Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: Chance of a Lifetime

Chance of a Lifetime
By Jodi Thomas
Berkley, December 31, 2012
English, 336 pages

Emily, the local librarian, has started a writing group, but as the group stumbles through both the fiction and reality of their lives, they’re learning much more than how to write. But Emily suddenly has other things on her mind when a friend from her past shows up in Harmony's library. Now she must deal with a secret she’s kept for fifteen years—a secret that changed her life and threatens to shatter her future.

Meanwhile, new lawyer Rick Matheson thinks he’s in charge of his world until accidents start happening all around him. Just when he realizes someone is trying to kill him, he meets a beautiful U.S. Marshal named Trace Adams. Now that the marshal has given him an even stronger reason to go on living, he must learn to take a chance on life to dream bigger—and love better—than he ever has before...

From the Author:
Welcome to my town, Harmony, Texas.  I thought readers might like to start the new year with a book set in a small town called CHANCE OF A LIFETIME.  Once in a while everything comes together in a story that makes it fun to write. I think you’ll love the visit where secrets whisper of old love affairs and kindness to others warms your heart.

I wanted to write a deep love story about two people who had been friends in childhood and lost each other one night because of an attack.  She was hurt and he felt guilty for not being there to help.  When Emily Tomlinson sees Tannon Parker ten years later, they don’t know how to mend the fences to find one another again.  I wanted to write a very tender love story about an attraction far deeper than physical, a love that went all the way to their hearts.

While they are getting to know one another, they’re also dealing with problems in the library that she runs.  The place is suddenly infested with want-to-be writers meeting upstairs.
If you are looking for a book that will let you step out of daily life into a world of mystery, laughs and falling in love, you’ll enjoy CHANCE OF A LIFETIME.
So, come along with me to Harmony.
My Review:
It's good to be back in Harmony! I have loved every story from this series, and this one is no different. I like that new and different characters are highlighted and actually missed some from the other books (Reagan, Tyler, etc). There was a lot focused on Beau too. He and Border are characters I've wanted to see more about and hope that there will be more about them in future books. 

Anyway, I digress...

The story is mainly about Emily and Rick (as described above) and what they go through. I love the Emily story. It is a very sweet and tender love story that just blossoms and leaves you feeling really happy for the characters. It's satisfying to read about her and Tannon and see how they grow and change in response to their friendship and history.

Rick's story is much more action packed. The "accidents" are terrifying to imagine and the story of him and Martha Q, Trace and his Matheson cousins will keep you turning the pages wanting to know what's going to happen! I really like the interactions with the bookstore owner downstairs! What a funny little character!

The book is hard to put down. I think I finished it in three days because I just didn't want to stop reading! I'm pretty sure I was cooking and reading a few times. The Harmony series just keeps getting better and better and I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Congrats to Jodi for CHANCE OF A LIFETIME reaching #20 on the NY Times Bestseller List!

I received an advance reading copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you to Ms. Thomas for continuing to include me in her book tours for the Harmony series.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Book Review: If You Have a Craving...

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure
By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Tyndale House, 2012
English, 224 pgs

Life can be hard . . . but food, faith, and fun are three amazing gifts from God to satisfy and refresh us every day. Yet all too often, we focus primarily on what we can not do, and what we should not eat—which leaves us feeling deprived and depressed. Instead of being energized by following Christ, we waste our days feeling bored and burnt-out on our faith, while battling the guilt that comes from craving the food that we love. In If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure, best-selling author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd encourages you to embark on a new adventure with faith and food. She reveals the food coaching tips that enabled her to lose over 50 pounds and keep it off, and shares fun recipes in celebration of the healthy, delicious food our God created for us to enjoy. It’s time to let go of guilt, grab hold of grace, and recapture the life God craves for us to live! “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
What a better time than the beginning of a new year to make new choices...
This book has 15 very short chapters. Each chapter is broken into 4 parts: a personal story, a short devotion, life tips and recipes. There are short, encouraging sayings with each chapter as well as a prayer.

The chapters are about what you're craving in food and that's tied into what you're craving in your spirit. For example, Craving Something Salty: Salty, Satisfying Recipes and Faith Seasonings for Life's Seasons or Craving Real Refreshment: Delicious Drinks and Hydration for Your Soul.

Each chapter will take about 5 minutes to read. That would make this a very easy book for a women's group to use as a weekly Bible Study. Then the group could make the recipes related to the chapter. I think that would be a great way to use this book.

The Life Tips in each chapter kinda feel cliched...if you want more energy then you should exercise and remove excess from your life...or...if you need rest, take a bath or go to bed early...nothing new to those, but they are good reminders sometimes and each has Scripture related to it.

Now, the recipes...I can't wait to try the cheeseless cheese dip (!) and the kale chips, but there isn't really anything new in these either. For instance, there is a recipe for a vanilla shake and there are several that are "adapted" from other cook books.

All in all, this is a good devotion/Bible study book for a group to use or even for just solo reading and study. I think discussion and involvement with the study would make this better than just reading alone though. What a better time than the beginning of a new year to make new choices...

I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.