Saturday, August 31, 2013

Semi-Book Review: Words by Ginny Yttrup

It's been a month of Sundays since my last book review, and unfortunately, there's no plans to resume them any time soon.  :o(  However, I did want to take a moment to share about a book I read recently.  :o)

I've had the pleasure of reading two books by Ginny Yttrup--Lost and Found and now, Words.  The latter book I finished a couple of weeks ago, and I've had trouble getting it out of my mind.  I won't give away any spoilers except to say the subject matter was one that Ginny experienced personally, and knowing that it was a personal connection to her childhood brought tears to my eyes.

I loved the realness of Words.  I loved getting a deeper meaning of some words that I've used all along, but how they can mean other things in different, uglier circumstances.  I allowed myself to naively wonder how God can allow such horrible things to happen, but then allowed myself to take note of how he heals us after we've been scarred.  Ginny's books reveal man's ugly human nature, but also about the God of the universe that washes away all of our sins.

For those that have never read Ginny's books, let me warn you ahead of time that hers are deep, emotional books.  I happened to read her second book first, and there were no words to describe the way it made me feel.  It was good, but difficult for me personally and the place I was in spiritually at that time.

So, not really a book review, per se...just my thoughts about a talented author and her very first novel.  :o)

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A link to more info about Words.

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Many thanks to B&H Publishing for supplying a copy of Words.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Review: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd/4 Stars

About the book:

From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court. Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.


My thoughts: 

It's been several weeks now since I read Roses Have Thorns, and I'm ashamed to say that I've struggled with writing my review of this book. Sandra is not only a great author, but someone that I now think of as a friend. Perhaps that's why I've...um...slightly avoided writing a review of RHT because I didn't connect with it the way I'd hoped I would.

Compared to the other two books in the Ladies in Waiting series, this novel features a Queen rather than the wife of a king. That alone took some getting used to because, as a reader, I wasn't accustomed to being that close to the decisions made by a leader of a country since the first two books were not told from that viewpoint. However, I felt that I learned a great deal more about the political intrigue that must've been rampant at that time, as well as the willingness of Elizabeth I to be totally and completely devoted to her country rather than finding a husband.

I enjoyed Helena as the viewpoint for the story because she seemed to be a woman with a smart head on her shoulders, and knew when she should speak her opinion and when she should keep silent. While I didn't expect things to turn out the way they did for Helena in regards to marriage, I did appreciate the reality shown here that marriage is not always wedded bliss, and "happily ever after" rarely occurs despite our dreams for such.

But as a whole, there just seemed to be something missing. The only thing I can really attribute it to is lack of emotion. As we all know, Queen Elizabeth never married, but did have one gentleman she was fond of. Because of her devotion to her throne and to England, she squelched her desire to explore anything further with him, and from that point forward, seemed to be "all business." Also, there seemed to be a repetition that I've never experienced in one of Sandra's reads, and as a result, it took me longer to finish RHT than it did to finish To Die For and The Secret Keeper combined.

It pains me to no end that this was not as enjoyable of a read for me because Sandra has been one of my favorite authors for many years now, and this is the first book that hasn't received 5 stars from me. By no means will it stop me from reading more of her books, and I think I'll look back on this one as a blip on the radar because I know she's got more great books in store. :o)

4 Stars

**Many thanks to the author for providing a copy for review.

 

Friday, March 29, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: Threads of Hope by Christa Allen

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Hope
Abingdon Press (March 1, 2013)
by
Christa Allan
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa is a writer of not your usual Christian Fiction. She weaves stories of unscripted grace and redemption with threads of hope, humor, and heart. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a brand new retired teacher. She and her husband Ken live in New Orleans with their three cats and do their best to dodge hurricanes.

And, since she is not fond of writing about herself in third person, she asked her oldest daughter to contribute. Like her mother, Erin is not at a loss for words…


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O’Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the “soft” stories she despises—covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God’s plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Hope, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CFBA Blog Tour: The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Survivor, go HERE.