Jun 14, 2010

Book Review: Rebound by Heather Justesen

Genre:  LDS Fiction
Publication Date:  June 2010

First Sentence(s):  John tuned out the babbling of the other  realtors from outside his office door and focused on the computer screen.  If things went well that evening, he'd have to buy himself a celebratory present.

About the book:

Lily's life is perfect--a perfect lie.

With a successful husband, a gorgeous home, and a growing family, Lily Drake has it all. But when the FBI shows up, she realizes her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Meanwhile, Lily's friend Curtis is about to be drafted by the NBA, but he suddenly feels pulled to find his birth family, and no one is prepared for what he'll discover. With so many obstacles in their way, Lily and Curtis must learn to rely on each other if they're ever going to find peace and learn to love again.

In this heartwarming family drama, Heather Justesen, author of The Ball's in Her Court, weaves a stirring story of hope. Reunite with your favorite characters and discover how determination, love, and faith can overcome even the toughest trials.

My opinion:

Rebound is Heather Justesen's second novel, and it's even better than her first.  Although it's not a sequel to The Ball's in Her Court, it does include some of the same characters. I was riveted from the first page as I traveled along the emotional roller coaster with Lily, the main character.  It's the story of a woman who learns a disturbing secret her husband has been keeping from her.  As the lies continue to add up, she finds herself pregnant and alone.

Through the support of loving family and friends, and sheer determination, Lily is able to find her way to happiness.  Also woven throughout Rebound is the story of  Lily's friend, Curtis.  He feels pulled to find his birth family, and no one is prepared for what he discovers.  Despite all the obstacles in their way, Lily and Curtis learn to rely on each other, and eventually learn to love again.

Heather has a unique voice and always includes clean but touching love scenes and humor throughout her books.  You will go from laughing to crying and back again.  I loved this story, and highly recommend it.

To learn more about the author and her upcoming projects, visit her blog and website.  She is also holding a fun giveaway on her blog with lots of great prizes from June 21-25.  Be sure to check it out!

Rebound can be purchased on Amazon, at Costco, and local bookstores.

Jun 2, 2010

Kisses for Amy

Blogging has changed my life.  I have met so many amazing men and women who share their lives through their blog.  Today my heart was touched by Amy Jackson.

This is Amy, a 36 year old mother of six.

On April 15th, 2010, she was diagnosed with a rare and terminal cancer: Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.  Without treatment, she was given 1-3 weeks to live. 

Visit this amazing woman's blog, Kisses for Amy, to read about her journey as she makes preparations to leave this earth and her family for a season.  Surrounded by her family and friends, she is determined to face her future with faith, hope, courage and love.

She has shared some inspiring words of wisdom that are even more poignant coming from someone with her perspective.
"As I sit here in the early morning hours, I think of all the little things that I may have always taken for granted. These are things you never recognize until you come to the realization that the day may come soon that those little things may no longer be available to you to be a part of. This morning I spent almost an hour brushing and styling Lindsey's hair. I am sure that she probably hated almost every minute of it and the poor things hair really wasn't that fancy of a do, for having spent an hour being tortured. What she may never realize is how important that hour was to me and how much I appreciated being able to do that. It is incredible to me how important such a little task seems to me now as I am faced with the thoughts that I will not be here to do such simple tasks for my children in the future."  ~Amy

You can learn more about this amazing family at Kisses for Amy.  They were also featured on KSL television this week.

When I learn about trials like these, I'm so grateful for an eternal perspective.  It is such a blessing.

Jun 1, 2010

Book Review: Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis

Genre:  Women's Fiction
Publication Date:  April 2010
Author's Website:  www.laurielclewis.com
First Sentence:  Everyone knew it was inevitable--everyone but Avery Elkins Thompson herself.

After reading the Free Men and Dreamers historical fiction series by Laurie (L.C.) Lewis, I was excited to read Awakening Avery, her latest novel. I was engaged in the story from the opening scene where Avery, the main character, takes out her anger over her husband’s death on anything she can find, including a television and VCR.  I immediately wanted to know more about the kind of relationship that would make her feel so passionate and out of control.

About the book:
"You're depressed," the doctor declared.

"Ya think?" is author Avery Elkins Thompson's sarcastic response to the astute diagnosis for the malaise that set in following her husband's untimely death. Avery's carefully controlled world is imploding, and her adult children fear they are losing her too.

"You're just a shadow of the person you used to be...We'd gladly give you up for a while if it meant getting you back."

Avery can't write, and questions about their father's death leave the family mired in pain. "We need a healing place," her oldest son tells her, suggesting she find it on Anna Maria Island, Florida, a former family vacation spot.

When Avery returns to Baltimore to sell the family's waterfront condo, she meets rodeo-ers-turned-real-estate-brokers Teddie and Rider Davis, and Avery's quiet life will never be the same again.

The Davises help arrange a short-term house swap with widower Gabriel Carson from Anna Maria, whose overprotective parenting has resulted in two self-centered, twenty-something daughters. Avery and Gabriel are in for the summer of their lives as they step into one another's messy, complicated worlds.

Still, venturing out on her own again is challenging for Avery, whose experiences at the Ringling's magnificent Ca d'Zan mansion, and with the quirky characters she meets there, eventually awaken her to truths she has long forgotten - that as crazy as life can be, it is possible to laugh and love again.
My opinion:
Lewis has created authentic characters with distinct personalities. I identified with the emotions of each of her children as they struggled with their own feelings about their father’s untimely death, as well as how to support and love their mother through something so difficult.

The pacing of the story was well done. Avery’s journey to rediscover herself was present, but never felt rushed or as though something magical was sweeping her very real problems away. I’m not sure if the author has experienced the death of a closed loved one, but she portrayed the feelings of such a heartbreaking event perfectly.

Awakening Avery is a thought provoking book that will tug at your heartstrings. It is a novel unlike any other I’ve read, and I highly recommend it.
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