Book Review Forget Me and Giveaway

Title: Forget Me
Author: Chelsea Vanderbeek
Genre: YA Christian Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Sabine is a budding poet who was practically born with a pencil in her hand. Though her intelligence and maturity far surpasses that of those around her, she lacks the confidence and social graces to come out of her shell.

She’s been forced on numerous occasions in the past to slip inside the glass double doors of Hilltop Baptist Church. The youth group was her mom’s idea, really. A shot-in-the-dark way for Sabine to try and make some wholesome friends in a wholesome place. Not that it ever worked out—at least she was usually able to make it out with minimal negative attention as her plain-old invisible self.

This time was different. She always hoped it would be different, but not like this. When Sabine decides she’s had enough of this life, she ends it and becomes more visible than she’s ever been before. Is it possible she wasn’t as forgettable as she once thought? The only way to find out is to watch the aftermath unfold, and no matter the outcome, she can’t do a thing about it. No one can…

…or can they?

Forget Me is an inspiring, beautiful story about Sabine, a budding poet who is intelligent and mature for her age… But is also painfully shy, and lacks the confidence to make friends and open up to others, and come out of her shell. Her mother pressures her to go the Hilltop Baptist Church, to a youth group, in the hope of making friends there. It has never really worked out, and Sabine struggles to find a home in this world. But when she decides she’s had enough and takes some drastic steps, it might turn out she’s not as forgettable as she always thought she was.

Reminiscent of 13 Reasons Why, this is a raw, emotional, heartbreaking tale of a teen struggling with low self-esteem and depression. It’s a tough book to read and an even tougher one to read, as the subject matter is quite sensitive and bleak, but the author does a phenomenal job crafting believable teenage characters, and making Sabine’s struggles feel real and honest.

Not a feel-good kind of book, but one that I can genuinely recommend to teens, even the ones struggling with depression or the same things the protagonist is struggling with. The writing is sincere and genuine, and you can feel the author’s genuine intentions to relay a message to the readers. There’s a lot of good intent, passion, and kindness in the writing of this book, despite the bleak narrative.

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Mini-Reviews: Black Swan Rising, Rooms, Dance with the Dead

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Black Swan Rising

Tite: Black Swan Rising

Author: Lee Carroll

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. . . .

That evening, the precious silver box is stolen. When Garet begins to investigate, she learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old, and opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan and the world at large. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity—one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?

On her journey, she will meet the fey folk who walk unnoticed among humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager that she can’t stop thinking about. But the fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Whom can Garet trust to guide her? Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she’s got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world.

Review: The book started out strong and atmospheric, but then lost some of its charm along the way, with the introduction of the elementals, and then some parts that didn’t make much sense. I did like the main character, Garet James, and the storytelling was all right for the most part. I loved the first half of the book, but only somewhat enjoyed the second part.

Rooms

Title: Rooms

Author: James L. Rubart

Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery

Rating: 2 stars

Purchase: Amazon

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

Review: When I started reading this book, I didn’t realize it was Christian fiction, which isn’t my usual genre, but I did enjoy part of it nevertheless. I thought this would be more of a ghost story, so I went in expecting that (the hallways and doors appearing and disappearing had me thrown off) but it wasn’t that at all. Anyway, most people who read it, loved it, but for me it was over the top, and the characters didn’t act very realistic either.

Dance with the Dead

Title: Dance with the Dead

Author: James Nally

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Aspiring actress Elizabeth Smart lands her centre stage role: her mutilated body is found dumped in North London’s red light district. Clasped in her hand is a piece of human hair belonging to an unidentified body of a woman murdered two weeks ago.
Aspiring actress Elizabeth Smart lands her centre stage role: her mutilated body is found dumped in North London’s red light district. Clasped in her hand is a piece of human hair belonging to an unidentified body of a woman murdered two weeks ago.
PC Donal lands himself a place on the murder squad just as his unconventional brother, journalist Finton, unearths the secret double life of Elizabeth.
The bodies mount, each clinging to the strands of hair belonging to the previous victim. The police are convinced it’s the act of a serial killer. But how does Donal convince them it’s not?
The only people he can trust are the victims he dances with in his dreams.

Review: I have to admit I picked up this book because the cover intrigued me – the synopsis didn’t convince me that much. But soon enough, I started getting sucked into the sotry and loved every minute of it. PC Donal is an amazing protagonist, with some hidden secrets, the case kept me on the edge of my seat, and the writing was excellent.

Book Review Peacemaking by Lance LoRusso

Final COver 2Title: Peacemaking

Author: Lance LoRusso

Genre: Christian fiction

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“There are few things more dangerous for a cop than searching a building at night.” He was making his way forward with Pete at his back when he felt it. It was hard to describe, but it stopped him in his tracks, and his fingers and toes went cold.

Scotty Painter is the most respected member of his police department, having worked his way up from a street cop to deputy chief. After losing his wife, Christine, to cancer and giving his daughter away at her wedding, he now lives alone. His life as a cop is not easy, however, as he is haunted by the misery he has seen and the things he had to do to survive. One day, he finds himself sharing his deepest and most troubling thoughts with the only one who can truly understand his struggles and answer his questions. In a world far apart from his days filled with life and death decisions, Scotty comes face to face with his fears, his faith, and his destiny.

In Peacemaking, police officer Scotty has gone through some challenging times. His wife died of cancer, his daughter moved out, he’s a cop who regularly sees the darkest sides of humanity, and he’s haunted by the things he had to do to survive. Now, in his darkest hour, he shares his most troubling thoughts, and comes face to face with his fears.

The book is quite short, and a fast read. It doesn’t come across as preachy, but instead gives an honest insight in the life and troubles of a man, and investigates his relationship with God. Rather than based on plot, this book is based mostly on characterization. It was interesting to follow Scotty’s struggles, to be able to relate to him, and to discover how he found himself and his own destiny.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Peacemaking

peacemakingbanner

I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for Christian fiction “Peacemaking”. The tour runs from December 7 to December 14, and I’ll review the book on December 14. Stay tuned for the review!

You can win an ARC of the book and a $20 Amazon gift card during the tour. Scroll down to participate!

Tour Schedule

December 7th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

December 9th: Promo Post @ Illuminite Caliginosus

December 11th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

December 12th: Promo Post @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

December 13th: Book Excerpt @ Author C.A. Milson’s Blog

December 14th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

About the Book

Final COver 2Title: Peacemaking

Author: Lance LoRusso

Genre: Christian fiction

“There are few things more dangerous for a cop than searching a building at night.” He was making his way forward with Pete at his back when he felt it. It was hard to describe, but it stopped him in his tracks, and his fingers and toes went cold.

Scotty Painter is the most respected member of his police department, having worked his way up from a street cop to deputy chief. After losing his wife, Christine, to cancer and giving his daughter away at her wedding, he now lives alone. His life as a cop is not easy, however, as he is haunted by the misery he has seen and the things he had to do to survive. One day, he finds himself sharing his deepest and most troubling thoughts with the only one who can truly understand his struggles and answer his questions. In a world far apart from his days filled with life and death decisions, Scotty comes face to face with his fears, his faith, and his destiny.

Author Bio

Photo RTB Invite LJL-3Lance LoRusso is a law enforcement officer turned attorney. Having worked as a street cop, trainer, hostage negotiator, public relations officer, and investigator, he regularly trains law enforcement officers from around the United States. As an attorney, he responds to the scene of officer involved shootings and represents officers through interviews with homicide and internal affairs investigators as well as grand jury hearings.

His first book, When Cops Kill: The Aftermath of a Critical Incident, explores all aspects of an officer involved shooting. LoRusso, having been interviewed by the likes of CNN, FOX, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, and others, has put the book into use in law enforcement academies, advanced training for law enforcement executives, and college courses in criminal justice. All of the profits from When Cops Kill support law enforcement charities like www.huntingforheroes.org. Lance LoRusso practices law in Atlanta, Georgia where he lives with his wife, Barbara

Links

Website: http://www.lancelorussobooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Peacemaking-874402082655048/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeacemakingBook

Giveaway

 
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Book Review: Gabby, Angel of God by Greg Sandora

angelofgodB5_optforweb - CopyTitle: Gabby, Angel of God
Author: Greg Sandora
Genre: Christian fiction / fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Buy: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Gabby, Angel of God is an Angel Encounter – Adventure!

When Bo, a grieving widower, meets Gabby, he’s struck by her beauty, grace and laughter that wash over him like the sweetest song in heaven. Gabby is unlike any angel ever dreamed of—evil has no strength against her and the dark one and his minions are no match for this warrior of God. All Bo knows is that Gabby is every man’s dream and every woman’s nightmare…until she shows her true character and everyone loves her for the force of righteousness she is! Rescuing those in danger, providing for the poor and lifting up those in despair, Gabby does it all while wearing killer stilettos and a fab little black dress or tight jeans and a leather jacket.

Bo falls in love with Gabby, but she won’t let her own desires interfere with God’s orders and her mission. He realizes her short stay in his life is bittersweet because he’s going to lose another woman he loves. He’s been insensitive to the women in his life after his wife died, but Gabby has taught him the eternal power of love. Ever relentless, Bo is determined to exploit that power to the nth degree to get what he wants—never realizing he can destroy his destiny and the glorious future God has for mankind!

The story starts out with a young widower, Bo, raising two small children and the three heartbeats that will change his life. Ride along as stunningly beautiful Gabby, takes this human man on the no-holds barred adventure of a lifetime!

If you’ve ever lost a loved one this story is for you!

A story of Peace, Love, Hope, Charity and the strength of Faith, you’ll love Gabby, Angel of God
Gabby, is gorgeous, powerful, and able to take on forces that would make the most powerful armies turn and run for their lives.

When a widower who feels he has lost everything meets an angel, he finds out that his life is just beginning. Gabby is an angel of God who shows him that life is always full of surprises, adventures and a lot more meaning than we can easily fathom. She shows Bo how to help others, be open to love again and find the hidden strength that lies within all of us. It is a story with heart and hope that will take you on an adventure of faith with one amazing angel.

Reading Gabby, Angel of God will leave you feeling good about your life and dreaming of heaven.

In Gabby, Angel of God, Bo is a grieving widower when he first meets Gabby. He’s struck by her beauty, her easy-going ways, and she sparks something inside of him that he never thought possible. In fact, she’s almost too good to be true, helping those in need, wanting to take care of everyone, and in general just being a good person. Although caring, she’s also quite tough and capable of standing up for herself and others. But Gabby is actually an Angel, and she’s come to help Bo find his path to the destiny God has written for him a long time ago. Bo never thought something of the sort would be possible, let alone would happen to him, but it does so either way.

The story is a little bittersweet at times though. Because while Bo falls for Gabby, she won’t let her own desire interfere with God’s orders and the mission she’s been sent to do. Bo on the other hand will lose another woman he loves. Of both characters, I liked Bo the most, probably because it’s easier to relate to him, with him being human and all. Gabby comes across as angelic, unattainable, harder to comprehend for the reader – which makes sense, of course, but this made it easier to relate to Bo’s struggles than to hers.

There’s an interesting view on the supernatural in the book, on religion and divinity, all while bringing a heart-warming and inspiring story. Ideal for the holidays, and in general for anyone who likes books that reflect on spirituality and faith, or just a good read for that matter.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party for Gabby, Angel of God

gabbybanner

I’m hosting the starter day party today for christian fiction/fantasy “Gabby, Angel of God”. I’ll review the book on December 25.

Tour Schedule

December 18th: Starter Day Party @ http://iheartreading.net

December 18th: Book Excerpt @ http://paranormalbookfairy.blogspot.be/

December 20th: Promo Post @ http://thesinglelibrarian.weebly.com

December 22nd: Book Excerpt @ http://hollowreaders.weebly.com

December 24th: Promo Post @ http://bedazzledreading.wordpress.com

December 25th: Book Review @ http://iheartreading.net

About the Book

angelofgodB5_optforweb - CopyTitle: Gabby, Angel of God

Author: Greg Sandora

Genre: Christian fiction / fantasy

Gabby, Angel of God is an Angel Encounter – Adventure!

When Bo, a grieving widower, meets Gabby, he’s struck by her beauty, grace and laughter that wash over him like the sweetest song in heaven. Gabby is unlike any angel ever dreamed of—evil has no strength against her and the dark one and his minions are no match for this warrior of God. All Bo knows is that Gabby is every man’s dream and every woman’s nightmare…until she shows her true character and everyone loves her for the force of righteousness she is! Rescuing those in danger, providing for the poor and lifting up those in despair, Gabby does it all while wearing killer stilettos and a fab little black dress or tight jeans and a leather jacket.

Bo falls in love with Gabby, but she won’t let her own desires interfere with God’s orders and her mission. He realizes her short stay in his life is bittersweet because he’s going to lose another woman he loves. He’s been insensitive to the women in his life after his wife died, but Gabby has taught him the eternal power of love. Ever relentless, Bo is determined to exploit that power to the nth degree to get what he wants—never realizing he can destroy his destiny and the glorious future God has for mankind!

The story starts out with a young widower, Bo, raising two small children and the three heartbeats that will change his life. Ride along as stunningly beautiful Gabby, takes this human man on the no-holds barred adventure of a lifetime!

If you’ve ever lost a loved one this story is for you!

A story of Peace, Love, Hope, Charity and the strength of Faith, you’ll love Gabby, Angel of God
Gabby, is gorgeous, powerful, and able to take on forces that would make the most powerful armies turn and run for their lives.

When a widower who feels he has lost everything meets an angel, he finds out that his life is just beginning. Gabby is an angel of God who shows him that life is always full of surprises, adventures and a lot more meaning than we can easily fathom. She shows Bo how to help others, be open to love again and find the hidden strength that lies within all of us. It is a story with heart and hope that will take you on an adventure of faith with one amazing angel.

Reading Gabby, Angel of God will leave you feeling good about your life and dreaming of heaven.

 

Author Bio

Greg SandoraFive Star Review: “the most inspiring story I have ever read”
GABBY, ANGEL OF GOD

Currently working on the Sequel to Gabby, Angel of God, tentatively titled:
Protector: Kingdom of Heaven

I’m originally from the Portland, Maine area and lived and worked there for years before moving to Southwest Florida. My first book, Jack Canon’s American Destiny: He’s All In, is a Presidential Thriller, or some might say White House Mystery Thriller, packed with action and adventure. I just completed the sequel to Jack Canon’s American Destiny – which is titled Jack Canon’s Women of the House: Love, Lust and Loyalty (A story of Kindness, Passion and Courage that can’t be separated. It’s has all of the same components of the first but leans toward a Presidential Romance, or White House Romance Thriller. The sequel is just as action packed, but with a bit more spice than the first, some would say it’s very sensual. Anyway both are available on Amazon now. 

Gabby, Angel of God is a Supernatural Romance Thriller, it involves an angel, Gabby, short for Gabriella – Basically, a man during a visit to Bar Harbor, Maine encounters a beautiful angel named Gabby; quite accidentally, he is told – she wasn’t supposed to make him aware of her existence. His purity of spirit, kindness and capacity for love has revealed her to him. Naturally he falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful creature, as humans can not resist angels. The book is titled Gabby, Angel of God, Guardian and Messenger (Keeper of the Peace, Love, Hope, Charity and Faith. She’s quite something and they go on a quick but exciting adventure helping people in trouble. There’s even some horror thrown into the mix. Gabby fits nicely in the Supernatural, Romantic Thriller, Paranormal and Time Travel genres. All three books have adventures and thrills, are fast paces and even some hilarious moments. The Jack Canon series will eventually be about 7 books, book three is tentatively titled, Jack Canon’s Ghost Operative, it’s a Presidential Agent Thriller and deals heavily in the shady dealings of the CIA, Global Terrorism, and the do-what-ever it takes spy mentality. Anyway the attitude of President Jack Canon is to make things right, No matter what! My hope is to have people read the stories and let me know their thoughts. My dream is to write full time and return to beautiful Maine in the Summertime while spending winters in Florida. I probably share that goal with a lot of people. 

My Dad and Mom were artists, my father painted and my mother wrote poetry and loved to garden. Most Saturdays we loaded up the 1970 Chevy Impala to trek to a one man show somewhere or other. I took a different track graduating with a business degree; owning and operating an Award Winning Franchise Fitness Center. Currently a professional manager I am living in Florida with my beautiful wife and children, and following my passion.

 

Links

Amazon

website http://www.gregsandora.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/gregsandora

Twitter https://twitter.com/gregsandora

Google + https://plus.google.com/115306432722909460506

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/gregsandora

Mini-Review: Interrupted, Solitary House, Silent Witness

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Interrupted

Title: Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words

Author: Rachel Coker

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Christian Fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn t shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie s heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.

Review: Allie, our main character, isn’t very pleasant. After losing her mother, she becomes a bitter, sometimes even cruel person. Even when Sam, and old childhood friend movies in, and slowly, Allie lets her guard down. She no longer hates christianity, and with World War II raging around them, the world has begun to change, and so has Allie. While the book isn’t very upbeat, it does have a happy ending and was overall enjoyable.

The Solitary House

Title: Solitary House

Author: Lynn Shepherd

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Crime

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Lynn Shepherd’s first acclaimed novel of historical suspense, Murder at Mansfield Park, brilliantly reimagined the time of Jane Austen. Now, in this spellbinding new triumph, she introduces an unforgettable duo of detectives into the gaslit world of Dickens.

London, 1850. Charles Maddox had been an up-and-coming officer for the Metropolitan police until a charge of insubordination abruptly ended his career. Now he works alone, struggling to eke out a living by tracking down criminals. Whenever he needs it, he has the help of his great-uncle Maddox, a legendary “thief taker,” a detective as brilliant and intuitive as they come.

On Charles’s latest case, he’ll need all the assistance he can get.

To his shock, Charles has been approached by Edward Tulkinghorn, the shadowy and feared attorney, who offers him a handsome price to do some sleuthing for a client. Powerful financier Sir Julius Cremorne has been receiving threatening letters, and Tulkinghorn wants Charles to—discreetly—find and stop whoever is responsible.

But what starts as a simple, open-and-shut case swiftly escalates into something bigger and much darker. As he cascades toward a collision with an unspeakable truth, Charles can only be aided so far by Maddox. The old man shows signs of forgetfulness and anger, symptoms of an age-related ailment that has yet to be named.

Intricately plotted and intellectually ambitious, The Solitary House is an ingenious novel that does more than spin an enthralling tale: it plumbs the mysteries of the human mind.

Review: A mash-up between “Bleak House” and “The Woman in White” that never matches the greatness of either of those novels, but does offer an intriguing book. Charles Maddox is an intriguing protagonist, and the mystery at hand is complex and interesting. The book is a bit pretentious though, with stiff Victorian dialogue that could’ve flowed better. I did enjoy it, and I wouldn’t mind reading more books by this author.

Silent Witness

Title: Silent Witness

Author: Shirley Wells

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.

Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to pursue the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help. The other obvious suspect—the victim’s second husband—has a watertight alibi. But Dylan has a strong hunch that as usual, there’s more going on than meets the eye in Dawson’s Clough.

The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did?

Review: Dylan Scott is one of my favorite private investigators, and Lancashire is a great background setting for the investigator to do his work. The mystery has a great plot, interesting to the last minute, and the writing is solid as well. Ideal for mystery fans, and I certainly enjoyed it.

Book Review: Bella Maura by Dawn Dyson

9003854Title: Bella Maura (Beautiful Justice #1)
Author: Dawn Dyson
Genre: Spiritual, Christian Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Creation House
Rating: 4,5 stars
Review copy provided by the author.
Goodreads | Author’s Website

How far would you go to protect the ones you love?
When novelist Sienna Emory decides to come to the aid of an old college friend, she finds more than she bargained for. Not only does her friend Cheney have a full-blown drug addiction, she also has an endearing ex-husband who is still trying to help her. An unlikely match, Sienna and Jonathan soon become close. Jonathan’s five-year-old daughter seems to be the answer to Sienna’s prayers. Never able to have children of her own, Sienna is overjoyed at the prospect of finding a mate in Jonathan and a daughter in little Bella. But Cheney is not a typical friend and Bella is not a typical little girl.
Join Sienna and Jonathan on the discovery of Bella Maura’s sprirtual gift. It will lead them, and you, from America to Jonathan’s hometown in Ireland, where the gift is perceived as a curse that has tormented the Driscoll clan for centuries. Will Sienna and Jonathan help Bella use it for the good?

I have to admit that I’ve hardly read any Christian Fiction, and that I usually shy away from the genre. Bella Maura is the exception to the rule, the novel I simply couldn’t resist even if it wasn’t in a genre I usually read or am very fond of. I’m glad I made the exception, I’m glad I gave Bella Maura a chance, because it certainly does not dissapoint.

Sienna is a renowed novelist, and ‘foster parent’ for ‘her girls’, homeless or abused young women she takes into her home and makes a part of her family. Since she’s a very generous, compassionate and loving person, she naturally comes to the aid of her old college friend, Cheney, when the latter calls and asks for her help. But Sienna has no idea of the mess she’s gotten into. Cheney has no intention of really recovering whatsoever, and like her drug addiction and alcoholism isn’t bad enough, Sienna also discovers that she has a daughter she’s been avoiding for years. When Sienna gets to know Cheney’s neighbour and friend, Jonathan, it doesn’t take her long to figure out that Jonathan is the father of the daughter Cheney abandoned: Bella Maura.

Unable to have children herself, Sienna immediately feels a strong connection to the young girl. And when Sienna and Jonathan’s relationship blossoms, she ‘adopts’ Bella Maura as her own daughter. But unfortunately, there are still some troubles ahead. Cheney is struggling her addiction in a rehabilitation centre, someone is leaving weird notes for Sienna, and Bella has a special talent to connect with God that could end in disaster.

Dawn Dyson has an amazing writing voice. She writes descriptions with such delicate care, each word of the sentence holding a special meaning, and each sentence as mesmerizing as the one before. She is truly a master of words, and the way she crafts her words, sentences and paragraphs into this great, meaningful and amazing story, is nothing short but a miracle. Her writing style totally charmed me, overwhelmed me even, and left me very impressed. She puts grave thoughts, and life-altering questions in her novel with such ease that I, as a reader, was hardly surprised by all the questions this book kept asking me.

Bella Maura asks questions about the meaning of life, about the existence of evil, about the goodness of another person’s heart, about spirituality, God, and more things that we hardly stand still to think about, but are important parts of our day-to-day life. We deal with good and evil on a daily basis, yet we never stop to think about the very nature of good and evil. And the thing with Bella Maura is that, where in other novels I might be repulsed by such questions, and disregard the novel as being either too spiritual or too difficult and nerve-wrecking to continue, now I didn’t. The beautiful narrator’s voice, the distinctive and recognisable characters, the undeniable sense of love that this novel radiates, is more than enough to keep on reading, to ask yourself the questions this book challenges you to ask, and to do all of that without even a hint of annoyance. Bella Maura doesn’t just force its readers to continue reading, to turn page after page after page eagerly anticipating what’s coming next – it also challenges its readers, dares them to think out of the box, to think about their own part in life, their own connection to God, to define what is good and what is evil. That’s pretty much what all great books do, and Bella Maura truly is a great book.

The main characters, Sienna and Jonathan, share this amazing love connection that makes me believe there’s still hope for all of us. Their love is strong, both on an emotional and day-to-day level and on a higher, spiritual level. From the first moment they meet, they are drawn to each other with a force that cannot be explained any other way then that they’re soulmates. Both are charming, loving, caring, compassionate and giving so much for others that they often forget all about themselves. They are both very inspiring, and although their romance might start off a bit like a whirlwind, and I’ve always had some trouble grasping the whole ‘falling in love with each other in a day or two’ issue, but nevertheless, Dawn Dyson succeeds in making their relationship convincing, heartfelt and adorable.

I also really loved the other characters: Bella Maura, Jonathan’s little girl with a special talent and a deep connection with God and the world around her, the girls Sienna took into her home and looked after, and even Cheney, Sienna’s old college-friend who is now a drug-addict and alcoholist. The personalities of all characters were very well described throughout the novel, and I had the feeling I got to know all of them by the end of it. My heart went out to Sienna, and to ‘her girls’ for overcoming abuse, and for still being able to live, laugh, care and love. They were really a family, despite all their different backgrounds, thoughts and opinions, and it was really heartwarming to see their interactions.

From the suburbs of America to the shores of Ireland, this novel offers a plotline that is as divers and intense as its characters, a fast-paced adventure and a  journey of self-discovery, and acceptance that there is something greater than us all.

As I already said, Dawn Dyson is not afraid to touch some sensitive topics, and to ask her readers some valuable questions, but she does so with the support of an amazing cast of characters, and a strong and suspenseful plot. Bella Maura will both amaze and surprise you.