Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Hidden Under Her Heart by Rachelle Ayala

Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships.  After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.

Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon.  He's smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport.  Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher's son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.

Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort.  But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby's DNA.  Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy.  When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.

The rapist has other ideas.  In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion.  With Maryanne's life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby.  However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.

 A 99,000 word women's fiction, Hidden Under Her Heart deals with the consequences of rape and abortion. 

[Content Advisory: This book has a pro-life slant.  There are a few swear words.  The rape is not shown, but there is one mild sex scene between Maryanne and her boyfriend.]

Whew!  Still with me after all of that?  I sincerely believe that Rachelle Ayala is a fantastic writer with great potential.  I really enjoyed another book written by her.  This book was a little bit of a difficult read.  Maryanne and Lucas were on again and off again way too many times for my liking.  Otherwise, the characters were likable-- both were educated people with dreams and plans not unlike yours truly.  They were both dedicated to their beliefs, except for their beliefs about each other.

The story line was very easy to follow but heartbreaking to read.  I can't imagine going through what Maryanne went through-- she found someone she liked, found another guy she was interested in and ended up getting raped.  And, the rape led to an unwanted pregnancy.  Then, to imagine carrying a baby, feeling it kick and move and grow and know that the father was a rapist and a monster but not know who he is would   be devastating.  I couldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

The pro-life spin on the book is neither overdone nor steeped in religion.  The religious aspect of this book is significantly more toned down than in the other book which is surprising given the topic.  I liked it though.  The story line was good, the author writes very well, but the characters just need to make up their freaking minds already.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Crime & Passion by Chantel Rhondeau

A decorated police officer, more intent on justice than following the letter of the law, lands in trouble when a schoolteacher finds a dead body on the beach.
Officer Donovan Andrews knows how to have a good time--ask any woman in town.  But when it comes to men abusing their wives or children, Donovan takes it upon himself to make them regret it.
Madeline Scott is unlucky in love.  All she wants is a quiet place to heal, away from cheating, womanizing men.  However, her life is far from peaceful once she stumbles across the body and witnesses someone fleeing the scene.
Terror spreads in Pleasant View when the small community hears a killer is on the loose.  All evidence points to Donovan, and he realizes someone is trying to frame him.  When troubling suspicious from past surface, even fellow officers believe he's guilty.  Madeline might be the only person who can clear his name, but first he has to win her trust.  
The body count rises and no one is safe.  The murderer makes it clear Madeline is next.  Soon, Donovan's whole world is focused on protecting her and keeping himself out of prion.  The more time he spends with her, the harder it is to fight his growing attraction.  Since she's been burned by love, convincing Madeline he's interested in something more than hot sex may prove harder than keeping her alive.

This book surprised me.  I honestly assumed that I'd breeze through it and it would be some corny romance. It really wasn't bad.  That being said, it was a quick read-- I received a copy in digital format and Jack and I read it at bed time every night.  Ok, so he drank his bottle and I read after we read his story first.  

The characters were realistic people in a small town.  Madeline was a nice girl who was liked by all who unintentionally got caught up in more than she thought while walking some dogs as a side job.  Donovan is a charismatic man who is well known around town especially to the female population.  As a small town girl, this sort of thing happens in every small town.  

Chantel Rhondeau set up a very good story.  I really didn't guess the twist at the end until I nearly reached it. She set up the story very well and kept me guessing for a very long time.  I did suspect nearly everyone as the town murderer.  Either I'm a very poor guesser or she's a very good writer-- I'll say it's a little of both.

In the end, I enjoyed the book.  I probably won't read it again, but it was an enjoyable read that I found to be more suspenseful than passionate.  Or, perhaps, that's just because I enjoyed the suspense portion more than the passion.  It was better written.  I hope Miss Rhondeau continues with her talent of suspense writing.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.