Monday, September 22, 2008

Fame By Karen Kingsbury

# of book read so far this year: 52
Title: Fame
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Date Finished: 9/21/2008
Genre: Christian Fiction/Inspirational
# of pages: 354
Series: Firstborn Series (Baxter 2)
blurb: This book mainly focused on Dayne Matthews, popular actor from Los Angeles, He had come to Bloomington to the Christian Kids Theater, where he'd seen Katy Hart directing a production of Charlie Brown. He could not get her out of his head. When it came time to cast his own movie, he wanted HER! He was able to track her down and get her to come to Los Angeles to audition for the lead part. This had actually been her childhood dream, which was shattered when her boyfriend, Tad. Died. In her heart, she wants to take the part, but in the end decides that she doesn't belong in a place like Los Angeles surrounded by Paparazzis and cameras, and that Bloomington, Indiana and the Christian Kids Theater are the place for her.
Meanwhile, we also get to catch up with the Baxters. Ryan and Kari's baby boy, Ryan Jr. is now 7 months old. It has been a year since Elizabeth died, and everyone is still grieving her loss. Ashley and Landon are getting ready to go on a Carribean Cruise for their late honeymoon and are talking about adding to their family. We didn't really hear too much about Brooke's Family or Luke's family, except that He and Regan are in the process of adopting. and hardly heard anything about Erin's family.
Ashley was worried about her father when he missed church one Sunday and went to the house to check on him. When she was there, she found some old letters that her mom had written to her dad. Her dad caughter reading one of the letters, which was actually the letter about their firstborn son that they put up for adoption. Her dad snatched it away and wouldn't let her finish reading it. Ashley asked him to make a scrapbook of all those letters. He's not sure if thats a good idea. He's trying to figure out whether he should tell his children about their brother and how to go about doing so.
personal thoughts/opinions: I honestly liked the Redemption Series better...but this building up to other things that happen with the family, so it was still good. I liked reading about Katy and Dayne, and wish Katy could've taken that part and gotten into a relationship with him. But I have a feeling Dayne will end up in Indiana, and they'll meet again. I thought the whole storyline with the cooky stalker was annoying and could've done without reading that. And I didn't like Kelly Parker at all. I thought she was too needy.
What did you like best about the book? Katy and Daynes relationship, friendship, catching up with the Baxters
What didn’t you like about the book? the stalker
why you read it? because 1) I'm reading ALL of Karen Kingsburys books, and 2) I'm reading the entire Baxter Saga, which includes this series.
Was this book recommended to you or did you find it on your own? I had found out about it on Karen Kingsbury's website, and then people in my book group said it was really good so I decided to read it now.
Would you recommend it to others? I already have and will continue to do so.
Do you want to read more books by this author? definitely!!!
Does it remind you of other books you’ve already read? not really
Did you find it hard to stay interested in this book? no
Was this book what you expected? I had hoped to hear more about the Baxters, and looked forward to the chapters that were about them. I kept looking in the next chapter to see if it would be about them. But, I knew this book focused mostly on Dayne.
What book are you planning to read next? Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reunion by Karen Kingsbury

Elizabeth found a lump in her breast on March 7th. She has it tested and the cancer has come back. It's stronger and more aggressive than before. The doctor does a double Mastectomy. Elizabeth decides she wants a reunion with all her kids on Sanibel Island, Florida. They later find out that the surgery and treatments were not successful and Elizabeth is given 3-4 months to live.
Erin and Sam are in the process of adopting a little girl, who's due soon. Her birth parents try to blackmail them into giving them more money by telling them they won't give them the baby if Erin and Sam don't give them the money. Later they get another call from the social worker, who tells them Candy, the birthmother of the first baby has been charged with abandonment after leaving her baby with the neighbor and never coming back. Erin and Sam agree to adopt her after all and they also surprise everyone by adopting the baby's two older sisters.
Their first adoption fell through and they were devastated, but they found Heidi Jo, a little girl who's mixed race and was abandoned, left at the hospital after her mom gave birth to her in a bedroom. She is immediately available for adoption. Erin and Sam are thrilled and immediately agree to adopt her.
Ashley finally made an appointment with the doctor after finding out she tested positive for AIDS. The doctor does another blood test and they find out she was a false positive, which means that she tested NEGATIVE for AIDS.
Landon asks Ashley to marry him and she says yes! They set the wedding date for July 19th
Kari announces that she is pregnant again.
The book also goes back into the past a little bit telling how Elizabeth got pregnant and had a child before they were married. Her parents forced her to go away when she was pregnant and to put the baby up for adoption. She came back to them for a month, and by that time she was 8 so she moved in with John and they got married soon after that.
The child's name is Dayne Matthews and he's a popular actor from Los Angeles. Luke is doing an intership with one of the entertainment law firms in New York. Luke meets Dayne Matthews when his agent brings him into Luke's office. The pictures in the office catch Dayne's attention and he can't get them or Luke out of his mind and can't figure out why. He later goes back to Luke's office and looks at the pictures. He takes the picture of Luke's parents because the woman looks so familiar, but he still can't figure out why. Dayne's adoptive parents recently died and left him a bunch of pictures and papers. He goes through them and finds adoption papers, which he didn't know about before, and a picture of Elizabeth.
He hires a private investigator, who finds out where Baxter Family lives. And also finds out that Elizabeth is in the hospital dying of cancer. Dayne makes it to the hospital just in time to meet her. She dies that same night.
After meeting Elizabeth, Dayne ends up at the Christian Kids Theater and catches the end of the production of Charlie Brown. He sees the director and can't stop thinking about her. She notices him too, and has the same reaction. The is actually where the next series starts off.
Because of her mom's health, Ashley decides to move up her wedding date by a week because it's really important to her that her mom be there. They end up getting married on July 12th.
John and Elizabeth were married August 22, 1968. They had Brooke in 1972. Then they had Kari, Ashley, and Erin, in that order. They had Luke in 1980.
I LOVED this story. I felt so sad for Elizabeth, but I'm glad everything happened when it did. She got to see all of her children get married and got to see her son she put up for adoption all those years ago. Im so glad everything worked out for Erin and Sam too. The birth parents were horrible!!! I'm so glad they ended up with 4 beautiful girls.
I have since started Fame...the first book in the next series, and can't wear to hear more about the Baxters.
I finished this on 9/12/2008

Rejoice by Karen Kingsbury


Brooke and her family are at a pool party. She happens to be on call at the hospital, and leaves to take a call. She leaves Peter in charge, but he's too wrapped up in a baseball game to pay attention to their two daughters. He had taken their life jackets off so they could have cake, but Hayley, their 3 year old went back in the pool without her life jacket. She was found in the bottom of the pool several minutes later. She was rushed to the hospital. When they take her to the hospital, she has a pulse but she's not breathing. Doctors say she has severe brain damage. They also tell Brooke and Peter that she's blind. Brooke learns to comfort her by her touch and her voice. Peter, on the other hand, withdraws and turns to pain pills, and becomes addicting. Brooke is constantly at the hospital, and Maddie moves in with Brooke's parents. Peter tells Brooke he wants a divorce, something I think they both knew was coming.

Later doctors tell Brooke that Hayley, can in fact see.

Landon gets called into the Captains office for a meeting. They tell him that they want to promote him to Captain and eventually promote him to Chief of the department.

Erin and Sam announce to the family that they are in the process of adopting a child. A little girl, who's due in 6 months.

The whole family goes to New York for Luke and Regan's wedding on Christmas Eve.

A short while later, peter almost overdoses on the pain pills when he realizes how important Brooke and his girls really are to him and how much he misses them. He calls 911 and is brought to a detoxification clinic to recover. He and Brooke decide to try and work things out.

Shortly after New Years, Irvel Dies suddenly

I think this book and Reunion were my favorites out of this series. Again, I honestly don't have much to say, not because I hated this book, but because I LOVED this series!!! I don't even know where to begin

I finished it on 9/11/2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Return by Karen Kingsbury

I read these 3 books in 3 days. I am HOOKED on this series. I read so fast, I didn't have time to stop and do my reviews like I normally do. I will do these entries a little different and just mention the highlights of the book.

Regan discovers she's pregnant with Luke's child. She decides not to tell Luke. Landon later finds her, and tells Ashley. Regan begs them not to tell Luke. Ashley later tells Luke and Luke moves to New York to be with Regan and baby. He also makes up with his family and realizes who he really is and important faith and his religion really are to him.

Kari and Ryan announce they are getting married. Regan and the baby show up at the wedding and the family is reunited with Regan and they meet their little nephew/grandson for the first time.

Ashley is still working at Sunset Hills adult home. She is the manager there and is very close with all the residents there. For the very first time, Cole tells Ashley that their family thinks her artwork belongs in a musuem. This means more to Ashley than any of them will ever know. She decides to call around to some art galleries in New York, One gallery asks her to email them some pictures of her art work. The gallery likes her work so much, the invite her to come to the gallery and bring 3 pieces with her. Ashley is beyond thrilled. Ashley goes to the gallery for her meeting and finds out they want to price her paintings at Three thousand dollars each.

Then Ashley gets this call from Paris on the way to the airport. She decides it's nothing important and dismisses it. She didn't think of it until a week later when her dad visited the adult home, and asked her about it. She replied that she figured it was a mistake. Several days later she gets another call from Paris, this time from a man at the gallery where she used to work. Ashley finds out the guy she was with in Paris, and who's Cole's father, is dying of AIDS.
Ashley gets tested right away and the test comes back positive. A few days later, when Ashley is getting ready to board a plane to New York, she gets a call about the test results.

Landon asks Ashley to marry him, but Ashley says no because he deserves someone healthy and someone who can give him a beautiful family. Landon doesn't care about any of that. He wants HER!!

Brooke's daughter Maddie continue's to get horrible fevers. This time she has a temperature of 103. Peter resents Brooke because she didn't take Maddie's temperature, and he feels she should've. Brooke finds out that Peter made an appointment with a specialist without talking to her first, and is hurt. Dr. Ruiz decides to admit her for a few days to get some antibiotics into her system and to rule out infection. Tests indicate that the problem is with an anomaly in the bladder, and it doesn't drain properly. Maddie can have laser surgery to correct this problem.

I really enjoyed this book. I don't know what else to say. I loved all the characters, loved the sense of family and loyalty to one another. I liked different things about each character so I really don't have a favorite. I think the one I most identify with though is Ashley.

Finished 9/10/08

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery

28 year old Claire is a famous Piano Player who was sent away when she was 6 years old. She has a twin sister Nicole, who runs the family's bakery, and they have a younger sister, Jessie. Nicole is sick and Jessie asks Claire to come back and take care of Nicole, much to Nicole's Dismay. Nicole always resented the fact that Claire went away and she thinks Claire took their mother away from her. Nicole also thinks Claire is the reason their mom is dead. As time goes on, Claire and Nicole make amends and bridge the distance between them, and become friends. Meanwhile, Nicole catches Jessie in bed with her husband, and after, catches Nicole selling cakes using their cake recipe from their bakery online. Nicole says she never wants to speak to Jessie again.

Claire hasn't done a performance since her last show ended with her having a panic attack. She's almost afraid to do another show, but she really misses playing. While visiting Nicole, she starts playing again, learns how to cope with her anxiety.

Also while she's visiting, she falls in love with Wyatt, the stepbrother of Nicole's husband, Drew. Wyatt has a daughter named Amy, who's deaf, and she becomes great friends with Claire. It takes Wyatt a long time to admit his attraction to Claire, especially since Amy's mom, Shanna left him. He's not sure he can trust another woman not to hurt him again. Also they sleep together, and do not use protection, and Wyatt doesn't learn until later that Claire is a Virgin. Claire ends up pregnant, much to her delight, and much to Wyatt's dismay.

After Claire goes back to New York, Wyatt finally realizes how he really feels about her. Claire is performing at a concert, which Wyatt attends. He tells Claire that he's willing to move to New York so Claire doesn't have to give up her career. Claire tells him she wants to move back to Seattle to be with him and Amy.

Claire also stands up to her Manager, Lisa. Lisa has realized that Claire is not a child anymore and deserves to have control over her life and when and where she performs. Lisa also realizes that she wants to start her own life and do some things she missed out on.

~~~~~~~MY THOUGHTS~~~~~~~~~~

I really felt for Claire, she was blamed/resented for a lot of things that were really beyond her control. I couldn't imagine being taken away from my home and the only family I've known at just 6 years old. I thought Nicole was a snot at first, but I did come to like her and see things from her perspective toward the end. I could see why she felt the way she did, but that doesn't excuse some of the things she said. Now, Jessie...I'm not so sure. She was obviously pushed aside so it's really no wonder she is the way she is. It seemed like maybe there was more to the whole "sleeping with Drew" story but she was never able to speak for herself.

This was my first Susan Mallery book and it won't be my last!!!

Finished: 9/8/08

Reading Next: Return by Karen Kingsbury

Friday, September 5, 2008

8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber

# of book read so far this year: 47

Title: 8 Sandpiper Way

Author: Debbie Macomber

Date Finished: 9/3/2008

Genre: Romance

# of pages: 371

Series: Cedar Cove Series
blurb: Pastor Dave Flemming's Wife thinks he's cheating on her when she finds a pair of diamond earrings in his coat pocket. He had been visiting Martha regularly when she passed away. She told him she wanted him to have her watch, but there is no paperwork to prove it. Then, Martha's daughters report some jewelry missing. Sheriff Troy Davis and Detective Roy McAfee some investigating and find the missing jewelry. Olivia is dealing with her Breast Cancer, and is getting ready to start Chemotherapy. Terri Polgar is expecting Triplets!!! Troy's old girlfriend, Faith, is back in town. I think they're both still attracted to each other, but neither wants to admit. Megan really likes Faith and thinks they should start Dating. Little does Megan know, she's part of the reason they broke up before. Tanni and Shaw find a skeleton in this cave that they found. Around the same time James, Bobby Polgar's Driver went missing, after the truth about his identity and real name, were revealed in a newspaper article. I think the skeleton in the cave is James and that he committed suicide.
personal thoughts/opinions: I liked this book a lot better than the last book in the series. I didn't like some of the characters though. My least favorite were Linnette McAfee, and Christie, Terri's Sister.
What did you like best about the book? getting to hear about all the characters again. I also thought it was clever how she connected this series with the Dakota Series....Linnette is Living in Buffalo Valley, which is where those books are set. Debbie even mentioned some of the characters in that series, like Hassie Knight and a couple others.
What didn’t you like about the book? The characters I mentioned above.
why you read it? I've read ALL the books in this series and I'm eagerly awaiting the next one! This time I only have to wait 2 months for the Christmas In Cedar Cove to be released!! I can't wait!!!
Was this book recommended to you or did you find it on your own? I had found this series on my own a long time ago when I was looking on amazon for books. I used to look at that website all the time and find books that I had read, and then go to the "people who liked this book also liked" section. Thats how I originally found out about the Cedar Cove Series. When I found the series, only the first 3 books had been written.
Would you recommend it to others? definitely!!
Do you want to read more books by this author? yes I sure will!!
Does it remind you of other books you’ve already read? not really
Did you find it hard to stay interested in this book? not at all....I just didn't have much time to read, so it took me a little longer to finish than I thought it would.
Was this book what you expected? yes
What book are you planning to read next? I'm currently reading Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery.

Remember by Karen Kingsbury

# of book read so far this year: 46
Title: Remember
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Date Finished: 8/23/2008
Genre: Christian Fiction
# of pages: 401
Series: Redemption Series (Baxter 1)
blurb: This book takes place around the time of 9/11. Landon, who has loved Ashley since childhood, goes to New York, to help in the rescue and cleanup of 9/11 in order to try and find his good friend Jalen. Ashley gets a job in a group home for people with Alzheimer's and also finally is able to talk about what happened to her when she was in Paris. Luke's girlfriend, Regan's Father, worked in the Twin Towers, and was never found after 9/11. After that, Regan refused to take Luke's calls and their relationship ended. This caused Luke to question his beliefs in God. The pain that both Luke and Ashley are going through brings them closer together, than they have been in several years.
personal thoughts/opinions: I can still identify with Ashley. I really enjoyed this book, and can't wait to start the next book in the series. I like how each book in this series builds one the previous book.
What did you like best about the book? the flow of the story, the writer made me feel like I knew the characters so well, I could've been living in the Baxter home.
What didn’t you like about the book?
why you read it? I am trying to read all of Karen Kingsbury's books. I had started this series and really enjoyed the first two books, I want to go ahead and finish the last 3 in the series as well, and move on to the next series about this family!!
Was this book recommended to you or did you find it on your own? I found it on my own when I was looking at Karen Kingsbury's book list on her website. It has also been discussed in a couple of my reading groups.
Would you recommend it to others? definitely!
Do you want to read more books by this author? definitely!! I plan to read all her books!!
Does it remind you of other books you’ve already read? Somewhat of the Cape Light series....I think the gentle tones of the storylines, if that makes sense, and also the characters. Perhaps because it's set in a small town, and it's has more of a religious feel to it.
Did you find it hard to stay interested in this book? not at all!!! In fact I'm thinking I'll put my current book I'm reading aside to start the next one
Was this book what you expected? yes
What book are you planning to read next? Well since reading this, I've read 8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber and I'm now reading Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery.