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Monday, December 26, 2011

First Date Review

Addy Davidson is the last girl in the country who wants to be on the new reality TV show to win a date to prom with the President's son. She's focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn't even audition for it.

But she got selected anyway.

 So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show… right before she realizes that the President's son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Addy's totally out of her comfort zone-but that may be right where God can show her the most about who she is . . . and who she was meant to be.

My Review:
This book has been given the title of a modern day Esther.  Addy, a beautiful young lady who doesn't see it in herself, is focused on school and not boys.  When her high school principal selects her to appear on a new tv show to win a prom date with the president's son she is anything but enthused.  She agrees, however, when her uncle/gaurdian reminds her that God has a purpose in everything.

Throughout the book Addy struggles with revealing her belief in Jesus with a group of girls who are more concerned with how they look and who's attention they can get.  Through it all, though, Addy discovers that doing the right thing isn't always easy, doesn't always end in the result we expect, but it can have a huge impact.

McGee's writing style draws the reader in and makes them feel right at home.  She captures the hearts and emotions of the teenagers she writes about.  The reading is light, pleasant, and enjoyable with a message that doesn't beat you over the head but still shines through.  A great read for young teenage or preteen girls.  The guys will find it a little to "girly".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Replication: The Jason Experiment Review

A girl discovers her geneticist father is covering up multiple secrets---all of which are named Jason.Jason 3:3---known as Martyr---always believed his life had purpose. As one of the hundreds of clones living in a closed-off underground facility beneath an Alaskan farm, he has been told his genetics hold the key to saving humanity from an airborne pandemic aboveground, and his purpose will be filled on his upcoming eighteenth birthday. The problem is no such pandemic exists. Unaware of the truth, Martyr wishes for one glimpse of the sky before his expiration date arrives. His escape leads him to the home of one of the scientists, and to Abby Goyer. As she helps Martyr, she can't help but notice his uncanny resemblance to the high school quarterback. Abby soon uncovers the dark truth behind Jason Farms and her dad's work, and decides to show Martyr his true value and worth. As Martyr learns the truth behind his existence, he must decide if his God-given purpose is connected to the farm, or if it rests in a life with Abby.

My Review:
Jill Williamson has done a phenomenal job capturing teenage personalities in this book.  From the slightly geeky (but in no way nerdy) Abby, to the stuck on self jock J.D., and even the childish wonder of Martyr.  Each character comes to life.

I enjoyed Abby as she faced decisions about how to approach her father concerning his work, how to avoid the grope-y J.D., and her feelings of inadequacy explaining the concept of God to Martyr who had never heard of Him.

While some aspects left me a little confused, (Williamson almost obsesses over the amount of cologne J.D. wears-a comment on the new Axe movement?  No explaination was ever given.) and some seem to come out of no where (Abby's dad suddenly decides accept that the clones are people that deserve better) it was a good read with a good (but definately not subtle) Christian message reminding us that we each have a purpose in this world no matter what our background is.

When I requested to read and review this book I was looking for something my son might enjoy, I had hoped for a strong male lead.  This book would probably appeal more to the girls and seems to approach issues from a female persepective.  Will have to keep looking for him.  Still, well worth the read and with it's current price of $3.99 for the Kindle version, well worth the money!  I would definately reccommend Replication: The Jason Experiment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hearts that Survive: A Novel of the Titanic

On April 15, 1912, Lydia Beaumont is on her way to a new life with a boundless hope in love and faith. Her new friendship with Caroline Chadwick is bonded even more as they plan Lydia’s wedding on board the “grandest ship ever built.” Then both women suffer tragic losses when the “unsinkable” Titanic goes down. Can each survive the scars the disaster left on their lives?

Decades later, Alan Morris feels like a failure until he discovers he is the descendant of an acclaimed, successful, heroic novelist who went down with the Titanic. Will he find his identity with the past, or will he listen to Joanna Bettencourt, Caroline’s granddaughter, who says inner peace and success come only with a personal relationship with the Lord?

Will those who survived and their descendants be able to find a love more powerful than their pain?

My Review:
I really wanted to love this book, afterall it has all the makings of a good romance.  It had tragedy, history, love between classes, overcoming disaster, secrecy etc.  Lehman had so many opportunities to really connect the reader to a character and really draw you in.  Unfortunately I wasn't. 

Now, don't get me wrong, it is a good story, but I feel like it could have been so much better had Lehman focused on one main character instead of jumping back and forth.  Lydia goes through so much in the book and there were so many places I really wanted to feel emotionally connected to her but she ended up feeling one dimensional.  It wasn't just Lydia, all of the characters did. 

The plot introduces characters and many times I was flipping back to see where they came from or how they fit into the story.  Caroline's husband dies aboard the Titanic, she rescues two children who then disappear for a large portion of the novel only to have them reemerge as the deceased relatives of Alan Morris who appears out of nowhere. 

I think had the author written this book as a series, one focusing on Lydia, one on Caroline, one of Alan's family, this would have been a much better experience and the characters would have really come alive.

Hearts that Survive is due to be released in March of 2012. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmas Singing

Looking for a good, Christian, Amish Christmas story to cuddle up with?  Cindy Woodsmall has a new one out you might be interested in.

Woodsmall spends a lot of time in the Amish community to ensure that her books are authentic.  Sound like something you might be interested in?  Still not sure.  You don't have to commit just yet, read the first chapter and see if you enjoy her writing style.  You can read it below:
The Christmas Singing (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

Still interested? You can get your copy of The Christmas Singing by clicking here

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stuck DVD study review

This review took longer to put together than I had thought it would.  I wanted to do more than just glance at the material and watch the DVD, I wanted to do the study, and I wanted some of my girlfriends to see it too. 

This is unlike any other group Bible study I have done.  Sure you watch the DVD and you get a personal workbook, but the neat touch to this one is that there really isn't a group leader.  A facillitator maybe, but not a leader.  You see, rather than someone standing at the front of the class after watching the DVD and asking questions, you break off into small groups (or in my groups case you just gather together since we are already small) and there are some business size cards scattered on the table.  You take turns drawing cards and discussing them.  It leads to more honest conversation and a much more relaxed atmosphere.  The questions are thought provoking and the discussion gets deep at times.

Another thing I like is the honesty that comes across from Jennie during the video presentations.  She doesn't come across as judgemental, but as someone who has been there, suffered through it too, and found a way to overcome that she just HAS to share with you.  This is only the second DVD study I have ever done (the first being one by Lyssa Terkeurst) and so far I find them very enjoyable as well as thought provoking.  The cinematography was beautiful and I felt at home with Jennie.

Then there are the workbooks.  They are set up with the busy woman in mind.  No pressure to finish on a certain day or to even finish before the group meets again.  You get out of it what you put in it so it is entirely up to you as to how much to do and when to do it.  No more guilt.  The down side to that is that for the unmotivated you may find yourself completing the study without ever having opened the book which would be awful considering how much it helps you to delve deeper into the subject material, to examine yourself, and to apply scripture.

So if you are looking for a good group study in the coming year, you should definitely consider this one.  It would be well worth the time!