Julia D. Halstead (primarily known as JD) is something of a paradox. She's a project manager for a construction company, yet she wears high heels and carries a zebra striped purse. She shows the ability of commanding a room full of contractors bidding for a project, while at the same time finds herself turning to jelly when one of the well built, young and handsome contractors smiles at her. While she has never had any use for religion, things from the spiritual world have use for her.
Fall tells of JD's first solo assignment--renovating an old school house in the small town of Torrey, Utah into a bed and breakfast. The project will take several months. JD finds life in the small town a far cry from life in LA. Soon, construction is underway, and despite her better judgment, she becomes romantically involved with Matthew, one of her contractors. Little does she know that Matthew's interest in her isn't just romantic, but he needs her to carry out his devious plans.
I was delighted when I was asked to review this book. I met Jennifer at the August Authorama where she was enlisted to do facing painting. I was blown away by her talent, and even let her work her magic on my cheek! Here's a picture of her in action painting my daughter's face:
Imagine my surprise when I was told she was a writer as well. It's not fair for someone to be that talented!
Despite my previous experience with Jennifer, I wanted to make sure to write an honest review of her book. I'm happy to say that she has decided to update the cover from the copy that I got. The first cover wasn't bad, it just doesn't have the impact of the new cover.
One of the first things I noticed was the details of what a construction project manager does on a day to day basis. I was impressed because it added a level of credibility to the story and the main character. It wasn't until I finished the book that I learned that Jennifer once worked in the construction industry. So I applaud her with using the experience from her life in the book.
JD, as a character, is hard not to like. At 21 years old, she is trying to prove herself in what is primarily a man's world. But at the same time, she is also a woman who finds herself attracted to one of her contractors--something which is a bit of a no-no.
I didn't look at the back blurb of the book before I started reading. It's something of a habit of mine. Too often, I feel, the blurbs give too much away. While I don't think that is the case with Fall, I went into the book not knowing what to expect. For the beginning part of the book, it started to feel like a romance. There are a lot of descriptions of how JD feels about Matthew and the conflicting emotions that come from following her heart and trying to show her Grandpa (the owner of the company) that she is able to handle a project on her own.
The story then takes a left turn and introduces that things aren't what they appear. And no, I'm not going to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say, JD is given much more to handle than a construction project.
I honestly enjoyed reading Fall. I thought the characters were well defined and interesting. The chapters were short, and the story was limited to very few points of few which helped it move along well. Even being a man, I felt what JD was feeling--which isn't easy for an author to get me to do.
The story delves into some pretty dark places at times--not graphic in nature, but there were times where things became downright spooky and creepy. At the same time, there are heroic characters who give you someone to cheer for and bring hope to the events that surround JD.
Who would enjoy this book? I'd say its geared for more of a mature audience--not really for tweens. There isn't any bad language, nor are there graphic scenes of sex or violence, yet the emotions and events may be too much for younger readers.
Overall, I would like to congratulate Jennifer Hurst on a wonderful book. I wish you the best of success and I look forward to reading more of your work!
Here is something Jennifer Hurst is doing to encourage you to read the book (though this review should be encouragement enough. Ha!) She is holding a contest. Basically, you need to answer three questions.
These questions are:
1. Which Holiday did JD celebrate with Liu?
2. What was the name of the truck driver's wife?
3. Who was the police officer that pulled over Matthew and JD?
For complete rules, go to this link.
For more on the author, click here.
To order the book, click here.
**Disclaimer: while I did receive a copy of this book to review for free, it in no way, shape or form influenced my opinion.**