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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Almost Always by Bobbi Reed

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…where the reading schedule is set long before the month due ever rolls around, but you can always count on the material being fresh.

Today’s featured title is one that I had wanted to feature last month as it has a few wintery themes running about, plus the curious little cover of gingerbread wonder, but alas time got away from me, among other things.  Those other things were more along the lines of my concentration..and unfortunately, interest.  *le sigh*  Yep.  For those readers out there that blog themselves, you know where this is going; for those that don’t, hang tight my friends…we’ll make it through this bumpy ride together.  Whether your halls are still decked or not, it’s time to great today’s book of choice…

Bobbi Reed

About the book
Here’s the way Eva sees it:  if John is so concerned about her butting into strangers’ lives, he shouldn’t leave her sitting at a table in Bob Evans with nothing to occupy her time…

Enter Cecelia – a pregnant teenager who needs a family for her baby.  Fate has placed her at a table behind Eva and John.  Now Eva has a chance – a chance to give her daughter, Shelly, the one thing Shelly desperately wants.  But nothing is ever as easy as it seems.  Because sometimes daughters are not born to us – they are gifted by desperate teenagers – seated behind us at Bob Evans…

I select my review books carefully, gauging my acceptance or gracious decline by my interest in the book.  The questions I ask myself run the gambit of what does it sound likedo I have  vested interest in the characters or situationdo I feel a desire to know more, and many other choice phrases of pondering.  If initially unclear or if I’m teetering on that little ledge of uncertainty, I look closer at the cover, explore the links provided by the “pitcher” to this “pitchee”, even read the excerpts that were included or are accessible online.  In other words, I do my own version of due diligence because let’s face it, it’s not helping anyone if I accept a title for review that I have absolutely no interest in (not every book is for every reader).  This pans out…to steal a line or rather the title from this book, almost always.  However, there are some instances where my initial impressions don’t hold water fully.  Sadly, such is the case here.

Eva’s intentions were noble, I’ll give her that but the extent to which she carried them with a blind eye to what was really happening, was hard to take.  I think for her it was a case of wishful thinking and maybe a mother’s love, getting in the way of what was right in front of her.  Her easy acceptance of Cecelia’s situation showed she has a big heart, and yet at the same time, she couldn’t extend that heart fully to her own husband’s idiosyncrasies.  I mean, I get it.  In Eva’s mind, John’s former profession was much more ‘manly’, something to talk about and be proud of.  His new pastime in his retirement is a bit more on the frilly side of things, but you know what?  It’s not hurting anyone.  He’s not changed as a person.  He merely wants to put his mind to work on something crafty while still providing aesthetic beauty to his surroundings.  If she can accept a teen’s pregnancy, be open to working on her relationship with her own daughter, and handle the less-than-always-there neighbor, she should be able to handle a bit of confectionery sugar and dried apple witch’s.  Just my opinion…..anywho…

Aside from those in both starring and bit roles, the story itself was….how to put it….just too drawn out.  I think the author was trying to show all the facets of Eva’s life, all the balls she was constantly trying to juggle, but in the end, it proved too much for not only her but readers, well…this reader anyway.  The writing itself was nice enough, and the story certainly filled with messages of acceptance, honesty and a caution against meddling, but I do believe they get lost a bit along the way. 

In the end, it just wasn’t a good fit for my own reading tastes.  The story took too long to develop.  The tale was heartfelt with good intentions but I never could fully connect with the characters; I cared about them, but only just.  Unfortunately, it made for a longer than usual read but I’m not sorry I persevered.  About 2/3 of the way in, we finally unearthed the feelings behind some of the actions seen and by book’s end, we’ve not only welcomed a new life into this fictional world, but seen many people grow beyond their previous selves; something we could only hope to see occur in our own lifetime.  So, although it wasn’t for me, perhaps it is for you!  If you’re looking for a read to while away your time in the “snow-pocalypse”, have run across similar times in your own life where empathy might play a common denominator, or can appreciate when good intentions mixed with a bit of heavy handed butting in go…well, not exactly your way, this may be the read for you.

Review copy received courtesy of author Bobbi Reed and Rebecca at Page Spring Publishing.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their official site.  This title is available now via Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of Page Spring Publishing, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.

Until next time…happy reading!

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