Review of Returning Injury by Becky Due

Returning Injury by Becky Due

                Rebecca has a near perfect life.  She lives in a huge home out in the country.  She owns her own successful PR firm, specializing in women’s issues.  Her husband, Jack, is loving and generous.  The only thing marring this perfect life is her fear that Roy, a stalker who was recently released from prison, might come looking for her.  When Jack leaves for a business trip, Rebecca uses the time to study a new client and to reflect on her past.  Her fears of Roy intensify when odd things begin to happen in her home.

                In her book Returning Injury, Becky Due explores the lingering fears of an abused woman.  The book is billed as “A Suspense Celebrating Women’s Strength.”  The premise is solid and intriguing.  As I opened the book, I settled in for what I hoped would be a great read.

                I was sadly disappointed.

                It’s obvious that Ms. Due did a lot of research into her topic.  There are facts and figures sprinkled throughout the book.  In many places she attempts to weave her knowledge into the story.  The story, though, falls flat in many places.  Too often I felt like she was speaking at a women’s conference rather than telling a story.  Her characters don’t seem real—Jack is too good to be true, Roy goes from a quirky date to psychopath without reason (though I do suppose this could happen in real life), and Rebecca is more of an overgrown little girl than a strong, independent woman.  Throughout the book, Ms. Due says Rebecca thinks of herself as strong and independent, having learned from the mistakes she made in her past relationship with Roy.  She doesn’t show this, though.  When she deliberately ignores signs that someone has been in her house, Rebecca looks more like an oblivious victim than an intelligent survivor.

                If you are looking for information on empowering women and fighting the degradation of women in today’s society, you might enjoy this book.  If you are looking for a suspenseful read, I recommend you skip this book and look elsewhere.

When You Get Mono of the Soul

Yesterday, you read my review of the book Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life by Karina Lumbert Fabian and her father, Deacon Steven Lumbert.  Today, I am honored to present the following post from Karina.  This is one woman I know God has awesome plans for!


When You Get Mono of the Soul

By Karina Fabian

Author Karina Fabian

Have you ever had mono? I got it for the first time at 43, and while the adult version o f mononucleosis is not as extreme as the teenage version, it’s nonetheless draining my energy. Aside from the annoying mystery of how I got “the kissing disease” when the rest of my family is fine, is the fact that I have too much to do to give into the exhaustion. There’s no cure, so I try to take care of myself, offer my suffering up to God and press on. It got me thinking, though.

Can souls get mono?

I’ve heard the expression “a tired soul,” and we have all had those times when it seems like faith is just so much work. When that occasional tired feeling becomes malaise, isn’t that like mono of the soul?

How do we get it? Sin infected you?  Satan’s trying to bring you down? Only God knows for certain. Just like with mono, there’s no prescription for a cure (though Divine Intervention is always God’s prerogative). But there are things we can do.

Spiritual food: the doctor warned me that mono would make my appetite go down but I had to make myself eat well. So, too, can “mono of the soul” make you not want spiritual food: prayer and worship (and for Catholics especially, the Sacrament of the Eucharist.) But these are vital if we’re going to stay spiritually healthy.

Rest: It’s a temptation to take on too much, to push too hard, to do-do-do and forget that sometimes, we are meant to receive just as we are meant to give. This is the time to receive. Ask others for help or prayers. Spend time in a place that gives you comfort. Find a light meditation or read something inspiring. Drop out of some activities, maybe in favor of finding something else that will nurture the soul. God calls us to be all things to all men, but that doesn’t have to mean all at the same time.

Offer it to God and push on. Just like in life, we can’t give up everything and throw the covers over our heads and sleep for two weeks, so we can’t give up on our relationship with God. The Catholic faith talks of offering our suffering to God; it’s something anyone can do. God, in His mercy, can take the sacrifices we make–in this case our suffering–and turn them into something wonderful, but we have to take the first step of giving them to Him.

Mono–physical or spiritual–stinks. But by placing our faith in God, we can survive it–and just think of how wonderful you’ll feel when you’re well again!

About Karina Fabian

Karina (Lumbert) Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. As a busy mother of four, she finds some of her strongest encounters with God’s love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day.  Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but ahs settled into writing fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporates the principles of faith-filled living. Her web site is and her blog is at


Why God Matters

                It is easy to see God in the “big” moments of life—protection through a car accident, healing from a disease the doctors say is incurable, the birth of a healthy baby after years of infertility.  These are all obviously miraculous moments.  In such times, we can’t help but recognize what God has done and give Him thanks for it.

                But what about the smaller, everyday moments of life?  How often do we stop to think of how God is moving in our lives then?

                In their book Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, Karina Lumbert Fabian and Deacon Steven Lumbert share stories from their own lives that show God at work.  Their stories show how God can use simple, everyday moments—like sharing a bowl of rice or sending flowers to a friend—to show His love to us.  They also illustrate small ways we can show God’s love to others.

                At first, I was hesitant to read this book.  The authors make no secret of their Catholic faith—the cover even sports the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of approval.  This book was written by two devout Catholics, for a primarily Catholic audience.  Raised in a Protestant home, Catholicism is something I have never understood.  The churches I have attended emphasize a one-on-one relationship with Christ.  I have never been able to grasp the concept of confessing sins to a priest or asking a saint to pray on your behalf.  Why can’t you just take your prayers directly to God?  When I looked over the book and saw that a portion of The Catechism was used in each chapter, I grew even more nervous.  I was afraid that I was opening myself up for a book completely focused on a side of religion that is foreign to me.  Even worse, I was worried that I would read how wrong my particular brand of faith is.

                I was very pleasantly surprised.  As I said, Karina and Deacon Steve make no apologies for their beliefs.  I admire that.  Throughout this book, they also made no attempt to sway the reader toward sharing their beliefs.  They are just very straight forward—“I love God and this is why.”  They showed how acknowledging God in the everyday moments of life can lead to a deeper understanding of Him.

                Reading this book did not really help me to understand Catholicism any better—and that’s OK.  I don’t really think that was what the authors intended.  What I did come away with was a better understanding of God and a deep desire to appreciate Him more every day.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to enrich their relationship with God.

Review of LOVE STARTS WITH ELLE by Rachel Hauck

Love Starts with Elle, Rachel Hauck

 Elle Garvey is living a dream life. The owner of a successful art gallery, she lives in a small South Carolina town, surrounded by friends and family. The only thing missing is the husband she has always desired—and God seems to have filled that desire with Jeremiah Franklin, pastor of Elle’s church. But when Jeremiah takes a job leading a church in Texas and New York City lawyer Heath McCord rents Elle’s cottage, things look different. Is she really living her own dream? Or is she living Jeremiah’s dream? And just where do Heath and his young daughter fit into the picture?

Love Starts with Elle is a tender love story. As the story evolves, most of the characters can be seen growing up. Watching them grow closer to Christ, and put Him before all other desires, is wonderful. So often in this world, it seems that Christ is an afterthought (if He is thought of at all) in a relationship. I like the way that Rachel Hauck shows that putting God first, even though it can sometimes be uncomfortable, is possible.

When I first got the idea into my head that I wanted to write Christian stories, I was told that there was no market for “that kind of thing”. More than one person (though interestingly none of them were in the publishing business…) told me that if I wanted to sell books, I needed to write graphic love scenes. I never felt comfortable with that. More than once, I told myself and my husband that I didn’t want to write anything that I would be embarrassed for our children to read. Books like Love Starts with Elle show that an author does not have to compromise her beliefs in order to have her words read. It’s following what God wants that matters.

This book was fun read. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Hauck, and soon.

Review of INSIDE STORY by Susan Page Davis


Inside Story

  Claudia Gillette did not become a prize-winning journalist by playing it safe. She has always gone after the story her readers expect—something different, something a little edgy—no matter want the danger or where in the world the story takes her.

    Lieutenant Bill White leads a dangerous life. He takes his job in the U.S. Special Forces very seriously, and he loves the opportunities he has for travel. He feels like he is exactly where God wants him to be. Meeting Claudia, though, causes Bill to rethink his life. Could God have something more in store for him? When Claudia’s pursuit of a story lands her right smack in the middle of a special ops mission, both Bill and Claudia are forced to face where God is leading them.

    In her novel Inside Story, Susan Page Davis shows a deep understanding of both journalism and the U.S. Military. She weaves this knowledge into an intense, believable story. Watching Claudia grow closer to Christ—an answer to prayer for her family—as she falls in love with Bill reminded me a lot of my own relationship with Christ. It is a very honest, very real portrayal of how two people can bend and adapt to change in order to become who God created them to be.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a wholesome, intense love story.