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Category Archives: Fiction Reviews

Book Review: A Place Called Blessing by John Trent

Place Called Blessing, john trent, the blessing, book review, annette smith

This book was written as an example of how “The Blessing,” John Trent’s non-fiction book, could play out in someone’s life. It showed how a person can come to believe that they are worthless and evil and don’t deserve to be loved, and it also demonstrated how those thoughts and feelings can be reversed by someone’s positive influence in their life. I have experienced that kind of positive influence in my own life, so I can appreciate the book for giving inspiration to readers to be this kind of influence for another person.

Judging it as a work of fiction though, I felt it was lacking in a few areas. Firstly, the narrative voice – it was written in first-person, from the point of view of the main character, but it sounded as if a twelve-year-old boy were telling the story with short, choppy, poorly worded sentences. This kind of voice gets tiring to read. It almost makes the reader feel less intelligent with this kind of voice in their head throughout a whole book. I think the author used this voice to demonstrate some of the qualities of the main character, but even that doesn’t make sense. The main character got excellent grades in school and ended up going to college, so the unintelligent voice really isn’t needed. I would have much preferred to read the story through intelligent, good storytelling. It would have been more enjoyable to read.

Secondly, the story and the characters were so simple. The whole thing lacked the complicated details of real life and the conflicting thought patterns and relationships that a professional novelist can weave seamlessly into a book. But that is the danger that lies in a non-fiction writer moving into the fiction realm. They just can’t give a novel the depth that a studied, experienced novelist can.

Thirdly, it lacked the undertone that a Christian novel needs – the Holy Spirit. There was no demonstration of how the Holy Spirit prompted anything in the book or anything that the characters did. What are we but vessels of Christ’s love? I would have loved to experience the underlying promptings behind the character’s actions and the feel of God pulling the main character to Himself.

Overall, the book is worth reading if only for the inspiration it gives to seek out ways to be a blessing to others. It serves a purpose in that, but I believe a good novel should both serve a purpose and be written beautifully with excellence.

Thank you Thomas Nelson for providing this book for my review.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Beach House by Sally John

The Beach House, The Beach House series, beach house series, Sally John, San Diego, San Diego fiction, San Diego novel, beach lit, beach novel, beach fiction, character driven novel, character driven fiction

This book is something you delve into. The characters are expertly created with the depth of real life. Between the four women in this book, I think every reader will be able to relate to one of them. I really related to Molly, and the book even made me want to be more like her in my prayer life and encouraging people around me.

The Beach House is another great example of what Christian fiction is all about. I my opinion, it should glorify God and should show how He works in people’s hearts. Throughout the book, you can see God at work in all four women through His Spirit, people around them, and circumstances. Each character was working through something in their lives that was causing heartache and frustration. And God worked differently in each of their hearts.

I just can’t say enough good things about this book. Sally John, you are a great writer. I see your heart in every page. I hope I can write half as good as you someday. The Beach House gets five stars from me!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

When Sparrows Fall, Meg Mosely, NOrthern georgia

I enjoyed reading this book. Reading about Northern Georgia was nice, and the story was great too! It was an interesting premise – a woman who was caught up in a controlling church family. I liked the main character and reading about her struggle of wanting to break out of this church. She was a complex person who had a lot of secrets. I also enjoyed Jack. It was nice to see him fall in love with the kids. It was a great story!

Thank you Multnomah for sending me this book for review.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Desert Gift by Sally John

Desert Gift, Sally John, book review, side roads, sweetwater springs, chicago fictionThis book starts out with a pretty jaw-dropping scene. The main character is about to leave on her book tour with her husband. This is her first book and it is all about how to keep a marriage strong. As they are about to leave the house for their trip, her husband tells her he wants a divorce, then sends her on her way for a five-week trip to promote her book.

If that isn’t gripping, I don’t know what is. The book takes you through the highs a lows of their journey, revealing bits and pieces along the way of what caused her husband to get to the point of wanting a divorce. It takes you through the aftershocks of his request and displays how the Holy Spirit can use anything, good or bad, to change someone.

This book will challenge you to look into yourself and look at your marriage. Unspoken words and underlying attitudes can wreak havoc in a relationship. This book inspires communication in marriage. I can see how this work of fiction could make a difference and really strengthen a relationship. I know I sure don’t want to go through what the couple went through in this book. That is an inspiration in itself!

Thank you Tyndale for providing a copy of this book for my review. I highly recommend it!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren

My Foolish Heart book review, susan may warren, deep haven, minnesota, lake superior, lake superior fiction, lake superior novelMy Foolish Heart is a fun book to read that goes deeper than most books that are centered around romance. The book deals with fears that can keep someone from living life like they should. It shows nicely how God can move someone beyond their fears to accomplish what they didn’t think possible.

One of the stories in the book involved a competition to see who would become the new high school football coach. Without giving anything away, I enjoyed how neither one was made to be the bad guy. They were both good guys, vying for the same position. I liked how it played out.

The end was tied up a little to neatly in my opinion. But I’m one who likes endings that are a little more realistic and leave some things undone, but giving the reader the idea that it’s moving in the right direction. Almost all of the characters, even some of the secondary characters, in the book experienced growth or heart-change throughout the book.That was a plus.

Overall, this was a great read. I found myself thinking about the characters when I wasn’t reading the book. This is a really good author, and I’ll look for more of her titles to read. There are other books in this series that come before this one. I didn’t realize that when I picked up the book, but all of the background needed for this story was filled in nicely, so I wasn’t lost having not read the previous books

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Reluctant Prophet

The Reluctant Prophet, Nancy Rue, crazy love, holy spirit, nudge, St. Augustine, FLorida, Harley, HOG, sacrament house, allison chamberlain

Now this is what Christian fiction should be! Christian story-telling should be about challenging people on what they really believe and on how they are living. It should show them how God wants us to relate to him and what great things can be accomplished for his glory through our relationship with him. And it should show how God can change someone’s heart.

The Reluctant Prophet does all of that. This is, without question, the best book I’ve read this year. Last year, the best book I read was Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and this book has a similar theme. The main character, Allison, experiences enormous spiritual growth as she listens to the Holy Spirit’s leading and actually obeys. In her obedience, we get to see the amazing things that can be accomplished through someone who doesn’t believe in herself. The phrase, “in our weakness, he is strong” rings true in Allison and what God accomplishes through her.

The first chapter was a little hard to get into. It seemed too long, and I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book. The second chapter became more interesting, and the third chapter had me literally laughing out loud (which elicited some funny looks from my husband). From there, I couldn’t put the book down because of the story of Allison’s transformation and what God was doing around her and through her. I also really liked how her view of some of the secondary characters changed throughout the book – some for the better, some for the worse. It even shows Harley groups in a different light than they are normally cast.

This is a five-star book. Just read it. It’s incredible.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir

The Corruptible book review, Mark Mynheir, christian detective novel, ray quinn, christian mysteryThe first thing I noticed about this book was how funny it was. I really enjoyed the main character’s sense of humor as well as the author’s. Take these two lines for example when a character was being described whom the main character did not like: “The gelatinous mass of cop regarded me as he crossed his arms and bared his predatory teeth, which gave him great pleasure when he sank them into wayward cops. His supersized suit was wrinkled, and a shaggy, unkempt throw rug covered his head.”

That’s just enjoyable reading! I loved it!

Besides the humor, I appreciated the glimpse into Ray Quinn’s (the main character) struggle with alcohol and the subtle working of the Holy Spirit, bringing Ray closer and closer to Himself. In this book, I was taken into a life without God’s influence. It’s gets slightly raw at times, but it illustrates why we need to keep reaching out to people without giving up on them. There is a secondary character in the book who continuously tells Ray about the joy of God. There came a point when I said to myself that she should just give up, but she didn’t. This really made me question myself. Would I have really given up on someone like that? It made me think.

In all, I give this book the highest ratings. I loved the writing style. I normally don’t like books written by men, so I started reading it with a slight attitude. But right from the first paragraph, I was hooked on the story, the main character, and Mark Mynheir’s writing style and quality. I’d love to read all of his books! Mark is wonderful writer. The whole book was enjoyable.

The Corruptible is the second book in this series. The first book in the series is The Night Watchman.

Thank you Multnomah for providing a copy for my review.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Heart of Lies by Jill Marie Landis

Heart of Lies, Jill Marie Landis, New Orleans, Bayou, Texas, Irish Angel Series, zondervan, christian novel, christian book, book review

This was an enjoyable look at historic New Orleans and the rough life of a woman who was part of a gang of thieves since childhood. There were a couple glimpses of God at work, but not a lot. In my opinion, it could have had more.

For the most part, I like the style of the book. The characters have depth, and the story is compelling. The writing is good, and leaves you curious about the next book in the series.

Thank you Zondervan for providing a copy for my review.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

The Pirate Queen, Patricia Hickman, book review, Christian novelThe biggest thing that impressed me with this book was that it actually had Christian content. The gospel was presented and someone responded to it. Amazing. This is the first Christian novel that I have read in a few months that was so obviously Christian. It made me very happy. I feel that a book that is sold as a Christian novel should represent, in some way, what Christians believe. The Pirate Queen does this! Bravo!

I really loved the characters in this book, even the one who was originally the antagonist – the bad guy. It just goes to show that people who seem to be the bad guy aren’t always all bad. There is good and bad in everyone.

Of course the character who really stole my heart was Tobias – the little neighbor boy. I won’t say why though. Don’t want to ruin the story. Up until he was introduced, I actually wasn’t loving the book. But when his little face came onto the scene, the story became very gripping.

The beginning took a little while to get into, the middle of the book was gripping, and I thought the ending was done very well and was very satisfying. This is one of the best books I’ve read within the past year. Fantastic!

Thank you Multnomah for providing this book for my review.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Inheritance of Beauty by Nicole Seitz

Inheritance of Beauty, Nicole Seitz, North Carolina, Levy, Joe Stackhouse, book review, Christian book reviews, christian fiction, christian novel

Loved it! I was really caught up in the story of this book. The first chapter is a little hard to follow, but once you get into the book, it starts to get really good.

The story follows elderly people in a nursing home in the present day and also goes back to 1929 and what happened with them in their hometown as kids. The book is written in present tense. This is the first present tense book that I’ve read. I always thought reading the present tense would really bug me, but it didn’t in this book. In fact, I hardly noticed it.

Nicole Seitz did an amazing job with the story and characters of this book. This must have been a complicated book to write. I don’t think I could have done it. There are characters of every age, and she really nailed each one. She even gets you into the minds of elderly people with dementia.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. At the end, I found myself going back to the first chapter to reread it. It all made sense now that I knew who it was and what had happened.

The best thing about this book is that you start to think of yourself and your life. I would not want to have the regrets that some of them had toward the end of their lives. It certainly helps you put things into perspective. The only thing I wish it had more of was Christian content. There wasn’t much shown of the characters’ spiritual lives (except for one of the secondary characters).

Thank you Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book for my review.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Fiction Reviews

 

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