Archive for the ‘Contest’ Category
For the month of August I’ll be looking back at some wonderful books and giving away a copy of them at the end of the month. This week I’m featuring Susan Meissner’s A Sound Among The Trees
My Review from 2012
Having read The Shape of Mercy I was excited at the opportunity to read another Susan Meissner story. In this story the reader follows the life of Susannah Page who lived during the Civil War and her influence in Marielle Bishop who lives in the present. I enjoyed all the characters in this story but Adelaide was my favorite. At the age of 90 she was still sharp as they come and making Confederate soldier uniforms for re-enactments. But Adelaide carried a heavy burden from the past along with a burden for her grandson-in-law as he remarries and brings his new wife to her home to Holly Oak.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, though I found the story line with Eldora a little disturbing. This book is not overtly Christian though before it ends there is talk of the importance of forgiving one another and ourselves. The story also had one of the things I look forward to and that is at least one of the characters ends the story is a better person than they were at the beginning.
I can’t tell you my favorite part of the story without giving away too much. But there is a section that was so enjoyable to read and visualize the events of that the author described. She did a masterful job of drawing you into the events and allowing you to feel many emotions.
I must admit I didn’t enjoy this story as much as The Shape of Mercy but I found it not only an enjoyable read, but I have a better understanding of the Civil War and how hard that time was for our country.
The Vital Info
- Author’s Website: www.susanmeissner.com
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: WaterBrook Press; First Edition edition (October 4, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307458857
- ISBN-13: 978-0307458858
- Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
The Give Away
You must fill out the form below to be entered in the drawing.
To receive EXTRA entries:
- Follow this blog (either RSS or Networked Blogs) If you already to leave a comment letting me know
- Like the FCB Facebook page Click here to go to it Leave a comment if you already do
- Use the Twitter button below to share on Twitter Mention @hollymag321
The winner will be chosen on August 31st at 9:00 pm PDT. Blessings all!
About this Book
Meet the Dearings, a crazy, loving, boisterous family in small-town Mississippi. There’s mom and dad, three daughters and their families, and the youngest—twenty-five-year-old Ben. Oh, and the family dog, a Yorkie who thinks she’s royalty.
“This one’s perfect,” Ben says about his new fiancée, Christina, when he brings her home for a family reunion. Ben is just sure everyone will love Christina, and she’ll fit right in.
He always did tend to wear rose-colored glasses.
Christina loves Ben but secretly fears their relationship will never work. They’ve only known each other ten weeks. She hasn’t told him about her horrific past as an only child—the beatings, the neglect, and verbal abuse. Christina doesn’t know how to trust or be honest about her feelings. Being thrust into the middle of a tight-knit family like the Dearings is sure to send her over the edge.
With poignancy and humor, That Dog Won’t Hunt explores the complexities of relationships and the inner strength needed to overcome a difficult childhood. The Dearings are no perfect family, but they know how to love—if only Christina will accept it.
- File Size: 540 KB
- Print Length: 256 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0989240614
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Challow Press (May 24, 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/
I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this interview with Brandilyn Collins. She was the second author to stop by my blog (long before it was Favorite Christian Books) and left a comment that she was glad I enjoyed her book. I was on cloud 9 to think that someone like her would take time to comment on my blog.
FCB: When you reach heaven, other than Jesus, what Biblical character are you most looking forward to meeting and why?
Brandilyn: Jeremiah. I think he got a really rotten deal in the Old Testament. God called him to be a prophet, to warn Israel of its evil ways. To preach to the people and not hesitate to tell them God’s truth. But, God warned Jeremiah, they will never listen to you. Can you imagine being called to do something difficult—that would put your life at risk—for your entire life, knowing you would never see any results?
FCB: What would be the first question you would like to ask him/her?
Brandilyn: How did you do it, Jeremiah? How did you sustain your fortitude and faith in God over all those years? How were you able to say “Great is Your faithfulness” (a statement that became one of our greatest hymns) in the midst of witnessing Israel’s total destruction?
FCB: We see a lot of advice out there for writers, but what advice would you give someone like me, who enjoys reading and writing reviews on a book? What makes a good review?
Brandilyn: This is a great question. As far as plot goes, a reviewer should state the beginning premise of the book and little more (at least no more than is on the back cover). Once you start to tell more than that, you are robbing the reader of the surprises you were able to have while reading the book. You’ve “telegraphed” what is to come. This is especially important in a genre such as suspense, in which twists play an important part of the story.
Then write about the aura of the story. Your personal experience with it. How it made you feel. Did you like the characters? Like one more than the other? Were their motivations clear to you?
Then you might talk about the techniques of the novel. Was it written in first or third person? Whatever POV, was it done well? Did the sentence structure seem flawless or clunky? How about the dialog? Etc.
Then perhaps you might give your overall rating for the book. In reviews for sites such as Amazon, that rating system is built into the review. Also, for sites such as Amazon that want a title, write that last. Think carefully about those words. They should encapsulate the essence of your review.
FCB: I have to ask, you are known for your suspense novels, why such a radical change in genre with this series?
Brandilyn: When I first began to be published in fiction in 2001, I was writing in both the suspense and women’s fiction genres. After a three-book women’s fiction series—the Bradleyville series—I turned to writing suspense full time. But I always had a hankering to return to women’s fiction. I love exploring relationships, especially those of family in small towns. In fact I had the idea for the Dearing Family series way back when I wrote in both genres, and the books were contracted with my publisher. When the publisher’s marketing team and I decided I should write only suspense, the Dearing Family books were set aside. Now that today’s technology is making self-publishing so easy, I decided to finally write this series. I will continue writing the Dearing Family series, releasing its books in between my Seatbelt Suspense® novels.
FCB: How have your suspense fans reacted to That Dog Won’t Hunt?
Brandilyn: Very well. First, I’ve made sure through the book cover and marketing of the novel that readers can easily see this is not a suspense. If you bring a reader to a book expecting something that it’s not, that reader won’t tend to like the story. In the book I’ve included both plenty of humor and pathos. I love writing humor (who would have guessed that, from someone like me who likes to kill people off?). But humor alone isn’t enough for me. I want a meaty subject, some issue of life to tackle. In That Dog Won’t Hunt it’s the issue of the new fiancee, Christina’s, background of child abuse. How those experiences position her to be at total odds with a loving family. Even though she wants to be part of them, she doesn’t know how to love them back—and trust them. Here are just a few feedback statements I’ve received about both the humorous and serious aspects of the book:
“Hysterically Funny, Painfully Honest, Brutally Addicting” –Amazon reviewer
Review summary: This is a very different from what I’m using to seeing from Brandilyn Collins, but it was a very enjoyable story. In recent years Brandilyn Collins has been known for her suspense novels, but in this story she takes a step back to her roots of women’s fiction. This story was a fun look inside the Darling family, a southern family full of warm hospitality for everyone they meet, especially the girl their pride and joy, Ben, is about to marry. This story is full of laughter and fun that makes it a relaxing enjoyable story to read. But it’s more than just a funny story to make you laugh. We see in Ben’s fiancee, Christina, she carries secrets from her past that threatened to destroy the upcoming nuptials. This main story line was touching as we watch Christina not only deal with this boisterous family but her past. This story will speak to many women and hopefully remind them there is hope.
Digging deeper: This was the first book I’ve read by the author that wasn’t a suspense novel and I must say it was a fun change of pace that made me laugh and cry at times. The characters were unique and fun individuals that played into the story adding dimension to the story. The only character that “bugged” me was Ben’s sister, Jess. I found myself wanting to slap her from time to time, but I loved Maddy and her quirky habits.
I enjoyed this story. You see the contrast of two worlds and what can happen when they come together. Christina is an only child, from an abusive home. She is shy and very insecure and fears the relationship won’t work with Ben. The Darlings are loud and loving and enjoy each other and are willing to accept anyone into their home. As the two worlds come together Christina struggles to deal with the Darlings and they are not too sure how to deal with her. It becomes a learning experience for both sides.
There are plenty of laughs in this story as well as some touching moments. The interaction between characters is great as you watch the women learn to deal with the other. It was also touching to watch Ben as he learned more about Christina and himself. This is a feel good story that left me you wanting more. I’m excited to see what comes next from the Darlings.
Disclaimer: I did receive the book from the author in return for my honest review.
The Give Away
Brandilyn Collins has been gracious enough to offer a copy of the ebook for this wonderful story. To enter please fill out the form below. I’ll pick a winner July 31st and will notify the winner via email. For an extra entry like the Favorite Christian Books Facebook page.
About this Book
Do Dandelion Wishes Actually Come True?
Katherine Galloway knew this moment of calm wouldn’t last, blown away like the dandelion seeds she scattered as a girl. In 1880, three years after her husband’s death, she struggles to run an Oregon boardinghouse and raise two girls alone. Things don’t get easier when her critical, domineering mother moves in. Katherine must make the situation work, but standing up for herself and her family while honoring her mother isn’t easy. And with a daughter entering the teenage years, the pressure on Katherine becomes close to overwhelming. Then she crosses paths with Micah Jacobs, a widower who could reignite her heart, but she fears a relationship with him might send things over the edge. She must find the strength, wisdom, hope, and faith to remake her life, for everything is about to change.
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0781408083
- ISBN-13: 978-0781408080
About the Author
Miralee and her husband Allen have been married almost 40 yrs. They live on 11 acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. Miralee also rides her horse on the wooded trails near their home with her grown daughter who lives nearby. She’s an avid reader and has a large collection of first edition Zane Grey books, which inspired her desire to write fiction set in the Old West. When she started writing fiction Miralee believed that she’d always stay with women’s contemporary, but has since branched out to historical romance. Her first two books were women’s contemporary with Kregel Publications, The Other Daughter, and Finding Jeena.
Review Summary: This was an enjoyable journey back in time where people face the same frustrations and hardships as we do today. Katherine was such a likable character and very easy for me to relate with, though my mother was never as critical as Katherine’s. I loved how Katherine wanted to do what was right but was very human in her struggles. Micah was a proud and sometimes difficult man, who was also a hurting soul. The story contained realistic conversations and situations that left me feeling good in the end.
Digging Deeper: Historical fiction has been a genre that for the most part, I’ve steered clear of, but I’m finding authors like Miralee Ferrell make it fun and enjoyable to read. The characters in this story was so relatable for me. Katherine was a woman of integrity who believed she was to be respectful to her mother regardless of how difficult the woman could be. But she was real in her emotions and struggles. Micah was angry with God and saw no need for Him or the town’s pastor. But it was how the town reached out to him at his greatest time of need that I found the most touching part of the story. It made me cry and reminded me that as Christians, sometimes we need to meet the physical needs of people before we can meet the spiritual needs.
This story had several dimensions beyond the relationship with Katherine and her mother that add to the story and kept it moving at a good pace. The story lines with Jeffrey Tucker and Mrs. Roberts did leave me a little curiosity to what happened to them. I hope it means there’s more to come!
As with other books from this publisher there are strong spiritual messages, including forgiveness, pride, and learning to trust. If you enjoy Lena Dooley or Janet Dean you will like Miralee Ferrell.
Disclaimer: I did receive this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Give Away: Miralee has been gracious enough to offer a copy of her book to one lucky winner. Fill out the form below to be entered. I will only use your address if you win. Earn an extra entry by liking the Favorite Christian Book Facebook Page. I’ll pick a winner on July 13th.