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I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.


Oh, and I love chocolate.

Splintered Oak

Splintered Oak - T.L.  Gray

Splintered Oak is the third and final book in the Winsor series. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite of the three.


This book was told in two alternating PoVs - Jake and Naomi. I thought this was well done, even if it was a departure from the other two books. Both had to overcome some personal issues to make a relationship work, so I can see the reason behind the dual perspective.


I did like the journey that both Jake and Naomi took in this book. I liked how they challenged each other and how they grew both individually and together as a couple. That’s pretty much what saved this book for me.


The down side is that Splintered Oak held many disappointments for me. First, the amount of errors in this book was unacceptable. I don’t expect a book to be completely error free. The author and the editors are all human after all. Usually I’m the person who doesn’t catch mistakes. I’m usually drawn more toward inconsistencies (which I also found several of in this book). So, if I’m catching mistakes then they are pretty bad. And they were. Which is odd because I didn’t see this in the other two books. Maybe the author saved some money this time around by skipping the editor. If not, she might want to look into a new one for her next book.


Second, we had more over the top dramatics. The lunatic that I was worried about in the second book (who was not addressed at the end of the book) was in this one and so at least that became resolved. But it just created some unnecessary drama. I think he could have stayed in to achieve the plot angle needed, but at least half the crazy could have been left out.


Finally, one of the things I liked most about the first book was how the Christians didn’t come off as condescending or judgmental. This book did a total 180 from that. In the second chapter Naomi is sitting next to a guy on the plane who is presented as a very nice person. They get along and chat well. He’s kind and respectful. They depart ways for their connecting flights and he gives her his number and tells her to call if she’s ever in his area. She drops the number in the trash because he wouldn’t talk to her about his faith. ??? I’m sorry, but it doesn’t mean that someone is not a Christian just because they don’t want to tell a complete stranger the details of their beliefs. Some people are private about their faith. OK, so I dismissed this thinking maybe that she has just vowed to find someone who will talk openly about what they believe because she wants to talk about it all the time. However, she later admits that she is so private about her faith that her roommate didn’t even know she was a Christian. WHAT? OK, trying to again dismiss. Then there is her ‘long-time crush/love’ that rejected her and hurt her so bad that she had to leave the country to recover. She’s back and he’s acting interested. But where’s all his talk about God and faith? It’s not there... and he’s a jerk to her to boot. But he comes from a good family and they’ve been friends forever so it must be OK, right? At that point I just couldn’t get past it.


It also disappointed me that the only good characters in this book were the Christians.  All the non-Christians were drunks, violent, promiscuous, (fill in any other negative characteristic here...) I am a Christian, and I’ve meet some very nice, honest, and well-balanced non-Christians. I don't like how this book depicts something different - it's too judgemental for me. My final straw came near the end where one of Naomi’s brothers was lecturing her on how she had to be with a Christian, with a man who would pray with her, or it wouldn’t work. Then a couple paragraphs later he’s saying how he basically threatened certain people with blackmail in order to get her a new apartment. That doesn’t sound very Christian to me... I could forgive this, because we are all human, but not coming off the heels of a lecture on how a non-Christian isn’t good enough to be in a relationship with.


I was only able to rate this book a 3 because of journey both Jake and Naomi went through.