For the Record by Regina Jennings

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Rather than Wait for a Hero, She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him. – from author’s website


The suspense was a little flat but it wasn’t the main focus. The romance between Joel and Betsy was the main focus and I enjoyed the banter and dynamic between the two of them. It was easy to feel along with the two of them and understand their motivation behind some of what they did. It was a cute little romance with some suspense, but it didn’t have much substance to it. I was a little disappointed with the ending because it was hyping up to lead to a head but it never really lived up to the hype.
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The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

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Harry Houdni’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926— Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage. – from author’s website


This book was a lot more suspenseful than Cambron’s other books. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t the weaving of two different stories like in her other books. There were several flashbacks that gained a peak into Wren’s life when she was younger. However, because there wasn’t the weaving of two different stories together, it allowed me to get deeper entwined in the one. It was set in an intriguing era and setting and kind of made me wish I could have experienced Houdini’s illusions and the vaudeville era when illusions were that much more astounding because almost everything you saw was new before it became mainstream. I loved the illusions and that most of the illusions remained as such. The intriguing time period and setting, as well as the intriguing characters, left me satisfied at the end.