reviews i write, thoughts i have…

Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs
April 22, 2010, 11:59 pm
Filed under: Fiction review, Thomas Nelson Reviews

When a car accident leaves a famous movie star in a coma, nurse Kemp McAvoy—a medical school dropout—devises an evil plan. Manipulating her medication, he pretends to be an angel giving her messages—then dictates a “spiritual bestseller” he believes will make them both rich. But what will he do if real angels show up?

This had pontential of becoming like an episode of Touched By An Angel. In other words – cheesy,  and extremely so. But Wonders Never Cease doesn’t fall into that category – EVER.   It’s a lighthearted read, but has a lot of depth where it counts – unlike the messages the “Angel” Kemp is giving to Liv Hayden.
The author, Tim Downs, is well known for his Suspense books (and even won a Christy for one!) But this isn’t a Supense or Thriller, honestly i don’t know what to call it! The best way i can think of describing it is as a medical mystery with a supernatural twist and a touch of Hollywood life, if that makes any sense at all!
This book is definitely a stretch in genres but he still proves himself to be just as great a writer in this book as he is in his suspense novels. 

As many people have been saying about this book, it truly is one you can enjoy even if you don’t like Christian Fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing more books of this genre from Tim Downs! 🙂

Thanks to for sending me this book to review!


Never Let You go by Erin Healy
April 14, 2010, 2:09 am
Filed under: Fiction review, Thomas Nelson Reviews

After her estranged husband, Grant, tries to re-enter her life, Lexi is determined to keep him away from their daughter, Molly—especially now that a drug dealer is demanding payment for Grant’s debts. But the “seen” is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s the invisible evil powers that threaten Lexi’s world. Will heaven help her?

My review,
This is Erin Healy’s first book as a solo author, though she has co-written two books with Ted Dekker. She’s already a pro, she deftly blends suspense, heartbreak and the supernatural into Never Let You Go.

This book might seem hard to follow at first, many characters are introduced at once, and the scenes are shown from multiple POV’s (point of view) But that is only at first!
The book starts picking up speed straightaway, and Erin barely allows for the reader to take a breath before pulling another punch to the literary gut.  (I started reading this at night, not the best time to start this book!)
 Never Let You Go isn’t written for one gender or the other, but will probably appeal to females in particular, and especially mothers. This book is refreshing in it’s appeal, since the suspense genre has been so dominated male authors.
Very, very strong “debut”  and definitely a recommended read! (just not at night!) 🙂

For Honor: An Adventure of What Might Have Been
April 8, 2010, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Fiction review, Nothing Binding

about the book (from author)
Can one woman save a country? Can she do it as a lady musketeer and fencer in 17th-century France, and can she and the musketeers grant a hero’s final wish?

My review
I’m going to start off with my disclaimers, and then get to the good stuff 🙂
First off, I have no qualifications(on paper, at least) for being interested in reading this book. I received this as a random pick from three books  by a review company, Nothing Binding. It wasn’t my first choice, but it sounded really interesting based on the synopsis. I know very little about France, and even less about 17th century France. Honestly, I’m more of a Brit wanna-be. I have never read any of Dumas’ books and have never watched the movie adaptions. The closest I’ve come to watching the movie is the Wishbone show on the Three Musketeers! I didn’t even see the Disney cartoon version starring Mickey and his friends!

But even still, this book slowly won me over. I say slowly because it did take me a while to get invested in the story. Not because of poor writing or bad characterization, but because I know so little of the back story(this book is supposed to take place after the events in the Three Musketeers)
Having said that, you don’t need to have read it to enjoy this one!  I’m sure it would help to get you into the swing of things, and you might notice some interesting parallels that I completely missed, but it’s not necessary. If you’ve already read and experenced the Three Musketeers, I have a feeling you’d really enjoy this one. It proabably has some modern sensibilities tossed in, but fits well within the genre of historical french fiction. It’s engaging, completely action-packed and has some great  “you go girl!” moments!
My one small gripe is, I really wish the author would have used more French words and phrases within the book, especially since she is a French teacher! There were a few here and there, but not quite enough to convey an authentic French feel.
This book has given me a reason to pick up Dumas’ books the next chance I have!

Thanks to Nothing Binding and the writer/editor for sending me this book to review!

Sense and Sensibility Insight Edition
February 14, 2010, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Bethany House, Fiction review | Tags:

Sense and Sensibility is probably my least favorite Jane Austen novel, and I’ve read them all. It never captured me like Pride & Prejudice’s Darcy & Elizabeth’s love story or even the impetuous Emma’s mistaken matchmaking. But with Bethany House’s new Insight Edition, Sense and Sensibility’s long-lasting effect on culture finally, well, made Sense to me. I enjoyed it this time around, and this will certainly not be my last time to read this beloved classic.

This new edition doesn’t mess with the original text of S&S – at all! Quite the opposite –  it enhances the reader’s experience.
The Editors point out little quirks and interesting facts found within the text, which had those notes not been there I would have missed it entirely!
Other footnotes are witty, knowledgeable and even have some fun tidbits about the movie variations.

I definitely enjoyed Sense and sensibility more the second time around thanks much in part to this insight edition! There are limitless editions of Sense and Sensibility available, but this one is by FAR my favorite.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing this book for me to review!

The Carousel Painter by Judith Miller
February 14, 2010, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Bethany House, Fiction review

About the book (from

After her father’s death, artist Carrie Brouwer moves to Collinswood, Ohio, where she accepts a job in the carousel factory owned by her friend Augusta’s father. On her first day, she discovers she’s the only woman in the plant, and the men resent her—especially the manager, Josef Kaestner. Can she win his respect—and perhaps his love? 352 pages, softcover from Bethany.

My Review:

The Carousel Painter starts with a promising and uncommon theme, a young girl moves to the states from Paris after her father’s death and is offered a job as a carousel horse painter. Unfortunately, after this initial set-up the events that follow are all too familiar. A so-so romance, trial after trial for our heroine, and a lacking mystery. The mystery spurred me to continue reading, but the resolution was anticlimactic and predictable. It was tied-up just in time to have the perfect happy ending for the love story. Sometimes the subject matter and vernacular were spot on within the historical period, and other times, a slight bit off.  Carrie was a great protagonist, but the other characters were a just a little flat.

I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t quite do it for me. All-in-all it could have been better, but neither was it a waste of time. If you like this genre, read it,  but if this genre is not your cup of tea, it wouldn’t be my first suggestion.

Fool’s Gold by Melody Carlson
February 13, 2010, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Fiction review, Navpress Review

Fool's Gold by Melody CarlsonMy review

Melody Carlson is one of the BEST fiction authors for teen girls, I’ve read a couple dozen books by her and they never cease to be great!

This is the first book I’ve read in the TrueColors series, and it’s the 6th in the series. Although it might seem like an odd place to start the series, these books don’t have to be read in any particular order.
Hannah Anderson, a young MK (missionary kid) from Papua New Guinea, is visiting her extremely fashionable cousin and family in the states. What seems like an innocent teen thing to do, shopping, turns into a major stumbling block for her. Whatever she seems to purchase needs to have something else it need to complete the “look”. And although she’s spending more money than she ever though was possible ($300 for a pair of jeans?) it never seems to be good enough for the people around her. As she’s falling more and more into debt (eek!) she comes to realize that all the clothes she’s purchasing are never going to fill the empty space in her heart. It’s only Fool’s Gold after all.

I, at first, shied away from these books. It thought they might be a little too “Edgy” for me. Many of them include topics like a friend’s suicide, cutting, teen drinking and similar issues. Well, i am hooked on these books, this is not going to be the last book I’m reading in this series!!

Thanks to Navpress for providing this book for me to review!

The Judas Ride by Peggy Sue Yarber
February 13, 2010, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Fiction review, Random

The Judas Ride

About the Book:

“An unwed (and unwanted) teen pregnancy with two possible fathers. Abusive relationships. Drug and alcohol addiction. Rape and molestation. The struggle to understand grace, forgiveness, and free will versus predestination. The Judas Ride hits the road running in the opening pages, where Sonia and Xavier argue explosively about whether Sonia should have their unborn child and about who the father is: Xavier, a struggling Christian, or Vader, an abusive and abused drug dealer. As the pages turn, readers continue to meet a hodgepodge of troubled teens and eclectic characters, including Pastor Manny, a quirky immigrant pastor infatuated with John Wayne. Pastor Manny desires to help the tortured souls in his community but finds that it takes more than unconditional love to reach them. Secrets literally kill in The Judas Ride, an edgy, in-your-your face Christian novel that boldly explores the struggles of modern-day young people.”

My Review:
The Judas Ride was written for Teens. It’s an extremely “edgy” book that sometimes goes into details which would be better left to the imagination, especially for younger teens.

Although Peggy Sue Yarber still “explains” and doesn’t “show” her characters, she has improved a lot since her earlier book, Tare. However, this continual explanation of why and what her characters are doing takes a lot away from the imagination reader. It also tends to “dumb down” your audience.  Not to mention it makes the book harder to read!

It’s a good story, but the execution makes it almost unreadable for teens. It’s hard to follow, sometimes violently graphic, and full of characters who are not commendable for most of the book. Although it has a redemptive undercurrent, I wish Peggy Sue Yarber had made it an essential part of the plot.
I give it three stars, as with a little bit more polish this had the potential of a great YA novel.
Thanks to the Author for providing this book for me to review!