Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tea & Read: Undeniably Yours

Title: Undeniably Yours
Author: Becky Wade
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
Rating: One Cup of Tea (★)

This is the second book by Becky Wade that I've read. I loved the first. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first. 

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she becomes the majority shareholder of his oil company and the single inheritor of his fortune. Though Meg is soft-spoken and tenderhearted--more interested in art than in oil--she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of her father's empire.

The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo's determined to resent the woman who's decided to rob him of his dream. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them--her wealth, his unworthiness, her family's outrage--and earn the right to love her.

But just when Meg begins to realize that Bo might be the one thing on the ranch worth keeping, their fragile bond is viciously broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their love--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive?

One of the things I enjoy about Becky Wade's writing is her voice. She has a very cozy tone in her books that makes me want to switch my hot tea to iced tea and find a porch to sit on. I also love her characters. They ring true and Meg and Bo are no different. I liked Wade's treatment of Meg's anxiety and her attitude towards her wealth. It resonates with me. Bo also is everything you want your strong male lead to be, handsome and conflicted. The plot lines were good although a little predictable. The pace kept me interested but it didn't have the urgency to keep reading. It was leisurely, which isn't exactly a bad thing. 

My main problem with this book was there is a surprise element at the ending that I didn't enjoy. If this element had been suggested throughout the whole book, I wouldn't have lowered the rating as much. The ending felt very deus ex machina. I found myself really disappointed at the ending. 

I think I will take another chance on Wade's next book since I so enjoy her voice and her characters.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tea & Read: A Noble Groom

Title: A Noble Groom
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: One Cup of Tea (★)

This is the first book I've read from Jody Hedlund. I must admit that the cover of this book drew me in more than the storyline. 

Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichert, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.

Annalisa senses that Karl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

This book has the basics right. Carl and Annalisa are great characters. I liked Annalisa's balanced character. She was both tough and tender. I loved her drive to save her farm, but that fact that she recognized that she needed help. Carl really does exemplify the title. He really was noble and heartwarming. His caring nature won me over from the time he was introduced. The writing was good and flowed easily and the authors treatment of classicism was believable and added depth to the story. 

My lower rating comes from the fact that the pace of the book was quite slow to me. I didn't quite feel the drive to finish it, although it was enjoyable while I was reading it. A couple of the plot lines were very predictable but were saved by the strength of the characters.

This was an easy, but enjoyable read. I would venture to read other books by Hedlund. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CampNaNoWriMo Update: Momentum

It’s time for a CampNaNoWriMo update.

Since July 1st, I’ve been working on the sequel to my first indie published book. I would like to say that it’s going well, but it’s not. I’ve been sidetracked by migraines and other random busyness. On the days that I do write, I’ve made good progress. Unfortunately, those days don’t come as frequently as I’d like.

I am, however, seeing some positive things out of this experience beyond increasing my word count. I’m learning lessons that impact my whole life and that’s what makes camp so memorable. I’m seeing that there are some morals to this story. I’ve come across a few during this month. One of them is momentum.

The value of momentum is greatly underappreciated. It’s the whole “a body in motion tends to stay in motion” principle. I’ve found when I’ve got some momentum going, my words flow easier. This month has proven this. Losing my momentum is like starting a car on a cold day. It will start, but it takes a minute to get warmed up. I’ve also found that it’s harder to get back in the “mood” of the novel after I’ve let a few days pass.

This is a camp great lesson. Keep moving. And it’s a great camp lesson to apply to every area of life. If I’m allowed to modify the principal above, I’d say “a life in motion tends to stay in motion.” Whether your “motion” is exercising, studying or any other activity that takes more than five minutes to complete, keep moving.

Which brings us to another story moral: to get moving, take a step. A simple statement, I know, but so often, I find myself standing still while lamenting over how hard it is to get moving. Getting moving, most of the time, is taking the simplest and most obvious step, but it is the hardest to accomplish. I think that’s because we expect to take on the whole process at once, instead of realizing that it is a process. Processes are accomplished in steps.

In order to get through the process, you need momentum. In order to get some momentum, you’ve got to get moving. Try it this week. Get moving and get some momentum going.  Onward, campers!