Book Corner: Things You Save in a Fire

Book Corner

Finished Reading: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Things You Save in a Fire

Multiple events conspire together to cause Cassie Hanwell to move away from the city in which she’s just received an award for her service as a firefighter to a new city where, she’s told, they don’t even think women should be firefighters. But Cassie has taught herself how to overcome almost anything–but keeping emotions and feelings at bay and always following a schedule and a plan. This method serves her well, but also poorly, in her new life. A very strained relationship with her sick mother and a crush on the rookie at her new fire station both lead to changes she could never have expected.

This book was a fun read for me, and I think it is interesting that it isn’t quite as much of a pure romance as I thought it would be. The romance is a key factor, but it’s not the only factor. Other important elements include recovering from past trauma (or lack thereof), mother-daughter relationship (focusing on abandonment of the daughter), surviving in a not-entirely-friendly workplace, and most of all, forgiveness.

I really liked the fact that the book had that last angle in it, because I think it’s something that many people don’t really take the time and effort to try to do. The book may have taken a fairly simplistic approach, but for what it was, I appreciated it.

There are a lot of tropes wrapped up in Cassie, but at the same time, she had some traits that I really connected with. For example, I watched as she pushed another character away, and then was truly disappointed that the other character left. She wanted this person to push harder to reach her, help her, get her to open up, whatever, even while at the same time knowing that she would never let that person in. I am like that as well, especially with my husband, though with his help, I’ve identified it and am working on it.

One thing that bugged me throughout the book was Cassie’s mother. I had a really hard time sympathizing with her, for reasons that I won’t explain, because it would broach spoiler territory. But in the end, I decided that I didn’t have to agree with Cassie’s assessment of her mother or the situation. It wasn’t my mother, so I just let it be.

The ending had a few wrap-ups that were a little strange to me, but I enjoyed the book overall. I recommend it to fans of romance, especially those where the romance isn’t quite so in-your-face.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this book to review!

Find out more about Things You Save in a Fire

Up next: Tilly by Frank E. Peretti

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Corner: Thr3e

Book Corner

Finished Reading: Thr3e
by Ted Dekker

My rating: 4.5 / 5
Genre: Christian suspense

Thr3e

Equal parts thriller and philosophical, this book starts with a discussion about the nature of man and by the end of the first chapter, has the main character nearly blown up. Kevin is tormented by a man who demands he confess his sin or his attacks will only get worse. Aided by a caring FBI agent whose brother was killed in a similar fashion only a few months previous and Kevin’s best friend since childhood, he struggles to understand what the madman wants from him. All of this leads up to an unexpected confrontation that I did not see coming.

The book is billed as a thriller, but I think where it tends to trip some people up is that it’s also very philosophical. Unlike Peretti, whom many people compare Dekker to, I don’t know that I’d classify Ted Dekker as a Christian author exactly. The books of his that I have read contain religion or spirituality, but not exactly Christianity. There is a fairly strong moral message in this book, though, and it can slow down the action. It doesn’t bother me much, but it might others.

I first read this book in the early 2000s. I’ve considered it one of my favorite books ever since then, but unlike my long-time favorite book, I have never re-read this one before now. It has the type of ending that led me to think that it wouldn’t really be worth re-reading. Now that it’s 15ish years later and I find myself enjoying books again, I decided it was time. I did enjoy it this time through, but not quite as much as the first time, because of the knowledge I had. However, knowing the Big Twist, I was able to see the build-up to it, spot the signs and hints. I appreciated the way that Dekker spun the story.

I did still enjoy the book, particularly the characterization of the main character, Kevin, and his childhood. That was one big thing I didn’t quite remember from when I first read it–the book hinted at him having a more difficult childhood than what was even shown up front, but I couldn’t remember what it was. I enjoyed unraveling the story again, even though I knew what it was leading up to. I also very much enjoyed Kevin’s relationship with his professor, and the role the professor played in the latter part of the book.

One gripe that I have is in the symbolism regarding the Big Twist. To use an example, when watching Sixth Sense for the first time, you may not even know that the color red is always involved in the Big Twist (not spoiling, though by now, if you don’t know the twist in that movie, where have you been living?) throughout the movie unless you are told about it by someone else. It’s there, but it’s subtle. In this book, the number 3 is a huge part of the bad guy’s psyche, and it’s not even remotely subtle. The bad guy himself says how much he likes the number 3 more than once. I think I would have liked to see it as a more subtle element.

I would recommend this book for fans of Christian thrillers and philosophy.

Find out more about Ted Dekker and Thr3e

This movie was made into a movie that came out in 2006. I watched it in the theater, but I don’t actually remember much about it (except that the main character was played by Marc Blucas).  I remember having a terrible migraine, so I don’t think my forgetfulness is completely indicative of how good the movie was. However, I also never felt the need to watch it again in all this time, and that’s considering I’ve had a DVD copy for years. I do plan to watch the movie now though, and will likely post about the comparison like I did with Ready Player One.

Up next: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Corner: Light from Distant Stars

Book Corner

Finished Reading: Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

My rating: 1.5 / 5
Genre: Christian drama

The book openLight from Distant Starss on the main character, Cohen, finding his father dead in the basement of the funeral home where Cohen works with his father. In the ensuing difficulties that come from such an event, Cohen finds himself beset with memories of his childhood and adolescent, split definitively by an event that basically destroyed his family. The story highlights multiple father-son relationships.

As you can see by my rating, I did not care for this book. For one thing, I was expecting more of an investigation into how the father died than was presented, especially considering that most  summaries I read ended with, “Did he kill his father?” As it turns out, it was more introspection and reminiscing.

Even as I started to realize that this book was more drama than mystery, it still presented me with little of interest. There are two threads followed–Cohen in present time dealing with what happened to his father (Spoiler: he wasn’t even dead at the very beginning of the book; he was near death, but was in the hospital for a week before dying, and the reason that Cohen thought his father was dead when he wasn’t is never explained, even though he questions it himself. This leads me to feel like this was just sensationalism for the blurb.) and his memories of significant events of his past. The present-time storyline is fairly uneventful, filled with light conversations with his pregnant sister, confessions to a retired priest, and then sudden action near the end of the book that I didn’t really understand the point of. The past-time storyline has a lot more going on, though it drags a bit here and there too.

There are 2 more significant events in his past, one of which led to the split that broke up his family, and the other of which comes across as a supernatural element, which is maybe a bit confusing in this book. After some time, I came to suspect what was really going on, and turned out to be correct. However, it is severely lacking in explanation–not about how this supernatural memory came to be, but about how it actually made sense even in context. The extra half a point in my rating is because this story arc was at least a little interesting to me as I went through it, even though I figured out what was going on more quickly than I think I was meant to.

Building from that, because of the supernatural element, as well as a particular scene in the present-day storyline, I had a very difficult time knowing what was real later in the book, and I am not sure that was meant to be the case. It led me to be fairly unimpressed by the sort-of twisty action scene that happened near the end. Also, there was one huge plot thread just left hanging…something that happened during Cohen’s adolescence that came to light near the end that should have had repercussions, and instead, somehow just became a catalyst for Cohen’s realization (or reminder) that his father was not quite how he’d always seen him.

I wanted to like this book (which I suppose is a silly statement, because we don’t often start reading a book that we’re not wanting to like). I read a couple of reviews by others that were glowing, and the premise sounded interesting. However, by the time I was 75% through, I felt like nothing had happened, and I just wasn’t getting the point of it. There is also quite a bit of description and figurative language, which bogged down the story for me. By the last half of the book, I had started to skim the descriptions, especially every time the narrator, whether a child, teenager, or adult, stared at the sky or the city. This happened often. It let me to wonder if there was some sort of symbolism I was simply missing.

Final thoughts: The book is labeled as Christian, though if I’d not seen that label on it, I never would have guessed it was meant to be Christian. The main character does visit a church and confess several times through the book, and there is a bit of a heart change near the end, but to me, it was fairly shallow. This book is simply not my taste, but for those who enjoy descriptive and figurative writing styles and drama and introspection, it may be a great read for you.

Thank you to Netgalley and Revell for providing me a copy of this book to review.

Find out more about Light from Distant Stars

Up next: Thr3e by Ted Dekker

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Corner: The Novice

Book Corner

Finished Reading: The Novice
Summoner
Trilogy #1
by Taran Matharu

 

My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: YA Fantasy

The Novice

A young blacksmith apprentice stumbles onto a magical book that he can’t resist reading from, which summons a small demon from another world. This is an ability only certain people have, which makes Fletcher special (he can also cast spells, and just to be clear, the demon is basically an otherworldly animal). Shortly thereafter, he is forced to flee his hometown and basically stumbles upon a school for summoners. There, summoners are trained to become battlemages, so they can fight in a never-ending war against orcs.

While trying to make sure I read plenty of sci-fi and fantasy books because that is the genre I write in, it’s difficult to wade through what’s out there. I’ve not read much of either genre in the past, as mystery books were my favorite genre for most of my life. I am finding that I still don’t particularly enjoy large amounts of world-building or complicated settings. I also don’t care for dark, gritty worlds, which seems to be in abundance in speculative fiction.

After setting aside a few of the books I picked out to read for various reasons, some of which is mentioned above, The Novice was a refreshing change. It is YA, which might just lend a lot to its simpler nature, but I’ll freely admit that I have always been one to enjoy things below my age level. Still, this book had clear language and a lighter world than the others I’d been presented with recently.

By halfway through the book, I described it as Harry Potter* meets Pokemon, though I’ll say that the demon pet aspect didn’t end up being as pronounced as I expected it to be (I still wanted one of my own though). Throw in some elf/dwarf/orc stereotypes straight out of something like Lord of the Rings or even World of Warcraft, and you have this book. I personally enjoyed the way these elements came together.

Race and class warfare are a large part of what drives this book. This book of the trilogy focuses on the Fletcher learning about his newfound magic and training to compete in a tournament, the winner of which gains a coveted high officer spot in the nation’s military. But being part of a larger series, it’s clear that it’s being set up for bigger, more important things to come.

A few downsides I want to mention–some parts of the book are a bit predictable, but plenty of it was unexpected. The biggest issue I had was with some of the writing, especially the dialog tags. Even this is a small issue overall, but characters so often “growl” their dialog, and it started to become distracting to me. There was at least one other commonly used dialog action that was strange to me, though I don’t recall what it is now. Also, characters are often whispering into each others ears, even as they’re walking, and I’m imagining them hanging on each other while they’re talking. Again, a minor thing, but it did bring me out of the story at times.

I was very unhappy with the ending–not because it didn’t make sense or didn’t have every reason to happen. It does set up the 2nd book. But I didn’t like where it leaves the second book to start, so after enjoying the rest, I was disappointed by the ending. However, this is not a statement of bad writing or storytelling, just something I found myself disliking. I’m still looking forward to reading the next book (which I’ll come back to after reading a few other books).

What originally drew me to the book was the very first line of the jacket blurb, which said that the main character was a blacksmith apprentice. One of the main characters of my books starts out as a blacksmith apprentice, which is somewhat drawn from the fact that my own dad is a blacksmith. Though that turned out to be a small part of the book, I’m glad it got me into this trilogy.

Find out more about The Novice

Up next: Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker
*I haven’t read or seen any Harry Potter, though it’s on my TBR list, so this is just from the understanding I have of it from second-hand knowledge.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book vs. Movie: Ready Player One

RP1 movie vs book

I watched the movie about a week and a half after I finished the book. At first, I wanted to watch the movie quickly, before I forgot details about the book. Only a few minutes into the movie, I thought it might have been better to have waited several months (or more) to watch the movie. Maybe forgetting the details of the book would have allowed me to enjoy it in its own right. I understand that movies adapted from books have to be changed for various reasons, whether that’s to shorten the story, to add excitement, or even because a lot of what happens in the book is internal (which would be fairly hard/boring to show). And there are other reasons too. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

In my review of the book, I gave it a rating of 3.5 out of 5. It’s intriguing to me that the movie actually gave me more appreciation for the book. I’d probably rate it higher now. As with other posts I’ve made, some of my notes about what I didn’t care for in the movie are personal preference. Some of them, though, are places where I don’t think the movie did justice to the book, or even where I felt the movie just didn’t do well in general. I am going to give my notes, but without too much detail, mostly because my list is a little too long to go into much detail here. These are by no means all of the differences between the book and the movie, just the ones that bothered me. Also, I’m splitting these notes into things that aren’t too spoilery (shown first), and then notes that I feel would spoil either the book or movie enough to give a proper warning for.

Note: There are a lot, so it probably seems like I’m ranting. Well, I am. Again, I am well aware that movie adaptations are often very different from the book. If you think I’m being unfair, that’s fine. I didn’t realize how many notes I had about this until I started writing them down, and I considered cutting it short. But in the end, I decided to keep them all (and frankly, there may be some I forgot). So read on, or jump ship right now; it’s up to you!

  • From the very beginning of the movie, the atmosphere didn’t feel right to me. When I read the book, I got a feeling of desolation and isolation in the real world, especially where Wade lived. People didn’t go out much, because they could do much more from the comfort of their couch (and because the real world was fairly dangerous). But we first see Wade outside of his “home,” and it’s pretty lively. People are shown outside a lot during the movie, and it just felt wrong.
  • The book was heavy in 80s pop culture references. The movie expanded that to just general pop culture, but even that was very light (I get that a lot of this might have been copyright issues, but it’s still worth mentioning).
  • In the book, Wade started out overweight (spent most of his life in a virtual environment, after all), but had a physical transformation once he gained the means to be active while also in the OASIS. There was no change of this sort in the movie.
  • Also, in the book, Wade started out completely destitute. The things he had to do to make any progress in the OASIS showed ingenuity and a real struggle. This was barely touched on in the movie.
  • Because The Hunt had gone on for years already when the book started, everyone who was hunting (called gunters) knew pretty much everything there was to know about Halliday, his life, and every book, movie, video game, song, or TV show that he liked. In the movie, Wade was explaining how he’d figured out a clue to other gunters often, and it really bothered me that he knew so much more than the others.
  • Though I said in my original review that the time that Wade was alone (pushed away his friends) was not a time I enjoyed, I realized watching the movie that I missed it when it didn’t happen. Most likely, that means I didn’t enjoy it because it was depressing (which it was meant to be), not that it was a bad story element.
  • I loved Ogden Morrow’s role in the book. In the movie it was kinda…meh (and it seemed like a waste of Simon Pegg).
  • It really bugged me that they called the IOI gunters Sixers, but had absolutely no explanation as to why. It wouldn’t have been difficult to explain it. Even not coming from a book, it was an unnecessary lack of explanation.
  • Similarly, in the book, the first 5 gunters to find the first key were known as the “High Five,” because of their positions on the almighty leader board. When watching the movie, I’d completely forgotten about that until some time in the last 20-30 minutes when Wade uses that term to reference those 5 characters, and I actually sat up and said, “Wait, what?! How are we supposed to know what he means by that, when this is the first time anyone’s said it?”

Before I go into the spoilers, I want to mention a few things about the movie that I liked:

  • The visual effects in the OASIS were great. Much better than I could imagine in my head, I’m sure. I also enjoyed the way it looked when characters accessed things from their inventory and such. I’ve had dreams about actually being inside a game world, i.e. being my character, and it reminded me a bit of that. (Is that weird?)
  • There were some nods to some of the things in the book that weren’t used in the movie at all, which was nice. Seeing the planet Ludus early in the movie, for example, made me smile.

Below here are the rest of my notes, which have what I would consider spoilers. Read on at your own discretion.

Continue reading

Book Corner: The Curious Conspiracy on Gamma Ceti

Book Corner

Finished Reading: The Curious Conspiracy on Gamma Ceti
by Nemo West

My rating: 2.5 / 5
Genre: YA sci-fi

The Curious Conspiracy on Gamma CetiGamma Ceti is a planet in another galaxy, with a remote colony of vaguely religious people living in a vaguely 20th century world. Dex is an outcast in his class, which essentially means he’ll be an outcast for life, because of the closed-off and tight-knit nature of this community. When a new girl arrives from Earth, he’s infatuated by her, but too timid to approach her. However, it’s not long before an encounter with a bully forces Dex onto Tabitha’s radar, and then life really changes for Dex. He and Tab spent a lot of time alone together, which she eventually admits started as an attempt on her part to try to uncover some strange happenings in the school. What neither of them ever expected was to encounter a massive conspiracy involving brainwashing, a conspiracy that those involved would kill to keep secret.

When I first decided to read this book, I expected a fun YA adventure with a mystery to unravel. There were some interesting elements to the mystery as it unfolded, and I appreciated the way that the main character had some real drawbacks, even as he started to evolve through the story. Even Tab broke some stereotypes I expected from her character.

Unfortunately, but I was distracted throughout this book by a few issues. One was the amount that the two main characters had frivolous conversations in the middle of dire circumstances. I’m not saying that the conversations themselves were unimportant to the characters, especially in high school. However, running away from bad guys, or trying to escape a secret lair, are not the best times to have arguments about relationships. Maybe this was a result of the author wanting to keep the action going, while also trying to resolve the relationship, but to me, it just made absolutely no sense. At one point, the characters even stopped moving toward their escape to have one of these discussions!

Another thing that bothered me about the book was the writing. Maybe it’s only because I read the entire thing over the course of a day, but I noticed such a repetition in character actions and dialog tags that it grew distracting by the end of the book.

I also have to mention the cringe-worthy items for me. First, there was the f-bomb right off the bat that made me realize the book would be just as language-heavy as the adult books I’ve been reading lately. Then there was the rather graphic sex scene with two teenagers that was very unwelcome and uncomfortable for me. That blind-sided me in particular, considering the YA/Teen shelving and the cartoonish cover art (though I didn’t notice the blood on Dex’s sock until after I’d read the book). I would not want my teens reading this book.

By about halfway through the book, the characters had hinted at what was going on, and it never really deviated from that. I expected some sort of twist, or final reveal, but outside of a few small unexpected things, it followed through to the end much like I expected. And there was no real resolution, not even a firm answer about whether what the characters hinted at is what was even going on. It looks to be the beginning of a series, but I don’t know which thread the continuation will follow, so for now, I just feel let down. In some ways, this is what you want from a book in a series, and to be honest, it did its job. I will look for the next book in this series and give it another chance, going into it this time with an understanding of what I’m in for. That’s the main reason I am giving this book 2.5 stars, when originally I planned to give it 2.

Final thoughts: The book is a strange mixture of being too mature for teen/YA (in my personal opinion), but too juvenile for anything above that. I honestly couldn’t recommend this book for teenagers, but for people who enjoy sci-fi that is less complex and tech-heavy, it could be worth a read.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book.
Publication date: Aug 20, 2019

Find out more about The Curious Conspiracy on Gamma Ceti

Up next: The Novice by Taran Matharu

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Corner: The Trials of Lance Eliot (+1)

Book Corner

Finished Reading: The Trials of Lance Eliot
by Adam Stück (under the pen name of M.L. Brown)

Did Not Finish: Wonderblood by Julia Whicker

Trials of LE

I am not going to give much of a review of this book, because the author has stated that he plans to rewrite it, whether he eventually publishes that new version or not (he stated this over 4 years ago, so who knows what progress he may or may not have made on it by now).

I knew about this book because the author is my sister’s brother-in-law. I followed his blog for part of the time it existed, from 2011 through 2016. The book was published in 2012. It is a fantasy tale of a college student who is accidentally summoned to another world in the hopes that he can help those who summoned him stave off war (they were attempting to summon Lancelot and got Lance Eliot). This regular, flawed man goes through a lot of hardship in his journey to return home, and that’s only 1/3 of his story. (The rest of the trilogy wasn’t written at the time that the author decided to re-write the first book.)

After finishing the book, I searched Adam’s blog for posts related to the book and found out that pretty much all of the downsides I saw in the book he had already identified and planned to change in his re-write (as well as other changes that he has planned). It is mostly for this reason that I do not intend to list any of these things, and instead will just link to his own post on the matter (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT). (I actually read this post when he first wrote it and made some comments, even though I hadn’t read the book at the time. I didn’t recall this at all until I saw my comment there today.)

Though the author intends to rewrite the book, you still may find the first version of interest, especially if you enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Dante’s Inferno, or mythology. (Don’t read the post about what he intends to change before reading it though. There are spoilers!)

Find out more about The Trials of Lance Eliot

Wonderblood

I read 1 chapter of Wonderblood and had to put it down. In my defense, it was quite a long chapter, so I gave it a decent chance. But in the end, it proved to be too dark, gritty, and disturbing for my taste. I’m sure that’s understandable for a post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting, but I couldn’t handle it. My main issues were the over-abundance of decapitated heads, excessive blood-shedding (“Wonderblood” refers to a belief that the world will be saved when the earth has been given enough human blood) and pedophilia/incest, and this was just in the 1st chapter.  I skimmed ahead to get an idea of whether or not all of this calmed down, and it may have to a degree, but what I saw when skimming didn’t interest me.

Find out more about Wonderblood

Up nextThe Curious Conspiracy on Gamma Ceti by Nemo West

If you’ve read either of these books, or read either in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Corner: Ready Player One

Book Corner

Finished Reading: Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Science Fiction

RP1.png

Over 100 years in the future, mankind has been largely driven inside the virtual world. They work in the OASIS, go to school, hang out with friends, rely on it for entertainment, and even treasure hunt in the OASIS. The main storyline in the book is a treasure hunt that was created by the man who created the OASIS. The person who finds the Easter egg hidden in the virtual environment, by following all of the clues, will basically be the wealthiest person alive.

Ready Player One is my husband’s favorite book. He’s tried to get me to read the book or watch the movie here and there, but I told him that I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as him, because the 80s references would largely be lost on me. I was a teenager in the 90s, and a fairly sheltered one at that. I don’t even know much about pop culture in the 90s and know way, way less about pop culture in the 80s. But now that I’ve started to get back to my bookworm roots, I knew it was time to give this book a read.

Keep in mind when reading the rest of this post that I was correct about the heavy 80s references not providing much nostalgia for me. However, I don’t think that’s the only reason that the plethora of references fell flat for me. I came to a point pretty early on when I realized how shallow most of the references were. Movies, games, books, TV shows, comics, music–all of these things were briefly named, often in lists, but that’s about it. So I guess the people who get the references get to go, “Oh! That show!” and move on. Not much substance.

On the flip side, however, the times when the 80s pop culture was part of the challenges in The Hunt, even though I didn’t get the hit of nostalgia during those sections that others would get, I really enjoyed them! So not diving into spoilers too much, the Easter egg hunt involved finding 3 keys, which each opened a gate. So the hunters had to find the keys, find the gates, and “clear” the gates, all of which involved solving some sort of challenge, even if just a riddle. Those were my favorite parts of the book. Unfortunately, in between these sections, the book mostly dragged for me, especially when the main character, Parzival, pushed his friends away and was alone for a while.

Another thing I enjoyed about the book was the way the author described things inside the Oasis. I actually thought it would seem silly or weird to read about the mechanics in this virtual world, but Cline did a good job of explaining it. I’ve played a decent amount of games that allowed me to imagine how the interface worked, so that might have helped.

As the book ramped up to the end, I kept expecting a huge twist. A certain specific trope that I won’t mention so I don’t spoil that it doesn’t happen was especially on my mind, but it doesn’t happen. Not that there wasn’t any kind of twist near the end, but not what I was expecting, and not as big as I was expecting. I weirdly found the end of the book and the challenges the characters had to go through too easy and very difficult at the same time. It’s hard to explain without giving anything away though.

My husband tells me that the movie is different from the book, but good in its own right. He also says it focuses more on The Hunt (the parts I liked the most). I’m looking forward to watching it!

Find out more about Ernest Cline and Ready Player One

Up next: The Trials of Lance Eliot by M.L. Brown and Wonderblood by Julia Whicker (spoiler: one of these I did not finish)

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Corner: July Review

Book Corner

At the beginning of this month, I decided to devote more time to reading. Of course, in my case, based on how much I’ve read over the last 10 years, more time meant…any time. Over the course of the month, I read 6 books, which surprised me. But even more importantly (and more excitingly), I quickly rediscovered how much I loved reading. Two days ago, my husband saw where the bookmark was in my 6th book for the month and said, “You really are getting back into reading, aren’t you?” My response: “Yes! This is what I used to do, and I’m loving it!”

So while in my first post announcing this new feature (and hobby re-kindling), I suggested that posting about what books I’m reading would be a way to hold myself accountable, I know that’s not necessary. Now I’m just posting what I’ve read to share it with others and make my recommendations. But while I planned for this feature to be weekly, and thought it might even sometimes have to be filled in with something besides a review of what I recently read because I wouldn’t read fast enough, my reading pace has made me realize I’m quickly going to get behind in posting reviews.

My plan going forward will be to post on a Tuesday now and then to catch back up, because I can’t guarantee this pace will be consistent. For example, The Novice (a YA book that I enjoyed), I read in 3 days. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (an adult murder-mystery with a complicated premise) took 7 days. I’ve also been lucky to have had a quiet month, but I know that at times I will be too busy to finish books this quickly. So I’m not ready to completely move to a twice a week schedule, but I’ll stick in some extra posts to stay caught up.

Here are the books I read in July, only half of which have been posted about:
Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The Oath by Frank Peretti
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Novice by Taran Matharu (review pending)
The Trials of Lance Eliot by M.L. Brown, a.k.a. Adam Stück

The rest of these posts will go up in the next few weeks. My ever-changing list of to-be-reads, as well as a flag for the book I’m currently reading and an ongoing list of those I’ve read and posted about can be found here.

I’m also keeping my Goodreads page updated with a more extensive list of to-be-reads, if anyone is interested in that. (Note: The list of books I have read overall is not remotely complete there. When I created my Goodreads page 4 years ago, I added some of my favorite books over the years, but to add everything I’ve ever read would be very time-consuming, not to mention impossible to remember it all.)

Despite my almost too-long list of TBRs, I’m always looking for more to add. Feel free to offer suggestions of your favorites or just recent reads you enjoyed.

Book Corner: The Oath

Book Corner

Finished Reading: The Oath
by Frank Peretti

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Christian Thriller

The Oath

People are disappearing, possibly dying, in or around a small mining town in the Pacific northwest, and the the people in town seem to know what’s going on, but are unwilling or unable to talk about it. When an outsider dies, it opens up their small-town secrets to the rest of the world. The brother of the outsider who died starts to dig and uncovers a creature that he is determined to bring to light, but the town’s occupants won’t let go of their dragon without a fight.

The Oath has been my favorite book pretty much since I first read it, at least 20 years ago. Up until maybe 10 years ago, I re-read it just about every year. It used to scare me when I read it at night, despite how well I knew the story. Now that I’m getting back to reading regularly, I realized how much I wanted to read it again, and part of that was curiosity about whether or not its status as my favorite book would hold up. I’m happy to say it did!

I fully admit that the book could have been shorter, as there is a decent amount of description of old mining operations and mountain views that I generally skim, but overall, the book is a great example of a Christian thriller. It is also an allegory, which I think is important to realize while reading it.

Once again, by the time I was in the 2nd half of this book, I found myself caught up in the hunt and the excitement of what was happening. I did not have any issues reading at night though, so apparently I’ve either gotten used to it enough, or I’ve grown out of that problem. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, and in a way felt like I was coming home as I read this classic favorite.

Find out more about The Oath

Up next: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!