Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekend Book Reviews

I'm trying something new with my book reviews, something with a bit more structure.  I'm also adding what my parental thoughts are if the book is intended for a YA or younger crowd as I'm realizing that how I feel about a story for myself and how I feel about handing it to my children are sometimes very different.

  Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman
Genre: Contemporary Christian

First thoughts:
When it comes to inspirational fiction I almost always prefer historical or fantasy stories.  That being said, I loved this book!  It is my favorite Christian contemporary to date.  

What it's about:
  Sabrina knew what God's plan for her life was from the time she was young.  She was going to be an Olympic runner and use her platform to reach others for Christ.  Life was going according to her plans until a tragic diagnosis stripped her of her dreams and possibly even her faith.   When Sabrina's path collides with a troubled teenage girl, she doesn't want to help her.  The girl, Brandy, has an incredible talent for running and Sabrina isn't sure if her heart handle seeing someone else have what she lost.

What I liked about it:
I think that the best part of this book was that it faced issues that are common but not often addressed in Christian literature.  A lot of books deal with salvation, faith and trusting God to direct your path.  This book had all of those things in it but it also dealt with Christians being judgmental to each other.  It is so important to know the facts before speaking negatively about someone and to remember that not everything is on the surface.  Everyone has battles we might not know anything about.

What I didn't like:  
 Sabrina was a bit annoying to me at first but as her faith grew I liked her a lot more than I initially thought.  

Who I would recommend it to:
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys inspirational fiction.  It is a clean and gentle read with touches of romance.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from Bethany House publishing.

Switched by Cassie Mae 

Genre: New Adult/Contemporary

First thoughts:  It was oozing enthusiasm both from the characters and the writing itself.

What it's about:  It is about a love tangle (a mere triangle doesn't cover this story)!  Kayla is in love with a guy named Talon but Talon is dating her best friend Reagan.  Kayla turns to Talon's best friend Wesley, who just happens to like Reagan, hoping that the two of them can rearrange things a bit so that they can each have the relationship they are pining for.

What I liked:  I enjoyed the bubbly tone of this book.  Kayla's personality was so fun to read about and Wesley was the perfect, attentive, slightly awkward guy friend.  I didn't see the ending coming either, which is always a good thing!

What I didn't like:  While I wouldn't call this book overly steamy some of the situations, while funny, weren't my taste.  

Who I would recommend it to:  I think the romantic comedy crowd would love this story.  The author definitely knows how to make fluffy, fun romantic read.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.  

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: young adult/ paranormal

First thoughts:  The writing is stunning, gorgeous and enough to make an aspiring writer want to cry and smile at the same time.  (Most of Maggie Stiefvater's books have that effect on me...)

What it's about:  I don't know how to explain this book without giving anything away.  It picks up where the Raven Boys left off.  While the first book focused heavily on Gansey and Blue, this one shows a lot more of Ronan who just so happens to be able to bring objects back from dreams.  

What I liked:  I love the depth of the characters.  How one book can have so many deep, rounded characters, I do not know.  It is amazing.  I love how more of their back grounds were revealed and how the creepiness seeped in from several different factors.  Noah is my favorite character with Blue a close second.  

What I didn't like:  It is not the sort of book that makes sense when you read it while chasing a two year old and answering hundreds of questions from the older children.  In other words, it has lots of threads to follow which I liked when I could truly focus on them and hated when I didn't have enough brain to devote to it.

Who I would recommend it to:  I would recommend it for older teens and anyone who likes unique twists on old legends.

What I'd want to know as a parent:  This book has a heavy dose of supernatural elements and a fair amount of language.

I received and ARC of this book for review purposes from NetGalley.

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