Next Up For Review

Next Up For Review
The Center Cannot Hold, Elyn Saks

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm Stuck On This One!

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

From Publishers Weekly

Smith (Just As I Am) provides all the standard elements of inspirational chick lit in this first installment of the Sister-to-Sister series. Joan has been dumped by her long-term boyfriend, lives at home, has an unexciting job and can't quite figure out what to do with her life, until a single doctor (who is of course terribly good-looking and very serious about his faith) moves in next door. As the title suggests, Joan is the middle daughter and feels dwarfed by her older sister's happy family and her younger sister's beauty and success. She struggles with feeling abandoned by her father and angry that her mother forced him to leave when she was young. She wonders if there's more depth to her faith than she initially thought, and learns more about God from her new doctor friend. And she tries hard to take care of her elderly grandmother to prevent her from being sent to an assisted living home, though that may prove to be the best place for her after all. Naturally, this is the realm of happy endings, and readers won't be disappointed. The sisters are spirited and fun, and if the story takes a while to get going, it soon quickens the pace and entertains. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description

Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement. That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut.
Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry.
Cover: A
No matter what your thoughts are pertaining to Christian fiction, you cannot find fault with this cover. I always say, covers are the gateway to the literary amusement park. This book proves it. It is the kind of cover that stops a B&N, coffee slurping, stay-at-home-mom like me to pick it up (or download it, as the case may be). Kudos to the cover artist (who wasn't listed on the Amazon site tsk-tsk).
Story: C+
I'm really not sure how I missed that this book is Christian fiction when I downloaded it. I suspect that in my eagerness to find free books to try, I didn't read the description. I know I tried the sample...which oddly enough does not have one mention of the G man in it. Hmmm, can you say, false advertising? Nah, I'm just joshing ya'. Seriously though, this book goes from a light hearted, fun read, to GOD RULES EVERYTHING (he'll even bring you chocolate ice cream upon request) in a quick turn of the page.
In spite of that, I have to say, it is a nice little book...for those that are not only Christian fiction fans, but those that attend the mega churches (since that is the variety of Christianity this book touts as the right one).  It was far better than the last piece of Christian fiction I reviewed. This book had some actual conflict (always good in books).
Overall C+
If you are looking for serious Christian fiction this will be an A or a B. The rest of us--C. It is free for kindle, so if you've got one you could always give it a whirl...moving on.
I do have some other, very interesting things to report:
1. The 3 Diamond PTA PONZI SCHEME
How cool is it when life imitates art? I could not believe my computer bleary eyeballs when I opened up my Yahoo News & read:
Talk about good luck! Well, I guess if you were swindled by the ladies--who BTW fooled people by claiming that they had negotiated a lifetime contract with Disneyland to become the sole providers of their dairy products (because, let's face it, when you think Disney, you think dairy?)--it really isn't good luck at all, now is it? But for me, this is a clear case of Karma telling me that I'm on the right track.
I offered to donate some of the proceeds from the sales of the book to help the victims. So far, nobody has bitten. Personally, I think it's genius. A book about the PTA being mafia thugs saving the savings of those swindled by the PTA mafia? Yep, there's something there for sure.
2. Istoria Books: LUNCH READS
I had the most wonderful email from the Editor-in-Chief of Istoria Books, telling me that they would like to acquire the digital rights to my short story, LOOKING GLASS LILLY. I'm doing cartwheels over here. Not only is it a story that holds a special place in my dark & twisted heart, it is the first short I have successfully gotten into the reading market(odd considering I have three novels in print). I'm considering it a sign that the Writing Gods do love me, they were just a little busy at the beginning of summer. Stay tuned for my plug/high pressure sales tactics.
3. News Feature?
I received notice tonight that The Lombardian is interested in running a feature article about none other than little old moi. Very exciting stuff if you're a small potatoes gal like myself. Very exciting indeed!
That's all for now folks. Keep reading.


  1. I downloaded this for free too. I haven't read it yet (and don't know if I will), but just wanted to back you up by saying that nowhere does it say that it's Christian fiction!

  2. Thank you! I thought peri-menopause was making me certifiable! See, now you HAVE to read it. If you don't, how will I know if my reviews represent the main stream reading market?