Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review - A Quarter for a Kiss by Mindy Starns Clark

A Quarter for a Kiss is book 4 in The Million Dollar Mysteries series. Like the books before it, it is mostly fast-paced and wonderful at providing a suspenseful, little bit romantic, and a little bit spy/private investigator book. In this book, Callie's mentor has been injured and she is called upon to help figure out the mystery! You travel along as she discovers the Caribbean islands of St. Thomas and St. John (oh, now I want to go there too!) Very good and I would highly recommend this whole series! :)

Book Review - Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson was an interesting book. That's codespeak (this time, not every time) for I didn't really like it.

There are no chapter breaks, just paragraph separators and the book available at my library was large print so I just had no idea really where I was or how much farther were parts going to go on. The story rambles on as a journal entry/letter from a father to the son he never expected to have. It starts when he learns that he is dying (never tells from what) and what he wants to tell his (around age 7) son about his experiences and family history and life before he keels over (sorry to be crass but it's true).

There are lots of good "prose" so to speak and interesting/challenging theological thoughts. He is a pastor and so he writes a lot about how he can influence a congregation and the weight of that burden. I think that is why John Piper is still thinking about this book and it is very good in that aspect. I could see this being a Bible college or seminary recommended outside reading book.

But for the rest of us, it was a long dreary long winding never seeming to finish a thought kind of book. I got very frustrated that there wasn't enough background in descriptions for me to understand who he was talking about or the situation he was describing. Few dates were given so I wasn't sure what time period he was talking about. It was like listening to an elderly (very distant) relative rattle on about his life day after day after day, someone who you don't know and don't really care about or have a shared history.

One thing I think the author did a good job was telling a story from the perspective of the opposite gender, I think it is hard for men to write from a women's perspective and vice versa. :)

Book Review - Greater Love by Robert Litlow, really review of Tides of Truth Series

I should just review Greater Love but since it's part of the Tides of Truth series, I'd rather review the whole series. And I wanted to finish the series before I critiqued parts of the books. :)

--Basic Synopsis--
Book 1 - Deeper Water - Tami is a law student doing a summer internship at a law firm. She meets two men that she is interested in and that provides the "romance" element of the book. She stands up for her beliefs in what types of cases she'll take and how she'll work on them, but she does find herself working together a lot with another summer intern, Julie, who is Jewish and challenges Tami's beliefs and personality at almost every turn. Will she survive the summer?

Book 2 - Higher Hope - Another interesting case is being thrown upon her because it involves (Reverend) Sister Dabney, an unusual lady in the town who seems to know and see into men's souls. Who should Tami court/bring home to meet her family?

Book 3 - Greater Love - Tami is finishing up law school and accepts a position for after graduation. But did she make the right choice? A case involving a runaway is the "major" case in this book but Sister Dabney also seems to unravel Tami's life.

I was glad to have the second book out when I finished the first because I wanted to know what happened!! However, I did have to wait a bit before the third book came out and it's hard for me to be patient! I thought Tami was a great character and I applaud how firm she is in her beliefs and willingness to stand up for those beliefs and show real INTEGRITY in how she works. However, considering my belief that women should not be pastors or preachers I do not care for Sister Dabney's character very much. I think she is an interesting person and I appreciated her care for the homeless and downtrodden in the area. I just got very tired of her chair rocking and visions and that she wasn't under any church leadership at all. Tami and her family, and Sister Dabney are definitely more pentecostal or charasmatic (sometimes it's hard to differentiate) than I am with my Southern Baptist roots! I liked that Tami started courting (not dating) and took her parent's involvement very seriously. But I think she should've been more decided on one "beau" before she started courting though this did provide tension in the book. I also didn't like how she thought she should drink coffee like her parents did - be willing to start your own traditions instead of depending on your parents! :) Overall a very worthwhile series with a little romance, suspense and a good amount of "lawyering" in it.

[Possible spoiler - Sister Dabney and her husband had started the church but he had run off with another woman and Sister Dabney took over. I discussed this with my husband and I could see her taking over leadership for a short time until a male leader could be found but this was not the case b/c she had been leading the church for many years. (Titus 1:5-9)]