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When God IntervenesTitle: When God Intervenes: An Extraordinary Story of Faith, Hope, and the Power of Prayer

Author: Dabney Hedegard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s not very often I use the term “inspiring” or “an inspiration” but When God Intervenes and Dabney Hedegard are just that.

When author Dabney was only six weeks pregnant, doctors found a football-sized tumor in her chest which sparked a ten-year battle with her health that included four near-death experiences.

If you don’t believe in God or are struggling with your faith right now, I dare you to read this book. I promise it will change you. I have never been so touched by a book as I have this one, and I finished it praising God and with tears in my eyes.

The miraculous events and the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises to Dabney’s family not only encouraged me and stretched my own faith, but left me in awe. Her entire story is a testament to God’s love and power, and I couldn’t more highly recommend it! If you have money enough to buy one book this entire year, use it to buy this one. That’s how good it is.

I picked up When God Intervenes thinking I’d read a few chapters and re-visit it later when I had time. I didn’t put it down until I finished it at 3:00 the next morning.

The writing is smooth, the story is riveting, and the overall message is a life-changing one. Dabney’s openness and honesty about what she was going through was so refreshing, and I was surprised to even find a little bit of humor when the book dealt with such a serious topic.

The one and only itty-bitty complaint I have has to do with the format of the book. Because you become so attached to Dabney and her family as you read, I wish they would have had a section in the middle with some photos of them. The book was so personal, I missed seeing who I was reading about. There was only one photo of the author and her family, and it was on the back of the book. And because Dabney’s story spans ten years, there was a lot of scene-hopping which was a little hard to follow at times. Although the scene/year changes were always marked, I wish they would have organized it a little more into sections, such as: “Years Before the Cancer,” “During the Cancer,” and “After the Cancer.” Something like that.

However, those two little things weren’t enough to distract me or keep me from enjoying the book as a whole.

So. I’ll summarize: BUY THIS BOOK.

(I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.)

Let’s Talk Book: I actually had the privilege of meeting this author when I went to a writing conference where she was trying to get this book published. Meeting her, I had no idea she’d been through so much.

In life, we are each a bundle of stories. I have found the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” rings true when it comes to people.

What about you? Have you ever met someone whose story surprised you?

Roses Have ThornsTitle: Roses Have Thorns

Author: Sandra Byrd

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Queen Elizabeth I has always been a personal favorite of mine (I mean, talk about a great name, right?) so author Sandra Byrd had a tough feat ahead of her from the onset. I picked up “Roses Have Thorns” with great expectations and warned myself ahead of time not to put any undue pressure on the author. However, I can honestly say that while Byrd’s vision of Queen Elizabeth I didn’t completely match mine, I was not disappointed.

The story follows the adventures of Lady Elin Von Snakenborg as she serves as a lady’s maid to Queen Elizabeth. Readers are transported to another time and place as Elin struggles to balance both allegiance to the queen and allegiance to her heart. While threats against the queen’s throne mount, threats within Elin’s own home abound.

I really appreciate how down-to-earth the author made both Queen Elizabeth and Elin. You feel the pain right along with Queen Elizabeth as she chooses loyalty to her people over the love of her life, and with Elin you see real flaws that would be impossible not to relate to.

What I really appreciated about this story was that Byrd didn’t just stop at “happily-ever-after” and a marriage. Instead, she goes past the marriage and straight to what it means to rediscover love once the honeymoon is over. Because of that, Elin’s love story is one of the more realistic and poignant I’ve read.

I wouldn’t consider myself a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I did feel as though the author could have done without so many sexual references. While the references were always within the context of marriage and tastefully done, I didn’t feel it was necessary to know of every time the characters made love.

However, as with any Byrd book, readers are in for an emotionally gripping read with unforgettable characters who face real challenges and end up overcoming them in a way that makes you want to cheer aloud. Byrd is a master at subtlety, and all of the witty play on words were fun to find.

Although “To Die For” will remain my favorite, all the books in this series were well-worth reading, and it is with a fond farewell I say goodbye to the “Ladies in Waiting” series and look forward to more!

(I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.)

Let’s Talk Book: Okay. I’m gonna be real here, guys. My egotistical self does tend to lean towards characters and/or historical people who have my name. Tell me I’m not the only one who does that!

How ’bout it-do you lean towards fictional or historical characters with the same name as you?