Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love

Every Perfect Gift (Hickory Ridge Romance #3)Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won this as Goodreads First Read and was very excited as the book really appealed to me, more for what seemed to be the mystery aspect (Sophie’s “shadowed past”).  I knew it was a romance, but I didn’t realize it was a Christian romance.  I do enjoy Christian fiction, however, the Christian aspect of this book doesn’t really flow.  It’s not really integral to the story -- it’s just there.  The author tried to bring it front and center, but it almost seemed to just be stuck randomly in the story and almost always in relation to attending church.

The book centers on Sophie Caldwell, who has returned to Hickory Ridge, TN to run a newspaper.  There she meets Ethan Heyward, who is overseeing the building of a resort that is sure to revive Hickory Ridge. Each has a “secret.” It is one of the best written books I’ve read lately -- the mechanics were nearly flawless.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters.   I liked Sophie and Ethan, but it seems like their relationship sprung full blown.  I felt like I missed the in-between of the developing relationship as it it seemed to go from introduction to “I hate keeping secrets” to we’re destined to spend the rest of our lives together.  And, there’s another relationship between Gilly (a friend of Sophie’s who wants to be a nurse and open a clinic) and a beau that comes out of nowhere at the end.

While the story was supposed to be the romance of Sophie and Ethan and their secrets, Gilly’s push for a clinic seems to share as much of the story as Sophie and Ethan (and came across a tad preachy to me).  Sophie’s “secret” is resolved pretty much in the middle of the book and is anti-climatic.  Ethan’s secret is also resolved around the same time in an overly dramatic way.  And, I had a hard time finding the “romance.”

I liked the setting of Hickory Ridge and the people, but I couldn’t connect with any of them.  This may be because this is the third and final book in this series and I hadn’t read the previous titles.  However, each book focuses on a different one, though one of those did introduce the reader to Sophie as a child.  My disconnect could also be because I don’t read a lot of romance and even less Christian romance.

Having said all of that, given how well written this book is, I would recommend it for those that enjoy Christian romance, but with the caveat to read the other two books first.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: Tall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves

Tall Tales and Wedding VeilsTall Tales and Wedding Veils by Jane Graves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read by Jane Graves and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I don’t normally read Romance, but I’d say this is more chick-lit than romance.  No matter, it was a fun read.

The premise is straight laced Heather impulsively weds future bar owner Tony.  Copious amounts of liquor were involved.  They set out to dissolve the whole thing, but Heather’s family is so excited over the marriage, that Tony offers to ride out the “marriage” until the annulment comes through, letting Heather be the one to end it all and thus save face.  It goes from there.

The characters in this book were well done and believable, though aspects of the story were totally cliche.  For example, Heather isn’t exactly a twig, though she’s not super heavy.  She also not a beauty though she’s not plain.  Average would be a good description.   Tony is gorgeous and somewhat of a ladies man and maybe a tad shallow.  What I loved most about this book is Tony could have been a complete cad, however, he was a good guy to start with and by the end, he had certainly learned to look beyond the surface.  Heather also grew in similar ways.

As someone who’s lived in Plano, Texas, I also enjoyed the setting.  Overall, while this is a bit of a fluff read, it was an enjoyable read.  Recommended for anyone who’s looking for a super good, light read.

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