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Orchid House
Orchid House
by Cindy McCormick Martinusen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.99
120 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, May 19, 2008
This review is from: Orchid House (Paperback)
Hoping for a break from the disappointments in her life in California, Julia Bentley accompanies her grandfather's body to the Philippines for his burial beside his beloved Filipino wife.

Emman of the village Barangay Mahinahon, is a boy with a man's responsibilities. Trained as a fighter, Emman can't wait for the American granddaughter of the famous Captain Morrison to return and fulfil his role as her protector and defender.

Not everyone is happy with Julia's return and the hope it engenders in the people of Hacienda Esperanza, her ancestral home. Manolo, the infamous leader of the Red Bolo communist guerrillas, knows he must deter Julia from staying, any way he can.

Cindy Martinusen reveals the exotic beauty, generous hospitality and heartbreaking history of the Philippines in this stunning tale that enthralled me from start to finish.

Orchid House weaves the lessons of the past into hope for the future as Julia learns the history of her grandparents and discovers the mystique of the ageing home that is her inheritance and a haven for her Filipino family and community. Cindy skilfully tells the story through the eyes of Julia, Emman and Manolo, providing astonishing depth to each event and creating great compassion in the reader for each character and their circumstances. Through the pages of Orchid House I was transported to a land of despair and hope, magnificent physical beauty and volcanic destruction, a generous compassionate people and the home of child warriors. Cindy writes with an elegance and insight that captivated my heart and soul as surely as each of her characters did. If you read the acknowledgements, you know there is a bit of the author's own story in this book which only adds to its appeal! Do not miss this gem of a tale about love, sacrifice and above all.... hope.

Along Came a Cowboy
Along Came a Cowboy
by Christine Lynxwiler
Edition: Paperback
165 used & new from $0.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully engaging!, May 14, 2008
This review is from: Along Came a Cowboy (Paperback)
Fabulous! I was looking for a fun and romantic read after a plethora of mind bending books and Along Came a Cowboy did not disappoint. The humour, delightful romantic tension and engaging characters drew me in instantly and carried me through the entire book. That being said, it is not without substance from Rachel's awkwardness with her parents to her niece's search for her real mother. Toss in cameos from Rachel's friends from Promise Me Always and you have the perfect tale to spend a few hours with.

Leaving November (Clayburn Novels Series #2)
Leaving November (Clayburn Novels Series #2)
by Deborah Raney
Edition: Paperback
Price: $23.12
76 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading!, May 12, 2008
Clayburn, Kansas is the last place Vienne Kenney wishes to return to but with her mother stricken by a stroke she has no choice. Humiliated by her failure to pass the Bar exam for the second time, Vienne invests her time transforming her mum's cafe into a coffee bar, passing the time until she can leave Clayburn forever.

Determined to remain clean after a nine month stint in rehab, Jackson Linder returns to Clayburn to reopen his art gallery and make a better life for himself. When gossip and pressures abound, temptation follows Jackson and he can only pray he will be strong enough to resist.

Vienne and Jackson renew their childhood acquaintance but when Jackson reveals his secret, Vienne knows she has no choice to but to sever all ties with him - she promised herself she would never again put herself near a man who would repeat her father's mistakes.

Deborah Raney turns the tables on her second Clayburn novel. In the first story, Remember to Forget, Clayburn was a refuge for Maggie Anderson but in Leaving November, Vienne wants nothing more than to escape. I loved returning to Clayburn for another moving portrayal of the heartache of poor choices and the beauty of restored relationships. Jackson's struggle with his addiction is agonising in its authenticity, just as Vienne's loss of faith in God and herself is all too real. Beautifully written, Deb Raney touched my heart with her characters' journey towards love and redemption and I won't easily forget its message of hope. I am invested in these characters' lives and highly anticipate the third instalment, Yesterday's Embers.

The Voice: A Novel
The Voice: A Novel
by Bill Myers
Edition: Paperback
52 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good read!, May 1, 2008
This review is from: The Voice: A Novel (Paperback)
In all my years of reading, The Voice is my first Bill Myers book but I can assure you it won't be my last.

Bill Myers has created an intriguing and energetic story full of characters to engage with and enjoy. Charlie's austere demeanour hides a broken spirit which is slowly brought back to life by his precocious and entertaining niece, Jasmine, the beautiful and friendly Lisa who is hiding more than her skill with a Glock, and a mission that could change the foundations of the world - literally! If that isn't enough, this is a book that is sure to get you thinking on matters of God and His supernatural power.

Fast paced and edgy with unique characters and a doozy of a storyline, The Voice is a cracking good read for men and women.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 4, 2008 8:39 PM PDT

Fossil Hunter
Fossil Hunter
by John Olson
Edition: Paperback
67 used & new from $0.01

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta love it!, April 23, 2008
This review is from: Fossil Hunter (Paperback)
Paleontologist Dr Katie James has it all ~ beauty, brains, a successful career.....and a debilitating phobia! Determined to overcome her weakness, Katie devotes herself to the discovery and investigation of fossils, comfortable that her faith and profession can go hand in hand.

Dr Nick Murad is highly skilled, thorough and intent on beating Katie James to every fossil remaining undiscovered in the known universe! Uncompromising in his belief of evolutionary theory, Nick jumps at the chance to search for fossils in the previously prohibited hot spots in Iraq. He just didn't count on Katie James getting in his way.

Political intrigue and Iraqi governmental and religious rivalry set Nick and Katie against each other in a tantalising race to uncover the remainder of a whale fossil purported to be in the Al Muthanna desert. When Katie's team is attacked, Nick Murad is the last man on earth Katie wants to save her.

John B Olson's fourth novel is rip roaring hit! Katie is by no means your everyday heroine ~ she is gutsy, brilliant, passionate about her faith and career with a vulnerability brought about by her neurosis, which only adds to her appeal. Nick is an equally well drawn character, smart, attractive, fulfilled by his career, if not his choice of women, and requiring more than a brief pep talk to consider creation by intelligent design. Their interaction is entertaining and electrifying. Action, adventure and humour abound, scene descriptions are so detailed I felt myself sweating in the desert and the seamlessly interwoven discussion of scientific theory and intelligent design, stimulating and engaging. John's PhD in Biochemistry has been put to good use in this novel yet at no time did I feel confused by the jargon. Fossil Hunter will appeal to men and women and has my highest recommendation. I would love to see Katie and Nick hit the big screen one day ~ eat your heart out, Indiana!

The Restorer's Journey (The Sword of Lyric Series #3)
The Restorer's Journey (The Sword of Lyric Series #3)
by Sharon Hinck
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, April 14, 2008
Susan and Mark Mitchell have returned from Lyric through the portal in their attic, shaken by the telltale signs of the Restorer, exhibited by their son Jake. There is little time to contemplate the implications when the self serving Cameron of Lyric and the mind swaying Rhusican, Medea, sweep back into their home and their lives, stealing Susan away.

Desperate to save his mum from their clutches, Jake re-enters the portal transporting himself back to Lyric, but the familiar has all but been replaced by fear and despair. Cameron has produced previously unseen Verses, divided the lands and proclaimed himself King of Lyric. Driven by a courage he didn't know he had, Jake seeks out the exiled guardians but falters as he is suspected of being a traitor.

Meanwhile, Susan is fighting a losing battle, physically held captive by the Rhusicans, but overwhelmed by their power they exact over her mind, sending her spiralling into loneliness and despair as their poisonous thoughts strip her of dignity and hope.

I doubt that any words from me can do this unique series justice but I will try! Sharon Hinck's storytelling is masterful, from her creation of the magnificent world of Lyric to the fascinating characters that reflect so much of the human heart and circumstance. Sharon engaged my heart, mind and soul in The Restorer's Journey, more powerfully even than in the first two books, The Restorer and The Restorer's Son. I believed, naively it now seems, that Sharon couldn't exceed my expectations a third time, yet she did, in every imaginable way. Each emotion and thought of her characters seared into my mind as if they were my own, from torment to fear, from relief to joy. Sharon writes with authority and an understanding of the human heart which is oftentimes both painful and confronting to read. Despite this, a steadfast belief and hope in a power greater than us all underscores each page. There is a profundity to Sharon's words in this tale, about the challenges of suffering, the need for healing and the beauty, depth and power of God's love, that I am still contemplating and hope to for a long time. I count it a privilege to have read such an inspiring, challenging and engrossing story.

Searching for Spice (Linda Revere Series #1)
Searching for Spice (Linda Revere Series #1)
by Megan DiMaria
Edition: Paperback
55 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, April 4, 2008
Tired of watching other couples show their affection for each other, Linda Revere determines to spice up her marriage, making a plan to entice her devoted, but unimaginative husband, into joining in.

After a few failed attempts, Jerry seems to be catching on when he surprises her with a spontaneous lunch date. Linda is hopeful she is on the cusp of the passionate and romantic marriage she began with, one that has waned over the past two decades.

When their romantic learning curve is put on hold due to a regrettable and potentially life altering incident, Linda begins to question whether the romance she has longed for is the answer to her prayers after all.

Megan DiMaria's debut novel takes you on a journey where the destination originally envisaged does not materialise in the expected fashion. I began this story sympathising and laughing with Linda, as she stumbled through what most women experience, expecting a lighthearted and fun read. Searching for Spice provides just that but so much more! Linda's attempts to revive her stable but slightly boring marriage are hilarious and oh, so real and Jerry's slightly bewildered responses spot on. Megan then cranks up the pressure on this genuine couple by adding in a momentarily irresponsible teenager, a petulant employer, a friend's shocking revelation and this engaging story becomes a compelling one. Searching for Spice celebrates marriage without downplaying the commitment, compassion and effort required to make true love last. This is a fabulous read and I look forward to more such offerings from Megan in the future.

As High as the Heavens
As High as the Heavens
by Kathleen Morgan
Edition: Paperback
54 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Scottish romance, March 29, 2008
This review is from: As High as the Heavens (Paperback)
When her father concocts a desperate plan to free Mary, Queen of Scots, Heather Graham doesn't anticipate being its key to success. However, loyalty to her Queen and family finds Heather devoting her time to teaching the loutish and brash Highlander, Duncan Armstrong the airs and graces of the nobility.

Living in close quarters with Duncan and his family, Heather's initial disdain for Duncan slowly turns to a grudging respect and then blossoming affection. As danger edges ever closer, Heather realises how fragile love can be.

Kathleen Morgan's name is synonymous with quality Scottish historicals and As High as the Heavens maintains the same calibre of her past offerings. Duncan and Heather both have independent spirits that clash at first instance and their interaction is mercurial and passionate. Kathleen's descriptive prose places the reader amongst the heather and streams of the Highlands at the same time as the political intrigue and romantic tension enthralls. While the conclusion it forgone, it doesn't detract from this engaging story which will have historical romance readers clamouring for more.

The Duchess and the Dragon
The Duchess and the Dragon
by Jamie Carie
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.94
118 used & new from $0.01

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable storytelling!, March 24, 2008
Imperious and commanding Drake Weston, the Earl of Warwick, is betrayed by his father from the grave. Shattered and infuriated, Drake finds himself running from the law after a fit of aggression towards a conniving servant wanting to benefit from his misery. Ever resourceful, Drake concocts a plan to marry quickly, produce an heir, deceive the English court and regain his rightful inheritance.

Escaping to Philadelphia, Drake survives the frightful voyage and finds himself at the mercy of the Winters, a gentle Quaker family, as an indentured servant. Drake's intelligence and forthright manner has Serena Winter second guessing his story but she finds herself drawn to him as no other man before. Forsaking her church, but not her faith, and all that is familiar, Serena follows her heart only to discover Drake's shameful past and his bold plan that will destroy her trust and shatter her dreams forever.

The Duchess and the Dragon is a passionate tale of love and betrayal set in the early 1800's captivating me from beginning to end. Jamie Carie's characterisation is brilliant with both Drake and Serena having a depth and authenticity rarely seen in romance novels. Drake is charismatic and driven but his transformation to a life of servant hood is revealing as he chafes against his new found limitations but is at the same time empowered by the work of his hands. Serena's compassionate nature is palpable and her confusion over her attraction to Drake delightful. The scurrilous intrigue alongside discoveries of faith play out against the backdrop of their growing love and add to the appeal of this evocative and enchanting story. For those who love Deeanne Gist and Julie Lessman, Jamie Carie will not disappoint - with one book she has entrenched herself a place as one of my "must read" authors

Symphony of Secrets: A Novel
Symphony of Secrets: A Novel
by Sharon Hinck
Edition: Paperback
47 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, March 18, 2008
Amy Johnson's plans for a concert career hit a discordant note when unexpected motherhood finds her to taking up teaching instead to support her daughter.

When she is finally noticed by the Minneapolis Symphony's enigmatic new conductor, Amy's lifelong desire nears fulfilment. When mysterious accidents begin to befall her musical colleagues, Amy determines to use her investigative skills, finely honed from years of reading mysteries, to uncover the saboteur and save the Symphony and her fledgling career.

Symphony of Secrets swept me away into the world of talented flautist, Amy Johnson and her slightly neurotic outlook on life, parenting and the neighbours next door! Sharon Hinck effortlessly pens this engaging tale with smart characterisation, light intrigue and the fascinating machinations of a working orchestra. Amy's befuddled interactions with her teenage daughter Clara, and her sudden desire to become a cheerleader, are funny and voiced beautifully. The definitions of musical terms heading each chapter were enlightening and a fun lead in to the tone of the pages to follow. Underlying this buoyant tale, Amy's inner struggle against her circumstances provides a lesson in patience and the beauty of hope. Bravo, Sharon!

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