Friday, August 29, 2014


Marji Laine is a collaborator in three novellas with short stories published in both books and magazines. A homeschooling mom or four, two of which are graduates, she is married to a wonderful business analyst who keeps her grounded in reality. Her blog, Faith Driven Fiction, posts reader and writer focused articles as well as analysis of popular movies with a Biblical World view. Find her at  Facebook,  Twitter,  Pinterest,  Goodreads, or  Google+.

The Suspense Sisters recently added a new feature: book reviews! We are so blessed to have Marji Laine as our senior reviewer. She's added a wonderful list of additional reviewers: Sandra Ardoin, Wanda Barefoot, Iola Goulton, Sybil Bates McCormack, and Brittany McEuen. Welcome, ladies!

As an author, I know that book reviews can be an incredible boost or an supreme irritation. But what are the frustrations reviewers face? Here is your chance to hear from "the other side." The following interview is led by the fabulous Marji Laine!


By Marji Laine 
What started out as a simple question with our new reviewers rather exploded into a chat session. Grab your coffee mug and join the conversation with your comments below:
Question: What do you love about reviewing Christian fiction?
Marji: I love reviewing Christian fiction for a couple of reasons. I want to encourage the authors; to let them know they made a difference. But I also need to evaluate what I'm reading to strengthen my own writing. Who knows? Maybe someday, one of my own books will be reviewed here on Suspense Sisters! LOL! 

Wanda: I am waiting for your book to be featured, Marji.
Marji: Lol! I have to get one published first.  

Wanda: Well, I love everything about reviewing. The process of reading, reviewing and creating blog posts can be tiring for me at times but I love connecting with authors and other readers. I love when my readers reply to a post and share their thoughts on the book. But, most of all, I enjoy supplying reviews for Christian fiction to my readers who enjoy a good clean book for themselves and their children. In a way, I spread The Word through writing just like authors but on a much smaller scale. I, also, love helping authors period. I love reading, and there are a lot of authors whose books I am crazy about. It's humbling to know that I might play even a tiny part in helping them continue to write.
Sybil: Well, it's certainly no secret that I aspire to be published in the genre someday. In the meanwhile, I read Christian Fiction for pleasure, for entertainment, and for inspiration. I want to glean as much as I can from studying well-crafted works by the incredible ladies and gents who write it. 
Sandra: Do you all ever go through times when you just DON'T want to read? I read, read, read for months, then burn out for a while. That's when I fill the evenings with mindless TV until I'm ready to tackle another book--and the cycle starts over again. :)
Marji: I confess, I do. Those are the times when I do cram-sessions to finish a book at the last minute for a review. I'm usually glad I read did, though. Sometimes, the books I make myself push through are the ones that give the greatest pleasure.
Iola: Interesting take, Marji.
Wanda: Sandra, do I ever! I have been fighting the reading blues for the past month. Then, I might start back up and read steady for 2 years. I'm like Marji, those slumps are when I really CRAM those books in to meet deadlines. And, honestly, it makes more work for me when I do that and more stress. If I would just go ahead and read it would be much easier.
Sybil: I always feel like reading. Hahahaha! Finding the time to do so--what with the time I spend working, ministering, "wife-ing" (yes--I'm sure that's a word!) and mothering--is the challenge.
Brittany: Not too often, but occasionally I need a reading break. Sometimes what I struggle with is picking up a new book when I really enjoyed the last one I read. Once I have read a chapter or two, then I am glad I got started on it. And I love so many things about writing book reviews! I love getting to share my thoughts and interact with the people who follow my blog. I love knowing that the review that I have written will be a blessing to both readers and authors. I love that writing reviews on my blog has opened so many new doors! I have gotten to know readers who share my taste in fiction, other bloggers (we have some fun blogging groups on Goodreads), and authors who enjoy sharing their love of writing with those of us who love reading. It has been a great experience.
Wanda: Brittany you and I have that in common! I just didn't realize how much reviews meant to authors but, once I found out, I ran with it!
Sandra: I love talking about good books. Yes, Goodreads is a great place to do that. There are also lively reader groups on Facebook. I have a sister-in-law who loves reading Christian fiction, so when we get together, we're always talking about what we've read recently and comparing notes. Some reviewers enjoy getting down to the meat of the GMC, spiritual elements, and plot points. Unless it flashes like a neon sign, I get so into the story I forget to focus on things like that. :) I tend to give an overview, then tell why I like something. And I know what you mean by not wanting to begin a new book when your mind is still on the last, Brittany. That happens to me when I find one I absolutely loved reading.
Iola: I sometimes have that problem, Brittany. If the last book was fantastic, then it can be hard to give the next one a fair reading, as it's not going to be as good (or if it is, the next one won't be). I tend to either not read for a couple of days, read something I'm not going to review, or read a totally different genre.
Brittany: I love switching genres between reads. It really helps keep things fresh for me!
Marji: Switching genres after reading an excellent book is a great idea. Like milk and Oreos. :)
Iola: At first, what I loved about reviewing was definitely the ability to share my views on books I'd loved (or not!) with others. I've been involved with various online discussions at Amazon and Goodreads over the years, and have "met" a variety of book lovers through those. We talk about all sorts of things - books (obviously), reviews, reviewers, authors, food (chocolate!), things we like in books, things we don't like in books ... reviewing has been a way for me to connect with like-minded readers around the world. It's also been great to interview authors for my blog, and find out more about them and the characters they create. My favourite genre now is romantic suspense. I love the mysteries and thrillers, yet still think most stories could be improved with the injection of a little romance
Marji: I'm SO with you on the romance! That adds such a sweet touch to the suspense or mystery!
Wanda: I agree with the romance added in when it comes to suspense and mystery. I think even a little romance adds to a story but, then again, I'm a romance reader!
Sybil: I enjoy wrestling for just the right words to describe each reading experience. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don't. But the effort to convey the passion that I felt as I journeyed through a particular novel is always well worth it. (I wonder if anyone else finds him- or herself - smiling or crying uncontrollably while writing book reviews.)
Marji: LOL! I cry over everything else, surely I’ve shed tears over a review! But y’all are AWESOME. And I love that we’ve got a team that’s so diverse and worldwide. Thanks so much for reviewing for SUSPENSE SISTERS! We look forward to reading your thoughts! 

Our thanks to our wonderful reviewers! To read their reviews, go here: 


  1. Welcome to the Suspense Sisters, ladies. We're so blessed to have you join us!

  2. Thanks, Nancy. Such a fun interview, Marji. So glad to be working with you all and the other reviewers. I know Sybil from our connections on cyberspace, but Brittany, Wanda, and Iola are new meets. Read on, ladies!

  3. Oh, these ladies are FUN, Nancy! And we just chatted like old friends. I can't wait to see all of their reviews!

  4. Hey ladies!

    So have to have you aboard the Suspense Sisters. What great fun this is going to be!


  5. Um, that should have read. . .So HAPPY to have you. :)

  6. So excited to be here! I love, love, love talking books and our "chat" was so fun. It was great to connect with these ladies through those emails and to share our thoughts. Looking forward to posting reviews about some great books here on Suspense Sisters.

    1. Ok...don't know why it showed up as britt98 instead of Brittany! Let's try this again.

  7. Thanks for inviting me to join you all. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's reviews. And the interview was a fun way to introduce ourselves to each other, to our hosts, the Suspense Sisters, and to our readers.

  8. I was honored to receive an invitation to participate as a reviewer here. I love inspirational romantic suspense and can't wait to contribute. Blessings, all!

  9. Thank you all! I'm so honored to be a part of this group of great ladies! :)

  10. Nice interview, ladies! I related to a lot of what you all had to share about the ebbs and flows of reading in general. I often communicated my thoughts on books that moved me, but it seems my attention for reading books had gone on hiatus lately.

    All the best to all of you!

    1. I'm so glad you came by Joanna! And I'm hoping that some of the coming reviews can inspire you again! Blessings!

  11. It's good to hear others go through a hiatus in reading books. Loved the interview idea Marji.

    1. Thanks, Lill! I so appreciate you dropping by! Hoping some of the coming reviews will rev your reading engine! :)

  12. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer! So enjoying the other reviewers and all of the books! LOVING the books!

  13. We sure appreciate reviewers! Thanks a bunch! :)