Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Winners: Favorite Reads and Favorite Covers 2017 Giveaways

My hearty thanks to everyone who entered 2017’s Favorite Reads and Favorite Covers giveaways!

I’m happy to announce that Shamekka won a copy of Home by Ginny L. Yttrup, Cassandra won a copy of Loving Luther by Allison Pittman, sbmcmh won a copy of The Last Operative by Jerry B. Jenkins, Kathy won a copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron, Linda won a copy of Weaver’s Needle by Robin Caroll, and Pat won a copy of Egypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra by Angela Hunt. Congrats!

  

  

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Favorite Reads and Favorite Covers for great books to add to your reading list.

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World of the Innocent

When It’s Time Series

 

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

Tea & Cream Debbie

Tea & Cream Debbie
A Sequel Short to Dream Debbie
(Chick Lit/Romance)

There can be a right way to apply a cliché.

Debbie? She’s always been a dreamer. And some of the bright dreams of her past come back to her mind in the presence of the special man in her life. (Ah. Stuart.) But at this point in their relationship, is the remembrance of those dreams a good thing or not?

This short story also includes a bonus: an excerpt from The “She” Stands Alone, a romantic comedy found in a sweet romance collection, Inspiring Love.

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Tea & Cream Debbie is available as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Dance from Deep Within by D.L. Sleiman

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.

Dance from Deep Within by D.L. Sleiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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

Layla, Rain, and Allie first meet each other in class at college. They’ll be collaborating on Unity in Diversity writing assignments for the semester. But they’ll need each other for more than that as they face new challenges of culture, faith, and love in Dance from Deep Within, a novel by author D.L. Sleiman.

Likely no big surprise, but it was the racially and religiously diverse aspects of this book that attracted me to it, without my knowing anything else about the plot. While I’ve read mainstream fiction and nonfiction with this kind of diversity, and have seen a little more of it in some Christian thrillers, this may be my first encounter with it in a contemporary women’s ChristFic novel.

There’s a lot going on in the three main ladies’ lives, and I’m already anticipating reading the sequel. Now, the characters’ feelings and thoughts would run the gamut (perhaps slipping from enlightening contemplation to idling in place sometimes), so I had a little difficulty following along emotionally here and there. I also have some trouble when proselytizing and romance mix in novels, as it makes me feel iffy about the characters’ motives and the timing of it all.

I’ll admit the story’s “Jesus visions” became a bit much for me—not because I don’t believe in visions, but with it happening a few times and to more than one character, it started to feel like too convenient a tack for the plot. Also, considering how fierce parents can be, I didn’t find a particular scene to ring the truest to life, as I believe a parent would spring to action much faster in such a dubious situation.

Still, I enjoyed the dynamics between Layla, Rain, and Allie throughout the book, and a scene showing how ride-or-die they become got me especially pumped about their friendship. Again, I’m looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store for these women.

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Arts and Entertainment, Authors, Books, Fiction

Hold the Light by April McGowan

womens-fiction-books-2 nadine keels

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.

Hold the LightHold the Light by April McGowan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

Art is Amber’s passion and lifework, expressed through her paintings and her job teaching art to children. Hence, it’s infinitely more than an inconvenience when she learns that her vision problems are due to the fact that she’s going blind. The unresolved pain of Amber’s past comes to the fore as she wrestles with her faith and the gradual loss of her eyesight in Hold the Light, a novel by author April McGowan.

The book cover excellently captures the brilliant essence of this story: a lone woman, possibly depressed, slowly approaching the edge or end of something, headed toward obscurity—obscurity that’s full of light. I saw this novel classified as a romance; while it does include a love story, I’d classify the novel as contemporary or women’s fiction, since the romantic relationship isn’t the biggest or central focus of the plot.

It’s no sugar-coated walk in the park that Amber is taking. Admittedly, I found her difficult to like when she’d let loose a sarcastic and spiteful tongue toward the people who care about her. Her anger is understandable, though, and she does feel remorse. It wasn’t always easy for me to follow the story’s train of emotion, there were places where the style and development felt rushed and simplistic, and the novel’s villain wasn’t the most convincing to me.

But in other places, the main characters’ experiences rent my heart. It’s not the first book I’ve read about a sighted person losing her vision, but it still gave me some new thoughts to consider. And besides a plot twist I didn’t anticipate, the story came most alive for me at Amber’s easel: the colors, the flow of feelings and creativity and purpose, the appreciation of nature, the communication with God. The light. Brilliant.

And the novel does leave room for one character or another’s story to continue, perhaps in a sequel…