Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review on The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick

The Daughter's Walk: A NovelThe Daughter's Walk: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We are going to walk to New York City, Clara, you and I”- not exactly the words that you would expect to come out of your own mother’s mouth. And did I mention this walk was to originate in Spokane, Washington and that the time was 1896? Two women unaccompanied by a man and out to “save the farm” literally in an effort to earn ten thousand dollars provided by sponsors of the walk to pay off their mortgage on their farm. Not your everyday undertaking I must say, but then neither is this book. Jane Kirkpatrick’ offering of The Daughter's Walk: A Novel is truly historical fiction at its finest, as this book is based on a true story. The tremendous amount of research helped to make this story truly come alive and to ring very true to the reader.

Clara Etsby starts off on what proves to be an incredible journey with her mother Helga to walk across the county wearing the new reform dress- a garment meant to symbolize “freedom for busy, active sturdy women” and to show that women did indeed possess endurance. A walking advertisement if you will to promote Women’s suffrage. Along the way they meet much adversity and I don’t want to give away anything there, but as a result of these two taking the walk, and much tragedy at home, there is a “family schism” that last for years. The story continues to follow Clara’s story and her life “after the walk”- the people she meets, challenges she faces and her growth as she reaches for reconciliation with her family. The characters are very real and the depth in their development is definitely there.

I must say that it is apparent to me that Jane Kirkpatrick put much time, energy and imagination into this story of Clara Etsby and later Clara Dore’. She obviously did her homework as it comes through in flying colors in the story. Might I suggest that the reader takes the time to read the Author’s notes and acknowledgements at the end of the book? It is truly fascinating to follow her research trail and see how she pieced this story together based on interviews with relatives, historical documents and experts on the time. I must admit a small bias as the story largely takes place in the Spokane area- I’m very familiar with this area being from Washington State so I really personally enjoyed all the geographical references. If you like a good historical novel with very real characters, I highly encourage you to pick up this book.

This Book was provided by Waterbrook Press through the "Blogging for Books" program in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed were my own.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review on The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Cobble

The Lightkeeper's Ball (Mercy Falls, #3)The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little bit of romance, plus a little bit of intrigue, with a little history mixed in, gives you The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble. Lovely Olivia Stewart, New York socialite, finds that her sister Eleanor who moved to California to marry her Father's business partner's son is now dead. Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and find out what caused her death, Olivia heads west to see who is responsible. With her first suspect being Harrison Bennett, her sister's fiance, she arrives in Mercy Falls, CA using her formal name of "Lady Devonworth" so that she might try to ascertain who killed her sister without others knowing her true identity. But as she gets to know Harrison Bennett better,she soon realizes that he is probably not the one who killed her sister and she also realizes that her feelings for him are going beyond what she expected. Harrison finds himself kept rather busy rescuing Olivia time after time as she face several perilous situations. Could the same person who killed her sister be after her as well? Things get even more complicated as family secrets emerge from both sides. This adds to the intrigue as there are several characters that are not who they seem to be.

Colleen Coble did a good job in showing the progression of the journey that Olivia takes in the book. She has been raised to be concerned with primarily outside appearances, both physical and social standing. As the character of Olivia grows you find her exploring the fact that she is so much more than that. Harrison takes a journey of his own, which is quite similar actually. He finds himself being crushed under the "go into the family business" expectations that often fall on the shoulders of the son of the family. Both have expectations on them given by their parents that they need to figure out with regards to their decisions for their respective futures.

This mystery/romance was an enjoyable and quick read. As in many stories this one hits on the "honesty is the best policy" theme as without it trust is eroded in a relatsionship. There are a few times in this story where things start to unravel because of this, but in the end truth and forgiveness win out.

So for those that enjoy romance, intrigue, and oh let's throw a masquerade ball in for good measure, I think it's a safe bet to say that you will enjoy this book.

This book was graciously provided for me by Thomas Nelson throught the Netgalley program. The opinions represented in this review are my own.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review on The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

The Priest's GraveyardThe Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be honest, It's probably not really a wise thing for me to write this review, because I am unequivocably a "Dekkie"- translation- huge Ted Dekker fan right here. Ted is an author that never seems to tire of taking risks in his writing and I never tire of reading his books. "The Priest's Graveyard" is no exception. From page one I entered into "Ted Dekker land" a wonderful place where I become completely riveted to his story and don't want to quit reading until it is through.

This is a tale full of heartbreak, grief, and intense love. Danny Hansen is a man who has lived through horrific events at the hands of the Orthodox Christians in Bosnia. Leaving his past behind, he comes to America for a fresh start and at that time becomes a priest. With that fresh start our priest finds it necessary to mete out justice to the truly vile creatures of the world who have escaped true justice and Danny makes sure they received some of his own. He is a vigilante of sorts who proclaims judgment on those members of society that need it. Enter Renee Gilmore- a young beautiful girl with a past of her own- a former drug addict and down on her luck sort of girl. She finds her path crosses with Danny because they are both tracking the same man. Renee seeks to destroy this man because she believes he killed her former husband and Danny also seeks him because he believes him to be a vile member of society who needs justice to be served. They team up, and the story just heats up from there.

In true Ted Dekker fashion- there is a twist (or two) and at times your holding onto your seat for dear life. It is amazing how completely enthralled one becomes with these characters. Judgement, moral reasoning and ultimately how love and grace factor into all of it are all brought together in an amazing way. I raced through this book quickly as I really needed to know how it turned out. Yes there are some edgy parts to this book for sure, so be prepared, but it was really a wonderful read. Compelling, riveting and as always throught provoking. Once again Ted- Bravo!(less)

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review on "Nick of Time" by Tim Downs

Nick of Time (Bug Man Series #6)Nick of Time by Tim Downs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tim Downs book Nick of Time is another installment in the “Bugman series” following Virginia based Nick Polchak, forensic entomologist on yet another case. Unfortunately for him, it’s at a pretty bad time in his life as he’s about to get married…on Saturday. Most brides aren’t too keen about their grooms being gone right before the big “I do”. So when Nick tells his fiancĂ© and dog trainer Alena Savard that he is leaving the Monday before their wedding to head to Philadelphia for a Vidocq society meeting- a group of highly specialized forensic specialists who handle cold cases- she’s not real thrilled about it. As always when he gets to Philadelphia more is waiting for him than he anticipated and he is caught off guard by the case that is before him that keeps sucking him in farther and farther. With his singular focus, he is completely entrenched in this case and the question is- will he get back to Alena in time?

This is my first book in the Bug man series. I wanted to get that out there because I think those that have read all the books might have a different perspective. I thought the opening chapter with the” fish out of water” feeling for Nick in a Bridal boutique was perfectly written – hilarious, quick pace, doesn’t get better than that. As I continued on with the book, the storyline was good, great little twist in there towards the end that I didn’t see coming, a variety of interesting characters. The tough part for me was that Nick and Alena are so very sarcastic and caustic to practically everyone they meet, it’s tough to get excited about their upcoming nuptials. I was left with the feeling of- how can these two possibly make it? It was difficult for me to really like their characters. There was a little bit of redemption towards the end, but not a lot. The spiritual message was very subtle, which is fine I guess, not every book needs to preach the gospel that is of the Christian genre. On the whole I thought it was a good book and I think I would benefit by reading Tim Downs other books on the “bug man” in fairness to get more of the back story on Alena and Nick.

Discolsure- I was graciously given a preview copy of this book through the Booksneeze program. The opinions expressed are my own.

Nick of Time

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