Monday, April 25, 2011

My Foolish Heart

My Foolish Heart
By: Susan May Warren

After the last Susan May Warren book I read I have to admit I was not as excited to receive this book in order to review. However, I had no need to worry. Warren is back and she's better than ever!

Isadora Presley runs a late night talk radio show called “Miss Foolish Heart” and dishes out sage advice on falling in love and dating. The only problem? She’s never actually done either. Traumatized by a tragic accident two years before that left her mother dead in her arms and her football coach father in a nursing home, Issy is bound by fear and is trapped in her own home and garden. She’s afraid to push her boundaries and venture out into the world. Her best friend Lucy (the local donut shop girl), who always does the right thing, helps to take care of her. Lucy’s own life is predictable and slightly monotonous, until the boy who broke her heart in high school comes back to town to try to earn his right to coach the hometown football team. With Seb’s reappearance, Lucy’s life becomes a little more complicated as she battles regrets from the past with her hope to rekindle a relationship with Seb in the future.

Enter BoyNextDoor, a caller on Issy's show and coincidentally enough her new neighbor. Caleb is the new football coach in town and he's also hiding a secret of his own. His visible scars don't begin to show the extent of his inner scars. Bonding over a naughty dog, a fence, and spaghetti Caleb begins to reach out to Issy. Unbeknownst to Issy the advice she's giving to caller BoyNextDoor is all intended for her. 

Caleb and Seb are both given a chance at coaching the football team, all leading up to a scrimmage. The football side of the story is just as fun as the romantic side. Who will end up coaching? Will Issy ever be able to break free? And what's going to happen to World's Best Donuts? So many questions that you'll just have to read the book to answer. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Warren writes with the charm that first won me over years ago. Her idyllic setting in a lake town in northern Minnesota will almost make you forget the massive mosquitoes, the eight months of winter, and the cold in July that is authentic Minnesota.  The characters are engaging and relateable. At times the story seems a bit contrived but let's face it, sometimes that's exactly what makes a story oh so good. 

Thank you to Tyndale Publishing House for sending me a copy of this book for review purposes. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads- Dr. Kenneth Ryan

Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads
Review by: Melissa J. MacDonald
Genre: non-fiction, family & relationships, love & romance
Publisher: WinePress Publishing
Date: 2011

Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads. If a title like that doesn’t catch your attention than I don’t know what will! When I first received my copy of this book I was immediately intrigued. I have taught Bible studies for years  to junior high and high school girls about staying sexually pure. Beyond that I’ve counseled girls for years that just do not seem to be able to get it when it comes to finding a quality guy to date and eventually marry. I opened the book with great anticipation.

The book has an astounding 86 chapters, some only a page long. Dr. Ryan writes with a very upfront attitude. He starts out by defining what a prince is and what a toad is. The interspersed drawings of said toad made me laugh out loud. Ryan says it like it is which I thoroughly appreciated it. At times the books seems a bit choppy as he jumps from one subject to the next.

Ryan does a great job of promoting the use of logic and rationale in making a future mate decision. The book is clearly written for a general audience so if you are looking for Biblical backing for those decisions you won’t find it. However, there is a wonderful grain of God’s truth throughout.

Quite a bit of the book focuses on sex and Ryan speaks very bluntly about it. He does a great job of portraying the distinct differences between how men and women view sex. It is one of the best I have read. He also does a good job of spelling out the slippery slope that can quickly be fallen down when one starts dancing around sexual activity. His guidelines for guarding against that slope are excellent. 

Ryan does a great job of laying out facts and practical ideas for finding a prince. However, once he starts helping with dating the book goes downhill. His guidelines are quite subjective and in many cases I found them to be misleading. I would read that part of the book with a grain of salt.

All in all this was really an excellent book. An easy read with humor sprinkled throughout. I could definitely see myself using this book for a Bible study, although I would need to gather Biblical facts to coincide with the book. Practical and a must-read for the girl who has spent too much time chasing those nasty toads.

Rated: PG-13  for blunt sexual content

Angel Sister- Ann Gabhart

Angel Sister by Ann H. Gabhart
Review by: Melissa J. MacDonald
Genre: historical fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date: February 2011

Middle daughter Kate Merrit is doing her best to keep her family together. Growing up in Kentucky in  1936, life is hard. Her father is struggling with alcoholism, her mother is just trying to keep going, and her sisters seem oblivious to everything. In one quiet yet shocking moment an abandoned little girl changes everything. Lorena Birdsong is left on the doorsteps of the local church by a destitute family. Kate finds her and takes her home to mama. Slowly but surely Lorena and her story changes the Merrit family.

Perspectives switch throughout the book. We get gritty Kate’s perspective as she deals with all of the changes in her family. Kate’s father Victor lets us into his world of pain as he deals with a painful past and his current struggle with alcoholism. Kate’s mother Nadine’s  perspective shows us a wife who’s heart is breaking with both love and pain for her husband.

This is one of those books that you just have to read to truly enjoy. It starts out slowly but if you stick with it you will find it has a wonderful depth to it. The slowness is needed in order for you to fully enter into the story. Lorena is completely charming and she’ll steal your heart away. Gabhart writes with unbridled emotion and as the reader you truly feel all that the characters are feeling.

Rampant with the theme of love and forgiveness this book will slowly but surely steal you away. Take the time to immerse yourself in it and walk away change for the better.

Thank you to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of this book for review.
Rated: PG- for content

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here Burns My Candle- Liz Curtis Higgs

Scotland! Romance! The 1700's! Liz Curtis Higgs!

Nothing could be better, right? Right? Higgs is an excellent author and a master storyteller. I have thoroughly enjoyed almost everyone of her books. I was eagerly anticipating reading this one.

I have to be honest, I was a bit dissapointed. Higg's other historical fiction books have quickly grabbed my attention and kept it throughout. Here Burns My Candle did not. I found the language to be quite difficult to work through. There is no denying that the story is full of historical detail and the setting is capturing. However, I found some of the detail so thick I lost parts of the story.

Because I am a Liz Curtis Higgs fan I stuck this book out to the very end, and I'm glad I did. The story is rich with emotion and very well developed. If you can get through the detail and the language I believe you'll find a story more than worth your time.

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. 

Breathe...coming soon

Lisa T. Bergren is our featured author for April at  Radiant Lit. Review coming soon......
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