The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
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The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Revell / 2017 / Paperback

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Product Description

Sarah Hollenbeck is a bestselling author of provocative and steamy romance novels.  In her mid thirties, she becomes a Christian and she soon realizes she needs to distance herself from her scandalous reputation. To top it off she starts falling for the pastor at her church. Her world could not be any more opposite Pastor Ben’s world. Now they must learn how to bring their two worlds together.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Revell
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0800727665
ISBN-13: 9780800727666

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Publisher's Description

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn't afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

Author Bio

Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she's chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

Author Bio

Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three time cancer survivor (all before she turned 35), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado

Endorsements

"The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck is a rare treat packed with humor, hope, and heart. Sarah's struggles are real and nearly tangible, and she feels like a friend we've all had. I laughed with her and fell in love alongside her and couldn't wait to hear her whole story. What a charming, delightful book!" Liz Johnson, bestselling author of The Red Door Inn

Product Reviews

4.4 Stars Out Of 5
4.4 out of 5
(13)
(6)
(1)
(2)
(0)
Quality:
3.1 out Of 5
(3.1 out of 5)
Value:
3 out Of 5
(3 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3 out Of 5
(3 out of 5)
86%
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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Displaying items 1-5 of 22
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  1. Helen M
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good Story
    November 16, 2017
    Helen M
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Sarah Hollenbeck has recently divorced her husband. He has cheated on her though out their marriage and had not shown affection to her for a long time. She decided to become an author. She wrote stories filled with steamy romance that quickly became very popular. When she becomes a Christian, she attends church with her friend. She bumps into the pastor in the hall and starts to fall for him. He is a widower with a little girl, and he develops feelings for her.

    Sarah needs to figure out how to fulfill her book contract by writing a Christian novel. And Ben is faced with certain members of the congregation that do not feel his and Sarah's relationship is right.

    If you are the type of reader that likes to read read about touchy subjects, this book is for you. The story is well written with a lot of humor. I especially liked the part of the rules Sarah and Ben set for when they are dating. The part of the story that really touched me was the pain Sarah endured with her ex-husband. He withheld affection from her while having affairs and would not allow her to have a child. The story is very realistic story of a new Christian who is trying to move from their past past into their future. For these reasons this is a very good book. I have to give this book a 4 as I felt the reference to sex was to overwhelming in this story.

    I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing. This is my honest review.
  2. NadineTimes10
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Just Not What I was Expecting
    November 15, 2017
    NadineTimes10
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 2
    *Rating based on the portion I read*

    I appreciate author Bethany Turner's smart and humorous style in this novel. She picks up on some of the little human complexities that not everyone can catch or put into words. Now, I'd never heard of maybe half the actors, movies, or what all else Sarah jokes about, so some of the humor was lost on me. But I can confirm that her references to The Sound of Music and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman are on point!

    Still, it turns out that this novel's plot isn't what I thought I'd signed up for. Judging by the book blurb (yes, I did actually read the blurb this time!), I thought this novel would be a women's fiction or chick lit read mostly focused on a new believer and her career, with a little romance on the side.

    Almost sixty pages into it, there was no romantic hero in the picture at all, and romance novels tend not to take that long to introduce the romantic characters. So I was kind of disappointed when the focus did eventually switch to romance, with Sarah's career slipping more to the side.

    Besides, when a relationship seems to keep cycling back to sex (in cases like this, cycling back to "trying really hard *not* to have sex"), it starts to bug me. I think Sarah herself hits the nail on the head in her reference to Michaela and Sully on Dr. Quinn: "The waiting wasn't preached to us." I could explain what all I think about that, but then this wouldn't be a book review anymore.

    While I only got halfway through this novel before deciding not to continue, I enjoyed this author's style enough to read her again sometime.

    _______________

    Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
  3. MaureenT
    Syracuse NY
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Forgiveness
    November 14, 2017
    MaureenT
    Syracuse NY
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    From the beginning to the end of this book I could feel that the author had placed Gods hand on the main character, took awhile, but it was heart warming adventure.

    Forgiveness and turning the other cheek is really shown here, and you are going to be on a wonderful page-turning read once you turn the first page. It isnt easy to offer forgiveness, and especially when the pain was really offered to hurt someone you love. Great lessons here, from being a new Christian to seasoned, something is about to be learned by all.

    Be ready for some really good chuckles, and maybe an old fashioned game of telephone, see how the story comes out, and yes it does seem to change, but the last is awesome.

    I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.
  4. Lex De Weese
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Debut novel from an author of promise
    November 8, 2017
    Lex De Weese
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    3.5/5

    Readers bring so much to the table when they pick up a book, whether we realize it or not. Our expectations, experiences, and tastes determine so much what we receive when we're reading.

    I was reminded of this when discussing recent release The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. It had been pitched to me as a perfect read for the fans of Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding (of Confessions of a Shopaholic and Bridget Jones's Diary fame respectively)two of my favorites, so I figured this book was pretty much my guilty pleasure cup of tea. My expectations in the regaurd were not totally met, but this is probably because I oversold it to myself.

    Here is what I loved about The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck:

    Turner is a just-plain-talented writer. Her voice is strong, especially for a debut novelist.

    I laughed out loud a lotsomething I've never done with a Christian fiction novel (at least not when I was supposed too...)

    The fact that it's was a light, slightly-edgy, fast-passed, romantic comedy in Christian fiction! The publisher taking a risk in this direction was encouraging.

    This said, I was a little thrown that the plot was perfectly set up to subvert the usual Christian romance formula, but then ran into it's arms...quite literally.

    There is nothing wrong with that at all. It's just not my preference as a reader.

    The book may have been what I thought was formulaic, but it challenged a lot of the genres "rules." The protagonist was actually broken and relatably flawed. She and her love interest felt sexual desire, but were convicted to actually be aware of it and deal with itsomething authors just pretend isn't a factor in a Christian relationship. The protagonist was divorced and unsaved at the beginning of the novel and her conversion was not an overnight now-she's-perfect kind of thing. I saw myself and my friends in Sarah's character

    I had put expectations on this book to be something I don't think the Christian fiction genre is ready for.

    Perhaps my expectations were not met, but I honestly look forward to Turner's next book. Her wit and voice are a great contribution to Christian fiction and I can't wait to see how she will continue to push boundaries.

    I would recommend The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck for readers of Christian fiction looking for a good laugh and a great character. This is a quick read, perfect for upcoming holiday travels.
  5. Seasons of Grace
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good but made me uncomfortable in some places :-)
    November 7, 2017
    Seasons of Grace
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I am thinking I may be one of the weird ones, who although I enjoyed the book, didn't necessarily fall in love with it right off. The author has a great sense of humor and the story was interesting and definitely unique! There were many laugh out loud scenes. However, the book kind of felt like it was all about sex, ironically though, there is really no sex in the book. I think this was kind of the author's point, since the book is about a Sarah, who started out writing erotic novels, became a Christian, and then decided to instead become a Christian fiction writer. However, after reading various novels, she felt they weren't true to the realistic feelings going on between the couples. Her goal - to write a clean fiction book that was very steamy and yet contained no sexual content.

    I liked Sarah as a person, but kind of felt like she was solely focused on one thing - "Ahem"... maybe because her first marriage was lacking??? Piper was probably my favorite of all the characters and I would enjoy reading more about her. She was down to earth, practical, honest, and a wonderful friend. Of course, Ben, was the story's "hero", almost to-good-to-be true guy, loyal, Bible-nerd pastor, who has had his share of heartache, but came out on the other side even stronger. Sarah and Ben seemingly cannot get enough of each other, even at the first hello. At times it was like... enough already! Either go for it, or quit talking about it! Maybe that's just me ....

    There were also few of those characters you love to hate. For me, it was Laura and Patrick. The story ends with a bit of a twist, that adds dimension to the plot.

    I enjoyed Sarah's growth in her Christian walk. It was interesting how she seemed to "know" how a Christian should behave, as soon as, and even before she became one; although it was funny to read her "light-bulb" moments, when something clicked. Sarah was a good example of - watching how we walk as believers, because the world is watching us, and often they know how we should walk better than we do.

    I would recommend this book to mature readers who like humorous fiction, a bit on the edgy side.

    I received this book from author/publisher to read free. I was not required to review it positively and all opinions are my own.
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