Susan Karsten’s latest book review: “What Follows After” by Dan Walsh

Dan Walsh draws you in to his fabulous story world — and won’t let you go.  This intriguing book transcends a couple of genres, but I will call it historical fiction, since the bulk of it takes place in the early 1960s. Yet, the whole book has a contemporary feel, and enough mystery to nudge it into that genre as well.

 

Coming to terms with an upsetting family incident in the past is as much as I am going to reveal here. I do not want to spoil the fascinating story that unfolds like a perfect map. (Get my simile?)

I think you will enjoy this well-written, gentle, yet gripping tale.

Susan Karsten’s latest Book Review: “Winter Watch” by Anita Klumpers

Hi, dear blog followers!

I really liked Winter Watch, the debut novel of Anita Klumpers.  Anita lives within about 60 miles of me, so I have met her in person. I want you to know that, even though I consider her a friend, that hasn’t influenced the glowing review I am about to give.

My reading experience of Winter Watch was very good.  It is only the third or fourth book I have read completely on my electronic reading device (Nook).  As I write this review, I only wish I had the print book in my hands to glance over to remind me of all the great things I loved about this story.  The book IS available in both print and electronic version.

But, I will just go by memory.  Not a problem, since this was one memorable doozy of a mystery novel. Inspirational touches lightly sprinkled throughout only added to the enjoyment of this good, clean, crazy good cozy mystery.  I am very favorably impressed by my fellow Wisconsinite author’s debut novel.

Anita, if you are reading this: You nailed it! ~~ and ~~ I loved it! Not only was this story set in Northern Wisconsin, in a town a lot like one I visited on my honeymoon, it featured some extremely unique elements which I found highly enjoyable. Bed and Breakfasts, snowmobiles, home schooling, matchmaking, crushes, antiques, legends, treasure…to name a few.

So, it is with great pleasure that I recommend Winter Watch to you.

 

Susan Karsten’s latest book Review: “Sincerely Yours” Novella Collection (Authors Eakes, Cabot, Kirkpatrick, Shorey)

For variety alone, the novella collection “Sincerely Yours” is worth the price, and more. Four fascinating historical fiction novellas all under one Beautiful cover!

First, you get A MOONLIGHT PROMISE by the prolific and successful author, Laurie Alice Eakes. She brings life on the Hudson River crica 1825 into focus. How knew how fascinating all the steamboat lore would be? Camilla and Capt Black come together in a perfect storm of conflicting desires and needs. I shall say no more, for I do not want to spoil your fun.

Second, we have LESSONS in LOVE by Ann Shorey set circa 1858 Chicago. Who wouldn’t love a humble, handsome piano teacher? The plot twist of heroine Merrie writing wifehood advice is a real cute element. To learn how it all works out, you will want to read this delightful novella.

Third comes ONE LITTLE WORD by Amanda Cabot and this one’s set in Plato Falls, NY, 1892. Cabot’s usual deft touch with fiction comes to the fore once again. LIlac Hall is a fabulous setting for gripping romance and you’ll enjoy the knowledge you will gain about carousels. A true fairy-tale ending is like the dessert in this yummy novella.

Finally we have, A SAVING GRACE by Jane Kirkpatrick. Set in Olalla, WA in 1911, we enter the freaky world of a quack’s sanitarium. Intrepid Grace travels to investigate the condition of her dear friend, and uncovers a dangerous clinic. With the help of a neatly-placed, undercover hero, she works toward a solve, even going so far as to enter the clinic herself. Very good with a unique historical angle.

This novella collection, Sincerely Yours, will give you a lot of reading pleasure. By the way, Jane Kirkpatrick is doing a giveaway at http://janeswordsofencouragement.blogspot.com/  She’d  love for you to be a part of it – so go visit! :)

Susan Karsten’s Latest Book Review: “A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter” by Teigen

106_4080 Prayer for all the aspects of a daughter’s life can feel like an insurmountable hill to climb. The new book: A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter breaks prayer needs into 88 very relatable and realistic prayers. Just glancing through the intriguing prayer topics made me feel like I was opening a treasure trove.

Then as I got into reading them/praying them, I was blown away by the awesomeness of it all. These authors understand so much of what girls go through. If you need help praying, this would be an excellent resource. But, another exciting thing about this book is that we can learn a lot about how to think about our daughters and how to understand them, as well.

Interspersed among the prayers are over fifteen stories (for lack of a better word) that are just pricelessly fascinating.  I highly recommend this book as a resource and it is a pleasure to read it and use it. The cover shows a young girl and her dad – the girl looks about eight, but I have girls in their late teens and this book is so great for their issues, so don’t be put off by the youngness of the cover model.

As an afterthought, I’d like to list some of the really awesome prayer topics: When She’s Angry, When She’d Rejected, When She’s Worried, When She’s Proud, When She’s Depressed, When She’s Falling into Addiction, When She Needs to Laugh.

Susan Karsten’s latest Book Review: In the Shadow of Jezebel, by Mesu Andrews

Enter into the dark world of a Baal priestess! Jehosheba is her name, and pleasing Queen Athalia is her game. When Jehosheba goes undercover in a surprising place, fear and love clash in a mighty way.

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I will  not reveal any more plot twists, but can say that if you love Biblical fiction, this is some of the best! This story will not disappoint. The cover is gorgeous, too.

What’s your favorite Biblical fiction? {answer in a comment}

Movie Review: “All is Lost”

This is my first blogged movie review. “All is Lost” was nominated for an Academy Award, and stars Robert Redford. This movie is about a man whose sailing boat/yacht is struck and damaged by a shipping container. The movie has no dialogue and is one long effort to survive.

The movie did not blow me away with a great film experience, but, by the next morning, as I thought about the movie, a strong spiritual theme emerged. The movie was a parable of Christian being saved by God experience. It was all there, in the right order, and everything! I was surprised.

If you think of the boat as the man’s life, it is damaged. He tries to patch it–the patch holds for a while. He signals for help with flares, and each time, the passing ship…passes him by. He uses alcohol. His ship is sinking. There is no way to fix it by himself. He gets in a lifeboat. He sets his own lifeboat on fire (by mistake) and it sinks.

Now comes the God part.

The man is in the water, not treading very hard. He goes under. A hand reaches down and drags him to the surface, saving him.

That’s just how it works. We are sinking in sin (and can’t save ourselves no matter how we try), God drags us to himself and graciously saves us.

It doesn’t appear by all interviews, reviews, and accounts of this movie being made that this was an intended picture of Christian salvation, but it really plays out that way.

Review by Susan Karsten

 

 

Susan Karsten’s latest Book Review: Summer of Joy, by Ann H. Gabhart

The Summer of 1964 – ah, I remember it well. From the scrumptious front cover to the last word on the last page, this little page-turner will have you delighting in period details, as well as rolling along with unpredictable plot twists that never disappoint in surprising – but make you glad you hung on for the ride.

Yes, it’s exciting, mysterious, and gripping …  but it is also touching, possibly tear-inducing, and carouses on waves of good old fashioned family values with a twist.

I hope this hard-to- categorize novel finds its well-deserved readership.

Susan Karsten

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