|Bat Masterson for real|
|Bat Masterson for real|
Laughter, the smell of coffee brewing, a hint of chocolate in the air, and a mystery cake! What a great way to start off the new year with the Faith Readers women’s book club. Debra teased us on the facebook page and offered up a prize if we could guess what she was bringing. The hint: It’s from the book.
No one guessed it. 🙁 BUT…we still got to eat it! Hummingbird cake! Yummo and she even told us the story behind the Hummingbird cake.
Our December pick was The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere. Many of her books can be found as Lifetime TV movies. After reading this book, we know why! It was made for a warm, fuzzy holiday flick.
It’s the kind of book you can cozy up on the couch with a quilt, a cup of coffee, hot tea, or cocoa and smile.
As we discussed the book, some of the comments were comical, some serious, others insightful. Here are a few:
Could you identify with any of the characters?
“I could identify with the mom. She was a good mother, but she wasn’t Suzie Homemaker. They had cookies, but they were slice and bake. I can handle that.”
“I could sort of relate to Gretchen, but I don’t know if I could be as nice as she was when Melissa kept acting so rude. In fact, that would be the point I told the kids, ‘We don’t talk to the neighbors keep moving.'”
What character did you least identify with?
“Melissa because she came from such an abusive background. My heart broke for her.”
“Gloria, the mom’s friend. She was kind of out there. I’m not sure anyone acts like that.”
A few shook their heads. “No, we know people like that.”
What theme did you take away from the book?
“God’s hand is at work no matter happens in your life.”
“Sometimes you have to look back to see where God was.”
“I think she got her point across, but she overdid it. I mean one or two coincidences are fine. But every time you turned a page it was a new one. Not believable.”
“Yeah, that was ridiculous.”
*Note to writers: Pay attention to these reviews! They aren’t from writers who joined a book club; they’re die-hard readers and they know what they like. I make notes every month! Don’t put too many coincidences in your work! And by the way, they’re totally right! There were waaaaay too many!
Our rating out of 1-5:
3 1/2 stars
Tell me that’s not a fantastic cover! Sweetly is a companion book to Sisters Red, both mainstream Young Adult novels by the sickly talented Jackson Pearce.
My daughter is a hard sale when it comes to books.
One day at the library, she settled on Sisters Red. A paranormal book about two sisters who hunt Fenris–werewolves. And not the good kind that protect young girls, but lure them with their hot looks and devour them.
After hours of searching the library, my daughter couldn’t put this one down. Unlike me, who will give an author a chance through about 100 pages, Bailey won’t. You get one shot. One page. Sometimes, literally, one line. Period. I’ve tried to encourage her to keep reading, because it might get better, but that’s not her style.
She’s now read Sisters Red, 3 times! I haven’t had the chance to, because Bailey is the kind of reader all of us writers want! She told all her friends and they checked the book out. One downloaded it on her kindle. For her birthday, she asked for Sisters Red and the companion, Sweetly. So that was part of her gift. She’s loaned out Sisters Red to her piano teacher!
Word of mouth works best!
Jackson Pearce was a stumbling accident at the library. She’s now a household name around here. And if Bailey has her way, the region will know about Jackson Pearce. There won’t be a book written by her that Bailey won’t jump on the chance to not just read, but to own!
I read Sweetly. I started at 7:00 p.m. and at 11 p.m., I knew if I didn’t put it down I’d be exhausted the next day. But I thought about it while I was working. At noon, I came home, made a sandwich and went straight to my room to finish it.
From page 1 I was sucked in. The very first line! The characters were fun, unique, interesting, hilarious. The dialogue was real, witty, and flavorful. The emotions were deep. I didn’t not skim pages. I couldn’t or I’d miss something and frankly, I wanted to hang on every word.
The romance was well written, the theme? While not a Christian book (there are a few curse words, one scene that alludes to sex (not graphic at all), and a sprinkle of taking the Lord’s name in vain, the theme was about making changes, overcoming fear and not staying in the same place forever. A positive theme. This may not be something you want your young teen to read because of those things. I used my parental discretion; some of you may have just thought, “Oh, so she doesn’t have any.” I do. Some…
The mystery! As a voracious reader, I can pretty much guess what’s going to happen in most books. I could not figure out what was going on to save my life in a good, good way! Is she a witch or not? Is someone I care about going to die? Why are they after XXX? I did figure out 2 small things, but the big twists, I never saw coming, therefore I could. Not. Stop. Reading.
Also the fact that chocolate was involved in the story line added numerous points! 🙂
And when I put the book aside, I knew I’d become a faithful reader–like my daughter. I thought about the book and marveled over the genius. And when the piano teacher brings back Sisters Red, I’ll suck that one down too.
Here’s a peek!
A rain and snowy mix falling steadily, temperatures dropping in the low 30s and wind stinging like a horse’s tail against your face.
That’s the weather these ladies fought to get to book club, but homemade bread pudding, coffee cake and piping hot coffee with hazelnut creamer, good friends, and laughter made it worth the trek to the Cornerstone cafe to discuss faith and fiction. We missed those who couldn’t come and always make book club night special!
What’d we read? This month was Amish fiction. Many, including myself, had never read an Amish story. Oh, we’ve bought their bread and cheese and wondered. We may have watched an episode of Law and Order when one got killed on Rumspringa, but never read a story.
So this was an experience. Especially for many who enjoy a fast-paced thriller with romance that makes us want to fan ourselves but not so edgy we have to take a trip to the altar on Sunday. But seriously, are we responsible for our subconscious dreams? Another blog. Another day.
We chose A Stranger’s Wish. It sounded mysterious. A key given to a Englishwoman. Not from Britain, as I thought at first. But what Amish people call, you know… us.
Here were some of our thoughts:
“I liked how the Amish parents didn’t give up on their son, even when he chose not to become a devout member.”
“I liked the main character’s quirkiness and her creativity.”
“I wanted more meat, but this book was mostly light-hearted and quick.”
“I thought there was going to be a bigger twist, but then it wasn’t and I was disappointed.”
“I couldn’t relate to the characters. Any of them.”
I asked, “Did you discover anything interesting about the Amish?”
“I didn’t realize the Amish were so works-based and not faith-based.”
“I think they should live by faith and drive a car. Seems easier.”
I admit, we giggled at that.
Overall, I have to say, this wasn’t the groups’ favorite read, but we didn’t hate it. And we all said we’d read more Amish fiction! After taking a poll, the rating for this book came in at 2 stars out of 5.
We chose (out of 14 Christmas novel choices) to read A Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere for December, who we have never heard of. Have you?
Do you read Amish fiction? Or write it? What fascinates you about these books or doesn’t? Here’s a peek at A Stranger’s Wish:
Think sunshine, giggling, chocolate, friendship, and holding hands.
All things that make you want to be there. Where is there?
Mind Over Madi!
I have the honor today to interview Lynda Schab after reading her debut novel, Mind Over Madi!
The book was incredible. I read it in a sitting and a half. Only because I knew I had to get up early and I couldn’t drag it all day since naps weren’t going to be in order.
I connected with Lynda through her fun blog, On the Write Track. You should join the site. Thanks for letting me read your debut novel, Lynda, and thanks for coming by to chat with us today about the book and you!
JP: So…tell everyone what Mind over Madi is about?
JP: I loved the first person present tense. I was right there with Madi through her antics, every Dib she shoveled in her mouth, and through her discoveries. I can also relate to some of Madi’s insecurities, as I think most women can. Which character is most like you, and why?
For the past two weeks I’ve been downing books like shots, trying to read everything I can think of in the inspy romantic suspense/mystery market. I may have missed a few so if you know of anyone else, please leave me a comment!
I’ve enjoyed all of them. Each author has a unique writing style. Some books a little darker than others, which I personally prefer as a reader. I went into reading them with a writer’s eye, but some of the books swept me up, I stopped looking for pacing, scene set ups, etc…I simply became immersed in the stories. Which is good!
Below are the books I’ve read and I’m starting with my favorite(the rest are in random order), even though I enjoyed all of them. All great authors. Something about this particular story grabbed me and held on. Probably because of the darkness of the story line and the abundance of romantic tension. Here is the 2nd book in Lynette Eason’s Women of Justice series.
So what do you think? This is the front/back side to our book marks! Our church is blessed with a web designer, Jeff Redding, who designed this for us. We stuffed them in books to donate to local hospital libraries. If someone needs prayer, wants to join a local inspirational book club, or simply needs a book mark, they have it!
Last night, we met for our 2nd book club discussion in our Cornerstone Cafe. We had home-made pumpkin dip with gingersnap cookies and a few other assortment of cookies for dipping. And of course, coffee!
No one scored The Chair below a 3 on the rating scale.
“I saw it as a journey of trust and faith. He had to dig to figure out what it was he believed and he was tested every step of the way.”
“I saw restoration.” Many agreed with this statement and the above.
Discussion was great and I recommend, along with a lot of other ladies, The Chair as one of your reads, eve if it seems far fetched, hey, it’s fiction but the theme and the hope…well, that’s very real.
“If God would start playing by the rules, it would sure be easier to trust Him.”
I’ve had the opportunity to read Susan May Warren’s The Shadow of Your Smile. If you’re a Susan May Warren fan and stories from Deep Haven, you won’t be disappointed in this novel.
Plot and subplot are rich with drama, romance, and humor.
This novel is about a couple in their mid-forties, who’ve already had a tragedy strike their lives, now–Noelle Hueston is thinking about leaving her husband and starting over. One last kiddo to graduate and she’s making a new life, but an incident leaves her injured and her memory past college is gone. Funny, when she wakes up, she truly thinks she’s twenty-one! Which is sad and hilarious at the same time.
This main plot is about loving, forgiving, and starting over. A beautiful story of two married people who’ve grown apart through time and unfortunate circumstances. I thought the ending to this plot was well done and I closed the book with satisfaction.
The subplot involved the couple’s oldest son, Kyle, and his love interest, another local from Deep Haven, but the tragedy that wrecked the Hueston family reached into Emma Nelson’s family as well.
Susan May Warren has a unique way of describing using all the senses and when I read one of her books, including this one, I feel like I’m transported to Deep Haven. I live there as long as it takes me to read the book. I had lots of time yesterday, so I read it in one long stretch.
This book is set to release in 2012. I recommend you nab it up when it does. You’ll enjoy winter in Deep Haven, the crackling fires, fresh powdered snow blanketing a story of lost love, found.
I appreciate Tyndale giving me the chance to review it in return for my honest opinion.
Here’s a sneak peek at The Shadow of Your Smile:
When it comes to romance, what season do you think is the most romantic? A hot steamy summer, spring with new blossoms sprouting, fall when nights are cool and the leaves are turning, or in winter when sleigh rides and hot cocoa beckon you to snuggle up with your honey?
|This is the sign inside our
favorite place to eat, The Flying Fish.
I laugh every time I see it!
You can see why this is my
kind of establishment!
I’ve been blogging an entire year since last October! Truth is I wasn’t sure I’d even like blogging. “What would I say?” “Do people really read blogs?” “What if no one likes me?” Turns out, I find all kinds of stuff to say whether it’s important or not, people do read blogs, and I’ve made some lifelong friends because of it! I love y’all! I appreciate you taking time to stop by and read whatever it is I’m writing about and then taking more time to actually comment! You’ve made it so much fun! And for you lurkers, keep lurking. I hope you laugh at times, are ministered to at others, and keep coming back. If you don’t like leaving comments, send me a private email! I’d love to know you’re hanging around. 🙂
THE COLONEL’S LADY by Laura Frantz
In the last six months, I’ve just begun branching out of my normal genres of reading. I’ve only read a handful of historical romances. Most of them I’ve liked, but NOT The Colonel’s Lady.
I LOVED The Colonel’s Lady.
Laura Frantz grabbed me from the first page with a heroine who was fragile, yet strong. Naive, yet intelligent and I fell in love with her instantly.
Her hero, Colonel McLinn, well… sigh, dream, wow! Interesting thing about Colonel McLinn; he’s a red head. You don’t see that often with heroes. An Irish tall drink of water with red hair.
The tension between the two was superbly written, the angst for them to be together at an all time high and the twists, fun and delightful…and surprising!
The soft themes of forgiveness and trust blanketed each page in a way that was far from preachy.
I sighed, swooned, and at the very end…in the words of Casey Herringshaw at her goodreads review “I couldn’t write this book review right after closing the final page of “The Colonel’s Lady”. Why? My heart was too full.”
I lived at the Fort in Kentucky and near and in the stone house for days after reading this book.
A romance to read. A book to keep. An author to follow.
My rating: 5 perfect stars
|author, Laura Frantz|
Here’s a peek at The Colonel’s Lady.
In 1779, when genteel Virginia spinster Roxanna Rowan arrives at the Kentucky fort commanded by Colonel Cassius McLinn, she finds that her officer father has died. Penniless and destitute, Roxanna is forced to take her father’s place as scrivener. Before long, it’s clear that the colonel himself is attracted to her. But she soon realized the colonel has grave secrets of his own–some of which have to do with her father’s sudden death. Can she ever truly love him?
Unrelated to the post, what is your favorite fall candle scent? I just bought Yankee Candle scents: Farmer’s Market & Pomegranate Cider!