Tag Archives: inspirational fiction

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: 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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Book Review: Diving Appointments by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Divine Appointments, Charlene Ann Baumbich, Dearest Dorothy, Snowglobe Connections, Novel based in chicago, chicago fiction, fiction based in chicago, book based in chicago, chicago, christian novel, inspirational novel, christian fiction, inspirational fiction, divine appointments review, book review

This is quality fiction from a quality writer. You can really sense the author’s story-telling expertise as you view life through each character in the book. The characters are deep and amusing, the writing is incredible, and the story is not the pat romance story that has been beaten to death.

I really appreciated all of the real-life problems that the characters faced. One was bitter from her divorce. One was raised to be non-feeling and is almost robotic in her work life. And one is a widow who was forced to go back to work after her husband’s death.

What I really loved was that every character in the book handled their problems differently. And in the end they learned from each other’s better qualities and created change in their lives.

Ms. Baumbich tells this story in a pleasant, refreshing way. There is an aspect of the story that requires a stretching of the imagination, but it’s done in such a way that it adds very nicely to the story. I loved the book. Each page was a pleasure to read.

Thank you to the publisher for giving me this copy to review.

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Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: A Shore Thing by Julie Carobini

This book was  a nice break from my snowy winter. It was great reading about the sand, the ocean, and warmth.

I enjoyed the main characters in this book and how they came together. From the first time they met, they were on different sides of a major issue, so they considered each other the enemy. But, every time they ran into each other, there was an undeniable attraction. It’s so much better than the average romance heroine telling herself that she will NEVER fall in love ever again. Who thinks like that? I get so tired of that scenario. I’ve stopped reading certain books because of that lame kind of thought pattern in a character.

Also, the book encouraged me spiritually. You’ve got to love a fiction book that helps you in your walk with God. There were certain scripture passages that helped the characters see things differently. It also helped me in the same way.

The ending was tied up a little too neatly. I prefer an ending that is a little closer to reality, but overall, the book was a great read!

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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: Unlocked

Unlocked, Karen Kingsbury, Kingsbury, autism, autistic, Holden, Ella, Christian fiction, inspirational fictin, christian novel, christian novels, inspiration novel, inspirational novels, book review unlocked, book review, review

This book was incredibly exciting to read. I found myself cheering on Ella, who stood up to school bullies and attached herself to an autistic student in her high school. She was ridiculed for it, but she never budged on her commitment to her new friend, Holden. As she saw him start to engage and come out of his autistic shell, she became even more determined to stick with him, trying to draw him out more.

The story is amazing. I was awed to not only see through Holden’s friend’s and family’s point of view in this book, but from his point of view as well. To be able to get into the mind of an autistic soul was a pretty astonishing thing. All of the outward idiosyncrasies began to make sense as his thought process was revealed.

Half-way through the story, it was so incredible, it was starting to sound too good to be true. So, I flipped to the back of the book to read the note from the author and hopefully see how Karen Kingsbury went about researching for the book. I wanted to see if there was any truth in what I was reading.

What I discovered was that she had witnessed this very story in real life. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see what I’m talking about, but it made this novel even more incredible. After Karen came across this real life story, she sat on an airplane and outlined the whole book, filling up 20 pages in her notebook. She poured her heart out, even crying for the characters in the story as she scribbled out the storyline and title. It was the first time she’d ever done anything like that, and she felt that God had met with her on that plane and gave her “Unlocked” as a special gift from him.

I’ve got to say, I agree with her. The book feels like it is a special gift from God to show people that he loves everyone. The way he creates people is not by accident. And the story of this miraculous journey puts this on display beautifully. I can’t say enough. This book has got to be read!

Thank you, Zondervan, for sending this book to me in exchange for my review.

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Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

The Noticer book review, The Noticer, Andy Andrews, inspirational fiction, inspiration books, inspirational book, book reviews, book review, The Travelers Gift, The Traveler's Gift, Jones, vanessa carrollThis book was very interesting. Not your average fictional book (that’s why I categorized it as “other”). It’s more of a mouthpiece for the author’s motivational speaking. That being said, I thought the message of the book was very good. The story may have been slightly cheesy, the author isn’t exactly a studied novelist, and it doesn’t scream Christianity, but what he has to say is something everyone should read.

There are about five or six different life lessons in the book, all affecting different people in different stages of life. The message of gaining a new perspective is carried by an old man named Jones. He mysteriously appears in each person’s life just as they are in the midst of crisis. The old man draws them in with his blue eyes, white hair, and a certain magical sense about him. Then he sits them down to talk about their life, giving them the proper perspective they need to change. The answers to their problems are quite simplistic, but something they never thought of. A matter of perspective. This new perspective drives them to change the things they were doing wrong and bring about positive transformation in their life. A saved marriage. A reformed businessman. An enlightened teenager. And the list goes on.

I very much enjoyed the first chapter. I was a little confused when the main character in this chapter was the same name as the author and tried for a long to time figure out if I was actually reading fiction or if this was an autobiographical work. I determined that it is fiction. The author just used himself as the main character. But, the first chapter does a great job of capturing the reader and getting you to keep reading into the second chapter.

The second chapter was good until about half-way through when it started getting pretty cheesy and was looking too much like The Five Love Languages by Chapman. It was feeling a little like the author was using other people’s material for his own book. I put the book down and decided I didn’t want to read it anymore. The old man, Jones, was sounding too much like a motivational speaker as he was counseling a couple on the brink of divorce.

The funny thing is that this second chapter of the book, even though I didn’t finish it, actually sparked an interesting conversation between my husband and me about The Five Love Languages. We were trying to figure out which love languages we each favored, as well as which one our three-year-old daughter seemed to favor. We talked about it throughout the rest of the day and I believe we are better off for it.

After thinking about this great conversation that the book sparked, I picked up the book again and finished it. If one chapter could spark such a good conversation, what would the rest be like? I am glad I did continue reading. I determined to overlooked the cheese factor  (although there were moments of really good writing) and discovered there were a lot of things that I learned through Jones and his perspective-giving lessons in people’s lives. And it left me with the desire to be “Jones” to someone else. So I have to give the book high marks based on what it can inspire in a person’s heart. I just needed to get over myself and see the book for what it is – a book that really sticks with you after its over and helps you become a better person.

My recommendation is … READ IT! You’ll be able to read it quickly. It’s a short book that goes fast. There aren’t any mentions of Christianity or the Holy Spirit. There are a couple of mentions of God. But I don’t think the book is meant to be just for Christians even though it was published by a Christian publisher. I think it is meant for the general market. No matter if you are a Christian or not, this book will certainly make you think about your own life and how you can make positive changes. It is a must read. Pick it up today! You’ll be glad you did!

Book description:

A new story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people.  But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up.  An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip-flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul.  Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss.  “Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely,” he says.  “Don’t squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever.”

Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.

Like The Traveler’s Gift, The Noticer is a unique narrative is a blend of fiction, allegory, and inspiration.  Gifted storyteller Andy Andrews helps us see how becoming a “noticer” just might change a person’s life forever.

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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Other Book Reviews


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Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young

The Shack, William P Young, William P. Young, Paul Young, William Young, The Shack book review, Christian fiction reviews, Christian fiction review, inspirational fiction reviews, inspirational fiction review, Christian novel reviews, Christian novel review, inspirational novel reviews, inspirational novel review, Christian book reviews, christian book reviewI can’t fully review this book because I couldn’t finish it. The first third of the book was incredibly painful. It was actually more painful to read that any book should ever be. It kept me awake all night with a stomach ache. I was not happy. If  you have children in your life and you’re thinking about reading this book, just be warned of what the incredible pain the main character’s experience will be to you. It’s really a horrible thing.

But that wasn’t the reason I stopped reading the book. In fact, it was the reason I kept reading so that I could hopefully feel some kind of release from all of the pain. What made me put the book down was the way God was portrayed in the book. What I had a problem with was that this encounter with God doesn’t gel with the encounters people had with God in the Bible. When God appeared to people in the Bible, they instantly were on their face in awe, feeling completely unworthy to be in his presence. This is what I was anticipating as Mack approached the shack where God was. I was picturing Job’s experience with God and others in the Bible who were honored with God’s presence. And I was very much let down. This appearance of God was nothing like that.

There were also actions and words by the three who were supposed to be God that  just didn’t settle with me. I was hoping that the images and actions of God in this work of fiction would resonate with the Holy Spirit residing in my heart. But, for me, it just wasn’t there.

Sometimes, if you get so emotionally involved in something (such as the first part of this book), you fall into a vulnerable state of mind and will be more open to consuming something that is not of God. I’m not saying this is an evil book. I’m just saying that I held it up to what I know of Scripture and what the Holy Spirit has taught me and it didn’t match up, and I couldn’t read anymore of it. (Update – since I wrote this review I found out that in 2004 the author of The Shack embraced the teaching of Universalism, which changed his entire view of God. He also wrote a 100+ page document in defense of universalism. And two of the names he used for God in The Shack come from Hinduism. So now I’m of the opinion that the book is quite dangerous to anyone who is not rock solid on their beliefs and the Word of God.)

Anything a Christian reads should be held up to Scripture and validated by the Holy Spirit in your heart. Even if it is fiction. Jesus used fiction to teach those around him many times. Fiction is important, and it’s important for Christian fiction to be biblically sound and accurate. And when it deals with something as important as God appearing to a person, it should be completely inspired by the Holy Spirit and Scripture. I feel that this book was not.


Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Fiction Reviews


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