Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock – a review

Smoke Screen ~ A New Story from a Favorite Author! I heard a writing teacher say once that it’s much harder to write a truly good character than to write a flawed one. She said that readers would dislike the “perfect” people. I thought I’d feel that way about the hero of Smoke Screen. After Nate nobly saved an entire family (and their dog) from their burning home, then worried more about his team than about his own injuries, he was looking a little too good to be true. Ho-hum. But then the author did her trademark thing: she made his life messy. She gave him a very complicated family. She gave him a bad reputation.  Now, he was a genuinely good and likable guy, but he was interesting, too.  Terri Blackstock is really good at that! The heroine was easier to dislike – a weak woman with a drinking problem, when she should have been stronger and stayed sober if she really wanted to keep her kids. Instead, she wallowed in self-pity and hopelessness. So irritating. But… just as she has in so many other books, Terri Blackstock took that character and made her real. She was still doing Read More

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!     1. 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.     2. 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 Read More

Bite-Size Book Reviews

I haven’t published a “weekly” book review since the end of October. Oops. Excuses… NaNoWriMo, followed by Christmas. I read at least 15 books in that time, even if I didn’t get much writing done. The following, except for the Mary Stewart book, are all Christian fiction in a variety of genres.   1. Last Light, Paperback, by Terri Blackstock Last Light is the first book in the Restoration series, about a Y2K-style event happening in the suburbs. That setting made it unusual. It wasn’t in the country, where it’s easier to improvise water, heat, and food, and it wasn’t exactly like Y2K, which was a predicted event. This was a devastating event that happened with no warning. The characters were interesting, with believable responses and relationships for that setting. The mystery seemed like a secondary event, but it was wrapped up neatly at the end. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.   2. Grandmother’s Letters, Kindle, by Rebekah Jones This is a sweet story with unexpected plot twists. Several story lines run separately for most of the story, gradually connecting near the end. Ms. Jones is good at writing about relationships. The characters are well-defined Read More