Slow plot, characters uninteresting except for one

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Mercy McClain joined the school board to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child. When the worst offender from her school days applies for a teaching position, she is dead set against it. Yet Aaron Firebrook claims to be a changed man. Can he earn Mercy’s trust–and her support for the challenges to come? (From Goodreads)

 

I really tried to like this book, and to be fair it was good at the first third of the story. I was hoping the plot would pick up, and there would be more development throughout, but it just wasn’t there. Which is unfortunate because although this type of plot has been done in so many countless novels, it still had the potential to be good.

There wasn’t much to the characters in the book although Mercy seemed to have been the only interesting one and the only one with personality.  The chemistry with Aaron and Mercy isn’t that great and as you progress throughout the novel it’s always back and forth with them. You feel like you’re watching a never ending tennis match between these two where they’re not doing anything to gain advantage in the game. And well, to be frank it’s pretty dry.

Aaron  seemed like an all right character to read about, a guy out for redemption and feels bad for his past treatment of a lot of people (he was the town bully so to speak) and although it was nice to see part of his development and him trying to redeem himself it didn’t quite work out as I had hoped, he ended up being mopey, weepy but to the point where you have to wonder if he’s suddenly become emo. True, he’s had some pretty awful things done to him in the past but his constant mood changes from feeling good about changing, to moping on past regrets got old pretty fast, and this contributed more to the never ending tennis match I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The secondary characters surrounding our main ones have each their own issues and problems and although Jimmy’s story was a good one, it just wasn’t enough to give this book justice. The plot was slow moving and dry with minor events happening in which it doesn’t make much of a difference to the story. Sad to say this book just didn’t quite cut it for me.

I give it a 2 out of 10.

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Louisa and Daniel were Perfect Together!

48fc036cb417fe6596d4b637051434f414f4141.jpgWhen dance hall singer Louisa Bell visits Fort Reno to see her brother, she is mistaken for the governess that the harried Major Daniel Adams is waiting for. Between his rowdy troops and his two daughters, he has more responsibility than he can handle alone. Eager for the opportunity, Louisa sets out to show the widower that she is a perfect fit. (From Goodreads)

 

The plot was normally what you would expect in this type of novel. What I really loved about this book was the comedy throughout. I wasn’t really expecting some laughs. It made the book stand out and an enjoyable read. The romance within was also nicely done. There were moments where it tore you up inside but at the same time makes you squeal for joy because you were cheering Daniel and Louisa on. But the ending! Oh my the ending got me all girly and squealing. I’d have to say it was one of the most beautiful endings I have read so far.

But my oh my the romance in this book was excellent! The things Daniel does was enough to make you swoon. The chemistry he had with Louisa was also very well done and although there were a few frustrating moments were Louisa could just tell Daniel outright what the truth was, I guess it had to be dragged out to make the story complete (albeit not necessary. You sort of knew what was going to happen once Daniel found out the whole story.)

Louisa is also very likable and her willingness to change paths is admirable and fun to read. I was hoping for two hellions for her to deal with (which the two girls were at first) but Louisa didn’t have to do much to get them to like her (which proves how likable and fun going she was.)

As a non Christian reader, there are moments of the book where it gets preachy but it’s to be expected and one can gloss over those parts. It’s not extremely central to the book if you’re there to just read for the romance and the characters.

I’m looking forward to reading the next few books and I hope they cover the rest of the characters at the fort. I’d love to know more about their stories and hope they find the same happiness Daniel and Louisa did. 🙂

I give it a 10 out of 10.

Likeable characters in An Inconvenient Beauty

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Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge. Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation. Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after? (from Goodreads)

This book would have made an excellent movie that I would watch several times over. You can picture the characters clearly in your head and play out the scenes as they’re really well descripted and well written. What surprised me the most while reading the book was how funny it was. It’s not a laugh out loud comedy per se, but there were scenes and encounters where you found yourself laughing out loud. I thought it was different. Not all regency romance novels are like this (most are lighthearted romances) so seeing some good funny scenes is nice and puts a different spin on things. (The lawn bowling incident haha!)

Isabella and Griffith were perfect together. They had the perfect chemistry, their intelligence was on par with each other and Isabella was exactly what Griffith needed. He was all about routine, and finding the answers to everything and being prepared. Isabella was exactly the opposite; she made him question his methods, and got him to realize not everything has an answer and sometimes just going with the flow helps brighten up life. The best part was although their romance didn’t start off as usual (love at first sight, etc) it was a gradual bond that lasted throughout the book.

What I didn’t really like was although the characters were great, and the comedy bits made the plot light and fun, it didn’t do much regarding the speed and pace of the plot. It dragged midway in the plot and it seemed to have slowed to a crawl and the change of pace changed considerably.

Aside from the slow pacing in the second half of the book, I enjoyed the characters. They  were fun and likable, and the comedy provided some good light moments. Although this is part of a series, this book can be read as a stand alone as well.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

(The slow pace really got to me in this one, unfortunately)

 

A Book That Gives You the Fuzzies…

32497002.jpgRosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name? Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered.  But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name? (From Goodreads)

Think of Downton Abbey with a very likable character who’s a tough cookie but yet can crumble like a marshmallow when it comes to matters of the heart. There’s an element of mystery, romance, and a feel good story all wrapped up in this book.

Now it make take a bit to get used to, but you do see a mini little sub plot in there where you’re dealing with Peter and his moments of creativity. At first it may seem confusing at first but it’s just Peter thinking aloud. Once you get used to the flow of the book you actually find that Peter’s own stories actually do sound rather interesting (would be nice for a spin off on those.)

Now. Aside from Peter’s creativity and a mini novel within a novel itself, there’s a mystery aspect and the romance aspect of the book. I rather wish there was more intrigue and mystery to the story because it certainly had the potential to it, but what’s really central to the story is in fact, the romance between our two main characters: Peter and Rosemary.

I love them both. They’re both opposites in a way, Rosemary is tough considering where she came from and loud and aggressive when push comes to shove. Peter on the other hand, is quiet, but has many strengths to him as well, he’s just more of the subtle more quiet type. Now this doesn’t mean that Rosemary overshadows Peter. In fact they both rather complement each other. They’re both strong characters, they just have different ways of expressing these strengths.

I also enjoyed Rosemary’s character development. One can certainly understand from her background, why she had particular beliefs and thoughts. As you progress throughout the novel however, you notice this changing and eventually although she was not a bad person to begin with, she does change her view of the world, which does enable her to not only love others but also love herself. This was by far, my favorite part of the book, watching Rosemary’s thinking change gradually as she sees Peter as not one of the typical high society.

It was a joy to read this book. For once, I actually preferred reading the romance aspect (I’m not a romance fan) instead of the mystery. All I wanted was to read about Peter and Rosemary and their chemistry come together. It certainly was a feel good fuzzy hugs type of novel.

I give it an 8 out of 10.

Special thanks to Bethany House for providing me a review copy for free! Thank you so much!