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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take Four review
I love Karen Kingsbury as an author. I was a bit disappointed in Take Four. I've liked the other Baxter series books better (first three series). I would have to agree with other reviews that whoever edits Karen's books needs to do a better job. This isn't the first time there have been errors on dates, etc. In the Forever Faithful series, the car changed between the...
Published on August 14, 2010 by Anna Fischer

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars love Kingsbury but so disappointed
I feel like this book has gone from a great book series to a soap opera. It should have ended in three books. At the very least, it should have ended with the 4th book. I am not sure sure that I will read another "series" book of hers. Maybe it is best to stick to the stand alones.
Published on July 5, 2010 by leslieE


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars love Kingsbury but so disappointed, July 5, 2010
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I feel like this book has gone from a great book series to a soap opera. It should have ended in three books. At the very least, it should have ended with the 4th book. I am not sure sure that I will read another "series" book of hers. Maybe it is best to stick to the stand alones.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Even more disappointed then I thought I would be..., December 27, 2010
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
**SPOILERS**

Wow, just wow. I wrote a review for Take 3 (under the name Avid Reader. I gave it 2 stars) and said I was getting a little turned off by this series, but now I am just shocked at how far she is going with it. And there is another entire series continuing this story. I am farely certain I will not be reading it. I know that my opinion is vastly different from most people about this series, but so be it. I loved the 3 Baxter Series, really and truly. I still love them and they are all on my book shelves and I still recommend them to other people. I don't know what happened, but for me, this series went from only ok to bad to almost unreadable.

My thoughts on this book:
1. Every individual character storyline in this series is extreme. Meaning, every character is either a God fearing, Bible quoting, praying every other sentence Christian or a drug using, elicit sex having, anti-anything God heathen. I was so sick of it by the end of the book, I was literally shaking my head while I was reading. I consider myself a faithful person, but I found it almost impossible to relate to any character because of this.

2. I was personally offended at how she handled the Andi story line. I don't even know if I can explain properly. This part of the story was just so completely off for me, I was skimming the parts about her. This has a lot to do with my first point, but I am so disappointed. She had questions about her faith because her friend died. This could happen to anyone, but to have her completely spiral out of control and to keep pointing out that it is because she had questions about God is just crazy. A person can have questions about God and not turn to drinking, random sex, lying, and just all around insanity. I was so turned off at the non-stop mentioning of her "lost innocence" and that her "purity" was gone. She could still be a good person! She could even still be an actress! I was so angry at every one talking like her life was ruined and how she missed her opportunity because she became pregnant. The conversation with her dad about how he wasn't around to "save" her or keep this from happening was just too much. When Bailey was auditioning for the movie, they mentioned that she had an innocence that can't be faked and Keith Ellison felt sad and depressed thinking about Andi and how she will never be innocent again. Can you really just look at someone and tell that they are a virgin or not? In several different parts of the book Andi was described as having a childlike face and young features when her pregnancy was discussed. It was mentioned several times that she looked way to young or childlike to be pregnant. But, then somehow she doesn't look innocent anymore.

Also, at the movie premiere for The Last Letter, Andi decided not to go. Kingsbury does write that she is do any day and that was plenty of reason for her not to go. But no, she just had to go on and say that Andi decided not to go because she did not want to hurt her father's or her father's production company's image. She did did not want the paparazzi to get pictures of Keith's unmarried pregnant daughter. These people are supposed to be christians! They are portrayed as horrible hypocrites. I completely appreciate the message of waiting till marriage to have sex. Kingsbury delivered that message great in the Baxter book with Dayne and Katy. I don't know what happened here, but Andi is portrayed as a problem that they have to deal with. This part was just awful.

But for me, the real kicker, was when she went into labor. It was perfectly described at the house, and at the hospital up until she started pushing. Her mom said something about the pain, and Andi thoughts are the pain of labor and pushing is nothing compared to the pain of losing her innocence. Really? I have had 2 babies and if there wasn't only about 5 pages left in the book, I would have slammed it shut and thrown it away.

I will say that I, too, am 100% anti-abortion and I actually appreciated that she kept the baby and put him up for adoption. I was also touched at the very end at the hostpital at how hard it must be to physically give your baby up. (But that did not remotely redeem the rest of her story)

3. Bailey: I have read several people mention that the Flannigan's seem to mirror the Kingsbury Family and I tend to agree. This makes Bailey's story far too arrogant for me. She is almost perfect. Her worst "problems" extend to her staying in her relationship with Tim too long or not being able to figure out Cody or deciding between Cody or Brandon Paul.

4. Cody: Desperately needs a backbone. It's really embarrassing at this point. It have been almost 6 or 7 books now with the repeating theme of "I love Bailey, but she deserves better then me." This would have been ok for a bit, but nobody would be attracted to someone with that degree of self-pity. It is not romantic. It is sad(as in pathetic).

5. Cody and Bailey's relationship: Kingsbury is dragging this storyline out far too long. AND, there is another ENTIRE SERIES coming! I started out intrested in them, then got frustrated because at some point they need some closure, whether they got together or not. Then, (in Take 3) FINALLY, they got together. They were open and told each other they had feelings about each other. Only to start this book and no, once again, dragging out. The thought that there is 3 or 4 more books for this specific part of the story to go on and on is just daunting.

6. Unlocked: The movie portayed in the this book. As I was reading this book, I knew that Kingsbury had already had a book out that she had written titled "Unlocked" which is based on the story from this book. This got so incredibly arrogant that I truly struggled to read it. There were several references to the Unlocked story saying how it is such a great story, so inspiring, has one of the best christian messages. Several of the characters mention that it is one of the best stories they have ever read. It was just really unnerving to me, that Kingsbury was writing this book and describing another book that she wrote with such high regard. It might be a good story (I don't know, I haven't read it), but I really couldn't understand her talking about her own work like that. Truly arrogant, in my opinion.

To me this series is almost a joke. This isn't a wonderful story of faith in everyday life. This is almost an obsession with God series. I don't know anyone who, in normal conversation, prays together 3 times in about a 10 minute period. Or shouts across a court room to "pray, pray to Jesus!". That doesn't bring people to Jesus, that makes you seem crazy. No matter what you are saying, if you are shouting across a room of people that don't want to hear you, you push them away. I am expecting people to disagree with my assesment, but I really feel this strongly about it. Kingsbury has an awesome platform to bring God and faith to people and she has done it wonderfully time and time again. Even Now and Ever After are not only 2 of my favorite books by her, they are 2 of my favorite books of all time. It is unfortunate, but this series feels like being strapped down and force fed faith whether you like it or not.

If you have made it through my entire review, thank you and I hope you look elsewhere for Christian Fiction. (Even other Karen Kingsbury books are a lot better)
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Coasting Through this One, July 12, 2010
By 
Anne Garrett (Anderson, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
First, let me say that I've enjoyed a number of other Kingsbury novels. Take One and Take Two were so good that they motivated me to read all the Baxter books immediately. (Reading sixteen of her novels in quick succession turned out to be overdoing it the least bit, but that was my fault not hers.) Take Three disappointed me, but I still held out high hopes for the final book in the series--hopes that the reading completely dashed.

Replacing Chase with Dayne Matthews in the film company meant too much Baxter focus for my taste. Fourteen earlier books in three series tell us their story; let's concentrate on different characters now. For a moment it looked as though we might be surprised by Andi's decision, but she ultimately took the easier, predictable road. A couple of other reviews mention that the characters celebrate Veterans' Day in October. That's not just one small mistake; it's mentioned repeatedly over several chapters. Nor would it be easy to fix in subsequent printings as it would alter the entire timeline. A couple of other smaller errors made me wonder how many people had to read the book before it was printed. (Please don't expect to smell wild lilacs and honesuckle in Indiana at the end of October, for example. Unless the Baxters and Flanigans are so blessed that God has turned Bloomington into the new Eden since I was there last.)

All in all, it appeared to me that Kingsbury tired of this story and coasted through the writing while simultaneously wanting to milk these characters through yet another series. I felt like I was reading a long commercial for the Baxter books and especially for the upcoming Unlocked and Bailey Flanigan series. Obviously I'm in the minority here, and die-hard fans seem to love the book. Karen Kingsbury is capable of much more (Shades of Blue, for one), but I won't take her writing for granted hereafter.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bordering on arrogance, July 12, 2010
By 
T. Borden "bsypaintin" (Wellington, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I have read almost every one of Karen Kingsbury's novels, and the past 2 have done me in as a fan. I strongly feel that Karen mirrors the Flanigan Family seeing them as her own family and this has bordered on too much arrogance for me as a reader. And the spin off series of Bailey Flanigan is sure to mirror the life of her own only daughter, just as the storyline of each Flanigan family member has mirrored members of her own family. I would imagine that most characters she writes about are actually real and involved in her life in some way. Take 3 had me questioning the arrogance of writing about what seemed like her own family being the "pefectly put together wealthy Christian family that everyone wants to be or at the very least be a part of"..and by the end of Take Four..I'm pretty convinced it is. And going into the Bailey Flanigan series now is sure to mirror the life of her only daughter..and I think I am pretty much Flanigan/Kingsbury family burnt out. When it became obvious the characters were being mirrored..I couldn't enjoy the story as the arrogance seemed to just ooze more and more and seem like bragging which defeats the whole theme of the novels and Christian fiction. The fictional line began to blur too much for my comfort.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, February 20, 2011
By 
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I totally agree with Happy Lady. I could not have said it better myself. I don't even want to read the Bailey series because I don't think I can stand anymore of her and Cody's stupidity. Anyway, I thought Bailey felt God leading her not to go to New York in this book. So, why is she going in the next series? I love most of KK's books, including the 3 Baxter series, but this Bailey-Cody series is like the never-ending story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story but, Too Many Problems, December 19, 2010
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I've read the whole series and the Redemption Series. I enjoyed the basic story of this book and don't mind it when things don't wrap up with a nice bow storywise. I feel like reading through some of these books has strenghtened my prayer life, by reading their example of constant prayer. However I was dissappointed in the number of grammatical and reference errors in this last book. There were some extras words that didn't belong and wrong names used several times. I hope these are corrected for any future printings and that this is not the case in the new series coming up! Unfortunately the mistakes took away from the enjoyment of reading the story. When I'm trying to figure out why that name was used and if I'm confused about what they are talking it about it, it interupts the flow. Otherwise I did enjoy the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flannigans becoming less imaginary, October 22, 2010
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I know that the Flannigan family is an obvious fictionalized version of the Kingsbury family, but I really believe Karen is going a bit overboard and I know I wouldn't feel too comfortable with my mom writing this fantasy story of the fiction version of me dating someone. I mean fiction should be just that-- fiction. I feel like the whole movie story line has just become a front for her writing how wonderful her family is and then getting paid for it. Also, would be nice if her Flannigan family made some sacrifices-- something that they gave or did that actually cost them something. They seem to stay in their controlled perfect environment and never willingly step out of their comfort zone and stretch themselves. I dont think I could read the Baily series or recommend it. Wish she could go back to the earlier books with the legal- Christian aspects.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The "bold and the beautiful" of Christian fiction!, January 30, 2011
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
Another series and nothing happen after four books, it is a never ending story!! However I do realise why an author does this - half the next book in the series is already written while busy with previous ones. It takes less time and then in between you write your "real books", which is then completely new. I feel cheated! Luckily there are other excelled Christian fiction authors today; you can really buy the best of the best. Some of Karen previous (older) books are so much better, what happened?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Take Four is a Crash and Burn Bomb, November 9, 2010
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I've enjoyed Karen Kingsbury's books, up until this one. I can hardly believe it was written by the same person. Her books were well written, not "hoaky", "corny", or "sappy" Christian novels. But, this one is all of those, possibly more.

A novelist must get the reader to suspend disbelief; I kept wondering if she'd forgotten that element in story writing. Since when does everybody in the plot come to know Jesus as their Savior? Especially when it comes to people in Hollywood and the movie business? Totally unbelievable.

I would never recommend this book to either Christian or non-Christian - especially non. I can just see the eyes rolling....

Save your money. And your time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars end of one series, setting up another..., September 18, 2010
This review is from: Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) (Paperback)
I'll begin with the positive. More so than in Karen Kingsbury's other books, the gospel message is clearly presented in "Take 4." That's great!
The story of Andi and her adoption dilemma is handled very well. Kingsbury does an excellent job of presenting all the perspectives on the issue...and not just from Andi's point of view. The final chapter on this storyline in "Take 4" is very moving.
The story of Brandon Paul is surprisingly good. He's the bad-boy movie star who thinks he can romance any girl he wants. But, as it turns out, Brandon is the one who learns what true love means...and not in the way you might expect!
Now, for the negative. Karen Kingsbury has turned the Bailey/Cody relationship into a melodramatic soap opera. Worse, she is just rehashing plot devices she has already used. First, Bailey had Tim as her other suitor; now there's Brandon. Just when you think Cody has finally developed some self esteem--nope, guess again. The whole, "I love her so much, but she deserves better than me" thing is so sappy and is repeated way too many times. Karen Kingsbury must think that sounds romantic, but it's really not. Why would a girl even want a guy who is so insecure and self-pitying?
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Take Four (Above the Line Series #4)
Take Four (Above the Line Series #4) by Karen Kingsbury (Paperback - June 20, 2010)
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