Review: My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey

My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey by Amanda Barratt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was okay. I did enjoy the history of Niagara Falls, I've always wanted to go there.

This story brought me to the every edge of suspension of belief. You have to suspend belief in a lot of books that are supernatural or fantasy or sci-fi, but you'd think you wouldn't have to do that with historical romance.

A young woman saddled with the cares of holding an estate together while the brother spends it away, it's just unbelievable to me that this woman who apparently has a great head on her shoulders would traipse off to America leaving her spendthrift brother behind to ruin the estate. She couldn't depend upon her mother because apparently she didn't have a brain or any gumption. How dumb is that?

While this chit is in America, I'm worrying about the estate back home. The story didn't mesh with me.

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Review: Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees

Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees Judah's Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees by Angela Elwell Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great historical novel from Angela Hunt.

This novel is a great stand alone (I never knew there was a 1st book until I started writing this review!) Angela weaves this story with history, romance, family and Jewish traditions with tremendous skill. There is intrigue, humor, 2nd-century BC daily living as well as war tactics. She also gives great insight into how Antiochus Epiphenes terrorized the people of Judah.

Just plain great writing. If you like historical accuracy blended into family saga well, then this series is for you.

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Review: Ricochet Joe

Ricochet Joe Ricochet Joe by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know if others had this same problem because I haven't read any other reviews, but the "in-motion" feature didn't work well with my android Kindle app. It was a distraction.

The story, on the other hand was really good. Typical Dean Koontz. Loved the premise and the way he whips me around with all the twists and turns. Just a good, rainy afternoon read!

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Review: The Lacemaker

The Lacemaker The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very good historical romance.

I love historicals and this one is no exception. There is a pathos in this story that hits the heart. When a beautiful daughter is so disregarded by her father that he literally forgets to take her with him in his escape... that is really cold.

Very good writing, very good story premise, perhaps there could have been greater attention to absolute correctness in etiquette of the colonial period, ways of addressing loved ones and others. And perhaps a little more attention to descriptions of dress, etc. Otherwise this is an interesting and worthy read.

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Review: Oath of Honor

Oath of Honor Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book even though the story flow dragged a bit in the middle.

I can appreciate how difficult it would be for a sibling to discover something about another sibling and be torn apart between love and duty. But here's the thing that seemed a bit implausible to me--and I might be wrong about this--but if your brother is a Christian, and you've known him your whole life and you trust him implicitly, why struggle with what he asks you to do?

Believability isn't a word, but it should be when it comes to novels. Setting aside belief in the implausible, this book and the writing is very good. There are a LOT of characters that I'm sure will be developed in later books of the series, and these characters will be very interesting.

The romance is a bit on the light side, and the character development of the two main characters suffers because of the huge amount of other characters. I think Lynette should take a tip from Law & Order -- go light on trying to develop characters that don't move the story along quickly. Otherwise, it's a good story.

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Review: A Soldier's Song

A Soldier's Song A Soldier's Song by Irene Onorato
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A really good inspirational romance. It has a bit of humor, a bit of suspense, and a lot of heart.

The story is woven around two people who have some issues to deal with (who doesn't?), and I think this is probably a good male POV character. Not all romances have a good male POV. Irene does a good job by giving each main character a reason to fall in love with the other. There's real meat to the story.

The story flow is a bit slow in places, and there is a bit of rehashing of motives. Just because we humans in real life think about our problems every day and sometimes to excess, we readers don't need that particular kind of realism. The rehashing didn't become a story dam, but came close for me.

Good story premise, and good writing.

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Review: Burgundy Gloves

Burgundy Gloves Burgundy Gloves by Julia David
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a jewel.

The characters are very well developed, and there is a lovely romance that develops nicely, too.

The story line has a good flow to it so that the pages keep turning. I like that kind of novel. The faith that runs through the story is just right, and a bit different coming from the male point of view. There was a bit of overkill on the angst part, and a bit of rehashing--but that goes with the kind of story this is dealing with amnesia. You'll have that.

There's a touch of humor that brings the story to life. Description is very light. You don't get a good feel for the dense woods, nor can you "smell" the wood smoke, nor do you "feel" just how cold the river water is. Some flowers noted are blooming in the wrong season... but, if you don't care about that stuff like I do, you'll get engrossed in the story and forget about it.

Worthy read, and worth the money.

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Review: The Veil

The Veil The Veil by Blake K. Healy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I do not doubt a bit that God gives us gifts solely for us to use for His glory, some of the things depicted in this book are not quite biblical. However, Blake makes sure on every page that the reader understands this is all for God's glory. He takes no accolades for himself. That's good.

I also know for a fact that angels and demons are all around us. I also know that the way Blade sees some demons working in this physical world are testified to from others (not me personally, because I've only seen one demon/Satan in a vision).

However, if you really want to see how angels and demons work, this is the book for you not for any other reason but that Blake gives God all the glory. That is the mark of a true believer.

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Review: Coffin Scarcely Used

Coffin Scarcely Used Coffin Scarcely Used by Colin Watson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Colin Watson was a British, stiff-upper-lip kind of writer of detective novels. I was introduced to him several years ago when trying to find more Agatha Christie novels. If you do not understand extremely dry humor or if you do not understand British humor beyond Mr. Bean or Monty Python, you won't get the humor in these books. It is slightly similar to P.G. Woldhouse, but not as blatant. Very subtle, but very fun and sometimes surprising. I will be reading many more of this series, which I did not discover earlier.

Something to remember, in 1958 the writing was a lot more description because people back then had no Internet, video games, cell phones, computers, and went to the library for more reading material. Life back then was much slower, so the pace of the book is slower. If you enjoy Agatha Christie, you'll enjoy Colin Watson -- two different styles, but both with great story plots and twists that draw you into their world of fiction.

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Review: Harp on the Willow

Harp on the Willow Harp on the Willow by B.J. Hoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always loved B.J. Hoff's writing. Poignant and down to earth come to mind. Also, faith is embedded in the whole story that naturally seeps to the surface rather than in-your-face. Wholesome reading!

Dr. Daniel, a bachelor doctor in a small town in the late 1800s, is a wonderful character fully developed. I would have thought, though, that more mommas would have been pushing their daughters at him, except for a certain dainty woman who has captured his attention. There's a scruffy mining town across the bridge that needs Dr. Daniel's attention, where he meets Addie Rose. So there you've got a good mix for a really good story--don't forget the dog :)

Well-developed story line, great premise, well-developed characters, and an explosion. Can't beat it for a great, rainy day read.

Five of five stars.

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Review: The Ladies of Ivy Cottage

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here's a really nice Regency romance novel with a bit of romantic intrigue. The only trouble with it is that it's Book 2 and there are a lot of references to what happened in Book 1. Those references made me feel like an outsider, rather than in the story. I continually felt like I'd missed something until I finally realized it was a Book 2 rather than a stand alone or Book 1.

That said, the characters are quite likeable and developed quite well. Interesting storyline. A little different than any other Regency I've read. We've got n0t-a-book-worm inheriting all these books from her father. She opens a library that sells subscriptions so people can read the book. What a neat set up for this story.

If you haven't read the first in this series, I suggest you purchase it before you read this one. You'll enjoy this one much better. Also, if the first one is written as well as this one then you are in for treat. Well-written, good story, no plot contrivances (Yea!), and solid story telling.

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Review: T-H-B

T-H-B T-H-B by Randy C. Dockens
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love indie published books! I love science-fiction! I praise all writers with the gumption to indie publish! So congrats to Randy Dockens. The premise of this book is really good.

First, this book was professionally proofread. Kudos for that!

Second, this novel was not professionally developmentally edited--that's when an editor dives deep into the story to help the author streamline and pull the story together tightly to make a fast-paced page turner.

Third, Dockens does a good job of developing the main character who is believable and 3-D. The POV is written very well. However, the love interest/physician is a bit flat. Transitions from one scene to another are non-existent, and the number of characters is very large... not that it is a huge problem, it's that developing a lot of characters so they fit perfectly in the story to move the story along is very difficult to do. A developmental editor could do this for Dockens and make this story zing with some much needed zest.

The premise is very good, but the execution of it still needs a lot of work to make this a really good book. That said, the story is good enough to keep your attention, except when more characters without much development are added to the mix. When that happens, keep reading, it'll become clear.

Thanks to Netgalley and the author for a copy of this book to honestly review.

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