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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

Christian

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Author: Lin Stepp

Not my ordinary read, Down by the RIver is an inspirational Christian novel.  The setting is a B&B in the Smoky Mountains of Townsend, Tennessee.   This is a nice contemporary romance with some real life family drama.    Grace is an older woman intent on changing her life, most of the changes are moved by God. Grace moves to Townsend and purchases an old B&B to run.  She finds romance with Jack , a neighbor,  who finds strength from the Lord while going through his own problems.  Her daughter, Margaret, finds her own road and grows closer to Grace and the Lord. 

An interesting read, the characters are believable and the story line holds your interest.  Just the type of read for a lazy afternoon.  

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Author: Rachel Hauck

This is was a 'clean' romance story recommended to me by a friend.  She claimed it to be her second favorite book of all time- the first being Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  While I liked this book, I wouldn't rate it up there as one of the best books I have ever read.  I was interested enough to keep reading, though.  The story line describes the lives of the people who wear the same old wedding dress.  There is a bit of a mystery to part of the story where they are figuring out who wore the dress and what kind of life they lived.  I liked that different time periods were represented in the book.  I would recommend this book as a good read, but I have to be honest that it was not as good as I was hoping it would be.   

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Author: Beverly Lewis

Summary: Nellie Mae has broken off her engagement to Caleb Yoder because of their differing beliefs about salvation. They are learning to live without each other when Caleb's father, the one who most tried to keep Nellie & Caleb apart, is paralyzed in a farm accident. Caleb's Mennonite cousin Chris starts to help Caleb with the farm since his father no longer can do the work, and starts sharing with Caleb his own beliefs about salvation. Meanwhile, Chris, unbeknownst to Caleb, has met Nellie Mae and wants to court her. Will Chris' desire for Nellie ruin his witness with Caleb? Will Caleb and Nellie ever get together?

Opinion: At long last, this third book in the Courtship of Nellie Fisher series is going to finsh the story of Caleb & Nellie along with a few various side stories. Yes, I had to take the time to read this book in just one day because it was as riveting as any other Beverly Lewis story I've ever read. My only real criticism is that it seemed like it took much too long to get to the climax of the story. The last few pages felt like a hurried tying up of ends--especially when you have read three long books just to get to this point. However, that aside, I definitely consider this a must-read, especially if you have read the other books in the series.

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Author: Wanda Brunstetter

Summary

Allison is given the gift of a ticket to visit her aunt's family in Missouri with the understanding that perhaps she will better learn homemaking skills under her aunt's tutelage. While there she meets Aaron, a harness maker who has sworn off marriage after seeing how his mom suffered after losing his dad in a car/buggy accident. Aaron learns that love is worth pursuing even if it might be short, and Allison learns that she is loved by her heavenly Father as well. When her father's sister is ill with cancer, Allison returns back to Pennsylvania to care for her, and hopefully win her to the Lord. Will Aaron & Allison ever be together, or will circumstances keep them apart?

Opinion

It feels like the author found a formula for book writing that she felt worked for her, but it doesn't really help the plot. This book is a predictable girl meets boy and then meets God story line. Yes, there are some stumbles along the way, but there didn't feel like there was much new here.

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Author: Laura Hilton

Summary

Jacob Troyer is sent to Missouri by his father under the guise of helping out a distant cousin. However, when he arrives, he finds out that his father actually sent him there as a potential exchange boy with the intention that Jacob will marry into the new Amish community and help mix up the bloodlines. Jacob knows his father is trying to keep him from marrying his girlfriend back home, and is angry and eager to leave. However, he starts to find himself falling for the oldest daughter of the house. Becky, on the other hand, although she is attracted to Jacob, knows about his girl back home and doesn't trust him. She has been duped before, and left as a single mother that no other man in the community wants to marry. Will their love win out?

Opinion

I really enjoyed the plot in this story, and I intend to read the next story in this series. If it wasn't for such a well written plot, however, and the way it starts to outline elements for the next in the series, I don't think I would consider reading more in the series. The book definitely seems like it was written by an "Englischer" (non-Amish person) who was pretending to write an Amish story. It is like the author took an Englischer story and tried to put "Amish-isms" in it to make it an Amish story. However, one thing I liked about this story was that although it is part of a series, the story is complete in itself--you don't have to read three more books to find out what happens between Jacob & Becky.

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Author: Angus Buchan

Summary

When a South African farmer decides to follow Christ, he learns what it means to trust God with his family, his farm, and his life. He describes several miracles and life lessons that God has taught him as he is transformed from farmer with a wild life to an evangelist.

Opinion

Having watched the movie, I was curious to read the full story. The book was even more powerful than the movie. It challenged me to go deeper in my own Christian walk, and to remember that God still works miracles. This book strengthened my faith.

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Author: Francine Rivers

Summary

When a woman feels uprooted by a move to Southern California for a new job for her husband, she starts to experience stress from living in a new place and a new "upscale" lifestyle. Her marriage begins to suffer and eventually is on the point of divorce. Meanwhile, she begins to read the diary of an ancestor who travelled the Oregon Trail west and who experienced some of the same stresses in her own marriage. Reading the diary changes her life.

 

Opinion

Yet another wonderfully woven story by Francine Rivers--definitely another tear jerker. I loved the way the two stories intertwined and overlapped. This book really can get you to consider the cost and preciousness of marriage.

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Author: Rachel Held Evans

It's official. I'm over this genre. Authors that do some quirky experiment for a year need to pack up their things and go away- and please bring your television counterpart "reality tv" with you.... 

Held Evans has a quick writing pace, which I like. But, it wasnt quick enough---- Confession, I couldn't finish this book, so can I review it? I can no longer bring myself to waste my time finishing books I'm not into, so this book is getting returned unfinished (I have cooking, cleaning & not writing about it to do).

I recently read, and really enjoyed, Evolving in Monkeytown. So, this follow-up snoozer about her cooking and manners class was especially disappointing. A bit too mundane and not compelling enough to finish.

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Author: Rachel Held Evans

Probably the only book I can remember reading by a likable Christian author. Held Evans isn't self-promoting, and she does not claim to have all the answers. I am usually skeptical when authors have clear memories from their childhood, but I found her accounts believable and their inclusion in her story appropriate. 

A well-written, informative glimpse into the fundamental Christian world and Held Evans' in-process journey. The audience for her book is broad- an enjoyable read for a liberal outsider or someone who grew up in a conservative town like Dayton. 

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Author: Tracie Peterson

I would give this a so/so review.  It failed to captivate me in the beginning and by not doing that, I was more forcing myself  to continue.  Three Quarters of the way through the story picked up and had more to the plot.  The twist at the end with the President left me content with reading the story and not viewing it as a waste of time.