Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some summer reading

With my new Kindle tucked into my hand like a baby bird, pink cover lovingly encasing it, I've been doing a lot more reading. The instant gratification of downloading a book right onto my Kindle and having immediate access to it is unparalleled for a bookworm like me. I LOVE it. *kiss*

Now, as you may already know about me, I have definite tastes in reading. I read very little classical literature or even spiritual classics. I just have a short attention span, I'm unashamed to admit. I prefer spiritual memoirs and fiction. In particular, I like romance fiction, especially of the inspirational variety, meaning Christian. Mostly, I read Catholic fiction, Amish fiction, or series Christian fiction, such as Steeple Hill Love Inspired (an imprint of Harlequin). The few authors that I read who publish out of larger, traditional Christian publishing houses usually write Amish fiction. If it's not specifically Catholic or Amish, I like very generic Christian fiction where the characters express their faith life but aren't too overbearing about it. I've been burned in the past with anti-Catholic things in some Christian fiction, so I'm choosy. 

Beth Wiseman is an author I've been reading a lot of lately, and I'm a big fan of her work. She publishes out of Thomas Nelson, but she writes mostly excellent Amish fiction. I read a book of hers recently, Seek Me With All Your Heart, and it even contained a positively portrayed Catholic character! In my experience, this is quite rare from a traditional Christian publisher. I'm not saying they all publish tons of anti-Catholic rhetoric or anything like that. But Catholicism will mostly be absent. All Christian characters are explicitly or assumed to be non-denominational. I'm in the midst of reading two of her Amish series right now, Land of Canaan and Daughters of the Promise. She's also written a contemporary Christian book recently called Need You Now, and I liked that one as well. This book features a storyline more commonly seen in Christian romances than in secular (in my opinion), which is that the featured couple is already married, but undergoing marital difficulties. As the book unfolds we watch their relationship crumble, and then build back up again via love, communication, and their faith in God. I definitely recommend her books for strong character development, lovely settings, and a solid and well articulated faith element. 

By way of the other non-Catholic inspirational fiction that I read, I really do like Steeple Hill Love Inspired, like I mentioned above. This is a series imprint, meaning that multiple books will come out each month in the line, and sometimes feature newer authors, although well established authors also make frequent showings. I used to "subscribe" to this line years ago, which entails Harlequin Reader Service sending you all of the books for each month in your chosen imprint for a discounted price. I couldn't keep up after a time, so I cancelled, but I always enjoyed the books. The regular Love Inspired titles are contemporary romances. Harlequin has now expanded the genre to include Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical. I read an occasional historical romance, and when I do, I love them, but they're not my favorite genre. But my new favorite is Love Inspired Suspense. As you would imagine, these are romantic suspense books, and the characters will have a faith element present in their lives. They are very sweet (no love scenes) but are long enough to accommodate strong character development in the midst of a catchy mystery. LOVE them. Harlequin offers a free title for most of their lines so that one can decide whether or not they like that series or not, and for Love Inspired Suspense they offer Marta Perry's Hide in Plain Sight, which is (yay!) an Amish title. I linked to the Kindle version, but you can get the epub version off the Harlequin web site. I just finished reading this book, and I enjoyed it very much. As is often the case in series romance, this is the first title in a trilogy, The Three Sisters Inn series. I plan to read books two and three as well.

I do love series romance. Not everyone does, they prefer longer stand alone titles, but these are nice fast reads with engaging stories. My favorite lines are Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense, but I also like Harlequin Intrigue and Harlequin Romantic Suspense, as well as a occasional Harlequin Superromance. You can buy them (both in print and as an ebooks, though not Kindle compatible) from Harlequins web site, or from Amazon for your Kindle. Harlequin offers them a month early. If you order from Amazon, you have to wait until the first of the month they are released. But what I like is that I can preorder the ones I want, and then on the first day of the month, they automatically download to my Kindle. You don't pay for preorders until they actually download. It's awesome.

Right now I'm reading a library ebook (sweet!) from my very favorite Amish author, Beverly Lewis. It's the first book in her new series Home to Hickory Hollow, called The Fiddler. Loving it. It takes so little to make me happy.

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