Ray Blackston's Flabbergasted can best be described as enjoyable word vomit. The manic pixie cliche of contemporary romance meets the standard "character discovers faith in some near death experience" of Christian fiction. in this verbose novel. It takes a while to get used to the author's prosaic writing style, but the overall writing is not bad at all. The characters are likeable enough, and the setting is described fairly well. I like the simple, non preachy message about faith and coming to know God in a real and personal way. This book was first published in 2003 so some references feel slightly dated, but I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys lighthearted Christian romance novels. This ebook is currently free on Amazon so you have nothing to lose except a few hours of reading time so go ahead and check it out!
I have been reading a lot of biblical fiction lately and have come to the conclusion that biblical exegesis is an under-utilized form of fiction. I enjoy how the talented authors of this genre use historical and theological research to sort of "fill in the gaps" of well known biblical stories. It takes a large amount of imagination to writing convincing dialogue and descriptions for a biblical setting, and Jill Eileen Smith does it well. I found the novel Michal to be original and well written, and although it was descriptive it was lacking a little bit in details. I also found the jumps in the timeline to be slightly confusing. It could have been improved by focusing on fewer periods of time. I enjoyed the resolution of the plot and the focus on what the characters learned through their ordeals, but it did tend towards becoming "preachy" and I disagreed with the emphasis being placed solely on Michal's sins while glossing over David's. All in all this was a good read and I look forward to reading more from Jill Eileen Smith.
I'm an avid reader and can read several books per week. As such, I'm always on the lookout for new books. I'm not really picky about what I read so I recently downloaded several free Kindle ebooks from Amazon. One of the books that caught my eye was "A Gift of Ghosts" by Sarah Wynde. Now, I usually don't have high expectations for free books. Most of them are rather amateur attempts by self-published authors. Some can be quite good, but others are horrendously bad. I wasn't sure what to expect from "A Gift of Ghosts" but I was intrigued by the description. Let me just say now, I am so glad I came across this book.
Sarah Wynde studied English in college, and that definitely comes through in the technical aspects of her work. More than being technically good, this book was also very imaginative and had a ton of soul. The beginning of this book does start off a little bit rocky, with the character Akira having an internal dialogue that can be a bit confusing until you get past the first few scenes. Once you get past the first chapter though, this book is astoundingly good. To sum it up without spoiling it too much, a skeptical academic named Akira is offered a mysterious job in the fictional town of Tassamara, Florida. Despite having a special paranormal gift Akira is skeptical of the company that hires her and even more so of all the rest of the mysterious residents of Tassamara. With an eccentric cast of ghosts, telepaths, and scientists, this book is a great for nerdy readers who were fans of the SciFi channel show "Eureka". I should also warn you that there are a few steamy romance scenes that are probably not suitable for younger audiences, but I found them to be very tasteful and not smutty or obscene in the least.
I was absolutely blown away by the creative writing of this story. I found the plot to be extremely well written and the dialogue was supremely natural and fluid. I found myself getting emotionally invested in the characters and wished the book was longer so I could have more time in their world. This is also the book's biggest shortcoming. It is so rich and engrossing that it is simply too short to be entirely satisfactory. I understand the writer's preference to write shorter stories, but I think Wynde could really excel with a longer novel.
Bottom line: If you want to get lost for a few hours in a mystical yet modern fantasy world, go ahead and read this book.