"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Horse in the Wilderness, by Debbie Eckles

Horse in the Wilderness, by Debbie Eckles, is a story about a man named Brent who moves to a small mountain town in order to reinvent himself after his wife's unfaithfulness and subsequent death.  While there, he meets Autumn, a woman who loves horses almost as much as she loves God.  The two find a common bond over music, and Brent slowly starts to realize that God has not abandoned him as he once thought.

The book was tough for me at the beginning.  A lot of characters are introduced all at once.  While I think this is meant to convey Brent's confusion upon moving to a new town, it's also very difficult for the reader to keep track of so many characters.  I admit that I put the book aside for a time because I couldn't get into the story.

However, after I'd been away from it for a while, I found myself wanting to return to find out what happens to Brent.  A book like this is more about the journey than it is about the ending, and Brent's character development was quite compelling.

There is a lot of detail in the book.  I will say that it helps to have working relationship with both horses and music to understand a few scenes.  That's a check on both counts for me, which made the book more interesting to me.  But it's not really necessary to have much knowledge of either to enjoy the book.  

The book is certainly much better than the usual fare that is found with self-published books.  I hope the author continues to write.  She's got talent.

On a side note, this book does deal with depression and suicide.  As always, I caution anyone who is struggling with either to please seek help.  And don't stop seeking that help until you get the medical treatment you need.  No matter how bad off you seem, there is treatment for you.  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255.

Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  

Three out of Five Stars

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Falling Like Snowflakes, by Denise Hunter

I think this is the first book in the romantic suspense genre that I've reviewed.  But I was in the mood for some chick lit this holiday season.  I'd read another of Denise Hunter's books, Barefoot Summer, and liked it well enough that I thought I'd give Falling Like Snowflakes a try.

This book was an absolute joy to read.  There're your basic romantic fiction staples - tough yet vulnerable woman who desperately needs help from a tough situation.  Single guy who also needs help that only the heroine can provide.  They get to know each other, a few obstacles get in the way, and I really don't think it's a spoiler to say that everything works out in the end.  

The thing is, Denise Hunter writes so beautifully that it's easy to actually care what happens to these characters.  Every character in the book is well developed, and I found that I very much enjoyed my time with them.  The three brothers - and this is part 1 of 3 books about these guys - are part of a close knit family that is still realistic in its squabbles.  Reading about this family reminded me of coming home.  And being that it's Christian, there's nothing in here that you couldn't read to your blind great-aunt.  (But Hunter does write one heck of a kiss, I must say!)

All in all, this was a very enjoyable read, the perfect distraction from holiday busy-ness.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Debbie Macomber type books.  It also has a few similarities to the movie Safe Haven.  

Four out of Five Stars

Disclaimer:  This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.