How do you choose a good book to read? Sometimes finding a good book is like playing Russian Roulette. What do you do when you don't have any friends to discuss books with? I've created this blog to open an online discussion of great books.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Tailor-Made Bride

Summary: Hannah Richards is a seamstress who has a dream: to own her own dress shop. When fortune falls upon her, she heads out to Coventry, TX to do just that. Unfortunately for her, she meets a man named J.T. Tucker who believes that fashion leads women down a path of self destruction and the new dressmaker is just leading women into temptation. This book is a journey of a godly woman who turns another man's beliefs upside down, while ministering to all the people who come into her life.

Pros: As you read the book, the characters endear themselves to the reader. It's a smooth read and didn't really get too bogged down with over zealous description.

Cons: Several sections of the book feel like the author is preaching a sermon. The story is very predictable. There are still some loose ends at the end of the novel.

Recommendation: Read this novel with the understanding that you are not reading the next great novel. This book will not win any awards; but it will entertain you and really, what more can we ask from a book.

I knew before beginning this novel, that it would be a short, easy read. So, I wasn't disappointed by the predictability of the storyline because I've come to expect it from most Christian authors. Normally, a Christian book has a purpose and they spend the whole book working toward that purpose. For example, if they want to redeem the main character, then redemption will be what they learn by the end through lots of scripture and prayer and life choices. Sometimes, a book will include every scripture under the sun and then will have some story that flows around that scripture. It can get quite "preachy." This book was not the worst book when it comes to more scripture than story, but it was not the best either. I believe in leaving nuggets of wisdom throughout the book. This book didn't really meet my criteria for this.

One of my pet peeves when reading a Christian Fiction book is the character's prayer. I absolutely despise when the author writes the character's prayer in a book. That can make a book feel more weighed down than anything else. It's understandable that the reader is going to pray, so tell us that; however, please don't tell us word for word what is being said in the character's prayer. I encountered this several times in this book and it always just makes me turn the page; so if Karen Witemeyer meant for me to learn something profound in those portions of the book, then she is out of luck.

This book did develop characters who were easy to follow. They want only what's the best for each of the people around them and really follow the Christian principles. It definitely makes the reader want to continue their journey just to make sure all ends up well for each of them.

This book was a predictable journey, but the characters and simple descriptions make it enjoyable enough. If you like Christian Historical Fiction, then I'm sure you will enjoy this novel.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Water For Elephants

It will be a little while before I read another book because the movie looks interesting. Wow! This book is about a Cornell student who finds himself running away from his life after a tragic event happens in his life. He does this on the day of his Veterinarian examination, which he doesn't even open the booklet to begin taking. As he's running, he jumps aboard a train car, which happens to be a circus show. Sara Gruen takes you on an "adventure" (I use that word with extreme caution) through the main character's, Jacob's, life on the circus as the veterinarian and basic animal caretaker. The reader bounces between Jacob's 90 year old self in a nursing home and his young 23 year old self on the circus show.

Let me begin this review by stating: this book is trite and in the entirety of the book, there is really only one plot twist. The prologue tells you how it is going to end, and the first chapter lets you know that he will make it through everything just fine. Also, there's really nothing about the main character that you can relate to or even care about. He is not endearing, doesn't fight for just causes, easily led astray, and basically crotchety in his young and old age. When all of the events unfold, I was left with a feeling of, "Eh, who cares." It's sad when you fall in love with the elephant more than any other character. Especially since the elephant only comes to play toward the second half of the book.

Water for Elephants has a contrived plot that I had to tediously dig through in order to get to the end. Yes, I spent the entire book waiting for the end to come hoping that something would happen to make this all worthwhile. It didn't happen. This reader was left highly disappointed and craving something with more depth and creativity. Please, save yourself the time, and go watch the movie. In this one case, I'm sure it will be better than the book; and if not, then you at least get to see some great actors.

Stay tuned next Monday for my next review!

Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Dead Reckoning

If you have never read Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series before, then let me give you a few key pieces of information you must know (SPOILER ALERT):
1. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana.
2. Sookie works for a shapeshifter named Sam.
3. Sookie is 1/8 fairy (her grandmother had an affair with a fairy named Fintan).
4. Sookie loved Bill, but he betrayed her and now she loves Eric (the vampire sheriff).
5. Vampires and the two-natured (werewolves, shapeshifters, etc.) are known to the public.
6. If you want to know any more, then please start reading the Sookie Stackhouse series with Dead Until Dark.

Now onto Dead Reckoning: Sookie's back! She is living with her cousin Claude and her great uncle Dermot and embracing her fairy side. She is also dealing with the complications that have risen between her and Eric since the last book because of something his maker set into motion before his death. Sam's bar is hitting hard times because of a new bar called Vic's Redneck Roadhouse. Harris brings all of our favorite characters back (Alcide, Bill, Bubba, Amelia, Bob (not a cat anymore), etc.) even if it is just for a little while.

We have a firebombing, vampire fight, a Pam and Eric knock down drag out fight, a baby shower, a good run through the cemetery, and so much more. We even get to see Bill back to his old charming self. Sookie has a lot of decisions to make about her relationship with Eric that has nothing to do with Bill and everything to do with the blood bond they share. Sookie is also struggling with how often she has seen death and how often she has killed others defending those she loves and herself.

I would like to say that Harris wraps this book up in a nice little bow; but when you finish reading, you feel like you have just spread out an FBI case in front of you and you still have to sort through all the information. I know this is in response to Harris beginning to wrap up the series and her plans to solve all the issues in the next two novels; however, it definitely leaves the reader wanting more. It is not, however, dissatisfying. I enjoyed every minute of my Sookie Stackhouse fix and I cannot wait to see where Harris is going with all of these plot twists she has spread throughout the book. I have to admit, these books are a guilty pleasure and it was good to see the characters back in full form. If you enjoy paranormal romances with a spice of Southern charm, then you must read these novels.

Wanted: Books to Review

Is there a book out there that you want to know about before spending the money or time reading it yourself? Let me know in the comments section, and I will do my best to read the book and give you an honest and complete review.

Look forward to reading your comments below!


Erynn Mangum

If this author is still a mystery to you, then you are really missing out. I love my kindle and I especially love the free books I can get to try out new authors. I was searching through the books one day and I found the book Miss Match. I started reading this book and I just couldn't put it down. Warning: if you do not like Christian Chic Lit, then you will not enjoy this book. I love dark and deep stories; but, there comes a time when you just need a breezy novel that makes you laugh and fall in love with the characters.

My favorite thing about Mangum's characters is how easily it is to relate. The main character loves dessert and coffee, feels jealousies, struggles with her relationship with God, loves her family and friends, and so much more. Let me remind you, they are very light reads and you won't be able to put them down until you find out how the quirky characters end up growing closer to one another and to God at the same time.

Mangum currently has two series complete: Lauren Holbrook's Miss Match series and Maya Davis' Cool Beans series (my favorite of the two). Now, understand that each book relies on a fundamental Christian principle that the main character needs to learn. For example: lying will lead you down a path of unhappiness and regret and when you finally tell the person you love what you have been keeping from them, it hurts them more than if you told them the truth to begin with. Mangum, however, does not force feed you piety, but gently leads you down a realistic revelation of Christian principle with Scripture sprinkled on top so it enhances the greatness without feeling like you were force fed a sermon.

So, if you want a light read, then you should check out Erynn Mangum's novels. You can read more about her at:

Have a great day!