Books,  Celebrate Lit

Real life and fictional life …

One of the criticisms I hear from people who don’t like fiction is that it’s not reality (to which my snarky inner voice says “well, duh!!”). And some people think it’s not right to submerge yourself into a world lacking in reality. And this may be true for people who don’t know how to distinguish reality and fiction. For some reason, even at an early age, I knew that there was a huge difference between what was seen on TV or read in books, and the reality of things in this world. A quick example is, people say that kids who see Moe poking Curly’s eyes will think that they can’t hurt others doing that, because Curly seems fine after it happens. (Yeah, I’m dating myself .. grew up watching the stooges 🙂  ) For some reason, God gifted me with the ability to know that that was TV … and people not on TV will actually feel pain. Sadly, I do know that there are other children who never grasped that and grow up, not knowing the difference between what is real and what is fiction or fantasy.

So why is this fact used to start a book review. Because I think of all the “crime investigation stories” I’ve read this might be the most real of all of them. Long sessions of hearing witness stories, piecing parts together, investigating and re-investigating evidence, and poking into every nook and cranny for missing pieces, but for me, this wasn’t enough in a whodunit, crime story. I like the unreality of a roller coaster. I like the story to progress, pulling and tugging on my emotions and my brain cells, and leading to the culmination of finding out who did it.

Stratagem probably leans to more reality in the crime investigation process. The premise was intriguing. The main character in the story was a great protagonist and the author did an excellent job of making you feel what he was going through. It could have been a great roller coaster ride, but it wasn’t, and I like coaster-ride books. So, this book is a great one for people who don’t like the tension of whodunit, crime story, but enjoy the very slow unfolding of a crime investigation.

Technically, there was a lot of repetition, as we heard the story over and over, without a whole lot of deviation or variety. There was very little story structure, it jumped through time loops, and everyone seemed guilty until proven innocent. I didn’t get immersed in it and it didn’t draw me in, due to the repetitiveness of dialog and discussions, hearing the story over and over again, maybe with one detail added. about 75% in, I committed the ultimate no-no for readers. I skipped to the end to see who did it. The story just felt flat for me. I’m sure it won’t for everyone, so I’m not going to completely pan it, it’s just not my type.


About the Book

Book: Stratagem

Author: Robin Caroll

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: November, 2018

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder

Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

You can find out more about Robin by visiting

Guest post from Robin

Behind the Scenes: Robin Caroll Shares Her Inspiration for Writing Stratagem

Dear Reader,

Thank you for journeying to New Orleans in a web of deceit and confusion with me. Sharing a place that has such connection for me was a pure joy. South Louisiana offers such a laid-back attitude that I often miss “home.” I hope you’ll enjoy sampling a taste of the flavor of Louisiana.

Years ago I watched the movie The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn and was enthralled. There’s just something grabbing about messing with a person’s mind and life by using their own feelings and instincts against them. When this story of Stratagem first began forming, I wanted to use all that intrigue to mess up the game master’s life. The end result is quite the ride!

As the characters came alive to me, I found the theme of forgiveness and acceptance coming out in the story. Some of the emotions within this story are very personal to me, and I’m honored I was able to share them with you. It is my wish that you may be touched by Grayson’s faith journey as well.

Until next time. . .


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 17

Midnight Bookaholic, November 17

Back Porch Reads, November 18

Rebekah’s Quill, November 18

Real World Bible Study, November 18

By The Book, November 19

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 19

Genesis 5020, November 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 19

Lighthouse Academy, November 20

Inklings and notions, November 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 21

Splashes of Joy, November 21

Moments, November 21

Just the Write Escape, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, November 22

Aryn The Libraryan , November 23

Multifarious, November 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 23

Bibliophile Reviews, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

amandainpa, November 24

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Book by Book, November 25

Livin Lit, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 26

Baker kella, November 26

Daysong Reflections, November 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Painting with Words, November 28

Maureen’s Musings, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Janices book reviews, November 29

Carpe Diem, November 29

A Baker’s Perspective, November 29

Godly Book Reviews, November 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 30

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 30


To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Stratagem!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click HERE to enter.


  • Emma

    One thing I find fascinating about following these tours is seeing the opposite reactions people have to books! I haven’t read this one, so I wonder where my opinion would fall.

    • Florence

      Yes, I agree. It’s interesting indeed, what one person loves, another person does not. And that’s the way it is with anything creative. My husband and I love movies that were hated by professional critics. AND vice versa!! And you see it all the time in book reviews.

Leave a Reply