Archive for April, 2013

Author captures essence of struggling in faith

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Winds of Wyoming (A Kate Neilson Novel)

Rebecca Carey Lyles
Stonehouse Ink, 2012
eBook: $2.99
Paperback: $13.27

Publisher Synopsis: Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will imprison her once again.

My Take: This book began on a rush – ex-con trying to steal from a church – and didn’t slow down until the end. What I thought was another nice romance, jolted me with yet another unexpected twist time and again. The recurring theme is forgiveness, and as a new Christian, Kate struggles with forgiving herself and believing she is worthy of a new life. When she meets Mike Duncan, a life-long Christian, she is surprised to discover that he also struggles with forgiving himself for being (he thinks) the cause of his older brother’s death almost two decades before. Both Mike and Kate learn a lot about God’s grace and facing their fears while God weaves their futures together.

If one of your complaints about Inspirational Romance is that they are too dull, you no longer have that to fall back on. Becky Lyles has taken Christian romance to a new level. She creates believable people who have messed up their lives and find their walk with God a struggle in faith, but continue on, discovering that God is faithful just as they had been promised.

Winds of Wyoming is an authentic representation on following Christ – accepting grace, failing, repenting and accepting grace again. Lyle’s depiction of real people with real flaws discovering God’s grace, not once, but each time they failed, drew me more than any other aspect of her story.

My Rating: A great  book. It’s a 5

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Author teeters between believable / unbelievable

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Something to Believe In
Kimberly Van Meter

  • Publisher: Harlequin (January 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373718268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373718269

Publishers Description: It’s time to get her life back. Lilah Bell isn’t asking for much-just a normal life. A future that’s different from her shadowed, traumatic past. Maybe even a chance to start over. Instead, all she gets is the suffocating attention of her overprotective sisters, who seem to be waiting for her to break again. They don’t get that helping save her family’s beautiful Virgin Islands resort is definitely a challenge she can handle. But what she can’t handle is a serious relationship with carefree visitor Justin Cales. After all, wanting a man who isn’t planning to stick around isn’t smart.

Problem is, falling for Justin is too easy. And now life is more complicated than ever. When the truth unravels, they’ll either be brought together in unexpected ways…or torn apart for good.

My Take: This romance scores and several ways and lacks in a couple of others. The depiction of the Bell family and their determination to remain close and not allow their resort to fail is a strong part of the story. The sisters are not shown as always doing everything right and their individual struggles contributes to the storyline.

Unfortunately, I did not find Justin the same light as Lilah Bell does. The reformed playboy becoming model husband doesn’t logically follow the book. While he does exhibit mature behavior in the end when he discovers that Lilah is pregnant, in the rest of the book he  does not come across any way but as a deceitful good-time Charlie. If Kimberly Van Meter wanted him to come across as a misunderstood good guy, she failed. He came across as manipulative and shallow.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

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