Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review: The Accidental Bride

This book review is on a book called The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. It's about a single mom, who helps her town in a reenactment. She ends up married to the fake groom, but there is more to this story. 

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she's an accidental bride.
Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can't seem to keep her head above water-and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.
Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders' Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart-the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.
Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.
Shay isn't sure if the recent events are God's will or just a preacher's blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Reading Group Guide:
1. Shay was afraid to marry again after having her heart broken twice before.  How does fear play into our ability to love fully?
Fear is powerful if you let it take over your life.  It will stop you doing something you love to do.  With Shay, she was left at the altar and then married someone, who I think she just married just because he was there.  

2. Because of Shay's background, she tended to worry too much about others' opinions.  Galatians 1:10 says, "For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people?"  What does that mean to you?
Shay worried too much about others' opinion because of what happened after she returned to town after being left at the altar.  Everyone in town felt sorry for her plus she was the talk of the town forever.  I think Galatians is saying that you should not worry what others are saying, but the important one to listen to is God.  I do not care what others say because it takes up energy, which I can use for something more important like my kids.  

3. Travis made the selfish decision to leave Shay at the altar when he was a young adult.  What price did he and others pay as a result?  Discuss the ways in which poor choices can sometime have far reaching consequences.  How can we best recover?
Travis did pay the price leaving Shay at the altar by having Shay trust him again and it was very hard to get her there.  When you are young, you are not thinking how this choice could affect your future, but it can.  We can best recover by taking one day at a time. 

4. When Travis lost Shay, he realized that he hadn't sought God's will during a critical point in his life.  Instead, he'd relied on Miss Lucy's prayers.  Do you ever foist your spiritual responsibilities onto someone you feel has a closer walk with God? 
No, it is up to myself to do my own spiritual  responsibility, but when there is something major happening, then I think it is okay to get help.  Prayers in a lot of numbers help.  
5. Were you more frustrated at Travis or Shay for the way each of them handled every new obstacle?  His not telling her about the rodeo competition? Her not asking about the jewerly package?  His not returning right after the competition?  Her not telling him she was pregnant?  Or do you think both were accountable for what kept them apart?
Yes, I was frustrated with both of them because they could not see what they had in front of them. Shay should had asked Travis the questions in the back of her head.  I think it was both of them that is accountable for what kept them apart.   

6. Ranching is hard work, and money is often tight.  Why do you think families continue this way of life? 
I do families continue ranching as a way of life because some families could be doing it for generations and want to continue.  Maybe it is the only thing that family knows.  I also think they are proud to be ranchers.

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review: Family Ties

This book review is on a book called Family Ties by Danielle Steele. Annie is doing great with her life. Having her first real job as an architect and enjoying her time with her boyfriend, Seth, but her sister and brother in law dies. Annie is given a choose to take in their 3 kids. Of course, she does because of a promise to her sister. 

Annie Ferguson was a bright young Manhattan architect. Talented, beautiful, just starting out with her first job, new apartment and boyfriend, she had the world in the palm of her hand--until a single phone call altered the course of her life forever. Overnight, she became the mother to her sister's three orphaned children, keeping a promise she never regretted making, even if it meant putting her own life indefinitely on hold.

Now, at forty-two, as independent as ever, with a satisfying career and a family that means everything to her, Annie is comfortable being single and staying that way. She appears to have no time for anything else. With her nephew and nieces now young adults and confronting major challenges of their own, Annie is navigating a parent's difficult passage between lending them a hand and letting go, and suddenly facing an empty nest. The eldest, twenty-eight-year-old Liz, an overworked, struggling editor in a high-powered job at Vogue, has never allowed any man to come close enough to hurt her. Ted, at twenty-four a serious and hardworking law student, is captivated by a much older, much more experienced woman with children, who is leading him much further than he wants to go. And the youngest, twenty-one-year-old Katie--impulsive, artistic, rebellious--is an art student about to make a choice that will lead her to an entirely different world she is in no way prepared for but determined to embrace.

Then, just when least expected, a chance encounter changes Annie's life yet again in the most unexpected direction of all.

From Manhattan to Paris and all the way to Tehran, Family Ties is a novel that reminds us how challenging and unpredictable life can be, and that the powerful bonds of family are the strongest of all.

I loved this book because the author showed Annie as a real person. I could see her struggles. Everyone struggles and I can not remember the last book I read where the lead character had struggles not just related to love. 

What would you do if you were in Annie's situation?  I kept thinking what would I do if I was I this position. I would do just like Annie did- take in my nephew and nieces. I know it would be hard at first, but it would be so worth it in the end. 

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: 44 Charles Street

For this Book Review, I chose 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel.  I have to say that I love the book cover with the red doors.  I am not usually liking any door that is read, but in this book cover, I do love it.  

A magical transformation takes place in Danielle Steel’s luminous new novel: strangers become roommates, roommates become friends, and friends become a family in a turn-of-the-century house in Manhattan’s West Village.

The plumbing was prone to leaks, the furniture rescued from garage sales. And every square inch was being devotedly restored to its original splendor—even as a relationship fell to pieces. Now Francesca Thayer, newly separated from her lawyer boyfriend Todd, is desperate. The owner of a struggling art gallery, and suddenly the sole mortgage payer on her Greenwich Village townhouse, Francesca does the math and then the unimaginable. She puts out an advertisement for boarders. Soon her house becomes a whole new world.

First comes Eileen, a fresh, pretty L.A. transplant, now a New York City schoolteacher. Then there’s Chris, a young father struggling with a troubled ex-wife and the challenge of parenting a seven-year-old son who visits every other weekend. The final tenant is Marya, a celebrated cookbook author hoping to start a new chapter in her life after the death of her husband. As Francesca’s art gallery begins to find its footing and Todd moves on to another woman, she discovers that her accidental tenants have become the most important people in her life. 

As the roommates bond, and the house fills with the aroma of Marya’s exquisite cuisine, there are shadows as well as light. Na├»ve Eileen explores the precarious boundaries of online dating with a series of strangers. Chris’s custody fight for his son escalates to devastating levels. Marya faces an unexpected choice that will take her into untested waters. And Francesca herself will contemplate what had seemed impossible: opening her heart once more.

Over the course of one amazing, unforgettable, ultimately life-changing year, the house at 44 Charles Street fills with laughter, heartbreak, and, always, hope. In the hands of master storyteller Danielle Steel, it’s a place those who visit will never want to leave.

I loved this book.  Francesca is dealing with a divorce, not knowing how to save her business or her home, and she needs to come up with a plan.  For her home, she decides to take in renters.  I know that I am not sure if I would do this, but for her, it worked out perfectly.  Well, almost.  Each tenant has a story of their own, but all together they become a family. 

Her one tenant, Eileen, was not my favorite.  I felt sorry for her.  Eileen used the internet to find men.  Not the nice kind either.  She got herself into trouble, but you need to read this book to find out more.

The second tenant is Chris, a single father to a son.  Chris is divorced and his ex wife has problems.  He worries about his son being with his mother, but no matter what he does, he can not win in court.  

The last tenant is Marya, a widow looking for somewhere to live for awhile.  She is writing a cookbook.

Happy Reading!