Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mini Reviews: Rise and Shine, Sons of Isaac

Title: Rise & Shine
Author: Sandra D. Bricker
Series: Contemporary Fairy Tales, #2
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via NetGalley

Shannon Malone thought she'd found her happy ending when she married Edmund Ridgeway, but a diving accident on their honeymoon left her in a coma. Waking up to the news that she's thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that Edmund has lost his interim battle with cancer and the world has marched on without her. Her gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, seems to know everything about her and becomes Shannon's tour guide into a whole new world of madness where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone's life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cell phones!
As Shannon struggles to navigate through the changes-both in the world and in her-she also must discern real memories from imagined ones. Did she really ever wear capris pants and entertain in her living room, or was that Laura Petrie from her favorite classic TV show? And where is her beloved dog, Freeway? Oh, wait! That was Jonathan and Jennifer Hart's dog, not hers.
Shannon's three elderly aunts flit through her life in true Sleeping Beauty style with her well-being always a priority. And Edmund's sister Millicent descends like the Evil Queen she is, trying to extract Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway family fortune. When a tornado moves through town and Shannon is knocked unconscious, will Daniel's kiss awaken her once and for all?

You should have already known that when I saw "contemporary fairy tale", that it was a given that I was going to check this out. I don't care that much for Sleeping Beauty in general, but I really enjoyed this one. It was cute and fun. 

Shannon is on her honeymoon, when she has an accident that puts her in a coma. When she finally wakes up, 10 years has passed, and her husband has died of cancer. She understands nothing of the world around her, or what to do. With the help of her best friend Izzy, her fairy godmothers--er, aunts, and her Prince Charming (also known as Doctor Petros), Shannon learns to re-navigate the world and find her purpose. And of course, battle the evil Maleficent--I mean Millicent.

I will say, one thing this put into perspective was how technologically dependent we have become. You don't think about how fast it has progressed from only 10 years ago, until you saw it from Shannon's perspective. And seeing her get excited about all the new discoveries shows how much we take for granted too. 

I loved the characters. Shannon is a strong-willed, independent woman. She has to learn how she fits in the world after being "asleep" for ten years, and that is not an easy thing to do, especially when you still can't remember most of your previous life. Hear aunts were fun and hilarious, and Izzy was the kind of girlfriend every woman needs. And Doctor Petros was so kind and perfect and funny (if a bit old. For me, not for Shannon. Bummer.)

This was definitely a cute, hilarious story. Sandra D. Bricker has a way of writing that will have you laughing out loud. It may be a sweet and simple story, but it is definitely filled with a lot of fun times, emotions, and growth. The spiritual aspect was nicely weaved in, as Sandra learns to come to terms with God after the aspect. All in all, this is a nicely done book that is perfect when you're looking for something sweet and fun.

This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Sandra D. Bricker:

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Title: The Sons of Isaac
Author: Roberta Kells Dors
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Received via NetGalley

You will live the grand story of the descendants of Abraham in this capstone of the Roberta Kells Dorr biblical fiction series. This work is a new, unpublished title, of Abraham's descendants featuring Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau, told with the same critical eye and careful study Dorr is known for. In it, faith keeps Abraham from accepting the king's daughter as a wife for Isaac, but fear almost keeps Rebekah from leaving her home to become Isaac's spouse. When God tells Rebekah that she will bear Isaac twin sons and the youngest will serve the older, Jacob is skeptical. But that revelation will mark the lives of Jacob and Esau and influence generations to come.
This tale of family love, greed, jealousy, hope, manipulation, stubbornness, idol worship, famine, and faith in the one God, Elohim, is taken from the pages of biblical history but sounds like a headline from today's magazines. It ends much like it begins, when Jacob blesses two of his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, saying that the younger will become greater than the older, a theme that is seen throughout The Sons of Isaac

For some reason,I am always interested in stories that retellings of Bible stories/Biblical characters. I will pick up anything I see that is one, especially if it's a character that is my favorite or really interesting. I won't say Isaac is one of my favorite characters or anything, but seeing how differently each author can interpret the stories fascinate me.

The stories are nothing knew, and can only be changed so much in keeping with history, which has always been a hard part for anyone who wants to attempt this kind of story. The writing in this story was very well done. It captured your interest from the beginning, and was almost enough to make you feel like you were reading an entirely new story.

I liked the differing perspectives, and how we got to hear from characters we normally wouldn't, such as Laban, Laban's wife, and Rachel's maidservant Bilhah. I think adding these new and interesting perspectives is what set this apart from different retellings. I also liked how the author chose to include less talked about characters or instances, such as Abraham's concubine Keturah, and the part in the Bible that says Reuben slept with one of this father's wives (well, concubines).

This story does seem to be written for those who already have a basic understanding of the Bible story, which is why I haven't really talked about the story itself. It starts with Abraham wanting a wife for Isaac, how Rebekah was chosen, and then keeps going, from the twins being born to Jacob marrying Rachel and Leah, etc. Pretty much the whole story

While this maybe wasn't the best Biblical re-imagining I've ever read, this was very well done, and well-researched. The author was able to keep the story interesting and engaging, and it seemed very well-researched. Whether you are interested in a more deeper understanding of Isaac, or just love a good historical novel from that time period, this book would be one to read.

This review can also be found on   Rachel Marie's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Roberta Kells Dor:

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