Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: "Homemade Haunting" by Rob Stennett

Summary from BN.com: Charlie Walker doesn't believe in God or the supernatural. But Charlie's views change when he takes the biggest risk of his life—he quits his job to write the novel he's always wanted to write.

The problem is that Charlie is a method writer. Since he's writing horror, he needs to experience horror. Charlie begins to dabble with the supernatural and experiences the paranormal around his house. Messages appear on mirrors, furniture moves, and his kids start seeing things.

Charlie is so lost in his book that he can't see how it's affecting his family. He thinks if he just stops, it will all wash away. It doesn't. Friends convince Charlie that his only choice is to find God to save his family and home.

Charlie becomes the unlikely hero in a supernatural battle. As he fights for his home and family, he meets his guardian angel and the demon assigned to him. Is Charlie going crazy? Is there really a supernatural war taking place around Charlie's home, the neighborhood mailbox, and local swimming pool?

Ok this isn't your average Christian fiction book. It involves demons, ghosts, and Ouija boards. It's about spiritual warfare but it's done in a very tongue in cheek sorta way. Most Christian books just talk about living out your faith but don't really go into detail about when you really need to use it. This book actually shows that there are times when you need to actually practice what you preach and just saying the "right things" isn't always going to cut it.
The main character, Charlie, is an author who is trying to write a horror novel but feels that in order to write it correctly he has to experience things. So it all starts off with learning about the game "light as a feather, stiff as a board" then escalates to the Ouija board before the real demons start arriving. He begins to back off from all this but finds out that his wife, who he had initially roped into joining him, has become fully enveloped in the supernatural.

What I think works best for this book is the combination of spiritual warfare with humor. Stennett is a VERY funny writer and mixed in with the normally serious topic is footnotes where Charlie explains things to the reader or adds in his two bits. While the main story in itself has lots of funny moments, I really found the footnotes to be hilarious at times. The whole Bloody Mary sequence was a hoot because I've been to many a sleepover where we tried doing it and ended up scaring ourselves silly and unable to go to sleep.

This was a really great read and one that I have been recommending to other readers. It's done extremely well and actually is really quite scary. This is the type of speculative fiction that I enjoy reading. It shows how easy it is to slip into the "dark side" without even really knowing it. All it takes is the first step to enter worlds unknown. Pretty much the moral of the story is don't mess with things that you don't really know about. While I haven't read the rest of Stennett's books, I do own them so they will be making it up the ranks on my TBR pile soon. I really enjoy his style of writing in this book and I'm looking forward to enjoying more of it in the future.

Homemade Haunting by Rob Stennett is published by Zondervan (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publisher. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to all entrants so INTERNATIONAL entrants are welcome. Winner will be picked Thursday, April 7.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Winner

Congrats to the winner of the Jane Eyre Prize pack!

Ruth of Booktalk and More

Book Review: "The Mountains Bow Down" by Sibella Giorello

Summary from Christianbook.com: A cruise to Alaska sounds like the perfect vacation--it's a geologist's dream and will give Raleigh space to sort out her feelings about her recent engagement. But before the ship even reaches its first port, a case manages to find her. The producer of a movie that's being filmed on board goes missing and is then discovered hanging from the railing. Suicide seems to be the cause, but Raleigh quickly realizes the pieces don't add up. When the Seattle field office sends Jack Stephanson to assist her in the investigation, her personal uncertainty skyrockets. Why is it that she forgets to even call her fiance back in Virginia. And Jack seems to know her as well as she knows herself. She'll have to wait to sort out those feelings, though, because she and Jack only have five days before the cruise ends to solve this case.

I think this was the best book of the series. The mystery is well written and the killer is not revealed until the end with lots of twists and turns. Unlike previous books where I found the ending of the book to pale in comparison to the rest of the novel, this book kept me hooked to the story until the very end. I felt that this time, I really did care about who the murderer was and why they did what they did.

I really liked how the setting is confined onto a cruise ship. Except for brief stops at a morgue or a port, everything takes place on the ship. It's a very unique way to keep things centralized. Plus if you're on a cruise ship, you really can't hide for too long. Besides being the setting for the mystery, Giorello does also go into detail about life on the cruise ship for both the passenger and the workers. I found the behind the scenes details about what working on the ship to be very fascinating. Stories that take place on cruise ships always remind of Titanic and this one even included icebergs as well. The story also takes place in Alaska so it gives it another unique setting.

Raleigh's relationship with the troubled mother is given the full treatment in this book. It's quite sad at how Raleigh has to lie to her mother in order to really protect her from hurting herself. I got really annoyed with Claire's character. I honestly do not remember much about her from previous books but in this book I wanted to slap her so bad. I hope eventually she learns that faith does not come from rocks or auras because that girl has issues and a lack of common sense.

As with previous books in the series, I also really enjoyed the lack of romance in the story. Sometimes you don't need it at all or just a small smidge is more than enough. I did get a bit annoyed with Raleigh's character for how she treated her fiance throughout the book. I felt that he deserved better than what she was doing to him. Raleigh's character is very complicated, not because she's a pill, but because situations in her life keep pulling her in all sorts of different directions. I don't believe that this will be the last book in the series because there are still things that need to be tied up with Raleigh's character. I'll be looking forward to it!

The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello is published by Thomas Nelson (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with LitFuse Publicity

Other books in the Raleigh Harmon series that I have reviewed:

The Rivers Run Dry (Book 2)
The Clouds Roll Away (Book 3)

Other blogs on the blog tour: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13142727

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: "Double Shot" by Erynn Mangum

Summary from BN.com: Now that Maya Davis is engaged to her longtime friend and sweetheart, Jack, there should be no more worrying about the future, no more questioning God. Everything should be perfect, right? Actually, it’s just the opposite: Things are complicated. Where are they going to live? What kind of wedding do they want?

And when Jack is offered a once-in-a-lifetime job in Seattle, things begin to unravel even more. Can Maya trust that God is in control even when things seem to be a disastrous mess?

In danger of being a Bridezilla? Can't get enough of My Fair Wedding or Say Yes to the Dress? Well if you're in the mood for weddings, this is a great book for you. As the third book in the Maya Davis series, it's finally time for Maya and Jack to start planning their own wedding. There's lots of talk about dresses, flowers, cakes, etc but not in a Bridezilla type of way because Maya is really laid back about everything. I really liked that too because while she does show interest, she's not obsessive over it. I feel like even though she's excited about the wedding, she's more interested in the marriage. The wedding planning is fun to read and reminded me of just a few years ago when I was planning my own marriage. Also equally as enjoyable is all the scenes from the coffeehouse. I love reading about the coffee and cinnamon rolls. I would totally want to hang out at Cool Beans.

I only had a small qualm while reading this book. The only thing that gets me is that everything happens so fast. Jack and Maya don't want a long engagement yet they haven't been dating very long. I know that they have been friends for a long time but I still feel like they didn't really know each other as a couple. This is clearly shown when Jack gets his promotion but Maya is really unsure about wanting to move. Their counseling sessions didn't really seem to go in depth and I still feel like there are many issues that have not been discussed that may come up in the future. I understand that some people like having short engagements but I feel like in almost all Christian fiction books, people fall in love fast, get engaged quickly, get married a few months later and then immediately have kids. I know that there are many people who do all this in this way, but it's not a representation of all Christians. While I enjoyed this book very much because I am one of those people who didn't follow that plan, I feel a bit slighted. I'm not saying that one way is better than the other but since this type of relationship happens so much in Christian fiction, it paints a skewed view of the religion as a whole. Another very small pet peeve is Maya's dislike of fruit or basically anything healthy.

Besides this, this a good chick lit novel. It's fun, light and frothy (just like one of Maya's drinks!). I will admit I was a bit worried that the plot would go in a whole other direction with Ethan's character but thankfully it did not. I'm a bit sad to see the characters go as I would have loved to read at least one more book focusing on the first few months of married life. Mangum does a have a new book coming out later this year so hopefully in the future the newlyweds will make a cameo appearance.

Double Shot by Erynn Mangum is published by NavPress (2010)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the Maya Davis series that I have reviewed:

Latte Daze (Book 2)

False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
False Pretenses
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
by
Kathy Herman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.

But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review: "An Eye for Glory" by Karl A. Bacon

LinkSummary from Christianbook.com: Michael Palmer is a good man, a family man. But honor and duty push him to leave his comfortable life and answer the call from Abraham Lincoln to fight for his country. This "citizen soldier" learns quickly that war is more than the battle on the field. Long marches under extreme conditions, illness, and disillusionment challenge at every turn.

Faith seems lost in a blur of smoke and blood . and death. Michael's only desire is to kill as many Confederate soldiers as he can so he can go home. He coldly counts off the rebels that fall to his bullets. Until he is brought up short by a dying man holding up his Bible.

It's in the heat of battle at Gettysburg and the solemn aftermath that Michael begins to understand the grave cost of the war upon his soul. Here the journey really begins as he searches for the man he was and the faith he once held so dearly. With the help of his beloved wife, Jesse Ann, he takes the final steps towards redemption and reconciliation.

It is normally extremely rare for me to find good faith based historical fiction that is published by major Christian publishers. I say this because the majority of Christian fiction that is historical is usually historical romance. There's nothing wrong with that but sometimes you need something more meatier that focuses on history than romance. I have been pleasantly surprised though in the past several months that the industry appears to be slowly changing and there are more good historical reads without romance coming out. This debut novel by Karl A. Bacon can be added to that list.

Bacon's historical research is absolutely awesome as we travel with the characters. The life of the soldiers is not glamorized or made appealing. Instead we are treated to the harsh realities of the war life and how the men had to deal with it. He goes into detail about the battles and then the aftermath and how this affected the lives of the soldiers. Death is constantly surrounding them and every day could be your last. Luxuries are scarce but when they do happen, it's a joyous celebration. Since the story is told from Michael's point of view, we are also treated to knowing the fate of his family back home. I found it interesting that when Michael went on furlough, he found himself not able to sleep comfortably in the bed with his wife after being used to being on the ground for so long. War changed the men and Bacon shows both the positive and negative aspects about this.

Faith in the story is handled appropriately to the time period. This means that it while it is historically significant in the lives of the soldiers, it is not preachy to the modern reader. In cases like this, religion is an important part of the lives of the people during this time period and to not include it would be damaging to recreating an authentic story. While the story is not heavily detailed into battle details as other Civil War novels tend to be, there is a great deal of information in the book. Since there is a lot of historical detail, those who aren't into that might be bored but me, being a history major, absolutely loved it. The lack of a romance (though we do see the main character think of his wife a lot) really strengthens the story and allows the focus more to be on the soldiers.

This is a wonderful debut. I really enjoyed reading it and it is one that I have been and will continue to recommend to fans of historical fiction and the Civil War. I am looking forward to any future releases from him. HIGHLY recommended.

An Eye for Glory by Karl A. Bacon is published by Zondervan (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist

I'm able to give away one copy of this book provided by the publisher. To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to all entrants so INTERNATIONAL entrants are welcome. Winner will be picked Monday, April 4.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Library Reads No. 10

My Library Reads is a spotlight on the library books that I have read during the previous week. This is not a post on what books I borrowed but books that I read. Since I don't review library books, this is a way to still be able to showcase them on my blog.

BTW, if anyone knows of another meme that is like this on another blog, could you please let me know? I don't know of any myself, but if there is one already in place, I'd like to give credit where credit is due!

Library Books read from 3/20/11 - 3/26/11

Matched by Ally Condie (Dutton Juvenile, 10/30/10)

YA - I'm still kicking myself for not picking this book at BEA. I somehow missed it on the showcase floor. Then when I was helping Amy pack her boxes to ship back home, she pointed out an extra copy lying on the discarded pile table. However at that point, my hands were filled with 20lbs (ok it felt like it) of books so I was like, I can wait until it actually comes out. Well as you can tell, I didn't get to read the book when it came out, I was on the waiting list until just a few weeks ago at the library! This was one of those books that had a LOT of publicity before its release and also one that I've heard mixed reviews on. Personally, I really enjoyed it. I felt that there are lots of layers to this story and this first book is just the skin starting to slowly peel off to get to the flesh and core of the story. I found the characters and plot very intriguing. If there was anything that I found annoying it was just the attitude of the officials but I feel like since the story is from Cassia's point of view, we're supposed to feel that way. I am looking forward to unraveling the mysteries of this dystopian world with the upcoming books in the series.

Audiobook:


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Listening Library, 7/16/05)

I think this is my 4th time listening to this book. Fantastic and magnificent. And Jim Dale is wonderful. What more needs to be said? Oh yeah..I love his version of the Celestina Warbeck song that plays on the wireless when Harry is staying at the Burrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Movie Review: "True Grit"

I am normally not a big fan of westerns whether in books or in movies. They are ok but not really my favorite genre. True Grit was first made into a movie in 1969 starring John Wayne who won the Oscar for Best Actor. I haven't watched all of that version but from what I did see it's drastically different from this new version. In fact, even though I had heard good things about the movie and that I had liked some of the other Coen Brother movies I had seen in the past and the actors in the movie were all excellent, if this movie hadn't been nominated for Best Picture, I probably would have passed it over. I'm so glad I didn't! It turned out to be one of my favorite movies at the Best Picture showcase.

Jeff Bridges is fantastic as Rooster. He's a drunk but I really liked his character. I love how you can tell he has a soft spot for Mattie though it's clear that he's a bit baffled about her. It's a bit hard to understand him at times but I thought he did a fantastic job. Was anyone else a bit creeped out by Matt Damon's character? There's nothing bad about him but he kinda made me uneasy. I think it was the mustache. Still I really his chemistry with everyone in the movie, though the spanking scene was a WTH moment. Josh Brolin is not in the movie as much as his name on the poster makes you out to believe but he does well when he does show up.

Hailee Steinfeld is the real star of this movie. You notice that she is not listed anywhere on the poster. This is due to the fact that she's a newbie and I believe that this is her first role ever. Anways, she OWNS this movie. She's in about 95% of the scenes and is wonderful it all of them. Therefore the fact that she was nominated for the Oscar for Best SUPPORTING Actress is a bit absurd but Hollywood politics deemed it so. I loved her character. Even though she's only 14 she's strong, smart, and can very much take care of herself. Mattie is a wonderful breath of fresh air after all the portrayals of teen girls who can't take care of themselves and are boy crazy all the time.


The entire movie just flows extremely well. There's lots of action sequences and gun fights but it's not your typical western. A pleasant surprise about this movie was how funny it ended up being. From the trailers, it looks rather serious and grim. Therefore it was quite surprising to find myself laughing a lot throughout the movie. It's not slapstick comedy but rather witty writing that makes the characters and the plot light-hearted while being serious at the same time. Interestingly, aside from Toy Story 3 and practically 99% of The King's Speech, I found this movie to be most family friendly, which was again another surprise for me. This is not to say that I think kidlets will enjoy it but there's not a lot of offensive stuff. I will admit that the last scene in the cave with the snakes did give me the willies.

I really wish that Hailee Steinfeld had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress but in the end it's ok. This was her first movie and I can tell that (if she chooses to) she will have a long and fruitful career ahead of her. I do wish that she had been chosen as Katniss for The Hunger Games movie as after seeing her in this movie, I felt that she would have been perfect in the role. (Yes I know the objections to her so no need to mention again :) The movie was nominated for 10 Oscars overall but sadly did not win any. Still they were all highly deserved nominations. As I said, this was one of my favorite movies of the night and I'm looking forward to rewatching it again when it comes out on DVD.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: "Love Amid the Ashes" by Mesu Andrews

Summary from BN.com: Readers often think of Job sitting on the ash heap, his life in shambles. But how did he get there? What was Job's life like before tragedy struck? What did he think as his world came crashing down around him? And what was life like after God restored his wealth, health, and family?

Through painstaking research and a writer's creative mind, Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of this well-known story told through the eyes of the women who loved him. Drawing together the account of Job with those of Esau's tribe and Jacob's daughter Dinah, Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.

I'm one of those readers who is a big fan of biblical fiction because I love seeing familiar names from the Bible being fleshed out. As long as the author does their research and does not make the characters do anything that would go against their custom, I love learning more about the culture and time period. With a novel, it'd difficult to use footnotes to show what you've done in your research but Mesu Andrews does include a lengthy author's note to talk about the books she read and the people she talked with to make sure this book was authentic.

In this book, the story is about Job with a twist...Dinah, Jacob's daughter is involved. I love books that feature her because i feel she gets really neglected, being the only daughter with 12 brothers. The author explains how it all fits because time wise, they were probably existing around the same time, which normally I don't think of because Job placed in the Bible after all the kings and downfall of Israel, but really chronologically it's in the same time frame as around the patriarchs.

Job's story is always one that people seem to relate to over and over again. This time, we don't see things from God's point of view and it's stripped down to just Job's pain and anguish that we read about. It's really interesting because even though he doesn't curse God out to his face, he is very angry and very much in pain. That is much better than what I've seen of him portrayed in my old Sunday School classes, where he's covered in boils and sores and smiling. Seriously. His situation with his wife was most fascinating to read about as well as it adds extra drama and tension to the story.

There were a few scenes that seemed to drag on a bit. This is Andrews first novel and it shows sometimes as dialogue seems to become repetitive and several scenes just felt like they were going on forever. Overall though, it's an interesting read and a different take on the familiar story. In case there is anyone who is worried about the story being sacrilegious and offensive to the original scriptures, don't fear. It's just a great way to learn more about these familiar characters and ponder what life really was like for them. I hope Andrews takes on more familiar Bible stories in the future and puts her unique spin on them.

Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
by
Terri Blackstock




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.

Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

ABOUT THE BOOK


When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.

Watch the Book Video:



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: "Bound By Guilt" by C.J. Darlington

Summary from BN.com: Roxi Gold has been shuttled from one foster home to another for most her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in even if it's against the law. Soon she's traveling the country in an RV, stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. She knows it's wrong, but if she refuses, she'll be put out on the streets.

Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. Her ex-husband wrested her daughter away from her in a bitter custody battle. The job she once loved has become a chore, the world isn't any safer, and there's no joy in her life.

One fateful night a man's innocent blood changes both Roxi's and Abby's lives forever. One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her. Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?

I really enjoyed all the talk about books in this story. In an age where e-readers and e-books are all the rage, this story focuses on physical book and their value. It makes one wonder that if just a small misprint on a dust jacket can make a book's monetary value skyrocket, will that decrease when an e-book can easily fix a misspelling in just mere seconds? Still it made me somewhat happy to see that some of the thieves actually did enjoy reading.

I was a little shocked at the premise of the book. After all what happened in the first book that featured these characters, the events in this book came as a shock. I wasn't expecting Christy to have to go through what she did but because of her transformation in the last book she handles it a lot better than I thought she would. Abby on the other hand doesn't but it's not surprise after what she's had to go through in her own life. Abby's husband is a trip. Can I smack that man? I really cannot stand people like that. I didn't feel that there were real grounds for what he did to separate Abby from her daughter. The ending to their story, while can be seen as realistic, made it feel like Abby is just going to accept things the way they are and possibly live a life of unhappiness.

Since I read a lot of YA books, I enjoy seeing teenage characters in adult books that include perspectives from a teenage viewpoint. For the most part, I think Darlington did well with Roxi's struggle about her situation. I mean, what are you supposed to do when your mother knowingly abandons you when you are a young child, doesn't bother to look for you and then years later when you do find her again, she tries to hide you so her new life won't be bothered? I wanted to slap that woman! Roxi's situation is a hard one because even though she knows what she is doing is morally wrong, it's also the only chance for survival that she knows at this point. There were times when I felt she acted younger than 16 but due to her circumstances and the hard life she has lived, I can understand why.

Some parts of the book might feel a bit preachy to those who aren't of the Christian faith. As it stands myself, I found some parts to be a little redundant. Overall though it's an enjoyable read. It's hard to classify this book into a certain genre since there are elements of suspense in it but still it's mostly a general contemporary book. One might want to even categorize all of Roxi's parts of the books into a YA read though since the book is not solely from her perspective, I personally wouldn't. I was pleased to see returning characters and I'm glad to hear that there will be another book featuring the same characters in the future. A good sophomore novel from Darlington.

Bound By Guilt by C.J. Darlington is published by Tyndale (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: "All You Get Is Me" by Yvonne Prinz

Summary from BN.com: Things were complicated enough for Roar, even before her father decided to yank her out of the city and go organic. Suddenly, she’s a farm girl, albeit a reluctant one, selling figs at the farmers’ market and developing her photographs in a ramshackle shed. Caught between a trouble making sidekick named Storm, a brooding, easy-on-the-eyes L.A. boy, and a father on a human rights crusade that challenges the fabric of the farm community, Roar is going to have to tackle it all—even with dirt under her fingernails and her hair pulled back with a rubber band meant for asparagus.

Yvonne Prinz's first book THE VINYL PRINCESS was one of my favorite reads of 2010. Therefore I was really looking forward to her new book because I really enjoyed her style of writing. I wasn't disappointed. Right from the beginning I was sucked into the story. It's not a fluffy teen lit tale. There are serious issues that are discussed throughout the book. The topics involving organic farming, immigration policy and legal rights are all fascinating. I love that this is all included in a YA book because it shows that even though they are not adults, teens are interested in this sort of stuff. It's important to become aware of these subjects at a young age because then you have time to learn more before having to face them head on as an adult.

I was wondering at first if the book was going to swing into the forbidden love a la Romeo & Juliet type of deal but was pleasantly surprised that no real opposition was met. I felt the relationship to grow naturally and leaves room for more in the future. I really liked Forest's character. He totally sounds like a guy I would have gone after in my teen years. There is a scene involving teen sex which might be a little mature for some readers. Nothing really graphic but just wanted to let you know that it is in there.

I really liked this book. Roar is a really good main character. She's very level headed and intuitive. Even though she had grown up in the city, for the most part she's not spoiled at all and has become adapt to farm life. She's also a good friend which means a lot during those teen years. I learned a lot while reading this book and there's lots of topics for good discussion to be had after reading. It's definitely a book that will make you think a lot. Prinz has hit a second home run with this book and I eagerly await future titles from her.

All You Get Is Me by Yvonne Prinz is published by HarperTeen (2010)

This review copy was provided by the Amazon Vine program

Jane Eyre Prize Pack Giveaway


I don't know about you but I'm really excited for this movie. I love the story of Jane Eyre and even though there have been several adaptation already released (including my favorite starring Timothy Dalton) each one brings new light to the story.

About the Film: Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”) and Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”) star in the romantic drama based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, from acclaimed director Cary Fukunaga (“Sin Nombre”). In the story, Jane Eyre flees Thornfield House, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester. As she reflects upon the people and emotions that have defined her, it is clear that the isolated and imposing residence – and Mr. Rochester’s coldness – have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. She must now act decisively to secure her own future and come to terms with the past that haunts her – and the terrible secret that Mr. Rochester is hiding and that she has uncovered…

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Holliday Grainger, Sally Hawkins, Tamzin Merchant, Imogen Poots, Judi Dench

Director: Cary Fukunaga (“Sin Nombre”)

Screenplay by: Moira Buffini (“Tamara Drewe”); Based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë

MPAA Rating: PG-13





Thanks to Focus Features, I'm able to giveaway one awesome prize pack to a lucky person.

One (1) winner will receive:

· Soundtrack sampler

· Bookmark

· Journal

· Pencil

· Copy of the book [movie tie-in edition]


To enter, you must fill out the form below. This contest is open to entrants from the US only. Winner will be picked Wednesday, March 30.

PLEASE use the form only to enter the contest. For any comments about the book, review, etc. please use the comments link at the bottom of the post. All information must be filled out correctly or else your entry will not count. (ie. you must use FULL name and list your mailing address). Your info will only be used for this contest and will be deleted after the contest is over.




Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: "Wither" by Lauren DeStefano

Summary from BN.com: By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape—before her time runs out?

I had been hearing good things about Wither before I even received this book. The cover is really pretty (though am I the only one who thinks the cover model looks like Mandy Moore?) and draws you into the story. I totally got sucked in while reading. The characters are what really makes this book stand out. While the overall plot is fascinating, if the characters didn't come alive to me then the book would have been meh to me. As it stands however, DeStefano makes Rhine, Gabriel, Jenna, Cecily and Linden all become real to me.

Rhine's character is very conflicted throughout the book yet she is a likable character. I don't know what I would have done in her situation. I can't even fathom knowing that I would be dead in a few years. What makes her different from the other wives is that she knows what the real world is like and she knows what having a real family is like. Therefore unlike everyone else, she has hope and she is doing all she can to live for that hope.

Jenna's character is devastatingly tragic for me. I really wish we could have known more about her. When we're introduced to her, it's almost like she's already doomed from the start. She's quietest of the three wives and the one that keeps to herself the most. She loves reading which made me relate to her the most. Since she pretty much knows her fate already, she just takes each day one at a time. Also as the oldest, she seems to be the wisest of the group. This is drastically different from Cecily, who at the youngest, seems to be the most flighty and immature. Yet it is her who has the biggest influence on Linden's father due to her circumstances. It's quite sad to read about what she has to go through afterward and how she is kept from what she loves most. The thing that got me is that Linden is not a bad guy. I was so ready for him to be like his father and for me to hate him, but he wasn't and I didn't. I felt immensely sorry for him throughout most of the book. His father on the other hand, oooh it's almost like reading about Umbridge all over again. Still when you know WHY he's doing it, it makes sense though his obsession with finding a cure makes his character seem unloving towards his current son.

Overall, Wither is an absolutely fascinating read. The world that DeStefano has created seems to be a bleak and hopeless world for the young. However for characters such as Rhine and Gabriel, there is resistance and a fighting chance for survival. I cannot wait for the next book in the series though since this is a trilogy, I bet the 2nd book will have an even worse cliffhanger. Even if you don't like other dystopia book, I really think you should try this one. It's an engrossing read and will keep you glued to your seat as you frantically turn pages. HIGHLY recommended.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano is published by Simon and Schuster Children (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: "The Lying Game" by Sara Shepard

Summary from BN.com: The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

I must admit that last year I discovered the Pretty Little Liars series and they quickly became one of my guilty reading pleasures. I haven't seen the TV show (mainly because I know it's different from the books) but I devoured the books like they were nothing. They are rather trashy but very fun to read. When I learned that Sara Shepard was going to be writing another series akin to the PLL books, I knew that I had to read them as well.

The narrator of the story is Sutton, who also happens to be dead. Through her voice we discover that she had been murdered and we must find out who the killer is. We also learn that she had a twin sister, a secret that the two girls had been unaware of their entire lives. Emma discovers about Sutton too late and goes to seek her out when her own life in a foster family ends badly. She ends up then becoming Sutton and living her life. What I find interesting is that since Sutton is dead, we only get her opinions just on what is going on with Emma as well as what happened before Sutton died. It's almost as if when Sutton died, Emma came into being. Hmm...

It's a rather difficult read at time to see how mean, vindictive and violent teen girls can get. Not that I doubt that girls won't do this but it definitely shows that it's not always boys who are out to hurt physically. I always find it interesting at how clueless many of the adults are in situations like this and it saddens me that they have no idea what their children really are like. These kids are way spoiled and it makes me glad that I did not grow up like that. The ending leaves you hanging which is inevitable since this is going to be a series. Overall the content of the book is not as raunchy as Pretty Little Liars but at the same time, I didn't feel that particular zing. Still Shepard's writing is addictive so I know that I will be hanging around for whatever comes next.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard is published by HarperTeen (2010)

This ARC was provided by the Amazon Vine program

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011



Well it's that time of the year again! Katrina at Callapidder Days is issuing out the command to get our reading lists out and done!
I started these twice-yearly challenges because I thought it would be fun to share my love of reading with other bloggers and to push myself to read some books I might not otherwise read, or to finish some books I had started and then abandoned & stashed under my bed. I thought there were probably others out there who would appreciate the accountability and encouragement that a challenge can provide. And along the way, I discovered there were lots of people who — whether they needed the extra push or not — loved to share what they planned or hoped to read during the upcoming months.

So that’s the point of the Spring Reading Thing: sharing some reading goals with all the other participants and doing it in a way that works for you. If you want to push yourself, go for it! Or if you just want to share what you’re hoping to get around to reading before June, that works too. The most important thing is to read this spring, to enjoy it, and to share that enjoyment with others.

This year I'm doing things a bit differently than how I normally do these challenges. I usually use just my library books for the challenge, either by using what I already had checked out or getting a bunch of new ones specifically for this challenge. However, since one of my reading goals in 2011 was to read less library books in order to read more of my own books, I only have 3 books from the library checked out. Therefore my list for this challenge consists of the review books that I need to read/review from now until 6/20. Reading has slowed down a bit since starting work but I am confidant that I will be able to finish all these (and just a little more) before the end of the challenge.

My List:


Christian Fiction

The Judgment by Beverly Lewis
Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl with April Henry
The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown
Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett
Tomorrow's Garden by Amanda Cabot
Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna
A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter
Abigail's New Hope by Mary Ellis
Love Finds You in Hope, Kansas by Pamela James
The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble
The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble
Who Is My Shelter by Neta Jackson
The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healey
Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury
Look to the East by Maureen Lang
Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona by Miralee Ferrell
Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang
On Hummingbird's Wings by Lauraine Snelling
Springtime of the Spirit by Maureen Lang
Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis
Heart of Lies by Jill Marie Landis
40 by Travis Thrasher

Chick Lit

To Wish or Not to Wish by Mindy Klasky
The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James

Contemporary Fiction

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchan
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
Song of the Silk Road by Mingmei Yip
Winter Bloom by Tara Heavey
The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones
Born Under a Lucky Moon by Dana Precious
Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins

Cozy Mystery

A Stitch Before Dying by Anne Canedeo

Historical Fiction

The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey

Memoir

To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron
Big in China by Alan Paul
The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

Middle Grade

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

Non Fiction

The Women Jefferson Loved by Virginia Scharff
Codependency No More Workbook by Melody Beattie

YA

Katy's Homecoming by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Trapped by Michael Northrop
Waterfall by Lisa Bergren
The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt
Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

49 books in 3 months? Totally doable. Plus I have to write reviews for all these. That's where the fun will be. This main list is a bit bigger than my past lists BUT my final list at the end of the challenge won't be that much bigger (aka I'm not going to be reading an extra 100 books like I normally do). So it all evens out in the end.

CSN Does It Again

I really have enjoyed working with CSN Stores. The items that I've received and the customer service have been top notch. And from looking around the blogosphere, their items have received high praise from other bloggers. I can totally vouch that what I've gotten is very good quality. My bookcase is still holding up very well though it's pretty much crammed to breaking point full of books.

CSN Stores has over pretty much anything you want to look for from home decor, cookware, pets, kids, fitness and cookware. They also have some pretty sweet LCD TV Stands which I might have to consider getting for the 'rents as they finally got their first HDTV this past holiday season.


This post was written with the advance knowledge that I will be received a GC from CSN Stores to use to review an item in the future.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Movie Review: "The Kids are All Right"

Ok, I'll admit that if this movie had not been nominated for Best Picture and hadn't been showing at the Best Picture showcase, I probably wouldn't have seen it. It's just not my type of movie. That being said, I am glad however that I did see it. While it's not really my cup of tea, it was an enjoyable and thought provoking movie.

The premise of the story is that the children of a lesbian couple want to find their birth father. He was the same sperm donor to both of their mothers. The movie takes a twist on the average All-American family story by placing a same sex couple as the main parents. The writing of the movie is well done. It's funny at times (though not a comedy as the Golden Globes seems to think it is), serious and very realistic. The acting is very good especially I felt done by the teens. Joni is quite level headed and Laser is pretty much your typical teenage guy but he's a good kid. Something I found rather interesting was that when wondering what was going on with Laser and his friend, Jules and Nic's first reaction is that he might be gay. It doesn't seem to dawn on them that there might be other issues (such as drugs, which he is shown using in one scene) going on that they need to talk to him about.

The thing that stood out to me the most was that in any relationship, both people have to think about the other person and put them first. Jules has begun to feel neglected and thinks negatively of herself in comparison to Nic. Even when she tries to tell her how she feels, Nic doesn't seem to realize this and unknowingly continues to push Jules away. I'm not excusing Jules for cheating because if you make a commitment to anyone, if your word isn't good then nothing else is. However, it's understandable why she would turn to someone who did appreciate her for who she was.

I'm still baffled as to why Julianne Moore was not nominated at all for this movie. Personally I thought Jules had way more depth than Nic. If you took Jules away from the movie, then you have no story at all. I thought Moore's acting was better than Annette Bening's to be honest as well. I'm still a bit miffed that Mark Ruffalo's nomination for Best Supporting Actor took up Andrew Garfield's slot from The Social Network. However, I will admit that he was quite good in this role, different from the romantic comedy leads he usually seems to be cast in. The ending of the movie isn't 100% happy but it's very realistic.

There are several graphic sex scenes so definitely be prepared for that. Also if you are not comfortable with same sex marriages, well you probably won't be seeing this movie in the first place anyways. If you do see it, try to see it with an open mind. Because no matter who or what type of relationship you are in, the meaning is still the same.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: "The Caregiver" by Shelley Shepard Gray

Summary from BN.com: Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.

The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.

Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

As I've said in the past, Shelley Shepard Gray's Amish stories are the best ones that I've seen out there. No idealized life, very few English turns to Amish just for love and just stories about the culture and the lifestyle. This book is no different and even breaks ground with the subject matters brought forth in the book. This is the first book dealing with the Amish that I have read that deals with cancer and domestic violence IN the Amish. Both subjects seem to be taboo among other authors and I'm glad that Gray brings them into light with this book.

Lucy is the victim of an abusive husband. What makes her situation unique is that both she and her husband are Amish. I find this groundbreaking because other books dealing with the Amish tend to make their entire lifestyle to seem so peaceful and full of tranquility and that nothing from the outside world taints their community. However Gray clearly shows that the Amish are not immune from this type of behavior and Lucy's husband was just as terrible as abusive husbands from the outside world. What probably made it even more worse for her is that there was absolutely no one she could tell this to and to get any sort of help would have been really frowned upon. I ache that she had to go through all of it alone and the emotional and physical scars that it left on her.

At first I got annoyed with Lucy for making such a harsh judgment about Calvin after one single incident. Her complete 180 attitude and not even bothering to try to listen to his reason for why he did what he did got on my nerves. Then I realized that she is coming from an abusive relationship. She is wary of any sort of hints of abuse in a person's character because she fears it. I immediately changed my mind about her and began to empathize with her.

Cancer is another topic I hadn't seen mentioned in this book. Again it shows that even the Amish are not immune to the diseases that ravage the rest of the world. Mattie is very young to deal with breast cancer and it's painful to watch her have to suffer with it. Even though her faith is quite strong, there are days where she's angry and sullen which is completely normal and I am glad that Gray portrayed her in that light.

With all the heavy talk, there is still a nice romance thrown in as well. I really liked seeing Lucy and Calvin's relationship grown throughout the story. It's well done because the relationship feels to grow at a natural speed. I also really loved how much the Amish love Wal-mart. It's totally awesome to see them visiting the store and being quite comfortable with it. This is another winner from Gray and I can't wait for the next book in the series.

The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray is published by Avon Inspire (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Winner

Congrats to the winner of the Crafty Chica 2 book set:


Book Review: "The Liberation of Alice Love" by Abby McDonald

Summary from the publisher: Alice Love keeps her life (and job, and family) running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it’s just a mistake. Sadly, someone has emptied her bank account, spending her savings on glamorous trips, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe—and leaving Alice with lots of debt. As a dashing fraud investigator helps her unravel the intriguing paper trail, Alice discovers that the thief is closer to home than she ever imagined. What’s more, it seems like her alter ego’s reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along. As the little white lies begin to stack up, how far will Alice go to find the truth?

And whose life, exactly, is she fighting for?

Identity theft is a scary thing. Our identity is the most precious thing we can have and when someone takes that away from us, what really do we have left? Alice discovers that someone close to her has been using her identity, taking everything that was precious and dear to her and using it for their own good. When she investigates further into why the person did it, instead of having her questions answered she begins to wonder if the life she was leading was the best life for her or if there was another road she should have taken instead.

The part I liked best about the book was Alice's evolving relationship with her sister. They hadn't been close for most of their lives but due to events in this book they finally became the family that they should. I really found their scenes to be enjoyable to read and I wish more of the book had been focused on them. Alice's relationship with the men in this book is a bit of a roller coaster ride as she tries to discover who she really is and who she wants to be. There's quite a bit of humor and lot of British sayings and wit to be found as well.

While I enjoyed McDonald's writing and the overall story, there were some bits that did bother me. One is the obvious character of the identity thief. I absolutely hated the flippant way that they treated the entire situation and how they were so proud of what they did. They had no real remorse and deemed it an inconvenience that they were caught. Then they tried to spin it off that they were really just helping out Alice. I'm not the morality police or anything but it just made me feel very uncomfortable that there are people who just don't care about anything. The second is that I felt that Alice just let things go too easily. Once she realizes who it is, it's almost as if she gave them a freebie pass because she knew who they were. Then what she does after that just wasn't really normal in my opinion. I just got a bit annoyed with her for just accepting everything and using her situation as an excuse to better her life.

Overall though it is an engaging story. The situation that Abby finds herself in is a very real situation that could happen to any of us at any time. It made me want to be more cautious about my privacy and be on the lookout the best I can to prevent this from happening. If you enjoy chick lit, you will probably enjoy this book. I've read and enjoyed McDonald's YA books and I am looking forward to reading more of her books soon.

The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald is published by Sourcebooks Landmark (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Review: "Bathsheba" by Jill Eileen Smith

Bathsheba is a woman who longs for love. With her devout husband away fighting the king's wars for many months at a time, discontent and loneliness dog her steps—and make it frighteningly easy to succumb to King David's charm and attention. Though she immediately regrets her involvement with the powerful king, the pieces are set in motion that will destroy everything she holds dear. Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God—and David—forever?

With a historian's sharp eye for detail and a novelist's creative spirit, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the passionate and emotional story of David's most famous—and infamous—wife. Smith uses her gentle hand to draw out the humanity in her characters, allowing readers to see themselves in the three-dimensional lives and minds of people who are often viewed in starkly moralistic terms. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again.

I don't know about you but when I was growing up 2 Samuel 11 was a raunchy chapter for a kid to read. A guy is watching a woman take a bath and then he wants to sleep with her? Pretty adult stuff for a 8 year old to read. It's really funny when I look back because I always thought I'd get in trouble for reading such mature stuff even though it was in the Bible. Since then, Bathsheba has always been a character in the Bible I wanted to know more about.

I felt sorry for Bathsheba throughout the book. She really loved her first husband Uriah. Even though he was very devoted to his duty to the army, I could see that he loved her too. However, her feelings about being abandoned and not feeling loved were just, she was pretty much a war widow. It wasn't fair for the women of the time even if it was the custom. Then when the whole seduction scene takes place (which is rather tame), again her reasons for doing it are understandable. Well first off, the king has summoned her and you can't really deny the king. Two, she just wants to feel love and she's not getting that at all from her husband. It's the reason why many people end up straying away though I'm not saying that it's right of them to do so. Then her baby, the child that she has been wanting forever, ends up dying because of David's sins. I just felt like she's the victim throughout all this.

Since reading this series, David no longer holds such a high standing in my eye. Oh there's no doubt that he was a great king and he loved God very much. However, I think churches and Sunday School lessons tend to avoid the fact that he wasn't always such a good guy in terms of women or his own children. Yes there are great things that he did but I think that a good study in his faults would make him more easy to relate to with people.

While I really did enjoy learning about about Bathsheba, Abigail and Michal, I did still feel a tad disappointed when finishing up this series. The havoc among most of David's children happens with children born to him by wives that do not get their own books in this series. They are mentioned briefly and we learn a bit about them, but their stories aren't very fleshed out. I would have loved to have read about what may have really caused Amnon, Tamar and Absalom act the way that they did. If you like Biblical fiction and learning more about familiar characters from the Bible, this series is a good way to learn more about them.

Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith is published by Revell (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the series that I've reviewed
Michal (Book 1)
Abigail (Book 2)