Monday, October 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

A good week for me - I get a chance to read an old favorite, V.C. Andrews (yes I know she's dead and there's a ghostwriter) but I'm interested in this new series and can't wait to read it.  I also received my first Manga and can't wait to delve into this new-to-me genre and give it a try.  I also plan on sharing it with my son to see what he thinks.  Lots of other great books, but I need to get busy reading. Hubby said too many books are coming in and not enough going out.  You know what that means - more giveaways coming soon!

Family Storms by V.C. Andrews
from the publisher (Pocket Star, Simon & Schuster)

Cloudburst by V.C. Andrews
from the publisher (Pocket Star, Simon & Schuster)

Laddertop Volume 1 by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card
from the publisher (Tor Seven Seas)
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
from the publisher ( William Morrow)

Dragons of the Watch by Donita K. Paul 
From the Publisher (WaterBrook Press for the FIRST Wild Card tour + giveaway copy)

 Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren 
 From the Publisher (WaterBrook Press for the FIRST Wild Card tour)
The Immortalists by Kyle Mills 
Amazon Vine

At the Mercy of the Queen: A Novel of Anne Boelyn by Anne Clinard Barnhill 
Amazon Vine

The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin
from the author for the WOW tour (Women on Writing)
Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman
from the publisher (Europa Editions, Shelf Awareness)

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Book Review: Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publish Date: September 26, 2011
Paperback, 272 pages 
Fiction, Christian, Suspense
 ISBN: 978-0-8254-2590-5

My Review:
Refuge on Crescent Hill is a wonderful novel with forgiveness being woven into a wonderful suspense plot as the main lesson.  There is a lot to take away from Refuge on Crescent Hill and there is a lot to enjoy from it while reading it.

Ms. Dobson has done a wonderful job crafting a suspenseful story with a lesson and meaning in it.  Refuge on Crescent Hill is not all about the lesson.  It's really a suspense novel first and foremost, but it has wonderful truths and lessons that can be taken home from it.  And I love that they are done in subtle ways, not in "in your face" ways that turn some people off.

First let me talk about the characters.  Camden is the main character in the story, but there is a subplot going on as well that I found fascinating that follows a college student (from Clemson - I went there!) named Stephanie who is also very interesting.  But Camden is still the main character.  Camden has come to Etherton to visit her grandmother only to find she has passed away.  Camden is at a place in life where she is just kind of floating freely and not sure where she should be.  She just wants to belong somewhere and when she comes home to Crescent Hill she finds that there are problems there as well and she has to fight her urge to run as she usually does when there are problems.  In Etherton, Camden meets Alex.  Alex has settled into Etherton and now calls it home.  He was running from his problems but has come to terms with them.  He's trying to help revitalize the town but having a hard time when the town council fights all his recommendations.  He and Camden have an attraction to each other, but that is really secondary to the mystery in the book.  I felt Camden and Alex were decently developed.  I did get to know them and their motivations, but felt I could have known them just a little bit better.  But this is a suspense novel so more of the emphasis is on the plot.

The plotting was mostly well-done.  Only the ending seemed a little rushed.  Up until that point I though the book was plotted excellently, then all of a sudden everthing starts happening and it all just seemed too rushed.  I was happy with the outcome of the book and felt like everything was tied up well so this wasn't too big a deal, but it's one of those things that bugs you a little bit, especially with a book as well done as Refuge on Crescent Hill.  Ms. Dobson did an amazing job weaving the two present-time plots together with the past plot as well.  That part of the story-telling was superb and had me enthralled.  I loved the older people in the story that could tell the stories.  They were fascinating and I love that she added them to the story.  It's a reminder to talk to the older people we know, hear their stories so we can continue to pass them down to our children.  It's important.

The underlying message of the book was beautifully done.  Forgiveness being the lesson and it is shown in amazing ways in this book.  I really though if these people could forgive, then I can surely forgive people that I need to.  And it wasn't just about forgiving other people, it also touched on forgiving yourself.  We all carry a lot of guilt around and really we need to take the time and forgive ourselves as well.  God will forgive us if we ask so shouldn't we forgive ourselves (and we talked about that in Sunday School class this past Sunday so I found that really coincidental).  This aspect of the boo was subtle but there and done so well I can't stop thinking about.  Yes this is a Christian book, but it's not a beat you over the head Christian book.  I think Ms. Dobson did a wonderful job making this a book that could be read in the mainstream while still representing Christian morals and values (and really just any good morals and values).

In summary - while there are some flaws in Refuge on Crescent Hill, I still feel it is a very worthwhile book to read.  The characters are interesting and down to earth.  The plotting is fast-paced and holds your attention well and the story has a meaning that will stick with you for quite a while.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Note:  Starting today, October 31, Refuge on Crescent Hill will be available for free on the Amazon Kindle - so this is a great chance to read this book for free!  (As of 10:30am it's not free yet, but give it time, it's supposed to be)

About the Book:
Moving home after a recent job loss was supposed to reassure Camden Bristow but what she finds is an empty mansion 150 years old. What happened to the house she played in as a child, the bedtime stories that told of secret passageways and runaway slaves, and all those family memories?

When antiques start disappearing and footsteps are heard, Camden wonders what really happened here . . . at Crescent Hill? Who still has access to the house? And for what purpose? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden also uncovers secrets about her family that could change the town--and her life--forever.

About the Author: 
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good. A former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family, Melanie has worked in the fields of journalism and publicity for more than eighteen years. She and her family live in Oregon.


FTC Information: I received this book from Kregel Publications for an honest review.