A Celebration of Love

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Take time out to remember faith, hope, and love with inspiring, romantic reads.

Love Unfeigned New (5 Stars)The "She" Stands AloneCome to Yourself, Mr. JonesEminenceLove & Eminence
Yella's PrayersThe Movement of Crowns Series NewThe Movement of Crowns New (5 Stars)The Movement of RingsThe Movement of Kings

Love Unfeigned (Contemporary Romance)
The “She” Stands Alone (Romantic Comedy)
Come to Yourself, Mr. Jones (Contemporary Romance)
Eminence (Inspirational Romance)
Love & Eminence: A Suite of Stories (Contemporary, Romance, Epic Fiction)
Yella’s Prayers (Coming of Age, Romance)
The Movement of Crowns Series (Epic Fiction, Romance)
The Movement of Crowns (Epic Fiction, Romance)
The Movement of Rings (Epic Fiction, Romance)
The Movement of Kings (Epic Fiction, Romance)

Love HAPPY

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The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

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. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
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The Confessions of XThe Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

They think endurance is wisdom and perhaps that is so, but it is not the wisdom of men but of women, for though we live longer, history does not remember us and so we are a mystery to each generation.

In The Confessions of X, author Suzanne M. Wolfe lyrically brings to life the mystery of a woman “lost to history,” the one time concubine of a bishop of the Church, Augustine of Hippo.

I think it’s fair to point out early that I’m not crazy about one book blurb’s description of this novel’s central relationship as an “affair,” as that can connote something scandalous or unlawful, and this book isn’t about some seamy liaison. I suppose I should also mention that I’m puzzled by different blurbs saying Augustine is “heir to a fortune,” as he, being the youngest of his family, doesn’t stand to inherit anything and must make his own living.

Anyhow, as far as what this beautiful novel is, it’s a look at some of the complexities and ironies of life and love as seen through the eyes of a woman of low societal standing, attached to a man of a higher class. As a lover of language, I was drawn in immediately by the author’s fluid style, pleased to find an example of how poetry in prose still lives. Sure, there could be more no-nonsense or pedestrian ways of just getting to the point and telling us what happens, but much of this story’s singularity and effectiveness would then be lost.

I do hesitate in calling this novel Christian Fiction, only because the label may give many fellow readers the expectation that the key characters must be or become Christians if the story is to have a sacred or redemptive quality, especially considering Saint Augustine. But I find this novel utterly redemptive in that it gives a voice to one lost and nameless, and even an “insignificant” life given by God is therefore made precious.

Playing Cupid by Christine S. Feldman

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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Playing CupidPlaying Cupid by Christine S. Feldman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

“You’re disruptive, Miss Beasley… Sound and fury don’t necessarily mean substance.”
“Neither does sitting on your butt with a book all day.”

Aimee Beasley isn’t the sort of woman interested in taking life sitting down, as it seems the serious professor Doyle Berkley is doing in Playing Cupid by author Christine S. Feldman. (A professor, Doyle is, but not Aimee’s professor, just to make that clear.) This last Heavenly Bites novella wraps up the series nicely after the fashion of its predecessors, with a holiday theme—Valentine’s Day, in this case—and a good mixture of “lighter and heavier” ingredients to make for a well-rounded read.

It’s a two-for-one romance, really, and can easily be read in one sitting. Or maybe in two, if read in order with its delightful Christmas and New Year’s counterparts.

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The Heavenly Bites series starts with Pastels and Jingle Bells.

Pastels and Jingle Bells (Heavenly Bites #1) Love Lessons (Heavenly Bites Novella #2) The Heavenly Bites Novella Collection

A Light in the Dark by Becky Doughty

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 free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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A Light in the DarkA Light in the Dark by Becky Doughty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

O…kay. I’d like to stick to my usual nice and organizational system to review A Light in the Dark by author Becky Doughty, but I’m not going to be able to do that. The novel had me sobbing so hard toward the end of it that a bunch of my previous notes on the book don’t seem like they matter much now.

Tish and Sebastian’s story drew me in and entertained me at various levels, particularly as an artist and as a romantic. But then, beyond the characters’ initial family and friendship threads, beyond the romance and humor, and even beyond the art, the journey got real to me on a whole different plane, venturing to a place both excruciating and exquisite to convey the significance of darkness and light.

I’d recommend this novel to fans of new adult fiction who wouldn’t mind getting more than just an angsty romance out of a romantic read. It’s passionate and compassionate, and though its ultimate richness varies in flavor from the first novel in the Fallout series, it’s a rich story all the same.

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Note for my blog readers: this novel is a clean read but does contain some innuendo and content for mature minds.

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See my review of the first book in the Fallout series, All the Way to Heaven.

All the Way to Heaven

20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories by Dan Salerno

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 free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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20 Short Ones20 Short Ones: 20 Short Stories by Dan Salerno

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

“Between you and me, I understand your logic, Miss Meade. But thinking thoroughly about what everyone else accepts without thinking often upsets the applecart.”

I’m a fan of fiction that makes me think, and 20 Short Ones by author Dan Salerno is a thinking kind of read with a conversational quality to the storytelling.

The short stories take an engaging look at human relationships of different kinds, and even the religious themes among the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant characters are relationship-focused. I especially liked the depictions of characters who are introverted or socially awkward; it can be easy to portray a character’s shyness or introversion as a “flaw” that he or she needs to grow out of instead of a human attribute that can be appreciated as much as another person’s outgoingness.

Though this is far from being a “read one story and you’ve read them all” kind of book, I thought there to be a little redundancy between some of the stories’ themes and characters. There are minor punctuation issues throughout the book, and perhaps there are a few too many instances where children in the book speak and come off more like adults.

Nonetheless, this contemplative but still down-to-earth collection conveys plenty of hope while still leaving room for the reader’s imagination, and I’d recommend it to other fans of short stories and warm, “thinking” fiction.