Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review on From the Start by Melissa Tagg

From the Start, the first in Melissa Tagg's new series called the Walker Family is a delightful read that I know that fans of her other books will definitely enjoy. This story takes place in small town Maple Valley in Iowa
where former Big time quarterback Colton Greene and struggling romance screenplay writer Kate Walker both wind up to help out after a tornado wrecks havoc on the town. For Kate, it's her home town and she's going home to help family, but for poor Colton it is helping out a college friend's family who he has great respect for and to help him get his mind of his now "very over"( because of a shoulder/knee injury) NFL career. During the course of their time together Colton realizes that Kate would be the perfect person to write his autobiography that his agent was nagging for him to get done and so they are thrown together and a friendship/relationship starts developing between the two.

What is lovely about Melissa Tagg's writing is that within the context of a romance novel, she manages to give you two characters that have their own issues and things they are going through and need to reconcile during the course of the story, sometimes they are things that are processed together, but sometimes they need to deal with their own "stuff" individually before they are able to come together. I like that. It isn't your classic 2 perfect people coming together and poof everything is...perfect. This makes for more multi-dimensional characters and interesting reading. (In fact I found myself looking for every possible opportunity to read this book as it was on my kindle app!) 

Colton is a very likable character, especially as you see him transition out of his former" always in the spotlight" persona into a person who truly does find his purpose in life and how his very difficult past comes to play in that. It was definitely a stand up and cheer kind of moment at the end as he truly sees how the bad in his life could be used for good in other's lives. Kate had her own journey to take as well as she tries to live up to everything that her mother had done before her as well as heal her heart from a disastrous previous relationship . However, she learns along the way that God has a different plan for all of us...and it's ok if it looks a little different that what we originally thought.  

I will say that it's hard not to fall in love with the little town of Maple Valley as well as all of it's inhabitants. Kate has 3 Walker siblings, so it will be fun to see where Melissa Tagg takes this series as we see other storylines unfold. I think she has set things up very well for future storylines and books. I know that I will definitely be visiting Maple Valley again to see what the Walker Family is up to.  

4 stars

I was given a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review on Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

“Um, I forgot”- isn’t this a response that mom’s constantly hear from their darling cherubs who perhaps didn’t complete their list of chores?  Well I have to say, after reading Sandra Byrd’s captivating Gothic Romance novel Mist of Midnight, that was my response- “Um, I forgot how much I love a great Gothic Romance novel!, especially when penned by the hugely talented Sandra Byrd who weaves the historical parts of the novel  into the story seamlessly . It just adds to the enjoyment for the reader and lends some authenticity to the time period of the story. (Read the author’s notes in the back of the book- so fascinating!)

   Mist of Midnight hits that perfect balance in the story  between , that sort of dark Gothic mystery  where things “go bump in the night” and a delightful romance that springs up between the two characters.  We have the lovely Rebecca Ravenshaw, a child of missionaries who lost her whole family overseas in India to both illness as well as the Rebellion that took place there.  She is now tired and heartbroken and is coming home to England to take up residence in her family’s estate Headbourne House in Hampshire England. One slight problem is that she discovers that there was an impostor who had come to Headbourne House just previous to her, posing as “Rebecca Ravenshaw” and claiming her inheritance as well as her home. She then died under suspicious circumstances. So when she, the real Rebecca Ravenshaw, shows up, the town is skeptical ,as many haven’t seen her since she was a little girl. In residence in Headbourne House, is the very handsome Captain Luke Whitfield who is a distant relative next in line to inherit Headbourne House with the supposed death of Rebecca Ravenshaw. Luke is everything that the perfect gothic hero needs to be, as he is completely swoonworthy, but has that edge to him where you wonder exactly what his secrets might be- (think Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre)- is he a good romantic hero or is he going to murder you in your sleep?  This keeps Rebecca, and the reader, off balance throughout the story right till the end as the mystery of what happened at Headbourne House with the impostor comes to light.

  Also in all good gothic tales the residence, or House, is almost  always like a character unto itself  within the story as there is usually some mystery within the house and Mist of Midnight does not disappoint in that respect either with mysterious messages showing up on the walls and rooms that are locked up where Rebecca cannot enter,  letters hidden in the attic, etc.  Sandra Byrd knows her stuff and I was completely engaged in this story from the beginning until the end (which was delightful by the way.)  I would never give away an ending, but I will say that there was an especially endearing little twist that I was not expecting at the end that I thought was very charming and fun to read. 

All in all, a really wonderful read and I was delighted to see that the author just mentioned via social media that she had finished the second book in this series and all I can say is – “sign me up, I’m in “ and this time, there will be no forgetting how much I loved this book and how I am thoroughly anticipating the next one!

5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.