Monday, September 24, 2012

The River by Michael Neale

The River by Michael Neale is an absolutely fabulous book.  It is amazing to know that it is Mr. Neale’s 1st novel.  The River tells the story of Gabriel Clarke’s life from the age of 5 when he lost his dad to a tragic accident on The River in Colorado.  His dad died saving the life of a person trapped upside down in his kayak.   Gabriel has relived that day all his life and this has frightened him from really living his life.  Gabriel was sent to live with his mother in Cairo, Kansas.  He has a very good though poor life with his mother and she helps him deal with his fears the best she can.  His fears hold him back from trying things that he wants to do in and with his life.  He always remembers his father telling him, “Us Clarkes are made for The River.”  At the age of 20 his best friend Jimmy, who is on a break from Kansas University invites him on a trip with some of his friends.  This trip is a trip to the mountains in Colorado.  Gabriel decides to go even though he is afraid and this is a decision which changes his life. 
The River is great novel and it’s a good thing it says so on the front cover since it reads so much like real life.  I couldn’t put it down except to wipe my tears when I couldn’t read the words.  I think everyone should read it.  I don’t usually read author’s first books but I am so glad I made an exception.  I anxiously await his next book.  This book could and should be made into a movie for all those who don’t read books as this story needs to be told.  Thank you for writing such a great book, Mr. Neale.
This book was provided for this review by Booksneeze.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen

The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen
Macy and her 5 year old daughter, Emma have been on their own with help from Macy’s Mom, Brenda and brother, Max since Emma was just an infant.  Macy has been haunted by pictures a boy about her age drew back and forth to each other during every beach vacation her family took from when she was Emma’s age until her father died at age 16.  Her family took one more vacation that next year and at that time Macy wrote a note telling the young artist she would not meet him as he had requested.  The next 10 years she has spent regretting that she did not have the courage.  Brenda has decided it is time to go back and take a family vacation.  Right after the family arrive Macy walks out on the beach and prays that God will lead her to the artist of her childhood.  Three men walk into her life.  All seem to be possibilities.  All seem to be good men and Emma likes the 3 also.  What will Macy do?
I liked this story.  Macy learns that the God of her childhood is also the God of her adulthood.  She learns to place trust in The Artist who has designed what the other artists try to copy.  She learns that she has more strength than she thought to choose a man and father for her child more wisely this time around.  She learns that all 3 men have great characteristics and to enjoy them all in a nonromantic way before asking them what she most wants to know but is afraid to ask.  Are you the artist?
I received this book from Zondervan for this review.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof is the first book in the Cadence of Grace series.  Lonnie Sawyer is a 17 year old girl growing up in the Appalachian hill.  Her family is poor and so are most of those around her.  She comes from a Christian background and she clings to this quiet faith throughout her growing up years.  Her father has always been an abusive drunk especially to her and her mother.  One evening she attends a gathering and meets a musician named Gideon.  She allows him to kiss her and her father sees it.  With threats from her father Lonnie and Gideon are forced into a marriage that neither of them want.  Gideon who comes from an equally poor family is frustrated by this turn of event and wants to start out clean.  He and Lonnie start out on foot away from the only home they have ever known, Rocky Knob to try to get work in the city of Stuart where he has word that they have jobs.
This is a good book.  Ms Bischof states that she tries to remain true to the times of growing up in the Appalachians.  This is a historical book though I could not figure out when but it would have had to be back quite some time as there is talk of working for $2 a week.  It talks of a hard life and how Lonnie remains true to her faith in God through all her difficulties.  Neither Gideon nor Lonnie is perfect by any means but she teaches by observing her that Gideon’s life is only made better by faith in Jesus.  Good read can be read by all ages.
I was provided this book by Waterbrook Multnomah for this review.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling.  Whispers in the Wind is the 2nd in the Wild West Wind Series by Ms Snelling after Valley of Dreams.  In this installment Cassie Lockwood and her family of friends from the Wild West Show finally find the hidden valley in South Dakota.  Her father was half owner in the ranch and had always dreamed of returning to the ranch to live.  She finds Mavis who with her family owns the other half of the farm and had been keeping it a secret from her children who were under the impression that the ranch would theirs someday.  Jealousies and suspiciousness abound as these two families learn about each other.  Cassie learns to live off the land and the Engstoms learn to trust the new relationship.
I liked this book but did not love it like I thought that I would.  It tells the story of Bar E Ranch and Cassie and the Engstrom’s finding each other.  This book tells the story and it is more interesting than ordinary life but there is no completion of a diffident plot throughout the book.  The mystery of whether it is possible to reopen the gold mine is still a mystery at the end.  Will Cassie and the eldest, Ransom Engstrom learn to trust and like each other as partners is still uncertain at the end.  It is obviously a part of a series and really can’t stand alone.
This book was provided for this review by Bethany House which is a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Reason by William Sirls

The Reason by William Sirls. Lightning strikes the cross on the lawn of a small country church in a little town in Michigan.  This strike not only frightens the 3 people who are inside cleaning the church but cuts the huge cross to half its size and there is no insurance to pay for its repair.  The little 5 year old in the church with his mother will soon be diagnosed with a very aggressive leukemia.  The oncologist who is soon to be taking this case is one of the best in pediatric oncology and her skill is above reproach.  Each one of the characters as they pray for assistance hears “only believe”.  It is seen in the graffiti on a train going by.  They all have the same question why?  Why me? Why my son? Why Why Why?  But the answer is also the same—only believe.
Great novel Mr. Sirls!  I was so moved by this book.   This book is a novel, it is a retelling of parts of the Gospel, and it is a love story all rolled into one.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  I laughed and I cried. Sometimes I had to stop reading because I couldn’t see through my tears.  I would recommend reading this book to anyone who enjoys reading Christian novels.    
I received this book from Booksneeze for this review.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher

Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher
Belonging by Robin Lee Hatcher is about a young woman, Felicia, in 1897 getting her first job at the age of 26 as the local one room school teacher in Frenchman’s Bluff, Idaho.  She had been educated to teach for 10 years but had been caring for her aging parents until their death just recently.   Teaching school was her greatest dream.  She has no money and she cannot afford to fail at this new teaching assignment but more than that she wants to fulfill the children’s dreams that only an education can provide.  The family who raised her may have not loved her but they had provided her with the best education that money could buy.  She has decided that her life has been governed by others but that now she is in charge of her own destiny and she is grateful for all her blessings and does not intend to get tied down by marriage.   That is until she meets Colin, the local merchant.
Belonging is a well written Christian love story.  Ms Hatcher has weaved a good plot into the story of settling the west in Idaho.    I found this story hard to put down.    I liked this book and would recommend it to all readers of good fiction. 
This e-book was provided by Zondervan for this review.