The Matchmakers by Janette Oke

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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.
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Four Silver Stars

The MatchmakersThe Matchmakers by Janette Oke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Since the early passing of her husband, Cynthia has been grateful for her father’s help with her two young sons. Now Cynthia wants a bit more space to get on with her life, but she’s worried about her father being all alone. Her best friend Judith is rather sure that setting Cynthia’s father up with a nice, older widow would be just the ticket in The Matchmakers by author Janette Oke.

This author has been one of my all-time favorites for years, with her simple and touching stories, so I always knew I’d get around to reading this tale from the 90s eventually. What a light, cozy little story it is–and I mean that literally, with its fun and heartwarming plot and the lovely illustrations in the hardback I picked up. Not to sound corny, but this is a bona fide “curl up on the couch with a warm cup of coffee” kind of read.

Or a warm cup of cocoa. I personally don’t drink coffee.

I got a little annoyed at some of the unnamed characters, and even at Judith at one point, for the attitude they’d take about Cynthia’s situation. “I have a family,” Judith reminds Cynthia once, as if Cynthia doesn’t know that–and as if Cynthia doesn’t have a family herself. (No, she doesn’t have a husband anymore. But she does have a family.) And I’m not sure how well a “leave it all in God’s hands and don’t manipulate” frame of mind works in a matchmaking story. If you’re purposely finding ways to leave two people alone in each other’s company, you’re still manipulating the situation.

But, anyhow. I enjoyed this easy and delightful read–predictable, but then, not quite as predictable as I thought it would be.

The Davidson Case by Julie C. Gilbert

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.
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Four Silver Stars

The Davidson Case by Julie C. Gilbert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Joy Davidson is just trying to do her job at an animal clinic when she uncovers evidence of a treacherous conspiracy. Her discovery makes her a threat to the operation and a target for the conspirators. The fact that Special Agent Ann Duncan is Joy’s sister may keep Joy safe or put her in more danger in The Davidson Case by author Julie C. Gilbert.

I jumped into this third book of the Heartfelt Cases series after having liked the first two books. I found this one somewhat more difficult to follow than its predecessors, as a few parts seemed disjointed, and I had some trouble keeping track of all the different criminals’ names, associations, and motives.

Still, I enjoyed Ann and Patrick’s “married people” banter and how they encourage each other in their faith and work as a team in precarious situations. Once the action really picked up, it kept me engrossed and guessing—albeit there wasn’t really a whole lot of time for guessing, since sharp turns I didn’t see coming, came. And they came in thrilling fashion.

While the first three books in the series have each given me a rather short and sweet “primetime crime drama” fix, the next book may be more of a movie than a television episode.

Bring it.

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Here’s my review of the first book in the Heartfelt Cases series, The Collins Case.

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Remember Typhon by Kimberly A. Rogers

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.
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Remember Typhon by Kimberly A. Rogers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

The presence of communications expert Zenia (and her cat) on the Starstream aggravates Commander Gavril to no end. But when Zenia hears a distress call from the planet Typhon, Gavril has no choice but to take her along on the rescue mission. Gavril may—or may not—live to regret that fact in Remember Typhon, a short story by author Kimberly A. Rogers.

And here I am, branching into science fiction a tad.

That is, I’m not wholly unfamiliar with sci-fi. As a cinephile, I’m a fan of the original Planet of the Apes pentalogy (Escape from the Planet of the Apes is my favorite.) And I watched a good deal of Star Trek in past years (of which Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite, despite some Trekkie’s understandable opinion that DS9 isn’t as Star Trekkish as the other Star Treks.)

But as a bibliophile, I haven’t read much sci-fi at all, and I’d say this story gave me a good means to stretch my reading wings. I was sure that I wouldn’t quite grasp everything, but the story didn’t pile on so much unexplained, unfamiliar stuff as to lose me. The main thread of this short tale is complete, though it’s pretty clear that it’s a setup for more adventures to come. And I couldn’t help but to smile a little whenever Zenia would “thank Yisus.” (Heeheehee, I see you, Zenia.)

I’ll be on the lookout for whatever adventures this one is a setup for.

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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. Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Grace had begun losing hope of ever getting married. But when she’s handed the task of corresponding with the new, young, unmarried minister who’ll soon be coming to town, Grace’s hopes rise. Meanwhile, Theophil is running to escape the vengeance of his outlaw cousins, and he might find safety and acceptance in Grace’s town—if he can manage to con all the townsfolk in Grace and the Preacher, a novel by author Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Overall, Theo’s point of view was my favorite. His inward debates, rationalizations, and realizations make up some of the most interesting parts. And I particularly liked one older character’s message to Grace, about how one shouldn’t try to force the wrong plans to work just because one feels desperate.

Though I wouldn’t exactly say the story drags, it does essentially amble or “take the long way around” in places. I felt like some portions could have been clipped without ruining the story. I didn’t make much of an emotional connection with the characters, and the central romance fell pretty flat to me. While I do appreciate sweetness in romances, this one gave me something of an “adolescent crush” impression. The hero being tongue-tied, anxious, and childlike, he and the heroine peeking at each other, smiling, then ducking their heads.

Still, this novel is much of what I thought it would be when I picked it up: a warm, positive story with main characters who’ve all got some discoveries to make. Many fans of easy reads of love and faith should enjoy this tale.