reviews i write, thoughts i have…

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.

The Word of Promise, NKJV New Testament Audio Bible
February 14, 2010, 12:22 am
Filed under: Non-Fiction Review, Thomas Nelson Reviews

The Word of Promise New Testament is a well-produced Audio Bible. There are many, many different Bibles on Audio but this is one of the best I’ve come across. It’s full of famous and recognizable voices (which may or may not be a bonus depending on your viewpoint). Because the voices The Word of Promise uses are, for the most part, actors, it means it never feels amateurish. This particular edition I’m reviewing comes with a travel cd case to carry all 20 discs of audio, plus a behind the scenes bonus disc.

The only “bad” thing about this audio Bible is the music, at times it was too loud for the voices and then became distracting from the verses being spoken. It’s beautiful music – even though it repeats, a lot, but was overpowering  for my taste.

It would be a great listen for long car trips or even on the commute to work! I think even the entire family would enjoy this Audio Bible!

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!

That Certain Spark By Cathy Marie Hake
February 13, 2010, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Bethany House, Fiction review | Tags:

My Review

The Town of Gooding, Texas just got their very own Veterinarian & Doctor siblings Enoch & Taylor Bestman. The only problem? Dr. Taylor Bestman in a woman! Within two minutes of stepping foot in town Taylor already has the town in an uproar! How is she to prove herself to these people? Especially to her very first patient, the town blacksmith?

The book starts out promising, flows nicely at first, but as it proceeds the conversations get harder and harder to follow, and the writing isn’t as tight. The Characters are okay, but many of them lack depth. I didn’t feel any emotional tie to either the heroine or the hero. This book had a strong beginning a weak middle and an okay ending.

On top of that, the main focus of this entire book wasn’t as interesting as the background stories.

Definitely my least favorite book of this four part series. However, If you’ve read the other books in the series, go ahead and read it, you’ll find many of  your favorite characters of her past books in That Certain Spark.

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

Offworld by Robin Parrish
February 13, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Bethany House, Fiction review

About the book:

The return of NASA’s first manned mission to Mars was supposed to be a momentous day. But when the crew loses touch with ground control before entry, things look bleak. Safe after a treacherous landing, the crew emerges to discover the unthinkable–every man, woman, child, and animal has vanished without a trace. Alone now on their home planet, the crew sets out to discover where everyone has gone–and how to get them back–only to discover they may not be as alone as they thought.

My review:

THIS is an awesome book, I’ve always been one of those people who enjoys an “end of the world” movie. The Day After Tomorrow (an adventure type film about the second ice age) is one of my favorite movies.

It starts out INTENSE, this is not a book you want to start right before going to bed, you will want to keep reading until the rooster crows! The first expedition to Mars arrives back on earth only to find…. absolutely no one there to greet them. Every man, woman, child and even animals- are gone. They are the only ones left, then again, perhaps not. The astronauts then take it upon themselves to find out what happened to everyone on the planet.

I’m a sucker for a story (be it film, print, tv, whatever) about humans conquering a certain “Evil” and surviving hardship. This book includes all that and then some! Pick it up, and get ready for an insane ride!

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