Quality Quotes

John 10_27I developed an ear for quality quotes back when I was a field editor for an agricultural newspaper. Often the catchiest phrase was spoken at the very end of the interview. I concluded that a comfort level had been achieved at the interview’s close, and people could finally just be themselves. Experience taught me to keep my eyes and ears sharp until the final goodbye.

This is a habit that’s still with me while reading fiction. Sometimes a nugget of wisdom will just jump off the page. I savor these words. I am so impressed when an author gives their characters great quotes to share.

As I wrap up each book, I plan to highlight my favorite quality quote. Since I’ve just finished The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers, my selection is found towards the end. The main character Roman and Pastor Brian are talking. The topic they’re discussing is keeping your wits about you and listening for God’s voice. Brain says, “You’ll know where you’ve gone wrong and how to get right with God. You follow His lead. Your life begins to change from the inside out.”

Roman seems to think Brian has it all together. But Brian responds, “Hardly…Pastors tend to be targets for the enemy. Destroy a shepherd, and a whole flock can be lost.”  Word choice is an essential element in good writing and this passage is stellar.

The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Th407900e characters struggle with contemporary issues so it’s relevant to readers. The journey protagonist Grace takes from “people pleaser” to proactive problem solver is inspiring. Her choices as the story unfolds reflect greater maturity and wisdom. Roman Velasco walks a labyrinth of unrest. He eventually lands at a satisfying destination where Biblical truths of God’s forgiveness and restoration are in clear view. Roman’s transformation is due in part to the wise and loving secondary characters that surround him throughout the story. This roster of supporting characters is one of my favorite parts of The Masterpiece.

Aunt Elizabeth, Shanice, Chet, Susan, and Brain were exceptionally vibrant characters with so much to offer the story. They didn’t respond to dilemmas with rote “I’ll pray for you!” responses. Instead they offered their time and activated their network of resources to take a hands-on approach to all snags and obstacles.

Francine Rivers weaves some unanticipated surprises into the plot. The pace of the narrative is full of momentum and readers will be anxious to see how all twists and turns resolve. The multifaceted story connects with readers on many levels. The story looks at adoption, foster care, single moms, and other mature themes. The Christian message is communicated in a heartfelt way with an emphasis on establishing a relationship with God and not simply following the practices of a religion.

First Line Friday

Fist Line Friday

Here is the book nearest to me from The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers.

     “Roman Velasco climbed the fire escape and swung over the wall onto the flat roof.”

It’s a lovely book to read in hard cover. The quality paper, sturdy binding, and intriguing cover is so inviting. I’ve just started but already the dialogue is drawing me deeper into the story.  The premise of the story appears to be so in step with current issues and trends. Looking forward to seeing the story through to the conclusion. Thanks to the bloggers at Hoarding Books for sponsoring “First Line Fridays”

Pioneer Perseverance

When 28637691an author makes the geographic setting of the story come alive, I’m hooked. Jane Kirkpatrick has a unique writing talent in this area. Her book titled This Road We Traveled transports us  back in time to the days of our country’s westward expansion.  This is a well researched story of pioneer life on the Oregon Trail . While it’s a work of fiction, the author has based the story on the true life of Tabitha Brown. At 66 years of age, she left Missouri for the Trail, and a future home in Oregon. Eventually in Oregon, she established an orphanage and a school.  Tabitha Brown is remembered in the history scrolls as “The Mother of Oregon”.   A spotlight on the plight of pioneer families highlighted social problems that are often overlooked when pioneer tales are told. This book opened my eyes to the troubles that arose when children were orphaned due to deaths on the trail, or their parents were off on missionary work, or rushing after gold. It’s a great multi-generational story with strong female characters. A very professional and excellent example of historical fiction at its best.  Here is a link to learn more about Jane Kirkpatrick’s book. 


Jane Kirkpatrick Website

The Book Club Experience

Book Clubs Build Relationships

I find sharing comments related to plot twists and reactions to characters is the glue that keeps a book club together. In my book club, we don’t have a formal schedule for meeting, but we all seem to swap book news and questions when our paths cross. We agree to read a book-a-month, then after three or four we schedule a get together. Last fall, we all enjoyed a brunch of quiche and fruit and celebrated finishing our books with a game in the style of Jeopardy. Winning teams walked away with free books! Participants were encouraged to  discover the answers by working in teams. We enjoyed some good fun.  We have mapped out another three books to read in the upcoming months. I’ve read about “Bookopoly” events happening in libraries. I’m giving some thought to how this type of event might be adapted to help us wrap up our next reading adventure. There is one guideline that is favored by our book club. When a book is part of a series, we read the first book before considering later ones. It’s always fun to discover how many people go on to read the rest of the series. When three or more comment that they purchased and read the sequels then we know we have latched onto a good book.

Amish in Summer Grove Series was popular in our book club. We started with Book #1 (pub. 2015) and several continued on with the rest of the series.

Jocelyn Green’s New Release

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green is a reading adventure that delivers memorable characters and a satisfying plot. You’ll find yourself captured by the setting and the events surrounding Colonial New Orleans. A good measure of intrigue adds a dimension to the plot that keeps readers engaged to see how these plot details resolve. I am looking forward to the release this month of Jocelyn Green’s newest book, A Refuge Assured. I anticipate a novel that exudes great word choice, inventive plot details, and detailed research. I expect to meet bold characters with purpose moving through a multi-layered plot.

New Historical Fiction

This is our current Book Club selection. A majority of our members agreed that we favor  historical fiction. This release from September 2017 caught my eye due to its unique setting. As I delve into the book , I find that I appreciate the research the author Ann Gabhart has put into crafting this book. The pace of each character’s appearance into the story seems so natural and easy going.  The multi-layered story line is engaging.


Ridge Top Book Blog Launches

I am always interested in new authors of Christian Fiction. Over the past few months I have been focusing on historical fiction.  I have discovered many favorites including Jocelyn Green, Lori Benton, Mesu Andrews, and Tessa Afshar. This blog is my way of keeping track of my reading discoveries. I participate in a Christian fiction book club through my church. My idea is this blog will be a good resource for future book recommendations.