Sunday, March 29, 2015

Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

This book is set in Texas and is about a small-time writer having to fill a reporter friend's shoes for a big-time interview. She accidentally makes a bet that neither the cowboy, Tru Monahan, nor the writer, Maggie Hope, have any intention of following up with. However, that part of the interview is aired and both Maggie and Tru are stuck. Maggie bet Tru that he wouldn't be able to get her used to the saddle. Her bosses and his publicists give them a deadline and Maggie goes to live in Wishing Springs for a month. There she meets lots of new friends, her past comes to haunt her, and she struggles with love. Tru deals with his personal feelings about his family, Maggie, and personal medical issues. They both struggle with whether or not they should reveal their inner turmoil to each other, and in the end it all comes out.

This book was an interesting book to read. I liked the story and the characters were pretty cool. The nosy ladies from the hair parlor were a hoot, and I loved Tru's grandpa. The way the characters were presented was nice and it was easy enough to remember who was who and how they were all connected. Clopton did a nice job of keeping it easy to read the story and connect with the characters.

Although the story was pretty nice, there were quite a few thing I didn't care for. I did not like the romance between Tru and Maggie. From the descriptions, there was an instant attraction and they kept on making excuses, the same excuses, over and over and over again. It got a little old. Not to mention that their relationship didn't feel real. The emotions were too extreme, and Tru was annoying in that he'd be all gooey for her and then in a split second he'd harden up. It almost had my head spinning to see him change so fast.  Also, Maggie met a person in the beginning of the book and, although she and Maggie became close friends, I feel that the way she was introduced was just random. I finished a chapter and all of a sudden there was this new character and I had no clue why. There aren't any titles on the chapters so there weren't any hints there. I actually turned back and flipped through the pages to see if I had made a mistake or forgotten someone.

It's an interesting Hallmark channel type of book, but nothing that'll make me want to read it over and over again. I give it a 6 out of 10 and recommend it to romance lovers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Dolphins of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

The Dolphins of Pern is another masterpiece by the late Anne McCaffrey. Instead of dragons, this book focuses more on the growing relationship that dolphins have with humans. A young man becomes increasingly interested in dolphins due to an experience as a child, but his mother forbids him to have much to do with them. Eventually he gets fed up with her restrictions and, using the aftermath of a storm to get a head's start, leaves to start a dolphin hall. During this time a story about a young bronze rider and his interactions with the dolphins is given as well. Much is discovered about how dolphins used to interact with humans and how the dolphins interact with humans as well as dragons.

This is one of my favorite Anne McCaffrey books. I absolutely love the relationships that are developed not only between the humans, but between creatures and humans as well. The dolphins have the ability to speak a limited amount of words, and the reason they were brought to the planet originally was to help the fisherman find fish and to warn them about storms and other dangers of the sea, as well as help sailors during storms. Anne McCaffrey does a fantastic job of depicting the dolphins. The way she described them as well as the way they talked was exactly how I pictured they would talk if dolphins could do so in the present day. This story is filled with excellent descriptions and fantastic character development.

As with most of Anne McCaffrey's later stories in Pern, it is better to have read the stories written up to this point to be familiar with the characters depicted. While it is a bit of a stand-alone book, it is a stand-alone within the series so readers new to the series should start with Dragonflight and continue the series from there. I didn't like how the mother treated the son, but it was a crucial part of his character development so it's more of a dislike of the character than how the story was written.

I give this book 10 out of 10 starts and recommend it to lovers of fantasy ages 18 and above or 16 and above with parental discretion. Although there is no sexual reference in this book that I can recall, it does happen within the series.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

The Dandelion Field is a very refreshing story. It's about a couple of kids, the adults in their lives, and how one act can change people's lives. Ginevieve and Raine are staying in a small town because their car broke down and Raine wants to finish high school in one place. Cody is the prime Christian kid of the neighborhood and Dan is a father figure to him. Cody gets Raine pregnant and the adults are all taken aback. This story follows Raine and Cody as well as Ginevieve and Dan as the pregnancy progresses, as well as how the whole town perceives the situation.

I really loved how gentle this story was. I'm normally reading some fantasy action book and it was a nice change of pace, like a breath of fresh air. The story is sweet but not too sugary. I love that the daughter's name is Raine Lightly. I also loved how the whole small community was portrayed. Once something gets out, everyone knows about it. Also, the church was portrayed well in my opinion. Not everyone was perfect and accepting. There was judgement happening and it was a very realistic book overall. It was a nice read and although it isn't what I normally read, I will read it again to relax. It's a great choice for a rainy day.

One of the things I didn't care for in this book was the ending. It wasn't a bad ending, but I was kind of disappointed with how it played out. I didn't think how Gin was portrayed made a lot of sense. I guess she could have reacted the way she did, but it's not what I would have imagined from what I read earlier.

I give this book a 7 out of 10 and recommend it to readers who enjoy Christian Fiction.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”