I really enjoyed this book. It was a sweet and tender romance with a character I'd gotten to know previously in Short-Straw Bride....moreMore like 4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. It was a sweet and tender romance with a character I'd gotten to know previously in Short-Straw Bride. I'll admit, I adore the Archer boys, so I was excited about reading this book. It wasn't quite as enthralling as the last story, but it was spiritually deep and brought tears to my eyes toward the end. That mess with Holly had me holding my breath, too.
The story was filled with themes of doing the right thing and the importance of being honest in every way. A little deception is still deception, and coming clean before God and man is good for the soul. I also liked the emphasis on the power of prayer and listening to God's voice in your heart. Those are all decent lessons for any good story. The author just made them more fun because of her lovable characters.
Stealing the Preacher's core themes were the importance of listening to God, being patient, and being willing to allow God to direct your steps. I appreciated the spiritual aspects of the story most of all. But I also adored Crockett as the hero and the love he felt for Joanna because of her caring heart and her desire to serve others. He treasured that more than just her pretty face. I thought that was a wonderful theme as well.
I believe this story illustrates very well how good men want someone who will be partner for life in all ways, and that woman needs to be someone they admire. That's an admirable message for aspiring young single ladies who want to win a good man's devotion. Flirtation and temptation are not the ways to accomplish that end. Very well done.(less)
I absolutely loved this book. Over 80% of it was read to me by my Kindle Fire HD, but I had no trouble understanding it because it was in the first pe...moreI absolutely loved this book. Over 80% of it was read to me by my Kindle Fire HD, but I had no trouble understanding it because it was in the first person POV and there was only one character to track while listening. Anyway, I bought this book to find out more about Scott and to see what happened. I was not disappointed. Things just really took off and now I'm feeling bummed that the next book isn't out yet. I loved how the author wrote life like she saw it for this character and wasn't worried about being PC when it came to conversations and actions. These characters acted like real people would.
I love the setting because I was young in the 1980s and when computers first came out. I remember the chat rooms and going dancing with friends. Some people might take issue with them drinking champagne a few times, but they never got drunk so it didn't bother me. Phoenix did get drunk in the first book, but she wasn't a believer and her boyfriend made her drink too much. I liked this book better even though the first book sets the foundation for her past, which helps you understand the second book. I found this story compelling and very interesting. The faith elements became a pleasant surprise I hadn't seen coming. I am definitely going to buy the third book.(less)
There were a few things I enjoyed about this story, but much of the plot seemed to drone on and on about a kingdom that is fictitious and not very exc...moreThere were a few things I enjoyed about this story, but much of the plot seemed to drone on and on about a kingdom that is fictitious and not very exciting. For me, it felt like a different author wrote this book than the author who wrote other stories I've really enjoyed. The cover is beautiful, but it gives the reader an impression that isn't what the story is actually about. I don't want to post a spoiler, so I'll be vague, but it did create some disappointment in me as a reader. I hate to even say this, but in the end, I wasn't satisfied with the story. I found myself skimming the pages. The tension between them just didn't feel real to me. I saw what the author was trying to do and there were a few sweet moments between them, but for the most part it fell flat. Maybe it was edited to death and the heart was taken out of the story? I dunno.
I think what bugged me most was the story simply felt like a knockoff mixture of "The Prince and Me" and "The Princess Diaries." In fact, much of the plot even felt the same including his janitorial job at the restaurant and his body guards that he tried to leave behind so he could enjoy some "normal" activities. I kept picturing Julia Stiles while I read this book. Then when similar events took place like the paparazzi finding them after spending the night alone, it confirmed things for me. Only the difference in this book was the couple prayed and worshiped God all night long. So it was a Christian knockoff, but still a knockoff. The author is a good writer and I've enjoyed other stories she has written. This one just didn't do it for me.
I suspect the publisher and marketing department had some influence in the way the book was presented, so I won't fault the author for that. The author is a sweet person and I like her a lot, so I feel bad even saying anything at all. It's just my opinion, so take it for what it's worth... which isn't much.(less)
Now this was a sensational story. I didn't know if I'd like it at first, but I thought I'd give it a try. I've not read many books set in Brazil, but...moreNow this was a sensational story. I didn't know if I'd like it at first, but I thought I'd give it a try. I've not read many books set in Brazil, but wow, this was a good one. There were so many double crosses, secrets, red herrings, and conflicts, there was never a dull moment. But the best part was the healing that took place in both of their hearts.
So yes, there was action and suspense for people who love car chases and guns going off. Plenty of vivid details there. The way that the hero fought his emotion and at the same time wanted to see the heroine heal emotionally, well, it was very touching. And the way the heroine resisted love because of her past and fought the good emotion she felt around the hero made my heart flutter.
I even got teary-eyed a few times as I experienced the emotional conflict with her. There is just something beautiful about watching a woman who was hurt and abused her entire childhood (and resigned to being treated like trash) awakening to the idea that she can be loved. Sigh. Beautiful stuff. It reminded me a bit of Redeeming Love in that respect. I highly recommend this book. Oh, and the ending was perfect. Wow.(less)
I listened to this story on my kindle fire while I was driving as the kindle "voice" read the story to me, but it was still good. I remember those day...moreI listened to this story on my kindle fire while I was driving as the kindle "voice" read the story to me, but it was still good. I remember those days when computers were "beasts" and chat rooms were a new invention. Oh, and the internet cost a fortune per minute to use. The screetching noise a modem made while the internet connected... well, that is all nostalgic for me. Yeah, the 80s were interesting and the author portrayed that well. I liked how the author introduced the heroine and how the ending left me wondering about her and the decent guy, Scott. I liked him quite a bit. Anyone who would protect a woman's honor and help her when she is super sick from having overimbibed is a great guy in my estimation. Plus, he was a sweetheart in other ways. On to read the next installment (or have it read to me) on my next long drive. Enjoyable short story. (less)
Bink and Slinky's Ark Adventure is absolutely precious. The illustrations are adorable and I especially liked the way the snails were dressed in the d...moreBink and Slinky's Ark Adventure is absolutely precious. The illustrations are adorable and I especially liked the way the snails were dressed in the different pictures. They are colorful and interesting and they blend well with the words. The little red hat on the boy snail sits right between his eyes and it's so cute that it makes me smile. The rhymes are catchy and the song they sing together is cute. This is the kind of book kids will want to read over and over again. Plus, there is a lot to look at on each illustrated page, so it will keep kids entertained.
This is the perfect book to read out loud to your kids, grandchildren, or your Sunday school students. I loved how the phrases rhymed so easily and yet there was some depth to the story itself. It read like an epic adventure for kids, but with a lesson about trusting God to provide and using the backdrop of Noah's Ark for the setting. We could all would do well to remember that God is our provider, so it's a good reminder for parents too. I don't have little ones at home anymore, but I'll be sharing this with my church and encouraging them to stock it in their classrooms.(less)
This was an interesting, though quite long, novel. The omniscient point of view took some getting used to, but once I got the hang of the author's wri...moreThis was an interesting, though quite long, novel. The omniscient point of view took some getting used to, but once I got the hang of the author's writing style, I found it effective. I liked how the author inserted many issues that are still common to women today into her novel set during the reign of Edward IV. Some things may never change this side of heaven. I appreciated how she inserted the realism of the times when it came to faith, prayer, and culture. At the same time, the characters were not above cursing at appropriate times. None of the language felt gratuitous to me, though there were some terms that sensitive people would find offensive.
There were realistic scenes in the book that fit the plot. Nothing seemed over-the-top in my opinion, and though there were some pretty descriptive scenes, much of the intimacy was implied. The story focused on her relations with three historical men, so there had to be intimacy as part of the story. I felt pity for Jane in her first marriage. I could see how she felt cheated. Then to have the King of England requesting her... well, she didn't have much choice in that. The other other two liaisons made sense as well, especially to a grieving woman who didn't want to live on the streets.
Jane was a likable character and not portrayed as a slutty woman, or manipulative. I liked that she was just a normal woman in unfortunate circumstances that would be easy to sympathize with. There was a scene in there where Jane finally reconciled with her father that evoked a lot of emotion in me. It was very well done. I was so glad to see Jane happy after so much tragedy and to finally get the baby she longed for and the legitimacy she craved. Then to find out it happened for her in real life and is recorded in history, well, that was especially touching. All in all, this was a good book. (less)
I can't remember the last time I read a book from start to finish in one day. And this book was over 400 pages long. It came in the mail today and I o...moreI can't remember the last time I read a book from start to finish in one day. And this book was over 400 pages long. It came in the mail today and I opened it and said to myself that I'd just read a few pages. Well I just finished and it was so good it is making my favorite fiction list. I started to get choked up a number of times when Avery thought about how much she hated herself and yet God sent someone into her life to show her His unconditional love for her. It was beautiful.
The crazy relationship with Jake made sense too. In fact, he reminded me of my ex and in a frighteningly similar fashion. I couldn't tell you how many times I'd seen women go for the bad boys when the good guy was right in front of them. Avery's confusion was genuine and I remembered feeling the same way back when I was the same age and dealt with the same eating disorder, though I dealt with it differently and it wasn't as severe. The coolest thing of all was when I found my savior and that happened for me in a very similar fashion as it happened to Avery. That gave me goosebumps as I remembered my brokenness that day.
Anyway, it was also a powerful love story and very realistic. I can't remember the last time I was so emotionally gripped by a story and when I cared about the characters so much that I ached for them. Avery's journey was so deep and so complex, but I loved reading it because it also rang so true.
For anyone who has ever been plagued with self-loathing, felt unworthy, picked men who made their insecurities worse, and dealt with addictive behavior - this book is for you. It shows how faith in Jesus is the only true answer and does so in a compelling and honest fashion. I'm so glad I took the time to read this book - not that I could stop once I started it. I just wish it was autographed. Oh well. (less)
I enjoyed this Biblical fiction novel. It had a different twist to it than other versions I've read. In this book the main character was the daughter...moreI enjoyed this Biblical fiction novel. It had a different twist to it than other versions I've read. In this book the main character was the daughter of the woman who went to the well in Samaria -- the one who said Jesus told her everything she'd ever done -- not the woman herself. There were a lot of tense moments in the story... but at times Mara got on my nerves. She was such a worrier, and very stubborn.
The way the author had several different stories going at the same time was cool, and the way they were merged together when Shem met Mara worked well. The scene with Nava at the synagogue was pretty intense. At that time I grew to admire Mara's faith and her pursuit of Jesus. The people in their town were cruel and judgmental, but I suppose that self-righteous attitude is pretty prevalent with a lot of religious people.
I liked Shem a lot. The tension between him and Mara was well done. Poor Mara had no clue that he would be fond of her as a woman. Even though in theory I should not have liked how things turned out in the end, I was satisfied with the resolution. The twist with Shem was pretty cool. I'm sure that's all fiction, but I still liked it.
I would recommend this novel to people who enjoy Biblical fiction and don't mind a lot of improvising with the facts. There are a lot of stories that don't have the details needed to make a complete novel. As long as it goes with the culture of the times, I enjoy seeing how different authors use the setting to bring out different points. (less)
I have a weird quirk when it comes to reading books about women who have affairs. I do this to get different perspectives and to see how honestly the...moreI have a weird quirk when it comes to reading books about women who have affairs. I do this to get different perspectives and to see how honestly the stories seem to be written. Part of my quirk is to see how they compare to one that I've written - just to see if I'm hitting in the same ballpark. This portrayal was better than most in regards to realism.
This novel had an interesting take on it in how the conflict played out. I like how the first two-thirds of the book shows the woman's point of view so you only know what she is thinking, and then it switches to the man's point of view and you discover he wasn't as clueless as she thought. I liked how the author developed the plot and characters. They were likable and believable in their actions and the plot kept me reading because it kept building and held my interest.
The way the author showed the progression of sin in the mind and how it eventually spills over into behavior was also compelling. Deception starts out as a small, seemingly innocent action and gradually grows into something that traps the person who thought they had nothing to worry about. Choices are then made that have long-lasting consequences. I appreciated how the author showed that the wife/mother's agony and conflict spilled over into other areas of her life. The penance a guilt-laden person shows often is the biggest tip off of all.
I don't want to say too much about this book, but I can say that it was the perfect balance of realism, conflict, and faith. The way the author showed how caring about "what people think" more than caring about doing the right thing often causes us to make wrong decisions - this aspect of the novel was compelling. The author didn't show too much, yet you always knew what was going on. The best part of this book for me was how the author showed that God uses even the ugly stuff in our lives to develop humility and to change us for the better. He doesn't want us making bad choices, but He will still redeem them and use them to grow us if we'll let Him. Great book!(less)
This is such a cute story. I wish it had been around when my kids were small. It drives the point home that if you want friends, you need to smell oka...moreThis is such a cute story. I wish it had been around when my kids were small. It drives the point home that if you want friends, you need to smell okay. Boys really need to understand this when they are first learning about hygiene. I can also see it as a tool to teach intellectually challenged kids the reason why they need to wash up on a regular basis. It has a catchy rhyme to it as well as adorable illustrations which means kids will want to read it over and over again. Hopefully they will memorize the lesson in the process. This is just precious because the book shows that you can't cover the smell with floral scents and a pair of socks. You actually have to wash them. Then his friends discover they occasionally have offensive odors as well. Ha!(less)
I love books that make me think. This is the type of novels that leaves you pondering things even after you finish the last page. I really l...moreMy review:
I love books that make me think. This is the type of novels that leaves you pondering things even after you finish the last page. I really liked how the story ended because it brought closure to everything. I also appreciated the realistic struggles that the hero and heroine had. This author does a good job with stirring emotion in the reader and making hearts ache as well as rejoice. There were just enough "we think we've found out what happened" scenarios to make it seem suspenseful, even though it wasn't a suspense novel. There was also a mystery element to the book. It would be hard to sit around waiting when the trail seems to grow colder by the day.
The questions Mitch asked himself were legitimate ones. How do you know when it's time to let go? How do you get peace in a situation like this? Why did God let it happen and why did it take so long to find out the truth? Well, God knows what he's doing and if we tune into His will, we will find peace and a deeper relationship with Him, but we have to surrender our own plans first. It's really hard to talk about some of the characters' journeys without posting spoilers and this is the kind of book that you don't want to cheat and read the end first.
Half the beauty of reading the story is not knowing the outcome. The moral and spiritual dilemmas are more complex when the reader doesn't know the future... just like in real life. How many decisions would we change if we knew what the future held? It was a realistic and touching journey for me in that respect. I really enjoyed this story.(less)
This was an intriguing read, and at times, a bit scary in regards to relevance. The author renamed some things giving the story a definite futuristic...moreThis was an intriguing read, and at times, a bit scary in regards to relevance. The author renamed some things giving the story a definite futuristic feel to it. She also had some advanced ideas that made sense. But human nature is the same and hasn't changed since the beginning of time. I loved how the author showed that. I also appreciated how she showed the emptiness that comes with chronic self-indulgence. And how betrayal begets more betrayal.
The truly frightening thing about this story was the way they dealt with pregnancy, childbirth and families. How traumatic for women! I can see where that could happen if a society got desperate enough to do whatever it took to preserve their people. I liked the point that Mason made. It may look good, but it's still a gilded cage. And compliance that is not a choice is NOT freedom.
The way the story ended was satisfying to me. There is clearly a sequel in the works, but I won't be distressed while waiting for it to release. At the same time, I MUST read it to find out what happens next.
There were a lot of "edgy" types of situations which I appreciated for the realism, but they were tastefully done so they wouldn't be offensive to younger readers. At the same time, anyone who has lived in the world long enough would "get" what the author was alluding to, including teenagers. All they'd have to do is turn on the television to catch most of it. Anyway, enjoyable story.(less)
Courage to Change was an interesting story containing spiritual depth. It wasn't preachy or patronizing in tone. The title fit the characters' journey...moreCourage to Change was an interesting story containing spiritual depth. It wasn't preachy or patronizing in tone. The title fit the characters' journeys very well. We all need the courage to change our preconceived notions when God is steering our hearts in another direction. This novel confronted the issues facing guilt-ridden divorced Christian singles head-on. There are plenty of people in the church who may try to judge your motives, but only you and God know the truth. This should be the deciding factor regarding remarriage, not what people tell you in their opinion is right or wrong. This story illustrated that truth well. It also showed that there are long-lasting consequences to the choices we make. Whether we are Christians or not, it won't make the ramifications of poor choices go away. At the same time, Jesus will give us the strength to deal with them appropriately and in a way that glorifies Him, if we will just ask.
The author tackles a number of tough subjects, one being the issue of single parenting vs. abortion vs. adoption. These issues were handled well. There are many facets to adoption plans, and the author captured the many complexities in this story. I enjoyed the subplot with Lindsey as a secondary character. Marcus had a difficult situation to deal with, but he dealt with the issues appropriately. I felt bad for Phil and the problems his ex-wife had caused for him. I understood his guilt about his ex causing problems for Allison too. But in the end, true love wins every time. I enjoy stories where obstacles are fought and overcome, but not in a sappy way. There were realistic feelings and issues in this book, but none of them were over-the-top.
The author's writing was readable and not at all awkward. I would definitely recommend this series to people who want to read about tough issues but don't want to feel depressed afterward from the content. Courage to Change was encouraging and inspiring to read. These characters felt like they could be my friends.(less)
This book was pretty intense, and at times quite convicting. Most people are curious about how things like sex slavery can happen in our world today,...moreThis book was pretty intense, and at times quite convicting. Most people are curious about how things like sex slavery can happen in our world today, but most people don't want to get in harm's way to help change the situations for these girls. Believe it or not, I actually know a few women who are living in other countries (like Thailand) and helping rescue girls forced into prostitution. It has to be incredibly hard to see the pain they have gone through. And then to find out many times their families sold them to these traffickers... ugh.
The writing style was okay. At times I got lost in the book because I felt connected to the characters and drawn into the story. At other times, I got a bit stuck because of some stilted inner dialog and lost my connection. But overall, the story was quite compelling. I wouldn't recommend reading this book at night, though, or the reader might have some frightening dreams. I can't imagine being 12 or 13 and being raped 27 times the first night. It's unfathomable how evil some humans can be to innocent children. Then again, I've worked with abused and neglected children as a social worker for over 20 years, so there isn't much I haven't seen. This book just happens to show the worst of the worst.
People are understandably uncomfortable with prostitution. Men in the offending countries often think these girls actually want to be prostituting themselves. Maybe that's how people deal with the knowledge that this type of crime is happening around the world. Surely it has to be desired behavior, right? Calling them whores just dehumanizes them. So when these poor girls seek help, they may be victimized again, or worse, sold back to the pimps who will beat them or possibly even kill them.
Human trafficking is probably the sickest problem in this world today. I found it interesting that there were some faith threads in this book, and at the same time it was littered with some harsh and degrading terms. I suppose that did lend to the book's authenticity, but it still made me wince a few times. Anyway, I am glad I took the time to read this book. It has definitely opened my eyes even more to the plight of many children around the world.(less)