Friday, June 17, 2016

"Skip Rock Shallows" Review

About the Book: Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock—a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.

As Lilly becomes torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner—one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.
 
About the Author: Jan Watson won the 2004 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest for her first novel, Troublesome Creek. Her other awards include being named the best Kentucky author in 2012 by Kentucky Living magazine, a nomination for the Kentucky Literary Award in 2006 and second place in the 2006 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest sponsored by the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Jan has published six novels. As a registered nurse for 25 years at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, she incorporates her nursing experience in the hospital's mother/baby unit into her novels. Jan resides in Kentucky.
 
My Take:
 
When I first read the summary of this novel, it struck a chord with because it seemed to be similar to the famous Christy novel by Catherine Marshall. While Christy is the story of a young female teacher journeying to the mountains of Tennessee to educate the people there, Skip Rock Shallows is about a young female doctor going to a Kentucky coal mining town. Both of these women face opposition from the townsfolk – an outsider coming to their town to supposedly help them, and a female at that.
 

The issues and troubles that Lilly encounters in Skip Rock Shallows keep the story moving for the most part, even though it didn’t become really gripping until closer to the end. The secondary characters help in this aspect, as they were engaging and were able to keep things interesting. That was what was most fun for me in this novel – the adventures and people that Lilly encountered during her ‘doctoring.’ I always enjoy a fish-out-of-water tale.
 
However, the relationship and romance between Lilly and Joe felt kind of forced to me in this novel. I felt as if the reader was sometimes left out of the loop in that relationship. So, while the medical and community aspect of this book was interesting, one of the main plot points – the romance – sort of fell flat. I also thought that the writing was disjointed at times. There were times when I felt as if I had missed something, especially when large periods of time were skipped.
 
I did appreciate the author’s use of scripture in this novel. That is something I really liked to see in Christian historical fiction.
 
Overall, this novel was an easy read that was a bit slow-moving but did have an interesting plot and conclusion.
I will give Skip Rock Shallows … 3 BookWorms.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Anchor in the Storm" Review


From the back cover:

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love?

Nothing slows Lillian Avery down--not her personal challenges and certainly not America's entry into World War II. She finally has a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The demands of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg's attentions only annoy--even if he is her brother's best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves--and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions Lillian has been filling?

As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection?


 
My Take: 

Sarah Sundin has become one of my favorite Christian authors over the past few years. I like how her series books can be read separately but also tie together, and her attention to the historical details is amazing.

This latest offering in the Waves of Freedom series was another excellent example of what I like about Ms. Sundin’s books.

After getting to know Arch in the first novel in the series, I was so excited that he was going to be one of the main characters in Anchor in the Storm. I also liked the character of Lillian, and I really liked the two of them together. Getting an up-close look at 1940s pharmacies through Lillian’s profession was fascinating. The historical details are top-notch, especially the descriptions of the town of Boston and the accounts of the sailors on the Navy ships. I had no idea that the German U-boats were able to get that close to the United States during World War II.

The spiritual aspect in Anchor in the Storm was very seamless in its presentation which is something that I really appreciate in a Christian novel. I think it could have gone just a bit deeper, but it was still portrayed very well. One of the best parts of the book was the reference to the hymn My Hope Is Built/The Solid Rock. It’s always been one of my favorites, and I enjoyed how it tied in with the themes in this novel.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

In this novel, Arch and Lillian both have internal struggles to deal with that bring them together but then also keep them apart. A romantic plot device that was used in this book was the closest Ms Sundin has ever come to the Big Misunderstanding which was fairly disappointing. I would have liked something else to be the mechanism for keeping them apart for a time as opposed to what was presented. But at that point in the novel, the suspense portion took over and kept the book interesting.

Speaking of the suspense plot of the book – it was so good! Once the mystery portion of the novel got going, I was intrigued, and it kept me interested throughout. I had my suspicions of who was behind everything (and I was right), but that didn’t detract from the mystery plot at all. Anchor in the Storm truly ended up being a page-turner, and one that I stayed up way too late to finish.
 
I will give Anchor in the Storm...4 BookWorms
 
 







Anchor in the Storm
by Sarah Sundin
"Waves of Freedom" #2
Revell Publishing
Publication date: May 3, 2016
400 pages





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."