How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Five Fall Favorites Day Six - Animals

Welcome to the final day, Day 6, of the Five Fall Favorites Party, hosted by Read Another Page! It's been a wonderful week spending time with you. Thank you for all your comments and interaction! I hope you've had fun learning about new books and discussing your favorites. And I especially want to thank Rebekah Morris, the host, for all the work she did putting this party together. 

As I reflected on yesterday, fall is often the perfect time to spend all day outdoors, and if you have animals, barn chores are probably more pleasant this time of year than at others. If you have a horse and lots of land, doesn’t a ride out to a faraway special haunt in company with a favored book sound idyllic for a fall afternoon? 

Sometimes I wish I could do that, but I have neither horse nor barn nor land. But I do have many favored books! Speaking of horses and other animals, here is my list of top five favorite animal stories:
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

I grew up adoring the movies Homeward Bound and the older classic The Incredible Journey, but it was only in my teens that I discovered the book they were based off. It delighted me every bit as much! Young Labrador Luath, old bull terrier Bodger, and Siamese cat Tao are the main characters in this realistic, heartwarming story about loyal animals finding their way home. Find on Goodreads.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

This unique, epic-like novel is about the world of rabbits in England. The rabbits speak and have human personalities, but otherwise they act like real rabbits. A band of rabbits must leave their threatened home and find a new place where they can establish a safe warren. Find on Goodreads.

Dog to the Rescue #1 and #2 by Jeannette Sanderson

These enjoyable, heartwarming children’s paperbacks tell true stories of doggy heroes saving lives, whether it was a soldier’s life, a stranger’s, or a family member’s. Made me love dogs even more! Find on Goodreads.

Princess by Carolyn Lane

This rather obscure book is about a Persian cat accidentally left behind at a summerhouse in Maine. Through autumn, winter, and spring, Princess struggles to survive, relying on help from a cat friend and hoping that, next summer, her family will come back. This book affected me so much when I was 8 years old that it inspired me to write a very similar story. Imitation is the ultimate compliment, right? Find on Goodreads.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Obviously the least realistic story on my list, it still drips with animal charm. Even though I only read it for the first time this year, I found it to be a timeless classic that was funny, cozy, and enchanting. I loved reading the parts about the river and woods especially, and Rat, Mole, Badger, and Mr. Toad and their friends and foes are unforgettable. Read my full review on Goodreads.

What are your favorite books about animals? Also, please note that today I'll have limited access to internet, so I will be a bit slow responding to your comments. But, by all means, comment away!

To find out who won the giveaway prizes, check Rebekah Morris's post on Read Another Page.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five Fall Favorites Day Five - Indie Published

Welcome to Day 5 of the Five Fall Favorites Party hosted by Read Another Page! Fall is one of the best seasons for being outdoors . . . and reading! Although we may have a favorite lounge chair at home, benches are the choice seat if we want to go to the park and pass a beautiful hour or two with a good book.

Good books don’t have to be put out by big publishers. There are many indie-published books that hit the spot with great writing and provide wonderful stories and valuable information that might not have seen the light of day if indie authors hadn’t had the courage to publish them themselves. Here are my top five favorites:

Charity’s Diary Series by Elisabeth Allen

This contemporary fiction trilogy tells the story of an English girl who is a homeschool graduate living with her family. Through disappointments and unexpected opportunities, Charity must learn how to embrace God’s will for her life. These books are so sweet, relatable, and faith-building. Find on Goodreads.

Grace Triumphant by Alicia A. Willis

I’ve enjoyed all of Alicia A. Willis’s books, but I’ll select this one for my list (my other favorite of hers is Remembering the Alamo). Grace Triumphant is the gripping story of a young British sea captain involved in the slave trade during the 1700s, a cabin boy who must shine the light of Christ, and a young lady who yearns for a purpose beyond marriage to her tyrannical fiance. Read my full review on Goodreads.

Friendship and Folly by Meredith Allady

I’m a Jane Austen fan, so I’m hard to please when it comes to Regency fiction written by more recent authors (Jane Austen’s novels were published during the Regency period in England, 1811-1820). But Meredith Allady is a contemporary author with an authentic Regency-era voice that’s funny and insightful, a bit like Austen’s. Friendship and Folly was well researched, satisfyingly long, and very entertaining. Read my full review on Goodreads.

The Thaw Series by E. Kaiser Writes

This wintry series of (currently) three books is a retelling of the “Snow Queen” fairy tale with elements from the movie Frozen. It gives quite a twist to the stories we know, however, making it into its own story. I love the historical fairy-tale feel of E. Kaiser’s writing style – the customs and world are delightfully detailed, and the characters are well developed and fascinating. Readmy reviews on Goodreads.

The Five Gems Series by E. Kaiser Writes

This series of (currently) two (almost three) light fantasy books are unique stories. E. Kaiser’s signature descriptive world-building and engaging characters in exciting situations make them fun and satisfying to read. Fia, the main protagonist, doesn’t claim to be anyone special, but the adventures she’s thrust into bring out the best in her. Find on Goodreads.

What are your favorite books by Indie authors? Also, please note that today and tomorrow I'll have limited access to internet, so I will be a bit slow responding to your comments. But, by all means, comment away!

Did you enter the giveaway yet? It ends tonight!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Five Fall Favorites Day Four - Missionaries

Welcome to Day 4 of the Five Fall Favorites Party, hosted by Read Another Page! Fall isn’t short of bounties to delight the senses – let’s not forget the sense of taste. After months of growth, plants yield an autumn harvest of some of the most delicious foods: apples, pumpkins, squash, carrots, nuts, grapes, etc. Bushels represent a fruitful harvest.

One of the Bible’s most memorable agricultural symbols is how we as believers ought to bear fruit in God’s Kingdom. Inspiring and encouraging us, missionary stories chronicle individuals who exemplify lives lived with a focus on bearing bushels and bushels of Kingdom fruit. They’re some of my favorite books to read; here are my top five. Every one of them challenged me and taught me a lot about the life of faith:

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill)

This is the exciting memoir of Brother Andrew, a Dutch missionary who smuggled Bibles into Eastern European countries bound under Communism. It really inspired my faith. Find on Goodreads.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill)

Corrie ten Boom helped save Jews during the Holocaust and was thrown into a concentration camp herself . . . and when she emerged, she carried a message of love and forgiveness all over the world. Find on Goodreads.

Window on Mount Zion by Pauline Rose

A Messianic Jew before the term was officially coined, Pauline Rose was a British transplant to the new nation of Israel in the 1950s. Her home on Mount Zion, on the border of Jordanian territory, might have been a frightening place to live, except that God’s protection was on it. She opened her home and garden to many passersby and maintained a godly influence in a nation that was sadly becoming more and more secular. Read my full review on Goodreads.

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis (with Beth Clark)

This is the inspiring memoir of a contemporary missionary who adopted orphans in Uganda. Her story of surrendering her own will to follow God’s is especially poignant to those of us living today. Find on Goodreads.

Heroes of the Faith Series

This vast series of absorbing, easy-to-read biographies introduced me to many of the most famous missionaries and Christian reformers throughout the centuries. Find on Goodreads.

What are your favorite missionary books? Also, please note that today, tomorrow, and Saturday I'll have limited access to internet, so I will be a bit slow responding to your comments. But, by all means, comment away!

Have you entered the giveaway yet? Don't forget!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Five Fall Favorites Day Three - Series

Welcome to Day 3 of the Five Fall Favorites Party, hosted by Read Another Page! Fall is the time of year when you’re cuddled up somewhere comfy reading a book and suddenly realize that a blanket would make it that much more pleasant. Chances are you have a favorite, one that’s the perfect size and softness. Maybe it’s wrapped you over years and years of cool nights and kept you comfortable while you read your favorite series of books.

Ah, series. Continuing stories. Simply by their number, they usually make a bigger impression on us and endear their characters and settings to us more than standalone books. I’ve read many series over the years that I’ve enjoyed, but it wasn’t that difficult for me to select my top five favorites:

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Montgomery wrote a series of eight books featuring a plucky, imaginative redhead on beautiful Prince Edward Island in northeastern Canada. I love the interesting, quirky characters, luscious description, and heartwarming episodes. Find on Goodreads.

The Zion Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thoene

This thrilling, suspenseful series details Israel’s heroic struggle to become an independent nation in 1948. Against overwhelming odds, courageous characters step forward to fight for a Jewish homeland. Find on Goodreads.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Like Anne of Green Gables, this series is a staple of many girls’ childhoods. Also like Anne of Green Gables, my mom and I read these books aloud to each other when I was younger. Full of fascinating detail and loving family moments, they established my love of pioneer literature. Find on Goodreads.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

How do I sum up The Chronicles of Narnia? This charming fantasy series, about a world that certain children can access from our world, captured my heart with the subtle way it depicts spiritual truths, the creativity and richness Lewis put into each book, and of course Lewis’s friendly writing style. Find on Goodreads.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

So technically this isn’t a series, but one long novel in three volumes, so long that it feels like a series. So I just had to include it. It’s an epic high fantasy within a world that’s so well developed it feels like a real place. The heroes go through many hardships to save that world. Even though at many moments hope seems lost, there is a constant, slender thread that the characters hang on to, to help them persevere. This trilogy reminds us that good shall prevail. Find on Goodreads.

What are some of your favorite series?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for some bookish prizes!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Five Fall Favorites Day Two

Welcome to Day 2 of the Five Fall Favorites Party hosted by Rebekah Morris at Read Another Page! (Make sure you visit there for all the party details, including finding all the other participants.) Some of the best biking weather, especially down where I live, is in the fall. When the breeze has that distinctive autumnal quality, biking makes it extra delicious. Bikes with baskets are the best they can hold your book as you pedal to a special place to read it. 

One type of book that might be ideal for reading in that special place is a clean, Christian romance. Some of you don’t read romance, and that’s fine; the general romance genre is not my favorite. But I have read and loved a number of books where romance plays a part but isn’t all that the plot concerns. Here are my top five:

Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth Goudge is one of my absolute favorite authors. Her books may be best classified as Christian literary fiction; they’re so much more than romance or any other single genre. Many don’t even contain much romance, though most deal with married characters. Green Dolphin Street was almost an anti-romance at times because the main marriage within the book didn’t work out quite as planned. Certain characters have to learn to work at love. It was amazingly deep; every page was a feast of either insight, beauty, or heartache, often all three. It’s set in the 19th century, split between one of the English Channel islands and New Zealand. Read my full review on Goodreads.

How Do I Love Thee? by Nancy Moser

This one is definitely a romance, but it’s one of the sweetest I’ve read. And it’s even better because it really happened! Elizabeth Barrett was a talented British Victorian poet confined to her bedroom because of ill health and a controlling father. Robert Browning adored her published poems and came to visit her, and against all hope, Elizabeth finally had a chance at a real romance . . . Find on Goodreads.

Least of All Saints by Grace Irwin

In 1920s Toronto, Andrew Connington is a non-believer who becomes an ordained minister because he believes Christian moral values should be propagated. His spiritual journey, as well as Irwin’s wonderfully realistic and intelligent writing, makes this novel a rich and affecting read. It wouldn’t be classified as a romance, but it contains an enjoyable love story. Find on Goodreads.

The Challenge by Carolyn

This is a definite romance, but I enjoyed it because it’s so different than any other romance, even Christian ones. In the beautiful Missouri countryside where they work with horses, David and Hope are thoroughly committed to the Lord, and He calls them to follow an unconventional courtship. Find on Goodreads.

Emmeline by Sarah Holman

I love Jane Austen, but her classic romances (which are actually more along the lines of witty social novels) can’t officially be filed under the genre we’re discussing. So why not select a beautiful retelling of one of her most popular novels, Emma? Set in 1930 at the beginning of the Great Depression in America, Emmeline is a sweet Christian romance along the lines of Grace Livingston Hill that follows the story of Emma, but with its own unique twists and additions. Read my full review on Goodreads.

What are your favorite clean, Christian romances?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway going on with fun prizes!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Five Fall Favorites Day One

Welcome to Day 1 of the Five Fall Favorites Party hosted by Rebekah Morris at Read Another Page! As fall brings its usual evening chill to the close of the day, it’s a treat to gather around the bonfire to talk about your favorite books. Or, if you’re able, you can use the tricky, flickering light to read your favorite passages aloud. 

The favorite books I’m going to tell you about are in a specific genre: historical fiction set in Bible times. I’m picky about my Biblical fiction (we probably all are in one way or another!); I want to read something that’s as historically accurate as possible and that doesn’t contradict the Biblical account. Imaginative filling-in is okay with me as long as it helps me understand the Bible instead of undermining it. Ancient times were hard and extremely different from our own, so although I know violence and mistreatment of women were common, the novels I prefer don’t dwell on those aspects.

So here’s my list!

Dahveed by Terri Fivash

This is the first book in a series about David. Fivash paid great attention to Biblical and historical detail, even spelling the names the way they are pronounced in Hebrew. This told the story of Dahveed’s youth, weaving together what we know about him from the Bible with plausible and exciting additions that flesh out his life. Check out my full review on Goodreads.

Joseph by Terri Fivash

Terri Fivash also wrote about Joseph, another young man who lived through adventures and hardships that molded him into a vessel fit for God’s use. This was a long book, but it moved quickly. As with Dahveed, the Biblical characters are developed into people we feel we know, and we’re brought to a deeper understanding of what’s behind the Biblical account. Find on Goodreads.

First Light by Bodie & Brock Thoene

Fiction during Jesus/Yeshua’s time on earth is especially tricky, but this book handled it extremely well. Yeshua is a side character, and from what I can recall, the only words He speaks are those recorded in Scripture. Something I don’t like in fiction about this period is that Jews are often misrepresented, but First Light depicted Jewish characters and their way of life with great accuracy and respect, showing just how beautiful their traditions are and how those beliefs work with faith in Yeshua. Find on Goodreads.

Within the Palace Gates by Anna P. Siviter

This is a children’s novel about how Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem’s wall. I read this book a long time ago, but I remember liking it a lot. It brought a somewhat obscure yet exciting Biblical story to life (Nehemiah isn’t one of the most famous books in the Bible!). I remember really liking the characters. It’s definitely time for a reread, though. Find on Goodreads.

Day of Atonement by David A. deSilva

This book depicted the inter-testament period and what led to the Maccabean revolt and eventually the events celebrated at Hanukkah. The author is a scholar, so the historical details are the focus and taught me quite a bit about an era that I was pretty unfamiliar with. This one, and, come to think of it, Dahveed, Joseph, and First Light, as well, are books for teens/adults (but there was nothing overly graphic in any of them). Read my full review on Goodreads.

What are your favorite novels set in Bible times?

Enter the giveaway where you can win fantastic prizes!