Book Reviews for July

July isn’t quite over yet, I know. But I thought I’d get a jump on it. Here are my book reviews for the month!

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Through The Ashes (The Light #2) by Jacqueline Brown

Continues the story begun in the first book of The Light series with a broadened scope and increased depth. I motored through in less than 24-hours and did not wait to launch right into the third installment.

Though addicting and easy to read, these books are hardly substance-less fluff. Brown injects a myriad of serious, real-life issues into the lives of her characters in this dystopian world, and she handles them with remarkable wisdom and skill.

I couldn’t have asked for better summer vacation reading material.

From The Shadows (The Light #3) by Jacqueline Brown

There are too many trilogies in the world. How do I know? Because I assumed this book was the final installment of the series, just because there are… So… Many… Trilogies. Imagine my devastation as I reached the final chapters and realized there was no way Brown could wrap things up so quickly.

Sighs.

This series just gets stronger as it goes along. I don’t usually read in the dystopian genre, but I’ve enjoyed this one immensely. It is strongly character driven, which is so refreshing. If you’re looking for the usual, “WORLD IS IN TROUBLE! CHARACTER(S) MUST SAVE THE WORLD!!!1!! OVER-THE-TOP TEENAGE ANGST & DRAMA!!” Well… you won’t like The Light series. It is a much more intimate story, centered around one small group of survivors.

If you’re more interested in reading about catastrophic events and personal tragedies than in the individuals experiencing them… again, this one isn’t for you. See, it deals a lot more with the emotional consequences of these events and tragedies than the things themselves.

In the first book, I thought the faith element was a little clunky at times (better than a lot of books, but still just a tad heavy-handed). The author has developed her skill noticeably in this sense. She’s developed the spiritual journeys of her characters in a compelling and believable manner.

Did I mention how refreshing all this is?

Jacqueline Brown, you can count me a fan. Please don’t make me wait too long for book #4. The pangs of disappointment from the end of this one will not soon abate.

81hf3zyfeglThe Green Ember by S.D. Smith

This children’s fantasy tale of rabbits, wolves, danger, adventures, and secrets was published less than five years ago. It feels wrong to label something that recent a classic. And yet there is no doubt in my mind that a classic is just what The Green Ember is. Or will be.

Like The Chronicles of Narnia, there are strong Christian undertones. Also like Narnia, they are beautifully affected. This is no preachy, cringe-inducing allegory. It is a rich, exciting, and meaningful story. It’s a story for everyone.

Dear Mister Rogers, Does It Ever Rain In Your Neighborhood?: Letters to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers

If you read my last post, you know I’m pretty high on Mister Rogers. So, when I saw this title in the book section of my favorite second-hand store, you better know I snatched it up.

Despite being a little repetitive (understandably so), this collection of letters also manages to be as heartwarming as one might expect.

Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher

Yep! MORE letters. And an eclectic collection is right. This volume includes epistolary selections penned by everyone from Queen Elizabeth II to Jack the Ripper, to Elvis, to a 17th century samurai’s wife.

Some were of more interest to me than others. Flannery O’Connor’s letter to a professor of English, for instance. I’m not sure why there were so many letters featured from F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe the author is a fan? But others from the likes of Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, and Alec Guiness more than made up for it.

Snail mail is basically my love language, so it’s no wonder I sniff out books like this. Even less that I enjoy them so.

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