Did you make any reading goals for the new year?
In the spirit of C.S. Lewis who noted, "It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one til you have read an old one in between," my plan is to add some old books to my repertoire; literary classics as well as theological.
The other part of my plan is to follow the 2024 VT Reading Challenge more closely. Reading by the categories helps me be more intentional in the books I choose. Also, my writing community is starting a book club and I'm looking forward to the discussions and accountability.
Whether your goal is a few books, or many, I hope you'll find something of interest in the list that follows.
This is about the inspiring story of Everett Swanson, the founder of Compassion International. We've supported kids from Compassion, but I never knew the history and I'm really glad to have the chance to read this! Read my full review. (VT Reading Challenge #2 - a biography). 5 stars
This is written with flowing poetic prose, drawing on insights from C.S. Lewis, Timothy Keller and G.K. Chesterton about our longing for heaven and how the yearning impacts our faithfulness today. Check out the full review. (VT Reading Challenge #10 - a book on Christian living). 4 stars.
I appreciated this resource on friendship, and the vulnerability of the author in addressing biblical friendships in our churches, communities, marriages and in the context of same-sex attraction. Some valuable things to think about. Read my full review. (2024 VT Reading Challenge #18 - a book about Christian living) 5 stars.
Confession. I've never read this before. I couldn't tell you why, but I'm glad I did. The idea of traveling through pain of past, the reality of the present, and an insecure future help put the present back into perspective. (2024 VT Reading Challenge #3 - a classic novel). 5 stars.
This is a helpful resource, from a collaboration of authors, on biblical principles of women’s ministry, from a complementarian perspective. It was a little different than what I expected, I think I imagined it to be more practical, but it’s more theoretical. I recommend it if you’re looking for a resource that will provide a biblical foundation for your women’s ministry. (2024 VT reading challenge #5 a book targeted for your gender). 4 stars
I've enjoyed Nancy Mehl in the past, so I started this series. In this first book we meet FBI profiler Alex Donovan work on a case that involves her past and the struggle to make sense of who God is after growing up in a religious cult and painful circumstances. Her partner shares the gospel with her and the beginnings of faith sprout. We'll have two more books to see that grow. (3 stars)
Think criminal minds when you're starting this series...and keep it in mind, as the content reflects it. This is the third book focusing on Special Agent Tiberius Granger and his past growing up in a cult. A serial killer is targeting him, and using his first love as bait. As the SCU team unpacks the mind of a murder they try to make connections to discover who it could be. I was guessing until the end.
What I appreciate about the author's writing is the character's journey toward the gospel. His colleagues are honest about their faith, but when crisis blows up he sees how God has been at work all along.
This was a nail biter. It wasn't my favourite in this series, I had a harder time connecting with Ty and Bexley's characters and relationship, but it was still worth the read. You'll enjoy this if you like psychological thrillers which lead to the gospel. (5 stars)
It's been awhile since I read something by Julie Klassen. This is a complicated story of a young woman, pregnant and unmarried. She's disowned by her family and left to figure out her life on her own. Relationships are not simple, nor are the decisions she needs to make. (4 stars)
When one fiasco turns into another....
Etta had a childhood love for her neighbour and as a way of getting over her feelings, she wrote him a few letters, but didn't sent them of course. However, they're accidentally sent, attempts made to retrieve them foiled by a visiting cousin, who apparently feels a little desperate for a deal to save his estate. He'll return the letter if she'll help him court her sister.
The plot twists and turns after this. It was truly entertaining. I really felt for both the characters and their plights. Etta's never felt valued for who she is, Gerard is drowning in problems he can't seem to solve and can't see past. You'll enjoy this if you like historical fiction. (4 stars)
(*) denotes books or ARCs I've received from Netgalley and the publisher with the opportunity for an honest review