Books Make Good Gifts

Just have to point out the rare occurrence: today is 12-12-12. We won’t see that month, day, year number being the same … well, ever, unless you live a really, really long time. 😉

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I’m assuming that there are people like me who haven’t finished up their Christmas shopping. (I’m sorry, but half the fun is hunting down the right present at the last minute. It gets the adrenaline pumping. 😉 ) Might I make a suggestion? Think, BOOKS.

I’d even suggest narrowing that down. Think, Christian fantasy.

There are four books that I think come in at the top of their category, and I can happily and whole-heartedly recommend them to you.

Angel-Eyes-Cover1First in the category of young adult novels for girls, I suggest Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore. Amazon reviewers have given it, on average, four stars, but they lie. Well, OK, not lie so much as disagree with me. 🙂

Interestingly, in the reviews that lowered the average, there were two main complaints I saw.

First, some people didn’t like the “Christian themes that have gone overboard.” (I’m not sure what that person expected from a novel about angels.)

The second complaint was that it was too much like Twilight because it was about teen romance. So … no book from now on can be about teenage romance without being compared to Twilight? See why I disagree with those reviewers? You can read my much more accurate and truthful review to counterbalance these scurrilous attacks deviant claims contrasting ideas.

dragons-of-the-watch-coverMy second recommendation is Donita Paul‘s excellent cozy fantasy for all ages, Dragons of the Watch. This is the last in the delightful Dragons of Chiril series, and I rate it as the best of all Ms. Paul’s novels. Of course, technically this book ought not be rated with the others in my list because it came out in October of last year (see my review here). Still, I don’t think it’s received the attention it’s due. Perhaps people are scared off by the fact that it’s part of a series. Of all the stories I’ve read of Ms. Paul’s dragon books, this one reads most like a stand-alone. It’s also a good introduction to this series and to the DragonKeeper Chronicles.

new-recruit-coverRecommendation number three is The New Recruit, a young adult boy book by Jill Williamson, winner of two Christy Awards. This novel, published by Marcher Lord Press, is perfect for the reader who wants a fast-pace, soft fantasy. The supernatural elements are minimal. The fantasy really comes largely from the premise–the existence of a Christian spy organization. It’s unique, it’s fun, it’s contemporary, it’s action packed, it’s so very typically teen. Wonderful story. (Here’s my review).

cover_thspiritwellLastly I recommend the adult science fantasy, The Spirit Well by Stephen Lawhead. To be honest, though, this is one that is best read after the first two in the series–The Skin Map and The Bone House. Personally I think this Bright Empires series has the potential to become a classic, so I suggest getting in on the fun now. There’s wonderful character development (something I don’t always find in Mr. Lawhead’s books), intrigue, historical settings, time-ish travel (you have to read the books to understand precisely what I mean there). For a closer look, here’s the review I wrote for this one.

Undoubtedly I’ve left out other good titles. What Christian speculative fiction would you recommend for Christmas?

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5 Comments

  1. I would get more Christian fantasy books for people as gifts, except that I don’t want to give someone something that they might only be very nominally interested in and might only read out of grudging duty.

    That said, I’ve gifted Christian speculative fiction before. I’ve given my cousin Hero, Second Class and Hero in Hiding, because I thought he might like the comedic element, though I’m not so sure. I’ve given my sister The Earth Painter by Melissa Turner Lee, and I also gave copies of that book to three other people. It’s another Christian Twilight, which I think is fairly safe for a lot of girls.

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  2. That’s one reason I thought it might be helpful to specify the audience for these books, Bainespal. I had a friend once point out that in my recommendations there was no mention of the intended audience. Some people would rather not read a YA, whereas I don’t particularly care. Guys seem to have a thing about reading girl books, but I have no issue with reading guy books.

    The thing is, the more info a person has, the easier it is to decide if the book is for someone they know.

    Funny about Angel Eyes receiving all those comments about being like Twilight. I haven’t read Meyer’s books, but from what I know there really isn’t anything particularly similar. No obsession or insta-love. No love triangle, so no team X or team Y tee shirts being made up for this one. 😉 And no vampires, nor does she fall for an angel (so there’s no swapping angels for vampires and retelling the Twilight story). In actuality, the real conflict is quite different from the relationship issue, which is a subplot.

    Anyway, I hope people will consider books for gifts. If not these four, then the ones you recommended.

    Becky

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  3. I’ve read all of the DragonKeeper Chronicles and loved them, the Chiril Chronicles series is on my to read list.

    I love giving books, but its also hard to figure out what books people like. It’s a personal taste thing.

    There are so many books I’d recommend. I LOVE the Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. I am Ocilla by Diane M. Graham, Curse Bearer by Rebecca P. Minor. Jill Williamson’s The Blood of Kings, Prophet by R. J. Larson, Chris Walley’s The Lamb Among the Stars series, Arena by Karen Hancock, Book of Names by D. Barkely Briggs, Blaggard’s Moon by George Bryan Polivka, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, Starlighter by Bryan Davis…

    I better stop there. 🙂

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  4. Becky,

    I just finished The Child Goddess by Louise Marley and posted the review on my blog. It’s an interesting story about a female priest and her relationship with a child from a distant planet that can not age. The child is about 100 years old but has not developed beyond the pre-teen stage.

    The author treated both the scientific and religious angles in a fair manner and there is an interesting subplot about the priest and her relationship with a colleague.

    I found this book by accident at our local used bookstore here in San Antonio and I’m glad I did. I would recommend it as a gift for Christmas season.

    http://kammbia1.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/book-review-33-the-child-goddess-by-louise-marley/

    Marion

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    • Thanks for passing along this title and the link to your review, Marion. Another book to add to the list!

      Becky

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