Simple Smile Saturday (Feb-3)

Earlier this week I got a letter in the mail. This ALWAYS makes me smile and do a snoopy dance as I love getting mail, especially when it is from my one of my good friends who lives a few hours away. So many people don’t seem to understand how special it is to get a handwritten note in your mailbox, knowing that someone took time out of their busy schedule to share a moment of it with you.

She wrote to say that, for the first time in ten years, she felt the need to pick up her Bible and pray. That made her letter all the more special in knowing that she was working on her faith. I never thought I’d make a difference in anyone’s life but, according to her, just by being myself she was able to see what was missing in her own life.


Book Review: Faith by Lori Copeland

Synopsis: After the death of their father, three sisters decide to become mail-order brides so as not to be a burden to their only relation, an elderly aunt. Faith has accepted the suit of Nicholas Shepherd who owns a ranch in Texas, but every time they go to get married something comes up to postpone the wedding. Obstacles and miscommunication make the pair believe that the marriage may not be meant to be, even as they begin to fall in love.

Author: Though she has now written over fifty books since she first started in 1982, this is Lori Copeland’s first inspirational novel. She has won awards for both her historical and contemporary novels, but Lori still feels that this book is her proudest achievement.

Product: The most inspiring thing about the cover art is the font of the title; even the back is more interesting in its appearance of old parchment paper. The pages within this trade paperback are occasionally skewed to a slight slant, but the wide margins prevented any words from being lost.

Writing Style: The story has what it takes to be a tale of hilarious hijinx, but instead manages to keep a level of seriousness throughout. While the tone may not be funny, it is still light-hearted and enjoyable without taking away from the gravity of how important the decision of marriage really is.

Plot: The tale of a mail-order bride having trouble getting to the ceremony is full of potential, added is the fact that the woman is a tomboy who would much rather be hammering a nail than threading a needle.  While I personally feel this combination could have been dealt with more comically without taking away from the solemnity of the topic of marriage, it still worked out nicely.

Point of View: While most of this novel is told from Faith’s perspective, it occasionally allows the reader to see into the minds of both Nicolas and his mother, Liza. Without these snippets of alternate perspectives, the reader would be less likely to sympathize with the mother and son, leading to a dislike of the pair.

Character: Adam Walters is a boy around five years old and was born blind. He will never be able to see, but doesn’t let that stop him from doing anything. He has to try harder than everyone else who takes vision for granted.

Theme: The relationship between the heroine and a motherless boy in this story is similar to a parable. Faith is a young mail-order bride who intends to teach Adam, a blind boy, how to use his imagination to picture things as well as how to read Braille.  Faith is teaching a blind boy how to see; belief allows unbelievers to recognize God’s love and turn to him.

Quotes: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Her sister always said she hugged the life out of people, but she didn’t care.

The Verdict: Lori Copeland is a very talented writer who creates interesting plots. The character’s relationship with God was tightly woven into the story, never seeming unnatural or preachy. While she doesn’t surpass my current favourite Lori Wick, I will definitely continue to read the Brides of the West series

 Previous Reviews: Cassandra’s SongA Place Called HomeThe Doctor’s Blessing

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Book Review: There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

Synopsis:  God is a nineteen-year-old boy who ‘s real name is Bob. He was given the job of creating and maintaining earth with the hope he would grow into the position, but hasn’t. Bob is still like any other teenage boy with a short attention span, little forethought, and an obsession with girls. Whenever Bob falls in “love” disaster follows.  Unfortunately, Bob met Lucy…

Author: Meg Rosoff is an award-winning novelist who lives in London, England. Her first young adult novel was published the same week she was diagnosed with cancer. That novel has been optioned for a film and is currently in pre-production.

Writing Style: Advise students are always given is to “show not tell”, yet this book seemed a little more on the “tell” side of things. The story seemed to stay very on the surface of the action, rarely ever creating an emotional risk or development in the characters.

Point of View: The story switched between most of the characters in the novel, sometimes quite suddenly with no indication of the coming change.

Plot:  This book reminded me of flipping through channels on a television. You see tidbits of various characters and their life without ever finding the depth to them or what is happening.

Location: This novel takes place everywhere and nowhere. It does not specifically say where the people are living, other than on earth. Nor am I certain where Bob lives –on earth, in heaven, or somewhere in between. Occasionally, there are scenes from other unknown places in the universe, including a gambling hall.

Character: It doesn’t say much for the novel when you favourite character is someone’s pet.  Eck is the last of his kind, a creature with intelligence and feeling and even a sense of humour. Eck is treated rather abysmally by nearly everyone and, oddly enough, is the only character that the reader feels for.

Romance: Bob’s idea of love is taking the stereotypical teenage boy’s lust to the extreme end of the spectrum, which makes things a bit more humorous and drives what little action there is due to the side effects of his obsession with Lucy.  The readers spends most of the novel hoping Bob learns how to love, and through this becomes a proper “God” that would benefit earth.

Quote: Life’s pleasures were so simple, really. It was all a matter of appreciating what you had –and knowing that things could always be worse.

The Verdict: It is an interesting novel that, I feel, did not live up to its full potential; I was expecting something a little more “Joan of Arcadia” (tv show) with emotional depth and humour. I was far more interested in making my own Eck, than reading the book.

Previous Posts: SpinA Scottish Ferry TaleArrangedClick

Books In My Mailbox (aug-3)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

Sorry for not having any posts this past week, I’ve been on holiday! But even taking time off from everything doesn’t mean I haven’t acquired a few new books to read…

My grandmother graciously offered to loan me her Brides of the West series by Lori Copeland. I had been wanting to try out some new Christian writers, and Nana’s bookshelves are always the place to go. She only had five of the six books, but thank heavens for libraries!

Previous IMM: Cassandra’s SongA Place Called HomeThe Doctor’s Blessing

Book Review: A Place Called Home by Lori Wick

Synopsis: Christine Bennett always loses the people she loves in life. Her parents died when she was a child, and her grandfather –whom she had been living with- passed away when she was nineteen. When her grandfather’s will was read, it said that should Christine die everything would go to her grandfather’s partner Vince Jeffers. Christine knew her grandfather would never write such a thing and that her life was in danger, so she fled and ended up in the town of Baxter. There, Christine met the Cameron family and just may have found a place to finally call “home”.

Author: Lori Wick is a fabulous Christian author of many inspirational stories. Some of her books are historical-based and others have a more contemporary setting. She has eight series, and a few stand-alone novels as well. No matter what book you pick up that Lori has written, it is an amazing testament of faith.

Format: This book is a Thorndike Press large print hardcover novel. I have never been overly fond of hard covers only because they are uncomfortable in my hand, and, to be honest, the cover art is often less than impressive when no dust jacket is in evidence. While I don’t need a large print novel at my age, I like the idea that this book is available for people with failing eyesight, that those who have vision problems are not overlooked and can enjoy reading.

Writing Style: Lori includes a fair amount of scripture within her tales, as opposed to Steeple Hill that often only has a single verse at the beginning. One of the verses in this book is from Proverbs 3:5-6, which is “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and not your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

Plot: It is hard to define what genre this book is. Definitely an inspirational novel, yet it has both elements of romance and –sort of- mystery or suspense. Christie’s life is in danger, and, as a reader, we know the villain and have a pretty good idea why, but what we don’t know is which incidents were coincidental, which were murder attempts, and when the next might happen.

Character: Calvin and Charles are two little boys who are far more generous than most adults. While they could be selfish and think to their own pleasure, instead they prayed for God to make something happen that they thought would make Christine happy. We can learn from children’s easy faith, their ability to believe is amazing.

Quote: You didn’t withhold your love from a person just because it might be risky.

 God won’t hide His answers from you. If this is what God has for you, you’ll know. If you continue to trust, He’ll continue to be your guide.

 No one knows how long his time on earth will be. Don’t wait! Go to Christ and open your heart to Him. He is waiting for you with open arms.

The Verdict: If you cannot stand books that include scripture, this is not a story for you. But if you are willing to have an open mind, or enjoy reading about those with faith in God, Lori Wick definitely someone you should be reading.

Previous Reviews: A Scottish Ferry Tale,
ClickCassandra’s Song