Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Unscripted” by Davis Bunn ~ Review

Unscripted

 

“Unscripted” by Davis Bunn

Contemporary Fiction

Review copy through Revell Reads

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Young line producer Danny Byrd is well-known in Hollywood for being someone who gets things done on time and under budget. But when his reputation takes a beating after his partner–and former best friend–makes off with their investors’ money, Danny has but one chance to redeem himself and restore his ruined career.
LA lawyer Megan Pierce has sacrificed years of her life proving herself to her impossible bosses only to find herself disgusted at their snobbery and their specious business practices. When an opportunity to actually make a difference comes her way, she knows she has to grab it–even though she’s not entirely clear what “it” is.
Danny and Megan are each other’s best hope for redemption. What they never could have imagined was that they might also be each other’s best hope for love.
Bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn takes you into the beating heart of Hollywood with two characters determined to thrive in a cutthroat business.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was the first book I’ve had the plasure of reading by this author and I was quite impressed by the writing talent. The story moved along smoothly, and you could tell the filming aspect was well-researched to add an authenticity that really enriched the story. I found the ploit line intriguing, and enjoyed watching how it unfolded. The characters were interesting, and I thought that Danny Byrd made a good lead character.The romance aspect was tame which I appreciated, though it felt like it was missing the chemestry. I knew the two characters liked each other because the novel told me so, but I didn’t really connect to their story together.The faith strand was extremely light, only mentioned a couple of times with no clear “redemption” or completion arc. I was expecting Danny to find what he was searching for in Christ, but it seemed more that he found it through Megan, which rather disappointed me because there was great potential for things to be turned back to Christ.

The ending was sweet, and it was good to see how the whole project portrayed throughout the novel was brought to completion.

 

 

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Light from Distant Stars” by Shawn Smucker ~ Revell Reads Review

Light from Distant Stars

 

“Light from Distant Stars” by Shawn Smucker

Review copy from publishers

My rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

When Cohen Marah steps over his father’s body in the basement embalming room of the family’s funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory. As the last one to see his father, Cohen is the primary suspect.

Over the next week, Cohen’s childhood memories come back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his father being asked to leave his pastoral position. The game of baseball that somehow kept them together. And the two children in the forest who became his friends–and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he’s been avoiding: Did he kill his father?

In Light from Distant Stars, master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Well that sure was interesting! This is one of those books where once you’ve finished it you kind of just sit back and think, “What exactly just happened?”!
The writing style is captivating, and everything about it pulls you into its pages. The story was interesting, and the back says it well with “one that will have you questioning reality”. To be honest, I’m still not exactly sure what all happened in this story – I “get” it, but there was a lot left unexplained – left to the imagination, I suppose.
I enjoyed it.  But I guess I was left a little bewildered! So much that was real and not real, and it all morphed together, in twisted threads wound so tightly that you’re not sure which end is which.
A captivating ride to be certain. ^.^ This was my first book to read by this author, but I would definietly like to catch up on his past works. Very interesting!
That cover – gorgeous! I love the starry artwork!
*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.  

 

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“All Manner of Things” by Susie Finkbeiner ~ Review

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“All Manner of Things” by Susie Finkbeiner

1960’s Christian Fiction

Review copy through RevellReads program

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

When Annie Jacobson’s brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he hands her a piece of paper with the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know. 

In Mike’s absence, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. As they work toward healing and pray fervently for Mike’s safety overseas, letter by letter the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.

Author Susie Finkbeiner invites you into the Jacobson family’s home and hearts during a time in which the chaos of the outside world touched their small community in ways they never imagined.

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t want this book to end. And I don’t just mean that flippently. I am quite sure I could live in this book and not grow tired of it. I have been wanting to find Christian fiction set in the 1960’s for quite some time, and author Susie Finkbeiner didn’t just deliver, she knocked it out of the park with this amazing novel. Will there be more? Please tell me we can see more of Annie and her family? Because that would be amazing.
“All Manner of Things” didn’t feel like an ordinary story – it felt so real right to its very spine. The characters were so much like real people – as one of the endorsers said on the back, they are the kind you want to write a letter to and see how they are doing. I agree, and wish that were possible! I don’t want to be done with this special family.
And speaking of letters, it was such a delight to this letter-writing-fan (me XD) for many of the chapters to end in exchanged letters. It added another beautiful level of depth to the already fantastic story.
This wasn’t a fluffy, lighthearted book, yet it wasn’t too heavy either. It was the perfect amount of sorrow and hope combined, in such a realistic way. Everything that played out was so realistic, and sometimes there were tears.
“All Manner of Things” is a book that will stick with me for a long time. It is one of those books that I don’t mind if it becomes worn from many readings, because it is special.
The characters amazing, the plot superb, and can’t forget that perfect cover. <3
I’m so thankful I had the chance to read this book!
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Quotes:

“Live today and then tomorrow and then the next day…the same way you’ve lived all the other days.”
“Don’t duck and cover. Keep your eyes open.”
“Achter de wolken schijnt de zon: Behind the clouds the sun is shining. If only we have eyes to see it.”
“Sometimes He feels so far, as if to never reach us. We call for Him, we beg Him to come. And when He seems to stay away, we might even ask where He is. Then we see His power on display and remember, He has gone nowhere. And He’s lost not one bit of His strength.”

 

Posted in blog tour, Books

“On a Summer Tide” by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Book Review

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On a Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book One in the Three Sisters Island series

Review copy from the publishers

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

*

About the book:

Sometimes love hurts–and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island–a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals–and one in particular. Sam Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

*

My Thougts:

 

This was my first book by this author, and if I’m not mistaken, I believe it is the author’s first contemporary novel as well!
“On a Summer Tide” was very well written, and the characters were very real and flaw-fully believable. The whole story idea was really quite charming, and I loved how it all played out on one small Island in Maine.
Camden Greyson, eldest daughter of Paul Greyson, is the primary character in this story, but it really was well-spread out between all three of the Greyson sisters, Cam, Maddie, and Blaine. Each sister had their own truths and struggles, and way with coping with life, as all people do.
Favorite sister of mine? Probably Blaine. I certainly hope she gets her own story in this series!
Camden is the one with a vision – when their father buys this old camp (and half of the Island!), once over her shock, Cam helps to organize it all and give it a clear vision and goal. She could sometimes be a bit of a bulldozer – she was a strong-willed character, but she softened towards the end. Her adopted son, Cooper was a cutie. And the schoolteacher, Seth, was quite a nice hero!
To be honest, Camden could get on my nerves, but her brokenness was real and her character made sense. As I’ve mentioned, each character was so three dimensional, I was impressed!
There was a faith strand present and it was softly woven into the novel to be presented in a very natural way.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and definitely want to continue on with the series! (Also should add: I loved Peg! Her character was fantastic!)
On a Summer Tide (Three Sisters Island #1)
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.  

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Missing Isaac” by Valerie Fraser Luesse ~ Book Review

“Missing Isaac” by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Review copy from Publishers

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

Image result for curly q

 

About the Book:

 

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete–and the people he loves most–will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

 

Image result for curly q

 

My Thoughts:

Set in the south, “Missing Isaac” gave a very interesting look into life during the 1960’s, in a town where both rich and poor, black and white, consisted. What first drew me to this debut novel was the time period – I don’t see a lot of Christian fiction set during the 1960’s, so that immediately caught my attention along with the fact that I’ve been looking for more CF set during this time. :) However, this was primarily a southern 1960’s view and what they had to go through, not so much the 1960’s that first comes to mind.
The story follows Pete, who starts out as a young boy who just lost his father in a tragic accident. One of his father’s workers, Isaac, becomes the father-figure Pete looks up to and learns from, deepening their bond of friendship, but then Isaac goes missing, leaving Pete to grieve again.
The title of the book is a little deceiving in the way that the story doesn’t focus entirely on the title’s name. It’s included, but I didn’t feel like it was the main focal point.
There was a thread of mystery as we waited to find out what happened to Isaac, and it was good to see it concluded in the end, but overall the storyline was about Pete McLean. Having said that, the storyline of Pete was good and interesting. I enjoyed it.
I loved the character Dovey, and especially Pete and Dovey’s relationship throughout the book – that was absolutely touching and endearing.
I also liked that it was realistic. And that Pete’s family were honest that life is hard, but we learn from our trials, and honor God through them.
It was a good and enjoyable debut book. :)
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

Book review: “Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

Toothless Books (8)

“Justice Buried” by Patricia Bradley

A Memphis Cold Case Novel

Review copy from the publishers through the Revell Reads Program

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she’s ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she’s out of her league–and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he’s the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart.

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing–and looking over their shoulders.

My Thoughts:

 

“Justice Buried” is apparently the second book in a series, but I found that it was pretty easy to read as a stand-alone. There were a couple instances where you knew they were referring to the first book, but not in a way that was confusing or made you think you had to read the first one first. :) I’m sure it’s probably best enjoyed to be read that way, but since I didn’t know, I don’t feel like I was unable to still enjoy the story as it was.
Full of mystery and suspense, you were wondering who the murderer was right till the end.
It was an enjoyable book, and kept me interested to find out what happened to the characters. I like Kelsey and Brad, but I think their relationship development could’ve been strengthened a bit, and the ending seemed a tiny bit rushed. But this book does fit in with its genre of Romantic Suspense, and yet it was quite clean which I appreciated a great deal.
That being said, this book I would classify more as a clean book than a Christian book. There were a couple mentions of characters attending church and a random verse thrown out once, but that was it, and the whole thread of faith was not present – very buried if it was there. That disappointed me, but I do still appreciate that it was at least clean.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers. All thoughts presented in this review are my own.
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“A Matter of Trust” by Susan May Warren ~ Book Review

(click on image to go to its amazon page)

“A Matter of Trust” by Susan May Warren

Book Three in the Montana Rescue Series

Review copy source: Revell Publishers Program

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Champion backcountry snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he’s remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana’s rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can’t seem to find his footing–or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him. 

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret–one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track. 

When Ella’s brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park’s most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn’t so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he’ll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain. 

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder–and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella’s secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other–even when disaster happens again?

 

 

My Thoughts:

This series has been just excellent. And so easy to get caught up in and then get lost in!
“A Matter of Trust” was full of adventure, danger, and a good romance.
I hadn’t previously read many “Search and Rescue” series before this one, but my was it gripping! And now I’m even more excited to read SMW’s other SAR books.
But yes, this book. I loved the snowy setting because I love the cold. And spending time in a cold book made me imagine it was just a little colder here. ;)
Gage is a very strong character. I wasn’t sure if I’d fall in love with him as a character or not at first, but I shouldn’t have worried at all. Out of the three book heroes of this series I think maybe he’s at the top of my list…it’s hard to decide for sure though, because I love Sam as well, and Pete, and Ty…Okay, so these books have swoonworthy characters.
And the leading gals! They’re amazing. Ella was a very likeable character, and I could relate to her in her desires to be “perfect” before God but realizing that even if we’re not perfect, He loves us anyway – unconditionally.
And that brings me to the faith strand. These books are pretty short, but there’s always a faith strand, which is a big draw for me. And while they are not super loud, they are also not just sideline plots either – the message is woven in the story and touched on throughout it. It’s gentle and beautiful. Trust was the theme of this book, of course, and I really appreciated this as it was a much-needed reminder for me. We can trust God in ALL things, because He is good in ALL things. Love that lesson!
So yes, I very much enjoyed this book – loved it, in fact. This series, if you haven’t gathered, has made me very happy. :)
Don't for a minute that God has forgotten about you or doesn't have your back. And don't base God's love or desire to help you or your opinion of yourself. Base it on who God says He is.
“I have a feeling God put us exactly where we needed to be to get away, so – no, I don’t hear any laughter. I hear God saying, “You messed up, but that doesn’t mean I did. Trust Me.”” Pg 187
“Her words echoed back to her about God, ‘You messed up, but that doesn’t mean I did. Trust Me.’ She wasn’t sure where they’d come from, but they lingered, hung on.
Maybe that was the key – just because she’d made a mistake with her life didn’t mean that God has, and it hopefully didn’t change the way God saw her. Still flawed but worth loving anyway.And if God loved her despite her failures, maybe she could let go of trying to control everything, start trusting Him.” pg 197