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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

30 / 30 books. 100% done!

20 Books of Summer 2023

My Progress:

17 / 20 books. 85% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (2)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (2)
- Arkansas (1)
- California (16)
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- Connecticut (3)
- Delaware (1)
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- (1)
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My Progress:

51 / 51 states. 100% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 25 books. 100% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

50 / 50 books. 100% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

52 / 52 books. 100% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

52 / 52 books. 100% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 40 books. 100% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 25 books. 64% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

109 / 109 books. 100% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Despite Promising Elements, New Romantic Suspense Novel Just an Average Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Losing her mother at birth and growing up in a succession of foster homes has left 30-year-old Harper Taylor with a desperate longing for a family to call her own.  Wealthy Oliver Jackson, her mentor and business partner, has been like a father to her, but Oliver's real children see her only as an interloping gold digger.  While Harper tends to the pen shell beds that are the center of her research and burgeoning career, she's pursuing her goal of creating the family she's always wanted.  Not only is she "adopting" a frozen embryo, hoping to bear a child of her own, but she's also submitted her DNA to a testing company in the hopes of discovering birth relatives. 

Almost as soon as Harper receives news of a DNA match, a series of disturbing events happen—Oliver is attacked while diving, a stranger tries to assault Harper, and Harper's newfound half-sister narrowly escapes an attempted abduction.  Coincidence?  No way.  The more Harper communicates with her half-sister, the more disturbing information they uncover about their family.  Is someone trying to eliminate living members to keep secrets from the past from coming to light?  Terrified for her future, Harper reluctantly partners with Oliver's son, Ridge, to solve the mystery of her past.  Can the duo get to the bottom of what's going on?  Will Harper ever have a chance at finding love and a family or will she be the next Taylor woman to die a mysterious death?

Let me say this upfront:  I'm not a big fan of romantic suspense.  I am a *little* obsessed with genealogy, though, so the premise of Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble definitely caught my attention.  Secrets-of-the-past-haunting-the-present is one of my favorite story tropes as well, so I figured I'd give this one a try.  While I found the book disappointing overall, there are several elements I appreciate about Strands of Truth besides those I already mentioned:  (1) the fact that it's clean and faith-promoting without being preachy, (2) the featuring of honorable, God-fearing characters who come off as moral and devoted, not fanatical or weird, and (3) the inclusion of some interesting/unique subjects like pen shell harvesting and sea silk weaving (although neither gets enough attention in the story).  Unfortunately, I also found the characters to be flat and personality-less, the action to be melodramatic and far-fetched, and the prose to be lifeless and dull.  I did, however, care enough about Harper to read her story to the end.  And, while the finale feels cliché and silly, I didn't see the novel's Big Reveal coming.  So, there's that.  All in all, though, Strands of Truth turned out to be just an average read for me.  

P.S.  I'm notoriously picky about books and apparently I'm in the minority in my opinion on Strands of Truth.  Check out the book's stellar reviews on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Goodreads for more viewpoints.  Also, be sure to follow along on the novel's blog tour (see links below).  

(Readalikes:  I don't read much romantic suspense, so nothing's really coming to mind.  Suggestions?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Strands of Truth from the generous folks at Thomas Nelson via those at Celebrate Lit in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


Follow along on Strands of Truth's blog tour, hosted by Celebrate Lit:

Blog Stops

Inspired by fiction, September 3
EmpowerMoms, September 3
Blogging With Carol, September 3
Christian bookaholic, September 4
KarenSueHadley , September 4
Susan Cornwell, September 5
Inside the Wong Mind, September 5
Godly Book Reviews, September 5
Emily Yager, September 6
Older & Smarter?, September 6
Blessed & Bookish, September 6
Andrea Christenson, September 6
Avid Reader Nurse, September 7
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, September 7
The Becca Files, September 8
Mary Hake, September 8
Spoken from the Heart, September 9
Betti Mace, September 9
Back Porch Reads, September 9
Moments, September 10
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 10
For Him and my Family, September 10
Texas Book-aholic, September 11
Retrospective Spines, September 11
Daysong Reflections, September 11
SusanLovesBooks, September 11
Remembrancy, September 12
Worthy2Read, September 12
Just the Write Escape, September 12
Bigreadersite , September 13
janicesbookreviews, September 13
As He Leads is Joy, September 13
Livin’ Lit, September 13
To Everything A Season, September 13
Simple Harvest Reads, September 14
Pause for Tales, September 14
A Reader’s Brain, September 15
Quiet Quilter , September 15
Hallie Reads, September 15
Inklings and notions , September 16
By The Book, September 16
Real World Bible Study, September 16
Patiently Waiting, September 16


  1. Seems like there's more bad than good with this one. I'll probably pass.

  2. When they don't work for you, it's hard to salvage much from them. You found a good bit on the positive side of the ledger to talk about, but all of that was enough to tip the scale positively for you. I probably wouldn't have tried this one because the plot sounds somehow familiar. Lots of books are starting to sound alike these days in a way I hadn't noticed before; it's like everyone's jumping on the same train and going to the same place.

  3. Too bad this one didn't work out. Perhaps too many genres in one book?

  4. Too bad this one didn't measure up to your expectations Susan. Nice, honest review. You are absolutely right. Different books for different people. I have read some good reviews of this one, but not sure if I will actually read it or not.


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