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Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble

About the Book:Rosemary Cottage Book Art
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Series: A Hope Beach Novel, book 2
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Christian
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Review: Any visit to Hope Beach is one to be treasured. The small town setting is a piece of cozy comfort featuring equally personable characters. Rosemary Cottage is another charming story of faith and family – it’s a heartfelt novel that doesn’t seem to forget the people of the story. In fans second journey to the nestled island – one that’s name is woven into the very fabric of each story, we meet Amy Lang, a young woman who defied her influential father’s wishes that she become a doctor and instead choses a more fulfilling line of work as a midwife. Connected to the past of her now deceased brother – through ties Amy isn’t ready to face, she reconnects with Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland whose own sister died two short weeks prior to Amy’s brother Ben. When Amy begins to suspect that her bothers death was no accident, her findings point in ominous directions that Amy nor Curtis, may not be prepared to face. Continue reading “Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble”

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Anomaly by Krista Mcgee

About the Book: Book - Anomaly
Author: Kristin McGee
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Anomaly, Book One
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult/Teen, Series, Dystopian
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

Ever since the rage of The Hunger Games caught on, dystopia fiction has become a broken record craze in the world of YA fiction. Specifically, the secular world has been a hive of popularity for this genre to succeed and it’s almost overplayed itself with clichés. Christian fiction has been more leery of the genre. Despite that, I’ll admit to being interested in several fandoms plus I practically squealed when learning that Christian authors were about to foray into the once uncharted territory that was futuristic fiction – bravo to these authors! Krista is a talented author so I knew the genre would be well represented from the start, and you know what? Anomaly certainly proves the reasons why Krista McGee is a bright light in the YA fiction scene. Because it’s a dystopian world destroyed from a nuclear war (which is really quite terrifying if a reader ponders the possibilities too long), the characters aren’t so much relatable as they are products of their environment. In other words, the first person narrative is more about its protagonist, Thalli trying to purpose the reason she is an “anomaly.” As a genetically altered product (a “Pod C” generation), Thalli isn’t supposed to emotionally react or feel or think beyond what she was designed to do – and her role in her Pod is that of a musician. Much of the story is told “in summary,” as we read through Thalli’s fears, questions and emotions of acting out, yet she rarely does – unable to distinguish between what’s “real” and what’s a stimulation. Continue reading “Anomaly by Krista Mcgee”

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A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

Most Peculiar Circumstance, A Cover ArtAbout the Book:
Author: Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Ladies of Distinction, Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: Women’s rights is a popular historical subject and Jen Turano used the upshots of said subject as fodder for a series of books in which each of her heroines are confounding entities to the men in their lives and are products of the era – they find trouble around every corner and grow into a product of the movement rather than an individual. Trouble’s name in this scenario is Arabella Beckett. A young woman ahead of her time whose wealthy family wishes her safe return to New York after travelling with the women’s suffrage movement just to prove she was more than a pretty face – a girl who could survive on her own. Enter private investigator Theodore Wilder – he is one arrogant man whom Arabella cannot escape fast enough. Continue reading “A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano”

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Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

About the Book:AgainsttheTide_mck.indd
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5

Writing historical fiction demands the writer have a talented pen – and a lot of patience. Any historical author worth their salt will take hours in preparation to research their subject or setting or the era, and as a girl who appreciates an anticipatory historical novel, I respect this. Elizabeth Camden is probably one of my favorite authors – this is her third novel and out of those, two have been relegated to a spot on that ever-growing keeper shelf. Many fans may remember Against the Tide’s hero – Alexander Banebridge or Bane as he is more commonly known – from Camden’s debut novel, which may have been published last year, but I feel like ‘Tide’ is the best in its genre from this year – comfortably so. Camden’s voice has matured to the point of expert dialogue and brilliantly written settings that intrigue and tease, never giving away “too much.” This is perhaps what will most impress aficionados of history – Camden’s “sense of setting.” It was interesting and leaves a reader loathe to turn the last page – the era was very well presented and it made everything more authentic to read (historical note) what one of Camden’s starting points was for this novel.  Continue reading “Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden”

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Small Town Girl by Ann Gabhart

Book - Small Town GirlAbout the Book:
Author: Ann Gabhart
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 4 out of 5

Living up to its name in the best possible way, who’d have thought that a reader could be so charmed by a story that took place on the eve of a historical catastrophe, World War II? This book invests its readers, inviting us into a small-town Kentucky and leading its reader into a deep understanding and pull to care about what goes on in the lives of Kate Merritt and her family along with newcomer Jay Tanner – who, I don’t mind saying, completely won me over as an all-American “good guy” hero. Telling the “grown-up” story of Kate who I understand played an important role in Ann’s prior novel, Angel Sister, this book may not be branded a “sequel,” but it is a kind of follow-up. While I didn’t become wrapped up in this story immediately (more later on for the reason why), there was something in the writing that beckons us to look beyond the surface, to continue with its rich story and discover the story of Kate’s life – and subsequently what would come between her and Jay.  Ann Gabhart crafted a unique, sweet romance between the small-town girl and the would-be bad boy. There are several “cute” flirtatious moments between them and those moments were too few – whether Jay was learning what it meant to be a part of a family or the comical “tease” between he and Kate over the suggestion they’d elope, the book sparkled with personality even set against a turbulent time of war and oppressive sorrow. Continue reading “Small Town Girl by Ann Gabhart”

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The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen

About the BookBook - The Wishing Tree
Author: Marybeth Whalen
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Novels seeped in an emotional fallback put in play a lot of unresolved fallout and is prone to open new wounds. Even inside a synopsis that I, as a reader cannot relate to, The Wishing Tree is – mostly, a “good” novel full of second chances and forgiveness. I liked Marybeth’s ability to write a heart-tugging story and the setting of the book. Descriptive surroundings backdrop the characters, lending a pretty haven as their home, which in turn opens the door to some great pose writing during walks along the beach. Stories that involve a cheating spouse like Ivy Marshall discovers of her husband (just when she leaves for her sister’s wedding, no less) needs to be carefully written. Particularly those on the Christian market. For myself as a single girl, I have definite opinions on the “right” and “wrong” of an affair – opinions that go beyond even an affair since I don’t buy into all the clichés that men generally fall into, and in no way find it “okay” even if it was one night and not a long standing relationship. Whalen certainly took care with the subject by choosing the former to be the sin of Ivy’s husband. But, should even that transgression be considered lightly? Continue reading “The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen”

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Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz

Book - Love's ReckoningAbout the Book:
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2012
Series: Ballantyne Legacy, Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

Every book is subject to every individual readers enjoyment. Many Christian fiction readers adore Laura Frantz’s novels, and although the setting wasn’t the “right” fit for me (the 1700’s is not a favorite era so that may have colored my judgment while reading this book), the story and grace it involved was actually much more beautiful than I’d have thought possible. While reading it, I picked up on several similarities to the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah – a tradition dictates that the blacksmith’s apprentice marry one of his daughters; one girl determines to win the new apprentice, Silas while Eden is the one who captures his fancy. I am not sure if Laura drew any inspiration from that Biblical story but there were some similarities. If she did, I very much enjoyed the creative liberties she took with it and the changes she made. Continue reading “Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz”

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Gone South by Meg Moseley

Book - Gone South2About the Book:
Author: Meg Moseley
Publisher: Multnomah
Publication Date: 2013
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5

I must confess the draw to this book was its cover art – the quirkiness of it was appealing. Beyond that, obviously I thought the story sounded full of promise and one or two rave reviews later and, voilà curiosity was stirred. Never having read anything by Meg Moseley before, how the story would read was a mystery. Over the three person point of view that unfolds, there are interesting perspectives and even more unique characters. There’s brokenhearted Tish whose past is all about “hanging on” to what could-have-been; antiques dealer George, a man with a very miniature nuisance and the adorable though immature Melanie (yes, you guessed it, her mother is a Gone with the Wind fan!) – a young woman shunned for past indiscretions. 3o chapters and 300-hundred-some pages later, all of the characters were fully explored, as individuals. In fact, it’s probably been a long while since I read a novel in which there was more than a boy-girl switch off that elected for such an easy-going multi-view POV prose; the changes transition smoothly, almost seamlessly from one voice to the next and it was a fun trip down South to meet them all. Continue reading “Gone South by Meg Moseley”