Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: Leaving by Karen Kingsbury

Leaving (Bailey Flanigan, #1)Leaving by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bailey Flanigan has dreams of performing on Broadway, so she is thrilled when she is given an opportunity to audition for her favorite show Hairspray. At the same time she's nursing a broken heart because her family friend-turned-boyfriend, Cody Coleman, walked out of her life without explanation. She still misses him after months of no phone calls or texts, but at the encouragement of her mother she tries to move on.

The characters in this story are connected to the Baxter Family series, none of which I've read. As I started into the book it was a little hard to discern who belonged to whom, and it seemed like there were so many characters to keep track of. After a few chapters it started falling together for me, and it wasn't a problem.

I liked the characters Bailey and Cody. I felt like they had depth and were relatable. I felt drawn into Bailey's life, particularly, and was left at the end of the book wanting to find out what happens next.

The one thing I especially appreciate about Kingsbury's writing is that she includes characters who have a genuine relationship with God, and they have regular conversations with Him when they face adversity and in their decision making. I wish more Christian writers would include this element in their books.

I have enjoyed a few of Karen Kingsbury's other books more than this one. Unlocked is by far my favorite of the few I have read. Having invested time into this story and getting caught up in Bailey's character, I will probably have to read the next in the series to find out what's next for Bailey, as well as a few of the other characters.

If you're a fan of Karen Kingsbury, I'm sure you will enjoy the book.

I would like to thank Zondervan for providing me with a free copy of the book for review. I was not required to write a favorable review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Book Review: Promises To Keep by Ann Tatlock

Promises to KeepPromises to Keep by Ann Tatlock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this story about 11-year-old Roz, whose mom relocates her, her brother, and her baby sister to a small town to get away from her drunken, abusive father in the 1960's. Although she knows her dad was frightening at times, Roz wants to remember all the good things he did for her and hopes one day her family can be together and whole again.

Tillie is an eccentric, elderly woman who makes herself at home with Roz and her family shortly after they arrive in town, and even though she's a little odd, they soon find she's just who they need in their lives.

Then there's Mara Nightingale, a friend from school who befriends Roz. As their friendship grows they share everything with each other, including their deepest secrets. They make a pinky-swear promise to one another that they will pray for each other, that God will make both of their greatest desires come to pass one day.

Ann Tatlock is a new author to me, but I will enjoy reading more of her books. This story held my attention and had my interest from the first page. It was a fast-paced read and hard to put down.

I would've enjoyed the book even more if the faith aspect had been stronger. It was rather weak for my personal taste, but I still highly recommend it for the plot and storytelling.

I appreciate Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed here are my own.