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Fiction Book Reviews

***** Inspirational Fiction *****

Any good book can be an inspiration, but many of these books highlight people overcoming adversity or reaching new levels of understanding. Whether they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or have help from a higher power, these books will uplift and entertain you.


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Fifteen Minutes

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Kingsbury, Karen(2013)
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Fifteen Minutes

In Kingbury`s latest inspirational Christian fiction, Zack Dylan tries out for the `Fifteen Minutes` reality TV show so he can save the family horse farm. Zack promises God, his grandfather, himself and his girlfriend, Reese, that he will not change and compromise his beliefs. When he becomes an overnight sensation, paired with another female contestant, Zack discovers that he has slowly slipped away from daily prayer, kissed another girl, and agreed not to mention God on the show. What will happen to his Kentucky sweetheart? Will she head to London for a job as a therapeutic horse instructor? What will be the cost of being a country pop idol? The realistic characters and issues on fame and reality TV make this a real page turner.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Christmas Pony

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Carlson, Melody(2012)
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The Christmas Pony

During the Depression of 1937, Lucy Turnbull, her mother and Grandma turn their upstairs into a boarding house. They just have a milk cow and chickens left on the farm. As Lucy ambles down the country road to town to exchange black knit socks done by her mother for some meager groceries, an unfamiliar car breaks down on the road. Lucy invites Veronica and George to stay in her boarding house. As Christmas approaches Lucy’s wish for a pony looks slim. Lucy’s world takes a turn, as these guests change her life with Veronica flitting around in actress mode and George tinkering with their old car and rigging lights in the chicken coop. The homespun characters will make readers smile.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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A Simple Christmas Wish

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Carlson, Melody(2013)
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A Simple Christmas Wish

This Christmastime romance winds its way from the forty-ninth floor apartment to an Ohio Amish farm. Rachel Milligan is dragging an evergreen tree up the elevator so she and her godchild, Holly, can decorate it before her parents arrive home from vacation. The pristine apartment floor is full of pine needles, the coffee table is messy with paste and colored paper scraps from making ornaments, and the lights adorn the tree. Exhausted, Rachel is ready to head to bed when the telephone rings. `Are you a relative of Michael and Miriam Milligan? I`m sorry to inform you...` You are in for some surprises, family secrets, and romance along the way. Carlson has written for over 20 years and has been awarded The Romantic Times Career Achievement Award.

Reviewed by Gay L., Independence Regional

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Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

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Lamott, Anne(2013)
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Stitches is a small, inspirational book packed full of HOPE, the idea of love, and acceptance of yourself. Lamott acknowledges the world is violent, messy and not fair. She poses questions about the meaning of life, like `What if you don`t ever get over tragic loss in your life?` The tone of the book is authentic and conversational, like you are sipping coffee with Anne and she`s telling you a story to illustrate a point, yet it challenges you to find meaning and happiness by discovering a need and filling that need in small ways with great love. Anne suggests we `Lean against each other, so none of us will blow away in the cold wind` and do accept ourselves and the help from others, but never give up.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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Starry Night

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Macomber, Debbie(2013)
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Starry Night

When Carrie threatens to resign her job at the newspaper, her boss makes a deal with her. If Carrie can find Finn, the popular but elusive writer of outdoor adventure books, her boss will allow her to move from society page editor to become a serious reporter. Finn never dreamed his first novel would captivate readers. He wants to remain secluded in the wild, away from reporters looking for an interview. Highly motivated, Carrie heads to the backcountry of Alaska in search of Finn. Carrie must decide if happiness is in the job she’s dreamed of, or something else entirely. I especially liked the descriptions of the Alaskan wild, the vast endless snow, and the starry, midnight blue sky.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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A Nantucket Christmas

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Thayer, Nancy(2013)
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A Nantucket Christmas

Looking for a contemporary family holiday title with a smattering of romance, a winter island setting, and time in front of a cozy fire in a cottage? This quick read finds Seb`s daughter trying to get her divorced parents back together, while Max, the grandchild, steals your heart as he explores all the winter happenings on the island, bakes cookies, and discovers Santa and a special buddy. This is Nicole’s first Christmas with her new husband, Seb, but Seb`s pregnant daughter is determined to spoil the holiday. Nicole and Seb get two unexpected guests and days filled with conflicts as well as magical moments. Join Nicole, a new stepmother and grandmother, as she navigates around devious schemes and digs up extra patience for the holiday.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Dawn of Christmas: Romance from the Heart of Amish Country

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Woodsmall, Cindy(2013)
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The Dawn of Christmas: Romance from the Heart of Amish Country

This light romantic Amish tale tumbles from joyful bliss over shy, young Sadie Yoder becoming engaged to Daniel, a handsome newcomer, to a sullen Sadie with her world turned upside down. As Daniel denies his infidelity a day before their marriage, Sadie’s family and friends believe Daniel’s story, not what Sadie says she saw. Only her father believes her and allows her to move to another city to get away from the gossiping. She invents ways to cope and to be independent. Just as she begins to trust others, unexpected events erupt in her face. Will Daniel`s lies haunt her? The family meddling to find a spouse for Sadie and Sadie’s musings add humor and tension to this Christmas story.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Dogs of Christmas

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Cameron, W. Bruce(2013)
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The Dogs of Christmas

Josh is reluctantly straddled with his neighbor’s pregnant dog, when his neighbor leaves the dog and drives off for a trip to Europe. Josh’s handling of the pet he never had as a child is hilarious and sobering at the same time. When he seeks help caring for newborn puppies from the animal shelter worker, Kerri, Josh finds someone to share his trials and joy while discovering how love’s power can transform people. This quick holiday read is filled with wisdom for living and memorable characters that steal your heart. I especially enjoyed the animal characters: Haughty Waldo the cat, and energetic Bob the lovable boxer. But, Ruffus, the guide dog to another dog was my favorite.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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Lydia's Hope

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Perry, Marta(2013)
Lydia's Hope

What would it be like to discover you have a sister your parents never told you about? How about two unknown sisters? This is a story of three very young Amish sisters being separated after a car accident. When Lydia questions comments made about her real mother by her aunt, Lydia realizes that she had two sisters when her parents died in the accident. She is determined to find her sisters, Chloe and Susanna. Other secrets bubble to the surface as Lydia searches. The themes of family betrayal and love weave in and out of the story. This suspense filled Christian fiction shows how one discovery after another has a ripple effect on the family and the community. What I enjoyed most was reconnecting with the realistic characters from other Marta Perry titles.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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The Winnowing Season

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Woodsmall, Cindy(2013)
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The Winnowing Season

In this second book of the Amish Vines and Orchards series, Rhoda Byler finds that leaving Unity and starting a new Amish community in Maine is not so easy. Joining with another family to refurbish an abandoned orchard and living under one roof with two brothers that are sweet on her makes settling in Maine more complicated than she planned. The author’s dimensional characters make this story come alive. The suspense, each characters` secrets, the romances, and the realistic family dynamics makes this a Christian fiction book that you do not want to put down. Crime issues, poor decisions, and the surprise ending will leave you eager for the third book in this series.

Reviewed by Gay Ann L., Independence Regional

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