Posts Tagged ‘book review’

Savannah Harris has been an excellent investigative reporter, but after the shocking death of her family, regret plagues her for neglecting her husband and child in favor of her work., and she turns her back on her past life.

Except that things keep happening in the area where she’s chosen to hide away. Her best friend may not be who she says she is, and the guy living in one of the outbuildings has a lot of secrets.

Who can she trust? All she wants is to hide away from everything and everyone, but for some reason, she is the only one who can bring truth and justice to play for the migrant workers in the nearby fields and settlements. She’s long given up on God too, but her faith keeps showing up. How is she to keep out of the fray when she’s the one the people are counting on?

This well-written mystery kept my attention because of the characters as well as the plot. I wanted Savannah to come back from her self-imposed exile, but I didn’t want her hurt again. The romantic subplot is a strong point of this novel, as is the faith angle.

I also appreciate a plot that is unpredictable. It keeps me turning the pages. I was happy to discover that this book is the first of three in the Cape Thomas series. I will look for the others.

Christy Barritt


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Oh yay! Another cozy mystery series.

I purchased this book because of a review by fellow author, Janet Sketchley, and I’m glad I did. It’s the story of Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes who finds herself in a quaint Northern Michigan town as new owner of a maple syrup business. Nicole is a lawyer, but she’s not happy about it. Her parents, also lawyers, demand perfection, and she is far from perfect. In fact, she’s klutzy. I love that about her. She’s a big city girl in a small town, trying to figure out who murdered her favorite uncle, the only one who ever understood her or took time for her.

The mood of the book is lightened by humor, but the plot is intense, as cozy mysteries go, and carries the reader on to the very end when the mystery is finally solved.

One of the best things about this book/series is that it’s a clean read. Thanks, Emily James. I look forward to the next books in this series.

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I’ve long been a follower of C.S. Lakin’s excellent writing blog: livewritethrive.com, which includes tips, ideas and training pertaining to writing and the writing life.

This is where I heard about The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction. As a plotter, I love techniques that add framework to my writing process.

12 Key Pillars does just that. It helps the writer pre-think the most important facets/aspects of a novel before launching into the actual writing. The four main pillars—the four corners that hold it up—are as follows:

  1. concept with a kicker
  2. conflict with high stakes
  3. protagonist with a goal
  4. theme with a heart

Add to that keys 5 through 12, a downloadable worksheet for each chapter, and some time, and we have an exceptional resource for planning a novel. Lakin offers lots of examples of books and movies that use the concepts she outlines. She also uses analogies: just as we need a solid base on which to construct a house, so a novel requires structure and strength to ensure quality. As a visual learner, I found these word pictures very helpful.

Once we know the basics, have thought them through and dug deep to answer the questions C.S. Lakin sets out, we are free to write the first draft with a lot more purpose and direction than we may have had previous to reading this book.

I have read and studied this book, and filled out the worksheets, and I personally recommend it to anyone who is seeking excellence in novel structure.


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End of the Spear is an amazing true account of how the sacrifice of five men’s lives changed a savage people group, and touched the hearts of all who heard about it.

Author, Steve Saint, grew up as a missionary kid among Ecuador’s Auca Indians (Auca means “violent ones” or “savage killers.” Their tribal name is Waodani.) When Steve was five, his father, Nate, and four other missionary men were brutally murdered by the people they were trying to reach for the Lord. That dreadful tragedy made the way for Christ to become known to this isolated Stone Age tribe.

Having been raised with the Waodani, Steve loved their culture and felt part of it. He became close friends with Mincaye, the man who had speared his father, and other Waodani who had been transformed by the love of Jesus. In the mid-1990s, Steve Saint and his wife and children went to live with the Waodani for a year and a half, to encourage them to take ownership of an airstrip and a new village, in order to survive as a people and not be controlled or dependent on outsiders. The teenage Saint children bonded with the tribal people during their time there, especially with Mincaye, who became known to them as Grandfather.

Mincaye and Steve

I was deeply impressed by how the love of Jesus transforms hearts, no matter what their background, language or level of education. But it wasn’t just the story of how Jesus changed the Waodani; He also changed the Saints and others who heard their story. This book is a solid reminder that God’s love changes lives.

Another fascinating part of this story is the visit of Mincaye and another Waodani Christian to the States, and also overseas, where they spoke to thousands of people about the life-changing love of God. It was also interesting to note Mincaye’s observation once in America: They also kill one another for no reason here in this country (paraphrase).

This is not a new book (published 2005) but it is powerful. It includes photos of Steve and his family with the Waodani people. A movie of the same name has also been made.



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The Rescuing Day is a lovely children’s storybook, reminding me of the wholesom

e, uplifting reads of my childhood. No wild magic rides, no goblins or fairies, just good storytelling that a child can connect with. This is a great read-aloud book for parents, or an early reader’s chapter book for a child

Experience a day with Megan and her favourite doll Callista, as they interact with friends and family, and deal with major and minor catastrophes. This story touches on a number of themes, among them obedience and truthfulness, courage (Callista’s) and kindness

This book is set up in eight short chapters with easily readable font and intriguing pencil sketches by illustrator, Wendy Siemens. Siemens also designed the inviting bright-red cover

Author Christine Goodnough writes many forms of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as regular blogs at christinegoodnough.com and christinecomposes.com. You may also contact her at christinevanceg@gmail.com

This little book makes a great gift.

Canadians should order directly from the author, or they can order through the Prairie View Press website, with Credit Card. (Paypal is set up only in US funds).



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A Mystery Remains Unsolved for Seventy Years

51ldxpniytlA rundown estate, a child missing for seventy years, and a detective who refuses to give up. All these add up to another excellent demonstration of Kate Morton’s power to captivate, mystify, surprise and superbly entertain her readers.

The Lake House takes place in England in two distinct eras: the early 1930s (with earlier flashbacks), and 2003.

The first chapter opens in Cornwall, England in 1933, with a wealthy family that lives in a mansion beside a lake. While there, the mother, Eleanor, gives birth to three daughters and a son. All is bliss until one fateful day when the eighteen-month-old son disappears. The family leaves the house, unable to live there any longer.

We see much of this storyline through the eyes of the third daughter, Alice Edevane.

Next, we are introduced to Sadie Sparrow, a young detective with the London police force. She has come into some trouble at work for insubordination, specifically, not wanting to let an unsolved case go cold. Her boss suggests a vacation to distance herself from work and worries and to pull her life together.

Sadie goes to Cornwall to stay with her beloved grandfather, Bertie, and stumbles across the ruins of a neglected mansion beside a lake. Gradually, the story of the Edevanes emerges, and Sadie is hit by yet another cold case that she cannot release.

With many switches of scene and time period, author Kate Morton weaves a tapestry with many background knots and misplaced stitches. D.C. Sparrow continues to gather information about both cases, while retaining a low profile so she won’t lose her job. She eventually locates Alice Edevane, who has become a famous mystery author, and together, they untangle the secrets of the past. 

After much tension and stress, the story wraps up with a well-crafted and satisfying conclusion to the mysterious adventure. As with Mortons’ books other books, The Lake House is a uniquely structured and fascinating read.

This is the fifth Kate Morton book I have read, and I love them all. I recommend these stories, especially The Lake House, to anyone who adores well-crafted mystery, deeply developed characters, and settings that sing. Read and enjoy.


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41iyrgl-shl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Reluctant Caregiver is a realistic but inspiring non-fiction book by Canadian author, Bobbi Junior.

In the midst of work, family, and church and community involvement, Bobbi tells of her journey with her mother through the onset of dementia. This is difficult enough, but since theirs has never been a close relationship, the tension and stress can be exhausting. How do you help someone who doesn’t want your help?

This book is easy to read because it’s a story. But more than that, it is a chronicle of Bobbi’s determination to let go of her own agenda for her mom, and turn it all over to the Lord Jesus. Her recorded prayers and thoughts offer gentle encouragement to the weary soul.

At times, the story of Bobbi’s journey with her mom is very sad. When her mother becomes confused, she is difficult to understand. What does she mean when she says, “I just don’t know. Anyway, here too. I just don’t.” Or when she declares that there are people living in her house at night. Or when “the people” are going to come for the rent. She has forgotten that she owns her home.

The hardest parts for me to read were the mother’s outbursts, suspicions and accusations flung at Bobbi and her brother, when they were sacrificing time, energy and money to help her.

I found this book moving in its honesty about life. Sometimes we face obstacles that keep piling up, seemingly insurmountable. However, I also found it immensely encouraging that Jesus knows every step, and His timing is impeccable. If we allow Him to lead in our lives, He will work everything out for the best.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling to help a parent or elder who suffers with dementia or Alzheimers, and especially to those of the sandwich generation who already have more than enough challenges with children and jobs.

If only for Bobbi’s heartfelt prayers and talks with God, this book is a blessing. Add the story of her relationship with her mother and it’s also an invaluable resource.

Take a look at Bobbi’s website for more.

Bobbi Junior

Bobbi Junior



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