Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson

Weddings by Design (Book 3)

A seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. When Jordan Spencer, the editor of Texas Bride magazine visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is devastated to lose her job in his very influential presence. Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement--especially from her friend Bella Neeley--to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well. Could it be that she'll have to design her own wedding dress soon?

As always, Janice Thompson delivers fun, laughter, and romance as she takes readers back to Galveston, Texas, to spend more time with their favorite quirky characters along with fabulous new ones.

My Review:
Gabi Delgado, the protagonist for this Christian fiction, easily connects with readers. She's an unappreciated, talented, single lady who is working in a Cinderella-like situation. While others in the shop work in an ample space, Gabi works in a cramped closet.

Her Prince Charming, Jordan, a reporter for Texas Bride magazine is introduced early in the novel, and the author takes the time necessary for romance to build.

Gabi's dream models are Hollywood's dance stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Jordan incorporates them into the most romantic date ever. The expected plot includes a happily-ever-after ending. I liked this; it's a fun, sugar candy for the brain book.

Thank you to Lanette Haskins at Baker Publishing and Revell Books for my copy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Prime of Life by P.D. Bekendam

Ben used to be a cardiothoracic surgeon before he suddenly abandoned his career and became a janitor at a retirement facility. Now, other than dealing with minor problems such as an unhealthy obsession with prime numbers, an inept boss, and a feud between two cantankerous retirees, he lives a relatively stress-free life. There is even hope for romance when an attractive podiatrist shows an interest in him.

But it is not long before his past catches up with him and his carefully protected world begins to unravel. He is forced to face deep issues about life, love, and God head-on, rather than hide behind his cleaning cart.

My Review:
This novel is told in the first person voice of Ben, a handyman for Heritage Gardens, a retirement home. Ben lives a wacky life as the retirement home's obsessive compulsive janitor. He hates the number four and avoids making left-hand turns. He loves prime numbers and mind games. I enjoyed learning how Ben's mind works.

In his previous life as a surgeon, Ben experienced a traumatic event which caused him to become a doctor-in-hiding and to turn against God. However, one of the home's senior citizens discovers Ben's former occupation and threatens to tell.

Marvin and Frank, two residents, have known each other since childhood, and they still behave quite childlike with their constant bickering and competition. Their personalities bring a good deal of humor into the tale.

Throughout the first half, the pace of the book is good. Then, the author speeds up and leaves out bunches; I longed for details! When I finished reading the hasty conclusion with its magical allusions, I actually found myself blinking.

Thank you to Leeanna Case at Worthy Publishing for my copy.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley

When Laura Gantt returns to the North Georgia town where she recently buried her mother, she hears a startling rumor from her high school sweetheart, Sean Halloran. Many believe that when her beloved but unstable father disappeared in a mountain lake years ago, he staged his "drowning" and fled to the wild. Recent sightings of an unkempt mountain man seem to indicate that the crazy rumor is true.

While Laura deals with serious doubts about the dad she adored, Sean protects her from still darker secrets that can remain hidden as long as her father never returns. As old affections are rekindled, Sean and Laura also uncover memories of a long-ago event that could break them even as it reveals the love beneath the secrets.

My Review:
When I finished reading the final page of this lyrical novel, I sighed with contentment and said aloud, "Now, THAT is a good book!" Simply put, I liked this tale, and I strongly recommend it. Pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and settle down for an enjoyable read.

I connected with history teacher Laura, who has come home to straighten out the affairs of her deceased mother. Thinking she's now all alone--without any family, Laura hears rumors that her volatile father may not have drowned years ago, but still wanders around the Kudzu-covered countryside. She's torn with indecision. Which would be better: To have her father return, but as a dramatically changed man? Or to settle once and for all the question of his death?

Set in a small southern town that's filled with gossipers, long-kept family secrets, and things that go bump in the night,  mysteries are revealed bit by bit until the surprise ending.

Childhood love matures into everlasting love at just the right pace. Romance is not rushed but treated tenderly and with respect.

Readers Guide is included, making this a good pick for a book club.

Thank you to Margaret Clay at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my copy.