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Friday, September 24, 2010

Review and Tour: Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr

This book was one of those that I HOPE was the start of a new series... it was a delightful, with charming characters who had big hearts and helped others without any strings attached.

When Ruth's father tells her to take a young toddler and leave, traveling as Ruth Malloy, a young widow/mother, she puts her faith in him and in God that she is doing the right thing. A short time later, her father is arrested and put on trial for murder, and while Ruth wants to help her dad, she must safeguard the child she is watching over, while entrusting her well-being to strangers.

As the story unfolds, I found myself really loving the small town Ruth ended up in, as well as the individuals she ultimately becomes friends with.

Complications arise as reporters try to find Ruth and uncover what they believe will be evidence against her father. Enter Jake: a young man who is trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his brother and his readers. He must find Ruth and report back on what she is hiding. While doing his research, he finds himself noticing so much more about Ruth, and he begins to have feelings for her. In the end, he must decide what to do about the article he is writing about Ruth, and he must deal with his feelings for her while earning her trust.

The book had a few twists that really helped to solidify the overall story. One character I would LOVE to read more about in future books is Captain Grant. He was a character who popped up throughout the book, so we got to see tantalizing glimpses of his real character, but I'd love to see more.

I really enjoyed the book, and as I stated earlier, I hope this is just the start to a series - there were too many wonderful characters who could be explored in books of their own.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love's First Bloom

Bethany House; Original edition (September 1, 2010)

Delia Parr


Delia Parr, pen name for Mary Lechleidner, is the author of 10 historical novels and the winner of several awards, including the Laurel Wreath Award for Historical Romance and the Aspen Gold Award for Best Inspirational Book. She is a full-time high school teacher who spends her summer vacations writing and kayaking. The mother of three grown children, she lives in Collingswood, New Jersey.


Ruth Livingstone's life changes drastically the day her father puts a young child in her arms and sends her to a small village in New Jersey under an assumed name. There Ruth pretends to be a widow and quietly secludes herself until her father is acquitted of a crime.

But with the emergence of the penny press, the imagination of the reading public is stirred, and her father's trial stands center stage. Asher Tripp is the brash newspaperman who determines that this case is the event he can use to redeem himself as a journalist.

Ruth finds solace tending a garden along the banks of the Toms River--a place where she can find a measure of peace in the midst of the sorrow that continues to build. It is also here that Asher Tripp finds a temporary residence, all in an attempt to discover if the lovely creature known as Widow Malloy is truly Ruth Livingstone, the woman every newspaper has been looking for.

Love begins to slowly bloom...but is the affection they share strong enough to withstand the secrets that separate them?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love's First Bloom, go HERE.

Edition Reviewed: Paperback - Review copy received courtesy of the publisher, many thanks to both the author and the publisher for sending me a copy to review!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: The Good Greek Wife? by Kate Walker

I was touched by the story in Kate Walker's The Good Greek Wife? as she really seemed to focus on the relationship between a husband and wife when he unexpectedly returns after being taken captive by pirates.

Zarek has worked hard to make a place for himself in the world, one that is secure, and he is finally there after building a successful shipping company. That is also where he meets his future wife.

Penny had been quietly working for Zarek and adored him from afar, so it seemed like a dream come true when he finally noticed her!

After being married for only a short time, Zarek sails out on his yacht, the Troy, and is then attacked, boarded and taken by pirates. During a skirmish his head is wounded and he nearly drowns. When he comes to, he doesn't know who he is. He spends the next two years living with a nice couple as he tries to remember who he is so he can go back to his life.

Meanwhile, Penny is trying to maintain Zarek's company and keep it from the clutches of his ruthless and very unfriendly family. A chance encounter on the beach between Penny, her brother-in-law (Zarek's step-brother), and a man on the beach who Penny doesn't recognize is Zarek shows Zarek that he desperately needs to return from the dead so that he can take back his company before his greedy family takes over.

At a board meeting, Zarek walks right in and stuns everyone, but most of all Penny. Thus begins relationship ups and downs as Penny and Zarek both try to determine their feelings and find out what has been going on with the other during Zarek's long absence.

I enjoyed the book a lot, and the only thing that could have made it any better would have been a little more information pertaining to Greece and the locations that were visited. Don't get me wrong - as a reader, I knew exactly where the characters were and what was going on, but I would have loved just a bit more history and detail!

The Good Greek Wife?
by Kate Walker

Publisher: Mills & Boon (July 2, 2010) ~ 192 pages
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary

Edition Reviewed: Paperback - Review copy received courtesy of Author Sound Relations, many thanks for sending me a copy to review!

About the Book:

The return of the proud Greek husband...

He was declared missing at sea - but now notorious Zarek Michaelis is back and ready to take control! First he'll see to his business, and then to his wayward wife...

For two years Penny has struggled to come to terms with Zarek's disappearance. But enough is enough. It's time to move on...

Her proud Greek husband is still as darkly handsome as ever, and the attraction between them is just as potent. But Penny can't trust Zarek's motives - does he just want her body and the fortune he left behind-or to try again?

The Greek Tycoons
Legends are made of men like these!

Note From the Author: (from her site)

Note from Kate

My editor asked me to write a short article on how I came to write A Good Greek Wife? This was originally published in the Romance magazine that they send out to all their UK Readers’ Club customers – but I thought you might like to see it here as well.

‘I have a project you might be interested in’, my editor said.’ It’s a bit different – a bit of a challenge.’

Well, I’m always ready for a challenge, and when I heard about this one I was really intrigued. A mini-series of books based on the ancient Classic Greek Myths, updating them to fit into the Modern Romance line. I really wanted to be involved but first I had to find the right story to bring modernise. Weren’t all Greek Myths about monsters and battles and sword fights?

But then I remembered the story of Odysseus. A man who goes missing for years and whose wife waits at home, never knowing if he is coming back or not. That was just the inspiration I needed. It was the sort of story that fitted perfectly into the Modern Romance line–up. Of course there were some things I needed to change slightly. Odysseus was a King who had gone off to the Trojan Wars and he didn’t return for over ten years. That might have worked in ancient times, but would be more difficult today. But the essence of the story remained the same. My ‘Odysseues’ - Zarek Michaelis – is a Greek shipping magnate who went missing for two years after an attack on his boat (the Troy). And like the original, when he returns he find that his wife(whose name is Penny, after Odysseus’s wife who was Penelope) has new suitors, all wanting to take over the kingdom (or in this case the company) he owned. So he has to prove himself to his wife and she has to prove that she has stayed faithful and loving all the time he has been missing. They have to get to know each other all over again and rediscover the love that had brought them together in the first place.

And it was as I was writing this story that I got a new insight into why Mills and Boon romances are so consistently popular and have been for so long. The emotions and the passions that the authors write about are truly the ‘classic’ emotions - feelings that are as old as time and never change fundamentally, no matter what era or place the book is set in. Whether the hero is an ancient Greek warrior or a Modern Greek Billionaire, the central core of the story – that love conquers all – is always essentially the same. And that’s what makes a classic love story. And a classic love-story is what I hope I've created in A Good Greek Wife? Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved.

About the Author: (from the publisher's site)
Kate Walker was always making up stories. She can't remember a time when she wasn't scribbling away at something and wrote her first “book” when she was eleven. She went to Aberystwyth University, met her future husband and after three years of being a full-time housewife and mother she turned to her old love of writing. Mills & Boon accepted a novel after two attempts, and Kate has been writing ever since. Visit Kate at her website at: www.kate-walker.com
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