Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Faith, fiction and fantasy

I seem to be reading one Christian suspense novel a week at the moment, which makes comparing them quite interesting (for me anyway). Click on the blue links for my reviews as usual, and I'll include the two most recent Christian suspense reviews from previous weeks for comparison.

Don't forget, good books deserve coffee, rated by flavor.

KILL FM 100 by Teric Darken starts with minimal Christian references and a very solid, engaging real-world feel. The second third of the novel has lots of Christian/non-Christian dialog as one protagonist finds his faith strengthened and seeks to share what he knows with the other. And the final third is heavy on Christian imagery, forgiveness, and God's perfect timing.

Vicki Hinze's Not this Time builds on events taking place within a Christian community where the protagonists talk naturally and frequently throughout about their faith and its implications.

This week's Christian mystery was Zoe Mack and the Secret of the Love Letters, a young adult Christian novel by K. Dawn Byrd. In this book the faith aspect is lower key than in Not This Time, but stays at a consistent level throughout, unlike in KILL FM. Readers of faith will see God's hand and God's timing in events, but characters rarely mention it specifically and don't try to convert each other or the reader. Of the three, this is the novel I'd be most comfortable recommending to someone who's not adamantly Christian or actively seeking faith. It raises questions, tells an exciting story, and invites thought without demanding it. Enjoy with a 2-star lively easy-drinking coffee--it's a fun read.

Flight of the Stone by C.H. Thompson was my second Young Adult book this week, a fantasy set in Christchurch in England that builds on a fascinating mythology of ley-lines with some intriguing hi-tech twists. It's very detailed and not a particularly fast read, but there's some wonderful word-play in there where asthmatic Brandon meets his curious other-world guide. Better go for a 4-star complex coffee--the plot and timelines are pretty complicated in this one.

Ugly to Start with, by John Michael Cummings, is billed as young adult fiction but works equal well as adult literary fiction. The interconnected short stories weave perfectly into a novel of coming of age in 1970s Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, bringing place and people to vivid life. I couldn't put it down. Drink some 5-star bold intense coffee--these tales will really pull you in.

Finally, A Note from an Old Acquaintance, by Bill Walker, takes readers to the changing architecture of Boston as an author whose wife is dying receives an email from a former lover. The various arts of author, sculptor and financial genius collide and combine, and the Buddhist faith of the former lover adds something very pleasing to the mix. Drink an elegant complex 4-star coffee with this one.

... and even more finally, Twin Bred by Karen Wyle, a book I reviewed a little while ago, is currently free to Amazon Prime members so if you like real sci-fi and you have Amazon prime, head on over to http://www.amazon.com/Twin-Bred-ebook/dp/B005VDVHQ2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324759955&sr=8-2 and enjoy.

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