Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Deanna Durbin's Last Hurrah: Film review of Lady on a Train (1945)

Deanna Durbin known affectionately as "Winnipeg's Sweetheart" charmed audiences from 1936 till her retirement in 1948. She was known for her beautiful singing voice and vivacious personality.

She is credited with an impressive 23 films in her short 12 year career. Why you may ask did she retire after only 12 years in film? Despite her success Deanna was never comfortable with the praise and adoration of her fans. At the young age of 27 and at the height of her career she walked away from it all. She married her third husband director Charles David (David directed Durbin in Lady On a Train) on the condition that she could one  day leave all the success and fame to live a quiet normal life in France and she did just that.  I applaud Ms. Durbin for being willing to cast off all her fame and fortune for a simple, quiet life.  Although, I do wonder if she had continued in Hollywood how far would her stardom have risen?
I"m glad that some of Ms. Durbin's films are still available for movie buffs like me to experience and enjoy.

Deanna made the classic, somewhat zany, whodunit comedy, Lady on a Train in 1945. She traded her trademark dark locks for blonde proving that blondes do have more fun!  This is one of my favorite roles of hers. Durbin plays Nikki Collins, a socialite traveling to New York via train who witnesses a murder from  her window seat on the train.  Determined to discover who was murdered she tried to involve the police, but they think she's crazy due to the fact that there's no body. She convinces a reluctant mystery writer, Wayne Morgan (David Bruce) to help her solve the murder.  Lady On a Train is a witty, fast-paced mystery that'll have you second guessing yourself until the very end.

The three numbers that Durbin sings in Lady on a Train really showcase her singing talents. When she sings she's displays a variety of emotions. Deanna's hauntingly beautiful rendition of Silent Night almost brings you to tears, but then when she's singing Gimme a Little Kiss she shows a fun and playful side. The third and final song she sings is Night and Day and this song seems perfectly suited to her vocals.  

If you're a fan of Durbin's work or simply want to watch more of her films, I urge you to watch Lady On a Train. It'll be of the most pleasant 94 minutes (movie's running time) you spend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Autumn Brides is a Delight from Beginning to End

I've seen these  seasonal 'Bride' collection novellas in the library and bookstores. There are Spring Brides, Summer Brides, Autumn Brides and Winter Brides. A friend of mine purchased the Winter Brides collection for me on my Kindle and after reading Autumn Brides, I'm excited to start that set of novellas, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's focus on Autumn Brides since it is fall and my favorite season.

Autumn Brides is a 3 in 1 collection.  I read this book in two days and probably would have read it faster if life didn't get in the way. 
Out of the 3 authors, I'm only familiar with one author, Beth K. Vogt. The other two authors I had never read before, but after reading novellas by them I'm anxious to add them to my ever-growing list of authors. Because I have to read things in chronological order I read these novellas in sequence. If you aren't as OCD as me you can certainly skip around and read them in whatever order you prefer. There were so many great laugh-out-loud moments throughout this series.  Each novella was it's own separate story, but I felt that the choice of stories flowed really well together. 

A September Brides by Kathryn Springer 

Annie Price jumps at the offer of bookstore manager at  Second Story Books in Red Leaf and sees it as an opportunity to start fresh and build roots in a small community.  Deputy Jesse Kent is suspicious of the fact that his mother handed over the keys of her beloved bookstore to whom he considers a virtual stranger. His suspicions are due to the fact that years earlier his mother 'trusted' someone and ended up having her whole life savings taken. Jesse decides to keep an eye on Miss Price and winds up volunteering to be a 'groom' in a wedding re-enactment to Annie's 'bride'. The wedding re-enactment was of a famous well-known couple who founded Red Leaf.  Will this make-believe wedding reveal Annie and Jesse's true feeling for one other?

From the moment Annie appeared on the pages of this book, I liked her. She  had a genuine sweetness about her. She quickly befriended many people in the Red Leaf community and she embraced small town life. I like that she was a keen observer of people. 

Jesse had some great hero qualities. He was always willing to lend a hand and help others in his town. I really liked how protective he was of not only his mother, but other people in the community. 

There was most definitely an undeniable chemistry between Annie and Jesse. I found myself turning pages looking forward to the next interaction between these two. 

The town of Red Leaf and it's residents was also like another character. I found myself wanting to live in a place like Red Leaf. Felt like I'd step back in time to Mayberry. This book was just so charming from beginning to end and I found myself not wanting it to end or leave the delightful town of Red Leaf. 

I look forward to reading more books by Kathryn Springer. 

A October Bride by Katie Ganshert

Emma Tate has had a crush on her brother's best friend, Jake Sawyer for years. While house sitting for her parents, she find her dad's bucket list. One item on that list catches her attention.  
Walk Emma Down the Aisle. 
Two years ago, Emma's dad was diagnosed with cancer.  Emma is determined to help her dad fulfill all his items on his 'bucket list' even if it means getting married.  Hard to do since she broke up with her fiance two years ago and isn't dating.  Enter her brother's best friend Jake. Jake proposes that he be her 'groom' for the fake wedding. Will this fake wedding between Emma and Jake reveal their true feelings for one another?

One of the traits that I love about Emma was how she loved her family. Her family was extremely important to her so much so that she was willing to go through a crazy scheme like a phony wedding. Her heart and motives were in the right place.  

Jake Swayer....well what's not to like about him? He's a hard working, handsome, quiet guy. The chemistry between him and Emma slowly grows given the fact that he's known Emma practically his whole life and is a friend of the family.

 I feel like the author handled the transition of Jake and Emma's relationship well. It progressed naturally and easily and eventually their feelings for each other deepened beyond friendship. 

Another couple of characters I feel deserve mentioning are Emma's parents.  I loved how godly, wise, and courageous her dad was. Even though he was battling cancer, he lived each day to the fullest. There were a few honest and heart-felt conversations he has with Emma and I shed a few tears. I think because I can see my own dad saying something similar to me and because I've lost loved ones to cancer. 

I'm really excited to discover more books by Katie Ganshert. Her October Bride novella left me wanting to read more.

A November Bride by Beth K. Vogt

Beth K. Vogt was the only author I was familiar with when I read this series of novellas. A few years ago I read Catch a Falling Star and really enjoyed it. I like that some of Ms Vogt's heroines are a little bit older. Now that I'm past my twenties it's nice to read about older heroines. 

November Bride finds 30 year old personal culinary chef Sadie McAllister  fed up with 'text only' dates and is tired of being dumped via text.
Enter best friend Erik Davis. The only man who can put down his phone and have a face-to face conversation with her.   Sadie and Erik have been best friends since they were 13. Once Erik realizes he's falling in love with his best friend Sadie can he convince her that his typically ''date-for-fun' attitude towards relationships is changing into a more serious 'till death do us part' kind of relationship?  

I really liked Sadie and Erik as a couple. They are both accepting of one another's flaws and little quirks. I cracked up that Erik hums Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen when he's upset because it calms his down. I found it amusing that Sadie was such a neat freak and every time she and Erik hung out he'd always rearrange something in her house and it would drive her a little nuts. 

Ms. Vogt stuck a good balance with the right mix of life long friends chemistry that blossomed into a growing romance between these two friends. 

If I had to pick which novella I liked the best I'm not sure I could do it. I liked certain elements of each novella.  
Check out Autumn Brides. The writing is top notch and it's great escapism fiction.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

With Every Breathe by Elizabeth Camden....Thought-provoking.

With Every Breathe is set prior to the turn of the century.  Dr. Trevor McDonough (a.k.a. Kendall) is tirelessly working to find a cure for tuberculosis. This was a disease that affected the lungs and had become a major cause of death in America.
He seeks the help of statistician Kate Livingston. Surprised that the 'awful' Trevor McDonough would seek her out, she agrees to work with him despite her reservations.  Trevor and Kate have a history together. Both attended the same school and were academic rivals. Years prior, Trevor beat her in a scholarship for Harvard and Kate has resented him since then.
Can Trevor and Kate survive this disease, look past old secrets and danger to find a life together?

Although I liked Trevor and Kate's banter, I felt that they were both somewhat childish in their dealings with one another. Below is one of many 'childish' examples.

"Kate's eyes narrowed as she looked around the ward, then back at him. "You're paying for all of this? Out of your own pocket?"
"Yes." After all, some good ought to come of the fortune that had been dumped on his lap. 
Kate's mouth thinned, and she looked ready to snap. "I thought you said you were poor, that you needed the money." (Camden, 61). 

At first, Trevor's sullen and serious personality was a turn off and then once the author began peeling back the layers, you realize why he is the way he is. After I understood this, I grew to like him a little more. In order for him to do his job, he has to remain objective. Getting too attached to patients would be too draining emotionally. Because Trevor is so focused on finding a cure for tuberculosis he tends to sometimes forget social graces.

By contrast, Kate is the opposite of Trevor. While both Kate and Trevor are hard workers, Kate tends to wear her heart on her sleeve more when dealing with patients at the hospital. The patients weren't just numbers to her. She genuinely cared about them. One of my favorite moments in the book is when she starts reading books aloud to the patients.  I really liked how passionate Kate was about issues and things that she believed in. 

One of the issues with the book that I had was Kate's fear of death.  Losing her younger brothers to illness and her husband to an accident left her fearing death and the unknown. Yes, there's a certain fear I believe that people have, but in Kate's case it almost crippled her in her relations with others, particularly, her family and Trevor. I do like that the author resolves this issue though and Kate sees her fear of death as not trusting in God.

Despite the fact that I didn't like that the two main characters 'childish" dealings with one anther, this did not detract me from wanting to read more books by Ms. Camden and I applaud her for taking on a serious topic of disease.  I could tell that Ms Camden had done her research for this book and her writing is engaging and keeps you wanting to read more.  

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings....Most Intriguing!

I confess I'm a sap for 'marriage of convenience' stories. The idea of two people entering into marriage for the sake of convenience is intriguing. Regina Jennings managers to throw in a few twists in A Most Inconvenient Marriage. 

Set Post- Civil War, a 'Yankee' nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her 'favorite' patient Captain Jeremiah Calhoun on his deathbed promising to look after his farm in the Ozarks along with his mother and sister. As his widow, she would be given the rights to his horse farm. A 'marriage of convenience' will serve them both as Abigail has nowhere to go and Jeremiah needs someone to look after his property.

Upon arriving at the Calhoun farm, her reception is met with mixed reviews.  Jeremiah's mother 'Ma' Calhoun is thrilled to have her and insists Abigail call her 'Ma'. By contrast, Jeremiah's ill sister Rachel is less-than-thrilled and has a temperamental disposition.

After a few months of posing as Captain Calhoun's widow, Jeremiah shows up at his family's farm; very much alive and demanding to know Abigail's reasons for being on his property. Abigail is perplexed when the handsome soldier before her claims to be Jeremiah Calhoun...he doesn't resemble the soldier she married on his deathbed.

Can Abigail convince Jeremiah she doesn't have ulterior motives for helping out at his farm?
Can Jeremiah convince Abigail to stay before it's too late?

Having only read a novella by Regina Jennings; An Unforeseen Match (Found in A Match Made in Texas collection. Side-note: I highly recommend this collection of 4 novellas. I thought it was so creative the way the first 3 stories are set up by a 'matchmaker' and in the 4th and the final story the reader gets to meet the mysterious matchmaker!) it wet my appetite to read more books by Ms. Jennings. A Most Inconvenient Marriage  held my attention and kept me up late reading for several nights WAY past my bedtime!

Abigail was such a refreshing heroine. There was no guile in her character. She's not afraid of hard work and she's willing to work hard whether it is on the farm or helping patients. Abigail is compassionate, but firm with her patients. She speaks her mind and I found this extremely energizing.

Jeremiah is similarly matched to Abigail in the fact that he also works hard on the farm when he returns from the war. Despite his injured leg he still works hard and pushes himself to his limits. I thought that both Jeremiah and Abigail's willingness to work hard was a commendable trait. I also really liked that Jeremiah was fiercely protective of his family and his farm.

Jeremiah and Abigail's relationship slowly developed. I liked this because it seemed more realistic. After a bit of a bumpy start they become friends and then the friendship turned into deeper feelings for both of them. I found Jeremiah and Abigail's repartee amusing....it made me anxious to get to the next scene with these two characters to see what kind of verbal sparring there would be. Just one of many examples listed below.

'He cleared his throat. "You should've warned me."
"Well, I'm warning you now. We can't stay here."
"You have one of two choices. You can spend the night with those men who are right now sitting in the overlooks and passes, waiting for us to try to sneak past, or you can stay safe here with me."
"Safe with you?" She scowled at him. "I'm not so sure."
"I'm not the one strutting around town telling everyone we're married." (Jennings, 203)

I thought it was interesting that Ms. Jennings dealt a little with how people reacted to outsiders like Abigail. People in the community knew she was a 'Yankee.' She didn't have to say anything. Clearly, there was still bitterness and animosity towards other particularly outsiders like Abigail. The Civil War didn't magically change that...the lingering affects lasted long afterward.

Both Jeremiah and Abigail were believers and their relationship with Christ seems genuine. Both characters pray silently to Him several times throughout the story and also recalling scripture in times of trouble or at various points in the novel. I appreciate that God wasn't added as an afterthought.

Not sure I 'felt' any particular way after finishing this book. I simply enjoyed it as a story and good 'escapism' fiction.

I look froward to reading more of Ms. Jennings' books. She's a gifted writer and the Christian fiction genre is blessed to have her talent.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tried and True by Mary Connealy....Delivers!

I've been a fan of Mary Connealy's since I first read Petticoat Ranch by her several years ago. I knew after reading that book that she was going to top my favorite author list and her books were going to be on my ever growing 'must-read' pile.
As an author Mary Connealy's name is synonymous with humor and cowboys.
Anytime I delve into a book by Ms. Connealy, I know that I'm in for an adventure, with lots of laugh-out-loud humor, feisty, sassy, heroines, and  tough-as-nails, one-man-woman cowboys and heart-melting kisses. Tried and True (Book #1 in her Wild at Heart series) delivered!

Kylie Wilde, the youngest of the Wilde girls is the most 'civilized' of her sisters. She enjoys wearing dresses and growing her hair long. By contrast, Kylie's sisters have short haircuts and wear men's clothes. The Wilde women have all fought in the Civil War and claiming the special exemption they got serving as 'boys'.
Aaron Masterson, the local land agent, is intrigued by the beautiful Kylie. But when he discovers her secret; that she's a woman and she's using the special exemption she got while fighting in the war as a 'boy'...he's torn as to what he should do. He's an honest man and not about to defraud the U.S. government, but he can't help, but he drawn to Kylie.
When someone tries to scare Kylie off her homestead, Aaron feels the need to protect her.
Can he convince her to marry him and settle on the frontier with him and give up her dreams of civilization where she drinks tea and buys fancy, store-bought bonnets?

I loved Aaron and Kylie's chemistry and verbal sparring. For example, there's a part in the book where Aaron is trying to convince Kylie to go to one of her siblings homesteads for protection while he goes off and fights her battle for her This of course, did not set well with Kylie.

"You can leave me a Shannon's, but I'll just follow you. When you ride off, look behind. I'll be right there. I'm not letting you fight my battles."
"You"- Aaron jabbed his finger right in her face- "are not going!"
"Oh, yes I am!"
"If you say one more word about it, I'm going to arrest you for pure stupidity and haul you straight to the jailhouse." (Connealy, 98).

I also really liked the dynamic relationship between the sisters: Bailey, Shannon, and Kylie. Each sister had her own strengths and when they combined all of their strengths and talents they were able to accomplish a lot. They built nice cabins for one another and helped each other in the homesteading process. And even though they don't always get along they are always there for each other.

The ending although satisfactory left me wanting read the other two books in the series.

Ms. Connealy's books always make me want to lasso my own 'tired and true' cowboy!

Thank you Ms.Connealy for yet another fun and adventurous read. I  really love your books. I always know that it's going to be fun and slightly 'Wilde' ride.  Please, please write more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hollywood's Handsomest Leading Man: Top 5 Favorite films

If I had to pick a favorite actor from Hollywood's Golden age it would be Cary Grant.

He's tall, dark, suave, debonair, and devastatingly handsome. What woman doesn't love the cleft in his chin? His Cary Grant persona comes through in all his films. Grant was a multi-talented actor, but in my opinion he excelled at comedy.

Grant's career in film spanned over 34 years and 76 films, so trying to narrow it down to the top 5 favorites will be a challenge, but here goes:

5.) Bringing Up Baby (1938) starring: Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn

Grant plays a mild-mannered, slightly nerdy zoologist, Dr. David Huxley, who is trying to get a million dollar grant to help fund the museum that he works at. While trying to obtain the grant, he is pursued by Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) an erratic and sometimes irksome heiress with a pet leopard named Baby! Chaos and hilarity ensue.

This black and white screwball comedy from 1938 was directed by Howard Hawks. Hawks also directed Grant in other well-known films such as: I Was A Male War Bride (1949), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), and His Girl Friday (1940).

Even though Bringing Up Baby did not do well at the box office when it was initially released, it's garnered more attention and credit over the years. In 2006, Premiere Magazine ranks this film as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time." Grant's performance as Dr. David Huxley was also ranked 68 on the list of "The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time."

Bringing Up Baby is not the first pairing of Grant and Hepburn. They  would also be teamed up in Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Holiday (1938), and last, but not least The Philadelphia Story (1940).

Fun Film Trivia:  Actor Christopher Reeves based his performance as Clark Kent in the "Superman" franchise on Cary Grant's character Dr. David Huxley.
Katharine Hepburn was generally 'fearless' of the leopard that played Baby and even enjoyed petting it. Grant, on the other hand, was not so much and often a double was used in the scenes where his character and the leopard had to make contact.

4.) Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) starring: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Jack Carson, and Peter Lorre.

Grant plays dramatic critic Mortimer Brewster who finds out on his wedding day to Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane) that his adored maiden aunts (Josephine Hull and Jean Adair) kill lonely old men as a kindness and that insanity runs in his family.

Frank Capra directed this dark, madcap comedy. Capra is probably best known for directing It's A Wonderful Life (1946).

In this film, Grant shows off his talent for physical comedy. Whether he's tripping over chairs or finding bodies in window seats, he does it was class and humor. Some of Grant's facial expressions in this film are unforgettable....thankfully they are forever captured on film for audiences to still enjoy.

If dark comedies appeal to you, I would put Arsenic and Old Lace at the top of your list to watch.

Fun Film Trivia: Cary Grant donated his entire salary for this film ($100,000) to the U.S. War Relief Fund.
When Mortimer is sitting in the graveyard, one of the tombstones has the name Archie Leach on it. Archie Leach was Cary Grant's real name.

3.) Walk Don't Run (1966) starring: Cary Grant, Samantha Eggar, and Jim Hutton

Walk Don't Run is a re-working of a film done by George Stevens called The More the Merrier (1943) starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Colburn.

In Walk Don't Run two men (Cary Grant and Jim Hutton) share an apartment with a single woman (Samantha Eggar) during a housing shortage in Japan during the 1964 Summer Olympics.

Walk Don't Run was Grant's last film. He retired after this film at age 61. In part, I think he retired because he was getting too old to play the romantic lead and I think that perhaps he didn't want to see himself get 'old' on screen.  His only daughter Jennifer Grant (with 4th wife Dyan Cannon) was born February 26, 1966 when Grant was 62 and I think that he also wanted to focus on being a father.

Fun Film Trivia: In a few scenes in this film, Grant is seen whistling theme music from two of his previous movies Charade (1963) and An Affair To Remember (1957).
Walk Don't Run is the only film where Grant doesn't get the girl, but plays the role of match-maker between Jim Hutton and Samantha Eggar.

2.) Father Goose (1964) starring: Cary Grant and Leslie Caron

Father Goose is set during WWII. Grant plays Walter Eckland, a man who reluctantly takes a post on an island, scouting for enemy ships and reporting back. He gets more than he bargained for when a French teacher, Catherine Freneau (Leslie Caron) and her students, all female invade the island because they are on the run from the Japanese. 
This movie derives it's title from Grant's character's code name: Mother Goose.
Due to enemy complications, Catherine and her students are unable to be evacuated safely and romance slowly develops between the feisty Miss Freneau  and the stubborn Eckland. 
Father Goose was shot on location in Jamaica. It has a very tropical feel. It's one of these films I like to watch in the middle of the winter.
This film became the 7th highest grossing film of 1964 grossing $12,500,000 at the domestic box office.

Fun Film Trivia: Grant was offered the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964), but turned it down to do this role in Father Goose. He wanted Audrey Hepburn to play Catherine, but she was already committed to My Fair Lady. 
In later years, Grant claimed that his role in the film was most like his personality. Grant also kept in touch with most of the girls (the students) as they grew up and had families of their own. 

1.) An Affair To Remember (1957) starring: Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr

 Nickie Ferrante (Grant) and Terry McKay (Kerr) meet on an ocean voyage. He's engaged to an heiress and she's in a long term relationship. Both try to initially fight the attraction because they are involved with other people. But they end up falling in love and agreeing to meet 6 months later on top of the Empire State Building. 

An Affair To Remember is my favorite film of Grant's.  I feel like Grant is at the pinnacle of his career when he made this movie. He just looks so handsome and suave in this role. Grant has great chemistry with Kerr...you really believe that they are star-crossed lovers. I first watched this film when I was a teenager and still after countless viewings of this movie I still love it and I still cry at the end. 

An Affair to Remember is a re-make of a film called Love Affair (1939) both films were directed by Leo McCarey. 
If you love a good love story (no pun intended) you should watch An Affair To Remember.

Fun Film Trivia: Grant and Kerr improvised many of their scenes and lines throughout filming and many of those scenes/lines made it into the final cut of the movie that came from the actors improvisation.
References in Nora Ephron's Sleepless in Seattle (1993), revitalized interest in this movie again and led to an additional 2 million in VHS sales of the 1957 classic.  

I hope that you enjoyed my list of top 5 favorite Cary Grant films.
Did your favorite Grant film make the cut?  Any films I omitted that you would add?
Would love to hear your comments.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman...Both challenges and charms readers.

I confess when I selected this book to review I was slightly basing my opinion on the impressive and intriguing cover. Little did I know that I'd be taken on an adventure back to 1217.

Chivalrous (Book 2 in the Valiant Hearts series) by Dina L. Sleiman tells the story of Lady Gwendolyn Barnes who prefers riding horses and fighting like a knight than the more lady-like tasks of the day such as embroidery.

Now sixteen her controlling father sees her more as a marriage pawn to be sold off to the highest bidder...in this case he has selected a knavish knight for his daughter.

Gwen is opposed to marriage and family partly because of not wanting her parents marriage and because she sees how her father treats her mother and she wants none of it. Until she meets Sir Allen of Ellsworth.

Allen and Gwen must fight for their futures as they struggle to find love, destiny, and their true identities.

I liked Lady Gwendolyn Barnes the moment she appeared on the pages of this story. I admired her for wanting to learn how to fight and ride a horse when this was not typically the custom for ladies during this time period. One of the qualities I liked about Gwen was she was always willing to stand up to injustice.

Sir Allen was everything a knight should be.  He was kind, humble, and most importantly he considered his relationship with God to be of the highest importance. I love how the author has him frequently praying asking God's guidance and searching the scriptures for answers to his questions. He was everything a hero ought to be and more. He also took being a knight and the rules/code of a knight very seriously. I really liked Allen's constant effort to remain honorable.

Ms.Sleiman is a wonderful story-teller. Her descriptions make you feel like you are right there in the action/ scene. When Gwendolyn formally meets Sir Allen I loved the author's description:

"He lifted her hand and kissed it, sending pleasant shivers to dance across her skin, up her arm, and down her spine. Again he stared deeply into her eyes. Though she must steal her heart against any romantic silliness, something told her that she could happily lose herself in the swirling hazel pool of his gaze." (Sleiman, 91)

I know we live in the 21st century, but personally I would love if men still kissed ladies hands and put the title 'lady' before our first names.

I went through a gambit of so many emotions though reading this book. I laughed a lot, cried some, and cheered incessantly.

Ms. Sleiman's books will be on my 'favorites' shelf and I will definitely be adding her books to my 'must read' pile. Looking forward to reading more books by her.

By the end of this book, I wanted to take on the world and go on an adventure. Read Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman...you wont' be sorry you did. You'll only wonder why you didn't read it sooner.

~~  Chivalrous was provided to me by Bethany House in return for my honest opinion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, for which I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone ~~

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Witemeyer's Done it Again..."Full Steam Ahead" Charges Ahead!

I read this book in two days.  Every spare minute I had outside of work, my nose was buried in this book!

Being an avid fan of Ms. Witemeyer's and having read most of her other novels, I had high expectations of "Full Steam Ahead" and the author did not disappoint. Karen Witemeyer seems to get better and better with each new novel she publishes.

"Full Steam Ahead" is set in Texas in the mid-1800's. Nicole Renard is traveling home to be with her ailing father who owns a profitable shipping company. Because Nicole is a woman she cannot inherit her father's company. It would be passed onto her future husband.
So Nicole is sent to New Orleans to try to find a 'suitable' husband that can be an heir and eventually take over her father's business.  Rivals of her father's are after her dowry, the highly praised 'Lafitte dagger' and this causes her to change travel plans.

Nicole takes a temporary position as a secretary for an obsessed- scientist, Darius Thornton.  He is determined to find out the cause of what makes a boiler explode on a steamship due to his being involved in a boiler accident aboard the Louisiana.

The romance that develops between Nicole and her intense, slightly absent-minded employer was so sweet.
I have to admit some of the kisses between Darius and Nicole were swoon-worthy.

Karen Witemeyer is a talented author. Her characters are multi-dimensional,  they have personalities and character flaws; they are relate-able. Her stories have good pacing, Witemeyer doesn't take too long to resolve issues. She also seamlessly weaves the gospel message into her books which I appreciate.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. Ms. Witemeyer, please keep them coming. Love your books.