Book Reviews

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When I am not writing, I am devouring everyone else’s. Mostly Christian, historical fiction.  On occasion I review new books (hot of the press!) for Revell Publishing. You can find an overview of these titles here along with a link that will take you to the full review. Aside from a free book, I do not get compensated, so you can trust the honest opinions listed here. While I have not published my hand at a historical romance yet, you can find a few of my own biblical fiction stories under the Biblical Fiction tab at the top.

For the Nonfiction lovers our there, I am MOST excited to introduce to you my own new release, Tired Mamas Pray: Ninety Prayers in 60 Seconds or Less. If you haven’t ordered your copy today, do it and review it!! You can order from Amazon, Westbow Press, or me. 

Below, you can glance through the most recent book reviews.

Laura Frantz has written another beautiful story in A Heart Adrift. Set in the year of 1755, on the colonial coast of Virginia, Esmee Shaw has passed over every suitor. Only one man would do and he had sailed off to sea, freezing her life in place for over a decade. Captain Herni Lennox’s navy career is closely following by the colonial newspapers. His fight against slavery has earned him both powerful friends and enemies. But the gaping hole in his life has him avoiding a certain town along the Virginian coast, the one he most longs for. When necessity brings him to town, there is still an undeniable fire between them even a decade of sea cannot quench.

This book was beautiful. I preferred the second half more as Esmee’s sister was brought into focus on and the trials she went through. Not the heroine, her story did not dominate but it certainly could have.

The structure of the book seemed inconsistent. It started off focusing primarily upon Esmee and is written from her perspective. Then, it begins to go back and forth (chapter by chapter) between Henri and Esmee’s viewpoints. Then, the last quarter of the book, Henri all but disappears from the text. No thoughts, no viewpoint from across the sea, no follow up on what he was doing or where. It made me feel disconnected from his character. If I had to guess, the hero is present about 50% of the time. I did not care for this. I prefer books to maintain story format throughout. Either solely from one point of view, or evenly distributed between the characters. But this disappearing act by Henri disengaged me a little.

It was good book and I would not hesitate to recommend. But if I were to recommend any of Frantz’s books, I would still refer people to her earlier books: Courting Morrow Little, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, The Ballantyne Series.

Jody Hedlund has recently released her second book of the Waters of Time series, Never Leave Me. The story picks up from the first book with Ellen Creighton, sick with a fatal, genetic disease and Harrison Burlington, a man who is desperately trying to find a cure for Ellen, the woman he has secretly loved for years.

The first book, Come Back to Me was fantastic. Literally the best thus far of Hedlund’ writing career. But Never Leave Me failed to move me. Harrison was a great hero but Ellen was an annoying heroine. What was meant to be portrayed as difficulty discerning when friendship becomes love, Ellen clung to blatant denial for almost the whole book. Her continued denial bordered on her being dishonest. Then there was her behavior. She toyed with Harrison’s emotions constantly by crossing obvious friendship boundaries. This was in direct odds with the portrayal of her “selfless, innocent” personality.

I usually recommend Hedlund books, but this is one I was not a fan of. The story was not unique enough from Come Back To Me to set it apart, and there is too much “retelling” of the first book. I think I was 2-3 chapters into review before the story moved forward. Too much. As an editor, I would have recommended classifying this as a trilogy and not doing any recap. It’s too complicated of a plot for three chapters of review and she almost lost me as a reader. There are way too many great books out there for me to force finish one that cannot keep my attention. And I did finish it…so it was not terrible. But I did not care for it.

Labyrinth of Lies is the latest book of award winning author Irene Hannon. With over sixty novels, Hannon has put her skill into weaving another modern, romance thriller. Second book in the Triple Threat series, Labyrinth of Lies follows the story of undercover agents Cate Reilly and Zeke Sloan.

When the daughter of a wealthy businessman goes missing, there is more going on than meets the eye on the posh Ivy Hill Academy campus. When traces of a cartel ring are made known, Cate suspects the girl did not runaway with her boyfriend as initially believed. When the different angles of this case forces Cate and Zeke to work together, the sparks begin to fly. Again. Regret, anger, distrust and attraction all crash together to fuel a raging fire.

A Midnight Dance, written by Joanna Davidson Politano is a diamond. It seems each time she writes, her skill at communicating truth soars to new heights. Davidson also exposes the truth of dreams. The anticipation of a dream can be deceiving as it is perfect without flaw, while discovering the reality of a dream in hand requires strength, perseverance, and embracing the flaws.

This is a must read. Personally, I loved it so much I red it twice! To read the full review, click here.

Beyond The Tides by Liz Johnson mirrored, too closely, one of my favorites series of all time: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Johnson differs from Montgomery with her focus on themes of grief and forgiveness, the basic plot structure is the same. And the parallels between the two made it feel not original. At one point I wondered if Johnson was aiming to modernize the classic but I looked and did not see any mention of it.

To read the full review, click here.

Susie Finkbeiner’s latest novel The Nature of Small Birds tells the compelling story of a woman on a journey of healing and self-discovery, who chooses to face her past and search for her birth mother in Vietnam. The story is uniquely told through the eyes of her three closest family members. Beginning in 1975 and spanning the years to present day, Finkbeiner captures a story about American-Vietnam history rarely told to today’s generation.

To read the full review, click here.