Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Too Far to Say Far Enough - Nancy Rue

Too Far to Say Far Enough is the concluding book in the Reluctant Prophets trilogy.  Allison Chamberlain is a prophet who gets Nudges from God about the work He wants her to do.  In this story, the Nudge she continues to get is "Go one more mile."  After traveling many literal miles, she begins to realize that maybe this job isn't about the physical distance, but the extra effort required to forgive and to heal broken relationships and to love her enemies.  Having officially adopted her son, and now taking in a runaway 14-year-old girl, Allison's life is filling up with just the day-to-day needs of caring for the people around her.  Add in the criminals trying to exact revenge on her for the work she's both done in the past and is doing now in her rescue work, and she has way too many "piles" to keep straight without help from God and the people He has put in her life to serve as her extended family as well as her extra hands and feet and hearts.

Allison is a compelling character.  Her compassion for broken women and children entrenched in street life is admirable and heartbreaking.  The people who have filled her life are real, they're dirty with real life, and they're working for a better one together.  They are healing, but it is taking time, and it's taking hard work.  They make you root for them, and they make you realize that there really is a dirty side to life that we all too often ignore.

This book made me wish I had started at the beginning of the trilogy.  The characters were so deep and their ties to each other so strong, that I really wish I had known the beginning of their story.  There were so many references to their past that affected the present story, that I felt pretty lost for a lot of the book.  Despite that, I was still able to invest in the characters and be drawn into the desperation they felt.  I was not expecting such a thriller/crime type aspect to this novel, and it certainly wasn't a simple conclusion to resolve the story.

When I first read the title of the book, I didn't get it.  Eventually, it turned out that once you've started doing the work God has called you to, you can never go "too far to say far enough," you need to complete the work He has given you.

Overall, I can only give this book 3 stars as a stand alone novel, but I definitely think if I had read the previous two books, it would have rated much higher as a conclusion to a compelling trilogy.  I will definitely be looking to read the other two, and possibly re-reading this one to get a sense of the complete journey of Allison and her circle of characters.

You can find Nancy Rue's website HERE.
Find the rest of the trilogy HERE.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Girl in the Glass - by Susan Meissner

The Girl in the Glass covers multiple continents, various characters, and several hundred years of time.  Marguerite Pomeroy, or "Meg" as everyone calls her, is an editor at a publishing house that produces travel books.  Ever since she was a little girl, Meg has dreamed of traveling to but one place: Florence, Italy, the land of her beloved Nonna who died before she could take Meg there herself.  Her father has promised several times over the years since then to make the trip, but has never managed to come through on his promise.  Meg has made friends with a brother and sister author team who live in Florence and are excited at the possibility of her visit.  Additionally, their neighbor Sofia has recently been sending Meg chapters of a memoir about Florence that she is writing, a book where she claims to be the last of the Medici family, and where she talks about hearing a voice from the distant past speaking to her through art.  Will Meg's father come through on his promise?  Will Meg make it to Florence?  What will it be like for Meg to meet her Florentine friends in person?

This book started out a little slowly for me.  I had trouble making the transition between the points of view of Meg, Nora, and Sofia (I admit that some of this is the Kindle formatting, and may be easier to notice the transition in print!), but it did not take me long to get sucked in to the story.  Having studied architectural history in college, and having taken a trip to Florence several years ago, the descriptions of the city and the buildings and the art were very real to me, and I could picture them as if I had just been there yesterday.  Not only that, but the clear love of the city and its history made me want to go back tomorrow!

In addition to the city, I loved how the author weaved God into the creative works of the Renaissance.  She wrote "Wise Brunelleschi merely discovered what God had already set across man's path to stumble upon.," and in talking about the Uffizi: "Walking its halls was like walking through a corner of the Creator's mind."  While discussion of God and faith was very sparsely detailed in the book, it permeated the story through notes like this, making it very heartfelt.

The characters quickly became people I cared about, as well.  Sofia made me want to hug her and fix everything that needed fixing; I wanted to find the perfect match for Meg and have a character sweep her off her feet.  Even the minor characters were deep enough to feel like real people, for good or for bad.  While this book would not be classified as a classic love story, the love of the characters for each other, and Meg's search for what love should look like in her own life make it a much more believable tale of love than many others that I've read.

I admit that my own love of Florence may have biased my judgement on this book, but that said, I give this book 4 stars.  The ending seemed a little quirky to me, but overall, I really enjoyed this book and its characters.

You can find Susan Meissner's website HERE.
You can read an excerpt from Chapter 1 HERE.

Please consider ranking my review:

I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Abducted - by Janice Cantore

Carly Edwards and Joe King are police partners, on the graveyards patrol shift, when they get the call that Joe's wife and infant son have been admitted to the hospital.  While the doctors are still figuring out what's wrong with his wife, his son is Abducted directly from the pediatric wing of the hospital.  Even as Carly tries to solve the kidnapping, she's also dealing with her ex-husband and their relationship that was looking towards reconciliation, while another man in her life begins to show interest in her.  Additionally, her roommate seems to be distancing herself from Carly, and becomes agitated at Carly's new found Christianity.  How will Carly deal with all of these relationship issues while trying to help her partner get his family back together and to solve a crime that's bigger than any of them imagined?

Abducted is the second book in the Pacific Coast Justice series, written by Janice Cantore, a retired Long Beach police officer.  While this book can certainly stand alone as a novel, there were numerous references to incidents in Carly's past, as well as several other characters, that I can only imagine were detailed in the previous book.  This book would have flowed as a story, for me anyway, without so many of those references.  Most of the past crimes referenced didn't have a bearing on this story and only served as distractions instead of helping the story along.

The deepest part of the story was that of Carly and Nick's path of forgiveness and new beginnings.  It was refreshing to read a book where, even though hurtful mistakes had been made and forgiveness wasn't easy, or even understandable by most of the people who knew them, they worked at their relationship and prayed for renewal.

Other than the forgiveness storyline, I found the book just okay.  I give it 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 stars.

You can find more from the author HERE.

I received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale publishers, in exchange for my honest review.