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Promise Me Tonight

Sara Lindsey

Signet Eclipse-February, 2010

Pre-order Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-Tonight-Weston-Novel/dp/0451229371/

This Holiday season has been an incredibly busy one for me and has left me precious little time to enjoy the pleasure of reading, so it took me a bit longer to finish Sara Lindsey’s Promise Me Tonight than it might have if I’d waited until after the New Year to delve into its pages. But the Christmas season, a season of love and giving, seemed the perfect time to give myself the gift of reading a lovely romance, if only for a few stolen moments each day. 

For Isabella Weston, there has never been any doubt about what she wants in life — to become the wife of her older brother’s best friend, James. She spends her childhood adoring him in secret, cherishing her girlish fantasies of love and romance. On the night of her coming out ball, she decides the time is right to make her feelings known at last. But…

Tormented by the deaths of his mother and infant sister and his father’s subsequent suicide, James Sheffield vowed as a young boy never to give his heart away. Loving, he has learned, only leads to pain. His affection for “Izzie” is purely platonic, until the night of her coming out ball when he is forced to see her not as the adorable scamp he has known for years, but as the lovely and alluring young woman she has become. When stolen kisses in the library confirm his worst fears — that she is capable of stealing his heart, James flees the country, far from the temptation of Izzy’s kisses. But though they are separated by distance, he discovers Isabella is ever present in his thoughts.

When James returns home for the reading of his uncle’s will, Izzie puts a new plan in motion, a daring seduction that earns her his wedding ring, but seems to have cost her his love…

Though I found Isabella to be bright, headstrong and delightfully daring, her character seemed a bit shallow in the story’s early chapters, not fully developed apart from her obsession with James. She didn’t fully come alive for me until midway through the book, when a few well-placed and very touching scenes brought out her vulnerability. Much like James, I fell in love with her slowly, but once I did, there was no going back. The heartbreakingly handsome James was much more substantial and complex from the get go. Ms. Lindsey’s dialogue was spot on and she did a spectacular job of getting into the male psyche. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and particularly liked the relationship between Isabella and her younger sister, Olivia.

Promise Me Tonight is extremely well crafted, with a tightly woven plot that takes very few side trips from the romance at its heart. The story has a nice flow with just the right balance of ups and downs and plenty of sexual tension. Though the sex was a bit overdone for my taste, I enjoyed journeying with these characters as they overcame their fears and doubts and eventually found their “happily ever after.”

I feel privileged to have been given an early glimpse at this not yet released, first-in-a-series romance. I recommend Promise Me Tonight to any fan of sensual historical romance.

— Honeybee

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com  

  

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halfway-to-each-otherHalfway to Each Other

By Susan Pohlman

Genre: Memoir

Guideposts, September 2009

Preorder Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Halfway-Each-Other-Brought-Family/dp/0824947800

Susan and Tim Pohlman are living the American Dream in LA. It’s the dream life Susan always wanted, but behind the closed doors of the Pohlman home, things are far from perfect. Susan is disillusioned, unhappy, and secretly plotting her divorce. She plans to tell Tim after they wrap up a business trip to Italy.

Having a free day in Italy with no business to conduct, Tim suggests they spend it together. Although reluctant, Susan agrees. Surprisingly, the day is idyllic. When Tim confesses to hating his job and makes the crazy suggestion that they sell their home in LA and spend a year in the small town on the Italian Riviera in an effort to renew their love and marriage, Susan balks. She has a lot of painful emotions tied to her decision for divorce and can’t even imagine the reaction of their two children, fourteen-year-old Katie and eleven-year-old Matt. Yet the day had been wonderful and if there was even a small chance to save their marriage, shouldn’t she be willing to try?

Tim finds an apartment for them to view and after much soul searching and conversations with God, Susan tells Tim if the apartment is great, they’ll do it. But if the apartment is horrible, they’ll forget the whole idea. Tim agrees. Although lacking curb appeal, the place is large with a wall of windows and a balcony that looks onto the sea. Having made the agreement, Susan puts her faith in God for the first time in years and they sell the house, pack up the protesting kids and make the move.

I received this book and sighed. I laid it on the coffee table to remind me to read it, but I was reluctant. I’d read similar books over the years, both fiction and non-fiction. To be honest, I found them all a bit tiresome. Waking up to a stormy, torrential rain filled day, I picked the book up and decided to read the first few pages. I finished it later that evening. Once I’d started, I couldn’t stop. Ms. Pohlman tells her story with a fresh, unique voice and excellent writing.

This isn’t one of those, ‘lets move to Tuscany and live the simple life’ stories, even though that’s exactly what they do for a year. And although this sounds romantic, the family must adjust to a life so far removed from their previous one, they might as well be on a distant planet. None of them speak Italian and this alone causes many a hardship.

Halfway to Each Other is a story about creating lasting bonds—bonds of love, of family, and of friendship. And it’s a story of renewal—the renewal of love between a husband and wife, a renewal of family, and a renewal of faith. This is a true story and I found it very believable. These are not perfect fictionalized characters. They’re genuine, vulnerable, and charming. I don’t know if there’s a way to describe the Italian Riviera without romanticizing it. It is after all, beautiful and romantic. The author did a wonderful job with this. But what impressed me more was the way Ms. Pohlman did not romanticize the Italian people. They’re full of flaws, unadulterated, charismatic, and captivating.

I can’t begin to explain the variety of emotions I experienced while reading Ms. Pohlman’s first book. It’s full of subtle humor and I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, this touching, heartwarming account brought me to tears. I truly enjoyed my time with the Pohlman family and I highly recommend this book to all. If there is a negative, it’s only that, far too quickly I came to that last page. I wanted more and when Susan Pohlman writes another book, whether fiction or non-fiction, I’ll be there to get my copy.

 –Willow

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gone-by-lisa-gardnerGONE

By Lisa Gardner

Bantam Hardcover, December 2006

Suspense

Buy Link for mass-market paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Lisa-Gardner/dp/0553588079

 

An abandoned car—motor running, door open, purse still on the seat. Sergeant Kincaid of The Oregon State Police has seen it before and it’s never good. It usually means a suicide. But in this case he’s wrong, as the kidnapper contacts the local news with his ransom demands. When ex FBI profiler, Pierce Quincy is called in, it’s not to profile the case, but because the missing person is his wife, Lorraine (Rainie), an ex-cop who now works freelance cases with her husband.

While dealing with an especially heartbreaking case of the rape and murder of a mother and her young daughter, Rainie becomes obsessed with the case, as well as similar ones. This leads to severe depression and a resumption of her drinking problem after fifteen years of sobriety. Quincy loves his wife, but sometimes love just isn’t enough and he moves out in an effort to shock Rainie into coming to her senses. Now she’s gone and he’ll do anything to get her back.

Neither Quincy nor Rainie have led charmed lives. Both have ghosts and enemies from the past. With the kidnapper continually making impossible demands, Quincy comes to believe it’s not about money, but is personal. Has one of the ghosts from Rainie’s past finally caught up with her and is now seeking revenge?

GONE starts with an interesting premise and the plot moves along pretty well for the most part. I read the book straight through, so it definitely held my interest. This was my first Quincy/Rainie story by Lisa Gardner, but I know there are others featuring this same hero/heroine. Perhaps if I’d read those first, I might have been more sympathetic to their plight. Unfortunately I just couldn’t seem to generate a lot of interest in these two. Rainie seemed more pathetic than courageous and Quincy, although great hero material, was just boring. I guessed the kidnapper’s identity very early on, but that wouldn’t have mattered if I’d cared more about the protagonists. 

The story is well written and the suspense fairly high, but I found the characters more boring than interesting and some of the scenes totally unbelievable. When a woman is bound—hands and feet, blindfolded and gagged, it’s just not realistic to believe she could come anywhere near close to besting her attacker. Even for a tough ex-cop, this would be ludicrous, especially after being so apathetic in the beginning. In another scene Rainie moves around and fights like someone in peak fit condition—this after a severe beating, messed up knee, no nourishment for several days and half freezing. Sorry, but I didn’t buy it.

If you love Lisa Gardner and her Quincy/Rainie characters, you’ll probably love this one as well. If you’ve never read any other stories featuring these same people, I suggest you read the other books featuring them before reading this one.

–Willow

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gone-tomorrowGone Tomorrow

Lee Child

Delacorte Press, 2009

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Tomorrow-Jack-Reacher-No/dp/0385340575/

Try as I might, it’s never been easy for me to turn lemons into lemonade. What can I say? I’m not a “glass half full” kind of gal. But if anything good can come out of a teacher spending the first three days of her summer vacation with torn ligaments and pulled back muscles, then I would have to say that one thing would be three full days of sitting, feet propped on a chair, and reading. Completely uninterrupted by household tasks. Completely guilt-free. And I would have to say that hands-down Lee Child’s GONE TOMORROW would be the perfect book.

If I am not a “glass half full” kind of gal, I am even less a fan of tough guy, blood and guts fiction, so when a friend recommended this book, I don’t mind telling you, I was skeptical.

The story opens with the novel’s hero, Jack Reacher, sitting in a New York City subway car at two o’clock in the morning. An ex-Military cop, Reacher is well trained in the arts of defense and survival. He knows what a suicide bomber looks like. And on that muggy, September morning he’s pretty sure he’s sitting across the aisle from one…

The first chapter of this book consists of four pulse-pounding, tightly written pages. By the time I reached the words Chapter Two I was thoroughly hooked. With his broad knowledge of all things Military and a super-keen eye for details, Lee Child creates a story full of compelling characters and provocative situations that continually shift, keeping the reader perpetually on edge. Mystery. Suspense. Political intrigue. GONE TOMORROW has it all.

Downsized from the army after thirteen years of service, Jack Reacher is smart, tough, and oh-so-sexy. But he is far from perfect, and it is his flaws that make him so endearing. Reacher sometimes feels his age. He makes mistakes. But he learns from them, and comes back tougher and more determined than ever. The novel’s secondary characters, Theresa Lee, a NYC cop with a conscience, John Sansom, a clean politician with a terrible secret, and Lila Hoth, a beautiful millionaire with ties to Al Quaeda, are cast dead-on in their roles without being stereotypical. They add flavor and credibility to this fast paced, NY City story.   

Judging from the inside flap, I’ve got some catching up to do. GONE TOMORROW is Lee Child’s thirteenth in the Jack Reacher series. I definitely won’t wait for another back injury to get reacquainted with my new favorite tough guy!

 …Honeybee

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