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!!

Insightful look into gluten/wheat sensitivity (Wheat Belly – William Davis, MD)

As a person living with Celiac disease, I am always intrigued to find out more about gluten sensitivity and intolerance.  Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis is an interesting book that provides a lot of good information regarding wheat free diets and how they can be beneficial to the average American’s health.  My diet is gluten free so my autoimmune disease does not continue to hurt my body, but many people these days are interested in the gluten free diet as a way to lose weight.

Some points that stuck out to me from Wheat Belly (no pun intended, ha):

  • The connection between eating wheat and behavior in schizophrenics (shocking, seriously)
  • The glycemic index of wheat and how eating a piece of wheat bread affects our blood sugar
  • The amount of weight Davis’ patients lost on average from modifying their diets to exclude wheat
  • How wheat has changed over the many years and how its modifications have affected our ability to digest it
I have known since December that wheat was not good for me due to my autoimmune disease; however, I did not know how harmful it can be to others.

Thank you, Dr. Davis, for your research and insight into gluten’s effect on our bodies.  Please keep it up and continue sharing your message with our land of processed foods!

Gluten free foods are all the rage, but what do you think?  Wheat?  No wheat?  Just a hype?

A new favorite (Softly & Tenderly – Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck)

There are few books that keep me up reading until after midnight, and even fewer that keep me up until 2am thinking about the characters!  I loved Softly & Tenderly, the latest novel by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck.  I hadn’t read the first in the series, The Sweet By & By, that shared the first part of Jade’s story, but it didn’t matter.  I was able to quickly get into the story and figure out who everyone was as I began the novel.

Jade is overwhelmed and feels as if her life is just falling apart as some really hard stuff happens.  I felt the pain as Jade’s heart broke and her world shattered.  How does one recover from the pain of an affair?  Especially when that affair has produced a tangible being, and that tangible being is what you’ve been dreaming of and waiting for since you married?

I appreciated the supporting cast of characters and felt connected to Beryl and June as they both hurt and grieved and loved and felt.  I felt righteous anger at Max and Reb and was disappointed as I continued to invest in their lives.  I was torn as Jade was torn between her first love and her commitment.  And mostly, I was affirmed in the importance of our maintaining our integrity in our commitments.

The characters were so real and so, at 2am, when I was finally drifting off, my last thoughts were of Jade, Max, Asa, Beryl, and June.  Thank you, Thomas Nelson, for providing this e-book to review.  I truly enjoyed the story and look forward to (hopefully) another collaboration between Sara Evans and the talented Rachel Hauck!

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.

Heartbreaking but amazing novel (The First Gardener – Denise Hildreth Jones)

How do you deal with incredible loss?  Denise Hildreth Jones’ latest novel, The First Gardener, is the story of Mack and Gray London, governor of Tennessee.  They question God, life, love, everything as they grieve and live their lives.  They are helped along by their friends and family (a hilarious cast of characters…mainly Eugenia’s buddies) including the gardener for the governor’s mansion, Jeremiah.  Jeremiah’s heart is expressed through flowers and their meanings, something not always well received by Mack.

As I read this novel, I was amazed by the depth of the characters and their pain.  I cried as I was blown away by the hurt and the emotions.  Jones is a beautiful writer, and her portrayal of Mack and Gray as they struggled through the pain that filled their lives.  While reading, I had to stop and just take in the pain and, before I knew it, I found myself praying for Mack.  Then I realized that she was a fictional character.  Oops.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this novel, just like all of Denise Hildreth’s books (especially The Will of Wisteria) and would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good (but hard) story of redemption and love and life.

Thank you, Tyndale, for the complimentary review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!