Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Critical Condition

Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry, MD immediately caught my eye because I've read, and loved, three other books by him so far. I love his unique blend of medical, thriller, and Christian novel rolled into one. In fact, he's one of my favorite new authors! So I was excitedly looking forward to reading another great book by him. Critical Condition is the story of Dr. Shannon Frasier, her fiance Dr. Mark Gilbert, and her troubled, recovering addict sister, Megan. Shannon's previous fiance had been shot down in front of her, and now during a dinner party, a strange man is shot dead on her lawn. She's thrust into a mystery involving dangerous criminals, a bank robbery, kidnapping, murder, and, oh yeah, her own HIV scare due to tainted blood.

I want to start off by saying I have absolutely loved Mabry's previous books, and they kept me up all night turning the pages. However, I had some trouble connecting to this one. Don't get me wrong - it was a great story, and I enjoyed it - I just didn't get into it as much as his previous books. I had trouble connecting with the characters and I felt like some threads of the story weren't tied up at the end. For example, he introduces another doctor who Mark is attracted to, but then never follows up on it and explains it. He just goes on to marry Shannon and nothing more is spoken of his doubts of his and Shannon's relationship and his attraction to the other doctor. However, I did enjoy reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves medical thrillers. It just wasn't my favorite book of his so far.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Girl At The End Of The World

Girl At The End Of The World is Elizabeth Esther's memoir of growing up in a fundamentalist cult called The Assembly, which was run by her grandparents. She details her life basically from some of her earliest childhood memories up until the present day and shares what life was like growing up in The Assembly, how she met her husband, and how they eventually (painfully) left the cult.

I really had mixed feeling about this book and therefore am finding it a bit difficult to review. I don't like writing negative reviews, so I'll start with the positive. First off, the cover of this book is beautiful. Very engaging and made me want to pick it up and read it immediately. Secondly, the story itself was mesmerizing. I read this book in just an afternoon. I could've just sat down and read it in one sitting if I didn't have any other obligations! Her story was very interesting and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next and how it would all end up (although I pretty much knew how it would end up, since I've read some of her blog posts before). The memories shared were at times poignant, sad, disturbing, hilarious, and heart warming.

On the negative side, I felt like this book was way too short. The meat of the book was, I believe, a little under 200 (small) pages. I felt like so much was skipped over or not explained, or not fleshed out enough. I was left with more questions than answers by the end and felt like much had been left out. I understand that she can't share every detail in one book, but I was left feeling like I didn't have major, important parts of the story. There were a lot of gaps. I'd like to have read at least another 100 pages so she could flesh out the story a bit more.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Table By The Window

A Table By The Window is book one in Hillary Manton Lodge's new series, Family Secrets and Heirloom Recipes. The story follows Juliette D'Alisa, a French-Italian food writer working for a newspaper. She's juggling her nosy family, long distance online dating, intrigue, mystery, and old family secrets. Juliette's grandmother has recently passed away, and she's inherited some of her belongings. She find buried secrets hidden in them and is trying to hide them from her family. Meanwhile, her brother Nico is offering her the chance to open a restaurant with him, and she's trying to decide what to do about her long distance relationship with a doctor in Memphis.

This is the first book I've read by this author, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm not a huge fan of romance novels, but this was much more than a romance novel. I love cooking, so all the comfort food and hominess of this book enveloped me and made me feel warm and relaxed. This is the type of book that you can get lost in and just enjoy. I loved the recipes at the end of each chapter, and am looking forward to trying them! I also loved the food quotes at the beginning of each chapter. My only disappointment was that I didn't realize this was part of a series, so the end of this book isn't completely wrapped up - you'll have to wait for book number two. I'm definitely looking forward to reading it!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Forgiving Our Fathers And Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields (with Dr. Jill Hubbard) is one of the best books on forgiveness I've read in a long time. Each chapter details a different aspect to the parent/child relationship and need for forgiveness, followed by a word from Dr. Jill and study questions. I really enjoyed this format. It was like getting to the heart of the matter with Leslie, and then visiting a professional psychologist (Dr. Jill) to process your emotions afterward. Leslie uses her own real life story, plus the stories of others who have had difficult relationships with their parents, plus plenty of Scripture, to trace the path to forgiveness and healing.

This book really hit home for me. Warning: it will probably make you cry! Leslie's story, as well as all of the others, were alternately emotional, touching, sad, horrifying, and redeeming. I liked how Leslie brought practical tips to questions such as, "Do I have to forgive?", "How do I forgive?", "Why should I forgive?", "How do I honor a dishonorable parent?", and much, much more. I think just about anyone can benefit from this book, whether it's in regards to your own parents, or to help counsel others who have grown up in difficult circumstances. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. Highly recommend!

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crash The Chatterbox

When I first saw Crash The Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others by Steven Furtick, I was intrigued, because I have issues with negative thinking, worrying, and anxiety. I was excited to pick this one up and see what he had to say. This book is broken up into four sections, plus an intro, conclusion, discussion questions, and more: 1. God Says I Am; 2. God Says He Will; 3. God Says He Has; and 4. God Says I Can. It's basically a four step process to removing the negative, lying thoughts from our heads and replacing them with the true, positive, affirming thoughts from God.

I could definitely relate to Furtick's plight. Reading the ramblings from his head in the introduction could've been a snapshot into my own mind. I loved the clear guidelines he gave to replacing these thoughts with the "I Am, He Will, He Has, I Can" formula. It's more than just a trite "positive thinking" message that many so-called Christians promote these days. It's using God's Word to fill your mind and bring your focus back on the promises of God. I definitely will be benefitting from using these methods and this stays your mind on God throughout the day. I recommend this book to any Christian struggling with negative thoughts, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, anxiety, or fear.

I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Distortion

Distortion by Terri Blackstock is book #2 in her new Moonlighters series. I thoroughly enjoyed book #1, Truth Stained Lies, so I have been eagerly anticipating the story's continuation in Distortion. Distortion picks up the story with Cathy's sister, Juliet Cole, featured. Juliet's husband of 15 years is murdered right in front of her. She believes this is a random attack, but soon discovers that it was planned, and she and the children are still in danger. Secrets and a web of lies are untangled as they hunt for the killer. Distortion is Terri Blackstock at her best. She's perfected the art of writing Christian suspense with a tinge of romance. I loved this book. I highly recommend it to any Christian who enjoys a good thriller, but I'd suggest reading Truth Stained Lies first, if you haven't already, so you will be caught up on the storyline and characters. This one is a page turner that will keep you up at night (with the lights on!). Don't miss this one. Terri Blackstock is back and better than ever. I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Stillness Of Chimes

A Stillness Of Chimes is Meg Moseley's third offering, although it's the first book I've read of hers. The story centers on teacher Laura Gantt. She's come home to Prospect, Georgia to settle her recently deceased mother's household. She's shocked to hear rumors of her (presumed dead) father being seen around the town. Laura teams up with longtime friend and former boyfriend Sean Halloran to get to the bottom of the rumors and uncover the truth. Along the way Laura and Sean rediscover each other and rekindle their faith. This book, even from just the cover and title, have a mysterious, haunting feel. The cover is absolutely beautiful and the title begs the book to be read. This story is cloaked in Southern charm and shrouded in mystery and left me turning the pages very quickly to find out what would happen, while at the same time not wanting the story to end! The characters are believable, lovable, and very human. I loved this book and can't wait to read Moseley's other two books as soon as possible. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good Christian fiction, romance, or suspense. I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.