Fun to read about this time period, and I liked the way author Pittman started some chapters with the "Monkey Business" column. I certainly will read...moreFun to read about this time period, and I liked the way author Pittman started some chapters with the "Monkey Business" column. I certainly will read another novel by this author in the future.(less)
Author Jane Porter wrote another awesome novel! I could definitely relate to one of the characters, and that always makes a book a more enjoyable read...moreAuthor Jane Porter wrote another awesome novel! I could definitely relate to one of the characters, and that always makes a book a more enjoyable read for me. This author is one of those who writes tense scenes well enough that I feel myself cringe during those situations. Porter also always has the ability to make me care about her characters, which is something more challenging to do than most people would think. I look forward to reading the other novels in the Brennan Sisters series.(less)
Author Robin Allen does it a third time -- creates characters that you love (or love to hate) in a cozy mystery set in Austin that keeps you guessing...moreAuthor Robin Allen does it a third time -- creates characters that you love (or love to hate) in a cozy mystery set in Austin that keeps you guessing until the end. You'll enjoy the first two novels in her Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop series as well: If You Can't Stand the Heat and Stick a Fork In It.(less)
Karen Baney has crafted an inspirational and heart-warming Christian Historical Romance in her debut novel, A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers #1)....moreKaren Baney has crafted an inspirational and heart-warming Christian Historical Romance in her debut novel, A Dream Unfolding (Prescott Pioneers #1). She covers wagon train rides, cattle drives, and military expeditions – oh my! Her research of these true events is evident by both the author's descriptive details of setting throughout the book in the different places of Ohio, Texas, and Arizona, and by Baney accurately illustrating many of the challenges pioneers encountered during the 1860s.
Reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books and TV shows, Baney's first novel in a four-book series covers many adult situations such as romance and death, but A Dream Unfolding is written in a clean, "rated PG" format. Author Baney also incorporates in almost every chapter some mention of God or a Scripture passage, but not in a way that is overbearing. These spiritual references enhance, and truly fit, how a character during that scene is feeling about God's Plan in his or her life—and whether or not they want to trust God's Grand Design at that particular moment.
The story opens in Ohio, where Dr. Drew Anderson and his wife Hannah live. The doctor's brother Thomas causes trouble, leading the townsfolk to become angry with the Andersons by association. This leads Drew to decide to start a new life far away from home, in the newly formed Arizona Territory. How to get there? By wagon train, of course. This type of travel is quite a challenge for a man with soft hands, and for a woman who has never cooked over an outdoor fire—having to use buffalo dung, no less, when wood sources are not available.
During the trail ride, the Andersons become friends with the Lancasters, who include widowed mom Betty, and her adult son Paul who is also a widow. They intend to open a boardinghouse and restaurant in Arizona. Betty, who is in her fifties, has been on wagon train trips before, and teaches and encourages the younger ladies how to make do with what's available while traveling through wilderness that offers few chances for food supplies, and little in the way of protection from the weather—and Indians.
About six weeks into the trip, the wagon train stops at Fort Larned, Kansas. Here, another wagon train camp is encountered, those traveling with the governor of the Arizona territory. Another important character to A Dream Unfolding is introduced at this point, Lt. Joshua Harrison. Dr. Anderson is asked to take care of Lt. Harrison after the soldier receives a bullet wound.
While the wagon train ride events are unfolding, the author reveals a separate storyline, in about every other chapter, that involves the Colter family. Texas cattle rancher Ed Colter passes away, leaving behind his teen daughter Julia, and his sons who are in their thirties, oldest Reuben, and second-born Will. Ed's will decrees his oldest son gets the ranch house and land, so Reuben—who has never gotten along well with his younger brother—demands that Will move off the property pronto. Will, who inherited half of the herd of Longhorns, gathers up what men and supplies he can in order to lead a cattle drive to Arizona to try to make a new life there.
The main members of the wagon train ride cross paths with those from the cattle drive when they all are in Arizona, the first encounter occurring at the Lancaster's boardinghouse. An interesting twist to the novel now takes place, and the author does a great job keeping the reader captivated by revealing just morsels in each chapter of what might come as one continues to turn the pages. It is during this point in the story that the characters slowly realize they must trust God's Plan—and not their own—even at times of deepest despair, and even if His Design is not the exact answer the characters expected from prayers.
When I read the last page of A Dream Unfolding, my very first thought was, "What a lovely book." I hardly ever use the word "lovely," and it might seem strange that a Western tale would be described as "lovely," but that really is how I felt when the story ended. I was impressed by the author's ability to create a clean, uplifting, Christian story that was inspired by true events and characters, during a period in our nation's history that held many more instances of struggles and sadness than triumph and happiness.
I had read author Baney's Christian Contemporary Romance Nickels before I read A Dream Unfolding. Although I enjoyed Nickels, as novels set in the present day are usually what I read, I admit I liked this Christian Historical Romance better. In fact, I've already purchased the second book in the Prescott Pioneers series, A Heart Renewed, which the summary reads is about Julia Colter, the young sister of the Texas ranchers from this book.
If you enjoy novels about passionate pioneer doctors, handsome Texas ranchers, upstanding military men, and strong frontier women, and stories that have an underlying theme about God's Plan, then you'll love the #1 book in Karen Baney's Prescott Pioneers series, A Dream Unfolding.(less)
Jodi Picoult's writing in this novel is phenomenal, just like in her other book I've read, My Sister's Keeper . It is definitely a tie now for my fav...moreJodi Picoult's writing in this novel is phenomenal, just like in her other book I've read, My Sister's Keeper . It is definitely a tie now for my favorite author between Picoult and Anita Shreve!
Reading The Storyteller will give you the same disturbing feeling as seeing the movie Schindler's List did. You'll shake your head as you read about the horrific events surrounding the account of character Minka's time at Auschwitz. Even though I've read/seen many things about the Holocaust, the tragedies that occurred during World War II are really brought home due to author Picoult's extraordinary talent at making a reader intensely feel each emotion of the characters in her novel.
What makes The Storyteller extra exceptional though is the main issue of this book. Minka's 20-something-year-old granddaughter Sage faces a huge moral dilemma when character Josef walks into the bakery where Sage works making bread and pastries. Josef tells a secret to Sage, and then he asks her for a favor beyond all favors. Sage wrestles between what she feels is right and wrong all throughout the novel, and which path to take regarding Josef. At end of the book, Sage's decision might still leave readers questioning if her actions were admirable or appalling. (less)
Hot by Laura L. Smith is definitely an apt title for this contemporary young adult Christian novel, as this book is all about the HOT topic of teens g...moreHot by Laura L. Smith is definitely an apt title for this contemporary young adult Christian novel, as this book is all about the HOT topic of teens getting HOT and bothered about S-E-X.
High school sophomore Lindsey was raised as a Christian who always believed you shouldn't have sex until you're married. Teenager hormones, popular friends, and junior hottie hockey player Noah all cause Lindsey to reevaluate the why and why not of waiting until she says, "I do" to do it.
The author does a fantastic job (especially in such a short book!) of portraying teen characters realistically through and through, especially with the "little details" such as teen girls' obsession with clothing by having Lindsey describe almost every outfit she wears. The dialogue is also spot on, compared to other YA books written by adult authors who use too many "like you knows" and other verbiage to try to mimic "teen speak."
I also love the descriptions in Hot. They are very unique depictions I've never seen used before, and author Smith uses "appropriate" items a teen would think about comparing things. Some examples are: "My cheeks are hotter than my 370-degree flatiron" and "I need Noah right now like a magazine needs a cover girl."
It's been over 20 years since I was a teenager, but I certainly remember having several of the same feelings and questions that Lindsey has on the subject of boys, insecurities, friend's opinions, family problems, and "good girl" behavior. I think both parents and their teen children can relate to having experienced at one point in their lives several of the situations in this book.
Quotes from Scripture are sprinkled throughout the whole novel, and there are also a couple of footnotes that refer to actual sermons. It's great too you can find a free discussion guide on the publisher's website, which includes passages from Scripture that are related to the questions. (http://www.navpress.com/product/9781600066221/Hot-Laura-L-Smith)
This is the first contemporary YA Christian novel I've read, and I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it. It was also a sweet deal because I got the book for free on my Kindle. I discovered Hot through a website I came across because it's co-founded by Christian author Karen Baney, whose book Nickels I also liked. (http://www.christianebookstoday.com)
I certainly will check out other novels by author Laura L. Smith, and I'll recommend Hot to readers who enjoy the YA genre. (less)
The GIGs always provide encouraging, touching, funny stories that go along with a Bible passage / Christian teaching. Loved this book -- just like I l...moreThe GIGs always provide encouraging, touching, funny stories that go along with a Bible passage / Christian teaching. Loved this book -- just like I love the GIGs daily devotional emails I get!(less)
Great ebook (app). I read it both on my laptop, cell phone, and at times looked up the daily readings in my "paperback" Bible I have at home.
Each day...moreGreat ebook (app). I read it both on my laptop, cell phone, and at times looked up the daily readings in my "paperback" Bible I have at home.
Each day's reading only takes about 15 minutes, so it was easy to fit it into my hectic daily schedule. It's great too because it lets you pick from multiple versions to choose from (I used the NLT version), and offers several reading plans. I did the "One Year Bible Plan."(less)