Monday, April 28, 2014

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

The Captive Maiden
 Happily Ever After...Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

My Opinion: 
Even though this book ended up being extremely traditional as most fairy tales go, I still loved it! It had enough differences in it from Cinderella to be it's own story. 

To be completely honest, the book was on the cheesy side. Valten kept thinking about how he wanted to save a "Damsel in Distress" and that's exactly what he got. It was one of those stories where both characters fall madly in love the moment they lay eyes on each other. On top of that, the characters are always thinking about how appealing one another are to each other. Extremely sweet, but not practical. Although it was on the corny side, I still greatly enjoyed the story. It was a breath of fresh air to read something where the characters were not completely fighting their emotions for each other. They both knew what they wanted and they fought for it.

There were a few twists and turns in the book which kept the story going as well as some awesome settings that I enjoyed reading about. One example from the book was a Medieval tournament like from the movie A Knights Tale.  I LOVED reading about the jousts and sword fights. 

Valten was a very wounded character, sometimes it almost seemed as if he was more emotionally wounded than Gisela. He was not a man that liked to be bested, and even though he could over come it with dignity, when it came to someone very close to him besting him it ate him alive. Constantly throughout the book he is licking these wounds, and it was nice to see someone make him finally feel worthy of who he was.

Rating: 5 stars

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Beauty so Rare by Tamera Alexander

A Beauty So Rare (Belmont Mansion, #2)


Eleanor Braddock, a spinster--plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty--has long since dismissed any hope of marriage. But when a dying soldier whispers his final words, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. But this compassionate deed takes a harsh turn, and Eleanor finds herself dependent upon the richest woman in America and the most despised woman in Nashville--her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, mistress of Belmont Mansion. A clandestine act of kindness leads Eleanor to an unlikely path for her life--building a home for destitute widows and children from the Civil War. And while Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve.

Gerhard Marcus Gottfried, Archduke of the House of Habsburg and fourth in line to the Austrian throne, arrives in Nashville in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Collaborating with botanist Luther Burbank, Marcus seeks to combine his own passion for nature with his expertise in architecture. But his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widow's and children's home run contrary to the wishes of practical, frugal Eleanor, who sees his ideas as costly nonsense.

Yet as the construction project continues, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expected. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor to marry, and even if he were, someone who knows Marcus's secrets is about to reveal them all.

My Opinion:

While I liked this book tremendously, it did take an over long amount of time to reach the true depth of the story. The introduction was way to long and it took me a few days to get past the first 100 pages, because if that I came really close to putting it down forever. However, I am not one to give up without a fight, I know that sounds harsh but for a while it truly was a struggle. In the end though, I was thoroughly happy with the rest of the book, especially the end, it was definitely one worth reading.

Mrs. Adelicia Acklen, aka Eleanor's aunt has become a little bit of a nuisance. I know that she is supposed to come off as a lady of good morals and decorum, and even though she does have her moments she seems so full of everyone around her. As well as she tries to up hold promises which she had no right promising to begin with. Although she means well, she goes around fulfilling these promises in a most un-fulfilling way.

On the other hand, both Eleanor and Marcus should be an inspiration of character for people in our culture today. They both were strong and kind souls, ones who were not afraid to stick up for the underdogs, and ones not likely to stand down to the people known as superior. They both also had a charm about them. I love a classic whit to the hero's in any story, but I also like them to be serious and know when to quit. Marcus was a perfect example of these attributes. Eleanor had a somewhat dry whit about her, but it fit her and made her even more loveable to those around her including me.

I loved how this story was not just about two people falling in love but also about bringing people together, building friendships, and showing Gods glory through the most unsuspected ways he takes us through life. No matter how hard the course may be we will come out unhindered as long as we unquestionably follow his lead.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander

A Lasting Impression (Belmont Mansion, #1)


After an unwanted past, Claire strives to create something that will last as an artist among Nashville's elite society in the 1860s.
Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged him. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her past remains hidden.
The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.
Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

My Opinion:

To my surprise, this is the first book I have ever read by Tamera Alexander. I have known about her work for awhile now, and I guess I assumed I had read some of her books before. Now that I think of it I haven't until now. So, for a FIRST impression this book definitely left its mark in a good way.
I was enthusiastic about the plot because I can completely relate to Claire and her struggle with art. Not the part about forging, but about not knowing how she could make a piece her own, or being anxious about what people were going to think of her work. I am in Honor Art right now at my high school and am always wondering what people think of my art. I also get frustrated when I don't think I am being original.
I loved Sutton Monroe! He was such a trip with his almost unending humor. He always had me smiling and apparently, everyone in the story as well.
A couple things that I would have changed would be to have more of a struggle between Sutton and Claire, and also to have had Antoine in the book more. It takes a while for Sutton to trust Claire, but when he does find out her secret it was like he was still all fine and dandy. Even though his worst fear had been realized. I thought Claire's Uncle Antoine was going to be a main character and I was pretty disappointed when he wasn't as big as I thought he would be. For the most part the book was good, but I felt like Claire was left off the hook with a slap to the hand. Even though she didn't do much of anything wrong and was sorry I still expected more obstacles to be in her way. She didn't get the challenge to overcome like I hoped for.

Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, April 11, 2014

Character Casting for the MAIN MEN is Love at Any Cost and Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman

As many of you I'm sure know the legendary Julie Lessman has started a new book series called The Heart of San Fransisco. So far I have read the first two books in the series that are out and have not been disappointed by their stories.

Also, as many of you come to my blog might know I did a character casting in the past for Julie Lessman's two series Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change. I had a TON of fun doing those and posting them on my blog and I hope that you who visited then enjoyed seeing my posts. I also hope you commented and left your opinion on my choices. ;)

Today I am gathering you guys for a sneak peek on what I am starting for the new series The Heart of San Fransisco. Because of not all the books being out yet I have not casted everyone. In fact, I only have two for sure casted so far and one possibility which I am sharing with all of you today. If you have read the series I hope that you will leave your opinions in the comment section below and maybe even give me some suggestions for the rest. So, lets get started!

Love at Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco, #1)

For the first book I have Jamie McKenna casted as Matt Bomer!!!! Matt Bomer♥
Okay, so here I would normally put why I picked this person and some movies or shows I have seen them in. Well, honestly I haven't seen him in ANYTHING, but he was Julie Lessman's choice for Jamie and when I looked him up I could not disagree. His looks are exactly how I pictured Jamie in the book, I couldn't pick somebody better. Looks wise, he is the personification of Mr. McKenna. No doubt about it in my mind. And might I say he looks good in a suit which would fit Jamie's career perfectly! If you would like to learn more about this actor you can visit his IMDB page by clicking HERE.

Dare to Love Again (The Heart of San Francisco, #2)

For the second book I chose Theo James for Detective Nick Barone
I have not seen him in any movies either as of now, but there is one that I am DYING to see. Theo plays the hero in the new movie Divergent, which is based on a book. Even though the romance in the books was a little much, they captured me because of their complexity. I am taking Psychology which was related to the plot in quite a few ways... but anyways... I digress... Theo also looks EXACTLY like how I pictured Nick in Dare to Love Again and his brood look reminds me of Nicks stubborn and mean side a little. And what a charming smile! *Sigh* Learn more about Theo James by clicking HERE.

So, that is what I have so far. The one that I am still contemplating is younger Kevin Costner as Logan McClare from both the books. Logan is Jamie's boss and also has a vendetta against Nick. That's all I'm willing to say since many of you may have not read the books YET.
I LOVE this guy! He is a fantastic actor! Some of the things that I have seen him in are: Dances with Wolves (which I highly recommend), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld, Hatfields & McCoys, and Man of Steel just to name a few. Again, his looks are one thing that made me think of Logan right away. We have to remember that even though Logan is not old, he is quite a bit older than both Jamie and Nick. BUT he is still very good looking and has not lost his charm. The reason I haven't picked him yet is because Julie Lessman does not agree 100% on him right now, but if I was to choose someone for Logan this second it would definitely be him! Click HERE to learn more about Kevin Costner!

Some more things that I want to share with you:

If you have read any of Julie's books you know that many of her hero's, if not all, have a funny sarcastic side. They LOVE picking on the girls relentlessly. I found this gif on pinterest and just had to share it. It cracks me up and completely embodies the men's behavior! LOL

I can just see any of the guys doing this when they are getting scolded! Plus, it's really cute!
Marlon Brando, couldn't help but repin. Kinda reminds me of something these guys would do talking to the women that infuriate them so much! Lol

Another thing that I want to share is the book cover for the third book, Surprised by Love! Click on the image to read a summary about the book.
 Surprised by Love (The Heart of San Francisco #3)

 So, what do all you guys think??? Please leave any comment that you might have below!!! I would love to read them!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

*****Remnants is OUT TODAY*****

Season of Wonder (The Remnants #1)Season of Wonder (The Remnants #1)

The Post-Apocalyptic book by Lisa Bergren is out TODAY!!! PLEASE make sure to look into this book. It's worth the time to read some reviews and gather your own opinion about it. Compared to other Dystopian novels this story is a breath of fresh air. Bringing a Christian twist to the world renowned genre. Full of adventure, excitement, tribulation, and triumph, this story is not one to be missed. If you have already read it spread the word about Remnants to other people. Also, feel free to leave a comment below on your opinion of the book, or if you are excited to read it. I would love to hear from you all and I'm sure Lisa would too! You can see my review on Remnants by clicking HERE!

Click the pinterest button to go to my board specifically for REMNANTS!!!

Also, check out the amazing cover to the second book in the series that will hopefully be coming out this next year and read below for a summary of it as well!
Season of Fire (The Remnants #2)
After tackling her first mission and coming to terms with her power of empathy, Andrei and her fellow Remnants discover their first battles were only a taste of what is to come. As the Sons of Sheol continue their assault on the world, planning to keep all hope dead, the Remnant finds itself battling within its ranks.

With everyone pursuing what they feel is the best course of action, trouble mounts—and Andrei finds herself in terrible danger at the hands of Kellach. The Remnants must travel to Italy and find a way to fight as one before it is too late

Monday, April 7, 2014

Elusive Hope by MaryLu Tyndall

Elusive Hope (Escape to Paradise, #2)


 In a colony named New Hope, while their friends are seeking a southern utopia...

Hayden is seeking revenge. Relentlessly.

After years of all but selling his soul to track down his scoundrel of a father, Hayden Gale discovers his search must continue in South America, where his father is reported to be helping colonize Brazil. Hayden has nothing more to lose, certainly not a good reputation, and vows to keep pursuing--at any cost--the vile man who he believes killed his mother.

Magnolia is seeking a way out. Desperately.

She's in the jungles of Brazil against her will, but what choice does Magnolia Scott have? Her father insisted on uprooting their family to escape the uncertainty of Southern life after the Civil War. But how will she survive without all she holds dear--wealthy suitors, beautiful clothes, summer balls, and slaves waiting on her every whim? She vows to find a way to get back home--and attaches herself to handsome Hayden Gale.

As they journey toward Rio de Janeiro, they each seek to use the other for their own purposes. Deceptively. Falling in love was never part of their plans....

My Opinion:

This sequel got me so pumped up on this series. I cannot wait for the next one! I've been looking forward to this book for a while and I have no idea why I waited so long to read it! Definite mistake on my part.

I absolutely loved the way that MaryLu included spiritual warfare and supernatural episodes. I can tell that that aspect will play an even bigger part in the next book, Abandoned Memories. I thought it was pretty cool how all the characters were having visions throughout the story and practically being haunted by their pasts. To watch how these events effected them all and how they handled it really had me glued to the pages. Anytime a character had one I could feel my pulse speed up. Some of the things that happened were actually quite spooky and I thought MaryLu did an amazing job with that aspect of the story.

I knew from the first book that sparks were going to fly between Hayden and Magnolia, but I didn't expect so many of them to burn! These two butted heads A LOT which honestly had me laughing quite a bit, but further into the story the barbs really started to hurt, not just the characters, but me. On top of that, the lies and deception between the two at some points was overwhelming. Their problems started way before either of them ever stepped foot on the ship headed for Brazil and I anxiously looked forward to and wondered how they were going to overcome everything together. At some points it was hard to see them ending up together, but GOD never fails when he has a plan in store.

On another note, I have never read a book with an exotic setting. I was enthralled by the way the scenery was described, both the good and the bad about it. I wish I could lay eyes on the jungle that these people were in. Sounds both scary but beautiful at the same time. I can say that I would not want to lay eyes in the insects there, but everything else sounded so nice! 

Something else that I want to comment on was the all the characters strength, both emotionally and physically throughout the story. I could not endure many of the things that they went through, if any of it. These people were definitely inspiring!

Bring on James and Angeline's story!

Rating: 5 Stars