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Friday, February 24, 2017

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury - A Book Review

    Product Details 

Love Story is the story of the origin of John and Elizabeth Baxter’s family. It is the twenty-fifth book Karen Kingsbury has written about the Baxters. Love Story is wonderful tale for long-time Baxter fans, as John reflects back on his and Elizabeth’s story. It is also a suitable introduction for readers like me who are new to this family.  
     In addition to learning about how John and Elizabeth met and fell in love, readers of Love Story will also follow the somewhat turbulent, on again-off again, relationship of Cody Coleman and Andi Ellison. Throughout both relationships, we see how God works in the lives of those who seek His will and put their trust in Him, even when, or maybe especially when, they have made a mess of things when trying to make a go of it on their own.
     As a reader, I am usually pretty in touch with what attributes of a story or writing style do or do  not appeal to me as I read. I found my reading experience with Love Story to be the exception of that rule. As I read I was very aware that my level of engagement with the story and its characters waxed and waned more frequently and to a greater degree than is normal for me, but I could never pinpoint the cause. This detracted from my enjoyment of this book. It will not keep me from picking up another book by this author as the story did unfold with a meaningful lesson, something I value in Christian fiction.

     I wish to thank the publisher for providing this book to me in exchange for my honest opinion. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt - A Book Review

Product DetailsKay Bratt

     Cara is fleeing, leaving her twin behind, a difficult journey made more difficult by a lack of money, transportation, and trust. Throughout their years in the foster care system the twins had learned to rely only on one another; now they were each on their own. Along Cara’s way she meets a series of very special people, people who demonstrate a love and selflessness that nurture her.  Although Bratt’s writing does not stress the root of these characters’ love, the reader might just see the love of Christ demonstrated. Cara is also blessed with the love and devotion of a dog she names Hemi after her favorite author, Ernest Hemingway. The reader journeys right alongside Cara, celebrating her triumphs and anguishing in her setbacks.
     Kay Bratt carefully paces her release of information related to the twins’ past and to the reason behind Cara’s flight, information vital to their future. Bratt is a master at placing questions in her readers’ mind, and engaging them in the search for the answers. I knew Bratt as a master of non-fiction; this book introduced me to her as a master of fiction as well. This book will please readers who simply love a good book with memorable characters as well as readers who desire a memorable reading experience with meaningful themes and important life lessons.

    I thank Kay Bratt for providing me with a copy of Wish Me Home in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren - A Book Review

Product DetailsSusan May Warren

     I enjoyed this adventure packed story set in the Glacier National Park. Susan May Warren’s skill at creating mental images that engage all of one’s senses places her readers squarely in the thick of things as grizzlies attack, people and vehicles hang precariously on narrow mountain ledges, and swimmers and non-swimmers are swept along a freezing, rushing, boulder filled river. Rescue Me has no shortage of heroes who are ready and prepared to come to the rescue, members of the PEAK Search and Rescue Team. Of course, there are times when they themselves are the ones in need of being rescued by One much greater than they.
     Love misunderstood would perhaps be the best description of this tale, the love between parent and child, and the love between a man and a woman. We each see life and love through different lenses, lenses that sometimes cloud our understanding of another’s view. It is the love of God that brings clarity.
     Rescue Me is the second book in the Montana Rescue series; unfortunately, I had not read the first, but this posed no problem with my understanding and enjoying this book. I am looking forward to reading both the previous and subsequent books in this series. I recommend this book to those who like high adventure and/or romantic fiction. It’s a good read for a cold day indoors or a warm day on the beach.

     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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dream of Freedom by Michael Phillips - A Book Review

       Michael Phillips

     Over the last year my husband and I have visited Colonial Williamsburg twice and have attended a Civil War reenactment in Kentucky. This has spurred my interest in reading books set during the turbulent times when wars were fought on American soil, and in learning the personal sides of the struggle. Michael Phillips American Dreams series, of which Dream of Freedom is the first, was the perfect read for me right now. Dream of Freedom introduces us to two 19th century Virginia families of whom Richmond Davidson and Denton Beaumont are the patriarchs. Davidson leads his family based on the Word of God. Beaumont leads his by what he determines as best for himself and the southern party line. Both men have very different feelings and opinions about the value of people of color. While having been childhood friends, their world views lead them in opposite directions as adults. Readers are also introduced to James Watts and his daughter Cherity, both fine human beings with great respect for all people, but who are struggling with their relationship with God.
     Phillips is a master story teller, creating well developed characters placed in challenging situations. His writing is obviously thoroughly researched. (I’ve never before read a piece of fiction with such detailed footnotes!) His lead characters, the Davidsons, witness by truly living out their beliefs, seeking God’s wisdom and direction in the day to day decisions as well as the life changing decisions. This is very inspirational for those of us in today’s church culture dominated by programs, which often adds to the stress we already feel by our calendar driven lifestyles.
     Phillips is not afraid of tackling tough subjects, not only those unique to the mid-1800s, but those that continue to challenge Christians today: submitting to God’s authority, dealing with prodigal children, maintaining faith while suffering, sacrificing in order to do what is right, realizing that our security lies in God rather than financial security, waiting on God to reveal His will rather than rushing ahead of Him, and demonstrating grace when hurt… He tackles these subjects authentically, and with great wisdom.

     I highly recommend Dream of Freedom to all historical fiction fans, to those who are seeking, and to those who want to live out loud their Christian faith. I cannot wait to continue the story of the Davidsons and the Beaumonts in book two of this series, Dream of Life. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley - A Book Review

 Justice Delayed by [Bradley, Patricia]     Patricia Bradley

     Justice Delayed is the first book in Patricia Bradley’s new Memphis Cold Case series. Detective Will Kincaide has joined Lieutenant David Raines in the newly formed Memphis Cold Case Unit, and his first case involves clearing his cousin whose day of execution is drawing closer and closer. Relationships are strained as it is his best friend’s sister that his cousin has been convicted of murdering. Not to mention the fact that his best friend is a fellow police officer, and that Will is quickly falling in love with his younger sister. These characters are joined by others from both the past and the present, some good, some bad, and many on whom the jury is still out, well at least until the last few pages. Mystery fans will enjoy distinguishing the legitimate clues from the abundant red herrings, and mentally racing ahead to solve the mystery before the Cold Case Unit officers.

     Standing up for the truth even when requiring personal sacrifice is a major theme in this book. Waiting for God’s timing, not rushing ahead of Him, standing on faith, these are also themes on which this story is built. These are themes that many Christians struggle with, and ones that will keep us engaged with the characters as the mystery unfolds, the mystery of who killed Stephanie Hollister, and the mystery of faith, faith in action. 

     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.