Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Side of Heaven

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

This Side of Heaven

Center Street (January 6, 2009)


New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. She's written more than thirty novels, ten of which have hit #1 on bestseller lists, and her Center Street novel Just Beyond the Clouds hit #13 on the New York Times bestseller list. There are nearly seven million copies of her award-winning books in print, including more than two million copies sold last year alone. She lives in Washington state with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Center Street (January 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599956780
ISBN-13: 978-1599956787


This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury is the third book in her Cody Gunner series, but if you haven't read the first two books (like me) don't worry, you won't feel at all lost here, because Cody is just a minor character. Josh Warren has spent much of his life being underestimated by his family. He's not a successful writer like his sister Lindsey or a teacher/politician like his father Nate. Josh had found happiness in being a tow truck driver, despite disappointing his parents, until an accident left him nearly crippled with back and neck pain. His lawsuit against the insurance company is finally coming to a head three years later, and Josh has pinned his hopes on a large settlement. With the money, he can finally get a paternity test to prove that Savannah, the product of a one night stand in Las Vegas seven years ago, is really his and he can open his own business and make his parents proud of him. Before the settlement comes, tragedy strikes, and his family is forced to re-evaluate who Josh really was and discover if Savannah is part of their family as well. Kingsbury is one of the most successful writers in Christian fiction for a reason. She knows how to grab hold of a reader's heart and not let go until the final page. We all know someone like Josh; someone who we don't think has lived up to their potential in life, but we can't know every circumstance in a person's life, only God has that knowledge. Josh's value in life isn't determined by the job he held or the amount of money he made, but in the lives that he touched with his faith and his goodness. The story is heart-wrenching, and I found myself praying as the ending approached. It's the kind of story that if Kingsbury ended it in a certain way, critics are certain to accuse her of tying things up too neatly, but as a reader, I would have cried if she had ended it any other way. Kingsbury has an deep connection to this story as it closely parallels that of her brother. She uses the grief and lessons she learned in her own life to make this story connect with the reader. Even if her writing isn't always top notch, she has a unique ability to create deeply moving stories that are nearly impossible to put down.

We're back from the cheerleading competition, and the results of the day were a bit disappointing. I'll post some pictures hopefully tomorrow or later next week. I'm very proud of our squad; they did a fantastic job.