Friday, July 29, 2011

Leaving Carolina

Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh is a beautiful look into honesty, forgiveness and coming home. In the novel the main character, Piper Wick (aka Pickwick), left her home in Pickwick, NC, without looking back. She got rid of her accent, her family name, her family, and she found a new life for herself as a rich public relations consultant in Los Angeles. She is even dating the 'perfect' U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler. All of a sudden Piper's routine life style is interrupted by her uncle's bout of conscience. He has decided to change his will and make amends to four generations worth of misdeeds. However, that would include the airing of the family's dirty laundry - something high profile Piper cannot afford. When Piper arrives in Pickwick, she is unprepared for her uncle Obe's handsome gardener? And just who is this Axel Smith? With thousands of new questions and doubts buzzing through her head, Piper is about to discover that only the truth can set her free.

Tamara's first novel in the Southern Discomfort series is a wonderful breath of fresh air. Full of hilarious situations and heart squeezing choices, Leaving Carolina was an altogether completely relaxing read. I enjoyed watching the characters develop and learn from their mistakes, and I also calm flow of the novel as it moved through Piper's weeks at Pickwick and the new realizations and accidents she went through. I wholeheartedly recommend Leaving Carolina and the rest of the Southern Discomfort series to any reader who is looking for a heartwarming Southern tale of forgiveness and family.

Life Everlasting

In Life Everlasting, the sequel to Life Support, by Robert Whitlow, Baxter Richardson miraculously awakens from months in a coma. After his fall from a cliff, he should be dead. However, even though he has awakened, new and old dangers still lurk around him. Meanwhile, his wife Rena is being driven mad by apparitions and ever increasing criminal accusations. Right in the middle of the mess is Alexia Lindale, Rena's lawyer. Alexia is forced to work her way through lawsuits, deceptions, theft, tragedy, and romance in order to find the truth. And she might not find it out in time....

Life Everlasting is very closely tied to Life Support, the first Alexia Lindale novel. I read them back to back, so I had no trouble understanding what was happening, but Life Everlasting is definitely not an independent novel. I enjoyed reading Life Everlasting but not as much as Life Support. Life Everlasting did have some unexpected plot twists and some added tragedy, but the novel was too drawn out. I think both Life Support and Life Everlasting would have been better if they had been shortened into one novel. They were too long with too much empty spaces in the storyline as two separate novels. A unexpected difference I noticed between the two novels was that in Life Support, Alexia Lindale is always called Alexia. In all circumstances. There is even a very awkward line where her friend Ted introduces her as Alexia, then says that is her nickname and that her real name is Alexia. After reading Life Everlasting, I realized that was a typing error. In Life Everlasting Alexia is referred to by her nickname Alex. Apparently in Life Support she was initially called Alex and that confusing portion of the book was not changed when all the Alex references were changed to Alexia.

Overall I thought Life Everlasting was a good follow up story to Life Support, but in my opinion both books would have been better as one novel.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life Support

In Life Support by Robert Whitlow, a young, wealthy man by the name of Baxter Richardson plunges off the cliff with only his recent wife, Rena, as a witness. Baxter ends up on life support, in a coma, completely paralyzed. Rena does not want her husband to live. She claims it is what Baxter would have wanted, but she has another motive. In desperation she turns to Alexia Lindale, a young lawyer who specializes in divorce cases. However, Rena does not want a divorce. She wants Alexia to contest her father in law's plea that Baxter remain on life support.

Alexia finds herself in a complex situation where no one's true motives are known. It is a situation which changes her life completely.

Life Support was a phenomenal novel filled with suspense and unexpected twists. The intriguing part of this book is that the reader knows from the beginning how Baxter really fell off the cliff, but only one person in novel knows the truth. Another aspect I loved about this novel was the way God worked through music. One of the primary characters of the book is a music minister with an amazing talent from the Holy Spirit which allowed him to play beautiful pieces for the Lord. I also enjoyed wrestling with the tough question of whether the Richardson family should or should not remove Baxter from life support.

While there were characteristics I enjoyed about the book, there were a couple things that I did not particularly enjoy. One of my concerns was that when Alexia begins to feel God's work in her, she immediately feels the Holy Spirit working in her life. However, from the paragraph before and for the rest of the novel, there is no indication that she ever confessed her sins and received the pardon by relying on Christ's death and resurrection. Christ is mentioned, but never his work on the cross. Like in another Robert Whitlow novel that I have read, I think that the character's conversion could have been presented more clearly. However, despite this concern, I enjoyed the book, and I am very excited to begin the sequel, Life Everlasting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Water's Edge

Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow is a legal thriller filled with suspense and surprise. In this novel Tom Crane, a young lawyer, is convinced that he is getting ready to receive a partnership from the law firm he works for. However, first he must close his recently deceased father's law practice in the small town of Bethel. Tom's father died in an unexpected and unexplained boating accident, leaving his son only a mess to clean up. Right before Tom leaves for Bethel, he finds himself laid off instead of promoted. Tom arrives in Bethel with no purpose and little hope for his future. As he deals with his father's law practice, he finds millions stashed in an offshore account and several unexplained incidents, including evidence that his father's death might not have been an accident. Can Tom find the truth, or will he lose his faith...and maybe his life?

The Water's Edge is a well written book that deals with betrayal, fraud, and faith issues. It is filled with mystery and intrigue and the love of a father. I was truly convicted by Tom's growth and how much he enjoyed his time with the Lord each morning. On the other hand, I did not appreciate his taking verses out of context to use for certain situations -situations where he usually made the wrong choice. I also felt that the author should have had Tom actually confess his sins before God and accept Christ as his Savior instead of just suddenly beginning to read and understand the Bible. There is no way Tom could have been so touched during his devotion time by the Holy Spirit unless he was actually saved and had the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. However, overall I really enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait to read other books by Robert Whitlow in the future.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Restless in Carolina

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh is the third book in the Southern Discomfort Series. In this novel Bridget Pickwick Buchanan finds herself with a constipated heart. She cannot get past the death of her beloved husband four years earlier. However, Bridget must force herself to move on in order to find an environmentally friendly buyer for her family's estate. She thinks she finds the perfect buyer in eco-friendly J.C. Dirk & Dirk Developers. When he does not return her many calls, she cleans herself up and travels out to Atlanta to meet him personally. Is J.C. the right buyer, or is he the knight in shining armor who comes to steal her heart....and break it again?

Restless in Carolina is a wonderful read. It is filled with Bridget's struggles with men, her family, and her faith in God. The novel delves into Bridget's feelings of anger towards God, and it shows a very realistic picture of suffering and how to go through it. Restless in Carolina is also a lovely romance novel filled with dashing men, strong willed women, and hilarious faux pas. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and I will definitely be going back and reading the first novels in the Southern Discomfort Series.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Final Hour

The Final Hour by Andrew Klavan was a novel filled with action packed adventure and deep despair. The Final Hour is the fourth and final book in the Homelander Series. As the novel unfolds, Charlie West finds himself locked away in the worst prison in the United States for a crime he did not commit. He feels abandoned by the only agent left who knows the truth, and he is barely able to fend for himself against the Islamist prisoners, the White Supremist criminals, and the corrupt, bloodthirsty guards. He suddenly finds himself in the midst of a frightening situation: the Homelander group has planned one final strike, and Charlie is the only one who knows where, how, and when. Can he reach his friends in time and save America?

The Final Hour is loaded with action and suspense. It is a quick and exciting read. The first part of the book deals with Charlie's despair and loneliness in jail and his struggles with his faith. I liked that the author mentioned Charlie's belief and faith even during his hardships, but I wished he had mentioned Jesus and God more. God was only brought up a couple times, and Christ and His work on the cross were never talked about. The book was a satisfying ending to the Homelander series, and I really enjoyed the entire series. I cannot wait to read the next book by Andrew Klavan; I just hope he talks more about Jesus.