Friday, November 21, 2014

Karen Recommends the Audio (or Print) Version of IN THE FIELD OF GRACE by Tessa Afshar

Find this book by clicking on the version you prefer & title below
AUDIOBOOK of In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar
PRINT and E-BOOK of In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar
In the Field of Grace is a must-read for fans of Biblical fiction, especially if you also enjoy a good romance.  Since I’m sharing this review here at Edgy Inspirational Romance, I’m thinking that second bit at least is a pretty safe assumption.  And even if Biblical fiction isn’t usually your thing, humor me for a moment and stick around for this review, because, who knows – this could be the book that wins you over to the genre.  I can tell you, this was my first foray into Biblical fiction, and I’m feeling pretty smitten. 

About the Book (from the Oasis Audio Web site):
Love resurrected from lifeless arms happens in the arms of a loving God.

Without wealth or family, the widow Ruth left her people and followed Naomi, her beloved Hebrew mother-in-law, to rebuild Naomi’s home in Israel. Provisions gone and starvation at the door, Ruth used all that she had left — a strong back and a willing heart — to gather grain in a field, abandoned after the harvest.
Tormented by others, Ruth is shocked to find the owner of the field watching her. Talking to her. Bringing food to her and Naomi. Boaz tells himself his kindness toward Ruth is repayment for the love she has shown to his cousin Naomi. But his heart knows better.

Why You Need to Read (Or Listen To) It:
As you most likely picked up from the book’s description, this novel takes the Biblical story of Ruth as its framework.  The original true story is totally worth reading if you haven’t in a while, and since it clocks in at only four chapters (the entire length of the Old Testament book of Ruth) it’s a quick read.

What Tessa Afshar has done is fictionalize the story by filling in backstory, character motivation, secondary characters, plot points, and historical details that plausibly fit what’s known of the true story.  These additional details come together to form a vivid picture of what could have been, and allow the reader a glimpse into what might have been the thoughts and feelings of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz.  True, it’s speculation.  Nobody really knows for sure.  But wow does this retelling bring the characters and story to life and give the reader a whole new perspective!

I loved that Ruth and Boaz weren’t put on a pedestal, but presented as real-life people of their time period facing very real struggles and learning some tough lessons along the way.  The historical details were interesting and presented naturally within the story.  And I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic parts.  This story did a great job capturing the ups and downs of falling in love and wondering whether that other person could ever reciprocate.  It runs the emotional gamut from tear-jerking to sigh-worthy to laugh-out-loud humorous.  Such a satisfying read!

Oh, and without revealing too much, the epilogue is a real treat.  I don’t think I’ll ever look at the genealogy passages in scripture in quite the same way again.  It’s easy to read individual Bible stories in isolation without considering how the people and stories may have been influenced by the very great-grandparents, etc. that we’ve read about in other Bible stories.

Audio or Print?
I’ll confess up front that I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and love it when I get a chance to review one.  A good performance can add a whole new dimension to an already good story.  Plus, they allow me to indulge my love of reading at times I otherwise couldn’t – like when driving or doing household chores that have my eyes and hands otherwise occupied.

In this audiobook, Laural Merlington’s rich and melodious reading complements the poetic qualities of the quasi-Biblical language of the text.  She also does a great job capturing the emotions of the characters through expressive and varied voices, both male and female.  I found the audio edition quite pleasing to the ear and would highly recommend it to those readers who enjoy the occasional audiobook or want to give listening a try. 

All that said, whether you’re into audiobooks or not, the story is well worth reading, in whatever format you prefer.

Thank you to Oasis Audio for providing a complimentary electronic copy of the audio edition for my review.

Story:  5 Star
Performance:  5 Star
Content:  No edgier than the original as told in the Bible, though if you think about it, that one scene might be considered pretty edgy by Christian fiction standards.  ;)

EIR guest-reviewer Karen Collier writes and reviews Christian fiction, enjoys book discussions, and keeps an audiobook and ebook handy at all times.  For her full bio, social links, and more check out her blog at

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHT! How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

A hearty congratulations goes to our long-time blogging friend and author Amber Stokes (check out the Seasons of Humility blog!) for her newest release: HOW A STAR FALLS, a contemporary NA romance novella which released today!

Click on the title below to find
How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes at Amazon
What it's about (from the Amazon book description):

How does a star fall?
Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he'll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it's far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won't stop trying to run his life.

Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she's crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can't just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

Don't you just love that cover!!! Sweet!

Watch for my review, coming to USA Today's Happy Ever After blog in December!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Celebratory Quiz

I've been absent from EIR for a bit while working on my next book and trying to keep life functioning (at least at some level) To celebrate my return to regular blogging here at EIR, I've developed a fun little quiz. (My result shows below--but take it with a grain of salt, because I've been "in her head" for the last two books and feel a bit closer to her than any of the other possible choices right now!)

I love doing these silly little quizzes, so it was an incredible waste of time incredibly good time creating this one! I do hope you enjoy it! Please leave your comments below!

Just hit the "start" button in the center to take the quiz and find out who YOU are most like from THE RYN!

Friday, October 17, 2014

For Your Must-Read List: Edgy Inspy NA Romance SWAY by Amy Matayo

Click the title below to find
SWAY by Amy Matayo at Amazon
What it's about (from the author):
Falling in love is a beautiful thing. Unless you fall for the wrong person.
Finally settled after a tragedy-laden life, 24-year-old Caleb has found security in his faith, his friends, and his career. It's the life he's always wanted — simple, predictable, and safe. Enter Kate Hawkins, the attractive 21-year-old stranger he rescues from a bar fight who has an odd affinity for the color pink and a unique sense of humor.
It doesn't take long to realize their connection is intense, but after only a handful of dates, a shocking revelation surfaces. Lines are drawn, sides are taken, and loyalties are decided as their newfound relationship is brought to a sudden halt.
But unlike most couples who split, avoiding each other is impossible. As daily interactions become unbearable, one realization becomes clear: they've both fallen hard for the absolute wrong person, which leaves both scrambling for a way to make it right.
Why you should read it: With her first foray into the developing NA category of romance fiction, author Amy Matayo's trademark sass and heartfelt realness have hit — no, slammed into — the bull's-eye with a depth of skill that showcases her growth as an author on this, her third published novel.
As dual point-of-view characters, Caleb and Kate have baggage to spare while still grasping their own unique brands of innocence, seasoned with snark. This is my favorite kind of contemporary romance. It's clean with plenty of steam, and the hearts of both characters are flayed and filleted on their way to happy ever after while a subtle faith thread adds depth to the characters ... and the conflict.
Because of the nature of the story conflict, it is really difficult to write a review for this novel without giving away spoilers. But since I don't want to ruin the several big reveals that left me gasping while reading this book (in one sitting, no less) I will simply say that this book is, absolutely, a must-read for fans of contemporary romance.
Sway is a book every lover of NA romance needs to add to her (or his) collection, but consider yourself warned: it will break your heart a little before it lets you expel the sigh of the supremely satisfied reader. Grab it!
(this review originally appeared at USA Today's Happy Ever After blog)
STORY: 5 stars

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Romantic Suspense DECEIVED by Irene Hannon Deserves Space on Your Shelf!

Click the title below to find
Deceived by Irene Hannon at Amazon
What it's about (from publisher Revell):
For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their 4-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden — and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret.
Why you should read it: Each of the titles of the Private Justice series stands fine on its own, but once you read one, I guarantee you're going to want to read the others.
As is common in romantic suspense novels, several scenes in Deceived are shown from the point-of-view of "the bad guy." As it turns out, he is pretty sympathetic character. While the reader is never led to justify his means of securing his own happiness or revenge, Hannon does a fantastic job of using his nurturing personality to build our concern for him — and for the child-in-question — while never allowing us to forget what tragic injustice has allowed him that happiness.
While in Kate or Connor's point of view we are treated to attraction-turning-to-romance, dedication to a cause, and the revelation of two hearts meant to be joined as one. A few brief forays into a fourth point of view, that of a woman scorned who has dared to hope in love again, pull and twist our sympathies to and fro, anew, upping the stakes for everyone involved.
Irene Hannon knows how to pen a romantic suspense that pounds your pulse at the same time it sets your heart a-flutter with a developing romance. If you have not yet tried this series, make sure you put it on your TBR list!
(this review originally appeared at USA Today's Happy Ever After blog)

Story: 4.5 stars
Content: Edgy, for elements of suspense


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