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Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
by Maria Semple
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.92
513 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant., January 6, 2014
If you've found yourself disappointed in formulaic fiction recently or have put down a book suffering from deja vu, I beg you to give Bernadette a try. This book is quirky, smart, original, and simply brilliant.
I fell in love with the Fox family and found myself reading the last pages VERY SLOWLY, as I was not ready to see them go. I only wish we would've gotten a bit more of Elgie!
This book will bring out a love for Seattle, mother/daughter relationships, and fearlessly original characters. Highly recommend.


The Art of Fielding: A Novel
The Art of Fielding: A Novel
by Chad Harbach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.49
424 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Love/Hate Relationship, January 6, 2014
I really felt the pressure to love this book, especially when John Green gave it a thumbs-up in a VlogBrothers video. No matter what this book made me feel in the end, I am really glad I read it. It's one of those stories that's impossible to be so-so about, you're going to have an opinion—love or hate.
In the end, I loved it. The strongest parts sang out beautifully and didn't just make me love books and baseball more, but really appreciate the writer. The book stalled in the third act, drowning in complications until the last few pages, where it sputtered for air in a final rally of energy.
My central disappointment in this novel was the characters of Pella and Henry. I felt that even Harbach himself was uninterested in them at times and it showed. While Pella fluctuated between a multidimensional character and a plot device, Henry only felt like a fleshed-out character once in the entirety of the book.
But if you're reading this review and debating a purchase, go for it. No matter what, this book will make you feel "the feelings" whether good or bad. Count on it.


Come to the Edge: A Love Story
Come to the Edge: A Love Story
by Christina Haag
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.94
77 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come to the Edge, November 13, 2013
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Despite being gone 10+ years, JFK Jr. still captivates in a way that only a Kennedy can. In Christina Haag's memoir, even the decades-old memory of John seems to leap off the page. The problem with this, however, is that Ms. Haag herself falls short of the heroic Kennedy and the portions of the book without him fall a bit flat.
That being said, this book is a beautiful insight to a man taken too soon and Ms. Haag writes him like most of us imagine (impulsive, brave, breathtaking). By the end of the book, there was a part of me that wished desperately for a history-changing epilogue that has him alive, and with her.


Stranded (Alaskan Courage, Book 3)
Stranded (Alaskan Courage, Book 3)
by Dani Pettrey
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.46
80 used & new from $2.49

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stranded by Dani Pettrey, September 1, 2013
After reading the first two, I was interested in reading Stranded, if not just for a break from heavier reading. With this story, you get Gage and Darcy, the latter who the readers got to know in the second book, Shattered. These two are thrown together as Darcy's friend vanishes from the cruise ship they were working, which leads them to a greater mystery. Sure enough, the whole gang is back together again and on the case. This mystery wasn't the best of the three books, I wasn't surprised or even much interested in learning what was actually going on, as I had been for the first two.
My main problem with this book is how the author tends to follow a pattern. There's no real chance that the two won't end up together, there is a strong lack of conflict in this will-they/won't-they game that each book has played until about 3/4th of the way through. I also felt like any spark or real back-and-forth the two had in the previous book seemed to vanish, like they tossed it aside, knowing they'd get together by the book's end.
The best part about this book was the set-up for what I can only assume will be the fourth book, Kayden and Jake's story. These two actually have some chemistry (granted, in most of the books it's mostly seen in their arguments) and hopefully Jake won't just fall into the sidekick, protector role the other three men have been banished to. I'd like to see them both actually fall in love, I haven't felt like I got to see it in the first three books in a way that makes me feel connected to the characters.
I am always glad to read Christian fiction, but I'm just not as impressed as some of the other reviewers and I wanted to offer my opinion. If you want more mystery-driven stories with stronger characters, I'd recommend Terri Blackstock's Cape Refuge series or Dee Henderson. I have yet to find another Christian fiction author who comes close to those two.

Bethany House sent me this book via NetGalley so that I could read it and offer an honest review.


The Trouble with Flirting
The Trouble with Flirting
by Claire LaZebnik
Edition: Paperback
Price: $7.38
65 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik, June 13, 2013
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After reading a few of Claire's books, I have to say she definitely seems right at home writing for YA. This is her second book inspired by a work of Jane Austen, her previous book EPIC FAIL inspired by Pride and Prejudice. THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING is inspired by Mansfield Park, a choice that surprised me.
Franny finds herself spending the summer working at a theater camp where she runs into childhood crush Alex and his sister Julia and meets the playboy Harry, who seems to not take a single thing seriously.
My favorite part about this story is how Claire does not stick to the exact storyline as Mansfield Park, but lets the characters guide the story. I loved it! I can't wait to see what Jane Austen novel Claire picks for her next book!


Paige Torn: A Paige Alder Novel
Paige Torn: A Paige Alder Novel
by Erynn Mangum
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $13.69
53 used & new from $3.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum, June 13, 2013
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I have read both of Erynn's previous series, and from what I read in PAIGE TORN, she has made great strides as an author. I hesitated buying this book, because Erynn seems pretty tied to her formula that her first two series followed. While Paige has shades of Maya and Lauren (the two previous central characters), her story seems to be branching out at least a little.
Here's the formula: caffeine-obsessed heroine + perfect guy + first novel spent dancing around a relationship + no kissing. So PAIGE TORN doesn't branch far from that, but the two crucial differences here are an additional element of suspense (the last few chapters of the book feature a surprise visitor) and a slightly more realistic lead character.
Paige suffers from not being able to say no--to anything. I was exhausted reading about her many commitments! When a new guy shows up and challenges her to start saying no, her entire life seems to be thrown off balance. I think the struggle, especially for Christian women, is very hard and I'm glad that Erynn chose to conquer that issue.
The only worry that I have is that Tyler seems to be a pretty bland character by the end of the first novel, despite being a catalyst for Paige to evaluate her life. I hope that he becomes more developed in the next two books.
Overall, this is a cute book that any Christian girl would enjoy reading--perfect for summer!


Undeniably Yours
Undeniably Yours
by Becky Wade
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.54
69 used & new from $1.76

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Undeniably Yours, April 20, 2013
This review is from: Undeniably Yours (Paperback)
I'll be honest, this book was good but it wasn't great. I found Becky Wade's first novel My Stubborn Heart pretty soon after publication last year and was massively impressed. Needless to say, I was waiting expectantly for her sophomore effort. While it is still miles above a lot other books in the genre, Undeniably Yours lacked some of the strength that its predecessor possessed.

The book circles around Meg Cole, a woman who recently inherited her rich father's company and other holdings, including a thoroughbred farm she doesn't want. Bo Porter, the man who runs the farm, will do anything to keep her from closing his livelihood. After a deal is made, Meg promises not to close the farm for six months. Of course, the two have chemistry and dance around a relationship for awhile (she's his boss, he's not rich, etc.), until finally succumbing to the desire to be together, which naturally means more complications arise.

Okay, so here's my biggest issues with this book--
1. The book doesn't seem that different from My Stubborn Heart. The basic plot followed the same pattern, you could easily replace Matt and Kate (from My Stubborn Heart) into many of the scenes and it wouldn't make a difference. While Meg and Kate weren't replicas of each other, Matt and Bo seemed interchangeable. Over-protective, guarded, super handsome yet somehow completely available guys who struggle with feeling like they're worthy.
2. Bo Porter. He seemed to fall almost instantly for Meg, overcome with a desire to protect her. That desire was a driving force that propelled him throughout most of the book, one that almost painted Meg as an incapable damsel. This type of guy is pretty standard in romance books (especially Christian ones), but I still hope that someone will write a different guy.
3. Stephen sub-plot. It wasn't horrible, but it made the latter half of the book a little crowded. With the household staff, Bo's family, and the characters that Stephen brings into the mix, the novel almost feels overwhelmed at times.

And here are my favorite parts (which made me give this book 4 stars)--
1. Series. I'm glad that this is the first of a series! I feel like some of Bo's siblings will provide more interesting and unique characters, especially Jake (he's the one with the scar).
2. Rich/Poor. I did like the fact that Bo had issues with Meg being the richer one of the two. A guy that just accepted it would've seemed hard to believe, as a lot of men feel the pressure to be the breadwinner.
3. Writing. Despite the similarities to her first novel, Becky Wade is one of the most natural writers I've read in the Christian fiction genre. Her scenes flow together easily and, I'll admit, I often sigh audibly.

I know I sound critical, but I'm just expect a lot after a great debut! I really hope that her books are released a little closer together with this series. I don't want to wait another year to read the next installment!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 3, 2013 7:01 PM PDT


Off the Menu
Off the Menu
by Stacey Ballis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.84
59 used & new from $0.01

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Check, Please., November 29, 2012
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This review is from: Off the Menu (Paperback)
This book has somewhat stalked me-I have seen it in Target, at the bookstore, and on my recommendation list Amazon offers. Never have I been so sorely disappointed in a book, and I've read some pretty dreary stuff.
My biggest beef is the main character, Alana. I spent an excrutiating twenty-or-so chapters with her and felt no connection whatsoever. She has no problems, she meets the perfect guy a few chapters in, and she has a personality that seems to be constructed of pieces of every chick-lit character in history. RJ, the wonderful stud that enters her life, is just as dull.
What's odd is the way the first half of the book is written, you expect for RJ to turn into a major creep (I was betting on stalker serial-killer...or a con-man who stole someone's identity). I was actively rooting against them to end up together, I expected for her to end up with her boss or to be single at the end of the book.
I don't want to tear apart someone's work, but the top review raves about how wonderful this book is, hopefully this will help keep you from wasting ten bucks. Don't buy this book, it's unmemborable and dull.


Treasuring Emma (A Middlefield Family Novel)
Treasuring Emma (A Middlefield Family Novel)
by Kathleen Fuller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.69
140 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Not My Favorite, But Read It For Yourself., September 17, 2012
Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller is a great alternative for those of you who like Janette Oke or Beverly Lewis books. I'm not big into Amish Christian fiction, but it was a pretty cute story. Adam was Emma's soulmate before he left, now he's back. Essentially an Amish version of Persuasion. I'll be honest--this book felt like it dragged on a few pages too long and had too familiar of a storyline. If you wanted a book similar to this, I'd go with Sanctuary by Beverly Lewis. Amish books can sometimes feel snail-paced, like this one. I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars. But if Amish Christian fiction is your favorite genre, you might enjoy it more than I did (I think it's one of those types you grow used to reading--the language, the lifestyle, etc).


Every Single Woman's Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise (The Every Man Series) Workbook
Every Single Woman's Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise (The Every Man Series) Workbook
by Shannon Ethridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.89
115 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Every Reader's Battle, July 9, 2011
There wasn't a moment of hesitation when I chose this book to read. I'm a single woman and I wanted to know what insights were in these pages. I would've been better asking around my neighborhood. This wasn't a new idea, or even a new book (it's more a supplement to Every Woman's Battle) and it was honestly a waste of time. You are much better off buying Every Woman's Battle. Don't waste your time on this one.

I was provided this book by Waterbrook Multnomah's book review program Blogging for Books. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 9, 2014 12:00 AM PST


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