About Me and My Blog and Amazon Store

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Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

This first novel by Canadian Alan Bradley is about 11 year old Flavia de Luce. She lives with her Father and 2 sisters in an old English mansion and the story is set in the summer of 1950. Flavia is a budding chemist with a particular interest in poison. She doesn’t have just a child’s chemistry set though, no she has a working lab where she mixes concoctions and tests them on her unwitting sisters.

Flavia literally stumbles upon a body in the garden one night after overhearing an argument between her Father and a stranger. Thus begins Flavia’s quest to discover the murderer. This will use all of her considerable mind and powers of persuasion. During this quest she will learn about herself and her family.

This book is a kind of Anne of Green Gables meets Nancy Drew. Flavia is bright and articulate endowed with an active imagination. She is also curious and prone to getting in trouble. All in all this is a delightful book and hints at a series in which Flavia encounters more crimes to solve. Although the main character is a child this really isn’t a children’s book although I think teenagers would enjoy it. Oh yes, the mystery does indeed involve pie.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The story is told from the viewpoint of 14 year old Susie Salmon who has been raped and murdered and is now in heaven watching her family implode and her killer go free. If that sounds a bit gruesome it really isn’t. It’s a beautifully written book about violent death and how a community copes. The unique part is that along with the first person voice we also have access to the thoughts and feelings of the people on the earth as they go about their daily lives. This allows Susie to comment on what’s happening as well.

That’s the good part about the book. The more difficult part is that as it moves along you begin to really wish they would just let go; both the family and the dead girl. Perhaps that was the author’s intent because that’s what the book is about, letting go. There are a couple of disturbing scenes to me that I wish could have been left out but the conclusion is an amazing one and worth getting to.

I’ve avoided reading this book because I didn’t like the title but in the end the lovely bones are not what you think they are going to be and she does describe what she means by it. So I highly recommend this book with the caution that it could be upsetting and disturbing to some people.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer

I often buy a book just because I like the title, and I liked this title. In this case though, I actually knew who Michael Spencer was and that was enough to make me want to pick up this book when I saw the title. Most of my friends know that I am an avid reader of blogs. A couple of years ago, I came across Michael’s blog called The Internet Monk. He was an ex-pastor with a Master’s Degree in Theology. I enjoyed his blog for its honest and often humorous look at Christians and the church. Michael passed away after a brief battle with Cancer, in early 2010. This book had just been finished and was in the process of being published when he died.

Mere Churchianity is written to people who are leaving the church. Michael assumes that these are sincere Christians who love God but who are finding that the church has disconnected somehow from Jesus. The first few chapters describe these types of churches. In this book he’s talking against the churches that have become institutions unto themselves; ones for whom the program is more important than the message. He says these are churches interested more in numbers than individuals and budgets than helping the poor.

As a former church staff person there is much that I agreed with. As a former church staff person responsible for discipleship and leadership training there is much that I disagreed with as I read this book. To read his book you would think that there were no churches all that were worth attending. I happen to know that’s not true. I know there are sincere people on church staffs who want nothing more than for people to know Jesus and to mentor them in their faith. One of my favourite quotes from the books is “You have a mission from your King. The church is called to serve and resource you as you live the Jesus –filled life in the world. (pg. 158) I think that would be a great mission statement for a church, simple and to the point.

While he seems to be applauding people who leave the church to make their own spiritual path he does insist that this must be done in some sort of community. He is not at all insisting that people try to follow Jesus all on their own. He says that a Jesus-shaped Spirituality is both personal and communal.

If you’re easily offended, you might not like this book, but you should probably read it anyway. This book will challenge you and your assumptions about church and Christianity.

100 Books in 2010 Reading Challenge-

44. The Christmas Gift by Cecilia Ahearn
43. I shall not Want by Julia S;pencere-Fleming
42. The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters
41. Painted Laides by Robert Parker
40. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
39. Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
38. Chasing the Night by iris Johansen
37. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
36. 8 Days to Live by Iris Johansen
35. This Body of Death by Elizabeth George
34. Chapter and Hearse by Lorna Barrett
33. True Blue by David Baldacci
32. Bury your Dead by Louise Penny
31. Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle
30. The Last Colony by John Scalzi
29. The Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters
28. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
27. The Grilling Season
26. Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn
25. Host by Peter James
24. Deadlock by Iris Johansen
23. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
22. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
21. U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
20. Broken on the back row by Sandi Patty
19. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larrson
18. The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews
17. The Girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson
16. Acts of Malice by Piers Shaugnessy (audioA)
15. Switch by Grant Mckenzie
14. Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline
13. The Me I want to be by John Ortberg
12. Necessary as Blood by Debroah Crombie
11. Big Jack by J.D. Robb
10. Away by Jane Urquhart
9. To Close to Home by Linwood Barclay
8. Healing Waters by Nancy Rue
7. Bad Guys by Linwood Barclay
6. Healing Stones
5. The Devil's Punchbowl by Greg Iles
4. The Last Days by Joel C Rosenberg
3. Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn
2. Bad Move by Linwood Barclay
1. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year. I had a terrific time on my vacation.

I will be posting more reviews soon. I didn't get as much reading done over the holidays as I'd hoped and have a few books on the go. First up will be a review on the book Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer. So look for that sometime this weekend. It's an interesting and challenging book.