Book Reivew: Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

I was recently had the opportunity to read Made to Last by Melissa Tagg.  It was sent to my by Bethany House Publishers and I have to say it was a cute little read.

Made to Last centers around Miranda “Rand” Woodruff who is a pseudo celebrity because of her home improvement show.  She is cute and bubbly onscreen and can really show people how to build things with her hands.  She is not just a prop for the show.  She is also a good person who is making and who has made bad decisions in her life.  We, the reader, catch her as she is on the decline of some of those bad decisions.

Matthew Knox one of our protagonists of the story is  a reporter, also seeing the decline of his career due to some bad decisions both in his personal life and his career.  Matthew is thrown a bone and is sent out to South Carolina to write a serial blog about Miranda Woodruff.  For Matthew, this is about as low as a reporter can go, but he has other fish to fry so the  money is important.

Add in two other men, a real ex-fiance and a real fake husband…and Miranda has her hands full.  Hot on her heels is another home improvement show and Miranda is getting heckled by her network to produce her “husband” whom she has spoken about but never produced in the 3 years she’s been on the show.  All this surely spells disaster, right?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was cute.  It was not terribly thought-provoking and was just a cute read.  The characters are well-developed but they do not have a lot of depth…and not in bad way.  I mean that these characters do not attach themselves to you in a super meaningful way.  The story itself was well-developed, the plot moved along and it was good.

I would like to read Blaze’s, the fake husband’s story…because obviously, there are unplumbed depths there!

 

All in all if you want a cute and sweet read…then Made to Last is your book.

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Book Review: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! this book by Elizabeth Camden.

Into the Whirlwind is definitely a whirlwind book.

The book takes us through the tumult the Great Chicago Fire and the aftermath.  We meet two people, Mollie Knox and Zach Kazmerak.  Mollie is the owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company.  Zach is the lawyer and main procurer for a large department store.  They know each other on a purely business level but we begin to understand that Zach is more than a little interested in Mollie.

Zach’s employers wants to make a deal with Mollie to buy her watch company.  This includes all papers, watch designs, parts…everything.  Mollie does not understand everything and is a bit overwhelmed by Zach and his speed of doing business.  Mollie is a plodder.  She needs to view a situation, make calculations and then decide on what the most favorable outcome will be.   But some unfinished business between her father and the owner of the department store brings about a large share of mistrust and miscommunication between Zach and Mollie.

Will the two of them ever be able to come to an agreement or will there always be mistrust between them?  Will Mollie ever get her watch company back up and running after being destroyed physically and spiritually by the Great Chicago Fire?  You have to read to find out.

I really enjoyed this story and it truly sucked me in.  I liked the development of the characters and the pacing.  Mollie Knox is someone I can relate to and she is likable.  I understand her feeling of being overwhelmed running a business and trying to keep it afloat.  There is an isolation in that no one, but a fellow business owner can understand.  So many people depend on you!

I fell in love with Zach Kazmerak.  He is street smart, business savvy and a bit ruthless.  But under that polished exterior lays a poet who wants love but can never get it unless he compromises his loyalty to his boss.  And it’s his loyalty as well as his unflagging strength that pulled me to him.  I have always been a sucker for a hidden poet…whose easy on the eyes and who also knows the importance of a long days work.

I really felt for Mollie and Zach.  I think part of that reason it intrigued me and sucked me in is that I can relate to the whole fire experience.  We had our own little fire in our town almost a year ago and so I can totally commiserate with the whole thing albeit on a much smaller scale.

Character development, plot line and story pacing are wonderful.  There is plenty of descriptive writing and enough history woven on the pages that you actually feel like you could be reading a first hand experience of what happened to many folks during those awful 36 hours and the subsequent aftermath.

If you like reading a little bit of history melded with a wonderful love story and hard-working folks then Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden is a great start.

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers and I am not required to give it a good review but I did because I liked it.

Book Review: Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

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Note: I don’t own this cover art and am using it for reference purposes only

I was sent this novel by Bethany House Publishers to review…and honestly, I was a little skeptical.  I read another Becky Wade novel (read my review here) and while I liked her plot line and characters, the almost co-dependent nature of the two characters had me a little on edge.

I was pleasantly surprised when I really took to the two main characters of her newest novel, Undeniably Yours.

Meg Cole is a rich girl who doesn’t want the trappings of wealth confining her.  She has been burned in the past because of her wealth and has a few confidence issues.  Her father unexpectedly passes away and she is obligated to run his mega-rich Oil Company and holdings.  Meg is sweet and not extremely business savvy but she is trying to tread water and make her dad proud.  First things first, get rid of all the holdings that were pet projects of her father’s.  The Ax-man…er woman cometh!

Bo Porter is the manager of Whispering Creek Ranch.  It’s a horse ranch that Meg’s dad started to breed Thoroughbreds and race them.  His whole livelihood is wrapped up in the ranch.  He brokers a deal with Meg to get the Ranch self-sufficient within 6 months so she won’t close it down.  A lot of people are depending on him, including his brother Jake.  Both Bo and Jake were in the Marines and both did tours overseas, but Jake is wounded both physically and mentally with the scars to prove it.  What will happen to the ranch workers and his brother if the ranch is closed down?  It’s a heavy weight to bear.

Sparks fly in a good way between Meg and Bo.  She has some mental issues (don’t we all?) namely a severe case of anxiety.  Bo is strong and calm…just what Meg needs.  But they both realize that they cannot have a relationship because there is so much riding on what is going on around them.  Can they make it work?  Will love find a way?  Will past events affect their future?  Well…you will have to read to find out.

I liked the quiet strength of both these characters.  I liked that when things get tough, they don’t rail at God but lean into him as we are commanded to do.  The cast of supporting characters is great and overall, I thought this was a very well written novel.  Character development was fantastic.  Plot line was great.  Everything was excellent.

I am hoping that Becky Wade decides to do follow-up novels of the Porter siblings of Jake, Dru and Ty.  They made such an impact on me as a reader, I would hope that as an author, she would follow-up with them.  Jake…the war veteran who has demons to be cleansed and faith to find.  Dru…the spit fire who is trying to grow up too fast and forgetting where she came from.  And Ty…the pro circuit bull rider…I mean, c’mon you know there’s a story in there!

Ahh, gentle reader, this was a great little get away for me!  Happy Reading!

Book Review: A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr

My latest book review is about A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr.  I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers for review.  I do not have to give this book a favorable review…but…

Oh.My.Word.

I loved this book…and seriously cannot wait to get my hands on the next one.  I sure hope there is a next one.

Carr weaves an amazing tale about two boys…Errol and Liam.  Errol is a drunk and Liam is near perfect.  Their lives are intertwined, but to what degree, we do not find out until later.  A Cast of Stones focuses on Errol’s story.

We meet Errol and he is pissed drunk.  He is given a mission to take a bag to a hermit who lives in the hills.  Errol really wants to finish this job because it will give him enough coin to stay drunk for a few weeks.  Yeah, it’s that bad.  Errol realizes someone is watching him, tracking him, hunting him.  An assassin!  And from that point on the story develops, grows and deepens.  The characters develop, grow and deepen.  We find that Errol has an amazing gift, but the full extent of that gift is not revealed until much later.

Errol has many trials and meets many folks along the way who help him on his path.  He has few friends and many more enemies.  He is being hunted, but he doesn’t know why.

There is a kingdom in danger.  A spiritual war.  And an unlikely hero.

I really enjoyed Carr’s pacing in this book.  It kept me enthralled and introduced a whole new world to me…all without boring me to tears.  This story features rich history, legend and lore, and fighting.  Who doesn’t love that.  Carr takes many ideas from religion, particularly Catholicism and weaves it into a fresh new tale.

The reader starts off not really liking Errol.  I mean, he’s a drunk.  Then we go from not feeling very sympathetic to empathetic to rooting for him.  I really like who Errol becomes on the pages of this book.

For a first book, Carr did an amazing job weaving a wonderful story…and I sincerely cannot wait to read more!

Bravo, Mr. Carr.  Bravo!