Tag Archives: Jessica Dotta

Top 10 Tuesday — To Re-Read Or Not To Re-Read

10 Apr

In February TTT explored books that can be re-read over and over. Because I hardly ever re-read anymore (too many books, too little time and all), I listed books that deserve a re-read. Well here we are with a challenge to name books that we loved but will not re-read — my list could go on for pages! So I have again limited myself to 10 stellar books that not only deserve a first read, but a re-read over and over again. If you haven’t read any on the list at all, be sure to check them out. They are great. And don’t forget to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to find out more books that bloggers love.

 

Top 10 Books That Won’t Be Re-Read by Me, But Should Be Read by You!

 


Bad Ground
by Dale Cramer

Poignant and thought provoking, this is a down-to-earth, sometimes humorous novel filled with suspense, action, redemption, and even romance. Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Prine decides to honor his mother’s dying wish and seek out his estranged uncle who was badly burned in the accident that killed Jeremy’s father. He finds the man working as a hard-rock miner in the south, an extremely dangerous occupation. His uncle seems a bitter and lonely man, but Jeremy senses more beneath the surface. Against his uncle’s wishes, Jeremy takes a job as a miner and soon his young faith is tested by his rough and gritty co-workers, the threat of danger … and the possibility of love.

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir meets Phillip Sharp, a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known.

A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama’s rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith.

His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret. In this lawyer’s unraveling world, can grace survive Ama’s fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?

For Time And Eternity by Allison Pittman

All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them—a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa’s warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can’t refuse her heart. But even Nathan’s promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.

 

 

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

Cafe owner Ellyn DeMoss seeks protection from pain behind extra pounds. So why is a handsome widower attracted to her? Abandoning her family, Sabina Jackson comes to Northern California to heal. But is she doing more hiding than healing? And Twila Boaz once wanted to disappear. Now she wants to conquer her eating disorder. Will she succeed?

 

 

 

 

Iscariot by Tosca Lee

Judas Iscariot…the name of Judas conjures up the ultimate betrayer. What could possibly bring him to such a vile decision to betray Jesus? Tosca Lee brilliantly captures Judas’ life; why he chose to follow Jesus when he was a respected scholar, what he witnesses day after day being near and speaking with Jesus. You will be captivated by every nuance of Judas’ story as he walked with Jesus and Judas’ history that led him to that point. Why did Jesus choose the path that he chose, from angering those in esteemed positions by not just allowing those who were “unclean” near him, but encouraging their presence? Judas struggled to understand Jesus’ motives and questioned them all along the way. The places where you question how and what Jesus did are brilliantly speculated by Tosca Lee in the amazing story of Iscariot.

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

Anne “Perri” Singleton’s world is defined by the security of family, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive Atlanta girls’ school, and an enviable social life. She isn’t looking for new friends when Mary Dobbs Dillard arrives from Chicago. Besides, “Dobbs,” the passionate and fiercely individualistic daughter of an itinerant minister, is her opposite in every way.

But just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri’s well-ordered life, friendship blossoms—a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets..

A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Michael King

In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner, a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.
Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything – -including her family — to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.

 

 
Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes From the best-selling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of adulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny’s happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.

Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West

She’s after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He’s determined to keep his secrets to himself.

Vietnam 1967.

Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father’s memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent, and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother’s wishes.
Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he’s hiding something.

Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

What Book Would You Recommend?

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Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Villains

4 Oct

I read a lot of suspense and mystery fiction filled with villains, but I have to say I don’t generally consider them my favorites when it comes to their characters. It’s hard to like or love to hate a serial killer! So I was a bit stymied by this week’s theme. I could come up with one or two that were complex and interesting, but this is Top 10 Tuesday, not Top Two! So I am taking a bit of a different tack. The following characters (still not 10!) can be classified as villains, but mostly they are just people acting badly (with one or two exceptions). For links to other bloggers who probably have great villain lists, click HERE.

 

toptentuesday

 

7 Favorite Villains

 

unknownThe I Can’t Believe He’s My Brother-in-Law Villain — Mr. Wickham from Pride And Prejudice.

Devastatingly handsome and charming, Mr. Wickham swept more than one lady off her feet. As Mr. Bennet says, he makes love to us all. One can only hope if there is justice in the book afterlife that Mr. Wickham is suffering from being stuck with Lydia!

 

mr-and-mrs-elton-jane-austens-couples-16666936-500-500Two for One Villains — Mr. and Mrs. Elton from Emma.

More annoying than villainous, these two still make my villains list because of their bad treatment of Harriet. They are also so very insufferable in their snootiness. Speaking of book afterlife, Mr. Elton is taken care of in Mrs. Elton in America. Mrs. Elton, on the other hand, really comes into her own.

 

unknown-1Nobody Likes a Pathetic Villain — Willoughby from Sense And Sensibility.

I never understood what Marianne saw in Willoughby. Colonel Brandon is much more of a manly-man! Willoughby bows to the societal winds making him a pathetic villain. He is cute though!

 

51vubz7kh2l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Dastardly Villain You Would Love to Boo — Chance Macy from Jessica Dotta’s Price of Privilege Trilogy.

Chance Macy — boo hiss —  is a villain you can really sink your teeth into — literally! From the start I questioned his motives and actions. He gets his comeuppance in the end! Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

theblackmothIs He A Villain or Isn’t He? — Lord Jack Carstares from Georgette Heyer’s The Black Moth.

Accused of cheating at cards, living as a highwayman, Lord Jack is really a good guy in bad guy clothes. The Black Moth, written when she was only nineteen, was Heyer’s first novel written to entertain her ill brother. If you love historical romance, Heyer is a go-to author.

 

 

 

unknownThe Really Bad Guy I Just Loved. It Must Be The Clothes — Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert from Ivanhoe.

While I really should have been swooning over Wilfred of Ivanhoe, I was enamored of this bad-boy knight. Is it because he was secretly in love with Rebecca (my name is Beckie) or because my husband’s name is Brian? Or is it that a girl can’t resist a man in shining armor? No clue. But Sir Brian captured my imagination despite his anti-semitism and really bad treatment of just about everyone in the novel. Maybe he was just misunderstood. Also Ciaran Hinds played him and Captain Wentworth in Persuasion, my all time favorite Austen novel and all time favorite hero!

 

Top Ten Tuesday! — Audiobooks

28 Jun

It’s Freebie Day at Top Ten Tuesday! Thanks to the gals at The Broke And The Bookish who host every week. To find out what other bloggers are sharing today, click HERE.

toptentuesday

 

I love audiobooks! I started listening about 6 years ago when I traveled 4+ hours to my daughter’s college soccer games. They filled the tedious hours of driving alone. I got my husband hooked on audiobooks when we would go on road trips for football games. With Summer in full swing now, I thought it would be good to share my favorites. Audiobooks are perfect for car or plane trips or when you just want to relax and have someone read to you. 🙂 I also listen while exercising and doing chores, basically anytime when it is too cumbersome to hold a book! I went a bit over the top with my list — 20+ books! But I really liked them and just had to share.

 

TOP 10 20+ FAVORITE AUDIOBOOKS

While it is important to have a good story, a good reader/narrator is also important for a quality audiobook — timing and voices/accents are key. My husband and I got hooked on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. But just any old narrator will not do; we have to have Hugh Fraser! Lucky for us, a ton of Poirot audiobooks featuring Fraser are available. He does an excellent job in making Poirot come to life. Here are a few of our favorites.

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The Christie audiobooks run about 6+ hours, making them a perfect choice for listening with others.

Along with the Christie mysteries, I have listened to some other excellent books. They vary in length, but have a two things in common: excellent stories and excellent narrators. The following have something for everyone — suspense, mystery, history. There is even a classic! Check them out!

The Advocate by Randy Singer, narrated by David Cochran Heath

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, narrated by Zach Appleman

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill, narrated by Lisa Larsen

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks, narrated by Teri Clark Linden

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The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey, narrated by Gabe Wicks

Cuts Like A Knife by M.K. Gilroy, narrated by Coleen Marlo

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer, narrated by Joey Collins

Dubiosity by Christy Barritt, narrated by Joyce Bean

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Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes, narrated by Paul Michael

Longbourn by Jo Baker, narrated by Emma Fielding

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, narrated by Jessica Almasy/Suzanne Toren

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim, narrated by Tavia Gilbert

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The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta, narrated by Amanda McKnight

The Racketeer by John Grisham, narrated by J.D. Jackson

Sycamore Row by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, narrated by Sissy Spacek

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki, narrated by Madeleine Maby

Vanished by Irene Hannon, narrated by Celeste Ciulla

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin, narrated by Kevin Stilwell

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What about you?

Do you listen to audiobooks?

 

Audiobook Review: Price of Privilege

20 Jul

UnknownHaving finally discovered the truth of her birthright, Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game. Holding a secret he’d kill to keep, however, is proving more difficult than she imagined.

Just when Julia thinks she’s managed to untangle herself from Macy’s clutches, he changes tactics with a risky ploy. As the scandal of the century breaks loose, drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far newspapers have not dared to print: Macy’s lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson’s daughter―and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen comes before Victorian courts.

Though Julia knows Macy’s version of events is another masterful manipulation, public opinion is swaying in his favor. Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith, Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.

 

jessicaforwebBorn in the wrong century – except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines – Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.

She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.

 

My Impressions:

Price of Privilege is the concluding book in Jessica Dotta’s 3 book series of the same name. Set during the Victorian era, this novel is a wonderful culmination to an excellent trilogy. I cannot say this more clearly — if you like 19th century historical romance with a strong faith message, complex characters and plotting and a fabulous writing style then run, don’t walk, to the nearest book store or online outlet and GET THESE BOOKS!! Seriously, I really loved this series and am so glad that I read them. All 3 books are highly recommended.

In Price of Privilege, all the intrigue surrounding the Emerald Heiress comes to a head. Julia is beset on all sides and turns more and more to God as she faces alienation from her father, danger from Macy, estrangement from Isaac and separation from Edward. I loved that Julia saw in this time God tending her. The novel takes on a Dickensian tone with the marital trial of the century — as a huge fan of Bleak House, I found this to be an asset not a hindrance ;).

I listened to the audiobook, and it was outstanding as well. All three books have the same narrator — a real treat.

So again, I loved Price of Privilege (book and series) and urge you to read and enjoy it too!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Mark of Distinction

7 Jul

5117trr2fCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself―but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal―substantiated or not―can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate―but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan.

 

JessicaforWebBorn in the wrong century – except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines – Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.

She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.

 

My Impressions:

Mark of Distinction, book 2 in Jessica Dotta’s Price of Privilege series, won the 2015 Inspy Award for Historical Romance. With its incredibly complex characters and plot and excellent writing style this novel rates a highly recommended read from me. Be sure to read Born of Persuasion first though — this series must be read in order.

Mark of Distinction finds Julia in London at the home of her father and in the middle of an elaborate ruse to allow her to take her place in the center of society as the mysterious Emerald Heiress. Julia is very much alone — her father is cold and distant, Macy is still a threat and family and friends cannot be trusted. Only Isaac seems to take Julia’s interests to heart, thus causing Julia’s struggle with staying true to her love for Edward.

Dotta tells Julia’s story from a past tense, first person POV, but the story is revealed in bits and pieces allowing the reader to experience the tension of secrets, plots and deceptions. This novel is very Victorian with its sensibilities, restrictions and position of women as property. Characters continue to be complex — one never knows just whom to trust. The contrast between Macy and Isaac is powerful. Macy exemplifies the allure of evil and the deception of counterfeit love; Isaac is a picture of Christ (and I have to admit that I rooted for him to win Julia’s affections).

Mark of Distinction was a page turner for me; I was furiously reading to find out what would happen to Julia. And then wham! — Dotta slams on the brakes with Julia’s encounter with God. Her conversion is very moving, and I found myself reading the passage again and again.

A must read for fans of historical fiction, Mark of Distinction is truly a winner!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy of this book. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Born of Persuasion

4 Jun

UnknownThe year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

 

JessicaforWebBorn in the wrong century – except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines – Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.

She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.

 

My Impressions:

If you like a good gothic romance, then you will love Jessica Dotta’s Born of Persuasion, book 1 in the Price of Privilege Trilogy. Reminiscent of the works of the Bronte sisters, this historical novel set in Victorian England is filled with deception and intrigue, love and loyalty, and faith and unbelief. The book ends with lots of loose ends, but don’t despair, all of the books in this series are available now! This one is a highly recommended read!

Julia Elliston has just buried her mother and is alone in the world, save a mysterious guardian she has never met. Her life has been shaped by an outspoken and abusive father and the polite society that shunned her family. Desperate to escape her guardian’s control, Julia believes only marriage will give her the security she wants. But the conventions and laws of the times which conspire against her leave her at the mercy of many with few to trust.

Born of Persuasion’s complex plotting and characterization along with a deft handling of setting, historical detail and subtle faith message are very welcome in a genre that is often more fluff than substance. Dotta’s novel both entertains and challenges the reader. Characters are well-developed; there are no stereotypes here. Julia is an especially complex character. Caught up in a web of deceit complicated by her past experiences and naivete, Julia is a character I cheered on at the same time I wanted to shake her! And Julia is not alone in her inability to discern truth. This reader was often taken in by many of the characters as well. The first person narrative from a much older and wiser Julia adds depth to story. For the gothic romance fan there are plenty of mysterious goings-on, twists, turns and rich atmospheric elements. As stated, the faith message is very subtle, yet a consistent thread in the book. Only one character lives out his faith in a very outspoken manner, yet his stumbles are realistic. At the beginning of the novel, Julia believes in reason alone and is bitter by the treatment her family has suffered at the hands of the church. Her attitudes evolve in the face of trials and the steadfastness of a man of faith.

One theme that I think will especially appeal to a book club is freedom. When someone is hemmed in by social morals and cultural dictates, as well as laws that restrict, can someone really be free? The Victorian setting with all its restrictions is perfect for this discussion.

There has been high praise for Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, and after reading it I concur. This one is definitely a must read.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(I purchased this novel for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)