Every so often a book comes along that you can't put down. Fall, by Jennifer Hurst, was that book for me. And what a blessed relief that this was the case! My week had been crazy-busy, crammed with my not-always-impressive efforts to help get the kiddos back into the groove of school and trying to coax all of us out of our summertime funk of no schedules and few responsibilities. We all were suffering from system shock--me worse than anyone. That's probably why I put off sticking my nose into this book until just a few days ago, even though I had a review coming up that had to be finished by the 15th. But because reading is my favorite thing, I couldn't put it at the top of my "do now" list.
No worries, I thought. I'll just cram through it--painfully difficult or not. To my great delight, no pain was involved, unless you count the discomfort I felt on many occasions when I had to put the derned thing down and go be productive. I guess the aforementioned kiddos like to eat at regular intervals. Go figure.
So here's the synopsis from Jennifer Hurst's website:
Women and construction shouldn’t mix. At least, that is what the client, Mr. Blackwell, thinks when Twenty-one year old Julia D. Halstead is promoted to project manager and tasked with remodeling a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse into a bed and breakfast in the tourist town of Torrey, Utah. However, the schoolhouse contains a dark secret that has been hidden for over a hundred years. A secret that will unleash the furies of Hell and cause the Angels in Heaven to weep as ethereal brothers, Matthew and Nathan battle over Julia’s very soul." Click here to read more.
It just so happens, construction is in MY blood too. My dad is a general contractor, his dad was a general contractor, three of my brothers are in the construction business, and yes, even my husband is a construction project manager/general contractor. I was destined to find a kindred spirit in the main character, Julia, or JD, as she insists on being called. And that's just what happened.
Hurst weaves a great tale of romance, suspense, and paranormal intrigue, intermingled with strong character development that keeps the reader emotionally invested in the outcome of the story. Just like any great romance, I found myself "falling in love" along with the heroine and feeling her pain when things don't turn out the way she had planned. I enjoyed the strong, quirky female lead. And the setting is rich and interesting and winds up taking a big part in the story.
There were some typos and grammatical errors in my ARC (advanced-reader copy), which I've been assured are fixed in the most recent copy. I didn't find them to detract from my overall enjoyment of the book, though. My only concern with the book centered on the fact that some of the premises were not as fleshed out as I would like to have seen. I often found myself questioning what exactly the rules were for her characters' paranormal abilities, as well as what rules governed their world. Much of this was left unexplained or barely touched upon. The premise is such an interesting one that I wanted to understand it all much better. In addition, JD's past is mentioned as significant, but we don't get sufficient details to piece it all together. Finally, the resolution ended abruptly and still left me with numerous questions. I think Hurst was leaving open the option for a sequel or a group of sequels, but some of the answers to crucial questions that help a reader feel satisfied at the end of a story were missing. If they are meant to be covered in future installments, an indication of that would be nice. If not, please throw us a few more morsels of delicious resolution.
In addition to my delight in having this book be such a page-turner (or a page-forward-button-pusher if you read it on your electronic reading device, as I did) I was struck with one of those other sensations we writers sometimes get when we come across a fabulous idea crafted into a captivating book. It's perhaps the best praise I can give anyone, and that is--I wish I'd written that. To purchase Jennifer's book, click here.
Best of luck to you Jennifer. And by the way . . . GREAT name!
And now--THE CONTEST!
The setting in Fall is one of the characters. I defy you to read it and not be struck with a longing to visit Torrey, Utah and the fabulous schoolhouse bed and breakfast, which is a real place. The fabulous news for you is that one lucky reader will get to do just that!
In conjunction with this blog tour, Jennifer is holding a contest. It will involve any of the blogs that Jennifer visits or where her book is featured and will close on December 31st, 2011. The entrants have to answer three questions about the book they’ve read (bought, borrowed, or stolen - shame on you) and post a link to Jennifer's website on their Twitter, Facebook, or blog (need link for verification).
Then the names will be entered in a random name picker generator (http://textmechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html) and announced on Jennifer's website (www.jenniferhurst.com) on January 31st, 2012. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a night’s stay at the actual bed and breakfast where the story takes place.
Other prizes include an autographed copy of FALL, and she will randomly select 3 contestants’ names to use in the sequel to FALL. Plus, they will receive a free copy of that book when it is published.
Each blog that Jennifer Hurst visits will have a different set of questions people can answer, and they may enter as many times as they want - but they can enter once per blog site that they visit. So the more sites you visit, the more you can enter your name, thus increasing your chances of winning the gift certificate, a copy of the book FALL, and your name in the sequel.
Get the book, read the book, and then read over the questions below. Once you have your answers, e-mail them to Jennifer. firstname.lastname@example.org
Your privacy is respected and your email address will NOT be used for anything but the contest. Once the contest is over - your email address will be deleted from the database.
Here are the questions for you to answer:
What did Missy give to JD for Christmas?
Which marathon was Rick training for?
What is Mr. Blackwell's wife's name?
If you would like to visit the other sites, go here for the master list of all participating sites: http://fallbyjenniferhurst.wordpress.com/
Best of luck, and thanks for participating!
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