Welcome! I'm Melissa Gross, a dynamic and interactive teacher and speaker called to lead and encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord through classes, workshops and retreats incorporating Bible study, devotionals, illustrated Bible journaling, paper crafting and mixed media projects that merge faith and art bringing God’s Word to life so you can find renewed excitement to dive into the Word, use your creative gifts, and apply the Truth as you draw closer to the Lord and serve Him in your everyday life. This site is where I share my everyday adventures, Bible Journaling pages, scrapbook layouts, handmade cards, and other crafty projects, as well as information on my upcoming workshops and events. I also post photos, ramble about books I'm reading, stuff I'm organizing, and other FUN bits & pieces of my wonderful life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Reviews - All The Books On This Shelf (Christian Fiction)

This post is the second in a series of six daily posts where I'll be sharing book reviews. I regularly share reviews of the books I read, however so far this year I've mainly only been sharing reviews of the Pulitzer prize winners and the free books (I receive in exchange for an honest review) that I've completed. This week I'm catching up with reviews so I'll have a review for each book I've read. Check out my Books Read page to see a list of the books I've read, and click on any book title to check out my review.

Despite the fact that I have a to-read pile of books on the bottom shelf of my nightstand, I continue to check out books from our local library, borrow books from friends, and re-read books in our collection. I'm typically reading three or four books at a time, always from different genres so I don't have any trouble keeping them separate in my mind. A few months ago, I decided I wanted to read (or re-read) all the books on one shelf in our front room. I started out the year reading several non-fiction books along with the fiction Pulitzer prize winners, so I was looking for something lighter to add to the mix.

This shelf held 33 books, however one of these contained two books for a total of 34. All except one of these books are Christian fiction, and I had read 29 of them. Here are quick reviews of the books I've read so far from this shelf.


The Wednesday Letters begins with the natural deaths of an elderly couple who had been married 39 years. As their adult children come together to plan the funeral, they find letters that their dad wrote to their mom each Wednesday over the entire course of their marriage. Family secrets are discovered and each one deals with this is a different way. A good book with a little twist in the plot, however I thought it wrapped up too quickly after a second surprise was revealed.

Stepping Heavenward is in the form of a journal begun by sixteen-year-old Kate who journals regularly for a time, then more sporadically as the years go by. Many details of day to day life in the 19th century are discussed as Kate grows into a woman, marries, and has a family of her own. She also grows in her faith along the way. I would rate this as a fairly good read, a little slow as it plods along at times and Kate continues to struggle with the same issues over and over again.

The Shunning is the first book in the three-book series The Heritage of Lancaster County by Beverly Lewis. It is the story of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman, who discovers that she was adopted as a baby. When I first read this book several years ago, I checked out the other two books in the series. Great books that I would highly recommend.

I re-read all three of the September 11th series by Karen Kingsbury, despite the fact that it had only been a year since I had first read them. One Tuesday Morning & Beyond Tuesday Morning (which were together in one volume) and Remember Tuesday Morning are good reads, and I enjoyed them despite the unlikely coincidences that brought the characters together. (You can read my full review of these three books HERE.)

I enjoyed all of these books, however I knew that since I had now read them each twice, I would most likely not read them again. I donated the first three books to the library and sent the last two to my sister as part of our monthly book exchange. [I'm continuing to read through the books on this shelf, so watch for more reviews in the coming months.]

I've read five additional Christian fiction books in the past few months, all of which I enjoyed and would highly recommend.

A Sweethaven Christmas is the third book in the Sweethaven series by Courtney Walsh (who has also taught classes at BPC) - an excellent ending to the series.

One of my sister's favorite authors is Lori Wick, so she sent me White Chocolate Moments as part of our monthly book exchange. The story of Arcineh Bryant as she strives to make it on her own and deal with her resentment of the grandfather who raised her after her parents were killed is a great story.

I read a review of Lisa Samson's new book, Runaway Saint, in a magazine and enjoyed reading about Sara, an artist with a supportive husband and a nice home, and her interactions with her aunt who returns from the mission field after 20 years. Aunt Bel has lots of secrets that come to light during the story, making this an interesting read.

Robbie and I were strolling through a local Christian bookstore when I spotted Francine Rivers' newest book - I bought it because she is one of my favorite authors. Bridge to Haven did not disappoint! In fact, it seemed to me like a modern day version of her classic Redeeming Love. If you enjoy Christian fiction, don't miss this great read.

And, finally, I received a free copy of A Tailor-Made Bride as a prize for participating in our library's summer reading program. I read this wonderful easy-to-read book during our vacation and thoroughly enjoyed the 1880s love story as two independent, strong-willed individuals learn to trust the Lord and each other.

Do you read Christian fiction? Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts on them as well as any recommendations from this genre in the comments.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing my reviews of books I've read that have been made into movies. (Click here to see all my book reviews.)

2 comments:

Ruth said...

I really enjoyed Redeeming Love. Have you read the Zion Covenant series by Bodie Thoene ~ they're a favourite?

Ann said...

I loved the Sweethaven Collection. When I finished the last book I could have definitely read more. Thanks for sharing.