Love on the Line

In 1904 Texas Ranger Luke Palmer arrives in Brenham, Texas, with one goal–to capture the gang of outlaws led by Frank Comer. Undercover as a telephone repairman, he uses his days on the range to search, not realizing there’s another pair of eyes watching him.

Georgie Gail, switchboard operator and birder, heads out on a birding expedition, but instead of sighting a painted bunting, her opera glasses capture her telephone man, armed and far away from telephone lines. Palmer is forced to take this alluring troublemaker into his confidence and unwittingly puts her in harm’s way. The closer he comes to the gang, the further she works her way into his heart–and into trouble. Soon it’s more than just love that’s on the line. – Summary provided by Bethany House Publishers

It was a real delight to read another novel by Deeanne Gist. If you’ve checked out my About Me Page, you will notice that she is one of my favorite authors who introduced me to the world of historical fiction novels – which I love! The novel Love on the Line is expertly written with a great development of characters, accuracy to the time period as well as providing a true insight into the world of bird-watching!

We are introduced to an avid bird watcher, Georgie Gail who is so passionate about her birds that when she realizes hats are being sold with bird feathers, she literally becomes sick to her stomach! Instead of allowing Georgie to be the typical pitiful woman after an incident like this, Deeanne rather expands her to a bold and mission-filled character. We readers, realize that Georgie is not your typical 19th century woman; not only does she work as a switchboard operator, but when she is faced with such great threat to her life, she is still able to maintain a calm composure. We also see this development present in Luke Palmer. His character begins as an angry and cautious man, but as he comes to terms with the undeniable attraction between himself and Georgie, we see him opening up, the walls coming down, and real good personality inside!

Finally, the world of bird-watching. Wow wow, this is the first time that I’ve read any author who is able to interweave a characters love of nature and make it one of the primary focus of their novel. I absolutely loved it!

Now, I sometimes find myself looking at the most beautiful birds and wishing that I could just figure out their names! Can anybody tell me what this one is?! LOL. 🙂 So my honest opinion…Every novel that I read by this author has always been very informative and I am given a real descriptive insight into the time period, however in this novel I didn’t feel so informed. Yes every now and then we are reminded of Luke being a Texas Ranger, and how Georgie manages the switchboard but I feel as though this historical aspect could’ve been better expanded. However, I really enjoyed the aspect of the birds, and like the children in the novel,  I enjoyed Georgie’s lessons about them!

– Manuela

His Steadfast Love

It isn’t until the Civil War comes to her doorstep that Amanda Bell must choose between love and family.

It’s the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Amanda never thought she would marry because of a promise she made to her dying mother, but her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel aligns with the Confederate States, while Kent remains with the Union troops.Her heart is torn between the two men she is closest to and the two sides of the conflict. Amanda prays to God for direction and support, but hears only silence. Where is God in the atrocities of war-and whose side is He on? Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. She must trust God to deliver her family through the chaos of war with her heart and her faith intact. – Summary provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers

Reading this novel again was certainly a treat! I really loved the cover design of the novel, and it was one of the main reasons why I was attracted to read this book in the first place.

In terms of the development of characters, Amanda Bell was the sole character who grew in the situations she faced throughout the novel. She is a caregiver to her three sisters and when she discovers love with another man, she struggles to remain faithful to the promise she made to her deceased mother and yet still experience the sweet love she has found. Although, the growth in Amanda is well shown, minor characters unfortunately do not experience that – like Captain Kent Littlefield who is shipped off to fight the war. I especially liked the fact that author Golden Keyes Parsons was not shy at all in exploring the issue of slavery. I was given a very accurate and informed view of the late 1800’s, the Civil War and the abolitionists.

In my honest opinion, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Even though in the beginning I was not very familiar with Civil War time period, this novel helped me learn and understand more about it. For those who are avid history buffs and want a book that is primarily focused on that very fact (history lol), go out and read this book! :).

I would like to thank Bethany House for providing me a free copy of His Steadfast Love by Golden Keyes Parsons. 

– Manuela

Are You a Parked Car?

A Journey of Faith

Something that I’ve always mentioned to God is the importance of me glorying Him in everything that I do, in the little or big things. That was my number on priority, especially in my career. So in my first 2 years of school, I was always praying and crying out to God to speak to my heart on where He wants to take me. In this third year of high school, my cries became more desperate as I needed to make countless decisions on my future education, scholarships, etc.

I was just waiting. Like a parked car, I was completely still, not moving, not going anywhere. I did not fully understand this until I spoke to a very close friend of mine about my recent career choice. She told me that although, it is important to wait upon God; we must make sure that we’re not parked cars because God cannot…

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The Guest Book

This was my absolute first time I have ever read a novel and felt teased by the author! As weird and quirky that may sound it is true! 😛

Author Marybeth Whalen introduces a very interesting story line of a young woman with a little girl, Macy Dillon, longs to meet the artist. Ten years after the last picture, Macy prays to find out who is artist. God answers her prayer and not only gives her one man, but three! When the author introduces the reader to the first man, Wyatt, and then Pastor Nate, I was convinced that the buck stopped there, and that Macy will just be wrestling over which of these men she will choose. However, Marybeth Whalen brings a third man, Dockery, and I was flabbergasted beyond reason because she had began to string the romance and fiery sparks between Macy and Nate, as well as Wyatt. This teasing, suspense and leading on was the sole reason  why I continued to read on and I must admit that I enjoyed the entire ride to the very end! 🙂

In the aspect of the novel’s structure, the story was solely told through the narrative of Macy. Although the story line was fun, witty and homey, it felt very one-dimensional. When the three men were introduced, on who could possible be ‘the artist’, it was very suspensful but it would’ve been much more enhanced if we as readers could have seen the thoughts of the men.Also, usually in most of the novels I read, minor characters do not play a major  role in the novel, this fact remains true in The Guest Book  but I believe it is through Max’s brotherly camaraderie and her daughter Emma’s sweet, but yet “little dictator” character is what adds to the classic of a typical American family. Overall, the development of the characters was not clearly shown . The most evident is Macy’s mother Brenda who is finally moving past the death of her husband and is experiencing love again. Max, Macy’s brother eventually overcomes his alchohol addiction with the help of Pastor Nate. I would’ve liked to have seen more growth in Macy’s character through her personal relationship with God.

I touched on this in the earlier paragraph, but I think the author somewhat missed the mark in terms of the key element of faith in the novel. I felt that for the most part it was like any other secular romance novel and the parts about God are sometimes (not always) randomly added. I am sympathetic to the tough work it takes to create a novel with equal elements of faith and romance, but it is unfortunate to see in this case, that the romance element was the primary focus of this novel. Which it should not have been.

However in my honest opinion, this book was expertly written! Some authors struggle with keeping a reader strung on to the very end of a novel, without them skipping to the end because of the lack of suspense. Marybeth Whalen on the hand is able to masterfully weave this story with suspense, love and wit. Asides from the one-dimensional plot story, the unbalanced portion of faith vs. romance, and the sub-par character development, this book was incredible!!

I would like to express great thanks to  Zondervan Publishing, through NetGalley for providing me with this free e-book copy of The Guest Book by Marybeth Whalen.

– Manuela

P.s. My next review will be posted later on today!

My Stubborn Heart

My Stubborn Heart. Adapted from Baker Publishing Group, 2012.

Wow! Let me say that after having read this novel twice, I still am left with such amazement on how well written this novel is.

Main characters Kate Donovan, and Matt Jarreau experience quite a roller coaster character development, not only individually but with their relationship. Kate’s headstrong, stubborn but yet compassionate and loving heart, compels her to try and befriend the handome and wounded soul, Matt Jarreau. This need to care for Matt pushes Kate to try and see what really happened in his life. A love blossoms between the two and Kate is forced to decide whether she will ignore God and stay with Matt in Texas or obey God and leave him. In the aspect of faith, Matt has decided to cut off ties with God after the tragic loss of his wife, Beth to brain cancer.

My honest reactions – well I have quite a few issues with this novel. The first deals with Kate’s need to befriend Matt. The reason why Kate is so stubborn to this is because she is really captivated to the quiet, intense, intimidating man who has built up an impenetrable wall that no one has been able to break. I believe the author is definitely accurate in the truth in which most women see wounded men and instinctively try to fix them. Although this is true, the author has encouraged this matter in the love story between Matt and Kate. The problem I find is that by potraying that women can essentially “fix” this men is a misguided view of God’s plan for relationships. Not all of these attempts by women result in the happily ever story experienced by Matt and Kate. However, I must admit that I too was taken by the powerful way in which Becky Wade wrote this story, at times my heart was racing, or being squeezed, I was ecstatic, sad, this story was definitely pulling on my heart strings! A recommendation for this first aspect is for the author to address this issue in a mini blurb at the end of the novel, or perhaps in an interview conducted by the publishing company (Bethany House).

Another issue deals with Matt’s restoration in his relationship with Jesus Christ, God. In my opinion, it almost seemed as though it was rushed, and his coming back to God was to somehow please Kate and continue in their sweet and passionate romance. Yes I understand that the author is only restricted to so many pages but if there was a bit of expansion in that aspect which I believe is the most important, it would’ve stopped this from being a bit unrealistic.

So the purpose of this review was not to tear it apart, because it was indeed a fantastic novel!! I earnestly enjoyed it the first time, and even more the second time around. These two issues were just the things that really bothered me and I believed they needed to be addressed.

I would like to express great thanks to  Bethany House Publishers for providing me with this free copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade.

Stay tuned for more,

Manuela

Reblog…Learning to Think Like a Reviewer

Yesterday, I realized that the book reviews I have been posting have not been very informative. Meaning, in most of the reviews that I’ve posted they followed a general excitement of how I loved the book and just recommending it for others to read. It was only my review of Karen Kingsbury’s novel, Longing – was that a proper review. Yes, it was my very first negative review but I actually took the time to write my thoughts down on paper, editing it, before actually publishing it on this website.

I owe it to all who visit my website to give you a very informative review of these novels, so that it pushes you to read the book and form opinions of your own about the novel, and share them on this site.

Even going through the monthly archives, my first post on this website was meant to be a place where I share tidbits about my journey with the Almighty Father. I do not at all regret reviewing books but I realize now that I did not understand fully the purpose of being a book reviewer. For me at that time, it was to get amazing books for free. Even as I do this reblog, I am also going to shift my focus on the real reasons why I started this blog in the first place – my journey of faith. So stay tuned for more on that.

Thanks so much for your love and support!

Stay blessed,

– Manuela