Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Quick Reviews

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot
At Bluebonnet Lake (Texas Crossroads #1) by Amanda Cabot

Amazon         Goodreads

My Review
(Source: borrowed from library)

Sweet contemporary book about finding your purpose and being willing to take risks. I liked the story, the characters, the setting. There isn't anything that I didn't like. It's hard to explain but I liked the story, I just didn't love it. It did take me until a little over halfway to really feel pulled into the book. The secondary characters were delightful and I look forward to reading other books in this series to see how their stories play out.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Free to Love: A Christian Romance Novel (Inspiration Point Series Book 1)
Free to Love (Inspiration Point Series #1) by Kelsey MacBride

Amazon         Goodreads

My Review
(Source: bought)

I'm completely flabbergasted by this book. And I'm not entirely sure how many stars to give it.
I like Julie (really liked her) and several other characters in the book. I don't like the fiance but I do think his character was well-written.
The premise is interesting.
The writing - is just okay, for the most part. There were a few places where it was great but not throughout.
I feel like for all the good things that I liked in this book, there was something not to like. The mother - made no sense to me. At times it seemed like details changed (person's name or something along those lines). I was especially annoyed that the story seemed to abruptly introduce an entire new cast of characters in a completely new setting only to end and prompt me to buy the next book to find out what happens to Julie. It seemed to me that the author wasn't sure what Julie's story was so she gave her another one. 
I like series where there is resolution; there might need to be further resolution -- but I like to be able to walk away knowing that things will be trucking along in that world for a bit. (Harry Potter would be a great example. I'm currently reading through The Selection trilogy and book one wrapped up very nicely even though it was obvious that there was more to the story.)

I like Julie and want to know what will happen to her; I'm not sure if I'm curious enough to buy the next book.   That being said, it does get better reviews on Goodreads and Amazon; I encourage you to check them out for a differing point of view than mine. 

I can loan this book on Kindle once; if you would like to read it, please let me know.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet:Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things by Sara Hagerty, A Review

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things

Amazon         Goodreads

Book Description

In the age of fingertip access to answers and a limitless supply of ambitions, where do we find the God who was birthed in dirt and straw? Sara Hagerty found him when life stopped working for her. She found him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a new bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. She found him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy s touch.

In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to craft a mosaic of a God who leans into broken stories. Here readers see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, they see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.


I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.

While I have not walked a path of infertility and adoption, this book has greatly impacted me.  I was able to relate to Hagerty on a faith level and there is so much in this book that resonates with me.  Years ago in a Bible Study, someone asked, "Do you know Jesus or do you know Jesus?"  That simple statement set off a desire in me to know Jesus in a deeper way than just being able to recall a Bible story.  Hagerty captures this in her book - she knows Jesus and shares how knowing Him in a deep way rests not just in believing in His truth that is laid out for us in His word but recognizing Him (his face, scent, touch) just as we do those who are most precious to us in earthly form.

This is not a "how-to" book with detailed steps that one can check off.  Hagerty doesn't spell it out in her book, but I would guess that if asked, she would simply tell you to start: talking to God, reading His word, spending moments in your day that you can turn your focus and thoughts to Him rather to other things. This book will show how even in the midst of despair, God is seeking you and that finding peace and joy is possible. 

I highly recommend this book.  I plan to purchase a hard copy of this book to read again at a later date.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Want to Know More?
You can visit Sara's website here: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet
Download the Book Discussion Guide.
She also has a wonderful resource titled Adoration; each month she has compiled a list of ways that we can adore God - one for each day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Quick Thoughts ~ 365 Days of YA Reading Challenge

The 365 Days of YA Reading Challenge is having a link up for January reading.  If you haven't seen this challenge yet, you really should jump over and check it out.  The graphic is amazing and full of book recommendations.  What is really neat about this challenge is you could read 4 books up to 365 books if you were able to read a book a day.

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
Source: library book
The January recommendation was The Jewel by Amy Ewing.  I like books with girls in fancy dresses on the cover even though I know many readers are over this style of cover art.  I had no idea what the story was about.  Very interesting plot line; hubby and I both remember watching a movie with some similarities many years ago that was based on a book but we can't remember what it was now.  This is a young adult book so one big difference is the age of the main characters.  It's a little - okay, a lot, insta-lovey but I think in this plot framework, it makes sense (plus, teenagers in general I think are prone to insta-love.  In my day, we called it a crush.)  I appreciated that it was a pretty clean read; I would be comfortable with a teenage girl reading this book.  Yes, sex happens, but there are no details and it would easily open discussions on how do you deal with lust?

I liked it but I didn't love it. I definitely want to keep reading to see what happens to each of the characters -- and oh my word - that ending. A little bit cruel to the reader.  Just a little.  

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Best Book I Ever Read {Vampires}

Liza at Reading with ABC just started a feature titled The Best Book I Ever Read on her blog.  She will have a variety of themes/topics for several months.  I thought it sounded like a great way to share books outside of a typical review.

The topic this week is {Vampires}.  I don't typically read books about vampires so please know that I do not have a very long list to pull from.  I recall reading some romance that had a vampire in it; it was okay but was so cliche (or at least felt that way) that I didn't really like it and wasn't inspired to pick up another vampire book.*

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)

A friend recommended A Discovery of Witches to me during the summer.  I do not know (in real actual life) that many people that love to read as much as I do.  She is one of them and so I immediately looked this book up at the library.  The story follows a witch and a vampire that fall in love.  Harkness creates this amazing world within our familiar world that is completely tangible.  The characters are rich and deep, flawed yet seeking to do the right thing.  The twists in the plot - oh my! 
I don't want to say much because I don't want to give anything away in the form of a spoiler.

I devoured the first two books and then had to wait for the final book to come out in the Fall.  I was very happy to see that it was chosen as best in its category at Goodreads.  Just read them;  especially if you want a grown-up vampire story.  They are adult fiction, but absolutely on par with the Harry Potter franchise in terms of an amazing world and a cast of characters that you will want to know as well as miss once you reach the end of the series.

*Until the Yearathon March challenge last year which was to read Twilight.  I have no desire to read that series so I found another book at Amazon -- you can still pick it up for free here if you are interested.  I picked up Captured by Erica Stevens.  I rated the first book 2 stars, it was okay.