Books: 2nd Edition

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Meltintalle » Feb 09, 2019 8:10 am

It's funny you mention Beyond the Desert Gate and Beorn the Proud--I picked them both up at a booksale last summer and haven't read them yet. :ymblushing: ;))
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Cleander » Feb 09, 2019 1:22 pm

Glad to see so much mention of Allen French here- he's possibly my favorite author of all time (OK,OK, besides C.S. Lewis). Has anyone read some of his non-fiction historical narratives about the American Revolution? He wrote a detailed account of the siege of Boston that's a great read for any history lover (He actually goes all the way back to the 1600's for a few chapters just to explain how Boston got to be the way it was just before the war).
Another fiction book of his I like is the Tale of Sir Marrok, set in Arthurian times. It features some interesting mythical elements, including an animal that sounds suspiciously like the White Stag...
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Feb 09, 2019 3:24 pm

Y'all have been busy in this thread since my last post. :D

narnianerd, if you're interested in Christian fiction try Mike Dellosso's Jed Patrick series (like the Bourne movies, but way better 'cause they're books), Ronie Kendig's The Tox Files (military/action/adventure, I actually recommend all of Ronie Kendig's books), or Mike Nappa's Coffey & Hill series (terrific suspense series, Annabel Lee has a couple of gory spots so it's not for everyone).

Those are really good lists, fantasia. Nice for reference, I am definitely going to look through the Gospel Coalition list for ideas for the younger siblings' library reading lists.

Well, since coracle recommends reading The Princess And Curdie, I will keep it on my TBR list.

I second fantasia's recommendation of N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboards, although I prefer Ashtown Burials to 100 Cupboards. I just recently got a hardcover copy of The Dragon's Tooth. :D

Cleander, my sister read the King Raven trilogy several years, she loved them. I was busy reading the same WWII nonfiction as my older brother so I did not read the series.

I finished Thunder Voice by Sigmund Brouwer and thus my rereading of Sam Keaton: Legends of Laramie is complete. I am so happy I decided to borrow them from my brother without his permission, I would have been very disappointed if I hadn't. I have been trying to decide what my favorite western series is and I have not been successful, I narrowed it down to The Legend of Stuart Brannon series by Stephen Bly, The Austin-Stoner Files by Stephen Bly, or Legends of Laramie by Sigmund Brouwer.

This past week I listened Captain Blood on Hoopla, such fun.

I'm nearly finished reading Them by Ben Sasse, it's just not the kind of book I can read in large chunks. Of course it might help if I would read some of the book every day instead of every couple days.

I'm planning to start Kill Devil by Mike Dellosso today for my next fiction read, it's the second book in the Jed Patrick series. :D

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby coracle » Feb 10, 2019 11:21 am

I might mention that The Princess and Curdie is a bit different from the other one, slightly weird in fact. But I liked its moralistic quality.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Cleander » Feb 10, 2019 7:50 pm

I'd agree, certain parts of the Princess and Curdie are indeed weird. The whole thing with people being reincarnated as animals may have come out of George MacDonald's Christian-Universalist philosophies, I think. But the rest of the symbolism is pretty good. It has that quality of "shocking us more fully awake than we are for most of our lives" that C.S. Lewis prized in legends and fairy tales.
And it's medieval-themed, so I love that! :D
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby fantasia » Feb 13, 2019 6:56 pm

Way behind (imagine that) but I FINALLY finished up Ready Player One last night. It was pretty good, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I thought I would. I mean, I'm a child of the 80s and so the 80s are near and dear to my heart ;)) but somehow it felt a little TOO forced.

Things I liked....
The overall story was intriguing and being a former gamer addict myself, I totally get the full on submersion into a game at the expense of real life. That was spot on.
I liked the quest storyline, that was fun.
I liked the bad guys. And by "like" I mean they were proper scary bad guys.
I liked the twist at the end with the main character hacking into the system by becoming an indentured employee.
Unlike most of you all here I liked the way it ended.


Things I didn't like....
There was a serious lack of the mental health repercussions of continual online gaming. Mental illnesses in particular were never touched on. But at least they did talk about the social side of things.
As is often the case, there's years and years of nobody figuring out the first clue and then BOOM, solved. At least they had a few months in there, but still. It moved too fast imho. And of course only the four main characters figured out the clues. 8-| The only story that's ever been able to get away with this type of story arch is Harry Potter. (For me that is)
I hate to say this but romance and shipping in books is really starting to get on my nerves and under my skin. It adds nothing to the plot and it annoys the ever living daylights out of me. Stop it!


Anyways, glad I read it, but it wasn't something that I was blown away by. I was definitely hoping for more. ;))
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby narnianerd » Feb 22, 2019 7:33 pm

Well I didn't listen to my own advice and instead picked up another non-fiction book, this time it was Becoming Michelle by none other than former first lady Michelle Obama. Setting aside the political aspects of the book for reasons of this forum's regulations, I found her writing inspirational and in many ways extremely relatable. It was a story of overcoming incredible odds, turning childhood poverty into adult success. I'd recommend everyone read it at least once, you might just learn some things. I certainly did.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Arwenel » Feb 23, 2019 4:01 am

So i finally made it to the library earlier this week. I've griped more than once about our current library being more small and depressing than any of the others we've been to in the past, but when i was reflecting on it i think the frustration i feel goes beyond just this library, but extends to all libraries and bookstores: that feeling that there's something good to read in all these books, but you have no idea how to find one, or where to start.

Er, anyway.

I checked out four books -- two old re-reads from when i was a kid (Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame), one new read by an author i'd read before (Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine) and one completely new book i'd just picked up and flipped through in the library (The House in Poplar Wood by K.E. Ormsbee).

The House in Poplar Wood takes place in a slightly more magical version of our own world -- everything is pretty much the same, except every town has three Shades: Passion, Memory, and Death. Each Shade has a human "apprentice" that does all the in-this-world stuff the Shade can't.

Twin brothers Lee and Felix Vickery are the sons of Death's apprentice Vince and Memory's apprentice Judith. Felix lives with and assists Vince in one half of the eponymous house, while Lee lives with and assists Judith in the other. But thanks to a long-standing feud between Death and Memory, a brutal Agreement means that Vince and Judith can never meet again, and neither parent can meet or even see the son who doesn't live with them.

Meanwhile, Gretchen Whipple, the daughter of the mayor, is troubled when she eavedrops on her father and learns that the recent death of teenager Essie Hastings wasn't just an accident. Despite the fact that her father is the town Summoner, which means there's this animosity between the Whipples and the Vickerys (for reasons none of the kids involved understand), Gretchen attempts to get their help in solving the crime, and hopefully end the Agreement as well.

I started flipping through this book at the library, and was interested enough to take it home. Ignoring the required break to head home and eat dinner, i essentially finished it in a single reading -- it isn't very long or complicated.

I didn't love it, but i don't feel i wasted my time with it either. Mostly i felt like the world could have been developed more, and a bit more characterization given to the Vickery parents and Gretchen's brother Asa, which would have made certain parts near the end more meaningful. Also there was a bit of hinting at romance, which seemed out of place given that the characters involved are barely teenagers at this point. Still, the main characters are pretty well established, and it kept my interest throughout.

Ogre Enchanted is a standalone prequel to Ella Enchanted, wherein everyone's least favorite fairy godmother Lucinda is outraged when young healer Evie turns down a proposal from her best friend, and turns her into an ogre. If Evie doesn't accept a marriage proposal in sixty-two days, she'll be an ogre forever.

I enjoyed this book too -- read all of it the same night i read The House in Poplar Wood -- but like The House in Poplar Wood, i can only give it 3 stars out of 5. Evie changes goals from time to time, from trying to find a way to manage as an ogre healer to looking for a proposal she can accept, and it doesn't feel like any one thread holds it together from beginning to end. Also her interactions with one particular character (more savvy Ella Enchanted readers will probably recognize them before i did) took too long to come to their proper conclusion, which grated on me. It gets better in the middle, but there's a last-minute "twist" of sorts that didn't really add anything and took away from the ending a bit, at least for me. I wouldn't recommend this as your first Gail Carson Levine book, unless you like reading an author's lesser works first, but if you like her writing style and the fairy tale kingdoms she wrote about, it could make for a pleasant light read.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Kalta79 » Feb 23, 2019 7:55 am

I've been going through my books to see which I can get rid of, and it's not as hard as I thought it was(no hyperventilating yet), and my nonfiction collection is probably 3 times more extensive than my fiction books...quite a few of them I'm not sure where I even got them. As it stands now, my 'look through before deciding' pile is around the same size as my 'keep' pile...and I've still got one more shelf to look through, plus all the books I have scattered around the house :ymblushing:

Excited because I recently got a copy of The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics book for free, and it has The Screwtape Letters in it, which I've wanted to read for years :D
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Feb 25, 2019 5:07 pm

Thanks for info, coracle and Cleander. I probably won't get around to reading The Princess and Curdie for while yet, I have a huge to-be-read stack of both my own books and library books.

Kill Devil by Mike Dellosso was good sequel; on one hand I would love for there to be a third book in the series, but I think after two books the characters have been through so much that they shouldn't be put through anymore. :)

I read five of The Happy Hollisters books for the first time this month. I got them through interlibrary loan for the younger siblings, but since I hadn't read any of them before I paused the grownup fiction to check the kids' reading. It's a fun little series. The siblings have been asking me to get more.

I'm reading Code of Valor by Lynette Eason, book three in the Blue Justice series. It's the usual Christian suspense.

And I made progress in Michael Card's Gospel of John commentary, which is good because now I have his's Luke commentary too.

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby johobbit » Feb 27, 2019 12:33 pm

Anfinwen, from back in Sept, 2018 wrote:I wish I had kept count of how many times I've read/listened to it, or maybe it's best not to ;)) I've been listening to it about once a year, but last year I re-read the actual book. When I did that I realized how much I missed hearing the sound of the the words. LotR has an almost musical quality to it sometimes.

Yes, yes, listening to The LotR on audio or radio drama is amazing too! I put on BBC's radio production at least once a year. Well done, overall! I do wish FotF would produce a radio theatre, but only time will tell.

fantasia wrote:I'm finally reading a book that I've wanted to read for years and years. I picked up 'The Princess and the Goblin' from the library and have started it.

Yes, yes! This fantasy novel of George MacDonald's is so delightful! The Princess and Curdie is fun too, although I do not enjoy it as much as the first, being rather odd in spots, as mentioned above.
I can totally see where MacDonald's goblins had an influence on Tolkien's Middle-earth tales.


fantasia in response to fledge1's request for other favourite series wrote:I also must put in a mention for the 'Lamb Among the Stars' series by Chris Walley. It's nothing like Narnia at all, aside from the author being a Christian. I read this little known series recently and cannot believe that it hasn't taken off among the Christian community, so now I recommend it anywhere I can.

Yes, yes! (3rd time I've exclaimed that in this post ;))) fledge1, I heartily concur with fantasia in highlighting The Lamb Among the Stars books. Like her, I cannot believe they have not 'caught on' more. I try to have a re-read every few years or so. Highly recommended! In fact, if Lewis and Tolkien had never written their beloved books (but perish that thought! :P), Chris Walley's TLAtS series would be my favourite.

I don't keep track of the books I read, but I have really enjoyed and gleaned from some excellent reads over the past few months, mostly biographies. One that stood out in particular (5 large-ish volumes) was Lucy Maud Montgomery's journals. She writes in the same delightful way as in her novels, but less than halfway through (so towards the end of Book 2), the tone starts to decline as tremendous hardships enter LMM's life. These only increase in intensity and hopelessness over the next 3 volumes until her final desperate, depressing cry at the conclusion of Volume 5. It is really heart heart-breaking to read. But I could hardly put each volume down. Her writing is so engaging and transparent. That lady had such a way with words!

I am about to start Operation Mincemeant by Ben MacIntyre, the story of "how a dead man and a bizarre plan fooled the Nazis and assured an allied victory". Amazing, really, and when so many things could have gone wrong. There is also an old movie based on this history, The Man That Never Was.

I am currently re-reading Not Without My Daughter, having just watched the film awhile ago (Sally Field, Alfred Molina, Sheila Rosenthal). A hard, hard story. The 'daughter' then wrote another follow-up book, My Name is Mahtob, which I read a couple of years ago—'twas fascinating to hear from her perspective the original story, as well as what transpired in the years following their dramatic escape from Iran.

Another re-read for me is William Wilberforce: a hero for humanity by Kevin Belmonte. I only read a chapter every so often (it's my 'waiting book' ;))), and appreciate Wilberforce more with every re-read. He is one of my greatest heroes. I never want the book to end, for I simply cannot get my hands on enough material about his life, always wanting to learn more.

My dad is bringing up Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon (Charles Spurgeon's wife) in a few weeks—a new release last year that we gifted to him for his 92nd birthday in January. Eager to dig into that one.

I bought a couple of books for my husband's birthday: A Spy Among Friends, also by Ben MacIntyre—the story of the man who was said to be the greatest spy in history, Kim Philby, from the Cold War
AND
the brand-new release, Grateful American: a journey from self to service by Gary Sinise, which looks excellent, as well.

I am itching to purchase the 10th book, Morgoth's Ring from Tolkien's History of Middle-earth series. It is currently sitting in my Amazon cart, just waiting for another book or two to add on to it, so I can get free shipping.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Feb 27, 2019 9:24 pm

Let us know how you like Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Jo. Scarlet and I have been interested in that one for a while. Public library doesn't have it yet, but I am going to request they purchase it.

I finished Code of Valor and it was the usual Christian suspense. I liked it as part of the series.

I'm super excited the new Adam Makos book, Spearhead, is in at the library. :D I've read A Higher Call and Devotion also by Adam Makos and both were fascinating.

I need help again for early teen books, this time from the classic fiction fans. Which Charles Dickens books and similar would be appropriate? I don't really want to hear how many characters died/were murdered in ______(insert classic title) at the dinner table, it happened with The Count of Monte Cristo when another teen was trying to shock everyone. 8-| I was wondering about Little Dorrit? But I don't really want to sit down and read all the way through any of them myself, plus I just started Doctor Thorne as an audiobook and so I don't really want to start another classic novel audiobook at the same time.

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Col Klink » Feb 28, 2019 7:23 am

I can't remember anything in Little Dorrit that would be particularly inappropriate for teenagers. But it can be kind of a frustrating read. It takes several chapters before we meet the main character (Little Dorrit.) There's a mystery that's introduced near the beginning of the book and we don't really get a lot of clues until the end where the whole things gets explained in one chapter. And the answer is so complicated you may need to read it twice to understand it. :))

I do think it's a pretty great book though if whatever teenager you have in mind is up for it. There are so many great characters in it.

Personally, I think Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Great Expectations are easier to get into and would be more likely to be enjoyed by teenagers. While it has a slow beginning, I loved Nicholas Nickleby when I was 19 because it was so cool to read about a hero who was my age. And not like a superhero, who was my age, but a hero who was a regular guy. I confess it's hard for me to answer your question because I don't how old the teens you have in mind are or what you consider "appropriate" for them.
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby ValiantArcher » Feb 28, 2019 8:15 pm

I really enjoyed Little Dorrit, SA, though I read it in college - and also watched an adaptation of it almost concurrently, which did help a lot with visualizing. It's a Dickens, so some people do die, but I don't remember any murders. ;)) I know Jo and others sing praises of The Pickwick Papers, though I haven't read it myself.
I can't remember if there are any murders in them, but The Moonstone and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins were ones I did read as a teen and most eagerly (I do love mysteries, though I haven't read many of late ;))).
Have your siblings read Louisa May Alcott or L. M. Montgomery? My sister and friends read a lot of Alcott as pre-teens/teens (I read a few too), and I read a lot of Montgomery, though not her series (which my friends did). :)
Also, I saw Spearhead listed somewhere recently and it piqued my interest as A Higher Call was an excellent read. Hope you get to read it soon! :D
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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby SnowAngel » Feb 28, 2019 11:12 pm

Col. Klink, I can't get into specific ages with siblings, parents' rules. Basically I need some advice from the classic fiction readers because I haven't read that much, anything for teens (13-19) is good and I am trying to make a huge list because I can't keep up with the siblings reading. The oldest teen is super interested in classic fiction, likes The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask, Ben-Hur, anything Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, so I was hoping there might be some Dickens she could read. I barely made it through the baby chunks of Dickens in English Lit in high school.

Scarlet is interested in watching the 2008 version of Little Dorrit, and was hoping it would be good for the older teen who clearly loves thick old books. :) (Scarlet's never been interested in Dickens either.) Probably going to let the teen get Little Dorrit from the library soonish. I think we've read most of Louisa May Alcott's books, but the library has about ten L.M. Montgomery books the girls and I have not read it yet. :D The library also has those Wilkie Collins titles, so they are on my list to get soon. Thank you so much, VA.

I'm so very excited about Spearhead, hoping it will be one the older teens can read too. Won't be picking it up from the library until Saturday. It has been a while since I read about WWII, although I do have a copy of Shifty's War sitting in my owned to-be-read stack.

Edit: The teens have read select Agatha Christie books picked by Scarlet.

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Re: Books: 2nd Edition

Postby Arwenel » Feb 28, 2019 11:12 pm

ValiantArcher wrote:I can't remember if there are any murders in them, but The Moonstone and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins were ones I did read as a teen and most eagerly (I do love mysteries, though I haven't read many of late ;))).


Definitely no murders in The Moonstone, but there are some darker themes to The Woman in White -- and the villains are definitely willing to commit murder, even if they never commit it (i can't recall if they do or not). Not anything bad enough i would object to a younger teen reading it, unless s/he was very sensitive or had some bad experiences the book could possible remind them of, but definitely present.

Can you recommend any mystery authors besides Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or Dorothy Sayers, Valia? I like mysteries myself, but i'm hesitant about just picking up a book i haven't heard of before.

In direct conflict with what i just said, i stopped by the library the other day, and picked up a few books, including All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, an author i've never read or had recommended to me, but whose name i've seen often on the Internet -- which can be as much of a deterrent as an encouragement, sometimes. I haven't really started reading it yet, and i'm feeling very cautious about it, but i'm impressed by her writing style. It's not 100% to my tastes, but it's very good prose.

Started reading Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb, the first book in her Farseer trilogy. I'm enjoying it already, though i'm only a few chapters in. I tried to put a hold on the second book, so i could read it as soon as i finished the first, but apparently this library system only has it as an e-book or audiobook. I don't have a problem with ebooks or audiobooks, as i have several of both, but it's just easier for me to read when i have the physical copy in front of me.

I also tried to find Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, which i'm sure i've seen mentioned on this forum before, but while there are several Sutcliff books in the catalog, that isn't one of them. It wasn't the only book i couldn't find. What goodwill this library system has won back is slowly being lost.
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