Tuesday, March 08, 2016

My Review - The Red Door Inn

4 out of 5 stars

THE RED DOOR INN was a genuine story with heartwarming characters.

Marie Carrington leaves Boston, trying to put as much space between her and the past that haunts her. With a fixation on Prince Edward Island, she finds herself at the ferry but without enough money to buy a ticket. A chance meeting with Jack Sloane gets her not only passage on the ferry but a job at his yet to be opened bed and breakfast. Marie immediately feels a connection with the fatherly Jack, but not his nephew Seth Sloane. Seth is rude, standoffish, and makes Marie feel very uncomfortable. She contemplates leaving but Jack needs her help and feminine touches if the Red Door Inn is going to open on time. Marie works hard to hide her fragile emotions and keep her distance from Seth. But over time, she sees another side of Seth. He’s a hard worker, loves his uncle fiercely, and his softer attitude towards her makes his drop dead good looks all the more attractive.
Seth Sloane doesn’t trust Marie. She shows up out of nowhere and worms her way into helping his uncle decorate his B and B. Though she’s quiet, timid, and keeps to herself, Seth is sure she’s working some kind of con on Jack. Seth knows all the signs since he was recently conned and fleeced of his life’s savings. He might’ve been blinded by love, but he refuses to let it happen to Jack. He has every intention of keeping his eye on Marie until he can expose her for what she is. But the longer he watches Marie, the harder it is for him to see her as the opportunist he pegged her to be.
THE RED DOOR INN pulls together three people who are all dealing with their own kind of loss. As they each navigate their own path to healing, they find that accepting help from others is what will help them find restoration.
Liz Johnson’s characters were so engaging it was easy to get lost in THE RED DOOR INN. Jack is the perfect fatherly type to both Seth and Marie. Having no kids of his own, he relishes the time spend with these young people. Marie’s fear and distrust is understandable, as is Seth’s cynical disposition. Secondary characters of Aretha and Caden are quirky and lovable and make North Rustico all the more inviting. THE RED DOOR INN is the perfect book to read curled up next to a fire, cocoa in hand.
Book provided for review purposes.
Available March 2016 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

TOP READ OF 2016 - Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann

5+ stars out of 5
I cannot say enough about TOLD YOU SO by Kristen Heitzmann, other than it was an exceptional story of faith and forgiveness!
The style and rhythm of TOLD YOU SO were quite intriguing, but challenging as well. Admittedly, I had a hard time with the first hundred pages or so because of the staccato timing in the dialog. I am a multi-tasker, so it’s nothing for me to watch a movie and read a book at the same time. But with TOLD YOU SO I couldn’t do that for fear I would miss something pivotal. A friend asked if I was going to bother finishing the book if it was that difficult to read. I answered with an emphatic “Oh Yes!” I just recognized that I had to give TOLD YOU SO my undivided attention if I was going to be able to follow the storyline. The energy between Grace and Devin was volatile. Their dialog crisp and sharp. I had to be present one-hundred-percent so I didn’t miss out. The rest of the book was finished in less than five hours. The story was intelligent as well as inspiring!
Grace Evangeline has a light about her everyone is drawn to. Everyone but Broadway producer Devin Bressard. A romance novelist—whose characters are virtuous and always have a happily ever after—Grace is convinced her latest novel needs to be on the Broadway stage. Devin dismisses Grace’s writing, calling it contrived and farcical, and has no intentions of producing it. Devin considers his work literary art, not flights of fancy, and his feelings towards Grace are nothing less than insolent. But Grace refuses to give up. And then, by a twist of fate, Grace and Devin are partnered to work on a project for a mutual friend. Their time together is verbally volatile and emotionally exhausting. Devin is determined to write something realistic and impactful while Grace challenges him to allow hope and chance to inspire him. Devin’s irritation with Grace soon turns to fascination. The more time he spends with Grace the more he is drawn to her. The sparks between them are emotionally charged but soon become romantically driven. Grace feels the pull as much as Devin but knows their attraction can’t lead anywhere. Their outlooks on life are worlds apart. But when their worlds collide, the fallout affects more than just themselves.
I think TOLD YOU SO is an exceptional example of worthy Christian fiction. I don’t understand people who have been critical of Ms. Heitzmann or insist this book should not be categorized as ‘Christian’. TOLD YOU SO is centered on the life of a woman who propagates virtue and encourages other women not to sell themselves short. How is that not considered a Christian perspective? I, myself, do not look to Christian fiction for perfect characters with charmed lives. I look for characters who try to do the right thing, and even when they fail, they cling to God to help them right their course. Ms. Heitzmann’s portrayal of a Christian woman living in the world that surrounds her screams of realism. A perfect example was when Grace attended a high-class party with another notable celebrity. When alcohol, drugs, and more—completely acceptable amenities in celebrity circles—were offered to her, she didn’t act horrified, self-righteous, or get on a soapbox to tell others what was wrong with their lifestyle. But her simple refusal showed people where she stood and spoke louder than any sermon she could’ve preached. And, her unpretentious reaction gained the respect of the celebrity she was with. Grace successfully navigated these pitfalls. But that’s not always the case. Do we fool ourselves into thinking Christians don’t lie, swear, or fall into temptation? Because they do. Not because they love God less, but because they aren’t perfect. I applaud Christian fiction that will accurately portray the trials along with the triumphs in the lives of Christians. I don’t in any way condone sin or make excuses for it. But I also am not so pious as to believe it doesn’t touch the life of those who love God. I read for enjoyment, pleasure, and escapism, not for fantasy or a place to stick my head in the sand. Thank you, Ms. Heitzmann, for penning a story that was realistic and inspiring. I hope people see that same kind of realism in the books I write.