Posted in Book reviews, Tyndale House

“The Masterpiece” by Francine Rivers ~ Book Review

 

 

Review copy from Tyndale Publishers 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
About the Book:
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

My Thoughts:
 
I may not have read  all of Francine River’s books, but I know that, by picking up one of hers, I will be guaranteed an excellent and deeper read.
Right from page one, I was drawn into “The Masterpiece”, and was not keen to stop when life required it. ;)
It is such a realistic read, with real struggles. The author doesn’t tip-toe around the harsher things in life. And yet she still weaves it in a tasteful way.
Both main characters, Roman and Grace, suffered pretty horrible and traumatic childhoods. And our childhood does shape us into how we deal with life as an adult. I feel that it was portrayed very well in this book. Reading about their trauma’s was heart-wrenching. I felt for these characters as if they were real people.
The message of Christ was also very realistically and beautifully shown. It was very poignant, and touching.  I also liked the morals Grace upheld, even when it was difficult. Yes, she’s made mistakes, but all Christians do.  And in everything, she still fought to keep God at the forefront.
Roman’s journey was an important one. I was so happy to see his conclusion, and the things God brought him to. Very cool.
Despite that this is a bigger book, I actually think there could have been a bit more at the end – I wasn’t quite ready for it to come to its finish. However, it was nicely done. Just wanted more, as you do with many a good book. :)
One small thing that kind of bugged me was some of the ways Grace raised her son, Samuel – she was an excellent mother, but she didn’t have a problem leaving him with people she didn’t know after moving to a new place, or letting him cry because he was apart from her, etc. I realize that these are just different parenting-things and different views, however, it is also true that leaving our children to people we do not know, could result in abuse.  That wasn’t included in this book, but it bothers me when people are casual about leaving children in unknown situations. As well as the fact that society (even churches) push parents to leave their kids with others.
Otherwise Grace was a very loving mother.
The graffiti-art aspect of this novel was terrific. I found it very fascinating, and the whole thing just worked together greatly.
I very much enjoyed this novel. :) It was a very powerful book that I look forward to reading again!
*This book is geared more for mature-readers. As I said, the author doesn’t skirt certain issues. Topics of abuse, death, sex, etc. are involved.
Posted in animals, Books, Questions/answers, Random babblings, update, Writing

Artsy?

Hi peoples. I feel like I’ve kind of disappeared from my blog for a bit…but I guess, honest moment: it happens frequently.

Today I have  mainly a question. First, are any of you people crafty? Like, do you have loads of washi-tape and paper-items, and pens, glitter, glue, etc.? I need to talk to you. Where do you store it, and how do you store it? I’m just looking for some tips and would love to talk about such stuff. One of the places I am happiest is sitting at my desk surrounded by my paper-y-craft stuff. I’ve got about 100 rolls of washi-tape (including decorative ducktape – don’t judge me. XD I have saved up for this stuff, and gotten some as gifts. <3), stationary up the wazoo, pens and pencils and markers, glitter and glitter glue of many variations, and more stuff. Paper stuff makes me happy. :D But the problem is storing it, and keeping it easily accessible. I keep my washi-tapes in a pretty box, and most of my stationary in likewise pretty boxes/folders, and then keep these things on two small bookshelves, but they’re overflowing. I don’t even have enough penpals to keep up with my love of decorating letters/envelopes (I think this partly has to do with the fact that most penpalers my age are married, or busy in college, or something along those lines).

I’d show pictures, but…let’s just say me and our camera don’t get along too swimmingly and…yeah.

I’m not actually too concerned about my mess, but I am interested to see how other people organize they’re craft items! :) So, share away, and if you have pictures, I’d love to see. I don’t know if you can share pictures in comments? If not, you could always email them to me (go to my ‘contact me’ page). :)

On another subject, April 15th is quickly approaching!!! Do you know what that means?? The writing contest!!

 

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I also have more posts I want to do…like one about something HTTYD related…not promising anything though, because life gets busy, as it has been lately.

I’ve been taking care of a cute little girl on some days, feeding neighbour’s animals every day (they have baby sheep!!! *Sigh* so cute!!), and just trying to get life-y things accomplished, all while trying to stay on top of my Reading List that just keeps growing. I should have some reviews coming up, God-willing!

But I shall leave off for now. Happy Saturday, and may you enjoy a weekend of rest!

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse, Reviews, Writing

Litfuse Review: “Shadowed by Grace” by Cara C. Putman

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Title: “Shadowed by Grace” #1 of Monuments of Men/I’ll be Seeing You series
Author: Cara C. Putman
Number of Pages: 341
My Rating (0-5): 3.5

Book description:

She found peace in a time of war.

Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

My Review:

First let me say, the cover is beautiful. I know we’re not to ‘judge a book by it’s cover’, but I’m afraid I do that on occasion. :) And this book cover just claims my attention.
Next, I need to also mention that as an author (unpublished) myself, I know how much of yourself, you put into your stories, and how much you love them, no matter what anyone else says. I felt like I could see just how much Mrs. Putman cherished this story of hers. I, personally, felt like you could detect that in “Shadowed by Grace” and I appreciated that.
I am still contemplating all my thoughts on this book. It stuck with me, which if a book is boring or uninteresting to me, it won’t stay with me. But I will be honest and say that I had a bit of a hard time really getting into the book. Some parts just didn’t grab my attention and keep it there.
The idea of the book is great – the setting is fantastic, the realness is good, and the characters are marvelous. But it lacked something, in my opinion. The story itself wasn’t as great as I was hoping for. That doesn’t mean that someone else won’t love it though. In fact, I think many would greatly enjoy it, especially if they love art. I, however, have never really been interested in art, and therefore didn’t enjoy it quite as much.
I really liked the characters, though. Rachel specifically. She was very real. All the characters were well built-up.
I didn’t mind the romance – I actually thought it was at a pretty okay level for the most part. Some books focus mainly on the romance and it is heavily played out in the book, but that wasn’t the case in “Shadowed by Grace” and I appreciated that. I think that at some points the kissing was a little much, and they kind of jumped into a relationship between the two main characters, but I also think that it was a bit more believable because of the war.
Mrs. Putman, you can tell, did a lot of research for this book. That made it very real and believable.
This book wasn’t a favourite for me, but there was something about it that ‘sparked’. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. Besides the story itself, there is something in the pages that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I really liked. Something that got in my head and settled there. The book continued to play out in my head even after I finished it. There’s a certain curiosity with it – between the words -that I loved; something written between the lines.
Sometimes I loved the style of writing, and sometimes it confused me, but overall I liked how the author wrote how she wanted to. I think an author has a right to write how they want and I saw that in this book.
The message of God’s love towards the end was very good, as well. I think that aspect was well written, though some parts were a bit brief or sudden. Rachel’s journey was good and interesting to follow.
There is great potential in this book; there were just some rough parts. The more I think about the book, the more I think fondly of it and want to give it another try sometime in the future.

More:

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/sCIbG

About the author: Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. The best-selling author of more than a dozen books, Cara is active in women’s ministry at her church, teaches graduate courses at Purdue University, practices law, and is a homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and 4 children in Indiana.

Learn more about Cara at: http://caraputman.com

Note: I received “The Headmistress of Rosemere” free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased review.