Appalachian Serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas

The novella Appalachian Serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas was a delight to read! Thomas’s writing seemed beautiful and yet so simple in the way that it told the story of two people who thought their chance for love had already passed them by.

The characters Delilah and Robert were so believable and so everyone. From the beginning, Thomas effortlessly swept me into Delilah’s life and her troubles. And Robert. What was there not to like about Robert who took a personal interest in everyone he interacted with. Susanne threw in an unexpected twist but that’s for you to find out when you read it.

Not only did I enjoy the plot, but Thomas’s writing was as much a pleasure to read. From the title, to her characters, to the profound and heartfelt wisdom she shares along the way, Thomas’s writing refreshed me as her characters struggled to find peace with their deepest desires.

I look forward to reading Thomas’s debut novel Miracle in a Dry Season which will be released in August 2014 by Bethany House. Bethany House sent me a complimentary eBook of Appalachian Serenade by Sarah Loudin Thomas to review.

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Truth Be Told By Carol Cox

“Sometimes the Truth Can Be Dangerous” reads the dust jacket of Truth Be Told, the first novel I have read by Carol Cox. I loved it. It was one of those stories that I wish I had all day to sit and read in one sitting.

Writing is one of my passions and Arizona was where I grew up so Amelia and Granite Springs intrigued me early on. I was pleasantly surprised that Cox quickly draws her readers into the drama surrounding Amelia’s arrival to Granite Springs for another summer.

Anticipating a routine summer working with her father to run his small town paper, Amelia faces tragedy and peril, finds true friends and stubbornly works through small and large setbacks to fulfill her dad’s wish that she find out the truth and let the good citizens of Granite Springs know it.

Cox creates believable, strong, human characters. The character of Thaddeus Gray is particularly loathsome. Clara is refreshing and strong. Jimmy is entertaining. Ben, well, you better read the story to find out more about him.

Amid her exciting plot, Cox poses the question of how far are you willing to go to find out and then defend truth. It is a quintessential quandary explored in an entertaining book, with plenty of adventure. I enthusiastically recommend Truth Be Told. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of Truth Be Told by Carol Cox to review.

50 Things You Need to Know about Heaven by Dr. John Hart

I was drawn to this book by the title and the synopsis that the Bible can answer our most important questions about heaven. As a long-time student of the Bible, I was curious to see what Dr. Hart would share in his book.

While I do not share Dr. Hart’s prevailing religious conviction that all we must do is believe in Jesus to receive the eternal life promised in the Bible, I thought Dr. Hart’s handling of Biblical text was fair and for the most part unbiased.

The organization of the book of one question per chapter worked well. I liked how Dr. Hart referenced multiple translations of the Bible as he addressed different questions. I also like how he briefly referenced scripture in the text but then at the end of each chapter included additional references if we want to study more about a specific topic. It was helpful how he referenced other chapters in the book as needed instead of repeating material he already covered or would cover later in the book.

I found the book easy to read, but thoughtful and thorough in its presentations of the chosen topics. I was particularly intrigued about Dr. Hart’s discussion about the “new earth.” While this discussion of heaven might not answer all your questions, it does an excellent job of showing us how much information the Bible has to share with us about heaven. Bethany House gave me a complimentary copy of 50 Things You Need to Know about Heaven by Dr. John Hart to review.