Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber

I have really become a big fan of Macomber. My friend, Jody, introduced me to her a year or so ago. Her books are not Christian fiction, but they are clean... and often issues of faith come up. Occasionally there is some language (this book has a tiny bit) and I know in one or two of her books characters sleep together outside of marriage. Interesting thing about that, to me, it isn't glorified... in fact, the 2 books I am thinking of have consequences to those actions.

All that is said as a bit of a "warning" to those who read Christian fiction and might try a Macomber book. They are really good!

When I read the synopsis of Thursdays at Eight I knew I would love it! Four ladies at different stages of their lives and going through different seasons meet at a journalling class. As friendships develop and the class ends, they decide to keep meeting once a week for breakfast and so the Thursday Breakfast Club is formed.

We, the readers, are given a "fly on the wall" view of the club and the lives of these ladies. We watch Claire deal with her husband's infidelity and divorce; we watch Liz seek to find purpose for her life; we see Karen work through her dreams and learn that what you want isn't always what you need; and we sit with Julia as she comes to term with a late in life unexpected pregnancy.

This is a book about life and about friendships... those wonderful relationships women seem to form that keep us sane!

Great read! My only regret is I can't go visit them all again and see where they are now and what they are doing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Letters from Lexington by Phil Hardwick

Letters is the final book in Hardwick's Mississippi Mystery series. He is now writing a series, with the same focal character, called the American Mystery series. In his new series, P.I. Jack Boulder travels to various states to solve crimes.

I enjoyed Letters from Lexington. In some ways it is the best written on all the Mississippi Mysteries series. The plot was unique and the characters a it more three dimensional than in previous books. I have been through a bit of Lexington many times on I-55, but I have never actually been into the town. So I had no point of reference to any of the landmarks and local highlights Hardwick featured in his book.

As I have said in previous reviews of this series, I believe these books would be entertaining to anyone from Mississippi or with ties to the state. The charm in these books is found in the settings more than the characters and the plots. Still, all in all, they provide a nice bit of relaxed reading without straining the brain too much... and that is often just what the doctor ordered!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jessie by Lori Wick

Jessie is the third (and I believe final) book in Wick's Big Sky Dream series. Most of the characters have been introduced and some even featured in the earlier books in this series, but the story itself can stand alone. That said, I think the reader would enjoy it more by reading the previous books ... Cassidy and Sabrina.

In book three, we are given a front row seat in Jessie Wheeler's world. Jessie is an only child who grew up in the apartment over her father's mercantile. She has been helping out in the store as long as she can remember and now that she has lost both her parents, she is running it on her own. Jessie is a can do girl... like her father, she needs no one's help and makes sure she is always in charge... and like her father she has no time for such silliness as God.

Seth Redding is on his way to Texas, when he finds himself the victim of robbery. Penniless, he heads into Token Creek in search of a job. The mercantile is the last place he normally would consider, but the lovely girl working there has caught his eye. Jessie hires Seth for the day... and that one day turns into another and another... and quickly Jessie and Seth realize they love each other and want to spend all their days together. And so their life together begins.

But after the birth of their daughter, Hannah, the stress and strain of married life, running the store and parenting takes it toil. Seth and Jessie fight continuously and when an opportunity to leave presents itself, Seth takes it... leaving Jessie, Hannah, and his unborn child behind.

Eight years pass and Seth returns to Token Creek... a changed man... a new creation in Christ. A lot has happened over those years... many things of which he is ashamed... but the one thing that hasn't changed is his love for Jessie. Will she see that he is a changed man? Will she give him a second chance? Can they be a family again? and most importantly, can he help her see the truth of Christ?
You can read my review of the previous books in this series here:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Fountain Creek Chronicles (Trilogy) by Tamara Alexander

I have read some things by Alexander in years past... books she wrote for either Love Inspired or HeartSong, but this series are the first novels I have seen by her. The books are Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered. They are all connected by characters and it is best to read them in order, although they can all function as stand alone books.

Fountain Creek is an area set in Colorado in the late 1800s. In book one, Rekindled, we are drawn into the lives of Kathryn and Larson Jennings, a couple whose life has not turned out as planned and whose marriage appears to be falling apart.

One wintry night, Larsen doesn't return home and Kathryn finds herself alone and unsure of the future. She struggles over the next months to keep their ranch despite the obstacles and confrontations that come her way. When a body is found and declared to be Larsen's, Kathryn sees no hope for the future and resigns herself to failure. But God has different plans.

Revealed (Book Two) is a story of second chances. Annabelle Grayson is given a second chance in the form of Jonathan McClutchens, but then Jonathan dies and Annabelle finds herself at a crossroads. Does she go back to a place she knows, but where she has no opportunity to make a new life for herself and her unborn child or does she press on to the ranch Jonathan bought and prepared for their life together? Determined to press on, Annabelle hires a guide... Jonathan's brother Matthew, who has made his dislike of Annabelle known from the start.

What Matthew doesn't realize is he has an opportunity for a second chance also. A chance to stop running... a chance to make peace with his past... and a chance for love.

In Remembered (Book Three), Veronique Girard is sent from the only world she has known, France, to the rugged America West in search for her father who went to American when she was a small child. It was always the plan for Pierre Girard to send for his family once he was established, but he never did. Veronique doesn't know if her father is dead or alive, her only clue is a letter sent many years earlier from Willow Springs, Colorado.

Once there, she finds life in a America.. especially the West and especially gold mining towns, is much different than her native France. With the help, all be it reluctant, of Jack Brennan, Veronique sets off to find out what happened to her father. Along the way she finds that God is a god who often gives us much more than we ask or imagine.

This is a lovely series of Historic Fiction filled with romance, faith and a bit of intrigue at times. Alexander does a nice job of creating believable characters and realistic plot lines all while intertwining bits of faith within the story. I will certainly be on the lookout for her books in the future.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Love the Sinner by Lynn Bulock

Love the Sinner is a Gracie Lee Mystery and part of the life, faith and getting it right books published by Steepe Hill Cafe'. Gracie Lee Harris has sells her condo in Missouri and moves to California to be near her husband, who is in a coma. Dennis had moved to CA earlier to set up his business and get everything in order for Gracie Lee to join him.... or so she thought. After months in a coma, Dennis dies... the victim of foul play... and Gracie Lee finds herself a suspect along with a number of other women... Dennis' mother, his ex-wife, daughter and pregnant fiance'. Dennis was a busy boy to say the least. As Gracie tries to process it all, she meets Linette who invites her to a support group (Christian Friends) that meets at her church. On a whim, Gracie goes and there she finds friendship, support and the Lord she had long since left behind. With renewed strength, Gracie sets out to discover who killed Dennis and why.... and all before she becomes the next victim!