Book Review: Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin

I haven’t been posting as often because I’m in the throes of the first trimester yuckies (the technical medical term). And while I’m thrilled to be pregnant again, it’s certainly not doing great things for my writing at the moment.

However, book group continues to provide me with some intellectual stimulation.  Left to my own devices, I’d curl up with some brainless bestseller and kill time until the nausea abates. (And now you know what reviews you can expect next.)

We read Grave Goods because our group recognized a lack of mystery titles in our repertoire.  I’m not much of a mystery person.  I feel that they’re often too formulaic with less of the focus on character development than I’d prefer. But I was pleasantly surprised by this one that challenged the typical mystery conventions and crept into the historical fiction genre a bit.

I don’t recommend starting a series with the third book, but that’s what we did. The author did an admirable job of catching us up on important details, but I felt that all that backstory was a bit rushed.  I will gladly seek out the first two books to see what I missed, but I can’t comment on them, since I’ve only read this one.

The story is set in England in the 12th century, which is enough, right there, to pique my interest.    The main character’s name is Adelia Ailar, Mistress of the Art of Death (quite the title).  She serves as King Henry II’s forensics expert, in a day long before CSI: Miami. It’s a bit of a stretch of the imagination to expect a woman in the dark ages to do any authoritative kind of medical examination, but as with many elements of the story, it’s best to suspend doubt and enjoy the ride.

Adelia was trained as a doctor in Salerno, Italy.  She travels with a motley crew, most importantly including Mansur, an Arab attendant who poses as the actual doctor (and her as the translator) to appeal more to back water dark ages types who don’t see many woman doctors.  It’s a clever ruse but seems pretty thin most of the time. Also along for the ride is Adelia’s illegitimate daughter and her nursemaid.

This particular quest is focused on whether or not recently uncovered bones belong to the famed King Arthur and Guinevere.  King Henry commissions Adelia to find out for sure.

The attitudes presented in the story are astoundingly modern, earning guffaws from me at several points in the book.  But once more, the suspension of disbelief comes in handy.

If you’re not much on mystery but like a good historical romp, especially one involving Arthurian legend, then this is a good book for you. But if you have a hard time stomaching feminism and liberalism forced into a Dark Ages setting, I’d look elsewhere for a fun read.

If you’re considering purchasing this book as a result of this review, please consider using my link to Amazon, so I get referral credits to purchase more books to review.

Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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Book Review: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Morais

This is a book for foodies, especially ones that are fascinated by the French restaurant business.

I like how Ligaya Mishan of the New York Times describes the book:  “Slumdog Millionaire meets Ratatouille.

Hassan is a Muslim Indian who leaves his native country after tragedy hits his family. His larger than life father directs his family in a culinary journey across Europe, eventually settling in France and opening Maison Mumbai, a flamboyantly Indian restaurant in a small town in the Alps.  Across the street, Madame Mallory is the proprietress and head chef at a well respected Michelin two star restaurant.

I wish the story settled here with the relationship between the young Indian man and the classically trained French chef, because the pages devoted to their relationship are the best parts of the book.

But the book follows Hassan as he climbs the French cooking ladder, gaining Michelin stars along the way, and making friends in the French food industry.

Rags to riches isn’t a bad storyline, but I think this book has so much more potential than this simple story of ascent.  As the story left behind Madame Mallory, I grew more and more dissatisfied, anxious for it to return to her and the small town in the Alps.  It never did, even though she’s fondly recalled throughout the story.  Her reach into Hassan’s life never completely disappears.

Another peeve of mine is how Hassan abandons his rich Indian culinary heritage once he begins training in the classical French style. I was looking forward to hybrid Indian/French cuisine and instead got a return to the most classic French style possible.  Hassan had so much more to offer!

There’s one powerful spiritual moment for Madame Mallory that is so poorly depicted (and understood by the author), that I was very put out.  Mallory has an encounter with Jesus in a roadside chapel, but the author doesn’t realize that’s what’s going on.  It’s a powerful, transforming moment that changes the entire trajectory of the book, and the author gives credit to an inspirational painting. Only Jesus is capable of that kind of transformation in someone’s life. But sadly, he doesn’t get the credit.

Despite my minor annoyances with the book, it is truly enjoyable and a great chance to dive into the world of high cuisine, with a focus on supreme quality ingredients and extravagant preparations.  Read it for the relationship between an old French chef, stuck in her ways, and a young Indian boy with a unique gift for preparing food.

If you’re considering purchasing this book as a result of this review, please consider using my link to Amazon, so I get referral credits to purchase more books to review.

Published in: on September 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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Book Review: Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman

As a bit of a Francophile myself, Pamela Druckerman picqued my interest in a recent NPR talk about her new book, Bringing up Bébé. I sat in my car, riveted, until it was over.  She told wild tales about how French children sit through several course meals and eat green foods when prompted to do so.  She explained how French children sit on beach blankets and amuse themselves for hours on end while their parents hold adult conversations.

Needless to say, I immediately ordered the book.

This isn’t to say my little Lizzy isn’t an angel, which she is. But there are times when I’d like a little of the French spirit of autonomy and independence infused into her.

Of course, the French don’t have all the answers to every parenting problem, but it’s fascinating to see the cultural mindsets that go into child rearing, especially when compared to the American ones.  It also helps that Druckerman is a bit of a comedian. I found myself laughing out loud a lot and reading excerpts to Dan.

Briefly, the French focus on educating one’s child to become independent, just about from the moment the children come out of the womb, is fascinating in comparison to our culture where it seems like mothers are continually finding ways to make themselves more attached to their children (i.e. attachment parenting). I’m not saying all attachment parenting ideas are wrong (I wore Lizzy around during fits of colic for months on end), but the French might have a better approach to helping the kids help themselves.

While I don’t necessarily like their attitude toward institutionalized childcare from a very early age, I certainly can appreciate their focus on giving children a chance to try things for themselves (instead of always rushing to their assistance when they merely want comfort or a distraction).  It’s tough, as it goes against all our motherly instincts to run to the child at any sign of distress.  But there’s wisdom in letting the child have a moment to figure out how to entertain himself/herself or soothe himself/herself.

Lots of food for thought here.  And while I don’t plan on raising Lizzy to be French, I think I have a lot to learn from a different culture’s child rearing perspective, one where public tantrums are rare and meals aren’t stressful events.

Here’s a link to the radio program that prompted me to read the book.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

I haven’t done a book review for awhile, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading! Dan’s kind enough to feed Lizzy her last bottle of the night, so I can escape to bed a little early and read (he’s done this from very early on, and it’s meant a lot.).

One book series that I’ve been plowing through deserves some attention because it’s certainly gaining a lot of interest from young adult readers. If you have a high schooler in your life, you’ve probably already heard of The Hunger Games.

When I first heard the premise, I thought it sounded revolting. It’s a distopian novel about a future time in North America, where children are forced to battle for their lives in an arena so their families have food. Who wants to read about kids killing each other? But apparently, lots of people do, because these books are flying off the shelves.

If you’ve read my other book reviews, you know my philosophy about reading these books. They are very popular, and therefore, to fully engage the culture, it’s worthwhile to read them. I sort of look at these as the latest fad book in line with Harry Potter and Twilight. And regardless of their entertainment value or even their moral value, these books can function as a lens from which to view our society.

You can find more extensive summaries of the book elsewhere (it’s the first in a trilogy). Here, I merely want to touch on some themes that are worthwhile to consider.

  1. Sacrifice

I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but people offer their lives in exchange for others. This happens a few times in the book. Some of the most climatic and key points in the book focus on these sacrifices. This is by no means a Christian story, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find elements of Truth in it. And what better way to discuss Christ’s sacrifice for our sake than to talk about it in terms of the familiar, how favorite characters willingly offer themselves for others.

2. The “haves” and “have nots”

    Similar to other famous distopian novels, such as 1984 and Brave New World, the government is an all powerful entity that oppresses certain groups of people, creating a “haves” and “have nots” kind of culture. In The Hunger Games, the “haves” live in “The Capitol,” where excess characterizes their lives. The “have nots” live everywhere else, making sprockets for the Capital’s conspicuous consumption while they are starving.

    Let’s not get Marxist over this, about redistribution and the proletariat and all. But let’s think about how despite a recession, we still have a heck of a lot more than most of the world. We’re the conspicuous consumers, the “haves,” benefitting from the back breaking labor in sweat shops. This isn’t a reminder to be thankful for all we have but to think about what we do with it. Are we like the folks in the Capitol, binging and purging just to taste new party foods (a book two reference, but it really hit me hard)? How do we share our bounty to bless the “have nots,” instead of inventing more ways to waste it on unnecessary things?

    3. What is real?

      There’s a lot of deception and strategic double dealing in The Hunger Games. The Capitol stages the games, but there’s a lot of artifice involved, from the created game area, to the way contestants are presented to the public. Those living in the Capitol, getting entertained by the games, aren’t aware of all the behind the scenes work that presents a fraud for a fact.

      On the most basic level, its easy to see how this is like the “reality” TV that is so popular these days. But I also see it as very similar to what it’s like to be a Christian in this world.

      We Christians are in a world that isn’t our home. The games people play here aren’t our games. Chasing after money, sex, power, and the like is the pastime of most everyone else. But we play by different rules, seek different things, serve someone else.

      Katniss, the main character, sees through the artifice in these games and is a citizen of a different world. She has to hold to the very tenuous balance that we Christians have every day, to be in the world of artifice but not be of that world. And it’s not always crystal clear what that means, how to act in this strange place that makes unsavory demands of us. But in the struggle, she has companions to help her, and we have them too: our friends, our Church, God.

      I’d love to hear what others think of this book. It’s due to be out as a movie in a year, meaning it will get even more widespread exposure. Why not dive in now to be ready to discuss it then?

      Book Review: Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge

      You’ve probably heard of John and Stasi Eldredge before. Just walk into any Christian bookstore, and their books always get top billing in the personal growth section. I’ve read John’s groundbreaking book, Wild at Heart, as well as Stasi’s female version, directed towards women readers, Captivating.  Both had some good insight to offer about male and female roles, but I found both to be a bit tough to read. Not that they were difficult, but they were just all over the place and disorganized in both thought and structure.

      The Eldredges have teamed up for their latest writing venture, a relationship book directed to married folks called Love and War. And, as could be expected, it’s very similar to those other books in both style and themes.  Basically, if you loved their other books, chances are, you’ll feel the same way about this one.  And if like me, you enjoyed several of their take home points but grew frustrated with the delivery of the material, you’ll also have the same kind of experience with this book.

      Love and War picks up where the other books left off, with a grand metanarrative structuring our lives, how we’re all part of a story. This time, it’s a fairy tale, where the hero husband rescues the beautiful wife in distress.  This loose interwoven theme pops up again and again in the book, bringing together the male roles discussed in Wild at Heart and the female roles from Captivating.

      The book reads more like a series of personal stories than a point by point look at marriage. I found this intensely frustrating, since I like to “get to the point” in my reading. I had to read it with pen in hand to underline the occasional key points that popped up, often in the middle of paragraphs, in the middle of chapters, any old place.  And there were some good key points, they just weren’t all that original. I’ll give them credit for creative phrasing, but overall, the book didn’t offer much that others in the genre have offered. It just takes those same marriage enriching points and situates them in the context of the Eldredge’s storybook view of genders.

      My favorite chapter was entitled “The Little Foxes” after that verse in Song of Songs: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (2:15).  Personally, I thought Pastor Mark Driscoll did a better job on this topic in his Song of Solomon series, which you can find here.  But there were some great points hidden in the stories within the chapter, which was likely the most organized and to the point chapter (which explains why I liked it the most). The chapter addressed some of the little things in marriage that can build up and cause big problems.

      I also liked the chapter called “A Shared Adventure” because it is the most unique offering in the book. It’s the most focused on the Eldredge’s story of a man and woman on an adventure together, with the man leading and the woman alongside him in the call. 

      I’ve listed my favorite relationship books in the past, and this one won’t be cracking my top 10. If you’d like to see my lists, they’re here and here.

      Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah and Doubleday books for providing me with a review copy of this book. To learn more about the book, visit the publisher’s website.

      Book Review: Angels by Dr. David Jeremiah

      I’ve enjoyed listening to Dr. David Jeremiah’s radio shows in the past, so when Multnomah publishers asked me to review a copy of his new book, Angels, I was excited to hear what he had to say on the topic.  And he didn’t disappoint.  This is the best book I’ve ever read on the topic of Angels, and I suggest adding it to your library if this is an area of interest for you.

      What I appreciated most about Jeremiah’s approach was the emphasis on scripture, first and foremost.  He takes other authors to task, who have given in to the pop-culture notion of angels and have crafted their own angel studies based on heresy and popular beliefs about them.  Instead, he makes scripture the standard for everything we know about angels, and tests the common claims about angels against scripture, to see what is true and what is not.  Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of scripture references in the book.

      Another way that this book stands out is that it doesn’t focus so much on fallen angels as much as the God serving ones.  I’ve read several angel books, and Satan’s angels always seem to get more than their fair share of the attention.  While purposefully, Jeremiah leaves the discussion of fallen angels until near the end of his book, physically locating it in a place that puts its emphasis on the God serving angels.

      A surprising element of this book was the many references to Calvin’s writing on angels. It seems like there’s at least one Calvin reference each chapter, leading me to believe that Jeremiah pulled a lot of his ideas from that illustrious reformer.

      Overall, I found the book approachable, readable, and scripturally sound. It didn’t feel like a reference work, even though it referenced a great deal of other sources, especially the Bible. In fact, at the end of many chapters or sections, Jeremiah would ask personal application questions to help guide us into thinking about how we could grow closer to Jesus through this new information.  He sees angels as messengers who always point to God, and so each thing we learn about them should always point us back to the worship of God.

       Thanks to Multnomah Publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book.  To learn more about it, visit the publisher’s website.

      Book Review: The Male Factor

      Shaunti Feldhahn has done it again. In her new book, The Male Factor, she takes her surveying skills to the workplace, to see what working men think of their working women counterparts. As she’s done for couples in her For Women Only and For Men Only, she does for men and women in the workplace.  I was tremendously pleased by this new approach to gender differences, and I found it to be a highly practical and informative book.

      Feldhahn uses a very similar approach to presenting her material as she did in her other books.  I was impressed at how all the information was organized, with excellent sub headings and helpful quotes highlighted.  I found it was a book that was easy to read without getting too bogged down in details and statistics.

      Basically, the book relies on the premise that men and women operate differently.  And by interviewing many men in the work world, Feldhahn presents how a large percentage of men view women in the workplace.  She focuses on ways that women can improve their working relationships with the opposite sex, as there are many pitfalls women fall into when relating to men.  For example, my favorite chapter was on “men’s inner insecurity” and “the confidence game.”  Feldhahn explains men’s struggles to receive respect in the workplace, and she outlines seven unintentional ways women disrespect men at work. When our attitude is “brusque” and too direct, we can be too confrontational and throw men off balance.  And when we ask too many questions about their actions, we doubt their logical process at arriving at certain conclusions.

      Feldhahn touches on such issues as women’s sexuality in the workplace, how our dress can be downright distracting to our co-workers.  And she addresses that familiar “it’s not personal; it’s business” mantra that we often hear from men, something very unfamiliar to women. Another important issue the book touches on is how women’s emotions can be perceived by men, how crying might not fit in the workplace.  And while some of these issues might seem obvious, a surprising amount of women, in practice, choose to ignore these relational guidelines.

      I read the Christian edition of the text, as Feldhahn has released two different versions, one for the mainstream and one for Christians.  I honestly didn’t find a ton of extra material helpful for Christ followers, but there was one chapter at the end that attempted to fill this gap.  The non-Christian version would certainly be a sufficient book to read.  And I’m glad to see that Feldhahn is bringing her gender discussion to the mainstream, a place that seems hesitant, in light of current politically correct movements, to acknowledge the inherent differences between mens and women’s minds.

      Thanks to Multnomah Publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book. Click here to visit the publisher’s website.

      Book Review: Water for Elephants

      On the heels of NaNoWriMo, I decided to read a book that was published as a result of the NaNoWriMo experience.  Believe it or not, Sara Gruen wrote her bestseller, Water for Elephants, during the competition.  I learned this factoid shortly after starting writing in November, and her success was a bit of an inspiration for me to continue.  And even then, she didn’t actually complete the competition, with “only” 40,000 words of the novel completed at the end of November.

      So I read the book after I’d finished writing, and wow, what a story.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t thrilled about reading about the circus, since I guess I’m just not a circus person.  I never was one of those kids begging to see the circus when it came to town.  But, I was excited to see what a NaNoWriMo novel read like.  

      The plot is very simple, it’s the organization that makes it unique.  Gruen interweaves the story of 90-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski with tales of his former life in the circus.  As I’ve learned in my newfound novel writing experience, transitions between times are a booger, but she succeeded in making them coherent and believable, with the slipping sanity of a forgetful old man, dwelling back on his youth.  She also does an incredible job with starting the book at the climax, a different version that leaves a lot of key details ambigious.  When she rewrites it later, she’s revealed the omitted details.  A very clever and effective plot technique.

      Jabob joins the circus on accident, after his parents die, and he finds himself unable to complete veterinary school.  The circus performers find him on the train and consider “red lighting” him (throwing him off), which is an illegal practice.  Gruen hints happened frequently in depression era circuses.  The fear of “red lighting” is an ever-present concern through the entire novel.

      It’s a love story, of exotic animals and also between two people, facing immense challenges to their romance.  Mix that with all sorts of off the wall acts, and a greedy circus master, and you have all the ingredients for a very compelling novel.

      One word of caution here.  My endorsement of this book would be stronger if it weren’t for the graphic, coarse, sexuality interwoven throughout it.  Gruen highlights the dark underbelly of the circus, the side show acts that are only advertised through word of mouth.  These characters and scenes lend some of the more deeply disturbing elements to the story, but they also aren’t necessary for the plot’s success. If you’re sensitive to these sorts of scenes, as I am, I’d suggest skipping any parts involving “Barbara,” with or without her sideshow.

      As historical fiction, it seems very trustworthy, as Gruen, in an author’s note at the end, highlights her extensive research into depression era circuses.  I had no idea what sort of acts and brave sacrifices went into producing a complete circus show.

      The strongest aspect of this book was its intensity, how it carried you through the chapters, never relenting.  I don’t know if this had something to do with the short period of time in which the author wrote it, allowing for more focus and immersion in the story, but in any case, it’s a book that’s hard to put down.  I, grudgingly, read it in two sessions instead of one because I needed to get to sleep.  Ad, if you do read it, plan on being obsessed for awhile.

      Bridge of Sighs

      bridgeofsighsOne of my book groups recently read Bridge of Sighs, by Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer of Empire Falls (which I have not read…yet). When an authors win the Pulitzer, I tend to pay attention to their other books as well, and this, his most recent release, looked like just the book to take along with me to Italy. After all, it’s supposed to be about a trip to Italy…supposed to be.

      I know I’m probably ruining a part of the book by saying this, but after all this ramping up to a trip to Italy, they never end up going. Russo takes his characters elsewhere. And boy was I pissed. Don’t dangle something like a tour de Italy in front of me, string me along for 500 chapters, and cop out in the end. Can you tell I’m a little peeved about this?

      Anyway, the book has its upsides, too.

      It’s about a small town and two generations of people within it. Each generation repeats the same failings as the other, and it’s a little depressing in that regard (everyone seems doomed to fail). Plus, the town, a fictitious one in upstate New York, is slowly killing all the people in it because of a toxic stream, polluted by an old tannery. Not the happiest place to live.

      Lou Lynch (Lucy…a nickname that plagues him his entire life) idolizes his best friend, Bobby Marconi, to the point where the author hints he might even be homosexual. Bobby is everything that Lou is not, tough, smart, and good with women. The story follows their journey to adulthood, including an early, life altering event for Lucy. Crossing a bridge on his way home from school, some local bullies lock him in a trunk and abandon him there. Lucy experiences the first of his many “episodes” where he freezes into a semi-catatonic state temporarily. His childhood is filled with such experiences, which continue, sporadically, into his adult years.

      Then comes Sarah, the love of Lucy’s life. She’s bold and no-nonsense, looking for love from Lou and his family. Sarah becomes a regular fixture in the Lynch corner store. But here’s the problem…Bobby likes her too.

      The main intrigue for the book came from this love triangle. Sure, the relationships between the generations were interesting, but for the most part, I found them kind of repetitive and fatalistic. People die left and right in this small town. And not many people are truly happy.

      Perhaps that’s what bothered me most about the book. Where is the joy? The only joy seemed to come from getting out of the town, getting laid, and hanging out at the Lynch store (which had its own unique family dynamic involved, with a very disturbing Uncle and some scary upstairs renters). At the end, at couple characters showed hope for change, but it wasn’t in the transforming way that you’d hope for, after going through so much dreariness. Basically, I wanted Jesus to show up and fix these screwed up lives.

      But then, this isn’t Christian fiction. Interestingly, one of my favorite characters is a Christian who isn’t painted in a bad light. In fact, hers is one of the only positive stories. But you have to wade through 400 pages to get there, so I’m not sure its worth it.

      Russo excels in character development, slowly divulging intriguing details about the characters’ former lives and making you want to follow their progression. He also masterfully alternates points of views, using different narrators skillfully, something that few authors can do (Next week, I’ll be sharing an example of how NOT to do this).

      Because of these skills, I’m not giving up on Russo. I’m sure Empire Falls will be on my reading list, eventually. I need a few faster moving and less depressing novels before I try Russo’s writing again.

      And I hope I’m not sounding too PollyAnnaish, that Jesus should swoop in and make all these people perfect. I know life is hard, even when you’re blessed to have Jesus helping you. But what people need is a good dose of the hope and joy that only Christ can give. And even one character with that joy wasn’t enough to bring up the spirits of the novel and make it a little less depressing.

      “Sighs” is right.

      Book Review: Lost Mission

      LostMissionAthol Dickson’s latest book, Lost Mission, was a pleasant surprise.  Every so often, I try to read current Christian fiction to see what’s going on in that market.  I admit, it’s not my favorite genre, largely because the quality of the writing has been so poor, especially when compared with the general market.  But Dickson has brought Christian fiction a little closer to the standards for the general market, and for that, I am grateful.

      The story isn’t so simple (one major reason it sticks out from within the Christian fiction market).  Dickson weaves plotlines together across several centuries, including an 19th century monk who works at a Spanish mission and several contemporary plotlines that interweave.  There’s Lupe, the Mexican shopkeeper who is called by God on a mission to preach to the Americans.  And Tucker, a recent seminary graduate who is trying to make a difference in the lives of the Latin Americans who live in his southern California town illegally (I don’t know if I can say “illegal alien” after all the hype over that Halloween costume, so I’ll just steer clear).  And there’s the ridiculously rich Delano with his beachfront home in California, who tries to save his soul through the money he gives to his opulent church. 

      There’s a mystical/magical realism to the book, lending me to think about such mainstream favorites as Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Of course, they’re in a different league, but I’ve got to give Dickson credit for trying. 

      My least favorite stylistic element is Dickson’s awkward and confusing method of transitioning between time periods.  We move from the 18th century to the modern day mid sentence, and it’s never a very appropriate place to transition. It feels very forced.

      One additional gripe, which is a minor component of the book but really struck me the wrong way, were the lectures on depression and the use of medicines for them.  I’m really sick of hearing Christians rant about this and point fingers at people who choose to medicate a serious medical condition. 

      What makes this book move Christian fiction a step closer to mainstream fiction is its willingness to allow for bad Christians.  Yes, these are saved people who don’t behave themselves.  And that’s a much better reflection of the world as we know it.  There are so many more shades of grey in this book, which is refreshing, given the cliché “good” characters and cliché “bad” characters that populate typical Christian fiction.  In its dark realism, there are hints of Flannery O’Connor’s approach, to revealing the darker side of us all and leaving the heroes and heroines a little muddled, so we need to sort out the moral ambiguities for ourselves.

      Okay, there is one character who is too goody two shoes to be real, but I won’t say who it is.  I was a bit disappointed that this vestige of current Christian fiction still remained, but at least, the character isn’t the typical American Christian. There’s at least a little uniqueness there.

      And thankfully, there’s no “obligatory” conversion experience. 

      So I’ll encourage you to read the book and judge for yourselves if it’s coming closer to the mainstream standards.  I wouldn’t mind if a few of us “voted with our dollars” that we’re looking for more complex, morally complicated books from Christian publishers.

      And if you’re interested in hearing what other reviewers are saying about the book, including some opportunities to win a free copy of the book, visit this link.

      Many thanks to the LitFuse Publicity Group and Howard Fiction for providing me with a review copy of this book.