Friday, September 25, 2020

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

My Review

The Christmas Swap is a sweet Christian, Christmas romance.

Every year since her parents moved to Africa, Emma has spent Christmas with her best friend’s (dysfunctional) family. This year, they are doing a house swap where they stay at someone’s house in the cold north while the owner’s family stays at their home in the sunny south. Only, the owner of the house they’re staying in hasn’t quite left, is quite attractive, and is masquerading as the caretaker.

This was a cute Christmas story, perfect to be turned into a Hallmark movie. It features awkward situations, crazy love pentangles (is that a word?), lots of skiing, misunderstandings, hidden identities, and a happily-ever-after. As you might imagine from my description, there are a lot of things that could interrupt the blooming romance between Emma and the “caretaker,” and it was a lot of fun (mixed with frustration) to watch everything play out. I really enjoyed this easy, Christmas read, and I would recommend it to those who enjoy light holiday romances. 

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick

My Review

Something Worth Doing is the fictionalized historical account of the life of Abigail Duniway, an early American suffragist living in the Oregon Territory. 

Something Worth Doing was an interesting read, though an unusual one for me. The topic is feminism, told from the perspective of a frontier woman living in the mid 1800s. Abigail was a very determined woman, and from her youth, her focus was on the unfairness of women’s lives when compared to men’s. She believed the first step to women being viewed as equals was to get them the right to vote, and Abigail spent her life trying to get that goal. 

She was also married to a good man and had a number of children. As she battled for women’s rights and at times financially supported her family, she struggled with balancing family life with her career. She made mistakes, but in the end, she determined that it was “something worth doing, no matter the cost.” 

The author brought Abigail’s story to life, telling her story more in novel form than as a biography. (I’m not sure how much of the emotions and conversations are accurate to history.) 

One thing I thought was interesting was that I was reading the book ‘Lies Women Believe’ at the same time that I read this book, and the viewpoints between the two books differed. Both said that women were equal with men, but SWD focused on women’s rights and equality while LWB focused on the importance of family and of God. I wonder, could women retain their equality while being willing, sometimes, to sacrifice their own rights for the sake of loving their God and families?

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are entirely my own.

Book Review: The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

My Review

The Edge of Belonging is a Christian contemporary novel about finding family and belonging.

The Edge of Belonging was a good book. It’s about a young woman who struggles with knowing that she is adopted and who finds out the circumstances of her adoption. Part of the story is told in the present time, as Ivy Rose deals with a breakup and with her grandmother’s death and with learning more and more details about her past as a foundling. The other half of the story is told in flashbacks of what happened years before that ended with her adoption and the formation of her non-biologically-related family. 

The story was sweet and inspirational. I wish all adoptees could have such a happy ending. I liked how the author split the story into past and present. I didn’t find it confusing at all, and even with the flashbacks, the story was revealed piece-by-piece, heightening the anticipation. There was also a little bit of clean romance. And I liked the way the story ended, with God meeting everyone’s needs the perfect, though unexpected, way. 

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are entirely my own.

Buy the book: https://smile.amazon.com/Edge-Belonging-Amanda-Cox-ebook/dp/B087RTNSCY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+edge+of+belonging+by+amanda+cox&qid=1601090006&sprefix=the+edge+of+belong&sr=8-1

Book Review: Nine by Rachelle Dekker

My Review

Nine by Rachelle Dekker is a contemporary thriller about a girl with special abilities who is on the run from the government and who fights internal battles about what it means to be human and whether she can choose to be different than she was “programmed.”

There are three major characters in this story — the teen, Lucy, who was trained by the government but who is on the run, initially with no memories. Zoe is the one who found the memory-less Lucy and, against her better judgment, decided to help. And Seeley, the government agent chasing them down. 

Much of the story is told as a thriller generally is, with characters getting chased, fighting, getting caught, escaping, lying and double crossing, meeting shady characters, and much more. It was a very well-done thriller. 

But the real story is the one each character experienced internally. Each one of them had battles to face, and it all came back to these questions — what does it mean to be human? Can we change the way we were programmed to think? 

Seeley thinks he lost his humanity when he chose his job and lost his family. He picked the dark side and doesn’t think he can return. And as for the second question, all three of the character recognize that they were trained by their experiences. Zoe was “trained” not to trust or love anyone because so many people broke her trust. But what if re-training is possible? Or is it?

It was a very insightful story, and I appreciated the thought the author put into writing it. The only thing I think would make it better would be to talk about God. (It’s written by a Christian and published by a Christian author, and yet there’s barely a mention of God at all.) He is the one who is truly, fully capable of changing our programming, better than we ever could, if we would but ask. His power, love, and life are what we should truly be seeking in order to change.

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.