Monday, December 30, 2013

Forgotten Road by Randall Arthur

Forgotten Road [Paperback]

Title: Forgotten Road
Author: Randall Arthur
Pages: 596
Year: 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Notes: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

     This is a moving tale of a man searching for God’s direction.

     Nashville music star and family man, Cole Michaels, is persuaded to embrace an “American Dream” theology that promises comfort, happiness, and success. But when the unimaginable happens, Cole blames God and abandons his faith. More vulnerable than ever, he is clueless that an evil character with an unspeakable secret is using every available resource to find him.

     Can two old sages, a beautiful blonde, a violin called the Mysterious Lady, and a Triumph motorcycle help prepare Cole for his ultimate trial?

     This book is beautifully written and has a wealth of Biblical truths woven throughout the story. The “American Dream” theology that Cole has been taught is carefully examined by Cole along with the sages that step up to walk beside him and help him to learn what God and the Bible truly have to say about how mankind should live. It was an absolute pleasure to go on the journey with Cole. 

     There were many aspects of the Christian life within a church body that Cole discusses throughout this book that I was able to relate to having seen in my own life experience. I have been a Christian for over 35 years and have attended many different churches due to frequent moves with my husband having been in the Air Force for over 20 years.

     I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

A Marriage in Middlebury [Paperback]

Title: A Marriage in Middlebury
Author: Anita Higman
Pages: 304
Year: 2013
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

     Great Christian contemporary romance.

     Charlotte Rose Hill enjoys a comfortable life serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and down-to-earth advice for her quirky, devoted customers. The only thing lacking is someone special to share it with.

     At eighteen she denied Sam Wilder’s marriage proposal after his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. They both moved on . . . or so she thought. When Sam walks back into her life more than a decade later, Charlotte is surprised that her heart still quickens. But is it because of his presence? Or is it because of the presence of Sam’s new fiancĂ©e?

     A second chance at love doesn’t happen often, but their past may keep them apart. Is it too late for Sam and Charlotte?

     When I started this book I immediately connected with Charlotte. I would love to have her as a friend. She is a very compassionate and comfortable character. Most of the other characters in the book are equally well developed. I liked the variety of personalities that are included in this small town. It is just like you would find in any town or neighborhood that you can go into. The people look out for each other and help each other when something happens.

     In many ways I felt challenged to take time and think about my own relationships with the people I know. I really enjoy books that not only entertain me but have the ability to help me grow to be a better person.

     I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys Christian fiction.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Every Waking Moment by Chris Fabry

Every Waking Moment [Paperback]

Title: Every Waking Moment
Author: Chris Fabry
Pages: 376
Year: 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House
Note: I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     Treha Langsam is a mysterious young woman who has fallen through the cracks, much like many of the elderly people she works with at Desert Gardens. But Miriam Howard, director of the assisted-living facility, sees her extraordinary gift and untapped potential. Treha is a whisperer of sorts, calling those who have slipped into dementia back to a life of vibrant, if only temporary, clarity.

     When a documentary team stumbles onto Treha’s story, her gift is discovered and the search for answers about her past begins. As the truth slowly unravels, Treha and those around her must each tackle a difficult question: if this is as good as life gets, is that enough?

     The elderly characters are very believable and well-written. I had a little trouble understanding the character of Treha. I believe that it is just because she is an unusual character and I’ve never known anyone like her, not a problem with the writing. The development of the story seems to be a little slow at the beginning. By the time I finished I realized that it is just because the author took time to do an in-depth development.

     I did struggle with the inserted sections that were script-like for the documentary crew. This felt very uneven and it seemed to distract me from the story. This is the problem that kept me from giving this book the full 5 stars. I give it 4 stars.

     I do recommend reading this book. It takes a good look at what life has become for many elderly people, as well as others who are different from most people.

Friday, December 6, 2013

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

For Every Season (Amish Vines & Orchards V3) [Paperback]

Title: For Every Season (Amish Vines and Orchards #3)
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Pages: 323
Year: 2013
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Note: I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads, First Reads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.

     A small group of Amish has moved to an orchard outside of Unity, Maine. They are trying to get a new Amish settlement going while also trying to rehabilitate an old orchard. Rhoda Byler is established as an expert in caring for plants and trees. Her business partner Samuel King grew up on the family orchard and has moved to Maine after the family orchard was nearly completely destroyed. They are both fully committed to making King Orchards Maine a success. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in the relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Yet amidst the mounting tension between the three of them, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has long hoped for and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work toward the future together.

     As Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but the unlikely ally who cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?

     This is the first book that I have ever read by Cindy Woodsmall. I enjoyed this book very much. One thing that she does that I really appreciated, since I had not read either of the previous books in this series, was the short synopsis she had at the beginning about each of the first 2 books. It helped me immensely in understanding what had happened previously.

     Her characters were very well developed and learning each one’s personality was very enjoyable. There was a wide variety of people just as there are in real life. Each one had something in their life to deal with. This was very realistic yet in the bounds of a book, at times, I was having a little trouble keeping people and issues straight in my mind. This is the reason that I’m giving this book 4 stars.

     I do want to go back and read books 1 and 2 for this series. Then I will re-read this one and see if knowing the backstory more fully will help with this. I do recommend this book for those who enjoy Amish fiction. I would suggest that you read the first two books before reading this one though.