Song in the Dark by Jessica White

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 for an honest review.

Song in the Dark by Jessica White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Jenna, a gifted harpist, wants to start making her own decisions about her life. But her threatening ex-boyfriend refuses to leave her alone, and her mother is controlling and manipulative. Dean, a homicide detective with three Dobermans and two current murder cases on his hands, is drawn to Jenna from the first time he sees her play her harp, but shadowed areas in Dean’s life discourage him from getting involved with Jenna in Song in the Dark by author Jessica White.

The awesome cover of this ChristFic romantic suspense novel intrigued me to no end. Without spoiling the art’s dark theme, the dynamic sunset casts its heat and last burst of intensity between the silhouettes of the dogs and the harp, and the strong typography plays on darkness and light. The whole scene radiates with atmosphere.

What intrigued me next is the fact that this story is inspired by a romance in Greek mythology. I waited until after I finished the novel to go back to the list of which characters the author based on which mythological figures. Ah—the creativity!

The events in the characters’ personal lives and the haunting glimpses of their backstories are what gripped me most during this read. The novel is unafraid to go to some dark places, while other moments in the story are rather adorable, without schmaltz. The drama is understated and effective, and there’s not only attraction and affection but also wisdom, sense, and respect in the unfolding of the romance.

Now, the plot development became a bit choppy for me between the climax and resolution, with some points that felt rushed over and narrated answers that tied up some hard questions a little too suddenly and easily. There were also a few more errors and inconsistencies in grammar and punctuation than I would have expected, but they weren’t frequent or major enough to detract from the story for me.

I’d recommend this novel to fellow ChristFic readers who can appreciate suspense that tackles tough issues while making way for light and redemption.

 

Breakout by Samantha Price

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.

Breakout by Samantha Price

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Gretel needs to recover stolen diamonds from the man who betrayed her. Notorious for her international jewelry heists, Gretel doesn’t have time to sit around here in prison with “common” criminals. But it’ll take the help of her outside connections if she’s going to pull off a…Breakout by author Samantha Price.

I didn’t read the book blurb before I picked up this prequel in the Gretel Koch, Jewel Thief suspense series, so I had little idea what to expect. When reading an author for the first time, it’s often all right with me if I get an all right read, especially if its as short as this one.

Admittedly, I was surprised by how, after a start that didn’t have me engrossed, this novella soon pulled me in and gripped me with its action, its twists, and stakes that I imagine will become even higher as the series progresses. And it certainly isn’t a regular occurrence when I don’t like the protagonist but I’m intrigued enough by her story (and backstory) to be interested in finding out what becomes of her.

I’ve added this ChristFic series to my list of series I’d definitely like to continue.

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Gretel Koch, Jewel Thief Series

 

When Hope Calls by David Lui

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.

When Hope Calls: Based on a True Human Trafficking Story by David Lui

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

Morris, a humanitarian worker, and the staff of a human rights organization receive a desperate phone call from a girl named Mya, saying she’s been kidnapped. She doesn’t know where she is, but Morris and his team are determined to find and rescue Mya as part of their fight against human trafficking in When Hope Calls by author David Lui.

Although I found this novella (based on a true story) categorized as a kidnapping thriller, the subject didn’t have me expecting thrills, and all things considered, I indeed wouldn’t call this a thrilling read.

It’s suspenseful, but for much of the time, the characters are waiting in dismal silence. Fiction-wise, the plot development suffers from emotional lows that are overwritten and redundant, with the characters sitting in abject despair for hours and spending a good amount of time feeling sorry for themselves and this place in their careers or lives. On a more technical note, there are some missing words and recurring errors in punctuation.

However, sometimes a story’s message and purpose are bigger than the story, and that’s okay. This quick and relevant read serves to raise awareness of a widespread, urgent real-life issue, without sugarcoating it but also without resorting to unnecessary vulgarity. It’s a call to remind humanity that we have to fight against modern-day slavery.

 

All is Bright: A Hope Beach Christmas Novella by Colleen Coble

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.

All Is Bright by Colleen Coble

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Delilah Carter, manager of the Tidewater Inn, has been busy planning a Christmas wedding for her friends, but someone runs her off the road and into the ocean one night. She tries to downplay it as a mere accident afterwards, but she isn’t really buying it, and neither is Sheriff Tom Bourne, the man who’s been harboring feelings for Delilah in All is Bright: A Hope Beach Christmas Novella by author Colleen Coble.

I’ve not read any of the Hope Beach novels, and this book includes a lot of characters whose stories I’m sure have already been told. While I figured the brief mentions and appearances of those characters would have been meaningful to me if I’d read the other books, I was only interested in Delilah and Tom’s story here.

Even with the darker thread of suspense running through this, much of the story was an easy read for me. Because it’s clear that Delilah and Tom have got some background together, the development of their relationship doesn’t come off as rushed or as if their strengthening emotions are popping out of nowhere.

Now, the critical point of danger in the story is a rather obvious setup, more convenient than believable. But the best part of the story for me concerns an awesome Christmas gift that warmed my heart along with the characters.

And, yes, the Christmas lights and the homey feel captured on a softly bright evening on the book cover got me to read this novella.

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The Hope Beach Series