on July 17, 2012
First story: Topaz Treasure by Valerie Comer
Lyssa can tell a stranger the health benefits of abandoning their soda in favor of water, but she's scared to death to share her faith in Jesus. Even with those she knows. She's determined to conquer that fear, however, and signs up to help her church with their summer geocaching outreach. Unfortunately, her first attempt to get a sponsor for the event brings her face to face with her former college professor. The man who made classroom-sport of her best friend's very vocal faith.
I loved the salvation message in this story, and the fact that it is an integral part of the character's story. The hero is pretty cool, too. :-)
Second Story: Beneath the Surface by Annalisa Daughety
Madison isn't thrilled about going home--too many bad memories. But she's lost her job and needs a place to stay until she finds a new one. Geocaching is not her idea of a good time, but she reluctantly agrees to make her sister happy. But when an emergency calls her sister out of town, Madison is stuck with Grant as a partner--the fishing guide who looks down his nose at her Jimmy Choo shoes. Can these two reluctant partners learn to see beneath the suface?
Another delightful story with a wonderful message about forgiveness woven through.
Third Story: Love's Prize by Cara C. Putman
While Reagan searches for hidden treasure in the Ozarks, a stalker is searching for Reagan. Can her brother and his annoying roommate, Colton, keep her safe?
This story had a suspense twist and was a fun change of pace from the other stories.
And last but not least...
Forth Story: Welcome Home by Nicole O'Dell
Hadley is fighting to lose the self image that tells her she's still the overweight, unconfident girl she was 96 pounds ago. If she wins the geocaching contest, maybe she'll have proven to herself she's not the same person. And it sure doesn't hurt that one of the contestants is constantly flirting and complimenting her. But Noah--the man who dumped her for her best friend years ago--is bent on destroying any chance she has with the guy.
The book ended on a high note with Welcome Home. I loved Hadley's character and her determination to get healthy and active. And Noah? He's a great big softy! Loved him.
Geocaching, summer, and the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks country? Rainbow's End had me at hello. I have never participated in geocaching (beyond the fact that my work placeshappens to be the location for a geocache--which I think is totally cool), but I grew up exploring Missouri's countryside, so the outdoors, hiking, exploring aspect of this book really drew me in. And since the stories happen over the course of a Missouri summer, and it just happens to be summer time now, I felt like I was exploring and geocaching along with the characters.
(Does virtual hiking count as exercise? Because I sure burned a lot of virtual calories! :-)
Rainbow's End is a great read, and the wonderful, bite-size stories are perfect for a busy summertime schedule.
on June 11, 2012
I've read many collections but this one is near the top of the list. each story was well written, with compelling plots and likeable characters. Valerie Comer's Topaz Treasure was a refreshing take on the 'guy from the past' theme and the the twist at the end was a nice surprise.
Beneath the Surface, by Annalisa Daughety's is a sweet and touching story that everyone will relate to. Cara Putman's Love's Prize and Nicole O'Dell's Welcome Home won't disappoint.
One of the most fun parts is the way the characters all make cameo's in each story.
Rainbow's End is a great summer read. One book for the hammock, one for the beach, one for the pool and one for the road. The only minor issue is that all four stories deserved to be full books.
on February 3, 2013
"Topaz Treasure" -- It's Fresh, Interesting & Addictive!
I loved, loved, loved it!
Topaz Treasure by Valerie Comer
Author Facebook Page
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
This single novella is worth the price of the entire book which I intend to read because the theme is so interesting. However, I did not want to wait another minute to review "TopazTreasure", so I here it is.
First I want to point out that all the novellas in "Rainbow's End" are genuine `little novels' with at least ten chapters. (They are not just long short stories.) This means that with each story you get a full helping of 'HEA enjoyment'. (HEA is the 'Happily Ever After' ending experience that many romance fans so highly prize.) Each story is also environment-friendly. Each has many short chapters which speed the story forward with interesting events. The reading experience is excellent.
This first story in the collection reads like the `perfect' novella. The writing is masterful. The author shows the passage of time better and more smoothly than I've seen it done before. When the story unfolds it happens to you. You actually feel it.
Valerie Comer makes exquisite use of physical proxies which involves using body movements to reveal inner states - that is, what a character is feeling. The reader is not told, for example, that a character is worried but is instead made to actually feel that worry along with the character. This is `showing and not telling' at its best. Indeed, this is the kind of writing normally found only in very experienced authors who are at the high of their creative powers. "TopazTreasure" is a rare gem for a debut work.
Examples of feeling along with the characters:
"She pressed her finger against the few remaining crumbs then licked them off. With the last deep-brown fleck gone, she said good-bye to Kirk Kennedy. Like the confection, he'd been a tantalizing pleasure while he lasted. Her gaze drifted to the dessert case. She could get another piece of cake, but her relationships wouldn't be mended by indulging in more calories."
"The waitress reached for Lyssa's plate, which was all but licked clean."
"He nodded, and his whole body relaxed. `It's true we're not all called to be the mouth. I forget that sometimes'."
There was nothing between them. No reason remained to push him away. She leaned back against him, reveling in his nearness."
In addition to 'feeling' this story, there is a marvelous `stand up and cheer' ending! While the ending follows naturally from the story action, it would not have worked without a well developed foundation. That foundation is evident in each chapter.
However, the writing is so masterfully crafted that right up to the end I would have thought this surprise ending would not have been possible. Yet right at the end all the past hints and foreshadowing come together to make the conclusion seem inevitable. I just love seeing the almost impossible made to look easy. I also greatly enjoy being surprised.
"Topaz Treasure" sets a high standard I didn't know was possible to reach. I feel blessed to have read it. "Topaz Treasure" is an inspirational romance that can also serve as an inspiration to writers.
Additional insights: The hero of "Topaz Treasure" is a humanities professor. As a former college professor, I felt a strong affinity towards him. As a brand new professor he taught some very strong anti-religious views which he is now not proud of doing.
The heroine is a substitute teacher who works in her church as a volunteer. The hero is spending the summer helping his brother open a communications store. The heroine is promoting a geocaching event to raise money for her church. She wants the professor to run an ad in the flyer to promote the church event.
As you might expect the conflicts in the story run deep and feel very real. This was not an easy path for the author to take but it was the path that lead to a truly remarkable story. I now look forward to reading the other three novellas in "Rainbow's End."
"Topaz Treasure" - 5 Stars! Earns Highest Recommendation!
on August 19, 2012
This was a fun book to read. Last year for school my high schoolers had a geocaching club. It was fun to figure out where the caches were. This was a fun story of four different couples who were involved in a contest. Though each story was written by a different author, the stories flowed well together and the authors complemented each others style of writing. Well done ladies. Would love to read another work done by the four of you!!!
on May 2, 2013
Topaz Treasure is such an enjoyable read! Lyssa is a Christian, but is incredibly shy when speaking about her faith. Then she comes across Kirk Kennedy, her college professor who was cruel to her best friend. Could he possibly be the same guy she remembers from college? Or has his heart finally changed for the better? If only she didn't feel a connection whenever she sees him, she would happily bring up this uncomfortable conversation and get closure. There's an unexpected surprise in the story that makes it the perfect light-hearted read and there is indeed a treasure that gets found.
Beneath the Surface brings a story of opposites attract, with just the right amount of tension and sweetness. From hostility to humbleness, from heartbroken to healing; when Madison returns home after several years of being mostly absent she doesn't expect to make amends with her family. With the help of her sister's neighbor, adventures in geocaching, and lots of prayer, Madison realizes there's so much more than what appears on the surface.
Love's Prize took a little longer to get my interest, but I really enjoyed the romance here as it unfolds and the story overall adds perfectly to this book. Reagan is an accountant having some trouble at home so her brother invites her to stay with him for the summer. His friend and fellow law student, Colton, happily joins in the hopes that he will win the treasure hunt of geocaching while looking after Reagan. I completely relate to Reagan in bringing her camera along to capture the beauty and essence of looking for caches on their excursions. An unexpected twist in the story totally changes everything!
Welcome Home, Love (written by Nicole O'Dell) is dedicated to all the women--old, young, and in between--who struggle with low self-esteem and a poor body image. Having camped there most of my life, I know the stronghold well. May you rise up with wings of beauty and take flight with your Savior as He gazes upon one of His most beautiful creations--you.
With dedications like that, my heart is won over immediately. Hadley has recently lost A LOT of weight and is in the best shape of her life physically. However, her mind is still catching up to this new image. She still sees herself as "the fat girl" instead of seeing how beautiful she has always been. She has difficulty taking compliments, she is determined to prove herself and her new strength by winning the geocache treasure hunt, she has invested thousands of dollars to make this trip in the hopes that NO ONE will recognize who she was before, and she immediately catches the attention of two men. One that broke her heart in the past and the other an obvious player. Will Hadley come to realize how beautiful and special she is in the eyes of God? There's also a slight twist in this story and an adorable marriage proposal that goes wonderfully wrong!
Each of these stories beautifully convey messages of starting over, starting fresh, forgiveness, healing, adventure, romance, friendship, and love in the midst of one GREAT treasure hunt. I cannot pinpoint which one was best because each of them have amazing characters and obstacles to overcome. I highly recommend this book as it gives the perfect amount of clean romance, hope, fun and faith that will definitely enhance any booklover's bookshelf!
on July 7, 2012
This was an interesting book; four stories, four different authors in one book. Kinda unfair that they all get lumped into one rating. The first and last stories were my favorites; first getting the top spot. I would give Topaz Treasure a 5 star rating; Welcome Home, Love a 4 1/2 star rating; and the remaining two a 4 star rating. All in all, it was a good book.
on May 25, 2012
Rainbow's End is a collection of four stories that run at the same time, written by four different authors presenting a very captivating story. I loved each individual story and how each person found love and adventure at Lake of the Ozarks. I love how each author wrote her own story but they all tied into one big story about a geocaching event. If you would like to learn more about geocaching and/or Lake of the Ozarks then this would be a great book!
Lake of the Ozarks is such an exciting and captivating lake, my in-laws just happen to have a condo near Camdenton so I was very familiar with all of the areas mentioned in this fascinating compilation. Another thing that I hold close to my heart is geocaching! My family and I love to make a day of it and hit up as many geocaches as we can, the funny thing is that we've never looked for a cache at Lake of the Ozarks. You better believe we will hit the trails next time we are in Missouri!
I give this book 4 and a half stars out of 5 for all of the adventure, mystery, romance and fun that this book captures!
on May 8, 2012
Thanks to Netgalley for my review copy.
I heard about this book from the Rainbow's End launch party on twitter. The more I heard the more I wanted to read this book. It is a novella written by 4 authors each writing there own story. The story is set in the Lake of the Ozarks wilderness where a geocaching event has been organised for the summer. I love the idea of geocaching and the book makes me want to try it at some stage. Each story takes place in this time frame and each is different in there own way. They fit well together. The book also features Valerie Comer's debut story and it leads of the book and is a strong story.
I love Barbour's novella's and also love the novella's that are linked. Dealing with a past time that is becoming more popular also adds to the read. Good read.
on March 5, 2015
This is truly a amazing story. When Kirk comes to help his brother open his new store his life will completely change. Lyssa is completely shocked when she finds Kirk in town. Watching the relationship between these two will have you on the edge of your seat. You will feel God working on these characters in this story. I was gifted this book for a honest review.
on August 27, 2012
Lyssa knows that to be a Christian she should be able to speak up for her beliefs but there is just something about that attacking atheist Humanities Professor that has always gotten to her. So when she's faced with asking him for a church donation it takes everything that she has just to face him - there is no way she could possibly tell him how much his class hurt her.
Review: The premise was good but the story was slow.
Author: Valerie Comer
Beneath the Surface
Madison is at loose ends. She's lost her glamorous job as a marketing exec and is back in her home town itching for big city life and an escape from all of these painful memories and sexy fishermen.
Review:I loved how this flowed from the previous novel. It wasn't as fun as I'd have liked but it was a good novella and solid story.
Author: Annalisa Daughety
Noah is astonished when he sees those dimples again. So astonished, actually, he can barely finish his speach. But will she find it in her heart to forgive him?
Review:Cute, actually the most romantic in this series.
Author: Nicole O'Dell
Reagan is spending ths wonderful summer in the Ozarks with her brother and his roommate. Sounds great, huh? Well, it would be if she could just stop looking over her shoulder to see if her stalker has found her.
Review:Definitely the best if the series, fun and suspenseful.
Author: Cara Putman