Soul’s Cry by Cara Luecht

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. WhiteFire Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Soul’s Cry by Cara Luecht

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Ione is a talented dressmaker with her own successful dress shop in Chicago. She has a circle of friends who love and accept her like family, and she’s even attracted the attention of a bachelor doctor who’s considering opening a nearby practice. But when an ominous note arrives in the mail, Ione fears that the shame of her past could destroy her present—and her future—in Soul’s Cry, a novel by author Cara Luecht.

Before reading this book, the first thing that got my attention was the heroine on the cover. Historical ChristFic featuring an African American protagonist isn’t so common, and the fact that the book doesn’t happen to be about slavery or the American Civil War is an added bonus.

Once I started reading, I was immediately pulled in by the author’s knack for imagery and beautiful turns of phrase. Albeit this is the third book in the Portraits of Grace series, I was able to jump right in without feeling at all lost.

While I found it to be an interesting story overall, it also felt slow, more depressing than my usual taste, and especially redundant. Besides the occurrence of someone apparently ripping up the same letter in two different scenes (a little continuity error, I think), it seemed that I was reading some of the same information, actions, and reflections over and over, from different characters. In particular, Ione spends a lot of time inwardly rehashing her fears, regrets, and how unworthy she feels. Though I don’t expect a heroine to have it all together, of course, it’s difficult for me to get into a character who’s so decidedly down on herself and pessimistic for so much of the book.

Still, the story gripped me enough to want to see how it would turn out, and the grace that shines through the climax and ending is something to behold.


Soul’s Cry is Book Three in the Portraits of Grace series.

Soul Painter (Portraits of Grace #1) Soul's Prisoner (Portraits of Grace #2)

The White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan

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 White Feather Murders by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

It’s 1914 in Toronto, and Canada is on the brink of joining Britain in the great conflict overseas. Amid the rumblings of a world war, lady detective duo Herringford and Watts looks into a series of murders at home that may or may not be related. Perhaps a fight for justice here can help make Toronto a place more worthy of the troops’ return in The White Feather Murders, a novel by author Rachel McMillan.

Having now read my sixth mystery in this series, I can say that it isn’t exactly the mysteries that keep me coming back. I’m no expert on detective stories, but in these books, the mysteries themselves often feel like almost secondary aspects of the plot. There’s so much more going on about history, about immigration, about the need for social reform, about love, about friendship, about the tension between the duty to one’s family and the call of one’s professional passion.

It’s the “so much more” that most pulls me into these books.

Now, I did feel that the story here might’ve been stalling in a place or two, and perhaps rehashing the same kind of conflicts from the novels before it, without putting enough of a new spin on them. As in the other novels, the point of view seemed to float around sometimes, making it a bit challenging to follow. And I’ve never been a huge fan of the scenario where the bad guy does something like tie up the good guy in the end while the bad guy gives a big explanation, telling why and how he’s been the bad guy all along.

Still, the tension, the splashes of humor, the four central characters I enjoy watching, and the threads of poignancy woven into the story (and, gracious, this novel’s heartrending finish!) are all quite enough to leave me in anticipation of more from this series, if there will be more.


Here’s my review of A Singular and Whimsical Problem.



The Launch of Christian Book Heaven!

There’s a new place to get curated ebook deals for Christian books:
Christian Book Heaven!
You can sign up to receive emails for free and discounted books and new releases. Visit the site to subscribe and pick your genres here.
(That’s a referral link, and, yes, I myself am a subscriber to Christian Book Heaven. 🙂 )


Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary

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.

Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Changes are afoot in Ramona Quimby’s neck of the woods. Her father is on a new job search, and a momentous turning point is coming for Ramona and her older sister, Beezus. Plus, there are surprises in store around the Quimby house: one big surprise, and one “little” surprise that’s just as big! Through her adventures of growing up, Ramona is still Ramona in Ramona Forever by author Beverly Cleary.

Well! This book was originally a smashing end to the Ramona series, back in 1984, before the 1999 addition of one more Ramona book. Even with Forever no longer being the last, it’s a smashing continuation and still one of my favorites.

It’s got its laugh-out-loud moments and its heart-tugging moments when things get real. And, honestly, why do grownups treat children in some of the silly ways they do? (Yikes. I’m a grownup now. Do I do any of that silly stuff?) I understand Ramona’s disinclination to giving people the silent treatment: “Ramona often yelled at people, but never refused to speak. Nothing could happen if you didn’t speak, and she liked things to happen.” And I’ve always been proud of the way Ramona saves the day in this story—oh, yes, she does!

Never a dull moment in this book full of changes in Ramona’s life, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series, which will be all-new to me.


Yep. Beverly Cleary added one more book to the Ramona series while I wasn’t looking: Ramona’s World.