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 received a copy of this book free of charge in return for my honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own*
After I finished the first book in the Tassamara series by Sarah Wynde, I was astounded by the quality of her writing and couldn't wait to read the rest of the series. I emailed her expressing my appreciation of the first novel and she graciously provided me with the rest of the series for free. (Sidenote: If you read a book that is really good and the author has a website or email address, email them! Authors love to hear your feedback, especially new and upcoming authors)
The second Tassamara novel is "A Gift of Thought". This book leaves the setting of Tassamara and takes place mostly in Washington, D.C. I was mildly disappointed that Akira and co. were left behind, but I actually really liked that this book focused on ghostly teenager Dillon and his new relationship with his parents. Dillon was one of my favorite characters in "A Gift of Ghosts", and in my opinion, is really the star of the series. As usual with Wynde's writing, the dialogue and plot are superb. Every character really comes to life and you feel like you get to know them on a personal level. I do wish a few of the background characters had been fleshed out a bit more, but within the constraints of a shorter novel the writing is still exceptional. On the plus side, there was more action and drama packed into the last few chapters of this novel and I really enjoyed that. I read the entire book in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.
Bottom line: Even though this is probably my least favorite book of the series, it is still extremely well written and worth a read if you enjoyed the first book.