Literary Pursuits

Christian Fiction Reading Challenge

During July and August I participated in a summer reading challenge hosted by Revell. The idea was to read Christian fiction books in six different genres:

  • contemporary
  • suspense
  • Biblical
  • historical
  • speculative
  • Amish

I ended up reading 25 novels during the 2 months of the challenge.

Are you interested to know what I read and which titles I enjoyed the most? I thought you were! Most of these are pretty good… inspiring reads for a challenging year!

As usual, books are linked to Amazon. As an affiliate I might earn from qualifying purchases. I’m sure you get tired of hearing that, but I have to say it every time.

Contemporary

You Belong With Me

by Tari Faris

You Belong With Me was a fun small-town romance. The main characters both have baggage they have to work through that affects family relationships as well as the town in general.

My rating: 4 stars

Fried Chicken and Gravy

by Sherri Schoenborn Murray

Fried Chicken & Gravy is actually set in the 1970s but I’m going to call that contemporary. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Lots of hilarious moments but totally believable, too.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 5 stars

The Moon in June

by Sherri Schoenborn Murray

The Moon in June is the sequel to Fried Chicken & Gravy and equally enjoyable. It continues to develop the romance and the journeys of faith that were introduced in the first book. Be sure and read them in order!

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 5 stars

Sticky Notes

by Sherri Schoeborn Murray

Naturally I had to try another book by this author. Set in current times (rather than the 1970s) I especially enjoyed that the locale of this story is in the Palouse area just south of where I live. Very fun story, though it did drag on a little longer than it needed to.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

The Sticky Buns Challenge

by Sherri Schoeborn Murray

This is the sequel to Sticky Notes. The main character is the grandma who is an outright hoot. My summer reading list included several intense books about serious subjects so I appreciated the lighthearted stories by this author to break it up a little bit.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 5 stars

Suspense

Dead Silence

by Robin Caroll

Dead Silence is a legal thriller about a court sign language interpreter whose son is deaf. Her lip-reading skills come into play as a major part of the plot. I found the premise and plot fascinating.

My rating: 5 stars

Oath of Honor

by Lynette Eason

Oath of Honor is a law enforcement murder mystery. It is well-written and interesting, but somewhat predictable, as whodunits often are.

Currently on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

The Kremlin Conspiracy

by Joel C. Rosenberg

When discussing reading recently a friend suggested I might enjoy books by Joel C. Rosenberg. I wasn’t too sure about that since I haven’t been into political thrillers before, but she was right. I was totally pulled in. Definitely intriguing and pertinent to our times.

It is currently free to read on Kindle if you are an Amazon Prime member.

My rating: 5 stars

The Persian Gamble

by Joel C. Rosenberg

This is the sequel to The Kremlin Conspiracy, actually the second book in a trilogy. I did read all 3 books, but the third one was after the summer reading challenge was over.

My rating: 5 stars

Biblical Fiction

Rachel

by Jill Eileen Smith

The story of Jacob’s beloved wife is well-researched and well-written but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Maybe because of the rivalry and struggles that were a very real part of Jacob’s marriages. If you enjoy fiction based on Bible stories, give this one a try. It’s part of the Wives of the Patriarchs series.

My rating: 4 stars

Love Amid the Ashes

by Mesu Andrews

This was probably my least-favorite book of the summer. It merges the story of Job with the story of Dinah, which struck me as odd. I did enjoy the first part of the book, but the chapters about the suffering of Job were hard to read. Which is to be expected, I guess, since the Book of Job in the Bible is the same way. Still, I had a hard time finishing it.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 3 stars

Historical

A Distance Too Grand

by Regina Scott

A Distance Too Grand is about a lady photographer who accompanies the Army surveyors who were sent out to map the north rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. Fun romance, but I especially enjoyed the historical aspect.

Only $1.99 on Kindle right now. Not sure how long that price will last.

My rating: 5 stars

Lady Jayne Disappears

by Joanna Davidson Politano

The premise of this story drew me in: a father who dies in debtor’s prison even though he’s secretly a famous novelist… and the heroine who tries to continue his legacy with his family whom she had never met before. I was intrigued but somehow could never really get into it like I had hoped.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 3 stars.

A Stolen Heart

by Amanda Cabot

A Stolen Heart is a formulaic western-style prairie romance. Very predictable but also very fun. The characters are well-written and believable. I enjoyed this light read.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

The Sea Before Us

by Sarah Sundin

Whenever I’m in the mood for a World War II romance Sarah Sundin never disappoints. The Sea Before Us is the first in a trilogy revolving around D-Day. Great story line with fascinating historical details.

It is currently free to read on Kindle if you are an Amazon Prime member.

My rating: 5 stars

This Road We Traveled

by Jane Kirkpatrick

Based on actual events, This Road We Traveled tells the story of a widowed older lady who goes west on the Oregon Trail. Great historical details. I especially found it interesting having learned a little about my own Oregon Trail ancestors not too long ago.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

All Manner of Things

by Susie Finkbeiner

All Manner of Things is a family story set during the Vietnam War era. Not a light read, it was, nevertheless, inspiring and encouraging. Possibly my favorite read of the summer. I highly recommend it.

It is currently free to read on Kindle if you are an Amazon Prime member.

My rating: 5 stars

Speculative

The Girl Behind the Red Rope

by Ted and Rachelle Dekker

I don’t love everything I’ve ever read by Ted Dekker. Some of his stuff is just too far out there for my taste. However, this was a good one. It’s a fantasy story, of course, but the main theme is how fear can keep us in bondage. Very relevant to our times.

My rating: 5 stars

The 49th Mystic

by Ted Dekker

So I decided to try another book by Ted Dekker. I didn’t care for this one as much. It’s a speculative story about a blind girl who keeps traveling back and forth between worlds, and being given her sight sometimes, but then back to being blind other times. I’m sure there’s some worthwhile underlying message, but this one wasn’t for me.

My rating: 3 stars

Conspiracy: The Days of Noah, Book 1

by Mark Goodwin

The Days of Noah series is end times fiction based on the collapse of civilization as we know it. Speculative fiction to be sure, but possibly taking place right before our very eyes? Definitely food for thought.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

Persecution: The Days of Noah, Book 2

by Mark Goodwin

The second book in the trilogy continues the story and tells of what happens after the main characters have “bugged out” and are trying to settle in off the grid.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

Perdition: The Days of Noah, Book 3

by Mark Goodwin

The third book in the trilogy focuses on the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy… in a speculative way, of course, since these events have not yet taken place. Worth a read if you’re interested in one author’s take on how things might play out.

Currently available on Kindle Unlimited.

My rating: 4 stars

Amish

Mending Fences

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Mending Fences is about a young man who was pretty wild in his youth and hurt a lot of people in his Amish community, and what he has to go through to make things right.

It is currently free to read on Kindle if you are an Amazon Prime member.

My rating: 4 stars

The Protective One

by Shelley Shepard Gray

While I don’t read a lot of Amish fiction (occasionally, but not a lot) The Protective One was interesting to me because it overlapped a Mennonite community with an Amish community. I knew there are differences and I enjoyed learning more.

My rating: 4 stars

The Waiting

by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Waiting is set during the time of the Vietnam War but since the Amish don’t keep up with the times, the time period wasn’t as much of a focus in this story as it would be otherwise. I liked the characters in this story, but the plot got a little draggy in places.

My rating: 4 stars

Have you read any of these books? Which ones sound most interesting to you? I love to talk about books and I’d really like to know what you think!

One Comment

  • Rachel

    When you put the title, The Waiting”, I thought, “oh I’ve read that one”… but no I haven’t. The one I read was by Eygenia Price and set in the civil war. So it might not even be that same title. Who knows? I would not be able to read Days of Noah. I have my own plot for those. And I didn’t realize Rosenburg was fiction. Ppl act like it’s gospel.

I look forward to reading your comments. Thanks for joining in the conversation! ~Karla

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