Tag Archives: Religious

Review: The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

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About The Wedding Chapel

An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.

My Review

I enjoyed this book more than I imagined.

Hauck manages to bring two couples, one from the past, the other from the present with four points of view. Their back story’s unfold slowly alternating from past to present. Jimmy and Colette’s story reaches from late 1940-50’s to present. Jack and Taylor’s story is present day.

Hauck delves into hard-hitting relationship issues, while the couples try to reconcile the challenges faced with ease and difficulty complete with starts and stalls. A few weighty surprises unfold providing more obstacles for the foursome.

Of the four points of view I was compelled by Jack the most. He’s wounded, closed off, struggling with his feelings, his story and craving to be more touched me. Not a surprise a majority of men resemble Jack in some form, his issues are affecting.

Spirituality was lightly sprinkled throughout the narrative, yet what was given was powerful. As the story progresses the messages increase in both momentum and strength. The wedding chapel is the apex of the story symbolizing healing, hope and forgiveness, beautifully demonstrated by Hauck.

Beautiful story of forgiveness and second chances. Quite a compelling and moving narrative with lovely messages.

About Rachel Hauck51-utIDAGrL._UX250_

Rachel Hauck writes from sunny central Florida.

A RITA finalist and winner of Romantic Times Inspirational Novel of the Year, she writes vivid characters dealing with real life issues.

She loves to hear from readers. She also loves to encourage new writers and sits on the Executive Board of American Christian Fiction Writers..

A graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in Journalism, Rachel is an avid OSU football fan. She hopes to one day stand on the sidelines in the Shoe with Urban Meyer.

An avid Diet Coke fan, she is caffeine free. Sometimes you just have to compromise.

She’s never skied or jumped out of an airplane. She leaves such hijinks to Jason Bourne.

Published November 17th 2015 by Zondervan

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Review: Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman

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About Fading Starlight

A Tale of Unexpected Friendship and Old Hollywood Glamour

Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging–a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she’s surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingEnue who lives in the nearby mansion.

Kendall Joiner wants Lauren’s help uncovering the old woman’s secrets. In return, she’ll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren’s tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.

My Review

I really liked Lauren, her personality, integrity, grace, most of all her unwavering faith. A darn good person wronged but carried on and made her dream come true, her faith playing a major role. When Lauren could have slipped she delved into her faith even more and strived to be better. Great messages throughout the narrative paired with fabulous Biblical references. Lauren led Charlotte to a path of trust, her walls eventually crumbling through a series of tests, each entering each other’s life for a reason. Hearing Charlotte’s story provided a deeper understanding of what made this woman tick. Lauren was a wonderful compliment to Charlotte showing her kindness without strings exists in this harsh, selfish world. Wonderful secondary characters, uplifting story in general as well as one woman leading a Christian life, embracing and sharing her gift from God.

About Kathryn Cushman647654

Author Kathryn “Katie” Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy.

She is the author of five novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women’s Fiction.

She is also the co-author of Angel Song with Sheila Walsh.

Kathryn and her family currently live in Santa Barbara, California.

Published May 3rd 2016 by Bethany House Publishers (first published May 2016)

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Review: Delilah: Treacherous Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty #3) by Angela Elwell Hunt

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About Delilah

A Complex and Compelling Glimpse at One of the Bible’s Baddest Girls

Life is not easy in Philistia, especially not for a woman and child alone. When beautiful, wounded Delilah finds herself begging for food to survive, she resolves that she will find a way to defeat all the men who have taken advantage of her. She will overcome the roadblocks life has set before her, and she will find riches and victory for herself.

When she meets a legendary man called Samson, she senses that in him lies the means for her victory. By winning, seducing, and betraying the hero of the Hebrews, she will attain a position of national prominence. After all, she is beautiful, she is charming, and she is smart. No man, not even a supernaturally gifted strongman, can best her in a war of wits.

My Review

Hunt does a wonderful job with her interpretation of Samson and Delilah.

Achish was beyond loathsome, he makes your skin crawl. The fact Hunt provided an in-depth back story for Delilah explained her actions were motivated far more than by greed alone, she was blinded by vengeance, still her end choice was heartbreaking. Samson despite his fall to temptation embraced his faith and carried out his mission.

Love the messages of faith, forgiveness, and temptation. Hunt managed to alter an unpleasant story into a work more satisfying with a different and complex perspective on Delilah than what the Bible depicts.

Thoroughly enamored by the A Dangerous Beauty series, Hunt crafts wonderful Christian Biblical fiction at its finest.

Delilah read fine as a standalone, however, I encourage you to read all the books in the A Dangerous Beauty series, all fabulously crafted.

About Angela Elwell Hunt11dBT86byQL

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over three million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

Now that her two children have reached their twenties, Angie and her husband live in Florida with Very Big Dogs (a direct result of watching Turner and Hooch and Sandlot too many times). This affinity for mastiffs has not been without its rewards–one of their dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest canine in America. Their dog received this dubious honor after an all-expenses-paid trip to Manhattan for the dog and the Hunts, complete with VIP air travel and a stretch limo in which they toured New York City.

Afterward, the dog gave out pawtographs at the airport.

Angela admits to being fascinated by animals, medicine, psychology, unexplained phenomena, and “just about everything” except sports. Books, she says, have always shaped her life— in the fifth grade she learned how to flirt from reading Gone with the Wind.

Her books have won the coveted Christy Award, several Angel Awards from Excellence in Media, and the Gold and Silver Medallions from Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. In 2007, her novel The Note was featured as a Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel. Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

In 2006, Angela completed her Master of Biblical Studies in Theology degree and completed her doctorate in 2008. When she’s not home reading or writing, Angie often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences. And to talk about her dogs, of course.

Expected publication: June 7th 2016 by Bethany House Publishers

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Filed under 2016, Fiction, May, Review

Review: The Summer of Me by Angela Benson

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About The Summer of Me

The national bestselling author of Delilah’s Daughters and The Amen Sisters returns with a moving story about a single mother who, in one unforgettable summer, discovers the woman she can become.

As a single mother, Destiny makes sacrifices for her children—including saying good-bye for the summer so they can spend time with their father and stepmother. Though she’ll miss them with all her heart, the time alone gives her an opportunity to address her own needs, like finishing her college degree. But Destiny’s friends think her summer should include some romance.

Destiny doesn’t want to be set up . . . until she meets Daniel. The handsome, warm, and charming pastor soon sweeps her off her feet. But is romance what she really wants? Or needs?

As the days pass, Destiny will make new discoveries—about herself, the man she’s fallen for, and the people around her. And she’ll face challenging choices too. But most of all, she’ll grow in ways she never imagined, learning unexpected lessons about trust, forgiveness, and the price of motherhood . . . and becoming the woman she truly wants to be.

My Review

I struggled with the main protagonist Destiny. I never warmed up to her although her growth as the story progresses was appealing. Loads of wonderful messages scattered throughout the plot. I enjoyed the religious and inspirational tone.

Despite the numerous uplifting messages, characters, plot and dialogue are emotionlessness, contrived, clumsy. The particular issue of money was repeated excessively to the point of annoyance, it dominated the plot causing suffocation. The narrative contained too many issues to contend with emitting an over dramatized feel, implausible, very predictable.

Great casual read when you’re seeking a saccharine escape.

Angela Benson APAbout Angela Benson

Angela Benson is a graduate of Spelman College and the author of fourteen novels, including the Christy Award–nominated Awakening Mercy, the Essence bestsellerThe Amen Sisters, Up Pops the Devil, and Sins of the Father. She is an associate professor at the University of Alabama and lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Find out more about Angela at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Be sure to click on the TLC banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you TLC!

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Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 19, 2016)

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Review & Giveaway: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

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•Hardcover: 512 pages
•Publisher: Harper (November 10, 2015)

Mitch Albom creates his most unforgettable fictional character—Frankie Presto, the greatest guitarist to ever walk the earth—in this magical novel about the bands we join in life and the power of talent to change our lives.

An epic story of the greatest guitar player to ever live, and the six lives he changed with his magical blue strings.

Mitch Albom has a way of incorporating poignant messages mixed with spirituality and unforgettable characters. His books are uplifting and leave you renewed, hopeful and refreshed.

Frankie Presto is memorable, his story is compelling and you’ll be investigating to see if there is a genuine Frankie Presto, admittedly I did, goodness he felt so realistic. With the unmistakable music icons tossed about through the narrative you swear this is a nonfictional account as opposed to fiction.

Another attention grabber is the ‘spirit of music’ serving as narrator, very clever, making this an even more fascinating read. Using music as the focal point was another genius move, after all music is universal, we all relate to music in some form no matter your race or religion. Albom used magical realism gently delivering his many messages, it captures your attention and lifts the narrative and Frankie to yet another level.

Unique presentation, with a wonderful main protagonist, lots of fantastic messages, music enthusiast or not this is a very entertaining story. Albom always goes straight to your heart in a subtly powerful way.

About Mitch AlbomMitch Albom

Mitch Albom is a bestselling novelist, a screen-writer, a playwright, and an award-winning journalist. He is the author of six consecutive number-one New York Times bestsellers and has sold more than thirty-four million copies of his books in forty-two languages worldwide. Tuesdays with Morrie, which spent four years atop the New York Times list, is the bestselling memoir of all time.

Albom has founded seven charities, including the first-ever full-time medical clinic for homeless children in America. He also operates an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He lives with his wife, Janine, in suburban Detroit.

Find out more about Mitch at his website, connect with him on Facebook, follow him on†Twitter, and sign up for his newsletter.

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 10/9/15
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Filed under 2015, Fiction, October, Review