fiction

Book Review: The Awakened


I have a rule of thumb that I always review a book within a few days of reading it. It keeps me accountable to not be late and the story is freshest in my mind.

That said- it has been much longer than a few days since I had the opportunity to read The Awakened. Which means it already feels like it has been forever that I have been waiting for the second book and why is it not here now.

I had serious doubts about this book. End times fiction? Flashbacks that are essentially Biblical fiction? The author having Christ as a character in the story and having fictional scenarios? Why don’t we just throw in an adultery plotline and we can have all my least favorite things. The cynicism was high people. I am making such a big deal about this because I was less than 10 pages in when I had to stop and marvel at the grace and skill that the story in front of me was being handled. I got a lot of joy out of when my sister was reading it and she’d periodically text me and go “you’re right. This is amazing.”

The concept is: what if Lazarus didn’t die again. And what if there are a chosen few believers throughout history who were raised from the dead to stand against evil until Christ comes again. The story is told both through flashbacks to Bible times and modern day.

Confession time: the concept of writing historical fiction featuring people who actually lived terrifies me. This is because I know how hard I am on the genre. History isn’t just a playground for us to take pieces and put them together as a puzzle for our amusement. These are actual lives of people who once lived, just as you or I. And my personal conviction is the standard is even higher when your playground is events from Scripture. The respect Richard Spillman clearly has for Scripture is some of the best in fiction I’ve ever read. I’m still not entirely sure how he did it.

That alone would be enough for me to give this book high praise. But everything, the characters, the scenarios, the author is clearly well researched and gives humanity to situations that would be very easy to just slap on in the background. I kept getting blown away with how well done everything in this book was.

Count your blessings, you can go buy this today and you will have less a wait for the second book than I have had to wait thus far. If you like good, well researched, grace filled fiction that is going to make you pause and be like I didn’t know you could do that and it work, read this book.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Advertisements

Book Review: Finding Love in Park City, Utah

park-city

CJ Lancaster is having a “Monday” of a day trying to get an interview she needs for her job at a tabloid. And it wasn’t even her job to start with. Running to catch a flight, it’s cold, and she misses her time slot for her interview. It just seems to be another chapter in a series of difficult times.

Sam Lake is acting as bodyguard for his actress sister in law when a reporter tries to flirt her way past him to get an interview. Her charm skills are not the greatest, but he promises to look up her work and get back to her.

This is my second favorite book in Angela Ruth Strong’s “Finding Love” series. There is nothing flat about CJ and Sam. Normally I would be like “umm really?” when characters fall for each other that fast, but it felt natural here. Both have their challenges, CJ is recovering from a recent divorce and Sam is a veteran working through PTSD. What I love about Strong’s writing is she tackles hard subjects, and while characters do get their “happily ever after” there is never a glossing over of the issues.

I dragged my feet finishing this book not wanting it to end, I look forward to future books by this author.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review- The Flaming Sword

img_3632

I will be completely upfront, I did not care for this book as much as the first. It felt like for the first 3/4ths of the book there had been zero growth from the characters, with the exception of Brady. I really enjoyed seeing him step up and the tension between him just about being his own man and still growing up was really well done.

YA and children’s literature are my current favorite genres, but The Flaming Sword was the first time I really had trouble getting through a YA book because I felt like I was too old for it. Maybe this is a sign that it really has been a long time since I’ve been 16…

I will say Heather L.L. FitzGerald’s gargoyles should be the standard for gargoyles in fiction, because those things were the most most vivid portrayal I have ever seen/read of the mythical beasts.

I appreciated the ending, it was a very good set up for the third book while still being fulfilling.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.