Jun 30, 2015

Book Review: Heart's Betrayal (Book 4 of 6) by Colleen Coble

A Heart's Danger is Book 4 in the 6-Part "Journey of the Heart" Series. 

Lavish Bookshelf Reviews 
of this series include:


Great quote:  "Isaac thought he'd never seen a more beautiful spot than this Tongue River Valley. The Bighorn Mountains south of the valley, the Panther Mountains to the west, and the Black Hills to the east all formed a majestic backdrop to this busy little fort in the wilderness." (Page 81)

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Book summary:  "When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband’s home, she discovered an awful truth: her deceased husband was a bigamist. And what’s more, the home she thought she inherited never belonged to her at all. Suddenly displaced, powerless, and ashamed, Emmie can’t stay in Wabash, Indiana. She makes a hopeful start for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, to find her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning. But when she arrives, she discovers she’s pregnant—and without a husband. The new start she’d hoped for slips from her fingers." (Back Cover)

My thoughts:  A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble is Book Four in the Journey fo the Heart series. This book brings Emmie Croftner to the frontier. She is the sister of the evil Ben (who tried to force Sarah into marriage/later kidnapped her in the wilderness) and the simple-minded Labe. Emmie is dealing with her own tragedy and losses, but as a character she is sweet and caring and very unlike her two brothers.

In A Heart's Betrayal, the gang of Army men and the ladies all move from Fort Laramie to Fort Phil Kearny. The distance is less than 300 miles, but it takes the wagon-train crew 10 days over rough terrain and other dangers.

Colleen Coble writes some lovely turns of phrase, especially in her descriptions of the landscape and the scent of the sagebrush. She deftly incorporates historical events into this book, including a failed treaty with Red Cloud of the Sioux. Coble also adds frontier life to the book with interesting tidbits about cooking, tents, dress and many other day-to-day necessities. 

The Journey of the Heart Series is entertaining historical fiction, but I'm truly hung up over the cost of the whole thing. Each book in this 6-part series is $6.99, which brings the total for the series to $41.94!! Outrageous!! This series is great and all, but it is in no way worth that price when this story could have been one nice long novel for a reasonable price! The publisher has pulled a fast one on the readers!

Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Rating for the entire series: 2 of 5 stars
(due to the $6.99 cost of EACH book in this 6-part series)


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   96
  • Year originally published:  2015
  • Author:  Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide.Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.
  • Find Colleen online: websiteFacebookTwitter
  • You might want to know: This series, titled "Journey of the Heart," is the first novel that was written by Colleen Coble. Writing it was part of the grieving process after she lost her brother Randy in a freak lightning accident.
  • Book Tour:  For more reviews of this title and this series, please visit LitFuse Publicity.
Purchase on Amazon: A Heart's Betrayal (A Journey of the Heart) by Colleen Coble 

 

 
Don't forget to enter:
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FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell



Great quote:   "No one can be truly happy until they have hope, until they find their destiny."  (Page 73)

Book summary:  "For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle—until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.  

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America—the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama."  (Multnomah-Waterbrook)


My thoughts:  Brenda Spahn had it all, so to speak. Successful business, nice home, fancy cars, lavish vacations. That is, she did have it all until the IRS started looking into her business practices. In the end Brenda Spahn agreed to a plea deal that kept her out of prison, but placed her smack dab into the world of women prisoners when she opened a transition home for recently released inmates. Miss Brenda and the Loveladies by Brenda Spahn and Irene Zutell is the recounting of this amazing journey. 

Brenda Spahn is a firecracker of a lady, quick-thinking and flawed, but working to keep her promise to God that she made in her darkest hour. As Spahn welcomed the first 7 inmates into her home, the cultural and generational divide that all of the ladies had to cross in order to learn to live together is wide.

Obviously this book is not just about Brenda Spahn, though. The stories of the first seven prisoners that were sent to Brenda Spahn's home are also interspersed throughout. These pages are definitely the hardest to read, with heart-wrenching confessions and details of terrible abuse. I was amazed at the bravery these women displayed as they put their stories to paper.

In the days were Orange is the New Black is splashed across media outlets, this book gives a different perspective. Prison glamour and humor do not reign in this book. Instead, this book focuses on tragically wounded souls needing the power of grace from God. With occasional splashes of levity, this is a "true" reality book that will break your heart for the displaced and hurting. From the prison cells to Brenda Spahn's home, the Loveladies share stores that will educate (and maybe scare you), illuminate hope and give voice to their marginalized lives.


Rating:  4 of 5 stars

Book Facts:
  • Pages:   228
  • Year originally published:   2014
  • Author:  Brenda Spahn is founder and executive director of the Lovelady Center, the largest and most successful nonprofit transitional center for women in the country. It serves 450 women and children every day, providing substance abuse counseling, drug rehabilitation, meals, childcare, career counseling, and job opportunities to women working to establish successful lives outside of prison walls. Brenda is married and has four adult children as well as one young child who lives at home. 
  • You might want to know:  This book contains graphic stories and verbal images.

Purchase on Amazon:  Miss Brenda and the Loveladies: A Heartwarming True Story of Grace, God, and Gumption





FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Wolf Border by Sarah Hall





Great quote:  "For the first time in her life, work is not the primary concern; work is not in full possession of her soul, as it has been for more than a decade. She cannot hide in it. All those years in which she was safe and exempt, focused on the management of another species. Now, a different sphere has ascended." (Page 330)

Book summary:  "The Wolf Border is a breathtaking story about the frontier of the human spirit, from one of the most celebrated young writers working today." (TLC)

My thoughts:  Wolf Border by Sarah Hall is coming-of-age story for a 40 year old woman. 

Main character, Rachel Caine, has been running from society for years. Estranged from her family in England, Rachel has spent a decade hidden deep in the forests of Idaho as a wolf researcher. She returns to her hometown when an intriguing job offer comes her way. She is quickly thrust back into family dynamics while she tackles newly arisen situations of her own.

Sarah Hall has a poet's ear for language. Her mastery of the lyrical sounds of language is evident from the first page. Here is one example:
"Back to the routine. Her house in the woods, on the periphery of the centre complex, rough-hewn pine, one of seven cabins. Loading the stove wearing gloves and pulling tarpaulin over the woodstack next to the porch to keep it dry. Unpacking cans in the cupboard." (Page 59)
And while this poetic staccato rendering of minutia is creative, it grows tedious quite quickly, however. Entire passages beg to be skipped in order to just get on with the story. Hall's writing style would possibly be better suited for short story fiction where every word is heavily measured and plot is secondary. Unfortunately for this book, this tedium of details stretches for more than 400 pages.

Wolf Border is filled with symbolism, as well. The progression of the wolves and their protected habitat mirrors heavily the growing up process for character Rachel Caine. As the wolves discover themselves, procreate and find freedom, the same goes for Rachel Caine as she sheds her wild-child ways. 

Sarah Hall's poetic writing talent is the huge draw in Wolf Border. Those who appreciate the English language's sounds and imagery will love Wolf Border. Alternating between Idaho's wilderness and the Lake District area of England, Sarah Hall has created to gorgeous settings filled with beautiful nature that reflects the untamed nature of the world's wild wolves. 

Rating:  3 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   448
  • Year originally published:   2015
  • Author:  Find out more about Sarah at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews. For more information, please visit TLC Book Tours.
Purchase on Amazon:    The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall  



 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Jun 25, 2015

Book Review: To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie

Book 16 in the London Metropolitan Police detective series.
in the series by Deborah Crombie.

Great quote:  "Entering the hotel, he nodded at the doorman, then paused for a moment to look round the reception area. It was the first time he'd been in the hotel since the refurbishment. The restoration had done justice to the Victorian architect Gilbert Scott's glazed entrance hall, which mirrored the spectacular Barlow train shed next door in the railway station. Even on such a gloomy day the space was filled with light. It was now a very elegant lounge with groups of comfortable conversation areas. Some of the occupants having tea or cocktails looked extremely well heeled, while some just appeared to be tired tourists." (Page 245)

Book summary:  "Recently transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his new murder investigation team are called to a deadly bombing at historic St. Pancras International Station. By fortunate coincidence, Melody Talbot, Gemma's trusted colleague, witnesses the explosion. The victim was taking part in an organized protest, yet the other group members swear the young man only meant to set off a smoke bomb. As Kincaid digs deeper, he finds every piece of the puzzle yields an unexpected pattern, including the disappearance of a mysterious bystander." (Back cover)

My thoughts: In To Dwell in Darkness, the latest installment of the exciting detective series, Crombie has created a world that is suspenseful, intriguing and oh so British.

The opening crime in this book is brilliantly spectacular and quite intense. An incendiary device has been detonated in the middle of St. Pancras tube station right in the heart of London. Is it a terrorist act? A suicide? Murder? The book has DS Kincaid racing around London, chasing shadowy characters while solving a crime with many layers. 

This book is a police procedural that focuses on good police work and is not as gruesome as some of those CSI-focused dramas. Crombie hides many layers in her books, so the suspense carried through to the end. Truly, I did not guess ahead of time which character was actually the guilty party! The ending was a shock to me. 

Deborah Crombie is, surprisingly, an American! The book is set is London and is filled with British facts and trivia, slang and customs, tea and plenty of that famous London rain. It's perfect for anglophiles that are longing for a touch of the British life.

Definitely, I'm a late-comer to this series. The entire series started when Book One (A Share in Death) was published in 1993! The first book I read was No Mark Upon Her (Book 14) and this is only the second one I have picked up. Even so, I'm a fan of DS Duncan and DI Gemma!  To Dwell in Darkness ended on a cliff-hanger and I can't wait to read about what happens next! 

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Facts:
  • Pages:   336
  • Year originally published:   2015 (paperback edition)
  • Author:  Deborah Crombie is a New York Times bestselling author and a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She now lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.  Connect with her through her websiteFacebook or follow her on Twitter or Google+.
  • You might want to know:  This book is a murder mystery, so details of death are included in this book. The scenes and descriptions are not overly graphic, but sensitive readers might use caution.
  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews of this title. For more information, please visit TLC Book Tours
Purchase on Amazon:   To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie 



 
 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.