This was a good inspirational fiction/adventure book. I was a little dismayed with the implausibility of two Naval officers finding romance with each...moreThis was a good inspirational fiction/adventure book. I was a little dismayed with the implausibility of two Naval officers finding romance with each other. My impression has always been that fraternization between officers is highly frowned upon. Although, if one were stuck on an island with only three people, I suppose it would be possible. Also, the secret that they are hiding/guarding on the island was a bit fantastical. I still give the book three stars; I enjoyed the story. (less)
What a great book! So often I will hear news stories or read about violence in other countries and, although this is horrible, not even pay attention....moreWhat a great book! So often I will hear news stories or read about violence in other countries and, although this is horrible, not even pay attention. Sometimes those stories are coming from so far away that it is easy to gloss over the real pain and suffering that occurred. This book, although fictional, really made the violence, fear and confusion of those upheavals seem real.
The characters' struggles to understand what they are seeing and experiencing was beautifully presented. Their questions about God and faith were spot on. A very impressive book.(less)
This book was okay. Just okay. I approved of the ending, but getting there was a bit of a struggle. The main character was not always likable; she had...moreThis book was okay. Just okay. I approved of the ending, but getting there was a bit of a struggle. The main character was not always likable; she had lived in Japan for two years but had never explored anything on the island. She built up a dislike of one of her high school classmates, for no real reason, other than perceived political notions and beliefs. Now, ten or so years later, when they meet up in Japan, she's still antagonistic towards him. Her main hang-up? He's a Republican and she's a Democrat. Like that really stopped Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger or James Carville and Mary Matalin.
I enjoyed reading about the Japanese culture but there were also a lot of slow points in the book, such as endless descriptions of various temples.(less)
**spoiler alert** To borrow an adjective from someone else's review, this book was very "fluffy." I was hoping for more of an in-depth discussion of f...more**spoiler alert** To borrow an adjective from someone else's review, this book was very "fluffy." I was hoping for more of an in-depth discussion of faith and forgiveness, but those subjects were barely mentioned. The plot was a bit of a let-down, especially after reading the description on the back of the book. Zack was a completely different character than the description led me to believe. He arrived in town after witnessing the newly appointed circuit preacher die. Zack assumed that preacher's name and position and deceived the entire town. I felt that Judith Pella, the author, should have written more about his need for faith, forgiveness, etc. This is the first book in a new series by Pella, but after reading "Bachelor's Puzzle" I'm not sure if I care to continue with the rest of the series.(less)
"Finding Marie" is the sequel to "Fraser Island," and while one would not need to read "Fraser Island" in order to follow the action in "Finding Marie...more"Finding Marie" is the sequel to "Fraser Island," and while one would not need to read "Fraser Island" in order to follow the action in "Finding Marie," I recommend it, just to acquaint oneself with the characters. I felt that "Finding Marie" was written more realistically than "Fraser Island." It was an enjoyable read.(less)
This book was just okay. It was slow-moving at times and overly heavy on the political "behind the scenes" descriptions. I appreciated some of the des...moreThis book was just okay. It was slow-moving at times and overly heavy on the political "behind the scenes" descriptions. I appreciated some of the descriptions, but there were too many, especially since we are all living through a major election right now. I liked the character of Kate and it will be interesting to see how she develops in the sequel, which is set after the election. I also appreciated the faith-based dilemmas facing Kate, Nick and Wes. This book wasn't overly preachy, but it did portray how one's faith can be tried in the world of politics.(less)
Not really worth reading. The characters were strange, the styling of the book was abrupt, I didn't feel that the book was very well written. At the b...moreNot really worth reading. The characters were strange, the styling of the book was abrupt, I didn't feel that the book was very well written. At the beginning of the novel, one character is presented as being totally unlikable, a complete antagonist, but then by the end of the book, the reader comes to find a few redeeming qualities in him, even though the reader is still supposed to be be viewing this character as the "bad guy." The main character in the book has a wacky plan to dress like a boy in order to stay on her uncle's ranch, but the styling of this character wasn't good enough to be serious or screwball, so the reader is left in limbo on his feelings for the character. The character "Big Tim" was just stupid. He's supposedly some gruff man's man, but he says the weirdest things to Syd, about how to become a man, etc. Big Tim and Syd's interactions were completely unreal and I didn't believe a word of what I was reading. Guys don't talk in such a manner and they don't interact with one another like Big Tim interacted with Syd.
All in all, I'd say if one were considering reading this book...skip it.(less)
I picked up "Forevermore" and "Fancy Pants," both by Cathy Marie Hake, at the library and read "Fancy Pants" first. After finishing that one I wasn't...moreI picked up "Forevermore" and "Fancy Pants," both by Cathy Marie Hake, at the library and read "Fancy Pants" first. After finishing that one I wasn't sure if I wanted to try "Forevermore," but I'm glad that I did. "Forevermore" was a thousand times better than "Fancy Pants."
I found the character of Hope to be quite humorous and I really liked her. She reminded me of Amelia Bedelia, only Hope actually gets things accomplished, in more of a Mary Poppins kind of way. I can see how some readers would be turned off of Hope's folksy way of speaking and her quirks, but I found them to be endearing.
"Forevermore" has some of the same characters as "Fancy Pants," but it is (thankfully) not necessary to have read "Fancy Pants" in order to enjoy "Forevermore."(less)
At first I really enjoyed this book. I'm a huge fan of Dee Henderson's O'Malley series and this one came across as being in the same vein, kind of act...moreAt first I really enjoyed this book. I'm a huge fan of Dee Henderson's O'Malley series and this one came across as being in the same vein, kind of action/mystery with characters of faith, etc. But after about the first one hundred pages, I became discouraged. The writing wasn't as strong, the characters became cliched, overt stereotypes were prominent; it was too much. In the beginning of the book there was real animosity and tension between Desiree and Tony, but then they do a sudden about-face and decide to be a couple. I think that the author, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, should have prolonged their distrust longer. Their feelings for one another changed too smoothly.
Nelson was also fond of writing the terrorist angle from a decidedly cartoonish perspective. She was more than eager to throw out the "Great Satan America" rhetoric from the terrorist character, Abu al Khayr, and he was portrayed more as a caricature of a real terrorist instead of as a menace. The whole book was full of rather poorly written red herrings and the ending was utterly ridiculous.
Nelson has two more books in the To Catch a Thief series and I've already borrowed them from the library. I'm planning on starting the second book, but I don't know if I'll actually finish it. If Nelson's writing has improved, I will...if it's more cartoons and cliches, I won't.(less)
**spoiler alert** I wish I could have given this book 2.5 stars, but since I can't, I rounded down. If I'd felt strongly enough about it, I would have...more**spoiler alert** I wish I could have given this book 2.5 stars, but since I can't, I rounded down. If I'd felt strongly enough about it, I would have rated it three stars. As it is, I may rethink my rating and bump it up, who knows?
If one can get through the first seventy pages of this book, the rest of it isn't too bad. The writing style at the beginning of the book was odd, I couldn't get into it. The second half of the book was much stronger and much more cohesively written. It did seem as though the author tried to cram too much into the story; perhaps she had a page limit? I don't know, but plotlines got a little jumbled up because of this. The relationships among the captain and the ladies, the families of the ladies, the love between the Captain and Isabelle, it was all a bit of a mishmash.
At the beginning of the novel the reader is lead to believe that Isabelle is going to be more than a slave to Hezekiah Carter, a mistress perhaps? But once the reader is actually introduced to Hezekiah, we learn that he is a deeply faithful, albeit harsh and alienating towards Josiah, man who has remained faithful to his wife for thirty-some years.
Isabelle and Emilie's father is introduced at the beginning of the book, but then his character kind of falls by the wayside, as does the character of Mama Dell. The exit of Mama Dell was handled a bit unsatisfactorily. What did she have to do with the raising of Isabelle? What was Isabelle's childhood actually like? Those are questions that are alluded to now and then, but never really addressed.
The character of Josiah was also a bit strange at the beginning of the novel. He is completely barbarous to the ladies before and after they board the ship and acts insanely by tossing Isabelle's trunk and belongings around, but he's not really an antagonist, so what's with the crazy act?
And what of the random side story involving Viola and Andre? What a bizarre subplot. He follows the ship and then is killed? The point of that was? I understand that he was brutal to Viola, but I felt that that situation wasn't written with enough depth to be satisfactory. I actually felt that way about a good deal of the book. I enjoyed it, but I wished that there was more to it. If Y'Barbo had just spent a little more time on the backstories of the characters, written with a little more depth and really pulled the stories together more fluidly, this book would have been stupendous.(less)
**spoiler alert** Have you ever started to read a book and then halfway through realized that the author has lost her way and no longer knows what she...more**spoiler alert** Have you ever started to read a book and then halfway through realized that the author has lost her way and no longer knows what she's writing about? If so, you know how I felt while reading "Letter Perfect." If not, and you would like to experience the phenomenon, pick up "Letter Perfect."
Unlike another book I've recently read (Kathleen Y'Barbo's "Beloved Castaway") which started on shaky ground and then ended with a bang, Letter Perfect was the opposite. The first half of the book was excellent, the second half was crap. Seriously, could Hake have written a more cartoonish ending? I literally started laughing during that courtroom scene; it was so outlandish. Hake's portrayal of McCain, Sr., and Josh's last-ditch effort to save his dad's soul was absurd. What was with the sudden change in the character of McCain? During the first half of the book, he was a loving father and genuinely seemed kind despite his lack of faith. Then suddenly Hake decides to turn him into some creepy, old, lecherous killer. I cannot emphasize enough the ridiculousness of this turn in the plot. Horrendous writing.
Josh and Ruth's romance was totally flat. There was no chemistry written between the two characters. Galen and Ruth had more chemistry.
The character of Ruth was also a bit contrived. I've read Hake's "Forevermore," which was published after Letter Perfect (the two books are not related), and loved the character of Hope. In fact, I kept comparing Ruth and Hope. I felt as though Ruth was the rough draft for Hope. It was as though Hake couldn't decide if Ruth was a total klutz or a refined lady. She had moments of both, and a normal person could be characterized as such, but the two sides of Ruth just didn't gel.(less)