Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Journey to New Books - Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

This story of real-life with a little fairy tale mixed in was a fun, quick read.  I found myself really feeling for Cora with all of her family issues.  She has such a heart for her Savior but struggles in so many areas because of her family background.  Cora has established herself as a hardworker at the company where she is employed and has a simple life for herself.  However, her life is about to take a little spin into another realm; a realm where God uses unique people to help give Cora a little push in a new direction.  The bit of fantasy intertwined with the reality of the story was an enjoyable touch and one I didn't find difficult to follow or allow.  It was an element necessary to making this story what the author wanted it to be.  Simon was also well-drawn as a man with two sides: his professional persona in the office and his "real" persona out of the office.  I enjoyed getting to know the members of his family, including Candy-Sandy.  Sandy was the receiver of so much of Simon's love, and I can understand why.  She has such a sweet, loving personality and is lovable in her own way.  Who couldn't pour out their love on her?  Overall, I really found this tale enjoyable and a fun, unique holiday read.  I would recommend this story to those who don't mind thinking outside the box of reality.  You'll truly enjoy it!

This book was provided free for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Beyond the Clouds by Karen Kingsbury

This book was powerful!  I found the characters real, vulnerable, and well-written.  Cody has such a struggle in his heart after the loss of his wife, and he wants so much to "protect" his brother that he loses sight of what is really important to Carl Joseph.  Elle has a scar from a past relationship that she uses to shield herself from potential relationships.  She pours all she has into her students and her family as a form of self-protection.  What could God possibly do with these two people?  He could work a special miracle in their hearts and bring about something truly special for them.  Both having a sibling with Down Syndrome causes Cody and Elle to understand a truth that the average person may not, life is to be enjoyed.  They understand that life isn't always easy for everyone, but both come to see that sometimes it isn't the person with the handicap that is truly handicapped.  Sometimes we inflict handicaps of different sorts upon ourselves for one reason or another, and they become chains that bind us into a world that we shouldn't be living in.  A world limited in scope and expression.  I found the characters in this story to be rich and full of lessons for all of us.  Humans with human hearts and human flaws but with the potential to see what the Creator could and would have for them.  A truly great story for your heart and your walk with God!

The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller

The first thing I want to mention about this book is how much I enjoyed learning about the workings of a carousel factory.  I found the detail about all of the different departments very interesting.  One of my favorite things about reading books is learning about things that I would never take the time to research, yet when someone else does the work, I find the information and detail fascinating.
The main character in this story - Carrington - is a woman with morals and convictions.  She is struggling to learn about God and what He would have her do.  She is a talented lady without any family, but God surrounds her with true friends that lead her in the right direction to real, truthful answers.  She has moments of discouragement but strives to continue on with a good attitude.
The setting for this story was ideal for what the author wanted to accomplish, I believe.  For Carrington to work in a factory full of men at the time the book was set was definitely controversial.  She was the only woman causing many stirrings for not only the workers but their families.  For what she goes through during the story, I think Carrington does a good job of keeping her head above water.
I found some of the other characters very full of themselves and focused on the wrong things in life, but Carrington and Josef, in particular, want to find what is best for their lives with God's help.  Something many of us need to do in our lives.
I recommend this story of love, friendship, growth, intrigue, and more!

This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Journey to New Books - The Miracle of Mercy Land

The Miracle of Mercy Land was not what I expected, but I ended up really enjoying it.  Mercy Land is a woman of the 1930s who is smart, no-nonsense, full of heart, and a go-to-girl.  She has a history different from many of those that she has lived near the last seven years because she grew up in "Bittersweet Creek."  Her rural upbringing has given her a little more sense and awareness than most women of her day in Bay City, Alabama.  She works for Doc at the town newspaper and an amazing turn of events occurs in their lives, something that will change so many things for them.  Under the circumstances of this turn of events, Mercy and Doc discover many things about themselves, their pasts, and their futures.  I found the story full of questions, twists, turns, and thought-provoking tidbits.  River Jordan has written a piece that makes you ponder, wonder, think, and keep turning pages (thinking "what will happen next?").  Truly a unique tale with interesting characters, great setting details, and unpredictable plot turns.  I got to a point, while reading the story, where I didn't want to put it down because I had to know what was coming next.  A mind-bender of a book.  I won't soon forget it.

The book was provided free for review by WaterBrook Press.