Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Making Waves

Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad
Reviewed by Melissa J. MacDonald
Genre: Historical, Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date: 2010

It’s 1895 and precocious Marguerite Westing resides in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She is delighted when her wealthy father tells the whole family they’ll be spending the summer camping on the shores of Lake Manawa. She imagines a summer of freedom away from her snore of a suitor, Roger Gordon. She also hopes to stay out of sight of her demanding mother. Marguerite gets a quick taste of the lake as she slips on the dock and tumbles in. Her handsome rescuer is none other than sailor Trip (ironic name?) Andrews. Never one to settle for simply “womanly” pursuits Marguerite finds herself in love with the strictly male sport of sailing. Trip Andrews isn’t too bad himself. Under the guise of chaperoning her younger brother’s sailing lessons Marguerite and Trip are inexplicably drawn to each other.

In spite of what should be a warm fun summer there is a decided chill that breaks through as Roger’s moods are unpredictable and Marguerite’s father is keeping dangerous secrets that could alter the family forever. When the secrets come to light Roger seems to be the only person who can save the family. Marguerite agrees to marry the mustached Roger with the hope of restoring her family to wealth. Lies and deceit run rampant through the story. Will Marguerite stay with Roger to save her family? Will Trip forgive Marguerite’s deceit and pursue her? I’m not telling, you’ll have to read for yourself!

I’ll fully admit that Making Waves started off a little irritating for me. Marguerite comes across as your typical spoiled brat rich kid who will do anything to get her own way. I was not amused. However, being from Iowa (and within an hour of Lake Manawa) I was completely intrigued by the elusive Lake Manawa. I read on for purely historical purposes. What I quickly found was a much better developed Marguerite and a story that took me by surprise. If you give yourself 100 pages you’ll be completely engrossed in the story and be so glad you kept reading. The story takes twists you won’t be expecting and both Marguerite and Trip have a depth to them that is not seen at first introduction.

The historical aspects of Making Waves were fascinating. Wealthy people really did camp at Lake Manawa for the summer and there really were ferries and ice cream stands and sailboat races. If the story doesn’t grab you the setting of Lake Manawa will. You’ll want to climb into your woolen swimming costume (does that sound itchy and hot to anyone else?!), grab a strawberry sundae, and watch a sailboat race!

Rated: PG for content related to gambling

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lightkeeper's Bride

The Lightkeeper’s Bride by Colleen Coble
Reviewed by: Melissa J. MacDonald
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: 2010

Settle in, you’re going to love this one.

It’s 1890 on the coast of Northern California in a sleep (or not so sleepy) town called Mercy Falls. Katie Russell is in her mid-twenties and her parents are expecting her to make a good marriage match to the wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster. Katie finds Bart a bit dull and finds her job as a telephone operator anything but. One evening while working the lines Katie overhears a disturbing exchange between her friend Eliza and a very familiar male voice. With that one overheard phone call the story takes off in ways you’ll never see coming.

Eliza has disappeared and her baby Jennie has been left behind. The new handsome lighthouse keeper Will seems to keep showing up in all the right….er wrong places. Will has his own set of problems as he witnesses piracy and murder and tries to take care of a one-year-old. Not to mention there is a certain telephone operator that is taking his life by storm. In the midst of clue gathering, pirate fighting, and disease fleeing romance springs up where….well exactly where you would expect it and it’s delightful.

Aye mateys you’ll be on the edge of your seat with this one! I consider myself a bit of a savvy mystery reader but even I was a bit fooled by one character in particular. Coble does a fantastic job of helping you enter into the story. With her descriptive words you’ll be sure you’ve taken off on a mystery sailing adventure with all the main characters. Will seems to bounce back from each deadly wound like the superhero we all want our men to be and you’ll find yourself sighing as he rescues Katie from the dastardly pirates.

This is the second book in The Mercy Falls series but can easily be read as a standalone. However, I guarantee once you travel to Mercy Falls you’ll want to stay for awhile. You might find yourself strapping on your skates at the local roller skating rink, stopping in at the haberdashery, or listening on the party line to hear all the latest gossip. Whatever the case you’ll be glad you were introduced to this special little town.

Rated PG- for mild action and murder scenes

This book was provided for me by Thomas Nelson Publishers through Radiant Lit. To see this at Radiant Lit, click here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dining With Joy

Dining with Joy
Rachel Hauk

In low-country South Carolina Joy Ballard is the host of a regionally-syndicated cooking show. She's beautiful, witty, vivacious.....and she can't cook. Her father's dying wish pushes her into a hosting position she was never qualified to have. Her humor and wit make her a natural on TV and when her show is suddenly picked up by a national network her secret is harder and harder to keep a secret.

Enter the tall dark and handsome Manhattan chef Luke Redmond. He can cook, he's goregous, and he's kind of got a thing for Joy. Their natural chemistry is noticed by Joy's producer and jobless Luke finds himself playing co-host to Joy. As they grow closer and closer, both on screen and off, Joy's secret threatens to destroy everything.

With an enchanting blend of southern living, steamy (yet Jesus appropriate) chemistry, delicious food, and a delightful story line you will love this book! I had my doubts at first but I was quickly taken in and I was dissapointed when it ended. You'll want to keep on hanging out with Luke and Joy (and Joy's crazy family). You might even find yourself wanting to float down the river and join in a small-town softball game.

Read it :)
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