Christian Living


books 07/09/09

Paula’s Summer Reading Picks


The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn

Liz Johnson

Steeple Hill, July 2009


Book Description: Myles Parsons is just another inmate in Kenzie Thorn's GED course…until his abduction plan succeeds. Terrified, Kenzie doesn't want to believe that he's an FBI agent placed under cover because someone wants her dead. Now that Myles has got her out of harm's way, his plans start to fall apart. He attempts to take Kenzie to a safe house, but the stubborn woman won't go! He struggles to protect her even as she takes care of him. He tries to keep his distance…and finds himself falling in love.


The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn is a seriously adorable book. If you like the romance/suspense genre, then this book is definitely for you. I knew I was really enjoying it when I found myself hurrying with chores or errands so I could quickly get back to reading it (always a good sign). Its small size means it can fit in a purse or suitcase easily. This would be the perfect book to take on vacation!




A Hundred Years of Happiness

Nicole Seitz

Thomas Nelson, March 2009


Book Description: In the South Carolina Lowcountry, a young mother named Katherine Ann is struggling to help her tempestuous father by plunging into a world of secrets he never talks about. A fry cook named Lisa is trying desperately to reach her grieving Vietnamese mother who has never fully adjusted to life in the States. And somewhere far away, a lost soul named Ernest is drifting, treading water, searching for what he lost on a long-ago mountain. They’re all yearnng for connection...for the war that touched them to finally end, for their hundred years of happiness at long last to begin.


A Hundred Years of Happiness is a treasure…a truly lovely book! Rich characters, down to earth dialogue, and a meaningful storyline make it the perfect summer read. Author Nicole Seitz has a way with sentences. They flow, meander, and artfully weave characters, thoughts, and ideas in the most wonderful manner. By the last chapter, I was doing things like sucking in my breath, and saying “Oooo!” It’s not that A Hundred Years of Happiness has a surprise ending, but more that it has a deeply satisfying, tender, touching, and poignant ending. It’s a beautiful book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.





The Night Watchman

Mark Mynheir

Multnomah Books, May 2009


Book Description: Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game -- until a barrage of bullets ended his career and his partner’s life. Now retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo community. But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows.


The Night Watchman is my recommendation for the mystery lovers among us. I was excited to dig into this book from the moment it arrived. A cool cover, promising title, intriguing back cover copy, and the fact is was over 300 pages long gave me a sense of anticipation. And I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. This book is the first in a series, so it doesn’t conclude with a traditional ending. But, it doesn’t end with a cliffhanger either (which I loathe, as it feels like a ploy to get me to buy the next book). Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the Ray Quinn series.






The Hunger Games

(Young Adult, Fiction)

Suzanne Collins

Scholastic Press, Sept. 2008


*This book has been on top of the New York Times best seller list and is extremely popular with teens. Although it’s not a Christian book (what I normally feature in this blog), I have decided to include it because of its wide popularity.

~ Reviewed by Amy, high school sophomore ~


Book Description: Could you survive on your own, in the wild with every one out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?


In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one gril between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.


I was first introduced to The Hunger Games during my freshman year of honors English class. I attend public high school and my teacher decided to read it aloud to the students during the last few weeks of school. I enjoyed this book immensely!


Although The Hunger Games is directed at young adults, there is a fair share of suspense and death in the storyline. Yet this book captured my imagination and I thoroughly loved every page. Considering the theme of this book is the tension between death and survival, I never really found it over-the-top gory or super violent. I would compare it to a PG-13 movie that has some violent scenes. All in all, I would recommend this book for mature young adult readers over the age of 13.  




Always Watching

(Young Adult, Fiction)

Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

Zondervan, May 2009


Book Description: This daughter of a rock star has it all, until murder crashes her world. The exciting and suspenseful Rayne Tour series features 16-year-old Shaley O’Connor, on tour with her mother’s popular band. Shaley lives in a whirlwind of backstage secrets, hotels, and limos. With beauty and fame of her own, Shaley wants for nothing … except the one thing she can’t have.


During a concert, 16-year-old Shaley O’Connor stumbles upon the body of a friend backstage. Is Tom Hutchens’ death connected to her? Frightening messages arrive. Paparazzi stalk Shaley. Her private nightmare is displayed for all to see. Where is God at a time like this? As the clock runs out, Shaley must find Tom’s killer — before he strikes again.


Brandilyn Collins (one of my favorite authors) teams up with her daughter Amberly to write Always Watching, the first in a brand new YA fiction series called The Rayne Tour. Always Watching is a fast paced, whip-through-the-pages, thriller that your teens are going to love!


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