Monday, October 15, 2012

Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Hi again!
This is a week full of book reviews, lucky for you! Lol : ) I think it's important to write books to help not only the authors but fellow readers as well. The good, the bad, the inspirational....what brings tears, laughter, and leaves you grinning as you put down the book. What makes a good book? Why, so many things! I bring you another book today that I thoroughly enjoyed and it brings me great, great pleasure to get to review this book for my dear friend, Kellie Coates Gilbert.

About the book: Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as a high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.

Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, MOTHER OF PEARL brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

And in Kellie's words...

Review:  How to put into words the emotions this heartfelt tale evokes, I don't know....but I'm certainly going to try. Barrie has it all going for her....married to the man of her dreams, stable job counseling high school students, supportive friends, and two wonderful children. Her oldest, Pearl, stole part of her heart when she was born that would never be returned to Barrie. The deep bond between a mother and daughter is imminent from page one of Mother of Pearl. Slowly Barrie's seemingly perfect world begins to unravel, leaving her to somehow pick up the pieces.

Barrie's character is stupid, hard-headed, and self-involved, but she is also caring, courageous, and confident in her daughter. The bond her and Pearl share is tremendously strong, nothing could ever break it. However, hope begins to slip away as well as faith and trust in Pearl. After a life changing event, that literally made me gasp, Barrie has no choice but to foster faith in her daughter. She repeatedly risks everything she has just to serve justice to Pearl.

I was nervous upon hearing more about the main points of the book because though I'm a daughter, I'm not a mother. My mom and I have a fairly good relationship, but it's nothing to the extent of this mother-daughter duo. So I worried that I would not have the emotional ties to fully connect with what Miss Kellie was trying to convey to her reader, but boy was I wrong! I admit there were parts in the beginning (the first 50 pages or so probably) where I struggled a bit. However, as soon as Barrie was forced to justify, grieve, and feel the strain of loss.....there was an instant connection. Anyone who has felt loss will understand the feelings within the book. This book had me weeping for Barrie, yet I was so proud of her by the final page. God gave Kellie Coates Gilbert a wonderful gift that the rest of us just so happen to get to enjoy as well! FANTASTIC job!! I look forward to reviewing many, many more books of yours to come!

~ This book was furnished to me by Glass Road Publications for my honest opinion. ~

Meet Kellie: Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Kellie's books tell emotionally poignant stories about women in life-changing circumstances. She writes about messy lives . . . and eternal hope. 

Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a very spoiled 2.7 lb. Yorkie named Ava. 

And in Kellie's words...
I barely remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hand. My tiny hometown of Carey, Idaho had no library, no bookstore. The bi-weekly bookmobile provided the only avenue to books . . . that, and my Gram, who spent a lot of her Social Security checks on books for her granddaughter with an insatiable appetite for stories.
 I grew up on a sheep ranch in southern Idaho, a business my family had been in for generations, never dreaming I’d ever see my own name on a novel. I left home to attend Boise State University and spent most of my adult years pursuing a sensible legal career, raising two boys, and learning to be happily married.
But God heard the quiet prayers of a woman who dared to dream big and ask her Lord for the outrageous. In early 2011, I signed my first book contract. Today, I am living my fantasy. I live in Dallas with my husband. I work from home, writing novels. Often by the pool.
Can life get any better?
Check out Kellie at....
Her Website

I'm extremely excited to announce that Miss Kellie will be joining us for the 3rd Annual Christmas Blogfest!!! So if this book sounds good to you, there will probably be a giveaway *hint, hint* ; ) I just know that you all will love her just as much as I do! We have two more book reviews coming your way this week probably. Until then,
Xoxo ~ Hannah

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Hello all!
Today I bring you the review of a heart-wrenching story of love, faith, and mostly hope.

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer - Amy Knackstedt moves with her children to Weaverly, Kansas, to escape the speculation surrounding her husband's untimely death. She hopes the new location will provide a fresh start for them all. But her neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have a Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard. When the children try to befriend him, he resists. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life. Yet Amy and Tim find their paths colliding far more than either could have foreseen. Will this tentative relationship blossom into something more? 

Review - Amy is a mother that captures your attention from the very beginning of When Hope Blossoms. Attentive and knowledgeable, yet still very young, she always has her children's well being at the forefront of every decision. After the tragic death of her husband, this young widow resettles her children in the small town of Weaverly, Kansas where very few other Mennonites lived. However, she believes that this move will be good for everyone, a fresh start if you will. Tim Roper plays the typical grumpy neighbor role, yet early on you can tell he has become this way for a reason. It's easy for his character to stroke your heart strings as you slowly learn more about Tim's upsetting past.

I thoroughly enjoyed the latest installment in Kim's long list of novels! I just told a friend that every time I finish one of hers, I think to myself she can't top this. Impossible because that book was incredible. Then a new book comes out, I read it, and am once again shocked to find that it was as good, if not better than any of her others that I have read. I commend her for creating stories that take her readers on a journey to a become a better person. Kim's books always have an underlying message; this one strongly illustrating patience which spoke to me directly. I appreciate that I can always gain something from reading one of her books. I also appreciate that Kim adds scripture subtly into the book so not to preach Christ to her audience. That takes a skilled hand to do so well.

I have to admit that I fell in love with the characters in this book. Amy, sweet, innocent, yet knowing, fearful, brave, loving, caring.....the adjectives could go on and on for her. Tim was a man most girls would love to have, I think. Add the complexities of three active children to the mix and this book has just about it all! I highly encourage everyone to check out When Hope Blossoms, you will not regret it. This book will make you shed some tears, laugh out loud, and grin from ear-to-ear when all is said and done.

~ This book was furnished to me courtesy of Bethany House Publisher in return for my honest opinion. ~

Meet Kim - Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate...but most importantly, she's a born-again child of the King! A former elementary school teacher, Kim closed her classroom door in 2005 to follow God's call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame. Kim's gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2--"Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."

I hope you'll all take the time to check Kim's writing out. As far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong with ANYTHING that she's written!! Happy Reading : )
Xoxo - Hannah