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Stuck in the Middle

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Joan Sanderson’s life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family, and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is stuck at home with Mom and her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement—or romance. When a hunky young doctor moves in next door, Joan sets out to catch his eye. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts Joan Sanderson’s life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family, and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is stuck at home with Mom and her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement—or romance. When a hunky young doctor moves in next door, Joan sets out to catch his eye. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly, and Joan is sure that she can’t compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, Joan begins to find her way out of this rut and into the life she’s been hiding from. Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, soul searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that is sure to make you smile.


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Joan Sanderson’s life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family, and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is stuck at home with Mom and her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement—or romance. When a hunky young doctor moves in next door, Joan sets out to catch his eye. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts Joan Sanderson’s life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family, and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is stuck at home with Mom and her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement—or romance. When a hunky young doctor moves in next door, Joan sets out to catch his eye. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly, and Joan is sure that she can’t compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, Joan begins to find her way out of this rut and into the life she’s been hiding from. Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, soul searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that is sure to make you smile.

30 review for Stuck in the Middle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This story was fabulous! It wasn't edgy, IMHO, but it was still very intriguing and incredibly romantic, not to mention downright hilarious at times. For me, Stuck in the Middle was the perfect example of the best of the best Christian fiction. Not too much angst and drama, but just enough tension and issues to keep you turning the pages. The internal dialogue was so well done I felt like I was the main character dealing with the spiritual struggles and the sister issues. Such honest and fresh This story was fabulous! It wasn't edgy, IMHO, but it was still very intriguing and incredibly romantic, not to mention downright hilarious at times. For me, Stuck in the Middle was the perfect example of the best of the best Christian fiction. Not too much angst and drama, but just enough tension and issues to keep you turning the pages. The internal dialogue was so well done I felt like I was the main character dealing with the spiritual struggles and the sister issues. Such honest and fresh fiction is not common. The spiritual struggles were realistic, and yet there was depth to the lessons that really cut to the heart of the issues. But it was such a seamless part of the story it seemed natural, like the point about being equally yolked with your partner and not being ashamed of your faith. Stuck in the Middle was so heartwarming and deep, yet fun and light at the same time. How did the author do that??? I totally loved the hero, too. He was delectable. Those "almost kisses" were making me nuts. I loved the misunderstandings, too. This story was also a great example of what not to do to win a man's heart. The flirting lessons were hilarious, especially when Joan tossed her hair and noted each time he moved inside her hula hoop. To find out what that means you have to read the book. I loved it. Highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Fine

    I only read this book because I just purchased a Nook, and I wanted to try it out and learn how things worked. This book popped up on the free book list, and I just grabbed the first one I saw. I began reading it as a way to learn the Nook's features. If someone had asked me early in the book what kind of rating I would give it, my answer would not have been positive - certainly not 5 stars. The main character seemed interesting, and the story was easy to follow, but there were far too many I only read this book because I just purchased a Nook, and I wanted to try it out and learn how things worked. This book popped up on the free book list, and I just grabbed the first one I saw. I began reading it as a way to learn the Nook's features. If someone had asked me early in the book what kind of rating I would give it, my answer would not have been positive - certainly not 5 stars. The main character seemed interesting, and the story was easy to follow, but there were far too many annoying editing errors, which, in the computer age, I find unacceptable. I kept reading, mostly because I never really stop reading a book before it's finished unless it's really, really horrible, and this one wasn't that. I'm glad I did. This book touched me in ways I never expected. I felt a definite emotional connection with the main character, which almost never happens for me. At one point, I actually found myself in tears. In keeping with the theme of the story, answers come from unexpected places!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Thompson

    I downloaded this for free for my e-reader. Joan is the middle child. While Allie is married about about to have a baby, little sister Tori is focused on her career. Joan just got out of a messy relationship, and still lives at home with her mother and grandmother. Then a sexy doctor moves in next door, causing competition for Tori and Joan, until Tori decides Ken's way too religious for her tastes. Despite the fact that this book is a Christian book, it read heavily as chick-lit, especially for I downloaded this for free for my e-reader. Joan is the middle child. While Allie is married about about to have a baby, little sister Tori is focused on her career. Joan just got out of a messy relationship, and still lives at home with her mother and grandmother. Then a sexy doctor moves in next door, causing competition for Tori and Joan, until Tori decides Ken's way too religious for her tastes. Despite the fact that this book is a Christian book, it read heavily as chick-lit, especially for the first half. I hate chick-lit books, mostly because they're too fluffy for my taste. Throughout this book, I kept wondering what the point was. There doesn't seem to be much of a plot and not a lot happens. No action to speak of. Joan throws tantrums about the possibility of her grandmother moving into an assisted living facility, competes with Tori over the same guy by following Allie's flirting advice and buying expensive clothes, and just comes across as completely clueless. I had to keep reminding myself that she's twenty-five, because she acts like a sixteen-year-old. After realizing that religion is very important to Ken, she decides it's important to her, too. Something good does come out of this when Joan decides to create a Christian singles group and help clean up the community. Other reviewers complained that this book was too preachy, but that aspect didn't really bother me. I've read books that have been much preachier. What bothered me was Joan's constant 'poor me' attitude, her refusal to act her age, and the lack of a plot. When I got to the end of the book, I couldn't believe it was the end, because nothing actually seemed to happen. For the most part, a huge waste of time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robin Marie

    Like many of the other readers, I snagged this book because it was free (and because the girl on the cover has a cute skirt...). I read a book pretty much every day at work right now, so I aim for something that I can follow while still being available to customers. This book doesn't have a really provoking storyline, but it's funny and sort of heartwarming. A lot of it spoke to me from the get-go(dealing with aging family members, failed relationships, what to do with life in your early 20's) Like many of the other readers, I snagged this book because it was free (and because the girl on the cover has a cute skirt...). I read a book pretty much every day at work right now, so I aim for something that I can follow while still being available to customers. This book doesn't have a really provoking storyline, but it's funny and sort of heartwarming. A lot of it spoke to me from the get-go(dealing with aging family members, failed relationships, what to do with life in your early 20's) but I was actually surprised that I appreciated the religious aspects of it. I didn't know it was Christian lit when I downloaded it, and I wouldn't say that it's my normal genre, but it's something that has been on my mind lately (who is "God", how do I relate, what do I believe?) and I guess it was just nice to see someone work it out so neatly and easily. All in all it's an unrealistic book, but it's comforting to watch the protagonist solve all her life problems in 300 pages. If only...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    I thought this was very cute, clean, maybe too clean for some people's taste, but it also has some things about it that I loved. The book is labeled as Christian, which is fine by me, but some might not like that. The story revolves around 3 sisters, Joan Sanderson, Allie, her older sister, and Tori, the youngest sister. All three girls are single and a nice looking, very eligible bachelor moves in next door to them. A man who's studying to be a doctor (a plus!), whose name is Ken, is up for I thought this was very cute, clean, maybe too clean for some people's taste, but it also has some things about it that I loved. The book is labeled as Christian, which is fine by me, but some might not like that. The story revolves around 3 sisters, Joan Sanderson, Allie, her older sister, and Tori, the youngest sister. All three girls are single and a nice looking, very eligible bachelor moves in next door to them. A man who's studying to be a doctor (a plus!), whose name is Ken, is up for grabs so to speak. He is not about things; rather he lives modestly, which Joan really likes. It just so happens that Joan works for Abernathy Sales and Rental and the handsome, young soon-to-be doctor is in need of some things that she can help him get, namely furniture. Naturally, as sibling rivalry might have it, both Tori and Joan have their eye set on Ken. The sisters are both so different though. One is dainty and petite, the other tall and athletic. One is blonde, the other brunette. One is more stylish than the other. So they both doll up in their own style/fashion and head to church where Ken is a serious attendant, drawing out his Bible and notepad and listening carefully to the message. Tori and Joan's mother worries that their desires set on Ken and the hopes of winning his affections will drive them apart. Sisters, if you're female and you have one (or more), you'll understand that sisterly love and sometimes rivalry that comes with the territory. I love this story and how things happen and I enjoyed the cleanliness of the attraction and sexual tension. There is no smut in this book if that is what you prefer.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I ONLY gave this 2 stars because I liked Grandma. If I hadn't found at least one character pleasing, this would have dropped to one. Joan, the middle sister, feels overshadowed by her two, more succesful sisters. She still lives with her grandmother and her mother, does a job that bores her and has been jilted by her fiance. Also, she still misses her father, gone since her parents' divorce. Grandma is getting old and there is talk of moving her to a assisted-living facility, something Joan is I ONLY gave this 2 stars because I liked Grandma. If I hadn't found at least one character pleasing, this would have dropped to one. Joan, the middle sister, feels overshadowed by her two, more succesful sisters. She still lives with her grandmother and her mother, does a job that bores her and has been jilted by her fiance. Also, she still misses her father, gone since her parents' divorce. Grandma is getting old and there is talk of moving her to a assisted-living facility, something Joan is vehemently against. A young doctor, Ken Fletcher, moves next door. Joan is interested in him but so is her younger sister -- which sister will he choose? You know, I'm all for God, but in this book it was just too much. It was way preachy. The first half of the book was pretty good (and that's being generous), after that it was all downhill. I found Joan really annoying. She spends most of the book complaining (about her name, the fact that she is quiet, her job, and even her relationship with God) and feeling sorry for herself. She's like 25 years old! Accept it and move on already, Joan! I wanted to scream at her all through reading this book. The character drove me nuts. To be honest, Ken is not much better. He almost rejects Joan because she does not seem religious enough. He goes to church with her family and makes a big deal about he doesn't like her church because it's so different from the one he's used to. Seriously?! I found the scenes where the two sisters flirt and buy new clothes to attrack Ken childish. I kept waiting for Joan to get a grip and grow-up. Needless to say, this was deleted from my Kindle immediately after I finished it and I won't be buying any more books written by Ms. Smith.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sally906

    Not my cup of tea - Just wanted to smack the MC

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mare

    Didn't realize when I uploaded this book is was Christian romance. Don't get me wrong I like Christian romance I just didn't realize it until half way through the book. Unlike other Christian romance books I've read this one didn't beat me over the head with a lot of "God this" & bible quotes. it was interesting too that even though the main character (Joan) was Christian, went to church every Sunday, spent time with her family...the book made it clear there can always be more to religion Didn't realize when I uploaded this book is was Christian romance. Don't get me wrong I like Christian romance I just didn't realize it until half way through the book. Unlike other Christian romance books I've read this one didn't beat me over the head with a lot of "God this" & bible quotes. it was interesting too that even though the main character (Joan) was Christian, went to church every Sunday, spent time with her family...the book made it clear there can always be more to religion then the monotony of church to believing. It was interesting too when Dr. Ken is judged harshly by her sister Tori for being more vocal about his beliefs, yet brother-in-law (Eric) is accepted for being anti-church; all these factors seemed more modern & realistic to what I see in my everyday world. This was a good story about misunderstanding all over the place… Joan & her mom regarding Grandma Grace, Joan & her mom regarding Dad, Ken & his perception of Joan & Tori and of course, Joan & God. I recommend this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was for book club and about 50pgs in I realized it was not for me, but I finished it anyway. The pace was very slow and and the story was, honestly, boring. I kept thinking why is this even a book. It was basically plotless and pointless, and mostly just filler in order to make the book longer for absolutely no reason. Most of the characters were unlikeable except for cookie cutter Ken, and the grandmother, especially pity party Joan. Some of the religious aspect was a bit odd and This book was for book club and about 50pgs in I realized it was not for me, but I finished it anyway. The pace was very slow and and the story was, honestly, boring. I kept thinking why is this even a book. It was basically plotless and pointless, and mostly just filler in order to make the book longer for absolutely no reason. Most of the characters were unlikeable except for cookie cutter Ken, and the grandmother, especially pity party Joan. Some of the religious aspect was a bit odd and judgmental, but that didn’t bother me nearly as bad as the weak writing and nonexistent plot. Needless to say, not a fan of this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    This is a nice safe romantic story with a firm trench in christian faith as a background. Joan Sanderson is manager for Abernathy Sales and Rental and is 25 years old. She's one of the few remaining students out of 287 who graduated from Danville HS, Kentucky, and has stayed in Danville. She has an English degree, but she's never used it, hoping that one day she can step away from her job and actually do something with her life. Joan has always been the quiet one of the three sisters, whereas This is a nice safe romantic story with a firm trench in christian faith as a background. Joan Sanderson is manager for Abernathy Sales and Rental and is 25 years old. She's one of the few remaining students out of 287 who graduated from Danville HS, Kentucky, and has stayed in Danville. She has an English degree, but she's never used it, hoping that one day she can step away from her job and actually do something with her life. Joan has always been the quiet one of the three sisters, whereas the oldest and youngest were more outgoing like their mother. She dated Roger the Rat for 9 years, before he married someone from his office, and is now moving away. Joan seemingly blames her mother for her divorce from her father. Later, revelations are told that change her mind. Her other sisters Allie, is pregnant with their first child, and married to a 9-11 dispatcher Eric. Allie is a state employee for social services, and also has a background in psychology. The youngest sister, Tori, has her own apartment in Lexington, KY, and works as a marketing analyst making double the money that Joan makes. Ken Fletcher is a doctor who ends up renting the house next door to Joan, her mother, and grandmother. He also has a dog named Trigger (yes, after Roy Rogers horse!) He also ends up being Joan's love interest. Her Grandmother, is an obsessive-compulsive personality who alphabetized Joan’s mother’s underwear drawer; including bras, underwear, and socks. She has the funny moments in the story, as well as the sad ones in that it shows how emotionally draining getting older really is. This book actually focuses on family dynamics as well as faith. This book doesn't have a really provoking storyline, but it's funny and sort of heartwarming.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I just skipped through some reviews and saw that there were some negative ones because of the Christian content. Well I have to say that I completely loved this book. There was a lot of Christian aspects but it was not a lot of quotes or pushing of the bible but you just know that their religion played a huge part in their lives. Joan is just the average middle sister who has a beautiful sister and another sister that is married to a wonderful man and expecting her first baby. All the while Joan I just skipped through some reviews and saw that there were some negative ones because of the Christian content. Well I have to say that I completely loved this book. There was a lot of Christian aspects but it was not a lot of quotes or pushing of the bible but you just know that their religion played a huge part in their lives. Joan is just the average middle sister who has a beautiful sister and another sister that is married to a wonderful man and expecting her first baby. All the while Joan still lives at home with her mother and grandmother, trying to do all that she can do to take care of her grandmother. I have to admit that I got this book for free from Amazon but I have already purchased the second book in this series, Age before Beauty (Sister-to-Sister, Book 2), and I can not wait to start reading it so that I can see what else happens in the lives of this great close knit family.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I added this to my kindle because 1.) it was a free book, and 2.) it seemed like it would be cute. thought this was going to be a typical little quick read with some romance. It started out interesting enough, but I wasn't expecting it to turn so religious... and for someone who is not religious in the least, the story became slightly far-fetched and annoying. I don't mind a little mention of faith here and there... but a 25 year old girl complaining that... God visits poor children in I added this to my kindle because 1.) it was a free book, and 2.) it seemed like it would be cute. thought this was going to be a typical little quick read with some romance. It started out interesting enough, but I wasn't expecting it to turn so religious... and for someone who is not religious in the least, the story became slightly far-fetched and annoying. I don't mind a little mention of faith here and there... but a 25 year old girl complaining that... God visits poor children in Afghanistan and not her... I mean, really?! Grow the hell up! And still having issues with your mom for kicking her dad out 12 years ago... I'm sorry, the main character just seemed to grow more petty and petulant by the page. I'm about 70% through the book and I'm not sure if it's worth reading through to the end. However, if you're into God and all that and like stories of self realization and family... this might be for you. It just wasn't for me!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    I don't go to church. I don't care much for organized religion, but I consider myself a Christian. I didn't start reading this book because I thought it was about religion, I started reading it because it was about sisters....and not having one myself, I'm always envious of those who do, and find I'm curious about the relationship dynamics. This book circles around religion... but for me it seemed much more like a story of a woman stuck in her life. She is scared of change, feels inferior & I don't go to church. I don't care much for organized religion, but I consider myself a Christian. I didn't start reading this book because I thought it was about religion, I started reading it because it was about sisters....and not having one myself, I'm always envious of those who do, and find I'm curious about the relationship dynamics. This book circles around religion... but for me it seemed much more like a story of a woman stuck in her life. She is scared of change, feels inferior & constantly worries about being left by those she loves. It shows how through God's works around her, she comes to find the purpose in her life. There is of course a little romance thrown in the mix.... and I was pleased that her love interest wasn't some showy doctor, but a person of moral worth, looking for the same in a partner. In my opinion its not at all a preachy book, but a book that tries to convey that there is a reward unseen when you do for others without thoughts of reciprocation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I found this book to be high-school-ish, and kind of annoying. Within the first chapter (or maybe two) Joan, the main character, has a flash in her mind of a newspaper article....something she's just making up in her mind. Then, when a handsome Dr. moves in next door, she and her older sister (who's married and pregnant) decided to create a competition between Joan and the youngest sister to see who can snag a date with him first! It's very childish...the older sister actually googles and prints I found this book to be high-school-ish, and kind of annoying. Within the first chapter (or maybe two) Joan, the main character, has a flash in her mind of a newspaper article....something she's just making up in her mind. Then, when a handsome Dr. moves in next door, she and her older sister (who's married and pregnant) decided to create a competition between Joan and the youngest sister to see who can snag a date with him first! It's very childish...the older sister actually googles and prints pages of flirting techniques to give to Joan...how/when to flip her hair....not to get too close to him (within the hoola hoop)! Just when I thought the book might actually pick up the pace and become a little more adult, the author completely switches modes and decides to make it all about religion! I'm not sure I'll try another Virginia Smith book....this was my first, and I'm glad it was FREE!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Teri-K

    I'm having a lot of trouble deciding what I think of this book. The writing was solid, except sometimes the dialogue, especially between the sisters, felt too formal and stiff. The story was quite realistic, but perhaps a touch dull because of that. I liked the way the spiritual issues were handled, but since the heroine was very new to living her faith the story was pretty simplistic. Yet again it felt totally real; often when we begin to take God seriously it happens in baby steps, as it did I'm having a lot of trouble deciding what I think of this book. The writing was solid, except sometimes the dialogue, especially between the sisters, felt too formal and stiff. The story was quite realistic, but perhaps a touch dull because of that. I liked the way the spiritual issues were handled, but since the heroine was very new to living her faith the story was pretty simplistic. Yet again it felt totally real; often when we begin to take God seriously it happens in baby steps, as it did here. I liked that the romance was pretty much on the back burner, too. I thought the senior center was overly perfect. So I guess I'll give it three stars, because I did enjoy it and I'd read more about these sisters. But it didn't sweep me off my feet and at times it felt more like a over-simplified YA story. Probably 2.5

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    : Ohmygosh, Virginia Smith writes a hilarious, tender story that chronicles family life for the Sanderson sisters. Change never is easy, and twenty three year old Joan is fighting it on all sides. Joan receives a call from her mom, “I’m going to kill her.” “Hi, Mom. What has Gram done?” “She’s alphabetized my underwear drawer.” “She what?” “It’s not funny Joan. My bras are all in the first row, color-coded alphabetically.” Joan and Carla, live with Gram, Carla’s 85 year old mom, who’s driving her : Ohmygosh, Virginia Smith writes a hilarious, tender story that chronicles family life for the Sanderson sisters. Change never is easy, and twenty three year old Joan is fighting it on all sides. Joan receives a call from her mom, “I’m going to kill her.” “Hi, Mom. What has Gram done?” “She’s alphabetized my underwear drawer.” “She what?” “It’s not funny Joan. My bras are all in the first row, color-coded alphabetically.” Joan and Carla, live with Gram, Carla’s 85 year old mom, who’s driving her crazy. Joan is stuck in the middle of these two—how could she keep peace? What would happen if she didn’t? Joan meets Ken, the doctor-neighbor next door. She invites him to church along with the rest of her family. Ken’s different. He talks about a relationship with Jesus. Joan hears a missionary talk in church who says, “I want to tell you today about a God who is real. I know he’s real, because I have lived in a place where His is the only hand that kept me from torture and death. I have seen His power displayed in ways that leave no doubt that this God we serve takes an active role in our everyday lives, if we let him.” This is a fun, light hearted story of family—about women struggling with each other and the tides of change in the seasons of life. Could Joan trust her heavenly father when her earthly father abandoned her? Was Ken real? Life starts to take on a different meaning as she learns about the personal relationship Ken has with Jesus is real! Joan wants this too. That’s when things really get interesting. Thanks Virginia, for this story about family and sisters in our ever-changing world where God is still in charge of everything, if we let Him. I'm glad that I received a review copy of this book and I can’t wait to read the other books in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St.Laurent The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com

  17. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith is the story of Joan Sanderson and her boring, going-nowhere life. She's been dumped by her long time boyfriend, Roger the Rat, her older sister is pregnant, and her beautiful younger sister has a terrific job. Joan lives with her mother and grandmother, who is becoming increasingly fragile. When a hunky doctor moves in next door, Joan sees what she's been missing, but little sister Tori also wants him. This book is far more than just chick-lit. Joan feels Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith is the story of Joan Sanderson and her boring, going-nowhere life. She's been dumped by her long time boyfriend, Roger the Rat, her older sister is pregnant, and her beautiful younger sister has a terrific job. Joan lives with her mother and grandmother, who is becoming increasingly fragile. When a hunky doctor moves in next door, Joan sees what she's been missing, but little sister Tori also wants him. This book is far more than just chick-lit. Joan feels alienated from everyone around her. Her father left her as a young teen, and she resents her mother for his departure. She can't relate to God, because she doesn't feel like He is reaching out to her, but when she hears a missionary speak at her church, she feels the need to know God personally. Joan is a Christian like so many; she believes in God and has faith; she attends church regularly and does all the right things. But she's not connected to Him and hasn't experienced His wonder, until some chocolate ice cream shows up at just the right moment. Joan realizes that she can't get things right with her mother, sisters, or even the cute doctor, until she makes things right with God, and that means examining things in her past. Joan is believable and sympathetic, her heartache shows on every page as she struggles to do what's right without really knowing what that is. Very often our relationship with God has been influenced by our relationship with our earthly father, and this book is an excellent lesson on how to break free from the bonds of the past and security to find God. I found myself loving this book.. can't wait to find book 2.. i read this on my kindle..

  18. 5 out of 5

    ɑƨħŵɑɡ ♥Team Magnus Damora FOREVER♥

    Religious people and fans of Hallmark will probably enjoy this more than I did. so this has more things that I did not like than what I liked. First, the narration was very superficially treated, the way Hallmark does to every premise of her shows. There was the issue of parent abandonment which was the conflict in Joan's life and why she had trouble with her mom. I found Joan's relationship with her grandma pretty endearing. The romance was very lacking. Ken, the gorgeous doctor who moved next Religious people and fans of Hallmark will probably enjoy this more than I did. so this has more things that I did not like than what I liked. First, the narration was very superficially treated, the way Hallmark does to every premise of her shows. There was the issue of parent abandonment which was the conflict in Joan's life and why she had trouble with her mom. I found Joan's relationship with her grandma pretty endearing. The romance was very lacking. Ken, the gorgeous doctor who moved next door to Joan's family house, remained a mystery. I still think he's a creep because there wasn't much about him, except those weird smiles he throws Joan from time to time. Tori, Joan's sister, thought Ken is a fanatic just because he did not like their church?!! HOW?? I don't like the guy but it's not basis for calling him fanatic. As I said, religious people and fans of Hallmark might like this kind of story telling but I did not. I did not even know it was religious fiction until now.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Normally 4 stars from me means, "Wow. This is among the best books I've read." But that's not necessarily true for this book. The 4 stars actually mean, "Wow, this is the best book I could have read right now." The writing was nothing special. The plot was pretty mundane. But what I loved about this book is that it did not shy away from the Christian principles it was clearly trying to get across. In the end, the book was about how God affects our daily lives, and I think that's the most Normally 4 stars from me means, "Wow. This is among the best books I've read." But that's not necessarily true for this book. The 4 stars actually mean, "Wow, this is the best book I could have read right now." The writing was nothing special. The plot was pretty mundane. But what I loved about this book is that it did not shy away from the Christian principles it was clearly trying to get across. In the end, the book was about how God affects our daily lives, and I think that's the most important way He can make an appearance. Is He capable of the grand miracles we read about in the Scriptures? Of course. But He is also capable of making my life better through simple means. The book ends with the following, "But even if she couldn't remember the exact words, deep in her heart she clung to the promise of the verse. Her life was no longer stuck. Her Father had plans for her." Read my full review here: http://goo.gl/vN72M

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aurora

    I started to read this book because a) it was free from NOOK and b) I know what it's like to fee like the middle child! When I get a new book, I'll skim a few pages out of habit so I can prioritize when I will finish it...but as soon as I started this, I could not stop! The story was very compelling to me. I feel like I have gone through the same doubts and struggles that BOTH Joan and Ken dealt with. I love the emphasis of family in christian literature because my family is so incredibly I started to read this book because a) it was free from NOOK and b) I know what it's like to fee like the middle child! When I get a new book, I'll skim a few pages out of habit so I can prioritize when I will finish it...but as soon as I started this, I could not stop! The story was very compelling to me. I feel like I have gone through the same doubts and struggles that BOTH Joan and Ken dealt with. I love the emphasis of family in christian literature because my family is so incredibly important to me and they are a huge part of my life, so it makes the novels more realistic too me! I also enjoyed how Joan and Ken gained fulfillment in things other than their romance. A lot of times romance novels paint love as the answer to everything but it isn't always...sometimes it's a pint of chocolate ice cream! =) Anyway, a fantastic read!!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a short and sweet book. I felt like it didn't come to a good close. Joni is the middle daughter with separation issues. Her mom made her dad leave when she was young, and now she lives with her grandma who needs to be in a home, but won't let that happen. A handsome doctor moves next door and he likes her, but sees that she is maybe not what he is looking for. Joni discovers that, even though she is Christian, she doesn't know Christ. After a missionary comes and talks to their church This was a short and sweet book. I felt like it didn't come to a good close. Joni is the middle daughter with separation issues. Her mom made her dad leave when she was young, and now she lives with her grandma who needs to be in a home, but won't let that happen. A handsome doctor moves next door and he likes her, but sees that she is maybe not what he is looking for. Joni discovers that, even though she is Christian, she doesn't know Christ. After a missionary comes and talks to their church she realizes that she needs to gain her own testimony. This shakes Joni up a bit and freaks her sisters out, but ultimately leads to her catching the guy next door. I liked the fact that she was in search of herself and what she believes and that is what brought a great guy into her life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Keris

    Reviewed by Jill Hart Joan. Boring name for a boring life. Or so Joan believes until she meets her new next door neighbor. The handsome doctor her age make Joan realize that there may be more to life than settling for living at home, getting up every morning to go to an unfulfilling career and wishing she was living her one of her sisters' lives. But, Joan knows she can't make a change because no one would be there to care for her aging grandmother - a job that she has taken upon herself, but Reviewed by Jill Hart Joan. Boring name for a boring life. Or so Joan believes until she meets her new next door neighbor. The handsome doctor her age make Joan realize that there may be more to life than settling for living at home, getting up every morning to go to an unfulfilling career and wishing she was living her one of her sisters' lives. But, Joan knows she can't make a change because no one would be there to care for her aging grandmother - a job that she has taken upon herself, but truly enjoys. Not to mention, the doctor may be adorable, but he's also a Christian. And To read the rest of this review (and more!), please visit Trashionista

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    A (free to my Kindle) Christian novel that had a pretty good theme -- middle sister lives at home, with her mother and grandmother -- young (dateable) MD moves in next door -- and Joan likes him. A lot of misunderstandings ensue but as always, a happy ending!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    For a Christian romance it was pretty good but with the religion element I just wanted to send in the missionaries a few times and set them straight. I don't know if I will seek out the second book but this was worth my time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Ah. I didn't read what this was about and it turned out to be a God finding story, which I wouldn't mind but I didn't like the way the author made it out that if you give your life to God, then everything will be happy ever after. Gag.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cindi

    Good book. Would be good made into a movie on UP tv.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vida Torralba

    Got this book for free from Amazon, and I liked it! It's a Christian story that I found to be what I need :)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I did really enjoy the scene where Tori and Joan are at dinner and both flirting with Ken...poor guy!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    As someone who is the Middle sister with my an outgoing older sister and often competitive younger sister, I related strongly to Joan’s character and her battles both physically, emotionally and spiritually. The author had such a beautiful way of depicting family struggles, relationship hurdles and ultimately the struggle in gaining and keeping a real relationship with God. Joan’s character was a refreshing one to read about. I loved most how the story was realistic in its drama factor. Though As someone who is the Middle sister with my an outgoing older sister and often competitive younger sister, I related strongly to Joan’s character and her battles both physically, emotionally and spiritually. The author had such a beautiful way of depicting family struggles, relationship hurdles and ultimately the struggle in gaining and keeping a real relationship with God. Joan’s character was a refreshing one to read about. I loved most how the story was realistic in its drama factor. Though it’s true there are many horrendous outside factors that can cause drama and lead you to God, sometimes - as Virginia Smith shows- it only takes only possibly eccentric Christian doctor and an aging grandmother to show you where you need to go. The relationship Joan pursues is hilariously crafted but I enjoyed how Virginia shows that often what’s need to “bag the hot guy” is to simply be true to yourself. Stuck in the Middle is a novel I’ve read multiple times and one that I often turn back to read during those silent times in my walk with the Lord, as well as those challenging times in my relationship with my sisters. The theme of family and love is inspiring and one that will continue to resonate with me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I loved this book. Perhaps it was my mood. Perhaps it was just a really good story. I was going to be traveling via plane and wanted a light read for the roundtrip flight. This book absolutely fit the bill! It's the story of Joan--the middle of 3 girls. The oldest sister is married and is expecting her first child. The youngest sister is a beautiful, charming, successful woman. Then there is Joan. What she is and what she feels she is are not necessarily in alignment. A handsome doctor moves in I loved this book. Perhaps it was my mood. Perhaps it was just a really good story. I was going to be traveling via plane and wanted a light read for the roundtrip flight. This book absolutely fit the bill! It's the story of Joan--the middle of 3 girls. The oldest sister is married and is expecting her first child. The youngest sister is a beautiful, charming, successful woman. Then there is Joan. What she is and what she feels she is are not necessarily in alignment. A handsome doctor moves in next door and while Joan is interested, she makes some assumptions that he will be more interested in her younger sister. There is a second story here that is compelling (to me!) . Joan faithfully attends church every Sunday. Her family has attended the same traditional church for years. A guest speaker sparks a desire in Joan for more of a real relationship with God. Personally, my heart breaks for those who come and sit in the pews on Sunday, but don't want to allow God into any other hours of their week. I enjoyed the journey into true faith and relationship that Joan began in this book. I look forward to reading more about Joan and her sisters in other books!

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