Sunday, December 30, 2012

Canary Island Song: A Review

When Carolyn decides to take a trip the Canary Islands to visit her mom, she never thought she would run into Bryan Spencer, the man she fell for twenty-five years before during a summer visit. As circumstances throw them together, Carolyn begins to feel again, for the first time since her husband's death seven years before. With the Canary Island song bringing her healing, will it also bring her a second chance with Bryan?

I think I say it every time I read a Robin Jones Gunn book, but she is the master of weaving spiritual truths into character development. Carolyn blossoms like a slow summer night in this beautiful story of living again after devastating loss. Fans of RJG will enjoy reading about Todd's dad, seeing him as a man and not just Todd's dad. 

As she did in the Sisterchick series, RJG makes the island come alive in a way that makes it another character with its song, dance, and breath of life.

I enjoyed this book. Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this leisurely escape. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Air we Breathe: A Review

Ever since watching her father die and being held captive by his killers, Hanna refuses to talk....until the day she meets Claire Rodriguez at a park and sees her own pain mirrored in Claire's eyes. With Claire's help, Hanna begins to make progress until her mother whisked her away to a remote little town in Maine, changing her name to Molly. Still unable to shake her fears, seventeen year old Molly now talks but refuses to leave the wax museum where she and her mom work and live. When a chance encounter brings Claire back into her life, will both of them find the healing they need?

This book is one of the best I've read in months. The characters are amazingly well-developed with layers of pain and healing that slowly unfolds throughout the flashbacks and current events. Parrish does an incredible job drawing the reader into Hanna's world of fear and capturing Claire's stifling grief. 

I could go on and on about how good this book is and still not really cover all the aspects of what makes this book stand out from the others. It's a must-read for fans of Christian Fiction. This is the first book I've read by Parrish, but I am ordering her other books today. 

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

Unending Devotion: A Review

Lily Young is determined to save her sister Daisy, who ran away and is now stuck as a prostitute in a Michigan logging camp. There she meets Connell McCormick, a man who runs a lumber company his father started, who wants to help but the small community is terrified of Carr, the man who runs the saloon where Daisy works. Because the logging camp doesn't have a sheriff, it's up to Lily to save her sister even if it means giving up Connell or even her own life.

Lily is a fun character. In 1883, women had few rights, but I imagine there were a lot of women like her: strong, spunky, and full of spitfire. She makes the story stand out with her headstrong determination that often gets her in trouble. Connell is a great balance with his careful calculations, and I loved them both. 

The pace is quick with Lily finding herself in one near death experience to another, from being stuck in a cabin while wolves stood outside to being forced to "work" at the brothel. 

Fans of Christian historical fiction will enjoy this book. 

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Deadline: A Review

When journalist Jake Woods loses his two best friends in a car accident, he works to uncover the truth about what happened the night and finds it was no accident. What he finds goes beyond a simple murder into a all-out war against Christian beliefs through mainstream media and the price that is put on a human life. Will  Jake be able to solve the mystery before the final deadline?

This book had a lot of potential. The characters are well-developed and likable. The action is intense at the end. However, it is simply too long and too preachy. I am a conservative Christian, but I found many parts to be persuasive arguments more than fiction, which is great if I'm reading a blog but annoying if I'm reading fiction. Because Jake is a writer, his character is expected to think about things a little more than the average male character, but his thoughts went on and on to  the point of exhaustion. Fewer ramblings and more action would have made this book a much more enjoyable read.

However, one aspect of this book saved it for me. The journey to heaven. I loved Finney, and while I have grown up in church and have heard about heaven all my life, I feel I have a new perspective on it after reading this book. The parts of the book set in heaven were thought-provoking and inspiring. 

Overall, fans of Christian fiction who want a little more food for thought than adventure will enjoy this book. I am interested to check out the other books in the series, but I'll probably check to see how long they are first. 

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

Please take a minute to rate my review. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Trouble with Cowboys: A Review

Annie Wilkerson loves horses, but to make ends meet, she has to write an advice column about love, something she knows nothing about. When town flirt Dylan Taylor needs help with his horse, she barters with him: if he'll help her with her column, she'll return the favor with his horse. As they get to know each other, Annie finds herself falling for him even though she vowed never to love a cowboy after she saw them break her mom's heart.

I have read several books by Denise Hunter and even others in this series and enjoyed them, so I was very surprised when it took me a long time to read this book because I just couldn't get into it and found it pretty boring.

The trouble with this book is that there isn't enough conflict to keep me interested. I understood why Annie didn't want to date Dylan at first, but most of the book was the same thing. Liking him. Thinking he was flirting with someone else. This was repeated a few times with little action in between. Secondly, I wasn't a big Annie fan. I found her annoying, and since I'm a character-driven reader, I found it hard to finish the book.

Fans of Christian fiction may enjoy this one, but I would suggest her other books over this one.

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

My Revised Christmas List: A Review

Chloe is just trying to finish nursing school and work enough hours to pay her rent since her roommate bailed on her. When she sets up her sister on a blind date, she finds herself falling for someone who wasn't at all what she was expecting but exactly what she needs.

Erynn Mangum is one of my favorite Christian Chick Lit authors. I love her voice and her fast dialogue makes for a fun read. This short novella is no exception. Although it was pretty clear how it would turn out, the characters are great, and the witty back-and-forth between Chloe and just about everyone she talks to makes this a great afternoon read. 

Chloe's story, although over way too quickly, will tide Mangum's fans over until her next series comes out. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Father Daughter Devotions

I read once that the way a woman views God has a lot to do with how she views her own father. We also hear that women marry men like their dads. A father is so important on a girl's journey to becoming a healthy woman. 

As a public-school educator, I see firsthand the fruit of a good relationship with a father and the heartbreak that comes when the father is not present or not involved. Yet, many men don't seem to know what to talk about with their tween daughters, who are entering that age where everything becomes complicated and full of drama.

This year-long devotional gives fathers specific things to do with their daughters and conversation starters. I don't know if every single day would be applicable to most families, but there are myriad ideas for a dad wanting to stay connected with his daughter. Men could pull the ideas that work for them, perhaps shooting for once or twice a week of uninterrupted time although each day is short enough that finding time to complete the devotional is a doable goal. 

I recommend this book to any guy looking to get to know his daughter as she moves from being a girl to a young woman. While reading the book, I kept wishing my dad had read something like this, but I am passing it along to my brother-in-law, who works hard to spend quality time with his girl. 

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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sarah Dessen

The story I've been working on for NaNoWriMo is a YA. One of my favorite authors, Ally Carter, often tells new writers to read books in their genre for the writing instead of for enjoyment.

Since my work in progress is about a senior in high school finding herself (and God), I decided to read (or re-read) all of Sarah Dessen's books since she is the queen of Coming of Age books in my opinion.

I planned to look at pacing and external conflict since those are two areas in which I struggle. But dang it, I get sucked into the story every time, even the ones I had already read. The way she develops a character is absolutely amazing. While not every book has been added to my list of all-time favorite books, every single one is great. Every one. I still have a few to go, but I'm sure they'll be just as good.

Do you have a writer that makes you forget everything but the characters in that book?

**Isn't it cool how well-read this book appears to be. Thanks to all the high school librarians in my district sending me their copies. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Against the Tide: A Review

Lydia has always been alone. Orphaned as a young girl, she worked hard to make a quiet life for herself as a translator for the U.S. Navy. When Alexander Banebridge requests her help translating documents in his efforts to stop the opium trade that he once helped run, she finds her organized life suddenly thrown into a tailspin as she goes undercover to help Bane stop the man responsible for most of the opium trade on the East Coast.

Although they fell in love a little suddenly, I loved the characters in this book. They were flawed yet resilient, overcoming difficult childhoods to becoming strong adults. 
The opium trade plot was fascinating to me. I could see parallels between orphanages and doctors who gave opium to children to calm them down and today's rush to take medicine for everything. I thought Camden did an excellent job with the ease of addiction and the torture of withdrawal. It seemed real and well-researched. 

Overall, I loved this book. Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this book. It's got history, adventure, and love. 

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

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I did it!! I wrote over 50,000 words in one month! 

I often think of great ideas in my head, but I don't have the discipline to sit down and write them out. I had been writing a story, but after realizing the plot needed to be reworked in a major way, I became more frustrated the longer I worked on it. 

Since NaNoWriMo was starting, I decided to sit down and write a story that had been on my mind a while. I just wrote without thinking of the "format" in which the story needed to be told like I had been. Having (Wanting) to enter my word count each day was a huge motivator. Next year, I hope to interact more with other writers and perhaps meet some writing buddies.

Of course, a novel is longer than 50,000 words, so I'm still plugging away. I still have a few more events to write in the story, and my goal is between 70-75,000 words. 

How about you? Are you writing anything? I would love to meet some people who are in the same boat as me: just starting out.