Book Reviews For August

Usually, I write (or at least sketch out) my reviews as soon as I’ve finished the books I’m reading. This month, I was lazy and did not do that. I did tally eight titles read in August, though. So at least I was just writing lazy, and not reading lazy.

Either way, prepare yourselves for a vague and inconsistent batch of recaps.

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1. No Longer A Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis by K.P. Yohannon

This could have been a good book. Parts of it were worthwhile. Unfortunately, the stories of India’s most impoverished and needy children were overshadowed by the author’s incessant pandering for financial support of his ministry.

There are tactful ways to appeal to people’s hearts and minds without making it seem you’re really just interested in their money. It’s really a shame that Yohannon didn’t realize that.

2. Before The Silence (A Light Series Short Story) by Jacqueline Brown

A nice little bite-sized treat for fans of Brown’s The Light series (which, if you’ve read my past reviews, you know I totally am).

3. River Running by Eden Reign

Jane Eyre meets Gone With The Wind in this sweeping, atmospheric gaslamp fantasy page-turner. (I really wanted to work the word “lush” into that opener, too, but you can only squeeze so many adjectives into one sentence. The writing is lush, just so you know.) The world is intricate, alluring. The magic sizzles and storms off the pages.

For lovers of fantasy, history, and romance, River Running is a can’t miss.

4. The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo

Did the world really need another snarky fairy tale reinterpretation? If you’d asked me in July, I would have said no.

… But then I read this one.

… *Coughs* My July self stands corrected.

The Reluctant Godfather is an easy, breezy read that made me smile just about every single page. Furthermore, I could not have been more gratified to (FINALLY) find a Cinderella story that addresses the issue of the glass slipper not un-magicking like the coach/pumpkin, mice/horses, etc.,

Recommended to anyone who loves creative takes on classic tales, and/or the word “reconnoiter”.

5. To Own A Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father by Donald Miller and John MacMurray

One of my goals this year was to read more books from my own shelf. They tend to accumulate there more quickly than I have time to peruse them. And the library has so many options, too. In short, I possess quite a few books that I have not yet read.

Check this one off the list, anyway.

I bought it because when you find a Donald Miller title you haven’t read for less than a dollar at the thrift store, buying it is what you do. Especially when it has the word “dragon” in it. It sat on the shelf for a year or two because it isn’t actually about dragons. Having been raised in a stable family myself, a book about fatherlessness is not the most obvious reading material for me.

Having once picked it up, I discovered that I was even less the intended target audience than I thought. A tactful apologetic note in the introduction states that the book really isn’t intended for women. It was written by a guy, for other guys. No offense intended.

I took none, and read on anyway. Nor am I sorry. Doubtless, the fatherless boys of the world have gotten more out of “To Own A Dragon” than I did. But Don Miller never really disappoints, and this was no exception. Fathered female, or no.

6. Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

Too self-helpy and self-promoting for my personal taste. Probably better suited to wives and mothers who are just beginning their foray into budget-conscious, mindful lifestyles. As a single woman who was basically born a bargaining connoisseur*, this book had little to offer me.

*For future reference, I prefer “bargaining connoisseur” to “cheapskate”.

7. The Flight Of The Falcon by Daphne DuMaurier

Meh. It’s not hard to see why Alfred Hitchcock didn’t turn this one into a movie.

My previous forays into the works of DuMaurier (Rebecca and The Birds) were enjoyable. The Flight Of The Falcon fell short for me. The suspense was, for the most part, entirely imagined. I kept expecting things to happen, but they never really did. Perhaps if my expectations had been different, it would have been better. I expect it still would have been a rather plodding read.

Side note: This book might have been written and released in the 1960’s, but that’s not an acceptable excuse for the attitude towards rape that was portrayed within its pages. It stunned and disturbed me that any woman could ever write such a callous depiction.

8. Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith

Just plum darling.

Also, for what its worth, I believe the film version is one of the best book-to-screen adaptations ever achieved.

Advisory: Apparently, some other reviewers are not aware that bitch is a perfectly correct and harmless term when applied to a female dog. This is a lovely story, and I hate to think that anyone would discount it merely because it does, in several instances, include this word. Parents who aren’t interested in having a discussion with their children about inappropriate words and the importance of context in language are free to simply censor their out-loud reading and say “dog” or “collie” instead.

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Once upon a time, movies about talking pigs received Best Picture nominations. It was a simpler time.

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