Monday, July 30, 2012

Review on Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Beautiful and heartbroken Brielle Matthews shows up in her old, small hometown of Stratus, Oregon after being gone for a while chasing her dream of being a dancer/model  at a fancy art school in Portland.  But tragedy hits as the death of her good friend Ali, her friend at her Portland school, haunts her and leaved her adrift and shaken and full of fear.  Even being at home doesn’t help things and the heaviness that is a part of her life now.  However in the midst of this oppressive darkness someone new has come to town.  His name is Jake, Jake Shield and he keeps popping up everywhere- her calculus class, around town.  She starts to feel as though she now has her own bonafide stalker, albeit a really cute one. 

  As she gets to know Jake a bit better and his story unfolds she finds that there is more to Jake than meets the eye, especially surrounding his guardian Canaan. And as a whole new Celestial world opens up to Brielle, she sees things in a whole new way.  However her heartbreaking past in losing her mother at a young age coupled with the death of her best friend Ali keeps her from really having a true faith and trust in God as frankly she doesn’t trust Him based on what she sees He has or hasn’t done with those she has loved.  As she sees true forces of good and evil battling it out through people and celestial beings she gains more understanding and her relationship with Jake deepens. 

There are a lot of different facets to this novel and a lot of things about it that I thought were well done.  The author explores that “why would a good God let bad things happen?” question which many of us wrestle with, through Brielle’s’ past and her journey throughout the novel.  I thought that the angels vs. demons portions were suspenseful and the characters believable.  I definitely will continue to read more in this series as the author gives great foreshadowing, along with a bit of a cliffhanger making the reader really want to find out the future for these characters.  Lastly I felt that Brielle’s journey was a good one, well paced and you felt for her through the whole thing. 

  So while I will definitely recommend this as a great YA read for teenagers, I really enjoyed it as well, so a great read for all ages.

4 stars

I was given a free digital copy of this book through the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest, non-biased review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Review on Starring Me by Krista McGee

Ok all for whatever reason, the reviews I have been doing a lot lately are in the YA genre- so if you have teenagers- I would recommend this one...

Starring Me, Krista McGee’s second offering in the YA genre follows well behind “First Date” as a charming and very age appropriate YA novel aimed at young teen girls and at the young at heart.  Following in the footsteps of the reality TV show gig, Starring Me centers around the charming character of 17 year old Kara McKormick who readers will remember as Addy Davidson’s best girlfriend from her first book.  But this time the spot light is all on Kara and her own shot at staring in a new up and coming teen show along the lines of a teen versioned Saturday Night line and what Kara doesn’t know is that if she were to get this shot, she would be co-starring with none other than Chad Beacon, an instant teen pop star who soared to popularity by winning America’s Next Star.  But here’s the deal, Chad’s parents are loving and protective and wants to make sure that his co-star isn’t just any girl and aspiring starlet, but one that has integrity , character and that they hope shares their Christian faith as well since their son would be spending so much time with this girl.  So the family hatches a plan to put their beloved housekeeper undercover as a sort of “house mother” living in with the girls that get chosen to be the top ten girls vying for the shot at this show and going through a grueling audition process.  Their housekeeper “Flora” is very flamboyant and so many girls show their true colors around her which helps Flora really see which girl is the best girl. Kara has all the right qualities except the most important one- she does not believe in God.  

  Kara gets to know Chad a little bit through his friendship with Jonathon who happens to be the President’s son and the guy who is seeing her best friend Addy.  There is an instant connection between the two and a friendship starts to grow.  As the story unfolds it takes the reader on another sweet story about faith, relationships and what is the most important thing in the end- faith, family and love.  As a mother of teen girls I can recommend Krista McGee’s books with confidence knowing that they are sweet and yet carry a message that I hope will make a teenage girl think with regards to her relationships in life and her standing with God. 
 My only bit of criticism might be that I felt the “audition scripts” were a bit too young and perhaps corny for me to believe they would be used in a program designed for teens. But that is being pretty nit-picky and a very minor part of the story.

Overall, another great read to recommend to your daughters!

4 Stars

I was graciously provided with a digital copy of this book by the publisher through the Netgalley program in exchange for an honest, non-biased review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review on Prophet by R. J. Larson

Riddle me this. What if God asked you to leave your family, all that you know and become his prophet- to bring truth and prophecy to people that really don’t want to hear it, don’t want to obey it and oh yeah, the kicker, being in His service will mean that your life will be cut short. It doesn’t sound like a job that most would sign up for. But Ela Roeh of Parne a young 17 year old girl somehow with her close relationship with “the Infinite” just can’t refuse. She is a most remarkable girl with many of the insecurities of most 17 year old girls feeling inadequate and unworthy of the task ahead of her most of the time. Yet Ela perseveres and gets better and better throughout the story in hearing the Infinite’s voice, seeking Him at every turn and doing what He tells her to do.

  Along the way she meets a young handsome Traceland ambassador named Kien who is seeking justice and help for his downtrodden people. Ela and Kien’s paths cross and the Infinite is working in both of their lives to bring about His plans for all people involved in this war filled time.  In Ela’s mind, Kien can’t be a part of her future because she is a prophet for the Infinite. And yet they are thrown together time after time. Could the Infinite’s plans for them both be different than what she thought? 

This story does well by the Christian Fantasy genre and it is fun to see a new face on the scene in R J Larson.  I thought the characters were engaging and relatable and enjoyed the addition of the trusty steed “Scythe” of “Pet” and the humor that he brought to the story.  I liked the pacing with Kien being a total   non-believer at the beginning of the novel, but as the story progresses and he starts seeking out the Infinite, how He is finally able to hear his voice. It wasn’t instantaneous and I like that, it had a ring of truth to it.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series titled Judge.

4 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review- all opinions expressed are honest and my own.