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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club by Lexi Eddings - A Book Review

   Small town, big stories...with Ozark Snark!

     The title of this book review should be “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Back Cover Blurb.” When I read the blurb, I moaned to my husband, “If the book reads like this, it’s going to be a long, painful read.” Ah, but instead between the covers lay a tender, sweet story, a story of coming to terms with life’s difficulties and moving on to better things. It’s a story of looking beyond oneself, and the blessings that come from reaching out to others.
     Lacy has returned home after a betrayal that has left her emotionally and financially drained. She feels like returning to the small town of Coldwater, Oklahoma is a giant step backward. Jacob has returned to Coldwater after sustaining severe physical trauma while serving as a marine in Afghanistan, leaving him to cope with PTSD. Jacob, once the local love ‘em and leave ‘em heart throb, is now looking for someone with whom he can have a deeper relationship, someone who can see him rather than his injury. Lacy is not ready to put herself in a position to be hurt again, not ready to trust. Will their friendship stand up to their insecurities; is there hope that it may develop into something more?
     Then there is Daniel Scott, Lacy’s former boyfriend and Jacob’s former best friend. Daniel struggles with his relationship with his wife who is fighting in the only way she knows how to help him overcome his addiction. He struggles with his relationship with the abusive father of his childhood, now an alcoholic, homeless Vietnam vet whom the Coldwater Warm Hearts Club has taken under their wing. Will Lacy’s reappearance make reconciliation with his wife more challenging? How will it impact what little remains of his connection to Jacob, the friend who kept him from making what might have been the biggest mistake of his life?
     Those who read my reviews will be accustomed to their being about books that strictly adhere to the standards set forth for Christian fiction. So, I feel obligated to mention that while The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club does have faith based themes, it would better be described as a sweet romance. There is just a bit of language that one would not find in Christian fiction. While sex outside of marriage is alluded to, there are no steamy, explicit sex scenes. I do not believe fans of Christian fiction will feel as if they have compromised by reading this sweet story. Lacy is a seeker, Jacob is rediscovering his faith. Thankfully God gives each of us grace as we work toward maturity in our faith.

     I thank Lacy Eddings and Kensington Books for providing me with a copy of The Coldwater Warm Hearts Club in exchange for my honest opinion. I have received no monetary compensation for this review. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

This Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick - A Book A Review

Image result for jane kirkpatrick books           Image result for This Road We Traveled

     Sharp tongued yet loving, opinionated yet understanding, lame yet persevering, brave yet fearful of becoming a burden, a life filled with dichotomy, light well spent. This is Tabitha Moffat Brown, pioneer, also known as “The Mother of Oregon.” Once again Jane Kirkpatrick has fleshed out the life of a strong woman from America’s history, holding true to her life, drawing reasonable conclusions, and adding enough fiction to allow her to live once again in the hearts and minds of readers. In this endeavor, Kirkpatrick is a master.
     Tabitha Brown, along with her son’s, Orus Brown’s, family and her daughter’s, Pherne Pringle’s, family, traveled from St. Charles, Missouri to the Salem and Forest Grove areas of Oregon, traveling together most of the way, then with Orus taking the Oregon Trail, and Tabby and the Pringles separating to follow the California Trail into Oregon. Those following the Applegates through northern California encountered extreme hardships, with the survivors entering their new lives in Oregon with not much more than the clothes on their backs, depending on the kindness of those who had gone before.
     Tabby’s relationship with her children plays an important role in her story. While her deep love for them, and them for her is obvious, there is tension and more than just a bit of friction between them. While Tabby may not totally comprehend the root of this, she does, often unsuccessfully, try to avoid adding fuel to the fire. Success does seem to come more easily once Tabby finds meaningful ways to spend her light during her later years.

     While reading This Road We Traveled I flagged twenty pages on which I underlined pearls of wisdom, quotes that I will copy into my reading log to revisit in the future. How many authors of fiction offer such treasure? I highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, to those looking for strong female role models, and to those who love the beauty of words. I thank Revell Publishing and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing this book for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Raven by Mike Nappa - A Book Review

Mike Nappa      Product Details

     Having read Annabel Lee, I was quite anxious to read the second installment in the Coffey and Hill series by Mike Nappa. At first I thought I was going to be disappointed, and then I reached chapter seven, and I was hooked. I love the way Nappa takes seemingly disconnected details and pulls them all together into a satisfying ending. I also appreciate the way he is unafraid to tackle events and themes often avoided in Christian literature, but handles them in a way that does not sensationalize them.
     When Trudi Coffey first sees, deception specialist, The Raven, he’s in a tight spot. The Raven becomes enamored with this beautiful lady who saves his life, but little did either of them know the trajectory their relationship would take from there. They also had no idea how the men who had placed him in that tight spot would figure so prominently in their future. These men certainly weren’t done with the Raven, and weren’t to be frightened away by Trudi.
     Samuel Hill, Trudi’s ex, has made mistakes, big ones, but he still loves Trudi, and will go to any extent to protect her, whether she feels like she needs to be protected or not. Is his trust placed in the right people to assist him in this endeavor? Only time will tell. Has bringing Trudi in on his Nevermore investigation placed her in greater danger? Well, neither one of them is backing down now. While they may not be able to resume their relationship, Trudi and Samuel’s love will be Forevermore.
     Then there is Mama Bliss, matriarch of Little Five Points in Atlanta, Georgia. There is much more to that sweet, elderly lady sitting in her wheelchair painting outside the store, Sister Bliss’s Secret Stash, that she opened with her late husband, William, than meets the eye. Much more. Mama Bliss is the character in this story that will grab the reader’s attention and hold it firmly until the end, driving the reader to put off other things that need to be accomplished in order to uncover the truth behind Mama Bliss.

     I highly recommend Mike Nappa’s Coffey and Hill series. While The Raven would work fine as a stand-alone read, the reader who has first read Annabel Lee will have greater insights into the characters’ motivations and relationships, and will understand the occasional reference to their previous case. I thank Revell Publishing and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing this book for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for providing this review.