January 2013 Book Reviews

I skipped the usual monthly book review post in December in favor of My 12 Favorite Books of 2012 so this month I am posting the reviews of books I read in December and January. I read 6 great books the past two months, one of which was extremely long. This post also includes my first pick for a new book of the month series. Each month, I will pick a book of the month from those I read and give a copy away! But, first here are the books I read from the past two months.

The Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans - I featured this book as one of my favorites in 2012, but here's the synopsis if you missed it. I followed Rachel Held Evans on and off for the past few years through her blog. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. Her story of living biblically is laced with humor as she attempts activities outside her comfort zone. But, behind the humor and funny stories, Rachel Held Evans tells the stories of women in the Bible, celebrates women of all types, and finds truth in her year of biblical womanhood.

Pentecost by J.F. Penn- I try to read about one self-published book a month and Pentecost was my pick for December. I enjoyed Pentecost, the first in the Arkane series by Joanna Penn. The thriller is in the realm of Dan Brown's work, mixing history with religion in a fictional manner. I thought the book was well written, but a little too predictable. I also thought the two main characters, Morgan and Jake needed to be developed more, but I anticipate that will happen in Prophecy, the second in the series. If you are looking for a fun thriller, it's a great ebook for under $5.00.

A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin- Compared to the first book in this series, A Game of Thrones, this second book in the series was a letdown for me. I really enjoyed the first in the series, but I was lost in the family names, kings and length during the second. Furthermore, there was little forward progress for the plot and story lines in the first half of the book. However, I did enjoy the Tyrion chapters. His character shines again in this book. I hope A Storm of Swords will take the action of the last 100 pages and continue to move forward. If so, it will be a great book.

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield- Turning Pro is a short book for creatives who are looking to make it- to become a professional writer, artist, musician, etc. Turning Pro is essentially a follow up to Pressfield's The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles. The War of Art focuses on Resistance - or what stops us from pursuing our call to write. In this book, he revisits the resistance theme and takes it further, listing qualities and attributes of a professional. The last 1/3 of the book is worth reading over and over if you are looking to become a professional in a creative field.

City of the Falling Sky by Joseph Evans- City of the Falling Sky was an enjoyable young adult book and a great effort by Evans for his first book. This was my indie pick for January. On the positive side, I loved the main character, the setting and the science fiction aspect. I read through the book quickly which is a testament to a good storyline. On the negative side, I felt at times the story fit together a little too conveniently and the book lacked something to tie it all together, but I can't quite pin down what that something is from the first read. But, I definitely will look for the next in the series and continue reading. Evans is an author with great potential!

Book of the Month

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaronis January's book of the month. This book has been on my to-read list for a long time and I'm so glad I finally read it! Running the Rift is a story of a boy chasing his dream to become an Olympic runner within the horrifying backdrop of the Rwandan genocide in the early 1990's. The story follows Jean Patrick, the protagonist, from his childhood into his young adult years. Benaron gives this character a great voice and provides a great picture into Rwanda leading up to the horrors of the genocide. At times the story was predictable, but I was so invested in the characters, I didn't care. I've seen a little bit of criticism for this book because of its simplicity in writing style, but I don't see that as a negative quality. Benaraon wrote a beautiful and tragic story which also educates us about a terrible point in history for Rwanda and the world.

The Giveaway

If you would like a copy of Running the Rift, simply leave a comment on this post or send me an email telling me your favorite winter activity. I will pick a winner form the responses in the next week and send them a kindle version of Running the Rift. Happy Commenting!