Saturday, September 29, 2007

Summer by Karen Kingsbury

I discovered Karen Kingsbury about a year ago. I think everyone should be required to read her series on the Baxter family. These are some of the most wonderful books I have ever read. The original series was the Redemption series written with Gary Chapman. Chapman is Christian counselor and has written a number of non-fiction works on family and marriage. He collaborated with Kingsbury to create a series that incorporated what he teaches into fiction. And wow does it work!

The central family in the Redemption series are the Baxters. After this series, Kingsbury felt led to write 2 other series connected to the Baxters. The Firstborn series (which was great!) and the Sunrise series.

Summer is book 2 of the Sunrise series. I keep waiting for Kingsbury to fall short... for the plots to grow old... the characterizations to go flat.. for these stories to get tired. It hasn't happened! I believe God wrote (and is writing) these stories on her heart. No, I don't think this is Scripture, but I do believe her writing is God-lead.. anointed.

I commend Kingsbury for not sugar coating life. She shared at the end of Summer that she wanted to go back and change a situation and let it all come out rosy and happy, but she didn't. Why? Because like it or not, life isn't always happily ever after and there is a greater lesson to be learned in holding on to Him during the bad times.

Her characters aren't super Christians. They are pious.. able to withstand crisis with no doubts, no wavering, no anger, etc. They are human. They get mad at God and each other.. turn their back on God and each other... lash out... cry... hurt... and on the flip side they laugh... smile... cry... love... You will find so many issues covered in these books. Teen pregnancy... sex outside of marriage (not just in the teens)... forgiveness.. unforgiveness.. addiction... death... life... birth.. adoption...AIDs... and so very much more.

I would love to tell you all about Summer, but there is no way to even begin without giving things away. I will tell you that I cry a lot when I read these books. Happy tears and sad tears.. and this one really got to me.

I am blessed to be able to check these books out at my local library. Please check there or a local bookstore for Karen Kingsbury books. Start with the Redemption Series -- book 1 is Redemption -- and go from there.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Summer Breeze by Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman

This is book 2 in the Four Seasons series by these 2 authors. It is a great series based on Chapman's non-fiction work, The Four Seasons of Marriage. Basically he and Palmer have taken the principles set out in his book and are working them out through their fiction. I would love to see more books done this way. It is great! Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series, also written with Chapman, is like this. I also saw parts of Chapman's The Five Love Languages in Summer Breeze.

In Summer Breeze the reader returns to Deepwater Cove, Missouri in the heart of the Ozark Mountains. Cody is still there learning social skills and speaking his mind. Patsy Pringle and Pete Roberts are still wavering between dislike and like. Esther and Charles are keeping an eye on everyone. And all the rest of the gang!

This book focuses mostly on Kim and Derek Finley. The relaxing summer takes a turn when Kim's son Luke is diagnosed with diabetes, his twin Lydia decides it's time to push the envelope on parental control, and Kim's controlling and overbearing mother-in-law moves in indefinitely. Kim is beyond frazzled and Derek just puts up a wall and ignores all the chaos around him.

There a issues to be discussed and dealt with before it is too late. Issues of trust, faith, unity to name a few.

This is a wonderful book! You definitely need to read book 1 first -- It Happens Every Spring.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cassidy by Lori Wick

Lori Wick is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors. In fact, the first Christian Fiction book I ever read was Wick's Sophie's Choice. I was thrilled when my library received a copy of her new book Cassidy. It is book one of her Big Sky Dreams series.

Set in the Montana Territory, Wick transports the writer back to 1880 to the small community of Token Creek. There we meet Cassidy Norton, Trace Holden and his wife, Meg, Brad Holden (Trace's brother) and a slew of other characters. Cassidy,a seamstress with a thriving business, is loved and respected by the citizens of Token Creek, but that may change when a visitor from her past arrives and secrets are revealed.

While the details of Cassidy's struggles aren't something I can relate to, I can understand the doubts and hurts she faces. I suspect most of you can too. No doubt this is a romantic look back in time, but it also provides food for thought as we ponder where we find our worth and our provision.


Dreaming of Books to Come....

The mail today included the normal junk mail..... bills....catalogs galore.... but there was a treasure too... the Fall 2007 Fiction catalog from CBD! I love seeing the new books that have just come out or are coming soon. Here are just a few I am looking forward to reading:

Beverly Lewis' The Parting (Book 1 of her new series The Courtship of Nellie Fisher)

Book 2 of Kim Vogel Sawyer's Sommerfeld Trilogy - Beginnings

Tracie Peterson - Where My Heart Belongs

Book 7 of the Yada Yada Prayer Group Series by Neta Jackson - The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling

Falling for You Again from Catherine Palmer and Gary Chapman's Four Seasons series

Those are just a few... there are a slew of Christmas books I want to find before the holidays (I love reading Christmas book from Thanksgiving til New Year's)... some cute Love Inspired books headed my way, as well as some great looking titles from Steeple Hill's Mass Market division.

And I am totally thrilled that Jan Karon is back with Father Tim... and her new book is set in my home state! I know that one will be a blast to read!

The old saying "Too many books too little time" has never been more true!