Refiner’s Fire and Other Superlative Titles {book reviews}

Amusing to see the titles together:

  • All Things New
  • With Every Letter
  • At Every Turn
  • Born of Persuasion
  • Refiner’s Fire

Rather a strong bunch of titles for fiction! Here’s what I thought of the books:

All Things New (Virtuous Heart #1)All Things New by Donna Fletcher Crow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy. My first read of this author. The author mentioned its age but that it should be in the same style. She needn’t have worried. I liked it from the get-go.

This story takes place in the summertime, when the characters were in-between working. In that sense it was a tad less realistic for the present time. The story line and strong characters more than made up for that.

It is well written, not predictable, with a strong line of faith throughout. Plenty of conflict and action, not mere conversation or inner thinking. A nice mix. The point of view stuck with the main character. Having a child in the story is a clever way of working in other points of view.

There is more to the story, of course. Let me just share this quote which ‘spoke’ to me.
You’ll find it on page 182:

“She wasn’t feeling so much lost as carried along by events beyond her control. It was a surprisingly comfortable feeling. She had always felt she had to be in control. Control of her environment, of the people around her, of her life. The sense of being able to loosen her grip on the reigns was so relaxing.”

I recommend this as a good clean story about relationships with people and God, a hint of romance and mystery. I plan to read more of Donna Fletcher Crow’s books.

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Refiner's FireRefiner’s Fire by Sylvia Bambola

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy. My first read of this author.

This book is not new. It was published in 2000. It is written timelessly. It is beautiful! A beautiful book. Can’t tell you the last time a book drew me away from reality as this did.

The characters are so clear, so real, whether lovable or not. The writing is strong. The use of the senses to put the reader in another time and place, the use of multiple points of view, tons of conversation, and even some pondering by main pov characters is helpful to the reader.

I love the setting. I love the title. I love the characters. I love the ending. There is so much hope and love in this story, despite the fact that it is set in a dark place during hopeless times. The strong element of faith under persecution is a reminder to the reader that eternity is far more important than today.

I urge you to read the book synopsis. Historical fiction set in Romania, under the iron rule of Ceausescu in 1980s Bucharest, the Underground Church, long lost brothers and their wives. Great insight into the meaning of the Gospel and the thought processes of both regenerate and unregenerate minds.

I highly recommend this book. I will be reading more of this author’s books.

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With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale, #1)With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely love this book! It’s a library copy.

I was living in the story right along with Tom and Mellie. Sarah has a beautiful way of painting the picture, both the physical and relational scene. Beautiful use of dual point of view. Didn’t know how it would end until it did. I was quite frustrated with Mellie’s desire to remain anonymous!

Well done. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a little WWII history mixed in with their romance. Needless to say (or is it), there is a strong faith element in the book, and it is squeaky clean. Love how both characters, not just one, did lots of personal growing during the story.

Thanks for the trip to N. Africa and Sicily!

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At Every TurnAt Every Turn by Anne Mateer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely delightful story! This is a library copy.

I think that Alyce will be with me for awhile. She is so real! I wanted to shake some sense into her at times,
and other times I was admiring her spunk. The story is clever, the characters quite real, and the faith line is the core of the story and carries it to the end. Very well done.

This is a great read for everyone. Squeaky clean (of course), hard to put down. Though it is first person narrative there is plenty of action. The supporting characters are clearly portrayed, and the ‘twist’ is maintained to the end. I especially love the ‘hint’ of romance without all the ‘mess’. It’s a great story because there are many characters of different gender and generation and levels of faith with whom to identify (or not). I’ll be interested to read other reviews to see if any thought it ‘preachy’. I did not.

Great book, Anne! Can’t wait to read the next one!

*Happy to see so many great reviews! The less than stellar ones are not noteworthy in my opinion.

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Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege, #1)Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a library copy.

I chose the book because I was curious about the author, and because it was available in my local library. That means I did not choose it for the story or genre. I am not a fan of Jane Austen or Victorian literature.

I really wanted to like the book. I did not. The best thing I can say, which may not be in its favor, is that it is compelling reading which puts the reader in the midst of the action and keeps curiosity peaked. Which is the only reason I read to the end. That and the hope that the ending would make it worthwhile. As it turns out, it’s the first of a series, not a stand alone.

The characters were all flawed, hopelessly. Not one carried a strong personal relationship with God. Nothing was resolved in the book. The problems at the beginning were still in existence on the last page. The writing was not tight. Never, and I mean never, do I skip over whole lines and paragraphs just to see what’s coming next — I did, without missing anything. If the author intended layers to the story, they were not obvious. God was not present anywhere in this book.

I do not recommend this book. While the language is clean, it is an adult read with suggested promiscuity which is unnecessary to the story. I particularly think this book is not a good read for women who have been abused by anyone. I really don’t like giving negative reviews.

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