Cinderella Texas by Molly Noble Bull ~ Review

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Cinderella Texas by Molly Noble Bull

Cinderella Texas by Molly Noble Bull is one of the newest published books by this author (2017). Both main characters love the Lord and are Christians, but have chosen vastly different lifestyles for themselves. The disparity makes this a unique type of story. The issues are not a matter of right and wrong; rather their choices are what places a wall between the two. The conflict/resolution issue in this story is still emotional, a matter of finding a place, a middle road, in which to meet. How they do this is what drives this story forward.

Alyson Spencer was a city girl, through and through. She was born, reared and educated in Dallas, TX and preferred living there. She never expected to get work anywhere else. When nothing else she wanted turned up, she took a job teaching a rancher’s children at his home. But she was not prepared for the desolation of the location in southern Texas and the distinct lifestyle of the family there. There were no modern conveniences at all. She’d signed a contract for a year of teaching without knowing this ahead of time, so how would she be able to endure the deprivation?

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Quatro Greene, Alyson’s employer and widowed father of her two new students, looked too young to have children. What was unsettling was his wealth. Yet he didnt live like a wealthy man. Neither did his family. They chose this nearly Amish-like lifestyle as a means of practicing their faith. Alyson respected that. It even intrigued her. Yet she just wasn’t certain it was a lifestyle she could adapt to within a year. The only thing she and Quatro had in common were a love for his children and a love for God. Quatro on the other hand, was a confusing person. His feet were planted in two different worlds: his personal life and his business life. How did he live with that?

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author’s writing style mixes well the serious issues with humor at the quandry Alyson finds herself in. If you like Amish fiction reads, then some aspects of this genre may be familiar to you. However, the mixing of two worlds is the main issue, making this book more unique. That’s the feature I like the best.

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Alyson’s character is well developed in this story. I wish, however, we could see a little more inside Quatro’s head. It would flesh out the development of characters more thoroughly than was there. I wanted to know more about his struggles and how he balanced his worlds. The resolution put forth in this book could make an interesting part two. I can also see how you could develop a sequel to this book by amplifying any resolution with more details. I hope the author will consider this idea.

 

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12 Saturdays by F.P. Lione ~ Review

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12 Saturdays by F.P. Lione

Twelve Saturdays is like an “everything” bagel; it has a little bit of everything in it. The setting is New York City: Staten Island and Manhattan. It has a little bit of suspense and tension with a few bad guys thrown in. There’s fun humor and a few giggles. Some romance, some psychology, some tragedy, some adventure, and lots of relationship dynamics. All this is blended very well into an unforgettable storyline.

The premise is about family relationships. Jenna had been out on a date when she learned that her father was in the hospital. By the time she got there, it was too late, and she was overcome by so many regrets. She had not known he had a brain tumor. Then she learned that her father had some rather odd requests for her after his death. And that’s the beginning of an unforgettable series of 12 Saturdays.

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I enjoyed reading this book so much. There were moments of levity which balanced out the revelatory nature of the story. The one driving character, Jenna, was a real, living, breathing person to me. I found myself relating to her on so many levels. The more her background was revealed, the more her life spoke to me.

One element of the book I really enjoyed was the “girl power” feel of Jenna’s friendships. The best of the humor as well as the best of her strength came from these close ties. There were also a few twists and turns as the book progressed that kept me turning the pages.

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Finally, this is a faith-based story. Jenna wasn’t exactly the picture perfect Christian; she was a work in progress, just as we are. I took comfort in the growth in her character shown to us through her trials and triumphs. At a crucial point in the story, she knows where she belongs. I felt a great deal of satisfaction in this conclusion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from CKN Christian Publishing on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin ~ Review ~

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

Until I Found You

Kate Darby was a mess. In spite of the laissez faire attitude toward life she projected to others, she was a seething tornado inside: fears, insecurities, indecision about her future in spite of her dream job, and loneliness. To complicate her life, her grandmother suffered a stroke and Kate was needed to help her recover while at the same time keeping the family’s local newspaper, the Clarion, afloat during her absence. She had to take two months off from her job, an action that could lead to layoff in the future.

Kate was driving one particular perilous mountain road on the way to her grandmother’s house when she nearly struck a rare California condor feasting on a carcass in the middle of the road. Braking spun her car out of control until the shoulder of the road gave way, sending her over the edge and down the cliff. Before her car plummeted further into the ravine, she was pulled out of her vehicle by Nick, literally moments before it exploded in a ball of fire.

Nick Sheridan, retired veteran of life in the fast lane and reformed playboy bachelor, had recently made his home in Meadows, California while writing for a California travel magazine. He was the one who had discovered Leona Darby after her stroke and gotten her to the hospital in time to save her life. When he pulled Kate out of her downed car, he had recognized her from the pictures Leona had on her desk at the Clarion. Nick was doing some freelance work for her and they had become friends. After her stroke, she had communicated to Nick to help Kate settle in at the newspaper and be her friend.

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Once Kate and Nick got to know each other and learned to work together at the Clarion, Nick did his best to ignore his growing attraction for Kate. He had reasons why he needed to keep their relationship platonic. To Kate, Nick had the posture of a soldier, the ease of a cowboy, and the daring of a pirate. Once she learned of the book he had written, she was on the way to viewing him as her knight in shining armor. But Nick knew better how human he really was, and he didn’t want her to put him on a pedestal.

Several months before Kate’s accident, Nick had an epiphany and his life came to a screeching halt. His lifestyle had caught up with him; someone had been hurt as a result of his wayward behavior. He had some major decisions to make. On Mount Abel, he sought and found God. As a result he was in transition, putting away his old ways and adopting a new lifestyle with his brother’s help. From Leona, he knew his old ways would appeal to Kate, but he cared enough for her to know that she needed a real Savior, not him as a substitute. She had her own demons to face, so he needed to stay out of the way while she searched and found her own faith in God. But it was harder than he expected.

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The author skillfully writes complex personal problems that intertwine between the three main characters. Leona’s heart ached for her only living family, her granddaughter Kate. She wanted so much for Kate to find the same soul satisfying relationship with God that she has had herself as well as a soul mate like she had with Alex, Kate’s grandfather. But Kate was stubborn. She would have to find her own way through her fears and insecurities. Although Leona’s stroke left her unable to talk, she could still write. So she set out to write in her journal a personal story for Kate that she had never shared with anyone else. She only hoped she would finish the story in time.

The author not only tells a wonderful multi-layered story, but uses metaphors that stir the reader’s heart. Two of my favorite metaphors used in this book are the condors which seem to appear at key moments for Kate, and the mountain road and cliff that played a role in shifting the direction of Kate’s life more than once. Of course, there are more metaphors in the book, and I hope you enjoy discovering them as much as I did.

Another element of Kate’s character development that resonated with me was in her struggle to fill the gaping hole in her life with things she knew well–her exciting job and her hero worship of Nick. But the God-shaped hole just wouldn’t be satisfied through her own efforts. How she came to terms with her doubts and insecurities and how she found faith in God brought back memories of my own internal battles and life lessons through the stages of maturity. In empathy, I was rooting for her to find her way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Bethany House Publishers. I wasnot required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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