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Topic: January 2012 Book Reviews/Comments - Christian Reading Challenge

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Subject: January 2012 Book Reviews/Comments - Christian Reading Challenge
Date Posted: 1/1/2012 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
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We will use this thread to discuss possible books to be used for any of the categories for the 2012 Christian Reading Challenge. 

Each month will have its own topic.

Feel free to post any questions or comments about Christian books, authors, etc.

Peace to all who enter.

Date Posted: 1/2/2012 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 15,074
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The Thirteenth Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye (Jonathan Steel Chronicles, Bk 1) :: Bruce Hennigan

When Jonathan Steel wakes up on a beach in a raging thunderstorm, naked, beaten, and bleeding, he has no idea who he is or how he got there. But just as he starts to make progress in his slow journey to recovery, tragedy strikes again, taking everything in his new life that he has come to love and rely on. — Filled with rage and a thirst for revenge, he searches the countryside for the entity responsible -- an entity called only the Thirteenth Demon. His quest brings him to Lakeside, Louisiana, and a small country church where evil is in control and strange writing on the walls, blood-soaked floors, and red-eyed spiders have appeared in the sanctuary.

I don't remember where I came across this book but I think it was probably on the Family Fiction site.  They have a list of authors that publishes Christian speculative fiction. 

I like reading books that talk about spiritual warfare - angels vs demons, sort of thing.  In this book there are no angels except for two mentions but there are demons.  There were a few instances where the writing seemed to repeat itself from earlier spots but not often enough to irritate me while reading.  I bought this book Saturday afternoon, started reading and finished Sunday late afternoon which is really good for me.  There is some violence and violence is described in a couple of instances.  There are also a lot of spiders, snakes and scorptions mentioned.

It does leave you guessing a lot about Jonathan's past but from what I understand there is supposed to be a series of these books so I'm sure each book will fill something else in.

I gave it 4 1/2 stars because I really liked it.

Date Posted: 1/3/2012 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 15,074
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Foreclosed: A Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery :: Traci Tyne Hilton

I came across this series of books when I was looking at the free Kindle books one day.  Never heard of the author but since it was free I decided to give it a try. There are actually three in the series that I could find on Amazon so I decided to go ahead and get them since they were cheap.

I enjoyed the character of Mitzy.  She is feisty, smart, and cares about the people around her.  In the book she is talked about having big blonde hair and for some reason everytime I read that, I pictured Dolly Parton in my mind.  Go figure. cheeky

The mystery really isn't all that strong in the book but it was enough considering that it wasn't really the main topic of the book to me.  Alonzo is the main male character in the book but wasn't in the forefront all the time.  You can tell while reading that by the end of the book romance will be in the air.  I thought that it happened a little too quickly but that is just me.

For those who would like to know, there are two instances where Alonzo does say two cuss words but one of the instances made me laugh because of what he thought immediately after saying it and the other time he asks for forgiveness.  Made him human.

I gave it 4 stars because I just enjoyed relaxing and reading it.  Have already started on the second one.



Last Edited on: 1/3/12 11:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2012 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 15,074
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If you happen to be curious as to what Speculative Fiction might be, here is a good article to read.  It is an Interview with Jeff Gerke who is CEO and Publisher of Marcher Lord Press, which publishes Christian speculative fiction, and formerly was Senior Fiction Editor at Multnomah Publishers.

An Interview with Jeff Gerke by SBC Today

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
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Cynthia, I learned something new. Thanks so much! I wasn't familiar with the term "Christian" or "biblical" speculative fiction. I was so thrilled with Frank Peritti's Darkness books, when they came out. Actually, I am reading them again at the present time. I wanted to read them again, before I give them to my grandson, who is a teen-ager. I thought it would be good for me to do that, so I would be able to discuss the books with him.

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
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Thanks for sharing that, Cynthia! Now I have a name for my favorite genre. LOL (And his inspirations - Star Wars and Lord of the Rings - are also some of my very favorites, so that explains THAT.) MUST get a hold of some of his books. ;-) Thanks so much! Wishlist....

Date Posted: 1/7/2012 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 469
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Okay I have a question - the "10 oldest on your tbr" - do those have to be Christian books? I can't really determine which are the oldest... but I can figure out pretty close as far as just the Christian ones go. A lot of these I plan to read are actually my mother's that I jsut recently borrowed so, basically the answer would be... not those. LOL

But if NOT just Christian books then... well I have tons of books and have no idea which ones are the oldest. LOL

Trying to figure out if I should bother tyring to keep track of that one or not. ;-) Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/7/2012 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 15,074
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For this reading challenge DaLynn, everything is Christian.

As far as your TBR, if you already have them in the system, you can sort your TBR by date and figure it out that way.  Otherwise, just use your best guess.

Date Posted: 1/7/2012 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
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I figured, wanted to make sure! Nah, cleared out my TBR, bookshelf, and wishlist when I got back online this fall. I'd read almost everything on the TBR already, and my wishlist was/is completely different, so I just started over. ;-) Everything on my TBR here has been put there in the past 2 weeks. LOL So I just figured I could count the ones I know I've had the longest or something. We'll see if I can figure it out. Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/12/2012 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
Posts: 3,365
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So is this for speculative fiction only? Or for any books I have read and want to post comments about? This is my first time doing the challenge and want to make sure I don't post where I shouldn't:) Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/13/2012 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 15,074
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This is for any Christian books read Charity.  It is so we can post our thoughts about books read to give others an idea as to how the book is.  I just posted about the speculative fiction because I thought that it was interesting and explained it very well.

Date Posted: 1/13/2012 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2008
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Is this just for people participating the reading challenge? I lurk frequently but have been hesitant to post any reviews &/or comments since I'm not doing the challenge.
Date Posted: 1/13/2012 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2008
Posts: 3,365
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And one last question, is there going to be a points tracker like for last year?

Date Posted: 1/13/2012 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 15,074
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Anybody is welcome to post Yvonne.  The more the merrier.

Charity - I didn't set it up for points this year.  I think it got to be a little much for some/most last year.

Date Posted: 1/20/2012 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
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I finally finished my first book for 2012. Unfortunately, I am reading several books, so I chose a little romance to read, so I could feel I'd accomplished something. I have quite a stack of Christian romances that I'd like to read and move out of my house. At least 4 of the oldest books on my TBR list are of this genre. I'm hoping this challenge will help me pare down that pile.

The book I read was Mustering Courage (Heartsong Presents, No 425):: Lynn A. Coleman

This was a pleasant book about a great-grand-daughter that was caring for her great-grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s Disease. Story line was excellent. It dealt with water rights and a greedy contractor of no integrity. Too bad it couldn’t have been a much bigger story, which could have been exciting. There was a good romantic conflict and other personal conflicts. This book seemed more like an outline of a story, rather than a book. It was difficult to find a connection with the great-grandmother, even though a lot of words were used to describe her as she had been prior to her disease. The author made a couple of good attempts, but with the length restrictions of this romance, the reader comes away feeling disconnected. I would love to see this story re-written as a longer novel.
Date Posted: 1/23/2012 3:24 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 2,598
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Books completed so far this year include: A Matter of Character (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Bk 3) :: Robin Lee Hatcher ISBN-13: 9780310258070 - ISBN-10: 0310258073  can go in category 7 or 17.  Daphne secretly writes dime novels using a pen name.  A character in one of her books was a real person.  The grandson arrives in town to find the author who has sullied his grandfather's name. Sparks fly.  This is #3 in the series and I haven't read the other two yet. I give this book 4 stars.

Prayers for Sale Author: Sandra Dallas ISBN-13: 9780312385187 - ISBN-10: 0312385188 fits categories 1, 4, 5, and 9.  I used it in a swap.  This book is set in 1936 in the Depression years.  Hennie and Nit form an unlikely friendship.  Hennie is a great storyteller and the two share many stories and secrets.  I give this book 5 stars.

Be Sweet :: Diann Hunt ISBN-13: 9781595541949  ISBN-10: 1595541942 can go in category 4 or 16.  I give the book 5 stars.  Charlene has gone home to visit and help plan her parents' 50th anniversary party.  Many surprises are in this story.

The Convenient Groom: A Nantucket Love Story :: Denise Hunter  ISBN-13: 9781595542588 - ISBN-10: 1595542582 can also go in category 4 or 16.  This is the story of a marriage counselor who is jilted the morning of her wedding which is also the day of her major book release.  A convenient groom steps in to save the day.  Is it a real marriage . . . or can it be?  I give the book 4.5 stars.

Paper Roses (Texas Dreams Trilogy, Bk 1) Author: Amanda Cabot  ISBN-13: 9780800733247 - ISBN-10: 080073324X  This is book 1 of the Texas Dreams series.  It might go in category 7, 11, or 17.  Sarah is a mail-order bride and she arrives in Texas to find that her intended groom is dead.  Sarah makes a place for herself and her youger sister in Texas and Austin's (her intended's) brother Clay works to avenge Austin's death.  There are many twists and turns in the plot and there is surely chemistry between Sarah and Clay.  I give the book 4.5 stars. (Note that PBS says the book has 417 pages, but it really has 377 so it doesn't fulfill the requirements for category 19.)

 



Last Edited on: 1/24/12 5:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/24/2012 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2007
Posts: 16,656
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I Ain't Comin Back
Author: Dolphus Weary, William Hendricks

I finished this book last weekend.........it was certainly a different type book for myself to read.  It's an older book, written in 1990..........The author tells of his childhood in Mississippi during the racial revolution of the 50s/60s.........how his family struggled.......He played basketball to get a college education planning to never to return to the rural town of his childhood but God had other plans.  This is the inspirational story of how God uses him to build a better life for the rural people there in Mississippi by working for positive change............Something that caught my attention in the last chapter is how it addresses how prejudice goes both ways..........

Date Posted: 1/30/2012 9:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 665
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I enjoyed this historical romance. The main character is a young woman from a pampered and wealthy background. The story is set in the Southeast, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in both Georgia and Florida in the early 1800’s. As the story opens, Margaret Porter is traveling by ship from her home in Savannah to Fort Brooke in the Florida territory to marry her husband-to-be. Margaret’s strength, determination, and resourcefulness help her to face and overcome the unexpected, but it is her faith that helps her grow into the person she was meant to be.
Date Posted: 2/2/2012 2:32 AM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 210
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Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James - This was an enjoyable romance.  I enjoyed the setting in Newport, Rhode Island as I had visited there a few years ago and toured The Breakers.  It helped me to visualize the setting for this story and brought it alive.  I enjoyed the plot line with the main character as an author of dime novels.



Last Edited on: 2/2/12 2:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2012 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 2,598
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The Mending String :: Cliff Coon  ISBN-13: 9780802440846 - ISBN-10: 0802440843 might fit categoriy 1 (new author), 5 (walk & talk), or 18 (2005 Christy Award).  Ellie is the youngest daughter of pastor and parenting expert Clayton Loverage.  Clayton's wife is deceased and the other children are grown.  Ellie is just biding her time until she graduates from high school and can be on her own.  Many secrets are revealed as this relationship is mended.  I give the book 5 stars and plan to use it in a swap.

Courting Miss Amsel :: Kim Vogel Sawyer  ISBN-13: 9780764207846 - ISBN-10: 0764207849  Edythe Amsel is a wonderful teacher.  She uses many methods that the people of Walnut Grove have not seen before.  She even deals with a bully among her students.  I give the book 4.5 stars. I'm not sure which category it can go in.

Church Choir Mysteries: The Highly Suspicious Halo / The Coin Conspiracy / The Doubtful Doctor :: Eileen M. Berger  ISBN-13: 9781607510642 - ISBN-10: 1607510642  is an omnibus book of three mysteries solved by a member of the church choir.  I was unable to figure out how many there are, but the whole series could go in category 17; this book could go in category 1 (new author) or 15 (comedy).  I give the book 4 stars and posted it on the Wish List FIFO.

The Will of Wisteria :: Denise Hildreth  ISBN-13: 9781595542090 - ISBN-10: 1595542094  gets 4.5 stars and can go in category 1(new author), 4 (Lesser-known publisher - Thomas Nelson pub.), or 5 (walk & talk)The  reading of Charleston blue-blood Edward Ravenel's will is done in a surprising way and reveals surprising requirements of the heirs in order to receive their substantial inheritances. The book is set in Charleston, Kiawah, and Edisto - my former home, so I had to read it.  I don't know what I will do with the book yet.

 



Last Edited on: 2/2/12 1:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2012 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2012
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One of the best books I've ever read is The Relucant Prophet by Nancy Rue. This is a beautiful story of someone choosing to follow God and do extreme things for Him! Allison is a prophet, someone who speaks the words of God and challenges others to follow Him as well. Her Church Bible study group does not look at all with favor on what she is doing and gets the most challenge. She challenges them to stop making converts that can contribute to the Church offering plate and add to their tallies of people saved, but rather to go out and love people and treat them the way Christ would. They dare to say the government has programs for people like this but it doesn't stop Allison from following Christ herself instead of dumping that job on the government. Allison faces life-threatening and heart breaking situations and keeps doing what it takes to follow Christ. I highly recommend this book to anyone who dares open themselves up to what following Christ really means.

~ J:-)mi, aka CTF Devourer