Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fiction Books from Tyndale that I Read

What are some Tyndale fiction books that I have read & reviewed?

All for a Story by Allison Pittman...This is a story set in the 1920s during the era of speakeasies & flappers. It was a decent book, but I found the introduction & conclusion to be rather abrupt. While one character was a practicing Christian, we spend a lot of time on his passionate thoughts about another character, who causes him to violate his conscious. Characters come into the story & then drop out. There were several strings left untied, but overall it was in interesting book.

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta...I am very surprised to find Born of Persuasion as a Tyndale book. As I read it, I kept excepting to find the redeeming quality of the book that marks it as a *Christian* historical romance. Unfortunately, I just find it to be a historical romance. It is very sensual and focuses on the physical side of the romantic relationship. One character is a devoted Christian and strives to live out the gospel, but there are few glimpses of God in this book. The one Christian character is over-zealous for half of the book and then he decides the protagonist is worth choosing over God, his faith, and his job. Overall a disappointing book.  If you like confusion, two-faced characters, cliff-hangers and an undercurrent of the sensual, this this is your book.

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren...This is an enjoyable hockey story. The characters are realistic, even if they have the stereotypical misunderstandings due to lack of clear communication. It was a wonderful read and I couldn't put it down. The characters faced issues and had doubts that are common to us all. The language is clean and the romance stays tame with a slight undertone of deep desire. An enjoyable read.

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins...This is a story imagining what the end times will be like. The characters are realistic. The plot moves quickly. It is an intense story. I did wish that more scripture references were given for ease of personal study.

Damascus Countdown by Joel C. Rosenberg...I do not recommend this book. There were too many characters that cluttered up the pages & too few back-stories that were clearly told. This book encourages fear of Muslims, instead of encouraging Christians to pray for & witness to them. If I wanted to read doomsday hate-filled, fear-mongering propaganda, I would get online. The story is presented out-of-sync & out-of-order. People are introduced & then drop out for chapters at a time. Each chapter jumps from city-to-city and country-to-country, with a confused & convoluted timeline. Events are not chronological; you read events in one chapter that progress forward & then jump backwards in the next chapter to catch one more person’s view of the events. The conclusion was weak & rushed, despite being a 465 page-story. On a positive note, there are lots of prayers & references to God. The story is intense & captivating, but overall, I was disappointed in this book.

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers...I couldn’t finish this book. Between the angst, teen drama, & aggressive, seductive males, I was too repelled to make it past page 120. I stopped reading at what was seeming to be a traumatic sensual seduction. This book may have redemptive qualities, but it came too late for me. I don't recommend this book.

Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge...I hesitate to leave a negative review for a book about a blogger who gets kidnapped after leaving a harsh review. But nevertheless, I found this book to be confusing, lacking a clear flow of events. We jumped from event to event in no particular order. The kidnapper berates his victim, over-generalizing as he condemns her entire generation. The main character ends up with Stockholm Syndrome, even though it’s not called that in the book. Her kidnapper kidnapped her to get an honest appraisal of his worth as a person. The book is decent & engaging, but some parts are left unclear, strings were left untied, & the ending was rushed. God is visible in the book from time to time, but only in sporadic spurts.

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate...I favor books with strong female characters & this book doesn’t have one. Every chapter is from the perspective of the female protagonist, who seems incapable of choosing a kind man for a partner. Her husband was verbally & emotionally abusive. Her boyfriend was jealous & rude. She has negative self-talk from time she spent with family. This character annoyed me. I kept reading, hoping she would grow stronger, or at least grow closer to God, but it was a slow process. It was a decent book even though it was a little slow at times & there were loose ends left untied.

Wish by Jake Smith...I stopped reading Wish at about the 40% mark, because it was a painfully slow read. The characters were unrealistic. The details slowed down the plot. Although there were a few prayers (and threats) to God, God really wasn’t present in the storyline. Baseball is an idol to the characters, to the point where the baseball diamond is likened to a cathedral. Although admittedly I don’t really like sports, I have enjoyed other sports stories through Tyndale. I did not enjoy this book.

All for a Sister by Allison Pittman is a decent book, where the characters find solace in God, but I can’t help but feel that the characters drag me down to a lower level as I find out about their lies, faults, and sins. It’s an intriguing book, but one I doubt I’ll ever read again.

The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg is a decent book, but it was too intense & gruesome for me at times. It is captivating, although it is a difficult subject to read about. It was frustrating to be introduced to characters who then disappeared out of the story for hundreds of pages. As a history major, I recognized some truth written into the story, but it is difficult to tell where the truth ends & fiction begins, making it possible for people to have historically inaccurate views of the Holocaust. The timeline in the story jumped around a LOT, making it frustrating to read at times.

Just 18 Summers by Michelle Cox is a decent book. It follows 7 characters, each chapter switches its perspective from a husband to a wife, or from a wife to a neighbor, or from a widower, to a pregnant lady. It was confusing to get into and hold the different characters & relationships in my head. The characters frustrated me as they acted contrary to how I would want to act in their situations. Many characters are two-faced, putting up a front, & faking their way through interactions until they do a complete 180 degree turn in behavior.

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta is the second book in the Price of Privilege series and I found it just as secular as the first. The story line is out of sync with dire hints at past & impending events. I found it to be confusing & convoluted to read. God isn't present in what I read of this book & is barely referenced. I stopped reading this book about 30% of the way through because I felt like I was being dragged through the worst of society.

The Trail by Ed Underwood was an interesting read, but had a lot of extra drama cluttering up the pages & it was too cliche in the ending. The principles presented in the book were solid, but were a little too complex at times.

Annie’s Stories by Cindy Thomson is a delightful book. It is interesting & has realistic characters, albeit ones who sometimes make poor decisions. It’s a little long, but God is present & the story is moving. I recommend this book.

Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore is a captivating, yet disturbing book. It is a thriller where you follow a haunted cop, an obsessed cop, and a pedophile. It is well-written, but the choice in a villain was in poor tastes. I felt slimy after reading from his perspective. Characters start the book by having given up on God, but by the end they are more open toward God. Some conflict stays unresolved at the end.

Tattler's Branch by Jan Watson is a captivating book, although it took a long while to pin down the era of the book. It deals with the darker side of humanity, but the characters are easy to relate to. God plays a minor role in the story, but He is present. A nice book.

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge is a decent read, but the main character left her husband when he needed her support more. The story line is convoluted and jumps between past & present too much. Although the story is complicated & frustrating at times, it does have redeeming qualities. 

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