Monday, October 15, 2012

Book Review - Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

Can she solve the crime before they uncover her true identity?

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it's the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can't figure out who's stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow...or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.

Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he's falling in love with doesn't really exist?

Spunky, Feisty, Determined.  Three good adjectives to describe main character, Ellie Moore.  Insecure, Stubborn, Desperate.  Also three good adjectives to describe Ellie.

Author, Carol Cox, did an excellent job in creating the character, Ellie Moore.  Ellie is someone who desperately wants to be acknowledged for being good at something.  She has always been in the background, but desperately wants to stand out.  Some people are comfortable being in the background and never being noticed.  Ellie is comfortable in the background, but longs to be able to come forward and have someone say she has something, but she doesn't think she has anything worth noticing.

The story, itself, was somewhat slow for me; however, I did enjoy the book. The story is solid.  The descriptions are quite good, and I did like the characters.  It was easy to figure out the plot and the twists in the story, so I focused more on the main character.  It was fascinating to see her adapt from a large city like Chicago to a small town in Arizona where everyone is usually in everyone's business.  I also liked the side character of little Billy Taylor, the boy who would be a spy.  I think we now know how James West the character from "Wild, Wild West" might have gotten his start.

Although this is not a two-reader for me, it is definitely a book I will pass along to my friends and recommend.  I look forward to more novels from Carol Cox.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers' Book Review Program for providing me this book free of charge.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review - The River by Michael Neale

“You were made for The River . . .”

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.

But something holds him back—the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old—something no child should ever see.

Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.

When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest—and bravest—thing he has ever done.


This was my first thought when I finished this book.  The author couldn't have finished it there.  There was so much more I wanted to know.  Did the character get married, did he have kids, did he end up owning the business?  Come on!  You can't just stop there!

This was a good, solid book.  For Michael Neale's first published book, this was a good beginning.   Let me begin by giving kudos to the publisher, Thomas Nelson.  For those of us who have not gone over to the dark side of e-readers (I kid, I kid), the esthetics of this book are outstanding.  The cover of the book has an old leather look and feel to it that makes it a joy to hold.  The pages are reminiscent of older books with the uneven edges.  It's the kind of book that makes you sigh in satisfaction just from holding it.

Then comes the story.  Written in a style reminiscent of Andy Andrews, who happens to write an endorsement on the back, this book is written in allegory form with a sometimes meandering, winding, and peaceful, but other times forceful, rushing, in-your-face description of God's presence in Gabriel's life.  How circumstances that seem beyond his control were actually put into motion to eventually move him to the place he needed to be for God to redeem and heal and to show Himself constant in all things.

I will not lie, there were a few times in this book that were a little slow moving, where it felt I was trudging through, but I am a firm believer that it's how you finish the story that is the proof.  If you leave me wanting to know more about the characters, then you have more than done your job.

I look forward to more books by Mr. Neale, and maybe, hopefully, a sequel to The River?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”