Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hope Springs

In a small Southern community where everyone is holding tight to something, the biggest challenge may be learning to let go.
Hope Springs, North Carolina, is the epitome of small town life—a place filled with quiet streets where families have been friends for generations, a place where there’s not a lot of change. Until three women suddenly find themselves planted there for a season.
Janelle Evans hasn’t gone back to Hope Springs for family reunions since losing her husband. But when she arrives for Christmas and learns that her grandmother is gravely ill, she decides to extend the stay. It isn’t long before she runs into her first love, and feelings that have been dormant for more than a decade are reawakened. And when Janelle proposes a Bible study a the local diner--and invites both African American and Caucasian women she has met--the group quickly forms a spiritual bond . . . and inadvertently adds to underlying tension in the community.
Becca Anderson is finally on the trajectory she’s longed for. Having been in the ministry trenches for years, she’s been recruited as the newest speaker of a large Christian women’s conference. But her husband feels called to become the pastor of his late father’s church in Hope Springs. Will small town living affect her big ministry dreams?
And Stephanie London has the ideal life—married to a doctor in St. Louis with absolutely nothing she has to do. When her cousin Janelle volunteers to stay in Hope Springs and care for their grandmother, she feels strangely compelled to do the same. It’s a decision that will forever change her.
As these women come together, facing disappointments both public and private, they soon recognize that healing is needed in their hearts, their families, and their churches that have long been divided along racial lines. God's plan for them in Hope Springs—and for Hope Springs itself—is bigger than they ever imagined.

I love Kim Cash Tate. When I saw a new book available by her on Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze Blogger program I was quick to request a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  Hope Springs certainly did not disappoint! Tate's characters are so real that they make me wish they were real, so I could get to know them and join their Bible studies! I spent many nights up much later than intended as I continued to read "just one more chapter" well into the night. I read it on my Nook, and looked at the page number and thought "fifteen more pages, I only have fifteen more pages." Much to my dismay, the last ten were the study guide questions! While the book left off in a good place; with enough resolved to leave the reader satisfied but enough hanging to make us long for another book, I was not ready to say good-bye to these characters. I hope it is not long before I get to visit with them again. LOVED it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garden of Madness

The Untold Story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Daughter.
For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.
Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an indulgent palace life. But when her husband dies and a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own newfound freedom is threatened.
As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family’s secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband’s brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.
In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, one woman must decide if she is willing to risk everything—her possessions, her gods, and her very life—for the Israelite’s one God. Madness, sorcery and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist’s deadly potion, and Tia must dare to risk all – to save the kingdom, and to save herself.

 I decided to go outside of my typical reading choice when I requested a complimentary copy of  Garden of Madness by Tracy L. Higley through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program. in exchange for an honest review. I don't typically read historical fiction a whole lot, but when I do it seems to be more of an "old west" era, not Babylonian. It took me quite a while to get used to the author's style of writing, and to care about her characters. Once I embraced the era and the characters' secrets began to be revealed I found myself engrossed in the book and wanting to know more about what was happening. I enjoyed the author's descriptive writing in most instances, but felt there were a few times that it was not needed to the extent that was taken in the book. All in all, it was a quality read.