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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing

On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757


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Jennmarie68 has commented on (215) products.

Forever Hilltop Two-In-One: Featuring an Unlikely Blessing and Surprising Grace (Forever Hilltop) by Judy Baer
Forever Hilltop Two-In-One: Featuring an Unlikely Blessing and Surprising Grace (Forever Hilltop)

Jennmarie68, May 9, 2012

I normally wouldn't read two books from the same series back to back, as I tend to need a change of "scenery" after I finish a book. I usually just want to immerse myself in a new set of characters and different surroundings. So I was worried that when I read this by the time I got to the second book it would be hard for me to read. But these characters are so touching that I didn't want to give them up - even after the second book! I could have just kept reading about Alex and Hilltop.

I LOVED the characters - and there are a lot of them. But what I really think helped me connect to the mass of characters in these two books is that the main character Rev. Alex Armstrong is just getting to know his new community. So as he's learning about all of these people we're learning about them also. There's no "learning curve" because as he finds something out so do we. And the characters are just endearing. Some of them I just wanted to hug and others I wanted to give a big kick in the butt. But they're all connected and without even one of the characters the community would be missing so much!

I've never lived in a small community like the one in Hilltop, where everyone really does know everyone's business. Where I live are a lot of nosy neighbors who think they know what's going on, but really have no clue. So to see how a community like this worked was kind of neat to me. Because not only does everyone know your business, but they're a family and if one of the family is in need everyone does what they can to help out. I really do mean everyone. And usually the help has something to do with food. Food was a major theme through the book. So much so that there are recipes throughout. And with one exception I want to try all of them! I've read books with recipes in them, but usually they are at the end of the book. This book, as the recipe is mentioned in the story there's a copy of it right there on the page for you.

These two book were so easy for me to escape into. I could see the people and the places in the book so vividly. Baer really does an excellent job of writing. I have to say her character development was amazing. To be able to connect with so many characters - and believe me through the two books there are a ton of them - can only be attributed to an amazing author. There were a few times when I felt that the story was being rushed, and wasn't being allowed to fully play out. But for the most part the reading is smooth and easy going. It was a pretty quick read (for being two books in one) but the pace of the books - much like Hilltop - was pretty leisurely and laid back. This book would be a perfect one for sitting outside on a warm day and just getting away from it all for a while. I really liked these two and can't wait to read more!
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The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
The Midwife of Venice

Jennmarie68, May 9, 2012

This was a good book. It had it all: love, romance, excitement, and fear. But I just didn't "click" with it. I liked the characters well enough, and the plot was pretty interesting. However there was just something in this one that I couldn't connect with.

Hanna was a brave fierce woman who takes every chance she can get to get her husband back. She's a midwife who uses "unorthodox" (and she's Jewish, so excuse the pun) actions to help babies and mothers who are struggling during childbirth. But she's got her mind set on saving her husband from captivity so against her Rabbi's suggestion, and against the law she goes to deliver a baby that will earn her enough money to save her husband. She was a very strong woman and knows what she wants.

There's some twists and turns in the story that are unexpected, but for me the story seemed predictable, and the pace was slow. Even the tense scenes seemed to move slowly.

Overall it was ok. Rich does a good job at describing the scenes and explaining the character's emotions. But I just didn't connect with the story. It was readable and even enjoyable, but I just can't say that I loved it.
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A Cheater's Promise: New Edition by Maurice Derrick Geter
A Cheater's Promise: New Edition

Jennmarie68, May 9, 2012

Before I start my review for this one let me warn you that the language and situations in this book were very “adult” and could be offensive to some. I enjoyed the book, but that kind of stuff doesn’t bother me, so please use your judgment before reading this one. While my review is “family friendly” please make sure you understand that the book is not.

My favorite thing about this book was how real the dialog was. I’ve found with urban fiction that there seems to be a disconnect with how people really talk and how it comes through in the book. I’m not sure if the publishers request the changes or what, but somehow dialog seems to get lost in urban fiction. This one was spot on and really added to the book. Even Damien’s thoughts were real and not “cleaned up.” It helped the story flow much better.

This book was exciting to me. It wasn’t a “romance” novel but it was still as titillating to me. There is quite a bit of sex, and even though it doesn’t get as detailed as a romance novel would it was still pretty exciting. But what was most intriguing to me was seeing what kind of problems Damien gets himself into and whether or not he was going to be able to talk himself out of it. I’ve known quite a few people like Damien and I am always interested in how they think they’re going to be able to get themselves out of their situations. For every situation Damien got himself into I could think of at least one person I know who’s been in the same situation. And most of the times things worked out the same way in real life as they did in the book.

The only thing that I didn’t care for in the book is that it jumped time quite a bit. And even though it was a bit distracting at first I got used to it and it didn’t really detract from the story at all. I would imagine that the time that was skipped over wouldn’t have “fit” into the book anyway. And when there is a jump there is a brief explanation like ��" We’d been together for 6 months by then... So I didn’t feel like I missed anything that would have added to the story. But life isn’t exciting all the time and accounting for all the “boring” times would have made this book excruciating to read.

This was a really good book, I couldn’t put it down. It reads so fast. And like I said it was pretty exciting. I LOVED the twist at the end. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I figured things were going to keep on going the way they had been, then all the sudden BANG and I was stunned. Book two is supposed to be coming out soon and I really want to know how Damien’s life goes after that surprise!
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The Void by Bryan Healey
The Void

Jennmarie68, May 7, 2012

I've read two of Healey's books before and I LOVED them. This book took my expectations and blew them out of the water.

Within the first few pages I was crying like a baby, and it didn't let up much from there. I read this in one sitting, as I just could not put it down, I was so attached to Max right from the word go. Healey's ability to write with so much emotion is truly amazing to me. He has this ability to grasp my attention and not let go till the last word.

The story deals with something very controversial, taking a comatose patient off of life-support. I feel that regardless of your feelings on the subject The Void is an eye-opening story. It makes you wonder about all the what-ifs that surround a decision like that.

I love how well the story flows. Max, the main character, seems to float around between the world that is moving on around him and the world that he remembers. Despite the jumping back and fourth the writing just moves along and it does not feel choppy. That's one of my favorite aspects about Healey's writing - his ability to jump the story around without really bringing attention to the fact that you're jumping around. It's something that I do not come across often and I truly appreciate the author that has that kind of ability.

Healey is truly a master of his art! One of my favorite all time authors for sure!
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Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled by Bert Murray
Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled

Jennmarie68, April 25, 2012

Colin Preston is a bit of an outcast in this book. He doesn't really fit in anywhere, which I think is why I liked him so much. It's not so much that he doesn't care about what other people think about him it's more that he's just so different from everyone else. He loves the Beatles - their music comes up quite a bit throughout the story. It was interested for me to see how he connected to the music so much. It seemed like when he couldn't connect to anything else, the Beatles were there for him. Given that I liked him so much I hate to say that he was quite quirky. I'm still trying to figure out if he was crazy, but quirky sums it up nicely. And some of the things that happen in the story make me feel so sorry for him. I just wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to be ok.

All the people in the book were quirky though. The parents were odd, the aunt and uncle were odd, the professors were odd - even the beautiful Jasmine had her quirks. It really makes you realize that no one is "normal" we all have quirks but those quirks are what make us who we are.

The writing was pretty good. I found it to be quite humorous. There weren't any ROFL laughing moments, but I let a few snickers out while I was reading it. There were some serious sides to the story also. There are some pretty dark themes that come up throughout the book, and without the humor to lighten them up I think this would have been a much more difficult book to read.

Overall I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't a great novel, but it was pretty good.
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