Juliette and the Monday ManDates by Becky Doughty

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Juliette and the Monday ManDatesJuliette and the Monday ManDates by Becky Doughty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

I had my share of giggles while reading Juliette and the Monday ManDates. Juliette is a quirky character, and her G-FOURce meetings with her sisters have familial elements that I, considering myself and my own siblings, fully understand. I mean, a group of four grown women, all saying “Oogy-boogy” to one another to confirm their agreement on a motion? What? I love it!

Along with the protagonist’s quirkiness and the humor of her blind ManDates on Mondays comes Becky Doughty’s knack for dealing with grave issues that real people have to face, when there aren’t quick fixes for heartbreak or disappointments.

As the book has such a catchy and singular title, I was surprised that the title’s theme lasted for maybe a little less than half the novel, the rather early switch away from the theme giving the plot a “wandering” feel in the middle that put a hitch in my interest. Also, Juliette’s thoughts on desired romance seem rather one-dimensional, mostly about what she wants a mate to be and to do on her behalf and not much about what she wants to be and to do on her mate’s behalf. Granted, in light of the particular biblical metaphor centrally used in this story, growing Juliette from her place of need to a place of readiness to give more in a romantic relationship may not be this book’s aim.

The message of forgiveness that shines through is a timely one, and women who are well-acquainted with their own quirks can get a kick out of this novel.

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Juliette and the Monday ManDates is Book One in the upcoming Gustafson Girls series.

Winners: Christian Fiction Diversity Giveaway

Giveaway Winners

A big “Thank You” to the entrants of the Christian Fiction Diversity giveaway last week.

I’m happy to announce that Molly and Teresa won ebook copies of my epic fiction novella series, The Movement of Crowns. Congratulations!

The Movement of Crowns Series

The Preacher’s Wife by Brandi Boddie

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. The Booketeria provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
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The Preacher's WifeThe Preacher’s Wife by Brandi Boddie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

I liked The Preacher’s Wife from its beginning, finding it to be an easy story to get into.

Author Brandi Boddie brings out a well-crafted heroine in Marissa Pierce, a woman with dangerous challenges to face, painful memories, but also a backbone. She’s got an intelligent head on her shoulders and says what she thinks without the haughty attitude or acidic tongue that strong female characters can resort to. Facing a small town that views her as a prostitute, an abusive boss who’s constantly after her, and an uncertain future, Marissa gives a human picture of what it’s like not to be a weakling but to still come to the place of admitting one’s weakness and reaching out for help.

I appreciated the humanness of Rowe Winford as well, that being a man determined to follow his calling from God doesn’t make him a man out of touch with society or his own passions, with “perfect” answers for everything.

However, Rowe’s character does fall apart a little to me in his timing, the timing he chooses for romantically pursuing Marissa. It seems strange that a reverend would so readily and openly court a woman who would admit she doesn’t share his faith and would say out of her own mouth, “We’d be unequally yoked.” It’s also strange that, if leading people to Christ is a major priority of Rowe’s, he would have no response when someone finally confesses to him, “I gave my life to Christ,” that Rowe wouldn’t smile, thank God, or even say anything about the confession, instead dwelling on thoughts about a town crook who’s been thrown in jail.

Yet, the author wraps up a good story with a nice lead-in for the next novel in the series, A Windswept Promise, which I plan on reading when it releases.

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A Windswept Promise, second in the Brides of Assurance series.

Windswept Promise (Brides of Assurance #2)

Crooked Lines by Holly Michael

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Crooked LinesCrooked Lines by Holly Michael

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

While book covers may or may not immediately catch my attention, they’re rarely what persuade me to read a book. However, running across the beautiful image of the Taj Mahal against a blue sky set over sunset-hued water is what made me want to read Crooked Lines.

I liked seeing the parallels between Rebecca’s and Sagai’s lives in different worlds, and I enjoyed the story of Sagai’s challenging journey to priesthood the most. I could have been watching a documentary about him or could’ve been right there with him, traveling through India via author Holly Michael’s thoughtful descriptions of people and places Rebecca dreamed of encountering in person one day. Sagai was rather endearing, with his big heart and naïveté, but his character came the most alive to me when his anger surfaced on account of injustice, rounding out his humanness, raising the difficult question of how he would choose to proceed in his love and service for God as his naïveté passed away.

Rebecca’s story was sometimes hard for me to get through, as the layering of her misfortunes, mistakes, and depressing thoughts following her baby sister’s tragic death made me long for more sparks of light–if even whimsical or lighthearted light–to break up some of the thickening darkness. Even with Sagai’s challenges, his love and enduring sense of purpose gave returning to India a relieving effect in a number of the chapters.

The reading got a little bumpy at points, sometimes in conversations where it wasn’t clear which character was speaking or to whom, when questions would end with periods instead of question marks, and other minor editing errors.

Yet, the message of hope, the hope of something straight and divine eventually coming through all of the crooked lines, held its own. Though the end of the story could be seen from the beginning, it was still satisfying when it came.