Overall, this book had a lot of potential. I actually mostly enjoyed it. But, one trap I come across again and again with Christian fiction is their n...moreOverall, this book had a lot of potential. I actually mostly enjoyed it. But, one trap I come across again and again with Christian fiction is their need to beat you over the head with "the message." For me, it is much more effective to just show me. Unfortunately this book fell into that trap with a handful of points where the narration beat you over the head with their Christian values.
As a Christian, I am not against the values they are promoting. But I find it heavy handed and often times abrupt. It jars me out of the flow of the story. I think the characters' actions spoke loudly enough that the book could have cut those not-so-subtle diatribes and been a wonderful book that perhaps even non-Christians could enjoy.
The writing was good and I really enjoyed and felt invested in the characters. Despite that, I likely won't read anymore in the series, sadly.(less)
A heart warming Christmas read with a strong message. If your only interest in Christmas is secular you will want to look elsewhere for your Christmas...moreA heart warming Christmas read with a strong message. If your only interest in Christmas is secular you will want to look elsewhere for your Christmas reading.
This was not, however, your typical holiday read. The main character, Lena, is released on early parole at the beginning of the Christmas season where she embarks upon a fresh start in a small town in northern Minnesota. The plans do not go as her release package stated, but with the help of an older woman she meets on the bus on her way to the new town and the generosity of her spirit she touches the lives of many in the small town despite her own difficult circumstances. It is a good reminder of it being the season of giving.
A found a few passages a bit heavy handed on the preaching which I think could have been toned down a tad and still been clear. In general I expect there to be messages in holiday reads, but I don't necessarily need to be hit over the head with them.(less)
3.5 stars - I am not frequently a fan of Christian fiction. When it comes to holiday reads I don't mind a bit of it, as long as it isn't too heavy han...more3.5 stars - I am not frequently a fan of Christian fiction. When it comes to holiday reads I don't mind a bit of it, as long as it isn't too heavy handed. It can be good to be pulled out of all the commercialism of the holiday.
I enjoyed reading this book. It was nice to believe in modern day miracles for a little bit and to witness three people in very different stages of life and grappling with the troubles those entail really transform and hold each other up. Some of the "lessons" were a tad heavy handed, but suitable to the situation and not unexpected. I enjoyed a break from the formulaic holiday romances I have read recently. That isn't to say that the ending of this story is surprising, it was pretty clear as soon as the "The Christmas Dog" made the scene.
Those sensitive to frequent mentions of praying may wish to choose a different title, but that was the only recurring reference to Christianity in the book. There was also a good chunk of a church sermon, which was rather heavy handed, but served as catalyst for the plot so did not bother me, nor was it really unexpected.
The Kindle formatting of the title was fairly good. There were a few spots with extra line breaks and a few areas where parts of a word would be in subscript or superscript, but I did not find it terribly bothersome.(less)
The premise is that Ivy, a "little old lady (LOL)" discovers her age has some advantages - she is nearly invisible. This trait comes in handy for her...moreThe premise is that Ivy, a "little old lady (LOL)" discovers her age has some advantages - she is nearly invisible. This trait comes in handy for her as she first sets out to uncover the miscreants who are vandalizing a country cemetary which eventually leads her to also uncovering the secrets of a former tenant of her best friend and neighbor who turns up missing. Along the way there is a bit of matchmaking for Ivy in both directions and lots of adventure.
In general, the plot and character development was quite good. Especially for a first installment of a series. That said, there is a lot of Christian lessons in the book and lots of scripture excerpts and such. While raised Christian and having read my fair share of Christian fiction in the past, I found much of it in this book distracting and forced, which in turn felt heavy handed. I am not patently against Christian fiction. For example, I read and enjoy the Miss Julia books my Ann. B. Ross, but the Christianity in that series is much more subtle and less preachy.
If the bible quotes and Christian lessons were fewer in future books I'd likely give the series a go. As it stands I'm not likely to read any more of this series. I got this one as a freebie, if others in the series were made free I maybe would grab them, but I definitely would not purchase them.(less)