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Christian Fiction Book Club — September’s Selection

23 Aug

Lydia at Overweight Bookshelf will be hosting September’s meeting of the Christian Fiction Book Club.   The past discussions have been great.  In fact, I have enjoyed everyone I have participated in. September’s book is in the reading queue and I can’t wait to get started.  Here’s what Lydia has to say about September’s meeting:

About the Book

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher–whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John’s protests of her aid. She’s even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family.

Yet Elizabeth’s new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John’s boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher’s enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she’s more determined than ever to save the child–and man–she’s come to love.

How To Join Us:
  1. Secure a copy of The Preacher’s Bride and read it between now and Saturday, September 24.
  2. After reading the book, peruse the discussion questions. Choose one or more of the questions and address them in a blog post. You may include a review of the book, if you wish.
  3. Schedule your blog post to run on Saturday, September 24. You may copy and use the book club logo.
  4. On Saturday, September 24th I will run my review and answer a few discussion questions. I will include a link widget at the bottom so you can link to your posts.
  5. From Saturday, September 24 to Friday, September 30, we will hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.
  6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about The Preacher’s Bride in the comment section here or on the other blogs.
  7. Have you already read the The Preacher’s Bride? Great, consider participating anyway! You’ll have a head start answering some of the questions!
We would love to see you participate!
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Christian Fiction Book Club — Pompeii: City on Fire

9 Jul

This month the Christian Fiction Book Club is discussing T L Higley’s historical novel, Pompeii:  City on Fire.  I reviewed this book in June, so I will just stick with the discussion this time around.  You can find my review by clicking HERE.

A city shadowed by a roiling volcano
A young politician running from his destiny
A Jewish slave girl with a desperate plan
Are any of them safe from harm?

Pleasure-seeking Romans find the seaside town of Pompeii the perfect getaway. But when the rich patrician Cato escapes Rome, intent on a life of leisure, he is unprepared for the hostility he encounters. In the same place, but at the opposite end of society, Ariella has disguised herself as a young boy to be sold into a gladiator troupe. Survival is her only ambition.
But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii, and neither Ariella’s secret nor Cato’s evasion is immune to it. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy them, even before an ominous mountain in the distance spews its fire.

As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, Cato and Ariella must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love—before fiery ash buries Pompeii, turning the city into a lost world.

Here are the discussion questions I chose:

Pompeii is a city reveling in its decadence. How did you feel about the way the author portrayed the society? Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you feel it was realistic?

I was somewhat surprised at how similar the decadence was in Pompeii to what is now the norm in Western Culture.  No we don’t have the arenas for blood sport, but we are a society of voyeurs looking for the newest and most sensational thing to watch.  I felt Higley’s portrayal was realistic and it did make me uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable in the knowledge that we in America are not any better than those pagans of the 1st century.

In what ways do you think our society parallels the Roman world in its obsession with death and sex? Would you say the world is getting worse or improving?

First off, death is a subject we cannot stand to think about, at least our own death.  Yet life has become so cheapened in our society — drive-bys, school shootings, road rage and the alarming abortion statistics show that we don’t really value life that much.  Perhaps that is why sex has become an obsession for some.  It is labelled an addiction now!  Sex may be a way for people to fight off the futility they feel in their lives.  When there is nothing in the future, why not live life to its fullest!  The Romans were not the only hedonists.

Well those are my thoughts on Pompeii:  City of Fire.  To find other  great discussions, click HERE.  A big Thank You to Seasons of Humility for hosting this month’s discussion.

Want to be part of the Club?  Here’s how:

1. Secure a copy of the book club pick and read it before the discussion date.

2. Find the reading group guide in the back of the book or on the publisher’s website. Choose one or more of the discussion questions to address in a blog post. You might also want to include a short review of the book.

3. Schedule your blog post to run on the discussion date. You may copy and use the book club logo above if you’d like.

4. On the discussion date, the host will run his/her review and answer a few discussion questions. The host will also include a MckLinky at the bottom so bloggers can link their posts.

5. On the discussion date, we all hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.

6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about the book club pick in the comment sections of other blogs.

7. Have you already read our book club picks? Great, participate anyway! You’ll have a head start answering some of the questions!

Book Club Schedule

August 13- Digitalis by Ronie Kendig
Host: TBD

September 24- The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund
Host: TBD

November 5- Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen
Host: TBD

December 17- She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell 

Host: TBD

Christian Fiction Book Club: Words

21 May

Kaylee’s mother is gone. And it seems she took Kaylee’s voice with her. Now, ten-year old Kaylee must fend for herself with her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Her days are spent collecting words she may never speak.

Sierra Dawn is alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes. But on the twelth anniversary of her daughter’s death, God begins wooing her back to Himself.Brought together by Divine design, the relationship between Kaylee and Sierra begins a healing process in each of them as they dare to let the Truth, Jesus Christ, set them free.


Ginny Yttrup is an author, freelance writer, and writing coach. She has two grown sons and lives near Sacramento, California. Words is her first novel.

My Impressions:  

You have got to read Words by Ginny L Yttrup.  It is so beautifully written and touches the reader’s heart.  Abuse is not a pretty subject.  It is even harder to bear when it occurs to a child.  But Yttrup manages to take the most hurtful of emotions and turn them into a story of grace and mercy and redemption.  If you don’t read another book this year, choose Words.  You won’t be sorry.

Highly Recommended.

(A BIG thank you to Brenda at WV Stitcher for sending me a copy of this book)

****************************************************


Words is this month’s discussion pick of the Christian Fiction Book Club hosted  this month by My Only Vice.   Bloggers will be reviewing and answering discussion questions about Klassen’s book.  To join in the fun, just click HERE.


** Spoiler Alert **

Answers to the discussion questions may contain plot spoilers.

(I read an advanced readers copy of Words, so there were no discussion questions in the book.  Also, I couldn’t find any on the web, so you’ll have to be satisfied with ones I came up with on my own!)


1)  Sierra’s father farms because he says it allows him to co-create with God.  How important is creativity in the life of a believer?  Have you ever considered your creativeness as a chance for communication and worship?

I believe that God is creative and we, being made in His image, are creative as well.  Creativity does not just include art, music and literature, but anything that lets us express ourselves — cooking, gardening, crafts, etc.   I think there is an inner need in all of us to express our creativity, no matter how.  My daughter is an artist.  She just finished her first year at college and is home for the summer. Her need to create is so evident and it is a joy to watch.  She has been home about 2 weeks now and has transformed two Goodwill chairs into works of beauty.  She has also been working in yarn, a technique she learned in her design class, and has completed a portrait of our new dog and is working on a portrait of herself with her best friend.  Up close, you only see pieces of different colors of yarn, but from afar a detailed picture emerges.  Sounds like the way God creates in our lives, doesn’t it.

As to communication with and worship of God, I think co-creating with him may be as close as any way we can be with God.  It is prayer and action combined.

2)  Sierra’s father cautions her about judging.  He tells her to look beyond actions to the heart. Look for what’s causing them to act the way they act, then you’ll understand them (chapter 38).  How easy is this for us to do when the person has hurt us or someone we love?

I hold a grudge.  I know that is not “christian” and it eats away at me.  But how hard it is to look outside our own prejudices, hurts and experiences and enter into the heart of another.  Perhaps the only way to do that is through God’s grace. It is even harder to look for what causes someone to act a certain way when the actions are evil and the person seems beyond redemption.  But no one is beyond redemption.  If Christ can save me, he can save anyone.

  


Don’t forget to check out what others are saying about Words.  Check it out by clicking HERE.


Book Discussion Schedule

July 2- Pompeii by TL Higley

Host: TBD

August 13- Digitalis by Ronie Kendig
Host: TBD

September 24- The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund
Host: TBD

November 5- Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen
Host: TBD

December 17- She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Host: TBD

Want to participate?

1. Secure a copy of the book club pick and read it before the discussion date.

2. Find the reading group guide in the back of the book or on the publisher’s website. Choose one or more of the discussion questions to address in a blog post. You might also want to include a short review of the book.

3. Schedule your blog post to run on the discussion date. You may copy and use the book club logo above if you’d like.

4. On the discussion date, the host will run his/her review and answer a few discussion questions. The host will also include a MckLinky at the bottom so bloggers can link their posts.

5. On the discussion date, we all hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.

6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about the book club pick in the comment sections of other blogs.

7. Have you already read our book club picks? Great, participate anyway! You’ll have a head start answering some of the questions!



Online Discussion: Vicious Cycle

29 Mar

When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she’s the newborn daughter of a meth addict he’s been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.

His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan—the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.


I just finished reading Vicious Cycle this morning.  It was a very quick read — one day!   There are a lot of reviews out about this book — it was featured by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance last week.

Here are a few review links:

A Heart For Words

Writing For Christ

Southern Sassy Things

Books, Movies, and Chinese Food

Relz Reviews

 

So what did you think about the book?  Leave a comment about anything — the characters, the plot, if you liked it or not, how it compared to Intervention, etc. And/or you can answer one of the questions below:

 

Before reading this book, did you have any idea about the physical effects of meth use?

How realistic was the portrayal of the characters addicted to drugs.

What do you think our (American’s) views are on human trafficking?

Did the book open your eyes about this problem?

Thanks for participating!  My book club is meeting to discuss Vicious Cycle on April 8th.  I really appreciate your input before our meeting.