Oct 282011
 


The world is on the brink of disaster and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as “the Twelfth Imam”—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.

Last Christmas I received a copy of The Twelfth Imam. I was admittedly skeptical at first. It’s quite a long book, and although I am interested in prophecy, I think that the End-times Christian fiction genre is a bit overdone. But it was a gift, so I started reading it. It didn’t really hook me until after I had completed the first 50 pages or more. But after that, the book suddenly didn’t seem so long.

I knew it was the first of a trilogy, so I wasn’t too surprised when the ending was left wide open. But I knew I’d have to read the next book, and I jumped at the chance to review The Tehran Initiative. It picks up right where the first book left off and is even more action-packed and fast-paced. The “good guys” are likable, well-developed characters. The book, while most definitely fiction, contains great information about Islam and the Islamic view of the end-times. Reading fiction like this should give the reader a desire to learn more about the issues from other sources, and The Tehran Initiative has definitely sparked my interest in Middle Eastern affairs.

Below is a link to a brief video by the author, Joel C. Rosenberg. Following that is a more in-depth interview.

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Post contains an affiliate link.

 

An interview with Joel C. Rosenbergauthor of The Tehran Initiative

1) This is the second book with CIA operative David Shirazi. Where does the story pick up from your previous bestseller The Twelfth Imam?

A: The Tehran Initiative begins about sixty seconds after The Twelfth Imam leaves off. I’ve tried to create a near seamless connection between the two. And there’s another book coming, The Damascus Countdown.

2) You started writing The Tehran Initiative when the Arab Spring began earlier this year. Did events impact your writing or the storyline?

A: Actually, I was well into writing The Tehran Initiative when the “Arab Spring” began and it was a little eerie because the novel opens with the assassination of the President Egypt and Egypt descending into chaos after the leader’s fall. Fortunately, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wasn’t killed, but he certainly fell quickly and somewhat unexpectedly and Egypt is still reeling from the aftermath. The novel really focuses a great deal on the intense desire amongst many Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa to build a global Islamic empire, or a “caliphate.” And that’s certainly a growing theme among the Islamists in the region this year.Perhaps what struck me most curious since the publication of The Twelfth Imam and while I was researching and writing The Tehran Initiative is that the so-called Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has began speaking more publicly about the coming of the Twelfth Imam. He used to be silent, or nearly so, on this subject. He let President Ahmadinejad do all the public talking about Shia End Times theology. But Khamenei has become more bold over the past year or so. He has told people that he has met personally with the Twelfth Imam, though we don’t know what he meant. Did he meet with a flesh and blood person? Did he see a dream? Or a vision? We don’t know. But Khamenei has also asserted that he is the personal representative on earth of the Twelfth Imam, as well as the so-called Prophet Muhammad. These developments – along with his support for Iran’s aggressive nuclear development program – suggest Khamenei senses the time is very short before some claiming to be the Twelfth Imam emerges publicly. In part, that’s why the Iranian government released the pseudo-documentary film in early 2011 called, “The Coming Is Near,” about all the geopolitical signs that they believe are indicators that the Mahdi’s arrival is increasingly close at hand. Whether it will really happen or not remains to be seen. But the Iranian leadership is certainly convinced. Most of them, anyway. And, of course, the Bible tells us in Matthew chapter twenty-four to expect false prophets and false messiahs in the last days. So we can’t rule out the possibility that we’ll actually as false messiah emerge from the Shia world.

3) You’ve earned a reputation of writing stories that seemed ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. What is going on in The Tehran Initiative that we can see unfolding in the news?

A: I think the biggest parallel between The Tehran Initiative and current events is the growing sense amongst Shia Muslim leaders – particularly in Iran – that the Twelfth Imam is coming any moment, coupled with Iran’s feverish efforts to build nuclear weapons, and the Israelis’ growing isolation in the world and feeling that they may have to hit Iran all by themselves.Did you see Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic address at the U.N. in September, or read the full text? You should. It’s instructive. Ahmadinejad is not a world leader worthy of the world stage. He is the evil leader of an Iranian death cult. A recent U.N. report indicates he is making progress in building nuclear weapons. He is calling for the arrival of the Twelfth Imam and wiping Israel “off the map.” He aspires to be a mass murderer beyond the scale of Adolf Hitler. He deserves to be in prison, or an insane asylum. His U.N. speech was further proof, if more was needed.Like Hitler’s speeches in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, Ahmadinejad isn’t hiding what he believes. He’s pretty clear. He denied the Holocaust. He blasted the U.S. for bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice. He blamed the terrorist attacks 9/11 on the U.S. government. He insisted that his so-called messiah known as “Imam al-Mahdi” or the Twelfth Imam is coming soon. He insisted Jesus Christ will come with the Mahdi to take over the world. He called for a one-world government when he called for “the shared and collective management of the world.”Consider these excerpts: “This movement is certainly on its rightful path of creation, ensuring a promising future for humanity. A future that will be built when humanity initiates to trend the path of the divine prophets and the righteous under the leadership of Imam al-Mahdi, the Ultimate Savior of mankind and the inheritor to all divine messengers and leaders and to the pure generation of our great Prophet. The creation of a supreme and ideal society with the arrival of a perfect human being who is a true and sincere lover of all human beings, is the guaranteed promise of Allah. He will come alongside with Jesus Christ to lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination, and promote knowledge, peace, justice freedom and love across the world. He will present to every single individual all the beauties of the world and all good things which bring happiness for humankind.”Though most world leaders do not appear to understand what Ahmadinejad is really saying, students of Shia Islamic eschatology or End Times theology do. The Iranian leader believes the end of the world as we have known it is increasingly close at hand. He believes the time for establishing an Islamic caliphate or global government ruled by the Mahdi is rapidly approaching. What’s more, he believes that the way to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam is to acquire nuclear weapons and use them to annihilate the United States, which he calls the “Great Satan” and Israel, which he calls the “Little Satan.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands what Ahmadinejad means. So do some of his top military advisors. That’s why they believe Iran is in the eye of a gathering storm in the Middle East, and that the chance of a major war is growing.“Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program. The opposite is true; it continues full steam ahead,” warned Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command Chief Major General Eyal Eisenberg in a speech earlier this month. Also noting recent uprisings in the Arab world and growing tensions with Turkey, Eisenberg said, “This leads us to the conclusion that…the likelihood of an all-out war is increasingly growing.”To me, all this feels ripped from the pages of The Tehran Initiative. Unfortunately, it’s all true.

4) Readers seem to get very attached to your characters. What goes into creating the characters in your novels?

A: It’s the Colonel’s secret recipe of seven herbs and spices. I could tell you, but then I’d have to….well, never mind….no comment to that one.

5) What experiences in your real life do you draw from to piece together these novels that incorporate geo-politics, espionage, romance, and Bible prophecy?

A: Someone once told me, “Write where you live in your head.” For some reason, that advice resonated with me and stuck. I’m fascinated with politics, prophecy and the Middle East. Living in Washington, D.C. and working in and around the political world for the past two decades has certainly helped provide context for me to write political thrillers. I think traveling extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa has been helpful, too. Somehow, it’s all worked together in a way some people find as interesting as I do.

6) You often incorporate Old Testament prophecy in your books. What scriptures do you draw from for this book and why?

A: There’s no question that I am absolutely intrigued by Bible prophecy, and I like to start with an End Times prophecy – or a group of last days prophecies – and ask, “What if these were to happen in my lifetime? What would it look like? What would it feel like? How might such prophecies realistically be set into motion, and what might be the implications of their fulfillment?” That’s how I approach writing these books. But I don’t think of it like writing a fantasy novel or science fiction. I’m genuinely trying to imagine how it could really play out? I’m not saying these prophecies will necessarily come to pass the way I envision them, but they are interest to war game and see what happens. And given what’s happening in the real world today, I think readers are as curious as I am, and somehow my plots don’t feel that far-fetched.

7) You’ve been successful with your non-fiction books Epicenter and Inside the Revolution and you have a large following reading your analysis of Middle East events on your blog and e-newsletter “Flash Traffic.” Why do you continue to choose writing novels about the Middle East?

A: What could be more interesting? Presidents and presidential candidates constantly focus on the Middle East. Prime Ministers do. Kings do. Generals do. The media does. The economists do. The fact is, the eyes of the nations are riveted on Israel and her neighbors, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. The stakes are very high. There is lots of uncertainty. It’s mysterious and dangerous and complex – it has all the elements of riveting political thrillers. And the Bible says the Middle East will become even more dramatic until the very return of Jesus Christ. Why write about anything else?

Enhanced by Zemanta
Aug 312011
 

Academics are an important part of our homeschool. We have high standards and I make no apologies for that. But as we work hard, we try to remember 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

God’s glory and serving God have always been the #1 priority of our homeschool and our lives.

At least that is our highest priority on paper.

I confess that it hasn’t always been my highest priority in practice. And there is a word for saying one thing and acting in a different way. It’s called hypocrite.

It’s not hard for kids to recognize. They can see it much easier than I could see it in myself.  And it’s so very dangerous.

But I am thankful that God is so gracious and merciful to me. He nudges me gently. (And sometimes not so gently.)

There were several things that I was “required” to read in the last month that God used mightily in showing me what my true priorities are.

One of them is this little book: How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids by Rachael Carman. Rachael begins the book with her own story of how she began homeschooling, and shares very openly the mistakes she made in trying to homeschool in her own power. She then begins to share 5 simple steps that will change your thinking about how your homeschool. She uses the acronym H.E.A.R.T.

H- Have a heart for the things of God
E- Enrich your marriage
A- Accept your kids
R-Release them to God
T-Teach them the Truth

I learned so much from this book. Well, learned is maybe not the right word. I have heard much of this before. I just wasn’t doing it. I was failing at the very first priority. I have to have a heart for the things of God! No wonder my kids weren’t having a heart for the things of God. I have to be a living, breathing example to them. I have to be more transparent with them. I have to demonstrate walking with God to them in a real way. I have to be faithful to Him. If I preach that to my children and fail to do it myself, I am a hypocrite!

I do not mean I have to be perfect. I also do not need to make my kids think I’m perfect. (That would be an impossible task anyway.) But I need to let them see my heart. And my heart needs to be focused on the things of God.

I have read the whole book and the other letters are just as powerful as the H. But H really spoke to me as I read the book the first time. I will be reading this again! (And in case you can’t tell, I highly recommend it to all homeschool moms.)

You can purchase this book from Apologia for $13.00.(Rachael and her husband Davis are the owners of Apologia Educational Ministries.) There is also a sample chapter available for free on the website.

 

You can read more reviews of How To Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids on the Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
May 072011
 

For Lisa Velthouse’s whole life, Christianity had been about getting things right. Obeying her parents. Not drinking. Not cursing. Not having premarital sex. Vowing to save her first kiss until she got engaged, even writing a book called . . . well, Saving My First Kiss. (This, it turns out, does not actually help a girl get a date.) Yet after two decades of trying to earn God’s okay, she found her faith was lonely, empty, and unsatisfying. So she turned to more discipline, of course: fasting! By giving up her favorite foods—sweets—Lisa hoped to somehow discover true sweetness and meaning in her relationship with God. Until, one night at a wedding, she denied herself the cake but failed in such a different, unexpected, and world-rocking way that it challenged everything she thought she knew about God and herself. Craving Grace is the true story of a faith dramatically changed: how in one woman’s life God used a bitter heart, a broken promise, and the sweetness of honey to reveal the stunning wonder that is grace.

What is grace?

The Sunday School definition is undeserved favor.

Or God’s Richness at Christ’s Expense.

Those are both okay definitions, but you can understand those definitions and still not fully grasp God’s grace. Actually, I’m not sure we can ever fully grasp God’s grace.

Lisa Velthouse thought she had to earn God’s favor. I did too. So I felt a certain kinship with her as I was reading the book. Unlike the author’s, my testimony is not one of thinking I had done almost everything right, and that God was not giving me what I deserved. My struggle was with truly accepting God’s forgiveness for my sins. We both had a false view of God’s grace. The peace of realizing that there is nothing that I can do to earn His forgiveness is freeing. I finally understand that my salvation doesn’t depend on my ability to say the right words in a prayer or my ability to not sin, but on Christ’s atoning sacrifice that completely and totally paid for my sins. He’s the one that’s doing the saving. He’s powerful enough. What a relief! What a wonderful Savior!

I enjoyed reading this book. The author was transparent in sharing her struggles. I liked the way she told the story by going back and forth between two different periods of her life. However, it might be confusing to someone who is extremely sequential.

But I can’t neglect to mention one concern I did have about this book. The author previously served on the staff at Mars Hill Bible Church. That wouldn’t have meant a thing to me until about a month ago. However, the founding pastor of that church, Rob Bell, just published an extremely controversial book entitled Love Wins. I have not read the book, but it has been accused of espousing the universalist view that a loving God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. So I read Craving Grace looking for any evidence that Lisa Velthouse believes that. I didn’t find any. But I didn’t find any evidence that she isn’t a universalist either. However, it’s not a theology book. Craving Grace is a memoir, and it does what a memoir should–tells the story of a life.

***The author has contacted me and assured me she is most certainly NOT a universalist. ****

I Review For The Tyndale Blog NetworkDisclosures: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book to review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

This is the 13th book I have completed in 2011. This is week 18 of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. I’m 5 books behind!

 

Apr 012011
 

I can’t believe it, but I actually did it. I just finished reading Revelation about an hour ago. That means I read through the entire Bible in 89 days!

I had read through the Bible before, but it had been awhile. I have never read through it this fast though. (Though I started the challenge 2 separate times.) Sometimes I felt like it was too fast, like Psalms, but in certain sections it was really interesting to read through so quickly. I noticed things like which stories are repeated in which Gospels and which are unique. It was exciting to read how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies so soon after reading them. I also noticed more of what is repeated in several of Paul’s Epistles. I have done Precepts studies of several books of the Bible in the past. I noticed that as I reread those books, I remembered much more of those studies than I thought. Since in those studies you read through the books so many times, they were still very familiar.

Reading through the Bible in 90 Days was a marvelous way to start off my year. I feel ready to dig into a deeper Bible study of some sort. Having a challenge kept me motivated to keep on track. It also helped me to do this with a new baby. Rather than use my lack of sleep as an excuse to not be reading God’s Word, I used all those middle of the night feedings to do most of my reading. I was able to do that because I read the entire Bible on my iPod using the YouVersion app. So I didn’t need to turn on the light, and I didn’t need both hands to hold my Bible and turn the pages.

It was a very positive experience (really, how could reading the Bible be a negative experience?) and I’d like to do it again. Next time I think I’ll see if I can get some of my kids to join me.

Have you read the entire Bible?

 

 

Mar 242011
 

I’m participating in the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge again this year, but I have done a terrible job of posting updates. (That means I haven’t posted any.) It’s not because I haven’t been reading, but my personal blogging time has definitely been affected by Baby Boy. And I am a bit behind on my reading too. However, Code of Justice by Liz Johnson is one of the books that I have enjoyed reading this year.

About Code of Justice:

Heather Sloan is an FBI agent on a mission. She’s on a mission to figure out what caused the helicopter crash that killed her sister. Only her mission would be a lot easier if she hadn’t been injured in the same crash. And if she were actually assigned to the case.  But those small details don’t stop Heather. She convinces Jeremy Latham, the Sheriff’s Deputy who is assigned to the case, to let her help him. In the process, they both learn about trusting God because He is just and because He is sovereign.

My thoughts:

This is another book in the Love Inspired Suspense collection. I also enjoyed Vanishing Act, the previous book by the same author. There are several reasons I like these books. They are mysteries, but not too intense or violent. There is romance, but they are clean. (There is some kissing, but that’s as far as it goes.) They are very quick to read, but that’s partly because I can’t put them down once I start. The characters are real and the book is not preachy. I do not like Christian fiction where it feels like religion is tacked on to the story after it was written just so it would fit the genre. If the character’s faith is not an integral part of the story, then please leave it out. If you’re looking for an exciting book that doesn’t keep you awake at night from fear, and with romance that doesn’t make you blush, I recommend Code of Justice. Visit www.lizjohnsonbooks.com for purchasing information and to read the first chapter.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author to review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Jan 182011
 

Today is the day that I’m going to write a wonderfully encouraging post about how I get homeschool, housekeeping, and work all done with a not quite 3 week old baby in the house.

Except, I haven’t got it figured out yet. (Strangely enough, the topic of this week’s Blog Cruise is Working and Homeschool. I couldn’t find time to write anything.)

Here’s what I do know.

Babies eat a lot. Since I am the only one who can feed him, I spend a lot of time doing just that. On the plus side, I am getting my 90Day Bible Reading done usually before 8am every day. I’m also doing other reading so I’m keeping up with my 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. I’m also getting really good at playing Bejeweled Blitz on my iPod. That and Sudoku. Those are valuable skills I’m sure.

I have to prioritize what I do with what time I have. We have to eat something for dinner so I have to make sure that gets done. People also need to have a steady supply of clean clothes, so there is no room for slacking off on the laundry. Nobody seems to be dying because my living room hasn’t been vacuumed in over a week though.

Teaching kids to do their school work independently is very valuable. We’ve been able to slowly resume some school. I am finding that the ratio of teacher-intensive subjects to independent subjects is a bit too high for our current circumstances. I will have to rethink how we “do school” in the future.

I’m also seeing some deficiencies in how I’ve trained my children. My children have chores which they are responsible for, but I have retained control of too many things. There are too many things that I’ve trained them to help with but not do. So I will be looking for ways to train the kids to have greater ownership of more household tasks.

Plumbing problems are never fun, but everything is more stressful at the moment. Thankfully, it only took the plumbers 30 minutes to fix the leak. Fixing the ceiling will be another story.

In many ways, it is much easier to have a baby when you also have “older” children. They can hold the baby and watch the baby while you take a shower. Those are certainly not things that I could let my children do when they were 2 and 4. But, there are other ways that it’s harder. Older kids still have things that they need to do. I have to figure out ways to get my daughter to violin lessons. She has a recital this week. Soccer season is coming up. I skipped this month’s book club, but would like to go back in February. Then there is Kids 4 Truth at church coming up. Obviously choices have to be made. Priorities have to be set. I can’t do everything. It’s just hard knowing what NOT to do.

Jan 122011
 

I am once again joining the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

So obviously, my first goal is to read at least 52 books this year. I met my goal last year with exactly 52. I don’t think I will make my goal higher, but I do have some sub-goals.

1. I am trying to read the Bible in 90 Days. I have tried it before and not made it. I am not officially part of the group but am reading on my own. I have completed 10 days so far and have already completed Genesis through Leviticus. I am using my iPod Touch and the YouBible Reading plan. This has been a very convenient way to read especially these past 10 days since I am completing most of my reading while I’m up in the middle of the night feeding the baby. There are no pages to turn and no need to turn on a light.

2. I want to read the remaining Jane Austen novels. I have read Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. I have downloaded Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey to the Kindle app of my iPod Touch, so they are there whenever I decide to start reading.

3. I tend to read a lot of cozy mystery novels. In order to make sure that I am reading a little bit of variety, I plan to read a minimum of 8 non-fiction books.

Sep 072010
 

It’s 1896, and Lilly Gray Corbett is growing up near a small town in Kentucky. She is the oldest child of her mother, Copper. Her father died when she was very young, and her mother remarried and has 3 younger children. Lilly’s days are filled with helping her mother around the house and with the children. Copper’s days are also filled acting as the area’s midwife.

Lilly’s life isn’t all work though. She also has time to roam through the woods. She has a special heart for animals and often tries to help them. Copper sees that Lilly is growing up and struggles with how much freedom to give her. She is also jealous when Lilly’s aunt invites her to spend a month with her in the city of Lexington. Copper has nagging fears about letting her go, but wonders if it’s just jealousy or if she has real reasons to be concerned.

I am a great fan of historical fiction. With historical fiction, the setting has a strong influence on how enjoyable the book is. The mountains of Kentucky is a setting that definitely holds my interest because I was raised in the mountains, and my ancestors lived in the mountains as well. (I’m not from Kentucky, but North Carolina and Tennessee. However, the culture is similar.) In addition to this, I found the mid-wife storyline to be of special interest as well, since I am currently pregnant with my fifth child.

However, these two factors alone aren’t enough to make an enjoyable story. Every good novel must have an interesting plot and believable characters. I found both of these in Still House Pond. The book was well-written with an often exciting story filled with unexpected twists. The characters had depth and I was able to identify with them as well. Overall, I think this is an excellent book and I will be looking for more of Jan Watson’s books.

I Review For The Tyndale Blog NetworkDisclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review, nor required to write a positive review. This review is my own opinion.

I have completed 30 books for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and I’m 6 books behind schedule.

Aug 252010
 

Nate is an undercover FBI agent whose job is to find Nora James before the mob does. Unfortunately Danielle keeps distracting him from his mission. Danielle is a pretty auto mechanic in the college town of Crescent City, Colorado. In Nate’s search for Nora, Danielle keeps turning up, and she’s always in trouble. He knows he should not allow himself to have romantic feelings for anyone. With his family history of broken marriages, Nate thinks it’s best to avoid relationships altogether so that no one gets hurt. Unfortunately, he’s having a hard time remembering that with Danielle. Plus he should be focusing on finding Nora!

Vanishing Act is published by Steeple Hill Books as part of its Love Inspired Suspense collection. The book is considered inspirational romance, but like most of the other books of the genre, I didn’t find it to be overwhelmingly Christian. There are instances of prayer and church attendance by the characters, and the the “good guys” behaved morally. I do appreciate these qualities when they are woven into the story, and I think the Liz Johnson did a good job of that.

I took this book with me on my vacation to the beach. I found the book to be a perfect vacation book. It was entertaining and fun, but not too deep. The suspense was enough to keep me reading, but it was not so scary that I couldn’t put it down. The characters were likable, and I enjoyed both the mystery and romance aspects of the book.

You can visit the author’s website at www.lizjohnsonbooks.com to find out about her past, current, and upcoming projects.

On the Nightstand:
Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews

Call the Sabbath a Delight by Walter Chantry

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

The Jesus You Can’t Ignore by John MacArthur

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated, nor required to post a positive review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Aug 172010
 

It has been a while since I’ve updated my reading list as part of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. The last update of my reading list was my Spring Reading Fling conclusion.

This is week 33 and I have only completed 27 books. You would think that I’d have gotten ahead over the summer, but the combination of a lot of traveling and trying to read some classic books has slowed my progress considerably. But I just finished reading a mystery novel by a new (to me) author. It went quickly, and I already have 2 more checked out from the library so maybe I’ll do a bit of catching up.

Since my last update I’ve read:

23. The Tale of Applebeck Orchard by Susan Wittig Albert – This book is the latest in the series of Beatrix Potter mysteries. These combine some real facts about Beatrix Potter’s life with a completely fictional period mystery. They’re light reading but I enjoy them.

24. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy – This is from the list of classic novels recommended in The Well-Educated Mind. Overall, I liked this book fairly well. It started off slowly, but it did hold my interest. I remembered absolutely hating the Thomas Hardy books I’d been forced to read in high school so this was an improvement.

25. Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson – This is a Christian, romantic mystery. A full review of this is coming soon.

26. Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp – This was an excellent sequel to Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It expounded more on teaching children about the gospel in all that we do. It filled some of the holes that I felt Shepherding left in how to train older children.

27. Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews – This is the one I just finished. This is cozy little mystery with a hint of romance thrown in.

On the nightstand are:

Still House Pond
by Jan Watson – This is a review book I haven’t started yet.

The Portrait of a Lady
by Henry James – I’ve read over 100 pages of this book, and so far I’m not too excited about it. I had to take a break. There isn’t much of anything happening.