Bite-size Book Reviews

Do you like audiobooks? I get so much more work done, around the house and in my sewing room, if I have an audiobook to listen to! I could never just sit down and listen to one, but I like them when I’m working or driving or at the gym!



dawn of christmas1. Dawn of Christmas, audiobook, by Cindy Woodsmall

The main characters in this book are not your average Amish folks. The heroine is interesting, obedient and also willful. When she meets a like-minded man, they construct a false courtship scenario to escape the pressures of their family-oriented community. They like each other, but they have trouble trusting each other. In addition to being an entertaining novel, it’s a thought-provoking story about lies, relationships, and seeking God’s will. I liked this book.



the daughter of time2. Daughter of Time, paperback, by Josephine Tey

RETRO READ! Last week, I micro-reviewed Elizabeth Peters’s novel, The Murders of Richard III. It was a fun read, but it made me want to investigate further. As a homeschooling mother, I enjoyed teaching history to my sons, but none of us remember the War of the Roses in any detail (or with any enthusiasm.) So instead of going back to the textbooks, I turned to more fiction. Josephine Tey is one of my collected authors, so I already own this book, which always ranks high on the lists of “best mysteries ever written.” The main character, Inspector Grant, has been injured and is lying in the hospital for the entire book, waiting for a young American researcher to bring him bits and pieces of historical documents and reports. Their investigation gradually convinces them that contrary to every textbook and accepted belief, Richard the III was innocent of the crime of murdering the two princes. The reader is walked through the same deductions as the inspector. There are very few secondary characters, but each of them is vivid and contributes to the story. One of my favorites.


into the whirlwind3. Into the Whirlwind, audiobook, by Elizabeth Camden

Another Camden book with unusual settings and characters: A woman who owns a clock-making business and hires disabled vets, a driven lawyer for an upscale department store owned by a rich and powerful family, immigrants from Central Europe, and the Chicago fire of 1871. The best part of the story was the fire and what happened afterward. Her books are so creative!




silhouette in scarlet4. Silhouette in Scarlet, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

The Vicky Bliss series is almost as entertaining as Amelia Peabody’s. This one is set in Sweden, and the local characters are perfect. There are a confusing lot of bad guys in this story. Vicky is a modern feminist woman (in 1983) and the hero, John, is consistent with his character through the series; I recommend you read these books in order, starting with “Borrower of the Night”, to understand the relationships. As always, I enjoyed the settings and information about art history. Fun!
Afterthought: Does a publication date of 1983 make this book a RETRO READ? Ouch… I hope not.


predator5. Predator, audiobook,  by Terri Blackstock

This book ought to make parents more aware of what their children are sharing online. I hope it does! Terry Blackstock creates strong plots that force the reader to face the crisis of the characters. The characters often behave foolishly, and they aren’t all likable, but as we continue reading, we realize that we might behave in exactly the same way! I think that’s great writing.




a bride in the bargain6. Bride in the Bargain, audiobook, by Deeanne Gist

There are a lot of fun things in this entertaining book. The best part of the story are the scenes and characters at the lumber camp; the descriptions of logging are fascinating. But… I am old-fashioned and a bit of a prude. There was too much sexual tension and stroking and kissing and yearning in this “Christian romance”. Even if they had been married, I certainly don’t need to know all that stuff. TMI!!!





Do you have different expectations when you read a book written by a Christian author? I do, especially when I am listening to audiobooks instead of words on paper or a kindle. When I come across inappropriate content in words, I can skim over it, but when I have earbuds in my ears and the TMI stuff (or obscenity!) is spoken directly into my brains, it’s pretty bad.  It makes me more careful about which authors I listen to.

Christian fiction doesn’t have to be sterilized to be clean. Some authors use words like realistic, edgy or spicy to describe a book with foul language and erotic content, but many authors are writing excellent suspense and even romance without resorting to such tactics.