Archives For The Christiansen Family

It Had to Be You

Renee Ann Smith —  March 23, 2014 — 6 Comments
“My prayer is that you would believe God has a good story for you, too. Because only then will you truly hear the voice of God, telling you what He told me years ago when He put you in my arms: ‘I will take delight in her. I will rejoice over her with joyful songs‘ (Zephaniah 3:17).” ~Ingrid Christiansen to her daughter Eden, It Had to Be You~

susan may warren book 2Overshadowed by her talented siblings, Eden Christiansen is a born story-teller, who doesn’t quite believe that God has a good story for her life. Eden can help others see their potential but cannot see her own. As a child, she spent her free time hidden in a book. Now she’s still hiding from life—or maybe living it vicariously through her NHL star brother Owen. 

Enter playboy hockey star Jace ‘J-Hammer’ Jacobsen, who has everything his fans want in life, but longs for something more. His friend Sam, who finds himself in crisis when his adorable daughter Maddy needs a second heart transplant. The entire Christiansen family, who welcome all comers into their loving circle. And a teenage John Doe, who needs someone to watch over him.

These are the folks God uses to show Jace and Eden that His take on their stories is very different from their own.

This good-for-your-heart story ties together God’s wisdom, sweet romance, personal suffering, sacrifice, death, life, and God answering our wildest, most impossible dreams in His own special way.

I love how Susan May Warren novels touch on the most deeply felt needs and fears of our hearts—and often present heart-breaking situations with no easy answers—yet leave me feeling uplifted and hopeful.

What I liked best . . .
  • The under-confident heroine, Eden, penning beautiful memorials to ordinary folks in her obit column
  • The powerful yet endearing hero, Jace (High school girls will want to marry him. Grandmotherly types will want to bake him cookies.)
  • When Eden & her friend Russell are in the stands of his first Blue Ox hockey game
  • Jace’s best friend Sam singing to his little girl Maddy
  • The scenes describing a weekend with the Christiansen family (My students & I soooo want to visit Deep Haven!)
I limited myself to sharing two favorite quotes . . .

It Had to Be You Susan May Warren

It Had to Be You Susan May Warren

You don’t have to change the world to earn the applause of heaven. (Click to Tweet)

We expect God’s love to be all nice and neatly packaged. But He’ll do what He has to in order to draw us to that place where we need him. (Click to Tweet)

***I made these graphics with free images from rgbstock.com & tweaked them with picmonkey.com. Feel free to download, pin, tweet & share!

What you should do next . . .

***Thanks to LItfuse, Susan May Warren, and Tyndale House for providing a copy of It Had to Be You for me to review.

susie chairback new smAbout the Author:  Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists.

In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more.
***For any writers out there, joining My Book Therapy was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet in my writing journey. I recently attended the MBT Deep Thinkers Retreat and found that so many things connected for me during those five days. You should hop to the website and join the free level today!

You can connect with SMW

Take a Chance on Me

Renee Ann Smith —  April 28, 2013 — 6 Comments

Jensen crop

I probably shouldn’t have started reading Take a Chance on Me right before bedtime on a school night. Then the next day the book distracted me from grading papers. This became slightly dangerous when my students realized I had a new book by a favorite author. But it was worth the risk. Yes, Take a Chance on Me was that good.

This romantic story is the first in Susan May Warren’s new series about The Christiansens: six adult siblings and their parents. Here’s Susan May Warren’s intro to this fictional family: “They’re a family like you might find next door. Or in your church. Or maybe they’re like your family. Parents trying to figure out the delicate steps of guiding adult children into responsibility, hoping to leave a legacy. When I crafted the Christiansen family, I Iooked close to home, at our family, and the families of our friends. At their challenges, and joys, and their hopes to raise children who embody the values they were raised with. Then I created a family I’d like to get to know and hang out with. To fall in love with. I hope you do too.”

What’s this book about? Best friends, Jensen Atwood and Darek Christiansen, become estranged after a tragic accident—when Darek’s wife is killed and Jensen ends up sentenced to community service for her death. Now years later both men must decide if they can take a chance on God’s forgiveness and the second chance at life He seems to be offering through two smart & savvy ladies named Ivy Madison and Claire Gibson. (I had fun imagining Jensen as a younger Jack Shepherd from Lost vs. Darek as a younger John Reese from Person of Interest!)

I experienced a strong emotional response to Take a Chance on Me. How can you tell if you’ll feel the same?

  • If you’ve ever had that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you fear you’ve ruined your chance at happiness,
  • Or felt a hole in your heart because you’ve hurt someone you love. And it can never be undone.
  • If life has made you bargain and beg and weep before God
  • Then, after all that, a moment arrived that stole your breath away—when God offered you a second chance
  • And you took it. You grabbed it with both hands
  • And God’s grace and forgiveness filled you until you felt like you could soar,

Then you will love this story.

Two characters quickly worked their way into my heart: Jensen Atwood, a handsome, under-appreciated, intent-on-beating-himself-up secondary hero. Fortunately, Jensen has Gibs. Jack Marshall Gibson, Grandpop or Gibs to his family and friends, Vietnam vet and man of God. Gibs gives Jens exactly what he needs: love, godly counsel, a good checkers game, and a wake up call. Here are some of Gibs’ best lines:

grandpop gibs crop

You can read about the individual members of the Christiansen Family—each to be the subject of an upcoming novel—here.

Tweetables: “You can’t make yourself & your life whole again. God can.” (Click to Tweet)

“So plan A is a bust. God can make a plan B better than plan A ever would have been.” (Click to Tweet)

“He’d settle for Peace.The kind that let you sleep thru’ the night & look at yourself in the morning.” (Click to Tweet)

Need more details? Here’s the back-cover copy: Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

***Thanks to Susan May Warren, Litfuse, and Tyndale House for providing a copy for me to review. You can purchase Take a Chance on Me at this link. (And remember, the teens in your life will enjoy this book, too!)

About the Author: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation. She is also the founder of MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. You can find her online at www.susanmaywarren.com. Continue Reading…