“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” - C.S. Lewis
I agree with Lewis, a warm beverage goes hand in hand alongside a book. As to length, I'll admit, I don't always have the patience or stamina :)
An interesting conversation came up recently when Christianity Today published an article about celebrity Christians providing endorsements for new books coming out...without having read them from cover to cover, or before the book is even written.
On one hand, famous authors likely don't have time to read every book they endorse, so their favourable support is more like vouching for their character or ministry.
From another side, there's the central issue of what does it look like to be a Christian in the world of marketing? Platform and followers are big when it comes to business, producing content isn't cheap and even Christian businesses want to make a profit. Yet, if the goal of producing biblical content is to serve others, our integrity and mission needs to hold fast to honouring God in all we do.
So, I'd encourage you to pray with me for Christian publishers, agents and authors. Writers put time, prayer, research, and effort to provide their readers with encouragement and teaching for their ongoing discipleship and business is complex.
On that note, as I share a lot of book reviews, maybe you've wondered if I actually read the books cover to cover, and I do. I've never really considered reviewing a book I haven't read - if I don't find it interesting or worth my time-or yours, I don't share it.
So, here's the list of what's crossed my shelf in the last while. I hope you find something of interest! And, as always, I'd love you to share your own recommendations with me!
For the Kids
I list this as a book for kids, but I'll just say I learned a lot as well. He uses vivid imagery and descriptors to help teach kids what we believe about God, sin, salvation, the church, etc. This is one I plan re-read regularly with the kiddos. It's a beautiful hardcover with captivating illustrations. *TIP: Check out the link to Amazon and you can read the first pages when you click the book's image and "Look Inside." (5 stars)
This is part of a 3 book series on loving your church. The topic here is to developing hospitality. You'll find it's a short read, but powerful. My full review is HERE. (5 stars)
I read this as Lent began. I appreciated learning about this season from the Anglican tradition, reflecting on their foundation for the practice and the liturgies used. As this faith tradition hasn't been my own, it was interesting and thorough, even though it's a pretty short book. I was reminded that Lent is a season about repentance, which invited me to consider my own life and areas to surrender and ask for the Lord's grace. He writes, "central to Lent is the idea that we need this kind of renewal consistently throughout our lives. We do not receive God’s grace only when we turn to him at the beginning of our spiritual journey. God’s grace meets us again and again." (5 stars)
Becoming a healthy Christian is a matter of becoming healthy as a whole. The author shows us some ways to achieve that and how our spiritual practices help us to grow. This is written for all believers, not just the young nor old. I appreciated this one a lot! Read my full review HERE. (5 stars)
I haven't dove into a classic in awhile, so I picked this one up (a classic is also on the list for my reading challenge). When young and in love, a couple is torn apart, then reunited 8 years later. There's hurt and confusion as they each continue to try to find their place in society and in their family. A cast of characters that both intrigue and frustrate. It was a good read. (4 stars)
Set in England, 1890, a superstitious community believes the legends about vampires. Rosa works at her father's lending library and seeks to help educate the community, believing that more knowledge will help dispel their superstitious tendencies. When Sir James returns, the animosity stirs up as the folklore about vampires involves his family.
The story isn't gruesome, James' family suffers from a blood disease that he's seeking to cure with herbs. It's an interesting opportunity to reflect on the powerful pull of public opinion, Also raises the question of how to persevere in faith when God's people have betrayed you. I enjoyed it. (5 stars)
Part of the True Colours series, based on true stories of historical American crimes. When Harriet runs away from home, the Robinson family takes her in and supports her. As the years go on, family members start to die of the same mysterious symptoms. She befriends a doctor, who suspects something nefarious. Once you get to the end and figure out the significance of the green dress...well, we're reminded of the evil in the world and the hope found in faith. (4 stars)
On the run from a dangerous man intent on taking her to be his wife, Lucy encounters a stranger, William, who offers her his protection. However, one little lie turns into a snowball of a mess when he falls ill before they reach his family. She's unsure of how to carry on the charade, but the family open their arms to her and don't give her much room to explain.
A sweet story of a girl with no one left in the world being absorbed into a family and finding belonging and protection. If you enjoy a story with a lot of anticipation, you'll like getting to know these characters. Published for general market, a clean read, to be released in May 2023, so add it to your 'to-read' list! (5 stars)
Here's one to pull on your heartstrings! Nan and Heath have been abandoned by their father they are left to fend for themselves on the street, until Nan is rescued by a gentleman. Assured she's cared for, Heath finds his own security with an old caregiver. They grow up apart, only for their father to show up unexpectedly...with demands and expectations, not as the man they remember him to be.
This story is told from 4 points of view, sometimes feels a bit back-and-forth, but it keeps the story moving and gives needed insight into the characters. It's a gripping tale, and if you enjoyed her first novel, this one will meet your expectations as she draws you deeply into a story of love, betrayal and protection, knit through the lens of faith. For those who enjoy the mysterious suspense in historical fiction.(5 stars)
* denotes books I've received as an ARC or from a publisher for the opportunity to post an honest review.
Thanks for checking out the list! I hope you found something interesting!
What's on your shelf lately?