Monday, January 14, 2013

Double Book Review: Heart of the Ocean and Take My Heart

Well, in a bit of a snafu on my part, I'm a tour stop for two tours today.  But it's a bonus for you, my dear readers, because you get two reviews instead of one.  Read one, get one free, or something like that.  And both of these books are well worth your time.

The first one is Heart of the Ocean by Heather Moore.  It's a historical fiction and nothing like I've read before.  It's about a New York society girl who turns down a marriage proposal and has to go to Puritan Maybrook to escape the gossip columns.  While there she hears a voice that's connected to a town mystery, and just after hearing it, lands in jail accused of murder.  A handsome young lawyer with secrets of his own tries to help her out, but the two seek answers to the cold-blooded murders of people they love that could get them both killed.

Seriously, this book was spine-tingling.  I read it late at night (stayed up until 1:30 a.m. one night to finish) and just being in a darkened room with the wind howling outside my window provided the perfect ambiance.  The ghost angle to the book was spooky, the romance was sigh-worthy, and the mystery had several twists and turns that I didn't see coming.  I had one angle figured out, but just as I was feeling all smug about that, the author threw a curve and I didn't know as much as I thought I did.  It was great.  My only complaint was that I really wanted to see a certain young lady to get her comeuppance and realize what she threw away, but that was only a personal preference and nothing to do with the story really.  (I don't want to give anything away so I won't name her, but if you've read the book I bet you know who I'm talking about. She's really flirty and curvy and demanding).  I just didn't like the character in the book and would have loved to see her get her just desserts.  Also, I loved the character of Nathaniel Prann and I hope we see him in a future book (I'm really crossing my fingers this is a start of a series of some sort.)

As it is, though, the characters are well-rounded and the depth of emotion surrounding the circumstances really makes them believable.  The setting is very well done, but the best part that kept me up so late was the mystery.  It's one of those where you just say, wow, I didn't see that one coming.  Great job, Heather!

Here's more information on the book!

Tour Schedule

Heart of the Ocean
by Heather B. Moore

A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost  . . . a handsome stranger  . . .
What more could Eliza Robinson want?
Except for maybe her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.

While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.

After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza's life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt's death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.


Author Heather B. Moore
Heather B. Moore is the award-winning author of ten novels, two inspirational non-fiction books, and two anthologies, including The Newport Ladies Book Club Series, A Timeless Romance Anthology, and Christ's Gifts to Women (co-authored by Angela Eschler).

Her historical fiction is published under the pen name H.B. Moore. She is the two-time recipient of Best of State in Literary Fiction, two-time Whitney Award Winner, and two-time Golden Quill Winner for Best Novel. Her most recent historical novel under H.B. Moore is Daughters of Jared (2012 LUW Gold Award of Excellence & 2012 LUW Best Book Trailer).

                          Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter

Tour Schedule

The second book is Take My Heart by Marie Higgins.  This is another historical fiction, but also had unique elements to it.  Mercedes is called to an insane asylum to visit her twin sister.  She hasn't seen Katherine since her sister's marriage to William Braxton, but is shocked to see the depressed shell of a sister lying on a dirty mattress.  Kat tells her how brutal her husband is and how awful her life was with him. She says that she believes William to be a spy against the crown.  Mercedes is a widow of a man who used to hunt down spies and turn them over to the English government so she makes a plan of revenge against William for what he's done to Kat.  She'll gather evidence against him, turn him over, and see him hang.

She goes to William and ends up taking her twin sister's place so she can get close to William and find the evidence she needs.  As events unfold, however, she begins to realize not all is quite as her sister said.  Danger surrounds her in William's home and the tenuous relationship between the colonials who are meeting in secret to solidify their fight for freedom and the English officers comes to a head with Mercedes square in the middle.  It is definitely a page-turner in the fact that you wonder when William will figure out that the wife he knew and the one at his side aren't the same woman, as well as the mystery behind who is trying to kill William and round up the colonial sympathizers.  

I thought the setting was well-done and I really loved the main characters. I liked Mercedes' interaction with the family and William's genuine puzzlement to the change in his wife.  The mystery was good, but without giving anything away I didn't think the villain had a particularly strong reason to do what they did.  It felt like it needed something just a little stronger to justify what they did in the book, but it was still a great way to pass an afternoon.  The best part of this book for me was the romance since there was so much distrust going around and the author does a great job in the falling in love department.  But can the revenge plan go through if Mercedes loves the man and his children?  So many intriguing questions and thankfully, they are all answered by the end. Another historical read that is definitely worth your time.

Here is more information on this book and the GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take My Heart by Marie Higgins

Mercedes Maxwell’s sister’s last wish was for Mercedes to find evidence against Kat’s husband, William Braxton, and have him hung as a traitor to the crown. Mercedes isn’t naïve when it comes to capturing traitors, because her own deceased husband had once been an agent for the King when they lived in England.

When she meets William Braxton for the first time, all is not as it seems. Portraying her twin, Mercedes knows this is the only way to get close enough to William to discover his secrets. What she finds along the way are little surprises she hadn’t counted on, especially when she begins to give her heart to a man who may be a spy against the crown.

Book Trailer

Praise for Marie Higgins

”I enjoyed this book immensely. Each book of Marie's that I read is better than the last. I recommend this book to young adults and older who enjoy historical mystery, intrigue, fight for freedom, clean romance. This is the book for you.”
~~Mary Walling / Goodreads

“Few authors have mastered the art of storytelling like Marie Higgins. In this Colonial-era romance, Marie takes her reader on a wild ride. Every chapter, every scene, every line envelopes the reader's senses and imagination with passionate romance, deep emotional struggles, unexpected twists and turns, and neverending ups and downs. This was a hard book to put down and earns an unequivocal five stars from me. Thanks, Marie, for writing such great romances!”
~~Wanda Luce / Goodreads

 “Marie Higgins's Take My Heart is a stunning colonial romance. With well developed characters and heartwarming scenes, this book will steal the hearts of romance lovers and historical fiction fans. There are numerous twists and Higgins keeps you guessing at every turn as to who the real villain is. This book is a "must-read" for anyone who loves romance, history, or just a good story. FIVE STARS ALL THE WAY!!” ~~L.D. Smith / Kindle

“Breathless! From start to finish you will keep wondering, questioning, and hoping. You will root for the underdog, and smile as love conquers all. Great read. You won't put it down until you're finished!”
~~M. Henning / Kindle


Author Marie Higgins

Since Marie Higgins was a little girl playing Barbies with her sister, Stacey, she has loved the adventure of making up romantic stories. Marie was only eighteen years old when she wrote her first skit, which won an award for Funniest Skit. A little later in life, after she’d married and had children, Marie wrote Church roadshows that were judged as Funniest and Best Written. From there, she branched out to write full-length novels based on her dreams. (Yes, she says, her dreams really are that silly)


Debra Allen Erfert said...

I enjoyed both reviews, but I didn't enter the whirligig of a giveaway. I just bought both Kindle version books. I love historical romances, and these sounded great. Love Heather B, and Marie, too!

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks for reviewing HEART OF THE OCEAN. Also, can't wait to check out Marie's new book!

Marie Higgins said...

Julie, what a wonderful review! Now I want to read Heather's book! Oh, and thanks for your comments "Take My Heart". I'm glad it kept you turning the pages. I've recevied lots of great reviews for this story.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Debra, you won't be disappointed.

Heather and Marie, you are most welcome!

Ingeborg said...

Great review.