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review 2017-04-26 21:55
Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury
Brush of Wings: A Novel (Angels Walking) - Karen Kingsbury

This series is the only reading of Kingsbury that I have done. I know she is wildly popular with Christian fiction readers, but I don't think I will be trying any more of her books. If you like the sugarcoated everything-always-turns-out-perfectly kind of Christian stories, this series is for you.

 

Maybe it's me, but that kind of story gets under my skin. It literally made me angry.

 

Spoilers may follow.

 

Don't get me wrong. I do believe that God can heal, protect, and give us signs. However, I don't think he does it every single time we ask him to. In this book, characters ask for a sign and a mysterious breeze picks up on a still day, or a school of dolphins swims by the beach, or they literally hear a voice in their head. Maybe I just don't pay enough attention, but God's signs seem a bit more subtle in my life.

 

In this series, there is A LOT of melodrama about how dangerous and vital this mission is. More important than any war or tragedy that has happened throughout history is the fact that these privileged 20-somethings get together. Even with a character with a major health problem, it is difficult to read this and feel any suspense. It's too obvious that everything is going to work out.

 

But that's not things happen in real life. Every day, people die. Regardless of the people who love them and pray their heart out for them. They die, because sometimes God has a different plan. Sometimes I can't figure out what it is. But I know that reading something like this doesn't strengthen my faith. I don't feel like I could pray as much or study the Bible as much or eat as healthily as these characters and maybe God would answer more of my prayers. It just upsets me, because some people are going to read it and think that's true.

 

So, I've probably ranted long enough. If you like sweet Christian romance guaranteed to end with a happily ever after, you'll love it. I'm too jaded.

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review 2017-03-15 13:21
Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury
Chasing Sunsets: A Novel (Angels Walking) - Karen Kingsbury

I was a little angry when I finished this book. That probably seems an odd reaction to a light, romantic, Christian novel, but there it is. Like so many other Christian authors, Kingsbury just cannot resist the temptation to make everything turn out alright.

 

I may be a little jaded, but sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes people die. Sometimes really wonderful, young, beautiful people die. It has nothing to do with people not praying enough or their lives not being worth it. I have no idea why God makes the decisions that he sometimes makes, but with a difficult anniversary close on the horizon, I needed something different than what this book is offering.

 

The idea behind this series is exploring how angels interact with humans, guiding and helping, but with limits on how much they can interfere. Do I believe this can happen? Definitely! Does every good Christian always have life turn out the way we think it should? Definitely not.

 

I really enjoy some scenes in these books (I suppose this is sort of a review of this book and the first which I didn't write a review for), but I also keep waiting for reality to kick in. The faith of the characters is inspiring at times, but at others the story gets too fluffy. The author tries to set a darker tone in this book, claiming that it is one of the most difficult and dangerous missions that these angels have been on, but the plot just doesn't back that up.

 

On the other hand, I do want to continue with the series. There is just enough here that keeps me invested in the characters and the exploration of guardian angels that I can't quite put it aside.

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review 2017-01-02 13:47
The Bridge ★★☆☆☆
The Bridge: A Novel - Karen Kingsbury,January LaVoy

While I can happily suspend disbelief for fantastical story elements, like elves and magic spells and talking trees and, yes, even miracles from God, I have very little tolerance for illogical or grossly improbable plot points in a story that is supposedly set in a realistic world and peopled by functioning adults. This, unfortunately, is one of those books. 

 

More than one character is expected to

take over a successful family business from their supposedly business-savvy parent, but is actively discouraged from learning basic business skills at university. A character who resists learning how to run a business is magically able to run a charitable foundation, which seems to consist of just approving scholarship applications and manning the adoptions desk at a pet shelter. I can get behind a miracle from God causing someone with massive brain injuries to suddenly wake from a coma with no neuro deficits, but all my sensibilities cry out at the notion that his visitors were allowed to store 9 boxes full of books in his ICU room alongside his ventilator and other medical equipment. That same ICU room also held an entire choir of carolers who came in to sing him awake. I’m not sure where those carolers were all standing. I imagined them perched on top of his ventilator, clinging to his IV poles, balancing on boxes of books, and sitting on each other’s laps along both sides of his bed.

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

Then there’s the thought processes employed by the characters, especially the main protagonists.

The entire plot of lovers wrongfully separated for years hinges on the guy just accepting that the woman he desperately loves is planning to marry another, just because her overbearing father calls him up out of the blue and says so, and despite her already having explicitly told him she won’t. He doesn’t even ask her about it, and she doesn’t ask him why he’s suddenly turned cold. This goes on for years, and continues when they meet up again. Finally, after 5 minutes conversation, the misunderstanding is all cleared up and they’re going to live happily ever after, because of course they’re suddenly capable of having a mature and adult relationship.

(spoiler show)

 

Ugh.

 

Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. January LaVoy’s performance was the best thing about this book.

 

I read this for the 2017 Romance Bingo reading challenge. This book clearly fits the square for TSTL (too stupid to live).

 

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review 2016-10-23 20:49
A Baxter Family Christmas
A Baxter Family Christmas - Karen Kingsbury
ISBN: 9781451687569
Publisher: Howard Books 
Publication Date: 10/25/2016
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating:  4 Stars 

 

A special thank you to Howard Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Christian author inspirational storyteller, Karen Kingsbury delivers a special heart-warming holiday tale, A BAXTER FAMILY CHRISTMAS, with a new series (three more, to come) with familiar faces and voices of this much-loved family.

A special holiday story offering love and hope in the least expected places and persons; with some special yummy holiday recipes and fun Baxter family games. 

For all the Kingsbury (Baxter) fans, if you have not heard, The Baxter family is coming to TV. The new series focuses on the grown Baxter kids and their families and their ever-changing lives.

THE BAXTER FAMILY CHRISTMAS revolves around a stranger John Baxter has invited for Christmas Eve dinner. Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

Some members of the family are not happy with this decision and cannot understand the reasoning for bringing this person into their lives, especially at Christmas time. An intimate time for families, not reminders of their grief.

It has been two years since the terrible accident took the life of John Baxter’s daughter Erin, her husband, and three of their four daughters.

The Baxter house in on ten acres, built by John and Elizabeth who died of cancer ten years ago, and the family house is now owned by Ashley and her husband Landon Blake.

This is the place where the family still gathers for their celebrations and Christmas. John is remarried to Elaine, age 59 and they live in Bloomington.

Ashley Baxter Black, age 35 (former black sheep of the family) and her brother Luke, age 33, a lawyer are against this plan. They are all about protecting their ten-year-old niece, Amy. She was the only survivor of the accident.

John, age 60, the family patriarch of the Baxter family, and a doctor; on the other hand, feels they should open their hearts to this woman and her family. He thinks it would please his daughter. Kendra was given a second chance. She wants to connect with this family to bring purpose to her life.

 

 



Maddie West, 18-year-old daughter, of Brooke Baxter West is also looking for a Christmas miracle. A boy she never expected to see again. Readers also get to revisit with the Flanigan family, which have been dear friends of the Baxters for years.

Ashley and Landon decide they will leave the family home and spare Amy, for the night so their dad can bring in this woman who has Erin’s heart. Ashley thinks her dad is not being sensitive to Amy’s feelings. However, no one has asked Amy her innermost thoughts.

Maybe she wants to meet this special woman who has been given the gift of life. Her mom’s heart. She must be someone special. Everyone seems to be tiptoeing about the other’s feelings instead of being honest.

Her mom had left a piece of herself behind to help Kendra live. But that wasn’t all. She had left a piece of her heart inside Amy, as well. Her mom’s life was meant to make a difference, even in death.

What starts as a snowy, drama-filled, stressful and uncertain time, turns into the most remarkable and memorable family Christmas! Christmas miracles abound connected by the love of a young girl.

As always, Karen Kingsbury portrays a charming, heart-warming Hallmark Christmas in an idyllic wintry setting, of two families coming together following tragedy and grief, to celebrate their strong belief in God, family, and redemption.

For those new fans or ones reading Karen's Baxter family for the first time, the author does an amazing job connecting everyone with a family tree of all the members and players, as well as an update of her own family.

 

On a personal note: My mom was a huge Karen Kingsbury fan and read each one of her books. (I even found her list after she died). She was looking forward to this title. As most of you are aware my mom passed away this August, after a three-year courageous fight with colon cancer. She will not be with us this Christmas for the first time; however, she lives on in each of us. This story is a special one, which my mom would have loved. This inspiring story, is for you, mom!  

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/02/A-Baxter-Family-Christmas
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text 2016-09-21 23:19
2016 Books to Get You in the Holiday Spirit
A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer) - Mary Alice Monroe
Christmas Angels: A Novella - Viola Shipman
Wishing on Snowflakes - Joanne DeMaio
Christmas in Paris: A Novel - Anita M. Hughes
Twelve Days of Christmas: A Christmas Novel - Debbie Macomber
Winter Storms (Winter Street) - Elin Hilderbrand
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas: An Andy Carpenter Mystery (An Andy Carpenter Novel) - David Rosenfelt
A Shoe Addict's Christmas - Beth Harbison
A Baxter Family Christmas - Karen Kingsbury
Hot Flash Holidays: A Novel - Nancy Thayer

Upcoming early HOLIDAY BOOKS

to get you in the spirit!  

Coming 2016 

 

 

A LOW COUNTRY CHRISTMAS 

Mary Alice Monroe 

LowCountry #5

Gallery Books 

October 25  

CHRISTMAS ANGELS

Viola Shipman

St. Martin's Press 

October 25 

WISHING ON SNOWFLAKES

Two Wintry Novels 

Joanne Demaio

October 4 

CHRISTMAS IN PARIS

Anita Hughes

St Martin's Press 

October 4  

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 

Debbie Macomber

Random House

October 4  

WINTER STORMS

Winter Street Trilogy #3

Elin Hilderbrand

October 4 

Little Brown & Co.   

THE TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS

Andy Carpenter Series
David Rosenfelt

St Martin's Press 

October 18   

A SHOE ADDICT'S CHRISTMAS 

Beth Harbison

St. Martin's Press

October 18  

HOT FLASH HOLIDAYS 

Nancy Thayer

Random House

Oct 18 

 A BAXTER FAMILY CHRISTMAS 

Karen Kingsbury 

Howard Books

October 25  

Christmas Comes Early

When You Pre-Order Your Favorite Book!

 

 

Visit My Blog at JDCMustReadBooks

For More October Favorite Picks

@JudithDCollins #JDCMustReadBooks   

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/oct-2016
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