Review: Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden

I was excited to read this new book by a new author set in the San Juan Islands off the Washington Coast. Though I have family living in Washington State, I’ve never visited this area.

The first part—probably about the first quarter—of the book was hard for me to get through. Authors are told over and over again to “show, not tell” but that can be taken to an extreme. In Ascension of Larks, Rachel Linden spends so much time describing everything in the first 25% of the book, it bogged the story down for me a bit.

Yes, I get that Maggie is an artist and her attention to detail is what makes her an excellent photographer and it’s part of her personality to notice these things. And others may enjoy that much detail but it slowed me down a bit.

Ascension of Larks Rachel Linden

With that said, it did get better. As Maggie settles into her new reality, the story turns from details about her surroundings to the emotional aspect of what she’s experiencing. Personally, drawing me into a character’s emotions is what makes a story great.

Continue reading

Review: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

 

Often in fiction, the story ends and readers are left to assume the happily ever after. It’s usually at high point—a declaration of love, an engagement, a wedding. But what happens after the last first kiss? After the I do’s? When real life encroaches on the high of falling in love? What happens when there are hiccups in the happily-ever-after?

In her latest book, Denise Hunter explores this concept while delicately balancing on the line of realities of life and the hope of love while weaving the main characters’ history with their current-day situation.

Noah and Josephine had a whirlwind romance, one that seemed to set them up for a lifetime of love. But it ended too soon…or has it?

Josephine didn’t completely open herself up to her husband while Noah hadn’t wanted to push his wife whenever he saw that expression of sadness cross her features. Yet, in successful relationships—ones that last lifetimes—communication is so key.

Forced together due to a storm, Noah and Josephine must fast their failures and faults in their relationship while admitting there is still something between them. Will they allow past hurts and angry words to overrule God’s grace, forgiveness, and healing? Sweetbriar Cottage presents a picture that reminds the reader that only God’s love is limitless. That people make mistakes and errors that hurt deeply but unconditional love is not something we earn, it’s something given freely.

My Rating:

Continue reading

Review: You’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

 

When a man with a life plan and a woman whose only goal is daily survival for her and her ten-year-old daughter, will their pasts and prejudices ruin a promising future?

In You’ll Think of Me, Robin Lee Hatcher weaves a story of letting go and learning to trust in the beauty and grandeur of southern Idaho.

Brooklyn Myers has known a lot of disappointment in her life. All she’s known is people leaving her. Her mother. Her husband. Even her father has given up on her.

Upon learning of his best friend’s decision to leave the land he’d promised Derek to his wife and child instead, Derek is engulfed by disappointment. He never much cared for Brooklyn, and here she is again. Ruining his best-laid plans.

As a former resident of Idaho, I love reading about the state in stories. And Robin Lee Hatcher is one of the best in describing the beauty and grandeur of the southern portion of that state. But the author’s true gift is in the heart of her stories.

In the struggles of her main characters, and even a couple supporting characters in a small Idaho town. “You’ll Think of Me” touches on so many difficult issues—abandonment, trust, abuse—in a poignant way.

This one is another winner from Robin Lee Hatcher.

My Rating:

Amazon

Goodreads
Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Tyndale House Publishers. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

In a small town in Idaho’s idyllic wine country where the past looms large, can two people realize their individual dreams for the future … together?

Abandoned once too often, Brooklyn Myers never intended to return to Thunder Creek, Idaho. Her hometown holds too many memories of heartache and rejection. But when her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies and leaves his family home and acreage to her and their ten-year-old daughter Alycia, it’s an opportunity to change their lives for the better—a chance Brooklyn can’t pass up, for Alycia’s sake if not her own.

Derek Johnson, Chad’s best friend since boyhood, isn’t keen on the return of Brooklyn Myers to Thunder Creek. He still blames her for leading his friend astray. And now she has ruined his chance to buy the neighboring ten acres which would have allowed him to expand his organic farm. To add insult to injury, Chad’s dying request was that Derek become the father to Alycia that Chad never was. How can he keep that promise without also spending time with the girl’s mother?

Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Derek and Brooklyn must both confront challenges to their dreams and expectations. He must overcome long-held misconceptions about Brooklyn while she must learn to trust someone other than herself. And if they can do it, they just might discover that God has something better in mind than either of them ever imagined.

 

Review: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

Admission: I have read the popular mainstream YA bestsellers. In fact, I try to read most of them before the movie comes out. The Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender’s Game, The Maze Runner, The Fifth Wave, and more are books I’ve read and (for the most part) enjoyed. And I am often in awe of the worlds their imaginations create.

Mary Weber’s is no exception. Her newest offering takes elements from several of these—aliens, hackers, games of skill—and combines them into a creation that draws readers in.

As the book opens, Sofi’s sole focus is on her brother. A fact readers soon learn is more of a way of life for her. When things go awry, Sofi’s one goal is to find her brother. Between rebelling against her CEO-focused mother and her protection of her brother, some of her choices are not the best. But, you see and understand the motivation behind those poor choices.

What I loved about this book is how fast it moved. There is some good action with the FanGames, but there are more nuances that keep the pace.

Sofi’s past heartbreak where Miguel (the youngest ambassador in earth’s history) is concerned; her relationships with her team, her mother, and her brother; and the question the Delonese people’s motivation all kept my interest. Add in that I never quite knew who to trust, and this one was a page-turner. Continue reading

Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

The third installment of Sarah E. Ladd’s Treasures of Surrey series was a hit with me. My biggest complaint with the previous book in this series was that the hero and heroine were not together enough.

This was not an issue in A Stranger at Fellsworth. In fact, Annabelle Thorley and Owen Locke meet early in the book, and from that point forward, circumstances throw them together repeatedly.

While Owen is a gamekeeper, well below the social circles Annabelle is used to, his character stands above the majority of those in the ton. His love for his daughter and the respect of the land he works build his character as much as his desire to help Annabelle escape.

In direct contrast, Annabelle is navigating a new life, a new world. Her determination to make it work despite the obstacles she has to overcome make her loveable in her own right despite her naivety.

Add to that the search for poachers, a murder, questionable characters, and Annabelle’s scheming brother, and this book becomes one of Ladd’s best stories yet. Continue reading