Arts and Entertainment, Books, ebooks, Fiction, Short Stories

Dream Debbie

Dream Debbie
A Short Story
(Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit)

It must really take something for a woman to have it all.

Debbie? She’s an author with a new romantic interest (Ah. Stuart.) along with a frustrating bout of writer’s block. Debbie’s got an evening out to look forward to, but as she prepares for it, she can’t help reflecting on the “dream woman” she, apparently, is not.

Will she ever be?

~~~

Pick up a FREE ebook copy of Dream Debbie at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AppleKobo, or Smashwords.

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And don’t miss the sequel short to Dream Debbie, Tea & Cream Debbie.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

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. Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Sophie recently earned a promotion at the district attorney’s office, and she has a fraud case on her hands involving a local bank employee. Then one terrifying night, Sophie is on the scene of a brutal double homicide. Since she’s now at risk as both a prosecutor and an eyewitness, her father hires a private security guard, Cooper, to keep her safe in Lone Witness by author Rachel Dylan.

This second novel in the Atlanta Justice series can stand on its own, though it brings back a few characters from the previous book. Like that first book, this novel’s strength is in the legal side of things, how the cases unfold in and out of the courtroom. I anticipated the more explosive moments of danger, but there were other key twists I didn’t see coming.

While this novel is labeled as romantic suspense, I’m not sure I’d call it that. Because it includes the perspectives of several characters, two of which are involved in their own subplot, it’s more of a story about various people than about a romantic couple.

Also like the first book, the romance thread isn’t the novel’s strong point. There’s a lot of clichéd phrasing, a trite feel to the development, and though the story tells us Sophie and Cooper have “intense physical chemistry,” I wasn’t convinced of it. The turning point/climax of their relationship comes about with a major change of mind, but we don’t get to see a gradual process or a momentous event that brings about that specific change, to make it more believable.

Nevertheless, Sophie’s contrasting roles as lawyer and witness kept me interested, and other fans of ChristFic legal suspense should enjoy this read.

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Here’s my review of Book One in the Atlanta Justice series, Deadly Proof.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

As Time Goes By by Lori Wick

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.

As Time Goes By by Lori Wick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Boys will be boys, perhaps, but the way Jeffrey Taylor once hurt Roberta “Bobbie” Bradford’s feelings was still inexcusable. Now that Bobbie is returning to Santa Rosa after a five-year absence, Jeff will finally have the chance to make it up to her in person. But her arrival back home throws Jeff strangely off-kilter in As Time Goes By by author Lori Wick.

Here’s another novel I’ve now read thrice, which I think I first read in my teens.

I once loved this second book in The Californians series for various reasons, including that the heroine is considered to be rather plain. Bobbie also wears spectacles, and no, when she comes back to town, she’s not an ugly-duckling-turned-beautiful-swan who’s done away with her glasses to conveniently make her gorgeous. Not that romances have to make a big to-do about a heroine’s physical looks either way (they most certainly do not), but it’s still refreshing to see something different from this author’s norm.

“Plain girls have dreams too, you know.” Bobbie is competent and personable with a cheeky sense of humor, and she’s regularly ready to cut folks some slack.

Even with the super cool heroine, though, I’ll admit I don’t feel the same about the story as I used to. It’s often pretty schmaltzy and not the most natural. Having jumped straight to the second book in the series this time, I can see how certain minor characters and scenes don’t really matter unless you already care about those characters from the previous book. Also, this novel has a lot of talk about salvation, prayer, and Bible reading, which I think can work if a novel’s plot calls for it, but it feels overdone in this story.

Nevertheless, this is a feel-good kind of read for fans of ChristFic historical romance who can appreciate something that’s easy to digest.

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Again, I skipped Book One this time around, but you may want to start at the beginning of The Californians series.

  

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Gift of Gold by Beverly Butler

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.

Gift of Gold by Beverly Butler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cathy lost her sight as a teenager, and now as a college student, she’s working to become a speech therapist. When the head of her school’s speech department suggests Cathy’s choice of profession is unrealistic for a blind person, Cathy becomes all the more determined to succeed. But after a doctor’s appointment gives her hope of regaining a measure of her sight, Cathy may roll out a new plan for her future in Gift of Gold by author Beverly Butler.

I remember the day I first came across this novel in my adolescence, seeing the old-fashioned cover art depicting a woman in a green head scarf, holding the harness of a service dog. I had no idea then that the author herself was blind or that I’d be revisiting this novel years later, and then more years after that.

But now having read this book three times, I can say it’s just as powerful as it was to me the first time. Maybe more so.

Yes, I still like the old-fashionedness of it, the plastic rain scarves and typewriters and all. Nevertheless, what I may love most is that this isn’t some predictable, run-of-the-mill tale merely about goals and dreams. This is a complex, soul-searching kind of read. It’s smart in style with wit and wisdom. Not at all fast-paced, but anything but flat.

In the last quarter especially, Cathy’s journey pulls no punches. It even gets pretty depressing for a while, but I find it all the more compelling for not being too easy. The truth, growth, and hope in Cathy’s story is earned. Plus, there’s a nice little thread of down-to-earth romance tied in.

A novel about not only facing your outward challenges but taking a deep, honest look at yourself—so worth the read.

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Gift of Gold is the sequel to Light a Single Candle, an award-winning book I’ll admit I’ve never read. 🙂 Though the sequel stands alone just fine, you may want to check out both books.

  

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke

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.

The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

“Oh, Berta… I fear what that defiant spirit and quick temper might cost you in life.”

Berta sees herself as plain, ordinary, and unappreciated compared to her glowing, outgoing, adored sister, Glenna. That perception affects how Berta lives her life. But she’ll eventually have to take true stock of what she has become, and why, in The Bluebird and the Sparrow by author Janette Oke.

I believe this is the third time I’ve read this novel, counting the first time I did so back in my adolescence. Pretty sure I was first drawn by its original book cover from the ’90s, which I still prefer. I think the story benefits from the rather pastel cover that’s softly vibrant and lovely because…

Well, because Berta is a downer much of the time. But her story is a lovely one.

Berta is a depiction of how jealousy can make even a competent person illogical, petty, and bitter. It makes real, unfortunate sense.

The scenes during Berta and Glenna’s childhood give the general gist of how they come into womanhood. Granted, that general gist all but makes caricatures of them for a while, with a too-sour older sister and a too-sweet younger one. Yet, Berta’s moments of self-awareness make her character relatable. There’s a realness to her journey, her pain, and what she must one day come to learn.

This ChristFic novel is comfort reading for me. Not because it’s perfect or happy-go-lucky (it’s neither) but because it brings relevant truth about life, love, and self-acceptance in a simple and ultimately lovely way.