Posts Tagged ‘Book review’

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A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

January 21, 2013

Bethany House Publishing was kind enough to send me another book to review!

Do you want to know the great thing about this particular book? It was good.

Will it be a modern classic? Probably not. But I enjoyed reading this book.

A few thoughts:

Surprisingly, it reminded me a bit of the Sound of Music. The protagonist runs away from her true identity to play the part of a governess. She then leaves her governess job and becomes a maternal figure for the children of a widower. The widower, of course, ends up being her love interest. I think the Sound of Music comparison first came to mind when I read this (page 106):

“I suppose I should start at the beginning,” Hamilton said, taking a seat beside his mother.

“I always find that’s the most prudent place to start,” Gloria said.

Sound familiar? Anyone else now singing “Do-Re-Mi” from Sound of Music?

I’m obsessed with names. Many of the characters had, in my opinion, great names (Cora, Eliza, Hamilton, Zayne, Salice, and Penelope, to name a few).

As the mother of a two-year-old, I found it interesting that the three-year-old boy was repeatedly referred to as a baby. This was offered as an explanation for his inappropriate behavior and seemingly constant napping. Do most people consider a three-year-old to be a baby? Did they in 1880? More importantly, can I use that as an excuse to justify my two-year-old’s behavior?

Several times I caught myself smiling at a clever phrase or interesting piece of dialogue.

When I read for pleasure, I do my best not to edit. But sometimes I stumble over awkward writing and typos. For instance, there is one section (page 166) in which the main man is struggling to find the right words. There is a bit of narrative commentary that says, “He was normally perfectly capable of turning out a pretty phase (italics mine) when the occasion called for it.” Given the context, I’m convinced that should have been “turning out a pretty phrase.” Distracting, but not a deal breaker for me.

It was a quick read. In some ways, it may have been too quick. When I see the book on the counter now, I longingly wish I had more to read.

However, there are several loose ends. I’m hoping for a sequel!

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Book Review: Love in Disguise

July 18, 2012

Bethany House Publishers was nice enough to send me another free book to review. Have I mentioned how much I love this program? It means I get fun snail mail, motivation to read and write, and a free book! I love free books!

The book they sent me to review this time was a mystery by Carol Cox called  Love in Disguise.  Overall, I’d have to say that this book lacked the intensity of a good mystery. Mysteries (in my opinion) should have me biting my nails as I nervously come across clues, try to catch the mischief makers, and keep up with the detective.  With a good mystery, I should be dying to know what comes next.

My explanation behind the slow pace of this mystery is that the majority of the tension is revealed on the back cover. The back cover explains that the main female character (Ellie Moore) must pretend to be two different characters in order to investigate a case of thievery in the Wild West. Both of her disguised characters are targeted by the ne’er-do-wells and thieves. The main male character (Steven Pierce) falls in love with Ellie disguised as the “vivacious” Jesse Monroe. He has no clue a girl named Ellie exists.

This simple summary covers three-fourths of the book.

Admittedly, the conflict resolution in the last few chapters is interesting. However, it was not interesting enough to make up for the slow pace of the rest of the novel. Therefore, it’s unlikely that I’ll read more by this author or recommend this book to friends and family.

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The Fiddler

May 30, 2012

What’s the one thing English majors love more than books? FREE books! As a former English major, when I heard that Bethany House Publishing was looking for people to review their books, I rushed to sign up.

I recently received my (free) copy of The Fiddler.  Surprisingly,  I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything by Beverly Lewis. As a result, I had no expectations for her writing style, the familiar-to-some setting (Hickory Hollow), or her characters.

Overall, I found the plot rather simple. Normally, this description would be interpreted as a complaint, but this is a story about the Amish. Simplicity, in this case, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Fiddler centers on two protagonists. The first is 24-year-old Amelia Devries, a world-renowned classical violinist who moonlights as a fiddler under the stage name “Amy Lee.” The second is a 25-year-old man named Michael Hostetler who is torn between his desire to become English (or “fancy”) and his parents’ wishes for him to join the Amish church.

There are two main sources of conflict. After the protagonists meet in the first few chapters, I had no doubt there would be tension surrounding when, where, and how they would fall in love and make their relationship work. The second source of conflict was slightly less predictable. Both protagonists spend the majority of the novel struggling to decide whether or not they should pursue their own dreams or submit to their parents’ wishes for their lives. As a 26-year-old mom and wife, I felt this identity crisis would be more realistic if the characters were a few years younger. If the characters were, indeed, younger, then this novel could easily fall under the category of Young-Adult fiction.

As the main characters work through their respective dilemmas, they interact with several minor characters. Characters like the “Wise Woman,” Ella Mae Zook, and Joanna Kurtz, an Amish girl who is friend to both Michael and Amelia, make me interested to read more from the “Home to Hickory Hollow” series. In fact, I would pick up the next book just in hopes of hearing more about Joanna’s mysterious beau. However, I have no interest in hearing more about Michael or Amelia. I feel as though their stories are complete.

I would recommend this book to someone looking for an easy read with a sweet story and little to no drama or intense conflict. It neither put me to sleep nor made me want to stay up all night reading.