Interesting story & storytelling format (Worlds Collide – Alison Strobel)

While I’m not really a close follower of the Hollywood world, I always find myself getting sucked into the tabloids as I wait in line at the grocery store.  For some reason, the lives of the celebrities are interesting and engaging and just so weird.  They seem to do the strangest things that leave me to wonder, aren’t they just normal people?   Why don’t they act that way?  So when I saw the synopsis of Alison Strobel’s Worlds Collide, I was intrigued.  What would it be like for the world of a celebrity and a “normal person” to collide?  I was brought back to 7th grade and dreaming about Leo. 🙂

Jack and Grace are worlds apart, but when they literally collide, they are drawn into a strange friendship and relationship that grows as they continue to get to know each other.  Strobel chose an interesting way to tell Jack and Grace’s story, via proxy, as the story is seen through the eyes of Jada Eastman, celebrity biographer, hired to write the couple’s life story.

I was intrigued by Jack and Grace’s story, and also their faith journeys.  Although a tad cheesy, I did enjoy this book.  I fell right into the couple’s story, Grace’s particularly, and felt like her conversion was well-written and not too preachy.  Overall, this was a quick read, funny and interesting.

Thanks, Waterbrook Multnomah, for the review copy of Worlds Collide in exchange for my honest opinion.  Just a heads up, the ARC is riddled with typos!!

Heartbreaking novel (Waiting for Morning – Karen Kingsbury)

When confronted with the idea of forgiving someone for killing my family, I faltered.  Could I really do that?  I can imagine my anger (along with the pain) would be crippling and would limit me to living in the prison of unforgiveness.  As much as I would hope that I could forgive, I know it would be a difficult journey, only possible with God’s help.  With all of that said, I loved reading Karen Kingsbury’s novel Waiting for Morning.  It was hard to read–heartbreaking and painful–but it was well worth it.

Hannah Ryan waits for her husband and two daughters to arrive home after their annual camping trip.  Instead, police officers arrive at her door with bad news.  As she fights to understand what happened, she loses her faith, living in bitterness.  Her heart changes as she pursues justice for her loved ones.  And in the midst of it all, God continues to work.

I really enjoyed reading Waiting for Morning.  It was, as with all Karen Kingsbury novels, well-written and interesting.  But it was more than just that.  It confronted hard questions about forgiveness, moving on, and pain.  And at the heart of it, trusting in God when it feels like he has abandoned you.  As I read, I cried, I rejoiced, and I cried some more.  I felt the freedom in forgiveness, and I felt the pain in the bitterness.

As Hannah grapples with hard questions (Why does God “let” bad things happen to good people, people who love him?  And more importantly, how do those “good people” respond to God when their understanding of the world collapses?), I found myself living in Hannah’s pain.  More than Hannah’s pain though, SPOILER ALERT!, I found myself profoundly feeling Jenny’s pain.  Every slight from her mom, every terse word between the two, and I found myself crying.  Maybe it’s the middle school teacher in me that feels middle school pain so well.

This was a heartbreaking novel, yes, but it was also life-giving as God redeems as only he can do.  Thanks to WaterbookMultnomah for the review copy of Waiting for Morning.  These ramblings are my honest opinions.

Quick, funny Christian chick lit (Restless in Carolina – Tamara Leigh)

Bridget Pickwick Buchanan is on a mission and not much is going to stand in her way!  I loved reading Tamara Leigh’s Restless in Carolina.  I have read the two other books in the Southern Discomfort series, but if you haven’t, it wouldn’t matter.  All three books are good stand alone books.  I really liked the first two, and this one definitely did not disappoint!

Bridget is a widow and is slowly shedding the pain that has plagued her since her husband died and left her in alone in her hometown.  Her family has been through great upheaval as family secrets have come to the surface and Bridget’s wonderful Uncle Obe has worked to make amends.  And he needs money to make the amends he is set on…which means his estate needs to be sold.  And not just to anyone, at least not while Bridget has some say in it!  Enter JC Dirk, the man with money and green intentions, and an interest in the Pickwick property.  But there are secrets that are hidden and other people with different intentions.

I laughed aloud as I read this novel over the course of a few hours.  Even though it was a quick read, there was a depth that I find and appreciate in all of Tamara Leigh’s novels.  Bridget’s fears and her confusion and her steps toward faith were all understandable and seemingly realistic.  I love when I can find myself overcoming my own real life fears as I walk with a character through their fears.

 

Thank you, Waterbrook Multnomah, for the review copy of Restless in Carolina.  My opinions are my own, honest ramblings.

Inspiring read for teenage girls (Praying for your Future Husband – Robin Jones Gunn & Tricia Goyer)

I became a Christian when I was in seventh grade.  I was alone, in my bedroom, reading a book called Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn.  I grew in my faith as I read the subsequent books in the Christy Miller series and even prayed for my future husband (he’s awesome, by the way) as Christy did.  With all of that said, I really enjoyed reading Robin Jones Gunn & Tricia Goyer’s Praying for your Future Husband.

It is geared at teenage girls, and they definitely hit their mark.  Through personal storytelling, shared stories from readers, prayers for the reader and her future husband, and insightful questions, the authors guide the reader to see the value in prayer, and especially prayer for their future husband.  Their writing does not talk down to the teenagers; instead, it felt respectful and encouraging.

As always, Robin Jones Gunn does not disappoint!  Thank you, WaterBrook Multnomah, for a great book that I would feel confident giving to a teenage girl seeking guidance.  I received this book for frizzle in exchange for my honest review.

Not my favorite book… (Divine Appointments – Charlene Ann Baumbich)

>Divine Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich was a tough read for me. I really wanted to like it because I like most books I read published by WaterBrook Multnomah, but I just couldn’t do it with Divine Appointments.

Josie Brooks is single, nearly 50, and thinks she’s got it made. A series of events happen that turn her life upside down and she is left trying to figure out her next steps and her life. Her coworkers are dealing with issues in their lives as well, and added together, everyone is faced with decisions to make.

I typically read a book in one sitting, but it took me about three days to finally finish this book. I didn’t particularly like Josie’s character, nor the other main characters. I found one character’s attempts at a novel to be ridiculous; there had to be a better way for this character to express her emotions.
Although I really wanted to like this novel, I really just ended up ploughing through it mindlessly bored.
Thank you anyway, WaterBrook Multnomah, for the review copy. My opinions are my own honest ramblings.

Quick read (Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes – Robin Jones Gunn)

>I have a soft place in my heart for Robin Jones Gunn. Through her Christy Miller series, I got to know God and grew in my faith every single time I reread any of her books. That still happens when I read the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, Katie Weldon, or Glenbrooke series.


I recently received a review copy of Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn that I read in a span of three hours. Big type, somewhat surface, and overall a very quick read. It was interesting to read, as I enjoyed the Dutch history and culture woven throughout the two Sisterchicks’ adventures.

Throughout the story, Gunn weaves a theme of overcoming fears, of both the past and the future. Summer has an abnormal test result…definitely scary. Noelle has a past that she hasn’t addressed and an estranged relationship with her father. Both address their issues and their fears as they are loose in Holland and ridiculous adventures follow. I felt like this book was very surface…there were only a few parts of the story that went beyond surface level in terms of the characters and their lives and their growth.

Overall, a good, quick read. Enjoyable. I received this book for review from WaterBrook Multnomah (thank you!) and have expressed my opinion in this review.

Interesting, enjoyable, thought-provoking novel (Lady in Waiting – Susan Meissner)

>I have had my review copy (thank you, Waterbrook Multnomah!) of Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner for the last week and a half. Every evening, I look at the book then look at the clock. I typically finish most books that I start before I fall asleep that night, and with teaching the next day most days, it’s hard to find time to start a book early enough in the evening. I know that’s weird, but it’s how I do things because I get so invested in the characters.

Anyway, FINALLY, tonight was the night. And I am so thankful I waited and gave myself a full evening to read, stop, process, read, enjoy, read, etc. this book. What an incredible story Susan Meissner weaves!
Jane and Jane are two women, centuries apart but similar in many ways. I was amazed as Meissner brought each Jane story to a semi-climax then moved on to the other Jane just when I couldn’t stop reading! I must admit that I contemplated skipping ahead to find the next section of the Jane I was devouring.
Jane Lindsay, Jane Grey, and Lucy Day are complex women but Meissner writes their stories with beauty and grace. I was impressed with the attention to detail, as well as, simply put, the good storytelling.
I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and Christian fiction. While it wasn’t too overtly pushed, I felt like I grew and was challenged in my own faith as I read this book. Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for the review copy of this great book. I was not asked to write a positive review…it’s positive due to Meissner’s lovely story.

Slightly cheesy and ridiculous novella (Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball – Donita K. Paul)

>Meh. I really do not like cheesy Christmas books. While there were definitely entertaining parts to Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul, I was less than impressed with the story. I understand that Christmas books are a serious market and that many people do enjoy them. There is something magical about Christmas, and I totally get that. Unfortunately, this novella (a very quick read – only took me an hour or two) seemed to be just a little too cheesy for me. The love story between Cora and Simon seemed to be just a little bit too contrived. I was thankful that Sandy, Simon’s younger sister with Downs Syndrome, was kindly portrayed. Beyond the ridiculous ending, there were a few funny scenes and some interesting moments. It was, for a light, cheesy read, just fine.


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group read and review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.