Monday, August 30, 2010

Never Without Hope

Title: Never Without Hope
Author: Michelle Sutton

Blurb from Goodreads:
Hope believes she is above sexual temptation; that she would never break that commandment like her husband's previous wives had done. After all, she is a good Christian and a loving mother. She has no reason to stray . . . until her husband starts neglecting her needs and things begin to look hopeless. Though she clearly communicates her pain to her husband, he refuses to get help. She starts to wonder…Will she never have sex with her husband again? She soon learns that she, too, is capable of such betrayal when she succumbs to the unthinkable.But things that first seemed sweet and reasonable given her painful situation soon produce a bitter taste when combined with the overwhelming guilt. No substitute will ever replace her love and desire for her husband. If only he would touch her like he used to. If only they could make love again. She misses him so much and wants to tell him the truth hoping it will propel him to do something to fix their problem, but she fears his rejection. Yet, she can't continue living such a hypocritical life. She knows it's wrong even though she continues to crave physical intimacy. Steeped in the quagmire of adultery, Hope must find her way back to solid ground to save her marriage. But will she lose everyone she loves in the process?

My Take:

This is one of those books that some people in "religious" circles will either love or hate. That's one of the things I admire so much about the author. She isn't afraid to tackle the issues that would make most author's cower in a corner sweating. I want to tell you now that this doesn't pull any punches. Hope's feelings - whether they were passion, despair, anger, love or joy - they are all covered fully and without reserve. This is not a secular novel, though. This is not erotica. It doesn't glorify bad choices or wrap it all up neatly like in a "Leave It To Beaver" episode, everyone smiling and no problems while they nibble on a plate of cookies.

What the book does is present a realistic view of what really happens and how families honestly feel and deal with situations like these. That includes the pleasant draw of sin, the difficulty in getting out of it and how very much we all need God's grace and mercy. It also deals with how those consequences can be far reaching. This book was such a breath of fresh air for providing hope, and really offering something that can be shared with those who want to know that Christians aren't perfect either - and if they aren't they can still be accepted, forgiven and loved by God right now. Some people are so afraid of judgment by others in the church that they never share their struggles. I don't think that is what God wanted the church to be like. No we don't encourage the sin, but nobody is perfect but Jesus. We all have our struggles. This was an awesome read. I hope you'll not only read it yourself, but pass it along. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Tender Vine

Title: The Tender Vine
Author: Kristen Heitzmann
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0715-0

Blurb from Goodreads:

Book 3 of Diamond of the Rockies historical fiction series. The ache of her recent loss is a constant companion, and Carina longs to return to her family and her former home. With Quillan at her side, they make the journey to the California vineyards and to the closely-knit Italian American family Carina left when she moved to Crystal, Colorado. But Carina's parents are ignortant of their daughters marriage, and Quillan is far different from the husband they had in mind. With Quillan uncomfortable, her parents unhappy, and her former beau determined to have her back, where can she turn for help?

My Take:

I love a good series. It gives you time to really get to know characters. This one is different from many that I've read in that you follow the same main characters through all three books. Quillan and Carina give you plenty to fill those pages. There is mystery, romance, danger, explosions... Both of them learn so many things about themselves, one another, other people, and God. 

Carina is a firecracker. She is small but sets the entire town upside down. She is determined to make changes and doesn't always look two steps ahead to see the consequences of her actions. I enjoyed the descriptions of her making food and how Quillan loved to watch her - becoming envious of anyone else she cooked for. 

Quillan is a man who has been rejected and hurt so many times that he's built a barricade around himself that is nearly impossible to break through. A good man, he still looks out for his own interests - with a few exceptions. Carina is one of them. The more time he spends around her, the more he's seeing a need to change. Some things are so hard to let go of though - especially when he's rejected again.

I enjoyed all three books, but this one was really a wonderful ending for the series. Quillan and Carina have to face their toughest obstacles yet. This is an older book - but the message of what to look to in times of adversity is one that can speak to us right now. I think this book (and this whole series) is really wonderful. I hope you'll consider it if you haven't already read it.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gina Holmes Crossing Oceans

Title: Crossing Oceans
Author: Gina Holmes
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3305-2

Blurb from Goodreads:

Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank–toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything—to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.

My Take:

They say your goal as a writer is to have the reader not be able to put the book down - to be so caught up in the lives of your characters that they just can't wait to see what is going to happen on the next page. I normally read "happily ever after" books so I heard great things, but I wondered how absorbed I would get in this book. I couldn't have been more wrong. It certainly didn't read like a debut book either.

This book captured my heart. I laughed and cried with Jenny. Somewhere along the way, her desires and dreams became important enough to me that I finished this book in two days! I admired her strength and the love she had for her daughter. This was a powerful book that inspired, challenged and spoke to my heart. It's the kind of book you want to talk to your friends and family about. 

This may be Gina's first published book, but you can tell she has put a lot of time and work into her writing. I also have no doubt there will be many more books in her future. I can't wait to read them. I found the book trailer and added it. I hope you all will consider the book - and come back and let me know what you think. I want to thank Dineen Miller @ Kitten Come From Eggs for the chance to read and review this book. She hosted a contest that I won. Thanks so much Dineen!

By the way, I did pass my physical therapy evaluation and they are asking for more sessions. Now we just have to pray the doctor and insurance company agree. :o)


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Praise and Prayer

Many of you know I've been moving. We had A LOT of stuff, the move was pushed up faster than we expected, my husband was gone for nearly a month before we left, I hurt my left arm right after he left to go to training and then the movers used some rather interesting techniques. All that added up to total disorganization and us way behind.

Just a couple examples: I opened a box labeled "papper" which contained pots, pans and some kitchen knives ~ loose except for one layer of packing paper. I (so lucky lately) grabbed them by the blades. I managed to get only a couple small cuts but I wasn't very happy. They packed loose saw blades in with foam and inflatable swimming gear from the garage - using no wrapping paper at all. We were under pressure to finish the move more quickly, but this kind of thing was just not very professional. They put my purses in with my son's lego kits... The filter for the fish tank was in three different boxes, and the box containing all the other aquarium supplies had a magazine rack, my beading tool kit and some games. Why couldn't they have left that stuff out and put the whole filter in one box with the rest of the supplies? Does that only make sense to me? It's making it really hard to find and unpack as so many boxes are mislabeled and the contents are mismatched.

You add in my injured arm and all the other things we need to do with a move to a new state with address changes, new licenses, new doctors, new vets, voter registration, getting ready for school, finding a new church...

I'm in Physical Therapy for my arm right now. The good news is that my pain has gone down so much! I still can't use it as much as I'd like, and certain positions/directions don't seem to work at all. That may mean that I just haven't worked them as much as I need to - or it may mean that the tear is worse there and not able to be fixed with therapy and working out. That will mean I will still have to have surgery. I'm praying to avoid that. Also - we still have not sold our old house and now have double payments. If you think of us please pray that we sell our house. We were told our house would sell quickly and it hasn't happened. Also pray that I can avoid surgery - which would be another large expense and recovery time.

I have my in-laws wanting to visit too. So a lot is happening. I hope to be more regular now though. It is just with everything going on I haven't had as much time for either the computer or reading. Thanks to all of you for hanging with me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Surrender the Heart

Title: Surrender the Heart
Author: MaryLu Tyndall
ISBN: 978-1-60260-165-9

Blurb from Goodreads:

On the brink of the War of 1812, Marianne Denton must marry to unlock her inheritance. Without the money, her mother can't receive medical care and her sister will be destitute. But Noah Brenin needs to sail his cargo to England before the war commences in order to prove his worth to his father and make enough money so he won't have to marry at all.

Defying his father's wishes, Noah loathes the idea of marrying a woman he finds plain and pompous. Marianne wants nothing to do with the rogue who taunted her as a child, yet she must convince him otherwise or her mother will die.

But when Noah walks out on their engagement party, Marianne chases him down and ends up on his merchantman out at sea. The situation worsens when Noah's ship encounters a British man-of-war and the couple are impressed into the British navy. While a young lad's prophecy of destiny looms over them both, Marianne and Noah are forced to face their darkest fears as they desperately try to find a way to escape and fulfill their destinies-destinies that could change the course of the war and history forever.

My Take:

There are some authors that you return to over and over again because they consistently deliver stories that capture your imagination and their characters win over your heart and continue to live in your thoughts long after you close the back cover. There are some books that you look forward to as soon as you hear about them. The more details you get, the more you can't wait for the book to be released. This was one of those books for me. It didn't let me down either. :o)

From the very first sentence: "I would rather boil in oil than marry Noah Brenin." I was totally hooked. These characters went through a lot and I literally skipped meals in order to find out what was going to happen next. One of the things this author does the best is marry action into her stories. I feel like I'm reading what could be the next big movie. The other thing she did so well is make her characters real people. These are not cleaned up, cardboard, perfect cut-outs. They rebel, get angry, don't do what they're supposed to do ... feel real feelings and act like real human beings.

This is going on my list of best books of the year. I hope you'll consider reading it.