Saturday, April 27, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Tour: Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

Unrivaled
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Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe’s best confections, she’s sure she’ll come up with a recipe that will save her father’s struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager–a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin.

Charlie Clarke’s new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he’s never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She’s making his work life miserable…and making herself impossible for him to forget.
Unrivaled was a suh-weet story. Okay, sweet is not exactly the best word to describe Unrivaled-- but since the plot delves deep into the candy-making business I felt compelled to use it:-) Great characterization, engaging plot, forbidden romance, and vivid historical details are more apt choices of description.

I really enjoyed the main spiritual lesson inter-weaved throughout the plot about God being enough. If we truly repent of our sins and surrender our life to Him that's enough-- no works necessary in order to become His child.

Both Charlie and Lucy were enjoyable and three-dimensional characters. After reading the book, I realized that Lucy seemed mean and bossy and selfish; yet she committed actions that exhibited these traits because she believed she was accomplishing a worthy goal: the rescuing of her father's failing business, City Confectionery. In light of that fact, Lucy came even more to life because how many times have I done deeds that were selfish and mean to further a goal I wanted to accomplish?

I loved how Charlie was not your normal proper gentleman. He had a past and, because of his past and his poor (in a literal sense) upbringing, he was not Mr.Uptight-and-Stuffy Charles. Sure, he thought of breaking social etiquette and sliding down the banister instead of walking down the stairs or speaking up for the underpaid factory workers because he remembered how it felt to not be able to provide sufficiently for his family. Becoming rich didn't suddenly harden his heart; although, in time, he did learn how to conduct himself like a proper gentleman... mostly;-)

The romance had a deeper edge to it and wasn't a fluffy feel-good romance, which I really enjoyed. Lucy and Charlie came to understand and love each other, despite the fact that their fathers were enemies on opposite sides of the candy rink. And throwing in fiance Alfred Arthur (or is it Arthur Alfred?;-) drove the romantic plot forward not allowing it to drag.

I always love when a book includes a male friend of the heroine that remains a friend and nothing more throughout the whole book. In Unrivaled this character comes in the form of Sam. And Siri did a great job of keeping me in the dark as to who was  the City Confectionery spy. There were plenty of suspects, including Sam.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell was a wonderful read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon. Oh, I almost forgot to mention how I loved the candy imagery/quotes sprinkled throughout the book. They were perfect and, hmm, sweet.

** Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for the honest review I have given**

Friday, April 26, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Tour: Love In the Balance by Regina Jennings

LoveintheBalance
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Handsome Cowboy or Debonair Tycoon.
How’s a Girl to Choose?
Molly Lovelace dreams of a life without cares in Lockhart, Texas. She also dreams of handsome wrangler Bailey Garner, her ardent but inconsistent beau. The problem is, with Bailey’s poor prospects, she just can’t fit the two dreams together.
Then mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont sweeps into town–and her life–and for the first time Molly wonders if she’s met the man who can give her everything. But he won’t be in Lockhart long and while it certainly seems like he talks about their glorious future together, she can’t quite get Bailey out of her mind.
What’s a girl to do with all these decisions when love is in the balance?
Regina has created your normal historical romance yet with an unexpected twist. The writing was engaging, the characters memorable, and the plot unique. Of all the characters, Bailey was my favorite. His godliness was his most charming trait-- not to mention his passion and kindness. He recognized his faults and even confessed his sins to his pastor. His commitment to remain in God's will and resist temptation endeared him to me all the more. And when he failed and succumbed to the desires of his his flesh, he displayed true repentance.

Unfortunently, I didn't like Molly all that much. She depended too much on Bailey and not on God. She was spolied, manipulative, and petty. And the circumstances involving her and Pierrepont seemed forced and unbelievable. Truly, I only tried to like her for Bailey's sake-- as a character she wasn't horrible, I just couldn't relate to her in any way and couldn't understand her actions. I must say that she managed to redeem herself at the end... slighty.

I enjoyed the attentiveness Regina gave to historical detail-- mainly on the fashions of the day-- and the humor balanced in between the serious issues handled in the book. The romance, overall, was deep and portrayed a beautiful lesson of enduring love, at least, in Bailey's case. Regina managed to deliver a satisfying ending albeit bitter-sweet. Now, despite its short-comings, I managed to read Love In the Balance in two-three days because the plot kept my interest enough that I wanted to see how the character's problems resolved themselves. I give Love In the Balance three stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Thanks to the Litfuse Publicity Group for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for the honest review that I have given**