Author of Sweet Hope and Happy Endings

Tag: Fiction Reviews


BOOK BY: Erin Bartels

The author has a special talent in pulling the reader into the setting of the story. Almost the entirety of the novel takes place in the Porcupine Mountains where characters are hiking, camping and trying to work through issues they’ve ignored for the past decade. This story is very much character driven, with internal struggles causing much of the friction between sisters – Olivia and Melanie. I appreciated the beautiful and polished narrative.

If you are used to reading Christian fiction with a strong faith thread, you will get that here but unlike what a Bible-believing reader has come to expect in the Christian Fiction market. Religious faith, New Age faith, agnosticism and everything in between is discussed as characters grapple with their internal struggles. When Melanie and Olivia started discussing Tarot cards and what they meant and believing in reincarnation, the enjoyment of reading completely left. The question of the existence of God continues throughout the novel, with minor characters feeding into the discussion (who by all appearances believe in the existence of God). The dialogue doesn’t resolve the questions satisfactorily – and sometimes is left completely unfinished, an abrupt change in conversation – and invokes more questions than answers. At the end of the novel, neither sister has resolved their issues with faith – or have they? The reader is left wondering.

As well, a sort of friend/love triangle happens which causes more friction between sisters. That kind of trope isn’t my cup of tea, though other readers will love it. It is handled relatively well – but again, it’s just not my thing.

The biggest disappointment for this reader was the faith thread. If this book had been marketed for the general fiction market, I likely would have enjoyed it more. But with the expectation that this is marketed as Christian Fiction, it is lacking in the essentials. Hope and pointing readers to Truth.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish



Bethany Turner’s latest release is an interesting story of polar opposites battling it out on national television and in life. Her characters are an interesting mix of crazy, maddening guy chef versus sweet but somewhat naïve girl chef.

I loved the opening scene, which set the tone for the rest of the novel. The descriptions were so vivid and the dialogue true to life, I could hear and see everything that was happening “on set”. A major catastrophe pits our hero and heroine against each other and for the rest of the pages readers experience the aftermath of the prologue.

The hero has a MAJOR, and I mean MAJOR, fall out so his story is a tough one to come back from. The heroine, poor thing, is so sweet to everyone and everybody that she doesn’t know when she’s being taken. And does she get taken.

Though marketed as a Christian Fiction novel, I was hard-pressed to find a spiritual thread at all (well, our hero ended up in a place where he was exposed to New Age philosophy, which kind of helped him out). Sadly, this novel misses the mark for Christian Fiction (and I think the opportunity was lost, when our hero falls from grace it sets up a perfect scenario for genuine faith to grow).

That being said, this is a clean, sweet, rom-com for readers who enjoy foodie books.

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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