Wow. I am really on top of blogging this fall. Haha. But, you know what, it’s been kind of nice not to think about it. (It actually took me an entire day just to write thus far!) Let’s just jump right into October’s Reading Roundup, huh?
Vendetta: The Nikki Boyd Files by Lisa Harris
This was October’s church book club pick. Typically, I don’t care for Christian fiction (too many authors tend to be a bit too preachy or stretch the amount of miracles that happen) and typically, I don’t like murder mysteries. But, it was book club, so I endured.
Nikki Boyd is a young detective who works specifically on missing person cases. Her own sister was abducted as a teenager, spurring her passion to help prevent this happening to others. While she and her late best friend’s widowed husband where climbing mountains, Nikki gets a call about an abducted girl in the same National Park she was at. Nikki becomes emotionally invested in this case as it is strikingly similar to the way her sister’s abductor worked. This case focuses on Nikki’s ability to not only use her previous experience to help the current missing girl, but also the struggle to overcome her past to save someone’s future.
As a Christian fiction, I actually enjoyed it. I didn’t feel that the author was too preachy. Religion wasn’t necessarily a main point in the story, but it was still poignant. Religion and God’s role in our lives came up when discussing her sister’s abduction and assumed death as well as Nikki’s best friend’s death. There were some questions toward God, such as “Why do you let this happen to innocent young girls?” I think it was nicely poised. There wasn’t a big, overwhelming transition of faith or even reconciliation of faith. If anything, I think this book said it was ok to question things in times of hardship (such as a death in the family) as long as you endure. I am so very glad there weren’t any extraordinary miracles. At one point in time, Nikki was held “hostage” and prayed for God to save her and put the bad guy in custody. While she did end up escaping, it wasn’t for any miracles of God and the perpetrator at that specific time went away.
As for a murder mystery, it was very average. I don’t want to give away any specifics or the “who-did-it”. So, I’ll say this. The way they went about policies and procedures made me grimace. Nikki’s friend, a retired military man (like Special Ops guy) was very involved in the case and doing official police business even though he didn’t have any badge or affiliation with the police. I didn’t like that at all. And, then I didn’t really like the ending. That’s all I will say because I don’t want to spoil it. I don’t think the ending fit in well with the rest of the story. We were all kind of in agreement with that at book club.
To my knowledge, this is a trilogy and many members of Book Club are continuing the series. I’m stopping here.
Whatever Happened to Faith? By Robert L. Millet
**I received this book from the Deseret Book Store in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
This book actually took me most of the month of September and the first week of October to read. It wasn’t necessarily a long or difficult book, but if you remember, I read a lot of fiction during September and they were more interesting. It was a good religious book with good, religious discussion…I just wasn’t captured by the way Millet wrote it.
As a Millennial Mormon, there are a lot of times I feel I have been at odds with either the history of our church, our doctrine, our culture, and/or what our leaders have said (whether it was divinely inspired or their own thoughts and decisions). Many Millennial Mormons, as well as Millennial Christians, go through this issue of a faith crises. So, I love grabbing any and every book about struggling with faith.
The author of this book, Robert L. Millet is a current professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University and an emeritus Dean of Religious Education at BYU. So, he knows what he is talking about scripturally. Millet does focus his book on Mormons and does use a lot of Mormon doctrine and scripture, but the overall ideas and philosophies in this book could apply to any and all Christians.
Millet describes what faith is, how we gain faith, the importance of faith not only in history and in religion, but in the world’s culture. Millet discusses different reasons people tend to lose their faith and he gives examples and plan on how to help regain that faith. Overall, I really liked this book. It had some good points and I loved a few of the quotes. Many times I found myself nodding my head or saying “Oh, yeah! That makes sense.” However, there were a few things that I didn’t like.
Millet is a life-long member of the LDS Church. I am too, but the past few years, I have had some struggles with different aspects of our church. Millet couldn’t really empathize much with Millennial Mormons. He never really had a “faith crises.” He claims he did because he thought he was going to get one calling (voluntary job/position in the LDS Church) due to a dream, but ended up getting a “lower” calling instead. I kind of guffawed at that–that’s not a faith crisis. I also didn’t really like how talked about homosexuality. It almost seemed a little patronizing. Now, I don’t know Millet in person, nor do I know his personal believes or experiences, but that’s just the way it seemed as I read it.
The World of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Teresa Patterson
I’ve owned this book for many years and have typically flipped through it, but I have never actually read it straight from cover to cover. I am a huge Wheel of Time fan. I started reading the books in junior high and still haven’t finished the last two (they only came out in the past few years). The series is a long fantasy action-adventure. Seriously…the series is 14 books long, with each book being a little over 1000 pages each!!!! It’s definitely an investment of your time. Hence, it’s taken up all of my adolescence. It is very Tolkien-ish, very Lord of the Rings-ish.
This book came out around half way through the series. It is kind of like an encyclopedia of the world Jordan created. It discusses the world’s history, the different countries and culture, the “magic”, and the characters. There is a lot of information in Jordan’s series. Seriously, he created a whole new world and was very detailed about everything in his world. Sometimes, it’s a little difficult to keep track of who was from what country, etc. So this is a great companion resource book—haha. A fantasy series that needs resource companion book. Man, I must be a geek.
Well, the thing that I really like about this book is that it was written like a real history book. As if the world really existed. It pulled from “true” “historical” sources. And it works perfectly because there is a character in the book that follows the main characters because his goal is to write a complete history of the world and he wants to write events as he witnesses them first hand. So, theoretically, this is the book that character wrote.
While reading this book, I felt like I was back in Jordan’s world. For the week or so I read it, I breathed his world. It’s all that I thought of. It was all-consuming. It made me miss reading Wheel of Time. I really need to finish the series!!! Before I’m 30 at least!!!
The BFG by Roald Dahl
This was one of my favorite Dahl books growing up. My third grade teacher actually read it to my class out loud. It is a very quick read, as is many of Dahl’s books. This one is best known for its “vernacular” of the Big Friendly Giant. He talks weird, very much like someone from Dr. Seuss’s world would.
The BFG is about an orphaned girl who meets the BFG–Big Friendly Giant. He catches dreams and blows them into the minds of sleeping children. The BFG is actually the runt out of 10 giants. The other 9 are twice his size and eat humans. The BFG takes Sophie to Giant Country and she helps him make a plan to stop any more humans from being eaten by the giants. And, they get the Queen of England to help them carry out the plan.
I absolutely love this book! I can’t wait for Rhys and Evelyn to be a few years older so I can read it to them. And, when the BFG came out as a movie last year, I immediately rented it. I love how they did it. The BFG looks exactly how Dahl imagined him and I think the actor they got for him fit the part perfectly. Obviously, there was some extras added in to make it a full-length film, such as the boy the BFG had before he took Sophie. But, it works. And, I think the movie was beautifully and artistically done.
Read the book and see that movie! You can do both within one day!
Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
I actually had never read this book of Dahl’s before. But, it was quite interesting. Danny is the son of a poor, widowed car mechanic. They live in an old gypsy wagon behind their tiny little shop. Danny is the narrator and tells how much he admires his dad.
Then, one night, he finds out a secret about his dad. His dad is a small game poacher on English nobles’ lands. Now, this has actually been illegal for over a thousand years. Peasants (or common folk) aren’t allowed to hunt on noble land. But, this book, Dahl’s characters (and therefore, Dahl by extension as he always inserts his personal thoughts and feelings into his books) revere poaching and feel the nobles deserve it. I don’t really like it because it is illegal. Yes, the law is elitist, but it is still a law. Dahl is famous for showing that kids can be smart and heroes and sometimes adults are jerks–which is all true. But, to condone an illegal act, I don’t really agree with.
Well, the noble that his dad poaches on is an absolute jerk–everyone in town thinks so. Danny’s dad falls in a trap while poaching and breaks his leg. So, Danny, his dad, and everyone in town come up with a plan for the biggest poach in history. And it was all Danny’s idea. It is carried out and successful–therefore, Danny is the Champion (of poaching) of the World.
I do like the relationship that Danny has with his dad. They are basically destitute, but neither wants anything more because they have each other. I love how close father and son are, how much the dad respects Danny and how much Danny idolizes his dad. That is the kind of relationship I hope Justin and Rhys have. Maybe I will have Justin read this book to Rhys when he is older. It’s definitely a father-son book!