Tag Archives: forgiveness

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Book Review – The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

About the book (from the publisher):

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

My thoughts:

The premise of this book is enticing and something most people have probably considered. What would you change about your past? What would you tell your younger self to help change things, if you could? How would any of those changes–even the small ones–affect all of your future?

The author dives into these situations and explores various possible outcomes in this book. Because the main character doesn’t know what’s really happening and what’s really being changed or not, the reader is kept guessing as well, which helps create intrigue and quick page turns.

However, I did find myself pulled out of this world and its believability. I don’t know too much about time travel theories, but I kept wondering, wouldn’t Brock be a completely changed person in each of the time lines? Wouldn’t even his memories change? Or wouldn’t those changes erase the “now” Brock? Something the author reveals at the end of the book helps to partially explain these questions, and includes the stance that God can do all things, even what we would consider impossible, but I still found that these holes pulled me out of the story several times. I also didn’t find myself connecting wholly with all of the characters at all times. I feel like I didn’t get to know some of them as Brock did before they changed in “alternate time lines.”

That said, the themes included in this book of healing, redemption, grace, forgiveness, and God always giving second (and third and fourth…) chances are fantastic themes to consider and reflect upon. Readers will find themselves reflecting on their own lives and whether what we are investing our time in are truly the right things.

Check out the Litfuse page for more information about the author and the book.

What’s your favorite time travel novel?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the Litfuse blogging team in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Summer's List by Anita Higman (River North, 2015)

When Adorkable Saves the Day {Book Review – Summer’s List by Anita Higman}

I love when I find characters within a book that essentially kick the story’s “rating” up. Such is the case with one character in particular in Summer’s List by Anita Higman (River North, 2015).

Summer's List by Anita Higman (River North, 2015)

About the book (from the publisher):

Summer’s List (River North, June 2015)

A dying wish alters the course of a young woman’s life.

Life hadn’t been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness—caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother’s bookstore—she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love . . . didn’t turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something—or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer’s past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

This is first book I’ve read from this author, and I particularly enjoyed the characters she portrayed. The opening scene from this book isn’t all the way believable for the situation and Summer’s awareness of Elliot’s character, and at times, there are a few too many internal questions that “tell” the story more than “show” it, but this book won me over beginning around Chapter 7 and the introduction of Martin.

Martin would likely be a great candidate for being a prime example of “adorkable.” From the minute he was described and the subsequent references to hobbits and Tolkein’s Middle Earth, I knew I’d love the character. The book also begins telling a few chapters from Martin’s point of view (alternating with Summer’s perspective).

This book did a wonderful job incorporating several deeper themes, like abandonment, trust (both in people and in God), lasting friendships, authentic relationships, the damage of hatred, mental illness, redemption, and forgiveness. Summer’s relationship with her grandmother is heartwarming, and relatable for anyone’s attachment to family through hardship.

If your preference is for less “preachy” books, be aware that this book does include a few “preachy” parts, but relatable characters and an interesting plot make this an enjoyable read.

What “adorkable” characters have you read and loved lately?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group as a part of their blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund

Forgiveness of All Kinds {Book Review – Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund}

Jody Hedlund’s historical fiction romance novels always include a romantic plotline along with a few other relatable themes woven in, and the second book in the “Beacons of Hope” series, Hearts Made Whole (Bethany House, 2015), continues this format.

Hearts Made Whole - Jody Hedlund

In Hearts Made Whole, the reader follows Caroline Taylor in Michigan in 1865 as she acts as the lightkeeper of Windmill Point Lighthouse after her father’s death and takes care of her four younger siblings. Ryan Chambers enters the scene, newly appointed as the lighthouse replacement after returning from the Civil War. (Readers of the first in this series, Love Unexpected, will remember Ryan Chambers as Emma’s brother.) Ryan quickly realizes he isn’t fit for the lightkeeping job, nor does he want to boot out Caroline and her family, but women aren’t supposed to keep jobs like lightkeeping. This storyline among other supporting plots create a high-conflict book.

Jody always knows how to keep the conflict ramped up in a book and continued to do so in this book. Just when you think a conflict will be resolved, another issue douses the victory. As always, the historical details and settings fascinate me as much as (and sometimes more than) the plotline. This book addresses themes of trust, forgiveness (between siblings, friends, and enemies), healing, looking to God for strength and sustenance rather than objects or people, women’s rights, and seeking truth.

Ryan’s character was my favorite in this book. He exuded not only charm, but had a realness and relatable brokenness to him that allows the reader to empathize with his struggles and cheer for his developing strength and healing. Caroline also had past brokenness to overcome, and both experienced trials and growth in their faith journeys.

I wasn’t fond of the character of Tessa, Caroline’s sister, but could see hints of change in the last few chapters. This should make for an interesting start to the next book in the series, which looks like it will follow Tessa’s story.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction and Christian romantic fiction, you’ll continue to enjoy this series.

Jody is also hosting a Facebook party for the release of this book tonight (June 23rd) at 7pm Central! Details here.

"She might have darkness in her life...but God was still bright and unchanging behind the clouds." - from Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

I always love reading an author’s note to find out what’s based on truth in a historical fiction novel. Do you read the author’s notes?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom

On Forgiveness, Grace, and Hope

As much as we can learn from others’ stories, sometimes we just can’t understand them. The “how”s. The “why”s.

Corrie ten Boom has such a story. As a holocaust survivor, she endured and witnessed atrocities no one should. We can’t understand why her story happened or how such things existed. But we can, as she did, still learn from it.

Join me at Do Not Depart today with a look at Corrie ten Boom’s story and some wisdom she drew from her outrageous circumstances. Her story teaches much about God’s presence, about accepting grace, and about holding on to hope.

Also, read her book, The Hiding Place. It’s on my top 10 list of books everyone should read at some point.

The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom

While you’re at Do Not Depart, check out the other posts from this month on various godly women and what their stories share.

Share your own stories of hope and grace over at Do Not Depart today.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Trust and Forgiveness {Book Review: A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert}

I read Christian fiction for a variety of reasons: entertainment, inspiration, to expand my understanding of characters and setting I’m unfamiliar with. And, largely, to learn from the power of story. We all play our own unique, God-given parts in a much larger story. Reading other people’s stories (whether nonfiction or fiction) can inspire us to grow, to understand, to love better.

Katie Ganshert’s novels do just that.

I first fell in love with Katie’s novels when I read Wishing on Willows as part of her launch team. I then went back and read Katie’s first novel, Wildflowers in Winter. I’m pretty much a fan for life.

I’ve now read Katie’s newest novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, releasing on April 15th from WaterBrook.A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Katie doesn’t take the easy route in her plot lines. She covers bold, tough topics in her novels, and each of her settings have been intriguing and different from her other books.

In A Broken Kind of Beautiful, we meet Ivy Clark, a ravishingly beautiful 24-year-old who has been a model since she was only 14 years old. But, as Ivy’s career seems to be halting because of the fashion industry’s empty values on outward appearance and age, Ivy realizes she feel more like a beautiful, but empty, shell of a person.

She finally comes to the point where her only modeling job comes from her step-mother, Marilyn, who wants Ivy to be the face of her new wedding dress line for an advertising campaign. Ivy returns to Greenbrier, South Carolina, and finds out her jeopardized career may only be saved if she can convince Davis Knight to return to his photography roots in New York, even though he swore off photography two years ago for reasons Ivy doesn’t understand. Davis treats Ivy drastically different from any other man around Ivy, and she doesn’t know how to take it. Through the book, Ivy struggles with learning the “why” behind Davis’s actions, and wonders if God can see her broken past and still love her.

Katie’s ability to discuss tough topics helps us as readers learn more about others’ situations and look below surface level of situations we know little about (like the fashion industry for me!).

I love so many aspects of Katie’s writing. The dialogue is realistic and not hokey. She slowly reveals backstory in believable ways. She weaves small descriptive details in scenes to create realistic actions without distracting from the reading itself. You can visualize and feel the scenes.

Example: “A gust of heat swept across the floor and wrapped around Ivy’s calves.” – p. 91

Katie masterfully leaves each chapter with a strong emotion hanging. She doesn’t always have to frame that cliffhanger with a question, either. Each chapter ending entices and easily convinces you to go ahead and turn the page.

In Katie’s previous two novels, I related to the main female characters well. In A Broken Kind of Beautiful, I actually found myself relating to the Davis Knight the most. I could definitely relate to portions of Ivy’s character, but I’ve felt my own struggle of guilt and not truly accepting God’s grace-given forgiveness, as Davis does. The side characters (Marilyn, Sara, Arabella, Twila, even Jordan), all add to the story’s fullness, intrigue, and purpose.

This book covers themes of change and comfort zones:

“This world was never meant to be comfortable. It was never meant to feel like home. I took darkness to show me truth.” – p. 174

And trust and forgiveness:

“It doesn’t matter if I forgiven you. It doesn’t even matter if you forgive you. What matters…is that God already has. So stop wearing your past like a pair of handcuffs. – p. 255

I found myself rooting for side characters (and their very interesting stories) nearly as much as I did the main characters, and love many statements, like this one from Marilyn:

“Perhaps there was grace to be found in this mess after all.” – p. 44

"God's calling you to be His son, not His slave. He doesn't want you to wear shackles. Not when He's already cut you free." - from A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Want to learn more? Katie is hosting a Facebook webcast party for A Broken Kind of Beautiful on April 21st, from 6-7pm (CST). Click here to see the Facebook invite.

Follow Katie on Twitter for more news in a couple of weeks about some Twitter book fun, too.

To read more about Katie Ganshert, visit her website and check out an interview I did with Katie last year. Also, check out the book page for this novel on Katie’s website. I love how Katie shares multiple “theme songs” for the book and behind-the-scenes information on the characters and setting! (Check out the “inspiration” video from Matt Chandler on that page, too. Powerful.)

"...the hard is what makes us who we are. The hard is usually what God uses to draw us closer... If I have to choose between what's easy or what will bring me closer to Him, I pray my choice will be Him." - from A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Do you ever hold on to something from your past too long? How do you forgive yourself and accept forgiveness from others? Or, tell us why you read Christian fiction.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of the launch team. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any other manner.