Book Reviews

Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury

  • Title: Between Sundays
  • Author: Karen Kingsbury
  • Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
  • Pages: 298
  • Published: November 3, 2007 by Zondervan
  • Themes: Family, Faith, American Football, Second Chances, Foster Children

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Synopsis

Aaron Hill has it all—athletic good looks and the many privileges of a star quarterback. His Sundays are spent playing NFL football in front of a televised audience of millions. But Aaron’s about to receive an unexpected handoff, one that will give him a whole new view of his self-centered life.Derrick Anderson is a family man who volunteers his time with foster kids while sustaining a long career as a pro football player. But now he’s looking for a miracle. He must act as team mentor while still striving for the one thing that matters most this season—keeping a promise he made years ago.Megan Gunn works two jobs and spends her spare time helping at the youth center. Much of what she does, she does for the one boy for whom she is everything—a foster child whose dying mother left him in Megan’s care. Now she wants to adopt him, but one obstacle stands in the way. Her foster son, Cory, is convinced that 49ers quarterback Aaron Hill is his father.Two men and the game they love. A woman with a heart for the lonely and lost, and a boy who believes the impossible. Thrown together in a season of self-discovery, they’re about to learn lessons in character and grace, love and sacrifice.Because in the end life isn’t defined by what takes place on the first day of the week, but how we live it between Sundays.


My Review

Karen Kingsbury did not disappoint with this book. The two characters of Aaron Hill and Derrick Anderson were so well written. They could almost walk – or I guess I should say – throw a ball off the pages off the book. I loved that she used a real football team to place her players in rather than making one up. It makes everything seem so much more believable.

The book brings focus on to foster care. There’s even an Author’s Note and a Forward from NFL 49ers quarterback Adam Smith about how this topic became the focus of the book. Smith even has a charity with a focus on foster care – Alex Smith Foundation. Meeting Smith at a game was how Kingsbury got the idea for her book.

Anyway, the story evolved very nicely. There was some things I thought took awhile. Like Aaron and his agent. It took him a long time to see the creep for real.

The story is told through third person POV but throughout the book it switches between Aaron, Derick, Megan and Cory.

Definitely another lovely Kingsbury read. Have you read any of her books? Which ones?

Book Reviews

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Synopsis

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.

Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.


My Review

This book gave all the feels it should for a family drama. Teen angst with the stepmom. Full on disappearance of the dad. I mean seriously. WHERE DID HE GO?!?! With mystery, some detective work and even federal agencies to round it all out.

Now I have to be honest with you. Listening to this on audio was not my smartest move. I don’t know about you but there are certain types of books that are HARD to listen to. And mysteries definitely fall into that category. There’s a lot to keep track of. And they go at a fast pace. Well, I sometimes get a little distracted while I’m listening to a book. Which is because I’m doing other stuff. Like housework, exercising, or driving. So my mind kind of wanders a little from time to time. 99% of the time I rewind because I’m just that type of girl. But there is a LOT of rewinding with intense books. One day I’ll learn to stick to ChickLits, RomComs, Romances, Historical Fictions and Christian Fiction for listening. But until I learn. . .

That said – even with the audio aspect this book definitely did not disappoint! It was really good! Usually I like everything tied up at the end of the story. And there was a couple of things that weren’t in this case. But. . . I don’t believe it was to get us to read another book in a series. It was just the way the book finished. You – as the reader – were left to ponder about a few things. Which in those cases I like. Don’t you find it pretty cool when you’re still thinking about what might’ve happened with something in a book a month later? Yep. That’s some good writing.

And I have to recommend the Audible version that I listened to which was read by Rebecca Lowman. She did a tremendous job. I hadn’t had the opportunity to hear any of her work and I’m glad I took the chance. She has a lovely voice and she was the perfect choice for this book.

This is a book which has been on everyone’s radar since it came out. It was Reese’s Bookclub pick for May 2021. It’s also being made into a movie for Apple TV starring Julia Roberts and produced by Reese Witherspoon. I cannot wait to compare the movie with the book. And like always I’ll get back to you on what I think.

Have you had a chance to read The Last Thing He Told Me yet? Or anything else by Laura Dave? I’d love to hear what you think.

Book Reviews

Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Synopsis

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix up their own marriage. There’s a wealthy banker who has been too busy making money to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an eighty-seven-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in a motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next. 


My Review

I found this book to be everything a book should be. Funny. Cute. Heartwarming. Mysterious.

Bachman did a great job of keeping some of the mystery alive until the very end. Definitely a character driven story with a large cast of people that you’ll actually get to know really well. It was enjoyable to watch the relationships grow. They were all easy to picture. And I adored getting to know the 10+ people during the course of the story.

To make things even more exciting Netflix is coming out with a series based on this very book! I can’t find a date on when it’ll be out yet – so if you have that info I’d love to get it! Everything I find just says “In Production.” When it does come out I’ll do another review to compare the book with the screen version.

Somethings to be aware of…

  • there is a lesbian couple
  • suicide is talked about
  • there is some violence – the book is about a bank robbery and hostage situation
  • adultery is referred to

I definitely loved this book. Believe it or not, it gave me all the happy feelings that I like when reading a story. And everything was wrapped up at the end – which was incredible because there was a ton of storylines going on here people.

So grab a copy. I bet ya you’ll devour it quickly.

I received this beautiful hardcover book from Book of the Month. Want to try them out? Click here and receive your first book for only $5 – Seriously! What a deal!!!

With the referral link I’ll also receive a book credit with your purchase.

Book Reviews

A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth and Joni Rodgers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Synopsis

You might know her as a Tony Award-winning Broadway star, who originated the role of Galinda the Good Witch in the smash musical Wicked and won a Tony for 1999’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Or you may recognize her from her starring roles on TV — The West Wing, Pushing Daisies, Sesame Street…oh, and her Huge Hit Sitcom Kristin on NBC. (Huge hit. L.A. breast-implant huge. Ask either of the people who watched it.) Or maybe you saw her sexy spread in FHM magazine? Or her appearance on Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club? Kristin is a wonderful collection of contradictions — but everyone who’s ever met her remembers her as the little girl with the big voice. At four foot eleven, Kristin Chenoweth is an immense talent in a petite but powerful package.

In this lively, laugh-out-loud book, Kristin shares her journey from Oklahoma beauty queen to Broadway leading lady, reflecting on how faith and family have kept her grounded in the dysfunctional rodeo of show biz. The daughter of an engineer and a nurse, Kristin was singing in front of thousands at Baptist conventions by age twelve and winning beauty pageants by age twenty-two. (Well, actually she was second runner-up almost every freaking time. But, hey, she’s not bitter.) On her way to a career as a professional opera singer, she stopped in New York to visit a friend and went on a whim to an audition. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and (she’s quick to add) the grace of God, Kristin took Broadway by storm. But of course, into every storm, the occasional drizzle of disaster must fall.

Filled with wit, wisdom, and backstage insight, A Little Bit Wicked is long on love and short on sleep; it’s essential reading for Kristin’s legions of fans and an uplifting story for anyone seeking motivation to follow his or her dreams — over the rainbow and beyond.


My Review

Anyone who is a fan of Kristin Chenoweth should run – not walk – to get this book. The stories she told in it made me love her so much more than I already did. And I really liked her! She bared her faith, her love for her family, her love for her friends who are like her family and even her relationships. Of course she went into her work over the years. Especially her sitcom “Kristin” which was a huge hit. And I always think behind the scenes anecdotes from the entertainment industry is interesting. Yep! I’m one of those and proud of it!

I listened to my copy of this book on audio and personally I think it made the experience 100% more enjoyable. Know why? Kristin Chenoweth herself narrated it. It was heartbreaking to hear HER tell the sad stories from her life. You could actually hear her voice breaking. When things were funny. Which was a lot of times throughout her stories – we’d be treated to her giggles. And honestly she has the greatest laugh. Then at times she’d have a couple of her friends pop in to tell their side of the story or their feelings about “Kris.” Some things to be aware:

Somethings you might want to be aware of…

  • there was some talk about homosexuality
  • there was also pre-marital sex inferred

No matter how you take in this book. I do recommend that you read it. I think anyone will enjoy it. And if you’re not already a fan of hers I think once you read this you’ll be one.

I bought my audio book through Chirp Books. Go here and you can get 20% off your 1st book.

With the referral link I’ll also receive 20% off a book with your purchase.

Book Reviews

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 

ECPA Christian Book Award, Fiction 2007


Synopsis

In a small town square of a sleepy Georgia town, seven-year-old Annie sits at her lemonade stand, raising money for her own heart transplant. At a nearby store, Reese flips through the newspaper, thinking about the latest boat he’s restoring.

As a beat-up bread truck careens around the corner, a strong wind blows Annie’s money into the road. Reese looks up in time to see Annie’s yellow dress fluttering in the wind as she runs into the road. What happens next will change both of their lives forever.


My Review

To say your life will change when you read this book is putting it lightly. You will laugh. You will cry. You will need to put down the book at times and walk away because you’ll need to get a hold of all of your crazy emotions. This book will grip your very soul.

One detail about this book is the compelling way it shows relationships between a doctor and when someone they care for is sick. Obviously this can become super difficult for those in the medical field and even more difficult if they feel like they can’t save those they love.

It was written in first person with the voice of Reese. He starts out as a recluse. With a tragic past that is slowly revealed throughout the story.

Annie is a sweet little girl who has been hit with so many tough situations in her young life that your heart can’t help but break for her. But she is the such a positive, happy, and enchanting child. She has the whole town pulling for her!

There is also Charlie who always tells it like it is. Cindy who does everything she possibly can for Annie. And of course the rest of the town, hospital staff, and cast of characters who – by the end of the book you feel as if they are your own friends and neighbors.

This was a book that when it was done I wanted there to be more. I actually finished it a couple of months ago and it is still sticking with me. It really was that good. Let me know if you’ve read this book or any others by Charles Martin. I’d love to find out what you think.

Book Reviews

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


Synopsis

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?


My Review

This book was super cute. It had love. it had romance. It had friendship. It had family. It had travel – lots or traveling around the world. What else can you ask for?

It was honestly really hard for me to put down. I easily could’ve read it one sitting but I do most of my reading before bed and for some reason my hubby has this hang-up about the light being on while he’s trying to sleep! Which is why most of books are on my Kindle. This book happens to be a beautiful hardback copy from Book of the Month though. So I waited in suspense each day… until I reached the incredible ending.

The story does take place over a 10 year period and it skips back and forth from the current time to different years in the past. So be aware – if you’re not a fan of this kind of book then I’d do a pass. Cuz the whole book is written this way.

Emily Henry also wrote Beach Reach which I also enjoyed (although not as much as this one). With writing like this she is on my watch list now.

Some things to be aware of:

  • There was some sex – not a lot and it definitely was not graphic
  • There was a homosexual wedding but it was a side story and I didn’t feel like anything was being pushed on the reader

Overall all I LOVED the book. Such a great book to come out during the summer. Especially this summer when we are itching to leave our houses and go some where.

Have you read it? I’d love to find out what you thought of it?

2021 Reading Challenges

Stacked Reviews Reading Challenge

Here is a fun challenge. There is a list of challenge prompts. Those who finish reading and reviewing all 20 of the books will be entered in a gift card!!! Check out all the rules here.

Historical Fiction
Controversial Book
Friend Recommendation

Set in a Place You’d Like to Live (England)
Booker Prize Winner
Book You can Read in a Day

Book about Mental Health
By Author You’ve Always Wanted to Read
A Classic


Chick Lit
First in a Book Series
Fantasy Novel

YA Book
Horror Book
Monster Book (1000+ Pages)

War Novel
Own Voices
Gothic Novel

Book Written in a Foreign Language
Wild Card
2021 Reading Challenges

European Reading Challenge

This is a different kind of challenge. The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). I’m excited to ‘travel’ the globe during this time that we’re not able to go anywhere. And as an added bonus the participant who reads and reviews the greatest number of qualifying books (more than five) will get a $25 gift card.

To find out more about the challenge you can go here.

Here are the books I plan on reading…

Norway
Poland
Russia

Germany
Denmark
Romania, Hungary

Italy
England
Norway

France
Croatia
Switzerland

Ireland
Prague
Bosnia

Spain
Netherlands
2021 Reading Challenges

COYER 2021

Are you ready to tackle that TBR list? I am. And I’m hoping the #COYER Reading Challenge will help me. COYER = Clean Out Your E-Reads and this is something I desperately need to do. I have over 3400 books on my Want to Read shelf and I own 1150 of them. And of course I continue to buy more. I need get busy!!!

COYER is divided into seasonal reads and the community. You can join both or one. And they even have drawings. So much fun! You can catch all the rules and information on their site here.

WINTER

For the Winter months – January & February, I plan on reading and reviewing the following books:

I also plan on doing some of the community reads but I haven’t decided which ones yet. I will keep you updated.

2021 Reading Challenges

Backlist Reader Challenge 2021

Here’s another one that’ll help me whittle down that TBR list. It requires you to only read books that are already on your TBR list when 2021 begins. Once again there is going to be at least one giveaway for an Amazon gift card. Another reason to knock those books out. Check out this fun challenge here.

My goal is to read at least 150 books this year from my TBR list. I know that might seem like a lot. But last year I was able to read 254 books but not all of them were from my TBR list because they were new or ARCs. So we’ll see how I do.

Wish me luck!!!