Review for At Home in Mitford

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At Home in Mitford by Jan Karen

Genre – Christian fiction, Mystery

Series – 1st in Mitford series

Rating – PG – for thematic elements

Synopsis –

Father Tim is an aging bachelor who is just worn out from life. He has ministered to the Mitford parish for 25 years. Yet, now that he is in his 60s, his life seems to be throwing him several curve-balls. First, a large dog follows him around town. Then an 11 year old boy needs a home while his grandpa recovers from pneumonia. Later on food is disappearing from the church refrigerator. Lastly, a new neighbor has moved in and the Father begins to like her. Will Father Tim figure out a way to juggle these things?

Summary –

Since I haven’t been able to go to the library for a while, I have been catching up on reading books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long. This was a gem!! I have never read anything by this author before so it was a complete surprise. I had recently finish Christy, which was OK in its own right, but this blew it out of the water.

To start the characters felt like people who you would meet walking down the street. They all had flaws and issues they were working through. Father Tim was a gentle shepherd. It was interesting to see him take his flock so seriously. Each week he would visit just about his everyone in his church. Dooley was quite a handful, but he provided some needed humor. Father Tim takes him under his wing and provides a home. Also the character Emma is a hoot.

There were a few twists I didn’t see coming which I appreciated. The mystery is just a small portion of the book, but it pays off hugely in the end. Also, I laughed out loud several times. The novel uplifted me, plain and simple. It was refreshing to have a clean, wholesome story.

There are some theological discussions sprinkled throughout the story. Several characters come to know the Lord which is always neat to see. The Father is an Episcopalian, which is a denomination that I didn’t know much about. So I learned a few things along the way like gospel side vs. epistle side.

Language – Only one foul word used by someone who wasn’t a believer

Violence – A character is shot off the page. Also there are characters who were ill. Mention of a heart transplant.

Innuendo – As Father Tim falls for Cynthia, they talk about going steady. A few mentions of wanting to hold her. One kiss on the cheek.

Conclusion –

If you are looking for a wholesome story that is not dark, I would recommend this book. I loved the small town community as it felt like I had stepped back in time. Its the type of book that will make you laugh and then cry as the story unfolds.

Have you read any books in this series? How is your March going? Cannot wait to hear from you!

Anna

Review for Offworld

Offworld by Robin Parrish

Series – Book 1 in Dangerous Times

Genre – Christian fiction, science fiction, Dystopian

Rating – PG-13 for perilous situations and violence

Synopsis –

Four astronauts return from a 2 year mission on mars to find no one on earth. Odd things start happening on their voyage through the atmosphere. To make matters worse, Commander Burke starts having visions of a shifting void. Will they figure out where everyone went before its too late?

My Thoughts –

Science fiction is one of my favorite genres as there is an unlimited supply of possibilities and who doesn’t love space travel? Plus the author makes this mission feel fresh and different. It like if you throw Interstellar and War Games into a blender with a dash of end of the world situations.

On the whole I would say this is a plot driven novel. It’s action packed, but leaves a little bit wanting in the character background department. Giving an astronaut Fibromyalgia was interesting and I wish we could have had more detail describing how it affected her. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be left on earth without your family. It would be devastating. The author does a great job exploring how it affects the astronauts differently.

Although the book was classified as Christian fiction, there were only a few mentions of God. A couple brief discussions on whether God exists and a few prayers. There is mention of a divine rift in time and a piece from the heavenly realm has somehow fallen on earth and wreaked havoc. That felt a little bit implausible as God is omniscient, but its science fiction.

Language – A couple references to living in hell.

Innuendo – Some mild talk about how the astronauts would have to repopulate the earth. Later on a character professes his love via a phone call.

Violence – Several of the astronauts get injured during their landing. A character dislocates his arm and has to wear it in a sling. Another character gets buried under a building during its collapse. Several characters die due to getting shot. A few shootouts between characters (not much detail). During an explosion, a character dies self-sacrificially to save the world.

Conclusion –

This book was hard to put down as questions keep building until the end. A perfect science fiction thriller for an afternoon read. I wish there was a sequel as there are unanswered questions. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It had some interesting points on the lengths we would go to get answers.

Do you have any favorite science fiction novels? What are your thoughts on Offworld?

Review for Clyndere’s Midight

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Cyndere’s Midnight by Jeffery Overstreet – Part of the Auralia Thread series

Age range – Young adult or adult audience

Rating: PG13 for violence

Summary-

This is the second book in the Auralia Thread series. It picks up close to where the Auralia’s Colors left off maybe a couple months later. We get to hear from characters we know and love like the ale boy and king Cal-raven, but we also are introduced to new characters like Cyndere and Jordam. Jordam’s story takes center stage here.

After Cyndere’s husband is dead, she tries to continue their dream by befriending a Beastman. This Beastman had seen Auralia’s colors and is now conflicted.

My Thoughts –

First off I have to say that I have really enjoyed how the author weaves his story together. It almost seems lyrical and poetic. The characters were realistic and each have their own personal battles they went through. One of the main themes throughout this book was grief and how to continue on after the world came crashing down. All the characters are affected by House Abascar’s downfall.

I cruised through it quicker then the first book . For some books the author will switch between character’s perspectives and it makes the book divided. The way the author switched between the characters worked well and I did not mind it at all. I grew to like these characters as well if not better then Auralia and her story. I cannot wait to see how it will continue.

Violence –

There is a little more violence compared to Auralia’s Colors. The author introduces us to the fallen House of Cent Regus which are called Beastman. They kill all they come in contact with, expect for one named Jordam. Within the first couple of chapter one of the characters die. We find out later that Mordafey severed his hand. Jordam kills a wild animal and it mentions blood.

Mordafey performs various evil deeds throughout the book. He does team up with a Seer, more on that later. He orders his brothers to attack a wagon and kill the three people in it. Jordam does kill one of the men, but he questions what he is doing. He gathers an army to go fight the House Abascar.

Also, the Beastman required Essence. There are scenes where the brothers went down to the pit where it is located. One of the brothers injured several people while he was down in the pit. It is a little disturbing, but not too gratuitous. It helps show how much Jordam changes compared to his brothers.

Lastly, there is a scuffle between Abascar and the Beastman. None of the humans die, but several Beastman are injured/killed.

Language- None

Innuendo – One of the minor character flirted with a married woman, but she did not appreciate it. It was only mentioned a handful of times, used to show how flawed and evil a character was. The author depicted it as something that was wrong.

Other –

The House of Bel Amica followed Seers. Throughout the book we saw how they influenced people. One in particular is quite nefarious, but it is clearly shown that they are corrupt and not to be trusted. The Seers try to get the people to follow moon spirits, but the main character realizes that this is a false belief system.

Conclusion –

I really have enjoyed the first two books in this series. The characters felt alive. Although this book was a little darker then the first, I loved how we get to see redemption and forgiveness. Jordam was my favorite character and I loved how we get to see how his character developed. I would say this was probably more of an adult fantasy. The author was not overly descriptive with the violence, but it is there.