Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yep! She did it again! - Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman

I had to look through my older posts, and I found, as I suspected, I had done a review for a Kathryn Cushman book. Yep! She wrote it in first person, which I think all of you know my views on, and Yep! I still liked the book, despite that.

Another Dawn tackles a couple of very difficult subjects. The first of which is who is in control of your life, and on the flip side, who is actually better to be in control of your life. (This particular subject is not one of my favorites. Possibly because it's one I struggle with frequently.) :-) The other is how our decisions affect people around us (both known and unknown), whether we want them to or not.

Grace Graham has basically been given an ultimatum. Her sister said come take care of dad or you're not in the family. The timing works outs because things are getting a little hard for Grace with her job and her fiance', and this is her M.O. Things get hard, so it's easier to run. So she packs up her four-year-old son and heads back home for a couple of weeks. However, when decisions she made years ago begin to come out and affect people in the small town of Shoal Creek, Tennessee, what will she do? Will she face the consequences and stick it out or will she run away again?

I found myself being swayed for and against the heroine, Grace, several times. I could understand this point of view. I couldn't understand why she did this or that. I love books that can do that.

There's a couple of plot lines I would have liked to see develop a little more, like her fiance's roll in the story, and her dad and mom's history within her life, but all in all, I think it's a good book.
I don't know that this book will make it to my must read over and over shelf, but I could probably read it again and still like it.

I would definitely recommend this as a read you will enjoy.

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

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Final Summit

Humanity is coming to its end in a self-destructive pattern. The mission, whether he accepts it or not, is for David Ponder (formerly of The Traveler) to lead the final summit of all travelers from all times to come up with the solution.

Andy Andrews, comedian, keynote speaker, and author of such books as "The Traveler", "The Noticer", and "The Butterfly Effect", has given us a glimpse, once again, into David Ponder's life. David Ponder was introduced to us in the book, "The Traveler", were he learned through time travel, the 7 Decisions to a successful, meaningful life. Once again, David Ponder is able to confer with other travelers, men and women who changed the course of history, to come up with a declaration for mankind that will put them back on the right track. While it is not necessary to read "The Traveler" prior to reading this book, I highly recommend that you do as you will get some insight into being a Traveler.

This book is written in an allegorical (parable) style that is very easy to read. The stories that you will read will move you as you get a glimpse into the lives of extraordinary people. If you love history, this book will knock your socks off.

I have only recently discovered this author and have loved every book I have read by him, anxiously awaiting each book that comes out. I have a hard time reading non-fiction, but can zip through fiction, and Mr. Andrews books allow me the best of both worlds. I get the lessons I need from non-fiction in a style I am willing to read over and over again.

This is a book and author I highly recommend. It is also great for book groups with directional questions at the end of the book.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Review: Jungle Warfare by Christopher Cunningham

Those of you who know me, know I don't do non-fiction well. Maybe it was all the textbooks I read as a student because I was bored, but now non-fiction is not my favorite genre. JungleWarfare was a unique book for me. Christopher Cunningham is a leading sales rep in the medical field who brings his expertise in sales and combines it with his love for Christ and his desire to live a life filled with integrity and honor.

The book is a 22-day "Battle Plan" designed to help you recenter your world where it belongs, firmly rooted in God. It takes the Basic Field Manual given to his grandfather when he enlisted in 1943 and breaks it down in small, bite-size lessons for you to digest on a daily basis. This is a book that, while geared for those in sales, is a definite must-read for anyone. It will definitely help you focus your life and position yourself for what God has designed and equipped you to do.

This is a book that will stay in my library, and will try to make it one of my annual re-reads. It is written simply and does not overcomplicate anything. It was truly enjoyable.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review - Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler

At the beginning of the year, I resolved to do my best to post at least one book review a week. I had a stack of books I had promised to review for publishers and friends. I felt very bad seeing this stack of books, knowing that I loved to read, but was not accomplishing what I said I would. So this year, I made a RESOLUTION! Resolved: To read and post one book review a week.

The first two books went quickly and easily. I finished last week's on Monday. It was great. That left me a whole week to re-read a book by one of my favorite authors, Lori Wick, and still complete my book review book. I read my Lori Wick book and started my book review book. After a few chapters, I picked up the next book in my Lori Wick series, The Californians, and finished that one. Then I read a few more chapters in my book review book, and picked up the next book in the Lori Wick series, and the next. Then I realized I really needed to get my book review book done, so I picked it up and pushed through to finish it.

Hatteras Girl is centered on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The main premise of the story is about a single Korean-American girl who has two dreams. One to be married, and one to be the owner of The Bailey House with her best friend, Minnie. Both were childhood dreams, and it looked like they were going to come true and be intertwined. What more could a girl want?

Well, for starters, a girl might want a main character who put a little more thought into her life. While Jackie Donovan (a good Korean name) is very easy to relate to, she seems a little shallow. There does not seem to be a lot of depth to her, except when it comes to Bailey House, but even then it's still not that deep. You are left to assume she has a relationship with God by the fact that she goes to church and there is one page where she and her good friend, Buck, talk about God. Other than that, she seems to leave God out of every decision.

There are other parts of the book that are fairly predictable. I figured out who she would end up with early in the story, even though they never really had but one time of really close interaction. The plot itself had a lot of holes in it for me. We never really got below the surface of anything. Even when she ended up with her man, it was a little unexciting for me.

All this to say, I really didn't hate the book. I am still not a great fan of first-person stories, and this one was a prime example, but I found myself liking the character if I did want to yell at her a couple of times. I was very intrigued by her roommate, and would love to see a story about Minnie and her young son, Zane, as they heal from the loss of Minnie's husband and find life and joy again. I thought the book had a lot of potential, I just wished that it had more depth to it.

All in all, I think Ms. Wisler shows promise and will definitely follow her to see how she grows in further books.

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

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review - A Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann

Twenty-three-year-old New York socialite, Noelle St. Claire is running. From who or what she's not sure. All she sees are images here and there, but she knows she needs to hide to be safe. As her father and fiancee' wait back home, will she find the answers she needs at the ranch nestled in the Colorado Rockies? Will she find the safety and love that she desires?

Then there's Rick Spencer, the owner of the ranch where Noelle St. Claire ends up. Can he break through her shell to help her find God and see that only He can heal her hurt? Will his faith stand up to everything that is coming?

It is very rare for a book to grab my attention from the very first page, but the flight of Noelle St. Claire did just that. Kristen Heitzmann is a master of descriptive phrases and leaves nothing out in any of her settings. The characters were well developed, letting you into their lives quite easily. There were a couple of scenes where I thought the characters went a little quickly into the situations, but all-in-all it was a very-well told story. I look forward to following one of the secondary characters, Morgan, in his book, "The Still of the Night".

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review - Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

With rejections piling up, she could use just a little INSPIRATION...

Amy Inspired could almost be described as a coming of age novel except the main character is 30 years old. Amy Gallagher is a 30-year-old College Professor who teaches Freshman English and Creative Writing at a small college in Ohio to support herself while she pursues her real passion, writing. With an eccentric roommate, off-the-wall professor friends, and a love-sick freshman surrounding Miss Gallagher the story will make you smile and at times just shake your head.

Amy is forced to examine her past to see how it affects her present circumstances and future decisions. She learns that maturing means adding experiences not changing who you are. Bethany Pierce does a wonderful job of weaving this story. It took me a couple of chapters to actually get into the story, but give yourself some time and let the characters come alive. After reading the author's notes at the end, I wonder how much of this story is actually autobiographical.

All in all, this was a good solid book with good characters.

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.