Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stand by Me by Neta Jackson

I enjoyed Stand by Me by Neta Jackson.  Kathryn, a young white woman who is a new Christian, meets Avis, a successful African American who is established in her career and at her church.  Their paths cross.  Avis is somewhat put off by Kathryn, but eventually she is able to look past their differences.  They soon find out that they both need each in other in unexpected ways.

I liked both Kathryn and Avis.  They each had believable stories and problems, as well as flaws and failures.  Both Kathryn and Avis go through trials and by the end of the book grow and change.  I wouldn't say that everything works out perfectly, but that is not how real life is either.

This is a sweet, uplifting book.  It would make a great summer read.  I was provided this copy by Book Sneeze to review.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, September 5, 2011

Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber

Every once in a while I read a book that just amazes me.  Surprised by Oxford is one of those books.  I loved everything about this book.  This book was engaging and thought provoking.  Carolyn travels to Oxford University to study for a year.  She brings father issues, has been hurt by men, and is unable to believe in God.  Slowly God reveals himself to her at Oxford.  This is a beautiful love story.  This book is also everything I want a book to be- intelligent, sweet, funny, and charming.  I loved the friends Carolyn met along the way.  I so wanted the noble and well-mannered man she meets at Oxford to be "the one" for her. 

This book has pleasing story that I couldn't stop reading.  Carolyn Weber not only writes superbly, but there is real substance behind her words.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I loved reading about Carolyn's journey and I was pleased with the ending of this book.  I highly recommend Surprised by Oxford.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

Every Breath You Take by Travis Thrasher

My first foray into ebooks was Every Breath You Take by Travis Thrasher. My new smartphone has the Kindle app. HOORAY!! I had been wanting to read this book since it first came out. It is on sale right now for .99 on Kindle. I never pass up a deal so my first download was this book. Can I just say right now I love ebooks! Didn't think I ever would but I do.

I have been a fan of Travis Thrasher for years. The first book of his I read was Three Roads Home, a collection of three stories. This book blew me away, it was smart, creative, and clever. I have been reading my whole life and have read many different Christian fiction books. Three Roads Home was so different than other books I had read. Each story was so well told and surprising.

Next I read The Second Thief. This may be my favorite Travis Thrasher book. It is another smart, creative, and suspenseful story. I loved it! Another one of his books I really liked was Sky Blue. Altogether, Thrasher has written 17 books. He writes different genres, as some are romance, some suspenseful, and some can be described as Christian Stephen King books.

Thrasher self-published Every Breath You Take . He describes it as a love letter to his daughter and to the band Coldplay. Yes Coldplay. This book is well written and has a great story. Kayla is engaged and will be married soon. Billy is her lost love and Kayla's Dad is sent from heaven to reunite them. This book explores the idea that people in heaven can see us living our life here on earth. Isn't that a great thought? Family and friends that have passed away might be sitting together and cheering on a loved one when they choose to do what is right and overcome difficulty. Every Breath You Take succesfully demonstrates the love between a father and daughter. Kayla's grief and damage from her father dying is believable and heartbreaking.

This book has clever chapter titles, you can discover them when you read this book. Anyone who loves music or Coldplay would love this book. I am not too familiar with all of Coldplay's music. Certain songs are mentioned, and as I was reading I would google them to read the lyrics to see how they fit in with the story. Love this, so out of the box.

I really liked this book. At first I wasn't to crazy about the ending, but I've thought about it more and I've warmed up to it. The characters are not perfect people. They sometimes say and do the wrong thing. Everything does not work out perfectly for them, but hey isn't that how life is? This book is not a fairy tale. What it is is thought provoking. I would love to see this book become a movie.

Every Breath You Take is another great read by Travis Thrasher. While not overtly Christian (purposely maybe?) it is still a positive book and life affirming.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pujols More Than The Game

During the thick of our Little League baseball season I received this book on Albert Pujols to review. It took me awhile to read it. I am not a big sports fan, but I was interested in reading about a professional baseball player who lives his life for God. Honestly, I was tired of baseball players, their sometimes greed, cheating, and overall bad behavior. Wow, I certainly was judging MLB players and lumping them altogether. I shouldn't have done that. Albert Pujols is one of the good guys, living a life of character.

This book on Albert Pujols is a fascinating read. I especially enjoyed the chapters that told of his childhood in the Dominican Republic and his quick rise to the majors. After playing one year of college ball and one year in the minors, he began playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was named Rookie of the Year and has been successful ever since.

This book also tells of the importance of his faith and his family. I enjoyed learning more about one of the best baseball players of today. This book is well written. At times I had hard time getting through some of the chapters because of all of the baseball details. A sports fan would love all of the details I labored to read through.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If I Gained the World by Linda Nichols

I love If I Gained the World by Linda Nichols. I found this book at the library in 2004, and have since read it at least four times. There is something so wonderful about this book. The story is excellent, the characters are real, the writing is skilled, and Biblical truths are evident throughout.

Lenore and Daniel live together and have a child. Daniel is an actor waiting for his big break. Lenore longs for marriage with Daniel. When Daniel is unable to commit himself to Lenore and their son, Scott, everything changes. Lenore and Scott move to Seattle to begin a new life. There they face many challenges, but the church and more importantly Christians help them. Meanwhile Daniel gets his big break, but comes to realize success is meaningless without the family he loved.

I love, love this book. This book speaks to me. It is one of my most favorite books. I love how Lenore becomes part of a community, how she slowly puts her life together, and how the colorful characters are flawed, yet experience grace.

I highly recommend this book. A perfect summer read.

Friday, June 3, 2011

May Reads

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was last years "it" book. So many bloggers read it and loved it. Being skeptical, I just didn't think the book could be as good as everyone said it was. Well I finally read this book. I did enjoy it. It is set in Mississippi in the 1960s and tells the story of African American maids who work for white families. The story is told from the point of view of three ladies, Abileen and Minny- both maids, and Skeeter a daughter of white, wealthy parents. I cheered along as the ladies each attempted to bring about change to the racial inequality and prejudice in their circumstances and city. This book is outstanding and an excellent read. The movie, based on this book, is opening August 12th.

One small complaint, I would have loved this book so much more if it was a true story. But guess what? It's not a true story. There were many African-Americans who lived the same life as Abileen and Minny, but didn't get the same ending as the characters in the book do. Where's the book about real life help in the South?

I do recommend The Help to anyone who likes to read. I don't know if it quite lives up to all of the hype, but definitely read it before you see the movie.

An author I like to read, on her blog recommended The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. This book is also being turned into a movie that comes out this December. It is being touted as "the feel bad movie of the year". Um yeah, I should have considered that before reading it. I picked this book up from the library and read it. I know many people love this book, but I did not. It might be because I am not a fan of the crime drama genre. Or it might be because everyone is so promiscuous in this book. Or maybe it's because the author gives so many details. Whatever the case, I read it and do not recommend it. It may be well written but I just had a hard time getting by everything else. I do like the character of Lisbeth Salander and how she fights back against people who abuse and mistreat women. She is somewhat of a female Jason Bourne, with tattoos, piercings, and a bad attitude. Lisbeth is flawed, damaged, and way out there, but I still was pulling for her to get the bad guys and find happiness and peace in her life. She gets one of those things at the end of this book.

Did you see The Blind Side? It was based on Michael Oher's life. He wrote I Beat The Odds to encourage kids who are living the same kind of life he had and to speak out about inaccuracies in the movie. This book is excellent and inspiring. I am fascinated by his story. His story is like a fairy tale, but it is a true story. Although, it is not really a fairly tale because he worked hard and endured things no kid should have to, that lead him to his success today. He tells how the movie portrayed him as not very smart (wearing shorts in winter, not understanding the game of football, and acting dumb) but that those things never happened. The real story was a slow and gradual change from him being a son of a women hooked on crack, in and out of foster care, homeless with no place to go, to being admitted to a private Christian high school with mainly rich students, and then being taken in by a rich family and finding his home and a place to belong. Amazingly, he now plays football professionally and is one of the good guys in the NFL.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Francine Rivers Giveaway

1993 was a big year for me. In the spring my family moved from Maryland to Texas. Texas was a whole new world. We came from a somewhat rural area and were now in the city of Beaumont. One of the things we were excited about was that our new city had a Christian radio station. I remember being in my sunflower room, with the windows open, listening to the radio, and a commercial came on for a new book by a new author. The book being advertised was "A Voice in the Wind" by Francine Rivers. My 16 year old self, with plenty of money from my part time job, drove down the road to the Christian General Store and purchased "A Voice in the Wind". This book was and is life changing to me. I had never read a book before that I loved so much. Hadassah's story was compelling and intriguing. What spoke to me was the way Hadassah chooses the right path even though it comes at a great cost to her and causes much pain. Additionally, Hadassah is a servant to all and selflessly serves others. I have read this book and the two others in the series many times. These books spoke to my teenage self and still speak to me as a 34 year old mom. I need to be reminded to put all my trust in God, to serve others, and to always follow God's commands and do what is right. Hadassah is a perfect example of that. I love "A Voice in the Wind" and the other two books in the Mark of the Lion series. I love all of Francine Rivers books! She is one of my favorite authors, and she continually puts out entertaining but thought provoking books. Tyndale House Publishing is giving away a complete Francine Rivers giveaway. You or I could own all of her books. I would love to win, but I would love for you to win too! Her books are so good. Go here for your chance to win. If I win I will have a giveaway for the Mark of Lion series, as I still have my first edition books on my shelf. Please, please if you haven't read the Mark of the Lion series, seek out these books. Happy Reading!