Sunday, February 12, 2012

Audacious: Ivy's Story by Jude Watson (Brides of Wildcat County #3)

Audacious: Ivy's Story (Brides of Wildcat County, #3)A friend recommended this series a LONG time ago and I finally found one of the books. Ivy and her sister Mattie leave their coastal town in Maine and travel to California after seeing an advertisement for women to come west to be brides. Both girls were eager for a chance to start over in life after their family financial troubles, their father's death, and Ivy's boyfriend leaves her for a life at sea. From what I could gather, the advertisement wasn't exactly for a mail-order bride exactly. The women would arrive in the town, stay in a local boardinghouse and have the opportunity for marriage after getting to know some of the local men. Their travel expenses and room and board was paid for six months. I'm not sure exactly how much time has passed since their arrival in Last Chance, but Ivy has settled in there and has a job as the school teacher. She has fought for improvements upon the school building and more supplies and books for the students. She's made some friends, most especially Justus Calhoun, a local lawyer. Everyone in town thinks he's courting her, but Ivy knows they are "just friends." Her only contact back "home" is through letters with her friend Grace, whom she writes with stories of all the exciting and wild people and events of Last Chance. Grace's brother now wants to publish some of these stories in a newspaper in Boston. Ivy jumps at the chance to earn some extra money, but only if people don't know she wrote them. Thus a pseudonym is created --- Audacia El Dorado. Ivy's a naturally shy and reserved person, but she has a wild streak that she keeps hidden. Audacia is her way to be audacious without others knowing. Her life is turned upside-down when her ex-boyfriend from Maine shows up in Last Chance, spills her secret to everyone, and wants to marry her and take her away.

I know it's not the first one in the series, so I kept reading about events that happened in an earlier book. A bit frustrating for me -- not that I couldn't catch up as to what happened, just that I had to catch up. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's a sweet romance -- nothing more than kissing happens in the book -- that has Ivy torn between a second chance with her first love and a new love. I like how Ivy struggles with her decision, seeing the good in each man. That's how life is. It's not an easy black or white decision most of the time. You have to weigh the good and bad and then hope you make the best choice. That said, I think when Ivy makes her decision (sort of), it seems a snap one. I was questioning it as the reader, and we realize Ivy was questioning it as well. Not a perfect solution there. The characters are lively and entertaining which leads to a lively and entertaining story. B rating.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Iceberg, Right Ahead! The Tragedy of the Titanic by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Iceberg, Right Ahead! The Tragedy of the TitanicWith the 100 year anniversary mark of the Titanic's sinking this spring, this book will fill a need for any collection. In reading Iceberg, Right Ahead! The Tragedy of the Titanic, the reader learns about how the Titanic was built, the details of its launch, the events of the night she sank, and the ultimate discovery of her wreckage on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The author also discusses the controversy over the salvage of items from the ship as well as new theories on why she sank. I really like how the author included what happened to some of the survivors after they were rescued, since many times this is overlooked.

Although this is an informative book, I found the text to flow smoothly, almost like fiction. The illustrations and photographs add to the words while finding a way to not overpower the page -- a nice selection that includes historical as well as current illustrations. Readers will find this book fascinating. B+ rating.