The Return by Lacey Sturm

The Return by Lacey Sturm

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I have to be honest. I loved the cover and the synopsis of the book, but once I dove in and started reading, I wasn’t spellbound. Instead, I sit here holding the book still trying to figure out it’s purpose.

The book contains her thoughts, then a section of her prayer journal, a song, some drawings. If anything, what I take from the book is that it is an accumulation of her journaling combined into a book. And she decided that instead of making herself a copy she’d share it with everyone else. And then, to save money, print it in black and white.

My anticipation for this book was high. I enjoyed her snippets in her writing, but it is everything else that left me befuddled. One thing that I did pull from this was to go visit the music store and find out just who Lacey Sturm is and what she sings.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Baker Books, and was under no obligation to post a review.

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Quit Church by Chris Sonksen

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This was an interesting book. Just the title itself catches your attention, because what Christian is actually encouraged to quit church? When you listen to the sermons, none of them. I could see a non-believer walking past this book and shouted “Amen!”.

But alas, the title of the book isn’t necessarily quite what it is made out to be. Instead, Sonksen is encouraging us to look deep within and understand why you are going to church. Go outside of just warming a pew but becoming involved.

I do think there was some introduction of new age philosophy mingled in, and if you aren’t aware of such, then it wouldn’t be a problem for you. I’m just more aware than some people. And in those instances where I stumbled across them (I’ll have to find the page I’m talking about), it was just a bit discerning.

But all in all, it was an interesting read and prompted you to think beyond as to why you went to church. Why you are doing the things that you are doing. But as for the title, yes it’s eye catching. I didn’t “love” it, but found it to be good.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Baker Books, and was under no obligation to post a review.

 

Falling for You by Becky Wade (Bethany House)

Falling for You by Becky Wade (Bethany House)

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I loved this story. It wasn’t a straight up romance novel, but was mixed with a bit of mystery and drama. It was a real book as it related to real issues. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop. In turn, I finished it within a day. In turn, I look forward to rereading this in the future.

The story is about Willow who is a famous model, who has returned home temporarily to handle her family’s bed-and-breakfast for a bit. She is there only for a short while and comes to discover that her former boyfriend is living in the same town. They parted not on the best terms four years prior, so the feelings were less than complimentary in seeing him again.

As for Corbin, Willow’s ex-boyfriend, he has been dismissed from the NFL team due to a shoulder injury and has been forced into early retirement. When he see’s Willow, he realizes that he regrets everything that happened in the past.

By chance, Corbin’s niece, Charlotte, brings Willow and him together in the way of solving a mystery. From there, it seems like only time will tell the direction that Willow and Corbin will take.

 

From my take on the book, there are people who are going to absolutely hate this book. There were issues discussed, per Willow, which I found refreshing and honest. Instead of tiptoeing around the subject of sexual relationships, it was brought up and discussed.

There was the mystery with Josephine, with her disappearing back in 1977. It’s like she disappeared into thin air. The interweaving of the story along side Corbin and Willow was enjoyable. Listening to the antics of Charlotte was just as delightful.

I enjoyed the mix of dialogue and descriptions, and with just enough interplay between Willow and her sisters… it makes me look forward to reading about Britt.

With the story, I could see many areas having a chance to develop further, but in order for that to happen something would have had to be eliminated. Which I think for me, the part with the adoring fans with Willow would be removed. Or, I wish there was a follow up with Todd, the crazy fan. For me, that just felt a bit unresolved.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, and was under no obligation to post a review.

 

A Rebel Heart by Beth White (Revell)

A Rebel Heart by Beth White (Revell)

 

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The story is set in Mississippi, five years after the Civil War. The plantation home is derelict, but Selah and her sisters refuse to give up the land. Selah, on her way home via train is in a train wreck, but Levi Riggins who is investigating a man on the train comes to her rescue.

Learning that Selah is in dire needs financially, upon research of his case he comes across a wealthy young man who is wanting to buy off the plantation to use it as a hotel. Thus the setting for the rest of the book.

I really enjoyed the book and found myself hard to put the book down from when I started it the night before. Slow times at work and at lunch enabled me to complete it within a day.

The story is about Selah, but we get snippets of the other sisters and cousin enough to love them all, although the focus is on Selah. There is considerable drama within the book but it melds well within the story. Although I do admit there were times that I was getting a tad confused and wondered perhaps if parts of the story telling could have been done without, just to focus on the end of the store. But that is neither this nor that. Despite it all, I loved the book and look forward to rest of the Daughtry House Series.

There was one thing I did notice about the book, and this pertains primarily to the editing of the book. On page 44 on my paperback, the section where the soldier had sent for the surgeon. This section: “He’d sent for the surgeon, waited more than two hours for him to come and see to the injured lady and her two slaves – time he couldn’t really afford….” The same sentence is repeated twice in the same paragraph. I had to read it twice before realizing that I wasn’t crazy in thinking I had just read the same thing.

Then, on page 117, the one sentence near the bottom it caused a bit of pause in my reading, as I reread to understand the sentence. “Jo, don’t let’s reject it out of hand.” To be honest, I still don’t quite understand the sentence.

But that said, I believe the last two things I mentioned was merely an editing issue and I don’t blame any of it on the author. When it comes to her writing, I will most definitely be reading more of her in the future.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review.

The Girl’s Guide to Conquering Life by Erica & Jonathan Catherman (Revell Publishing)

The Girl’s Guide to Conquering Life by Erica & Jonathan Catherman (Revell Publishing)

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This was an interesting book. I wasn’t really sure what it was going to contain, but once I started reading on a few of the “how to” chapters, I was impressed. It’s a good book for teens and maybe even those just entering college. There are many areas in a young girls life where they may not be informed of “how to” do certain things.

I found the chapter on how to tie scarves truly interesting, because for “old” me that was insightful.

The chapters go from how to take care of yourself when it comes to cleanliness (such as shampooing and shaving your underarms), to how to conduct yourself on a date. Then how to get the job, ask for a raise and then how to do laundry. Believe me, when I entered college I didn’t really know who to run a washing machine, so something like this would have been helpful.

In hindsight, in some high schools students are sent to a boarding academy (such as my religion) their freshman year. So in that vein, this would be PERFECT for them. College, not so much, but for the freshman living away from I think it’s ideal.

This book isn’t for everyone. But for me, I would definitely pick this up for the right young girl headed off to summer camp or academy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review.

Arms of Mercy by Ruth Reid (Thomas Nelson)

Arms of Mercy by Ruth Reid (Thomas Nelson)

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This was an interesting book. The back copy had me intrigued, which prompted me to select this book to read. But as usual, sometimes the back copy doesn’t really relate very well to the contents of the book. I found that to be the case with this story.

“Catherine Glick is hoping for a proposal after five years with her current boyfriend, but the arrival of an old boyfriend, Elijah, puts a kink in everything. Her old boyfriend left and ended up marrying someone from out of town. When Catherine makes the rash decision to propose everything is skewed out of place. Plus with her job in town being eliminated, she needs work to help support her brother’s family.

Taking a position with a cousin at a bakery in Florida, she heads out on a bus south. However, on the same bus is her former boyfriend, Elijah. He is seeking work Florida to start a new beginning.

They bond and reignite their friendship from before, but tragedy strikes the bus in the form of an accident. Lives a thrust apart and mayhem. Catherine is missing and Elijah is determined to find her.”

Everyone has different authors and writing styles. For me, I thought this book had so much potential but somewhere along the way it lost it. There wasn’t a melody with the story, the ebbs and flows that creating a song with words. And by the time it made it to the middle of the book, I thought there was just too much detail and time spent on the searching. I completely understand the reasoning, to try and get us, as the readers, to develop an emotion involved with seeking the lost. But for me, I just found it too much. And then the end of the book, just seemed a bit rushed.

Again, the premise and promise of the book had such strong potential for a breathtaking story. This was the first story I’ve read by this particular author. I may give her another chance with the first book of the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review.

 

 

First Impressions by Debra White Smith (Bethany House)

First Impressions by Debra White Smith (Bethany House)

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This was an interesting book. It was neither spectacular, but neither was it terrible. It landed somewhere smack in the middle.

The story is a retelling of the book by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Now to be honest, I’m not a Jane Austen fan. I haven’t read her books with any sort of passion and I’m unaware as to why there are so many people in fascination with her. Despite that, I still chose to read this book.

A small town in Texas is going to put a play together about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, while at the same time, the same story is our plot for this book. Only in a contemporary form.

The story starts off with a tornado and Dave and Eddi thrust together. But they are warring against one another pretty much through out the book.

I thought for the most part the book was well done, but in other areas I just found myself struggling with wondering if I should finish the book to wondering what was going to happen next. Perhaps this contemporary retelling of the Jane Austen book is the same reason I lack fascination with the original story. In this one, the pieces were there but the depth was not. In the future, I believe I will stay away from any Jane Austen retellings of any of her stories, set in modern time.

That said, I believe that the author did do a good job in interweaving the characters and the plot, but for me, alas, it was just too much.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review.