Thursday, 23 September 2021

B Book Reviews

September 2013 Book Reviews

Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey

Reviewed by Deena Peterson


I was honored to review the first novel in Elizabeth's "Grant Us Grace" series and really enjoyed her characters and her story.  When asked to review the third book, of course I said yes.
Karin Reid is a nurse working in the NICU, the unit for critically ill infants.  She doesn't have many friends, and relationships just never seem to work for her.  With her brother new to faith in Christ and her best friend being more of a discourager than an encourager, where can she find hope?
Dr. Jason Garcia is new to the emergency room and already on every female's radar.  It's evident that his faith is very real to him, and he's quick to discourage any romantic interest that comes his way...until he meets Karin.
Phil and his fiance end up getting Karin to church and a social gathering, where she meets 'Dr. Hottie' face to face, and sparks fly.  Just how genuine is Jason's faith, and will it make a difference in his friendship with Karin?
Once again, Elizabeth has impressed with her ability to tell a fictional story as if it truly happened.  Each character is carefully developed and could easily walk into your church, your coffee shop or run into you at the grocery store and strike up a conversation.
The story told in "Serenity To Accept" has a motion picture feel.  I could see each scene play out on the big screen in my imagination, which is a unique quality I don't find in much fiction these days.  Elizabeth also writes with relevance, tackling the complicated questions of faith and relationships without tossing out textbook solutions.
Her fiction makes you think and challenges what you believe to be truth.  Her characters struggle in their everyday lives just as regular people struggle, and her stories almost grant permission to the reader, that it is okay if you're not perfect and don't have it all figured out.
The reader is in for some surprises in this book, and many of them aren't pleasant.  Karin has legitimate reasons for being more of a loner, and only Jesus can free her from the chains of her past.  The Christians in the story are the kind you want to have around you in real life: true, genuine believers who are flawed and honest about their walks with God.
So, how much did I love "Serenity to Accept"?  So much that I immediately purchased a copy of the one I missed, book #2 ("Courage to Change")!  Elizabeth Maddrey has earned a spot on my 'must read' list of authors, and I hope she keeps writing real issue faith fiction for today's reader.

Miracles and Dreams by Mary Manners

Reviewed by Deena Peterson


This is the third novella in Mary's "Miracles at Mills Landing" series, and it's my favorite!  The story is believable, the characters are loveable and the outcome is encouraging.
Jack Seaton had a dream of owning his own commercial contracting business, so when opportunity knocked, he opened the door wide and walked through.  But his chance took him far away from Mills Landing and cost him the woman he loved.
Misty Larsen had a dream as well: to marry Jack, stay in Mills Landing and have a family of her own.  But when he chose California over her, the door closed on Misty's dream.  Problem was, it didn't just cost Misty.  It's cost Allie, her daughter, a chance to know her daddy.
A lost letter makes its way to Jack, spurring him on to new discoveries and new hope.  Will it make a difference seven years too late?  Can the past be salvaged and new dreams be born?
Mary has crafted a memorable story with "Miracles & Dreams".  Every description places the reader in Mills Landing, lush with greenery and small town flavor.  Her characters a rich and well written, especially Allie.  I love the way Mary writes children!
This is the fourth novella I've read by Mary Manners, and she's become a favorite author.  Don't miss out on "Miracles & Dreams", her best yet.

Peril by Jordyn Redwood

Reviewed by Kim Ford


“Was it, in the end, beneficial to sell your soul to the devil for benefits delivered to the flesh?”   (Chapter 21)

The loss of a child, by whatever means, is brutal on those left behind.  Jordyn  Redwood, approaches this loss from several different angles in her latest book, Peril.  At first, the reader is led to assume the traumatic event at the beginning of the story will be the focus.  Then, you are introduced to Morgan and Tyler, and you can almost physically feel the pain of their loss reflected in their marriage.  Next, you are introduced to another physician dealing in the field of neuroscience and you are allowed to witness a totally different type of loss.  None of these losses or tragic events seem related on the surface, but Jordyn Redwood ties these threads of story together in such a way that you will be gasping for air by the end of the story!

It’s been a while since I read such a masterfully told suspense tale!! As the reader, I was drawn into the lives of this cast of characters in such a way that at times, this story was almost too painful to read!  The residual emotional and spiritual fallout in the lives of each family represented in the story is brutal at times!  The clincher is the neuroscience angle!!  You will know fear indeed when you consider that our society is playing on the edge of this field in ways that make Redwood’s story almost plausible!!  Google it!  You’ll see what I’m talking about!!

Peril releases October 1, 2013, so I don’t want to spoil a moment of this terrific book!! Suffice it to say this is a thriller that will keep you up at night!! The relationships are fragile and very real in their struggles.  The scenario that is played out toward the end is very plausible and quite terrifying! Peril is a very taut and satisfying read, and you have much to look forward to!!

Pieces of my Heart by David Wood

Reviewed by Mary Nichelson


Just as the heart is the control center for life, children are the central love force of a parent’s being. There are few written examples from a father’s perspective, making David Wood’s book, Pieces of My Heart-Finding God in Our Everyday Lives, invaluable.
As explained in his book, puzzle pieces independent of each other appear meaningless and without purpose. It is easy, even, to say they don’t belong in the bigger picture. Once they are interconnected, shapes form, and you realize that fragment was crucial to the finished product. Everyday events are like that and can seem random until you step back and see a bigger picture forming.
The author takes on a double-meaning in reference to pieces of his heart; his book was written for his children, who ultimately each hold a portion of his emotional life force. Those pieces of his heart are also short, devotional-like chapters written with a lesson learned in relation to his other life force, God. His goal is for the reader to view random life events as a small piece of a larger puzzle, making each day rich with revelation.
Although the various topics are written succinctly and can be read in just a few minutes, it will be hard to peruse just one chapter at a time. His wisdom is periodically overshadowed briefly by his humor, making Pieces of My Heart as entertaining as it is applicable. Don’t be surprised if you are repeating many of his adventures around the water cooler or at the ball field.
Understanding life piece by piece can be difficult, but as David points out, “Though we try and try, it is just not possible. But God sees the picture that is on the outside of the box. He has the big picture, the finished puzzle, the completed vision.” He’s doing what all good fathers do; affirming life and love while dishing out hope and meaning in the process.

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