Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Ramblings

I promise that I am not being a blogging copycat. I'm not. In fact, if you go back a few posts, where I posted my blog schedule, you'll see that Thursdays are slated for Book Banter and Movies.

Today, I choose Book Banter.

Now that my moral conscience is clear, I will go on.

*ahem*

I love contemporary Christian fiction. I love reading it and I love writing it (but that's another blog post entirely...maybe around November, perhaps?) I accidental stumbled onto Christian fiction. I didn't purposely seek it out...it sought me.

Thinking back, I think my first Christian author was actually a team. The Left Behind series (by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye) was my first exposure to Christian Fiction. (Now, I realize that some of you might consider the LB series to be fact. And that might well be, but the characters in the book are fiction and therefore, the book in my opinion, is fiction).

The second exposure I had to Christian fiction was through my MIL (she's a fabulous woman...if you ever get the chance to meet her, please do). I read The Covenant by Beverly Lewis, which interestingly was contemporary in an Amish sort of way. No, it was Amish but takes place in modern times. Never mind...take my word for it -- Beverly Lewis rocks the Amish fiction genre hard and loud. (Yes, I understand the irony considering we're talking Amish folk).

Hannah Alexander was my next love interest. She is actually a husband and wife team -- think ER without the sex. Medical mystery is a good term for it, I suppose. The books I read in the second series -- Healing Touch -- are actually out of print. But good news - they are reprinting them next year! (Still, I'm sure you could find them in your local library is you choose not to buy the books you read...I don't).

My friend, Shellbell, introduced me to Terri Blackstock and a new relationship was born! Actually, it was a chain reaction thing -- her grandmother (a dear lady...you should meet her if ever given the chance) introduced her to Blackstock and Shellbell in turn introduced me to her. I just cannot say enough good things about her (Terri...and Shellbell and her grandmom too...but in this case, I'm talking about Terri). Her books are mesmerizing and grabs you from the first page. Don't believe me? Go to her site to read an excerpt of her book -- any book (although I recommend the Last Light series...mesmerizing, I tell you)

Because I like to read the back of books and read author's book lists, I stumbled upon Beverly LaHaye (wife of Tim, mentioned above) who wrote the Seasons series with Terri Blackstock.

And hence, I come to the point of my post: The Seasons series. By far the best series ever written. (Okay, that's obviously a very subjective opinion since I can't have possibly read every single book ever written. But I'm working on it) Just trust me on this. It's a beautiful series.

The Seasons Series follows the lives of four women (Brenda, Cathy, Tory and Sylvia) on Cedar Circle whose lives are as unique and intertwined as they can get. Each book follows one of the four women (four seasons, four women, get it?) and their struggles:

Book One: Seasons Under Heaven:
Brenda, a homeschooling mom of four, struggles with her youngest's illness.

Book Two: Showers in Season:
Tory and her husband, Barry face a difficult decision concerning Tory's pregnancy.

Book Three: Times and Seasons:
Cathy, a single mom, must deal with the consequences of her son, Mark's, wrong choices.

Book Four: Season of Blessing:
Sylvia, the groups matriarch, receives a devastating cancer diagnosis.

All four books center around Christ's love and blessings during trials and tribulations.

Excellent.

In fact, I just finished reading book four last week. I read it in two days because I could no put it down. Sylvia is my favorite character. She is the one who holds it most together and she is the one that every one in the circle comes to for help, for hugs, and for healing. In short, Sylvia is the kind of woman I hope to be one day.

If you find yourself in between books, I encourage you to pick up a Christian fiction novel. The authors I sited above aren't sugary sweet. The books revolve around real-life struggles in which every reader can truly identify. Terri Blackstock and Beverly LaHaye focus on the importance of a Christ-filled life but not in a way that makes you feel bullied, guilty, or preached to.

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll think. And maybe, you'll talk to Jesus.

I know I did.