Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Left at the Altar by Kimberley Kennedy

Kimberley Kennedy, a successful TV anchor, endured one of women’s worst nightmares: being left at the altar. In the book Left at the Altar, Kimberley recounts the events of her wedding rehearsal when she realized her fiancĂ© Lew was not going to marry her and the aftermath of her devastation. However, her story does not end there. Instead, her rejection by her fiancĂ© is the beginning of her love story with Jesus. In the narrative that has the feel of a woman sitting down and talking to you rather than a self-help book, Kimberley discusses the warning signs she could see she had ignored and the steps that led to healing.

In addition to Kimberley’s thoughts, her sister writes part of the story—the details of the moment that Kimberley can’t recall because of her shock. The book also shares the perspective of therapist, other women’s stories, and even men who have rejected women. These are nice additions to the book. The book ends with steps for dealing with rejection and moving on.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I don’t read a lot of self-help books, but this book felt more like a woman sharing her story and encouraging others who have felt rejected than a how-to book. The book seemed to jump around from topic to topic, and telling the story from beginning to end would have been more cohesive than lumping topics together in chapters by topic. After the first few chapters, I got used to it though.

Kimberley’s single status at the time of the book makes it poignant since she is still dealing with the loneliness that can come from being rejected and left alone. However, she is no longer wallowing in the rejection, which enables her to offer hope to the reader. My favorite line from the book is one I will take with me in life. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection. “

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm so Sure by Jenny B. Jones

Summary: In the second book of the A Charmed Life series, Bella has found herself tolerating (okay, sometimes enjoying) life in small-town Truman, Oklahoma. When life settles Bella into a routine, her stepfather Jake is cast on a reality television show for wrestlers. As if seeing your stepfather in tight shorts throwing other men around isn’t embarrassing enough, Bella’s love life (or lack thereof) is now a part of the show. Her growing attraction to Luke, the school editor, and her feelings for her ex-boyfriend Hunter are now displayed for the world to see. In addition, prom is in jeopardy as money goes missing and the girls running for Prom Queen begin to be targeted. Will Bella figure out who is behind the prom debacle and more importantly, what boy has her heart?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book even more than the first one in the series. The author does a great job of balancing the funny things in life (Bella’s attempt at a job scooping poop or squeezing beans onto a burrito) with hard situations in life (Dolly’s sacrifice—I don’t want to give too much away). I like the growing friendship between Bella and Luke, and the development of the family is extended in this book through the reality TV show storyline, which is a nice glimpse into how a blended family should work. As with the first book, Jones does a great job of having spiritual elements without preaching or lecturing the reader.

I look forward to the third book to find out more about Bella’s relationship with her dad. I would also like to see more development in the relationship between Bella and her mother, who is trying to be a good parent after years of being a distant, hands-off parent when the two lived in NYC.

So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones

Summary: Bella Kirkwood has to leave Manhattan and move to cow town Truman, Oklahoma after her mother, who was dumped by Bella’s father for a younger woman, falls in love with a factory worker. Bella, a true city girl, struggles to fit into life in a small town. When she lands a job for the school newspaper, she isn’t content with writing stories about the recycling at the school. Her nose for news leads uncovers some suspicious information about the football team that could ruin relationships, friendships, and even families. Someone is out to stop her investigation, and Bella must accept the help of the cute editor of the school paper to find the answers.

My thoughts: In this book, Jenny B. Jones takes the typical city girl moving to a small town and adds a suspense spice to make the book even better. I enjoyed the characters and thought they were well-developed and unique. (I love the stepbrothers that Bella acquires with her move, especially Robbie, who is convinced he is a superhero.) You can tell Jones works with teens because the dialogue reminds me of my former students. (I miss working with middle schoolers!) I also appreciated how the spiritual elements were present but not preachy. That is a must for a good YA Christian book.

This was a great first book for a series. I can’t wait to see what mess (think cow patties) Bella finds herself in next.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Poetry Class Poetry TWU LS 5663

I'm entering my last semester of graduate school! My last class is a Poetry class, LS 5663, and I will use this blog to post reviews as part of my requirements for the class. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason

Jamie Cash is finally recovering from the horrible experience of being kidnapped and tortured that happened twelve years prior. When she finally begins to make a life for herself, the man who kidnapped her is back, eager to find and to kill the one who got away. Dakota has loved Jamie for a year and is close to a relationship with her when he must save her from a madman who is cunning enough to outwit even the FBI. Can Dakota save Jamie before it's too late? Or is Jamie strong enough now to save herself?

My thoughts: I loved this book. While I enjoyed the first one in the series, this one was even better. Eason's dialogue flowed more smoothly in this book than in the first, and the reader had more insight as to why the killer was the way he was, which wasn't there in the first book. Jamie is a beautiful picture of the resiliency of people--fighting debilitating panic and fear and eventually overcoming it and leading a normal life...as normal as a forensic anthropologist can lead. The action was well-paced and kept me up late reading it to see what would happen next. Although I figured out who the murderer was fairly quickly, there was surprise at the end that caught me off guard.

This book is an excellent book for any fans of Christian suspense.

Find the book on Amazon: Don't Look Back at Amazon
Author's website: http://www.lynetteeason.com/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason

Whenever teens go missing, especially in a small town, citizens want answers, and they want them now. Detective Connor Wolfe is searching for those answers and coming up empty. When the FBI sends in Samantha Cash, a computer forensics expert, to help find a connection between the cases, Wolfe must stay focused on the case and deal with his attraction to Samantha.

As the two team up to solve the murders, they grow closer and find that the murders are hitting closer to home with each one. When Wolfe’s daughter is taken by the murderer, they must work together and trust God to help them save Jenna, Wolfe’s stubborn teenage daughter.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this book. It’s the first one I’ve read by Lynette Eason, and I already bought the second one in the series. The characters are likeable, and the story line is intriguing. The story could have had a little more background—although I suspected who the murderer was, more background information on how this person became a murderer would have been helpful. Overall, an excellent read!

Check out the author’s website: http://www.lynetteeason.com/

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic who is soon to be named partner at her law firm. When her one mistake costs her the job, she takes a bus, gets off on a random stop, and ends up at a couple's door. Through a miscommunication, Samantha ends up being hired as a housekeeper and cook....both jobs she's never done. To save face, Samantha tries to cook and clean for the couple, and it is one comedy after another as Samantha tries to pass herself as a gourmet cook. With the help of the good looking gardener Nathaniel's mother, Samantha learns how the value of a slower paced life.
When her old job opens up, will Samantha return to the hectic pace of her old life or remain a housekeeper?

Like most of Sophie Kinsella's novels, this one made me laugh and root for the heroine. Like most women today, Samantha works too hard. Her life is full of pressure and a constant need to prove herself. When she gets a forced break from that world by being fired, Samantha (and the reader) is reminded of how life should be enjoyed and savored. Great book!

Top 10 of 2010

Here is a list of my favorite books of 2010. They are in no particular order, and they range from children's books to financial advice. I guess that shows how eclectic my reading tastes are. :)

Out of my Mind--Sharon Draper

After Ever After--Jordan Sonnenblick

Unlocked--Karen Kingsbury

Listen--Rene Gutteridge

Predator--Terri Blackstock

An Eye for an Eye--Irene Hannon (It's the first book I read by her, and she's quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.)

Umbrella Summer--Lisa Graff

Financial Peace--Dave Ramey (It changed my life.)

Her Mother's Hope--Francine Rivers

Only the Good Spy Young--Ally Carter (I LOVE the Gallagher Girl series, and Heist Society is a close second.)