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Tag Archives: Inspirational

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors

This is a “Top Ten Tuesday” exercise…

By ‘Auto-Buy’, I assume TTT means authors we would automatically buy just because of the author’s name on the cover.  I don’t give authors so much liberty in my world, but there are a few that seem to come up with plots that almost always go on my TBR.  Some of them I haven’t even begun to start reading, yet I consider them almost kindred spirits in way because of the way we tend to love the same sorts of subjects, plots and backdrops.  So here are a few of those KS:

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2019 in Book Shopping, Top Ten Tuesday

 

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Book Review: “The Loved One,” by Catherine Palmer, Peggy Stoks

Genre: novella; contemporary Inspirational

Plot Summary: Meg Chilton is proud of her son who is about to graduate from high school and leave for college.  But as his graduation draws nigh, Taylor announces to his parents his decision to join the military.  Devastated, Meg loses herself in her genealogical research—and learns of family’s courage and sacrifice stemming from great love.

My Book Review: I have a few books by Catherine Palmer on my TBR and this is the first I’ve read of her, co-authored with Peggy Stoks.  Actually, this was more of a novella and I zipped through it pretty quickly.  Published in 2007, it is a little dated but the content and story is still good.

The story has a strong, patriotic bent. But by the time I got to Chapter 2, I could see where the story was going and it was predictable.  However, the book flips back and forth between present day and the story of the Chilton forbears and it is the historical fictions that are the most interesting even if the contemporary scenes were repetitive.  I appreciated that the stories from the Chilton past were not wrapped up with nice little bows at the end.  Rather, the characters sacrificed family, emotional well-being and physical safety in order to do what they knew needed to be done: defend their country.

If you are interested in family history, or are looking for something patriotic to read this season, this short book will probably be just for you!

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2019 in Book Reviews

 

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2018 ATC Seneca Awards

Like audio dramas?  Audio Theatre Central has announced the nominees for the 2018 Seneca Awards, which recognizes the best in the audio drama production industry.  Winners will be announced in July.  As a plus, these are all family friendly stories, so they can be enjoyed on those long summer vacation road trips!  There are so many exciting things happening in the audio world.  I’m really looking forward to The Adventum!  Posts to as many trailers as I can find are below:

Operation Mosul (The Brinkman Adventures)

The Treasure of the Secret Cove (Lamplighter Theatre)

The Adventum, Vol. 1

Black Rock (The Shadow Remake)

Escape from the Eagle’s Nest (Lamplighter Theatre)

Come and See

Heirloom Audio Productions have also come out with St. Bartholomew’s Eve and For the Temple, but unfortunately I could not find trailers for those.  And Lamplighter Theatre’s quality seems to be improving every year!

 

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2019 in Audio/Radio Dramas

 

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Non-Fiction Books I’m Liking (Summer 2019)

Strong, simple, sassy female writers this summer!

Distinctly You, by Cheryl Martin~ I had never heard of this author among the Christian living books before but the subtitle, “Trading Comparison and Competition for Freedom and Fulfillment” spoke to me.  I am not half finished with it yet but I am finding the simple prose and reflection super helpful.  It has already begun turning over some rocks in my life for God to work more healing.  I appreciate that Cheryl Martin is so honest with her life and never paints a picture of a spiritual person who has it all together.  You can check more of her quiet, precise voice in the following videos: 

Part 1 / Part 2 

The Money Plan for the Young, Fabulous and Broke, by Suze Orman~ I’m one who finds Dave Ramsey a bit too intimidating for me.  This was a freebie book that I picked up as a breakfast read.  What had I to lose?  An older book (pub. 2004), it’s advice is still classic.  The book is written for an audience in their 20’s, but she includes readers who are a little older and late-but-better-than-never to the party (like me).  Suze has a fun, simple style that doesn’t turn condescending and that is refreshing!  I found her explanations of things like Roth IRA’s easier to understand than a Dummy’s Guide to Investing I had tried to read earlier.  One of my pet peeves about financial advisors is boiling their message down to: “Just don’t eat out so much!”– as though all people who are broke are so because they visit McDonald’s every week.  It’s annoying and assumptive.  But Orman doesn’t get that way.  This book is a keeper and I would like to check out more of her stuff.  So if you think you’ve tried financial guidebooks before and gave up, maybe you should give one of her books a try. 

 
 

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Book Review: “Wish You Were Here,” by Beth K. Vogt

Genre: contemporary fiction; Inspirational; romance

Playlist…

Plot Summary: Allison Denman has only 5 more days until the big day when she marries Seth, the man she’s been dating for six years since they were kids in high school.  They’re perfect for each other (he says).  The dress is perfect (their mothers say).  But how did she end up kissing Seth’s brother Daniel this near to the wedding day? Now what?!

My Book Review: Broken-off weddings intrigue me.  It is never pleasant for the people going through it, but I am curious about the complex emotions and motives behind it.  That’s why I wanted to read this book.

The author was new to me.  I believe this is a first fiction novel for Vogt and I was surprised. You’ve heard me complain many times about the state of Christian romance fiction.  Why would I take a chance on another one?  Because I don’t believe the problem lies in the genre as much as it is individual authors’ perspective and skill.  No, I don’t enjoy the churned-out sugary novels.  But I’m always hoping to find a book where I can trust the author, sink my teeth into a good plot.

I say I was surprised, because I liked this book: a good balance between comedy and seriousness. The characters and dialogue were interesting and it wasn’t cliché.  I liked how the ending left you hanging a little.  Not everyone’s woundedness was healed by the end.  Not everything was completely wrapped up, though you had a good guess how things would turn out.

I liked the subtle presence of animals in the story. The llamas that stare at Allison’s suitors.  The kitty named Bisquick (adorable name!).  I enjoyed the setting for it all—the beautiful state of Colorado which I could picture very well in my mind, although I’ve never been.

Another word on the characters, though. I do wish that there was a little bit more development in Allison’s life after her breakup with Seth.  I appreciate the complexity in that it was hard for Allison to form new ways of relating in her relationships (with Seth, parents, etc,) and sometimes she made mistakes going back to past habits.  But I wish that she had become more fully aware of how her codependency was hurting herself and others, how it fed an unhealthy relationship, and what better ways she could learn from there on out.  I wasn’t convinced she wouldn’t go repeating it in her next relationship.

Many Christian romance novels feature ‘the perfect guy’—the hunk who rescues kittens, volunteers at the homeless shelter, and sweats while chopping wood. I liked that Daniel, the hero of Wish You Were Here, didn’t have everything right in his life, made mistakes, and almost had some of the same control traits as his younger brother.  But he faced those issues, made corrections, and made different choices.  That made for a much more interesting character!

Another interesting character is Allison’s tried and true friend, Meghan. I loved this girl as she told the truth point blank to her best friend.  She definitely had some good words of wisdom, especially as a confidant to Allison’s younger sister who was entering the dating scene.  However, it is too bad that this BFF couldn’t have been more truthful with Allison sooner in her abusive relationship with Seth.

I wish that the characters were a little more mature in their Christian walk, but some attempt is made on both their parts to grow throughout the book. I wouldn’t consider it preachy, but perhaps the spiritual element didn’t feel completely at home, either.  I don’t think that’s a reason to eliminate it, but something for authors to work on making sure things flow a bit better.

Some may be waiting for a series after this, but I don’t believe there will be. However, there is a short story sequel for fans, entitled “You Made Me Love You.”  I don’t think I’ll be reading it because I don’t enjoy short stories, but the summary made me smile!

I don’t think this book will interest everyone, esp. those who abhor romance, but for those who do like I think this will be a pleasant, surprise read.  It’s clean, and I could even recommend it to teenage girls.  It addresses some situations they face such as depression, cutting, and pornography.

If you liked this book, I also recommend…

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2019 in Book Reviews

 

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Christian Fiction for Summer 2019!

Memorial Day is the traditional start of the summer season here in the US but first we honor our soldiers, especially those who gave their lives for our country.  It may seem odd many choose to do so by going on vacation, but however we choose to celebrate our freedom is a way to honor the sacrifices made.

If you’re in need of a beach read, a country read, a plane or car ride read or just any ol’ summer read, here are the latest I’m eyeing that were featured in the CBD Fiction catalog of Summer 2019 (view entirely here).  I believe there have been more books peaking my interest in this issue than ever before!

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Posted by on May 26, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: “Just Jane,” by Nancy Moser

Playlist…

Genre: historical fiction; Inspirational Christian fiction

Plot Summary: The youngest daughter of the vicar of the small village of Steventon, Jane leads a pleasantly ordinary life full of friends, town gossip, balls, and family relationships.  She longs for a romantic relationship as well, but Providence doesn’t seem to be providing that.  As the years go by, she matures to find her own voice that she develops in writing some of literature’s more beloved heroines.  This is her story.

My Book Review: I have stacks of books by Nancy Moser I want to read, and I finally tackled my first as an “in between book” (book read while waiting for other books to arrive via Interlibrary Loan).  I have read a few books written by Austen fans meant to be “sequels” to her works, but to be honest I have never cared much for them and don’t go in for them anymore.  I thought this would be a little different in that it is a fictionalized telling of Jane Austen’s life.

The first third of the book did not really have my attention.  It was hard to get used to the first person/present tense narrative, and I disliked Jane’s immature voice.  It just wasn’t how I imagined her.  However, she matures as the story progresses and Jane and her sister Cassandra endure many hardships over the years.  In some ways, I found I could identify.  Moving away from a home one loves; moving multiple times; financial hardships; family quarrels…  In a lot of ways, Jane wasn’t a lot different than the average “jane”.  I loved the theme of the book—Jane struggles to find her own meaning and purpose in life in an age where women’s only status was that of matrimony.  Jane had several offers and therefore opportunities to “better” herself in the world’s eyes.  But she had an overriding factor in the midst of all of it that was common sense driven by her faith.  What a true-life heroine for our young girls to follow!

I came away from the book with a deep appreciation for Jane Austen than I ever have before.  She really gleaned truth and wisdom from her life experiences and packaged them into her fiction.  She may have felt like only an obscure, single woman at times, but she lived her life faithfully and it had such an impact on the lives of countless generations of ladies ever afterwards.  It is sad when some only celebrate her stories for their romance and ridiculous characters; sometimes it seems they capitalize so much on that aspect that one’s impression of Austen books is that they are shallow, bawdy, and titilizing (I believe she would be rolling in her grave if she knew).  But the real essence of Austen is her good sense, wise living and humorous observations of humanity.  They are stories we can all learn from.

Bottom line: If you are hungry for more all-things Austen… if you disliked Masterpiece’s “Miss Austen Regrets”… if you would benefit from a wholesome story of a real-life heroine…

I think you will like this.

I also recommend:

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2019 in Book Reviews

 

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