Monday, January 28, 2013

Goodbye to Yesterday

Goodbye to Yesterday
The Discovery Part 1
Wanda Brunstetter

Luke and Meredith are newlyweds. Luke recently lost his job and tensions are high as he looks for a source of income. Then an offer comes along that seems to be a dream come true. But Meredith has reservations and can't shake her worries.

The story seemed to speed forward without much character or plot development. The clues given made the ending very predictable. Before my attention could be captured the story was over. With only 114 pages (in a 1/2 size book) the book seems more of an excerpt than an actual book. This is a regular book that has been broken into six pieces. I would not have agreed to read the book if I'd known this. I certainly wouldn't pay the $6.99 that Amazon is asking.  Sadly, the part 1 did not interest me enough to want to read the rest of the book.

I received this book free of charge from Handlebar in exchange for my honest review.

Echoes

Echoes
Glenbrooke Series Book 3
Robin Jones Gunn

Lauren might be a magnet for accidents, but the break up of her engagement was not one she was expecting. Her brother's idea of comfort is to set her up with a computer, email account, and random email "pen pal". The only things she knows about KC is that he's a Christian. But over the next year she begins to fall in love with the soul on the other end of the email. Can this be a relationship that will hold in real life, or just a bridge to the one God has in store.

I had read this book years ago and enjoyed it, so was looking forward to reading it again. It was just as fun this time. While definitely a book in a series, it can stand alone as well. I would recommend starting at the beginning simply because the other books are just as fun and will help you know who the characters are. The characters are real, often flawed, but fun and relate able. The Christian message is prominent, but not over powering. Definitely a book I'll be keeping in my library to read again some time.

I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

Give Away

Winner!!!

Thank you to everyone who checked out my give-away.
Tamara is the winner of the book 

Spy in a Little Black Dress
by Maxine Kenneth
 
Please contact me to arrange delivery.

Monday, January 21, 2013

It Happens Every Spring

It Happens Every Spring
Four Seasons Book 1
Catherine Palmer
Gary Chapman

Brenda is suffering from an empty nest. Her husband Steve is always at work and she is lonely. Until a homeless man shows up on her doorstep and asks if she is a Christian.
The small town gossips about what he might be doing here in the town of Tranquility.

Written with a southern flair, Spring flows smoothly and invites you in to the lives of the people who live in Tranquility. Life seems to center around a hair salon and grabs your attention immediately with the quirky and fun characters. My only complaint would be the depiction of the marriage the main couple had. It was so realistically bad that I found myself wanting to shake some sense into the husband. He was horrible. But I've enjoyed reading this book and look forward to getting the next book in the series.

I received this book free of charge from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Be Mine for Christmas

Be Mine for Christmas
Alicia Street

Ellie is a single mom with a distrust of men. But after a brief job at a tree farm she begins to realize that not all men are the same. 

The novella was sweet and romantic with a touch of the mystical. I enjoyed the story. It flowed well and the characters were fun. My only complain would be the length of the story. When I'm enjoying something, I want it to last a bit longer.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

On Every Side

On Every Side
Karen Kingsbury

Faith is living in a small town and working as a news anchor. Her father has just passed away. He was her hero when it came to matters of faith and now she must stand alone. Decisions that will test her faith are coming to her small town in the form of an old friend. How she handles those decisions could affect her family and her future.

Definitely my favorite of the three Kingsbury books I've read. It had some tough issues being addressed, but they didn't make me feel helpless or frustrated. Religious freedom is a battle that is relatable to anyone reading the news or anyone with a faith they've had to defend. The plot was based on actual events, but the story and characters were fictional. The author did a good job of holding my attention and I liked the element of romance that was mixed into the story. My only complaint would be that some of the thoughts or ideas weren't carried completely out in the book. Some of the characters were only briefly mentioned and yet played a huge part in the story.
 
(I've already reviewed this book for WaterBrook in the three-in-one book, but felt each book (since it can be purchased alone) deserved it's own review.)

When Joy Comes to Stay

When Joy Comes to Stay
Karen Kingsbury

Maggie is the perfect wife and parishioner. She's a devote Christian who takes in foster children and fights the wrongs of this world with her newspaper column. She's married to Ben, a man who adores her. But a mistake from her past is weighing her down and she begins to fear for her sanity. Why can't she stop seeing this little girl and why does she forget large chunks of time?

Depression is a very misunderstood illness in the Christian world. I appreciated the author's willingness to address the issue and how she handled it. The story seemed a little far out and cheesy, but the message of deliverance and redemption was beautiful. Probably not a huge favorite of mine, but I liked it okay.

(I've already reviewed this book for WaterBrook in the three-in-one book, but felt each book (since it can be purchased alone) deserved it's own review.)

Chasing the Wind

Chasing the Wind
Pamela Binnings Ewen

Amalise is a workaholic returning from an accident to make her place again in the law firm she works for. The very first case that she takes on is a major revitalization of a down and out part of town. The new buildings and plans will bring in new jobs and help for the economy. But it will leave many of the tenants without homes. Amalise is almost immediately in conflict with her job and the people she will soon have a hand in evicting.

I had a really hard time with this book. Almost from the beginning I had the feeling that the book was very well written, but not once was my imagination captured. I just could not get into the story. Not matter how hard I tried, I could never find a connection with the characters or the plot. I enjoyed the twist at the end, although I saw it coming and I liked the ending. But it just wasn't my style. So while this is a book that I'm certain will be a hit with quite a few people, it certainly wasn't for me.

Where Yesterday Lives

Where Yesterday Lives
Karen Kingsbury

Ellen is a top-notch reporter who lives a very busy life with her husband Michael. At the news of her father's death she flies home to be with her mother and four siblings. But the tension between them is eating everyone alive. Her husband didn't join her claiming work and now Ellen is fighting the temptation of a former flame.

The story centered on the week leading up to the funeral. It was frustrating and heartbreaking. Frustrating because the siblings in the story didn't seem to real. The family use to be full of love and laughter and it seemed strange that ALL five siblings could be so emotionally damaged and the parents not be seriously concerned. The mom seemed checked out and the brother almost autistic and yet no mention was made about either of these. It was heartbreaking because the author wrote the story to be sad. She did a great job of making the sadness and agony of death seem real. I definitely didn't get bored with the story because it seemed to move along quickly. But based on this book alone I wouldn't read anything else by this author. I just didn't see the point.

(I've already reviewed this book for WaterBrook in the three-in-one book, but felt each book (since it can be purchased alone) deserved it's own review.)

A Kingsbury Collection

A Kingsbury Collection
Three Novels in One
(Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Comes to Stay, On Every Side)
Karen Kingsbury

Where Yesterday Lives - Ellen, a reporter, learns that her father has suddenly passed away. She returns home to help her mother and her four siblings plan the funeral. But marital problems, sibling issues, and a friend from the past make it a faith test week.

When Joy Came to Stay - Maggie thinks she's losing her mind. From the outside she has the perfect life, a loving husband, adorable foster sons, and a strong faith in God. But a mistake made many years ago has come back to haunt her and cause her to doubt her sanity.

On Every Side - Faith has a dream job at a local news station. But her faith and devotion to God are about to be tested in a way she never dreamed possible. Her town and her Jesus are under attack and with her father gone it is up to her to stand up for what she believes in.

My first thoughts where when I received this book - Oh my word! It is huge. I would never purchase three normal size books together. With almost 750 pages, it is massive. 
I have heard so much about Kingsbury and couldn't wait to read something by her. So I jumped at the chance to review three of her books at once.
My overall opinion is that she is an amazing writer. Despite the difficult subject matter she can still carry the plot and keep the reader interested. I definitely felt emotional reading these stories.
My only negative feelings would be the heavy subject matter. An entire book written about the funeral of a man, no matter how great, is a bit more than I would want to willingly tackle when reading a story for pleasure. So while I enjoyed the stories because of the excellent writing style, I just can't see myself picking up another Kingsbury novel based on these three. The only exception might have been if I'd only read On Every Side. This book didn't seem as dark and had a much happier thread throughout. I'm giving this book 4 stars because while I didn't care for the dark feeling in the books, I did enjoy reading them and felt it was great writing.

I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Give Away!

The best authors in New Fiction are celebrating the grand opening of BestSellingReads.com with a February promotion: