Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell (Book Review / Kindle Fire Contest Giveaway)

In association with Litfuse Publicity Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell!

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 384 pages / Kindle - 777 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 0764207970
Genre: Christian Historical Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Unrivaled

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Litfuse Publicity Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe’s best confections, she’s sure she’ll come up with a recipe that will save her father’s struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager–a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin.

Charlie Clarke’s new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he’s never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She’s making his work life miserable…and making herself impossible for him to forget.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1


Soon, soon, soon. My thoughts kept tempo with the horses’ hooves. It was all I could do not to stare as the carriage passed the sites of my beloved St. Louis: the brown brick Cave Ballroom; the tall Morgens Brothers Building with its deep bay windows; Ford Motor Company. And all the shoe and boot stores lining the district. If I looked out the other side of the carriage, I knew I would see the St. Louis Club.

An advertisement for Royal Taffy candy caught my attention. Give the Queen of Your Heart a Royal Gift. The brazen red of its oblong wrapper was echoed in the border of the poster. It was the third of its kind that I had seen on our journey down Olive Street. I wondered how many more of them had been put up around the city. And I wondered, too, why I hadn’t seen any for my father’s candy, Fancy Crunch.

The carriage lurched to a stop again. My, but there were so many more automobiles on the streets than there had been when I’d left for Europe. And it had only been a little over a year! Such a bother they were.

And it was so hot! I’d forgotten about Missouri’s humidity. Though it had been made in the new open style, my white silk collar was sticking to my neck, and I suspected my Denmark blue blouse-waist was already damp at the back. I shifted forward on the seat as the streetcars and automobiles sailed past us, reminding me of all the ships I had seen on the Mediterranean.

Awnings shaded shop windows while men and women hurried up and down the street. I noted how tall all the buildings were. Pride bloomed in my breast: Even Europe with all her splendors had nothing to rival my native city.

I had worried that I would find my home too dull and provincial, that it would be diminished by the grandeur of all the things I had seen and the places I had visited on the Continent. To the contrary! Dear, sweet home. I wanted to embrace it all, every piece of it. There were dozens of things I couldn’t wait to do. And there were a hundred things I wanted to tell of: eating linzer torte in Austria; viewing glaciers in Switzerland; drinking coffee at the cafés in Italy.

Soon, soon, soon.

I’d voyaged halfway around the world, but this last journey from Union Station to my house was interminable.

Glancing down at the newspaper I’d twisted between my hands, I determined to at least look as if I were patiently waiting. It was a discarded copy of the Chicago Tribune someone had left on the train. A headline in bold type declared Suspect in South Side Murder Arrested. The article went on to explain beneath: A twenty-two-year-old member of one of the South Side’s notorious athletic clubs was arrested for the murder of Micky Callahan. How gruesome! My eyes strayed from the article to the face of the hardened criminal, which stared back at me with beady eyes. It was enough to make me shudder. I hoped they kept him in that jail for a very long time! I folded it up and laid my hands atop it.

My aunt and uncle exchanged a glance as they sat on the bench across from me. I’d grown used to such glances on the Continent. But more than that, I had grown used to their exchange of tender gestures. I could only hope that I would someday find myself in a marriage as loving as theirs.

Four blocks more.

Three blocks more.

Oh!—there it was. The gracefully curving, columned gate that guarded Vandeventer Place from the world outside it. I knew every twist of the metal flowers that scrolled up the ironwork. The carriage left off its jarring bounce as it glided onto the smooth granite flagstones that lined the threshold of the gate. My heart thrilled to hear the splash of the fountain beyond and tears pricked my eyes at the sight of the statue that topped it. Leda and her swan. And—look! Old Mr. Carleton was still sitting in that same wicker chair on his porch, supervising the pruning of his roses. I could not help but grin and wave my handkerchief at him.

“Perhaps you should settle yourself more fully on the seat, my dear.” Though her words were corrective, my aunt smiled as she said them. She had often helped to guide my behavior while we were in Europe. But she was right. Perhaps I should sit back. I wouldn’t want Father and Mother to think that my manners had suffered in Europe while I was gone.

I could not wait to see them!

Though . . . the thought of my father brought with it a pang of guilt. I’d been allowed to accompany my aunt and uncle on their tour in the hopes that it would turn me into a lady. A lady didn’t succumb to enthusiasms, and she didn’t go about waving handkerchiefs, and most of all, she did not join her father in his business.

Not even when the best and happiest parts of her childhood had been spent with him by a stove, as they created new candies, anticipating the glorious success of his efforts.

How long we’d been waiting for that success.

But now I’d been to Europe. I’d seen her delights. And I had also tasted of her many sweets. In doing so, my resolve to join him in the business had only hardened, and I’d concocted a plan. I was going to share with him all that I had discovered. I’d collected labels from candy boxes and wrappers to paste into my scrapbook to show him. And I’d saved some samples for him as well. Perhaps that’s what I would do first: Let him taste my treasures. And then I’d talk to him about adding a new line of candies to City Confectionery’s offerings: Premium European Sweets. “How many new candies do you think Father created while I was gone?”

“Well . . .” My aunt’s glance veered away from mine and a frown tugged at the corners of her mouth. “I don’t know . . . but . . . Lucy, dear? There’s something I think you should know.” She looked again at my uncle.

There it was at the end of the street: my own dear house. The one Grandfather had built, with its gabled roofline and porticoed entry. It took all the strength I had to restrain myself from leaping out and dashing up the steps.


I wrenched my shoulders back and put up a hand to adjust my new straw picture hat. I felt the mound of white ostrich feathers atop it sway as I looked down and folded my gloved hands once more atop my lap. “Yes, Auntie?”

“There’s something that . . . well . . .”

My uncle cleared his throat. “Something’s happened to your father.”

My Book Review:

Lucy Kendall returns home to St. Louis from a grand European tour with a collection of candies that she hopes will create new candy ideas that will save City Confections, her family's struggling candy business. But her hopes are dashed when she is told that her father has suffered a heart attack, and her Mother has decided to sell the business because of the competition from a rival candy business. But Lucy isn't willing to give up, she comes up with a plan to create a new candy that she hopes will revive the sales for her family's candy business.

Charlie Clarke is summoned to St. Louis by his estranged father who had left his mother and family when Charlie was seven years old. His father has built an empire with Standard Manufacturing, the largest candy factory in St. Louis, and he wants to pass the company onto his son. This factory used to be owned by Lucy's father, but he had lost the factory as well as a recipe for Royal Taffy to Charlie's father. Charlie wants to get his father's approval, he is determined to help is father dominate the candy industry.

When Lucy and Charlie meet there is a mutual attraction, but can a relationship develop and survive when their families are rival candy makers?

In Unrivaled, author Siri Mitchel weaves an entertaining historical romance tale written in the first person narrative with alternating points of view by Lucy and Charlie, who transports the reader back to the turn of the century (early 1900s) St. Louis with a rousing story of family rivalry, love and confectionery sweets. In this captivating story, both young people want nothing more than to help their family's businesses. They are filled with dreams and schemes of building their respective businesses while having a mutual attraction, but as their rivalry escalates and they try to top each other's efforts, eventually someone will need to fold.

The author's attention to historical detail is richly described and offers fascinating insight into the turn of the century early 1900s St. Louis society, and the candy making process and industry. The storyline is filled with a mixture of humor and drama. Lucy and Charlie are both strong-willed but likable characters, who are rivals in the candy business, while also fighting a mutual personal attraction. Their schemes to outdo the other's candy company often create humorous situations. I thought that Lucy's behavior and actions to be exasperating. She becomes so focused on achieving her goals, that she is blinded to the impacts her actions have on others, but as the story unfolds she exhibits an inner growth. Charlie is more open-minded and empathetic than Lucy, but he has his own inner struggles with forgiveness and pride. Despite a slightly tainted criminal past, Charlie desires love, genuineness and fairness. The reader can't help but get drawn as Lucy and Charlie's story unfolds.

With a storyline that wraps itself around a tapestry of society functions, candy making, and business battles; the messages of love, truth, and forgiveness comes shining through and makes Unrivaled a thoroughly enjoyable read.


About The Author

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Litfuse Publicity

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway 

Win A Kindle Fire 

Celebrate Unrivaled with Siri Mitchell by entering to win a Kindle Fire and joining her on April 18th for a Facebook Author Chat Party!

One "swooning" winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Vintage Candy Kit
  • Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell (one for you and one for a friend!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 17th. Winner will be announced at the "Unrivaled" Author Chat Facebook Party on 4/18. Connect with Siri, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be gift certificates, books, vintage candy kits, and more!

So grab your copy of Unrivaled and join Siri on the evening of the April 18th for a chance to connect with Siri and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

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