Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daisy Chain Review

Mary Demuth’s Daisy Chain, is the tender coming-of-age story of a hurting boy set in the late 70s. Jed is at the point in his adolescence when questions and confusion out number answers and clarity. When Daisy disappears, 14-year old Jed is left without his best friend. Not only is Daisy missing but, Jed blames himself. As Jed searches for answers regarding Daisy’s disappearance he discovers what it means to be a man and the value of trusted friends and family.

Daisy Chain was my first encounter with Demuth’s writing, and a pleasant one for sure. She creates dramatic descriptions that leave me in awe of her talent. Demuth takes mundane thoughts and conversations and adds the sparkle that makes for entertaining reading. This novel is full of peculiar tidbits. Here are a couple of my favorites: “…Jed scatted the air with a wave of his hand…an aerial Etch A Sketch.” and a few pages later Miss Emory says, “…you’re sticking to me like Elmer’s until I find out.”

Demuth does a tremendous job introducing us to Daisy and developing her personality even though Daisy soon becomes a secondary character. Throughout the book enough details and descriptions are given of Daisy to understand why Jed misses her greatly. I only wish Daisy was a prominent character for more of the book so the reader could enjoy her flamboyant and vibrant personality.

My only nitpick; Demuth left me hanging with the last word. The last page does not give up the answers to my questions, no matter how long I stare. Although, this is a sure way to persuade me to read the sequel. A Slow Burn, the second in the trilogy, was released in November of 2009.
A broad audience will enjoy Daisy Chain. Demuth’s writing style is such that young teens through older adults will enjoy the novel. For those who face struggles beyond their years, you will connect with Jed and his attempt to make peace with his world. For those who lost someone dear at a young age, you will understand Jed’s sorrow and guilt. For those who have ever questioned God, you will relate to Jed’s doubt and distrust.


Friday, January 22, 2010

A Few Extra Thoughts

I wanted to tell everyone that Susan May Warren is a great writer and a fun person. I had the opportunity to learn from her at the Quad-Cities'Christian Writers' Conference ( Susan is has an upbeat personality that just let's everyone know that she is fun to be around. She has a nice website you can check out too:

Here are a few books that have been recommended to me through my blog. These books are for all you suburbanites, especially.
  • Justice in the Burbs by Lisa & Will Samson
  • Death by Suburb by David Goetz
  • Never Mind the Joneses by Tim Stafford
If anyone else has a book they think everyone should read, let me know and I'll pass along the info. Who isn't looking for a good read? And if you're really passionate about a particular book maybe you'd be interested in being a guest reviewer on my blog. That'd be kind of fun!

Back to my book---

J Renee

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reclaiming Nick

Reclaiming Nick is the story of Nick Noble and his return to the family cattle ranch. His father’s death and the threat of losing the ranch cause Nick to return home after a 10-year absence. Once at home, Nick realizes he needs to claim his mistakes and make amends. Being back on the ranch, he has to face the people that he hurt and that hurt him. As relationships heal, family secrets are revealed.

A rugged, yet charming, cowboy is someone most girls have dreamt of falling in love with, making them excellent romance novel characters. Most readers have never met a cowboy or experienced life on a ranch which means we like to read and dream about that lifestyle. We enjoy reading about a way of life that differs from our own. These elements alone are enough to capture the reader.

The challenge of romance writing is to make realistic and attractive characters to fulfill the romance component, without leading the reader into temptation, while providing enough plot to give cause for romance. Warren creates characters and a storyline that upholds the alluring element of life in the West and the cowboy personality while maintaining proper boundaries. Reclaiming Nick is off the charts in terms of plot. Just when I thought I knew where the story was leading, the next chapter veered off on a new cow path. Susan May Warren’s storyline is far from predictable. There is so much going on with the developing characters and plot that the romance aspect is often second fiddle.

Warren adequately draws the reader into the western scene by using jargon unique to that way of life. Readers learn the terms and tasks of ranch life but it is not overdone. The flare of life on the range is present without coming across as hokey.

Reclaiming Nick is a great read for more than the romance lover. For those who dream of living out west, you will enjoy the ranch setting. For those who have made mistakes and live with the regrets, you will see yourself in Nick. For those who have returned home to make peace, you will understand Nick’s struggle. For those who enjoy an unpredictable story read Reclaiming Nick and relish the trail Susan May Warren leads you down.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

Writing a review for a Karen Kingsbury book is difficult. What do you say about a book written by, arguably, the most popular Christian fiction writer. Claiming that title can only be done by writing superb novels. If Kingsbury’s books were predictable, mediocre and far-fetched she would not have the loyal following she does. An author like Kingsbury does not rely on accolades and good reviews to sell books; her name on the cover cinches the sale. So I ask, what do you write in a Karen Kingsbury book review?

For all the readers who get their hands on a Kingsbury book the day it comes out, Shades of Blue will not disappoint. You will stay up far too late reading this tale, just as you have while reading others she has penned. For the rest of the world who may not be acquainted with this author and her books, I will tell you about her most recent release and you will then know what to expect from all Kingsbury’s books.

Shades of Blue is another riveting, emotion filled novel. Brad Cutler is weeks away from marrying the perfect girl. He reaches an impasse , of sorts, when he senses God telling him he can’t get married until he makes amends with his past. Laura, his fiancĂ©e, is unsettled about Brad’s need to resolve his past because his first love is involved. Meanwhile, Emma, the high school sweetheart, is trying to live a happy life and do what she can to shut out her pain. When Brad comes to town Emma and Brad must face each other and their past. With an approaching wedding on the line and the risk of making another big mistake Brad makes the difficult choice, he decides to follow God’s prompting and rely on God to do the rest.

Kingsbury creates characters that are natural, easy to relate to and easy to picture. At times, you may have to remind yourself that they are not real people. Her characters may as well be your best friends—you know enough about them and understand their personality that much by the end of the book. In Shades of Blue the character that stands out is Brad Cutler; not because he’s the main person but because he is a man of integrity. Brad strives to do God’s will even when it could cost him his marriage. It is refreshing to read about characters that uphold the way of Christ and build their lives and relationships on Him. Even though the book is fiction the characters still encourage the reader to be a better person.

Shades of Blue is a great read for more than the Kingsbury enthusiast. Read Shades of Blue for a powerful demonstration of love and forgiveness. Read Shades of Blue to realize the healing that can come from painful circumstances. Read Shades of Blue for an example of living in the ways of the Lord. May you be blessed and encouraged by reading Karen Kingsbury’s most recent novel.

Later today I'll post a review from my 2009 book list. I will occassionally post reviews from last year's reading list. If there is a particular book on the list you'd like to know more about leave a comment and I'll tell you what I know. If you live in my area I can even tell you where I got the book or loan it to you if it's part of my own library.

Back to my book---

J Renee

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm a little giddy

Yes, I'll admit, I can get pretty excited about the littlest things. My husband teases me because I'm a little girl at times. I had one of those moments just now when I got on my blog--- I had a comment!!! And there's more--- I have 2 followers!! How exciting! So thanks, to my aunt (who has added several titles to my reading list) and to a fellow MOPS mom for causing my moment of giddiness. Thanks also to Rhonda for tellling me to stop being a chicken. A giddy chicken.....what a sight!

Back to my book----

J Renee

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome To My Blog

When you visit my blog you will read about the books I stay up way to late reading. I'll tell you what I think about the books I read and you can tell me your thoughts as well. Over the next several months you'll get a clear understanding of what I like to read and hopefully you'll find some titles to add to your "must read" list.

Enjoy your time here---leave me a comment---come back often---happy reading!

J Renee