Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Couple Delightful Books: Mountains Bow Down & Dining with Joy

In Dining with Joy, readers get to return to the lowcountry in South Carolina. First, I love the cover and the new ones for earlier books. They just make me smile and want to pick them up. Joy Ballard is a character, the kind of gal I'd love to get to know. Too bad she's only a character!

When her father died, she took over his job as host of a cooking show. She's brilliant at it except for one not so minor detail: the girl can't cook. At. All. The charade is getting tiring and when the producer sells the show without telling the new owner that she can't cook, the deception digs deeper. Enter Luke...a hunk of a hero who can cook. Very. Well. The sparks fly immediately and the two are paired as co-hosts for the show.

That would be enough to make the book interesting, but the author doesn't stop there. She adds complicated layers with family, Joy's past with her dad, her inability to see a future apart from the show, an inability to dream. The result was a book that i delighted in reading. Many books I'll read because they're good. Or they might be interesting. Or occasionally engaging. But this one truly delighted me. I slowed down the reading so I wouldn't have to say good-bye. Some of the parts don't end the way I'd like -- but isn't that life? God doesn't promise us a smooth, easy life. Instead, He promises to be there through all the rough patches as well as the delightful times.

I loved this book. And for me to say that about a straight romance is rare. This book is a treat you've earned!

Raleigh Harmon is back and this time she's on an Alaskan cruise ship. Every girl needs a vacation right? But trouble follows Raleigh like calcium forms rocks. What should have been an opportunity to explore Alaska and hunt for rocks turns into a murder investigation. Then there are the problems with her mom and cousin. And don't forget her love life. This book has more points to it than one of the unique Star of David rocks she finds.

The author is a gifted writer, spinning words into a web that is lyrical and engaging. I even had to grab the dictionary for one word that she later explained. But she uses words in a beautiful way to paint pictures and make Raleigh a truly unique character that I've come to love. I'm already eager to read the fourth book in the series and go back to book one. Each book in the series stands alone, but has enough ties to prior books to keep someone who loves a series engaged without losing new readers.

And the spiritual threads in this book are poignant. I loved this book.


Kameko said...

Both of these books sound really good - thanks for the recommendation.


Rachel Hauck said...

Thanks for the lovely post and review, Cara!


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