#2: Better All the Time
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#2: Better All the Time

Tyndale House / 2015 / Paperback

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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: Darlings

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Product Reviews

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  1. Gazpacho
    Harrison, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A family saga, real to life flawed characters
    October 6, 2017
    Gazpacho
    Harrison, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    You know how Debbie Macomber takes a community of people and tells their individual stories which stretch over several books and time? I know many authors who have done this; and some of those stories, like Ms. Macomber's, have even become a television series. Well, Carre Armstrong Gardner has done something similar, although the focus remains on one family, the Darlings. This book is the second of a series, all focusing on the members of the Darling family and their friends.

    Book 1introduced us to the family by way of Ivy Darling, already married to Nick Mason. As their story unfolds, we get introduced to the many other members of the sprawling family that lives in Maine and other parts of the US.

    Jane and Leander Darling are the proud parents of mostly daughters, now adults who are moving on with their lives, and sometimes to other states. Seraphina is the resident college student/grad who has taken on a nursing job nearby. Ivy and Nick live close with their adopted youngsters, Hammer, DeShaun, and Jada. Laura has moved as far away from the family as she could manage, to Arizona. Amy has taken on the position of a local arts director to create a brand new program with theater, concerts and classes. David is dating Sephy's best friend, Libby. The focus in this book is on the personal issues faced by Laura, Amy, Sephy and a few peripheral friends such as Mitch and Libby.

    All the daughters had experiences which tugged at my sympathies and my heart. But I think of all their stories, it was Sephy's that resonated most with me. She and I have parallel histories, mostly revolving around emotional eating and being a people pleaser. Her journey sounded so much like mine. I remember those feelings and experiences that were so close to her feelings and experiences, especially when it came time for her to visit her Aunt Sharon. Oh my! It was both hilarious and tragic at the same time; I couldn't help but laugh in commiseration!

    I also loved Amy's subplot. She could have been me when I was in my 20's. While reading about her non-relationship with Mitch, I kept yelling at her in my mind, 'Don't make the same mistakes I did, Amy!' Of course, when you are twenty-something and you have the tiger by the tail, who has time to think of long-term consequences. Right? 'Nuff said.

    So if this type of storytelling is one you enjoy, go out and get the first book and this one, then go on and read the next book in the series. They really are more enjoyable to read this way. The title of the book is appropriate. Tangled stories do begin to unravel and straighten out, little by little. I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing book three.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
  2. Virginia
    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.
  3. Amy C
    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.
  4. beckie
    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.
  5. Janet
    Belton, TX
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Too Many Characters; Too Consumed with Self
    April 30, 2015
    Janet
    Belton, TX
    Age: 45-54
    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.
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