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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and just when you think it couldnt get any better!!! :)
WOW...Make sure you have Kleenex handy friends!! Ok so I read Learning in 4 hours and really Wow is what I can say right now. This book is amazing. The way I can describe it is ok Leaving the first book was like your favorite team winning a playoff game and then you read Learning and its like your favorite team winning the super bowl. I can honestly say that when I...
Published on June 21, 2011 by Hope Painter

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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite series
As a loyal reader of Karen Kingsbury's books and an avid reader, I've read every one of Kingsbury's books on their release date. I adored the Baxter family series and found the Above the Line series to be harder to get into. When Bailey Flanigan's story was set to come out I found myself anticipating stories of struggles and temptations applicable to a life-long...
Published on July 9, 2011 by Melanie White


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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite series, July 9, 2011
This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
As a loyal reader of Karen Kingsbury's books and an avid reader, I've read every one of Kingsbury's books on their release date. I adored the Baxter family series and found the Above the Line series to be harder to get into. When Bailey Flanigan's story was set to come out I found myself anticipating stories of struggles and temptations applicable to a life-long Christian girl who must move from the comfort of her home and the protection of her family to a world that is always tempting and trying to overthrow the presence of God. I found myself sorely disappointed.

I flew through these books quickly. There wasn't a lot to stop and think about what I would do if in that situation. Either I've never been in that situation (pursued by an actor) or there weren't any true to life challenges to make me think. Bailey can't shake Cody from her thoughts. The only time she isn't thinking about him is when there is a substitute or distraction in Brandon. Brandon isn't in her thoughts unless she is caught up in his "energy." Bailey dwells on Cody. Brandon is more out of sight and out of mind.

Bailey is an irritating character at best. After being brow-beaten into believing that Bailey is a good-Christian girl with no faults, we are treated to her brief moments of "struggle" that end nearly as soon as they begin. Her anger at Cody is quickly diminished. Her guilt over her friend is over-ridden by Brandon coming to visit. People around her are envious because she is just so amazing. She's more Jamie Sullivan of A Walk To Remember than the girl down the pew from you on Sunday morning. Authors often times have a hard finding a balance between creating characters that are unique so that the world notices the difference between non-Christians and Christians or portraying them as the too perfect to be real Christians that the world despises.

Cody is perhaps the best example of a real Christian. We get into his head and see his struggles. We understand he doesn't want his life to touch the Flanigans and especially Bailey. However, perhaps there in lies the issue. Cody's imperfect life would be a blemish on the perfect Flanigans. Oh they love him for sure. But why doesn't he trust that they'd support and protect he and Bailey from his mother's addiction and boyfriend? Maybe there is the fault in why so many find Christians to be hypocritical. They are there and love when you when things are great or even not good but when things gets tough they are no where to be found. However, I cheer for Cody. He made a bad decision in not being honest so that there wasn't a chasm of silence between he and Bailey. He picked up though. Found purpose.

Brandon Paul is perhaps the largest contradiction in the book. He pursues Bailey with worldly possessions and experiences that money provides, yet he has become too perfect of a Christian. Where is the struggle he has with picking roles? Is he seeing them through fresh eyes? It isn't that I don't want to see Redemption for Brandon Paul (or the entertainment industry he represents) but you can't walk in two worlds or serve two masters. Dayne at least struggled more. Brandon didn't really ever shed his old self. Yes, the drugs, alcohol, and sex stopped. I'd have loved to see him attempt to court Bailey without out all the benefits of Hollywood.

I'd love to see Ashley and Landon receive a book of their own. Ashley's heartbreak was palpable. It was out of place though in a book about the story between Cody and Bailey and the childish love triangle that we were subjected to.

Overall, this books is a nice diversion but I'm anxious for the Bailey Flanigan series to come to an end. For Bailey to ride off into the sunset with her prince (whomever he may be at this point I don't care). I want to get back to the struggles of real Christians with real problems and deep relationships with Christ.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We've read this before, but still enjoyable., July 9, 2011
This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
Sometimes authors get too attached to their characters and keep writing them too long. I wondered if this might be the case when I saw that Kingsbury had come out with yet another Baxter-spinoff series. And as I read Learning, I kept thinking that we had read this before. Movie star courts small town girl? Check. Christian character struggles to represent faith in the godless entertainment industry? Check. Even the storyline with Landon and Ashley thinking that Landon might have a rare but deadly illness--check. Last time it was Ashley's AIDS scare, remember? And of course, more Cody/Bailey angst? Check.

As other reviewers have said, the Flanigans are too perfect. I struggled more though details that just seemed unbelievable, however. Brandon's courtship of Bailey is sweet, but something out of a fairy-tale. And again, too perfect. I've got a few one-in-a-million girls in my life, but none of them are being swept off their feet by movie stars who get them private viewings of the Empire State Building. Twice. It was nice in some ways to finally see Bailey struggle in this book, but her feeling of being out-of-her league on Broadway is something that Kingsbury tells rather than shows. Would a director this hard-nosed really let Bailey go so long under the impression that she's doing just fine? Would it not have been obvious during rehearsals? And despite her association with Brandon Paul, would producers really expect a new ensemble dancer to boost ticket sales? I could see it more if she had more of a spotlight role that would get her name on the marquee.

Despite all that, this is still a Kingsbury novel and still an enjoyable read. Kinsbury has a way of making readers care about her characters, and this is certainly stil true here. Kinsbury fans and probably most readers of Christian fiction will enjoy this book. And despite my feeling that she's recycling her plots, I'll probably still read the last two books in the series to see how Bailey and Cody what seems like will be the obvious ending. But this series is on my 'library' list, not my 'buy' list.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, January 26, 2012
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i have enjoyed previous Karen Baxter books, but very disappointed in this series. both this book and the previous (leaving) seem very drawn out like she is trying to make a one book story into a 4 book series.
this book follows Bailey as she dances on Broadway and Brandon takes her out on amazing (unrealistic) dates; and Cody as he begins coaching a football team and grows closer to Cheyenne who has a hard road of rehab after a car accident.
I feel Bailey's character is not 'too perfect' as others have reviewed - i found her life is 'too perfect', but Bailey herself i found to be selfcentred and shallow. quite frankly she often acts like a spoiled brat. even her dream of dancing on Broadway and 'shining for God' seems rather selfcentred to me. how exactly is an ensemble dancer 'shining for God'? most in audience won't know anything about her, she hasn't been much help to her colleagues or friends and it's not like she's sacrificing to care for others or make His name known; it seems she needs the attention that comes from performing rather than doing anything for God or to help other people.
Through 2 whole books she is moaning about how Cody can't be her real friend or care about her because he hasn't contacted her (he did come to contact her and she as usual was with the movie star), yet she only tries to contact him once to give stuff back and when finding him beside his close friend in coma in hospital, does she offer care, support, prayer, encouragement? no, she focuses on her own selfish agenda again.
a reality check is probably needed here.
She has a large warm supportive loving family, is wealthy with money worries or need to support herself, living out her dream on Broadway,famous from her movie role, being courted by 'America's favourite movie star' - Cody on the other hand is a war veteran struggling with PTSD, previous addictions, a difficult childhood, mother in prison, left his home and support structures to be closer to his mum, has to earn his own living and his close friend in a coma from lifethreatening accident. He initially stayed away from Bailey due to threats which could have threatened her life. why did she not contact him and provide support during his difficulties? oh yes, she was making a movie, lots of popularity, money, media interest - no time for a friend in need... who is the one needing a friend and support here???? and who is not giving it???

i did find Cody's character development in this book better, although the turnaround in the team he coaches is a bit beyond belief. however, he at least exemplifies someone following God, struggling, but growing through the struggles and making choices to put others above himself and giving himself for the good of others. cheyenne too exemplifies some of this.
this is a disappointing series, too unrealistic, too focussed on fame/popularity and not appreciating real character, i won't be reading any more of it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars typically Kingsbury with the return of beloved characters, July 16, 2011
This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
The characters in this series are no strangers to Kingsbury fans. Bailey and Cody had recurring roles in four previous series along with the ever present Baxter family (who also make appearances in this series). Bailey and Cody are maturing as young adults and beginning their respective careers on Broadway and coaching football, which propels their personal lives in different directions.

This series has taken an idealistic approach to a Christian's struggle in everyday life. Bailey's family dynamics take on almost super-human qualities and they are always ready to dispense divinely inspired advice. Bailey's journey as a single Christian woman in search of love and her desire for fame on the Broadway stage at times seem at odds with one another and are compounded by numerous preachy moments. Inspirational messages should feel natural and flawlessly integrated into the story, but sometimes I felt like Bailey was pushing everything to be too spiritual to the point where it can alienate some readers.

Cody's storyline revolved around his success as a football coach and mentor to young boys. This plot line was heavy on the football and light on the romance. Cody and Bailey do not have any interactions with one another throughout the book, but both succumb to frequent Facebook stalking of each other's profiles. Consequently, both are aware of the other's new romantic relationships and have decided to move on with their lives in spite of their lingering love for one another. All the romantic elements in this book are very tame and appropriate for a younger audience.

I see this series as the introduction to Karen Kingsbury's body of work for the daughter's of her longtime fans. The story and the way it was written will appeal to the teen-young adult demographic, especially since a majority of the main character's interactions occur through Facebook and Skype.

Rating: 7/10
**review copy provided by Zondervan**
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and just when you think it couldnt get any better!!! :), June 21, 2011
This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
WOW...Make sure you have Kleenex handy friends!! Ok so I read Learning in 4 hours and really Wow is what I can say right now. This book is amazing. The way I can describe it is ok Leaving the first book was like your favorite team winning a playoff game and then you read Learning and its like your favorite team winning the super bowl. I can honestly say that when I received the book in the mail I was so excited but when I sat down to read it I was almost scared to open it to see if my heart was going to be broken or healed! This book will make you look deep within your souls and try to look into Baileys and see everything God is doing around her and answers she has prayed for with doors opening that she didn't even expect. This book had me not only crying but sobbing and just feeling like I was with all of them in every chapter. Karen you did such an amazing job with this book that at the end I was like NNOOOO please dont end right now! Friends you will laugh and cry and look deep within yourself to see how you want things to be!! I loved every page and just couldnt get enough. I read all of it in 4 hours and am now going back through it to see if I missed any. I love how our Father God shined in every page and you could just see him in every page, every sentence, and every word! Thank you Karen for another fabulous book that just had me filled and ready for LONGING! Oh how its going to be hard to wait now!! xoxo
P.S. my friends I am still Team Cody!!! This book will have you on your toes and may make some people look at another path but all I can say is get your copy today!! It is worth every PENNY!! xoxo
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a rip off, April 3, 2012
I can't believe this story ends when it does, very disappointing. The story is so weak I don't even care what happens enough to buy the next book. Thanks for a waste of my time. What irritated me the most is that I believed I was buying a complete book. What was disappointing and dishonest is that the book is just the first part and additional books would have to be purchased. Buyer beware!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God is Amazing!, July 17, 2011
This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
My initial response after reading "Learning" is: God is Amazing! And I stand in awe because of it!

You see, only God could take reality and fiction and blur the two together to change lives.

I know...because I am one of those lives.

And so, it's difficult to put into words what God is doing. God cannot be expressed or explained...only experienced. And, I'm experiencing Him. And, that's just what our friends in "Learning" are doing too. Like never before, we see the struggles that each character is going through. Tough choices, inner struggles. Karen's not afraid to address some very real issues that we as human characters deal with, in the story of our lives. Issues like physical and emotional distance from someone we love. Having conflicting feelings about others in our lives and wondering what we are to do with those feelings. Also, challenges, like keeping an "open door" to whomever God sends our way, making the best use of our time, or watching someone we love and thought we knew...act like someone else.

Yes, friends! Bailey reveals some of her deepest struggles with us in "Learning." Each character is painfully honest with us. Their "mask" has been taken off. And this is what hits me the most. The theme that won't leave me alone---God works in our lives when we allow ourselves to be real with others...to open up and share what God is doing in our lives. And that's what we see in "Learning." Our Baxter and Flanigan friends experiencing God, sharing their story, and allowing their faith in God to lead them.

Are you ready to experience God? Ready to keep learning and become more bold in your faith? Ready to take off your mask?

Then come to the journey of "Learning." Now available wherever books are sold!

Now, let me close with one of my favorite quotes from "Learning." "God is doing something in both of our lives...I know. God told me that."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Leaving (Bailey Flanigan Series), July 14, 2011
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This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
I have read all of the Baxter family series, Take 1-4 and now the Bailey Flanigan Series. I am loosing enthusiasm for the pace this series is taking. Karen Kingsbury is a wonderful author, and I've enjoyed many of her others books as well. In this book Bailey's story line is so very predictable as has Cody's been too. As a person from Indiana where the characters are from I was very upset when I read the beginning of one chapter when Butler University is described as being out in the middle of CORN FIELDS!! Butler is in the middle of Indianapolis!! I'm sure there are many others who were not happy when they read that line. I actually put the book down and my poor children had to hear me rant about this. Then I decided that maybe it had something to do with the story line, so I picked up the book the next day, after cooling down, and there is not one reason for that sentence. Anyone can Google map Butler in seconds and see how off this is. It just really ruins things for me when details are so wrong like that. I would be glad to volunteer to proof her books about Indiana so things like this wouldn't happen again.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Improvement, June 23, 2011
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This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
When I finished Leaving, I was pretty frustrated with the way Bailey's story was going. I felt that she was too perfect. She didn't seem like a real person. So, I wasn't sure I wanted to read any more of her story. However, I don't often quit in the middle of a series, so I ordered Learning anyway. This book is a vast improvement over the last one. In this book, Bailey struggles, she fails, she doesn't do everything marvelously as she has in the past. She felt much more real than in the past books, which makes this book much more enjoyable for me.

I'm still frustrated w/ how the story is going, because unless Bailey ends up w/ Cody I won't be happy. Cody feels like a real person. He makes mistakes and he sometimes does stupid things, but he is Bailey's match. Brandon, on the other hand, is too perfect since he accepted Christ. I have a hard time believing that a man can instantly give up partying, girls, drugs, and the other seedy aspects of his life as a celebrity. Also, he's too sappy. His scenes w/ Bailey mostly make me roll my eyes. In fact, the same goes for Cheyenne's scenes w/ Cody. She's too perfect too. For that, I give the book four stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mmmmmmm........, July 15, 2011
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This review is from: Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) (Paperback)
I have all Karen's books but I think this series have characters that are a little too perfect. I think I felt it lacked depth. Mind you I still enjoyed reading it and looking forward to seeing how the story develops :-)
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Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series)
Learning (Bailey Flanigan Series) by Karen Kingsbury (Paperback - June 19, 2011)
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