Category Archives: Fiction

So Great a Love

Title: So Great a Love
Author and Illustrator: Kristie Wilde
Publisher: Wilde Art Press
ISBN: 978-0-9974828-1-2

“Oh, run little ones, run to God … He will always love you!” Kristie Wilde ends her children’s book, So Great a Love.

~ What ~
Part of the Joyful Creation series, this unnumbered twenty-page paperback targets children under five years old, especially those who like learning about God’s love and animals. With no scary scenes, the book has colorful watercolor pictures that are broadly illustrated on every page.

In this short compilation, the idea that animals are protected and loved by their parents is correlated to God’s love for us, even if small ones. Whether it is a hen gathering her chicks, a mama bear protecting her cubs, a koala helping her young, a bird hiding her babies, a lioness washes her cubs, a shepherd watching over his flocks, or other animals protecting their loved ones, the book reiterates that the Almighty is watching over us. Also added are references to nature and its helpful resources. The ending includes ten written out Bible verses from six different translations along with the author’s biography.

~ Why ~
Promoting that the same God that made the animals and nature that surrounds us is the same God that loves us endlessly, the book also teaches how animal parents take care of their young. I like the detailed and colorful artworks that keep a young one’s attention. Due to the illustrations’ backgrounds, the pictures could also encourage further dialogue about how each animal lives and its environment.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about God’s love or animals will not appreciate this book. Beginner readers may struggle with some of the two- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
I wish more simplistic children’s books like this were available for young ones to be taught the wonderful attributes of God and that they are loved by Him.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy a book that shows God’s love through how animal parents take care and protect their offspring, this would be a charming, delightful choice.

For more information on this book: http://wildeartpress.com/so-great-a-love.html

Thanks to Book Crash for furnishing this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

As Bright as Heaven

Title: As Bright as Heaven
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-399-58596-8

“The world was different after the flu and war. And so were we,” Evelyn quietly reflects in Susan Meissner’s novel, As Bright as Heaven.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-page paperback book targets those who enjoy reading stories of love conquering all despite the trials and tribulations caused by the Spanish flu. With some profanity, its topics of illness, war, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments and the author’s note.

Set in 1918 in Philadelphia, the Bright family has moved from small town living to the city so the father can help his uncle with his mortuary business. Broken from the loss of their infant son, the couple, as well as their three daughters, try to start life anew until the Spanish flu arrives, unexpectedly taking more than one of those the love yet blessing them with another.

Through tears and heartbreak, the females write chapter by chapter of how they had to accept the tragedy of the illness and the ravages of war. While lies are told to protect the innocent and emotions are smothered to survive, the ever-changing family learns that Death is a quiet companion to everyone, including those loved.

~ Why ~
Having read and enjoyed other books by the author, I love how she writes in first person through the mother and her three daughters as each experiences the effects of hardship. As the years pass and the girls mature, the book offers a completeness that is needed for redemption and acceptance when we lose someone we love.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like tales of loss and sorrow from the massive deaths encircling the Spanish flu will not appreciate the intricate details of this read. Others may wish more of God’s hope of eternal salvation was offered instead of dwelling on the aspect of dying and death.

~ Wish ~
Being able to guess the ending at the three-quarter mark, I wish it was not as predictable when reading.

~ Want ~
Focusing on how death is a part of life, Meissner does another phenomenal job tying the deep ache and sorrow of losing a dear relative to finding love among the heart-broken relationships.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Bookpleasures and Penguin Random House for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book will be available in February 2018 and can be purchased at https://www.walmart.com/ip/As-Bright-As-Heaven/56159379

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Fiction

The Sound of Rain

The Sound of RainTitle: The Sound of Rain
Author: Sarah Loudin Thomas
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1961-0

“All you have to do is look for someone who’s hurting and see if you can ease the pain,” Larking is reminded in Sarah Loudin Thomas’s novel, The Sound of Rain.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-thirty-six-pages, this historical fiction targets those who enjoy romance through tragedy in the mid-1950s in South Carolina. With no profanity but the use of slang words such as heck and dang, the topic of death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a historical note, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this book, twenty-seven-year-old Judd Markley is heartbroken when his brother is killed in a coal mining cave collapse and he is not. Trying to fulfill his sibling’s wishes, he moves to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and gets a job in the timber industry.

When Judd meets his boss’s twenty-one-year-old daughter, Larkin, he is enamored but still trying to deal with his pain. While Larkin wants to serve God by helping others including the poor, Judd is challenged by her compassion, rash decisions, and glowing personality. It is only when both face their fears is there a chance for romance.

~ Why ~
Many will like the easy-reading style of the author that is clean-cut, Christian, and wholesome as it promotes helping others, especially those in need or are poor. Some will enjoy the historical content of the beach town, Pavillion, and hurricane as well as learn about coal mining and tree harvesting.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of forgiving oneself as a survivor will avoid this book. Others may find it does not have the electrical excitement of romance that is expected; it is predictable.

~ Wish ~
I wish several of the characters were not stereotypical and the ending was more climatic. I found Larkin to be a dichotomy of independence, defiance, and immaturity that was frustrating at times.

~ Want ~
If you like a story about the growing love between a naïve and sheltered wealthy girl and a young coal miner with the backdrop of historical Myrtle Beach and the Appalachians, this may be a good read.

I am under no obligation to review this complimentary book from Baker Publishing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Title: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
Author: Bethany Turner
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2766-6

“The past has absolutely nothing to do with the future God has in store for the two of you,” Ben and Sarah discuss a prior conversation in Bethany Turner’s novel, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-four-page paperback targets those interested in contemporary Christian romance. With no profanity but the use of slang words such as heck and crap, topics of premarital sex and adultery may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments and the author’s biography with advertisements.

In this tale, Sarah Hollenbeck is known to the world as Raine de Bourgh, a steamy romance writer until she becomes a Christian and realizes all the sex she wrote about was flippant and shallow. When she meets Pastor Ben Delaney, she instantly is captivated by his charm, good looks, and effect on her. Through misconstruing and misinterpreting actions, Sarah and Ben try to tip-toe through their rapidly growing attraction toward each other by establishing seven rules they try arduously to keep and an incorrectly told fable.

~ Why ~
As a debut novel, this read is well written well from a first-person’s perspective. I like how there were no extreme sex scenes, but one could read between the lines the romantic tensions and longing the two protagonists felt toward each other. I appreciated the style of linking novels, authors, movies, actors, and singers to Sarah’s thought process involving how she viewed Mary Magdalene, abstaining from premarital sex, her angelic/demonic thought process, and resentment toward an old flame.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of how Christian couples deal with sex, divorce, unwed motherhood, gossip, tithing, and the past will not like this book. Others may find Sarah to be too trite, going from being saved to quoting Scripture within months. I thought Sarah’s eternal salvation was brushed over, her instant change of course in writing a Christian novel that mimicked her life too predictable, and verbiage in her attraction to Ben repetitive.

~ Wish ~
Although I enjoyed the author’s easy-breezy writing style, I found Sarah’s characterization often had clinical reactions to situations by “kiss and make up” techniques that included laughing away the issue. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like clean romance between a tawdry writer who becomes a Christian and her pastor that has a bit of sass to it, this will keep your afternoon occupied.

I am under no obligation to review this complimentary book.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Tora Fright Patches Things Up

Tora Fright Patches Things Up: A Story about Forgiveness (Prayer Monsters)Title: Tora Fright Patches Things Up
Author: Tracey Madder
Illustrator: Bonnie Pang
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0872-3

“Lord, you know that I am sad.
My little brother made me mad.
God, please help me to forgive.
And in your love and kindness live.
Amen,” Tracey Madder writes in her children’s book, Tora Fright Patches Things Up: A Story about Forgiveness.

~ What ~
Part of the Prayer Monsters series, this thirty-two-page hardbound targets children ages four to six years old who like family stories that teach a lesson. With no scary scenes, the brightly colored illustrations cover both sides of the pages with the story overlapping backgrounds. Due to the complicated wording, it would be best read out loud to beginner readers. The New Living Translation of The Holy Bible is referenced.

In this short story of the large Fright family of orange monsters, Tora is happy and proud that she won first prize at the art festival for the ceramic armadillo she designed with the help of her older brother, Pi. When she is playing a board game with her younger siblings, baby Booyah accidentally knocks the prized possession off the counter. Tora is upset and angry at her brother, but her mother reminds her to forgive and be kind to others. After praying to God, Tora apologizes for yelling and asks Booyah to help glue the creation together. The ending includes a written out Bible verse from Ephesians 4:32.

~ Why ~
I love a book that teaches young ones, especially about forgiveness and kindness. The rhyming prayer to God asking to be forgiven is short and to the point and could be adapted to other situations. With the illustrations being colorful, they will engage most children listening to the story.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God may not be interested in this book. Due to the three and four syllable words, it may be hard for new or beginner readers. Some children with attention issues may find the artwork too busy and complicated with the book’s intense colors.

~ Wish ~
With so many bright colors of wide-eyed, over-sized headed monsters, toning them down might be considered for those visually challenged. I wish pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a Christian series of a family of monsters and how they rely on God, this may be a good choice.

I am under no obligation to review this complimentary book.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian, Fiction

A Dangerous Legacy

A Dangerous LegacyTitle: A Dangerous Legacy
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: BethanyHouse
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1881-1

“She had to believe she was doing God’s will. She and Nick were making the world a better place, even if it meant she had to fight dragons like her uncle along the way,” Lucy realizes in Elizabeth Camden’s novel, A Dangerous Legacy.

~ What ~
The first in the series, this three-hundred-fifty-two-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction with suspense and romance during the early 1900s in New York City. Its topics of verbal abuse, mental institutions, and effects of war may not be appropriate for immature readers. A historical note, discussion questions, sequel information, author’s biography, and advertisements are included.

Set in 1903, twenty-eight-year-old Lucy Drake excels in being a telegraph operator for the Associated Press in New York. Involved in a forty-year-old family feud regarding ownership rights of a plumbing valve, she and her brother do all they can to stay one step ahead of their controlling uncle, even if it is illegal.

When she meets Sir Colin Beckwith who is the new administrator of rival Reuters, she makes a deal with him to protect her and her brother’s financial interests. Colin, a shell-shocked reporter who is looking for a wealthy heiress, must also learn what is the most important in life.

~ Why ~
I enjoy historical romance stories where I learn something new, and this one offers details about the telegraph, Morse code, insane asylums, homing pigeons, and plumbing devices. The bantering between the two main protagonists is entertaining and spirited. The majority of the writing is concise and the characters are well-developed.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not want to read about a family feud dragging decades long or tire of stories about greed and personal wealth to gain status in society. Others may not like the use of a slang word, but it is only used once. There is little Christian influence mentioned in the story.

~ Wish ~
While I found the Panama Canal and Morse Code fascinating to read about, I was disappointed in the last quarter of the book that felt rushed and a bit unbelievable regarding Colin and Lucy being able to access people and situations with ease. Having read another book by the author, I found this one to be less interesting and engaging.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical Christian fiction dealing with overcoming resentment and anger due to inherited burdens one is given, this first one in the series may interest you, but I was not overly impressed.

Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

A Brush with the Beast

A Brush with the BeastTitle: A Brush with the Beast
Author: Richard Sones
Publisher: Richard Sones
ISBN: 978-0-692-8161-2

“God always takes care of his people, even in the middle of persecution,” Sarah is told in Richard Sones’s novel, A Brush with the Beast.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-ninety-two pages, this paperback is a story about good versus evil between God and the Devil through three main characters who are living during the end times. With profanity, taking the Lord’s name in vain, alcoholism, drug abuse, pagan worship, and other adult situations, it may not be appropriate for immature readers.

This tale involves business mogul, Nick Gooseberry, and his chronic pain that disappears when he agrees to be part of the Order, a demonic sect that controls the world, its politics, and its religions. While a young Muslim man takes his vengeance out on destroying America, a female methadone addict is set up and chosen to be one of several who help promote the Antichrist’s coming to power. Mentioning the mystical, microchipping, loss of constitutional rights, and the Queen of Heaven, it gives the author’s viewpoint of the future Tribulation.

~ Why ~
Those who are fascinated with the end times and how Christians will be punished and tortured while the Antichrist takes over the world may like this read. Readers will root for the protagonist who realizes God is always in control as she finds comfort quoting and reading Scripture. Others may be interested in the international expanse of terrorism and hatred toward Christ, yet they know the final blessed outcome of our Savior as King.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personable relationship with Jesus Christ may avoid this book. Some, like me, may be disturbed by the profane and occult content. Others who know prophecy in the Bible will find the book anticlimactic as the ending is open-ended, with little closure. I found the writing to be scattered with too many stereotypical characters and unexplained loose ends. The plan of salvation is given, but there is little mention of Christ dying on the cross and shedding His blood for our sins and the rapture of the church (I am a pre-trib believer; the writer may not be).

~ Wish ~
There were many grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling errors; the book should be professionally edited. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a fast-paced story of one author’s viewpoint of the coming Tribulation, this may be a quick read, but I cannot recommend it mainly due to the profanity.

Rated 2.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to the author for this book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ** Think Twice - I Didn't Like It, Christian, Fiction

Vengeance

VengeanceTitle: Vengeance
Authors: Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley
Publisher: Center Street
ISBN: 978-1-4789-2304-6

“Besides, there’s nothing like hatred and a need for revenge to motivate someone. I want Major Grant on our KTB team,” the president of the United States demands in Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley’s novel, Vengeance.

~ What ~
The third in the series, this four-hundred-and-thirty-two-page hardbound targets those who enjoy current-day political fiction with intrigue and covert planning. With light profanity, sexual situations, torture, and murder, it may not be apropos for immature readers.

Minutes before Marine Major Brooke Grant’s can say her wedding vows, she and her daughter become the only survivors of a Washington D.C. terrorist bombing. Recruited to be on the elite but subversive KTB team to eliminate her zealot nemesis, the Falcon, she joins a Saudi intelligence officer and an Israeli Mossad agent to find the diabolical killer who plans on detonating a “nuclear sword” on America.

~ Why ~
Having read one of the prior books in the series, I like that the protagonist is challenged deciding when killing someone crosses the line of hatred and vengeance versus self-defense. The well-written scenes involve a bitter reporter, African billionaire, and serial murderer being tracked by a determinedly focused female, aloof assassin, and questioning woman of motives.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not like fiction with minor profanity, adult situations, religious differences, and scenes of torture and murder, pass on this one. This is another book that has an ending that leaves the reader a little frustrated in not tying all the loose ends, offering the avenue of a future story. I found the survivorship of a couple of characters questionable.

~ Wish ~
While I appreciated the book’s explanation of the differences between Christianity and the Muslim religion, I wish all pronouns of the Almighty God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like political intrigue with a protagonist struggling between right and wrong in a world of good versus evil, this page-turner will have you pondering how realistic an another assault on American soil could be.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for offering this book to review for my honest opinion.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Fiction

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

Title: The Dishonorable Miss Delancey
Author: Carolyn Miller
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4452-4

“For how could a humble sailor ever hope to win a viscount’s daughter?” Ben ponders in Carolyn Miller’s novel, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey.

~ What ~
Third in the Regency Brides A Legacy of Grace series, this one-hundred-and-ninety-six-page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian romance in the historical setting of England in 1915. With topics of alcohol use, physical and potentially sexual abuse, and death, the book may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a modified family tree and ends with author’s note, acknowledgments, and advertisements.

When twenty-five-year-old Clara DeLancey is tainted by scandal, she and her penniless viscount’s family move to Brighton, trying to forget the societal past of gossip, innuendo, and shame. On a dark windy night of the cliffs of Brighton, the once toast-of-the-ballroom is rescued by an injured navy captain, Benjamin Kemsley.

As both deal with their paths of guilt and misunderstandings, they wonder at the possibility of finding true love in each other in spite of their financial and social status upbringing.

~ Why ~
With a detailed explanation of the London season with the elite ton, Prince Regent’s Pavilion, and the beauty of the land, the story focuses on learning how to forgive and trust that God is in control and with us always. Miller does an excellent job showing the societal norms, insistence on family honor, and faith in the Almighty.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the Christian influence the book offers. In an era where gossip, name-dropping, and up-one-man-ship were rampant, the story sometimes gets bogged down on frivolity, yet that was the protocol of the day.

~ Wish ~
With this being the third book in the series, there may be those who may not remember some of the characters previously written about, especially since there is not an extended character list of them.

~ Want ~
If you like historical fiction during the nineteenth century in England when name and lineage matters significantly, this would be a good series. It would be best to read the prior books first to understand the updated story.

I am under no obligation to review this complimentary book.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Cherished Mercy

Cherished Mercy (Heart of the Frontier)

Title: Cherished Mercy
Authors: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: BethanyHouse
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1329-8

“Well, I suppose the biggest reason I no longer hate them is that I learned to forgive and give all of my anger to God,” Mercy explains in Tracie Peterson’s novel, Cherished Mercy.

~ What ~
The third and final in the Heart of the Frontier series, this three-hundred-twenty-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction with suspense and romance during the mid-nineteenth century in Oregon. Its topics of abuse, death, and war may not be appropriate for immature readers. The author’s biography and advertisements for other books are included.

Set in 1855, the youngest Flanagan sister agrees to travel from Oregon City to the Rogue River Valley to help pregnant Elitta Browning, a dear friend of the family who has been ill. Eletta and her husband have raised as their own Mercy’s sister’s bi-racial child, who was violently conceived during the Whitman Massacre that Mercy also had to endure.

When the twenty-one-year-old woman arrives at the Browning Mission, Mercy has compassion for the Tututni Indians, the native tribes who are being hunted and killed by white militia being paid to do so by the government. When she meets Adam, Eletta’s brother-in-law, she tries to understand why he keeps avoiding her. By trusting that God knows the outcome, she has to depend on her Maker as well as the man she has learned to love for her and others’ survival.

~ Why ~
I find stories fascinating that show the heartbreaking battle among humans between hatred and love. This one is detailed, showing the frustrations of not being accepted based on race or color, especially of those who are bi-racial. Laying out the territory of Oregon is well described. The plan of eternal salvation and praying to God for deliverance are covered.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not want to read about a horrible time in history when man is paid to kill man to acquire land. Others may find the topic of war and killing sad and emotional. Those who do not believe in God may not appreciate this story.

~ Wish ~
Since I live in Oregon, I found Peterson did a wonderful job in explaining the tragic history of Indians and those trying to protect them. I wish there were more historical landmarks or features that could be weaved into the tale.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical Christian fiction dealing with the clashes between Indians and settlers in the Oregon Territory while trying to make peace between them, this final book in the trilogy shows how God is in control and knows the hardships and blessings we are given.

Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

Leave a comment

Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Christian, Fiction