Christian Fiction Review: The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

This was not at all a bad book, but definitely not my favorite. It is in the genre of romance, so if romance is one of your favorite genres this is the perfect book for you.

I actually really enjoyed the characters. Mia was smart, funny and as a bonus to me she was interested in ministering to people overseas.
Jake wasn’t bad either. His character was a little more stereotypical to me. Hot, cowboy, ex-cop thing. I thought him having a hearing injury was the perfect thing for his character to not make him, you know, perfect. I have only read one other book where the main character had an impairment, and that was blindness.
Mia’s sister Lucy was a pretty easy character for me to like. Throughout the book she struggled with her Christian faith which seemed to me a real seeming struggle. By the end of the book she suddenly changed and didn’t doubt God at all. To me this appeared a little
unrealistic, but not enough to make me upset.

There was quite a bit of faith content, so that was good. I do however notice in Christian Fiction books that a scene that involves the main characters going to church is rarely shown. That doesn’t have anything personally relating to this book, but if the author or someone else is reading I would so appreciate more church content along with random prayers and the main characters doing devotions throughout the book.

I am giving this book a 2.5 stars because it was not bad, but I don’t see myself wanting to reread it. If you like romance you will like this book. I also believe this book should be for people 15 and up.

Link to summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32510783-the-two-of-us

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

 

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Christian Fiction Review: We Are Gathered Here–A Novella Collection by Erynn Mangum

I am so excited to talk about this book.  It is a novella collection by Erynn Mangum.  Erynn Mangum is my all time favorite Christian author, so it is pretty weird that I haven’t written a review about any of her books yet.  For future reference I rave about this author.
Easter Carates:
I absolutely love this book. I can never say anything bad about an Erynn Mangum book because she just doesn’t write bad books! 😀
I would, without a doubt, recommend this book. The characters were wonderful, super funny, and completely relatable. There was a lot of faith content, which is something I admire about all Erynn Mangum novels and novellas.
If you get the chance you should read this story. I was able to read an actual paperback copy of this book in a novella collection of hers called We are Gathered Here. Paperback to me is always better than a screen, but no matter what way you choose to read you should definitely read this story. 😀
Fish & Chips:
Wow, such a fun book! I don’t know what it is about Erynn Mangum’s books, but they are just SO good. I five stars out of five stars recommend. It’s everything I love in a book. 😀

In Return to the Chocolate:
Another amazing book! I can sincerely say that I never regret buying an Erynn Mangum book. 😀 I totally recommend! I love this novella. It was such a joy to read. 😀

Identical Difference:
This book is without a doubt my favorite book in Erynn Mangum’s novella collection. Everything about it is wonderful. I love the story, the characters, the Christina content, the romance, the dialogue, the fact that it is perfectly clean, and everything else you can possibly love about a book. 😀 The only thing I don’t like is how short it is! I want more! 😀
I definitely recommend. I would give this ten stars if I could, but I’ll settle for a five out of five. You should read this book! 😀

Christian Fiction Review: Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris

This book is one of the best Christian suspense books I’ve ever read.  Now, it was not my favorite, but it is close to the top of my list.

First things first, I love the fact that Lisa Harris made one of the main characters, Jordan Lambert, African American and Brazilian.  This should not surprise me so much, but unfortunately characters that aren’t white are very rare in Christian fiction.

The second thing  I enjoyed about this book is that it was not entirely about the romance.  In fact there was a lot less romance within this book than is common in romantic suspense.

Third on my pro list is that there is a lot of deep content.  What I mean by this is that the characters in this story continually wrestle with the idea of God why god lets bad things happen to good people?  Because of this ongoing discussion Lisa Harris added quite a bit of Christian content, which is always appreciated in a Christian fiction book. 😀

The fourth and final thing I will add to my list of pros is the conclusion that was decided for the big question all the characters had about God.  I even got a few favorite quotes out of this, which is unusual for me.  I very rarely have favorite quotes from books.  Here is the quote.  Enjoy! 😀

“I think I’ve found that asking where God is when something bad happened is the wrong question. . . We ask that question as if we’re surprised when evil surfaces.  But in reality, I think we’ve forgotten we live in a fallen world.  We’ve forgotten that God gives us the freedom to make choices.  And while he gives us free will, that freedom doesn’t mean he stands over us and fixes everything.  There are consequences that too often hit innocent people. . . And what I’m realizing is that when he doesn’t intervene, it doesn’t mean he isn’t there.  I think it means just the opposite.  He decided not to just sweep down and fix our problems every time something goes wrong.  Instead he chose to redeem us eternally by sending his Son.”

Okay, so that is a much longer quote than I thought.  Hahahaha. . .

To rephrase that quote, man chooses to sin, causing there to be tragedies in the world.  One can’t expect this world to be perfect because mankind isn’t perfect.  Instead of constantly intervening, (though he often bless man in that way), God chose to intervene once and for all by sending his Son to save us.

So yeah, I enjoyed the overall message of this book. 😀

Anyways, if you like Christian romantic suspense you will probably enjoy this book.  There were stereotypical parts of this book that Christian romantic suspense tend to fall into, but non of it’s faults were bad enough for me to care to much about them 😀

I give this book 4 stars.  I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone under 16 because there is quite a bit of serious and scary content in this book.

Link to summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34020281-vanishing-point

I received this book from Revell Books Publishers for my honest review.

 

Christian Fiction Review: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Happy late Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you’re enjoying the break. 😀  Now, on to the review.

First things first.  I think Bethany Turner has a lot of potential.  The way she wrote very much reminded me of Erynn Mangum (my all-time favorite author).  This is probably the highest compliment I could possibly give any Christian fiction author. 😀

However, I did not enjoy this book.  I think I have to start with the plot.  Sarah Hollebeck is a divorcee romance novelist who gets saved and end ups falling in love with her pastor Ben DeLaney.  Yeah, not my cup of tea.

I’ll admit, I was slightly hesitant to read this book because she was a romance novelist, but I was also excited to read this book because the writing seemed clever.

Let’s compare the pros and cons, because I love list! 😀

Pros

  1. Writing is fun and quirky (similar to Erynn Mangum).
  2. The cover is beautiful (I might even keep this book just for the cover :D).
  3. The story is about a recent convert, which I believe needs more presence in the Christian fiction world.
  4. Piper, Sarah’s best-friend, is a cool character.  In-fact, if there was a book about her I would probably read it.

Cons:

  1. Sarah Hollenbeck is a really annoying character (she’s more than a little stuck up).
  2. The relationship between Sarah and Ben is really attraction/lust based.  This causes there to be a few parts in the book that I was really uncomfortable reading.
  3. The books ends with an almost wedding night scenes, which alone causes me to not recommend this book.

Sarah being a divorcee and romance novelist also made me question this book a little.  I decided not to include those in my cons list because the divorce wasn’t her choice, and Sarah believes her old romance writing life is wrong.

This book is definitely not for children or young teens.  It deals with very adult issues, so one should probably be a little mature before reading.

The novel itself is more of a romance than anything else.  Even thought there seems to be quite a bit of Bible content, I don’t think there is much  disciplinary content or anything that would help build-up one’s faith.  Authors, especially Christian authors, need to know that they do have an influence on the readers.  I have experienced negative and positive influences from Christian fiction books, and I think that this book would have a more negative than positive influence on any Christian.

Even though there is technically more things in the pros list than the cons, I believe the cons are worse than the pros are good.  I feel nothing compelling me to ever reread this book.  I give it  2.5 stars.  I might change that rating to a little less eventually.  I really do think Bethany Turner has a lot of potential as an author, and she can certainly write something better than this.

Link to summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34020274-the-secret-life-of-sarah-hollenbeck?from_search=true

I received this book from Revell Books Publishers for my honest review.

BOUND by Victoria Lynn: Blog Tour

Hey guys! One of my favorite bloggers is doing a giveaway on her blog Ruffles and Grace.  You can win A T-shirt from her Zazzle shop, some chocolate, and (drum roll) one paperback and possibly to ebook copies of two of her own novels.

To enter just press this link BOUND: Blog Tour Day 1.

This link should take you to her blog, where you can enter using Rafflecopter.  Enjoy! 😀

 

Christian Fiction Review: Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

I was looking forward to reviewing this book so much!  I am so thankful I have the chance to review this book. 😀

Dani Pettrey is a talented Christian suspense writer, so I often enjoy her writing quite a bit.  Her other series, Alaskan Courage, was a favorite suspense series of mine for some time.

Blind Spot is the third out of four books in Dani’s Chesapeake Valor series.  I really like the suspense aspect she has.  I think this book is written well and the plot is intriguing.

I was really excited to read this book in particular because of the heroine Tanner Shaw.  In the previous books she has been something of a mystery, but it has been revealed that she is a very relevant fighter against human trafficking.  She is probably the character I relate to the most, so I loved reading her point of view.

The hero Declan Grey is also a cool character.  He didn’t previously intrigue me as much as Tanner, but his character is solid.

One aspect of the book I am not as impressed with is the romance.  In Dani’s previous series there romance was prominent, but the adventure aspect of the books seemed stronger to me.  Because of this adventure I didn’t mind the romance as much as I normally would.  This series (Blind Spot in particular) includes a lot of romance.  Now this part isn’t what really bugs me as much as the clique of it all.  The problem I have most often come across with romantic books is attraction at first sight.  Don’t mistake this with love at first sight, it isn’t half as romantic as that.  No, I mean lust at first sight.  I get really bothered by characters who only seem to like each other because they are both super hot.  This has never been the kind relationship I admire, in fact it has always been the opposite.

Because of this all to often flaw in the romantic plot of the story I give this book 3 stars.  I am disappointed with the tension romance this book exhibited.  I would recommend this book if you are a romance lover, or a romantic suspense lover.  However, if you are a teen or at least under 16 please don’t read this.  I don’t think it is the best use of one’s time.  If you really are a good sweet romance read a Jane Austen novel (or Erynn Mangum for a Christian recommendation). 😀

I was expecting at least 3.5 stars if not 4 or higher from this book.  I do wish this had a stronger presence of God in the romance department, so that they did’t initially like each other merely because of looks.  I do generally like Dani Pettrey’s work, so don’t think this book is a great example of her usually (in my opinion) good writing.  However, as reads go, 3 stars is not bad.  It is your choice to read this book, I would just council you to stay away from most romances that look like this.

Link to summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34020169-blind-spot

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Christian Fiction Review: Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones

I love this book so much!
I am definitely buying this book. 😀 Maggie is a great character. She is super sarcastic, which I love. This story is so touching. I cried so many times while reading this book.
Also I love Maggie’s niece Riley. She reminds SO much of a kid I know. 😀 Connor, Maggie’s love interest, is also really really sweet. Maggie and Connor are a perfect couple, and their relationship was wonderful to read.

I will warn younger readers that there is a lot of mature content and a lot of kissing. I am okay with this ’cause Maggie was not a Christian for a lot of the book, so it makes sense, and it wasn’t all inappropriate, just more mature. Again, there are quite a few kisses, so I won’t recommend to really young kids like thirteen maybe fourteen (depending on your views).
However, I do LOVE this book. It is a fun book, but it is meant to be touching and meaningful, so it isn’t a super light chick-flick.

On goodreads I gave this book 4 stars.  It doesn’t rank as high as Harry Potter or my favorite Erynn Mangum books, but it is pretty moving.  I would probably recommend this to older teens to adults (16+) because it does have more mature content in it.

Link to summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6402991-just-between-you-and-me?from_search=true

Christian Fiction Review: Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

The story-line is a classically overdone one in the Christian community of romantic suspense.  Guy tries to protect girl and they both fall in love with each other by the first few chapters.  Girl saves guy spiritually, guy saves girl physically.

I would honestly not recommend this book because it just is not written well and does not have a creative story-line.  If you want much better Christian romantic suspense read anything written by Dani Pettrey.

The characters of Kate and Landon were really hard to like because I’ve read characters exactly like them in other books.  If I didn’t know better I would think Irene Hannon wrote this book.

Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this book, but it’s your choice.  I give this book 1.5 stars because it is truly not a good book in my opinion.  I didn’t hate it but I wouldn’t suggest reading it.  I really didn’t enjoy the story, and honestly I’m surprised I could finish the entire book (it was hard).  Maybe if I had read this when I was younger I would have liked it, but by now I’ve read this same kind of story to many times to count.

Link to summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34020189-deadly-proof

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.

Middle Age Review: The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

My all time favorite book of Gail Carson Levine’s is The Two Princesses of Bamarre, so when I heard about this book I was ecstatic.
This book is as good as a prequel gets. I am not at all disappointed. To me Perry was a really good main character. Her struggles as well as her strengths were believable. There was also a very subtle Rapunzel retelling throughout the story. Gail Carson Levine’s fairy tale-retellings are not like any other.
It was wonderful to know more of the backstory of the world of the Two Princesses of Bamarre.

There was no inappropriate content in this book, so feel free to read it without hesitation. My recommended ages for this book is 13 and up only because it is a pretty large book.
I would personally rate this book a 4.5. To anyone who hasn’t read this very short series I would without a doubt recommend you read it because it’s absolutely fantastic.

Here is the link to the first book’s summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31371458-the-lost-kingdom-of-bamarre

Young Adult/Middle Age Review: Gallagher Girls Series

Hey guys!  Here is a review written by my little sister, I hope you love it!

 

It’s about time I write a review on my all time favorite series! This series sucked me in and I couldn’t wait to get each book. If someone asked me what age range I would suggest this fantastic series for my answer would be 13-14. This series does have some romance but nothing bad. There are kisses here and there with characters but it’s not described really. I absolutely LOVE this series! The books are not to big and they are an easy read. I have both listened to them and read them. Both ways are fantastic! The plot has a great structure and the characters are brought to life really well. If you read these books because of my review I hope you love them just as much as I did! Happy reading!!!

This book series gets a 5 star review.

~ Review by Liv Funaro

Here is the link to the first book’s summary via goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/852470.I_d_Tell_You_I_Love_You_But_Then_I_d_Have_to_Kill_You