if it is full of twists and turns, goes absolutely nowhere without the dynamic characters to carry it.  How can you be invested in the story if you are not attached to or interested in the characters?  But Jen’s characters are not one dimensional like the print on the page; rather, they reach out, grab you, and throw you right into the story.  Reading about them is as if you are watching them right there in your very room.   
Incredibly amusing, and highly distracting (once you start reading, you won’t want to stop!), A Talent for Trouble is another winner by Jen Turano.  I can’t wait for the next installment!   
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.