Two New Book Reviews and What the GRE Doesn’t Measure

All, thank you for your support recently that enabled me to become a book reviewer! I’ve definitely “caught the fire,” so-to-speak, and I’ve reviewed two books and am expecting three more in genres I don’t usually read!

You can read the book reviews here (Prelude for a Lord and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn); I am thrilled to say they were both excellent selections I’d highly recommend to anyone who enjoys high quality Christian love stories set in past times and beautiful places. Essentially I submit the link to the review on my blog and on, then I’m able to request a new book! Living life from book to book seems grand to me.

It was a welcome challenge to read these two in the midst of grueling preparations to take the GRE in anticipation of graduate school. For me, reading is an escape and respite from the rigors of the chores at work and home. Even better than a mere vacation or break, these stories let me apply what I’ve read, imagined and experienced so that I can write better.

Reading did help me to prepare for the GRE; even the GRE study book I used stated that the best way to build a strong vocabulary is through reading, not endless repetition of flashcards. However, these stories brought to light the fact that the GRE tests on such narrow principles that it cannot be a good predictor for success in life or even in college. These heroines didn’t survive by dint of their ability to calculate a mysterious angle in a parallelogram nor filling in the blank of a sentence lacking an overly pretentious adjective. They survived through resourcefulness, bravery, musical skills, quickness, willingness to learn new tasks, and the ability to stay calm in fearful situations. I don’t know any standardized tests that can measure those qualities. The GRE, with its rigid set of quantitative, essay-writing, vocabulary and reading comprehension, leaves an astounding amount of other life skills completely untested. It’s important to see this test for what it is, and not any more than that.

What other skills do you think ought to be tested? How could we do it?

You’re probably asking, well, did you take the GRE yet? What’d you get? With great happiness and relief comparable to Sisyphus learning he need not roll the stone up the hill anymore, I can say that I took it yesterday and scored well enough to not take it again! Thank the Lord, whew!

At any rate, what probably seems like a rambling blog post is, in fact, my attempt to keep you up to date with the fact that I am extraordinarily happy still learning about this world of book reviewing, writing and life here in NC. Thanks and God bless you each!


Thank you to each of you for subscribing! I am now officially a book reviewer, thanks to each of you!

And guess what makes it even better – I was able to join TWO different book review groups! It’s like finding two pots of gold at the end of a rainbow!

BookSneeze, aka BookLookBloggers – you already heard about these guys, but they are a division of HarperCollins Christian publishing. They contacted me on July 25, with this understated email below:

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I went right ahead and requested an eBook version of a Christian fiction book called “Prelude for a Lord” by Camille Elliott and published by Zondervan. I’ve already started reading!


BloggingforBooks – They are a branch of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.  As soon as I joined, I was presented with a list of delicious books I could request to review. I chose one work of Christian fiction – The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton, and I received the email below:

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You can see that they thoughtfully provide the links to the book cover image for insertion into a blog post. Normally I go to and nab a screenshot of a book cover. This is so handy! (It’s the little things.)


I cannot thank you enough!

Becoming a book reviewer is a particular joy for me, as I’ve always thought it would be a dream hobby or job, akin to a travel writer or video game tester. I’m glad that others out there share this interest and have formed these large platforms enabling small-town bloggers to spread the word about good books. I really believe that recommending books to friends is one of the most powerful ways to get the news out about a great story. People trust their loved ones to know them and suggest the best books. Word-of-mouth isn’t something that millions of marketing dollars can manufacture; it has to be genuinely grassroots in origin.

Each of you helped me get to this point!


Reformatting this blog

Over the next few days, I’ll reorganize the book review section of my blog to make it easier to find reviews. Perhaps a gallery of links rather than individual pages or a looooooong scrolling page. I’m observing other book reviewers’ sites, such as, to see how they are structured.


On that note, I’ll be checking my mail every day for my new glossy books to read, and you can see the reviews on this blog!

God bless you each.

Waiting for boooooooooks! SOURCE: – a web site for book reviewer, agent and writer Marie Lamba