Archive for the ‘Tasty Tomes’ Category


W is for Why

   Posted by: Faith

Why We Broke Up

by Daniel Handler

YA Contemporary

Release Date: December 2011



"I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened." Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

My Thoughts:

You may or may not know that Daniel Handler is the real-life name of Lemony Snicket, who wrote the Series of Unfortunate Events books some time ago. If you’re at all familiar with this, do not read this book expecting another quirky children’s tale. I’ve seen a review or two that complains about this very thing, which leads me to believe that some readers don’t understand that using a pseudonym for the silly books was the whole point. His other work isn’t silly, isn’t bizarre, and isn’t anything like the SoUE books. But that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.

This is probably a "love it or hate it" kind of book. The story itself is written in the form of a "Dear John" letter (that’s a breakup letter, for you young’uns) by the protagonist, and the writing style shifts between journal/letter/stream-of-consciousness depending on just how angry Min (the main character) is about whatever she’s writing about. Her letter to Ed lists all the reasons why they broke up, recounting events and conversations and snippets of memory that led to this moment in time where her pen hits the paper to tell him they’re done.

The writing is vivid, rough, and raw at times. There’s nothing overly sweet or sentimental here, and the dialogue is stilted but not faked, awkward but not forced, and true to life. This is how teenagers talk: Full of uncertainties, playing to the moment, and highly reactionary.

Min’s own insecurities come through very clearly in her letter. Throughout the story, she recounts how Ed and others always call her "different" and "strange" (but in a good way), but she doesn’t see it that way, and fights against this label because she believes herself to be truly average if not a little bit worse. It’s heartbreaking at times, but also more telling than some of us might like to admit — I think most of us struggled with teenage insecurities, and Min’s anger and frustration (and moments of joy, memories now tainted with the heartache of knowing what was to come) will, undoubtedly, strike a chord with many readers, even those who are long past their teenage years.

About the Author

daniel_handler__300x3360Daniel Handler is the author of the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events (under the pen name of Lemony Snicket), a collection of books for children, and three books for adults: Basic Eight (based on a true story of a teenaged girl who commits murder), Watch Your Mouth (a melodramatic satire of family life), and Adverbs, due out this year.


R is for Real

   Posted by: Faith

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings

by Helene Boudreau

Upper Middle Grade Fantasy

Release Date: December 2012


real mermaidsFreak of nature takes on a whole new meaning…

If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?

Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…

My (Extremely Brief) Thoughts:

Poor Jade is having a rough day… first, she can’t find a bathing suit that fits her full figure, then when she does, the designer’s name is the same as her late mother’s, her period has started for the first time, and then she bumps into a cute boy while buying pads with her Dad. When she gets home, all she wants to do is relax in the tub, but she’s so exhausted that she falls asleep… and wakes up with a mermaid tail!

And that’s where the story really starts. It’s cute, realistic (a full-figured heroine!), and features a loving, healthy relationship between a teenager and her parents. It’s a book about friendship, coming-of-age, first crushes, and forgiveness.

While I’m obviously not the target market for this book, I do think it would make an excellent read for the 9-12 crowd on the verge of puberty (and all the physical changes that come with it) and heading into that awkward "parents aren’t cool anymore" transitional phase.

…also? She’s a Canadian author!!! (Yay!)

About the Author

heleneboudreauHélène Boudreau grew up on an island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean but now writes fiction and non-fiction for kids from her land-locked home in Ontario, Canada.

She has never time-travelled or saved an endangered bird, nor has she ever spotted a mermaid in the wild, but she believes mermaids are just as plausible as sea horses, flying fish, or electric eels.


E is for Espressology

   Posted by: Faith

The Espressologist

by Nancy Springer

Contemporary YA

Release Date: October 2009

Synopsis (

espressologisWhat’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium americano? You prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology.

So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?

My Thoughts:

What a cute little story! Jane, who works at a Starbucks-esque cafe, is bored one day and decides to start writing down her observations of what customers are like based on the kinds of drinks they order. Out of the blue, she gets the idea that maybe certain types of people (based on their drink orders) would be perfect matches for other people, and starts playing cupid with her customers. In an interesting turn of events, suddenly Jane is matchmaking by the hundreds, while doing her best to juggle school, her own crushes, and her best friend’s unexpected happiness over a new boyfriend.

The premise is simple, the plot predictable, and the characters not as entirely well-rounded as one might find in a longer contemporary YA. But that doesn’t make it any less sweet, fun, or delightful to read. You can see the twists coming a mile away, but because this is a simple romantic comedy of sorts, we know exactly who to root for, and exactly who needs their comeuppance–and it’s still worth it when it happens!

It’s certainly an HEA type of story, but one that provides plenty of smiles and "feel-good" moments along the way. A quick read, but worth it.


About the Author

kristinaspringerKristina Springer is the author of THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS, and the forthcoming JUST YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS (fall 2011). She has a Masters in Writing from DePaul University and she resides in a suburb of Chicago with her husband and children.


Book Review: ‘Chasing Mona Lisa’

   Posted by: Faith

Chasing Mona Lisa

by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

Historical Fiction

Release Date: January 2012


ChasingMonaLisaOne enigmatic smile. Two passionate protectors. And a relentlessly ticking clock.

August 1944. Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country and steal countless pieces of irreplaceable art. In fact, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all—the Mona Lisa—as a postwar bargaining chip.

But the woman with the mysterious smile has some very determined protectors. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action and intrigue, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh Swiss chateau, the race is on–and the runners are playing for keeps.

My Thoughts:

I received this book for the purpose of a review, otherwise it’s unlikely I would have picked it up. I don’t typically read books set during either World War (I’m not sure why, but I just don’t find them enjoyable), but I thought this one sounded interesting. It’s a story about the liberation of art from the Germans after the occupation of Paris, specifically the flight of the Mona Lisa ("La Joconde") from Paris to Amsterdam and back to Paris as a team of individuals struggled to keep it out of the hands of a German officer.

The story focuses on two couples — a pair of Swiss spies who get wrapped up into the drama on a medical-supply delivery mission — and a Resistance fighter and a museum curator. They’re likable enough characters, but I can’t say I particularly connected with either couple. I found the Swiss couple much more realistic in their motives and actions, and if I remember correctly, there’s another book by this writing team that continues their story.

The other couple — Bernard and Colette — don’t have quite the expected ending, and things are left a little unresolved (but if I say why, I’ll give away some crucial information, so I’ll let you read that for yourself). As a result, I found the book less compelling than I’d hoped.

Because I don’t have a lot of experience with WWII novels, I don’t have much to compare it to in terms of quality or storytelling. It was a fast read with decent plot & characters, and plenty of historical detail. I think people who look for historical detail in this kind of fiction will be pleased, but I wish the authors had included a note at the end (as some authors do) explaining which parts were based on true events and which were creative license. I know that there were problems with precious pieces of art falling to the Germans (and efforts to keep other pieces out of their hands), but was this book based on a true story? I have no idea.

Either way, not bad. Not wonderful, but probably a fair read for someone interested in the period and the subject matter.


About the Authors

Yorkey_MikeGoyer_TriciaTricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss Courier as well as the author of many other books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW’s Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Arkansas.

Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including The Swiss Courierand the bestselling Every Man’s Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Book Review: ‘Love on the Line’

   Posted by: Faith

Love on the Line

by Deeanne Gist

Historical / Inspirational

Release Date: October 2011



It’s a Battle of Wills … and Love Is on the Line!

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world . . . which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

My Thoughts:

There’s nothing like a Deeanne Gist novel… truly. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do, this is the kind I like: Factual, realistic, funny, and entertaining. The romance is believable and ignites with just a tiny spark, building to a slow burn—not a “head over heels” type of situation found in plenty of other novels of this variety. The characters make mistakes (in this novel, the hero makes more than enough mistakes to go around, but he’s well-intentioned) and the people are flawed but genuine.

What I really love about Gist’s novels is the level of historical detail she puts into them—she draws on real-life examples and situations to create her story, often weaving elements of true stories into her fiction. And she always includes a little note at the end of each book, mentioning which details are true, and where the inspiration for certain characters or events came from.

While the synopsis above may read as a little bit cliche, I assure you, it shouldn’t be a deterrent. And even though the book is published under an CBA publisher, there isn’t anything in here that wouldn’t be found in a typical ABA published historical novel.

…just a cast of entertaining characters, and a good, solid story.

About the Author

deeannegistDeeanne Gist–known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee–has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very original, very fun historical & contemporary romances. Add to this three RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success. She has a very active online community on her website at and at

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group


Book Review: ‘The Christmas Shoppe’

   Posted by: Faith

The Christmas Shoppe

by Melody Carlson

Seasonal Fiction / Inspirational

Release Date: September 2011


christmasshoppeThe small town of Parrish Springs is not quite ready for Matilda Honeycutt.

A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town’s quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn’t fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.

Once again, Melody Carlson delivers a Christmas story that will touch hearts and delight the senses. Sure to be a classic, The Christmas Shoppe is filled with the special magic the best Christmas stories share—that intangible mixture of nostalgia, joy, and a little bit of magic.

My Thoughts:

Well, I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book, other than… it’s short, cute, and a lovely little diversion on a snowy day. Grab yourself a mug of tea, a blanket, and a comfortable spot on the couch, and curl up with this on a lazy Sunday afternoon during the holidays.

The story is full of quirky (and a little cliche, but still enjoyable) characters, a simple plot, and a heartwarming message that’s appropriate for Christmas. I’m afraid that if I say too much more, I’ll give the surprise away, so… all I can say is, if you’re feeling some holiday blues, or need a break from running around, pick up this little gem and breathe easier for a few hours.

About the Author

Carlson_MelodyMelody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington’s, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, The Jerk Magnet, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books in 2010 and 2011. She and her husband live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Book Review: ‘Behind the Veils of Yemen’

   Posted by: Faith

Behind the Veils of Yemen:

How an American Woman Risked Her Life, Family, and Faith to Bring Jesus to Muslim Women

by Audra Grace Shelby

Memoir / Inspirational

Release Date: September 2011


BehindTheVeil_4color.inddWomen began to arrive in the entry hall, peeling away their black outer coverings. I watched in amazement as shimmering bodies emerged from the black shrouds. One woman sparkled in a purple silk caftan, her arms gleaming with gold jewelry. I smiled to myself. If people only knew what was under those veils. I looked at their faces, artfully painted with makeup, not at all how they appeared in public: dark eyes in narrow black slits. They were like the beauties of Arab folklore. I was awed by the transformation.

With only prayer and a faith that always seemed too small, Audra Grace Shelby departed with her husband and children on a one-way flight to Yemen…deep into the heart of conservative Islam.

With honesty and passion, she shares her harrowing journey as a Christian woman thrust into a culture dangerously different from her own. From the friendships she forged, to her gnawing doubt and fear, to her offers of hope when her new friends’ religion failed them, she gives us glimpses of a world most have never seen: behind the veils of real Muslim women–and how the grace of God touches lives in the midst of an Islamic stronghold.


My Thoughts:

While this wasn’t the most compelling book I’ve ever read on ministering to Muslim women, if this is a subject area that you’re interested in, I do recommend it. Shelby is honest, candid, and straightforward in her presentation of her experiences in Yemen, and she presents both her successes and mistakes with humility and gratitude—something I appreciate in memoirs, particularly in those dealing with mission-oriented situations.

I’m always a bit wary, going into books about ministering to Muslims, because I fear that I’ll end up reading something that poorly represents Christians and their relationship to Islamic culture. The good thing is, I haven’t read many of these lately, as it seems the concept of relationship and understanding has taken a front seat to everything else.

As well it should! Because, as we all know, if we want to help someone or share in their lives, we need to build trust and a relationship first. You may be looking at the title of the book and thinking “oh great, another Christian trying to convert everyone” and on some level, you’d be right. But at the very core, at the very heart of ministry to Muslims, is love. Shelby displayed this in her interactions with Muslim women in Yemen, and it’s something I think we can all do, even in our daily lives.

We need to love people who are different from us, who have different beliefs or who come from a completely foreign (to us) cultural background. Mutual love and respect go a long way in this life, and we’ll do no good in the world if we attack people who believe different things. Sharing our beliefs with love and respect, and engaging in dialogue instead of pushing beliefs on others, is what leads us to understanding—Shelby’s engagement of the Muslim women she interacted with stood firmly on this principle, while also trusting God to bring the opportunities she needed to share with the women and to be a part of their lives.

As for myself, I came away from the book with a greater sense of understanding of the daily lives of Muslim women in Yemen, an area I previously didn’t know much about. The traditions are strange to me, but we share a lot in common with women on the other side of the world: Care for family, a yearning to be loved, concern for our husbands / significant others, and a longing to belong. We are more alike than we often think.

About the Author

audrashelbyAudra Grace Shelby served nine years as a Southern Baptist missionary in the Middle East, alongside her husband and four children. The daughter of career missionaries, she speaks frequently at conferences and in churches across the United States, and she has been on local and national radio talk shows and broadcasts. Audra and her husband remain actively involved in reaching unreached people in the Middle East and around the world through ministries such as Faith Comes By Hearing.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Book Review: ‘Grace for the Good Girl’

   Posted by: Faith

Grace for the Good Girl

by Emily Anne Freeman

Inspirational / Women’s

Release Date: September 2011


You’re strong. You’re responsible. You’re good. But . . .graceforthegoodgirl

. . . as day fades to dusk, you begin to feel the familiar fog of anxiety, the weight and pressure of holding it together and of longing left unmet. Good girls sometimes feel that the Christian life means doing hard work with a sweet disposition. We tend to focus only on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods.

But what would happen if we let grace pour out boundless acceptance into our worn-out hearts and undo us? If we dared to talk about the ways we hide, our longing to be known, and the fear in the knowing?

In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites you to release your tight hold on that familiar, try-hard life and lean your weight heavy into the love of Jesus. With an open hand, a whimsical style, and a heart bent brave toward adventure, Emily encourages you to move from your own impossible expectations toward the God who has graciously, miraculously, and lovingly found you.


My Thoughts:

You know what? I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book, and that’s because I think the title, trailer, and the synopsis speak for themselves. If you’re a Christian ‘good girl’ who has lived her life trying to attain perfection, this is a book for you.

Freeman is honest, caring, and not afraid to hit the ‘good girl’ with some hard truths. Chances are, if you’re a ‘good girl’, you need God’s grace just as much as anyone else, but you’re likely unwilling to admit it. It’s not failure if you can’t do it all on your own. It’s called being human.

If you’re a ‘good girl’, or you know of a ‘good girl’ in your life, I recommend picking up this book. Have your tissues handy, and come with an open heart. There is grace enough for all of us.


About the Author

Freeman_EmilyEmily Freeman is a writer who loves to read and a speaker who would rather listen. She writes for DaySpring (a division of Hallmark) and has also traveled as a writer with Compassion International to raise awareness for the needs of children in poverty around the world. She attended Columbia International University to study the Bible and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned a degree in Educational Interpreting for the Deaf. She is married to John, a student ministries pastor, and together they live in North Carolina with their three children. Emily extends a daily invitation on her blog for women to create space for their souls to breathe. Come join the community of grace dwellers at

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


Book Review: ‘The Doctor’s Lady’

   Posted by: Faith

The Doctor’s Lady

by Jody Hedlund

Historical Fiction / Inspirational

Release Date: September 2011



Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

My Thoughts:

I accepted this book for review because I used to read Hedlund’s blog on a regular basis, and I found her to be personable and very open about the writing process. I remember reading her agent post… and her selling post… and her post about having that first book out on store shelves. The Doctor’s Lady is her second book, and while I haven’t read her first, this sophomore piece is a clear indicator of the strength of her writing and storytelling ability.

Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that the story itself is based on a real historical figure, which I found fascinating. Hedlund includes a few pages at the back of the novel with details about the real person / journey her book is based on, and reading this after finishing the story really sold the book for me.

I’m typically very picky when it comes to inspirational historical fiction, but I found the characters in this book believable, likeable, relatable, and realistic. The journey the characters took, while slightly repetitive and monotonous in reality, was kept interesting and engaging by Hedlund’s ability to introduce conflict and romantic tension in a way that didn’t have me rolling my eyes or reaching for the cliche checklist.

All told, the book likely won’t be up the alley of anyone who isn’t a Christian or a regular reader of inspirational fiction, simply because of the pervasive Christian worldview and commentary, though this is reflective of the time period and expected of characters based on real missionary travelers (these aspects come directly from the historical document as well).

Overall, a worthwhile read. If her work continues in this vein, I expect Hedlund to become a respected and well-known household name for readers of this genre.


About the Author

Hedlund_Jody-May2010retJody Hedlund is a debut historical romance novelist who was a double finalist in the 2009 ACFW Genesis Contest in Historical Romance. She received a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and a master’s from the University of Wisconsin, both in Social Work. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. Visit her website at

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Book Review: ‘The Realms Thereunder’

   Posted by: Faith

The Realms Thereunder

(Ancient Earth Trilogy, Book 1)

by Ross Lawhead


Release Date: September 2011



realmsthereunderAncient legend tells of an army of knights that will remain sleeping until the last days. The knights are waking up.

A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraithlike creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland. And deep beneath the cobbled streets of Oxford, a malicious hoard besieges a hidden city.

Freya Reynolds is a university student with a touch of OCD and an obsession with myth and folklore. Daniel Tully is living rough on the streets of Oxford, waging a secret war against an enemy only he can identify. Years ago, they found themselves in a world few know is real. They have since gone their separate ways and tried to put that adventure behind them.

But the mythical world is now bleeding into our reality-a dark spiritual evil that is manifesting itself in forgotten corners of the British Isles. Alex Simpson is a Scottish police officer who specializes in hunting mythical creatures. Together, they must confront the past, the present, and points beyond to defeat the ultimate threat to humanity.

Nothing they’ve seen so far prepares them for what awaits . . . in The Realms Thereunder.

My Thoughts:

Well… I had high hopes for Ross Lawhead’s work. Maybe that’s not fair—how’d you like to spend your whole life being compared to your father?—but at least I’m being honest. I adore most of Stephen Lawhead’s work, and I think he’s a brilliant, highly imaginative writer. Did I happen to transfer some of these expectations to his son’s work? Yes. I did.

And it’s not that The Realms Thereunder is a bad book. It’s not. At no point did I say “I don’t like this” or “I want to stop reading”… but on the other hand, at no point did I say “I can’t put this down” or “what a unique concept”. Rather, I felt I was reading a mediocre debut novel from a new fantasy author.

I also have the sneaking suspicion that it might be an allegory. Please, for the love of all things literary, can we have ONE Christian fantasy novel that ISN’T an allegory?!?! PLEASE?!?! (Actually, I have heard there is one, and I plan to read it soon… *hint hint*… I’ll keep you posted.) I’m going to be very disappointed if I read the next book in the series and find out that it is allegory.

Not that there’s anything wrong with allegory, it’s just that… it’s been done before. And done VERY WELL by people like C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, and John White. It’s hard to live up to that or do so much better that you won’t get buried under their greatness.

Now, I realize this doesn’t tell you a whole lot about the novel, but let’s face it, you don’t read book reviews for full plot run-downs or potential spoilers, right? I will say this, though—I wasn’t sure, and still aren’t, who Lawhead’s target audience is for this series. The main characters are adults when we meet them, but the vast majority of this installment is spent in childhood flashbacks… and the writing style was reminiscent of YA novels. So, I’m not entirely sure where he’s going with this.

But that’s okay. I’ll give the next book a shot… and keep my fingers crossed that it isn’t, in fact, an allegory series.

PS: Also? There’s a total “what the… Voldemort?!?” moment about halfway through the book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. That kinda ticked me off… I’m actually a little surprised it made it into the book. You’ll know what it is when you read it.

About the Author

LawheadRoss_7260Ross Lawhead comes from a literary household and has written since he could hold a crayon. He has collaborated with his father on a trilogy of speculative fiction, written and illustrated a graphic novel, and published two volumes of "awful" poetry in a series called "The Colour Papers." He lives in Oxford and this is his first full-length novel. For more on Ross’ musings on comics, movies, books and culture, visit

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.