Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review on A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m that person that …occasionally…..runs a little late.  When arriving at parties it’s socially acceptable to be “fashionable late”, which I often am. However sometimes you might miss the best part of the party if you are too late. I have to say that I’m “late” in joining the party on those who have read and enjoyed A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert, and after reading this book, I feel like wow- I wish I would have read this one earlier it’s filled with great characters, an interesting storyline and so much- “wow, that’s so true” dialogue.  So now that I am fashionably late to discovering this book, it does not diminish it’s enjoyment or impact for me, this was a good one.

The characters are as the book title suggest Broken and Beautiful- Ivy, an aging out supermodel - mind you she’s about to hit the old age of 25- is a heroine unlike most you find in this genre, but there is something about her that you just really care about what happens to her. Her back story is a bit heartbreaking as the novel opens and she is at her estranged father’s funeral. She is a young woman who just never quite felt loved and so with her beautiful outside she would seek it out in all the wrong places leading to relationships that meant nothing. Her walls were way up and no one ever really knew the real Ivy. In a last fitch effort to try and revive her career, her agent and uncle, get’s her a shoot with her Stepmother Marilyn who happens to own a lovely little Bridal shop in Greenbrier South Carolina called Something New, which is a far cry from her usual stomping grounds in New York City.  She is desperate though and out of work ,so off she goes to this job with her walls of armor up high and strong against anyone trying to get in.  Next, we meet Davis Knight a former up and coming fashion photographer who had all the makings of skyrocketing to the top of the fashion industry, but left  his big job in New York because of an accident to his sister that has filled him with guilt and a feeling that he should never pick up a camera again. However ,he does serve as the fashion photographer for Ivy’s shoot as the proceeds are going to go to directly help his sister with an art program for her at a local college.  He rediscovers his love for photography and his amazing talent shows through his work producing the best pictures Ivy has ever taken.   In all of this a relationship starts to brew between the two, although not in the normal way that Ivy is used to having with a man. 

There are so many aspects to this novel that I absolutely loved- the power of forgiveness being one and the idea that God’s forgiveness covers it all and all guilt can be laid down right at the foot of the cross. The pacing to this novel was flawless as we see the character of Ivy develop and grow- her journey from the beginning of the book to the end was one that pulled the reader in and by the end the tears were a flowing.  I also loved the fact that the “hero” of the book had his issues to sort through as well.  In a manner of speaking, “Miss Abandoned “meets “Mr Guilt-ridden” and because of who God is in their lives, they can find the love and the forgiveness they need through God to heal.  And for those of you that are “fashionably late” like me to discovering this book- I truly hope that you will enjoy this as much as I did. This one goes on the favorites shelf and I look forward to reading more great books like this one from Katie Ganshert.

5 stars

I was graciously given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Review on Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits truly is a delightful contemporary Jane Austen romp type of story which follows loosely the storyline of Pride and Prejudice while also throwing in the delightful charm of the south, thus where the cheese grits fit it. The novel opens ,as any good Pride and Prejudice based novel should, with a scene where the main character , in this case Shelby Roswell, a Civil War historian and professor, crossing swords with a visiting professor named Ransom Fielding, who also happens to be the one who gave her  book a scathing and damaging review. As she enters his classroom and creates quite a stir, she also leaves quite an impression on Ransom. I can’t possibly give you the details here as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say that in Elizabeth Bennett fashion she dresses him down a bit and had me the reader laughing out loud.  Poor Mr. Darcy, uh…Mr Fielding.

With that rough start the two main characters aren’t very fond of each other at first, and with Shelby ,working hard to earn her tenure at her small college named Midlands located in Mississippi is finding that her college’s administration have determined it quite an accomplishment to have landed the prestigious Ransom Fielding straight from Yale to come in for a guest professorship and will basically move heaven and earth to keep him happy.  When the two of them do not get along, they make it very clear that they will come down on Ransome’s side  of any argument, which means she may be kissing her long sought after tenure” Goodbye”.  But just as Darcy against his will becomes taken with Elizabeth, so does Ransom with Shelby.  Despite her many social “faux pas’, he somehow falls for her.  I found Ransom’s backstory to be touching as he is recovering from losing his wife and so he is leaving his Ivy league Academia to come to this small college near his hometown to recover a bit and ends up meeting Shelby and so his journey to seek out peace and quiet is a bit sidelined as she is anything but that .

For true Jane Austen fans, this isn’t an exact replication of  the story Pride and Prejudice in a contemporary setting, as certain characters are morphed into one- e.g- the Mr Collins and Mr, Wickham character become one to make up the “bad guy” of the story,  and there isn’t a whole lot of emphasis on Shelby’s siblings and their stories, but as I was engaged in this story, it didn't matter to me as I enjoyed this storyline and where the author took these characters. The character of Shelby certainly had plenty of “Elizabeth Bennett” spunk as well as a bit more thrown in for good measure as her mouth so often got her into trouble whenever she was in social situations- very cringe-worthy at times- but I have to say that just led me to really loving the character of Shelby even more.  Just as in Pride and Prejudice, Shelby and Ransom butt heads a lot initially and their pride and their prejudice keep them from each other, but as the story unfolds and they understand where each other are coming from, their relationship  starts to develop.

This was an enjoyable read for me and I am so happy to see that there is a series here with Emma, Mr Knightley and Chili Slaw dogs on deck. If it follows the same vein as Pride,Prejudice and Cheese Grits, then it will definitely be a winner.  Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits delivers, faith love and fun all rolled up into one great book with some good old fashion Southern charm thrown in as well. 

4 stars

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.