Three Mini Book Reviews
Stephanie gives us three mini book reviews in this post. She also helps us to think through some of our leisure reading decisions.
Do you have some reading tips for our audience? If so, contact us and let us know, or comment below.
A Few Questions
Before we dive into today’s three mini reviews, I would like to pose a few questions we may want to ask ourselves when deciding 1) what books to read and 2) how much time to set aside for leisure reading.
- Do we devote time to reading we should spend in Bible study and prayer?
- Does our reading time take away from time with family and friends?
- Does our reading material cause us to embrace an unbiblical worldview?
Whether reading Christian or secular fiction (or nonfiction), it’s important to honestly evaluate these and other similar questions.
Three Mini Reviews of Novels
Sugar and Vice and Unknown Enemy are both contemporary mysteries. Both are written by Christian authors and would fall into the Christian fiction genre. (Please note that there is a secular author named Emily James, and her novels would not be listed as Christian fiction.)
Reading Christian Fiction Novels
Does this mean believers only write novels that would be categorized as Christian? Definitely not.
The Last Seers is considered historical fantasy and was written by one of the most skilled authors I know. I have no doubt this book and those that will follow in the series would make great movies. And in movie terms, I’m certain they would be rated PG.
Just because The Last Seers would be classified as secular doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend it to Christian friends. The characters are unique and well-developed. The action is fast-paced. And the dialogue is believable. I care about the characters and want to find out what happens next. I also look forward to reading other books in the series.
The Last Seers
Chapter 1 takes place after a romantic encounter. It is not a graphic scene by any means but may make some people uncomfortable. Therefore, I will read a brief section from Chapter 2.
The chapter begins like this …
The sun glared down at him as thought it censured every step. Edric slowed his descent down the backside of the ridge by grabbing saplings and hugging tree trunks. He looked up. By the sun it was almost noon. He paused and lifted his water skin to his lips. The cool liquid slid down his throat. He gave his face a hard rub. There were easier ways down the ridge, why had he chosen this one?
Aralyn’s smiling face came to mind … this would only complicate things if Barric discovered their tryst—it wasn’t a tryst. She’d agreed to marry him. All that stood in his way was Barric’s love affair with tradition.
If you like historical fantasy and are not uncomfortable watching PG movies, you may want to check out The Last Seers.
I have read other books by Janet Sketchley, but Unknown Enemy is my favourite to date.
It opens this way …
Dry-mouthed, Landon watched the runway speed beneath her window. Vibration from the landing gear drilled into her core.
She shouldn’t have come back. But she couldn’t refuse, not when Anna needed her.
Questions. Questions. Questions.
A good opening creates questions in the reader’s mind. And the author has definitely achieved this with the opening to her newest novel.
Is Landon uncomfortable about flying or only about returning? Why did she leave in the first place? Who is Anna? And why can’t Landon refuse her request?
As the story progresses, we get answers to these questions … which are replaced with dozens more. I look forward to not only discovering who Anna’s “unknown enemy” is but also the answer to all these other questions the authors planted in my mind.
Even though I’m only halfway through the book, I recommend it for those who like character-driven mysteries.
Sugar and Vice
I could say the same for Sugar and Vice.
I enjoyed Emily James’s Maple Syrup Mysteries and eagerly anticipated her new series, Cupcake Truck Mysteries. This is a spinoff series I may very well enjoy even more than the previous one.
What would you do if you had to solve a murder for which you were the main suspect? You can’t go to the police. You can’t reveal your true identity. You can can’t sneak around—not when driving a brightly decorated van from which you sell gourmet cupcakes.
I care about the characters Emily James creates and enjoy the stories she tells.
The following excerpt is from approximately halfway through the novel …
I wasn’t afraid Dan Holmes would hurt me. There’d been something in the way he interacted with Janie and with Claire that told me he had too deep a respect for women to ever do the kind of things Jarrod had done.
At least, I wasn’t afraid he’d hurt me physically. But physical abuse wasn’t the only way a person could be hurt. My career and my freedom were definitely in jeopardy.
… There was a story in the Bible where the ground opened up and swallowed people whole. That didn’t seem so bad right about now.
I want to take more time to read. I’m halfway through each of these books and very much want to find out what happens.
How many books do you read at one time?
Whatever the answer, enjoy! And happy reading.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
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