Book Review: Beauty from Ashes

Author: Hope Stansberry
Pages: 280
Reviewer: Beatrice Ani and Godswill Ezeonyeka

Advanced Review Copy (or ARC) on Reedsy Discovery:

Trauma has a way of lingering. Letting go of the pain is what we want most but, in most cases, it is this need that makes us stow away our pain and give it life for longer than is required. Hope Stansberry presents us with an intense story of triumph over trauma and its bewildering effects. It is a story of love and discovery that surely would give the reader the much-needed healing and entertainment they might be in search for.

Just like every other romance novel, this Christian romance fiction will make one lose track of time until the last page is read. It’s an absolute page-turner. Stansberry captures a vivid picture of love in the very familiar and endearing pursuit of Cameron for Natalie’s friendship. Friendship blossoms into romance but in the most unlikely way and this journey delivers to the reader a relatable story of redemption, trust, faith, recovery and how our suffering produces perseverance.

This is not the ideal sappy romance fictions, but it does tug at one’s heart. However, for those looking for a story that portrays the bitter and beautiful parts of healing, this is an ideal read. The pain that Natalie and Cameron have had to deal with and will go through is very well portrayed and this makes their characters stand as perfect mirrors for anyone going through pain. Christian readers will find the focus on how God heals to be very familiar and endearing however, non-Christians can also relate to how we all react to love regardless of what we believe. Hence, I would definitely regard this book as a good read for anyone that is willing to. It is not preachy and definitely gets the message across. My only critique would be the length, possibly Stansberry may want to give us a sequel?

Beauty From Ashes is a book I will recommend for any person above childhood (however that is calculated these days) because it speaks to one of our primal needs which is healing from pain. It is a beautiful balance between reality, faith and romance. As earlier said it is quite a quick read but it is sure to leave you reeling and loving every moment, every word and wanting more.

Book Review: HOUSE by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker


Authors: Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
Publisher: WestBow Press
Year of Publication: 2006
Pages: 192
Reviewer: Beatrice Ani

It’s a House, abandoned in a deserted environment. Empty physically, but not truly empty, it’s demon infested, holds mysteries, presence, memories and dilemmas. In a single word, it’s haunted. Ted and Frank centre this fiction on events that occur before the crucifixion of Christ; his betrayal/denial, the fierce battle we encounter daily in our hearts/minds, the purpose of Christ’s death, His resurrection and the Devil’s defeat afterwards .

The novel begins with White, also known as tin Mask- the devil himself -analysing the aforementioned “House”, his next venue for murder. White’s basic agenda is to lure people into deserted buildings, manipulate them to play his game (mind game) to his satisfaction and then kill them by dawn. Just as every game has a rule, his are as follows:
House rules: 1. God came to my house and I killed him. 2. I will kill anyone who comes to my house as I killed God. 3. Give me one dead body, and I might let rule two slide.

Despite White’s zeal and power to kill every living Human, there are still specific kinds of humans he couldn’t kill- the sinless/innocent. His victims must be sinners. And He strongly believes that all humans are guilty (sinners), until he meets Susan, An innocent young girl who finds herself in the building. White can’t kill her because of her innocence and her great knowledge. He keeps her hostage for three days, lures other victims, four to be precise, and begins to manipulate them. He asks them to kill just one person (His third rule) in order to make the second rule slide. His chosen candidate is Susan the innocent one. When the others don’t kill the girl, White decides to do so himself; then he realises his mistake, just as the devil did after crucifying Christ. Her death actually sets the other captives free.

Two major characters in the novel, Jack and Stephanie Singleton, are led into White’s trap while on their way to a marriage counselling session. Their marriage, though troubled by differences they have been unable to deal with, is restored as they emerge from the grave dangers of the house. They are saved from White’s deadly game by Susan, whose self sacrifice gives them a new chance to live.

The novel’s allusions to the ministry of Christ and the salvation that he wrought is hard to miss. It has an interesting and attention gripping plot, and more importantly, a message of redemption that shines through it, especially at its end.