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?

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.

 

 

Reading and Writing

Reading and Writing are my two most favorite things to do. I spend as much time as I possibly can doing these two activities, which as long as we have child(ren) still living in our home, is not as much as I would like, but the fact that I have lots of friends who love to read and write as much as I do is a huge plus. It allows me to share with other like-minded people, which is great, because even my husband doesn’t really understand my artist/writing ways.   🙂

Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. To be a good writer, it is imperative to do a lot of reading, and not just books on the writing craft. Actually, sometimes you can learn more about writing from reading a fiction or nonfiction book than from some of the books on writing.

I’ve been told that I must spend a lot of time reading the type of books that I want to write because that’s extremely helpful. However, I love so many different genres that I read from a wide spectrum, which I think is also extremely helpful in many ways.

Since reading and writing are solitary activities, it’s important to be purposeful about getting out and spending some time with people. After all, that’s one place a lot of story ideas come from. Also, to just spend time with other reader/writer people helps to feed our creativity and helps us to be encouraged because, let’s face it, writing is hard work!

If you visit my blog regularly, then you’ve probably seen many of my Monday posts that are reviews of books I have read, so you know that I read a wide variety of genres and stuff that’s been published recently as well as many years ago.

What about you? What do you like to read?

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday, as suggested by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books to Read if your Book Club likes _______. (Fill in the blank to be anything you want: YA books, non-fiction, a particular genre, etc.)

I have chosen Top Ten Books to Read if Your Book Club Likes Suspense/Horror. (None of these are full of blood and gore because I don’t read those types of books, but I do love to be kept on the edge of my seat.)

  1. The Watchers by Dean Koontz
  2. The Hunted by Mike Dellosso
  3. Scream by Mike Dellosso
  4. Nick of Time by Tim Downs
  5. Misery by Stephen King (this one does contain some human torture, but it’s not too                                                     graphic)
  6. Any of the Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz
  7. On the Street Where You Live by Mary Higgins Clark
  8. Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann
  9. Last Light (The Restoration Series) by Terri Blackstock
  10. The Negotiator (The O’Malley Series) by Dee Henderson

Book Series Review

Yes, today I am doing a review on a book series. It is an old series, but a good one. Years ago I read a couple of the books in the series and saw a movie that was based on one of the books, so this year I decided I wanted to read the entire series and see all of the movies based on the series. I recently finished reading the books but have not yet watched the movies.

The series is the  “Love Comes Softly” series by Janette Oke. There are eight books in the series. However, Janette Oke’s “A Prairie Legacy” series continues the stories of the characters from the “Love Comes Softly” series, and “A Prairie Legacy” has four books. Therefore, altogether there are twelve books.

I enjoyed each of the books, but my favorites are the original “Love Comes Softly” series. You see, Janette Oke didn’t plan to write a series when she wrote the first book “Love Comes Softly”. However, it sold so well and readers wanted more about the characters in the book, so Ms. Oke’s publisher encouraged her to create a series.

When she finished “Love Finds a Home”, the eighth book in the series, she decided she was finished and moved on to other books. However, again, readers asked her to continue the series. The characters from the “Love Comes Softly” series are truly realistic, and readers come to love and care about them quickly and easily from the very beginning. So, Ms. Oke wrote “A Prairie Legacy” series a few years after the original.

As I read the series, I could tell that some time had passed from Ms. Oke’s writing the “Love Comes Softly” series to writing “A Prairie Legacy” series. I found it harder to love the characters at first, and because Ms. Oke wrote the stories as time had progressed, as indeed it would have in real life, the issues the characters dealt with were more modern, which just seemed like a big jump to me, but in the reality of time, wasn’t. Ms. Oke is a wonderful writer who went on to write and cowrite many more wonderful stories.

Of course, Clark and Marty are my absolute favorites of this series and I love how Ms. Oke wrote so well of their aging throughout the series, but decided to end the series before their deaths. I’m sure I’m not the only reader/fan who is thankful for that.

Then there was Missie, Clark’s daughter to his first wife who had passed away. When she grew up and married and they decided to move far from Clark and Marty, they all had to adjust to the separation.

Missie had married a young man named Willie, and all through the book, “Love’s Long Journey”, he constantly shows his love and caring for her in such tender, touching ways. There is a dialog in the book that I just have to share because it melted my heart and convinced me that Missie had definitely married the right man:

Willie: . . . “I love ya. I’ve loved ya ever since ya were a little schoolgirl.”

Missie: “And you showed it by dunking my hair ribbons in an inkwell.”

Willie: “An carvin’ our initialls–”

Missie: “And putting a grasshopper in my lunch pail.”

Willie: “An’ tellin’ young Todd Culver thet I’d knock out his teeth iffen he didn’t leave my                   girl alone. An’ closin’ yer classroom window when it got stuck. An’ prayin’ fer ya                   every single day–that iffen God willed, ya’d learn to love me.”

Missie: “You did that?”

Willie: “I did.”

So, yes, “Love’s Long Journey” was another of my favorites in the series. Also, the last three books of the original eight. In “”Love’s Unfolding Dream”, Belinda meets a young man whose family has fallen on rough times. She finds the young man attractive and intriguing. Later in the book, they have a conversation that makes me feel in my heart that they are destined to be together. However, they both want to pursue other things, as they are still young. In the seventh book of the original eight, “Love Takes Wing”, Belinda has two or three young men interested in her, and I was afraid Ms. Oke was going to have Belinda end up with a different man. I felt tortured all through “Love Takes Wing”, and I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so you’ll have to read the series if you want to find know all of Belinda’s story and whether or not she ended up with that original boy from her childhood or someone else, and then you will know if I enjoyed the final book of the original eight, “Love Finds a Home”.

I concluded the reading of these two intertwined series by Janette Oke by reading “Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie” written by Ms. Oke’s daughter, Laurel Oke Logan. It is Ms. Oke’s life story and explains how she eventually became the wonderful writer that she still is today.

“Love Comes Softly” was published in July 1979 and was Janette Oke’s first book, and her most recent book “Where Hope Prevails” from the “Return to the Canadian West” series was released just last month.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books of X Genre” and I have decided to do the Romance genre. Now, this list includes books that aren’t “strictly” romance, but they all have romance in them. You can join Top Ten Tuesday too, just go to The Broke and the Bookish for all of the details.

My Top Ten Romance Books of All Time

Years ago, I read a lot of Harlequin Romance stories until I got tired of the predictability of them when I realized their plots were all basically the same. However, this book remains one very favorite Harlequin Romance book, and though I can’t really tell you much about it anymore, I do know that something about it made it stand out from all the rest to me. I hope to get a copy and re-read it soon.

2. 

If you’ve been following my TTT lists for long, you know that this book has popped up frequently. I LOVE this book!

3. Her Christmas Hero (Home to Dover Series Book 6) by [Beatty, Lorraine]

Apparently, this is Book 6 in a series called “Home to Dover”. I did not know that when I read it, and I have not read any of the other books in the series, as I have not read a lot of Love Inspired books, but earlier this year, I read three Love Inspired Romance stories and this one was fantastic! Lorraine Beatty did an excellent job creating characters that I cared about and routed for and came to love. I would love to read more about the characters in this story.

4. Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope Book #1) by [Hedlund, Jody]

This is another book that has shown up on some of my other TTT lists. Again, I just love this book!

5. Kissed by a Cowboy (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance) by [Clopton, Debra]

Again, this book is part of a series called the “Four of Hearts Ranch Romances”, and I have not read any of the other books in the series, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it has also appeared on previous TTT lists of mine.

6. The Promise: A Novel by [Steel, Danielle]

I used to collect and read all of Danielle Steel’s novels, but over the years, I fell behind on my collection and on reading them. However, The Promise remains one of my all time favorites.

7. Safe Harbour by [Steel, Danielle]

I really enjoyed this Danielle Steel novel as well.

8. Love Comes Softly (Love Comes Softly Book #1) by [Oke, Janette]

This is the first book in a fantastic series by Janette Oke. I have also shared this series in other TTT lists.

9. Message in a Bottle by [Sparks, Nicholas],  A Walk to Remember by [Sparks, Nicholas] and 

Okay, okay, I know I’m cheating, but it’s so hard to just pick 10. These three books by Nicholas Sparks are wonderful, and in my opinion like in most books that have had movies based on them, I believe all of these books are better than the movies, especially A Walk to Remember. I believe that the movies of Message in a Bottle and The Notebook held to the books’ story lines fairly well, but there were things that I felt were important in A Walk to Remember that the movie changed, left out, or compromised.

10. 

Yes, my last pick is also another cheat, but this series is so phenomenal, that there is no way to choose just one of these books as the favorite of the series. Dee Henderson did such a great job of creating incredibly realistic, believable characters that I came to love and feel that I really knew in these books that I was heartbroken to come to the end of the series. I would still love to see Dee Henderson write more about this wonderful characters. I look forward to re-reading this series in the not-too-distant future.

What genre did you choose for your TTT this week?