April 22, 2014

Death by the Book Review~


Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?

**NO spoilers**

Summary of the author's job~
First things first:  I loved this book. I have never read a book by Julianna Deering, and so requesting to read this book from NetGalley was taking a huge leap for me. I do not like requesting books to review unless I know it'll most likely be a good book. If it's not, then I am trying to push through, so I meet my every-other-Tueday review deadline. I am very thankful for the quality of the grammar, the classy style of Deering's writing and the Biblical theme that ran through this book.

This book was a true mystery. I think that's what takes the cake for me. It has been a long time since I have read a true mystery. One of the reasons why I was so hesitant to request this book is the fact that authors and publishers call suspenseful stories mysteries. If I am to read a mystery, then I don't want to know who the villain is until the very end-- or at least close to it. Boy was I excited when I no idea who the murderer was! I didn't even know Deering's style to guess properly if she'd reveal the villain subtly or shockingly.

The hero, heroine and sidekick were so likable and those who were not, were written very well! I was amazed! I was not bored in the least by Nick, who was Drew's sidekick. Normally, if it's not the hero, I get quite bored because the sidekick really plays very small roles. However, even though Nick didn't play a huge role, he was Drew's best friend and they matched each other's wit and brain so well. Madeline was another enjoyable character. She aided Drew just as much as Nick, and the romance between her and Drew--Well, that's another pro-paragraph. ;) Madeline's grandmother was not likable, but appropriately so. Her character was supposed to be annoying and, oh boy, was she annoying. However, Julianna Deering did not write her in so often that it would bother her readers to the extent of closing the book. In fact, all of the characters, though I cannot name them all, were very well written.
What I loved about Deering's story, too, was that everyone was under suspicion. During the entire mystery, she didn't narrow it down to just a few suspects. She made sure you were thoroughly confused until the book started tidying up-- and then, even then, how could we even be sure? ;) I just want to laugh.

On to the romance... In the first chapter, the reader is not given a whole lot of information about the relationship between Drew and Madeline. I haven't read the first book (although, I intend to), so I was clueless as to how in love Drew was with Madeline. It seemed to me, from the first chapter, that they had feelings for each other, but I could not tell anything beyond that until Drew saw Madeline. Julianna Deering added such a sweet romance between Drew and Madeline that my heart literally skipped a beat.... at several times while I was reading the book. Drew's patience and timing with Madeline was one of the sweetest things about this book. His love for her made me want to go and read the first book! So, so sweet.

Truly, there were only a couple things I disliked about this book. One of the negatives being that Julianna Deering named the bad guy from her first book in this second book of the series. I was so extremely disappointed. Throughout the book, I kept holding my breath because she came so close to naming the bad guy a couple times, and I was thinking, "Noooo! I want to read the first book!" Yet, she didn't, so I kept on reading-- until two-thirds of the way in, she named the bad guy. Since mysteries are meant to be... well, a mystery, then I don't know if I'm going to go and buy the book so soon now. I'm probably going to have to wait a while to buy the first book, actually, and that makes me so sad. So I do recommend that you start with the first book before you read this book.

I did find only a few of the side characters to be a bit of a drag, but I believe that happens in every book. They add to the story, and I think I was just eager to move on with Drew's contemplation over the mystery and ideas or his romance with Madeline. I didn't find that there was enough of Nick (Drew's best friend). I know he wasn't the hero, but I truly did enjoy his humor and helpfulness. I hope, if the next book is set in the same city, there will be more scenes with Nick helping Drew out.

I believe this book is one of a kind. I definitely recommend this book to anyone out there who wants a good mystery, sweet romance, witty humor and intelligent thinking. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars! If I can't get a hold of her other books somehow, I am definitely going to consider using my pocket money for Deering's books!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

God bless!

April 9, 2014

Being transformed in the midst of craziness


I am currently in the middle of pre-pre-finals week--which doesn't sound hectic, but it is, and it has been test after test, project after project-- plus, tonight I have to give a presentation (which I hate giving class presentations). I just finished a resume and essay for a last-minute scholarship I applied for, and then I've scheduled myself for multiple photoshoots this weekend.

And I have a book to review by Tuesday of next week.

And I'm trying to knit a baby blanket in my free time (which I'll take a picture of and share when it gets a little longer).

Among the midst of it all, though, I want to have a genuinely joyful, humble and grateful spirit.

I just read last night,

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among younot to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith."
Romans 12:1-3

That's some hard stuff to swallow there. I know I've probably posted Rom. 12:1-2 before, but it's good to be reminded of it every now and then. :) I'd like to think that I've been doing a good job, offering myself as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, but in reality, I just get so confused and mixed up with all the things I have to do versus the things I want to do.

Hah. Maybe I'm just making it more confusing than it has to be. I can totally relate with Paul when he wrote,

"For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good."
Romans 7:14-16

I have had to be shaken and retaught learn a huge lesson this past school year:  honoring the Lord means having a joyful spirit while serving Him and doing everything for His glory-- and serving Him doesn't mean constantly doing things that please me and that I'm good at. It's under trials and under happy events. 

So while I continue praying for humility and joy, in the midst annoying classmates and bombarded with work and school, please pray for me to continue seeking His counsel and wisdom.