Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kindle Giveaway information and a Book Review: An Unlikely Blessing

To switch things up a bit, I will start with the giveaway information.  To celebrate the release of her new book, An Unlikely Blessing, author Judy Baer is hosting a giveaway:
One lucky winner will receive:
  • Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
  • A $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com
To enter just click on one the icons below and then tell your friends! Winner will be announced on February 21st on Judy's blog, http://www.judykbaer.com/wordpress

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

For more information please visit the Litfuse website, www.litfusegroup.com and click {HERE}!

About the author:  Judy Baer is the author of over seventy-five books for adults and teens. She has won the Romance Writer of America Bronze Medallion and has been a RITA finalist twice. She lives in Elk River , Minnesota with her husband. Follow the Hilltop characters on Judy’s blog and find out more about Judy and her books at http://www.judykbaer.com

An Unlikely Blessing (Forever Hilltop) 
Now for the review, here is the information from the publisher:

An Unlikely Blessing is a heartfelt story about a new pastor and life-long city dweller Alex Armstrong, who reluctantly accepts his first assignment, a two-point parish in the wilds of North Dakota . Hilltop Township , a farming community, blooms from the prairie like a wild pink rose—lovely and prickly all at once, much like the people who live there.
Alex quickly finds that this lovely place is in quiet peril. Farmers are struggling to make ends meet: Jonas Owens, a faithful member of Hilltop parish, is on the brink of losing the farm. Alex believes that part of why God called him to Hilltop was to help turn things around, and steps in with ideas for saving the Owens' land. But can even God's minister help save this rural community?
There are a lot of firsts for the new pastor—the annual Hunter's Breakfast, julebukking (also called Christmas fooling), King Oscar's fish balls, and the melody of the musical saw. And the new, single pastor creates remarkable excitement among the unmarried women in the community. If you could die of hot dish overdose, Alex would be a dead man. Whether performing weddings, counseling his flock, or herding cattle by snowmobile, Alex soon discovers that his new church home has as much to teach him as he will teach them. Day by day, he falls more in love with the people of Hilltop Church . People may leave Hilltop, but Hilltop never leaves them.

 My thoughts:
I found I could relate to Alex pretty well.  I had grown up in a large town on the outskirts of an average size city in New York state.  At the age of 19, I moved to a small town, that was a few hours away from a "city", to be a live-in nanny.  If you have never lived in a small-town, it may be difficult to believe that there are places like Hilltop in America today, but I promise you there are.  The author did a great job of painting a picture of Hilltop, and it's citizens, for the reader.  The telling of the story reminded me of a journal, but written in the third person.  There are problems that come up and a few exciting scenes in the book, but not one major problem to be overcome.  I do realize that this is part of a series though and will seek out the other books.  I found myself drawn into the lives of the characters and I particularly look forward to finding out what happens with Jared (Alex's nephew) and little Will Packard.  

I usually rate a book based on how easy it is for me to put it down.  Often, a book starts off slowly and I find it easy to put it down in the beginning, but after the first several chapters, I am so drawn into the story that I hate putting it down.  That was not the case with this book.  I was able to easily put it down throughout the entire book.  I found it to be slow-moving and lacked a real climax.   Having said that, I still enjoyed the story.  I do not typically like this style of writing, but the author did a phenomenal job of drawing me into the lives of the people in Hilltop and it is such an easy read that I was able to read during times of the day I cannot normally read (like when the kids are awake).  I am also a fan of Christian fiction, but only so long as it is not overly preachy.  I was a little concerned that a book written about a pastor could easily turn into a preachy book, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was not.  I especially liked the way Alex dealt with gossiping from his parishioners.

My recommendation
If you enjoy slower moving books, or reading about the lives of others, or if you just want a taste of small town USA, I recommend reading An Unlikely Blessing.  I also recommend this to those who enjoy reading, but cannot find enough "quiet" time to really delve into a heavier story.  If you want a high energy book or one with twists and turns, this is not the one for you.

I received a free copy of An Unlikely Blessing from LitFuse in exchange for my honest review.  My opinion is my own and was not influenced by anyone else.

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