Boondock Ramblings

Book Review: Journey to ChiYah by Kimberly Russell. A deeply allegorical journey of our walk with Christ.

Book Title: Journey to ChiYah

Author: Kimberly Russell

Genre: Christian fiction/Christian fantasy

Goodreads Description: JADE PEPPERDINE HAS A PROBLEM

Her life is crumbling beneath the weight of the past, events of the present, and fears for her future. Things need to change, but she doesn’t know where to start.Answers come in the form of an unexpected opportunity when Jade finds herself stuck in a mythical land. She meets Mayor Dudley, who insinuates she is emotionally broken and in need of repair … a fact she’d just as soon ignore. He offers to help her get home if she is willing to face her issues through a process of restoration. Frightened and skeptical yet out of options, Jade grudgingly agrees. And soon figures out that change is a journey, not a destination.Come along on the adventure of a lifetime, and maybe you’ll find someone you never knew you lost: Yourself. 

Excerpt from the author (Thank you, Kim!):

Abaddon’s eyes darkened black like coal. “My idea is simple. You’ve got a gal coming in soon that I think will be perfect for this experiment.” He clucked his tongue. “Thirtyish, a bit, chubby, works in a library. Same tired scenario as the others. Past issues affecting her present. Fear and insecurities. Blah, blah, blah.”

Watch it. She’s one of mine.”

Abaddon’s mouth tightened. “Aren’t they all? Just send her off to gather her journey relics like always, but if I can get them away from her, she stays with me, and I get the Avnet, too.”

Mayor grunted in distaste. No wonder his nemesis’ name meant destruction in Hebrew. He opened his mouth to put the rogue in his place then hesitated. Maybe he could use Abaddon’s plan against him and teach him a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget. A deterrent against future complications.

But at what price? Did he really want to potentially position one of his own in harm’s way? No, but assigning his top emissaries to the case would keep her safe. The unsuspecting woman would be fine, and Abaddon would get what he so richly deserved. And it wouldn’t be the Avnet.

Mayor pushed to his feet. “Fine. Do what you have to.” He whirled and threw a scowl over his shoulder, “But you cannot hurt her. I’m warning you.”

“Oh, I won’t.” Abaddon shot him an evil leer. “Not much, anyway.”

My Review: 5 starts out of 5



Some who read the title of the book will be perplexed and think, “I don’t think this is the book for me,” but they would be wrong. This is a book for everyone.

The book is “fantasy”, I suppose you might say, but it is also deeply allegorical to our journey through life and especially our journey with God and Christ.

This book will transport you to a world of restoration, healing, redemption, and personal revision. It will remind you that we do not merely war against flesh and blood, but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The book takes the reader on a fantastical journey with Jade Pepperdine, a 30-something woman who has faced her fair share of heartache, rejection, and flattened self-worth.

Hook yourself in, readers. This is a work of fiction but for many it will be a hard dose of reality wrapped up in a gentle embrace.

After an accident tosses Jade, quite literally, upside down, she finds herself in a mystical land, which she at first believes is part of a dream. She soon learns that ChiYah is very real indeed. A group of five eccentric helpers come alongside her to help her battle her way through the various dangers of ChiYah to reach her personal healing.

But reaching restoration won’t come easy for Jade. She’s agreed to the quest Mayor Dudley has offered to her, albeit grudgingly, so she can go back to her reality in “the real world” working at a library and fending off her overly critical mother. Now she has to sidestep the traps along the way, including unassuming attacks from a mysterious stranger who hopes to cause her to stumble and come work for him instead.

Journey to ChiYah is a book that will have you looking inside yourself, maybe not liking what you see, and then considering taking your own quest to make peace with every part of you  — the happy parts, the grumpy parts, the sometimes unreasonable parts, the parts that have been hurt, the parts that have been rejected, the parts that still have hope left in them.

Russell is a talented writer who uses well-written, engaging fiction laced with humor, well thought out dialogue, and entertaining characters to drive her point home. She uses fiction and prose to touch on so many issues we frail humans deal with, including anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, self-deprecating behavior, distrust, insecurity, a critical spirit.

Most of all, though, she uses her talent to point us to the only one who can heal us of the issues that threaten our joy — a Heavenly Father who wants to take us on a journey that might seem difficult but in the end will lead us into a meadow of peace, even with the chaos of life swirls around us.

Book Review: Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas

Book: Sarah’s Choice

Author: Peggy Thomas

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Release date: August 3, 2021 (preorder here).

Bottom line: Four stars out of five. Heart pounding read. Not for the faint of heart.

My review: If you are a lover of historical fiction in all it’s raw and gritty detail then Sarah’s Choice is a book you want to pick up.
It is well-written with vivid descriptions and heart pounding action.
The story is well-paced throughout but really picks up in Chapter 2 and goes full force from there.
I had a hard time putting it down, chewing my fingernails much of the book, even though I’m not normally a fingernail chewer.
Pegg Thomas is an award winning author and it looks like she has another winner on her hands with this one.

The characters are engaging and clutch at your heart, leaving an impression you’ll certainly feel for days, if not longer, after you finish the book.
I will, however, warn you that this isn’t a book where you will find a message of forgiveness, toward the natives who lived on the land before the settlers came. If you are looking for a well-rounded view of the early history of settlers, you’re not going to find it here. One reason you won’t find it here is because the author, by her own admission, is presenting one viewpoint. That isn’t a bad position, since it is the point of view of the characters, it’s just the full story, which again, Pegg reiterates on her Goodreads page:

Because I’d recently researched Pontiac’s Rebellion for a novella, it was fresh in my mind. It was a harsh, even brutal event in American history, and I knew it would provide the backdrop that Sarah’s story needed. Sarah’s Choice does not present all sides of the conflict, instead, it is seen only through the eyes of Sarah and Cully.

I hope to give the reader a glimpse of what happened in a time and place that was incredibly volatile from the perspective of the people caught up it in unawares. It was not my intent to interject 21st-century norms or ideals into the 18th century. It does no good to look at history through the modern lens. What happened, happened. It’s history to be learned from, warts and all.

There is only one opinion of Native Americans held in the mind of the main character throughout the book, right up until the end. Her feelings were valid considering all she had been through, however, which is what makes the book very authentic (uncomfortably so).

Tell Me More About . . . Elizabeth Maddrey, Inspy Romance Author

Welcome back to an old feature of mine, Tell Me More About . . . I’m so excited to resurrect it this week with super-succesful, Inspy Romance author-extraordinaire Elizabeth Maddrey.

Tell Me More About . . . is a feature which focuses on every day people from a variety of walks of life who impact the world around them in big or small ways.

So, let’s get to it! Welcome, Elizabeth to the blog!


Tell us a little bit about yourself such as background, where you’re from originally and now (general region is totally fine), your family, hobbies, etc.

I grew up in northern New Mexico. We moved to the DC area when I was eleven—just before sixth grade. After college and grad school and a few years with hubby in the Army, we landed back in the DC area, so at this point I feel like I have to call it home. I have a PhD in computer science and my professional life, before I became a mom, was all centered on software engineering in one form or another. That’s probably why my book heroes trend geeky – they’re my peeps and I love them. Hubby and I have been married coming up on 26 years, we have two boys (13 and 9). Hobbies include reading, crochet, and continued attempts to learn to love knitting despite the fact that it stresses me out.

When did the writing bug first bite you?

This is hard to answer! I don’t remember not writing. I’ve always loved to read and it always seemed a natural extension to write. I started getting serious about seeking publication probably eighteen years ago, but it took me another nine(?) before I had something finished that I thought was actually good enough.

What made you pursue becoming an independent author?

Honestly? I spent two years querying agents in search of that dream contract. I got fed up with the “no” that kept coming—or, more often than not, the silence (and I still get frustrated that it’s considered acceptable for agents and publishers to not even bother with a form letter to say no thank you. There are very few other places where that’s considered de rigueur. Although I say that and a lot of the big software companies are that way with resume submission. So you’d think I’d be used to it. Anyway, I did get a contract with a small press and started that way, but the owner encouraged me to go Indie because she knew I had the technical chops to handle it (and you don’t need a ton, but this was back before there were quite so many amazing tools for indies) and that it would be more beneficial for me. So I did.

What advice do you have inspiring authors, indie or otherwise?

Believe in your stories and don’t read your reviews.

What has influenced you in your writing style in your past or present?

I read. A lot. More than 200 books a year across a broad variety of genres. I know there are successful authors out there who say they aren’t readers, but I firmly believe those are the minority. Most authors are also readers.

What author comes to mind when you think of authors who have influenced you over the years?

So many. Anne McCaffrey, who was the mother of so many of my best friends in middle and high school. Elizabeth Moon for the same reasons. L.M. Montgomery. Jane Austen. Madeline L’Engle. Susanna Kearsley. Nora Roberts.

What future projects do you have planned that you would like my readers to know about?

This summer, I have a six-book sorta-billionaire romance series that’s coming out, one book each month through October. And I feel the eye rolls, I do, but I love these stories. I’m so, SO pleased with how they turned out and I hope that readers give them a try and love them as much as I do. The series is called So You Want to be a Billionaire.

How many books have you penned since starting your career?

I have 36 out right now, but if you count all the Billionaires which are written but not released yet, it’s an even 40.

How would you define your writing style? Pantser? Plotter? Share with my readers a little about your writing process, if you don’t mind.

I’m definitely a pantser. Part of what took me so long to finish a book I thought was worthy of trying to have published was that I spent a ton of time doing it the way you’re “supposed to.” I read so many craft books. I made outlines, timelines, character interviews. I cut out magazine photos of people who could be the characters (the Internet was still a baby and I didn’t always want to use the dial up). I found outfits in clothing catalogs. And I hated all of it. I had all this information for the story and by the time I was done doing “what you had to do,” I was over the story. I didn’t want to write any of it. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to just sit down and let the story come as it did that I was able to write and finish and love the process. So now that’s what I do. I generally have a vague idea of what the story is, but other than that, it’s a blank page and a timer and writing sprints.

Where can readers connect with you online and otherwise?

For non-interactive information, my website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com

For more interaction (which I love!) there’s Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey

And Instagram http://www.Instagram.com/ElizabethMaddrey

And if you sign up for my monthly-ish newsletter on my website, there are two free books as thank yous, so I know I always like that as a reader.


My To Be Read list just grows and grows and grows

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I started reading books more (again) in the last couple of years. Before that I was always too busy with raising my son, blogging and photography. And before that time period, I was too busy working at smalltown newspapers. When you’re busy writing words, you don’t always enjoy reading them in your down time.

In high school I read a lot, almost all fiction.

When I started reading again I started hearing the acronym TBR. I had no idea what that meant and then someone finally let me know it meant “To be read.”

Oh.

I’m a bit embarrassed by how large my TBR list is.

There are simply too many books out there and I’m not a super fast reader.

I thought I’d list some of my current TBR list, but let’s be honest, our list will always grow because there are simply so many good books out in the world to read. There is a mix of Christian fiction, non-fiction, and general fiction (mysteries, thrillers, etc.) here:

My (partial) list so far:

The Heart Knows the Way Home by Christy Distler

Lavender Tears Sandra Cunningham

The Love Coward by Naomi Musch

More Than Honor by Carol Ashby

Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas

Fortitude: American Resilience in the Age of Outrage by Dan Crenshaw

So This Is Goodbye by Jodi Allen Brice

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney

The Number of Love Roseanna M. White

Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson

Ready to Trust by Tina Radcliff

Distortion by Terri Blackstock

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene

The World Ending Fire by Wendell Berry

What Is True? by Charles Martin

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

I also have a stack of Coleen Coble books that are currently at my mom’s house that I want to dig into at some point this summer. So, fellow readers, how large is your TBR list? No need to list them all for me, but give me a round about number in the comments.

Book Review: Amanda by Sarah Monzon. Eye-opening, humorous, and touching all rolled into one.

Genre: Christian romantic comedy

Amazon Description:

“The devil made me do it” is a phrase that will never pass my lips. Why would it when I have Delores, my undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, to make all my decisions for me? (Yes, I named her myself since the doctors couldn’t do it for me.) A get together with friends? Delores says no. I’ll have my prescheduled daily afternoon fever and fatigue at that time.

My two biggest regrets with having Delores direct my fate? One, my family thinks my illness is all in my head. And two, I set the love of my life, Peter Reynolds, free from my anchoring tether so he could fly. I never thought I’d see him again, but five years later he’s soaring in the limelight as one of the most talked-about defensive players in professional football. Oh, and did I mention he also happens to play for the team my boss just assigned me to as a social media manager?

Meanwhile, nothing much has changed for me. Delores still bosses me around, and I’m still hopelessly in love with Peter. What’s a girl to do?

My Review:

Amanda by Sarah Monzon was a spur-of-the-moment read for me after I read about her in an online forum for Christian Fiction readers. The covers of her recent series caught my eye, of course, but the obvious talent for writing an engaging story was apparent in the first few paragraphs and caught my attention even more. 

Amanda Murphy has spent a good deal of her adult life dealing with an invisible enemy — an undiagnosed autoimmune disease she has nicknamed Dolores. Because Dolores rears her ugly head at the most inopportune times, Amanda has learned to push people away, to keep them from having to deal with Dolores the way she does.

One of the people she’s pushed away is the hunky, now NFL star Peter Reynolds. Of course, Peter wasn’t an NFL star when they first met, but now he is one of the hottest and most popular professional athletes in the country, and Amanda’s boss wants her to work with him to create a social media presence.

The only problem? Amanda hasn’t spoken to Peter since she broke up with him five years ago; since she decided she didn’t want him to have to deal with her health issues. Those issues would have held him back and he probably wouldn’t be the star he is today if he’d stayed with her. That’s her rationale at least and for someone who doesn’t deal with chronic health issues, it may seem silly and like an unrealistic plot point.

Take it from someone who deals with chronic health issues first-hand, both in my life and family members’ lives — it is not an unrealistic plot point.

Maybe one reason I was drawn to this story is that I also deal with an undiagnosed condition, which may or may not be autoimmune. I just haven’t come up with a cute name for it like Amanda has. I’d probably nickname mine Hildegard the Destroyer.

 I actually didn’t read the description of this book until I downloaded it to my Kindle, which makes the fact I chose this book in the series that much more interesting.

Like Amanda I can function in life despite the aches, weakness, brain fog, tingling in the extremities, and fatigue. Like Amanda, I have learned not to talk about a condition many doctors can’t diagnose and many in my past have suggested is “in my head.” Like Amanda, I have had friends and family walk away because they simply can’t deal with my “drama” or my “obvious cry for attention” even though I now rarely talk about the condition that knocks me down with its ever-changing symptoms from day to day. I rarely talk about it except for this review, of course. *wink*

 I could relate to Amanda not wanting her new friends to know about her condition. If they did there were a number of scenarios that could unfold. Her friends could grow weary of her using Delores as an excuse not to attend events or accomplish tasks the rest of them could. Her friends might also try to push their suggestions on her and when she didn’t accept them, simply walking about because Amanda “obviously doesn’t want to get better.” Been there, done that.

Honestly, it is hard to be friends with a person with a chronic illness. I do understand that. After the friend has made so many excuses for why they can’t go here or there or do this or that, you do feel like no longer asking them, and eventually, you not only stop asking them but also stop talking to them. Who wants to keep talking to someone who can only talk about what natural remedy they’ve tried this time to help their symptoms? The struggle is real.

A reviewer who shared her impression of this book told me she hoped that when I read it I would feel seen. I guess I could say that, yes, I did feel seen after reading this book. I could relate to a lot of it (sans the hot NFL star chasing after me) so I did feel seen but I have some family who does support me, does see me, and does support me. The people who need to read this book are the people who don’t have that support, who feel alone, lost, and are basing their worth on how bad their symptoms have flared that day and what activity it has kept them from participating in.

My grandmother was dismissed for years. She suffered in silence, crying out in agony late into the night. Doctors ignored her or gave her medicine or surgeries instead of really trying to find out what was wrong. She was most likely mocked, abandoned, and told she didn’t pray enough, rebuke Satan enough, or didn’t have the faith necessary to be healed.

Amanda is a book for the people who have faced those uphill battles, who know that the book they are reading won’t perfectly tell their story (since each story is unique) but will remind them that the world is not as cruel as it seems sometimes. That there are people who understand what they are going through. There are people who “get it.” That there are people who will do their best to understand, even if not everyone in their lives does.

One of the people who gets it, whether from personal experience or simply doing research is Sarah Monzon. Maybe she hasn’t experienced what Amanda did personally. Maybe she doesn’t know anyone who has, but if she took the time to research the trials those with autoimmune diseases go through then she is one more person who understands, one more person who will view a person with an invisible disease with compassion and not scorn.

Even one person telling people with an autoimmune disease that they aren’t alone is worth as much or even more than an entire medical community finally admitting they have tossed people like my grandmother and mom to the side because they simply have no idea how to treat them.

This is a book that is fun to read even if you can’t relate to Amanda’s challenges. It isn’t a downer or a heavy read at all, even if some of the subject matter is a heavy topic for those who deal with it. The book has funny, raw, cute, authentic, and sweet romantic moments all rolled into one quick-readable package.

Book Review: Love Happens at Sweetheart Farm

Book: Love Happens At Sweetheart Farm: A Pacific Northwest Romance

Author: Dalyn Weller

Genre: Christian Fiction (Romance)

Goodreads Description:

What if your pursuit of happiness robs someone you love of theirs?

Ian MacTavish is a disillusioned wealth manager for his family’s firm in Seattle. He’s desperate for change but chasing happiness instead of wealth will cost him more than mere money. When he jilts the firm’s wealthiest client and hides out at Sweetheart Farm, his inheritance and the family’s legacy are at stake.

Lexi Taylor is the overworked owner of Sweetheart Farm B&B, a romantic getaway and wedding venue. Too bad she’s never had a sweetheart of her own. She’s convinced she’s better off without one. Love is only a recipe for more loss in her experience.

But then Ian MacTavish shows up looking for an escape and winds up helping her make the farm profitable again. Lexi never knew she was lonely until she met Ian.

As they work together, Lexi’s resolve melts and Ian’s bruised ego begins to mend. Life in the country is just what the city boy needed. Lexi and her Grandmother remind Ian what he’s been missing sitting behind a desk in the business district.

But Ian never imagined he’d have to chase pigs, fight bears, and mend fences to repair his bruised ego and find love. With one reckless act, he restores his confidence and wins the admiration of the women who come to matter most.

It seems so until Ian’s troubles follow him to the farm with Lexi’s riding shotgun.

My Review:

Love Happens At Sweetheart Farm: A Pacific Northwest Romance is a book of redemption, forgiveness, and embracing joy.

This book is what I would describe as a comfort read and that is a very good thing.

I fell madly in love with this book’s characters within only a couple of chapters. Grandma Isobel, Lexi, Grandpa Ewan, and of course, the dashing Ian McTavish are so well fleshed out, full-rounded characters, which is something you don’t always find in modern books. I even loved the non-human characters of Bijou, Brodie, and Wanda.

Ian McTavish.

Sigh. Just his name is dreamy.

Ian is the heartthrob hero who, by the middle of the book anyhow, puts the only Ian I ever knew in my life to shame. In fact, that Ian should read about this Ian, wherever he is, and take some notes.

Ian starts out a little less than dreamy and under a lot of stress, but give him a few weeks working with his hands on Sweetheart Farm and you’ve got a swoon-worthy main character on your hands who you won’t be able to wait to learn more about.

Lexi, sitting on her beautiful farm turned bed and breakfast with her grandmother, has put up walls around herself to protect her from sadness and loneliness left from childhood tragedies and her younger brother’s personal struggles. She helps to run a farm and a bed and breakfast catering to lovers but she is unwilling to open her own heart to love. Even when she starts to fall for the dashing Ian who visits the bed and breakfast to run away from his family’s multi-million dollar business.

Lexi frustrated me at times, but only because I saw so much of me in her. The stubbornness, the mood swings, the unwillingness to open herself up to chance for fear of being hurt again. Me. Me. And Me. And she didn’t frustrate me for long because soon I was in love with her as I was everyone in her world.

And just when you think this book couldn’t have any more loveable characters, in walks Ewan McTavish, Ian’s grandfather who plays his own integral role in Lexi and her Grandmother’s life later on.

I read this book mainly in the evenings, before bed, and now that I’ve finished, I feel a sense of sadness and will be looking for more books from this author to help fill that void.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“He had a job he didn’t want. He had an office he didn’t ask for. And now he had a fiancée he didn’t even like.”

“Grandmother went on, “Forgiving doesn’t mean you must pretend the wrong never happened, but that you  abandon the offense. Having boundaries would have saved me some grief, that’s true, but unforgiveness would  cost me more than my life savings.”

 He opened them again and pushed out his breath until there was  nothing left in his lungs, nothing left in his heart, and nothing left in his soul. Where was God when he needed  him?

Grandmother took a step back. “You can’t live with what-ifs. The Bible says, taste and see that the Lord is good!  You must overcome your distrust and fear, or you will never experience all that God has for you, chéri.”

“The thought of letting my heart go wild is kind of like jumping out of a plane and hoping the parachute opens.  Scary.” “Thrilling.” The look in Grandmother’s eyes was a challenge.

You can pick up a copy of the book where books are sold.

Book Review: In Sheeps Clothing by Pegg Thomas

Book and author: In Sheeps Clothing by Pegg Thomas

Publisher: Spinner of Yarns Publishing

Genre: Christian Fiction

Description:

Yarrow Fenn, the talented spinster sister, was passed over when her intended walked out on her years before. She’s content with her life – for the most part – until Peter Maltby arrives in town. A journeyman fuller, Peter comes to Milford, Connecticut, not to woo the young women, but to rise to the rank of master fuller and return to Boston for some unfinished business. When their lives intersect over an orphan lamb, sparks are kindled. But their budding romance will have to survive revealed secrets when someone else shows up in Milford.

My Review:

This read was a delightful, short, and sweet journey into the past. I am not someone who usually reads historical fiction but the cover and title caught my eye and I gave it a chance. The story flowed easily and the writing was very good. The book is very short and I could have done with a little more about both characters, but that’s only because I really enjoyed learning about them both. I will definitely be looking up more books by Pegg.

Book Review: Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery

Avoiding Marriage by Karin Beery

Publisher:  EABooks Publishing 

Description:

Two years ago, Jessica Miller made a mess of her already confusing life. Now, she’s back in Boyne Heights, and she’s determined to fix her reputation. She can’t seem to avoid the past that haunts her, but that’s the joy of small-town life—word spreads and people remember. Intent on her mission, however, she faces her past head-on, taking a job with her ex-boyfriend while avoiding her grandmother’s attempts to find her a new one.

My Review:

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book, which I appreciated because I might not have picked it up on my own. It was the first time I’d read anything by this author so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I don’t usually read a ton of light romances or novellas but apparently, I am missing out because I really enjoyed this one. In fact, I enjoyed the characters so much that my only complaint is that the book wasn’t long enough. I know there are other books with these characters, however, so I am looking forward to reading more about them in the future.

Part of me felt, at first, that the premise was a little unrealistic – the idea of a young woman going to work for her ex-boyfriend who is now married, but then I thought about all the people around me who are doing similar things. I mean I even know of an actor whose ex-wife produces movies with him. What this book reminded me was that people move on, heal, and grow in many different ways so even if I wouldn’t be comfortable with that, there are plenty of people who are and have been.

The main character’s (Jessica’s) life was very relatable to me. To some, it may have seemed she had more on her than “real” people would, in regards to her family’s situation, but in my world, families are messy. There are divorces and hurt feelings and addictions and recovering addicts, etc. I like that Karin isn’t afraid to face those issues head-on. In the midst of all of Jessica’s struggles is the chance for love and that brings lighter and sweeter moments to the story.

This is a quick read for an avid reader, which is nice because then you can move on to Ashley’s story (which occurs before this one) in Practically Married or other books by Karin.

I received a copy of Practically Married from the author. This in no way affects my review. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Dark of Night, a work of suspenseful fiction with spiritual truths needed today

Dark of Night by Carrie Cotton

Genre: Supernatural Christian Fantasy

Publisher: Self Published or Indepedently Published

Available: Currently Amazon.

Description: A new life, a new love, and even a new name. For former secret agent Andromeda Stone – now Joanna Carter – a normal, boring life with her handsome husband was the happy ending. But an old enemy resurfaces, determined to leave nothing unfinished, and Andy must step back into the nightmares once again. Andy and Will each face their own worst fears in their search for answers. Will this new mission cost Andy more than she’s willing to pay?
When the journey takes her to deeper and darker places than she’s ever been before, Andy discovers it’s more than just answers she’s looking for.

Review: Dark of Night, Carrie Cotton’s second book in her Dreamwalker series, isn’t simply a work of fiction, it is a call to action, a reminder that there are forces unseen working against us in a realm beyond our comprehension.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 KJV

This book is the visceral reminder that as people, Christians or not, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle for our soul every day. No, most of us don’t wield physical weapons in our everyday lives, (unless we are in the military or law enforcement) but there are spiritual weapons at our disposal and we can draw on them, reign them into our control with our trust that God is bigger than any evil pressing down upon us and around us.

I would compare this book to those of Frank Peretti who first opened the eyes of many Christians to the reality of spiritual warfare in books such as This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. There are some who believed his stories, like Carrie’s, are simply that — stories, but when a person faces the actual dark tentacles sliding out of the darkest recesses of their mind, blocking out goodness with thoughts of revenge and ruin, like I have a few times in my life, they will realize what they thought was a story is actually true.

It’s scary to have to admit there is truth in Carrie’s book.

Are there people who can walk in dreams and hurt other people? Not that we know of. Are there evil forces that can influence us to the point that evil no longer seems evil and good no longer seems good? I think anyone who is living through what our nation and our world are facing these days knows that there are evil forces; there is a real father of lies whispering in the ears of many, telling them not to trust what God has implanted in them, but to instead trust what the media, society, and politicians tell them is true.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

This isn’t a political book. Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t picking apart issues we now consider political and telling you what to believe. Not in the least. It does not mention our modern issues. There are bigger stakes at play here – the fight for individual souls and the fight to not be overtaken by hatred and evil. This book takes issues that the main character Joanna battles within herself and brings it right down to the personal deep level, reminding the reader that Joanna isn’t the only one who has to resist evil — we all do.

Quote from book, Esther to Joanna (Andy): “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” she said passionately. “It doesn’t take brute force or physical weapons to fight these battles, it takes spiritual strength that comes from faith in a very, very powerful God. He is greater, His Word is greater than anything . . . anything . . . in this world, even the hidden things.”

If you are not ready to be spiritually challenged while mentally entertained with fast-paced action, well-written prose, and characters you will fall quickly and solidly in love with (to the point you will cry if harm comes to them), then don’t read this book. But, if you are ready to challenge your faith, your perception of reality, increase your knowledge of a spiritual realm that is in play all around us, and be entertained at the same time, then you need to pick up a copy of Dark of Night NOW. This is a must read for every Christian, but it is also a read that even someone who doesn’t consider themselves a Christian will enjoy.

Quote from book(Jacob to Andy): “You say you believe in God, that you love Him. If that’s true, then you have to trust Him to keep His promises. If we trust Him, truly trust Him, then we can remain in Him and all things will work together for our good – either now or eventually, even the terrible choices of other people.”