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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2011
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2012
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2015
UPDATE: I normally do not contact authors but the mistakes in this book bugged me so bad I sent a copy of this review to Karen Kingsbury's email address. I got a very nice email back from her mother, who evidently handles her correspondence. The part that applied to my review was this:

"We have been aware of the discrepancy in some of the facts in this book and they have been sent to her editor for corrections in the next edition. Karen now has a team of editors that should prevent this from happening again."

Wait, what??? This book came out in 2011 and you are going to correct the discrepancies in the next edition??? There are so many mistakes you'd have to do a total rewrite! Karen needs a TEAM of editors to prevent this from happening? I can see an editor helping cut down the verboseness of a manuscript or catching a few minor mistakes. But I would think it would be on the AUTHOR to make sure they know their own facts and don't make a mess of their own storyline. If a team of editors has to do this much work on a manuscript can Karen still say she wrote it? I am not impressed with this answer at all! I don't think I'll be reading anything by Karen in awhile after I finish this series!

Original Review:

** spoiler alert ** I should totally be a proofreader or editor! I can not begin to believe this book got so many positive reviews. It drove me NUTS! Facts from previous books were changed and evidently no one but me noticed! Some of them were little things, some of them were bigger things. Karen put this series out in 18 months and it shows! This is just some of what was wrong. I'm sure I missed plenty!

* Tara didn't tell Cody God saved him from Iraq for Chey, Tara told Chey that who then told Cody.

* Bailey and Brandon were not moving boxes across her front porch the day Cody came and left. They had emptied two bags of trash and had the empty bags with Brandon's arm around Bailey's waist as they walked across the porch.

* Cody did not step on and break his sunglasses on that July 4th. One of Bailey's brothers stepped on them and broke them.

* When Bailey's new NY landlords were introduced in book 1 of this series their name was Owens. Now inexplicably their name is Keller.

* In NEW YORK they left their suitcases in a cab trunk and told him to be back in an hour? And he came back and their luggage was still in the trunk. Right! But then it wasn't a cab, it was a car provided by the Broadway producers.

* Now the Kellers are not charging Bailey ANY rent and won't take any when last book it was agreed to be $200 a month. And part of this FREE package of being a tenant with the Kellers is a car on call whenever Bailey wants.

* Before Bailey's first show she whispered to Chrissy they needed to pray. Chrissy said no. Then there was a paragraph about how Bailey didn't know how to change the conversation to her faith. Yet that was changed whiles she's on the Empire State Building that night to she'd told Chrissy she'd prayed for the show to go well and the other girls had probably heard her. Nope, not how it happened.

* Brandon came to Bailey's opening night but unbelievably her parents and family didn't. That doesn't fit the characters. At least her mother would've been at opening night no matter what. But the story in the book was that were coming that weekend. But that night Brandon says he had to see her this weekend like it is already the weekend now on opening night.

* When Cody and Cheyenne go to the coffee shop after the movie it is said that he'd never told her about Bailey. He tells her about the Flanigans and she asks if the Flanigans have a daughter and that's when he tells her. BUZZ! Wrong! In the last book after he saw the counselor he and Chey talked about her being Art's motivation to return from war and Bailey being his.

* Cody's mom serving 5 year sentence is wrong. It was reduced to 4 at her original hearing because she had been clean 3 years. And it was supposed to be reduced another year for her testifying against Dirk.

It was so very unrealistic for Cody's football team to win against all these supposed higher ranked and tougher schools. Having faith in God doesn't magically make you a good football player. In the last game it was said that school they were playing did not lose and then Cody's team came out after half time and just decimated them by a large number of points. That was just ridiculous!

There was lots more wrong with this book that just totally destroyed the story for me. Cody and Bailey have both moved on and love someone else. It's obvious there is no happily ever after for these two so they need to stop obsessing over each other.

I'm getting disillusioned with Karen Kingsbury because she portrays Christians like all they have to do is pray and everything will magically fall into place exactly like you want. It doesn't work that way. First not everything you pray for is God's will for your life. And second, the more you try to live for God the more the devil is going to try to tempt you not to.

The only good thing I can say about the book is Karen did finally use some new Bible verses (Yay!) but she didn't quote the book and verse like she does with Jeremiah 29:11 all the time. (Boo!) I wish I hadn't bought this whole series at once. Now I feel obligated to read the last two because I already paid for them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
This book got decent reviews so I thought I would try the series. I was very disappointed, this book was a lot about religion which is something I normally don't read. I had a really hard time with the series I couldn't get past book 1
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2013
I have read all of the series that include the Baxter Family and have very much enjoyed them. Warning: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. That is until the Bailey Flanigan series....

I really looked forward to seeing Bailey and Cody finally stop having something come in the way of a solid relationship. As I read through this book, I didn't like the way it was headed and decided to do what I've not done before and read reviews for book four (Loving) to see what happens. I learned that it is Bailey and Brandon that get together. What???!!! This makes no sense. I am done reading the series at book two. Although I already bought all four books, I'll just remove the last two from my Kindle.

A very disappointing ending. In addition, I felt like I was reading what I'd already read in prior series with this series. I do not see that I will read any additional Karen Kingsbury books. I wish her the best and very much enjoyed prior series. It's time for me to enjoy the many other talented Christian fiction authors out there.
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on January 19, 2014
Here we have the second book in this series. There are a lot of surprises and it will keep you wondering what Bailey and Cole will end up doing. Will they go on different paths?
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on December 11, 2013
Don't like romance books there all pretty much the same plot boy or girl doesn't like the other then there thrown together and find instand romance
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
This entire trilogy sucks! The synopsis Amazon gives a reader to preview a book is very poor. If I had known these books were as religious as they are with such a goody-two-shoes story line, I would never have purchased them in the first place. Don't wasted your money. Unless you are a very religious teenage girl, you will not enjoy these books.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
book was shipped in a padded envelope that looked like it had been mangled; the book was bent and cover torn, but book was also marked on page edge with a black marker as if it were a second or damaged item from Amazon; I ordered a new book, but this item is damaged; also had something sticky on cover like old glue or a peeled up sticker; very, very disappointing
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