Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Short Straw Bride

Book Description:
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

My Review:
I loved this book and read it in one day. It is a great historical love story.
First, the characters were lively, unique, and endearing. The author does a great job really making them come to life. Some you will love, some you will loathe but all are very interesting.
The setting is described in detail and is very easy to imagine.
The story is paced very well and keeps the reader wanting to know what happens next. There is suspense along with light-hearted humor.
What I most appreciated about this book was the way the author captured some true-to-life newlywed experiences. Even without a "shotgun wedding" most of us experience some growing pains in those newlywed days, and the author added quite a bit of humor using some of those moments in the book.
I've never read anything by Karen Witemeyer before, but I do have another of her books on my Kindle, which I will be sure to read soon.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House.

Preview it:

Short-Straw Bride

Review: The Fiddler

Book Description:
Amelia "Amy" DeVries, a 24-year-old violinist, is disillusioned with life and love after the collapse of her long-running romance. Weary of endless rehearsals and performances, Amy sets out on a road trip through the Pennsylvania mountains. She leaves her cell phone behind so life's demands can't intrude on her solitude. She doesn't know, nor care, where she will end up.

When her car breaks down deep in the mountains, Amy realizes the flaw in her "no cell phone" plan. She abandons her car and walks the winding roads, searching for help. Following the smell of woodsmoke and the sound of music, she finds a rustic log cabin. There she meets a young Amish man--and through him a community--that will change her life forever.

My Review:
I've read most, if not all, of Beverly Lewis' books. I've always loved them and she is one of my favorite authors. That is why it is so hard to write this review. For the first time, I've read a book of hers that just wasn't that good. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I've come to expect from her.

To begin with, it just wasn't very Amish. Much of the story is about Amelia and her musical career and fiddle playing.  Even when she meets Michael its outside of them Amish community.

Then there were also some parts of the storyline that were just too difficult to believe. I'll refrain from including any spoilers here, but I will just say that some of the situations were unrealistic.

However, it was fun to catch a glimpse of some of Hickory Hollow characters we know from previous books.

Overall, it was OK but not great.

I must mention that I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House.

Preview it:
The Fiddler

My Stubborn Heart

Book Description:
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.
My Review:
I really expected more from this book. The potential for a nice love story along with they added interest in restoring a historic home is what drew me to this book, but I was disappointed.
Most of what there was to know about the characters was revealed in the first few chapters, which made finishing the book a chore. I found that I really didn't care what happened once all the mystery to the characters was gone. The story moves very slowly and there is little suspense.
I was also disappointed in the lack of detail in regards to the home. It would have been interesting to be able to visualize it, as well as the progress made in restoring it, much better than I was able to.
I also thought that the storyline was very predictable.
The one thing I did like about it was the quirky seniors and their role in the story. Its too bad there wasn't the depth of character in the main characters.
The potential for a good book was there, but in the end it really fell flat.
I must mention that I did receive a complimentary review copy of the book from Bethany House.