Category Archives: Fiction

The Treasure of Granzella Ranch

The Treasure of Granzella Ranch: Large Print EditionTitle: The Treasure of Granzella Ranch
Author: Joan Bannan
Publisher: Joan Bannan
ISBN: 978-0-9627624-5-1

“Yes, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Sheree is told in a dream in Joan Bannan’s novel, The Treasure of Granzella Ranch.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-seventy-six pages, this hardbound targets those who like contemporary Christian romance with suspense. Using words such as darned and heck, topics of alcoholism, divorce, pornography, erectile dysfunction, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning includes a genealogy and map, while the ending has five recipes, acknowledgments, and seven discussion questions.

In this short tale, the Granzella Ranch in California is failing after four generations producing olive oil. Separated from her husband, Sherre returns to the homestead to help with the farm after her father dies. While her mother considers remarrying a strange man only nine months after her spouse’s death, the rest of the family deals with issues that include faltering marriages, getting over past mistakes, and learning to fall in love again.  As Sherre realizes her mistrust in herself, she learns about the real treasures of life.

~Why ~
I enjoyed learning about a generational business and how it strived to survive. Including the history of many of the family members and relationships with others was interesting. Learning about millrooms, voles, insects, and growing olives was engaging.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate this read. Others may feel the family is too dysfunctional, some conversations are trite, and the main character tries to solve all problems herself.  Some may feel the story predictable and the flow anti-climatic.

~ Wish ~
While I enjoyed the writer’s style, I had trouble with the many punctuation errors that included missing end quotes or commas that confused the reading. I had to mark it down a full point for this specific problem. I wish all the pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a quick read that focuses on how “God works all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose,” this may keep you entertained.

Thanks to the CWA Review Crew and author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-treasure-of-granzella-ranch-joan-bannan/1126483015

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

Never Let Go

Never Let GoTitle: Never Let Go
Author: Elizabeth Goddard
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2984-4

“I want justice. Do you hear me, Austin? I want this person found. Why don’t the police do something?” Willow pleads in Elizabeth Goddard’s novel, Never Let Go.

~ What ~
The first in the Uncommon Justice series, this three-hundred-and-sixty-five-page book targets those who enjoy contemporary Christian romantic suspense involving a missing person and family secrets. Using the word heck several times, topics of arson, kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes author’s notes, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements.

Set in Washington and Wyoming, Willow Anderson has made it her quest to solve her recently deceased grandfather’s final forensic genealogist project by searching for a baby that was stolen over twenty years ago. After Willow becomes the target, she works with her past love, even though he has always kept secrets from her. As the two track down leads in rural Wyoming, they try to find the girl while protecting their hearts from being hurt again.

~Why ~
With the theme of overcoming the past, this romantic story is filled with suspense as the duo search for a missing person while deciding to reignite a past relationship. I enjoyed how the two protagonists had to rely on God to get them through their disappointments and trials.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian romances will pass on this story that promotes God’s protection while learning to forgive oneself and others. Although no eternal plan of salvation is discussed, it does have references to the Bible and sporadic prayers to God. I found some of the scenarios a bit far-fetched and the main relationship wishy-washy, with both characters tediously trying to decide what they want.

~ Wish ~
The scene where someone is pushed out the door seems flippant and unrealistic. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like a mystery of a woman’s desire to be like her beloved grandfather and find someone’s daughter decades later while being forced to reconnect with an old flame, this may interest you, but I found my eyes sometimes rolling with the repetitiveness of emotions.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/never-let-go-elizabeth-goddard/1128873070

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

American Omens

American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith: A NovelTitle: American Omens
Author: Travis Thrasher
Publisher: Multnomah
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9178-2

“I want to help wake people up. To show them the lies they’re being fed. To show how every single person out there is being manipulated. And I want them to hear the truth. To at least hear God’s truth,” Cheyenne is told in Travis Thrasher’s novel, American Omens: The Coming Fight for Faith.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-fifty-two-pages, this gripping paperback targets those who enjoy futuristic Christian fiction regarding America’s faith in God or growing lack of it. Using several versions of the Holy Bible, it is a story of Christians standing up for their faith and beliefs while dealing with demeaningness, deception, danger, and dying. Using the word hell once, topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

Set in 2038, young Cheyenne Burne loves her job as a programming genius at the well-known mega-tech company in Chicago. When she receives a note about her missing father who has converted to Christianity, she is forced to quit her job and go off the grid to find him. After learning about the Reckoner, a strange prophet who challenges her past company’s owner and plans to tell the world the truth, the woman teams up with a quirky ex-coworker and rogue rock star to find her father while becoming a part of something that will hopefully change millions of minds about God.

~ Why ~
This riveting tale may make you question your privacy using everyday electronics, social media, and artificial intelligence. The realistic characters who face making a decision for Christ are a call to action of readers who want to make a difference. I loved the feasible and believable scenarios of what our future may hold in regard to Christians being accused, tortured, and killed for “hate crimes,” interactive touch-screens that manipulate decisions, security watching robots, and personal mind-engaging assistants. Without becoming paranoid, I came away wondering who was recording my latest smartphone conversation, if our Alexa should be disconnected, or what governmental flags were popping up due to my blog postings due to my relationship with Jesus Christ. Linking the 1960-70s rock bands to the story was entertaining.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God and have no faith in Him may not be interested in this book, but it could be life-altering if the Holy Spirit is pricking the reader’s soul. Some may wish the ending was not anti-climatic, making them consider this could be the first book in a series due to many unanswered questions. Others may be unsure where the author stands on the Biblical rapture being imminent as it is not mentioned.

~ Wish ~
Including a list of characters might be helpful since the chapters jump around a bit. I wish the capitalization of all pronouns of God for reverence were consistent throughout the book.

~ Want ~
If you are questioning your faith in God or want to be one to stand up for Him, this tale puts the topic of faith and trust in the Almighty in the forefront. Although we know God is in control of all, the fast-reading story will grasp your spiritual attention as it shows how America may further try to degrade, dismiss, and deter believers in Him in the near future.

Rated: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Thanks to WaterBook and Multnomah Book Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/american-omens-travis-thrasher/1128688754

#americanomens #travisthrasher #futuristictechnochristiannovel

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

The Seamstress

The SeamstressTitle: The Seamstress
Author: Allison Pittman
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 978-1-443-9046-8

“Better to live by the instinct God gave you than to be fooled by tricks and manners,” Gagnon instructs Renee in Allison Pittman’s novel, The Seamstress.

~ What ~
Inspired by a famous Dicken’s story, this four-hundred-and-eighty-page paperback targets those who enjoy learning about life, love, and loyalty during the French Revolution. Topics of poverty, premarital sex, imprisonment, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s note, ten discussion questions, author’s biography, a chapter from another authored book, and advertisements.

In this 1788 romance told sporadically throughout the chapters in first person , orphaned Renee and her cousin Laurette live with Emile Gagnon in the small village of Mouton Blanc, France. The diminutive girl who is efficient with a thread and needle is offered to go to Paris to be a seamstress for Queen Marie Antoinette, while her relative stays behind, enticed by the wiles of Marcel, a rebellious militant of the resistance against the kingdom.

Ever-patriotic to the monarch, Renee sews beautiful and unique clothing and falls in love but misses her home. Laurette learns a lesson about love that is permanent yet forgiving. Although both women live in worlds apart, they come to grips how God directs their lives.

~ Why ~
With France’s upheaval as the backdrop, this extensive tale shows how love, loyalty, and faith in God can get one through the darkest hour. I like the detailed history of the land, impressive ornateness of Versailles, and brokenness of poverty and drought that grasped the country.

~ Why Not
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand how God is in control, even when we do not understand why. Some may not like the tediousness of the story, lonely heartbreak of some characters, and ending.

~ Wish ~
With many characters who are threaded throughout the tale, it would be helpful if there were a brief list of names at the beginning of the book for reference. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a romantic fiction of two women who walk separate paths to find freedom during a revolution, this read will captivate your heart while wishing for redemption.

Thanks to Tyndale Blog for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-seamstress-allison-pittman/1129055525

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

Innocence Denied

innocence deniedTitle: Innocence Denied
Author: Mike Garrett
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-63357-146-4

“God never gives us more than we’re capable of handling. You’ll get through this, I swear,” Derrick comforts Larissa in Mike Garrett’s novel, Innocence Denied.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-thirty-seven-page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian contemporary suspense while focusing on deep, unsexual love between two individuals. Using the word heck twice, topics of murder and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending contains an afterword without the author’s biography.

This current day story set mainly at an Alabama lakeside cabin, the vivacious Larissa Baxter has been accused of murdering her wealthy husband. To her rescue comes Derrick Waldon, an older man wanting to make a difference to overcome his past, offers her an unusual escape route with no strings attached.

Holed up in a remote cabin, the two protagonists learn how love can conquer the pain of past mistakes while finding solace and peace within, especially when Derrick promotes his belief in the Almighty.

~ Why ~
This book is written to those who have no faith in God, showing that trust in God can get one through the hardest tribulations. The strange relationship of the couple thrown together unexpectedly is written realistically, despite their age difference. I liked the undertone of how Derrick wanted to make Larrisa find freedom while unselfishly giving up his own.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books about faith in God may not appreciate this one. Others may find some of the story unbelievable when it comes to Larissa’s escape and its aftermath. Although the book contains Bible verses and seeking God, I found it was not concise about the eternal plan of salvation (Jesus shed His blood on the cross for all our sins, rose the third day, and resides in Heaven).

~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God would be capitalized as they are sporadical.

~ Want ~
If you are seeking peace in your tortured life and do not know where to turn next, the Holy Spirit may be nudging you to read this story and invite Christ into your life.

Thanks to Book Crash and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/innocence-denied-mike-garrett/1129618191

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

Secrets at Cedar Cabin

Secrets at Cedar CabinTitle: Secrets at Cedar Cabin
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8584-1

“Everything in her life had been a lie. Who wouldn’t be shaken by this kind of news?” Lance considers about Bailey in Colleen Coble’s novel, Secrets at Cedar Cabin.

~ What ~
Part of the Lavender Tides series, this three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those interested in romantic suspense that involves family lies and past secrets that surround human trafficking. Using the slang word heck a couple of times, topics of kidnapping, abuse, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a note from the author, acknowledgments, eight discussion questions, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this current day tale based in the state of Washington, Bailey Fleming has fled to a small cabin in Lavender Tides when she learns her mother has been murdered. When two young girls’ bodies are found on the property, the woman who trusts no one due to all the lies she has been told questions her mom’s past relationships when FBI Agent Lance Phoenix tells her the area has been used for sex trafficking and may involve his own sister. As the two of the protagonists track down the person behind it all, they rely on God as their foundation.

~ Why ~
With human trafficking being the main focus of the book, it shows how devasting it is to those involved and their families. I appreciated the detail of the crime without it being too graphic and the interesting cat that plays a part. The relationship that grows between Lance and Bailey is realistic and written well. Without focusing much on God, the underlying prayers promote that God knows what we are going through and is in control.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like mystery stories with predictable romances may not enjoy this book. Some may feel uncomfortable reading about the topic of trafficking, but it is not overly-written. I found the plethora of characters from the prior books in the series made the storyline jump around, leaving the reader often confused.

~ Wish ~
Having read two prior books in the series, I vaguely remembered their contents and characters, so including a list would be helpful. Containing a map of Lavender Tides would be helpful.

~ Want ~
Similar to the other book in the series, this Christian romantic tale has a lot of action (some unbelievable for small town living) as it focuses on the seedy underworld of sex trafficking.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-at-cedar-cabin-colleen-coble/1128128096

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

With This Pledge

With this PledgeTitle: With This Pledge
Author: Tamera Alexander
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8183-6

“She’s given her pledge, and she’s a woman of her word,” Roland regretfully confirms in Tamera Alexander’s novel, With This Pledge.

~ What ~
The first in the Carnton Series, this four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page paperback targets those interested in a historical Christian romance in Franklin, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. With no profanity, the topics of physical abuse, amputations, war, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an afterword, acknowledgments, thirteen discussion questions, several food recipes, and the author’s biography.

Based on facts and set in the Carnton home, betrothed Lizzie is a governess whose world is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually altered when she helps the Confederate soldiers medically fight for survival. When Captain Roland Jones makes her promise to help save his leg, she questions not only what the South is fighting for but also if love between a man and a woman is mainly for procreation. While the two protagonists deal with pledges made, unforeseen circumstances, and accepting the abolishment of slavery, they must learn to trust God for His direction.

~ Why ~
This story shows how fighting Confederates had to deal with injury, loss of limbs, the fear of being sent to prison, and death. It has detailed information of the five-hour battle at Franklin and its devastating aftermath of pain and suffering. I appreciated the growing reliance on God when dealt with heartbreak and the fog of war.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like wartime stories with trying relationships may not enjoy this book. Others may not like the predictable ending or that the main character consistently solved problems and issues flawlessly.

~ Wish ~
Including a map and list of characters may help some readers. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are fascinated with a true story of two individuals in the South dealing with freedom, choices, and promises during the Civil War while including a love story, this is an interesting read.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/with-this-pledge-tamera-alexander/1128128094

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

Maxwell, The Raindrop: Am I Still Me?

Maxwell the Raindrop: Am I Still Me?Title: Maxwell, The Rainbow: Am I Still Me?
Author: Joseph Moore
Illustrator: Jaclyn Donnelly
Publisher: Joseph Moore
ISBN: 978-1-5323-7285-8

“I’ve changed? But what if I don’t want to be vapor? Am I still me?” Maxwell the Raindrop asks in Joseph Moore’s children’s book, Maxwell, The Rainbow: Am I Still Me?

~ What ~
At fifty pages, this oversize hardbound targets preschool children and older. With no scary scenes, it is about learning to accept change while discussing nature’s water cycle. Vibrant and colorful illustrations fill the pages with white sections containing the story in black print. The ending includes five discussion questions and an advertisement for a prior book in the series.

Second in the series, this tale has Maxwell, the raindrop, resting on a thirsty flower and wondering why he is feeling different as he turns into a vapor and enters a cloud with his friends. Afraid he will no longer be a raindrop, he is assured he will be the same but look different. When the drops of moisture fall from the cloud and turn into snowflakes, again he is concerned until they explain what is happening. After he melts in the spring, he befriends a flower who also gets worried when her blossom turns into seeds, but Maxwell comforts her that we can still be the same, even though we look different and have changed.

~ Why ~
This is a cute book that parents will enjoy reading to their children who are changing as they grow up. The questions in the back of the book offer excellent ways to further discuss change and the science of water and plant cycles. I like how there are charming ways to accept changes, even if raindrops cannot travel to the moon and snowflakes cannot ski.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like reading silly books about the cycle of moisture as it evolves from vapor to water to ice may not be interested in this read. Beginner readers may have trouble with some of the two- and three-syllable words. Some children with visual issues may find the colorful illustrations too busy and distracting.

~ Wish ~topics.
It would be helpful if the scientific discussion questions had short answers. While I found the story enchanting and clever, I did notice several punctuation errors that could be corrected in future printings.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s storybook that vaguely explains evaporation, condensation, and precipitation while be entertaining regarding change, this would be a good option.

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/maxwell-the-raindrop-joseph-moore/1123845406

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

We Hope for Better Things

We Hope for Better ThingsTitle: We Hope for Better Things
Author: Erin Bartels
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3491-6

“If we don’t share what we know, it dies with us. And ultimately that’s not fair,” Nora explains to Elizabeth in Erin Bartels’s novel, We Hope for Better Things.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-ninety-two-page paperback targets those interested in family dynamics and struggles related to prejudice and racial injustice over several generations. With no profanity but the use of slang words such as dang, heck, and hell, topics of adultery, physical abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s note and acknowledgments, an excerpt of the author’s next novel, her biography, and advertisements.

In this story spanning from the Civil War, the Detroit Riots, and current day, biracial relationships are dissected through the lives of three related women. Written in first person, Elizabeth Balsam is fired as a Detroit journalist so moves to a rural town to take care of her great aunt, Nora, a woman who keeps the past to herself. Once born of wealth, Nora had chosen love over money in marrying a black photographer who only wanted to capture the truth. As Nora grows old in the aging homestead, she learns about Mary, a relative who housed African-American slaves there during the war and was torn about whom she loved.

~ Why ~
As a debut novel, this emotional, descriptive tale is well written from Elizabeth’s perspective while being weaved with chapters about Nora’s struggles with her identity and Mary’s forbidden love for a tender-hearted man. I loved the details of the old house that held a wife’s tragic secrets, the pain of a seamstress’s rejections, and a writer’s indecisions. The story reminds the reader how many hide their hurtful past without realizing how explaining it may help future generations.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of war, riots, and forlorn love involving those with different skin color may not appreciate this book. Others may get confused on the plethora of characters who both aid and hinder the three protagonists as they find their purposes in life.

~ Wish ~
With three different eras and a multitude of people mentioned, it would be helpful to have a list of characters at the beginning of the book as a couple of times I got confused due to the period changes between chapters. Adding discussion questions at the end would be thoughtful for book clubs. I wish more references of trusting in God were included, all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence, and no slang words were included.

~ Want ~
If you like a book that shows the problems and issues in biracial marriages and relationships during intense periods in America’s history, this one that shows love conquers all is engaging and sobering.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

Rated 4.5 of 5 stars.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-hope-for-better-things-erin-bartels/1128873073

#wehopeforbetterthings

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

Chosen People

Chosen PeopleTitle: Chosen People
Author: Robert Whitlow
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8304-5

“I had to convince Anzor there was nothing between us to keep him from becoming suspicious of my loyalties and killing you,” Hana is told in Robert Whitlow’s novel, Chosen People.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page paperback targets those interested in fiction that combines international law and terrorism. With no profanity, the topics of physical abuse, torture, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is referenced. The ending includes acknowledgments, ten discussion questions, advertisements, and the author’s biography.

Set mainly in current day Atlanta and Jerusalem, the tale has Hana Abboud as a Christian Arab Israeli lawyer who is asked to help search for a non-governmental defendant to sue for damages when a young mother is killed in a terrorist attack. Trying to understand American idiomatic terms, the single, self-determined attorney hires a private investigator in Israel to help her and her law partner track down the killer and potentially uncover the terrorist cell involved. The three have to work together to learn the who and why of the attack that leaves a little girl scarred physically and emotionally.

~ Why ~
This progressive story explains the legal side of international terrorism while exposing a women’s belief and trust in the true God to protect her and those she cares for while uncovering the truth. I enjoyed reading about the differences between Israeli Jews and Arabs and details of the Western Wall and one of the supposed sites of the Garden Tomb. Weaving in the emotional distress the protagonist has toward her client’s daughter is well written and touching, focusing on the tragedy and effects of terrorism. Including romantic and bantering tones among the three characters helps keep the brevity of the horrible topic of murder.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like espionage, terrorism, and Christian morals and viewpoints will not appreciate this read. Others who promote pro-Arab terrorism may find it offensive to their beliefs. Some may not enjoy books with law and justice overtones. A few may not like the glory encounters and dream interpretations.

~ Wish ~
Including a map and list of characters may help some readers. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are fascinated with how Arabs, Israelis, and Americans deal with terrorism, this is an engaging read that has twists and turns. With it being the first book I have read by the author, I will be looking forward to reading more of his works.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chosen-people-robert-whitlow/1128128095

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