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Book Review: The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner

The Girl in the Glass

This may just be the best book I’ve read this year. And I’ve already checked out two more of her books from the library.

Susan Meissner is an incredible writer. Her characters have depth. The story isn’t predictable. The setting of Florence comes alive. From the first page, I knew I was reading the work of a great writer and the entire book was a joy to read.

I loved the main character and the real life struggles she faced–being disappointed by people around her, not knowing if she can trust her own feelings, and trying to make everyone in her life happy. Through all of this, Meg is also overwhelmed by the beauty of Florence and the breathtaking artwork that came out of the Italian Renaissance. Every aspect of the story comes together beautifully.

I will be reading every book by Susan Meissner that I can get my hands on. Someday, I also hope to sit in one of her writing classes. For now I’ll learn all I can from her works.

This is a five-star book easily. A+!

Thank you Water Brook for giving me this copy to review.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

Need You Now

This is a book that really encompasses character change. The main character, Darlene, started out as someone I couldn’t relate to. She was completely blind to her family’s problems and seemed to be purposefully naive to her kids’ struggles in particular. She allowed friends of the opposite gender in her teenaged boy’s room alone, let other friends in her kids’ room to spend time with them alone before she got to know them, and just hoped they weren’t doing anything they shouldn’t. Yikes! Talk about Pollyanna!

I related much better to one of the secondary characters, Layla. She was Darlene’s gritty neighbor who ran her own ranch. But she was on the bitter side of life, and Darlene was able to help her with it. And thankfully after a few life circumstances and the help of Layla, Darlene started to wise up herself. The author brought some great character change to Darlene and took her from naive mom to a mom with a little spunk, who would do anything to help her kids.

I’m glad I hung in there with Darlene to see her eyes open and her spirit change. Every female protagonist needs a little spunk to keep things interesting!

Great read! It covered many issues that teens are facing today and issues that parents are facing as well.

Thank you to the publisher for giving me this book to review.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal

What an extraordinary story! I enjoyed reading about the miraculous events in Mary’s life and what God taught her through them. And more than what God taught her – how he transformed her.

These events in Mary’s life, including seeing heaven and coming back to earth, prepared her for the work she still needed to do on earth and also prepared her for other things she would go through.

There were some doctrinal issues in the book that I disagree with, but for the most part, I was encouraged by Mary and what she has to say in the book. It certainly helped me to remember that miraculous events still happen and that they are all around us. We will see them if we just open our eyes and look.

Great book! Four stars from me.

Thank you to the publisher for giving me this copy to review.

 

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Book Review: Named by God by Kasey Van Norman

I really enjoyed this book. Kasey is amazingly open and honest. She tells her story of finding God and finding forgiveness. But also speaks of terrible judgmental attitudes of those around her–people she used to call friends.

Kasey is encouraging to anyone who has sin in their lives (which would be every human living today) and illustrates beautifully how God fully forgives and uses our weakness for his purpose.

Book description: In many ways, Kasey Van Norman has suffered more heartbreak than one woman can bear. Growing up, she endured her parents’ divorce, date rape, and years of addiction to sex, cutting, and eating disorders. As an adult, Kasey has endured a painful miscarriage; the heartbreak (and restoration) of infidelity; a cancer diagnosis; rejection by her friends, church, and community; and her mother’s death from cancer. But at the end of this twisting path of sorrow, Kasey walked out of the wilderness and into a place of God’s merciful and miraculous healing and redemption. In Named by God, Kasey shares her story of God’s infinite grace and compassion so that others might learn from her experience as they encounter a depth of Jesus like never before!

Thank you to the publisher for providing this copy for review.

 

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Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

wedding dress, rachel hauckIt took me a very long time to read this book (between entertaining my 4-year-old and getting my own work done), but I’m glad I kept at it.

For the most part, I really liked the book. I enjoyed the modern day story. The historical part of the book (which I didn’t realize was going to be a storyline before I started reading it) took me a little longer to get into, but it’s just because I prefer modern stories over historical ones. It all ended up being really good though.

The story of the life of the wedding dress was great. What I didn’t like was that it seemed to have powers. That didn’t work for me. And I’m not sure what to think of the guy in purple who seemed to span a hundred years and not change. I’m thinking he was supposed to represent God. If that’s the case, I’m a little uncomfortable with that as well. I don’t think God should be portrayed as a weirdo with bad fashion sense.

Other than those two things, I thought the book was a good read. The character of Charlotte was great (although her name and the historical character’s name got accidentally switched a couple of times in the book). I would give the book 3.5 stars. The things that keep it from being a 5 for me are the two things mentioned in the above paragraph and the ending was a little hokey, and unrealistic. But I have a feeling, the author wasn’t going for realistic in this book. It lies a little more on the fantastic side of things.

Thank you to the publisher for providing this ebook for review.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Heaven Is for Real for Kids by Todd, Sonja, and Colton Burpo

Colton burpo, todd burpo, sonja burpo, boy who went to heaven, heaven is for real, heaven experience

I have a four-year-old daughter who loves to learn, so I thought this book that is written from a child’s point of view about heaven would be great for her. And I was right. She loved every bit of it.

The book is only about 20 pages long. The chapters are very short. I told her I was going to read one chapter each day to her. Well, that didn’t’ happen. When I was finished with the first chapter, she asked me to read the next one, and the next one after that. And before I knew it, I had read the whole book to her, including the questions and answers at the end, in one sitting. She loved it!

What I love about the book is that it tells of Colton’s experience of going to heaven and seeing Jesus seated at the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit seated on the left. He describes everything he saw in heaven and the people he met there, and it sounds absolutely wonderful. The best part about it is that it all aligns with Scripture as well.

I love his description of Jesus, and the painting of Jesus’ face in his book is amazing. All of the other pictures that illustrate what Colton saw in heaven really help kids to picture what he describes as well.

I give this high marks. It’s a great book! My daughter and I will probably read it many more times.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Kids Books and Bibles

 

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Book Review: Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Mercy come morning, lisa tawn bergren, lisa t. bergren, New mexico fiction, taos fiction, new mexico novel, taos novel, letting go, alzheimers story, christian romance

This book was previously published as Christmas Every Morning in 2002, so if you’ve read that book, you’ll want to pass on this one.

But if you haven’t, you must read this one. I am always in awe when an author can get deep down with the characters so the reader can truly relate on a heart level. The book was almost like a therapy session on letting go and focusing on the positive. What a great message!

The setting was also interesting to me – Taos, New Mexico. It was fun reading about the traditions and character of the small town. With all of the dancing and celebrating that was inherent to the area, the place felt like another character in the story.

One thing I noticed that was confusing – on page 14 it mentioned late spring snow, but it was December. But the rest of the book was great. There was an air of joy even in the midst of losing a loved one. The main character grew through difficult circumstances to make changes where she needed to in order to become more healthy and focus on healthy relationships.

Thank you Waterbrook Press for giving me this eBook for review.

Highly recommended!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Your 100 Day Prayer by John I. Snyder

Your 100 Day Prayer, John I. Snyder, John Snyder, book review, devotional for crisis, devotional for crises, devotionalThis book has been a great help for me. It is really speaking to the circumstances we are going through. The daily devotional and prayer has helped me keep my thoughts and emotions focused on what God is doing through everything that is going on in our life.

Your 100 Day Prayer is good for anyone who is going through a transition or a difficult time. It will help you to know how to pray and grow in faith and trust in God as you are journeying through tough life realities.

The book focuses on growing closer to God through difficulties instead of just getting through them. Seeing your current situation through eyes of faith instead of feeling abandoned. Knowing that God is in control of everything and has a purpose for what you are going through. Thriving spiritually in tough times instead of sinking into despair.

I’ve been reading it daily and keeping a prayer journal based on the prayer for each day, and I’ve really been gaining encouragement from it. The doctrine is solid and agrees with Scripture. It is well-written, and I would highly recommend it – and even go so far as to say that it is a must for people who are going through rough waters. I would put this in the same category as Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It really turns your thinking around and can be highly influential on your spiritual life if you let it sink in to your heart. Great book!

Thank you Thomas Nelson for sending me this ebook for review.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Devotional Book Reviews

 

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Book Review: Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

find our way home, charlene ann baumbich, ballet novel, ballet fictionI read the previous book in this series (Divine Appointments), so I was excited when I saw this one. It was nice to get a glimpse into a professional dancer’s life and what happens when they are hurt and have to leave the profession. I loved the characters and the differences in their personalities. Sasha (the dancer) is small and quiet; Evelyn is tall and loud, but they compliment each other nicely.

I have to say I liked the previous book better. I think the characters and story were more real somehow. But this was a nice read. It covered depression, bad relationships, stubbornness, and a lot of other things that we all go through. The author did a great job of showing how God can get us to change the way we see things. The book did tend to have a little superstition in it. I would have liked to see more Holy Spirit as opposed to a snow globe with powers. But there were aspects of God in the book. Evelyn brought God’s grace to light when Sasha really needed it.

For the most part, the book is well-written and enjoyable to read. Thank you Ms. Baumbich for another great book in this series.

Thank you to Water Brook Press for sending me this copy to review.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

Wrapped in Rain, Charles Martin, Alabama, Jacksonville florida, clopton, resolving anger, forgiving, forgivenessI read this as an ebook on my phone. It’s very different reading a book this way, but it wasn’t bad. This was my first ebook, and it was a lot better than I was expecting. Of course, I did miss the feel of the book, turning pages, and knowing how far I’ve gotten in the book without having to tap a few buttons.

As for the book itself, it was a good look at how anger and hatred can build in someone over a lifetime and how God can help someone let go and live a healthy life. There were some odd scenes in the book that really weren’t needed – like the gas station attendant, the weird customer scene at Clark’s, and a few others I won’t mention. But, apart from those scenes, I really liked the rest of the book. I enjoyed how we are taken back in time to really understand why Tucker and Mutt are the way they are and why they do certain things.

I loved the character of Miss Ella. She did seem to be a little too perfect, but since she is deceased, it might be appropriate. Sometimes when we have lost someone, we make them into these perfect people that no one else will ever live up to. Miss Ella’s voice in Tucker’s head seemed to be his own conscience, and what lived in his conscience is everything that she taught him. Makes me want to be more like her.

This is a good book. It is full of inner turmoil and is driven by relationships. Just the kind I love! Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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