Review of “Where We Belong” by Lynn Austin


Book Review

“Where We Belong” is a Victorian era adventure story. It features quite a bit of time-hopping within the two sisters’ lifetimes – but what lifetimes! Through their eyes we witness the hurdles in place for women of their time – in education, in exotic travel … and yes, in romance too.

I would say that Christian women are definitely the target audience for this particular novel, and if you also happen to have a love of archeology … or just Indiana Jones movies, then you would also likely enjoy the journeys of these two sisters. Set primarily in Chicago, this novel also paints a portrait of life in the windy city before, during and after the great Chicago fire.

This is a clean book, it contains nothing inappropriate for young adult readers – however, I don’t feel it is one they would be drawn to particularly.  [At the beginning of the story the sisters are already middle-aged.]

I’m rating this one 4 out of 5 relics.

Cover Review

This cover is beautiful. Your gaze is automatically drawn to both the period costumes of the young ladies … and the Egyptian skyline they are staring at beyond them. It accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. You are immediately sucked into an Egyptian travel adventure, and you know that it is a historical.

Having the author’s name more prominent than the book’s title is also a smart move. I loved the cover art, but I will admit that what sold me on buying the book was the name of the author. I had previously read several of Lynn’s novels, including “Until We Reach Home” and “While We are Far Apart” in digital format and loved them both. I knew it would be well written, and worth supporting the author.

The only reason I am not giving the cover a full 5 out of 5 relics is that the cover does it’s job – but to get a full 5 out of 5 from me it would have to stand out from the crowd just a little more – to be stuck in my memory more permanently. Though I love this cover, and it is doing it’s job, I likely won’t remember if I’ve already read this one in a few years without reading the back cover blurb. [Yes – I have picked up books I’ve already read on more than one occasion!]

I’m rating this cover 4.75 relics out of 5.

Please note: I purchased this book with my own funds. This was not a copy I was given for review.

Christian fiction, Contemporary fiction

Book and Cover Review of "Nothing to Hide" by J. Mark Bertrand

Book Review

In book three of his Roland March Mystery series, author J. Mark Bertrand continues to develop a believable character that struggles to find answers – not just as a detective solving crimes – but as a human being seeking answers to wrongs he has seen in his own lifetime. As he has done with the first two books of this series, Bertrand manages to seek this answers in a manner that does not come across as ‘preachy’ – as is the danger in writing soul-searching Christian fiction. Roland March is a likable character, full of flaws, but ultimately struggling to make sense out of his job and his life.  He’s a bit past his prime, but still always manages to come out on top … sometimes barely.
Another interesting fact about this mystery is that even the author admits that it’s inspiration was a true story about a man who was pulled over claiming to be a CIA agent, but the additional storyline regarding the selling of illegal arms to Mexican drug cartels was written prior to factual news about operation ‘Fast and Furious’. Any similarities are a coincidence … but as a reader I also felt that it was testament that the writer did his homework. The story was fiction, but the scenario was something that could be all too true.
I believe this book, and the earlier two in this series, will appeal to both men and women who enjoy murder mysteries, cop shows and similar. It would also not be offensive to non-Christian readers.
Cover Review
As with the two earlier books in this series, the cover is well-suited to the personality of its main character. Its look is gritty, raw and to-the-point (much like detective Roland March). I will say that the black and white photo at the top may be my favorite yet. It pulls you in. You are left wondering if the person behind the hand is desiring to get in or out from his side of the fence? From even before page one there is a mystery afoot!
This cover will appeal to mystery readers, both male and female. It also doesn’t scream that this is a Christian novel, therefore I believe it will appeal to the readers its writing was meant for. Another great job performed by cover designer Faceout Studio.
* This book was received for review from the publisher. Further information about the author and the book has been furnished below by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducingNothing to HideBethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)byJ. Mark Bertrand


J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years,
earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after
one hurricane too many he left for South Dakota. Mark has been arrested
for a crime he didn’t commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served
on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an
honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.


A grisly homicide. An international threat.
The stakes have never been higher for
Detective Roland March.

The victim’s head is missing, but what intrigues Detective Roland March
is the hand. The pointing finger must be a clue–but to what? According
to the FBI, the dead man was an undercover asset tracking the flow of
illegal arms to the Mexican cartels. To protect the operation, they want
March to play along with the cover story. With a little digging, though, he
discovers the Feds are lying. And they’re not the only ones.

In an upside-down world of paranoia and conspiracy, March finds himself
dogged by injury and haunted by a tragic failure. Forced to take justice into
his own hands, his twisting investigation leads him into the very heart of
darkness, leaving March with nothing to lose–and nothing to hide.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing to Hide, go HERE.


Do Book Covers Matter in the Digital Age?

Author Jody Hedlund and her publisher, Bethany House, recently posted about the new complications they faced when choosing a cover design for her latest book in the still-blooming digital age – and whether or not cover design still matters to the digital reader. It’s well worth the read!

Do you agree?