Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Art of Sequels in Christian Romance

This is a break-away from my usual – just review a book I have read. My son was visiting me this weekend and was quite surprised that his mother had a blog, and that I actually knew how to use it! He has always admired my love of books, but has also been a little cynical of the type of books I always read (which is Christian romance fiction). He was of the opinion I should also give my views on different aspects of the books I read, for example my type 5 favorite authors and why, the type 10 best books to read this summer, etc. I wasn’t sure I was up to the task, so he said he would help my get started by being first and writing as a guest poster. So feel free to read and respond, I will look forward to your thoughts on my sons “humor”!


Hello, dear friends and readers. It is my privilege to be the first guest poster on this fine blog. You may be asking - what in the world does a 31 year old male know about Christian Romance novels…and, how in the name of rip-roaring love triangles can this youngster have any insights into the proper number of sequels in a Christian Romance Series? It is a fair question, and while my credentials may be weak, I feel as though I am up for the task.

Let’s start at the very beginning, the stand alone novel. Yes, folks, occasionally, I have been told that a Christian Romance author has the audacity to think that they have written everything that needs to be said in one book. Of course, this typically means that their book sold about 7 copies. But, every now and then, it means that the author wrote something of such epic proportions that there is nothing new to say by continuing the story through another thousand pages. We all know that this is rare and a waste of good characters, so I won’t say too much about the stand alone novel.

What about the mere one sequel, for a total of two books? This is another rare breed. The author writes a book and simply follows it up with one more about the same characters. …okay, who I am kidding, this doesn’t exist, let’s move on…

The trilogy. …ever since Star Wars (or, quite possibly, earlier) the trilogy has become legendary in scope. In true, sweep-me-off-my-feet fashion, the trilogy honestly says, “I have more to say than what I can fit into one book…and, guess what?...the second book is actually just setting you up for the grand finale in book three”. For my money, the trilogy is the only way to go. If I may make an analogy in romance-ese…? The trilogy is the dashing young man who we all know the author should be with… …and, yet.

And, yet, the author is so often tempted to be with Brad-the-charmer-who-we-all-know-will-end-up-hurting-her. It’s hard to believe, and yet, true…sometimes authors move past the trilogy. They continue writing about the same characters for a strange numbers of sequels. There can be an argument made for certain round numbers. For example, 5 books in a series could potentially work. And, in theory, a decalogue of books could provide space for an interesting family tree project. But, anything in-between spells trouble. Seriously, who wants to have a 9 part series on their shelf? Seeing “Part 4” on your shelf, without part 5 is embarrassing.

There is another category even more embarrassing than the odd number series. This is the “Help, the publisher cut the brake line when I started making money” series. …also known as “the Gilbert Morris: I Accidently Used Up all the Roman Numerals” syndrome. When your first grader can’t count as high as the number of books in a series, I recommend pulling your funding from the offending author. There are only so many ways to fall in love.

So, there you have it. The only self-respecting number in the world of Christian Romance is 1 or 3. How many books are in your favorite series? What is your opinion on the matter? …with these sobering questions at hand, I will close up shop…I don’t want to hold you back from any romance novels that may be calling for your attention.

For my next guest post: “Steps to Making a Romance Novel Cover”. Step 1: Close-up of woman’s face. Step 2: Semi-shadowy shot of distressed man in background. Or, variable option – Purple flowers in grassy field (color optional, based on intended mood of book).

Saturday, May 29, 2010


A story of two different people, trying to be loyal to their fathers. Evan has grown up trying to distance himself from his father, who is an important person in the drug running business. Then there is Andie Ryborg, who loves her Attorny General Dad, Tony Ryborg, and will do anything to keep him in the political race; even not telling him about threats on her life. Evan and Andie are the last people who should have anything in common, but by the end of the story they are brought together in a most unusual way.
I enjoyed reading this book. I must admit I had a hard time at the beginning getting into the story, but it had alot of twists and turns I wasn't expecting in the story and I like that alot. I also thought it ended a little abruptly, but also liked the ending so what can I say. I think you will enjoy reading it. Thanks to Library Thing and Kregel Publication for giving me this book for review.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DISASTER STATUS by Candace Calvert

This was another good story in the Mercy Hospital series! Keep up the good work Candace Calvert. This story mainly deals with Erin Quinn, who you get to know in Book one. She has moved her and her grandmother to their beach house and Erin has left a bad relationship behind her. She wants to find a man and have a marriage like her grandparents. When Erin first meets fire captain Scott McKenna it is definately NOT love at first sight. They don't see eye to eye on alot of things. Scott has a nephew in the hospital who has lost his parents and possibly his leg now too in a tragic accident. Scott and Erin both have some major issues in their life they need to let go of and give over to God, but that is easier to say than actually do.
Once again, I liked the fact paced action drama of the ER in these books and the fact that as you read the story you really get to know and understand the characters. Near the end of the story my heart was racing and I couldn't read fast enough to see how the "tragedy" was going to turn out. I am looking forward to reading book 3 when it comes out!
I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

CRITICAL CARE by Candace Calvert

This was a book that was a fast paced story, with a main character that I just loved, Dr. Logan Caldwell! Nurse Claire Avery finds herself in the ER at Sierra Mercy Hospital, which is the last place she wants to be as she is beginning her new position as part of the nursing education. She has moved here to escape the trauma of watching her brother die in the ER on her shift. And now she is summoned to help out in an emergency. This is when she encounters Logan "McSnarly", the doctor in charge of the ER (and a person who expects almost perfection in those he works with). They don't exactly hit it off at the beginning. But they both are good for each other and I just loved watching their feelings for each other grow. They both had alot of issues to deal with in their lives. There were alot of other characters in this story that I enjoyed reading about and look forward to hopefully reading more of nurse Erin in book 2. The author did an excellent job of making you feel like you were right there in the ER as things were happening, and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. Can't wait to start reading book 2 in this series.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This is a story of 2 young women who live in the Amana colony in Iowa in 1877. Johanna Ilg has grown up at Amana, but has always had a longing to see Chicago, where her brother Wilhelm lives, after he left the Amana community. Berta Schumacher finds herself coming to the Amana colony with her parents at the beginning of the book, and not knowing it was to stay there. Berta is not a "happy camper" and gets herself into trouble quite often. Johanna has been given the task of taking Berta under her wing and helping her get acquainted with how things are done in their community, which is not an easy task.
I liked the insight this story gave of how the Amana colonies were run. I also liked getting to know both girls and seeing how each of them struggled with issues in their life, one just did it more openly than the other. At the end of the story both girls end up facing major issues in their life. To me this book showed the importance of honesty in a family and the importance of not keeping secrets. It was a entertaining and enlightening book and I will look forward to reading the other stories in this series.
I would like to thank Bethany House for giving me a free copy to review.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A FAMILY FOR KATE by LeAnne Hill (an E-book)

This was just a great feel good story! I loved reading it! Kate finds herself moving from her condo in Seattle, to a rural town in Minnesota to care for her 4 nieces and nephews (their parents died in a tragic accident). She wasn't given custody of the kids, but Jared, who was, is out on assignment somewhere, so Kate steps up and does the job and loves the kids. She isn't exactly "trained" for the Mom job but she does her best. Then Jared shows up. He is the uncle (Jared's brother and Kate's sister were the parents who died). Kate must first break the news to Jared of the accident and then inform him of his parents trying to get control of the kids. The only solution is for Jared and Kate to marry and keep the kids with them. Although it is a marriage for the kids only, Jared has no clue that Kate has loved him from afar for a very long time. The way Jared and Kate interact and the story line leaves you with such a good feeling after reading it. I loved both the characters of Kate and Jared and the honesty they strived to maintain with each other and watching their love for each other grow. I would highly recommend this book. I just wish it were in paperback form.

A CLEARING IN THE WILD by Jane Kirkpatrick

This is a story of a group of people in Bethel, Missouri in the 1850's who are seeking to live in the world, but set apart from the things of the world. In this "society" is a young lady, Emma, who has outspoken ways and often finds herself clashing with the leader of the colony. Emma soon finds and marries her mate, Christian Giesy, and all seems well. But the leader of the colony wants to send Christian West to find another area for their colony to live. Emma is not excited about her new husband leaving her for over a year, so she has a way of working her way into the group of men going West. What she doesn't bother to tell anyone is that she thinks she is pregnant. This story deals with the journey West, Emma and Christian learning how to live and love each other, and how to adjust to the new land they find themselves in. Emma continues to question the colonies tactics and beliefs as she yearns for more and sees her God as someone different than what the leaders of the colony portray him to be. This is the first book in this series and I will be reading the rest of the series to see how this all turns out.