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Blog Tour: In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

[ 2 ] August 30, 2014

In-Perfect-TimePlease welcome Sarah Sundin, author of In Perfect Time, who is touring the blogosphere with Litfuse Publicity!

Reviewed by Marisa Deshaies

Author Sarah Sundin completes her Wings of the Nightingale series with a dramatic finish in In Perfect Time, a novel of love and redemption between two unlikely characters who fight against all odds to find love during World War II.

Through three years stationed in Italy, Lts. Kay Jobson and Roger Cooper have kept a steady cordial relationship. Kay, a beautiful flight nurse with a penchant for attracting attention, enjoys flirting and dancing, and dates many men for “fun.” Roger, a prankster pilot known for tardiness, is a former farm-boy who dislikes rules and regulations; he hopes to drum in a big-band after the war ends.

With Kay’s flirtatious manner and Roger’s refusal to date, the two seem as likely to fall for each other as the Axis and Allies do of reaching a compromise. Nevertheless, Kay takes Roger’s rejection as a slight to her ability to get any man she wants. As Kay fights to understand what she has to do to gain Roger’s attention, he struggles to trust himself with women—no easy task as Roger’s romantic past continually makes him question his decisions. Roger and Kay learn that it is only through God’s forgiveness and love that both of them can move forward from painful pasts. The timing of their potential relationship, however, is threatened by years of hurtful comments from family members that deepen minimal self-confidence in themselves and each other. Neither Kay nor Roger believes that they are good enough for God’s redemption or for the other person’s love. Dangerous missions across enemy territory thrust Kay and Roger into situations that grow their feelings for each other. The only question left is whether God’s forgiveness and the resulting redemption is enough for Kay and Roger to trust in His timing to bring them together.

Sundin is a master of World War II historical romance novels. In Perfect Time is no exception to this statement—in fact, this novel may be her best yet as it spans multiple settings, utilizes a completely new plot line rarely discussed in World War II novels, and threads in characters from her previous stories through the current characters’ experiences. From Italy, India, and France to the home-front across the United States, Sundin takes her readers to the front lines, behind enemy territory, through fields and towns with partisans, to USO tours. No setting is left untouched, and her vivid descriptions make it seem as if the war is currently taking place. Sundin’s attention to detail—especially to dialog, cultural standards, and heritage—display her love for World War II history and her desire to bring love to light as a way of honoring those who valiantly fought abroad and at home during the war. One of Sundin’s tools for achieving this genuine love of the time period is her characters. In Perfect Time is filled with all the characters for a compelling story: the flirtatious vixen out to master men, the prankster running to escape his past, the brave boy fighting for his country, the sweet nurse awaiting her love…and many others who serve to complete the story of Kay and Roger’s love. Each character is one that readers can easily see amongst the streets and battlefields of World War II. Sundin’s characters are completely and wholly human—relatable in a way that makes readers feel as if they could be the Roger, Kay, Georgie, Mellie, Vera, Mike, or Enrico of their own World War II story.

I bought Sundin’s Wings of Glory series as a whole; I pre-ordered the first two novels of the Wings of the Nightingale series; and had I not received In Perfect Time as an ARC I would have been the first person to my local Family Christian store to buy the novel. Sundin is one of my favorite authors, and I will continually anxiously await her future novels. In Perfect Time wins five-out-of-five stars for a stellar plot and relatable, loveable characters that readers will cheer for their deserved happy ending.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

An alumna of the University of Delaware’s English department, Marisa holds a Master’s degree in professional writing from New England College. Her dream job is to work as an editor for a publishing company. A voracious reader of all types of literature, her favorite genres include the classics, contemporary and historical fiction, Christian fiction, and women’s “chick-lit”.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Revell. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

[ 3 ] August 29, 2014

Queen of HeartsReviewed by Caleb Shadis

Queen of Hearts is the 8th book in the Royal Spyness Mysteries. While you really don’t need to read these in order, I would recommend reading at least one of the previous books before diving in here. In my opinion, Queen of Hearts is where prior stories are becoming more important.

This time Georgie’s mom is doing something nice for her, though like everything else Claire Daniels does, it’s still mostly for herself. Whatever the reason, Georgie is more than happy to accept an all expenses paid trip, first class to America. More specifically to Reno, Nevada where Mummy is planning to get a quiet divorce from her millionaire Texan husband so she can marry Max, her German millionaire boyfriend.

Like everywhere else Georgie goes, excitement follows. While on-board the ship to America, she witnesses what appears to be a body tossed over the side, and a famous ruby is stolen from an Indian princess. And to her good fortune, Darcy happens to be on the ship, though she wasn’t supposed to know. Turns out he’s sent to chase down a jewel thief that seems to always show up wherever the actress Stella Brightwell is attending social gatherings. So he’s been trailing her, hoping to find some clues to who and how.

While on the ship, Cy Goldman and Stella convinced Georgie’s mum to be Queen Mary in a Hollywood film. It was going to be a love story, where Mary and Elizabeth are fighting over King Philip of Spain. Elizabeth as the younger sister was going to be played by Stella. A lot more drama was going on behind the scenes for the movie than was being captured on the film. Georgie was mostly enjoying herself and going along for the ride. Eventually someone is murdered and Georgie steps in to help find the killer.

This series is moving high on my list of favorites. They are fun reads and definitely fall into the cozy English murder mysteries. Georgie gets into more trouble because of her naivety which just increases the humor of it all. I do highly recommend this series and I continue to look forward to the next book–it’s still going strong after eight!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Blog Tour: The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

[ 2 ] August 29, 2014

13547262Please join Alison Atlee, author of The Typewriter Girl, as she tours the blogosphere with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours!

Reviewed by Meghan Hyden

As I flipped through the books available to review on Luxury Reading, I was immediately drawn to this book. Now, I’m not really a big fan of romance, but the whole story idea just caught my attention and, even after a few days, I could not forget about the book. When I received the package in the mail, I couldn’t wait to begin reading it.

Before I actually talk ABOUT the story, I have to say that this is one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOKS I have EVER seen. The whole presentation – and the author swag she included – added tremendously to my enjoyment of the book. I love when authors do something a little bit different to catch potential readers’ attention and she did just that. (I posted some pictures of it on my blog – you should definitely check them out.)

Once I opened the book and began reading, I could not put it down. At first, things are rough for Betsey and I really felt for her. The fact that she’s willing to do things that, if caught, could get her in trouble, all to better her life, really drew me to her and she is definitely on my list of favorite female main characters. She’s just so … I don’t even know how to explain her. Even when she’s ready to give up, she’s still not READY to give up.

When she finally does get to Idensea, the adventure really begins. The story just flows and is so much fun to read. This is one of my “read the whole thing in a day” books because nothing seemed more important than finding out what happens to her … and finding out more about this mysterious Mr. Jones.

I like Mr. Jones. I don’t, however, like his girlfriend, who we meet as Betsey’s arriving at the train station. Immediately I knew she was not the one for him–and when you read the book, you’ll find out why.

This is the author’s first book and it was AMAZING. Definite 5 stars (heck, if I could give it higher, I would). I can’t wait to see what she has to offer us next.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

You can find Meghan (that’s Meghan spelled the right way) over on her book-ish blog The Gal in the Blue Mask. She’s an avid reader, a book editor, a story teller, a purveyor of delectable fare and pulchritudinous confections, and the best aunt in the world. She loves gardening, hiking, cooking and spending time at the zoo, library and museums. She may not be able to find her wallet, car keys or sunglasses, but she always knows where her Kindle is.

Review and giveaway copies were provided by Alison Atlee. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Underworld’s Daughter by Molly Ringle

[ 0 ] August 28, 2014

perf5.000x8.000.inddReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Persephone and Hades, or Adrian and Sophie in the mortal lives, discovered the secret to immortality in their Underworld garden in Molly Ringle’s first book in the Chrysomelia series. Now, in Underworld’s Daughter, new immortals are being created for the first time in thousands and thousands of years. Unfortunately, Sophie has not had a chance to taste the delectable fruit of immortality. Thanks to Nikolaus, the trickster god, Tabitha and Zoe, her and Adrian’s best friends, have discovered their old immortal selves: Dionysos and Hekate. But Sophie is being left farther and farther behind, which means that mortality and the danger of the cult group, Thanatos, are getting closer and closer. Can her immortal friends, Gods of Ancient Greece, help her escape with her life? Or is she doomed to wait, yet again, and hope she has a chance or coming back for another try.

Thanatos is back in book two of the series, and just as deadly. They’re on the run from the police due to their past public behavior, but this doesn’t seem to bother them any. Sophie, Adrian, and all their friends must group together and outsmart the insane cult. But can they actually reason with the unreasonable?

I love the Greek gods and the mythologies that go along with them, so I was excited to start this series and, after the first book, come back for seconds. Unfortunately, I felt a little disappointed with this installment. I understand that it can be tricky to keep readers engaged while weaving the old Persephone and Hades story with the present storyline. Nevertheless, I found that I liked the original story much more than the story I felt was the “main” event. I think Ringle got stuck in the mud with this one, and it really broke my focus.

I also had an issue with the inclusion of Hades and Persephone’s logically progressing love life. I’m all for a good romance—I don’t even mind it getting hot and heavy—as long as it’s done correctly and doesn’t take away from the plot and characters. In this case, I think the “sexy” bits were tossed in just for the fun of it, and they just made me cringe. Not because they was crude or over the top… it was more like listening to a virgin make up a sexy story you know never actually really happened and just lets you know for sure that the speaker is, indeed, and actual virgin. Just didn’t work for me. At all.

The story ends rather abruptly, and I ended up putting the book down, wandering off, and wondering what just happened to me. I’m also confused by the title. We get a little more of Hekate, who is used by the author as the daughter of Persephone and Hades, thus the possible Underworld’s Daughter. Hekate gets a decent role in the story, and her back story is definitely fleshed out, but I wouldn’t call her a primary character for which titling a book usually makes sense. Anyways, I believe the series has potential, and I really did enjoy the first book. I’m hoping the second was just an awkward middle ground that can turn into a third story that really finishes it up in a fantastic way. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Central Avenue Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Rapture of the Deep by David Grindberg

[ 2 ] August 27, 2014

BookCover-PhotoOrangeFrontReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

It is easy to make assumptions about people’s lives from only seeing what is projected, but there is no way of really knowing what happens at home or in their heads. David Grindberg’s Rapture of the Deep takes a look at two sets of couples who reveal a very different image to the world vs. what is really taking place behind closed doors. Grindberg’s words make the passions, secrets and feelings that no one likes to talk about jump off the page. The characters’ inner pains, ambitions and struggles are all starkly presented and belong to the reader as much as to the story.

The book begins with a tragedy as Jen Johnson is told that her husband Joe, affectionately called Puck, has died in a scuba diving accident in Mexico. The couple has been separated due to Jen’s drinking and inability to process the death of their newborn son but these details are not revealed until later in the story. Grindberg works in a flashback format, paired with scuba diving manual passages that help to break up the story that often switches viewpoints neatly. The truth about this tragedy is also revealed later on in the story.

Joe’s best friend is the high profile banker Tom Hyden who works at his family bank in their small Iowa town. Annie, his beautiful and intense wife, and his daughter Sophie lack for nothing, but they do not know that every night Tom is haunted by the staggering bills in his office that he is unable to pay. Tom and Joe carry their childhood bond into the hobby of scuba diving and stories of the trips they have taken are sprinkled throughout the story. The scuba diving acts as powerful symbolism for Grindberg’s exposure of the characters secrets; nothing can be kept at the bottom of the sea and even when you feel weightless, the world can still be heavy. The relationships and realizations that each married couple undergoes are truly trying and not even the strongest can emerge from the water unscathed.

Rapture of the Deep is an excellent read about the murkiness that can creep into life when it is least expected and how people handle it so very differently. The novel shows events at various times through the eyes of Tom, Joe, Annie and Jen and each provide an interesting perspective on family, success, life, love and hardship. Grindberg’s main characters are careful, composed and will make the reader feel their darkest secrets and pain with raw, but clear intensity.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.com

Review copy was provided by David Grindberg. Compensation was received but in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review.

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Blog Tour: Flings by Justin Taylor

[ 3 ] August 27, 2014

9780062310156Please join Justin Taylor, author of Flings, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours.

Reviewed by Alisha Churbe

Taylor’s short story collection includes twelve short stories and comes in at just under 250 pages. It’s a larger collection compared to some. The stories are in-depth and focus on relationships between different characters. All of the relationships have extreme ups and downs and Taylor does a wonderful job of exploring every kind of ‘what-if’ scenario he can manage to throw at his characters. Taylor brings his characters to the brink of a decision. There are recent graduates flailing and trying to find what they should do with their lives, a widow who is sorting out being left alone and numerous encounters of couples trying to navigate through life (engagement, other lovers, cross-country moves).

In the title story, “Flings,” we are presented with a large cast of characters and tales of love that is usually misplaced. Taylor does not waste words on his characters’ physical descriptions, so the reader is forced to keep track of them merely by name and relationship to other characters in the story. It’s frustrating at first, but worth it if you stick it out. Taylor spends time deep within his characters; after getting used to his style, it becomes more understandable why he doesn’t bother showing us the outsides of his characters very much. The writing is very matter-of-fact and most of the stories are told as if you’re sitting next to the narrator at a bar–complete with stories of characters you’re unable to care about. The stories move at a very quick tempo.

Taylor’s collection is very well-written and the theme of decisions and consequences holds it together nicely and fits within the realm of all the title suggests. Flings shows us how random events can alter lives. Taylor presents his characters with tough choices and while some characters actually make decisions, others tend to let things happen to them and end up in random places due to their indecision and this can be frustrating, but it’s life and some characters choose indecision over action. The collection would be best for twenty-somethings (some drugs, sex, language) who may best relate to the characters in the stories.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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