The Gate

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Title: The Gate
Author: Dann A. Stouten
Publisher: Revell
Published: April 1, 2013
Pages: 256

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Schuyler Hunt finds himself looking for something to do when a planned getaway with his wife turns into a shopping trip for the girls. An ad for a vacation cottage catches his eye and he sets off in search of a much-needed break. He expects a nice little vacations cottage that he could imagine him and his grand kids loving. What he gets once he arrives is completely different than anything his mind could’ve thought of.

In that cottage he goes through a painful and bittersweet journey that could change his life forever. His weekend is completely different than his wife and daughters’ but way more important. He goes back and remember happy, sad, and angering memories that have held him back and kept him from God’s plan in his life.

Schuyler must make the choice to stay in a strange place with strange people and delve into a painful past that he just wants to forget. But with a collection of familiar guests and the proprietor, who welcome with food, rest, and conversation, he might just decide to stay and find out what can really happen when you find a little slice of heaven.

Will Schuyler’s encounter in the cottage alter his life or will he choose to stay on the same path? Will others believe him when he tells them what happened or will they think he dreamed it or, worse, went crazy? Is this little cottage really a slice of heaven or just a figment of his imagination? Is it possible for us to be visited in a cottage by those in heaven?
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This is another one if those “God visited me in a cabin” books. And when I say visited I mean physically came and talked to this character. It’s very similar to Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack and it’s not really my cup of tea. I feel like it’s unrealistic and isn’t something I would like to assume happens. I’m not saying it can’t I’m just saying that I don’t want to assume that things like that happen when they might not.

The setting is a cabin somewhere in the woods. And the characters stray from this man’s living wife to his dead mother, uncle, aunt, grandmother, etc. All of the characters show up to give him a key piece of advice that he should take to heart and dinner. They all drove an identifying car, wore nice clothes, and looked thirty to forty years old. The whole premise of this novel seems a bit far fetched but especially the fact that his dead relatives visited him.

The writing style of this book was a mixture of flash-backs, first person, and sermon style. It was kind of annoying for the narrative to switch from Sky to a teaching about life. I think it would’ve been better if it had been one or the other. I’m sure that there is someone who can benefit from this book but the switching of perspective drove me too crazy to really soak in much of the actual teaching.

The storyline of this book is slow and in general is, at least for me, a borderline boring book. It progressed slowly and though you know this book’s purpose is to change Sky’s perspective and possibly yours, I spent the majority of the book waiting for it to be over. I think I’m too young for this book, but it just wasn’t what I’m looking for and I don’t care for the cabin visit stories.

This is this author’s first book and he showed his love of cars and his pastor career in every page. Though some people will be helped and love this boo,k it didn’t do it for me and I don’t really plan on reading more of this author’s work. Depending on topic, you might see more by him on this site, but odds are, you won’t. I definitely don’t recommend this one to younger readers and I caution readers to read at their own risk.

Overall, I didn’t like this book at all. Maybe I’m too young for the book, maybe it’s just not meant for me. U recommend this one to older readers or for people who enjoyed The Shack. I don’t this novel is good for younger readers at all and should be kept for adults only. I give this book a two out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Rescuing Hope

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Title: Rescuing Hope
Author: Susan Norris
Publisher: iUniverse
Published: January 1, 2013
Pages: 208

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Hope Ellis is just your average fourteen girl until she helps her mom by supervising the movers on their cross-town move. When the movers finish, one comes back and rapes her. Struggling with normalcy after and kept silent by his threat Hope doesn’t know what to do. The darkness starts closing in until she finds a way to cope. Marijuana becomes her comfort and makes life a little but easier. That is until she meets a guy on the bus home.

Lured in by his charm and an attempt at normalcy she succumbs to his attention and falls hard. He promises acceptance and love. He lures her outside the comfort of her suburban home and her troubles are just beginning. Her worst nightmares are coming true and her life is altered forever, no longer is she the innocent fourteen year old she was before, now she’s a prostitute and she’s one of millions.

Every two minutes, evil strips innocence from a child and sells her into slavery for sex. Not just in third-world countries but in the United States of America. Before you take your next breath another victim will be taken from their families for profit. The average age is twelve to fourteen. The lifespan: seven years. It’s happening now and it’s happening around you.

Will Hope’s family and friends be able to find her before it’s too late? Will Hope be able to survive the horrors of sex slavery or will it break her? Will Hope’s family give up or will they prevail until they find her? Will the police force be able to track her down despite the fact that he doesn’t go outside or will she be lost forever? She could be someone you know or even you, will you help?
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This book was hard to read, harder than I thought it would be and I knew it would be hard. I thought it would be a book about the facts of sex trafficking but it turned out to be a story of one girl based off the accounts of many. That fact that it was a personalized story made it that much harder. This author definitely left her mark with this book and it’s a mark that won’t ever go away.

One of the best parts of this book unbelievably is the quote at the beginning. It’s so fitting that I believe it needs to be put in here too.

You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.
-William Wilberforce

Now of course there was some fantastically pivotal points in this book and some very good parts to this book but strangely that quote stuck with me the entire book and I think tied the book together perfectly. That my sound stupid to some of you but that quote touched me deeply and made me determined to not look the other way and ignore the cries of the suffering.

This story was pretty graphic. It had some curse words some drug use and some sexual content, but thankfully Ms. Norris kept the sexual graphics down to a minimum and made it more of a need to know basis which I appreciated. The drug use didn’t bother me too badly but for some it might really be offensive. Mainly it didn’t bother me because I can’t say that if I had been raped I wouldn’t turn to pot to help me cope either, even if it’s just for a few minutes. As for the language it came as a shock but it made the story more realistic and for that I don’t mind it being in there. She kept it PG-13 and kept everything to a as necessary basis.

Hope’s story hit home for me, because her story could plausibly mine or my sister’s, neighbor’s, a friend’s, or if I had one, daughter’s. Everything Hope did was plausible, except maybe trusting a man after a couple meetings, and something I could see any girl doing to cope and survive. Knowing this story is a compilation of many girls’ stories makes it that much more real to me. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy and can’t stand by this happens. This book made want to get involved in bringing these girls back home.

This author made a book that will forever stay with me as will the topic. It also made me wonder what happens after they’re found. They aren’t carefree normal kids anymore. I hope there is somewhere physical where they can go to find freedom from their past and learn of Jesus’s love for them. This book wasn’t easy to read and it didn’t end on the best note but it was too realistic to ignore. I wish it would’ve been longer to get more details from the book but other than that I think this book completed its goal.

Overall, this isn’t an easy read and it’s not one you’ll really enjoy but it’s one that needs to be read. This book is perfect for people who want to read about a difficult topic in fiction form. Tis book is for Tweens and teens but adults can read it as well and for younger readers I highly recommend some parental guidance. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Gap In Posting Apology

Hey guys. I know you guys probably realized that until today I hadn’t posted in almost two weeks. I can’t express how sorry I am for that. On the 12 of this month my mom, sister, and I went on a cruise for three days and the whole week before I was preparing. And because I didn’t read a word on the trip, I had to read and catch up. Now I should be getting at least three more reviews to you by the end of the month.

This huge gap in publishing shouldn’t happen again in the near future. Thank you guys so much for reading my posts and being so encouraging in your comments. This month has been very busy for my family and I. We had a vacation and today is my sister’s 16th birthday and Tuesday is my 18th. Not to mention that I have 6 or 7 books total to review this month. Thank you for your support and so sorry for the two week lack of posts.

Love At Any Cost

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Title: Love At Any Cost
Series: The Heart Of San Francisco
Author: Julie Lessman
Publisher: Revell
Published: April 15, 2013
Pages: 416

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Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without fortune who just got jilted by a fortune hunter. Because of that she just as soon hogtie a man than look at him and she hopes to stay as far away from men as possible while she spends the summer with her cousins in San Francisco. She hopes her wealthy family will be able to keep her kind off her broken heart and distract her from any men. Little does she know that one man will do anything to turn her head.

Jamie McKenna has spent his life in the slums of San Francisco and he wants to bring his mom out of poverty and pay for a much needed surgery for his sister. But to do that he has to marry well. Jamie will do anything to do better for his family even give up love, but when he meets the captivating Cassidy he starts to believe that maybe he can get love and money.

Cassidy refuses to give her heart up to another handsome man, but when she loses her heart she must make the choice to take the leap or lose what could possibly be the love of her life. When Jamie finds out that Cassidy is broke he must make a choice between love or money. As they fall harder they have to combat fears and pasts and past mistakes to try and find that love that neither thought was possible.

Can Cassidy trust Jamie or will she get hurt again? Will Jamie pick Cassidy or money? Is he willing to give up love for a life filled with shallow relationships and money? Will Cassidy get her heart broken again or will she find the love she always wanted but could never find? Is love enough to conquer money and stubbornness? Can Cassidy show Jamie that God’s love covers all and will give him what he needs with less effort on his part?
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This is Julie Lessman’s seventh novel and the seventh novel of hers that I’ve read. After saying goodbye to the O’Connors, I knew that her next was going to be a change, but thankfully she made the transition easier by making each character lovable and by making me excited for who will be next to fall in love. This author has another hit on her hands and she has grown into her niche even more than her previous. Though I miss the O’Connors, I think I’ll love this new Irish family as much as the ever lovable O’Connors.

The romance in this novel is, I think, the perfect mixture of passion and purity. Her style has mellowed out a bit from her first trilogy, in a good way, you no longer blush while reading these books but you still get an understated heat that makes girls dream. I loved the story of Cassidy and Jamie. I liked how Cassie fell in love with the man she wanted to avoid and I loved the decision Jamie made for love. This one made me dream of a dark haired Irish man with stubbornness and passion abundantly.

The storyline of this one is top-notch. It’s not really unique yet it is somehow. I liked how the story progressed, though I do feel like some important issues were passed over a little too quickly, overall I loved this storyline and how she hated him then fell in love with him. The twists have gotten better, story development has gotten better, her passionate stories has gotten better. Everything has gotten better. In fact, for years A Passion Most Pure has been my favorite, but this one may have dethroned that one. GASP. This author should be extremely proud of this one.

The characters are really well developed. Each one has their own personality and I can’t wait to see each one paired up with someone who matches them perfectly. Who will be next? I hope it’s Allison or Blake. They seem like their story will be the most dramatic. This might sound crazy but I actually hope to see Lydia again. I feel sorry for her, she grasps for love so hard that she hurts people around her. Call me crazy but, dare I say it, Bram would be a great match for her. That’s just me.

I have been behind Julie since her first book was published. She captured me with the O’Connor family and now she, I, and any other fan of her novels is going through a new faze or chapter, if you will and I’m extremely excited to continue on with her. She still holds the position as my favorite romance author and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. This author and any of her novels come highly recommended.

Overall, another fantastic hit from a fantastic author. This book is perfect for romance lovers of all shapes and sizes. I’d probably keep this away from kids and maybe teens but adults, have at it. I give this book a five out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

The Dance

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Title: The Dance
Series: The Restoration Series
Authors: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
Publisher: Revell
Published: April 1, 2013
Pages: 352

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Marilyn Anderson is tired of playing the role of perfect wife. After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn’s marriage has gotten as cold as the arctic and all appearances are just that. She has everything she could ever want – a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, the financial freedom to be a stay at home mom, and an enviable collection of stuff. But the one thing she desires she doesn’t have, love. She’s tired of trying to connect with a man that doesn’t want to, so she moves out to collect herself and see what happens.

Jim Anderson is a successful businessman that gives his wife everything she needs, except love and attention. With him so busy with his real state business, he doesn’t even realize anything’s wrong let alone listen to his wife when she drops many hints for him to help her fix their marriage. When Marilyn leaves, Jim is shocked and furious. He has to sort through the past to fin what went wrong and to get his wife to talk to him.

As Marilyn rediscovers herself amidst a new job, a new roommate, and dance lessons, she begins to see what she almost gave up. Meanwhile, Jim is being illuminated as to what went wrong in his marriage and how he can fix it. Jim is doing the unthinkable to save his marriage but Marilyn still doesn’t want to talk to him and definitely doesn’t want to see him. He has to find a way to show her he’s changed.

Will Marilyn go back to Jim or will she like her newfound freedom too much to go back? Will Jim be able to change enough to get his wife back or will his stubbornness ruin his marriage? Will Jim win back his wife and do something he never did or will he decide that his wife isn’t worth what he took away? Will Marilyn’s bitterness of her rocky marriage destroy any chance of repair?
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I’ve read fiction by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley before and loved Dan Walsh’s books and Gary Smalley’s co-author-ship with Karen Kingsbury and those memories were what drove me to review this book. I may have erred in that decision. This book is fantastic and one of the best that I’ve read like this, but like the others I feel like this book is beyond my reach. I’m not married nor even in a relationship right now, so this book, though probably great for the future, isn’t written for me and isn’t on my list of favorites.

The overall storyline is fantastic and with two veteran writers behind it, it can’t help but be perfectly executed. The story progressed very well and I loved how the story ended. I loved how Jim changed and what he did to win Marilyn back. Though I don’t wish bad times on my future marriage, this is what I want my future husband to do if it ever got that bad. Gary Smalley and Dan Walsh crafted the perfect marriage fiction book with this one.

The subject of this book is something every marriage needs and possibly will go through. The potential end. Though I’m not married and probably won’t be for another five to ten years, I learned a lot and I learned about core fears. I also learned that a core fear of mine is the fear of failure. I don’t want to fail at anything and the idea makes me extremely scared. I think that this book married, engaged, or single can help you and show you what makes a good relationship.

Though this book wasn’t really for me, I can appreciate the subject and the story. The smoothness and progressiveness of the story alone makes this a fantastic book, but add on some teaching for anyone who is or will be married and you get a fantastic book. These authors work really well together and I look forward to reading more from them as a team and singularly.

These two work awesome together. Dan Walsh is an amazing storyteller and Gary Smalley is one of the best marriage counselors out there. As a team they created the best fiction book about marriage I’ve ever read and recently I’ve read quite a few. Like I said, though this book wasn’t for me, it was still a fantastic story and that alone makes this a great book. I fully intend to read the rest of this series.

Overall, a great story just for pure enjoyment by also a great book to help with a marriage. Though the subject and audience is a little bit older than me, I loved the story and the hope it gives me. I highly recommend this book to readers who like their story to have substance. This book really isn’t best for anyone than adults, but maybe this book could be used to show teens to not give up just because it gets tough. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are her own.*