The Naomi Chronicles Book 1: No Other Choice by Paula Rose Michelson ~ Review

No Other Choice new cover

The Naomi Chronicles Book 1: No Other Choice by Paula Rose Michelson

I have to say that this book and its sequel are some of the most intriguing reading I’ve experienced in a long while. It is the kind of story that makes you “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins.” It is fiction, but based on history. That’s one of the reasons I love these books by this author so much.

First, the author prefaces the piece by asking us to imagine “what if” our beliefs were what threatened our family’s very lives. How would we live to survive? Suppose we saw our families and friends all around us killed or expelled or mistreated because of their similar beliefs? What would you do as a daughter of the house? Would you go into hiding? Live a lie? Fear for your life? Sacrifice for your family’s safety? With this mindset established, Naomi is introduced to us just as she sets foot in immigration as a 15-year-old girl, about to be deported because the family that was supposed to support her suddenly refuses to sponsor her in America. But she is rescued. The question presented in this book is this: was that rescue a blessing or a curse? You have to read this story to find out.

God puts things togeher

This book and book two used to be one story. So you need to purchase the second book to find the resolution to the first, which ends on a mild cliff hanger. Fortunately, book two picks up about five minutes after the first ends. Since this is a series, I didn’t mind that so much. But I feel you should know this and prepare to purchase both books together. In spite of that, book one is complete in that it encapsulates a complete idea and develops it thoroughly.

No Other Choice quote1

I enjoy getting to know a subculture of America I have never become acquainted with, in this case the Spanish Harlem area, or Harlem as it’s known today. The author uses this setting to make the surrounding circumstances Naomi finds herself in alive and familiar. You get to know and somewhat understand her community, watch how Naomi sacrifices her life goals to play an important part of the barrio and in the lives of its citizens. The author writes this so well I felt as if I were part of the community.

Naomi herself is going through a transition. The reader becomes privy to her inner turmoil as she struggles to find her place in life. Then the author adds a sweet romance in the final chapters that brings all the circumstances to a head, adding slight tension in Naomi’s character development.

No Other Choice quote2

I highly recommend this book, and of course, the entire series. It appears there is more to come, so I am looking forward to reading all the books based on how much I enjoyed the first two. I hope you will grow to love this series too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was approached by this author to write a review of her books, and she offered me this one as a complimentary copy. (But I had already gotten it last year. So technically I am writing this review for my opinion with the blessing 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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Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber ~ Review ~

Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber

Blossom Street Brides

One of my favorite writers from the past few decades is Debbie Macomber. Even though her stories are not Christian in nature, by far most of them are good clean reads. Two of her books featuring Mrs. Miracle have been made into movies and play at least annually around Christmas on the Hallmark Channel. Another group of cheery books she’s written involve a trio of angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. Their antics are absolutely rib tickling. One of the reasons I love her books is that she has a talent in developing character-centered tales while creating a unique sense of community. Blossom Street is one such series that I have enjoyed since 2004 when the first book of the series hit the shelves. I was delighted when she recently published #11, the Blossom Street Brides, and even more so when NetGalley released it for reviews.

If you are uncertain what the other books in the series are, here is a chronological list of the Blossom Street books:

1. The Shop on Blossom Street [May, 2004]
2. A Good Yarn [May, 2005]
2.5 What Amanda Wants (a novella) [October, 2005]
3. Susannah’s Garden [May, 2006]
4. Back on Blossom Street [May, 2007]
5. Christmas Letters [November, 2007]
6. Twenty Wishes [May, 2008]
7. Summer on Blossom Street [May, 2009]
8. Hannah’s List [May, 2010]
9. A Turn in the Road [May, 2011]
10. Starting Now [April, 2013]
11. Blossom Street Brides [March, 2014]

In this 10th book in the Blossom Street series (11th if you count the Christmas story on Blossom Street), three families intertwine and connect with each other as they face the trials and triumphs in their varying stages of life. Lauren, in her early thirties feels her inner time clock ticking down. She wants a home and family of her own, while Todd is still dealing with his career mobility. He neglects growing their relationship, so when she hears her younger sister has finally gotten pregnant, Lauren takes the plunge and breaks it off with him. Who would guess that so soon after, she would meet the love of her life? Is her new whirlwind romance interest the One? And can anything serious come from a man named Rooster?

While Lydia’s mom is in the throes of dementia, her adopted daughter Casey begins to experience horrific nightmares; Lydia and Brad are at a loss to know how to help her. She won’t talk about the dreams. In the meantime, Lydia’s business on Blossom Street, A Good Yarn, is suffering from the financial downturn. But a mystery knitting project has begun showing up in bus stops, parks, bowling alleys, and other places all around Seattle with her store’s tags on the yarn. The instructions say: “Knit me” and the knitters are further instructed to return the finished projects to her store where they will be collected and given to a charity for the homeless. Lydia has no idea who started this trend, but it has garnered attention from the press.

yarn photo: Yarn yarn.png

Bethanne, a friend of Lydia’s, is now married to Max and the owner of a successful party planning business. The problem is that his business is in California while hers is in Seattle. They have been married a year and still haven’t decided who should move. They need to decide soon, because the separation is placing a strain on their relationship. In addition, Bethanne’s former spouse, Grant, is trying to interfere by placing their daughter Annie between them. When tension increases, their daughter quits her job in support of her birth father and Bethanne is heartbroken.

learn_from_lifeLauren’s best friend’s daughter is in college, when she calls her mother with the news she is pregnant. Elise freaks out and nearly ruins her close relationship with her daughter. Lauren then finds she must deal with her own floundering relationships with two men while trying to counsel her best friend. At one point, Elise interferes with Lauren’s love life to the point they nearly end their long time friendship.

Once again, Debbie Macomber creates a neighborhood with members who are vividly alive and dynamic. They have the same types of doubts and fears, trials and victories as we have. It isn’t difficult to find ourselves identifying with some of the members in this community because they are either like us or someone we know. As a result, we feel part of this small community. The pace is moderate, the suspense is light, the friendships are pleasant. If you enjoy character-driven plots and love being part of a small neighborhood, I think you will enjoy this book and series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books. 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.”

Blossom Street brides trailer

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