Friday, February 25, 2011

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

There are a billion reasons Kate should marry her current boyfriend.

Will she trade them all to be madly in love?

Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. Or so she thinks. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiance, Dexter.

She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter…but nowhere on that list is love.

And then in walks Luc DeForges, her bold, breathtaking ex-boyfriend. Only now he's a millionaire. And he wants her to go home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend's wedding. As his date.

But Katie made up her mind about Luc eight years ago, when she fled their hometown after a very public breakup. Yet there's a magnetism between them she can't deny.

Katie thought her predictable relationship with Dexter would be the bedrock of a lasting, Christian marriage. But what if there's more? What if God's desire for her is a heart full of life? And what if that's what Luc has offered all along?

My Review:
Sometimes I like to read a nice story with a happy ending. If that's what you're looking for, this Christian fiction romance set in New Orleans is for you. It's just a clean story of unrequited love getting a second chance.

You must suspend your disbelief to accept that Kate and Luc truly love each other, yet remain apart for eight years. Somehow they manage to connect again. However, even with the contrived ending, many fans of romance novels with enjoy this one.

Reading group guide included.

Thank you to Audra Jennings at B&B Media Group and Thomas Nelson for my copy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she's struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith.

For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn't an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself.

But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Mart and Andrea are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.

My Review:
Written in the first-person voices of the two main characters: Andrea Henderson and Mart McClendon, and alternating every other chapter keeps the story line moving at a good pace. By switching back and forth from Andrea to Mart, the reader gains a deeper understanding. It's fun watching romance blossom while the characters move one step forward, two backward.

The author is spot on with the tension between Andrea and her teenage son, Dustin, as he begins to test the rules. I remember, as a mom of a teenage boy, worrying about many of the same thoughts as Andrea when Dustin first gets into trouble and later when he meets a pretty girl.

The ending came too quickly; I wanted it to go on and on. Perhaps the author will write a sequel so that we can follow the adventures of Birdie.

Discussion questions are included.

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.

Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart

Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients. Then she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind. So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish.

But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case. Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.

My Review:
Here's a new twist on an Amish romance. Nellie Monroe, a wanna-be Private Eye gets her first assignment from formerly Amish Amos, an interesting character. He comically mixes things up as he soaks up the "English" livestyle by watching reruns of a Gidget marathon. For example, he would title this novel, Operation Moondoggie!

I enjoyed the well-rounded characters. I struggled with Nellie as she learned to make a fruit pie from scratch. I chuckled as I envisioned her working alongside Tank, with his unusual manner of speech. I lamented with her struggles with her beloved Nona's Alhtzeimer's. And, I waited for her to realize that Matt was her "man."

After Words are included which contain: Letter from Sergeant Jack Knight, Grandmother Mary's Rhubarb Pie, and A final word from Amos Shetler. This is a fun read. Go for it!

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and David C. Cook for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Words by Ginny Yttrup

"I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ.

My Review:
Once in awhile, I find a book so outstanding that I urge everyone to run, not walk to the nearest bookstore and get a copy. Here is such a book.

With believable characters, this is a story so compelling that I know it will remain a part of me.

What a great idea for any book club to read and discuss. Discussion questions are included.

Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and BH Books for my copy.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

If you would like to buy a copy, click here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms by Missy Buchanan

In Talking with God in Old Age, Missy Buchanan sensitively address the worries, fears, and frustrations of older adults and extends hope, encouraging them to maintain an open dialogue with God. Each reading features:

· A candid conversation with God
· A related passage from Psalms
· Easy-to-read print

Seniors grappling with the aging process will readily identify with these reflections and will find reassurance of God’s Presence. Caregivers, family members, and others seeking to understand aging loved ones will gain insight into the thoughts and emotions of the elderly frail.

My Review:
This thin booklet contains a first-person account of a nursing home resident, talking to God. Each thought is followed by a selection from Psalms, reassuring of God's unchanging love and presence.

Many of the fears and concerns of the aging are accurately presented, which can make it depressing reading. Only by focusing on the final thoughts of each meditation is the reader encouraged.

Thank you to Audra Jennings at B&B Media Group for my copy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults by Missy Buchanan

Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults

Birthed out of real-life experience, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body is a big does of authentic spiritual encouragement for frail elderly who struggle to find purpose a the end of their lives. These devotionals addressed to God raise in prayer the many concerns of the frail elderly and provide opportunities to reminisce and reflect on their blessings.

Each devotional offers the following:

· Easy-to-read print
· Reader-friendly format
· Comfortable, nonacademic language
· A first-person address to God
· Brief supporting scriptures from the New and Old Testaments

My Review:
This slim booklet, written in first-person, accurately reflects the fears and concerns of those who are nearing the summit of their lives. Bible verses follow each topic to positively encourage the reader.

Some of the topics are: "Power chair," "Late-in-life friends," "Good night's sleep," "Sensible shoes," and "Breathing." Most elderly will easily connect to the truths contained in this small volume.

Thank you to Audra Jennings at B&B Media Group for my copy.