Monday, November 26, 2012

The River by Michael Neale

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through their BookSneeze program.  When Gabriel Clarke was 5 years old he watched his father drown in The River.  His whole life has been spent missing his father and reliving what happened that day.  He has nor really lived since that awful day.  When he is 20 a friend convinces him to go camping at The River.  While Gabriel is there he has a profound experience that changes how he views The River and allows him to start to heal.  This was an interesting story.  I found Gabriel an interesting character.  I felt sympathy for him and wanted him to find a way to thrive.  The supporting characters were interesting as well.  This book was written as an analogy and I felt like the story suffered a little because of it.  Some things didn't make sense as part of the story, but they did as part of the analogy.  Overall I enjoyed the book I would give it 3.5/5 stars.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Twice A Bride by Mona Hodgson

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Publishing as part of their Blogging for Books.  Willow Peterson has just buried her father.  Her husband died four years previously and she descended into a deep despair.   With the help of God and her family she was able to come out of it and is now trying to start a new life.  She has decided to stay in Cripple Creek and start over.  When looking for work she comes across an add asking for a portrait painter to work with a photography studio.  She has always wanted art to be a bigger part of her life, and this is the perfect chance.  I enjoyed the characters in this book.  Willow is a very likable main character.  You can admire her for what she has been through.  She had a hard time, but she worked through it and is now stronger than ever.  She is surrounded by a lot of fun characters as well.   This is the fourth book in a series.  I hadn't read any of the other books.  Hints were dropped of what happened in the previous books, and they sound interesting.   The only problem I had with this book was that some things just seemed unrealistic.  At one point, one of the characters goes into labor.  Her labor lasts about 10 min, before she gives birth to twin girls, and she didn't even have to push either of them out.  She had gone into labor at a family dinner, and her brother-in-law, who is a Dr. is there.   The Dr. decides to wait in the living room and let the three sisters take care of the delivery.  After all, two of them have given birth before and one of them was in the room when someone else gave birth.  This just didn't seem realistic to me.  I would give this book 3.5/5 stars.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  The is the second book in the Wild West Wind series.  I didn't have a chance to read the first book, but I was able to pick up on what had happened in the first book.  In this book Cassie Lockwood is trying to find her place in the world.  She grew up as part of a Wild West Show.  Now that the show has disbanded she needs to find a way to take care of herself and her "family".  She has found her way to the ranch that was part owned by her father.  Her father had not been in contact with his partners for years, and they were surprised when she showed up.  They allow her and her friends to move onto the ranch, and try to help them get a fresh start.  There are many challenges along the way.  Cassie Lockwood seems like a nice enough girl.  She wants to make her own way in the world, and has a hard time accepting help when it is offered.  This was a light read.  The characters were nice.  Most of the characters where very two-dimensional and not very well formed.  There were a lot of plot lines left hanging as there is going to be at least one more book in the series.   I did feel for Cassie, but have a hard time understanding why she feels like she has to do everything for her friends.  They seem like very capable people, and they could help some as well.  Runs like a deer is very knowledge about living off of the land, and Chief and Micah seem very handy and like they could do almost anything.  Cassie, who is the most helpless of the bunch seems to think that she is the only one that can take care of everyone.  A lot of the book is spent on Cassie agonizing about what she is going to do.  I think that I would give it 2.5/5 stars.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Deposit Slip by Todd M. Johnson

I received a complementary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  Erin Larson's father has died.  When she is going through his things she finds a deposit slip for ten million dollars.  A deposit that the bank says never happened.  Jared Neaton is trying to make it on his own.  He has left the fancy law firm that he started out and is working alone now.  He is given a chance to take Erin's case.  The case is based in his hometown.  He has been avoiding the place since his father betrayed him years ago.  I enjoyed this book.  The characters were interesting, the story was fun.  The story unravels slowly, and the author has a few surprises up his sleeve.   The relationships were interesting as well.  I had a hard time understanding the motives for most of the characters in the book.  I felt that these could have been laid out better.  Why was Jared willing to risk everything to take on the case?  Also, I had a hard time accepting that Jared walked away and let a man die.  I would give this book 3/5 stars.

Touching the Sky by Tracie Peterson

I received a complementary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  The Civil War has just ended and tension is still in the air.   Laura comes from a family that supported the north.  She finds herself drawn to a handsome Captain.  Meanwhile her sister, Carissa is betrothed to a former confederate.  They don't find what kind of man he is until after the wedding.  The book had potential.  I didn't like Carissa or her story line.  This was a large portion of the book.  I find it unbelievable that her family would allow Carissa to be courted by, much less marry the man that she did.  The author paints Carissa as a very needy, spoiled, well-off girl.  As soon as she gets married, this seems to change.  She suddenly cares about what people think (she didn't seem to care before).  There were a lot of things about the book that I found unbelievable.  This made it hard to enjoy the story.  I would give the book 2.5/5 stars.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Surprised By Laughter: The Comic World of C. S. Lewis by Terry Lindvall, PH.D.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through their BookSneeze program.  This book talks about the humor that is found in much of C. S. Lewis's work.  The author is trying to show us why Lewis found laughter so important, and what part it played in his work and in his life.  I was very excited to receive this book.  I have always been fascinated with Lewis.  I thought that this would be a great way to learn more about the man and his work.  I found this book very hard to get into.  The author has a Ph.D. and I felt that it was written more as a scholarly article than a book for the everyman.  I found the writing had to read, and became confused early on.  I was not able to finish the book.  I think that the author knows his stuff, but it was not conveyed very well.  I would give this book 2/5 stars.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Water Book Publishers.  Sasha Davis was the principal ballerina for her dance company until she had a career-ending fall.  Now, she is back home in small town Minnesota alone.  Needing help she hires Evelyn Burt to move in and take care of her.   The both discover much about each other in the time that they spend together.  This was a fun book.  I enjoyed the recovery that was portrayed.  Sasha had not only physical, but emotional and spiritual injuries to overcome.  My heart broke for Donald.  Evelyn also had to go through a rough patch and I liked how she came out stronger than before.  Both Sasha and Evelyn realized that life doesn't always turn out as expected.  Sometimes, when one door is hut, another even better one is opened.  The characters were fun.  The book was well written and I enjoyed reading it.  I would give it 3.5/5 stars.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Be the Mom by Tracey Lanter Eyster

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers.  Tracey Ester shares many traps that we can fall into as mothers, and gives us suggestions on how to avoid, or overcome these traps.  She talks about: Just-a-Mom trap, Me Mom Trap, Martyr Mom Trap, Busy Mom Trap, Mirror Mom Trap, Tomorrow Mom Trap, and They Say Mom Trap.  Through out the book we are reminded of why we are doing this.  That we have been privileged to be blessed with these children, and that we are never doing this alone.  Some of the traps were things that I definitely see myself falling into.  Most of the tips were things that I had heard before, but it was a good reminder of what I should be doing.  I felt like the book was a good way of bringing all of the information together.  I like how each trap was discussed, and how they were shown to interrelate.  Overall I enjoyed the book.  I felt like there was good information, and encouragement for all moms.  No matter what trap we happen to be in, there is always hope for improvement.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.  Kate Donovan has come to Redbud in need of a break.  She is burned out at work and tired of trying to find a husband.  Immediately upon her arrival, she meets Matt Jarreau.  Former NHL star turned contractor with a sad past.  Kate decides to be his friend and is determined to bring him out of his shell.  Little does she know that he will become so much more than a friend.

I really enjoyed the character of Kate.  She seemed like a very down to earth girl, trying to make the best of her life.  We don't learn much about Matt, other than that he is very "hot".  Matt's personality is not really developed.  There were parts of the book that I felt like the author wanted to be funny, but I did not find them funny.  The side characters were fun and quirky.  I enjoyed the old people and the path the Velma and Morty take in their romance.  A lot of the book was spent with both characters thinking that there was no way that the other person could possibly like them, when they obviously did.  The religious aspect of this novel felt like an afterthought.  Also, when Kate didn't get what she wanted, she quit going to church.  If she was a religious as was implied, I don't think that that would have happened.  It was a fun read, but it was rather shallow.  I would give it 3/5 stars.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

I received a complementary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  I enjoyed reading parts of this book.  The characters were interesting.  The setting sounded incredibly peaceful and beautiful.  I wanted to characters to sort out their problems and find the happiness they so desperately wanted.  Amelia and Michael had such an unexpected meeting.  They shared many of the same problems, and they were able to help each other find the solutions they needed.  I found myself wanting to know more about Elizabeth and her story.  I wanted more details about how and why she left.  What her life was like away, and why she decided to come back.  I found parts of the story very unbelievable.  Amelia and Michael accidentally meet one night.  And the next day Amelia is going to Michael's home town to stay for the weekend.  Michael says that he is concerned about his relationship with his family, but he doesn't act like it.  He knows how it will look showing up with a girl, but he does it anyway.  Amelia becomes best friends with several people over the short weekend that she is there.  These people are the best friends that she has all of the sudden.  Did she not have any friends before?  The part that I found the most frustrating was that it felt like Amelia was constantly bemoaning her life.  She didn't' want to go on tour, she didn't want the life that her father, and her agent had planned for her.  But she wasn't willing to do anything about it, but complain about it.  Her father is portrayed as very loving.  It seems that Amelia never told her father what she wanted, she just let him assume that she wanted the same things that he did.  If she has just let her feelings be know she would not have had the problems she did.  I found the characters interesting, but I there were enough frustrating parts of the story that I would give it. 2.5/5 stars.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook.  Hulda Klager is able to look at plants and see their strengths and weaknesses.  She has a dream of creating better plants.  She only had an eighth grade education, but she was able to make great advancements.  She started by creating a larger, crisper apple.  She then moved onto flowers, eventually settling on Lilacs.  She was able to amazing things, eventually creating over 250 new varieties.  She suffered many tragedies in her life, but she was always able to pick up and move on.  Her flowers helped her to cope with the losses in her life.  I enjoyed this book immensely.  It was very well written.  I loved Hulda.  I found her life fascinating.  I would give this book 4/5 stars.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.  I was very intrigued by this book.  A Quaker spy working to free her twin brother, and the man that she is forced to work with.  Two people that are complete opposites working together for the same goal.  Jeremiah Jones was once one of the men that he is now working against.  Losing his arm showed him what his friends were truly like.  The two succeed in helping many men to escape the deplorable conditions of the prison, and fall in the love as they do it.  I actually had a hard time reading this story.  It didn't flow as easily as I wanted it to.  Hannah and Jeremiah were jumping through hoops to pass some messages to each other, but then other times they would talk about things that they shouldn't talk about in front of people that they should not have.  It all seemed kind of contrived.  The characters were fun, and I did enjoy them.  I would give this book 3/5 stars.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  I actually really enjoyed this book.  I am a little embarrassed to admit that.  Riley Hale has been injured in an assault and can no longer perform the one job that she wants to do - ER nurse.  Jack Travis is trying to keep his clinic open and needs someone with Riley's connections.  The two both feel like they are gaining something from their work together.  Then they both discover that they are falling in love.  The characters are fairly well developed and the plot is interesting.  Parts of the story are a little far fetched, but overall it is a very enjoyable read.  It is definitely different than most of the books that I like, but it is good.  I would give it 4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBook through their Blogging for Books program.  I enjoyed this book a lot.  I have read other books by Susan Meissner and I really enjoy her style of writing.  This is the story of Marielle.  She is the second wife, and she moves into the same home that her husband lived in with his first wife.  The home is also shared with the grandmother that raised the first wife and 2 children from the fist marriage.  It seems like a recipe for disaster.  Surprisingly, the do manage to make it work fairly well.  I enjoyed the characters and was genuinely interested in learning about each of them, and following their stories to the end.  The story teaches us to value our past, but to not let it dominate our now and our future.  Often times we do not know the whole story.  This was a very good book.  I would give it 4/5 stars.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook through there Blogging for Books program.  I really like the character of Hannah.  I feel that she is very real.  I feel invested in her, and want to know how things work out for her.  I like the Amish characters in this story.  I loved seeing the healing that takes place in the book.  I did not like Martin.  I felt like Hannah was always saying how wonderful he was, but as the reader I never saw it.  I only saw him being bossy, mean and condescending.  I had a hard time understanding why Hannah was with him.  Overall I enjoyed the book. Cindy Woodsmall is an excellent author.  I would give the book 3.5/5 stars.  It would have been higher, but I had a hard time with Martin.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  I really enjoyed this book.  I found the characters very well written.  They seemed very real to me.  I was drawn into the story and wanted to know what happened to each of the characters.  Annie lost her whole family and was controlled by an awful women, but she was able to triumph.  Michael lived a hard life, then he meet Owen Allen and his life was never the same.  Annie and Michael lived an ocean apart but shared a love for Owen.  The story is told from many viewpoints.  The threads of the story were woven together well.  There are many characters and you care about all of them.  I would definitely recommend this book.  I would give it 4/5 stars.

The Authors website can be found at
The publishers website can be found at


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnoma through their blogging for books program.  This book is about an Amish girl named Hannah.  She is in love with a Mennonite boy.  She agrees to marry him and then on her way home she is raped.  The story deals with the repercussions of this.  Hannah does not know what to do, and her parents tell her to forget about it and pretend like it never happened.  Hannah falls into a deep depression.  When she is finally starting to feel better she discovers that she is pregnant.  I really enjoyed the character of Hannah.  She is a very believable person.  I was interested in what happened to her, and found myself cheering her on.  I felt like the author played with time in the book.  The author would say that several weeks or months had passed, and then suddenly act like only a couple of weeks had passed.  It made it hard to understand what the time frame of the story was.  I would give this book 3.5/5 stars.