Where the Light May Lead (A Novelette Collection)

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Where the Light May LeadWhere The Light May Lead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Well! As a multi-genre ChristFic anthology of novelettes, Where the Light May Lead was indeed a new experience for me, chiefly because I’d never read any of these authors before.

That’s How She Rolls, a rom-com by C.L. Wells, features a humorous heroine who’s self-conscious but also self-aware. Beauty and hotness come in all different sizes, ladies! Leopard’s Find by Kimberly A. Rogers was my first taste of urban fantasy, initially a little tricky for me to follow, but it became endearing pretty quick.

I’ve watched a lot more sci-fi than I’ve ever read, but either way, I’m rather sure Circular Horizon by Bokerah Brumley is the first I’ve encountered with blatant God-consciousness up in space, fitting for a God of the universe. ‘Tis So Sweet by Faith Blum is historical fiction simply told, rushed in spots but big on sweetness and the need for faith–no coincidence there! And stepping into The Quinn Case by Julie C. Gilbert was much like sampling a crime drama on primetime television, which I like to do on occasion.

I usually find a favorite in a collection, and Upsie-Daisy by Jane Lebak is strikingly clever and hilarious, imaginative and real at the same time. Lee and her guardian angel, Bucky, are quite the entertaining duo, unique but relatable, and this glimpse into Lee’s work and romance-related experiences certainly whet my appetite to read more about her.

Whether it’d be a new genre venture (like it mostly was for me) or not, Christian Fiction readers of all tastes should enjoy giving this collection a try.

My Soul to Keep by Davis Bunn

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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My Soul to KeepMy Soul to Keep by Davis Bunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

My Soul to Keep by author Davis Bunn: a David and Goliath story if I ever read one.

Here’s a group of Hollywood has-beens embarking on a faith-based indie film project while some of Hollywood’s elite, with a competing project, are dead set on burying the indie venture alive. But the impossible little scheme that a group of fallen stars is scraping together shouldn’t be even an ounce of a threat to the powerhouse of big names, big dollars, glittering talent, and cunning minds filming across the country.

Right?

A David and Goliath tale it is, but there’s no smooth sailing here. This filmmaking battle rages both above and beneath the surface right up to the finish. There are a lot of moving parts: not just actors, of course, but directors, producers, the media, lawyers, pastors, friends—a conglomerate of players in a story that takes several angles.

I wasn’t sure if I had a thriller on my hands, technically, but the intrigue certainly kept me turning the pages, and the motives and decisions of the principal characters, individuals chiseled and tempered by life, kept me engaged. A key scene or two did border on schmaltzy to me, and there were a couple times when perhaps I was supposed to be more amazed by some characters’ presence or skill than I was.

Still, I was rather riveted right through to the ending—not a fairytale ending but one bearing its own triumph and something of more value than a fairy tale.

The More the Merrier by Liwen Y. Ho

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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The More the MerrierThe More the Merrier by Liwen Y. Ho

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

She couldn’t remember the last time she had kissed a guy or even held hands with one. Being a third wheel wasn’t usually so bad, but the holidays always reminded her that she had wasted yet another year searching for Mr. Right.

Ah–a quick Christmas in late April. That hit the spot!

Having enjoyed other romances by author Liwen Y. Ho, I was rather certain I’d like The More the Merrier, even though I didn’t know what it was about ahead of time. I just dove right on into Alyssa Wu’s dilemma concerning a string of unfortunate blind dates and a “fake date” with her guy-friend-neighbor, Barry Chang–a date that may or may not get Alyssa’s parents off her back about finding herself a husband already.

Yes, the read is short, sweet, romantic (even a little hot), Christmassy, and not just a straight shot to Happily Ever After without believable conflict. Sure, there are a couple of emotional swings that happen a tad fast to keep the story going, but not so fast as to give the reader whiplash or anything. I even had some real giggles and a moment or two of eyebrow raising–in a very good way.

I’d recommend this fun splash of Merry to any fans of sweet romance at springtime, summertime, Christmastime–whatever time a splash of Merry is wanted or needed.

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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Land of SilenceLand of Silence by Tessa Afshar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Sometimes the evidence of our senses and the testimony of the world’s wisdom are plain wrong. Sometimes the Lord is busy forging victory when the mind expects only defeat.

When I picked up Land of Silence by author Tessa Afshar, I had no idea this novel was about the now famous woman who once dared to touch the hem of Jesus’s garment for healing. (Yup. Me and my habitual neglect of preliminary book blurb reading.) I only knew the novel was by this particular Biblical Fiction author, and that’s all I needed to know.

Afshar has such a knack and a grace for weaving these types of stories. The heroine here, Elianna, reminds me somewhat of Sarah from my favorite book by this author, Harvest of Rubies. Both Sarah and Elianna are unconventional for their time and culture, being rather educated and holding vocational positions that would normally be held by men. Even with everything in her life that makes her vulnerable, Elianna also has a spark of fire in her, and her rich and layered (back)story makes her eventual, few moments with Jesus all the more meaningful.

Now, although elements like hardship and tragedy are necessary to make triumphant stories triumphant, this novel became somewhat of a downer to me. Yes, the heroine’s life must be hard to give the book its substance, but with disaster upon disaster and repeating moments in the narrative rehearsing how unhappy Elianna is and all the reasons why, her rather constant sorrow became a little tiresome to me. (Gee, I know that sounds callous.) Then after all of the grief and pain, the sweeping and effusive resolution of it all—for there’s much to resolve—borders on being overdone, almost too sweet and perfect.

Still, overall, it’s an engaging and moving read, certain to touch the hearts of many Christian Fiction readers.