Addy Davidson doesn't want to be on TV. Let alone a reality TV show that the prize is being the prom date for the President's son. But she is. And the...moreAddy Davidson doesn't want to be on TV. Let alone a reality TV show that the prize is being the prom date for the President's son. But she is. And then she meets Jonathon, the President's son, and sure he's cute, and now she only halfway doesn't want to be there. But evidently she's exactly where God wants her and the sooner she figures out that, the happier she'll be.
Let me just say that I loved this book. I got it in yesterday and started reading it about 3 hours ago. The story is a loose re-telling of the story of Esther. Once Addy accepts that she's where God wants her to be, she starts showing grace to the other contestants and being a genuine sweetheart. Her roommate, Kara, is such a likeable girl. Kara's the one that gets Addy to talk about her parents and their deaths on the mission field. Kara's also first one that Addy lets know she's a Christian. Jonathon is an amazing guy that has liked Addy from the first time that he saw her and she tells him that she doesn't want to be there. I love the fact that even though he didn't want to do the show either, he's doing it because he loves his family and that's important to him. Addy's Uncle Mike is the one that keeps telling Addy that God has a plan. The producer, Hank, is not a guy I liked. That's the way that it's supposed to be. I loved the way that Addy shared her faith with not only the President's son but also the producer who had been trying to get her off of the show from the start. While Addy wasn't the winner, she found that she was in God's eyes. He had placed her there at that time in order to be a light for Him. That made me think. Have I been in places that I normally wouldn't have been at just to glorify God? I can't honestly say that I have.
I am so happy to know that this is the first in a series or at least that there will be a sequel to it due out this next summer. I can't wait to read it.
I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's booksneeze.com program to review. I was only asked to give my honest opinion. The fact that I loved the book is a bonus! (less)
Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese share more than just a really close friendship. The four women are as close as sisters. They pray for each other, su...moreNatalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese share more than just a really close friendship. The four women are as close as sisters. They pray for each other, support each other in their various adventures, and they each want to find love. When the lumber mill closes and it appears that their little town is going to die, they formulate a plan to turn their small town into the romance capital by capitalizing on the name of the town, Smitten. Along the way, a little girl's faith, a country sensation hometown hero, and four different men help the girls to not only believe in the town but to also find their own happily ever afters.
I've read several novellas in the past that were written by various authors. None of them had the cohesiveness that this one shared. I've read books by Colleen Coble, but never anything by the other three authors in this book. I found the stories to be funny and unique. Each story itself tells of one particular couple - Natalie & Carson, Julia & Zak, Shelby & Nick, and Reese & Griffen. Yes, they are all in the others' "story" as well, but what also makes this book so different is that the story of the town and it's struggle and growth carries through all four stories.
The authors are real life best friends and I loved reading the interview with them about how each heroine is a little like one of them. Perhaps that's why this book worked so well when other novellas haven't. The authors really know each other and are familiar with their personalities. I look forward to reading the next Smitten book due out next year.
I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. (less)
Carrie is the owner of Carrie's Cafe in Seaside, New Jersey. Greg is the ex-cop & widower who is trying to live with the demons of his past. Carri...moreCarrie is the owner of Carrie's Cafe in Seaside, New Jersey. Greg is the ex-cop & widower who is trying to live with the demons of his past. Carrie's past isn't all roses either. But when her dishwasher goes missing and then later turns up dead, and her waitress's strange behavior starts raising eyebrows, Carrie and Greg work together to figure out what exactly is going on. In the course of doing so, both must come face to face with past fears and learn to trust God and each other.
What a delight to be able to return to Seaside, New Jersey. I remember first "meeting" Greg back in Spring Rain. The story is fast paced and filled with touches of humor and suspense. One of the things that I loved about this book is the fact that forgivenss is one of the biggest themes in the book. Carrie must forgive her mother if she hopes to have a future free of anger and resentment. Greg must forgive himself for allowing his late wife to drive his car which resulted in the deaths of her and their children otherwise his guilt will eat him away. Andi, Carrie's waitress, must forgive her parents for taking her into a cult called The Pathway. Another thing I loved about this book is the fact that the characters felt real to me. I'd met a few of them before in the other Seaside books, and it was good to catch up with them. I loved the way that Twitter and Facebook played such a role in helping the cops apprehend the killer and all the other little details. Used to be the case that in a small town, everyone knew everyone's business. Now, while that's still true, Twitter and Facebook made it so much easier for the officials to know what was happening.
I really enjoyed this book. It's been a long time since I read one of Gayle Roper's books, and I plan on soon dusting off the ones I own and reading them again. I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah's Blogging for Books program. My thoughts and opinions are my own. (less)
Samantha Bravencourt receives an invitation to a wedding that changes her life. She attends the wedding only to discover that she's at the wrong one....moreSamantha Bravencourt receives an invitation to a wedding that changes her life. She attends the wedding only to discover that she's at the wrong one. But while staying with her aunt for the wedding, she runs into a former student of hers from the Philippines. This encounter with her former student eventually brings Carson Brylie, the only man she's ever loved and who broke her heart years ago, back into her life. Together Samantha and Carson face their shared past as they help one of their former students, Lien, in locating her mother.
This was a really good book. Interwoven with Sam's experience in the Philippines and the events that have brought Sam and Carson together, I found myself drawn into the story from the beginning. Sam isn't perfect. And each trip to North Carolina brings her failings a little more to light. It's while she's there at her aunt's home that Sam comes to the realization that perhaps she was wrong about Lien so many years ago. She realizes that she needs to let go of the past and ask Lien's forgiveness, which the girl graciously gives. Yet through it all, Sam is trying hard to deny her feelings for Carson. Feelings that she believes she has no right in feeling after their time in the Philippines. Carson's a gentle, yet strong, presence in her life. He pursues her relentlessly until they both admit how they feel about each other.
One of the things I loved about this book, was the mother-daughter or aunt-niece relationships that were built. Sam is very close to her mother. Yet she resents her mother's independence. Her aunt offers genuine love and encouragement that Sam's mother doesn't give her. Not that Sam's mother doesn't love her - she does; she just has a hard time telling Sam that. The bond of friendship is also very prevalent in the book. Sam's aunt shares a deep bond with the women who board at her home. A bond of friendship that goes very very deep. And she shows Sam how important little things are in life. Forgiveness is another big theme in the book. Sam must forgive Carson for breaking her heart and learn to trust him again. She seeks Lien's forgiveness for not believing in her innocence while in the Philippines. And overall, Sam must really learn to trust God when things are out of control.
I'd never read anything by Alice J Wisler before. In fact, I'd never even heard of her. I'm pleased to admit that I will be willing to try out some of her other books and see if I enjoyed them as much as I did this one.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review. I was not required to like the book, though I did so very much. My thoughts and my opinions are my own. (less)
Adventurous, independent Sierra Jensen suddenly finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She's spent the last four years doing ministry in Brazil. W...moreAdventurous, independent Sierra Jensen suddenly finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She's spent the last four years doing ministry in Brazil. When her work comes to an abrupt end, she doesn't know what to do next. Accepting the offer of a week in Hawaii with her friend, Sierra hopes to seek God and find out where life's going to take her next. Jordan Bryce is an upcoming professional photographer sent to Hawaii to capture photos of the surfing competition. He's seeking to start making a name for himself and finds himself captivated by the lovely Sierra. When a series of "God-things" keep throwing the two of them together, they both question if this is God's will. Will they be willing to take a chance on love or will they go their separate ways?
I was so thrilled to pick up this story about Sierra. I've watched her grow up through Robin's books. I've always felt that Sierra's story wasn't finished and kept hoping that one day Robin would write more to Sierra's story. I got my wish with Love Finds You in Sunset Beach. Please be aware that spoilers will follow.
It was such a delight to come back into Sierra's world. Like most fans who grew up with Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen, I wanted to know answers to some very important questions. Did Sierra ever end up with Paul? Is she still the free-spirit that she was as a teenager? And is her heart for God as big as it was in her teens? Yes my questions were answered. There was finally a chance for closure with her relationship with Paul. I admit that I loved Jordan. He's not like most heroes. He's quirky and funny and has his faults. Yet he's a man that seeks God with all of his heart. And I loved him with Sierra.
I think that what really helped Sierra to make a decision about coming back to the States as opposed to staying in Brazil was her friend Mariana. When Mariana calls on Sierra to pick her up from a wild night, Sierra goes. But it's while the girls are together that Mariana admits that she's needing what Sierra, Jordan, and Derek all have - a personal relationship with God. I think that Mariana's salvation was God's way of closing the door on the Brazil chapter of Sierra's life. One of the thoughts that really stood out to me though was when Mariana told Sierra to stop trying to make God proud of her. I had to stop reading for a minute and think about that. So often in own life, I've felt that I was trying to make my Daddy God proud of me. I wanted Him to be able to be proud to call me His daughter. I realized, like Sierra, that God's already proud of me and that all I have to do is to just keep loving Him. With that thought in mind, I'm looking forward to my retreat this weekend where I'll spend some time with some of my sisters and be able to escape for a few days.
Robin, thank you so much for writing more of Sierra's story. I'm eagerly awaiting the book mentioned in your author's note, Cottage By the Sea. I know that when I read it, not only will I fall in love with additional characters, I'll get to meet up with one of my favorite friends again.
Texan beauty, Amanda Belle, never really had to pay much attention to politics until the Civil War hits close to home for her. Prior to the outbreak o...moreTexan beauty, Amanda Belle, never really had to pay much attention to politics until the Civil War hits close to home for her. Prior to the outbreak of the war, she's been entertaining the company of Kent Littlefield, an officer in the Union Army. When Texas joins the Confederacy, her brother Daniel signs up with the men in gray. As the years of the war pass, Amanda's loyalty is divided between the man she loves and the family she holds dear. She questions her very faith when circumstances arise that shake her to her core. But through the course of the brutal war, will she rediscover her faith and who will be hurt by whatever decision she makes?
I love to read about the Civil War. It's really my favorite time period in history. To be perfectly honest, I felt that the book dragged a little at first. But once I got into it, I enjoyed it.
Most books that I've read about the Civil War, don't focus on Texas. As a Texan, I was happy to read one that focuses on my state. Amanda's in a hard position. She loves her brother. And she's in love with Kent. But her biggest fear is that they will face each other on the field of battle and one of the men she loves will be lost forever. She questions where is God in the midst of the conflict and whose side is He on? At one point she even goes so far to inform her pastor father that she wants nothing to do with a God who evidently doesn't care. Of course her mind changes when she must cling to her faith.
When her brother returns home injured, Amanda must come face to face with where her feelings really lie. War's changed her brother from the boy he was before heading off into a man full of bitterness. She realizes that it's not a good thing to keep so much bitterness bottled up inside and makes the decision that should Kent ask her, she will marry him and try to help heal both families.
Amanda's character develops and changes the most in the book. She goes from the naive young girl to a mature woman. War and death will do that. She also realizes that she's not the pampered girl that she once was. She's learned the benefit of hard work.
While I did enjoy the book, there were parts I didn't care for. At times, it felt that the writing was very stilted and that the author expected the reader to have an understanding of what makes the characters tick. I could never make up my mind completely where Amanda stood on the issue of slavery despite being a slave owner.
I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's Blogging for Books program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. (less)
Finely Sinclair travels to Ireland to retrace the footsteps of her brother, Will, who had been killed in a terrorist attack two years previously. She'...moreFinely Sinclair travels to Ireland to retrace the footsteps of her brother, Will, who had been killed in a terrorist attack two years previously. She's attempting to compose a song that will honor her brother's memory and use as her audition piece for the Manhattan Music Conservatory. On the plane, she meets Hollywood teen heartthrob, Beckett Rush, who is wrapping up the filming of his latest vampire movie in Ireland. Since she needs a tour guide and he needs an assistant, the two pair up. He's fascinated that she appears to be the only girl immune to his charm. In the midst of Finely's quest for her song, she breaks down and struggles with school, her feelings for Beckett, the overwhelming grief still plaguing her from the loss of her brother, and an English assignment at a local nursing home. Finely knows she's searching, but feels that God isn't listening. It'll take a miracle for her to find what she's searching for.
I selected this book to review because it's set in Ireland. That's really the only reason I selected - because I love anything Irish. I'd never read anything written by Jenny B Jones before, though I have several friends who have recommend her to me multiple times. I started the book thinking it'd be a light, sweet read. I was not prepared for the depths of emotions I felt while reading the book. Finely's soul searching is the biggest theme throughout the book. She's questioning if God is even listening to her anymore. Her host family, specifically the daughter Erin and the mother Nora, are concerned about her health. They can see right through the excuses that she gives. Her music teacher, Sister Maria, hears her play and tells her to follow Will's footsteps and listen to what God is telling her. Yet Finely has a hard time doing that. I've been there. Well not with the composing music part, but the part of having a hard time hearing God. I've questioned if God was even listening, and if He was, then why weren't things better? And I've asked why this had to happen, and I don't understand. All questions that Finely struggled with and discussed with Beckett about. But God still gets through in the end. The search for a specific cross proves to be Finely's breaking point. That and Mrs. Sweeney, her English assignment. Finely must find her hope in order to be able to soar freely.
I think that the message of searching for something that you don't even know about is the ultimate truth in the book. Finely didn't realize she needed hope. She wanted answers to her questions. And I know that those questions are ones I've asked over and over again as I've grown up. But it's the searching and the seeking that helps me grow. Because I discover, as Finely eventually does, that God is always listening and hadn't left. We just aren't truly hearing what He says.
I received this book for free for the purpose of review from Booksneeze.com. My thoughts and opinions are my own. (less)
If you've ever been at the point where you're crying out to God, trying to find a way to praise Him in the midst of all the low moments in life, then...moreIf you've ever been at the point where you're crying out to God, trying to find a way to praise Him in the midst of all the low moments in life, then you'd be please to know that there is hope. Written with a touch of humor, Caryn Dahlstrand Rivandeneria shares her experiences that show that there is a way out of that pit and that even while being in, the praise to God might not be shouted, but rather grumbled.
I found I could easily relate to some of the things that the author brings up. I've been at points in my life where my world's completely fallen apart and I don't begin to know how I'm supposed to praise God. But I've also had those mountaintop experiences too. She talks about how her outwardly her life was all put together, but then she admits that she was broken inside. She said that these hurts are meant to be grieved. When I read that, I was like "WOW." And my first thoughts went to the 10 year period I'd spent burying a deep hurt and not allowing myself to fully grieve. But what I also loved about this book was that she tells of how several different Bible characters had to reach that point where they begged for God to intervene so that they could fully enjoy their relationship with Him. Another thing that I loved about this book was that each chapter had both discussion questions and a prayer to make your own. Unlike most nonfiction books that had discussion questions that I'd ignore, I actually took the time to answer some, if not all of these.
I'm not a nonfiction reader. I typically don't like things that will make me face my faults. But I found I really enjoyed this book. I gained an understanding of how to really praise God through even the points in my life that aren't going the way that I'd like.
I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. (less)
ummary from the back of the book Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all...moreummary from the back of the book Rose Red trusts no one with her secret. She hides in the forest, her face veiled in rags, shunning the company of all save her old father and her nanny goat. Her life is bleak and lonely. Until she meets a privileged young man sent to spend his summer in the mountains. Leo, a lonely lad, befriends Rose Red, and together they begin hunting for the Mountain Monster which, rumor says, stalks these lands. But the hunt which began as a game holds greater risk than Leo supposes. Rose Red can scarcely guess at the consequences should he insist on continuing his search. Dare she trust him with her secret? Or tell him what dwells at the top of the mountain in the cave only she can find? Above all, when Leo asks Rose Red to leave the mountain and follow him to the low country, dare she agree and risk the wrath of a Monster that is all too real?
My thoughts I am a huge fan of fantasy. I've read things from Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, to CS Lewis and Kathy Tyers. When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the back cover summary as well as by the beautiful cover. As I started to read it, I grew more and more disappointed and frustrated. Maybe it's because this is book two in a series and I hadn't read the first one. Maybe it's because I couldn't get a good sense of what was really going on. I don't know. I just know that I struggled to read and to complete the book. I would read a couple of pages and then promptly fall asleep - even when I wasn't tired. It got to the point that I took the book with me to work to read on my lunch breaks, and that did help me to finish it.
I really liked Rose Red's character. She was fun and a free spirit. But she was in bondage and felt that her secret was dangerous. Prince Leo, I found him to be arrogant and rather spoiled. It seemed to me that he was determined to find this monster no matter the cost to him, Rose Red, or to his kingdom. I admit that the monster is supposed to show our own sinful natures and that each person must come to the recognition that they have a sinful nature. But I found it to be very disjointed in the plot.
I will give the author credit. She took her time in developing the characters and the story. Though she was a bit too descriptive and wordy for my tastes, she did a good job in writing her book.
As much as I adore fantasy novels and know how hard it is to find quality fantasy novels in the Christian fiction market, I'm sorry to say that I will not be reading anything else that Anne Elisabeth Stengl writes because I honestly did not like the book. Typically if I don't like a book by about the 4th or 5th chapter, I won't finish it. But I did force myself to finish the book so that I could leave an honest review.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to like the book. My thoughts and opinions are my own. (less)