Category Archives: Reviews

Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet (Su, Rorick)

I haven’t posted reviews lately because of school and parenting, but narrowing down my activities to these essentials is cutting down the amount of stress, so it’s worth taking a hiatus. Still reading, though, and I discovered this book recently at a public library booksale. I never did finish the series of videos on YouTube, but I remembered them being super entertaining, and had to snag the book.

This retelling of Pride and Prejudice was really good! There were a few modern changes I didn’t like, but you won’t make every reader happy, now, will you? Lizzie and Darcy and company are still there in the new details, and it was worth my time to reacquaint myself with them in this updated setting.

The writing pulls you in, and each personality shines through whether their phrasing is completely modern or just slightly tweaked from Jane Austen’s original wording. And the format of a diary works fairly well, though I might have imagined I’d tire of it and want to grab a regular first-person novel instead. (The format didn’t work for me with Dracula, for instance. Didn’t seem believable to remember huge sections of dialogue word-for-word to write out later, and I suppose the character penning the diary wasn’t as engaging as Lizzie, perhaps evidenced by the fact that I don’t even recall who it was now!)

I really have to get to the videos soon, and get another fix of modern Lizzie and Darcy! I miss them already!

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Review: Troubled Waters (Susan May Warren)

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Hooray, a new Montana Rescue book came out today! The copy I ordered for my church library arrived at the beginning of December (sweet!) and I read it first before labelling, stamping and shelving it. (The perks of being the librarian? Or just part of the job so I can recommend the book with in-depth knowledge of its contents? I’ll take either one.)

How does Troubled Waters stand up to the rest of this thrilling series? Really well! The story moved at a good pace with a great mix of action, realistic and interesting dialogue (one element in fiction that I’m super-picky about) and also the characters’ reflections and conclusions about their relationships and circumstances.

I’d been waiting for Ian and Sierra to sort things out since the prequel for this series, and it was well worth having the couple mostly in the background of the other stories until their turn came around. I’m so pleased with the way Warren constructed a tangled web of circumstances, choices and assumptions and then managed to make a satisfying love story out of them. It’s not a coincidence that I’m reminded of the way that God takes the broken and messy in our lives, works His wonderful ways and creates beauty. This is one reason I keep coming back to Warren’s writing!

The next book in the series will arrive this summer, so there’s plenty of time to catch up on Montana Rescue, Montana Fire, and the rest of Warren’s excellent writing. Check with me if you need direction!

About the story:

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants–except a happy ending. Or at least that’s what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra’s relationship.

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Review: Rooted in Love (Valerie Comer)

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It was a treat to immerse myself in Arcadia Valley recently with Comer’s excellent and thought-provoking writing. This is the second novel in the Garden Grown Romance series, though it could be read on its own as well.

I particularly enjoyed that Comer took on the challenge of writing about divorce and remarriage from a Christian viewpoint. Due to my own experiences, I wanted so much to walk through Alaina and Cameron’s growing relationship and their struggle with what an imperfect background means for a couple striving to do life God’s way. It was well-handled as a serious issue not to be glossed over, and felt very real but not too heavy a load for the plot to carry.

Meanwhile, there were Cameron’s very active twin boys. I loved them so much! Like my own boys, they came across as full of energy, needing to be valued by the adults around them, and capable of great love in return. Comer always has the ability to make me love the children in her stories!

This book is definitely a great read you shouldn’t miss. You can also check out more of Arcadia Valley with other authors writing in this great setting – I’ve started Elizabeth Maddrey’s series and it’s a good one too!

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Review: Better Than a Crown (Valerie Comer)

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Book Three of the Christmas in Montana series was so good! I enjoyed seeing another Miss Snowflake competition come together, this time told through Heather and Levi’s behind-the-scenes experiences. Their shared time also included caring for Levi’s niece Shelby, who stole the spotlight every time she appeared. Loved her!

Other highlights of the tale (in random order to avoid spoilers): the symphony, brownies (yum!), a fancy restaurant, and two adorable Chinese girls!

Check out the entire series and enjoy all the excitement in Helena, Montana!

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Review: Crisis Shot (Janice Cantore)

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Janice Cantore’s new series (The Line of Duty) starts with a setting change from her recent books, moving the main character from California to rural Oregon. Cantore does well with the different setting, proving that she can set a suspenseful tale anywhere she chooses. Unfortunately, Tess O’Rourke seemed slightly one-dimensional for the first half of the story. More interesting for me was the pastor in the small town, and it was his part in the tale that caused me to want to continue reading. By the end of the book, however, I wanted another story with Tess to be waiting for me. She had progressed to a more realistic and intriguing personality than I felt had been there in the beginning, so perhaps I simply needed to let Cantore do her work and reveal Tess as the plot progressed.

I look forward to what Cantore has in store for her readers next!

Book description: Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

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Review: Enjoy! (Joyce & Clifford Penner)

I can’t wait until this book’s release and must tell you about it immediately! I’ll repost my review in September to get more folks aware of it. Seriously, you’re going to want this book!

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I’m so excited about this book! The authors work in the field of sexual therapy, so they know their stuff after years of treating couples and helping them through tough times. And I loved how they included the science of what’s going on with different aspects of intimacy. For a long time, I thought I was more of a language nerd and science was just okay, but at this point in my life, I’m finding that I love scientific explanations for everyday topics that may have seemed confusing and mysterious, plus I just like learning all the cool ways God designed us. Side note: This book is written by Christians, but I believe its content will be useful for everyone.

The book addresses all sorts of issues with intimacy, but its main point is reflected by the title Enjoy! Listen up, everyone, because sex is meant for women to enjoy, and if you don’t know how to do that, this book will break it down and help you discover why. Fascinating and practical knowledge!

Though I’m a single mum now and don’t know what the future holds, I wanted to read this book to understand more – about my past, my present and whatever comes in the future. The days of being ignorant are gone for me, and the authors have helped me pinpoint things that I would do differently and how I would maintain a healthy attitude toward sex in marriage. When I read about dating and marriage, I’m looking to be prepared, which I don’t feel I was the first time around. Thank you to the Penners for their contribution to this period of healing!

Book description: Do you want a stronger, more exciting sex life with your husband? As a married woman, you have the power to increase sexual fulfillment for you and your husband—if you aren’t stymied by false assumptions about a wife’s role in sex.

In Enjoy: The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner dispel assumptions that can keep women from accepting and expressing their God-given sexuality in marriage. After more than forty years as sex therapists and educators, the Penners have learned what helps couples build lasting, mutually enjoyable sex in marriage. Their knowledge is culled from the stories of thousands of individuals and couples who sought help with frustrations and have found relief and mutual fulfillment.

In this book they share step-by-step, practical ways for wives to move from duty and disappointment to pleasure and fulfillment. Learn how the woman’s biblical role for sex in marriage is to pursue all of who she is sexually and share her sexuality with her husband, which will, in turn, increase his satisfaction.

Be empowered as a woman to embrace your sexuality and find deeper enjoyment with your husband. This title is a companion to The Married Guy’s Guide to Great Sex, also by the Penners.

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Review: You Can Do This (Tricia Lott Williford)

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I wanted to like this book, and definitely did enjoy the personality shining through from the author. I think it would be great to meet for tea and chat about our life experiences and dreams and such…

However, there was something missing in this book. At times I wondered if it had really come from Tyndale or from a mainstream publisher – the message so often appeared to be about what I must do rather than what God is doing or wants to be doing in my life if I’d just get out of the way already. Though there are biblical references at the end of the book, I couldn’t feel them as I read through it.

I want life advice that obviously comes from Scripture and is backed by it, not modern wisdom with the Bible as afterthought. That may not be at all what the author intended me to feel as I read it, but the fact still remains that I was left wanting more – a message with far more hope, one that doesn’t depend on what I can accomplish, but what God achieves in the human heart that is surrendered to Him.

Book description:

Our culture as a whole, and often the Christian culture in particular, discourages confidence in women. Tricia Lott Williford explores how confidence and self-awareness can be a path toward stronger and richer faith. She offers stories and strategies to inspire and lead women to develop the confidence to stand firm in the face of the blows, losses, and disappointments in life.

Readers of this book will think, laugh, and gain confidence to do what is set before them. They will feel hopeful, courageous, strengthened, encouraged, present, and confident. And finally, readers will be equipped to implement simple strategies to inspire contagious confidence in themselves and others.

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