The Joy of Reading is Piling Up!

I’ve been reading a whole lot more than I’ve been writing…which has contributed to my large (and growing) “reviews to be written” pile.  Yes, it kind of stresses me out when I see a pile of books by my computer; mostly when I know they represent my “to do” list of books in need of a written review.  What stresses me out even more is the knowledge that I’m about to add two or three more books to the stack in a few days because my reading hasn’t died down one bit.  So, how am I planning to conquer this dilemma?  Write more you say?  Well, actually I’m going to write less…and here’s why.

About half the books waiting to be reviewed were read months ago.  This means I probably forgot most of the details about why I liked or disliked the story.  What remains with me is the overall fondness of the book or the aura of displeasure in the story or characters.  If this is the case then writing a good rounded review will be hard to do, maybe even impossible.  Instead I’ve decided to write a one or two paragraph overview of how the story has affected me and the feelings it still conjures, even after reading the book months ago.

Maybe I’ll come back and write a full review of some of the books listed below, but only if I feel I can truly represent what the book was about and the particulars of what made the book good or bad to me.  Either way, I hope the below summaries are helpful to you if you are interested in reading the titles mentioned in this post.

Let’s begin with Captives and Kings by Craig & Janet Parshall.  I remember after buying this book I was disappointed to discover that this was from a series called The Thistle and the Cross, and the book I had just purchased was book number two…which was a problem because I didn’t have or previously read the first book of the series.  After reading the back cover and after reading the summary of book number one, I decided to take a chance and read the series out of order.  What aided in my decision was the fact that book number one, Crown of Fire, was a story about a different person than book number two; seems each book is a about a different generation within the Mackenzie family lineage.

Captives and Kings is a story about two brothers, Andrew and Philip.  One lives in England and the other in America, but even though they are an ocean away from one another their lives are still entwined by Philip’s son Peter who has to flee once it is discovered that his father might be involved in a conspiracy to kill the king.

I was delighted to find that not reading the first book didn’t impact the enjoyment of reading the second.  Since the storyline of this book was about a different person from a different timeframe, it was easy to follow without having previous knowledge about the first book.  Captives and Kings did mention the previous book a few times, but this didn’t hinder the story at all instead it made me curious about the first book and made me want to read it.  I think the authors did a wonderful job of creating a series while keeping each book readable on its own.

I’d recommend this to the person who loves to read historical fiction since the book was set in the 1600’s.  There was also a splash of romance in the book for those who like to read about young love and courtship.  I don’t remember any adult situations or any gory details or even bad language, and since I bought this book at the Christian bookstore I am pretty confident my memory is spot on.  Overall, I liked this book and was happy I bought it, read it, and added it to my collection!

Second mini review is on Gone in a Heartbeat by David and Marie Works. This is a biography about the Works family and shares the story of David and Marie who, as parents, faced the most horrific experience involving their family – they found themselves targeted by a gunman while leaving church.  In a matter of minutes their lives were radically changed as two of their four children were hit by gunfire.  David was also hit, and as he fought to recover from his own injuries, he had to endure the emotional news that two of his daughters were dead.

It’s hard to say you like a book when the story is about a family who endured such a tragic event, but although the book was about a terrible atrocity the Works family’s story touched me and encouraged me to keep my focus on God, the One who is always faithful and who will carry you when it seems the circumstance is about to devoured you.  It’s not by our human efforts, it’s through the power of God that we can overcome all the awful situations of this world…and this was the part of the story that I liked.  David and Marie showed, through their human emotions, what it means to fully trust in God.

An encouraging story I’d recommend to any reader who needs inspiration or is facing a hard situation in life.  Christian readers will love this book and even those who aren’t will get something out of this story.  Due to the heart wrenching story, I wouldn’t suggest this book to those who are sensitive to such accounts, or for readers who are under the age of 17 or 18.

My last review involves a book I don’t remember much about, The Book of Names by Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori.  I hope that doesn’t sound bad, not remembering the details, but I know I enjoyed the story.  Plus I finished the book so that means it was interesting enough to read through.

The story follows the life of Professor David Shepherd who unwittingly comes across a list of names.  These “Hidden Ones”, who aren’t even aware of their importance, keep the delicate balance of the world, and there are 36 of them.  Unfortunately they are no longer hidden and someone is killing them off – one by one!  As the number of Hidden Ones dwindles, the world grows unstable and the weather is affected along with the welfare of certain nations.  Through it all David searches for answers; who else has discovered this list of names, and will David be able to keep them from destroying the world?

Like conspiracy theories?  If so, you will find this story an interesting one.  Same for those who like mysteries or who like to figure things out alongside the character.  I wouldn’t say this is a book only for women or only for men; both will enjoy this fast-pace story.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the multiple reviews in this post.  Maybe this will be something I can do when the books start piling up again.  Actually, I still have three pending reviews waiting…I didn’t add them to this list because I still remember the stories and thought it would be better to write up traditional reviews for them.  So, please come back because three more reviews are scheduled to arrive in December!  (Okay, that might be a stretch due to Christmas but I can set a goal – goals are good, right?!)

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