Tag Archives: Vanessa Carroll

Book Review: The Girl in the Glass by Susan Meissner

The Girl in the Glass

This may just be the best book I’ve read this year. And I’ve already checked out two more of her books from the library.

Susan Meissner is an incredible writer. Her characters have depth. The story isn’t predictable. The setting of Florence comes alive. From the first page, I knew I was reading the work of a great writer and the entire book was a joy to read.

I loved the main character and the real life struggles she faced–being disappointed by people around her, not knowing if she can trust her own feelings, and trying to make everyone in her life happy. Through all of this, Meg is also overwhelmed by the beauty of Florence and the breathtaking artwork that came out of the Italian Renaissance. Every aspect of the story comes together beautifully.

I will be reading every book by Susan Meissner that I can get my hands on. Someday, I also hope to sit in one of her writing classes. For now I’ll learn all I can from her works.

This is a five-star book easily. A+!

Thank you Water Brook for giving me this copy to review.

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

wedding dress, rachel hauckIt took me a very long time to read this book (between entertaining my 4-year-old and getting my own work done), but I’m glad I kept at it.

For the most part, I really liked the book. I enjoyed the modern day story. The historical part of the book (which I didn’t realize was going to be a storyline before I started reading it) took me a little longer to get into, but it’s just because I prefer modern stories over historical ones. It all ended up being really good though.

The story of the life of the wedding dress was great. What I didn’t like was that it seemed to have powers. That didn’t work for me. And I’m not sure what to think of the guy in purple who seemed to span a hundred years and not change. I’m thinking he was supposed to represent God. If that’s the case, I’m a little uncomfortable with that as well. I don’t think God should be portrayed as a weirdo with bad fashion sense.

Other than those two things, I thought the book was a good read. The character of Charlotte was great (although her name and the historical character’s name got accidentally switched a couple of times in the book). I would give the book 3.5 stars. The things that keep it from being a 5 for me are the two things mentioned in the above paragraph and the ending was a little hokey, and unrealistic. But I have a feeling, the author wasn’t going for realistic in this book. It lies a little more on the fantastic side of things.

Thank you to the publisher for providing this ebook for review.

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Fiction Reviews


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Book Review: Heaven Is for Real for Kids by Todd, Sonja, and Colton Burpo

Colton burpo, todd burpo, sonja burpo, boy who went to heaven, heaven is for real, heaven experience

I have a four-year-old daughter who loves to learn, so I thought this book that is written from a child’s point of view about heaven would be great for her. And I was right. She loved every bit of it.

The book is only about 20 pages long. The chapters are very short. I told her I was going to read one chapter each day to her. Well, that didn’t’ happen. When I was finished with the first chapter, she asked me to read the next one, and the next one after that. And before I knew it, I had read the whole book to her, including the questions and answers at the end, in one sitting. She loved it!

What I love about the book is that it tells of Colton’s experience of going to heaven and seeing Jesus seated at the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit seated on the left. He describes everything he saw in heaven and the people he met there, and it sounds absolutely wonderful. The best part about it is that it all aligns with Scripture as well.

I love his description of Jesus, and the painting of Jesus’ face in his book is amazing. All of the other pictures that illustrate what Colton saw in heaven really help kids to picture what he describes as well.

I give this high marks. It’s a great book! My daughter and I will probably read it many more times.

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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Kids Books and Bibles


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Book Review: Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Mercy come morning, lisa tawn bergren, lisa t. bergren, New mexico fiction, taos fiction, new mexico novel, taos novel, letting go, alzheimers story, christian romance

This book was previously published as Christmas Every Morning in 2002, so if you’ve read that book, you’ll want to pass on this one.

But if you haven’t, you must read this one. I am always in awe when an author can get deep down with the characters so the reader can truly relate on a heart level. The book was almost like a therapy session on letting go and focusing on the positive. What a great message!

The setting was also interesting to me – Taos, New Mexico. It was fun reading about the traditions and character of the small town. With all of the dancing and celebrating that was inherent to the area, the place felt like another character in the story.

One thing I noticed that was confusing – on page 14 it mentioned late spring snow, but it was December. But the rest of the book was great. There was an air of joy even in the midst of losing a loved one. The main character grew through difficult circumstances to make changes where she needed to in order to become more healthy and focus on healthy relationships.

Thank you Waterbrook Press for giving me this eBook for review.

Highly recommended!

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Posted by on January 6, 2012 in Fiction Reviews


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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: The Runner’s Devotional by Niesluchowski and Veerman

Runners Devotional, Niesluchowski, veerman, book on running

This book is really great for me. I am a beginner runner, and it gives a lot of good advice. I really enjoyed the stories of how people became involved in running and what their inspiration was. There are quite a few passages that are written in first person though that don’t say who wrote them. Other than that, I very much like this book.

Each chapter touches on a different subject that has to do with running, gives questions to think about, other people’s experiences, journal space, and running log. It is very practical for those who want to learn more about running, but also those who want to get closer to God and grow in Christ through running.

Very well written by a father/daughter duo. I highly recommend it. Very inspirational.

Thank you Tyndale for sending me this copy to review.


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Book Review: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Sarah Young, devotional, book review

I’ve been reading this daily devotional now for about six months. It is written as if Jesus were speaking directly to the reader. The whole book really feels inspired by the Holy Spirit. You can just feel it.

The readings have really helped give my heart some peace and calm. The book helps you to focus on what matters and fixing your eyes on Jesus. I read it every day after I read the Bible and journal my thoughts. God has really used this book to speak to my heart and remind me to listen to Him and just be in His presence everyday.

Some friends of ours love the book so much that they buy them by the case to give away to all of their friends. They are the ones who gave us our copy of the book, and I’m so grateful for their generous spirit. It has really made a difference.

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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Devotional Book Reviews


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Book Review: Desiring God by John Piper

Desiring God, Desiring God revised edition, desiring god updated, john piper

If you are looking to go deeper in your understanding of what the Christian life is all about, you must read this book. John Piper delves into the joy and happiness we can experience in God and also teaches that praise and worship flow as a natural reaction to the joy we find in God’s presence.

I have really enjoyed reading this book. I have learned things I didn’t know and things that I just haven’t thought of in this light. Piper contends that the Christian life should be the pursuit of happiness – not in fleeting, earthly pleasures, but in living in God’s presence.

You will find, as you read this book, that no matter what circumstance you are in, if you seek God’s glory, He will share it with you and bless you with joy and peace.

John Piper is a very studied individual and I fully appreciated his thoughts on the subject and thank God that there are people like John who go deeply into the Bible and draw out such wonderful truths. I’m looking forward to reading more of John’s books and gaining more understand through them.

Thank you Multnomah for providing this book for my review.


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