Second Opinion: Book to Movie Review: The Hunger Games

So, I finally got to go see The Hunger Games!  It was quite an experience for me.  I was in a real tizzy because I was running late on my way to the theater.  I did not want to miss the previews---I was looking forward to them just as much as the movie!  I simply had to see the previews for The Host and Breaking Dawn: Part 2.  

Sheldon in his "spot"
After speeding the entire way to the theater, and being so stressed about missing the previews that I got heartburn, I arrived at the theater only to find that someone was in my spot!  (Cue Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory).  If you know me at all, you know that I have to sit in the middle of the very back row when I go to the movies.  I cannot tolerate anyone sitting behind me, crunching their popcorn.  Why do people have to chew popcorn so loudly?  And I hate sitting too close to the edge because all I can see are the running lights on the stairs.  Can you tell I have problems when I go to see movies?  This is why I never go to the movies!  I am just too picky.  

Anyway, two people were in my spot, and since my rules of personal space dictate that I cannot sit closer than four seats away from strangers, I had to make a choice.  Sit on the back row close to the edge---gasp!---or sit in the middle of the theater not on the back row.  I cannot even begin to tell you how I agonized over this choice.  I am sick, people, sick!  I started off on the edge of the back row.  All the way through the previews, I found myself casting ugly looks towards the two women in my spot.  (They were totally oblivious as the theater was dark by then).  I stayed in that spot for the first part of the movie.  After the Reaping, I moved to the middle of the theater (this was a timed move, to make sure no one came in late and sat too close to my final seating destination).  And the move was positive: I found the shooting of the film to be so jumpy that sitting in the middle of the theater gave me a better viewing experience than sitting closer to the edge.

I still love Gale!
After I overcame my seating issues---this is why I do better going to the movies alone---I was able to enjoy the film.  Overall, I thought it was a really great film.  I loved the acting and thought the casting was perfect.  I was not sure about Josh Hutcherson as Peeta but ending up thinking he made a great Peeta.  I am still Team Gale---is it just me or did they downplay they Gale scenes?---but am slightly more open to the idea of Peeta and Katniss together now that I've seen the movie.

As with any book to movie adaptation, I missed the parts that were cut from the book.  The bit about the Mockingjay pin bothered me, I wanted to see more of Katniss's life before the Reaping, and I wanted to see the victory tour after the Games.  I also, like Natalie, wanted to see Katniss break Peeta's heart at the end of the movie, like she does in the book.  Oh, burn, Peeta, burn!  I have a feeling these movies are going to be very pro-Peeta.  And I'll just have to learn to live with that.  

I loved the special effects as well as the costume design.  Those two elements really made the movie for me.  I also loved getting to see the Games through the Gamemaker's perspective.  I enjoyed seeing them manipulating the environment, and thought it added another layer of depth to the movie.  

Overall, I enjoyed The Hunger Games.  I can't say that it will be a movie that I buy and watch over and over again, like, say, Twilight or any of my Jane Austen films, but it was very well done and I will definitely keep watching the series.  


Book Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Two climbed up. Two fell down.
One woke up.
In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, Robin Saunders has to relearn who she is and find out what happened the night everything changed.

Release Date: November 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Review copy from author

This was such a good book!  It reminded me of Gayle Forman's If I Stay (read my review of that tear-jerker here), in the very best of ways.  

Robin and her best friend Emily climb up an amusement park ride and end up falling.  Robin wakes up in the hospital, but Emily remains in a coma.  Robin can't remember anything about the accident, or why they were even up there, and keeps thinking that if she can just remember what happened she can help Emily.

Robin has to totally relearn how to do everything for herself, from mundane things like dressing and showering to how to interact with people at school.

I loved the story, especially the interwoven stories of Robin, Emily, their childhood friend Reno, and Josie.  I loved the character growth throughout, especially Robin's growth.  The addition of the family drama between Susan and Grace really added a lot of depth and interest to the story.

Notes to Self was sad for much of the book but it really made me think.  I would recommend this contemporary YA to just about anyone, and would definitely read more from Avery Sawyer in the future.

Book Review: Wishful Thinking (Time of Transition #3) by Gabi Stevens

Free-spirited artist Stormy Jones-Smythe was raised by two talented Wizard fathers but never showed the slightest hint of magical abilities. Which is why she’s totally surprised when three famous fairy godmothers show up at her door to tell her she’s one of them.

Surprised, and none too happy.  The godmothers are fugitives, framed for treason, and the last thing the magical Council wants is another fairy godmother going rogue. Hence Stormy’s new full-time Guard, Hunter Merrick.

Stormy quickly realizes she’s not going to escape Hunter’s watch…and before long, she’s not sure she wants to. But her freedom depends on her ability to expose the plot against the godmothers, and that means getting control of her magic. Despite the growing chemistry between them, Hunter is fiercely loyal to the Council—and duty-bound to keep Stormy from doing either of those things.

But he didn’t count on Stormy’s irrepressible exuberance and passion for life. Before long, even Hunter isn’t sure which side he’s on, and he can’t contain Stormy either way.

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Source: Review copy from author
Other Books in the Series: The Wish List, As You Wish

I have really enjoyed the Time of Transition trilogy.  This series is light-hearted fun, with sweet love stories and a nice plot centering around magic.  Each book in the series features one new-found fairy godmother.  Book one was Kristin's story, book two was Reggie's story, and book three was Stormy's story.  I really connected with Kristin and Reggie, and found a lot of my own attributes in them.  I had a harder time connecting with Stormy, though.  She was just so different from the other two godmothers, so headstrong and stubborn.  I did like and respect her, though, especially her passion for everything in her life.  

Like Kristin and Reggie, Stormy is living her life and suddenly finds out she is a fairy godmother.  She is incredulous and doesn't believe that she has the power to wield magic.  She quickly finds herself in a precarious position, though, as the other godmothers are in hiding from the magical Council.  Stormy is soon embroiled in the conflict between the godmothers and the Council, and has to choose sides.  In the middle of all of this is her guard, Hunter.  Hunter and Stormy both chafe at the situation: Stormy doesn't want a guard and Hunter wants to be off doing bigger things.  But, slowly, they begin to respect each other and that respect starts to build into attraction.

The events in the first two books led up to the conclusion of the series in Wishful Thinking.  And I was totally happy with the ending: Stevens knows how to deliver a happily ever after without it being too cloyingly sweet or overdone.  I enjoyed the plot twists and found myself surprised at the way the story concluded.  

Overall, I really enjoyed Wishful Thinking, and the Time of Transition series.  I would recommend it to fans of romance, magical realism, and anyone looking for a fun read.


Blogoversary Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to

 Viari R.

Who won an "I Like Big Books and I cannot lie" themed book bag!

 Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway!

Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget to enter our blogoversary giveaway!

Enter to win an "I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie" book bag!
The giveaway ends Monday, April 23rd.

Book to Movie Review: The Hunger Games Midnight Premiere

I was proudly present at the midnight showing of The Hunger Games, nestled between a group of about 25+ college age guys. It caught me by surprise when I walked into the theater to take claim on my "stolen but perfect" seats for the night... there were loads of guys. I have gone to most of the midnight shows for Twilight and a few others in the past and it has been a LARGE group of women sporting their "team" shirts... but that was not the case for THG, it was an even split between guys and gals.
I must also note how excited my husband was to watch the midnight viewing, just how excited? Well, he got off a 12 hour shift from the hospital and bee-lined it for his sisters' house where he was staying and then began to taunt text me things like "I am going to Target to get a bow and arrow" or "this has to be way better than watching Jacob running around half naked"... complete crack up!

The movie was AWESOME! It was better than I imagined it while I was reading the book. They kept all the important details and I absolutely LOVED the casting... Cato, Cinna and Haymitch were fabulous! Katniss (Jennifer Lawerence) was great and really played her role well.  And I have to mention the Girl on Fire Dress... so impressive! I could not believe how cool they made that scene, the dress was stunning and Katniss owned it.

And I must say I AM STILL TEAM PEETA ALL THE WAY! Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) did not disappoint. I had my doubts and even thought about jumping to the dark side of Team "I hate the World" Gale but I am not wavering any longer! 

As with all reviews, I did have a few minor dislikes.
  •  It was so flipping shaky for the first third of the movie... I felt a little dizzy. I don't like films that are attempting to make you "feel" like you are a part of the action. I was busy trying to focus my eyes so I could appreciate all the perfect attention to detail.
  • At the end of the book Peeta is really broken hearted when he finds out that Katniss thought everything was staged and that she really didn't have feelings for him. But the movie just didn't do it for me... I wanted the broken heart! That is a big part of what gets the emotions rolling in Catching Fire. But I still have hope, maybe they will make it up in the adaptation of Catching Fire
Those are my initial thoughts, what did you think? 

We are TWO!

Early one morning I blindsided Kelli with the grand reveal... we were starting a book blog and she would be writing a "few" reviews... later I explained that she would be writing all the reviews. 

And here we are 2 years later with one of the most fun hobbies we have ever had! We've made great friends, have had a few hundred adventures that only a good book can take you and best of all we still love blogging about it.

Thank you for giving us a great escape and supporting I'd So Rather Be Reading! We look forward to all the adventures that come our way.
Birthday Giveaway
It's our birthday, but we're giving away the presents!  One lucky winner will receive an "I Like Big Books and I cannot lie" book bag, pictured below.  The giveaway is open until Monday, April 23rd.

Book Review: Hope's Journey by Stephanie Worlton

Sydney is a straight-A student heading to college on a scholarship, and Alex is a quiet jock preparing to serve an LDS mission. But their dreams are shattered on the eve of their high school graduation when they find out that Sydney is pregnant. Separated, they must both trust in God as they search for the worth they once found in each other.

Release Date: July 10, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Bonneville
Source: Review copy from author

I loved this book!  Hope's Journey is about two seniors in high school: Alex and his girlfriend Sydney.  They are in love, and have such a sweet, tender relationship.   

Except, for Sydney, something is missing.  On the outside, she appears to have it all: a confident tomboy who has more guy friends than girl friends, and an energetic, outgoing personality.  On top of that, she is very smart, has received multiple scholarship offers and has her pick as to which college she'll attend.  But, on the inside, she feels an emptiness.  For someone who appears to have all the confidence in the world, she actually has pretty low self-esteem.  She searches for her self-worth outside of herself, and finds it in her relationship with Alex.

Alex is a smart, talented athlete, and plans to go on a mission as soon as he turns 19, which is several months after high school ends.  Alex and Sydney are Mormon, and most Mormon young men go on mission trips for two years after high school, before they start college.  The missionaries' purpose is to spread the word of God to non-believers, and they are assigned a location for their mission: they could be sent anywhere in the world.  Young men have to be pure before their missions, and if they have sinned, they have to tell the church elders and repent of their sin.  Depending on the nature of their sin, they may or may not be allowed to complete their mission.

Alex and Sydney have "gone too far" a couple of times.  Worlton doesn't give any of the details, just alludes to the fact (this being a Christian fiction, it is very clean and appropriate for any age).  Sydney starts to fear that she is pregnant, and soon finds out she is (this is not a spoiler---see the summary).  Their carefully constructed plan for after graduation crumbles around them like a house of cards.  Suddenly, Alex's mission is in jeopardy, and Sydney's college plans are up in the air.  And Sydney and Alex react to the news in very, very different ways.

The majority of Hope's Journey is based on how Sydney and Alex react, grow, and adapt during Sydney's pregnancy.  The story is told in alternating point-of-views, with Sydney narrating one chapter and Alex the next.  I love that style of narration because I love getting to know both main characters so well.  And, I really enjoyed being in Alex's head because if I hadn't known his inner thoughts, his actions, at times, would have made me want to reach through the book and slap him!

I ended up reading this book in a day: I could not put it down and had to know how Alex and Sydney's stories ended.  And I was most pleased with the ending---although it was not what I had expected and I would have liked more details.

I would recommend Hope's Journey to fans of YA and fans of Christian fiction.  It was a beautifully written book and I will definitely read more from Stephanie Worlton.

Book Review: Torn by Stephanie Guerra

Stella Chavez is your classic good girl: straight As, clean-cut boyfriends, and soccer trophies . You’d never guess that Stella’s dad was a drug addict who walked out when she was a kid. Or that inside, Stella wishes for something more.

New girl Ruby Caroline seems like Stella’s polar opposite: cursing, smoking, and teetering in sky-high heels . But with Ruby, Stella gets a taste of another world—a world in which parents act like roommates, college men are way more interesting than high school boys, and there is nothing that shouldn’t be tried once.

It’s not long before Stella finds herself torn: between the best friend she’s ever had and the friends she’s known forever, between her family and her own independence, between who she was and who she wants to be.

But Ruby has a darker side, a side she doesn’t show anyone—not even Stella. As Stella watches her friend slowly unravel, she will have to search deep inside herself for the strength to be a true friend, even if it means committing the ultimate betrayal.

Release Date: April 1, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Source: NetGalley

This was a fast, fun read.  It was about two girls who are polar opposites.  Stella is a "good girl" and Ruby is the new girl at school.  For some reason, Ruby decides she and Stella will be best friends, and they quickly form a friendship so exclusive that Stella's old friends are left out.

Ruby lives a totally different life from Stella.  Ruby's mom lets her go out at all hours, drink and date inappropriate men.  Stella, in comparison, has led a sheltered existence.  However, now that she and Ruby are so close, she starts letting loose too.

Before long, Stella has to decide between Ruby and her fun, fast ways and her old life of her "safe" friends and living to make her mother happy.  Ruby has some secrets, and as Stella uncovers them, she has to decide what to do: betray her friend in order to help her, or keep Ruby's secrets and keep Ruby happy?

I enjoyed this book.  There were some things I didn't like about it, namely all of the underage drinking and drug use.  I know it's representative of our times but I just don't like reading about that.  There were definitely some adult themes to the book, themes that left me wondering if this book would be better suited with an adult classification.

My favorite thing about Torn was the friendship and loyalty between Stella and Ruby.  I liked how Ruby was much more than she seemed to be on the surface.  I also liked that Stella did not just bow down to Ruby's strong personalty.  She stood up for herself, and Ruby really respected her for it.  I liked Stella's maturity and level-headedness (most of the time, anyway) and those aspects of her personality helped Ruby with some much-needed growth.  I also really enjoyed how Stella and Ruby resolved the conflict at school with the "mean girls."

Overall, I liked this book but didn't love it.  There were a lot of good things about it, and some things I could have done without.  I liked the writing style and would definitely read Stephanie Guerra again.

Book Review: Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Release Date: November 29, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Putnam
Source: Purchased

Oh, this book was SO good!  I absolutely loved it.  The last few dystopian novels I've read didn't quite live up to my expectations, but Legend far surpassed everything else I've read for a while now.

The story is told in alternating points-of-view, which I love.  It lets the reader really get to know more than just the main character.  June and Day are our narrators and main characters.  I have to say, I didn't really like either of them at first, but they really grew on me.  Especially June.  I basically couldn't stand her elitist attitude at the beginning of the book.  I thought she was a self-important snob!  But then, she starts to change and grow, and her evolution as a character was one of my favorite things about the book.

The back-story was well-done, cluing the reader in without feeling didactic.  I thought the world was very believable and that made the story even better for me.  The pacing was great, alternating between action and history.  I loved finding out little bits about each character as the story progressed.

I really can't wait for book two in the series, Patriot, due out September 2012.  Marie Lu is an author to watch---she's written an outstanding debut!

Book Review: The Academie by Suzanne Dunlap

Eliza Monroe—daughter of the future president of the United States—is devastated when her mother decides to send her to boarding school outside of Paris. But the young American teen is quickly reconciled to the idea when—ooh, la-la!—she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn't take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies—and that she's about to get caught in the middle of their schemes.

Loosely drawn from history, Eliza Monroe's imagined coming of age provides a scintillating glimpse into the lives, loves, and hopes of three young women during one of the most volatile periods in French history.

Release Date: February 28, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: NetGalley

This was a really neat book.  I loved the glimpse into the lives of three prominent young women during Napolean Bonaparte's rise to power.  I didn't think I would like the book at first, and in fact almost gave up on it, but in the end I decided to keep going and I'm glad I did.  

The Academie was slow to start, but once I figured how who everyone was and got their family members straight, I really got into the story.  I liked how each chapter was narrated by a different character, and how all four main characters' stories were interwoven (even though they didn't seem like they would be at first).  There were things I liked and disliked about each girl, and in fact, I had no favorite character.  This is rare for me, especially with a multiple first-person narrative.   

I love stories that provide an inside look into the machinations of those in power.  That is one reason why I like Philippa Gregory so much.  In fact, now that I say that, The Academie is sort of like Philippa Gregory for a younger audience.  Maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much!  I got the intrigue I wanted in a fast, easy YA read.  

I would recommend The Academie to fans of YA and fans of historical fiction.  According to Goodreads, Susanne Dunlap has written quite a few other books, and I plan to read more of her work in the future. 

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Winner

Congratulations to 

Christina Kit

Who won a hardcover copy of Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our blog and entered the giveaway! 

Book to Movie News: The Host Trailer Debut

Sometimes I like the previews of other movies more than the one I am there to see. The previews before The Hunger Games were awesome...

The Host 

This is one of Kelli's favorite books and when she heard there was a trailer and a release date I heard "ooohhhhh" over the phone and I know she hurried to watch it after we hung up (yes we call and discuss our book family on a daily basis... who needs a book club, we LIVE IT!)

Breaking Dawn Part 2

Finally, Bella is a vampire and boy is she all gussied up! It is about time too.

Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Hunter

I am still on the fence about this one. I need to read the book and see if it is something to get my tail all bushy about before I get all excited plus I need to know the movie rating (I don't watch rated "R" movies and if it is "R" then I won't even bother with the book).

Giveaway: Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza

We are so excited to join Once Upon a Twilight and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer's Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!

Click here to visit the other blogs in the giveaway hop.

We have a really, really exciting giveaway for this hop.  One lucky winner will receive:

A hardcover copy of Julie Kagawa's new release, The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)!

  Click here to read a summary (and here to read my review) of The Immortal Rules

Book Review: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Review copy from publisher

This book was so, so good!  From the very first pages, I knew I was going to love it.  Of course, I am a big fan of Julie Kagawa already: I loved her Iron Fey series and felt sure that I would like anything else she wrote.  What I didn't know, though, was just how much I would enjoy The Immortal Rules.  At first glance, I thought, "oh, here's another vampire book," and didn't expect anything fresh on this much-exhausted subject.  But, Kagawa proved me wrong, and delivers a fresh take on vampires.

The Immortal Rules felt part dystopia, part paranormal to me.  At first, Allison is your typical post-apocalyptic survivor type human.  Every day is a struggle just to get enough food to eat and to avoid being taken by the vampires in the city.  Allison is an unemotional girl who is always thinking about how to get through another day.  That's not to say she doesn't have feelings, she's just good at pushing them down in order to survive.

Things change when Allie and her friends are attacked by a pack of rabids.  She is left for dead, but saved by a vampire.  And that is when the story really gets interesting.  Allie is torn between two worlds: her old life as a human and her new life as a vampire.  (I promise that telling you this is not a spoiler, as these events occur early in the book and are in fact, described in the summary).

I loved the first person narrative, as it allows the reader to really know Allie.  It would be hard to know her from a third-person point-of-view, as she keeps her emotions so hidden and closed off to everyone around her.  Kagawa's writing style is a little different from the Iron Fey series: The Immortal Rules is written more starkly, which goes well with the theme of the book.

I loved the slow build of the romance, as well as the forbidden aspect of it (forbidden love gets me every time).  I thought the ending was fitting, and it provided enough closure but left me eagerly anticipating book two.  There were some surprises towards the end of the book, which I loved.  Just when I thought I had the plot figured out, Kagawa surprised me, which made me love the book all the more.

There was a surprise at the end of my ARC: a sneak peek of an Iron Fey spin-off featuring Ethan Chase.  I usually don't like a male narrator, but I will definitely make an exception to read more from Kagawa.  I would recommend The Immortal Rules to just about anyone----and I just can't wait for the next book in the series!    

Book Review: Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker

It’s taken Audrey Regan years to establish herself as a wedding dress designer, and to date she’s been roped into creating dresses for nine of her girlfriends. Request #10 follows her vow to “Just say no!” and comes from her very best friend. She can hardly turn Carly down!         

Audrey arrives in Atlanta early to perform all of her maid-of-honor duties along with final fittings for a one-of-a-kind dress. But Carly’s wedding is nothing short of an event, complete with Prince Charming, and the festivities make Audrey question whether there’s a prince of her own anywhere in her future.  

Enter the groom’s brother and best man. Shaggy-haired, tattooed bad boy J.R. Hunt couldn’t be any more different from Prince Charming if he rode in on a Harley Davidson.  Oh, wait. He actually did ride in on a Harley!

Release Date: April 1, 2012
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Source: NetGalley
Other Books in the SeriesAlways the Baker Never the Bride, Always the Wedding Planner Never the Bride 

Sandra Bricker has done such a great job with this series.  The books are full of emotion, with positive relationships between friends and lovers.  It's good to read about friends who build each other up!  It's also good to read about people in love who have a respectful relationship---one with no drama.  I love that about her writing.

Audrey is a wedding-dress designer (doesn't that sound like a fun job?) and has committed to make her best friend Carly's wedding dress.  Audrey's business is failing and she fears that Carly's dress will be the last one she ever makes.  She arrives in Atlanta for Carly's final fitting and subsequent wedding and that's when everything gets really interesting.  Carly's fiance's brother, J.R., shows up and there is an instant connection between Audrey and J.R.. 

I'm no fan of love at first sight but I did enjoy the relationship between Audrey and J.R.  Things between them move more slowly than most love-at-first sight stories, which I appreciated.  When relationships progress too fast, they just don't feel realistic. 

There are many things I love about Sandra Bricker's writing.  I love that her books are thoroughly researched.  For example, I could tell that she did some intense research on fashion design before writing Always the Designer Never the Bride.  The details around the design portion of the book were so well-done.  I appreciate that in an author---nothing bothers me more than inaccurate information in a book.  I also love Bricker's attention to detail.  Her writing is meticulous, with details added in to add depth to the story.  Each minor character is very well fleshed-out.  Lastly, I love that the faith element to her books is done with a light hand.  Christian fiction can feel heavy or forced to me, so I like that the characters do have a relationship with God and do pray, but it is handled in a way that feels very realistic. 

If you are new to Christian fiction, Sandra Bricker would be a great author to start with.  Her books don't have the most intriguing summaries, but they are really great reads!