Friday, June 28, 2013

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander

Synopsis from

Set at Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in America's history, To Whisper Her Name weaves the struggles of real people of the post-war South with the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding's head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn "the gift" that Belle Meade's head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.

As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for "betraying" the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

Christina's Review: This book takes place after the Civil War. Ridley and Bob Green meet up during the war and then Ridley goes to the Belle Meade Plantation after the war to learn from him. Only Bob knows his secret. . . a southern man who fought for the Union. I was hooked from the beginning. Olivia's husband was killed for being a traitor and she is an outcast. She fights her own inner struggles as she moves in with her mother's friend. Olivia is a brave woman who changes and grows so much throughout the book. As she lives at the plantation she starts to find her feelings towards slavery changing but have they changed enough to not see Ridley as a traitor? What will she do when she learns Ridley's secret? It is a captivating story. One you will start and not want to put down.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder


"The apprenticeship is over—now the real test has begun.

When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder—able to capture and release souls—spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before....

Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear."

Jennifer's Review:

Well, I hate to say it but; the last book of a series tends to disappoint me. The story was creative and the newest characters were still well written. Maria is a great author.

I just found myself getting bored with how much repetition there was. Being that I had read both the first and second books, I knew everything that was repeated. I expect some repetition so that we can be up to speed in case it has been a while or a couple books since reading the beginning of the series. However, it almost felt like half the book was taken up with "getting us up to speed". There was even stuff from the beginning of the book that was explained later in the book...?

The romance was perfect, I thought, in all three books but this one was, well, perfect. LOL The ending made me smile and even feel like the ending didn't leave me wanting more. I can't remember another series that has done that for me.

I give Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder 3 1/2 stars.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Taken from

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Christina's Review: Can I just tell you that I judged this book by the cover? When I saw this cover on Deseret Book's website I wanted to read it. Then I read the synopsis and definitely wanted to read it. The book did not fail. It was an awesome book. Awesome!!! I could not put it down! I cannot wait for #2 to come out. The book goes back and forth between Addie's life if she stays with her mom or if she goes with her dad. You read the same moment in time but in different worlds. It is pretty great. It is interesting and captivating. The majority of the novel is Addies' search. You hold your breath and wonder as bad things happen in both worlds which one will she choose?? What will she do? Will knowing what happens in the future change how she deals with it or will she choose to erase the memory and let things happen on their own? So many what ifs? Great read. Great characters. Sucks you in from the beginning and holds you until the very end and leaves you wanting more!!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder



With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....

Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies...."

Jennifer's Review:

Well, I gave five stars to the first book in this series. Magic Study also had me turning pages. Love the new characters Maria created in this story and the strength of Yelena keeps building. It did take me two days to finish instead of the one of Poison Study.

I kept wondering what was going on in Yelena's brother's mind, why he was so angry. Loved that she brought in people from Ixia to keep the story "together" with the first. I usually have a hard time when an author goes from one character in a book and then book two is about a character in the first book instead of keeping the same main character. Does that make sense? In short, I love this series and can't wait to pick up the third... my family isn't near as excited!

I  give Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder four and a half stars.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lydia by Wanda Luce Will Lydia ever find love?

At six and twenty, Lydia Hathaway has endured years of heartbreak, longing for a love that never came. Her deceased father's foolhardiness has left her family bankrupt, and Lydia is eventually left no alternative but to take a position as the governess to Susan Ashcroft of Danbury Park in Surrey. Anxious for peace, Lydia rambles early one morning across the muddy wilds of the Ashcroft estate, where she has a most unimaginable encounter with the notorious Lord Connor Denton.

As their paths continue to cross, Lydia falls ever deeper in love with the charming rogue while battling against his growing assault on her heart. In spite of his forward attentions, she considers his behavior toward her as nothing less than idle flirtation. And why should she think otherwise? As the wealthy son of an earl, Lord Denton may choose from among the most beautiful women of England's first circles. Tormented in a relentless battle to suppress a love she cannot overcome, Lydia resolves to leave the Ashcrofts and Danbury Park forever. After all, she is nothing to Denton isn't she?

Christina's Review: There were some issues with this book that I noticed with my beta reader's eye. There were several sentences in the book that had no spaces between words and then the last portion of the book was in italics because a letter was being read in the story and then the font never changed back. It is a Regency novel. I enjoyed it but it wasn't my absolute favorite. There were bits of the storyline that moved very slow and I couldn't believe when Lord Denton tears up. There were places in the story where I just rolled my eyes :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


"About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear..."

Jennifer's Review:

I hadn't ready any other of Maria V. Snyder's books before picking this one up. I couldn't put it down. You can ask my family. They were quite annoyed that I had to finish it in one day.

I just really liked the main character, Yelena, and how much she was able to handle. She is strong willed...kind of like me. The twists in the story made it impossible to put down. I kept guessing what would happen next and was never quite right about any of it. Definitely prefer to not be able to guess every step in a book.

Will be checking out and reading the next two in the series and let you know what I think.

My almost fourteen year old started reading the first couple of pages and couldn't wait for me to finish so she could read it too. A book that gets you from the beginning.

I give Poison Study five stars!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan

Taken from It is 1878 and the Caldwells and Wainwrights have been feuding for decades. Still, Sarah Caldwell has misgivings when her father pressures her into distracting a ranch hand while he and her brothers rob the Wainwright place. When it becomes clear that hand is actually Cord Wainwright, Sarah realizes she needs to lay low. But Cord spots her in town and, with the sheriff away, makes a citizen's arrest, dragging her off to the Wainwright ranch until the sheriff's return. As the feud boils over, Cord and Sarah make a most inconvenient discovery--they are falling in love. Can they betray their families for love? Or will their families betray them?
Against the beautiful and wild backdrop of the Rocky Mountains comes this sweeping saga of romance, betrayal, and forgiveness from beloved author Kathleen Morgan.

Christina's Review: This is another book I found on Deseret Book's website. I had a baby in December and I have spent a lot of time reading lately as I feed my newborn a bottle.I thought this was a good story. Cord and Sarah are born into a feud and become sucked in by their fathers. They try and help dissolve the feud as they fall in love but there is too much hate between the two families. Can their love survive the feud? I like Sarah and Cord. Cord has to deal with being a constant disappointment to his father and Sarah has to be caretaker of her family and shoulders a lot of responsibility after her mother dies. The book has a good plot, clean romance, good characters, and a family feud! I have read a few online reviews and there are some list some cons in the book but I guess I got too caught up in the story that I didn't notice these. But I read to enjoy and I enjoyed this book.