Reading

Book Review: Hand of Vengeance

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Photography is not my forte, but at least you can see the cover.

Yes, yes, a second book review in a single week. That’s just the way it worked out. ūüôā

Hand of Vengeance¬†by Douglas Bond was recommended to me by Moriah Simonowich of Delighting in Him and one of my friends offered to let me borrow it. So I started this book by Douglas Bond in the midst of all the other books I’m reading in at the moment.

Living in an 8th century Anglo-Saxon community, Cynwulf is shunned by most of the people in his world. Being left handed and part Viking, the rest of the community is happy to both avoid and judge him. Until one of his weapons is found at the scene of a murder. Cynwulf becomes the chief suspect in a murder trial he wants nothing to do with and must try to clear his name and save his life.

Bond writes a compelling tale (one which kept me up late for “one more chapter” more than once). His characters are complicated enough to be brought to life. I felt as if I understood Cynwulf even though I’ve never been on trial for murder. I wanted to know what was going to happen to them, so I kept coming back.

As I mentioned in my review of¬†Jane Eyre, wholesome books are becoming more and more difficult to find. A large majority of authors are content to write fiction overflowing with sin and vice (not to mention lazy grammar and writing). It’s a tragedy, and I don’t say that lightly. Books hold great influence over the thoughts and lives of those who read them and authors are entrusted with the responsibility of shaping minds.

That being said, Douglas Bond’s¬†tale of murder, love, and geese is a refreshing read. He shamelessly and easily weaves in the gospel – something also not done well in many modern tales.¬†Hand of Vengeance was relaxing to read. I knew I wouldn’t have to be on the lookout for anything sinful or dark that might make me need to put it down. The world needs more books like this one.

Kira

You can find Douglas Bond at douglasbondbooks.blogspot.com

or bondbooks.net

Are there any authors that you know are “safe” – that will deliver a great story without treading sinful waters? How did you find out about them?

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From the Archives: Book Review: Jane Eyre

I began reading Jane Eyre after a ridiculously frustrating injury in April and I loved it, so I had to keep the review.

Originally published: 5/30/17


Classics. Those books that have lasted centuries, only to be left on the bookshelves of well meaning readers, unopened, unexplored. The shelves in my room hold many of these works of art, most of them as yet unread.

However, during the week of the neck injury awhile ago, I needed something to entertain me (other than Netflix – one can only take so much bad television). So I decided to tackle one of the books that I had been putting off for much too long. I figured my inability to move would provide motivation to actually finish the venture this time.

I chose Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and completed about half of it before I was up and moving again. It happens to be quite a thick book though, and it took me a few more weeks of regular life to reach the end.

Miss Bronte’s protagonist, Jane, is a plain little girl at the opening of the story. Her life, young as she is, is already marked with suffering. Jane is an orphan, entrusted to the care of a guardian who does not love her. To get rid of the troublesome child, Jane is sent to a charity school where she receives an education and eventually ventures out into the world on her own. Life does not get any easier though, as she begins finding her way in the world, and Jane is left to face many difficult situations which try her courage, morality, and love.

As is often the case with old books (“classics”), I found¬†Jane Eyre¬†to be much more gripping and intriguing than I expected. The story is compelling and well thought out. Jane is a character who takes some getting used to, but is easy to grow to love. She is surrounded by a supporting cast with interesting backgrounds who leave their mark on the girl. Her tale is told by a woman with an excellent vocabulary and skill in crafting sentences.

I appreciated the moral questions raised by Bronte and how they were answered. As someone who loves to read, I’m finding it tragically and increasingly difficult to find books written in the recent past with clean language, themes, and choices.¬†Jane Eyre¬†was a breath of fresh air in that regard. Jane had to make terrible decisions, but she was strong and chose well. Emotion did not dictate the choices in her life – sound judgement and convictions did.

Though quite long,¬†Jane Eyre¬†was worth the read. I kept coming back to find out what would happen to the heroine and how she would respond throughout the weeks it took me to finish the book. Jane has left an impression on me, and, I have to say, I’m sorry the story’s over.

Kira

Are there any books you’ve been meaning to read for far too long?

From the Archives: Book Review: Crazy Love

I only read¬†Crazy Love a few months ago, but I’m already looking forward to reading it again someday.

Originally published: 5/23/17


There’s nothing quite like a book that makes you take a good hard look at yourself.¬†Crazy Love¬†is one of those books.

I mentioned¬†Crazy Love¬†a few weeks ago in a different¬†post¬†before I had finished reading it. Now that I’m done, I had to review it because I absolutely loved it.

Francis Chan’s¬†Crazy Love¬†is about how incredibly out of this world God’s love for us is. It comes through in His every action – from salvation to the creation of caterpillars. Our sin left us with no claim to His love, but He poured it over us anyway. By the bucket full. When we stop and actually try to fathom for a moment the depth of this love, we are left with no other reaction than to pour out our lives in service to Christ.

We have no reason to fear death, no reason to conform to this world, no reason to worry or stress or be caught up with ourselves. This life is about God, even though we’re the ones living it. Chan makes that incredibly clear in his book.

Crazy Love is not overly eloquent or complicated. While I usually enjoy finer language in a book, Chan made his point simple and I appreciate that in this case. Rather than detracting from the book, the simplicity of the writing allowed me to focus on the message and how it applies to me.

It took me awhile to reach the point spiritually where I can see the benefit of conviction when I first feel it, rather than wanting to run in the other direction, toward complacency. It has led to a deeper appreciation of books like¬†Crazy Love¬†and how God uses them in my life.¬†Francis Chan is not shy about saying that the church as a whole is not following God completely. But he doesn’t just leave it there. In “A Conversation With Francis Chan” at the end of the book, Chan stresses that he’s not attacking the church. Rather, he loves the church and wants to urge her to follow Christ’s calling.

“I’m not coming up with anything new. I’m calling people to go back to the way it was. I’m not bashing the church. I’m loving it.” (Crazy Love, pg 180)

Over all, Crazy Love was a convicting and, more importantly, encouraging read. It has led me to examine my own life and walk with God and to spend more time focusing on Him.

Kira

You can find Francis Chan on his blog: crazylove.org

And his Crazy Love website: crazylovebook.com

Have you read any convicting/encouraging books lately? Any that you can’t wait to read again?

Other Blogs

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Today I put together a list of blogs that I read/follow for your perusal. Please look through a few of them (you might become as enthralled as I have).


Helping Writers Become Authors

This website written by author K. M. Weiland does exactly what you might think: talks about writing. And, as I am a writer who wants to become an author, I enjoy her posts.

The Rebelution

I’ve probably recommended this one before, but I love the Rebelution. It’s all about living for Christ as a teenager, from the perspective of teenagers. I’ve been fortunate enough to be published there twice.

Runner’s World

Because what runner can live without it?

Kingdom Pen

I follow this one with less regularity, but the articles are still good. They are written for young Christian writers and capably bring out how God plays into writing.

Michael Hyatt

Another one I don’t read very often, but Michael Hyatt has some solid advice about changing your life for the better. I also listen to his podcast “This is Your Life.”

Go Teen Writers

I don’t read this one very much (are you detecting a pattern?), but it offers solid writing advice from adult writers writing to teenagers.

A Beautiful Sound

My sister’s blog. She doesn’t post very often, but I enjoy it when she does.

Highlands of Halaran

Rachel started this blog for a class, I believe, and still posts every once in a while. I love reading her words, which are more often like poetry. (Rachel, consider this a plea for more posts ūüôā )

Amelia’s Menagerie

Amelia is a friend of mine who has a lot of animals. She raises everything from chickens to quail to rats and writes about it on her blog.

Scratch That…

Another friend’s blog. She uses it to explore life and firgure things out in relation to growing up and biblical truths.

What Do I Even Say?

So, a lot of my friends have blogs. ūüôā Isaac’s is similar to¬†Scratch That… in what he writes about, but it comes from a different voice.

Who Am I?

Zachary challenges himself and others in his posts, which contain testimonies from his life, song lyrics, and lots of Scripture.


Those are the ones I read the most often. As for the blogs that I don’t check regularly, they’re still really good. It has more to do with the amount of time I have for reading them. I hope you were able to find a new person or two to follow and interact with through this collection of some of my favorite blogs.

Kira

What are blogs/websites do you follow? What are they about?

From the Archives: Book Review: This Changes Everything

We are coming up to more recent posts from my previous blog, so there aren’t many weeks left of¬†From the Archives posts. That also means that those of you who followed me before I switched to WordPress have likely already read these. I do still intend to bring my favorites with me though, so please bear with me and feel free to read them again, should you so desire.

Originally published: 3/31/17


I recently had the privilege of reading the book This Changes Everything: How the gospel transforms the teen years by Jaquelle Crowe for free in order to review it. And let me tell you, I loved it!

I had expected to enjoy the book since it was written for teens about living for Christ. I trusted the author, having read her articles before, and figured her first book would be good as well. So I was surprised at what an impact it made on me.

Jaquelle’s book just came out today (I got it early – yay! ūüėČ ) and I would highly recommend you go read it.

This Changes Everything¬†is about how we, as teenagers, should be living our lives for Christ right now. We don’t have to (and should not) wait until we’re older. We are just as much God’s people now as we will be in two or three or five years. We are not exempt from following God’s Word because of our age and Jaquelle wants to make sure we know it.

The book is written very simply, not because teens need it that way, but because it can be stated that way. No one needs big words to understand that we are to lay aside everything tearing us away from Christ and live only and fully for Him.

That being said, I would not only recommend this book to teens, but to everyone else walking with Christ as well. Teens aren’t the only ones who need reminders of these things. Even though Jaquelle is talking mainly to teenagers, everything she says applies equally to all believers. We are all called to a relationship with God and to go against the norms of culture.

If you’re interested, you can find¬†This Changes Everything¬†on¬†Amazon¬†and¬†Crossway¬†and I’m sure some other places too.

I cannot tell you how wonderfully Jaquelle shows that the gospel does, in fact, change everything in our lives.

Kira

Have you read any books that change the way you look at your life? Did you do anything in response?

Book Review (and Giveaway!): Edwin Brook: Dire Recompense

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Edwin Brook by Daeus Lamb has left me in shock.

I just finished reading the adventure story (which I received for free in exchange for an honest review) this morning and it’s still spinning through my head. Usually, I try to give a book a few days to sit after finishing it before writing a review, but due to my personal and blog schedules, that’s not an option this time. Thus, I am left to try to review this book in the immediate wake of its effect.

Matthew and his mother and sister have nowhere to go, so they turn to a wealthy home for shelter from a storm. The night seems simple enough, despite their desperation: find a benevolent person to take them in and have a place to stay for the night. Then life continues. But that is not to be the case for this small family.

What happens at the house of Lord Glenworth changes Matthew’s life forever. He will never be the same boy that he was before the visit. Despite his youth, Matthew feels a deep need to set out and seek justice for his past – his own justice. This resolve carries him through many decisions and events that an ordinary man might not be able to handle. But it is what must be done.

Edwin Brook was amazing. From the very beginning, I was entranced with the story, constantly feeling a need to know what happens next. Author Daeus Lamb kept his characters moving and kept me in suspense. As soon as I had the answer to one question, another popped up and I had to keep reading. The tale was creatively woven and excellently executed.

The characters came alive from the start, each with their own riddled pasts and real faults. Matthew is not a saint, but he is relatable – forcing you to search yourself for your own flaws that might compare. It’s scary to read a book and feel as if you’re looking in a mirror, but valuable beyond measure.

As to the writing style, it was unfamiliar at first. I can’t recall ever having read a book written in quite the same way.¬†Edwin Brook had thought provoking descriptions and original wording. It took a few chapters to get my bearing, but once I did, I appreciated the uniqueness of the telling.

Overall, I found Edwin Brook to be a different sort of story. While it took a little bit to get used to how it was told, the story was gripping and one that I am sure will stay with me for some time. I would recommend it to anyone seeking a rich form of entertainment. It is not a book to be read just for the sake of reading, but one to be tasted, wrestled with, and appreciated.

Now for the exciting part: Daeus Lamb has graciously offered to give away five digital copies of Edwin Brook: Dire Recompense to readers of this blog. I encourage you to take advantage of this (and maybe consider leaving him a review if you win).

To enter, just go to this link and follow the instructions. Good luck!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c6aba7621/?