#2: Better All the Time  -     By: Carre Armstrong Gardner
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#2: Better All the Time

Tyndale House / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

Seraphina Darling has always struggled to stand out. With her weight issues at the forefront of her mind, Sephy prefers to place herself comfortably in the background. But when Sephy's best friend and older brother announce their engagement, she vows to make a permanent change in her appearance and her life.

Meanwhile her younger sister, Amy, lands her dream job: coordinating the restoration of the community theater's arts programs. As the deadline for the project's completion approaches, Amy continues to run herself ragged, struggling to delegate and trust anyone but herself.

As the Darling sisters move through tragedy and triumph, between shadows and the limelight, each must find a path into the freedom of who God intended her to be.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1414388152
ISBN-13: 9781414388151
Series: The Darlings

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  1. upstate NY
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Very good
    August 17, 2016
    Virginia
    upstate NY
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Sephy Darling is struggling with her weight, and her sister Amy has a new job that overwhelms her. With the help of their family, they learn how to succeed. This is the second book in the Darling family series. I enjoyed this book as well as the previous one, and am looking forward to the third book in the series.
  2. VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Better All the Time
    August 1, 2015
    Amy C
    VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Better All the Time is the second installment of The Darlings series. I just love this series. It made me laugh at times and the characters are true to life that I feel like this family are part of mine, as well. I hope another book of the series will release soon. I look forward to finding out what happens next, especially Sephy.

    Excellent book! One of my favorites of the year!

    100 stars.
  3. Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    better all the time review
    June 16, 2015
    beckie
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    "Better All the Time" the 2nd book in The Darling Family series by Carre Armstrong. I had not read the first in the series, and it isn't necessary to read to "get" this novel. The series revolves around the Darlings, a large family with a Christian background, that seems to have a running theme of self-absorption and addiction. The first novel followed Ivy, the oldest sister; this follows the three younger sisters, Laura, Sephy, and Amy. Laura, who lives in Arizona, has replaced her addiction for pills in exchange for alcohol. Sephy is an overweight college girl with the inability to tell anyone no. Though her family insults her regularly for that trait, they also demand it from her as well. Amy is in the beginnings of getting a community art center off of the ground. A work-oholic, she has tunnel vision when it comes to others, cannot keep her opinion to herself (thinks she shouldn't either) and has gotten a little infatuation going with Mitch, a contractor at the center. Though they were raised by seemingly decent parents several of them have one form of addiction or another and all can't seem to see past their own point of view.

    This is a well written book, difficult to put down. However, Armstrong had many different story lines going at once, and her characters lacked likability. The book would have been stronger had it focused on Sephy, the most likable of the group. Sephy decides to loose her excess baggage and develop some happiness while she is at it. Though in order to do both, she must find her backbone and use it; something she dreads doing. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale House Publishing.
  4. Temple, TX
    Gender: Female
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Too Many Characters; Too Consumed with Self
    April 30, 2015
    Janet
    Temple, TX
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 1
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I was disappointed in Carre Armstrong Gardners new book, Better All the Time. Unlike the first book in the series, All Right Here, which focused mostly on one member of the family while introducing the others, this book jumped around from character to character, from point of view to point of view. Gardner was still introducing new and significant characters in the last third of the book. This makes for a frustrating read.

    There wasnt really a story line either. The book just told about a year in the life of the Darling family. And because each member of the family was totally absorbed in a personal aggravation, there wasnt much positive interaction going on. Gardner assures readers these people love each other, but I just wasnt convinced. If theyd loved Laura for who she was instead of for what they expected her to contribute, she might not have moved to Arizona or let the family down in other ways. Both Laura and Sephy found relief in distance.

    Being self-absorbed is not living a Christ-filled life. The Darling family does not understand this truth. Prayer is not a one-sentence mantra that you say several times a day until you find a way to get what you want. Its a conversation with God through which you seek His will, His strength, His peace. Giving a strangera janitor at a hockey gameyour card and telling him youll call to offer him a job is not God answering your prayers. Rather its the kind of reckless behavior that can get a college-age girl kidnapped or killed. Offering yourself grace, in other words, giving yourself permission to be imperfect, is not the same thing as receiving Gods grace. Personal discipline (with Gods help, not apart from it as shown in this book) is part of Christian living, but its not the main thing.

    Sephys story, of all of them, was the only one that touched my heart. If the book had focused on her and taken her story to its natural conclusion, one I suspect may come in the next book, this novel could have been better. As it was, there were just too many characters all focused on themselves. I can't recommend this read.

    Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Better All the Time in exchange for this honest review.
  5. Greenfield, IN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great book!
    April 19, 2015
    mom3ways
    Greenfield, IN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    This is a brand new author for me to read. Carre Armstrong Gardner is married (like me), has three boys (like me), and is also a nurse (like me!). The book I read is the second book (of a 3 part series) in the Darling Family. I've always wondered if authors write all three books at once or if they write one book at a time. I don't know which would be harder to do. I have yet to write a book, so I have no idea what the process is like.

    This being the second Darling Family novel, I was introduced to several characters. A large family with kids of all different ages plus some foster kids sprinkled in the mix. This book concentrates mainly on two sisters. One who just got a job at the local community theatre and another who is working her way through nursing school. Both of them are single and seem to be "looking" for someone special, and one of the sisters, Sephy, is on a weight loss journey. She lacks self confidence and is put in a couple different situations that addresses this problem she needs to deal with.

    I really enjoyed getting to know this family. They have a Thursday evening dinner ritual where everyone is invited...no invitation required, which I think is a great idea. Towards the end of the book, the parents are given some difficult news about the father's health. With Christmas, a Christmas Day wedding, and their annual New Year's Eve party to plan, they decide to wait to share the news with the family. I'm thinking this will be discussed in the next book. I'm looking forward to it already!!

    *I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review.*
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