I've long watched Colleen Coble titles pass my radar. For just as long I have held off reading them because of the oft applied label of Chri3.5 stars
I've long watched Colleen Coble titles pass my radar. For just as long I have held off reading them because of the oft applied label of Christian/Inspirational fiction. I grew up reading a lot of Janette Oke and the like, but the "Inspirational" fiction I've read in recent years has turned me off because it has often felt preachy and filled with gratuitous mentions of God. So when an opportunity to read an ARC by Coble crossed my path, I decided to give it a try as the synopsis sounded very exciting and I hadn't tried an inspirational romantic suspense.
The story was filled with mystery and intrigue as well as a nice, romantic past-lovers trope. Any mentions of God suited the scene and the character delivering the message and it was not over done. I did have a couple quibbles, one of which was a pretty major inconsistency that I'm hoping was resolved before publication so I won't call it out. The other issue I had was with the portrayal of the guide dog in the book. My mother got her first Seeing Eye Dog (TM) when I was in junior high so I am familiar with guide dogs and there were a few behaviors described that would not have been allowed and that kind of turned me off a bit. If it hasn't been for that it would have been a solid 4 star read for me. I will definitely no longer shy away from Coble's books and will likely actively seek out more of her titles in the future.
I was given an eGalley via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed above are my own....more
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 nOverall, 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....more
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 ChristmasA 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....more
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 han3.5 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....more