Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Christian Fiction and Diversity

I love Christian fiction and I love to read a great variety of things. I hope that my blog is found helpful by all kinds of readers of Christian fiction; those who like fantasy, YA, sci-fi, historical, contemporary, mystery (though I would be lying if I said they almost all have one thing in common: romance).

However, I started this blog with hopes that I would be a voice of encouragement to Christian authors and readers. And I do mean all Christian authors and readers. Though I have mentioned a few different voices of Christian authors on this blog, I do not, however, feel like I mention enough.

And so, I ask you readers, is there anyone that you recommend, who brings a different perspective to the table? And I don’t mean just racial povs but also indie writers. Who out there do you think is a fabulous writer and could use some encouragement. Let me know!

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Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Choosing A New Author

I don’t know about you, but for me (when money is involved) it is hard for me to choose to read a book by a new author. There’s just so much that could go wrong! As an avid reader, I have spent lots of money on books, and frankly, there is nothing worse than starting a novel and realizing that it is not going in any direction that you find fascinating. So, I have come up with a really good list that helps me choose a good book, by a new author, and be satisfied with my purchase:

1. Ignore the cover. This piece of information is usually helpful if the cover is stunning. A stunning cover does not a good book make. If a good book has a horrible cover, well, it can be hard to get too excited about it. Especially, if it’s an embarrassing cover. They don’t all have to have half-naked people to make you embarrassed to carry them around (though with e-readers this is less of a problem). Or, the cover looks like something I can put together. Sometimes you may doubt the content, if the author cannot create a good visual for their novel. But don’t pass them by. That said, just ignore the cover, remember that what is on the inside counts.

2. Read Reviews. Read the good ones and the bad ones. Sometimes I start with the bad ones first. People can be brutal for silly reasons. You should never, IMO, give a bad review because you ordered the book and it didn’t arrive on time! That’s just mean. Find out why people didn’t like it. Was the heroine TSTL (too stupid to live)? Insta-love? No plot? Too much drama? Or you just didn’t like the way a city was portrayed? Reading is subjective, but sometimes you can see if there is a common problem or just a specific problem. Reviews usually sell a book to me, particularly if I find a blog and notice that that blogger’s opinions line up with mine own. But what if there are no reviews? That’s what the rest of this list is for.

3. Read the first few pages. If they are available, (and on Amazon they usually are), read the first few pages. The first few pages, will give you the style of the author. A really good author pulls you in from the first page, but sometimes an author needs a chapter or two to get you invested. That’s fine, and if their writing is good you won’t mind the wait.

4. Don’t give author recommendations too much weight. I’ve done that before. I’ve seen a book recommended by an author I loved and went out and bought it. Sometimes, you have to consider that authors are not lying to you, but they are sometimes good friends, or what they actually said had no substance. However, the higher up the author is who reviews the novel, will give you an idea as to the quality of the book.

5. Make sure it’s what you want. This means read the blurb on the back. If you want a romance, you can usually tell from the back of the book if it’s a romance. But, upon occasion, you can’t. Don’t be like me though, don’t turn to the last page and make sure that a guy and a girl gets together in the end. That would be juvenile (but it works, mostly, except that one time I got punked because the author killed off the main guy and had her marry some random guy at the end…so.upset.)

6. You could just be spontaneous and surprised! Never liked the idea of this one as I am a natural planner and cannot stand surprises!

Anyone have anything to add?

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Best Books of 2013 (pt.2)

I have been a bit negligent to my blog lately….let’s just blame the holidays and all that entails! That said, here is part 2 of the best books of 2013 that I read, in no particular order:

1. Ronie Kendig’s Talon

2. Morgan Busse’s Son of Truth

3. Beth Vogt’s Catch a Falling Star

4. Carla Laureno’s Five Days in Skye

5. Lori Benton’s Burning Sky

6. Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley

7. Melanie Dickerson

8. Gail Sattler’s The Path to Piney Meadows

9. Liz Tolsma’s Snow on Tulips

10. Karen Witemeyer’s Stealing the Preacher

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…I’ve been nominated: The Versatile Blogger Award

Imagine my surprise when Johanna from http://booklovers1.wordpress.com nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! How cool is that?! It’s my very first nomination and so encouraging as a blogger. The rules are as follows:

Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 15 other bloggers.
Inform them of their nomination via comment on their blog.
Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Well, the only problem that arises here is that I do not know of 15 other bloggers to nominate! So that may take me out of the running. But still, I’m going to post 7 interesting things about myself. Here it goes:

1. I really enjoy eating and would love to be considered a foodie. For the past five months, my good friend and I have been on a journey in Chicago to find the best burger in the city. So. Much. Fun.

2. My favorite color is purple. My bedroom is purple. My kindle cover is purple. One of my Bibles is purple. My blog’s backdrop is purple.You know, the important things in life.

3. I fail to comprehend the idea of a pet. I joke with my friends that I only like animals when they’re dead and on my plate. That’s only like 99% true.

4. I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France for four months, five years ago, and still I can’t talk about it enough. I loved Europe.

5. The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. Though the actual day is often anticlimatic, I love the build up with the movies, the music, the gifts, and the parties. And then it builds up to a new year, which I always take as a signal to reevaluate my walk with Christ.

6. I teach Sunday School to 9-12 year olds and they are just the best. I cannot imagine not teaching them.

7. I post about two reviews on my blog every week, but in actuality, I read approximately seven books a week. A huge amount is YA fiction. After reading the Hunger Games, I decided to jump in the YA fray.

So that’s all folks! Thanks for celebrating with me! And thanks again Johanna!

versatile-blogger-award-pic

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Best Books of 2013 (Pt. 1)

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? My goodness! This year went by so fast. I simply cannot just give you a list of ten of my favorite books. It’s going to be more like 20. First part now, second part in two weeks. I’ve read a ton of books this year. A part of the process of choosing the best books of the year is (1) remembering what happened, (2) wanting to read it again, (3) great expectation for more from the author, and of course (4) books that still stay with me. So, without further ado, here are ten of my favorite novels (authors) of 2013 in no particular order:

1. Patrick Carr was a new author I discovered this year and HE IS AMAZING! I had to list both of his novels. If you love anything remotely fantasy like, you will adore this series.

2. Tessa Afshar. I could not wait for this book and it lived up to all of my expectations. Darius and Sarah are like family.

3. The hero in this book had a unique problem that just pulled me in right away. I loved the way he dealt with it and watching the romance in this book? I did not want to put it down.

4. YA fiction is my new thing. And Jill Williamson is phenomenal. Her character Spencer is just an amazing narrator.

5. Stephanie Morrill. This is YA again and I was thoroughly engrossed by these novels!

6. Jody Hedlund. So romantic. That is all.

7. Dani Pettrey. These romantic mysteries are captivating. 

8. Becky Wade. Love the way he loves her.

9. Julie Klassen. A little Jane Austen, a little Jane Eyre, plus Elizabeth Gaskel =love

10. Sarah Sundin. WWII romance just can’t be beat!

Anyone agree? The list ain’t over, so stay tuned!