Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Widow of Saunders Creek

I thought I would be scared reading this book about a house that may be haunted.  I do not like scary books and refuse to watch scare movies.  I do not like to dwell on things that are evil.  Instead, I was encouraged after reading this book.  It was a reminder that by the name above all names, we can have power over the dominion of darkness.

Corrie Saunders is newly widowed and returns to the hometown of her husband to restore and reside in a home inherited from his grandparents.  His cousin, Eli, is the contractor who helps Corrie restore not just the home but her faith.  Of course, there is a love story; however, neither person is looking to fall in love again.  It just happens which makes it all the more sweet.

I enjoyed reading this book more than I anticipated.  The idea that there is evil in this world is nothing new.  However, the author did not focus on the evil but instead focused on how to overcome evil.  It is a reminder for all of us.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Choice

Not since Francine Rivers' The Atonement Child has a book delved into the difficulties faced by a unwed teenage mother who decides to give up her child for adoption.

The choices we make determine the people we become.  This idea is wonderfully illustrated in this book.  The book opens with Sandy Lincoln confirming her pregnancy with her mom at the doctor's office.  The story takes off from there without slowing down or wasting a word.  This could have been a 400+ page book, and I am grateful that the author kept the book as short as he did.

The only reason why I gave this book a 4-star instead of a 5-star rating is that some of the characters were just too perfect.  Sandy's mother, for example, was an uptight Southern woman who was also kind and compassionate when Sandy discovered she was pregnant.  Only her classmates gossiped about her pregnancy, but no one was condemning or critical about her behavior.  Instead everyone was supportive, except the birth father as he did not want to give up his football career.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Scent of Rain

How appropriate that I finished reading this book on a nice rainy day.

Daphne is a "nose" which is to say she knows how things smell and how things should smell.  However, after being left at the altar, she loses her sense of smell which means she also may lose her job.  So she must deal with the rejection of her ex-fiance and with the problem of creating new scents without being able to smell them.

Of course, it would not be Chick Lit without romance.  Daphne's new boss, Jesse, is a widow who himself is struggling with his job and with relationships.  Mix it all up, and you have an interesting tale of love, loss, and love again.

I have read all of the books by Kristin Billerbeck, and this is by far my favorite.  Instead of the shallow and selfish heroines found in previous books, Daphne has depths and layers much like the fragrances she creates.

Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Guest Book

At first I was bored with this novel.  It took a while to set up the story and introduce all the characters.  There was also too much back story, and I had a hard time keeping up with it.  However, halfway through the book, the story really got interesting, and I started to enjoy reading it.   That is, until the end.  Let see if I can explain why without giving the story away.

Macy is a young woman who is trying to move on with her life but still has a few issues from her past to face.  One includes the father of her 5 year old daughter.  He reappears in her life after leaving her when the baby was born.  Another issue is the death of her father which seemed to send her entire family into a tailspin.  Finally, she wants to meet the artist who drew in a guest book at a rental at the beach, but she is not sure if she can find him.

So Macy does deal with all of these issues including a return to her faith which floundered after her father died.  While at the beach, she searches for her guest book artist and finds 3 handsome and interested me.  All 3 of these men have artistic potential, and she wonders who is the one?  Now without giving away the rest of the story, I will admit that I did not think the one who was the artist was the one the story was leading to.  I thought it would be someone else.  I was wrong, and I felt as if the author was leading to one man and then just changed who it was at the last minute.

In summary, the beginning was boring, the middle was interesting, and the end was unsatisfying, but overall it was still a good beach read.

Zondervan provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Help for the Fractured Soul

There is evil in this world, and we, as Christians, need to be aware of it and learn how to help those who are hurt by it.  This book is a step in that direction.  Not everyone is equipped to help those recover from trauma; however, all Christians need to be aware of evil and compassionate toward those who suffered because of it.

Candyce Roberts has been helping people with fractured souls who have experienced deep trauma and who seek deliverance from this trauma.  She admits that she does not have all the answers; it is a long process; some people never complete the process returning to negative patterns; and often it takes many failed attempts to achieve success in recovery.  I admire her honest assessment and her encouragement that we still can help those who want the help.

I appreciate that the book does not give us a formula toward recovery.  It really is a leading of the Holy Spirit while trusting in God's grace.

Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group, provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tough Guys and Drama Queens

Some times a book comes along at just the right time that speaks truth and wisdom just when you need it most.  This is just that book for me.  I am grateful for the Booksneeze program which sent me a free copy of this book because otherwise, I would not have read this book at this time.

With a 13 year old son and a 10 year old daughter, I could not have read this book at a better time.  They are changing in unexpected ways, and I feel at a loss as a mom.  I wonder what am I suppose to do, or not do.  Mark Gregston offers sound advice and wisdom based on years of experience.  He tells us that teens today are bombarded with more information than ever before.  They are overwhelmed and feel lost.  Parents do not need to add to their burden but come alongside and help them with the burdens they must carry.

I admit that I am more authoritarian in my approach as a parent.  This book has inspired me to back-off and let the teachings of the first decade be applied in the next decade.  Even in the midst of reading, I applied some of the advice from this book and have seen a change not just in my teenage, but also in me.  I guess I am the change I want to see in my family.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Coming Home

Supposedly, this book is a stand alone novel, but really it is the final installment of the 23 book series about the Baxter and Flanigan families.  It is the culmination and summation of the many stories intertwined in these books.

Some reviewers did not like the first 10 chapters which summarized the lives of the characters from the previous books.  However, I liked the refresher as I did not remember all the many details of the numerous story lines.  I needed the review and was glad for it.

What I did not like was the characterization of Candy, the birth mother of 3 of the children adopted by Sam and Erin, the youngest Baxter daughter.  Candy is a convicted felon who is released from prison after serving her time.  Erin and the rest of the Baxter family viewed Candy as evil and unfit to be a mother.  For as loving as they are to each other, they were condemning and judging of Candy.  It seems that the Baxter family is loving and kind as long as you are one of them but critical and unforgiving if you are not.  Not once did the Baxter ever pray for Candy like they prayed for each other or for those they loved.

Zondervan provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Trusting God

This new Girlfriend's in God (GiG) series is light-hearted and encouraging.  Three women with different backgrounds and lots of experience share their thoughts and ideas in order to bring hope to others as we all try to know God more.

What I liked about this book is that it is not so deep that you have to really focus on what you are reading.  I wish I had this book when my children were younger because that was when I needed encouragement in small but repetitive doses.

This book is great for women who do not have a lot of time to ponder the creation of the world but still want to connect with God on a daily basis.  There is nothing wrong with short but effective devotions.  It is like having a sandwich when you do not have time for a big meal.

Waterbrook Multnomah provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.