Tag Archives: Books

A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Today I have something a little different and non-food-related to share! You know that I am a huge book lover and last week I discovered a great website called Blogging for Books where you can discover brand new releases and get a free copy to review. This is basically perfect for me because I rarely get the chance to tell you all about the newest (not cookbook) books I’ve read. This way I can! So without further ado, I present…

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What is the book about?

A Broken Kind of Beautiful is a sweet story about the journey of Ivy Clark, a high fashion model in New York City. After attending her father’s funeral in the southern town of Greenbrier, most would except her to stick around and grieve with her family. Even while her father was alive though, Ivy never felt like she belonged down there. Born as the result of an affair, Ivy has really not felt at home anywhere. Instead she drowns herself in modelling work and focuses all of her attention on the goal of becoming a supermodel immortalized in time.

With her 25th birthday just around the corner though, Ivy is no longer the young and fresh model desired by the industry. In a last desperate attempt at regaining her traction in the modelling world, she hesitantly agrees to be the new face of her stepmother’s wedding dress boutique line. In what started as just a few short weeks in Greenbrier quickly turns into a much larger project than Ivy had planned to take on. During the whole time Ivy tries her best to put on an uncaring exterior, but those around her have larger plans.

A highly talented photographer should care nothing more than to make sure that she poses well for his pictures. And the photographer’s younger sister, tragically blinded year’s previous, has no reason to feel for the gorgeous model that is just trying to make trouble for her brother. Yet all three continuously surprise Ivy with their constant faith in her abilities. They see through her pretty exterior to what really lies beneath. They believe that Ivy can still be redeemed and if she were to just open her heart. God is what she needed all along.

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What is the author’s background?

Before becoming a full-time writer, Kate Ganshert graduated from the University of Wisconsin and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years. She currently lives in the midwest with her husband, son, and their black lab, Bubba. Her previous books Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows, are both Christian romance novels and very popular with book clubs. You can learn more about Kate on her press page, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

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What did I like?

Having read very few Christian fiction novels before this one, I’ll admit to starting A Broken Kind of Beautiful with a slight bias. Most Christian novels that I have read previously were kind of dry and lacked any serious difficulties aside from the main character slacking on their prayers. While that is a reasonable struggle in life, it is not necessarily one that I want to read about for an entire book. A Broken Kind of Beautiful’s main character, Ivy Clark is the kind of character that you cannot help but feel for. Also, despite her completely different social circle and life goals than me, I found myself compelled to hear about the difficulties that she had experienced, and hope with all of my heart that she would have the strength to overcome them.

Often a main character is so wrought with wrongdoings and feeling sorry for themselves that it is hard to see them as anything else. From the first glimpse of Ivy at her father’s funeral however, there were slight slivers of the truth, rippling beneath the surface, waiting to break free. And with the help of Ivy’s love interest in the story, Davis, break free they did. While Ivy played the perfect strong female lead, Davis was a great, if not entirely unconventional, counterpart. Most lesser male characters would have given up on Ivy. Davis not only stuck with her to the end, but he actually prayed to God for the strength to continue. Actually, several of the main characters would just pray to God right in the middle of their monologues. Explaining it offhand in a review may make it sound like an annoying thing; however, to me it was genuine. Prayer does not, and should not happen only at night before you go to bed. If I’m in a particularly rough spot during the day or need extra strength to get through something, I shoot up a quick one sentence prayer, just like these characters, asking God for help.

While the story-line was smooth and satisfying, my favorite piece had nothing to do with the plot. In every book where humans are involved, they are introduced with a physical description. While Kate Ganshert gave sufficient descriptions to help me picture the characters, she did so in a non-offensive way. First think about this- we are taught from a young age that you shouldn’t judge someone by appearances. It’s unfair and the comparison, while it may make us feel good initially, is just superficial and harmful. Why I ever thought that character descriptions in a book should be any different is beyond me. I loved that Kate Ganshert did not describe the particularly unpleasant actors as ugly, fat, hideous, gross, grimy, pitiful, or creepy. With just a little starting detail we should be able to quickly determine a character’s true outline by their actions and words. This, along with a lack of explicit sexual activity, really marked this as a true pleasure (non-guilty) read.

What did I not like?

I have very few complaints about this novel. Only one really. While I loved the climax and conclusion of A Broken Kind of Beautiful, I was not a fan of the epilogue. The writing style seemed to disconnect from the rest of the novel and could have been left out. There wasn’t any essential additions to the story and although I usually love to have a story tied up neatly in a little bow with all of the details explained, there is something to be said to leave things a little messy. Just enough to leave you thinking, if that makes sense. Still, that was less than 1% of the book and otherwise it was pretty perfect.

What do you need to know?

Whether or not you like Christian books I think you will still like A Broken Kind of Beautiful. If you enjoy books about heroines who overcome obstacles to succeed, or even just sweet love stories, get this book. The only thing I will say though is do not get this book if you are not comfortable in reading a book that mentions God. To get a better taste if this is the next book for you, the publisher has released two full chapter excerpts.

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If you want to find out even more about Kate Ganshert and her new book, she has a great website and blog that you should definitely check out. I loved having the opportunity to read A Broken Kind of Beautiful and really like being able to hear words from the author herself as well. 

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review, but all opinions are completely my own. If you think this sounds like a book that you would love, I encourage you to check it out on Amazon or Barnes and Noble now! I literally finished this book in two sittings (split in two only because I finally decided that at 2:00am that morning I should finally get to bed!).

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Questions for you:

What was the last book you read?

Will you read A Broken Kind of Beautiful now?

Do you ever read Christian-based novels?

Everyday I’m Shufflin’

For this week’s Spill it Sundays Arman had us tell about our most recently listened to music, most recently read books, or most recently watched shows. Seeing as how I don’t really listen to music of course I headed straight for the book option. And we were supposed to choose just FIVE, but really, how could I do that? Instead I decided to share everything I have read so far in 2014.

Spill It Sundays

 

Throwback selfie from sometime over Christmas break:

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Books that I have read so far this year:

Allegiant

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I got this book for Christmas and basically read it in less than two days. It rounded out the trilogy nicely. Most fans of the books really disliked the ending of Allegiant, but I felt the same about its ending as I did with Mockingjay. The writing was excellent, and while I was sad about how the story was concluded, it did fit (I’m trying not to give away anything so I am purposely being vague 😉 ).

United We Spy

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This is the sixth and final book in the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. The Gallagher Girls are basically teenage spies. While that sounds like a very childish setup for a book series, the main character really develops throughout all of the six books and it kind of felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend as I finished the final book.

Double Crossed

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This was a free novella that included cross over characters from two of Ally Carter’s series. All of her books are very easy yet interesting reads and this one was no different. It involved some tense hostage situations and a lot of covert plans.

Pride and Prejudice

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I have already read Pride and Prejudice twice before but for some reason I got this strong urge to read it again so I downloaded it on my phone and read it in a few days. Now I NEED to rewatch the movie with Kiera Knightley. Watching all of the youtube clips/trailers/behind-the-scenes can only hold a person over for so long…

Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice

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Again, all six of these books were “rereads” for probably the thousandth time. Before you think these are just another Twilight series, let me just say NO. They are so different and so much better. These are action-packed, at times very contemplative, and more importantly- the main character is witty. Having just watched Vampire Academy last weekend I really wanted to read the books again. Then the author Richelle Mead announced on her Facebook page that all of the books were on sale for $2.99 as ebooks so I scooped up the ones I didn’t already have in digital format.

Cinder (Audiobook)

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Caitlin originally mentioned this book awhile back and when I spotted it as an audiobook at my local library I knew it was the perfect thing to listen to on my drives to/from school. To summarize the main character Cinder is a revamped version of Cinderella… as a cyborg.

Currently Reading:

The Help

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I just started this one last night as I needed something to read before going to bed. So far the grammar mistakes (which are on purpose to show dialect) are kind of getting on my nerves. But I really enjoyed the movie and like the premise of the book.

Game of Thrones

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Maybe I shouldn’t call this “currently reading” as I haven’t read anything out of it for a few weeks. Here’s the scoop: George R.R. Martin is an amazing writer. He is also very graphic. I am conflicted about which one will win out and so for now I’ve not had the desire to read any more of it.

Alice in Wonderland

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This book I got about half way through for a Honors book discussion. But then the discussion was cancelled due to weather and I haven’t had any reason to finish yet. I was surprised at how much I liked it though seeing as I really don’t like any of the movie versions (they creep me out).

Scarlet (Audiobook)

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As soon as I finished Cinder I picked up Scarlet, the sequel. This time the heroine is supposed to be a modern day Red Riding Hood. I don’t like the main characters in this book as much, but it’s still pretty good and I like the point of view changes where we get to hear from both Scarlet and Cinder (from the first book).

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And that is what I have been reading so far this year! Most of these books I read over Christmas break and I haven’t had a ton of time in between classes to read. This coming week is going to be jam-packed with exams so I probably won’t have a chance to read much for awhile again.

Questions for you:

What have you been reading lately?

Who is your favorite author?

Do you ever reread books?