The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

…for the first time in many months she felt a flutter of hope. Every book she had read in her entire childhood, every book she still cherished, had prepared her to believe in a moment like this.

Madeline Oliver, a lover of fantastical stories, is dying from a lung disease. Jason Wu (Wu Song, really) is a jokester coping with a tragic past. And both of these teens will be off to a virtual war zone in the Sunlit Lands in The Crescent Stone by author Matt Mikalatos.

Since reading all of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books as an adult and remembering how much I enjoyed fantasy books as a child, I’ve been incorporating a little more of the genre in my reading the past few years.

I was drawn by this YA novel’s cover and the basis of the story. It took me about two seconds to become a Wu Song fan, though I worry about that boy’s hygiene. Tsk, tsk, tsk. And I can appreciate a contemporary tale with a multicultural cast of main characters. (In the case of a fantasy novel with a different world involved, I should probably specify: a multicultural cast of human characters.)

Even so, my interest in the story steadily waned as I went along. More than 100 pages in, I just wasn’t connecting with it, and given the density of the read, I’d have a lot more to wade through. So I decided not to continue.

Still, it’s not my first time reading this author, and I may try something else from him in the future.

 

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

I had committed my first intentional crime. When the excitement of it evaporated, I had a hard landing. My life would never be the same again. I could not recover my innocence.

After she finds out her father robs corrupt men of their dishonorable gains, Ariadne eventually becomes his partner. All for good and necessary reasons, Ariadne tells herself. But their secret deeds put father and daughter, and their souls, in more than one level of danger in Thief of Corinth by author Tessa Afshar.

Confession: though I’ve read most of this author’s novels, and Harvest of Rubies is one of my all-time favorites, I knew some initial hesitation about this book, since I’ve also written one with a thieving female protagonist. Though that doesn’t determine the value of either novel, I’ll admit I was relieved to find out how much the storylines differ.

(Authors have their little worries, you know.)

But, anyway! I expected another good Biblical Fiction read here, and I was also prepared to spend a few days reading it. I did not expect that I’d have it finished in less than twenty-four hours. I’m not the fastest reader around, but when a story pulls me in this well, I just have to go with it. (And give up some sleep.) I found the plot development/pacing to be a bit awkward in places, but it wasn’t too distracting.

And, my goodness, the book cover. The soft and rich tones and texture, mixed with the peril of a young woman on the run—it’s excellent.

Whether you’re already a fellow fan of Afshar or just looking for a great historical/biblical ChristFic read, you’d do well to check this one out.

 

Trespass by Robin Merrill

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Trespass by Robin Merrill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The town of Piercehaven isn’t wild about the interloping lobsterman who’s come to fish in local waters. When that lobsterman mysteriously goes missing, Emily isn’t at all okay with it–especially since her fiancé, James, is acting so strange about it in Trespass by author Robin Merrill.

Nope, I didn’t read the blurb before I started this third Piercehaven book. I enjoyed the first two and was fine with simply moving right along with this one.

I’ve gotten hooked on the series. The books aren’t super light or super dark. They’re down-to-earth reads full of small-town quirks. The stories move at an engaging pace, and I feel like I just know Emily by now, a heroine who’s easy to relate to.

I’ll admit James got on my nerves a few times in this book. Not a feeling I liked to have so close to his nuptials with Emily. I’m not sure I got over all the wedding jitters this book put me through, but, hey. At least that shows how much the story pulled me in.

Fellow fans of ChristFic will want to start at the beginning of this series. And if you’ve already read the first two, don’t hesitate to read this one.

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Here’s my review of the first book in this series, Piercehaven: Welcome to the Island.

  

 

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How much suffering had come from this war and, above all, from the evil of those who believed they were superior because of the color of their skin, their background, or their language.

The Nazis think Helene Hannemann is crazy for choosing to go with her family when they’re sent to Auschwitz. Helene is the Aryan ideal, while her husband and children are Romani. Her journey becomes a constant endeavor to maintain her human dignity in Auschwitz Lullaby by author Mario Escobar.

Every so often, I have to read something heavy like this novel, which is based on a true story.

No, it’s not at all a feel-good read. It’s an account of unjust imprisonment. Deprivation. Sickness. Violence. Murder. It illustrates just how depraved, degenerate, and twisted people can become when they sell their souls for ideals based on hatred and fear.

Yet, it also illustrates how people can choose not to give into others’ depravity, how they can choose internal dignity and compassion. And the hope in a story like this finds its landing place in the reader: remember the past, learn from it, and don’t let anything steal your humanity and humaneness.

“They can only keep our bodies locked up, this mess of bones and flesh that slowly turns to dust, but never our souls.”