Loving (Bailey Flanigan Series #4)

Loving (Bailey Flanigan Series #4)

by Karen Kingsbury

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The answers Bailey Flanigan once longed and prayed for are finally becoming clear. In Loving, the fourth and final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Bailey is planning a wedding and making decisions that will shape her future. Bailey enjoys the beginning of her new career and time spent with Brandon while Cody faithfully coaches his team on and off the field. Will she spend her life with Brandon Paul in Los Angeles, or will her heart draw her back to Bloomington, Indiana and Cody Coleman, her first love? Bailey has learned much and grown over the years, but the greatest challenges, the richest joys, and the deepest heartaches are still to come. Featuring members from Karen Kingsbury’s popular Baxter family, Loving completes Bailey and Cody’s story — the finale thousands of fans have been waiting for.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310427599
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 04/08/2012
Series: Bailey Flanigan Series , #4
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 54,207
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books have been developed into a TV series now available everywhere. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. In 2001 she and her husband, Don, adopted three boys from Haiti, doubling their family in a matter of months. Today the couple has joined the ranks of empty nesters, living in Tennessee near four of their adult children.

Read an Excerpt


Bailey Flanigan Series
By Karen Kingsbury


Copyright © 2012 Karen Kingsbury
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-27638-8

Chapter One

Brandon Paul Could Almost Smell The Montana Air. In a month or so he would fly to Butte to film his next movie, two hours out of the city, and lately that was all he could think about. Leaving Los Angeles and clearing his head. Especially since Bailey planned to join him for some of it. But for now thoughts of his April movie shoot outside Butte would have to wait. He stepped into the glass elevator at West Mark Studios and rode it to the twenty-sixth floor — the top of the Century City Plaza building, just outside of Hollywood, California.

Where every day saw the biggest deals in Hollywood go down.

He tugged on his canvas messenger bag, aware of its contents — two copies of the red-lined copy of the West Mark contract and a letter from his attorney. As he did, he caught his reflection on the elevator wall and noticed the slump in his posture. If Brandon had seen a mountain growing on his shoulders he wouldn't have been surprised. The contract carried that much weight. And today's meeting would only make the burden greater.

A deep sigh rattled from his lungs as he stepped off the elevator and faced the double glass doors at the end of the gold-carpeted hallway. The team at West Mark was expecting that this week or next they would ink their biggest contract ever. A seven-picture deal with Brandon Paul. The announcement, the red carpet event, the after-party — all of it was in the works.

The only detail they'd overlooked was this: Brandon's personal attorney — Luke Baxter.

Brandon opened the heavy door and approached the front desk. The woman taking calls and messages blushed the sort of red usually reserved for apples. She had been midsip into a cup of coffee, and now she coughed a few times and wiped her mouth. Brandon smiled, hoping to put her at ease. "Hi. Jack Randall is expecting me."

The woman was maybe in her midthirties, blonde with a spray tan. The sort of hopeful actress-still-waiting-for-her-break look that came a dime a dozen in Hollywood. "Yes, Mr. Paul, right away. I'll let him know you're here."

Whether it was the influence of Bailey Flanigan or his growing faith, Brandon wasn't sure, but more often lately he was struck by the reaction people had around him. Sure he had filmed a lot of movies. But he'd been born into an average family in a suburban neighborhood. If he'd wound up driving a bus at the airport, no one would clamor for his attention or want his autograph. There would be no blushing at his arrival. So why were movies different?

Brandon leaned against the nearest wall. "What's your name?"

"Mary." The blonde coughed again. "Sorry. Swallowed wrong." She uttered a nervous laugh. "Didn't expect ..." She shook her head, clearly trying to get a grip. "Sorry. You're on the calendar. It's just ... yeah. Never mind."

"Hey." He held his hand out and shook hers. "I'm Brandon. Now we're friends, okay?"

The woman visibly exhaled and settled back into her chair. "Okay." She laughed again. "Thanks. I'm new. Everyone says you're like this. So normal."

"Good." He grinned at her. "I like that. 'Normal' is a compliment."

Wasn't that what Bailey wanted most? Plain old normal. It was what she'd told him the last time they walked along the beach. That when she looked ahead she wasn't always sure what she wanted to do or where she wanted to live, but she knew this much: she wanted a normal life. The ability to come and go without wondering whether a posse of paparazzi was lurking in the bushes.

That kind of normal. Behind her desk, Mary made a few quick calls to alert Jack Randall and his team that Brandon had arrived. As she did, Brandon felt his phone vibrate and he pulled it discreetly from his jeans pocket. A text from Bailey.

Hey, I'm at NTM Studios ... Can't believe how much I want this part now — thanks to you! Hope all the weird meetings before this amount to nothing. Getting ready to head inside. Pray for me! ILY

Brandon smiled and read the text again and shot a quick answer back. You'll be amazing. Everything will work out. ILY2

NTM was where he'd gotten his start starring in half a dozen movies for teens. In the last few years, NTM had produced movies with more drama, more conflict. Unlocked — the movie he and Bailey had starred in together — had been one of those. Now Bailey had been cast as the lead in a film about a young teacher who convinces her gang-member students to care for each other. Her production meeting was set to take place at the same time as his.

She'd had a few strange meetings with the producer of the film, but even so her time today figured to be a whole lot more positive than his.

One of Jack's assistants strode down the back hallway and into sight.

"Mr. Paul," Mary smiled at him. The quietly knowing look in her eyes said she didn't need to feel star struck around him any longer. "Mr. Randall is ready for you."

Brandon winked at her as he walked past. Then he followed the assistant to the back boardroom — where he'd met with the West Mark team a number of times before. Always to discuss the same thing: the pending contract. As they reached the boardroom, Brandon saw he was the last one to the party. His agent, Sid Chandler, and Stephen Chase, his manager, sat together at one end of the table. There had been a time when the two of them were a little at odds, even though they both headed up his team. Power struggle maybe. But since getting word of the big West Mark contract, the two seemed like old college roommates.

Across from them sat Jack Randall; his assistant, Chin Li Hong — a forty-something expert with a doctorate in contracts; two guys from the studio's legal department; and at least four interns, including the suit who'd escorted Brandon to the meeting. A meeting Brandon had requested.

He filled his lungs. Thirty minutes from now they'd all be furious with him. "Gentlemen." He nodded at the men and then at Jack's assistant. "Miss Hong." He gave a more familiar smile to Chandler and Chase. "Thanks for meeting."

"Yes." Jack allowed an uncomfortable chuckle. "We've invested quite a bit in this contract, and of course, in the announcement of the details." He shrugged and looked at the others around the table. "Anytime our top star calls a meeting, we'll find time."

A round of mumbled agreements followed. All eyes were on him.

Brandon cleared his throat. "Thanks. I appreciate that." He pulled his bag up onto his lap and removed a file from inside. No matter how he started, there was no easy way around what he was going to say. "I hired a private attorney ... Luke Baxter." He worked to keep his tone light. "He's worked with Dayne Matthews and several other actors."

"Dayne's brother, isn't that right?" Jack laced his fingers together and leaned on his forearms. His eyes pierced Brandon's and he didn't wait for an answer. "Was that on counsel from your agent? Your manager?" Jack cast a shadowy look at both men.

"No, Randall." Chandler was the first to cut in. "Neither of us asked Brandon to get another opinion." He smiled with dizzy abandon, like someone about to make fifteen percent of an eight-figure deal. "The contract ... well, it's perfect."

"Thank you." Jack seemed content to settle in on that for a few beats. After a long moment he looked back at Brandon. "Go on."

Brandon resisted the urge to wipe his brow. He might be sweating, but he couldn't show it. The meeting was bound to be tough, but the tension in the room now was palpable. Not the usual showering of compliments and grandiose statements from the studio brass. This time they were irritated and in a hurry. As if whatever his reason for the meeting, he better hurry and get on with it.

Brandon found another level of resolve. He stared at the file, opened it, then handed a copy of the red-lined contract to Jack. The other one he set on the desk in front of him. "Luke found some items of concern."

Attorneys handled red-lining differently. Luke Baxter was old school. The thirty-page document was literally marked with red on at least half the pages. Randall took it slowly, the way he might take the report card from a failing son or daughter. He thumbed through a few pages and then allowed a quiet laugh — one without even the slightest hint of humor. He held the contract up and looked at the others again. When his eyes met Brandon's his laughter faded. "Are you kidding me?" He flipped the document to Chin Li. "Look at this."

"Excuse me." It was Brandon's manager. His face seemed to have lost most of its blood supply. He reached out to Brandon. "May I see a copy?"

"Uh ... we'd like copies also," one of the West Mark attorneys spoke for both of them. At almost the same time Chin Li handed her copy to an assistant. "Make a stack of them."

The assistant took the document and hurried out of the room. Brandon imagined Chandler and Chase were probably quietly trying to grasp this new reality: the fact that Brandon had called a meeting to discuss findings by his private attorney and the reality that the hired gun had used a red pen to shred the studio's best offer ever. Either way, Brandon was up for the fight. He was protecting himself, and in the process he was protecting someone that mattered more than he did.

Bailey Flanigan.

"Brandon." Chin Li's tone suggested she might've made a wonderful kindergarten teacher. "Maybe you don't understand the scope of the contract." She shot a disdaining glance at his agent and manager. "This is the best deal West Mark has ever offered any actor."

"I realize that." Brandon sat back in his chair and kept his voice pleasant. "But I've said the same thing since the idea of the contract first came up." He looked at Jack Randall again. "I want creative control, or I can't do it."

"Creative control." Jack matched Brandon's posture, easing back and even linking his hands behind his head. The picture of cool confidence. "Explain 'creative control.' I mean, I thought we were very careful to include that."

His attorney, Luke, had told him what to say, and now Brandon didn't hesitate. "The wording in the contract allows for my input, Jack. But not for my final say. If a project compromises my faith or my reputation or my relationships, I can't kill it. I can only comment." He felt his voice rising, and he worked to keep control. "I appreciate the chance to have an opinion. But that's not enough."

"Seems like a lot of red ink for that simple change." Brandon's agent gave a nervous, high-pitched chuckle. He drummed his fingers on the walnut table. "Probably something we can fix this afternoon. I mean, if we all take a look at it."

"I don't know." Brandon angled his head. He could still hear Luke Baxter's advice. "A dozen pages have a line or clause giving the studio power to make final decisions regarding the seven movies." He flipped through the copy in front of him. "That explains all the ink."

Jack Randall's expression went suddenly flat and his eyes turned a sort of slate gray. "Look, Brandon ... if that's where you're at, we're going to have to rethink this whole deal."

"Now wait." Brandon's manager started to stand and then stopped himself. "Brandon doesn't want a delay in the contract process." His eyes shot lasers at Brandon. "Isn't that right?"

The assistant was back and copies were handed to everyone at the table. After a moment, Brandon spoke up, "Actually ..." He was undaunted by the intensity in the room, the pressure aimed at him. "Jack's right. Let's take four months and sort through it. Luke wants a final look, but he'll be busy for the next few months. I have a movie to shoot in Montana. Four months gives us time to reschedule the announcement." He shrugged, his calm otherworldly. "West Mark's legal guys can go through it more than once, make the changes." He looked at the lawyers. "Four months enough time, guys? We can announce this around the first of August?"

Their faces fell and they hesitated, the way attorneys often hesitate. As if any wrong word or nuance could result in a lawsuit. Jack didn't wait for them to rebound. "Four months sounds about right." This was personal for the studio executive now. Everyone in the room knew four months was far longer than they needed. But in light of the situation, Jack wasn't about to roll over. He wanted to give the impression that the studio wasn't desperate, that they could even walk away from the contract if Brandon wasn't careful.

"Actually," Jack waved his hand around in front of him, "maybe we take six months. We'll let you know." He checked his watch and pushed back from the table. "Chin Li, you'll cancel plans for the announcement, the red carpet, all of it. We'll give legal plenty of time to think over the contract. We'll need a team meeting before we consider rescheduling."

"Yes, sir." Chin Li cast a sad, disappointed look at Brandon. "I'm very sorry you feel this way, Brandon."

"It's fine." Jack stood and waved his hands at the rest of them. "Meeting's over, guys. We'll revisit this behind closed doors and aim for an announcement four months or so from now."

Across from him, Brandon's agent and manager looked furious with him, torn between releasing a verbal tirade and quitting on the spot. Jack Randall walked around the table and held his hand out to Brandon. "I will say this. West Mark still wants to be your studio. Let's see if we can figure it all out."

"I look forward to it. Thank you, sir." Brandon realized Jack was trying to make him feel like he had lost something here. But Brandon didn't see it that way. He was drawing from every bit of his self-restraint not to start a personal celebration right here in the boardroom. He had bought himself four months and the studio's agreement to deal with the red ink covering the current contract. It was the greatest victory in the negotiations so far.

As the West Mark executive team made their way out, Brandon's manager, Chase, asked if they could stay a little longer and use the meeting room. Chin Li caught a look of indifference from Jack Randall as he left the room, and she tossed them a cool smile. "That's fine. We don't need the room for another hour. A big client coming in." She shot critical eyes at Brandon. "Studios have movies to make. So if you could watch the time."

"We will." Again, Brandon got it. There were other actors, other deals to be made. If Brandon waited four months then just maybe the deal would disappear or be cut in half. Anything could happen. That was fine. No matter how great the deal, there would be others. Besides, West Mark Studios wasn't going away that easily. Despite his obvious frustration, Jack Randall had made that clear.

Chin Li shut the door behind her a little too hard. In the silence that followed, Brandon looked at his agent and manager and reached for a kindness he didn't feel. "Look ... I'm sorry you didn't know about this."

No immediate response came from his team. The three of them sat down and Chase was the first to speak. He was in his late fifties, a veteran in the business. His tone remained even despite the white knuckles on his clenched fists. "You could've told us before the meeting."

"I haven't had it long." Brandon put the file back in his bag and set the bag on the floor. "I'll forward you the email from Luke Baxter tomorrow morning."

"Yeah, well, I would've preferred to see it this morning." Chase gave a shake of his head. "You realize they could pull the offer."

"They won't." Brandon felt like they'd switched roles, like he was the one in charge, calm and cool. "Four months will be good. I'll be in Montana for half of it."

Both men were quiet, staring at their hands. What could they say? Brandon had already made up his mind. They'd have to live with the fallout.

Chandler spoke with a softer voice. "The contract would've been a nice sendoff to Butte."


Excerpted from Loving by Karen Kingsbury Copyright © 2012 by Karen Kingsbury . Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Loving 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 293 reviews.
rayfaith77 More than 1 year ago
*SPOILER ALERT* First of all, I want to start off saying that Karen Kingsbury has been my absolute favorite author since I picked up Ever After in the book store one day. I would have never DREAMED that I would be sitting here giving one of her books a one star review. But, I also never dreamed I would be sitting here crushed because Bailey and Cody's love story ended the way it did. So my question for Karen is this: why? Why lead the readers to believe Bailey and Cody were meant to be together forever? Why let the readers fall in love with their imperfect, yet perfect, story? Why did you never even give Cody and Bailey a chance? I would feel better about this ending if there had been closure to Cody and Bailey's relationship. If Bailey and Cody had actually dated for a while, and decided that it wouldn't work out for them. Instead, I'm supposed to believe that out of the blue Cody suddenly decides that he never really loved Bailey at all. WHAT? Where did that come from? Cody ran because he loved Bailey; he thought he was loving her by protecting her. Maybe he didn't make the best decisions, but what Bailey and Cody had was way more real than what Bailey and Brandon have (and ever will have). I have tried to feel the love between Bailey and Brandon, and its not believable. Brandon is a little too mushy, a little too over the top, and I am probably one of the most romantic people you will ever meet. I'm sorry, but he makes me sick to my stomach. And honestly, I felt like I was reading Dayne and Katy part II, except I actually enjoyed their story. You could feel the love between them, the way they get lost in each others eyes and have a true, genuine connection. (like Bailey and Cody!) Here's what I think: Karen couldn't separate real life from fiction. She had to make Bailey and Brandon end up together because her daughter Kelsey's fiancee Kyle played Brandon. (Don't get me wrong, I love Kelsey and Kyle. I think they are a cute couple, and I pray God blesses their marriage) Therefore, she had to find a way to do this in the smack middle of the story: and she did it by attacking Cody's character and questioning his feelings for Bailey. Honestly, at the end of Longing, Karen had destroyed Bailey and Cody's relationship so much I felt like it would take a lot to repair it. But I thought Karen was being the great author that she is and building up the suspense so that we would be happily surprised when Bailey and Cody did end up together. Side note: why is there such a big deal made of Cody's past? ummm.... has everyone forgotten Brandon's past? I mean if we're going to bring up one, we have to bring up the other. What Karen didn't realize was that she also cheapened Bailey's character in the process. Bailey sold herself out to marry a movie star. So much is said about Cody not being worthy of Bailey. But the new Bailey is not worthy of Cody. Cody has grown into a amazing man of God, who would have been ready to marry Bailey if Karen had so chosen. In short, I truly feel like this series was a waste of time and money. It dragged out far too long, with a unsatisfactory ending. A telltale sign of this is I have never reread any of the books in this series, like I have done with all of her other books. The only book I remotely liked was Learning. I wish I had my $10 back for Loving... I know this is crazy and that these are fictional characters but I am truly heartbroken. As another review said, I feel tricked. I don't
ibjoy1953 More than 1 year ago
************************BEWARE SPOILERS************************** Loving by Karen Kingsbury I have never been so disappointed or letdown by an author as I am with Karen Kingsbury. The Bailey series was by far Not my favorite, but I hung in there because I wanted to see Bailey and Cody get together in the end. Isn’t that what is suppose to happen in the writing world? Karen made an extremely bad error in the writing world by taking two series and lifting up her hero, Cody, building up that relationship with Cody and Bailey and more importantly Cody and the Lord, then dumping him, kicking him to the curb. And she changed her mind at the last minute for family reasons??? That sure tells us where all of us fans, those of us who have purchased all of Karen’s books, been faithful readers and followers where we stand. Loving is the worst book I have ever read and the worst ending to a series I’ve read, and I am a book reviewer, so I read hundreds of books a year. I know I get too involved in characters, but Karen did this to us in the last two series about Bailey and Cody. I just can’t see how she can create a character like Cody, put him in a family that will love him and raise him, and then try her best to politely toss him from the family as an outcast. Now he will no longer feel secure with this family that he loves so much. Sorry Karen but you blew it with this. The sad thing is, a huge percentage of teens and young adults who read this series and especially Longing will get a misled message. Wonder how many will go out there trying to find a rich kid that has all the money in the world to woo them literally any way they want. I’m afraid a lot of guys may be treated just like Karen treated Cody just because they are looking for those riches and the fake relationship that comes with it. Karen is leading a lot of young ladies on the wrong road and for that, I would want any of my family to read her books. That said, I do not recommend this book, nor do I recommend this series for anyone to read because it is critically leading our young ladies in the wrong direction when it comes to dating and marrying. And yes I know this is ‘just’ a book. But how many people out there actually take the Baxter’s and Flannigan’s for real people. I’ve heard Karen speak in person, and I have seen how adult ladies act at those conferences about her books. How much more will teens and young ladies idolize her enough to listen to this incorrect advice? This book was provided by the publisher, Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.
Rocket26 More than 1 year ago
I am not sure how you can review this book without giving hints to what happened so you may want to stop reading now. I AM VERY saddened by the outcome of this series. If you invested your time in The Baxter series where we first meet Bailey and Cody then you may understand.
AJ4ever More than 1 year ago
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer. 29:11 Bailey Flanigan's life verse...the scripture her mother told her to hold onto, to believe and to live like it was absolutely true and Bailey did just that, believed. This one very powerful verse is what you should take with you as you read LOVING, the final book in the Bailey Flanigan series, a verse that Bailey, Brandon and Cody lean on, live by, as they go through life. The answers to many of the questions in the pages of LOVING, come down to this verse. Will Brandon commit to the movie contract and risk losing Bailey? Will Bailey stay in LA or move back to the safety of Bloomington? Where is God leading Cody to continue his coaching? What are they all willing to sacrifice to hold onto that true love? And the answer to a question we all want to know, who will Bailey marry, Cody or Brandon? They all seek God for these answers, listening for His voice, never giving up and trusting Him to see them through. For they know, He will give them hope and the future He has planned for them. And they also learn that with those plans, God doesn't promise there won't be some fears, heartaches and uncertainties along the way, but to be still and listen. He will not lead them astray, because He wants only the best for them. I encourage you to read LOVING from cover to cover, not skipping to the end to see who Bailey marries, by doing that you would be cheating yourself out of a beautiful, well-written story. Go beyond the answer to that one question, remembering Jer. 29:11, as you journey through the pages of LOVING. Clear your mind, open your heart and listen to God as He speaks to you through the words of LOVING. God IS there, waiting to give you a story which includes healing, forgiveness, hope and of course, love. The ending will make perfect sense, you will understand why Bailey marries the man she does, for the plan for their love was created by God from the beginning. A forever love meant only for them. I loved this book and do highly recommend it. It was the perfect ending to a series that I will truly miss. Every time I finish one of Karen's books, I get a feeling of spiritual renewal and LOVING was no exception. The verse Jer. 29:11, will forever be with me, for I know now that only God knows the plans for me. Karen has said many times that, "God puts a story on her heart, but He has our heart in mind. And that only He could do that." How very true this statement is. The story may not always end the way we think it should, but we need to remember, God is the Author of our lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an avid KK fan and reader, I was disappointed in this book. I felt that it was unrealistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Karen Kingsbury is still a great author but I am so very bummed with the last book in this series. I think this is more her real life scenario rather than fiction. :(
ChristyL0 More than 1 year ago
I was glad to see the Bailey Flanigan series come to a close with this 4th book. Overall the the whole series was unbelievable, and just wasn't what I was expected to come from my favorite author. Karen Kingsbury is a wonderful Christian writer and has written many books and series that are full of page turning love, joy, desires, sadness, mistakes...real-life stories. Unfortunately this series was not one of them. It was full of far-fetched Hollywood type drama, that was just too over-the-top, and very hard for everyday readers to relate to. Most the characters in this book and the three preceding it, were ones her readers have grown to love over the years. Many of her previous books (20+) mentioned the Flanigan family along with other characters that were important to this series. One being Cody Coleman. He was a fan favorite that readers have known and loved for a long time and unfortunately many times during this series was not portrayed in good light, which seemed so sad. Especially knowing this was not always his true originial character. I wish Kingsbury would have never led us to love Cody because it hurt to see him get tossed aside throughout this series. Instead I feel Cody's character changed so the whole story could change too. I believe in my heart this story-line did not finish how it was orginally planned, and that is hard to wrap my head around. If you are reading this series/book as a stand alone, then you might enjoy it. If you are reading them as an avid Kingsbury reader, you just might find it very disappointing.
LibrarianLauraJ More than 1 year ago
In the third book of the series, one sentence stood out to me: Your first love isn't always your forever love. Although Kingsbury had invested years in the Cody and Bailey relationship and fans had grown to love them both as they read about their growth from teenagers finding their way to adults fulfilling their God directed destiny, I could buy that after so many missed chances for happiness, it was just too late for them. (Although, it could be argued that they had so many missed opportunities for love so that the publisher could drag out more books on the same people.) At the end of the third book, I knew I would be happy with whichever guy Bailey ended up marrying. However, this series could have been wrapped up in two books. Because it was a four-book series, I felt the author was dragging out the story lines and ended up giving us the same story from a few years ago. This book could have been called Dayne and Katy Part Two. It was the same plot, and at Bailey's wedding, they even played the same song from Dayne and Katy's wedding. I skimmed through most of the Bailey and Brandon scenes because I felt like I was rereading the Fame series. I'm a character-driven reader. Bailey was one of my favorite characters in the Baxter series, but she became stagnant and boring. I grew tired of hearing her thoughts, going back and forth between loving Brandon and not wanting to live in LA. Readers heard all that before in Katy. I felt she never struggled and therefore never grew. She was a flat character. I liked Brandon in the third book, but he became tedious in this book. Too perfect. Too predictable. I don't know if that's because Kingsbury based them on her family and therefore didn't want to write about their flaws, but it made for a boring read. Cody is an amazing character. He struggled, he messed up, and he grew. I loved the Cody and Andi scene at the beach, and I love the redemption in both their lives. I didn't like how fast they "fell" for each other, but at least they seem real. The most touching scene was when Andi was able to see the little boy she gave away for adoption. Kingsbury should stick to stories like that instead of celebrity-driven plots based on her family. Kingsbury's books have always been about real life experiences. Sometimes they are too real and I long for a happy ending. :) But, this series was too unbelievable and far-fetched to be life-changing fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
****************Spoiler**************************** Very disappointed in how this story played out. I would've loved to have seen Cody and Bailey together in the end, especially after all they'd been through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe this book has such high ratings! Did I get the wrong book? I wasn't overly impressed with this series from the get-go (same old story lines, obviously based on author's family, dragged on and on and on) but I love Karen's books for the most part and I was interested in reading the conclusion to this love story. Oh, how I wish I hadn't. Not knowing would have been far better in this case. My friend and I were discussing the book afterward and she said the book was like having a teacher who let your class vote on a pizza party or a broccoli party. The teacher talked about pizza in a positive manner all the time and of course, it was the natural favorite among the kids anyway. Everyone voted on the pizza except for one or two people but because the teacher liked broccoli, the class showed up (all excited for the pizza party, of course) only to find plates of. . .you guessed it. . .broccoli. A silly analogy but that's really what reading this book felt like. If someone holds a gun to my head, I'll read this series again. Otherwise, no way! Am I being dramatic? Yes, of course! But I really, really, really didn't like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the worst book I have ever read. It felt like I was reading Kelsey's love story instead of Bailey's. This was my last KK book. I'm extremely disappointed in the book and the author.
simplyjewels More than 1 year ago
When I was given the copy of Loving on the cruise by Karen on stage it was the most wonderful gift that I wanted to run off the stage and go and read it immediately. I have read the reviews that were posted and I honestly disagree with many of them. I believe that this was honestly THE BEST BOOK out of the Series!!! As I went to my cabin and layed down to read it I prayed that god would truly bless bailey with the man who god has truly chosen for her and in the end he truly did that it made me cry tears of happiness and joy . I too can relate how god has truly chosen the one for me!! I was introduced to him 8 years ago and we share the same faith where before the men that I had chosen without truly listening to his word knew that when I finally did meet my husband today I cried those tears of happiness and joy it was as if god were sitting there with us on our wedding day truly blessing us... I know that any Karen Kingsbury friend will truly love this story and know that in her heart and pen god completely guided her throughout LOVING!! I know that today is the release day and many of you will want to skip to the end to see who god has chosen for her but do not do that!! Read it as you have read all of her books with a smile on your face and the excitement that you always have. Truly listen to the message of this story, I know that I surely did. Thank you Karen for writing gods word and sharing your heart with all of us... 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
marski90 More than 1 year ago
I have read every book of Karen's and have always been a fan. I have several family and friends that her books circulate thru... Some have said from the beginning of this series that it was time to wrap this up, it was getting redundant and unrealistic. I, however, hung on waiting for the "way Karen always ties things togther" . By the end of book 2 I was fatigued, book 3 frusrated and to be honest I almost didn't even finsh Loving. I simply lost interest. Several times I felt like I had read parts of it before. So much Hollywood lingo - contracts, executives, meeting, paparazzi chases - did we not endure this thru the Fristborn series with Dayne and the Take One series as well. I don't know the obession with the "star struck" stuff, but frankly I grew bored with it. I also struggle with the favoritism that Karen has developed into her writing. Most of her previous books were "Ashley" based.... always about Ashley. I realize this series was to be about Bailey, but in my opinion she developed into a unrealistic perfect character. I was always proud of her in her younger years for standing firm in her faith, but as a grown young women, I didn't feel drawn to her anymore. She turned into someone that was more pampered, priveleged, and self righteous One thing I did learn throughout this series that the character that had really grown on me and that I cared most about the outcome of - was Cody. His character was one that was dear to my heart, and yes I was disappointed Karen didn't unite him with Bailey. However, even after it was clear Brandon had won over Karen and Bailey, I still cared what happened to Cody. Frankly the last third of the book I skimmed the book and read the Cody parts. How sad it that....after 8plus books I didn't even care to read the wedding scene of Bailey...... obviously the author screwed up when the reader has little interest about the person the series is about. Karen is a good author but she botched this whole series by beating the same past themes of her books to death, and by making so many drastic changes and abadoning all the groundwork she had laid. She failed to keep it real - about real life struggles, hurts, failed pasts, forgiveness, and stuff we all experience. Many of us don't deal with movie contracts, Hollywood lifestyle, dating an actor, and having a NFL coach for a Dad. Just not captivating. I will not be in a hurry to buy her stuff anymore, the quailty of her work has seemed to dwindle in the past few years. I have discovered a couple other authors that write with so much more depth - check out Tamera Alexander, Susan Mae Warren and Rachel Hauck, they will not leave you dissapointed like I was this this whole series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SPOILERS I have numerous problems with this book and ending to the Bailey series. 1. I get KKs daughter (kelsey) is getting married to the guy that plays brandon in the promotional videos and such and all and that Bailey is basically a fictional version of Kelsey, but it really bugs me how she based the books off of her daughters life events, a lot. This is a book shes writing and she has all the power to make the outcome as she wants because the book will not determine whether the outcome of her real daughter and her fiancees relationship. 2. This is the exact replica of Katy and Daynes relationship: famous boy meets small town indiana girl that has an interest in theatre, boy and girl do movie together, boy gets saved because of girls strong faith, guy becomes obsessed with girl and wants her to star in more movies with him and is increidbly romantic and rich and does very cute things...(ect) dont get me wrong, i loved Katy and Dayne's love story, But i dont want to read about it twice! Shes written some really great stories and you would think someone with her experience of writing could manage to come up with something more creative. Karen, you disappoint me. #teamcody
KPow1 More than 1 year ago
KK has written some awesome books, but this Bailey Flanigan series has not been among those. My problem is how "perfect" people like the Flanigans and Brandon get front and center, while "real" people like Cody and Andi get the sidelines. There is nothing real about the Bailey in this series. She comes from a perfectly happy family that never fights or does anything wrong. She is the perfect daughter who never rebels or fights with her parents. Her boyfriend is a Hollywood movie star with tons of money and time to fawn all over Bailey. He always says the right thing and they never fight either. In real life I would see that marriage crashing and burning as soon as tough times hit. And what is with the obsession KK has with Hollywood? Haven't we already been down this road with Dayne and Katy? She decides to make 2 more series featuring the Hollywood life. I would rather read about real people with real issues. The Baxters were real people. They death with adultery, rebellious children, unmarried pregnancy, infertility, drug abuse, etc. And they were made stronger through all this with their faith in God. The Flanigans have never been tested in this way and that is disappointing because to me that makes their faith seem unreal. Lastly, I want to know why Bailey gets her "happily ever after" while Cody gets hung out to dry? Seriously, 4 books should have been enough to give him a "happily ever after." But I guess KK is planning a Cody Coleman series next.
Jess_Mill More than 1 year ago
************************** SPOILERS ************************ Very disappointed. Kingsbury made a huge error by changing her mind at the last minute for "family reasons". I didn't want a Dayne and Katy part II, and I didn't want to see her daughter Kelsey's love life played out in Bailey's book. Since Cody was first introduced to us in the Baxter series, their relationship has been built to the reader as something as a work in progress. Cody needed his own time to work through his issues and find the Lord, and Bailey needed a chance to get out and see what she wanted to do with her life. In Longing, I had a good idea of where the book was going, but I needed to continue on and see for myself. Once Andi was reintroduced into the story I knew exactly what was going to happen. I feel like Karen kicked Cody to the curb and threw him out of the family he had grown to love. What was the point of their presence in the last 12+ books if it was only going to come to this point? Karen admitted to having changed her mind at the end of Longing, and I wish she had stuck with her original instinct. She chose to please her family instead of her plans. Authors need to be able to flow with their own creativity, but this did not ended how she planned so many years ago. I struggled with what rating to give this because pushing the characters aside [I tend to get emotionally involved] it was a pretty decent book. I could feel Brandon's love for Bailey through out the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasnt totally happy w the whole cody/brandon/bailey thing. Kinda disappointing end 2 the series:(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay i understand that a lot of people r disapointed with this book so am i but at the end of the day it is just a book. Karen is still my favorite auther and i will still read her books i am just not too thrilled about this one. She has written so many great books she is allowed to have a doozy every once in a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I generally enjoy Karen Kingsbury's books, I was very disappointed with Loving. Readers of her earlier series will be upset that Cody and Baily don't get back together and Baily ultimately marries Brandon. I always thought Brandon tried too hard to win Baily and that he saw her as a conquest-even after his salvation, while Cody's feelings always seemed genuine (strange how things got flipped around in this last book). While Brandon truly seemed to love Baily in book four, I just felt Cody was a better match for her. I think it would have been better if it ended up being Andi with Brandon while Cody finally reunited with Baily. Prehaps I might have felt differenly if Cody and Baily hadn't struggled through their relationship only to have it finally dissintegrate. Afterall, their marriage had basically been forshadowed in one of earlier series (if you remember way back when Cody was at war, and his life was miraculously spared during a bombing, Baily just "happened" to be praying for her future husband.). Unfortunately Karen twists all that around in this final book to make Brandon the one she had been praying for. Truly disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a great ending to the series...bittersweet and I was hoping for more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I too enjoyed the series, but I was expecting a different ending. I guess since maybe that's what all of us were thinking, maybe thats why she went the other extreme!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Kingsbury story that ends the Baily Flanigan series. Predictable, but great storytelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This bookk is perfect! God has a plan even if we cant see the end of the tunnel!!
rhoads12 More than 1 year ago
After reading these posted reviews, I will not buy this book. I will probably never buy another KK book again. Very disappointed in how Bailey and Cody's story turns out. I will be selling all my old KK books to second hand stores. Very disappointed with the ending to a great story. I'll be looking for another author to follow now. Anyone have any suggestions?
PhylJC More than 1 year ago
Karen leaves you guessing for much of the book. She writes so well that you won't be able to put the book down. Very well done, even if you wished Bailey would have married the other guy.