August 2017 Book Reviews and a BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Joshua Cohen writes with a sardonic edge. MOVING KINGS is at times both profoundly engaging and wincingly irreverent. His riffs on Jewish identity, divorce, the immigrant experience and relational estrangements of all kinds is pure, descriptive brilliance. But it's also borderline offensive— some of the commentary leans anti-Semitic.

Cohen definitely has the gift of language. He wields his extensive vocabulary like a sword. There is a lot of fancy thrusting and parrying which can be overwhelming at times. So many obscure, four syllable words. So many run on sentences. And yet, there's something undeniably hypnotic about it. Something dense and substantive. Cohen's style reminds me of Donna Tartt's "Goldfinch" except with 1/4 of the words.

MOVING KINGS is a literary book for literary readers. It's not a page turner. It's a prolonged character study. The plot moves extremely slowly—even by page 130 (the book is only 240 pages), I still felt as if the story hadn't really started. I had to quell my annoyance and keep pushing through. There were moments when I felt Cohen was showing off his writing prowess rather than telling a good story. Which is to say, I don't know many readers who happily stick with an author through 130 pages of description.

Still, it is a book worth reading which is why I gave it 4 stars. There are so few eloquently written, truly literary novels being published these days that 'Moving Kings' moves far ahead of the rest. Just don't mistake it for a light, beach read.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed KATIE LUTHER: FIRST LADY OF THE REFORMATION. by Ruther Tucker. It reads like a compelling historical novel. Except it's true! Ruth Tucker did an amazing job researching Katie's life and the world in which she lived. I was especially fascinated by the period-specific details about what life was like for people during that time in history. Katie Luther herself is an interesting woman. Strength. Determination. Survival. And the patience to live with Martin Luther, a man who was prone to wild, dramatic actions and pronunciations (not to mention sexist behavior and racist beliefs). I found myself cheering her on and always curious to see what would happen next. Definitely a must-read for church history lovers.

 

Well, here's a book I just could NOT put down. WATCH ME DISAPPEAR by Janelle Brown is a suck-you-in-and-never-let-you-go pageturner. Janelle is a master storyteller, revealing just enough information to keep you guessing and weaving her web of mystery with thrilling expertise. I will say that I found the main characters quite unlikable. The mother, especially, is selfish, self-absorbed, reckless and sometimes just downright cruel. I connected the most with the bereft daughter. The ending is a big surprise so I won't give any spoilers. However, I did figure it out before it happened. Just pay really close attention to details. This is a marvelous quick read.

You guys. This book. Oh, it's just PURE DELIGHT! OF MESS AND MOXIE by Jen Hatmaker is hilarious and honest and real. I found myself underlining half the book! AND?? GUESS WHAT?!

I'm giving away one copy of Jen's new book! Please go to my Instagram to enter the giveaway. 

I will announce the randomly selected winner on Friday afternoon, 8/11!

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