Posted in Uncategorized

Penny Zeller’s McKenzie

About

Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that prompts McKenzie Worthington, a young lady of Boston’s high society, to respond to an ad for a mail-order bride for a man in the Montana Territory. McKenzie is desperate, after all, to save her beloved younger sister, Kaydie, from her evil, abusive husband, who robs banks for a living. And so, it is with reckless determination that McKenzie runs away from the comforts of home and hearth to head West and meet her new husband-whom she’ll divorce, of course, after she rescues her sister.
Desperate times call for desperate measures is the reasoning that also prompts Zachary Sawyer, a rugged rancher after God’s own heart, to post an ad for a mail-order bride in various newspapers across the country. Managing a ranch and caring for his adoptive son, Davey, has become more than one man can handle alone, and Zach prays for God to send him a wife with whom to build a life and share his dreams.
When McKenzie arrives at Zach’s ranch, she immediately puts her plan in motion, searching for her sister and doing all she can to keep her new husband from forming an attachment. But his persistent kindness and significant self-sacrifices begin to change her heart-and ruin her plans. God has a way of working things out to the good of those who love Him, though, as McKenzie and Kaydie will soon see.

Review

I picked up this book because I like a good mail-order bride story. But there can be some unusual ones and this was one of those. I thought Zach, the hero, was great. He was fleshed out and real. At times he was slightly too perfect, but then there would be something that would make him human again. But that McKenzie! Rarely do I read a book with a protagonist who is hard to read, but she was hard to read. I will say though, that the author did a fabulous job of maintaining her personality throughout the novel. She didn’t change right away. In fact she didn’t change until the end. That said, I still wanted to find out what happened in the end. Something about this novel kept drawing me to finish it. Spiritually, McKenzie learns that just because you go to church doesn’t make you a believer and she really gets to see Jesus in Zach. Interesting book. lol

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Posted in Uncategorized

Staci Stalling’s Cowboy

About

Life has done its best to knock Beth McCasland to the ground, and the truth is:
it’s done a pretty good job of keeping her there. Stuck in a minimum-wage job
with a young daughter counting on her, Beth does her best to stay standing under
the weight of it all because she knows God is on her side. Then one night she
gets the chance to be an angel to another of life’s weary travelers. For once
hope has never looked so real.

Cowboy is a grace-filled story about the
power of giving everything to God and how a simple act of compassion can change
lives forever. Emotional, soothing, and heart-wrenching, Cowboy is infused with
the message that no matter who we are and no matter what life has thrown at us,
we never have to walk alone.

Review

Call me a sucker for romance, but I really loved the premise behind this book. I liked the idea of getting to know a celebrity and not knowing it! I especially loved that the romance started with friendship and that it wasn’t based on attraction right away. This to me made the novel unique. I also appreciated that Beth witnessed to Timothy on the phone and wasn’t afraid to speak the truth in love. If there was a downside, it was after the “big reveal”. I felt like they started inventing problems for their relationship to not work. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this story. Spiritually, I loved Beth’s desire to witness although I did notice that no one seemed to attend church or use scripture (not that its required, but still noticeable). Fun read!

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Got Reader-itis?

Reader-itis is when the thought of picking up another novel tires you and yes, Reader-itis is made up. I love to read, but lately every book I have picked up has made me tired just looking at it. Now, if I pick up a book by a favorite author or something that can just grip me from the first page I’m okay. It becomes a problem with these books that start slow or are just okay. I have found myself tossing books aside for being boring, for having annoying protagonists, for feeling like I’ve read this book already, etc. And, yet, I’m not quite ready for the cure of taking a break from reading (though I have slowed things down a bit).

I’ve tried a cure called reading what I don’t usually read and let me tell you, there’s a reason I don’t read certain books. I was hesitant to pick up a book for days after that wierd novel. In the future, I think I’ll just stick with what I know.

Anyone ever felt this way? Anyone know of a good cure?

Posted in Uncategorized

Amanda Cabot’s Waiting For Spring

About

After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But when a notorious robber believes she knows the location of a long-lost treasure, she flees to Cheyenne and opens a dressmaker’s shop to lie low and make a living. When wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry enters the shop to visit her best customer, Charlotte feels drawn to him.
If Barrett is to be a senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming, he must make a sensible match, and Miriam has all the right connections. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.
Soon the past comes to call, and Barrett’s plans crumble around him. Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

Review

This novel picks up right where the last one left off and I for one, was excited to see what would happen to Charlotte Crowley. Though this novel was not better than the first, it was still a good read. With the introduction of Barrett, I found the romance to be interesting and I looked forward to watching it unravel on the pages. The novel was well-written and the characters fully developed. However, I did feel that midway, the plot kind of thinned more than I would like. Spiritually, Charlotte learns that there is pride in independence, and by insisting on doing things her way, she is essentially saying she doesn’t need God. It was a good novel and nice read.

Posted in Contemporary

Andrew Klavan’s If We Survive

About

They came on a mission of mercy, but now they’re in a fight for their lives.

High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness.

But in one sudden moment, everything went horribly wrong. A revolution swept the country. Now, guns and terror are everywhere—and Americans are being targeted as the first to die.

Will and his friends have got to get out fast. But streets full of killers . . . hills patrolled by armies . . . and a jungle rife with danger stand between them and the border. Their one hope of escape lies with a veteran warrior who has lost his faith and may betray them at any moment. Their one dream is to reach freedom and safety and home.

If they can just survive.

Review

Let me just say, this was one intense book. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I few times I had to stop and walk around and shake my head. It was just that good. The novel captured me from the first page of the prologue and did not let me go. Will was such a great protagonist who, I think, was able to successfully capture the emotions that a person would feel in such a situation. And Palmer….well I don’t want to give anything away, but thank God for the Palmers in this world. This book had more action that I usually read, but I didn’t get lost in the details, in fact, I went back and reread them. There was even a hint of a romance that was actually kind of sweet as I saw it unravel on the pages. Spiritually, this book places a huge emphasis on the importance of prayer and how to think of yourself in relation to your soul. Deep stuff. Highly Recommended!

Posted in Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

Jeanette Windle’s Congo Dawn

About

While former Marine lieutenant Robin Duncan is no stranger to corruption or conspiracy, she has always been able to tell the good guys from the bad, and the Congo jungle at first seems no different. But as her security team tries to track down an insurgent killer, Robin has to face a man who broke her trust years ago, and she discovers the gray areas extend farther in this jungle wilderness than she anticipated.
A ruthless global conspiracy begins to surface, run by powerful men who can’t afford to leave any witnesses. Her life at stake, Robin doesn’t know who to trust and wonders how she can help protect innocent people. Why is God silent amid all the pain and injustice? And how do these people of faith continue to rejoice in their suffering?

Review

Reading a novel by Ms. Windle is like taking a trip to another country. In this case, the Congo. The novel  is a bit dense in its knowledge of the country, but to a certain extent that lends authenticity to the story. Though slightly predictable, I found this novel to be a page-turner. I was very interested in the back story of Michael and Robin and I really liked how Michael came across as the compassionate one while Robin was the essence of a Marine. I think this novel also was able to show the dichotomy of countries like this where there are good and bad and sometimes lots of gray. I found the novel captivating and interesting and if you have liked other novels by Ms. Windle you will really enjoy this. Spiritually, this novel deals with suffering and being a follower of Christ and provides an interesting way to think about it. Recommended!

** I recieved this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings….How Christian Should a Christian Book Be?

This past week I read “Christian” fiction novels that had kind of vague passing references to God and it got me thinking. How Christian should a Christian book be and at what point does it become too preachy? Well, never fear, I think I have some basic answers to these questions, and personally, there is no such thing as too preachy.

All roads should lead to Christ. When writing a Christian book, all roads should lead to Christ. At the end of the novel, I should feel like were it not for the relationship the character had with Christ things simply would not have worked out the same. You don’t have to have the prayer of salvation, but Christ should be so obvious from the pages of the book. If you’re hesitant to say his name, write secular novels. Robin Jones Gunn has some excellent fiction on the proper way young people should date. Christy and Todd anyone? Well, after reading her books you can’t help but want a Christian spouse like one of them and to live your faith the way they did. Her books are all romance and all Christ, it can totally be done.

Be sincere. This is where the “preachy” feel comes into it. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is still one of the top ten Christian novels sold every year and it is preachy as all get out. You cannot read this book and not run into God on every page (if that’s what you consider “preachy”). But it is so sincere, the author means every word she is writing, Michael and Angel come across as so authentic you feel like you can reach out and touch them through the pages. Lori Wick is another author who could be characterized as preachy. Every book she writes has the message of salvation in it, but really, as you read her books her love for God and her love for people is so clear that you don’t get turned off in any way. I have read “preachy” books, but to me those are moralizing books that shake their head at the characters. If the author doesn’t understand why their character behaved a certain way, we won’t either. And I will say that quoting huge portions of the Bible is generally not effective. So in conclusion, your relationship with God determines how “preachy” a book is to a degree.

Anyone have any points to add? Anyone disagree?