Sunday, January 29, 2012

Where, Oh Where Is Abby?

          Alrighty, so maybe some of you have noticed that I haven't posted anything in like...four weeks. Or maybe you haven't noticed, or have and just don't care. For my own happiness I'm going to pretend it's the first option. Anyway.

          I had this great opportunity to take a 2 week intensive college course, and so I did. Hence I was a lil too busy attempting to keep up with surprise quizzes and killer tests to do any blogging. My apologies. I did manage to finish Cascade, and will be reviewing it within the next two weeks or so. Yeah, because I came home with a boatload of homework. Joy.

          But all my assignments are due on February 6th (and if they aren't I pretty much fail....), so one way or another I'm free and clear after that date. Life will resume as normal, as will blogging. And writing. And tearing my manuscript apart in the process of editing. Alright, now that I feel I've explained my absence from the blogging world, I'm going to go work on my paper.

          ....Somebody please save me. -_-

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Lady of Secret Devotion [Review]

Title: A Lady of Secret Devotion
Author: Tracie Peterson
Labels: Fiction | Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Contains: A character who likes to imply things.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: (I loved it)
Blurb: Eager to ease the financial burdens of her family, Cassandra Stover is thrilled when she is hired to be a companion to Mrs. Jameston, a wealthy society woman. Cassie finds herself living a life she'd never imagined--and growing close to the elderly woman who treats her like a daughter.
          Her new position is tarnished only by Mrs. Jameston's son. As Sebastian's resentment and cruelty toward his mother mount, Cassie begins to harbor concerns for her employer's safety...and ultimately her own. When Sebastian is suspected of fraud, insurance investigator Mark Langford solicits Cassie's help to uncover the truth. But what begins as a game of pretense is quickly complicated by matters of the heart.
          A Lady of Secret Devotion has jumped up to be one of my favorite books. If you like historical fiction and romance, I'm sure you'll love it, too. Plus, there's a devious employer's son whose always up to no good - what's not to love?

          I'm rather notorious for readings books in the middle of a series that I've never touched, so you can trust me when I say that this book can stand on its own two feet (if books had feet...). This is the 3rd book in the series Ladies of Liberty, but the first book I've read in the series (actually, I had never even heard of the series until I came across this book), and I didn't have any trouble at all with it.

          I found this book to be a very easy read; engaging, realistic, and very historic without losing you or bogging you down with details you might be unfamiliar with. The plot, I thought, was very interesting and I soon found myself reluctant to put it down. I'll admit I did guess accurately on a few details of the plot, however I liked that there were far too many possibilities of what could happen that I dare trust my guess as correct.

          The two main characters, Cassie and Mark, were awesome. Cassie is this outspoken woman who, considering the time period, isn't getting any younger (though she's by no means old) and has yet to ever be courted. It was cool that she originally came from the bottom of the pecking order, because it made her more down to earth and relateable. And then there was Mark. I loved Mark, he was awesome. While still maintaining the appropriate behavior demanded of his social rank, I thought he was fun, amusing, and all around fantastic. If I had the opportunity to steal a guy out of a book, I would probably take Mark. ^_-

          All around I thought A Lady of Secret Devotion was a fantastic book, full of rich characters, humor, devious bad guys, and great plot. This is a book to hold onto. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Hour Before Dawn [Review]

Title: The Hour Before Dawn
Author: Penelope Wilcock
Labels: Adult Fiction | Historical | Biographical
Publisher: Crossway
Contains: Mature content
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Buy It: Crossway | Amazon | Book Depository

My Rating: File:Star½.svg
Blurb: A moving story about grief and healing unfolds in an English countryside monastery as the beloved brothers of St. Alcuin discover new depths of God’s grace and restoration.
          Once again, author Penelope Wilcock reaches back through the centuries to the ancient monastery of St. Alcuin. Abbot John is undergoing deep, emotional shock after learning of the rape of his sister and murder of his mother; Father William is discovering his own vulnerability; and there, immersed in the daily routine of simple tasks, the brothers undertake the greatest task of nurturing the grace of God in their souls.
          Book 5 in the recently continued The Hawk and the Dove series, The Hour before Dawn explores the psychological impact of grief and trauma as well as how one can be healed. Wilcock deftly weaves themes of the resurrection and ascension throughout the story, exploring the process of having survived suffering, but not yet having moved on. Characters eagerly await the coming dawn of restoration. Based on solid historical research, Wilcock’s representation of monastic life is authentic, rich with poetic prose and a sense of time and place.
          The Hour before Dawn affirms our need for one another’s understanding and love as well as our need for a personal relationship with Jesus. Wilcock’s newest story helps readers understand the grieving process, make connections between the Bible and everyday life experiences, and nurture an attitude of understanding and kindness.
          Not going to lie - I was pretty disappointed with this fifth book in the Hawk and the Dove series. I've read all four of the other books in this series and enjoyed them; sadly the trend went spiraling downward by the time I had finished The Hour Before Dawn.

          While the characters remained relatable, it was the plot I found to be lacking in my tastes. The majority of the plot centers around newly installed Abbot John's sister, Madeleine, who at the very beginning of the book is accused of being a witch and is brutally raped. John and Madeleine's mother is killed during the incident, and the home Madeleine and her mother share is torched. What killed me was the graphic telling of this incident. There was just way to many details, and I really didn't need that mental image stuck in my photographic mind. There were a few other graphic incidents, but I won't mention them for the sake not spoiling it for potential readers. 

          The last fourth of the book was better, as the characters began to reconcile and move past their own personal trials to get on with life. Still, I thought the apparent speed at which Madeleine began to act like her old self a tad unbelievable. After everything that had happened, you would think it would take longer to recover. All in all, I wasn't impressed with The Hour Before Dawn. I'll still keep an eye out for the sixth book, due to be published sometime in 2012, I hope it'll have a better plot line than the 5th did.

          I received a free galley of this book from Crossway and Netgalley for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!! What are your goals for the new year? Books you're dying to read?