Christian fiction, inspirational fiction

Book and Cover Review of "When the Smoke Clears" by Lynette Eason

Book Review

Author Lynette Eason takes her main character, Alexia Allen, on quite a wild ride in book one of her deadly reunions series. I lost track of how many times attempts were made to either frame her for arson, murder, or to actually murder her to keep her silent. I don’t mind a book that is fast-paced, and Lynette displays some wonderful writing skills, yet I had a hard time finding this one believable. (Sorry!) The only way Alexia stays out of jail is that not one but two members of the local law happen to be falling in love with her. And she’s only been back in town a couple of days …

I was also frustrated by the fact that by the end of book one you still don’t know the answers to several big questions that are driving the larger series plot. I realize this is a series so ‘all’ answers should not be revealed, but I felt like a little more needed to be revealed in book one to help it feel more complete.

Overall, I felt like this book had promise but had a few plot issues that frustrated me as a reader and kept me from being swept into the story as much as I should have been. 

Book Cover Review

The photo chosen for the cover is perfect. It’s obviously a modern novel about a female fire fighter. I also love that the woman appears to be caught in the midst of a fire – a very apt description of her predicament! I will say that the title text and series title text handling bothers me a little. It feels like the letters lose a little of their clarity because they are parked directly on top of a line of the same color. If the line had been a different color I think it would have made the title stand out more clearly. But the series title is more difficult to read than the book’s title because the two words share one line and have a larger amount of kerning (aka more space between the letters). I also wonder if instead of a straight line it might not have been fun and more powerful to mimic the more organic, curving lines of the flames?

The spine looks great, and the back cover does match in color but just isn’t as striking as the front cover. It seems like something more could have been done with the text than stretch it between the margins across a colored background? Perhaps a can of paint thinner overturned … a burnt room or building, or even a singed fire helmet or boots? Just needs a little something to keep the momentum of the front cover going, and to increase the impact of the text to further attract the reader.

* This book was provided by the publisher for review. Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Christian fiction

Book & Cover Review of "Hand of Fate (A Triple Threat Novel)" by Lis Wiehl & April Henry

Who didn’t want to kill Jim Fate – the confrontational talk radio host … ?
Hand of Fate (A Triple Threat Novel) 

Hand of Fate (A Triple Threat Novel) 
Book Review
In this second triple threat novel, a trio of strong female characters who formed a bond of friendship in the first novel of this series are back.  One of the women is much closer to the investigation than she would like, having been close enough to the victim to be considered as a suspect herself if she isn’t careful.  The other two ladies are dealing with their own struggles, one has an ugly event from the past resurface and the other handles a personal crisis with grace, thanks to her strong faith.  A faith that isn’t shared by her two friends … just yet.  I applaud the authors for their ability to create a thrilling story, full of plot twists and an array of possible villains, yet keeping the personal stories moving along for their three main characters.  Their friendship grows tighter. We are able to see how events in their lives have shaped their characters, and how the faith of a friend can inspire hope in the lives of their friends – even if they don’t quite understand it.

This is one murder investigation that keeps you guessing right up until the end.  There are so many possible killers … This novel is fast-paced and SO easy to get sucked in and unable to put it down!

Book Cover Review

The large block letters featuring the main author and title are pretty typical of this genre when the publisher is hoping the author is well-known enough that their name alone will assist in selling the book. The size of the letters, the bright red color against the flat black background, and the varnished surface definitely attract the eye of the reader first. But beyond the letters is the image of a pale-faced woman.  Who is she?  Her fly away hair, dark make up and watchful eye have you guessing from the very first page … Is she one of the women in the triple threat club?  She’s not the victim and there is no widow … so, is she the killer? The author keeps you guessing on that until almost the very end.

Mysterious and thought-provoking – the cover captures your attention and promotes its own sense of mystery before you even turn the page.  It fits the genre, and should appeal to both men and women alike with the design style and also includes some great quotes from well-known reviewers that should also help make the book sell very well. This cover is doing it’s job, and should help this second triple threat novel become another best seller.

* This book was provided for review by the book’s publisher via the BookSneeze book review program.