Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Sky Beneath My Feet

Book description:  "Being married to a saint isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Beth's husband won't be joining the family on vacation at the beach this year. He's not even joining them in the house. Instead, Rick has holed up alone in the backyard shed. Nobody knows exactly what he's up to. Maybe he's immersing himself in prayer. Maybe he's lost his mind. Maybe he's even the modern-day prophet or the saint the neighborhood artist imagines him to be. But while "St. Rick" waits for an epiphany, Beth will have to figure out what to do with herself and their teenage sons, possibly for the rest of her life.
What happens next is both uproarious and bittersweet: a peace march turns violent, her son is caught with drugs, and she embarks on an ambitious road trip that turns into something nearly surreal. Will Beth rediscover the idealistic woman she used to be, once upon a time? Can her marriage survive Rick's backyard vigil? Will anything ever be the same? And should it be?
Truthful, comic, heartbreaking, and magical in the very best sense of the word, The Sky Beneath My Feet gently tears the veil off our egos and expectations to reveal the throbbing, redemptive, and achingly beautiful life beyond and within us."
My review:  This is a review that I really do not want to write!  I did not like this book.  The description indicates that this book will be "uproarious" and "comic".  I chuckled to myself maybe twice.  The description also uses the words "truthful" and "magical".  I found the book to be unrealistic and dare I say it...dumb.  Even though this is a work of fiction and does not have to be realistic, it is written in a way that indicates this could be someone's life.  I do not like to review a book so negatively, but there was nothing in this book that I enjoyed.  In fact, I would not have finished it if it wasn't a review book.  What else can I say?  Don't waste your time or money.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review (and was I ever honest).  All opinions are my own.         

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Threads of Grace

Book description: 
"Grace's autistic son needs a life that is safe and consistent. Seth wants to leave his flirting days behind him and settle down.

Deep in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, the beautiful and weary Amish widow, Grace Beiler, is not looking for a husband—especially one so much younger than her. But handsome and smitten Seth Wyse stumbles upon a way to help her and they marry to keep Grace’s autistic son safe from his ill-intentioned uncle.

Grace soon discovers that she is far from immune to her young husband’s experienced charm and realizes that her first marriage has not destroyed her capacity for love.
Seth Wyse seeks counsel from his older brother, Jacob, when playing the game of pursuing his wife becomes more dangerous to both his heart and life than he ever imagined.

Yet God can give Grace and Seth a passion for family and each other that teaches them the ways of the Master Quilter through the tangled and tender threads of their lives."

My review:  I really enjoyed reading this book.  The plot was much different than most Amish fiction.  I think the reminders of  "grace" added spiritual depth to the story, and the references to the threads of a quilt were aptly placed throughout the story.  Thus, the title of the book, Threads of Grace, which I love.  I do feel like the author rushed the ending of the book.  Issues with the ill-intentioned uncle were not resolved.  I also think the ending was a bit abrupt.  The author, Kelly Long, could have extended the book without it being too long.  I know I could have kept reading and was disappointed when I realized it was finished.  Not just because I didn't like how quickly it ended, but because I really enjoyed the story.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Moon Over Edisto

Book description:  "The past has come knocking on Julia's door. Can she summon the courage to answer betrayal with love?

Julia’s best friend, Marney, broke up her parents' marriage years ago. Now Marney shows up at her Manhattan apartment, asking the impossible—come home to Edisto Island to care for the half-sisters and half-brother she has never known. Marney, recently widowed, has lung cancer. There's no other family to care for the children while she’s in the hospital following surgery.

Julia loathes Marney. But if she doesn’t step in, her own mother—who has never gotten over the divorce—will be called upon to take care of the children. So she heads to South Carolina to keep the peace.

On Edisto, she begins to reconnect with the place and the people and she’s been running from her whole adult life. There’s the local doctor who once stole a kiss from her on that very beach, and the siblings she’s never known—especially the sister with selective mutism named Etta who’s the keeper of nearly every family secret . . . including the very one that just might bind-up Julia’s long-since shattered heart."

My review:  When I read the book description for Moon Over Edisto I was very intrigued.  It promised to be a very unusual plot, and that's exactly what it was.  This was a book that I couldn't put down, and I was drawn immediately into the lives of the characters.  I think I was drawn quickly into their lives because of the way the author wrote each chapter from the perspective of one of six different characters in the story.  That was an unusual aspect that I really enjoyed.  While the conclusion is expected, the path to getting there keeps the reader guessing.  I was disappointed, however; in the lack of spiritual growth in the lives of the characters, but especially in Julia.  I feel that the author, Beth Webb Hart, did not take the opportunity she had to really develop the spiritual lives of her characters.  I received a complimentary e-copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.   

To Honor and Trust

Book description:  "Come home to magnificent Bridal Veil Island resort!

Bridal Veil Island, Georgia

Callie Deboyer arrives at Bridal Veil Island to spend the winter working as a governess for the Bridgeport family. However, she finds she can't fully enjoy the beautiful resort because questions about her future weigh heavily on her mind: Should she continue in this job she enjoys, or is God calling her to join her parents in their missionary work?

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets instructor Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time together, Callie comes to care for Wes--until she discovers that he's been hiding something very important from her.

Then expensive pieces go missing from various homes around the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. Callie wonders if this is a sign she should leave it all behind and join her parents in Africa. Considering Wesley's deceit, will he ever be a man Callie can honor and trust for the rest of her life? "

My review:  I already enjoyed one story that took place on Bridal Veil Island and was looking forward to reading another one.  I enjoyed To Honor and Trust just as much, but I was a little disappointed that the main characters from the previous book were not even mentioned in this one.  The characters and the story-line were a bit predictable, but for me that did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.  The circumstances and characters were believable, realistic, and well-written.  I look forward to reading the third book from Bridal Veil Island.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


Book description:  "Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon's Willamette Valley as the place to start over-Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets-including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica's deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth."

My review:  Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn was a fun book to read.  It was a bit unbelievable at times, but that didn't take away from the enjoyment of the story.  There was a thread of mystery throughout the book that I was unable to figure out which helped make the book one of those that is hard to put down.  Jessica is the kind of character that a reader will like from beginning to end.  In fact, I enjoyed the personalities of all the characters, and they fit together well in the story.  I have enjoyed other books by Robin Jones Gunn and Secrets is another one that I can add to that list.  I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.