Tag Archives: North Carolina

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon

Word Lily review

come rain or come shineCome Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon, Mitford book 13 (GP Putnam’s Sons, September 2015), 304 pages

This installment in the beloved series is set at Meadowgate. Father Tim and Cynthia are settled in and working hard alongside so many others, preparing for Dooley and Lace’s wedding.

I love these books. They’re a breath of fresh air; coming home; comfort and relaxation.

The wedding ceremony itself is beautiful, of course. It kind of made me wish we’d had an Episcopal service for our wedding.

I don’t know what else to say. Another lovely installment in a gorgeous, comforting, honest series.

Have you read the Mitford books? What books are hugs to you?

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The Pawn by Steven James

Word Lily review

The Pawn by Steven James, book 1 of the Patrick Bowers Files (Revell, 2007), 432 pages

Summary
FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers is called to North Carolina to consult on a serial killer case. The guy calls himself The Illusionist, and he’s one of the toughest Bower has ever been up against. On top of that, turmoil from his personal life — his wife died of cancer, leaving him with a teenage stepdaughter he hasn’t really figured out how to communicate with yet — keeps breaking in on his thoughts.

Thoughts
I’ve heard so much great buzz about this series (mainly from Deborah and Tami, I think) over the last couple years, and I’m glad I finally got around to starting it.

Patrick Bowers, our protagonist, is a coffee snob, a man grieving the loss of his wife. His specialty is environmental criminology, which at times reminded me of Numb3rs.

The story is well-written and gripping.

I enjoyed it so much I immediately picked up the second book in the series, The Rook.

Really an excellent read.

Rating: 4.25 stars

About the author
Steven James (@SJamesAuthor) lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. When he’s not writing or speaking, he’s rock climbing, playing disc golf or slipping away to a matinee.

Other reviews
Tree Swing Reading
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The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen

Word Lily review

The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen (David C. Cook, June 1, 2010), 320 pages

Summary
Lindsay Adams has been visiting the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach, North Carolina, since her teens. She’s shared more of her life — the good and the bad — with this unknown person than with anyone else. As she goes back to Sunset Beach this summer, though, she’s struggling with how to put all the pain on paper.

Thoughts
Really a great book, especially for a debut novel. Love it!

This book is notable, I think, for its treatment of divorced protagonists. This is still pretty rare in Christian fiction, and I feel Whalen handled the subject matter — and the characters — well.

One small thing I like about this book is its celebration of letter writing and journaling. I’m not good at these practices, either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the practices!

The Mailbox is a sad story, but it’s mostly about healing, recovery, choosing to trust (or not). It’s a book that feels deeply. This book deserves more attention than it’s received.

About the author
Marybeth Whalen (@MarybethWhalen) has written several books of nonfiction. The Mailbox is her debut novel. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, is due out in June 2011. She and her husband, Curt, have six children and live in North Carolina.

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Wedding Cake by Lynne Hinton

Word Lily review

Wedding Cake: A Novel by Lynne Hinton (Avon A, a HarperCollins imprint, May 18, 2010), 304 pages

Summary

Thoughts
This was a really cute, fun book. I’m kind of sad that I came to this set of characters so late in their journey — earlier books in the Hope Springs series include Friendship Cake, Hope Springs, Forever Friends, and Christmas Cake.

Each chapter opens with an hors d’oeuvre recipe, usually associated with the character who takes center stage during that chapter. The recipes felt old to me, but I suppose they would; many of the characters are retirement age. Regardless of their relative trendiness, though, most of them didn’t sound appetizing. Also: The recipes are remarkably unhealthy!

This book has the lightness of chick lit but without the unending fashion talk.

The mix of characters is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this book (The following may be a spoiler for earlier books in the series!) — one woman’s a former pastor, another’s a lesbian, for example. Hinton did a good job of making everyone’s lives believably messy.

I didn’t love the writing. The book could also have used another set of eyes. It was poorly edited.

Overall the style isn’t my favorite, but it was still a fun read. I enjoyed this book, but I don’t think I’ll be seeking out more of the series.

About the author
In addition to the Holly Springs series, Lynne Hinton is the author of The Things I Know Bestand The Last Odd Day. She is a pastor in the United Church of Christ and lives in Washington.

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