Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Jefferson's America

18142328

Jefferson's America
Julie M. Fenster
Crown Publishing

     Despite being a lifelong history lover, there are certain "blind spots" that I have--and Jefferson's administration is one of them. I never knew much beyond the Louisiana Purchase, and even that was just the basics (Lewis & Clark & Sacajawea - that's all, right?) For instance, I had no idea about the tensions with Spain, which played a HUGE part in the tale, and I certainly didn't know very much about all of the many other men who were exploring the continent around the same time. This book was informative, although I also found some of the information hard to grasp. Not so much that it was difficult to understand, but simply that it was written in such as manner as to be difficult to remember. However, I do believe that this problem lessened as the book went on. Still, having read several non-fiction history books within the last month, this one wasn't as pleasurable to read; it could be very dry at times and I didn't find it terribly engaging.

     However, if one can get past the less-than-compelling narrative style, it does give a good overview of the explorers of Jefferson's day and helps set the stage for the story of America's expansion into the west, and the subsequent chapters of our nation's history.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Kill Devil

28075692

Kill Devil
Mike Dellosso
Tyndale

Jed Patrick is convinced he's doing all it takes to keep his family safe--new names, new location, new identity. But just when he thinks he finally has his life back, trained men claiming to be CIA agents break in and threaten his wife and daughter, proving once and for all his family will never truly be safe until he eliminates the agency dead set on hunting him down.Not knowing if Karen and Lilly are better off by his side or in hiding, Jed is determined to protect them while finding a way to use the classified information that he possesses to dismantle the Centralia Project. But he soon learns that eliminating Centralia may require compromising his own values. As danger escalates, Jed isn't sure whether there's anyone or anything he can trust--including his own senses.

     This was one mind-bender- literally. Sort of like a Christian Jason Bourne (though not as Bourne-ish as the first book), with high stakes and lots of action. Though I tend to gravitate more towards movies within the action genre than books, I still enjoyed this one.

     The writing is a little different than what I'm used to--a bit more modern, a bit more sparse. That being said, I wouldn't qualify this as "minimalist" writing either; the author does have some pretty good descriptions. However, it's still very fast-paced. I'm not sure if there is going to be a third book in this series (this one felt like it wrapped up pretty nicely, although there is room for a sequel) but I did really like the new characters who were introduced in this book. Overall, a recommended read for those who enjoy suspense and thrillers.

Rating: 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 6, 2016

From This Moment

27066704

From This Moment
Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House

Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.
But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally. 
Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they've worked for at risk?

     I love how distinct and unusual Elizabeth Camden can make her characters and their situations; it's always a highlight of her books for me. Plot-wise, I did enjoy this one a lot, and more so than Camden's last book, Until the Dawn. I really was curious about Gwendolyn's murder, and I loved the setting of a scientific magazine publishing company. That being said, it was a little harder for me to get into the characters. Although I liked the idea of who the characters were quite a bit, the execution of their personalities wasn't always what I preferred (although they did have some great, snappy dialogue at points).

     There's was also a bit of a side story with Romulus's cousin Evelyn and her husband, although some of the story caused me quite a bit of consternation (partly because I read its prequel e-novella). I wasn't the biggest fan of the novella, but ended up being pretty satisfied with how their story concluded in this book. My main complaint with the novella was its veering into the cliched territory of the feminstic historical-fiction heroine who wants to succeed in a man's world while being thoroughly "suppressed"; thankfully, although I thought From This Moment did go a little more into that territory than I generally prefer, it wasn't laid on so thickly in this novel.

     Overall, From This Moment was definitely entertaining. I enjoyed it, and it was a pleasant, much-needed break from all of the non-fiction research I've been doing lately.

Rating: 8

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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