Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review - That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon

That Certain Summer  -     
        By: Irene Hannon
Two very different sisters . . . an unexpected homecoming . . . one unforgettable summer

Karen and Val are family--yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had other reasons for moving away--as well as a secret to keep--and coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with past mistakes as they care for their ailing mother. When two handsome men enter the picture, the summer takes on a surprising new dimension. As their lives intersect, can each of them learn how to forgive, let go, and move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?

With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, award-winning author Irene Hannon pens an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex relationships, the search for forgiveness, and the life-changing process of finding love.

Irene Hannon is known for her romantic suspense stories and is a prolific and well-decorated author. That Certain Summer takes a slight right, returning to a previous love as she drops the suspense and focuses solely on the romance plot. Although she has written more than thirty-five books this is the first one I have read of hers. Overall, I found the story enjoyable.

I thought Irene put a lot of attention to detail in creating her characters. Karen, the good girl and Val, the pretty and talented one are so different and yet so much alike - very typical for sisters. Their tense relationship has been created by a critical mother, pitting the girls against each other. Neither is looking forward to their summer working together taking care of their mother after her stroke. Yet, as God is so good, He uses that which we fear to teach us more about ourselves and those close to us. The women realize how much of each other they have in their own qualities. Hannon does an excellent job of portraying this in her writing.

The male counterparts, Scott and David are also well-written characters. Their personal journeys feel realistic and the affectionate feelings that develops between them and the sisters is a sweet love affair. The struggles the men face are deep; a single father and a man broken and lost after a tragic accident. Both men have to turn to God to find the true path they are to follow. All four of these characters have their own focused point of view.

There are a many supporting characters that

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

School is not out ... yet!

I feel like a student these days. God has been teaching my spirit so much lately that it mirrors my teenagers road to their final exams.
Cram it in.
Read it again.
Not sure I've got it down pat yet.
Oh, well ... here we go!

It all started with a snag in my spirit that rumbled just below the surface. And it has been there for many months now, or maybe even years. Part of it is my personality bent, part of it is my lack of confidence gained through experience but the hardest part to except is the portion that is God's chosen path for me.

There are three legs to this journey I am on and I will do my best to share them with you one at a time. Today I want to tell you about a movie I watched recently that wedged itself deep in between my heart and my soul. It is titled The Words. Some of you may be familiar with it as it was in theaters last September. You can find it in the movie stores now.

The story is about a writer (go figure!) who wants to be a successful author so bad. He has drive, determination and passion but he lacks ... talent.  The movie pulls you along a road the main character, Rory Jansen probably never imagined he'd take until he started to walk it. Please visit the trailer to be enticed and teased to watch it. But for now, all you need to know is that Rory sees the goal he wants, sees an open path to attain it and takes it without counting the FULL cost.

Sometimes in real life, and in fiction, people make foolish, selfish decisions they wish they could take back. Who would argue with that?

Yet, I am starting to see that sometimes the hard "cost" is actually the path we are meant to take. Now is where we all have a harder time swallowing.  Think back in your own life of a time when you had to endure something extremely hard in order to get to where you are now. Maybe it was a lay-off from a job you loved only to then be led to a better job. Or maybe it was a move? Or what if it was a death of a loved one? Or the death of a dream?

In the extra features on the DVD

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review - Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck

Beautifully written. Beautifully crafted. Just plain ... Beautiful!

Synopsis: Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, tells a modern-day fairy tale as fetching as the recent nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. When a jilted girlfriend meets a reluctant crown prince, they discover the power of God’s love to heal hearts and change a nation.

I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel Hauck's book. She's done a splendid job of crafted a world that is both realistic and other-worldly. The opportunity to see life through the eyes of a Crown Prince doesn't pass through my little Town much. The characters, Susanna and Nathaniel felt real, bold and inspiring. They touched my heart as they traversed the unknown within the circumstances they found themselves in. And they did it all through the eyes of faith.

The setting of the book was also beautifully crafted. Susanna's beach-front world of the family owned business and Nathaniel's made-up but realistic world of a Monarchy ruled European Nation were beautiful compliments to each other; Hauck weaving the love of gardens into both.

The ending was greatly anticipated and delightfully sweet.  I was uncertain all the way to the end if the two would be able to blend their worlds and be together after all. It was very satisfying. Thanks Rachel!

The only down side for me was