What I’ve been reading: May and June…

I’ve decided to create another category on my blog in order to share my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading. As a book reviewer and interviewer I love receiving a range of complimentary titles, and I thought it was about time I highlighted a few of them for you. Some of them will be titles I’ve been reading for work purposes (in order to interview the author for example, or to research a subject area) while others have simply caught my eye. So here’s a selection of titles that I’ve read in the last couple of months.

savor cover

Savor by Shauna Niequist

This is a daily devotional that covers a whole year, so I’m certainly not finished with it yet, but it has been a real welcome addition to my time with God each morning. While Shauna covers general everyday life issues (parenting, friendship, self-image etc) with great honestly and integrity I’ve been especially encouraged and enriched by the comments she makes about being a writer. It almost makes it feel like I’ve pulled up a chair at her kitchen table and she is openly sharing the things most on her heart. I’d definitely recommend the book – and it would also make a lovely gift. It includes some extra little touches – some of her favourite recipes. I’m always a sucker for some of those 🙂

the hole in our holiness coverThe hole in our holiness by Kevin DeYoung

I really get a lot out of Kevin’s books, and definitely wanted to read this as, when I first stumbled upon it, I was writing a set of Bible study notes on holiness (for CWR’s Inspiring Women Every Day – due out in 2016). The book is a very clear, challenging, truth-filled look at why we seem to miss the mark on holiness so often. With a loving but balanced approach, Kevin reminds us that the point is not to be legalistic nor should we be ambivalent about sin, but that, through Jesus, all of us can be holy. The mystery of how grace and holiness work together is beautifully described in this book.

chosen coverdesired coverChosen and Desired by Ginger Garrett

I have to confess I picked these up when they were free Kindle downloads. Ever since reading Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love I’ve been exploring other fiction that retells biblical stories. Of course, there is a plethora of such books out there and some are much better than others. Ginger has a great imagination and really transports you into the lives of Esther and Delilah in these two books. There was certainly much that made me think, although I didn’t always feel that the portrayals were as I would have imagined them. I enjoyed the Esther book – Chosen – more than Desired, although the latter interestingly moved between Delilah narrating her own story and Samson’s mother sharing hers.

ultimate justice cover kicking tree coverThe Kicking Tree and Ultimate Justice by Trevor Stubbs

Described as fantasy adventure fiction these books are part of the White Gates Adventure series and are aimed at people aged 14+. I have read them in order to interview Trevor (the interview will appear in the Sept/Oct issue of Families First magazine). I have to admit I don’t know a lot about fantasy fiction, and it isn’t a genre that I would have chosen to read from. However I was fascinated to see how Trevor would provide the ‘spiritual heart’ that he says is in his books. The first story is based around two young people from different worlds that travel through mysterious white gates that transport them to different places. Once they meet, they find that each time they are transported it is for a particular reason; the Creator has chosen them to help others. I know my 15-year-old niece loves fantasy fiction and so I was interested in passing them on to her. While reading, I did wonder if the books are a little basic, naïve even, when compared to something like The Hunger Games trilogy, which I know my niece has read (I’m making no comment about that fact!). However I will give them to her, as I’d like to hear what she thinks of them. I do also like the way that Trevor has managed to really inject the big questions of life into his writing, such as what makes us human?, why do we suffer?, as well as tackling issues such as justice, power and free choice. Even with my reservations, I have to admit I was eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens!

One thought on “What I’ve been reading: May and June…

  1. Trevor Stubbs says:

    Thanks, Claire. I appreciate the time such as busy person as yourself has put into reading my books. I would be interested in hearing what your niece thinks of them, too. When I wrote these stories, I hadn’t come across “The Hunger Games”. I find those disturbing. The thing is that in order to read those you have to sort of, like, disconnect from yourself from everyday life. They are true fantasy. All the things that happen in The White Gates Adventures, though – including the horrible ones – actually happen to ordinary people. And I am conscious that has the potential to be more scary than, for example, the horrific blood, guts and violence of the “Timeriders” series. I’m probably being to soft. Let me know what your niece says – if she is at all inspired to read them.
    I hope to get “Winds and Wonders” to the publishers by the end of September.

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