Sunday, May 27, 2012

Identical Differences: A Review

All Alexia ever wanted to do was escape the small town she grew up in, so when her twin gets engaged, Alexia is happy for her but not so thrilled about coming back to the past she tried to leave behind. When she meets the best man, Justin, the guy she hated since junior high, Alexia is just ready for the festivities to be over, so she can escape back to her real life....before she realizes her heart never left.

This is a cute novella, but I never felt connected to the main character Alexia or understood her reasons for hating Justin. Erynn Mangum has written several of these novellas and was able to develop the characters well enough in the short story. However, Alexia has more layers that need more time development than just a novella. She's an intriguing character, but her change of heart felt rushed and her character stilted. In fact, I enjoyed her twin more than her and would have liked to read their story.

As usual, Mangum delivers a fun story with jolts of coffee, family dynamics, and spiritual truths. Although this isn't my favorite Mangum novella, it was a sweet read that would have been better as a full-length novel.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Christmas Watch: A Review

Product Details

Sometimes what you are searching for is right in front of you. Lindsey grew up hearing the story of how her grandparents met and for years has waited for the man of her dreams to walk through the door and change her world. When Marcus comes into the floral shop Lindsey's parents own, she thinks her fairy tale may be beginning. When the reality doesn't quite meet the dream, will Lindsey find that her true love has been walking through the door every day since she was a kid?

Erynn Mangum is one of my favorite authors, and this is why. The characters were fun and authentic, and there was a spiritual message without being preachy. I also love the family dynamics that Erynn includes in her books, and as a fan of her blog, I see the parallels to her own family.

Since it's a novella, the story is over much too soon, but this is a sweet read for any time of the year.

Book Giveaway!

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Congrats to Vera for winning again! I'll mail you the soon as I finish reading it. I'm so behind on my reading.

This week, I'm giving away Lisa Wingate's Lakespur Cove, which I haven't read yet. Lisa Wingate is becoming one of my favorite writers. I like her books because they are a little different--Dandelion Summer was the first one I read by her and I loved the characters. Most Christian fiction is either suspense or romance, and I enjoy reading about the different relationships.

To enter to win, let me know about your favorite genre or a new author you are enjoying.

Leave a second comment letting me know you follow the blog, and you'll get a second entry.

I can only ship to the US. I'll pick a winner next Saturday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Product Details

Congrats to Vera for winning By the Light of the Silvery Moon.
Today, I'm giving away The Messenger by Siri Mitchell.
To enter to win, leave a comment about about the best message you've ever gotten.

I have an old message saved from my dad. He was battling cancer and had the opportunity of a lifetime to ride a plane like the one his dad flew on in WWII. He was giddy like a like a kid, and that's how I like to remember him.

Leave a second comment letting me know you follow the blog.

Please leave your email address in one of your comments. I will re-pick a winner if there isn't an email address.

I can only ship to the US.

I'll pick a winner next week.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Covenant Child: A Review

In this modern spin on the parable of the prodigal son, Blackstock introduces readers to Lizzie and Kara, twin girls who are heiresses to a large fortune. When their father dies, the girls are ripped from the arms of Amanda, the stepmom who loves them as her own, and given to their grandparents, who care nothing for the girls. Will Amanda be able to get her girls back, or will they live without ever knowing their true worth?

Told from Kara's point of view, this novel beautifully shares the story of unending love: the love of a mother who never gives up just like the heavenly Father never gives up on His children. Without being preachy, the novel reminds readers of God's open arms waiting to embrace the ones who walked away from the fortune He has for them.

The book starts when the girls are three and continues past their 18th birthdays, but the plot doesn't feel choppy or rushed. The characters are authentic, and I felt such sympathy for the girls and rooted for them to overcome the odds. I also loved that this book was about the love of a parent, not a romantic love. So many Christian fiction books focus on the love between a man and woman, but the love of a parent is so important too and it's nice to see that relationship explored in fiction.
Overall, this a great book. Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this book about unwavering love, but Terri Blackstock fans should be warned that this is not one of her suspense books....just as good though.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Accidental Bride: A Review

When Shay agrees to play the bride in her town's reenactment, she never thought she would end up kissing the pretend groom---Travis, her ex-fiance who left her at the altar when she was eighteen. When a confused minister turns in the wrong marriage certificate, their reenacted marriage vows become real. Determined to win Shay's trust, Travis convinces Shay to let him help her save her dying ranch and to give him five months to win her back. With no other option to support herself and her daughter, Shay agrees. Will five months be enough for Travis to prove his love, or will Shay lose her ranch and her heart again?

Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this tale of a second chance at first love. The characters are well-developed, their is a spiritual lesson without being preachy, and there are several funny scenes that lighten Shay's string of hard situations.

Even though I didn't find this book to be particularly thought-provoking or deep, it is a nice rainy day read. I recommend it to fans of Christian fiction, especially the ones where a hero rescues a strong woman who finds herself unable to fend for herself.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

By the Light of the Silvery Moon: A Review and Giveaway!

When Amelia Gladstone takes pity on a beaten man and gives him a ticket on the Titanic, she has no clue that he is Quentin Walpole, the prodigal son of a railroad tycoon, who happens to be on the ship with his other son. Determined to bring father and son together, Amelia finds herself the love interest of both brothers. Will Amelia find love aboard the doomed ship?

I began reading this book expecting a love story set on the Titanic, but I was surprised with much more. I've only read one other book by Goyer (Praying for your Future Husband), and I loved this book almost as much. While I love romance novels, I especially enjoyed the prodigal son storyline and Titanic setting. Knowing the ship's fate gave an urgency to the book....would Quentin reconcile with his father, would they survive, and if they did survive, would they be separated during the rescue?

My only complaint was that there wasn't a complete resolution with Amelia's longing to know more about her mom. I wish she could have found out what happened to her, but I guess since the entire book happens in one week, that may be asking for too much.

Fans of Christian fiction and historical fiction won't want to miss this engaging tale of love at sea.

I received this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

I am giving away a copy of this book. To enter to win, leave a comment about the Titanic or about a cruise or ship you have been on. One day I'd like to take a cruise somewhere. I've heard the Alaskan cruises are nice. To get a second entry, follow the blog and leave a comment that you are following.

I can only ship to the US. I'll pick a winner next Saturday. Be sure to leave your email address!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Illusion: A Review

Illusion is an engaging story of time travel, government science, and a love that lasts beyond time and space. When magician Dane Collins' wife dies in a car wreck, he heads to a quiet place to mourn his love of forty years. There he meets a young woman who is eerily like his late wife, so much so that he thinks he is seeing visions of her. As Dane begins to mentor her as a magician, he finds she is much more than a protegee. She is Mandy, his wife who was pronounced dead but at the hands of a government experiment that bends time, she is again 19 and confused about her identity. Will their love be able to put them back in the same time period together, or will they be separated once more?

While the plot is intriguing and tightly woven, the book left me wanting more. I kept thinking that perhaps I was missing the symbolism. Peretti fans who expect theology and spiritual struggles may find this book lacking, but it is fast-paced thriller centered around two interesting characters that will engage the reader. I found the theme of love standing the test of time to be an interesting addition to a time bending ride. I recommend this book to fans of Christian fiction who like reading about time travel and alternate realities.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Turnabout's Fair Play: A Review

When Maureen O' Connor decides to set up her grandson Jamie with Flannery, the granddaughter of the handsome visitor at her church, she never expects to find love for herself. Jamie and Flannery know their grandparents are right for each other, so they endure hanging out to throw the elderly couple together. Through a series of mishaps trying to set each other, the four characters find their own matches.

I enjoyed this book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the first two books and gotten to know the characters better.
I like the surprise connection between Flannery and Jamie, their shared secret interest. I didn't like the "big" conflict that seemingly tears them apart for a bit---it seemed over-dramatic for a response on Flannery's part. 

I loved Maureen and Kirby and found their romance at an old age to be sweet and a nice addition to the typical romance. Although I don't see myself reading a romance novel about two characters in their 80s, I enjoyed it as a secondary plot.

So, while the book didn't cause me to think deeply, I would recommend it (although I would read the first two first) to fans of Christian fiction looking for a relaxing summer read.

I received this book in exchange for my thoughts. My opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Giveaway and Link!

Congrats to Paula for winning Need You Now. If you didn't win, I have the copy I read that I will probably give away in a few weeks.
Today, I'm giving away A Sound Among the Trees.

To enter to win A Sound Among Trees, leave a comment about trees. I LOVE me some trees. They minister to my soul. Thankfully, I live surrounded by beautiful trees. Or, you can leave a comment about today's YA books, what you read as a teen, or basically anything!

Get a second entry by following the blog and leaving a second comment letting me know you follow.

I can only ship to the US.

Please leave your email address so that I can reach you.

As many of you know, I am passionate about good books for kids/teens. While I am against censorship, I strongly believe we need to match kids with age-appopriate books. There is a lot of garbage out there, especially for teens. Of the 50 plus books I got free at the library convention a few weeks ago, only a handful are ones I would want my eleven-year-old niece reading. With that being said, I want to mention a great new author for Christian YA, Betsy St. Amant. Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK Kid is her first YA book, and here's a cute interview with both Betsy and Wes, the cute but rebellious boy in the story. If you are looking for a Christian book that deals with real topics for young adults, check this one out. (I reviewed it on my blog here.)

That's just my opinion, and I think I'm going to start posting about authors I enjoy for teens because reading the back of some of these books that are coming out in the next year left me wanting some good old fashion coming of age stories! (Can you tell I don't enjoy science fiction or fantasy, both of which are the rage right now?)

Happy reading.