All For A Story

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Title: All For A Story
Author: Allison Pittman
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 354

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Monica Brisbane loves being a modem girl in the Roaring Twenties. Her job writing a gossip column takes her to all the local speakeasies in Washington D. C. and she loves dancing the night away scoping put new stories for her column. However, her future takes an uncertain turn when the owner of Capitol Chatter passes away, leaving Monica what will happen to her job and her beloved lifestyle.

Max Moore might hold the position of editor-in-chief for evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson’s paper, the Bridal Call, but it’s clear that Aimee calls all the shots. So when Max finds out that his great uncle has passed away and left him all his earthly possessions, Max resigns and moves to Washington D.C. to hopefully become a real editor-in-chief. He tries to clean up the scandalous paper and infuse it with his own values, but he’s soon bumping heads with the equally determined Monica Brisbane.

With Max’s guidance Monica goes on her most challenging assignment yet, infiltrating and reporting on the Anti-Flirt Society. Reluctant at first, Monica meets and mi goes with the girls but soon begins to doubt the wisdom of her flirtatious ways and when romance starts to blossom between her and Max, Monica must choose between the lifestyle the club chooses or the lifestyle she lived for so long.

Will Monica ever change her party and flirtatious lifestyle or will she continue down the path of destruction? Will Max trade everything for Monica or will he be able to convince Monica that there is a life without speakeasies and flirting? Will Max be able to turn the Capitol Chatter into a respectable paper or will he lose the fight against immorality? Can Monica change her ways or is she forever a party girl?
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Due to my opinion of Allison Pittman’s last novel, I wasn’t expecting much out of this book. I fully expected to struggle through this one like the last and hate it at the end. I didn’t. I actually enjoyed this one. Though my opinion of the enigmatic Aimee Semple McPherson hasn’t budged an inch, I did enjoy the plot line for this and how radically different it was from the previous book in this series. I think Allison Pittman did a much better job with this book than the last.

This book had a romance! And a fairly good one at that. The character of Monica is uniquely lovable from the get-go and Max’s serious nature didn’t seem like it would mesh with Monica’s but somehow the author managed to craft a romance that was sweet and lovable. Though it wasn’t the best romance I’ve ever read, it was definitely welcomed compared to the completely confusing disaster of a semi-romance in the last book.

Usually I don’t love women crusaders or women evangelist ever in a story, but I loved Alice Reighly and her Anti-Flirt campaign, probably because even though some of her rules are a bit stiff and outrageous, the general idea is one I follow everyday and never thought twice about it. It basically encourages women to not encourage the bad behavior of men by flirting back or making light of it. I think the idea is one every woman should consider to follow.

The story of this one was more engaging and felt less like I was watching a horrible tragedy happen right before my eyes, thankfully in that story the accident never happened but it still left a sour mark for me. In this story, there were moments of disappointment or like it might go down the disastrous path again but it pulled out of those situations and was actually a pretty nice story. I would’ve liked to have seen more of a transformation in Monica but part of me felt like this was a different look at how some people come to Christ.

This author gave me a much better story with this or and made me very glad that I didn’t throw out all hope with the last book. Though I still don’ love the radical type style that this author chooses, I think I’m becoming more accustomed to it and haven’t given up hope yet of finding an amazing book by her. This book was good but I don’t recommend it for just anyone.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than the previous book by her but I’ still not sold on her writing just yet. This book is perfect for fans of Allison Pittman or fans of the Roaring Twenties. Keep this book away from your children this one is definitely not recommended for anyone other than adults. 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 my own.*

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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.*

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.*