White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick

White Chocolate Moments by [Wick, Lori]

This is the third Lori Wick book I have now read, and of the three, I have to say this is my least favorite. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it, but I did struggle with some of it.

Arcineh Bryant is the main character and in the first couple of chapters, some of the things that happen are written so quickly and with little detail that it jolted me a bit. Arcineh’s grandfather is a main character in the book as well, and his character frustrated me quite a bit. He seemed to contradict himself quite a bit.

However, as I reached the final third of the book, I began to understand some of the characters better, and cared for them more. I would say the last third of the book was the best part.

Lori writes complex characters. However, I sometimes think they are too odd and it takes a while to understand why they are the way they are.

I will continue to read books by Lori Wick, but my favorite so far, remains Sophie’s Heart. Those characters never seemed odd to me. They seemed realistic based on their circumstances, and I know different people react differently to their circumstances. I guess I just don’t know anyone who reacted to circumstances the way some of the characters in her other books did, which made them seem odd to me.

If you’ve read any of the three Lori Wick books I posted about between my post last Monday and today’s post, did you find any of the characters odd? If so, in what way?

Double Book Review

When I was talking books with a friend, she mentioned some of her favorites are written by Lori Wick, and when I said I’d never read any of Lori Wick’s books, my friend said, “Oh, you have to.” Then she loaned her copy of Pretense by Lori Wick to me.

It didn’t take me long to get hooked on the story. It follows the life of a family of a military husband, his stay-at-home wife, and their two daughters who are about eight and ten years old at the beginning of the book.

As the two daughters, Mackenzie and Delancey, grow, they have to face many changes and challenges. Throughout these changes and challenges, they rely heavily on each other. Like anyone else, they make some bad choices that have lasting effects upon them and cause them to struggle with trusting people.

Lori Wick did a great job of creating characters that I cared about, sympathized with, and cheered for. Sometimes I also was frustrated with them and found one of them a bit odd. The story definitely kept me turning pages and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

 

Sophie's Heart by [Wick, Lori]

As soon as I returned Pretense to my friend, she handed me Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick, and I have to say that I LOVE this book!

In this book, Lori Wick created such endearing characters that I fell in love with them immediately. I couldn’t stop reading because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen to these characters.

This story made me laugh and it made me cry, and those are always the books that capture my heart.

My friend loaned one more Lori Wick book to me recently, at the suggestion of her daughter, as it’s one of her favorites, and you can read about that one here on my blog next Monday. So my friend has made me a Lori Wick fan, but at this point, I can honestly say that, so far, Sophie’s Heart is my favorite Lori Wick book. We’ll see if that changes as I read more of her stories.

Have you ever read any books by Lori Wick? If so, which one is your favorite?

Tea and Books

I do not know if this poem style has a name. Yes, it includes some rhymes, but not in the usual places and not in any sort of scheme. I simply wrote this, freewriting, telling of a couple of things I love. I hope you enjoy it.

Tea and Books
by Kelly F. Barr

Nothing is more relaxing than snuggling in a chair
With a cup of tea and a good book.
Oh the taste of loose-leaf teas in so many flavors
Or convenient tea bags of Oolong, Chamomile, or my favorite–Chai!
And, oh so many books to choose from!

Have you ever taken a look between the pages of a book?
So many wonderful things to find including things that will grow your mind.
Nonfiction choices are informative, inspirational, and educational.
Fiction choices offer adventure, excitement, romance and more.
Fiction can even keep you on the edge of your seat.

Fiction brings you danger, intrigue, suspense, and love.
Fictional characters are heroes, villains, children, youth, and adults
That capture your heart despite their faults.
Characters face trials, disappointments and failures;
They learn and grow and change before the last page.

A good book draws you into the story and makes you fall in love
With places, a time period, or one or more characters.
A good book becomes a close friend and breaks your heart when it ends.
The story or the characters, or both, will linger in your mind and heart;
At least until you pick up the next book to start.

Twiceborn by JP Robinson

Twiceborn by JP Robinson is the first book in the “Secrets of Versailles” trilogy. It was released on September 5, 2017 and is available on Amazon.com.

Twiceborn is filled with history, explosive action, evil, good, romance, and politics (of historical France).

A woman gives birth to twins, Antoine and Hugo, fathered by two different men. Throughout their lives, there is rivalry between them but when they fall in love with the same woman, their rivalry reaches the breaking point.

As in all lives, the lives of Antoine and Hugo intertwine with the lives of other characters in the book and the rivalry between them leads to struggles for others who know, love and trust them. Some of the characters find that their trust in either of these men is misplaced.

JP Robinson has created strong characters who captured my interest from the beginning of the first page, and he weaves a tale that kept me turning pages, sometimes well into the night, until the very end. There were many times that I was on the edge of my seat; times where I gasped in surprise and shock; and times I cried for the characters I loved, and sometimes I rejoiced with them. The characters in Twiceborn will live in my memory for a long time.

Twiceborn is rich in scriptural allegory as well and I recognized familiar Bible stories woven throughout. Twiceborn is an epic drama of love, redemption and the power of God.

I look forward to seeing what JP Robinson has in store for me in Book 2 of the “Secrets of Versailles” series.

The Story of With by Allen Arnold

The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create by [Arnold, Allen]

Back Cover Blurb:

You are not alone.

“Whether you’re a free spirit, an office exec, a writer, musician, college student, or tired parent–your soul, like mine, knows life is meant to go beyond rat races and rare applause. This book speaks to that belief. And if you’re not careful, you may find tears warming your eyes as you read because finally someone is naming your weariness, your striving, your questions of why you just can’t quite make it, or the emptiness that hit because maybe you did. It is into those places The Story of With reaches–fusing allegory with application–to offer fresh perspective, restored hope, and a rebirth of creativity.”

–From the Foreword by Mary Weber,                                                                                                          Christy & Carol Award-Winning, Scholastic                                                                                                           Pick Author of the Storm Siren Trilogy

This book combines good storytelling and teaching. It’s a story that will touch you deep within. It will speak to you, wherever you are in life, right now. The teaching enriches the story and the message.

Do you know who you are? Are you aware that what you do does not define who you are? This book includes the story of Mia’s journey, and, at the same time, takes the reader on a journey to discover who he/she really is.

When I first saw this book, I thought, “what kind of title is the story of WITH”? As I read it, I soon discovered just how important the title of the book is, and it couldn’t have a better-fitting title. This book will challenge you. It will make you examine your life, your choices. It might inspire you to make some changes.

This book held me captive and left a very deep impression upon me. It resonates with me, and it challenged me to make a few changes in my life. This book fanned a spark that was already in me and created a flame. I am sure I will read this book again. I have much of it highlighted in green. I, who revere books, even dog-eared a page that I want immediate access to–and I have NEVER dog-eared the page of a book before.

This book CHANGED MY LIFE, and I challenge you to read it and let it change yours.

 

 

 

The Politician’s Pawn by Jeannette DiLouie

The Politician's Pawn (Dirty Politics Book 1) by [DiLouie, Jeannette]

This is the first Political Thriller I have read and I was pleasantly surprised.

Kayla is kidnapped to swing a vote. However, Kayla is the wrong woman. Things go from bad to worse until an unlikely knight steps in.

Jeannette DiLouie did such a good job of writing Kayla’s emotions through the entire ordeal that I wondered if Ms. DiLouie interviewed a kidnap survivor. Kayla’s emotional reactions to all of the trauma throughout the story came across as very realistic.

Not only were Kayla’s emotional reactions realistic, but the redemptive qualities of a couple of the other characters were impressive as well, to the point that I felt they had earned forgiveness.

Ms. DiLouie did a great job of creating the characters in this story. Even the arrogance and criminal thinking of the politician came across as realistic, albeit maybe a bit eccentric or over the top.

My favorite books always include well developed characters who draw me in and make me feel what they’re feeling, and Ms. DiLouie did that with several of the characters in this book. Then she added a plot line that contained enough tension and strange circumstances to keep me turning pages.

This was definitely another hit by Ms. DiLouie and there is a second book that connects to this one, which I now HAVE to read!

 

Not So Human by Jeannette DiLouie

Not So Human (Faerietales Book 1) by [DiLouie, Jeannette]

Sabrina is an average young American woman who struggles in the relationship department. However, her life becomes more than average in a matter of seconds when four men in black suits and sunglasses follow her home.

She’s really a faerie princess with a royal family in Scotland, but that doesn’t mean her life is suddenly a real life faerie tale. On the contrary, her life is suddenly in danger and if she isn’t battling the bad guys, she’s running for her life and finding possible romance that might not get the chance to blossom.

This is another book by Jeannette DiLouie, who seems to have a talent for multiple genres. Not So Human puts a new spin on faerie stories with the Human Preservation and Advancement Committee out to get Princess Sabrina and all of faeriedom. The story had me on the edge of my seat when the HPAC followed her home and her best friend, Deanda, tells her they have to pack and leave their apartment. That’s when the run for her life begins. The faerie characters are endearing, the HPAC, not so much.

This story is full of action, suspense, a little bit of humor and a touch of romance. Who could ask for anything more?

Not So Human by Jeannette DiLouie is the first of a four book series of “Faerietales”. I can’t wait to get the rest of the series to find out what happens to Princess Sabrina and a certain male faerie I’ve come to love.

 

Do We Have a Responsibility in Regard to Our Entertainment?

Entertainment surrounds us — social media, movies, music, books, DVDs. It invades our sight, our hearing, our minds, and our hearts. Therefore, don’t we have a responsibility to be careful about what entertainment we allow to invade us?

The book of Proverbs in the Bible is a book of wisdom and in that book it says, “Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  (Proverbs 4:20-27)

Also, in the book of Philippians we read, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore, it is my understanding that we are responsible for whatever we fill our senses, our minds and our hearts with.

So, why am I talking about this? Because of a brief conversation I had with some friends recently. These friends are also believers, and we were talking about writing and one mentioned the writings of Diana Gabaldon, especially her “Outlander” series, to which I commented, “that’s garbage”. Two of my friends responded with, “No, it’s not. Her writing is fantastic.”

Now, I will admit that I have not actually read any of Diana Gabaldon’s works. So maybe she is a very skilled writer. However, I do know that her Outlander series has a lot of explicit sex in it, and a lot of it is rape, which she romanticizes.

In my opinion, that is wrong, and it certainly isn’t something I want to read and invade my mind and heart with.

Whenever I’ve made these comments about Ms. Gabaldon’s writing, I’ve heard the same thing from both Christian and non-Christian women who read these books, “That was the way it was in that place and time period.”

To which I must say, “I’m sure that NOT EVERY male/female relationship in that place and time period involved rape, just as I’m sure that EVERY woman who has ever been raped has experienced a violent, invasive, traumatic event and would not find it in the least bit romantic. Therefore, I find it irresponsible that a writer would have women romanticizing and fantasizing about their rapist(s) and the act of rape.

I find it disappointing and disheartening that Christian women are reading such things and finding them great entertainment. I refuse to read that type of so-called entertainment.

I am also very careful with what I write because I do not want to be responsible for leading someone down a crooked path. I don’t write preachy stories or stories that will have a strictly “Christian” label, but I do write with the same responsibility with which I read, and though my characters face temptation and sometimes yield to it just as any human, they will also grow and learn and find redemption.

 

 

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

I received a free copy of Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen in exchange for my honest review for BookLook Blogger.

Jonah has a heart of gold and he would like to be the guy who gets the girl, but Jonah has a physical deformity and suffers from debilitating epileptic seizures, while Stormi is beautiful and seems perfect, although there is something quite unusual about her as well — she seems to know things and many of the adults in Gullery are a bit intimidated by her.

Even though Jonah feels that he can never win Stormi’s love, Stormi prefers Jonah’s company over most other people’s. They seem to understand each other and are able to sympathize with each other.

Jonah has a job taking care of the one prisoner in the town jail but doesn’t know why the prisoner is in jail, and Stormi won’t go anywhere near the jail.

As the story moves along, Jonah and Stormi experience an adventure that reveals a secret that’s been kept for years in Gullery, a secret that could change everything.

You will care about Jonah and Stormi and find yourself routing for them for several different reasons.

Unfolding will keep you turning pages as you travel on the adventure with Jonah and Stormi, experiencing strange occurrences and finding the truth. You will want to turn pages to see if Jonah really can get the girl in the end.

Unfolding is a strange ride, and I did feel that the ending was a bit lacking, but all-in-all Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen is a good read.

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s theme as per The Broke and the Bookish is “Top Ten Books I Wish Had More/Less X in Them”. However, I couldn’t think of anything for this topic, so I looked at past Top Ten Tuesday Themes and decided to do one that I don’t think I’ve done in the past.

Therefore, my theme for today is “Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry”.

  1. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
  2. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  3. Unblemished by Sara Ella
  4. Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund
  5. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  6. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  7. Fire and Water by Betsy Graziana Fasbinder
  8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  9. This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury
  10. The Promise by Danielle Steel