Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Promised Reviews

So, even though it was my wedding and honeymoon, I did get a few books read during my time away. Mind you, one was during the plane ride to NY and one on the plane back to NM, but I did get one read while lying on the beach in Mexico or on the actual cruise ship deck. And Aaron read a book too, so don't be picking on me for reading during my honeymoon! I haven't heard the end of that yet from the ladies at work. Anyways, here 3 adult fiction reviews for you to ponder. I'd love to hear your thoughts on any and all!

Scrap Everything by Leslie Gould was my "to NY" read. The pacing was quick, the plot easy breezy (meaning it required no real thinking on my part), which was great for the state of mind I was in a week before my wedding. It's Christian fiction, which I love AND it was about scrapbooking...a major plus on my end!

Used to moving her family around due to her husband's Army career, Elise Shelton should be happy they are settling in a place for awhile. Unfortunately, this place is Forest Falls, Oregon, somewhere she just doesn't want to be. After wandering into a scrapbooking store, Elise begins forming bonds with the women who frequent the store, all of whom rally around Elise when her husband is again called overseas. The overall plot centers on Elise and her friendship with Rebekah, the shop owner, a woman living a very difficult and trying life. Elise and Rebekah help each other take steps towards happiness and health, each stumbling along the way (Rebekah's daughter is very ill and their family is short on money, while Elise battles selfishness and stubbornness).

Though the story ended a little too "sweetly" for my liking, this was still a good, quick read. I loved the scrapbooking elements and the characterization was pretty good too. If you're interested in scrapbooking I would definitely recommend this book, as well as if you are just looking for some nice, Christian women's fiction to pass the time. God speaks through these novels, He does! I give Scrap Everything 6 out of 10 stars.

Next up is my "vacation" title. After reading many posts on Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson, I had to give it a try for myself. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed, but not so much that I can't say I didn't enjoy reading the novel.

Heather Curridge is having a tumultuous battle within herself. She has seemingly everything: wealth, a lovely family that cares about her, talent in cooking, yet she is incredibly unhappy and feeling as if she is worth nothing in the world. Lisa begins a relationship with with a nun running a homeless shelter in a bad section of town, as well as with two Quaker sisters making a life for themselves in a small cabin in the woods. Those three women assist Heather in finding out who she really is and what exactly she is meant to be doing in the world.

The plot concept was great. The characters, for the most part, were great. I loved the Quaker sisters, I loved Heather's son and husband, I guess I just didn't like Heather. She just whined a lot and though I understand she was having a personal crisis, her rants about her life came out as whiny and selfish, rather than truly just troubled at heart. I don't know, maybe I just didn't get where Samson was coming from when she wrote Heather's thoughts. Though I did love her descriptions of her cakes! Overall, I really did enjoy the story, I think maybe due to the fact that I was on vacation, a novel about personal crisis just wasn't my cup of tea. Lots of others enjoyed it though, or so I've read, so that's a good thing! Quaker Summer gets 5 out of 10 stars.

For my "back to NM plane ride" book, I read my 2nd to last selection for the Spring Reading Thing Challenge, this being The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle. And let me tell you, I loved this book! If you remember, a few posts back, I posed the questions "is it weird to absolutley love books that are completely tragic in nature?" and all of you said "no way!" which is a great response, especially as I was reading this book and loving it. It's horribly tragic in story, but the writing is beautiful, the characters real and honest and I really loved this book.

Sarah Laden is a young widow raising two boys and running a successful catering company, all keeping her hands full. When a tragic revelation is brought to attention about one son's closest friends, Sarah is rocked. She feels the need to do something big and decides to foster young Jordan in her home. Throughout this process, Sarah is forced to question her beliefs, her family, and her friendships, all while trying to provide care to her sons and a safe haven for a scared, young boy. Love, forgiveness, and healing are huge factors in this story, one I promise you will not soon forget.

I have never read a novel of Kittle's, but The Kindness of Strangers will certainly not be the last. The characters in this book were so incredibly real and vulnerable. I was able to connect not just with Sarah and Jordan, but with Sarah's sons Nate and Danny. All of the characters touch you in different ways, but will stay with you for a long time. This book gets 10 stars. Loved it! But be prepared to have tissues and lots of thinking time after reading this one.

2 good, 1 great. Not so bad!


Debi said...

Yours is the first review of Quaker Summer that I've read that wasn't simply glowing. Maybe I can skip this one. But The Kindness of Strangers sounds like a definite must-read! As always, thanks for your wonderful reviews, Amanda!

Cee Cee said...

Yes, wonderful honest reviews! On a side, I picked up The KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL at a book symposium this Monday. Have you read it yet? I can't wait to delve in.