Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review of For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund


Prequel to the Series



We first met Sir Bennet in The Vow: Prequel to An Uncertain Choice, but this book can be read as a stand-alone story. Though, having read the entire series, I highly recommend reading them all. Three knights in shining armor—what’s not to love!


Sir Bennet returns home to find that his brother has driven the family into debt, and time has run out for repayment to the neighboring lords. Without repayment, there is imminent danger of an attack. Sir Bennet’s mother convinces him—much against his honorable heart—that the only way to save his family’s land and collection of valuable artifacts is to marry a wealthy noblewoman.
 
Lady Sabine was born with a skin blemish—one that she keeps hidden for fear of being labeled a witch! She is convinced that no man would ever love her with such a disfigurement. Her grandmother, learning of the financial woes of Sir Bennet, has plans for an arranged marriage. Can Sir Bennet set aside his honorable values and marry for money? What will he do when he discovers his only recourse to war might be marriage to a woman branded as a witch?

 
This latest installment in the Uncertain Choice series, like the others in this series, is filled with knights in battle, chivalry, and virtue. While Hedlund’s lead characters are quite likeable, her villains are as loathsome as they come. 

I particularly love the way this author paints women as capable rather than powerless. Even though this leading lady is on more than one occasion a damsel in distress, needing rescue from a knight in shining armor, Hedlund still portrays her as a woman of strong character—courageous in the face of danger.
  

This story has a very good lesson about self-acceptance. As Lady Sabine comes to the realization that God had created her with this blemish purposefully—that she was unique, and should embrace her qualities rather than live in shame. In this world that places so much emphasis on physical looks, it is refreshing to have a heroine who is not painted as exquisitely beautiful.

This story moves at a very good pace. It’s a definite page turner—I read it in two sittings. As always, the descriptive writing and settings are lusciously wonderful and the technical aspects impeccable—just as I’ve come to expect from this author.

Even though this series is listed under the genre Young Adult,
it is quite appealing to old ladies like me.

You can learn more about this series at Jody Hedlund's website.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Something Old and Something New...

I want to tell you all about a new Indie author--Terri Tiffany!



No, Terri is not a new author—she’s been around the block more than a time or two with published stories in many Chicken Soup books, magazines, etc, and even had a novel titled The Mulligan hit the shelves two years ago—via the traditional route. But now Terri has ventured into the land of self-publishing, with her first novel published last week. She has also stepped out of her usual genre into her true love—suspense.



 
 
 This story grabbed me from the start! 




Tiffany does a great job of making the MC’s special “gift” truly believable. Kate Song is a photographer who sees mystifying details that others can’t in her photographs—a puzzling phenomenon she was left with when she became the sole survivor of an massive explosion. Kate has spent her life running from the fame that event brought her—determined to shed the name Miracle Girl.

The setting for this story—the town of Bend, PA—is nothing short of eerie. The perfect backdrop for a suspense novel, complete with a cult-like community. The people of the Bend totally creep me out!

You can tell Tiffany's a seasoned writer. Her descriptions drew me into each scene. The story moves along at a good pace with lots of action—a real page-turner.  The characters are well-developed, and the tension between them kept the story engaging between the action scenes. There are plenty of interesting secondary characters to round out the tale. Tiffany does a great job of creating multiple suspects to keep me guessing the identity of the "trainer".

Tiffany also does a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends. Disappointing—I would have loved a sequel!

Did I mention this one is clean? Yes, a book that you won't be afraid for your teen to flip through. Refreshing to find a suspense that isn’t filled with sex and foul language. This story will appeal to a broad audience. My husband started reading it last night. He said, "Wow. This is a really good book."

Yes, it is a really good book. It's available now as a paperback and for Kindle and Nook. You can purchase The Bend at Amazon, and at Barnes & Noble.

I look forward to reading her next book. Terri Tiffany is an Indie author to watch!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review of Never Forget by Jody Hedlund

I had the pleasure of previewing Jody Hedlund's latest release--Never Forget. The setting for this final installment in the Beacons of Hope series is set at Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island, in the late 1800s.

Abbie Watson’s grandfather is the acting keeper of Rose Island Lighthouse. The only problem is Gramps is senile. Flipping from present day to somewhere in his long-ago past, Gramps is unable to carry out his duties as acting keeper. Luckily, Abbie is more than capable of tending the light and caring for her grandfather. If only she could make the superintendent realize it. If only Abbie’s husband hadn’t been a drunkard. Now that he is deceased, how will she ever convince anyone that she and Gramps should remain at Rose Island? Abbie will do anything to help Gramps remain at the only place he knows and loves.

Following at severe storm, Abbie discovers a man washed ashore. He has no memory of how he got there, or even who he is! Before she can figure out what to tell Gramps, he assumes the stranger is his former assistant one moment, and Abbie’s late husband the next.

Unintentionally, the strange man is led to believe that he is in fact Abbie’s husband. Guilt plagues her, but she allows the charade to continue, hoping it allows a little time for her to figure out how to keep Gramps on Rose Island.

I love the characters in this story. Abbie is proud, strong and loyal—the perfect heroine, even though she is tripped up by many imperfections—one being her ability to avoid the truth. She is easy to like. Nathaniel is giving, kind, tender, but has a tortured soul. He desperately wants to make up for the sins of his past life.

The added detail of dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia adds a bittersweet tone to this story. It's easy to understand how those rare moments of clarity are priceless to Abbie and her sister. What wouldn't we do to have those treasured moments?

The pace is very good from start to finish. I was immediate hooked into the story. The twist and turns were surprising. Just when you think things are coming together, Hedlund throws a curveball. This might just be my favorite in the Beacons of Hope series. 

As usual for Hedlund, the writing, editing, all the details are impeccable. A really good read.

Read in order, this series follows the journey of a wooden cross as it is passed along from one person to another. The individual stories are unique, so the books work quite well as stand-alones.

Never Forget is available for pre-order at Amazon for $4.99.  I highly recommend this one!