Monday, September 27, 2010

Book Review - Beguiled by DeeAnne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand

From the picture on the front cover, I thought I was getting ready to read a story set in the 1920's or 1930's set in Charleston. I know, I know, if only I had read the back cover, I would have known, but very rarely do I read back covers preferring rather to be surprised by the story. Surprised is a pretty accurate term when I started reading about Rylee Monroe as she unclipped a leash from a dog collar. Wait, this story is about a dog walker? Did they have dog walkers in the 1920's. As I kept reading, my dog walker had roller blades, so I finally figured out it was set in present day.

The story is set in a wealthy neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. Rylee Monroe is a sweet, caring dogwalker who's only ambition is to make sure the needs of her ailing grandmother are met. She surrounds herself with her family of dogs and is quite content until she becomes unintentionally involved in a string of robberies committed by an unusual burglar. Who the burglar is and why he/she is doing what they're doing is the premise of the book, and just where does the mysterious newspaper reporter, Logan Woods fit into the whole picture.

I must say that this book had me guessing a couple of times, which is a good thing and most books are not able to do. I have to say, though, my favorite part of the book was the Authors' note at the end. It was very charming and actually made me want to visit Charleston even more than the book did.

I would highly recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading more books from each of these authors individually and hope they will collaborate again.

This book was provided to me to review by Bethany House Publishers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review - Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate

I opened this book to the first page, read the first sentence, and said to myself, "Oh no, it's a first person book". I've said this before, but I really don't like books written in first person because most of the time the way the character is acting or reacting is against my personality or character and I just get so frustrated. I end up wanting to beat the main character in the book. However, this is a book given to me to review so I push through to Chapter 2 and...

"Oh rats, there's two main characters." That's it, I basically told myself to give up because not only was the book written in first person, but there were two main characters who were so totally opposite of me that I knew I was going to hate this book.

I love surprises! Ok, no, I don't really, but that's an entirely different subject. This book actually surprised me. I found myself slowly, but surely getting drawn in to the characters. There were a couple of slow parts where I really found myself wondering did I need this much detail, but it turned out in the end, I did.

The story follows two characters, an older southern belle from Daily, TX, Donnetta, on her way to take a cruise with her two friends, and Kai, a drifter who has never put down roots in one place too long, a trait she got from her daddy. There are twists and turns as these ladies attempt to outrun a hurricane, meet up with some good ol' Cajuns from the Texas bayou (which I didn't even know there were any bayous in Texas), and then try to rebuild after the storm.

I also liked the way the author through in a free lesson about telling those you love how much they mean to you on a daily basis. That was unexpected, but we can all use that reminder.

All-in-all, I would be happy to recommend this book to any of my friends and welcome the opportunity to read more books by Lisa Wingate.

This book was provided to me for review by Bethany House.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review - Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols

Have you ever wished you could run away from your past? Have you wanted to hide out and just pray that it never finds you? Mary Bridget Washburn needed desperately to get out of the life she was currently living, but can you really reinvent yourself when you're on the wrong side of the law? Once given the opportunity, will she be brave enough to take it and do what must be done? Can God really use someone with her past to heal the hurts of a family in crisis?

Not too far away is a father who is caught between secrets from his past and a congregation that is divided in whether he should be their pastor; a daughter at the beginning of her teen years, who is scared and desperately wants someone, anyone to show they care; and twin babies who just need someone to love and care for them.

This book is a powerful reminder of the power of intercessory prayer, God's grace and mercy, and the way God can use his people if we'll just get out of His way. Linda Nichols seamlessly weaves all these truths throughout this book. You will find your heart racing as Mary runs for her life, pray with the intercessors when Satan is trying his best to wreak havoc in different situations, cry when they cry, and laugh when they laugh.

Not a Sparrow Falls will warm your heart in many ways, and leave you wanting more.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House Book Reviewers.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville

The concept of this book is fantastic. If you want to go farther in life, get along with people, harmony in your home, remembering to respect those around you will go along way. Remembering that the woman checking you out at the grocery store is a person just like you, more than likely, with the same problems that you have will go a long way to helping you show respect and making her day, and yours, go a lot smoother. This principle is true in every facet of any relationship you have no matter how small or insignificant or how great and dynamic. This is a concept that has definitely gone by the wayside for many people. In today's society there are only a handful of people that are willing to remember there are others around them that are just as important as they are.

My only complaint about this book is that the author, very eloquently said it all in the first chapter or two. Every other chapter was the same concept presented in a slightly different way, but ultimately saying the same thing. It has taken me almost 9 months to muddle my way through and I actually couldn't bring myself to finish it. I felt like I was literally beating my head against a wall hearing the same thing over and over.

If you have not heard this concept before, you might thoroughly enjoy this book, but for those who practice respect on a daily basis, it will probably not be anything new.

The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley

Imagine your life lived in a cocoon not penetrable by sound, or for that matter, much of anything. Now, imagine your life as the mother of a little boy, whose less-than-ideal entrance into the world, left you with a love so strong that you would do absolutely anything to protect that little boy, but not strong enough to break through his silent cocoon.

In this book, Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley bring you immediately into a time of desperation and confusion in the height of the Great Depression as the mother of a little boy who is deaf and mute, but endowed with a gift far greater than either one of them can comprehend. You will go through the ups and the downs of their lives; from the palace to the prison and back up again. You will be brought to the brink of desperation and cheer with them as their lives begin to make sense. You will be brought to tears at the hard and lonely times of this little family as time and time and time again they have to fight for everything they have only to end up exactly where God wanted them with the maximum amount of lives being touched.

This book was provided to me free of charge as part of Bethany House Book Reviewers.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

This Insight Edition of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen was a blast to read. I have to admit, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. At first, I thought all the little sidebars were a little annoying, but as I got further and further into the book, I found myself actually looking forward to them.

This book is a classic written in the beautiful prose of the 18th Century writer, Miss Jane Austen. I can't remember the last time I had read one of her books, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book. It even inspired me to rent the 1995 movie with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant in it. I love the contrasts between the two sisters, the overly dramatic, romance-seeking Marianne, and the calm, steady, level-headed, Elinor.

I look forward to seeing more books like this from Bethany House. This is a great way to get re-acquainted with the classics.

This book was provided to me free of charge as part of Bethany House Book Reviewers.

The Rose Legacy by Kristen Heizmann

First of all, I owe a huge apology to Bethany House. This book and a few others that I will be posting reviews on were sent to me by Bethany House, I think at the end of last year, but with some major upheaval in my life I haven't been able to take the time to review them. I am finally getting back into the swing of things and wanted to get these reviews out there.

I have never read a Kristen Heitzmann book before so I had no knowledge of writing style coming into the reading of this book. The Rose Legacy is part of a series set in the Rocky Mountains during the gold rush era. The book begins with Italian beauty, Carina DiGratia making an arduous trek from Sonoma, California to Crystal, Colorado. She has left behind a loving family, except for a wicked sister who stole her fiance' from her, a deed she will never forgive or forget. She is out to prove that she is not the innocent that people believe she is. Unfortunately, she has a hard time living down that reputation, even among a city full of strangers.

Ms. Heitzmann, cleverly pulls you in and points you in several different directions at once. Making you second guess who you think the villain is with every turn of the page. There were a couple parts in the story that I thought were a tad tedious, but all-in-all, the book left me wanting to read the second and third installments in the Diamond of the Rockies series.

I have already recommended this book to my friends and will continue to do so. If you are a fan of historical romance and mysteries, this is a good, clean, entertaining book that, I believe, you will find hard to put down.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

EUREKA! I have found it...

God has seen fit to usher my husband and I in to a new place in ministry, and as part of this step, my husband and I are delving deeper and deeper into the truths of God. If you go back to my very first post, you'll see that I vowed to become a Praise Warrior, and as a result, this blog is part of my journey. I want to be able to change the world around me, but only with God working through me.

Today as I was reading in Genesis 33, I found it! My prayer for this year.

11..."You have been telling me, 'Lead these people', but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people." The Lord replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." ..."If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth" And the Lord said..., "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

God has given me direction..."Lead these people". He has said He knows me by name and I have found favor with Him. My deepest desire, my utmost cry, is that He will teach me His ways, so I may know Him and continue to find favor with Him. I do not want to go anywhere that His Presence does not go. I don't want to be indistinguishable. The only way people with know that I am God's is if His presence goes with me.

Father God, I cannot do anything you have asked of me without You, without Your Presence going before me. Do not let me go without it. Teach me about You. Let me learn Your ways until I know the sound of Your heartbeat. I am nothing without You. I can do nothing without You. But in You I can do ANYTHING!

Book Review - Leaving Yesterday

It's a mother's worst nightmare. Knowing that your child has gone into a world you know nothing about. All you can do is sit by and watch while your child, seemingly throws their life away. Then what happens when you are confronted by a situation that could end what little progress they've made. What do you do?

Author Kathryn Cushman tackles this very question. She has been forced to watch her son's life spiral out of control into a world so dark that it doesn't look like he'll ever survive. Just when it seems like he is getting his life together, she is confronted with evidence of an even greater evil.

How would you react? Would you keep the correct moral idea or would you do whatever it took to shield your child. Alisa Stewart is faced with just such a dilemma, and while it's easy to look at the situation from the outside and say with certainty what you would do, Ms. Cushman does an excellent job at getting inside the situation and making you actually go through this nightmarish situation with the main character.

I will admit I was a bit skeptical when I opened the book and saw the author had written in 1st person. I really struggle with this type of book as I very rarely can identify with the main character in that way; however, I was quickly pulled into the story and could very easily put myself in Alisa's shoes.

I would highly recommend that you give this book a try. It makes for great reading, while teaching you something you probably didn't know about yourself.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.