It Had to Be You, Christiansen Family Series #2
So much for sleep...
There are some things in life I don't recommend.
Starting a book at ten o'clock and then not being able to put it down... not one of my best ideas. And yet, I can't think of a better way to spend my night.
It all comes down to a battle between, "I really should get some sleep. I have a lot of stuff I need to do tomorrow" and "Oh my gosh this is amazing! There's no way I'll survive if I leave this till tomorrow!"
Every once in awhile we come across one of those books that does this to us, and for me, this was one of them. Now, maybe I was just desperate for a late night read. Maybe I was in the mood for a good romance. Maybe I just have a thing for good looking hockey players.... but whatever it was, Susan May Warren gave it to me. Her characters became my family and I loved how manly the hero was. I can't stand weak male protagonists. He was willing to go after the girl and he knew what he had to do to get her. I think men could learn a thing or two from Mr. Jace Jacobsen.
I would read this again and I highly recommend it to all lovers of Christian romance. It's a book I'd be proud to add to my collection. I look forward to reading more in this series.
P.S. And just a side note, as a Canadian girl, I really appreciate the hockey. I'm sick of reading about football players :)
April 15, 2014
Hockey and Learning About Each Other
Susan May Warren in her new book Ã¢ÂÂIt Had To Be YouÃ¢ÂÂ Book Two in the Christiansen Family series published by Tyndale House Publishers takes us into the life of Eden Christiansen.
From the back cover: Come home to the ChristiansenÃ¢ÂÂs, where faith and family meet real life.
Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother OwenÃ¢ÂÂs cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obitsÃ¢ÂÂand starting to fear she doesnÃ¢ÂÂt have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.
Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behaviorÃ¢ÂÂon and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip heÃ¢ÂÂs getting from Eden Christiansen isnÃ¢ÂÂt making things any easier. But when OwenÃ¢ÂÂs carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.
I am not a big fan of hockey. I hope I just didnÃ¢ÂÂt offend the hockey enthusiasts out there it is just not a sport that I can get in to. Having said that Ms. Warren does make the sport interesting and she does it through her characters. Two of them, Jace and Owen, are hockey players and, of course, Eden has ties to both of them. It is fun watching these two learn the truth about each other as both of them came into the relationship with preconceived ideas. The Christiansen Family is not perfect but they are interesting. Ms. Warren does a superb job of making each character come alive so much that they seem as if they have been our friends all our lives. In addition Ms. Warren has provided a free novella entitled, Ã¢ÂÂI Really Do Miss Your SmileÃ¢ÂÂ. ItÃ¢ÂÂs the story of how Ingrid and John met and eventually found a life together. What a powerful love story. Ã¢ÂÂIt Had To Be YouÃ¢ÂÂ is a wonderful, sweet story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I recommend this book highly and look forward to a return to Deep Haven.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255: Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
March 30, 2014
Susan May Warren really nails the heart with love and grace when characters in the novel begin to understand how they are viewing themselves, and when what they do in their lives becomes the standard to which they measure their hopes, fears, triumphs or failures is the dawning of a new day. Jace is known as the NHL Blue Ox teamÃ¢ÂÂs bad boy. The more he fights instead of scoring, the happier the fans. Eden thought writing obits was a meaningless job when all she has ever wanted to be was an honest reporter.
In reality, our lives tend to mesh and we gather our identity through another personÃ¢ÂÂs life or whomever we tend to idolize. The Christiansen family isnÃ¢ÂÂt depicted as perfect Christians, but has its own problems, hopes, dreams, failures and triumphs. With each page, readers will be able to identify with various characters with different life situations. Sounds like reality does it not?
When parents watch their children become adults, they learn to let go and pray hard for their offspring to be the people God has called them to become. It is never easy for a parent to let go in the hope and knowledge that God their Father is right there with them. While I read, I learned it takes faith and grace to let go with one hand and hold onto the FatherÃ¢ÂÂs hand with both. One child in the novel needs a heart transplant; her father is a single parent, having lost his wife to the same heart condition years ago. As time passes without seeing any hope, the father on his knees hands over his daughterÃ¢ÂÂs care and life into GodÃ¢ÂÂs hands because he realizes he cannot carry the burden alone any longer.
Susan May Warren draws the audience into the adventure of the Christiansen family and friends as they live very active lives in Minneapolis in a story that is written with a motherÃ¢ÂÂs heart and life experience. Each page speaks about an individualÃ¢ÂÂs choices in faith and how God can redeem what looks to be a life wasted. I appreciated the reality that is reflected in some parts of the story when a character hears words of wisdom with their ears, but God brings it to a rock solid truth in their heart. I cannot imagine the pressure that professional athletes are under to perform, meet certain criteria or even take on a persona that is not who they really are. In one scene, readers will read a tender moment where a hockey player is reading his Bible looking for answers, understanding and peace. Our times with God can sometimes be like this, during trials when we are on our knees handing a hard situation into GodÃ¢ÂÂs hands. For me, meeting with God in His Word is not a ritual to perform or something to mark off a Ã¢ÂÂto doÃ¢ÂÂ list, it is a relationship. A relationship He initiated, keeps and grows for which I am immensely thankful for each new dawn. I have learned that I have a part in the relationship also by coming to Him just as I am. How about you?
March 24, 2014
It Had to Be You will touch your heart!
I have positively fallen in love with the Christiansen Family series! It Had to Be You is a fabulous addition and I had a hard time putting it down once I started reading it! Susan May Warren did a wonderful job creating realistic characters that are flawed, yet likeable. And although I am not a hockey fan, I found this setting to be dangerous, and exciting at the same time.
Eden and Jace are like night and day, and seem like an unlikely match right from the start. One of the best things about this book (as well as the series, so far) is that the main characters must step back and take a good long look at themselves to learn who they really are. Eden Christiansen was very biased about Jace which was mostly based upon the media's persona of him, not who he was through Christ. I loved seeing him through her eyes, while also knowing his point of view, as well. Jace also has biased opinions about Eden, as well, mostly based on how she interacts with and protects her younger brother, Owen. I loved watching as Eden and Jace slowly discovered that their original opinions about each other were incorrect. As their relationship developed they had to weather many storms that threatened to end it before it began.
Jace, tagged as hockey's bad boy, is carrying a lot baggage from his past. Although he is a major hockey star, he sees himself as a failure and really would like to lose his bad boy image. Although I am not a sports fan, I appreciated that Susan explained the game of hockey so that people like me can understand what was going on out on the ice.
Eden's brother, Owen, has a lot of growing-up to do and is facing a lot of "hard-knocks" as he does. I am looking forward to see how Susan grows him up as the Christiansen Family series continues. I also enjoyed getting to know Sam and his daughter, Maddie. It Had to Be You is chock full of interesting characters whose stories beg to be told.
The book includes the prequel to this series titled I Really Do Miss Your Smile. It is John and Ingrid Christiansen's (parents of Derek, Eden, Grace, Owen, Amelia, and Casper Christiansen) story of how they met and made a life together. Even though it is only a novella, it is a powerful love story. I have enjoyed each book of this series so far, and I am really looking forward to the third book in the series, When I Fall in Love, which will center on Grace Christiansen.
**It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
March 24, 2014