Friday, August 30, 2013

Finding Sheba by H.B. Moore

Finding Sheba  Finding Sheba by H.B. Moore An ancient legend is reborn . . . One that might prove the Bible false. For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of King David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumbles onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claim to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen’s secret burial place. An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal crimes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

Moore admits that her concept for Finding Sheba was inspired by the popularity of Dan Brown's novels. I think I enjoyed Moore’s attempt more than Brown’s books. As an experienced historical novelist I feel like she does a much better job of blending her historical information into her narrative making her text read smoothly and naturally rather than the stop and go of Brown’s info dumpy style. So I found this to be a really fun read for the historical thriller genre. The concept centers around the life of the Queen of Sheba and her legacy.  Her historical legitimacy lends many different countries with the historical context for their claim to political power. I love how twisty and complex that she makes the Queen of Sheba’s life, making it possible for all of the different factions warring for more information to have legitimate claims, or at the very least still preserves that need for more historical information to come to light before any solid conclusions can be ascertained. Yet, we get the meat of a very compelling and interesting story about a strong woman and her leadership.  I enjoyed that the author included a point of view from the Queen of Sheba herself so we could hear her story in her own words.
If you love a fun historical thriller a la Dan Brown or the National Treasure genre then this is an excellent and enjoyable read.  
finding sheba tour

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Working it Out by Rachel Renee Anderson


Working It Out by Rachael Anderson Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.
A chance for love . . . Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, she immediately recognizes him. Unfortunately, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.   (summary from author's website)

I thought that this was a fun, clean, romance. I really enjoyed the characters and how the author pitted Grace and Seth’s personalities against each other to create some fun romantic tension. Grace is constantly helping recover from sports injuries and Seth has a thirst for high adventure that often puts him in harm’s way. It is interesting to see how they have to navigate this conflict in their relationship.  The author does very well at creating interesting characters and writing a crisp, quick-moving plot. I really enjoyed this introduction to Anderson’s work. This one is a quick and light-hearted chick-flic read for all romance lovers.

working it out tour

As this review is part of a blog tour. I hope you'll enter the promotional giveaway running along with it!
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Glamour and Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison . . . and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.

So, I felt so-so about shades of milk and honey. I enjoy it but I found some aspects of the world odd. For some reason the world felt a bit more natural this time around and it was very interesting to see Vincent and Jane explore and discover more about the glamour than they previously had before. I like seeing that discoveries were still being made in their fantasy system it made the magic seem more real and interesting to me.  I also thought that this alternate history of the battle of Waterloo was so much fun to read. I loved watching Jane trying to figure out a way to save her husband after he was captured as I feel like she grew a lot as a character in this novel. I am even more excited to read next book in this series.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Longing For Home by Sarah M. Eden

Longing For Home by Sarah M. Eden

"Though she was only a child during the darkest days of Ireland’s Great Famine, Katie Macauley feels responsible for the loss of her family’s land and the death of her sister. Now a woman grown, Katie has left Ireland for America and the promise of earning money enough to return home again and plead for her family’s forgiveness. She arrives in Hope Springs, Wyoming Territory, a town sharply divided between the Americans who have settled there, with their deep hatred of the Irish, and the Irish immigrants who have come searching for a place to call home. Her arrival tips the precarious balance, and the feud erupts anew. Even in the midst of hatred and violence, however, Katie finds reason to hope. Two men, as different as they are intriguing, vie for her heart, turning her thoughts for the first time toward a future away from Ireland. Katie must now make the hardest decision of her life: stay and give her heart a chance at love, or return home and give her soul the possibility of peace." (summary from DB website)

When Katie arrives to accept a job in a small Wyoming town she doesn’t expect to be found lacking because she Irish. The fact that she suddenly is responsible to take care of two small children is a deal breaker also. Stranded in a town where the residents have literally split themselves down the middle as Irish and non- Irish there really are no other job openings for someone of her nationality. With a fierce determination she manages to renegotiate the terms of being a housekeeper for Joseph Archer. He reluctantly takes her in on a temporary basis until he can find a replacement. Katie comes to get to know the Irish side of the town, including a ceaseless flirt named Tavish. He and his family help Katie to navigate the unfamiliar waters of the town and become her friends. Though, Tavish slowly comes to mean more to her over time.

One of the best parts of this book is the hilarious banter that the characters toss back and forth between one another. Eden has created a cast of real and interesting characters that are sure to make you chuckle a time or two. Though, I occasionally wondered if Katie’s lack of reserve when it came to snapping comebacks was out of character with her background as a servant who did her best to be quiet and unnoticed. There is also a love triangle that seemed lopsided to me, which left me wondering why it was included as the main conflict for one of the minor characters. I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t randomly come back in the second book and throw everything into chaos.  Otherwise, the setting, characters, and conflicts of this story drew me in and I enjoyed the read.

Sarah M. Eden's Website

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Catch up and news

So, the blog has been kind of erratic of late. Sorry about that.  Life has been super crazy. I have a backlog of books I’ve read that still need a bunch of reviews written for them. That leads directly into my cool news.

I’m pregnant! Yea! About 20 weeks along currently. I am due on December 25th. Makes me super nervous to go into labor around such a huge holiday considering all the craziness that already ensues during that time, but I’m happy that we are going to have the chance to welcome a new little life into our lives. 

So, I’m trying to keep up with a very active 2 ½ year old, keep the apartment decently clean, feed the family decent food, and keep slogging through the second draft of my novel.  I get tired really easily and a lot of my down time is dedicated to sleep. Sigh. Seems like such a waste of time, but I don’t feel well if I don’t get enough rest. The leftover time is mostly parceled out to writing until I burn out, which happened twice in July. Then I usually read a couple novels or take on other projects until I’m ready to start writing again. Other projects include sewing. For some reason I really like to sew when I am pregnant. It is strange.  

I did okay in the summer reading trek challenge.  I didn’t get as many reviews up as I wanted to during the month. I didn’t even start Road to Bountiful  or finish Cloak. I did read  The House at Rose Creek by Jenny Proctor though. So if I substitute that title I didn’t do too badly.