Home Run

Thrasher, Travis. Home Run. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013.

SUMMARY:

0781408385Cory Brand returns to his hometown after being suspended from his Major League Baseball Team. As part of his suspension, Cory finds himself coaching a little league baseball team and attending a faith-based recovery program. The experience in his hometown forces him to confront his past and find the road to healing in the future.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

Travis Thrasher provides the reader with an in-depth view of Cory Brand. Thrasher uses a narrative structure that acts as a window into Cory’s past and present by using flashbacks that act as a stream of consciousness narration thus allowing for the reader to experience the inner thoughts of Cory.

The result of the narrative techniques used by Thrasher is an understanding of Cory’s struggles to overcome addiction. A reader unfamiliar with struggles such as Cory’s quickly becomes empathetic to his situation, causing one to marvel at God’s grace. Due to the inclusion of a recovery program that is faith based, the story retains a hopeful tone although the material explores difficult topics. Although the reader may anticipate the ending, it does not diminish the effect of the book. The book engages, enlightens and envelopes the reader with the main message being God’s redemption.

RATING: 4 (OUT OF 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Home Run from David C Cook for my honest review*

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Wishing on Willows

Ganshert, Katie. Wishing on Willows. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2013.

SUMMARY:
Wishing-on-Willows-e1344858743696As owner of Willow Tree Cafe, Robin finds herself struggling to raise her 3 year old son alone in a close-knit community. Memories of her late husband invade her thoughts often as she fights developer, Ian McKay, to keep the small community ministry as well as her dream cafe from being developed into condominiums. While both Robin and Ian sort through their feelings and loses, will following God’s plan bring them happiness and closure?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not having read the prequel to this story, it was a little hard to follow some of the referrals to the past but still an enjoyable read. Although simple in parts, the humor and compassion of the characters drew empathy from me and I found myself hoping for their contentment. Through loss, dreams and inner strength, Robin and Ian were able to learn that God’s plan is greater than their own wills. Having been touched by this book, I will definitely return to read the author’s first book, Wildflowers from Winter.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5 pennies)…but may have been higher had I read the first book in the series.

*I received a complimentary copy of Wishing on Willows from WaterBrook Press for my honest review*

Glamorous Illusions: The Grand Tour Series

Bergren, Lisa.  Glamorous Illusions.  Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2012.

SUMMARY:

Glam IllThough content, Cora Diehl’s life seems to be unraveling as she struggles on the family farm with loss of crops, lack of money and illness to someone she loves.   Unknown to her, a stranger appears to challenge her world as she knows it. 

Cora is invited to partake in the Grand Tour of Europe (a tour which advances one’s education while immersing in ancient history), but soon discovers so much more.  Finding herself to also be Cora Kensington, she discovers a dynasty of which she is a part, including siblings, resources, and wealth.  Given no choice but to participate in the Grand Tour, Cora attains knowledge of both the benefits and drawbacks of which she is connected, but more importantly, she gains self discovery and identification.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

Yet again, Lisa Bergren writes a novel which draws the reader in and doesn’t disappoint.  Written in a style which uses different character’s points of view, I found myself relating to the characters on a personal level.  I appreciated the fact that Cora consistently turned to God for guidance on her challenges and decisions.  Although a little plentiful at times on descriptions, the depth held my attention through romance, adventure, adversity and historical significance of the Grand Tour.  The novel is loosely reminiscent of a rags-to-riches Cinderella story. While looking forward to the next book in the Grand Tour Series, Glamorous Illusions is definitely a must-read! Make sure to take the time to enjoy the Afterwords to further the story even a little bit more.

RATING: 4.5 (out of 5) pennies

 

 

 

 

Home to Hickory Hollow: The Guardian

Lewis, Beverly. The Guardian. Bloomington,MN: Bethany House, 2013.

SUMMARY:

cover24702-mediumAs Jodi visits Lancaster, her path merges with Maryanna and the Amish Community. After Maryanna’s daughter, Sarah, tumbles from an Amish carriage, Jodi becomes connected with the Amish in her quest to safely return Sarah to her home.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beverly Lewis, beautifully weaves the stories and perspectives of both Jodi and Maryanna. The reader is taken on a journey that unfolds the narrative through the perspectives of an “Englisher” and an Amish woman. However, the unique form of narration leaves gaps preventing a full development of the central characters. Lewis captures the reader’s attention from opening to close; the reader is transported to Lancaster and instantly falls in love with little Sarah.

MY RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies