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In the Stack: End of Summer Mini Book Reviews

Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

I’ve read several books this summer I haven’t reviewed here, so I thought I’d give you three mini reviews of recently-released novels. Genre-wise, it’s a smorgasbord.

Her Place in Time – I received this time slip novella by Stephenia H. McGee as a giveaway. I had never read anything by her but was drawn to the premise and by the beauty of the cover (created by Evelyne Labelle, who’s doing the cover for my upcoming novella!).

Even without the time-travel plot, I was hooked on Lena’s life and death plight and moved by her mother’s fear. This is a gripping story of love across time—a story set in a real location with a Civil War backdrop. I loved the bittersweet ending.


The MasterpieceThe Masterpiece – Roman Velasco is one of those main characters who should be listed as an antagonist. He’s a brilliant, tortured artist, vulgar, and unconcerned about how he treats others. Reading the book is like watching the train wreck that is Roman’s life, unable to look away for the hope that some good will come of it. Grace Moore is a timid doormat with steel padding and the only one who can work for Roman.

In my mind, there was as much wrong with this book as there was right. I felt for Roman with his past, as well as, Grace with her past, but wasn’t sure how Ms. Rivers would redeem Roman. It wasn’t the best or most scripturally-sound way.  Plus, he did such a 180 that I wasn’t sure how he could appeal to Grace as one personality and also as another. For me, the book took too much time between the black moment and the end, though I do understand why. Even with all that, the story held me captive through its fascination and the depth of the characters. 

Thirst of Steel – What do I say about this third and last novel in Ronie Kendig’s The Tox Files other than “Wow. Wow. Wow.”? I’ve wanted Ram’s story and I got it—not exactly what I expected (though there will be no spoilers here). Frankly, at this writing, I just finished the book and am still processing, not sure how I feel about the ending. Emotionally wrung out for one thing. Actually, I’m not sure I liked it, though it was done well.

There is so much going on in this story, and it all takes place at the speed of sound. I’ll admit, at times, I found it hard to keep up. I marvel at Ms. Kendig’s plotting ability…so complex, yet it draws in and sweeps the reader along on a wild ride. As for the Christian aspect, Tzaddik and company baffle me. Angels? It bothered me that I thought of reincarnation. Maybe I missed something that someone can better explain. That aside, if you’ve read the first two books, you’ll find this one as powerful, as moving, definitely as tense…if not more so. Since Leif (Runt) held such a prominent place in this story, I’m wondering if the author has something in store for him. Hmm… If you haven’t read the first two books, do NOT start with this one!

What’s been your favorite summer read? Why?



As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.


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