Arts and Entertainment, Authors, Books, Fiction

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

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. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

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

Maggie, a scientist, has written a popular book on the science of being happy, but her recent romantic breakup has done a miserable number on her. When her friends drag her along to be the guest speaker on a singles’ cruise, maybe it’ll help bring Maggie out of the dumps in The Theory of Happily Ever After by author Kristin Billerbeck.

I found the premise of this novel interesting, and I don’t come across many contemporary romances and chick-lit-ish tales with heroines who are doctors or scientists. The first quarter of this book is light reading with a lot of humor but also some serious life issues sprinkled in.

However, a couple jokes are rehashed far too many times, with repeated references to gelato and Hallmark movies, along with Maggie’s bunch of disparaging inner barbs about her ex’s new woman. Plus, I usually can only take so much of a heroine who seems as down on herself as Maggie does, besides how down she is on her ex, as her constant thoughts and mentions of him indicate.

And, in all honesty, as much as I love romantic stories, I think I’m finding I can only take the romance genre in smaller, more concise doses these days, for the most part. Some of the scenes here dragged for me as I waited for the story to move on, and I eventually decided not to continue.

Still, from what I’ve read, I can see how this novel might be right down another ChristFic romance fan’s alley.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books

How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

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. WaterBrook & Multnomah provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, for which I’ve given an honest review.

How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

I’d never heard of The Babylon Bee until a little earlier this year, and I had no particular inclination to read How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living. As much as I like to laugh, I’m not one who goes out of my way looking for satire.

But when the publisher unexpectedly sent me a copy, I figured, hey, why not take a look?

And, then, the book got me within the first few pages, letting me know how Christian culture can lead me to be “transformed day by day into the radiant image of the modern American Jesus.”

Hello. Sounds like a goal. Especially if He’s the Son of a Father “who sits on a cloud somewhere…and is suspicious of non-Americans and people with brown skin.”

Uh huh.

Now, do I totally agree with the attitude of the Bee at every point in this comprehensive guide? Nah. I think some of the Bee’s blanket jokes might overlook how issues like manipulation and abuse are very real problems in too many churches (what’s making folks feel horrible at church isn’t always holy conviction), and for a lot of people, matters of social justice aren’t merely “politics,” or concepts to debate. They’re real matters of life and death.

Still, I doubt the point of a book like this is to make you agree with all of it. Satire is supposed to make you think. Sometimes humor that’s unafraid to tackle what others are reluctant to speak up about can help you take a serious second look at something in life or society (or Christian culture) that’s backward or off. Not to simply laugh about it, or not to only be offended, but to really stop and think about it.

If you don’t seriously think, you can’t seriously grow.

Make no mistake, though. I did heartily crack up while reading this thing. And the conclusion is, well, beautiful, I must say.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

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.

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Terrence Morgan has no interest in investigating any more troubles of little importance at the Fargenstropple estate, especially since he’s been promoted to Chief Inspector at work. But when stolen family jewels factor into the estate’s latest disturbance, Terrence doubles down in The Fargenstropple Case by author Lia London.

Delightful! Simply delightful, this short and sweet mystery is. It has a positively British flair, complete with British spellings and characters with a pleasant bunch of surnames, such as Nigglesby and Crumfellow. There are also plenty of animals (including rodents, if you don’t mind those), and a jaunty thread of romance adds to the fun. I ran into a few minor grammar issues concerning dialogue tags, but it’s possible they’re there intentionally, for comedy’s sake.

I count it a boon to sometimes find mysteries that involve cases other than murder. Of course, murder-less mysteries don’t all have to be as quirky as this one, but if you’re looking for an hour or two of light and hilarious entertainment with clever twists, you’d do well to check out this little cozy.

 

Books, Films

Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Alex Irvine

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.

Phase Two: Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Alex Irvine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, still isn’t fully adjusted to the modern world. But that’s a small problem compared to the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised. As the agency begins to hunt Steve down as a fugitive, he’ll have to get to the bottom of an international conspiracy–and face a new, mysterious enemy in Captain America: The Winter Solider, adapted by Alex Irvine.

I’m still working through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a mix of movies and books.

A key momentous event or two in this one didn’t catch me by surprise, due to some of my prior MCU knowledge. But my lack of surprise didn’t ruin the events, since the story is that good.

There’s real depth here, even pretty gut-wrenching at times. Steve isn’t following a straight line with easy answers, and neither are his allies–whoever they are. It’s interesting to see him trying to figure out what to do when the lines between friend and foe, folly and good sense begin to blur.

Out of all the MCU books I’ve read so far, this one most whetted my appetite for its related movie.