Monday, May 14, 2012

Must-read books from the recent past Part 1

I was going through my storage unit last week, trying to find things to sell at our garage sale and found several of my boxes of books. A couple of the boxes were on the floor near the door, and had got wet and some of the books were damp, so I brought home two boxes of books to dry them out and re-box them. While doing so, I started looking through and re-reading a few of them, and parts of others. I had forgotten how good some of them were, so here are some of my favorites:

Newpoint 911 Series: Terri Blackstock has written some awesome books in the Christian suspense genre', but this seris is by far the best, in my opinion. Great writing, plots, and characters. It was originally four books, but after the events of September 11, 2001, she wrote the fifth one.

Interweaving suspense, romance and the role of redemption in human relationships, the Newpointe 911 series is Terri's salute to firefighters, paramedics and police officers--"who put our lives before their own."

Suncoast Chronicles Series: Also by Terri Blackstock, this was her first series on the Christian market. The first book, Evidence of Mercy was totally awesome, and one of the first, if not the first, Christian adult suspense/mystery novel, and got me hooked on that genre' for life.

The Forgiving Hour: Not of the suspense genre', but one of the best books I have read in the Christian fiction genre'. A great story of forgiveness. I think this was Robin Lee Hatcher's first novel on the Christian market, and I wish she still wrote books like this and the next one I will mention. (Her books mostly are romance anymore from what I can see)

Book description:After years of bitterness and anger over her ex-husband’s betrayal, Claire Conway’s life finally seems to be on track. She has raised a fine son, Dakota. Her work is going well, and for the first time in years she finds herself attracted to a man once again!

Then Dakota brings home his fiancĂ©e, Sara Jennings, and everything falls apart. For Sara turns out to be the same woman Claire’s husband had an affair with twelve years before. Forgiving Sara seems impossible. Yet only in that hour of forgiveness can the three of them be truly set free.

Filled with real-life issues like bitterness and self-protection interwoven with a beautifully written story of one woman’s search for peace, The Forging Hour dramatically illustrates the power of supernatural healing and how transforms lives when we allow God to work in our hearts.

The Shepherd's Voice: also by Robin Lee Hatcher. Totally different story from the previous, but it also deals with forgiveness and other themes.

A Man with a Past...

For ten years, Gabe Talmadge languished in prison, convicted of a horrible crime. Now, he is free once again but unable to find work in the midst of the Great Depression. In desperation, Gabe returns to Ransom, Idaho, hoping that his uncaring father will give him food and shelter, if not love. But the prodigal son is not welcomed home. Hudson Talmadge, who virtually owns the town of Ransom, despises his youngest son as much as ever-and Gabe is as powerless to win his father's approval as when he was a child.

A Man with a Future...
Hungry and hopeless, Gabe is rescued by the owner of a sheep ranch south of Ransom. Incredibly, Akira Macauley gives him a place to live and work to do. More than that, she gives him hope that he can receive forgiveness for his past-and perhaps even love.

A Man with a Choice...
But just as Gabe comes to believe that happiness may be within his grasp, tragedy strikes Ransom once more. As his life begins to unravel, Gabe must either sink again into an abyss of hopelessness or cling to a hope, faith, and love stronger than any he has ever known.

Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers. This series was my introduction to Francine Rivers, and her first foray into Christian fiction. It was a terrific series, especially the first two (the third didn't have a lot to do with the other two). I wish I had waited until book two was out to read book one, as it ends with a major cliffhanger.

Travel back to the crumbling Roman Empire and meet Haddassah, a young slave girl; Marcus, a handsome aristocrat; Atretes, a brave gladiator; and Rizpah, a beautiful young widow. The gospel of Christ is the only weapon they have to battle the immorality that surrounds them---will they be wise enough to use it?

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. This book really impressed me, and still does. It has a great pro-life message that many Christians may not even agree with, but it is a great story with a great message. The pictured book was the first edition, which I have.

Dynah Carey knew where her life was headed. Engaged to a wonderful man, the daughter of doting parents, a faithful child of God, she has it all. Then the unthinkable happens: Dynah’s perfect life is irrevocably changed by a rape that results in an unwanted pregnancy. Her family is torn apart and her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life: to embrace or to end the life within her. This is ultimately a tale of three women, as Dynah’s plight forces both her mother and her grandmother to face the choices they made. Written with balance and compassion, The Atonement Child brings a new perspective to the most controversial topic of our times.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. To contradict my earlier statement, this book was actually Francine Rivers' first book classified as Christian. It was published under a secular publisher and was pretty graphic. After she had a few other books published on the Christian market, she cleaned this one up and had it published on the Christian market. Some have still criticized it as a bit too graphic, but it is a great story. A retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer from the Bible.
A Story of Love That Won't Let Go - No Matter What!

California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.

Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.

But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.

A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.

If you enjoy Christian fiction and haven't read any of these books, then you should.
I mean none of these authors disrespect, but it seems their best works are in the past. They may still be writing good books, but they are different from what they used to write. But then, these books mentioned here are top-notch and hard to follow.


Adam Blumer said...

I especially like the older books of Terri Blackstock. Who says the newest books are the best? I don't.