I finished The Swiss Courier last night. It was a compelling read with a lot of twists and turns. In many ways the story resembled a pure Goyer novel...moreI finished The Swiss Courier last night. It was a compelling read with a lot of twists and turns. In many ways the story resembled a pure Goyer novel but this book had a slightly different voice. I enjoyed it, though I think I prefer Goyer's voice when she writes solo. The writing in this novel flowed smoothly, though, so that was well done.
There were so many situations that seemed impossible to escape from, so the tension kept building. I also learned stuff about physics that I didn't know like the whole issue of nuclear fission and the experiments that went with trying to split the atom. I learned about how the Swiss Government felt about the war and how they managed to stay neutral for the most part. I also never realized that some Swiss citizens entered Germany to work every day. I was educated a bit about old WWII planes and other details--I found that all very fascinating. Those were tough times, no doubt. And the double cross situations were rampant. Who could you trust when everyone was trying to stay on the Nazi's good side so they would avoid being sent to the camps?
The romantic element was nice, though not as strong as I like, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. I didn't know who she would choose until late in the book, so that was pretty cool. I always enjoy the surprise element in a story and the discovery of new things as you read along. If there is a sequel to this book, I'm definitely getting it. I'd recommend this story to people who love WWII era fiction and who want to learn something not commonly covered in the WWII novels currently on the shelves. (less)
I wish there was a way to give this story 4.5 stars but since I have to choose I'd say it's closer to four than five. The reason for this has more to...moreI wish there was a way to give this story 4.5 stars but since I have to choose I'd say it's closer to four than five. The reason for this has more to do with a few minor things, like how the story dragged in the beginning. But that's because it was written in a "telling" style of storytelling at the outset. To give you an idea of what I mean, think about the movie Ella Enchanted and how it starts out...Once upon a time there was a little girl named Ella...etc. Anyway, it starts out with the Mexican Spanish settlements and the Catholic padres in Califormia in the 1700s and each chapter morphs into the present day almost seemlessly and sometimes even in the same paragraph.
However, the transition is not always subtle, like when it says...but two hundred years from that day such and thus happened, then it breaks back into the story. It's the oddest style, but it's different and I have to say that was hooked on this story once I started to see what the author was trying to do. Some people might not give the story a chance, but I'd say if you find the beginning a bit dry, give it a chance. It all goes together nicely when you see the pattern. I also didn't agree with some of the theology, but in spite of that I found some of the spiritual lessons and insights to be profound and compelling.
I love it when a story makes me think, especially when there is tragedy upon tragedy that could've been prevented. You can see the ship sinking, but there are many unforseen waves that rise up and hit you, the reader, along the way. Mr. Dickson knows how to torture his characters so that you feel their pain. This makes the story a page turner for me. I didn't know what to expect and I love that when I'm reading a book. I also love stories that show us just how deceitful and wicked our own hearts can be and why we need a savior every day and not just when we find faith convenient or something to be used for our benefit. Well done, Athol. I enjoyed this story because it made me think about my life. Highly recommended. (less)
This story was truly fabulous in every way. I sensed the peril and the helplessness the characters experienced as much as I felt the tenderness and lo...moreThis story was truly fabulous in every way. I sensed the peril and the helplessness the characters experienced as much as I felt the tenderness and love. This is probably Tracie's best book yet. Her plotting is sheer perfection and the pace was satisfying. There was a suspenseful element to the story that made me not want to sleep until the situation was resolved and the people were safe. There was a secondary character that was compassionate, too. I worried for her and her lifeless marriage and started to sweat when temptation literally nipped at her corsette.
I love it when an author makes me care enough to worry about the characters. Of course, the romantic element was amazing and probably the best part of the book. When the sparks flew my heart felt ablaze along with the people in love. Trust is so hard for some people to experience after years of abuse and mistreatment. The hero in this story was the perfect person to reestablish that missing link and give the heroine hope. He was also smart enough to allow the heroine to come to him. Sigh, that was soooo romantic!
Ah, this was such a good read! In fact, it's making my favorite books of 2009 list. I would've read it straight through but life got in the way. It was very hard to put down and the story kept calling me to pick it up again and finish. I'm glad I did.(less)
The Familiar Stranger was a real page turner. It was written so well that it wasn't until I was three quarters of the way through the story that I rea...moreThe Familiar Stranger was a real page turner. It was written so well that it wasn't until I was three quarters of the way through the story that I realized the point of view for each person (titled his and hers respectively in the novel) was written in the first person past tense. This was very well done and flawlessly executed, IMHO. The Familiar Stranger is also the perfect title for this incredible tale. It was an intriguing and a profoundly mysterious story that kept me guessing until nearly the end.
At first I was thinking something was occurring like what happened Rekindled by Tamera Alexander. Then I thought it could be like The Man in the Iron Mask starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Then I thought of the movie Summersby starring Jodie Foster. Long story short, this delightfully romantic and emotional tale was one of the most amazing debuts I've read in a long time. It was well thought out, excellently plotted, and the characterization was so believable that it left me breathless. Yeah, I even got choked up several times, especially toward the end.
I found the resolution in The Familiar Stranger more satisfying and believeable than if the story had been taken a different direction. The unique spiritual perspective was also truly inspirational, which is why this book is making my best fiction for 2009 list. I highly recommend it.(less)
This story was interesting enough to hold my attention and romantic enough to make me smile. Those kisses slipped in here and there were just often en...moreThis story was interesting enough to hold my attention and romantic enough to make me smile. Those kisses slipped in here and there were just often enough to make me savor the romantic element in the story. I think it's worth taking the time to read. There are good character arcs and the spiritual content seemed believeable enough. It was good seeing a strong and compassionate woman portrayed in the plot. The only thing that annoyed me was the constant referring to Wren Lake. It could have been stated differently to avoid that repetition such as the summer they met or back at the lake or whatever. Anyway, it was still worth my time and I'd recommend it for romance lovers who enjoy a good chase. I didn't find it particularly suspenseful, though. Maybe because I knew the characters were going to persist and I felt secure with them fighting for the safety of the targeted person. LOL! If that was the author's intention, it worked. (less)
There were some good things about this story and some that took away from it. For one, the author had a strong voice when she was showing you the rela...moreThere were some good things about this story and some that took away from it. For one, the author had a strong voice when she was showing you the relationships between characters. I enjoyed the conflict and found that to be realistic. The same goes for how she showed the decades of grudges and the matriach's desire to see her family connections restored. On the negative side there were a few too many characters whose point of view you had to be in and a lot of that was written in a telling format because there was not enough time to really show the characters developing. When the author did show the relationships and the conflict the book was compelling. When she told their invidual backgrounds it lost some of it's appeal. Also, the ending wasn't quite what I'd hoped. But overall I felt like it was a decent Christmas read. I didn't get any warm fuzzies, though. This story was uniquely done and you have to read it to see what I mean.(less)
Montana Rose is a good title for this book because it shows how genuine love and concern for another human being can cause a person to bloom who had b...moreMontana Rose is a good title for this book because it shows how genuine love and concern for another human being can cause a person to bloom who had been previously stifled by fear. There were many things I enjoyed about this story. At first I found the repetition about the heroine Cassie's submissiveness, her abuse history, and the reference to her being a China doll a bit annoying. I clearly caught that early on. But the story was strong enough to pull me along. I quickly forgot that issue once the story picked up speed regarding her developing marital relationship and all of the peaks and valleys they experienced along the way.
There were so many wonderfully romantic scenes in this story that I couldn't choose just one. There was also a lot of humor like when Red told her to speak her mind and she bowled him over during her birthing pains. That was LOL funny and also very believable. Red was the ultimate hero and such a godly example to his wife, yet he was human and obviously flawed, too. His character's strengths and weaknesses seemed very balanced to me.
The character arcs and emotional/spiritual development of these character was also very well done. The subplot with Belle was heartbreaking, but I have a sneaking suspicion that we haven't seen the last of Belle. I also enjoyed how the author showed that loving relationships can cause people to see what they are missing whether it's in relation to each other or between them and God. She did a great job showing how that inspires people to want something better. To want to change. In Montana Rose it created a longing for something more than they are currently experiencing. That was very well done.
So while this story wasn't perfect in the beginning, it really warmed my heart as the story developed and I believe the message is powerful (and beautiful) if the reader pays attention to it. This story has the potential to help women who are stuck in a rut like Cassie had been, and like Belle remained, and hopefully readers will seek something more for their life (like respect) as a result. Highly recommended. (less)
The Frontiersman's Daughter was very engaging and I read it for five straight hours until I finished the book. I could not set this novel aside once I...moreThe Frontiersman's Daughter was very engaging and I read it for five straight hours until I finished the book. I could not set this novel aside once I hit the middle of the book. It carried me through to the end. There were some slow spots and I thought it was a bit too long, but the story itself was fantastic! I particularly enjoyed the romantic elements.
There were some poignant and sad moments in this story where I was on the verge of tears as I read. This author knows how to write with passion, too, and I felt as breathless as the heroine did during the kissing scenes. They were awesome, especially the scene under the waterfall. Wow! I'd buy more books by this author for the romantic elements alone! At times I felt just as confused as Lael had in regards to which relationship to pursue. That's a sign of good writing.
While reading this book I felt as if I'd been pulled into a movie and I lived in Click county with the characters. There were some interesting cultural elements in this story as well as fabulous tension between characters. My heart ached more than once for Lael. I also nearly went crazy from the stress of knowing something that the main characters didn't know, and therefore they made poor choices based on misinformation. That always makes for great conflict. I highly recommend this book.(less)
This was a decent story, but I found myself skimming a bit at the end. Maybe because it seemed a tad unbelievable - the characters were sort of like p...moreThis was a decent story, but I found myself skimming a bit at the end. Maybe because it seemed a tad unbelievable - the characters were sort of like people in 90210 only richer. Then again, I have no clue about how wealthy people live. Maybe their lives really are exactly the way they were portrayed in this story. The teens seemed a bit mature for their ages, too. I kept thinking they were in college by the way they acted until I realized they were in high school. I did enjoy the female characters and the minor romantic elements. Shani was believable and so was Rashid. (I could even hear his accent when he spoke.) The relationship with Shani and Danyel seemed a bit surprising to me in regards to how it came together. It's hard to say too much without posting a spoiler so I'll just say this was a nice story but not one that I'll be raving over and telling people to run out and buy. I must add that I was impressed with the author's knowledge of fashion, couture and shoes. Maybe this is just one of those books that would have been more enjoyable had I read the prior books in the series first. (less)
Ms. Adams has an amazing ability to make the reader see a variety of perspectives without straying from Biblical truths. She doesn't always wrap thing...moreMs. Adams has an amazing ability to make the reader see a variety of perspectives without straying from Biblical truths. She doesn't always wrap things up in a tidy manner. I love that. I also love that every book Ms. Adams writes gets me thinking about people I know or situations I am familiar with and may even be struggling with myself. Her stories are solid and emotionally deep without being manipulative of the reader's feelings. They confront important decisions that young people need to make and challenge the reader to look at all angles.
I loved how this story dealt with the reasons why couples say yes to marriage when they should stop and evaluate where they are in life first. All angles are explored. I also love how the motivations of the heart come in to play here. Does real love give up something it wants for the betterment of the other person? What does that look like? Does healing mean that everything works out the way you want it to? Should you tell personal things that might hurt someone else when it's not your place to tell? How important is prayer in deciding when to speak and when to hold your tongue? What is most important to God in each situation? Should we allow ourselves to be defeated by doubt? What is the best way to make a decisions? What does God have to say on the subject?
All of those above questions come in to play in this story. Slowly (and throughout this story) my heart really connected with the characters and the lessons they learned. The conflict is believable and the drama is there but doesn't feel forced. Best of all, I enjoyed that this story was not predictable in any way. Each new issue that emerged surprised me. That's great plotting! I loved this story and the truths tucked within its pages. I highly recommend it. (less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There isn't a single book Deeanne Gist has written that I haven't totally adored. In fact, this may very well be my f...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There isn't a single book Deeanne Gist has written that I haven't totally adored. In fact, this may very well be my favorite book that she has written thusfar. It wasn't as "edgy" as several others, but was a truly fabulous love story with a deep emotion theme and powerful choices each character had to make. For me that makes any story a real page turner. I found the conflict 100% believable and I was so involved in the stories I felt the characters' emotional pain. Tears literally welled in my eyes on several occasions. The attraction between the characters sizzled, but it wasn't merely physical in this story. I think that is what I enjoyed most about A Bride in the Bargain. The hero and heroine fell in love with each other as individual people, too. My heart pounded as they discovered each other and felt a real sense of loss when things went awry. My heart also got all warm and fuzzy inside as they worked things out. Isn't that why we ladies read romances to begin with? We want to smile and feel breathless and fall in love while reading a great romance. This story delivers on all counts. I highly recommend it. (less)