A Heads-Up: Book Awards for 2017

*AWARDS and GIVEAWAYS*
It’s that time of year again! Almost, that is. 🙂 The Annual Book Awards at Prismatic Prospects are coming! Awards will open with this year’s Christmas Book Picks, followed by the awards for Favorite Covers, and the Favorite Reads honors will come next.

The schedule for the book award announcements:

*Christmas Book Picks 2017: Friday, November 3rd*
Favorite Covers 2017: Monday, November 27th
Favorite Reads 2017: Friday, December 1st

There will be book giveaways for my blog readers and visitors to enter and a little gift for the winning authors. So be sure to save the dates and stop by for the fun!

 

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Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

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. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Upon the sudden death of her debt-riddled father, Aurelie is left with her father’s popular pen name, Nathaniel Droll, and the task of completing his serial novel about one Lady Jayne. But in order to finish the story, Aurelie will have to uncover the secrets concerning the vanished mother she never knew in Lady Jayne Disappears, a novel by author Joanna Davidson Politano.

Yes, I often dig stories about stories and storytelling, and a fair share of beautiful and writerly nuggets in this intricate and mysterious tale are right down my alley. The moments when Aurelie intentionally takes what’s happening in her soul and pours it out on paper were among the most vivid for me.

However, though I wouldn’t say the reading was ever altogether boring to me, it did wear on me. The story is dense, and while I found it interesting overall, I would have to wade through stretches that didn’t quite satisfy my attention. I was also pulled out of the historical period and location a number of times. With issues like “candy,” “typewriter,” and “adoring fan” references and moments when a character or two would seem like an American in a more modern period, the feel of Victorian England would be lost.

I related to Aurelie’s storyteller’s heart and could admire her compassion. I didn’t fully come to like her, though, as she’s a rather pathetic heroine. Not pathetic in the sense of being pitiful, exactly, but she’s often prone to defeat and despair, guilt and tears, feeling she’s failed and ruined things, time and again.

Still, the eventual unraveling of the mystery here is gratifying, and other ChristFic fans should find this novel worth a read.

 

Winner: Christmas Book Picks 2017 Giveaway

A big “Thank You” to everyone who entered the Christmas Book Picks 2017 giveaway!

I’m happy to announce that Susanne won the paperback copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep. Congratulations!

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Christmas Book Picks as well as a romantic comedy that ties right into the holidays: The “She” Stands Alone. It’s a part of a collection, Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads.

 

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

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. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

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

Frankly, Sarah’s become rich and famous (well, at least, she’s rich, her nom de plume is famous) for writing hot and heavy romance novels. But once she becomes a Christian, her career doesn’t really mesh with the person she wants to be. So what’s next?

I appreciate author Bethany Turner’s smart and humorous style in The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. Turner picks up on some of the little human complexities that not everyone can catch or put into words. Now, I’d never heard of maybe half the actors, movies, or what all else Sarah jokes about, so some of the humor was lost on me. But I can confirm that her references to The Sound of Music and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman are on point!

Still, it turns out that this novel’s plot isn’t what I thought I’d signed up for. Judging by the book blurb (yes, I did actually read the blurb this time!), I thought this novel would be a women’s fiction or chick lit read mostly focused on a new believer and her career, with a little romance on the side.

Almost sixty pages into it, there was no romantic hero in the picture at all, and romance novels tend not to take that long to introduce the romantic characters. So I was kind of disappointed when the focus did eventually switch to romance, with Sarah’s career slipping more to the side.

Besides, when a relationship keeps cycling back to sex (in cases like this, cycling back to “trying really hard not to have sex”), it bugs me. I think Sarah herself hits the nail on the head in her reference to Michaela and Sully on Dr. Quinn: “The waiting wasn’t preached to us.” That’s what made it all the more appealing.  I could explain everything I think about that, but then this wouldn’t be a book review anymore.

While I only got halfway through this novel before deciding not to continue, I enjoyed this author’s style enough to read her again sometime.

 

The Note (2007)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films 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 Note (2007) from Faith & Values Media
Not Rated. Drama, Christmas, Romance
My rating: ★★★1/2

Description (from the film case): Following a tragic plane crash, Peyton MacGruder [Genie Francis], a newspaper columnist, discovers a note written by one of the passengers on board during their final moments. She sets on a quest to find the person the note was intended for. As she searches to heal the heart of a stranger, she discovers the life that’s changed most profoundly is her own. Based on a novel by best-selling author Angela Hunt…

My thoughts: Yes, I’ve enjoyed books by Angela Hunt. No, I’ve not read the novel this movie is based on. Yes, I enjoyed the movie anyway.

This is some heartwarming stuff. I guess in the few years between the time I first saw it on television and the time I got the DVD, I forgot this is a Christmas flick. So I unintentionally treated myself to a little extra Christmas the second time around.

I’ve said it before: as a writer, I dig stories about writers. Now, there is some slowness to the pacing and a kind of flatness to some aspects. But the movie surely gets better as it goes along.

This one has now been added to my annual holiday movie queue. And although the following two movies aren’t Christmas ones (The Note II: Taking a Chance on Love and The Note III: Notes from the Heart Healer), they’re both good as well and are now also in my queue.

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