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Category Archives: Fiction

To Get to You, by Joanne Bischof 

SUCH a sweet story. Oh my goodness. 

To Get to You is a story of forgiveness and second chances.. of starting new and giving others that opportunity as well. It’s about seeing the best in others and embracing who they are deep down rather than judging who they might appear to be at a glance.

At a glance, this story is stereotypical mohawk-wearing, skateboard-riding, former troublemaker kid-from-a-broken-home meets stereotypical sheltered, mom-reads-her-texts, Christian homeschool girl. But truly, it goes so much deeper than this. These characters are so very alive and developed… and they are their own people. Not cast from a mold. Not stereotypical. At all

Riley’s bitterness toward his long-absent dad is understandable but really tugs at the heart. When he ends up having no other option but to call his dad for help after major car trouble, Riley must confront the lack of history they have together.

An adventurous road trip story, it incorporates themes of reconciliation and sweet love. And it brought tears. Joanne Bischof gives new meaning to the word heartfelt

This book kept me wanting to keep listening to just one more chapter, it left me continually wanting to know what comes next. I’m so looking forward to finding out when the next book is coming. 

Nick Powers did an excellent job with the audio book, as he brought out the many emotions found within these pages. 

This book, for me, is reminiscent of a freshly-baked batch of homemade cookies. The kind that aren’t yet cool, the kind that you find yourself reaching for another without even looking up. Because it’s natural. This story is natural too, it’s real. 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Fiction, Joanne Bischof, YA

 

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In Between, by Jenny B Jones

In Between is both a fun and heartbreaking story. Katie is a foster child… one who will soon be aging out of the system. Written from Katie Parker’s perspective, this captivating story lets us as readers in on her innermost feelings and fears. While her choices aren’t always the best, she really just wants to love and be loved, and to replace her deepest fears with lasting hope. 

The humor in this book will bring a smile to your face. Jenny B Jones has a very upbeat and candid writing style that I truly enjoyed. As I listened to the audio version, I want to add that Reba Buhr did a fantastic job reading Katie’s story. I want to finish the series! 

This book correlates with guacamole and lime tortilla chips for me. Guacamole with some spice. The combination of flavors is just right. 

 

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If I’m Found, by Terri Blackstock 

You know that point when you get to almost the end of a book and you must keep turning pages at the speed of an airplane? That’s this book. Actually, it’s this series. (Please read If I Run before this one. While some things wrap up at the end of the individual books, you’ll miss out on the heart of the main story, because it goes way beyond these individual titles.)

If I’m Found follows Casey’s continuing flight for her life after being accused of murdering her friend. It finds her where the first book has left her… wondering where she can go that she’ll be safe for a little while. 

One of the discussion questions Terri Blackstock has included at the back of this book is, “What is the key thing about this book that will stay with you?” Discussion questions in books are kind of a hit or miss thing for me, but I really appreciated this one. The key thing that will stay with me from this book? Its emphasis on light. In the midst of so much darkness, it would be easy for Casey to focus on that, to only see the darkness of the evil surrounding her. But she sees a glimmer of light every now and then, a little reminder that she can still have hope. She is trying so desperately to embrace the fact that, though evil may put up a good facade and it may be spreading its lies, it will not win. Not in the end. 

I really contemplated what food could correlate with this book, and.. you know those energy cookie bites that are all over pinterest? Yeah.. that’s what I have to go with. This is such an energetic book. So fast-paced that sometimes you’re not sure you’re actually sitting still.

 

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The Pawn, by Steven James 

This one was a reread for me, and I have to say that it was just as good my second time through.

Steven James is one of the most talented storytellers I’ve ever encountered within the pages of a book. In-depth characters, twisty plots, complex storytelling.. all of these are major qualities in Steven James’ writing. It’s so so good. He knows how to truly captivate his readers and relate to them. Even as he writes about an FBI detective tracking serial killers.

I love that he doesn’t shy away from asking hard questions. Rather, he tackles them head-on. Many topics addressed are far from being black and white.. I really appreciate that he has the courage and takes the initiative to write these subjects and questions into his books.

The Pawn is the fast-paced story of Patrick Bowers as he sets out to catch a bad guy.. a really bad guy who thinks of the graphic murders he’s so intricately linked together as a game. Between all the dead ends Patrick faces with the case and the brick walls he finds himself up against with his teenage stepdaughter, he begins to realize that maybe he doesn’t quite have life figured out as well as he’d once thought.

This book is like a bag of barbecue potato chips. Quite addictive. Much like you find yourself reaching for another chip again and again, this tale and its intensity keep you turning page after page.

* Although the first published Patrick Bowers novel, I highly recommend reading the prequels prior to this so you get the big picture and the full effect of the mystery. I didn’t have that luxury since I read this one way before the prequels existed, but this time around I’m enjoying the opportunity to read them chronologically.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Fiction, Murder, Steven James, Suspense

 

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A Royal Christmas Wedding, by Rachel Hauck

This book is #4 in The Royal Wedding Series. While I believe it’s not crucial that you read the previous three books before reading this one, it would definitely give you more of the big picture. And really, why not read the whole series?! 🙂 

Cheery, bright, and Christmasy… A Royal Christmas Wedding is a story of love and trust… and forgiveness.

Southern girl Avery Truitt tells herself that she’s over Prince Colin of Brighton. She tells herself that, but in her most honest moments, she knows it’s not true. When she and Mama decide to spend the Christmas season in Brighton with Avery’s sister, she knows she must put a mask on, because she can’t risk letting Colin see how much she still hurts.

The old Pembroke bell rings mysteriously at the end of the Harvest Celebration, causing all of Brighton begins to buzz with questions and anticipation — will the historic tradition be brought back to life.. will whoever rang the bell for his true love marry her on Christmas morning? Who rang it.. and for whom?

Rachel Hauck has a very fun storytelling style, and the way she combines the south with royalty to create modern day fairy tales.. there’s just nobody quite like her.

I think I’d liken this book to a red velvet truffle. Small but heartwarming and sweet, it’s like a party treat – between all the softly falling snow and the dream-like beauty of Cathedral City, I almost felt like I was in a snowglobe.. except we haven’t really had snow here lately.. If you’re accustomed to judging books by their titles, you might hear this one and think it’s fluff. But it’s really not. It’s a sweet story about trusting God and others. So much depth inside this little book… while still feeling pretty light.

P.S. The epilogue is adorable. While I loved this book, the epilogue just might be my favorite part.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Christmas, Fiction, Rachel Hauck, Romance, Royalty, Wedding

 

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Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful, by Susan May Warren 

Light and romantic, this story takes place in mountainous Montana. I’ve never been there, but I find myself fascinated with stories (and pictures!) of Montana, so the setting of this novella was a bonus for me.

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful is the fun, cute, quick-moving story of Hannah and CJ and their personal struggles to find the courage inside themselves that everyone else already sees — including each other. They survive a horrific plane crash together, but in spite of their mutual attraction, they each manage to block the other from seeing how much their hearts need that connection… so they spend the following months both denying it. They surely both read more into it than was there, right? Yet they cling to their shared time online, talking as they team up to fight off zombies and save orphans in a game that gives them both false pictures of bravery.

This was my first-ever story by Susan May Warren, and I have to say, I liked it! I should probably have read the others in her Montana Fire series prior to this, but that didn’t scare me away. It was the equivalent of a cream puff. Very light, even with the struggles both main characters deal with.

Also, I listened to this via Audible, and Jackson Nickolay did a great job. I’m kind of picky about narrators, and while some of his voices for the characters (read: CJ’s little sister, for one..) weren’t exactly on my top favorites list, overall I really enjoyed his reading and voices.

(This is a novella. Mine says it’s the extended edition… I don’t really know what is extended, but I’m guessing that maybe the non-extended version doesn’t have the epilogue. And if that’s the case, make sure you read the extended one. Because you’ll be missing out if you don’t!) 

 
 

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Every Crooked Path, by Steven James 

*Please make sure to read this post to the end.

Stunned. That’s what this book did to me. It stunned me. And it made my heart ache.

Every Crooked Path is the most difficult Steven James book I’ve read. Judging from the author’s note in the first pages, it’s also the hardest one he’s ever written. The fact that it is an almost 600-page book dealing with crimes involving child predators makes it naturally very hard to read, and yet Steven James said that while he had an incredibly hard time writing it, he knew it needed to be written. And honestly, it needs to be read. We live in a world filled with increasing evil, and it’s just all too easy to ignore that in favor of living in bliss. But it doesn’t work that way.

As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

And that, I believe, is why this book needed to be written and why it needs to be read. We just can’t afford to ignore the evil surrounding us. This world cannot survive us living in blindness to evil.

Every Crooked Path tells the story of FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers as he’s on the path of child abductors, molesters, killers. It seems that the more he discovers in this case, the less he actually knows… because things keep getting more complex. Trusting people becomes a deadly risk.

On a lighter note, Patrick spends his free time getting to know Christie and her daughter, Tessa… which I really liked. It added another dimension to this story that I hadn’t realized was coming, as (prior to beginning reading) I had thought this book was chronologically taking place closer to the time Opening Moves ended.

Having pondered for the past several days, I’ve decided to compare this one with vegetables being eaten by a child. The stereotypical picture. They don’t want to eat their vegetables… and yet they need to.

There was one word in this book that I didn’t expect to find in a Steven James book; I think it’s a reflection of how intense this kind of crime is, how it rips at our hearts and tears up everything inside us knowing that this stuff is happening. 

Honestly, this is a very good book; it’s just difficult to read. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.