Category Archives: Fiction Reviews

Book Review: Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper

Shadows on the sand, gayle roper, new jersey, mystery, suspense novel

Many years ago, I read a lot of Gayle Roper’s book. They are always fun and lively with a great message. I love Gayle’s wit. She is a funny and intelligent writer. Great combination.

This book is not only full of this witty charm, Gayle also uses social networking in her book to advance the story. It is full of facebook users and tweeters. They get in the way, trying to see everything that happens so they can post about it. They help with some situations. They add even more humor. And they make the book very relevant to today.

I thought what was also intriguing about the story is that the murderer’s point of view is sprinkled throughout the book, keeping the character’s identity a mystery. This aspect of the book made me try to figure out who it was and added to the suspense.

Gayle is a very humorous writer, but she’s not afraid of delving into some complicated inner issues. She gets right in the thick of it in this book, dealing with some heartbreaking realities. It was nicely and realistically done. I appreciate a deep character who is going through some rough stuff and seeing them change.

A couple of things were slightly disappointing. One being the cliche of a character saying “I’ll never love again.” But thankfully, it was a small part of the story and the rest of the story was highly intriguing. The other disappointment was the use of miraculously jumping to the right conclusion to help solve the mystery without much thinking or clues involved. This only happened one or two times in the book. Other than those two little things in the book, I absolutely loved it. Loved the characters. Loved the storyline. Loved the location. Loved the book!

This is a good one! I give it 5 stars!

Thank you Multnomah for sending this book to me for review.

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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: Composing Amelia by Alison Strobel

Composing Amelia, Alison Strobel, Los Angeles, Nebraska, book review

After reading Composing Amelia, I have a great respect for Alison Strobel as a writer. This book is crafted with quality and heart. The story is amazing, and the writing is amazing. If I could ever be half the writer Alison is, I’d be incredibly happy.

Composing Amelia really starts to get good in Chapter 3. I could relate with both main characters and could understand why they are at odds with the direction their life is taking. Amelia wants to go one direction, and her husband, Marcus, wants to go in the other. And I could see both of their viewpoints and empathize.

The struggles that Amelia and Marcus face in the book really speak to the insecurities everyone experiences about themselves as well as the desire to control life instead of letting God have his way. It beautifully illustrates how God can change the desires of someone’s heart and give them joy in something they had never even given a thought to. This storyline is like none I’ve read before. It is so refreshing.

Composing Amelia is well written and goes deeply into the character’s hearts and minds. It is a picture of God bringing his dearly loved children back to himself as only he can do.

Great book! Read it! Seriously!


Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart

Sunrise on the battery, beth webb hart, south carolina, charleston

This book made me want to live in Charleston, SC. What a beautiful area.

I also really enjoyed the story. It illustrated the power of the gospel and how it can completely transform a person. In this book, it affected a whole family – in good ways and in difficult ways.

Beth Webb Hart beautifully played out the complexities of wanting to know Christ, but having a spouse who absolutely does not. I love how the main character’s feelings changed from night and day when some of her priorities were interrupted. She was gung-ho about Christianity one day, and the next day it completely ruined her life. These are real-life issues and it is written with quality. Thank you, Beth, for showing the difficult side of blessing.

I do feel the gospel could have been spelled out a little more, but I know the characters understood it. Overall, this is a great book that will challenge your idea of what life is all about.

Thank you Thomas Nelson for sending me this copy for review.

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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Fiction Reviews


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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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