One of the “hardships” (if you can call it that) of being a book reviewer is that sometimes there are books that you just don’t… like. Or worse, that you kind of liked but mostly didn’t. Or liked a lot except for that one thing you hated! Somewhere in my mind are make-believe bookshelves labeled “I don’t hate this but I don’t like it enough to give it three stars”, and those shelves frustrate me to no end.
I finished a book back in August called That Certain Summer by Irene Hannon, and it wasn’t to my taste. To its credit, it held my interest long enough for me to want to read it all the way through. Some things about it were refreshing; one of the main characters had a teenage daughter, and it was nice to see life from the perspective of a mom. There was also a praiseworthy pro-life plot. Characters had some realistic problems to overcome, such as trying to lose weight and live more healthfully or the devastating loss of a lifelong occupation.
That said, the book– particularly the romance– fell short for me. Some of it was just corny (E.g. the scene where the only seat that can be found is an outside bench covered almost entirely in tree sap. The two love interests have no option but to sit extremely close together on the clean end ( ’cause ya know you can’t sit in the grass, or find a chair, or go to your car, or anything) while the dialogue was often wooden. Part of the problem may have been that the story was split up between four point-of-views, and three of those four characters had issues that could have justified an entire book of their own to expand upon and deal with. Instead, their stories were rushed through and wrapped up far too conveniently. There were a few sketchy theological moments (seems as if hiring an unbeliever to be your church worship/music director would be a bad idea? Maybe it’s just me?)
I’d like to give Irene Hannon another chance; I’ve heard she
also wrote some suspense, and I wonder if that might be her strong suit. Do you
have any recommendations for me? Thanks for checking in on the blog!
I told you all a while back that I meant to make an effort to read new genres, hoping to appeal to a variety of reading tastes. The line-up of historical fiction reviews lately attests to the lack of success I’ve had so far! Here are two books I’ve tried recently and just couldn’t finish.
First off–the book I was so certain I would love–The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart. Promising an interesting plot (a man wakes up with no memory of where he’s been for months and discovers he’s a new person, free of the anger he used to struggle with) in a more uncommon genre (speculative Christian fiction), I was all set to gobble this story up. Disappointingly, several contradictions of the book either frustrated or offended me. A Christian character pours out prayers and then only four pages later seemingly takes God’s name in vain. Rubart’s earlier book Rooms (which I enjoyed) had some very allegorical/ spiritual elements, but this story went so far with them that it felt mystic and new age. Here’s an excerpt that should make clear what I mean: Continue reading “A Few Fiction Flops”→
An imagining of the life of Pharaoh’s daughter, fearful that Anubis-the god of the afterlife- may try to take her at any moment. Ties in with 1 Chronicles 4:18, which names a daughter of Pharaoh who marries into the tribe of Judah.
A very intriguing idea for a novel but in my opinion not well executed. I feel some Bible passages are interpreted strangely; for example, in Exodus 2:9-10 Pharaoh’s daughter instructs Jochebed to take Moses (in my Bible the wording is take this child away) but this novel has Jochebed and Moses live with pharaoh’s daughter in her chambers for years. Apart from this, some fictional elements rubbed me the wrong way. At one point a Jew proposes marriage to a woman while his previous wife is still lying dead, not even buried yet, in the house. The timing as written seemed very contrived and unnecessary to me.
Overall the novel treated the Biblical events and characters with reverence, and there were some beautiful messages woven in (my favorite was an overarching arc about one character’s names and how they define her– eventually culminating in her receiving the name Bithiah, which means daughter of God). I still believe this author has promise and I would be interested to see what else she has to offer– with the right plot I think she could go far. –2/5 stars
Thoughts? Disagree? Ready for a full review? Sutter’s Cross, coming up! Thank you so much, friends!