Monday, November 26, 2012

Unending Devotion by Judy Hedlund

(Image courtesy of Google)
I received this book free from the publisher, and I'm so glad I did:) 

 This was my first book by Hedlund. And apparently I've been missing out. I was afraid the storyline might be boring--lumber camps??--but no, no, no. I was captured by the winter setting, the strong-willed characters, and heinous villains. While the theme is a tad mature(probably late teen appropriate), it shows a part of history that I hadn't thought much about before. And I loved that some parts were actually based on real events. The spiritual ribbon throughout was WELL done. I think I have a little of Lily's impulsiveness.

My one problem was a cuss word that occurs once. I don't want to read that.
Otherwise, I really, really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading another by this author!

*I was not required to give a positive review. This is my own opinion.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer

The first word that comes to my mind about this story is sweet.
When Hope Blossoms was my first story by this author, and I didn't know what to expect. Like I've told you before, I'm not a big fan of Amish (or Mennonite) novels. Some catch my interest; others just lack enough of a plot.
The beginning was slow. The back of the book uses the term blossom, and that is accurate. Just as flowers take loooots of time to blossom, this story takes plenty of time to gain momentum.
I did like the characters. The children were adorable, and Bekah's perspective was a welcome addition. Also, learning about the Mennonites was a plus. I loved the spiritual depth ! It was inspiring how fully Amy and her family relied on the Lord. Some "Christian" books are too light on their spiritual aspects, but this story most definitely was not. I respect stories like this one because of that.
So, while this wasn't my favorite read, I did enjoy it. I only hoped for more action, something to drive the story. Ultimately, I'd give it a three out of five stars.

*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
(Image courtesy of Google)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Over The Edge by Mary Connealy

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       This is one of my all-time favorite authors. These are the kind of books that I know I will enjoy reading. Humor, wit, cowboys, and strong females. These stories make me wish I lived back then, near a handsome cowboy ;)
Of course, I'd read the two books before this one -- I mean, duh! Reading the previous stories definitely adds to the enjoyment of reading this one. Honestly, I was soooo excited to be able to review this book that I was going to enjoy it no matter what!
Mary Connealy has a definite voice that separates her from other writers -- she is distinct. Sure, I knew somewhat what to expect, but the fun was getting there. Seth was seriously loco which added buckets of laughter to every scene.
I did, however, have an issue. . . *insert sad face here*.
The amount of talk about, um, passionate situations, was too much for me. I understood, to a point, why those feelings were shown, but they were laid on too thick for my comfort. Yes, this story is about a married couple, but still . . .I believe too much emphasis was placed on that part of marriage.
Don't get me wrong though. It's a clean book that deals with the brothers' flaws that are keeping them from trusting fully in the Lord.

I wish --Mary Connealy, please read this!--there would be another book about this family . . .let's not forget about that other brother . . .


Monday, August 13, 2012

Love Starts With Elle by Rachel Hauck

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My first Rachel Hauck book.
Let me start by saying, I love the title, and the cover is super cute (does the woman on the cover remind anyone else of Renee Zellwegger?). And the idea of any book  being set in the South is definitely a selling point for me--love how it says Lowcountry Romance right on the cover. I'm one of those super-bad, oughta-know-better people who judge a book, at least partially, by its cover. (I have a book on my shelf right now that I haven't started yet because the cover seems super outdated...)
But, okay, let's get to the story. Elle Garvey is dating Jeremiah, a young pastor with big dreams of pastoring a mega-church. After giving up just about everything to support egotistical Jeremiah, her future with him collapses. And boy is she hurt.

I'm not into contemporary churches so automatically Jeremiah got on my last nerve, raving about how he would do this and that with his humongous new church. He seemed more into himself than the Lord. I would've liked to punch him ;)
 The beginning of the book lagged for me--maybe I was sidetracked with other things. But I kept going and got caught up in Elle's world. This story almost made me want to paint! (And I have no artistic ability whatsoever, can barely draw a stick figure.) Knowing that God is enough is a major theme, and one that I know I need to get ahold of. God isn't a spare tire, and He sure doesn't want to be treated like one. Elle's spiritual growth was inspiring.
I'd say more except then I'd be giving away too much :)

This wasn't my favorite story, but the spiritual lessons were sooo there. I'll have to add another Rachel Hauck to my Amazon wishlist. She deserves a second go.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

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I started this book blind, never having read anything by Kathryn Cushman. It was a random selection from a list Bethany House e-mailed me for a chance to review. Honestly, I wasn't excited about this one--a typical Amish story, I suspected. Not my normal genre.
You have my permission to call me wrong.
Life is fast, stressful, and lacking meaning for Julie Charlton. Two kids and a husband who keep her driving around for different activities so much that she comes to the point where she realizes she hates her life.
Then comes the opportunity to be part of a television segment with her kids, their cousin, and her sister-in-law. Sounds fun, right? Add in the fact they're going to be living like the Amish, and you've got an orginal story that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.
The teens are hilarious. The setting makes you want to drive to the middle of nowhere and camp out for a few days.

I think we could all be closer to God if we would just get away from the world's distractions, like the characters try to do in this book. I heard a preacher say one time that when he was young, after he heard a sermon, he had nothing to do when he got home from church but think about that sermon. Now, everyone has cell phones and iPads and TVs to drown out the Holy Spirit.
Almost Amish offers important lessons we ought to learn--no matter how much we try to succeed in life, only what is done for Christ will last.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Beginning

    Still Waters by Shirlee McCoy is the story that pulled me into the world of Christian fiction as a young (er) girl. I'd never read a book like that. It was a random pick-up at Walmart. And now, I'm a Christian fiction book-lover...

  I love everything about a book--the cover (I so judge by it!), the smell, the feel of the paper under my fingertips, and of course, the story.

Books are an escape. And they can inspire you to live a better life for Jesus Christ if you choose the right ones.

 Jesus chose a Book. Ever thought of that? He could've used whatever He wanted to get His Gospel of salvation to the world, but He chose a book. And there is no greater book than that Book.

So, let's find some stories that lift Him up and show how this crazy life is nothing without Him.