Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Amazing World of QR Codes

We had a great video/internet marketing seminar at work today, and I learned all about QR codes. I wish I had a smart phone to experiment with scanning the codes. It's really fascinating! I think you can scan a code from the computer screen, so try it out and enjoy the video clip.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary: Marriages of convenience were commonplace in the 19th century; but in the case of Charlotte Beck, marriage is most inconvenient. Charlotte is an American heiress with a stubborn spirit, lofty dreams, and a penchant for causing a scene.  In an attempt to control his daughter, Daniel Beck arranges a marriage between Charlotte and the English Viscount, Alex Hambly.

Sparks and tempers ignite between Charlotte and Alex, but they mutually agree that marriage can solve problems that they both face.  Charlotte will achieve her dream of attending college, and Alex's family will be spared the pains and humiliation of financial ruin.  True to her character, Charlotte makes a secret pact with Alex to marry in name only and eventually annul their union.  Will they find that love can blossom in an inconvenient marriage?

Review: Kathleen Y'Barbo's newest novel is a light-hearted and quick read.  The first half of the story is particularly engaging, with a war of wills between Alex and Charlotte.  Charlotte's spunky and conniving nature provide humorous vignettes within the framework of the novel.  At times, her stubborn nature and selfishness is irritating. Charlotte grows through her experiences, and has her own charm.  As a reader, I was sympathetic towards Alex, who nobly suffered and persevered through his inconvenient marriage.
While the plot progressed quickly, it was relatively predictable. I found some references repetitive, particularly the quotes by Miss Pence that began each chapter and often referenced the importance of posture and rest.  The juxtaposition between the rugged Wild West and the glitter and glamor of high society provided a unique backdrop for the story, which offered a fitting end to the trilogy which includes The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper and Anna Finch and the Hired Gun. 

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is available for purchase on the following sites: Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah/ WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Book Cover Mystery Solved!

A few months ago, I wrote about seeing a review of a book in the newspaper that had a cover that was almost identical to An Unlikely Suitor.   I accidentally recycled the newspaper before saving the book review to compare with the cover of Nancy Moser's latest release. 

The answer has plagued me until recently.  My sister discovered The Golden Prince in a nearby Barnes & Noble, and the mystery has been solved!  They definitely used the same cover art.

I like the final design cover choice for An Unlikely Suitor as well.  

I wonder if Nancy Moser and the publishing company discovered that the original cover was already in use, or if the original cover was a substitute until the final cover was completed?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

Rating: 4 stars

Synopis: Despite being separated by social barriers, their love of music united the privileged Clara Endicott and impoverished Daniel Tremain during their youth.  With the passing of twelve years and an ocean of events and experiences that have impacted them in different ways, Clara and Daniel meet again.  While their deep friendship and love of music is a powerful bond that draws them closer together, their ideals and ambitions are a dividing force.  Through his railroad innovations, Daniel Tremain is a self-made "industrial titan" who seeks revenge from past losses.  Clara has transformed into a ambitious journalist and advocate for the poor.  In the shadows, an evil awaits that threatens both Daniel's and Clara's futures.   Will they overcome the obstacles that endanger their hearts and possibly their lives?

Review:  I must admit that I have been eagerly anticipating the release of The Lady of Bolton Hill since seeing its cover on the Bethany House website several months ago.  Because Elizabeth Camden is a debut author,  I was hoping that the plot would live up to the high expectations that I set based on the cover, and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed by either!  From the front cover to the back, including every page in between, The Lady of Bolton Hill is a keeper.  While the cover, with its silver embossed scroll, reflects the opulence of the time period, the thoughtful manner in which the young lady looks to the city outside represents Clara's position as a woman of significant social standing who is interested in the life beyond the privileges that she experiences. 

While Clara Endicott is indeed a lady of the nineteenth century, she is feisty and has an independent streak that is ahead of her time.  When Clara and Daniel reunite,  Daniel soon discovers that she is no longer the demure young lady that idolized him in the past.  The resulting tension and battle of wills was a highlight of the first half of the novel, and it reminded me of Mr. Thornton and Margaret in the movie North & South.  But enough said about that, I don't want to give away too much of the plot!

With the plot shared from a few characters' perspectives throughout the novel, The Lady of Bolton Hill is engaging from start to finish.  The plot is carried by tension created from the elements of romance, action, and suspense.  While the ending was overall satisfying, it certainly left me asking some questions, like "When is the sequel going be released?"

There must be a sequel, and  I am looking forward to another enchanting cover by Bethany House as well another engaging novel by the talented author, Elizabeth Camden. 

I  received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Just a Thought:  If you have watched North & South and read this novel, did you picture the actors who played Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale as Daniel and Clara?


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