Acquired Book By: I answered a call to become a member of Ms. Anderson’s Author Street Team which was posted on her blog in March 2014. She accepted me as part of her Street Team, whereby I am one of her early readers who has the opportunity to read her novels a bit ahead of their published release or just after their release date, whilst finding ways to talk about why I love reading her novels on my blog and Twitter feeds. I truly love championing her collective works as she’s writing wicked good INSPY fiction for today’s modern reader. I re-affirmed my commitment to her Street Team in July 2016, as I never truly left but my participation was on hold until this Summer. Most of my participation between 2014 and 2016 occurred on Twitter; you can still find my tweets threading through the twitterverse about the Coming Home series!
I received a complimentary copy of “Pieces of Granite” direct from the author herself, Brenda S. Anderson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein
Why I personally love reading the Coming Home series:
When Ms. Anderson says she writes ‘gritty fiction’ she is referring to the fact she likes to dig deeper than the superficial layering of telling a story. She likes to go directly into a character’s soul and walk of faith, rooting out their emotional and psychological stability or instability if the case might be, in order to best show the growth and spiritual awakening they need to embark towards. For some it is a spiritual renewal and for others, it’s an awakening because they never gave themselves the proper credit towards understanding God in the first place. She breathes honesty and raw emotions into the context of her stories, and her vision for her characters is realistic humility in recognition of everyman’s faults, fragilities, and sensitivities. She organically digs deeper to tell a more compelling and openly captivating story which pulls you in from page one and does not leave your heart even after the last page is turnt; the story fully absorbed and known. She is most definitely an emerging voice in Inspirational Fiction to keep an eye out for new releases and a finger-tap on interlocking book series!
She maintains the spirituality of Christianity in a gentle way of allowing you to oversee the character going through the motions of returning to a God-centered life which is cross-referenced by light commentary of scriptures and affirmations of God’s grace. It is through the lessons of her character’s actions that the greatest arc of spirituality is found.
-quoted from my review of Chain of Mercy
I realise Ms Anderson softens her approach to writing the tone within the Where the Heart Is series which follows publication after the Coming Home series – however, what personally tethered me to her writerly core of heart initially was how honest she was to write an emotionally raw and convicting story-line about wicked real characters who were struggling to find a bridge through adversities and life-changing moments erupting through their ordinary hours. They were in the midst of changing who they were internally as much as spiritually – re-awakening themselves to mercy and forgiveness.
Her cardinal approach to cut a slice of life affirmative fiction into our readerly hours is a lift of joy to me as a reader, as these are the kinds of stories I love to find within the realms of today’s Contemporary INSPY! I also love how she follows her heart, penning stories that are a firm step outside the box of where Inspirational Fiction has the tendency to become a bit too predictably stagnant and re-writes how all INSPY writers can find fuller freedom in painting a portraiture of our everyday world.
On my two year absence on reviewing the Coming Home series:
I initially intended to read and review the books as they were releasing as an active member of the author’s Street Team, however,  proved to be quite the difficult year for myself and my family. As previously reflected on my End of the Year Survey, 2015 – I even garnished a bit of a backlogue of reviews and titles I was seeking to read. I elected to focus on the stories I was able to read and remained hopeful the tides would turn to where I could reclaim the stories I was not yet able to greet against the page!
Thus, as 2016 started to unfold, I was hoping I could arrive inside a moment where I could lay heart and mind back inside this beautifully conceived Realistic INSPY series as my first reading of Chain of Mercy was such a powerful one, I was drawn immediately inside the vision Ms Anderson had for the series as a whole! I knew from that one reading, I would be forever grateful to be amongst the readers who not only sought out her collective works but could continue to find out what she drew together for these characters I had become so dearly attached too knowing more about!
It so happens, this Summer I felt was a renewing season for myself as a reader – where I could not only dig back inside the stories on my bookshelf I longed to soak inside but I could pull together stories on parallel themes that truly touch my spirit and heart as I am reading them. Be sure to watch for my upcoming reviews on behalf of stories of mumhood & alternative families: Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp this July, followed closely by Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby, Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey and Inconceivable by Tegan Wren in early August. As together with Pieces of Granite I am reflecting on all aspects of being a Mum and how family enters our lives whilst grounding us on a path that is a true blessing to be given.
Notation on Cover Art: I personally love how Ms Anderson was able to get synchronicity and harmony with her cover art designs for the Coming Home series – she truly found designers who knew how to create a certain textural feel to the undercurrent thematic of the series but also, the level of hope within any story writ under the INSPY umbrella. I felt collectively they are an incredibly layered series creatively etched to mind through their covers and the choices wherein the story-lines are represented.
A distressing diagnosis
A retreating husband
A prodigal brother
Debbie Verhoeven is not your typical woman.
• She sacrificed a counseling career to be a full-time mother
• She’d rather pound a nail than round steak
• Oprah? No way! Give her ESPN any day
• Nothing could be more stressful than scrap-booking
A distressing diagnosis,
A husband who is pulling away,
And two older brothers who refuse to get along
When the counselor is caught in the middle,
when she needs to be strong for those around her,
who is left to be strong for her?
Places to find the book:
Also in this series: Chain of Mercy
Published by Vivant Press
Author Biography of Brenda S. Anderson
Author Photo Credit: Portraits from the Heart
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball (Go Twins!), and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 28 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.
Her debut novel, Chain of Mercy Book #1 in the Coming Home series, came out in April of 2014. Pieces of Granite the prequel to Chain of Mercy was a semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis Awards released on November 18, 2014!