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Thursday, March 11, 2021

My review of City of Angels by Dayo Benson

City of Angels (Saints and Sinners #2)City of Angels by Dayo Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this second book in the series as much as the first. I felt a little frustrated with the heroine a few times, but it made sense when she got flakey so it still worked for me. I loved how the author switched between the hero and heroine and showed their perspective on any given situation.

In this book I felt proud of Colby and scared for him at the same time. I have to say the character that I felt like I got to know the most in the second book was probably Colby. When I got to the end of this book I went ahead and bought the third. I just have to see what happens next and that is always the sign of a good novel.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

My review of Broken Halo by Dayo Benson

 

Broken Halo (Saints and Sinners #1)Broken Halo by Dayo Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't remember the last time I read a book I enjoyed so much! I not only wanted to finish it as soon as possible, but also wanted to get the next book in the series as soon as I got to the end. This book was deep, emotional, honest, and intense. I love that the conflict was real and not something superficial. I loved that the characters were so similar, yet opposite, and that the author allows the crushing blow to cause Chloe to seek God for herself. I simply loved this book. I would have finished it in a day but had to get some sleep in order to get to an appointment earlier today.

I am also really glad that the story isn't over or completely resolved yet, so the saga continues. I have to say that I have never seen a book quite so edgy on the one hand, yet wholesome on the other. The characters are truly remarkable and believable. The faith element is going to hit some readers pretty hard, but in a good way. It delves into what faith really is and what it isn't. It goes deeper than the theological and touches on the heart issue. I can't say more without posting a spoiler.

Bottom line, this is the most inspiring and intriguing inspirational romance that I have read in years. It starts with an intense opening and really doesn't let up, which is why I found it so compulsively readable. Great job, Dayo! Can't wait to read the rest of the series. It's better than television!

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Monday, February 15, 2021

My review of Active Defense by Lynette Eason




About the book:

She's used to life-or-death situations. 
She just didn't expect them to follow her home. 

When former field surgeon Heather Fontaine returns from a party to find that someone has broken into her house--and threatened her friends--she assumes it is the stalker who has been creeping her out. She hopes to find safety and peace of mind by leaving the city and hiding out in a small town. But trouble follows her even there. 

Luckily, a stalker isn't the only one observing Heather. Travis Walker has been secretly watching out for her for weeks. As owner of his own security agency, it's what he does. Together, Travis and Heather must figure out who wants her dead--and why--before it's too late.


My review:

I am not a typical suspense fan. I prefer a suspense novel with deeper issues included. Well-rounded and complex characters are a particular favorite. Oh, and if a book can make me cry it gets a higher rating from me. This book included all of the above. I felt stressed a few times over some characters' welfare. I found their issues and background believable (having been a social worker for 30+ years I can vouch for their dysfunctional way of thinking.) I haven't read all the prior books in this series so I was not able to get attached to some of the main character's friends, but that wasn't necessary in order to enjoy this book. 

There was a particularly touching seen that got my tears going and it was toward the end. I won't post a spoiler but if you read it you will know what scene I am referring to. The hero was detained and unable to reach the heroine because he was needed to deal with a situation on the family farm. I still get choked up when I think about the conversation. Wow. 

What I mean by complex characters is this... Heather, the heroine, was a former soldier and complex because of PTSD. Ryker, a young teen, was complex due to a history of abuse by his father. And the hero was just sweet and patient. Gotta love heroes with a soft heart. Anyway, Lynette is one of those authors that I enjoy reading because her characters seem like real people and aren't cardboard cutouts of what we think characters need to look like in Christian novels. That said, I hope you enjoy this book too.   

Active Defense was published by Revell Publishing and released in January 2021

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

My review of Mindful Eating for Lasting Weight Loss by Simone E. Clark



About the book:

It is estimated that 45 million Americans go on a diet every year, yet most of those who manage to lose weight regain it in a matter of years.

The diet industry thrives on our desire to lose weight, but ultimately, it does more to trim our finances than it does to trim our waistlines.

The truth is that the more we diet, the more out of touch we become with our bodies.

Every second we’re counting calories or banning food groups from our plates, we become less aware of what our body truly needs. And the irony is, it is only when we know what our body needs that we can lose weight in a realistic and sustainable way.

So if diets don’t work; if calorie counting is a waste of time, how will we ever manage to reach our goal weight?

The answer is mindful eating.

This has become a bit of a buzz word in recent years, but that’s no reason to dismiss it. Mindful eating is the simple concept of being aware of what you’re eating and its relationship to your body, and it can change your whole world.

Simply by understanding the mind-body connection and learning to differentiate between what you need and what you want, you can see serious health benefits and lose the extra weight for good--without ever going on a diet again.

My review:

Sometimes books make you think a little bit and other times they make you think a lot. This one made me pay attention to behavior around food and how much attention I paid to food when I would eat.  Sometimes the trigger would not be physical hunger, but emotional hunger. That's a good thing to be mindful of since it can lead to food addiction. I remember a time when candy was my go-to stress reliever like smoking would be to my peers. Thankfully getting sugar out of my diet several years ago helped me to break that cycle. So many times we eat for the wrong reasons or we eat without paying much attention to the food at all. 

This author has found a way to reach into lives with her message that we need to pay attention to how our bodies feel as a result of what we are eating and to fully live in the moment (and enjoy) when we are indulging or simply sustaining life. I learned years ago how to eat slowly and allow my body to realize a sense of fullness.  She brought this to mind. The book also discussed how to eat mindfully when you are with others. I really liked this section.

The author also goes into the calorie counting and how it doesn't work. She's right about that and I agreed with the points that she made. She also went into stress and weight issues (gaining and losing as a result) and the information given to help reduce stress and thus improve overall health was very well done. I wasn't fond of chapter 7 though. I found the techniques and descriptions of them a bid tedious so I skimmed that section. 

I loved the section about taste, function and nutrition (chapter 8) and it really made me think about food in a different way. Last, the advice given on how to prepare for social events so you don't eat mindlessly while attending was a perfect way to wrap things up. Overall I enjoyed this book and feel that it is worth reading and sharing with a friend. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

My review of the Heretic's Wife by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

The Heretic’s WifeThe Heretic’s Wife by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Like most people these days, I am looking at my phone more and holding an actual book less often, but I want to change that habit and knock out some of the books I own. This book was a pleasure to read. I found the characterization to be well done and I identified with the main character. While this was a mainstream title and not inspirational fiction, I found it to be tastefully written and historically based, which is my preference when reading a book. The heroine was married to one of William Tyndale's peers and included the perspectives (on occasion) of Anne Boleyn and Thomas Moore, both on opposing sides of the religious spectrum of the day. There were a few other perspectives as well such as the husband and a ship captain. I liked how the author included historical quotes or writings at the beginning of each chapter to establish the fact from where she derived her fiction.

The trials endured in by the characters in this book were well executed and realistically portrayed. I am always more grateful for minor struggles when I read stories that include true hardships. Since I am an avid fan of Tudor era fiction, and I read a lot of it, I have to say I felt like I was living in that time period while reading this novel. I sensed the anxiety the characters had over the possibility of being burned at the stake for their beliefs. Even though this is not classified as Christian fiction, the author inserted a faith element that was spot-on in regards to how protestants viewed the bible and its interpretation. The author inspired me whenever I read the parts where the characters' faith was tested. Bottom line, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. And that's a good thing.


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