Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mini Book Reviews--Fall 2015

The book titles are linked to Amazon for your convenience!

1. Strong and Of Good Courage--31 Devotions on Spiritual Warfare by Leann Guzman.

Full disclosure: this book was written by my oldest f1riend  friend I've known the longest. It's awesome (along with her first book of devotions, Women of Blessing: 31 Days of Flowing in the Favor of God). If you are looking for a great devotion to start in 2015, this is an excellent choice. It's not a creepy, mystical approach to spiritual warfare; rather, it's full of wise, practical advice you can begin applying in your prayer life right away. Buy it! It's only $10, so it's a good deal. (I probably should have plugged her book earlier so you could order it for gifts. Oops. You could order it anyway and give the person a printout of your Amazon checkout screen. There.) Five stars.

2. The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool, by Greg Proops

I always liked Greg Proops on "Whose Line Is It Anyway" so I picked this up on impulse at the library. I didn't finish it. For one thing, it has waaaaay too much about baseball for my taste. I'm not a big sports fan in general, although I do enjoy watching a game now and then, but reading about baseball is definitely not my thing. The whole book sounded like he was trying too hard to be clever and likable (a common occurrence with books written by comedians, I've noticed), Also, I have no idea why Facebook kept choosing this book cover as a picture when I linked any post to Facebook. Two stars.

3. Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay

Well, it's finally happened. I've read a Christian novel that I liked. And that didn't make me cringe (not even once) due to bad writing or heavy-handed approach to Christianity. I loved the allusions to Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Edmond Dantes, and the like. Even though the ending is a little predictable, I can't complain--such is always the case with romances. It was great fun getting to know Sam, the narrator. I'll definitely read Katherine Reay's other books--and it looks like she has several more. Four stars.

4. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black

I didn't finish The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but the premise is intriguing and Holly Black is a talented writer. Although the part of it I read is incomparably better than That Other Vampire Novel, part of the reason I stopped is that it's now basically impossible to write an enigmatic vampire hero and make him least to me. Also, I don't know much about horror, but the first half of the novel had me on edge in a good way, but then when the action began, it didn't live up to the promise. I don't know, you might feel differently, especially if you like supernatural romance/horror.
Three stars.

5. Various Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett (Lords and Ladies; Carpe Jugulum; Monstrous Regiment).

When I'm anxious and/or depressed, I can read very few things. Terry Pratchett's novels are wonderful whether I'm feeling good or awful. The first two are part of the Witches strand (I can't think of a better word) and the third is mostly a stand-alone book, although Commander Sam Vines of the Ankh-Morpork Watch plays a significant role. His books are always funny yet they are very wise. If you want to try them, you can jump in almost anywhere without fear of being spoiled. But because I am a rigid, inflexible person, I like to read them in order. Here is a handy chart if you are like me (and lucky you, for getting to read these for the first time! I'm going to start buying them in paperback and rereading.) Four-star average.
Click to make bigger, so you can actually read the book titles.


Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch In the Throat: Yuletide Yahoos, Ho-Ho-Humblebraggers, and Other Seasonal Scourges, by Jen Mann

I actually laughed out loud several times while listening to this audiobook. The laughter was probably helped by listening to the author read it; her deadpan delivery is perfect for her material. I now read her blog. Four stars.

7. The Lake House, by Kate Morton

I couldn't get into it at first, probably because of the multiple points of view and deliberate omission of information to keep the reader in the dark. But I continued, because Morton is a good writer who knows what she's doing. The big reveal felt anticlimactic for me, because it seemed so contrived, but I don't know, YMMV. It was perfectly fine (how's that for damning with faint praise?) Two stars.

I'm currently reading Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher and loving it. It's a perfect Christmas book.

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