Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Review: Beyond the Reflection’s Edge, Echoes from the Edge #1 by Bryan Davis

Beyond the Reflection's Edge

Can Christianity and science fiction be successfully blended in one work? That is the question I found myself asking as I read through Beyond the Reflection’s Edge. Before my conversion I was an avid fantasy and science fiction reader; after my conversion I set the genre aside due to the extreme un-godliness of many of the themes. It was with interest that I read this entry into the Christian, young-adult, adventure-fantasy field (I think it would be better classed as science fiction however).

Bryan Davis is certainly an accomplished author, who draws his readers into the world that he has created and keeps them reading through a series of high-paced scene (and dimension changes). His main character, Nathan, is an honorable Christian young man. I appreciate the model that he provides for young readers when dealing with standards of modesty, respect for women and sexual purity. Nathan also has a heart for those who are lost, and do not know the love of Christ in their own lives. Examples such as this are difficult to find, and often lacking in contemporary fiction written for young adults. It is obvious that the absent father figure has trained his son well, as his influence continues to be felt on a daily basis in practical, real-life decisions. This is a father who has trained his son well. Nathan’s deep love, obedience and respect for his parents are also refreshing in the sea of youth fiction, where parents are either emotionally absent or disregarded by their children.

Some of the characters could have benefited from a deeper level of development so that readers could empathize with them more fully. At times when they found themselves in desperate situations I found myself feeling emotionally neutral in regards to their predicaments. Solutions to various conflicts involve physical force and violence, which is not discouraged, but rather lauded as skillful by other characters. I doubt that I would encourage young teenage children of my own to read it due to some of the darker events that occur.

After reading this novel I’m still not certain if Christianity and science fiction can be successfully blended. I am certainly thankful for the Christian character examples provided, as well as the acknowledgement of God as creator throughout. God is certainly never absent, and is often referenced by several of the characters. While I doubt this title will draw you nearer to Christ in your walk with Him; if you are interested in some light summer reading, that is quick paced and entertaining without compromising your Christian values, then this would be an excellent choice for you. I did find the reading enjoyable, and quick paced, I had a difficult time setting the book aside.


Jennifer Bogart blogs about christian parenting, family living, homeschooling and more! She loves writing Christian book reviews.

Book Review: She Always Wore Red, Fairlawn Series #2 by Angela Hunt

She Always Wore Red, Angela HuntI’ll be the first to admit that the wide and wonderful world of Christian fiction is still so new to me. Since the time of conversion most of my reading has been dedicated to parenting, homeschooling, children’s and various non-fiction and reference works in the very large Christian books category. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this title – after all, how could this sort of women’s fiction draw me closer to Christ? I thought I’d give it a try – and let me tell you, this book blessed me!

Jennifer Graham is the owner of a funeral home, though she is still very new to the business. We have the delight of following her as she learns the ropes of dealing with the dead and their families; fascinating details are provided for those of us who are interested in human anatomy. We are able to meet the members of her family and see them move through challenging situations where faith in God carries them through.

This title is the second in the Fairlawn Series (I’m now eager to read the first installment as well as future titles), and reads very well on it’s own if you aren’t familiar with the rest of the series. Angela Hunt quickly brings us up to speed with the circumstances of the main characters without the need for lengthy expository passages. She quickly endears these quirky individuals to us by including the miniscule details of their lives that make the book all the more realistic.

It seems as though there is a rash of books in Christian women’s fiction where the leading ladies are divorced, and then become entangled in romantic involvements, and even remarriage with other men. My mind was set at ease to learn that Jennifer, though she had been divorced, was now a widow. Now I could relax - even if romantic situations developed without worrying about sin on the main characters part, whew! Thankfully any potential romantic interest was also very subtle and free of sensual overtones.

Hunt confronts controversial, contemporary social issues from a Christian viewpoint where the rubber hits the road - within the family. While dealing with the issues of peer pressure, abortion and racial prejudice the themes of God’s love, grace and sovereignty shine through. Hunt was extraordinarily successful at engaging my emotions - I gasped in joy as I rejoiced with them, and I wept with them in their times of sorrow and doubt.

I have now been opened up to the possibility that well written Christian fiction can indeed, draw a believer’s heart closer to Christ, can lead them to examine themselves in the light of His love, can teach us how to relate to, and love each other. How could I ask for anything more? I look forward to reading more of Angela Hunt’s work now that I have discovered her.

Watch for the upcoming blog tour post this week, including more about this title, the author, and the first chapter!


Originally reviewed by Jennifer Bogart at

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca

I'm so glad I got this, as I'd never heard of Jimmy Santiago Baca. This is the first book I've ever read where someone has the introspection, the vocabulary and the memory to remember how he really felt as a kid and what turned him to crime.

What is equally interesting is that he is completely unable to see himself as a criminal. And he still sees his alcoholic and drug-addicted family, his parents who abandonned him, and his criminal friends as "good" people.

Highly recommended.