Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Miriam (A Treasure of the Nile #2)

Image
     "The Hebrews call me prophetess; the Egyptians, a seer. I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai. When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing."      WOW. This book by Mesu Andrews is just as good as the first, The Pharaoh's Daughter . The first installment follows the Egyptians closely while this second book follows the Hebrews, and more specifically, Miriam.      We meet Miriam as an 86 year old lady who is devoted heart and soul to El Shaddai and His people, serving as midwife and messenger. But when Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he not only declares that Israel will finally be delivered, but says that God has a new name: Yahweh.      Mesu Andrews does a beautiful job at bringing this story to life. We can read the Bible story and get all the information we need, but I'm one of those people who wants more detail like what was it like living in the midst of the plagues? And we def

Conversational, Classic, and Clever

Image
     Presenting staff recommendations this Christmas Eve ; Lauryssa's choices in the forms of conversational, classic, and clever :   Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey: "This book is one of those best friend books that comes to you where you are at and loves on you. It will walk with you through the brilliant moments and the dark tunnels we call life. Perfect for when you feel a bit lost and "out of sorts"." The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis: "C.S. Lewis is well-known for his masterful story telling and thought-provoking works on Christian thought. This one is no exception. Take a delve into a philosophical discussion of the different forms of love, both human and divine, and how they play our in our lives."   Dead Gorgeous by Elizabeth Flynn: "A fun, easy-reading murder mystery set in London, UK with a female lead. Follow D.I. Costello as she tracks down the murderer of a not-well-liked wannabe model. This story has great pacing, dyna

Surprised by Oxford

Image
Presenting our second customer review: Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber - Autobiography/Memoir - ★★★★☆ (4 / 5)     Carolyn Weber did not come by things easily. If she wanted it, she worked for it. Growing up in a single parent home with a mother who did everything she could to make ends meet and a transient father who would come in and out of their lives a few times every year, she learned that if she needed anything she would have to do it herself. After working tirelessly and receiving a full-ride scholarship to Oxford - tuition, food, and living included - she was able to take some time to fully immerse herself in her studies and relationships. It just so happens that the relationships she was building were with a group of Christians who were able to help her navigate the terrain and claims of Christianity.     In this memoir, Weber keeps you captivated through a year in her life by modelling it after the Oxford school calendar and incorporating shorter stories w

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Image
Presenting our first customer review:       This is an amazing book. Nabeel takes the reader on a journey from his devout belief in Islam to his eventual turning with the same passion to faith in Jesus Christ. The reader walks with him as he agonizes with what that decision means for him and for his family. People speak about a "crisis of faith" but this story lets you see and feel the struggle.      Nabeel is a highly educated man with an academic and scientific mind. He became fast friends with "David" who he went through high school and university with, and both eventually became doctors. Through all of this, David challenges Nabeel to look at Christianity with his academic and scientific mind. The transformation did not happen quickly. Nabeel writes with excruciating honesty as he compares both beliefs. As he does, the reader gains clear insights into the beliefs of so many of our Muslim neighbours and gives valuable insight into how to share our faith in J

Emissary

Image
     The journey of twenty-one-year-old Hyam in a realm of swords, steeds, danger, and strange magic is a wonderful fulfillment of fantasy-fiction and world-building dreams. The death of his mother at the beginning of the story throws his life into uncertainty, and shortly, chaos, with the revelation of part of his ancestry and an encounter with armed warriors heralding war. Hyam is accused of using forbidden magic to toil on his thriving family land, magic he has only just discovered and learned he can use. And it is that same magic that allows him to defeat these men and their threat on his life, and further spread the warning of war to his hometown.      Hyam's account finds him exiled. Alone. His only company: the warhorse he acquired from defeating the soldiers, and the massive wolf-hound gifted to him by the mayor of his village when he sent him away. He has his weapons, his newfound powers, his pets, and nothing but pieces of advice to make his way in the world.     

Calling All: Readers & Writers!

     Make the most of your reading and review a book purchased from our store, for a chance to win! Prizes include a free specialty coffee from our coffeeshop or a giftcard to spend in the store. This is your chance to recommend that amazing book that you think everyone should read. Spread your love for words; showcase your talent for writing. If your review is chosen, it will be featured here on our blog, Book Talk , and on the House of James facebook page. What we're looking for:      Rate the book out of 5 stars , give us an idea of what it's about , and tell us what you thought about the book. Be sure to include the title and the author's name(s) . Keep your word count between 200 and 600 words and email your completed review to elise@houseofjames.com , and make sure to mention your own name somewhere at the end of the review or email, so that we know who to give credit to. And especially for fiction book reviews, no spoilers, please! If someone likes your review

Every Young Woman's Battle

Image
     I've known about this book for years. It sat on my parents' bookshelf when I was a teen, meant to be read eventually. And then in the midst of moving, and life, and all of those things that get in the way, it was forgotten for a while. Which was probably a good thing. People talk about God's perfect timing, and I have a feeling this was it for me. There is a right time to read this book, and it will be different for everyone.      Every Young Woman's Battle was written as a result of the initial success of Every Man's Battle , by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker; a book intended to help young men in the struggle for purity in a sex saturated world. So the question was asked: what about women?      One of the main points they seem to make is that, while men struggle more with the visual, women struggle more with their emotional purity. Entertaining feelings and thoughts that are not necessarily pure or healthy, which can lead to sexual compromise.    

The Pharaoh's Daughter

Image
     "I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt; the lifestyle and religion (how did they remember ALL those gods!?) I find most interesting. Even in the Bible, some of my favorite stories involve ancient Egypt: Abraham and Sarah’s encounter there, Joseph, and (obviously) Moses.      The story follows Anippe: daughter of pharaoh and the possible victim of Anubis, god of the afterlife, who has already taken her mother and baby brother. So when she is married off to Sebak, captain of Pharaoh Tut’s army, she comes up with a plan to make sure she won’t bear his child; a plan that involves two Hebrew midwives who have been ordered by Pharaoh Tut to drown newborn boys of their own people in the Nile. But when she happens upon a baby floating in a basket down the river, Anippe believes her prayers have been answered by the gods, burying her even deeper into the deceptions she has already created, placing her and her son, Mehy , or Moses, in danger.      If I’m being completely h

The Progeny

Image
     More than one review of this book told me that it was impossible to put down once you started reading. I didn't take them quite seriously enough. Sleep deprived and gushing praise for this book from my very pores, I bring The Progeny to you from Tosca Lee. What a marvel. What a story. I am overwhelmed again.      "I'm twenty-one years old and my name doesn't matter because it's about to be erased forever."      Meet Emily Porter. All she knows about herself is that she forgot the rest of her life on purpose, with very good reason, and her only instructions are to live, love, and discover. Anything except the details of her past.      Aside from riveting, gripping storytelling and fascinating characters and plot, before I read this book I actually took a look at the summary on the back. I tend to avoid this because too many books overshare and spoil most of the story for me. The Progeny is a beautiful, wonderful exception. The summary made me w

The Ringmaster's Wife

Image
     The 1920's, from London to New York, from the perspective of an English Lady and, contrarily, a working woman in the states. The Ringmaster's Wife flits back and forth in perspective between Lady Rosamund, a young lady who abandons her home and arranged marriage in order to thrive in the world of circus life, and Mabel, a simple girl with big dreams that she carries around in an old cigar box.      The circus has always been a fascination of mine, from the flying acrobats and showy displays of the Cirque de Soleil , to the run-down rides in a forgotten town, or even the sinister settings of stories like Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury). Cambron winds the fascination of the circus lights and the excitement of the Roaring '20s into a descriptive and emotional narrative, with a sense of mystery, intrigue, and suspense.      In The Ringmaster's Wife , she opens with a curious prologue, and from there on we are introduced to various different sid

Unashamed: Healing Our Brokenness and Finding Freedom From Shame

Image
Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.      In Chapter One of her book, Unashamed , Heather Davis Nelson makes an important distinction: “Guilt is associated with actions while shame taints your entire identity.” She quotes Brené Brown to explain that “the majority of shame researchers and clinicians agree that the difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the difference between ‘I am bad’ and ‘I did something bad’.”      Guilt is as simple as a natural response to wrongdoing, where you know what you have done is wrong. On the other hand, shame is better described as: “The feeling that we have missed the mark according to our own standard or our perception of someone else’s standard for us. Shame keeps us from being honest about our struggles, sins, and less-than-perfect moments. Fear of shame drives us to perfectionism in all areas of our life, so that there would be no imperfection to be notic

Risen (DVD)

Image
     My dad taught grade nine social studies some years ago, before he changed professions. I never saw socials as my favourite class in school - some years, in fact, I downright despised it. But recently, the history of things has grown in value in my mind. Pair that with a good couple hundred pages of detailed, researched fiction, and I am a happy reader. From Iscariot by Tosca Lee, to the Dangerous Beauty series by Angela Hunt, I have a growing adoration for historical fiction.      Angela Hunt also contributed to the novelization of the recently released DVD, Risen . Normally, I would default to reading the book. But I happened to have sooner access to the DVD this time, and at high recommendation from my parents who saw it in theatres, so I will be reviewing the DVD here today.      A little change from routine.      Roman military Tribune Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is tasked with solving what happened to the body of Jesus, the Nazarene. With the help of his aide, Lucius (To

Delilah

Image
     Samson and Delilah. Delilah and Samson. Stories we think we know. It always fascinates me, how someone can take these told and re-told stories and twist them into something I had never imagined before.      In her Dangerous Beauty series, Angela Hunt has portrayed the ladies of the Bible, Esther and Bathsheba, and now Delilah, in an exceptional form of art and historical fiction. In the other two renditions, books, I know that I gushed about the incredible roller coaster of emotions that Hunt took me through. Delilah carries a different kind of feel.      The first few chapters portray a young woman, headstrong, healthy and mostly well-off. And then a rapid decline, spurred by the death of her step-father, into abuse at the hands of her monstrous step-brother. Imprisonment in their home, a cruel separation from her mother - the only other person she knows in Gaza since they moved from Egypt. This story of Delilah is cruel and heart-wrenching, perhaps no more or less so than

Visual Theology

Image
      Exploring what you really believe, Tim Challies and Josh Byers bring basic theology, presented in understandable text and colourful diagrams. They have a Periodic Table of the Books of the Bible, graphs, flow charts, Venn diagrams, and all-around great illustrations.      As someone who doesn't read much non-fiction, I've always found the theology books rather intimidating, and occasionally wordy. Challies and Byers make theology more approachable, and for the visual learner, so much easier to tackle and remember. The illustrations and colour make every point stick that much more.      Tasteful, and creatively done! --Elise-- For more information on Visual Theology by Tim Challies and Josh Byers, visit our website here .

I Feel Insufferior

Image
     This is a wonderful little book about truth. And about lies. It's about identifying the lies that you have grown to believe, been led to believe, or let yourself believe, and it's about renouncing these lies for the truth of who you are in Christ.      "As I pondered the word [my daughter] used - insufferior - I immediately realized I knew exactly how she felt [...] It is a combination of all of these fears - inferiority, insecurity, inadequacy, and insufficiency - adding up to low self-esteem."      -- I Feel Insufferior , Chapter One, page 1--      These feelings are rampant in society and around the world. They are an overwhelmingly common thing. We are constantly comparing our appearances, our words, our actions and our lives with everything and everyone around us. And it is destroying us from the inside.      Melody Metzger holds a Masters in Therapeutic Counseling. Her book I Feel Insufferior introduces step-by-step help in overcoming the issue

The Choosing

Image
     I think I read Rachelle Dekker's first novel a lot more critically than I usually would for any other author off the shelf. She's the daughter of my favourite Christian Fiction author. I expect great things from her.      In The Choosing I did find that unique blend of spiritual and physical turmoil that Ted Dekker always captures me with, and some of the inner issues have similarities, but Rachelle's writing voice is still very distinct from her father's. Not to mention her setting and characters.      She introduces a post-apocalyptic world that made me reminisce The Hunger Games and Divergent series, but with a different kind of a twist: a heavily patriarchal society, wherein a woman's worth is determined by the man that Chooses her in the Choosing ceremony that is held every year for those of age. Children go through lessons and classes all through childhood and into early adulthood, all with the purpose of being chosen. And those that are not fade i

Grace Like a River

Image
      "I really enjoyed this one. Christopher Parkening shares his story of becoming a world renowned guitarist and waves in his love for flyfishing. Easy to read and quite inspiring. Plus, this edition comes with three free songs." --Lando Klassen, Owner Grace Like a River , with the free music included, is on at the House of James for only $2.99.      Pick up your copy today! For more information on Grace Like a River by Christopher Prakening, visit our website here .

How to Help Your Hurting Friend

Image
      How to Help Your Hurting Friend , through pain. Through illness. Through depression. Through loss. This is a carefully written book. The words are pointed and chosen, with attention and care. Susie Shellenberger has many years of experience working with hurting teens, and she does not take these issues lightly. Making Friends Helping a friend through an Eating Disorder Helping a friend through Depression Helping a friend who's Trapped in the Internet  Helping a friend Cope with an Illness Helping a friend through Self-Destruction Helping a friend who has been Sexually Abused      She doesn't have all the answers, and she stresses that, multiple times throughout, reminding the reader that they are not a counselor. They can only do what they can do as a friend . They can listen and lean and encourage and support, but that does not expel the need for professional help, and prayer, and more guidance. --Elise-- For more information on How to Help Your Hurting Fri

Always Watching

Image
     Suspense, intrigue, espionage - maybe less of the latter and more of the former. I'm still trying to decide if the title of Always Watching is meant to be creepy or comforting, though I suppose it's suitable for both, taking into consideration the plot of a murderous stalker pitted against a hired bodyguard agency. Both sides of the fight are always on the lookout.      Eason trails Wade Savage, a rich and famous radio show-host and psychiatrist, who seems to have acquired a rather eccentric and dangerous fan: a stalker that leaves gifts too specific to be guesses. Whoever it is knows things about him and his daughter that they couldn't know without watching them closely. Against Wade's wishes, his father hires a bodyguard agency to keep an eye on him, and they go unnoticed until one night when Wade is attacked at his radio station and his bodyguard is nearly killed.      They tighten security. They assign a larger, closer detail to accompany both Wade and his

Live Worship Experience: Atlanta GA

Image
by CASTING CROWNS      "Featuring the hit "Good Good Father",  this  live CD (Recorded in Atlanta Georgia) highlights the creativity and musical sphere of a great live worship/pop band.  As a worship team at church, all songs get filtered through the church body and with Marks efforts in song writing, amazing stuff happens. Solid lyrics and a feeling like you are there at the concert make this a great musical choice."      --RN For more information about the CD "Live Worship Experience" by Casting Crowns, visit our website here .

The Shock of Night (Darkwater Saga, Book One)

Image
     This book was longer than I expected. One of those stories where, halfway through you check to see how far you are, thinking they must resolve something soon, only to see that you have most of the book left to go yet. How can Patrick Carr possibly keep up the suspense and intrigue for the rest of the book?      But he does.      In a court fraught with jealous nobles and deathly politics, Willet Dura is the least of them. Raised to his position by the king himself, he has the title of Lord but no land or wealth to go with it. Only his reputation of death does him any credit - and that credit often does more harm than good.      As the king's reeve, he seeks to investigate murders in the city and bring the guilty to justice. He is observant, and fierce, and his prowess in his task brings him to the king's attention. But that same prowess pits him against the nobles that scorn him. " He brings death with him everywhere he goes "; and upon acquiring a rare and

Bows and Arrows

Image
by Cindy Morgan Rob recommends! "This is Cindy's first new release in almost a decade. She goes back to an earlier style of Folk Bluegrass, with a bit of a pop flavoring, featuring several duets - one with Andrew Peterson.  Listening to this album is a storied affair where our souls are awakened to the healing of God's truth as Cindy wrestles with how life's hurts ultimately find their rest in Jesus Christ."      --RN       My mother bought this CD unexpectedly and put it on for me to listen to. The both of us fell in love in an instant. Cindy has an incredible, soothing voice. Her work is enveloped in beautiful harmony, and her lyrics are poignant and touching. Such comforting melody. It's playing in the store these days, to the utter delight of my heart.      --Elise-- For more information on the CD, Bows & Arrows by Cindy Morgan, visit our website here .

The River of Time Series

Image
     I am always grateful for the series that put the book number on the binding. 1-Waterfall 2-Cascade 3-Torrent      Lisa Bergren has a gift for writing youth fiction. Reading it now, it holds everything my teenage heart absolutely adores. A little too immensely. A smattering of history, a dash of time travel, heaps of action and intensity, and a steady throw of romance.      Some of my favourite medieval stories involve a present day kid being thrown back into the times of knights and kings and castles. Those are the stories that got me reading incessantly, and the stories that inspired me to write. I am so glad I came upon this series. I would classify it as a bit of a guilty pleasure - medieval romance and fashion-culture-faux-pas are really what get me going, and the sparring, target-practice, horse-riding, armour-laden lovelies really do manage to hold my attention. This is what I read for a good dosage of drama and fantasy.      In the River of Time series, sisters

For Such a Time

Image
     My heart is broken and my eyes should be swollen. This book may as well have brought me to tears - happy tears, horrified tears, agonized tears - with how much it crushed my heart and delighted me. Only to crush my heart again. It is a veritable roller-coaster of raw, real emotion, and beauty, and pain. Lots of pain. But it's completely worth my emotional trauma because of how beautiful it is.      For Such a Time , written by Kate Breslin, is an allegory for the story of Esther. Each chapter begins with a verse from the book of Esther that somehow will apply to the following pages. Chapter one introduces Stella Muller - which, we quickly discover, is a pseudonym from a set of false papers for a Hadassah Benjamin. And she is locked in a small chalet bedroom, trembling for fear, fearing for her life with each breath, communicating her terror with awful memories and inescapable emotion. She is fresh out of the Dachau concentration camp, a victim of Nazi brutality, saved direct

Iscariot

Image
     If you're looking to feel deep, cutting emotions, look no further than these 328 pages. 328 pages of raw, ravaging, agonizing, beautiful pain.      There is something to be said of authors who can write raw emotion and force you, against your will, to feel, deeply, down to the very depths of your core. And this is not exaggeration or melodrama either. I read Havah by Tosca Lee a couple of years ago. The story of Adam and Eve. I remember my breath being ripped away by her imaginative prowess. Every inch of her historical fiction is riddled with feeling and realness, and Iscariot is no different. Perhaps it's better. I cannot say for sure.      A troubling character already, Lee turns Judas Iscariot heartbreaking. So powerfully that I could not stop reading. You think you know a story - and you know it well - and then someone like Tosca Lee comes along and pulls the pages out from under you. She offers fresh perspective and agonizing suggestion. And forces you to acknow

The Confessions of X

Image
      Gracefully enchanting, Wofle's prose sings on the page with every descriptive sentence. A soothing melody for the literary soul. This book is a bleeding heart - a big, throbbing, bloody, bleeding heart. Clawing my throat. Stretching my heartstrings altogether too far.      So masterful is Wolfe's writing, that when I stopped to think that I could not remember the main character's name, it took me a good few minutes to realize that she had not, indeed, given her a name. The title of The Confessions of X is never once undermined by a true, given name, and I even stopped reading so that I could page back and try to find some instance where her name was uttered.      I grew so very lost in this book - utterly enveloped and embalmed, so wrapped up in the characters. And the emotions. Oh, my beating heart - the emotions that Wolfe manages to convey. Every breath is simply shuddering with beauty that I can barely contain in my own mind's eye. I can barely contain it

Annabel Lee

Image
     Maybe it's the reference to English Literature - to the poems of Edgar Allen Poe - or maybe the creative perspective of an eleven year old girl reacting under dire circumstances. Maybe it's the mixture of science and fiction, crime and creativity, history and speculation. All of these things somehow band together to form a stunning presentation of intensity, suspense, and gripping storytelling.      Annabel Lee is my favourite suspense-novel of the month. Similar to Erin Healy's Hiding Places , Mike Nappa's novel explores the possibilities of history, a range of several character perspectives, and a great deal of suspense. His primary narrator is an eleven year old girl (which is refreshingly similar to Healy's book that I enjoyed so much, but not so similar that it seems repetitive) with a tendency for a good Alabama accent and a talent for language learning. As a language lover myself, her passion hits home. She's particularly learned in German and, a

Siren's Song

Image
     This is my favourite youth fiction series of the year - yes, in part because the third and final book is finally here, and I can at last breathe the fresh breath of completion and answers to all of my burning questions. But also because of Mary Weber's incredible imagination and the wonder and fascination she writes to life with her characters and worlds and quirks. She writes such a unique world with strange creatures and customs, suspense and action, and battles of sword and wit and elements. I have reviewed books one and two, Storm Siren , and Siren's Fury, somewhere on this blog, but I bring the series up again because of how much I enjoyed it.      No spoilers.      But there are some wonderful moments and battles and scuffles and scrapes, all from the perspective of the ever-angsty, ever-arduously edgy Nymia. If you are the kind of person who holds your anger and irritation inside - like me - Nym is a distinctly refreshing character, because she does quite the

Jesus Feminist

Image
     "I often think of Lydia when people argue over the false dichotomy of whether or not women should work. Women have always worked; they will always work - for their families, for their homes, for survival, for provision, for the good of their souls. It's a straw man argument for the purposes of arguing or imposing a new law. Lydia used her portion, a considerable business acumen and subsequent wealth, for the benefit of the gospel."      Chapter Six: Patron Saints, Spiritual Midwives, and "Biblical Womanhood"      Jesus Feminist , Sarah Bessey      p.94-95       This is not what I saw myself reading this year, but life is full of surprises. A couple of my coworkers have read both of Sarah Bessey's books and highly recommended them to me, but it wasn't until I heard her speak at my church that I finally picked  up Jesus Feminist . I had seen it on the shelf; noticed it when it first came into the store last year; and the title made me wan

Whispers In the Reading Room

Image
     Well, if you didn't like Deception on Sable Hill I can't guarantee this one will suit you any better, but I did enjoy Whispers In the Reading Room more than the former. I would say that Gray is in her element with the genre she's exploring.      Quaint, quiet, self-assured librarian Lydia meets soft-hearted, wealthy club owner Sebastian, resulting in a broken engagement with her abusive fiancé , the acquiring of quite a few new acquaintances, and an ominous murder charge that threatens to upend everything. And all of this because she admired him in his dedication to come to the library where she worked, sharing in her love of books.      He's sullen and mysterious, and attracts far too much attention for his own good - attention in the form of fear and intimidation - and with the nature of his business and the scars he carries from his childhood, trust becomes a difficult thing to discern.      Lydia is headstrong, independent, and resolved. Her financial

Curio

Image
     The cover attracted me. The title intrigued me. The preview on the back and the short synopsis in the front did neither, so I returned to judging a book by its cover and read it anyways.      Let's just say that the first chapter made up for all of that.      Evangeline Denmark has a rich and vivid imagination and she's been extraordinarily careful to write it all out in an engaging and capturing way. She embraces the steampunk subgenre of fiction, adding with it elements of dystopia and fantasy. Her words weave a complex world of horrible hierarchy, chemical alchemy, Chemists, Defenders, porcies, tocks, and all manner of steam-powered machines.      Curio begins in a city called Mercury, where the people are dependent on a Chemist potion for them to be able to digest any food; where restrictions are high, rules are severe, and the punishment for any broken law is ever more so. Every citizen battles with the struggle of conformity and submission to a cruel desire fo

The Brontë Plot

Image
  The Brontë Plot   Katherine Reay      I am not as familiar with the books written by the Brontë sisters as I would like to be, but Jane Austen is a quiet friend of mine, and someone who enjoys classics like hers and those of the Bront ë sisters would enjoy The Brontë Plot . Katherine Reay professes a not-so-gentle enthusiasm for classic literature, poetry, and prose. Her main character, Lucy Alling, is a young woman with a penchant for antiques and the value of words. She works in a gallery, handling most of the book comings and goings, as an employee to Sid - a kindhearted man with an eye for interior decoration.      This story is less about romance and more about finding yourself. Less about nonsensical daydreams and more about the sometimes bleak state of reality. It's not as dark as all that, and the romance is there, and the adventure, and the newness, but there is something more real about the way that Reay writes. More true to life. It's not full of a

Mere Christianity

Image
Mere - adj, define: Being nothing more or less than what is specified. synonyms: just, only, sheer, complete      A big selling point here is, yes, the new covers that have just come out for all of C.S. Lewis' signature classics - Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, The Great Divorce, A Grief Observed, and Miracles. I had a lot of fun waiting for each new cover to come into the store, and I'll be honest, I only started collecting these books when I first saw this cover for Mere Christianity .      But then I started to read, and dear Lord, I am overwhelmed. After the first chapter alone. I know I'm behind the times and so many people have read this already, but there are sure to be others like me who have missed out on this excellence. He is so gentle with his words. And so logical - which the human brain finds so appealing. So logical and so wonderful, and so precisely written, that I am breathless and desperate for more.      If y

Deception on Sable Hill

Image
     Light, fluffy, comfort fiction. Happily ever after. We all need a bit of that every once in a while. I've been reading Steven James books so much lately I needed a change of pace, and Shelley Shepard Gray offered a kind of respite with her Chicago Worlds Fair Series. There are two other books that I know of in the series, but they don't necessarily follow each other in a certain order - linked, but not inseparable - Secrets of Sloane House and Whispers in the Reading Room . I read Deception on Sable Hill without any confusion as to who the characters were or what was happening in the story, butI believe it's the second installment in the series.      Gray's selling points in this book are the historical aspects of her fiction, the structure of her plot, and the varied cast of her characters. Not so varied that you lose track of who each person is, and in-depth enough that you know their different tastes and dislikes, and personality traits. I like to get to kno