Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donika K. Paul

This was a hard review for me to write. I really wanted to like this book . This is what the publisher’s web site says about it...

Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?

In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?”

Can you blame me after that set up?  What I wasn’t prepared for was all the references to wizardry and magic. It’s obvious the author thought it might be a problem too since she describes a wizard as meaning old and wise, several times in the book.  Depending what dictionary you use, the definitions of wizard include, “ a wise man, one skilled in magic, a conjurer, enchanter, sorcerer.”  The Bible warns Christians to stay away from anything that might be connected to the occult.  I just couldn’t meld the two in my mind.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been projected as Christian fiction, but rather as a fantasy.  The story, minus the “spooky” wizardriness, is basically a cute story. The disappearing streets, miraculously appearing tickets, etc. would have just seemed fairy tale-ish had the author not tried to wed it to Christianity.  While the book doesn’t go into all the details of wizardry, I can’t recommend it as Christian fiction.  That being said, it is a very easy read and the artwork on the dust cover is beautiful. The down-syndrome sister of the male main character is delightful and refreshing in her simplistic grasp of Christianity and there are many humorous incidents that leave you chuckling. 

You can read an experpt here:
Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

You can make up your own mind, I rate this book a 2 out of 5 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books and Waterbrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why book reviews?

Since this blog is soon to be dedicated to only book reviews, I thought I'd tell you a little about the how's and why's I rate and review books .

For the most part, I receive complimentary copies and advanced reader copies from a variety of publishers.  If I don't like a book, I can say so. But really, why would I request a book that I know ahead of time I'm not going to like?   Most of the time, I can say that I have liked the books I have reviewed.  There have only been a couple that disappointed me.  (My next review is one of those, sadly).  Many of them I have REALLY liked (I've got one of those coming up too!).

I'm not one of those readers who reads for reading's sake.  I have to be interested in what I'm reading, so  I try to request books that I anticipate enjoying.  I'm not a literary genius and I don't want to feel like I'm preparing for an English test.  If I have to have a dictionary next to me just to get through a chapter, it's not for me.  I also don't want to have to figure out what deep, philosophical meaning the author is trying to convey. I want to be interested in the characters and be involved in their lives, loves, struggles, etc.  I want to be able to picture the landscape and surroundings.  If you haven't guessed by now, I tend to read mostly fiction, preferably Christian historical romance or Amish romance.  Non-fiction reminds me too much of a textbook....been there, done that, not doing it again.  That's not to say I haven't learned anything from all this fiction reading.  I've learned that not all Amish orders are the same, that women really did get on a stage and travel for weeks to marry a man they had never met and that Western New York state was once 'the frontier'.   I've also learned to be thankful that I don't live in the bygone years.  I like buying my soap at the grocery store and throwing my clothes in the washing machine instead of hauling them to the river. I like plugging my vacuum cleaner in to clean my carpets instead of dragging them outside and beating them with a stick.  We can complain all we want about how hard our lives are, but we don't have it anywhere near as hard as our 'founding mothers'.  

So, there it is....why I read and write reviews.  Oh, and did I mention I really like getting free books? Well, I do, alot.  I have quite a library now, and my daughters will tell you that I am very protective of my books.  If they want to borrow one, it gets signed out to them. Not kidding! 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Changes afoot.....

Sometime, in the not too distant future, I will be starting a new blog.  This one, A Touch of Heaven, will be reserved for book reviews.  The new one will be for news, Etsy product introductions, and what ever else I want to chat about.  So here is where you, the reader, comes in.....I need to choose a name for the new blog.   So... leave a comment with your suggestions and we'll see what happens. I can't wait to see what you come up with!!

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer - a book review

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I really liked this book.  It’s set in Alaska in 1898 and Sawyer’s descriptions of the landscape and her attention to historical details takes your imagination back to those frontier days and Alaskan wilderness.

The story opens by introducing us to Lizzie Dawson, part Athabascan and part white.  Her white father left her when she was twelve years old.  She and her mother were left to fend for themselves because the tribe  has “shunned” them.  After her mother dies, Lizzie is left to survive on her own, and she does an admiral job of it, with only the company of her sled dogs. She becomes totally self sufficient.  However, she longs to grant her mother’s dying wish, to bring reconciliation between her and her grandparents.  Once she has accomplished that, she plans to leave and find her father.

Meanwhile, Clay Selby and his step sister, Vivian, arrive in the Indian community to set up a mission school.  They become acquainted with Lizzie and begin to form a friendship with her.  The tribal leaders warn Clay not to continue his friendship with her or risk losing his school.  His father was a great missionary and he has always longed to follow in his footsteps. He struggles with making the right decision.

Vivian, on the other hand, chooses to keep visiting with Lizzie in the hopes she can teach her the tribal ways and in exchange, Vivian helps Lizzie learn to “be” white.

This is a story of love, forgiveness, sorrow, faith, acceptance, racial and cultural differences, and spiritual lessons.

 I do wish that Vivian’s romance, (you know there had to be one!) was more developed, but maybe that’s for another book.  We can hope!

You can read an excerpt here:

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...