Take a Chance on Me

take-a-chance-on-me

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook
Paperback $10.20
Hardback $34.95
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9781414378411
9781611737813 — Library binding
9781414386010

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

This book is a 4Q because while it is very well written, there are times where the religious aspects can seem a little forced.

I found this book to be quite enjoyable, and appealing despite my non-religious self. I think it has some great crossover potential but that it won’t appeal to everyone which is why its a 4P.

Readers Annotation

After a tragic accident, can forgiveness be found? Can God be accepted?

Summary

The story of four people who have had trials in their lives and must find a way to forgive and find God.

Ivy Madison just moved to Deep Haven to be the assistant county attorney. She lost her faith in God in her childhood as she bounced around the foster system after her mother lost custody of her at 9. She has wanted to live in Deep Haven for a long time. She buys Darek Christiansan in a charity auction and he is quite rude to her. She sees a different side of him when he’s with his son. The two gradually get closer and Ivy starts to feel part of his family. However, she has a secret: she helped find the defense for Darek’s wife’s killer.

Darek has lived in Deep Haven all his life. He is a widower who lost his wife Felicity 3 years ago to a car accident, cause by his best friend Jensen. He has given up his dream of being a fire fighting hot shot and helps run the family resort. He is devoted to his son. As he and Ivy get closer, his wife’s mother keeps trying to take his son away. He lost his relationship with God when he lost his wife.

Jensen has been repenting ever since the accident. He has served nearly 3000 community service hours in the last three years as part of his sentence. However, he might just come up short and be sent to jail. He believes that God doesn’t forgive, and neither do the townspeople. He longs to be with Claire, Felicity’s best friend.

Claire is struggling with what she wants in life and with her relationship with God. She knows she doesn’t want to leave Deep Haven and she doesn’t know if she can forgive Jensen.

The story culminates with a wildfire threatening the town and the police seasing Darek’s son Tiger.

Evaluation

I really liked this book. It was a really lovely story about forgiveness, finding God and finding love. Yes it was a little cliche plot-wise, but it was well executed. I thought the characters were well rounded, though I personally could not understand how they all ended up accepting God back into their lives. The setting was very vivid, it really captured small town life and politics and the tightrope of working in the public service in a small town. I did have some tears when everything inevitably all worked out because I really wanted things to work out for the characters, they deserved to be happy and move on. Its great for the intended audience. I think they’re really appreciate reading about people struggling with their faith and finding God again. And it had two really nice romances. I think a flaw of the book is how easily the characters accepted God back into their lives, but that might just be personal bias.

Genre

Christian Romance

Readalikes

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

A New Leaf by Thomas Kinkade

Significance

I think the significance of this book is down to the rediscovery of faith.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Was the story believable?

What did you think of Nan and her relationship with Darek?

Discussion of finding God.

Author’s website

Susan May Warren

Awards

Christy Awards: Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas

Reviews

 

Why I Chose It

This was a book recommended to me by a librarian. I chose it because it sounded like an interesting book with a unique problem to be solved.

Other Information

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Danger in the Shadows

 

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $238.91
Paperback $9.09
Hardback $4.30
Kindle $8.50
Associated ISBNs 9781576735770
9781576739273 — Paperback
9781414310558 — Paperback
9780786263127 — Hardcover
9781594150333 — Paperback
9781414354781
9781448796670 — Prebind
9781590522479 — Paperback
9781414354743

Rating (VOYA)

2Q, 3P

Ok, this isn’t a really great plot. The idea is solid, but the way it was done wasn’t good. The characters were ok, but used God as a justification way too much.

Its a realtively harmless Christian Romance Thriller and might go over well with some people.

Readers Annotation

She’s hiding, but God and a good man can save her.

Summary

Sarah was abducted as a child along with her twin sister. They are daughters of an ambassador. Her sister died in the basement they were held in. The man who abducted her has been looking for her ever since and sends her father momentos, keeping her in fear and protective custody.

Now Sarah hides her identity and works in a high rise in Chicago. Late one night she takes the elevator in a storm and becomes trapped with the power goes out with former NFL player Adam Black. She has panic attack and has flashbacks in the dark enclosed space. Adam is concerned for her. After they’re freed, they have coffee together across the street. Sarah leaves, and Adam is intrigued by her.

Adam leaves notes and presents on her car, and when she keeps saying ‘no,’ sends his assistant to find her name and where she works, so the man follows her. Sarah presses a panic button and the FBI take him in for questioning. Adam gets dragged in, and learns the situation. He is undaunted, he needs to know Sarah. She invites him to dinner to explain and make a clean break.

The two connect, and Adam lets her have space while he makes friends with her brother in order to see her again. Two weeks later they reconnect. After a few dates, the two go to one of Adam’s nephew’s baseball games and a local student journalist takes a picture of the two. Then Sarah’s stalker sends her father a momento. Sarah and Adam are put in protective custody.

After a month apart, they meet up again at her safe house. Sarah decides enough is enough and decides to track down her stalker. Both her brother and Adam disapprove. They move Sarah back to her childhood home, and the stalker breaks in. They finally break the case open and arrest the man. He breaks out of custody and comes after Sarah. Sarah’s brother takes him out.

Sarah and Adam get married in the little epilogue.

Evaluation

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. I like the idea of it. And I think it could have been a really great book, however the author made some really bad choices. She had Adam pretty much stalk Sarah even though she has a stalker she’s deadly afraid of, and there weren’t any negative feelings for Adam from Sarah because of this. She should have been terrified of him. Sarah said ‘no,’ to him very clearly at least three times, and he did not take that as an answer, even going so far as to forge a relationship with her brother in order to worm his way into her life (and her brother was ok with this! He’s an FBI agent, he should have been all “no”). Also, Sarah doesn’t want to have children because of what happened to her. Adam wants a family. He was willing to give up that dream in order to be with her when he thought that she couldn’t have children, but when he learns that she can, but won’t he thinks that he can convince her that she really does want to have children and plans to manipulate her to do what he wants. Their entire romance is unbelievable. Adam constantly uses God as an excuse for what he does “God how can I get her to see? God how can I get her to do this?”

All that being said, if you can ignore the general creepy/manipulative vibe of Adam, its not a bad story. Its pretty compelling, and you want Sarah to be able to move on with her life and heal. I really felt for Sarah, and I liked her brother as well.

The settings were pretty forgetable. They weren’t really important to the story other than the childhood estate and the basement where Sarah was held.

I think it might work for the audience. It really depends on how they interpret Adam’s character.

Genre

Christian Fiction, Christian romantic suspense

Readalikes

Private Justice by Terri Blackstock

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White

Significance

Its a suspense book, but a Christian suspense book. It won a RITA.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think about Adam’s actions concerning Sarah?

Did you find Sarah’s situation believeable?

Discuss how belief worked in the story.

Author’s website

Dee Henderson

Awards

RITA Award for Inspirational Romance

Reviews

Goodreads

Amazon (LJ)

Why I Chose It

I chose this because it is a Christian Fiction book. It also had an intriguing blurb on the back that drew my attention. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

Other Information

Death Comes for the Archbishop

Bibliographic Information 

Paperback: 297 pages, Published by Vintage (1990), $7.91

Hardcover: 336 pages, Everyman’s Library (1992), $12.39

Kindle: $2.99

9780803214293
9780679728894 — Paperback
9780679600503 — Hardcover
9780940450523 — Hardcover
9781844083725 — Paperback
9780679413196 — Hardcover
9780808576372
9781742445335 — Paperback
9780783896342 — Hardcover
9780606015516 — Glued Binding
9780899669786 — Hardcover
9780812493528 — Glued Binding
9781417904235 — Paperback
9780679422532 — Hardcover
9781449530426 — Paperback
9780394421544 — Hardcover
9781501033247 — Paperback
9780307805225
9781427073952 — Paperback
9781427073945 — Paperback
9781427073969 — Paperback
9781536807936 — Paperback
9781486434305
9781783947720
9780848804480 — Hardcover
9781427073938 — Paperback
9781427073921 — Paperback
9781427073976 — Paperback
9781427074478 — Paperback
9781427073983 — Paperback
9780553064162 — Paperback
9780896215061 — Hardcover

Rating (VOYA)

I’m giving this book a 5Q for Quality. This book is incredibly well written. Its stark style and narative echo its theme. There isn’t really a flaw in the way its written.

I give this book a 3P for Popularity because this will be a hard book to sell, but could appeal to readers. This book is a niche book that will appeal to Christian readers and Western readers, however, its stark style could be off putting.It would take some convincing, but I think readers might not regret the decision to pick it up.

Readers Annotation

A catholic bishop and priest come to the new territory New Mexico to establish a new diocese.

Summary

French Bishop Jean Marie Latour and vicar Joseph Vaillant are assigned to the new territory of New Mexico to establish a new diocese for the Roman Catholic Church and straighten out the existing priests. The story encompasses many different points in their lives, but does not dwell for long on any time.

The Bishop travels alone to the new territory but gets lost in the desert. He stumbles upon a town, where the villagers help him recover before pointing him in the direction of  Sante Fe. Once he reaches Sante Fe the priest there does not recognize him as his Bishop. This forces the Bishop to travel to Mexico to get his papers.

Once he returns to Sante Fe, his vicar has already arrived and started to make connections to the people of the town. They start to weed out the priests who are not following the guidelines of their faith or who are taking advantage of their people.

The two travel over the land covered in the territory and start to establish a diocese. The vicar Vaillant spends some time in Albuquerque taming the people there.

They save a woman from her husband who has murdered several travelers who have stayed in his home and has beaten his wife. They work to save another woman’s inheritance from being stolen by her husband’s brothers by convincing her to state her true age to the court. Vicar Vaillant is sent to Colorado and fund-raises money to get supplies for the trip.

The Vicar eventually becomes a Bishop himself, but ends up collecting a lot of debt and is called to Rome to answer for it before his death. The Bishop dies in his room at the church he built.

Evaluation

I don’t have many thoughts on this book. This sentiment comes from a combination of lack of connection, stark writing, and a head cold. There was no action, or real interest in the story. There is an emptiness to the story, a calmness. There are no real conflicts (other than the dispute over an inheritance and two priests who break away from the church). There wasn’t much of a plot other than the Bishop establishing and building his diocese.

The two main characters the Bishop and the Vicar are quite three dimensional. We get most of the story through the Bishop’s point of view, and he is a logical and calm man. He knows what he needs to do, and while he’s not the best with people or fund-raising, his Vicar is his foil. The Vicar is loud and passionate and is not afraid to ask for money. They are good friends and work well together. The few other characters we see don’t have much depth, but their actions are well founded in their circumstances.

The setting is the star of this story. Early New Mexico is barren and at times harsh. Cather’s writing helps to establish the feel of the setting and her descriptions bring it to life.

Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the book. I loved the sense of calm I had while reading it, but there wasn’t much to it (which was probably the point) I also didn’t enjoy the overt Catholicism.

I think this would work for Christian readers of the Catholic variety and certain Western readers. This book has a totally different appeal and feel than most of both of those genres. However, it would be a good experience to try. Historical readers might enjoy the insight into early New Mexico.

I’d say a flaw of this book is the lack of action, but that is probably the point of the book. In some ways I feel like it skipped over all the interesting parts. How did the Bishop get the money to build his church? How did it get built? How did the Bishop deal with the fracture in his church when the two Mexican priests split with the diocese? What was the Vicars life like in Colorado other than “hard?” But while I have all these questions about what I perceive as interesting points in the story that were almost entirely skipped, that might just be the point of the book.

Another title might be “The Bishop of New Mexico” since his death is merely the end of the book.

Genre

Christian Historical Fiction

Significance

A unique look at a unique situation in a historical setting. What really sets is apart is the barren and simple style it is written in.

Readalikes

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

The Brethern  by Beverly Lewis

Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Talk about the writing style: significance, good for story?

Should Bishop Latour have kept bringing in French priests to his diocese?

Are the portrayals of the people the Bishop and Vicar encounter accurate?

Author’s website

http://cather.unl.edu/  – The Willa Cather Archive

Awards

Must Read in Genreflecting.

Time’s All Time 100 Novels 1923-2005 

#61 The Modern Library Board’s list of 100 Best Novels

Reviews

Amazon

Booklist

Why I Chose It

I chose this book because it was a Christian Fiction book, a Western and Historical at the same time. It was also a Must Read in Genreflecting which seemed like a good idea to read.

Other Information