Category Archives: Fiction

Facing the Dawn

Title: Facing the Dawn
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3729-0

“But beauty and love are what heal us. They’re closely related, you know,” Mara is reminded by her best friend in Cythia Ruchti’s novel, Facing the Dawn.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighteen-page paperback targets those interested in a tale of healing broken hearts that are either scared or sacred. With no profanity, topics of drug use, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes, ten discussion questions, a biography, and advertisements.

In this story based mainly in Wisconsin, Mara Jacobs finds herself at the end of her rope with her humanitarian husband in Africa for years, her three children being increasingly distant or rebellious, and her uninteresting job more demanding. When the unexpected happens, she has to learn not only to lean and rely on God’s love but also allow others help her in her healing process.

~ Why ~
Having not had to deal with the sad and tragic experiences that Mara did, I appreciated the raw emotions, struggles to live another day, and fortitude to press on that were displayed in this novel. The characters are well written and show the humanity of life and disappointments that can make one become bitter or forgiving.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like depressing stories of how to move on in life after tragedies may not like this read. Others may find the sarcasm, snarkiness, and incessant overthinking of one character or the pushiness and determination of another cumbersome. There are quite a few sidetrack rantings that do not correlate to the story, altering its flow.

~ Wish
With this being a rather dark read, I found some of the scenes a bit unrealistic, such as why the husband never came home to visit or have the family visit him in the years he was gone. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like reading a story of loss, faith, hope, and redemption, this one reminds us of God’s relentless love among sadness and family turmoil.

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

#Revell #CynthiaRuchti #FacingtheDawn

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3qf4Ppv

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Trailing a Killer

Title: Trailing a Killer
Author: Carol J. Post
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-1-335-40500-5

“But the fact remained that there was a killer out there somewhere. And whether Cody was willing to admit it or not, he was the target,” Carol J. Post writes in her suspenseful novel, Trailing a Killer.

~ What ~
Part of the Love Inspired Suspense series, this two-hundred-and-twenty-four-page pocket-sized paperback is written for those who enjoy inspirational suspense while dealing with revenge, murder, and acceptance of the past. With no profanity or sexual content, topics of injury and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book promotes that God helps us through our trials. An author’s note and insert of other Love Inspired series books are at the end.

In this current-day story based in Florida, thirty-year-old Erin Jeffries constantly has her guard up, both at her job as a detective and when it comes to the opposite sex in relationships. When she and her Search and Rescue dog save Cody, a boyfriend from twelve years ago, the trio must work together to figure out why the contractor is being targeted. After several attempts on Cody’s life and Erin’s insistence of not getting emotionally involved, their closeness is challenged while they reflect on the past, their upbringing, and how to move on in life.

~ Why ~
This fast-paced drama centers on searching for a killer while re-establishing a friendship. Although it was romantically predictable, I appreciate how yearning to trust God was important to the story. The interactions with the loyal canine are engaging, showing how our pets can be protective of us.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not know Jesus Christ personally may not like the concept of being in a relationship with Him, who is always there. Some may not realize the devotional mentioned several times was derived through visions (read that book’s introduction). Some of the chapters are too long.

~ Wish ~
I wish the plan of eternal salvation was more succinct in stating Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose the third day.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a suspenseful romantic read that mixes a highly trained dog and a murderer, this will keep you occupied for a few hours.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3np4P4B

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

All That We Carried

Title: All That We Carried
Author: Erin Bartels
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3836-5

“She kept repeating to herself that it didn’t matter — what’s done is done and can’t be undone — but it did matter,” Erin Bartell writes of Olivia’s frame of mind in the novel, All That We Carried.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-two-page paperback targets those interested in learning to weather one’s problems, forgive each other, move on from the past, and focus on God. With the use of slang words such as crap, dang, darn, and heck, topics of injury, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments, an excerpt of the author’s upcoming novel, her biography, and advertisements.

In this story based mainly in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, siblings Olivia and Melanie are finally seeing each other after their parents’ unexpected death ten years ago. While each has gone on separate paths in life, they decide a hiking trip may be what reconnects their broken relationship. Through the beautiful scenery and unexpected encounters, they are forced to question their beliefs, viewpoints, and attitudes that shaped them throughout their lives.

~ Why ~
Having never been to the gorgeous hill country of Michigan, this read offers a scenic and adventurous backdrop while explaining how Olivia, an atheist attorney, wants to control everything being the older sister and Melanie, one who is into everything New Age, covers her bases trying to make an important decision. I liked a third character who was pivotal in helping a fractured relationship.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of hiking and the challenges that can appear may have no interest in this book. Others may get irritated with the continual tug-of-war conversations between the sisters and the unrealistic medical scene toward the end of the book. I found the ending lacking completion.

~ Wish
I noticed that there was no obvious plan of eternal salvation or mention of Jesus Christ being the only way to Heaven, although there was plenty of opportunities to express it with the two women being so opposite in their religious beliefs. I wish more references of relying on God were included, all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence, and no slang words were added.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy tales that incorporate hiking and survival with reconnecting with loved ones after a tragedy, this may work for you, but I felt it was frustrating, especially since I have read other novels by the author.

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

#Revell #ErinBartels #AllThatWeCarried

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3mTp0aR

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

Burden of Proof

Title: Burden of Proof
Author: Davis Bunn
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2787-1

“The challenge is this, my brother. You must decide how you are going to face the day,” Ethan is told in Davis Bunn’s novel, Burden of Proof.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy a fictional story about second chances regarding past relationships. With no profanity, topics of illness, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this tale based mainly in Florida, Ethan learns he hasn’t much time so is given the opportunity to redo past mistakes and overcome selfish ambitions to not only save others but also himself. As he learns to move with life’s flow by correcting his mistakes, his determination to become his own man is questioned as he makes important decisions that alter his and others’ lives.

~ Why ~
Most stories of quantum entanglements do not seem realistic, yet the author molds his protagonist to be raw, honest, and sensitive when it comes to regrets and past relationships. I loved the way Ethan worked through the process to understand responsibility and how it affects others while interweaving surfing, science, legal matters, and love.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like time travel may want to pass on this read, yet they will be missing the core idea of a prodigal coming to the realization that life is not only about him.

~ Wish ~
With this being about repairing broken relationships while understanding oneself, it lacks calling on God for help. It would be thoughtful to enhance the spiritual aspect of how eternity plays a part of what happens on earth.

~ Want ~
If you want an intensive story of regret, responsibility, and relationships that can be rewritten, this is a refreshing and engaging read. I found it to be one of my favorites by this author.

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

#Revell #DavisBunn #BurdenofProof

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3jPGbZ0

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

The Love Note

Title: The Love Note
Author: Joanna Davidson Politano
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3689-7

“Love may come unexpectedly by getting to know someone different, or getting to know them differently,” a scientist observes in Joanna Davidson Politano’s novel, The Love Note.

~ What ~
At four-hundred pages, this paperback targets those interested in historical romance in the late nineteenth century. With no profanity or sexual scenes, the topics of illness, dying, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes nine discussion questions, an excerpt for another book by the author, acknowledgments, the author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this Victorian-era tale in England in 1865, twenty-four-year-old Willa Duvall has turned down four marriage proposals as she is adamant in wanting to become a doctor. When she finds a love note hidden in her desk, she obtains a nursing position at the Crestwicke Manor, determined to give the long-lost letter to its rightful owner. As multiple residents of the home come across the letter, they apply its cherished contents personally until Willa uncovers who it was intended for and why.

~ Why ~
If you like a mystery story combined with finding true love and the backdrop of a seaside estate, this one will hold your attention with its twists, turns, misinterpretations, and misunderstandings. I enjoyed how the writer included that the Lord is the ultimate lover of our souls. Adding the title quotes was interesting and unique.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand how important it is to rely on God and pray to Him. Others may not like the nosiness of some of the characters and the protagonist’s stubbornness.

~ Wish ~
I found sometimes there were too many characters to keep track of and remember. I prefer all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like a romantic tale of finding authentic love, this is heart-warming while being redemptive and declarative.

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

#Revell #TheLoveNote #JoannaDavidsonPolitano

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3kd2byj

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

The Return

Title: The Return
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central
ISBN: 978-1-5387-2857-4

“Forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget, or you stop wishing that you can change the past,” Trevor explains in Nicholas Sparks’s novel, The Return.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page hardbound targets those who like contemporary romance about forgiveness and trust. With mild profanity, topics of alcohol use, PTSD, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this quick read written in first person, Trevor Benson is trying to overcome the physical and emotional effects of serving in the U.S. Navy and being injured. When he moves to New Bern, North Carolina, to visit his grandfather’s house that he inherited, not only do the memories float back, but also the mystery of his ancestor’s death encompass him. Having met Deputy Sheriff Natalie Masterson and Callie, an odd but resourceful teen, he yearns to help them deal with life and forgive themselves for the secrets they keep.

~ Why ~
This is a touching story of a broken man trying ardently to deal with his past while two women he cares about have their own issues with forgiving themselves and learning to trust others. I enjoyed reading about bees and how they are cared for and small town living.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not like the predictability of Sparks’s books, this one may not interest you. While the story flows and makes a point, some sections lag and are boring.

~ Wish ~
Having read several of the author’s novels, I was disappointed that he included the profanity, especially using the Lord’s name in vain, as I expected better of him.

~ Want ~
If you like reading about how an injured veteran, a woman at a standstill, and a girl who feels everything is her fault, this will keep your attention, but realize it is the cookie-cutter format of the writer.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for this book that I am under no obligation to review.

More about this book can be found at https://amzn.to/3dxTHit

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Point of Danger

Title: Point of Danger
Author: Irene Hannon
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3617-0

“Whatever the motivation for today’s incident, she was sticking with her principles. She would not back down from her point of view, no matter the danger,” Eve determines in Irene Hannon’s novel, Point of Danger.

~ What ~
The first book in the Triple Threat series, this three-hundred-eighty-four-page paperback targets those interested in a suspenseful romance about staying safe while being targeted by an unknown assailant. With no profanity or overtly sexual scenes, the topics of alcohol use, attempted murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt for another book series, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this current-day story, thirty-one-year-old Eve Reilly finds a ticking package on her doorstep and becomes a target because of her conservative viewpoint on her radio talk show. While she thinks the recent harassments are non-threatening, Detective Brent Lange considers there is more behind the attacks than noted.

As the two try to figure out who is threatening her, they also find their attraction toward each other growing, in spite of Eve’s strong determination and Brent’s impasse regarding romance.

~ Why ~
If you like a series about a strong woman who is being challenged by those who hate her religion and politics and is threatened while the police try to find out her perpetrator, this novel with a strong thread of relationships will keep you interested. I enjoyed the unexpected turn of events in the story.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand how important it is to rely on God and pray to Him. Others may not like the overly-forward personality of the main protagonist and how she seems to put everyone in their place.

~ Wish ~
Although the tale had some twists and turns, it left many questions unanswered about some of the characters, who will no doubt be addressed in the next book in the series. I hope in the next book, the romantic insecurities are not overstated as they were in this read.

~ Want ~
If you like a romantic suspense that includes accepting past mistakes and moving on by putting the rest in God’s hands, this series is a good start.

Thanks to Revell for furnishing this complimentary book to read and review.

#Revell #PointofDanger #IreneHannon #TripleThreatSeries

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/3d8lvd0

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The Christmas Eve Promise

Title: The Christmas Eve Promise
Author: Elyse Douglas
Publisher: Broadback Books
ISBN: 9798671702989

“I love you, Eve, and I always will, in any time and in any place,” Patrick admits in Elyse Douglas’s novel, The Christmas Eve Promise.

~ What ~
The fourth in the A Time Travel series, this four-hundred-and-thirteen-page paperback targets those who enjoy a sci-fi romance involving time traveling and having a soul mate. Using profanity and slang words, its topics of premarital sex, alcohol use, physical abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments and reviews.

In this story, Patrick is at a loss when he finds himself alone in 2020 when he originally was living in the late 1880s. To try to understand his sad predicament, he uses the time-traveling lantern designed by Nikola Telsa and is oddly transported to 1925 where he must determine why he is there. When he meets Evelyn, his predicament may have some familiarity, but there are underlying currents of dishonesty, bootlegging, and mayhem that make him question if he should return home again.

~ Why ~
Not having read any of the prior books in the series, I appreciate that this is a stand-alone read with some references to past time-traveling of its main characters. I enjoyed the descriptions of New York in 1925 and 2020 relating to society, fashion, and life in the Roaring 20s. The protagonists are well-described, and the story is easy to read and understand.

~ Why Not  ~
Those who do not like books blending finding one’s soul mate through traveling in time may want to pass on this series. Others may find the often back and forth of profanities in one sentence and the next containing a belief in God and prayer confusing.

~ Wish ~
Although the basis of the tale is about going into the past to hopefully learn how to change the future, I did not care for its reference to seances and reincarnation. I prefer no profanity and all pronouns of God capitalized for reference.

~ Want ~
If you like a romance that includes suspense, mystery, and time travel, this last in the series story may want you to start at the beginning to better know its characters.

Thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#TheChristmasEvePromise #ElyseDouglas #VirtualAuthorBookTours #TimeTravelRomance

This book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GCZ9ZVF/ref (1st book is at https://amzn.to/3gAC0ig)

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This giveaway is for 1 copy for 3 winners. Print is is open to the U.S. and Canada only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends November 26, 2020,midnight pacific time.

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

Until I Met You

Title: You Belong with Me
Author: Tari Faris
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3647-7

“I swear, until I met you, I didn’t know someone could cause my life so much chaos,” Libby is told in Tari Faris’s novel, Until I Met You.

~ What ~
The second in the Restoring Heritage series, this three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those interested in a contemporary romance in an inter-connected Midwest town. With no profanity, topics of illness, alcohol use, and premarital sex may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt from an upcoming novel, acknowledgments, and the author’s biography.

In this story set in Heritage, Michigan, Libby Kingsley wants a fresh start in life when she moves to a small town to become its librarian. When she meets Austin, a landscaping architect working on the town’s community square, her emotions flip-flop on if she can work together with him to improve the library and trust him. While his brother and her roommate struggle with their complicated relationship, all four must find a way to move on from the hurts of their past, trust and forgive each other, and learn that grace can be given and accepted.

~ Why ~
This is a fast, quick read about how broken people uncover why they have conflict, disappointment, and sorrow due to their pasts and overcome them. I like the small-town environment that is charming and unassuming.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not understand the charm of small-town living may not enjoy this read that focuses on working together to beautify their community while deepening relationships. Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the references of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sometimes the main characters often get wishy-washy on what they want so may frustrate the reader.

~ Wish
While the book is a romance, its kissing scenes could be considered a little over the top in their descriptions. I wish they were toned down a little and all pronouns of God were capitalized. This is the final book in the series yet there are plenty of loose ends with many of the peripheral characters.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy a small-town romance that concentrates on understanding grace and forgiveness, this is a breezy read that brings several couples to a better understanding of each other and themselves.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/32LmfkT

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

The Edge of Belonging

Title: The Edge of Belonging
Author: Amanda Cox
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3740-5

“The past is just information. Your choices today make you who you are,” Reese tells Ivy in Amanda Cox’s novel, The Edge of Belonging.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-page paperback targets those who enjoy contemporary Christian fiction regarding family relationships and abandonment. With no profanity, topics of depression, drug use, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments, a teaser of the author’s next book, a biography, and advertisements.

In this current-day story that reverts to decades before, Ivy Rose finds herself at crossroads in life when she breaks off her engagement and goes returns home to deal with her grandmother’s estate. Having always questioned her background, she yearns to learn about her adoption yet those close to her are tight-lipped. Threaded throughout the tale is thirty-year-old homeless Harvey who finds an abandoned newborn who captures his heart and forces him to uncomfortably adapt to society. As the past becomes uncovered, several have to lean on each other to learn the truth.

~ Why ~
Dealing with abandonment and adoption can be tricky to write about, but Cox pulls it off with tenderness, love, and letting go in her debut novel. I liked that the story flowed nicely between the past and present and was easy to read.

~ Why Not  ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the Christian undertones that include praying to God. Others may tire of the predictability of not only the outcome of adoption but also the romance intertwined between two protagonists.

~ Wish ~
I wish that most of the characters were not stereotypical, especially the pastor, his wife, close friend, and grandma. I found Ivy to be too immature in how she dealt with others. Also, I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reference.

~ Want ~
If you like a contemporary Christian read about how a family joins together for love while not being related, this one is readable and thoughtful.

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

#TheEdgeofBelonging #AmandaCox #Revell

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2RvLy44

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