Waiting for Daybreak

fall-into-reading-2008Back in September I entered into Callapidder Days’ Fall into Reading challenge. I chose nine books that I wanted to read between September 22 and December 21.

Well, as you can tell, it is a few weeks beyond December 21, so my challenge report is overdue. I’m not the best at these, you can tell, but Katrina is always gracious and lets me participate anyway.

Thing is, of the five and a half books from the nine I aimed to read, I have yet to post two reviews. I finished these well within the fall period, but wanted to spread reviews out—for some reason—then proceeded to forget. Anyway, yesterday, I read a blog post that jarred my memory

Katie Cushman announced on her blog that her novel, Waiting for Daybreak (Bethany House), will soon be available at Walmart.

Yes, the same Waiting for Daybreak I read back in October and have yet to review.waitingfordaybreaksm

The thing is, this story has stayed with me, so writing a review even after all this time, doesn’t seem like a formidable task. Without further babbling … 😀

The Story. Paige, a conscientious, caring pharmacist who is working in a clinic, is struggling to make ends meet when she learns that her mother is ill. If she can receive an expensive treatment, her prognosis is good, but her parents don’t know how they will pay. Paige offers to help, and she prays.

Soon thereafter an elderly man doing work in the clinic, offers Paige a job in an upscale pharmacy not far from her parents’ home. She will work, it turns out, under his granddaughter, Clarissa’s, supervision.

Paige gladly takes the job but soon discovers that all is not as it should be. The events that unfold open up Paige’s past and cloud her future, even as the days become more and more difficult to bear. But her parents are counting on her financial help for the treatments her mother has begun. She has no choice but to keep working at the pharmacy—if she can hold on to the job.

Strengths. I think the thing that stands out for me in Waiting for Daybreak, as it did in A Promise to Remember, Cushman’s first novel, is how well-drawn the characters are. As I was writing the short summary of the book, I immediately felt the anxiety I identified as Paige’s because Cushman made the character come alive. Her actions and reactions were believable. She had noble aspirations and I rooted for her to succeed. I felt for her when the noose tightened, and I cheered for her as she struggled to overcome the fears that led her down the wrong path.

Clarissa is a strong secondary character, maybe even a second protagonist. She is also well drawn and believable, though not as likable in the beginning. But rather than taking the role of hateful antagonist, she becomes sympathetic, and in the end I cared for her almost as much as I did Paige.

Truly, Cushman has a knack for drawing characters that clash with one another but which the reader understands equally.

I’m big on themes, and I felt there were some important themes running through Waiting for Daybreak. This book is a good example of “Christian worldview fiction.” The gospel message isn’t preached, but living like Christ is a clear theme. And it is delivered in a natural way through the characters and the things that happen to them.

Weaknesses. Given the task of bringing two conflicting characters to a point of resolution without making the story seem contrived or maudlin, Cushman does a remarkable job. Yet, in thinking about weaknesses in the novel, I’d have to say this one might have too many neat, tied-in-a-bow events at the end. Not all of them are happy. I seem to remember tearing up a time or two. But I also seem to remember a lot of things converged, perhaps a little too conveniently.

But that was minor, if it was an issue at all. The only other thing that bothered me was Clarissa’s grandfather, Lee Richardson. He plays a critical role, based on a deep hurt from the past. The thing is, earlier in the story, he makes a critical decision—to offer Paige the job in Clarissa’s pharmacy—that doesn’t seem consistent with someone who had experienced what he had experienced. It wasn’t a story stopper because when he made the job offer, the reader doesn’t know about his hurtful experience. But upon learning of it, I found Lee to be a much weaker character than I’d thought previously.

Recommendation. That being said, I didn’t find the story less enjoyable. Reading Waiting for Daybreak was entertaining and memorable. I highly recommend this story to readers. It is a must read for those who enjoy women’s fiction, especially Christian women’s fiction.

Published in: on January 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm  Comments Off on Waiting for Daybreak  
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Fall into Reading and a Game of Tag

Another anomalous Saturday post, this one because I never blogged on Thursday. I intended to. But the fact was, I was in a writing groove. Then after dinner, I never got back to the computer. So here we are today instead. I’m rolling two posts into one as the title suggests.

First, on September 22, the official day Fall began, Katrina over at Callapidder Days launched Fall into Reading 2008. I love this emphasis on reading and am eager to participate. There is the possibility of winning a $10 gift certificate and there are weekly book drawings, but those aren’t the reason I participate. Actually, I just like being involved in a reading community, though I’m just on the fringe. It’s great to see what others are reading, great to share with others when I post a review, great to read their thoughts on the books they’ve tackled.

So here are the books I hope to read between now and December 21 when Fall into Reading officially ends:

  • The Feast of Saint Bertie by Kathleen Popa (David C. Cook)
  • Beyond the Reflection’s Edge, by Bryan Davis (Zondervan)
  • Something Wicked by Alan Gratz (Dial Books)
  • Winter Haven by Athol Dickson (Bethany)
  • Fatal Revenant by Stephen R. Donaldson (Putnam)
  • The Famous One by Nicole Petrino-Salter (Pleasant Word)
  • The Lightning File by Eric Write (Hidden Brook Press)
  • Seven Archangels: Annihilation by Jane Lebak (Double-Edge Publishing)
  • Waiting for Daybreak by Kathryn Cushman (Bethany)
  • Already I can tell I’m biting off too much, but I’m going to give these a try.

    Item two: a game of tag, this from Kim over at Window to My World. Here are the rules for those I’m tagging. Check the list after my 6 THINGS to see if you’re it then

    1. Link to the person who tagged you.
    2. Post the rules on your blog.
    3. Write six random things about yourself.
    4. Tag six-ish people at the end of your post.
    5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
    6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

    Random things, I can do! 😉

    1. I’m a rabid Denver Bronco fan.
    2. I was born in Colorado but have lived most of my life in California.
    3. My first writing job was as a stringer covering high school sports and some college. Most of my stories appeared in the Whittier Daily News.
    4. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of someone reading to me—my sister, my dad, a teacher, and others.
    5. When I was three, I went to school with my mom who taught grades 1-8 in a small Christian school in Denver, Colorado.
    6. I first remember making up stories when I played in the sandbox at that school.

    And a random bonus factoid: my dad made up a wonderful story he told us at bedtime. Unfortunately, he never wrote it down. However, I think the idea that real people made up the stories I loved took root way back then.

    So, who to tag?

    Julie Carobini
    Katy Cushman
    Frank Creed
    Kameron M. Franklin
    Beth Goddard
    Timothy Hicks

    Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 11:35 am  Comments (9)  

    A Fall Into Reading Review

    Callapidder Days Time for me to report on my fall reading again. √ Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook).
    Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead.
    Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan).
    The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin.
    Wish list:
    DragonFire by Donita Paul (WaterBrook).
    Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour).
    Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck (NavPress).
    Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.

    Yep, Donita Paul’s DragonFire (WaterBrook) is now in the “read” pile, so I thought a review would be appropriate.

    The Story. Once again, the characters from the previous Dragon Keeper Chronicles books gather for a romping adventure. Kale and husband Bardon take center stage, or rather share center stage, since much of the book has them separated, each on his or her individual assignment. But we encounter old friends as well—Rigador, Gilda, Paladin, Kale’s mother and father, Sir Dar, and others. We also meet new folks as Kale and Bardon seek to fulfill the tasks they’ve been given as a means to help Paladin recover from a serious illness.

    Strengths. Donita has crafted a wonderful world and populated it with unique races of people. There are some surprising developments in the story, the characters continue to entice the reader, there is suspense, adventure, and plenty of action.

    Weaknesses. While some of the surprises are delightful twists that keep the story from becoming predictable, some seem random and disconnected. I would like to see a more well-defined goal that the characters are aiming for. I sometimes didn’t know what they were trying to achieve.

    I thought there were also some spots where it seemed as if Kale’s father was lecturing her for the readers’ benefit rather than to make a point she didn’t already know and understand.

    I also thought she was a little inconsistent, too, sometimes sounding like the girl from the first Dragon Keeper book and sometimes sounding like the matured version we would expect to find after three years of marriage and life as the reigning wizard in The Bogs.

    Recommendation. All in all, I enjoyed the story. I’ve said before, Donita writes the kind of fantasy I most love, though a gentler version. The pages sped by, and I had fun with this book. For anyone looking for a fantasy that has wizards but no false magic, dragons that redefine the imaginative creatures, excitement, adventure, and fun characters with lots of personality, this book is for you. I would encourage anyone interested in the book to first read the previous three, not because it is necessary, exactly, but the reading experience will be enhanced. DragonKnight remains my favorite of the series, but DragonFire is a worthwhile addition. Recommended.

    Published in: on December 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm  Comments (3)  
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    Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon-A Fall into Reading Review

    Callapidder Days My fall reading list, which I posted as part of Callapidder Days’ Fall into Reading challenge, is as follows:
    Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook).
    Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead.
    Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan).
    The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin.
    Wish list:
    DragonFire by Donita Paul (WaterBrook).
    Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour).
    Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck (NavPress).
    Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.

    So, yes, I actually got to read a book that was on my wish list. And I’ll probably get another one or two in these next couple weeks. I’m still waiting for a review copy of The Restorer’s Journey. I don’t think it will release in time for me to buy it before December 20 which is when the challenge ends, I think.

    I did want to do a review of sorts of Randy Mortenson’s Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon.

    Landon Snow and the Volucer DragonI have to say, this is by far my favorite Landon Snow book. Randy captured my interest from the beginning and held me the whole way through. The pages flew by. And what was especially intriguing to me was the fact that he began to weave in elements from his first book that had seemed random and disjointed—very Alice-and-Wonder-ish. in this fourth installment of the Landon Snow series, Randy skillfully brought threads together, some for the first time. And still there are questions, many, many questions left open at the end. This book reads less like a stand alone than the others.

    The thing is, I already love the characters and am committed to rooting for them. I especially like Landon and his uncertain wisdom. But Bridget takes a more significant role in this book, and I found her more and more endearing.

    Randy’s imagination continues to impress me, as does his ability to bring in spiritual truth as a natural part of the story.

    Wonderfully, the final book, Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Kingdom, is also out, so anyone interested in buying the entire set for Christmas has that opportunity. The books are so nicely packaged. They really are the kind a reader would love to have on the bookshelf.

    And just now, I discovered they are also out in paperback, which makes them appreciably affordable. I highly recommend this series. You’ll find it builds to a wonderful crescendo, with each book toping the one before it.

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