Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Deceived: Lured from the Truth by Melody Carlson

Deceived: Lured from the Truth (Secrets, #5)Deceived: Lured from the Truth by Melody Carlson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love how this series doesn't need to be read in order. A good thing since my library only owns the final 2 books for some reason. Totally weird.

While I wouldn't say Deceived is as good as Melody Carlson's final book in this series, it still packs quite the punch. Life is unpredictable and nothing is more unpredictable than those raging teenage hormones. Rachel is unsettled. Her parents have just divorced and her mom wants to start dating again. Their church split just like her parents did. Now she's at a summer resort working in an ice cream shop, trying to advance her dreams of owning her own restaurant.

Naturally, she meets a boy. This boy is from Australia with that absolutely to-die-for accent, and Rachel falls head over heels in a matter of days. When Josiah invites her out to visit his church, Rachel is impressed with the teaching and the conservative values of the congregation. It's only when she loses her job and decides to stay with the congregation, who amazingly all live on the pastor's property, that Rachel realizes she may have just gotten herself involved with a cult.

Melody Carlson's Secrets series strives to teach its readers to think for themselves and not be caught off-guard or unawares by the enemy. In Enticed, the heroine gets caught up in a human trafficking ring because she trusted the wrong people. In Deceived, the heroine makes a similar mistake compounded with the fact that she's a weak Christian who lacks knowledge of the Scripture and so is easily lead astray.

I admit that this story is a little harder to swallow than Enticed. No teen girl I know would think wearing long "granny" dresses and living on a ranch with 100 other people is normal for a church congregation. So the concept is a little far-fetched, but hey, I'm assuming this type of deceit happens because the last time I checked, America is still rife with cults. Deceived, despite lacking the emotional wallop of Enticed, still manages to instruct young women, and any reader really, in the way they should go, looking to God's teaching first and foremost and not being lead astray by false prophets.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: Enticed: A Dangerous Connection by Melody Carlson

Enticed: A Dangerous Connection (Secrets, #6)Enticed: A Dangerous Connection by Melody Carlson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this book up this morning and finally set it down before heading to work tonight, having finished the whole thing in a matter of hours. It's one of those stories where you just can't stop reading because you're terrified of what might happen to the heroine, and you HAVE to know the conclusion before doing anything else!

When young Christian teen Simi dreams of becoming a model, she never imagines getting herself caught in such a vicious trap as human trafficking. But that's precisely what happens. She doesn't take the proper precautions to fulfill her dreams, moves too fast, and before she knows, it she's been kidnapped to be sold to the highest bidder. Simi pleads with God to spare her and rescue her, strengthening her faith throughout the difficult ordeal she experiences. Will God be faithful and send her an ever-present help in trouble?

I have only one complaint, that of an inconsistency where Simi's hands are tied and then in the same scene they're not tied anymore and she accepts a cup of water. That's it, my one complaint, and certainly not enough of a grip to warrant bringing the rating down from a 5. Melody Carlson is renowned for her books that instruct Christian teen girls to utilize wisdom when making their choices. I have always appreciated her for this tendency, but this is the very first book I've read in her Secrets series, and now I'm dying to read more. I love how she doesn't sugar-coat the nastiness of the world, but neither does she describe all of the nastiness with imagery. She goes just far enough to get the point across, and no farther.

Every Christian teen girl needs to read this book. I may not be a teenager anymore, but Enticed made even me more aware of the dangers that lurk in the online scene. The Lord calls His children to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. We can't just leap into anything and everything because it sounds good. If Simi had done her due diligence and researched the so-called "modeling" company she signed up for then she wouldn't have ended up in such a deadly situation. It's a great message to teen girls everywhere to be wary.

But what I love most is Simi's unrelenting faith. She has moments of fear and doubt, but she immediately turns those feelings over to the Lord. And because of her trust in Him, she is strengthened and can stand against the fear she faces.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review: Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

Blue Moon Promise (Under Texas Stars #1)Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are exemplary Christian historic romances and there are rotten ones. Blue Moon Promise falls somewhere in between. While Colleen Coble does not have the power to move her readers like Karen Witemeyer, she still develops likeable heroes and heroines. They're just not great, and not entirely memorable.

I like the heroine, Lucy, and I also like the hero, Nate. Colleen taught me that people can be married by proxy, as in Lucy and Nate's case, and it's interesting to watch their relationship develop. I wish that Colleen had more depth to her dialogue and descriptions, but even with the simplistic style she utilizes, she is still leaps and bounds ahead of many historic Christian writers. I heaved a sigh of satisfaction at the end, having everything neatly wrapped up, all of my questions answered. I still doubt some of the plot points, like Lucy's young brother Jed's amnesia regarding the circumstances of their father's death, but it didn't distract me that much from the story.

What did distract me was the lack of coherency. Lucy is in a constant state of doubt over Nate's feelings for her, even though they're pretty obvious to the reader because of his actions towards her. I love religious truth in my literature, but only if it is done well, and I admit that in Coble's work, the Christianity gets a little preachy and feels a little forced, especially the scene around the campfire on the cattle drive with Nate reading the Bible aloud to some of his cowboys. I just don't buy it.

Overall, Coble's Blue Moon Promise was an entertaining, fluffy read. It was one that I couldn't stop reading, so that says something at least. It's cute, but not one I would purchase although I am awaiting my chance to read the 2nd in the series.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart (Kopp Sisters #3, 2017)

Original Summary Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp is outraged to see young women brought into the Hackensack jail over dubious charges ...