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.
I was not sure what to expect when I received my copy of “Against the Tide” by Elizabeth Camden since I have never read any of her work before. The little bit I was given from Bethany House seemed interesting, but I was a bit concerned that it might not be something I would be able to sink my teeth into. Usually…if a story’s back cover cannot capture my attention then I am sort of leery of the book…but I was am happy to say…bad pun coming…you cannot judge a book by it’s cover…er…back cover.
“Against the Tide” is the story of Lydia Pallas and Alexander Banebridge. Lydia is an orphan who grows up in Boston. She works at the Naval Ship Yard as a translator thanks to her early years living in different countries with her family. Lydia is tragically torn from her family when their boat does not return to harbor in Boston. Alexander Banebridge is an enigmatic man who visits Lydia’s boss on an infrequent basis. He is handsome in a classical sense, but he is remote. He never fails to mess with Lydia’s items on her desk whenever he comes to visit. Lydia and Bane (his nickname) strike up a partnership of sorts when he needs a translator.
The reader is taken on a wonderful ride through their unconventional courtship and as a watcher of this courtship dance, the reader is definitely rooting for Lydia to have love. Not just love, but also stability and a family. Someone to call her own. We find out that Bane also wants those things but for his own reasons, denies himself and her.
I like how Camden does not make the two characters overly sweet. It would not be with the keeping of their characters. They are both fiercely independent and have a good sense of self worth. Their love story is really a side note to the rest of the story which involves political intrigue, drug abuse, reformation and kidnapping. Faith does play a big part of this story but it is more subdued than other stories I have read.
I really enjoyed the pacing of this story, the characters and the plot. If you are interested in a fantastic read for a winter night (heck, any night) then this book is for you. It’s a fascinating blend of history, great story and a wonderful (redemptive) romance.