Rilla Of Ingleside – by L.M. Montgomery (1921)

Rilla Of Ingleside

 

This is the last book in the “Anne Of Green Gables” series. It almost doesn’t belong in the series, for two reasons. First, the author wrote this book to portray what life was like for young women in Canada as they went through the years of the Great War (World War I). The book has a totally different tone than the other books, which are light-hearted and humorous. Secondly, the main character of this book is not Anne, but her 14-year-old daughter Rilla.

The story begins with Rilla being a pampered child who knows nothing of war. As the men-folk are recruited to fight in Europe, Rilla learns about the places and politics of countries across the ocean. Everyone at home is expected to contribute to the “war effort”, and this is what changes Rilla from a child into a caring, lovely young woman as she waits for the men she loves to return home.

This book has been printed more than 20 times over the years. I purchased the 2010 unabridged, restored version published by Viking Canada. Your local public library probably has a copy you can check out. If you’re not able to locate a printed copy, you can download it from Amazon. They have several e-book versions for Kindle, one being free (as of the writing of this review). The story is also available to purchase as an audiobook, with Barbara Caruso as the narrator.

The Hunted – by Fred Stoeker and D.W. Smith (2006)

The Hunted

 

Many of us have a dream vacation that we talk about for years, but never actually do. In this novel, four college guys have been having pizza and football parties, and going on rafting expeditions for 15 years. They’ve been talking about the ultimate rafting trip for years, and finally arrange a white-water rafting expedition in an extremely remote part of Thailand.

The trip is a disaster from beginning to end. Nothing goes right, and the four-some ends up running for their lives. Each one of the guys is at a different place in their spiritual life, but each of them feels the presence of God as they go through this terrifying experience. The book contains just the right balance of action and thoughtful conversation, both with each other and with God.

Excerpt:
“My pastor said later that I was confusing the will of God with the world of man… He said that every person makes choices in life, and every person is tested by this world, that the hand of God is there for those who know to reach for it.”

Double Blind – by Brandilyn Collins (2012)

Double Blind

 

Let’s say you’re a person suffering from deep depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome. You’ve tried handling on your own, thinking it would eventually go away with time. You’ve gone to psychologists, but all the talking doesn’t help. You’ve been on a variety of medications, but are no better. Life is becoming torturous. What would you be willing to do to get your mind back to normal again?

In this novel, the main character – Lisa – has reached the limit of her endurance. She cannot go on with the terrible depression that has been plaguing her. She agrees to have a chip imbedded in her brain that will program her to be happy again. At first this cutting-edge surgery seems like the answer to her depression, but it isn’t long before an odd side effect begins. Has she traded one demon for another?

Although the storyline seems a little fantastic, the book does a great job of making you consider how much technology should play a role in our lives. When is it good, and when does it become counter-productive? Lots of food for thought in this novel. Discussion questions are at the back of the book, should you want to use it for a book discussion group.

The Splitting Storm – by Rene Gutteridge (2004)

The Splitting Storm

 

“The Splitting Storm” follows the prequel “The Gathering Storm”. The novel begins with Mick Kline, FBI special agent, trying to determine who killed his brother Aaron. There doesn’t seem to be any motive for the murder, and there are no leads in the case. But Mick is not a man to sit back and wait for someone else to solve the case.

I enjoyed the psychological aspect to this novel. The mind is an infinitely complex organ, one that can be used for brilliance or for great harm. The story reminded me that while we can try to guess what’s going on inside someone’s head, only God truly sees the pain each person has been through, and what thoughts are in their mind.
Excerpt from page 93:

Mick’s jaw tightened at the thought. Guilt for simply being alive beckoned him into deeper sorrow. Aaron had always been the good son. The son of integrity. The man whom everyone looked up to. Including Mick, through it took years for Mick to admit it. Mick owed so much to his brother, and now the most he could do for him was find out who took his life. It would do nothing but provide justice, which was obsolete to a man who no longer breathed.

Storm Gathering – by Rene Gutteridge (2005)

Storm Gathering

 

“Storm Gathering” is a tale of two brothers, Mick and Aaron. All his life Mick has thought of Aaron as the “good” brother, the one with a successful career in the local police force, the one who married the woman he wanted. Mick sees himself as the “bad” brother”, the one who came back from Vietnam with nightmares and a drinking problem. Aaron is a man of faith, but Mick is angry with the Almighty for the way his life turned out.

One evening Mick finds a young woman – Taylor – that he really feels comfortable talking with. He goes home with her, and wakes up to find himself lying on the floor and Taylor missing. It isn’t long before he is accused of kidnapping her. Mick will do anything to prove his total innocence, including conducting his own investigation and becoming a fugitive. Fortunately, Mick has God and a cop named Shep looking out for him.

Note: This book is a prequel to the novel “The Splitting Storm”

At Close Of Day – by Joseph Bentz (2003)

At Close Of Day

 

Hugh is a guy who is having a hard time – a heart attack ten years ago, followed by another, then a stroke six months back, then two more. He’s in the hospital recovering, and his three daughters are all thinking that it might be time for their parents to give up the house and move into some sort of assisted living. But Hugh is not about to go along with the plan quietly, and inadvertently blurts out a secret he’s kept for over fifty years.

The author lets us see into the mind of every character in the story. Each chapter is seen through the eyes of a different character – ornery Hugh, his devoted wife Vonnie, or one of the kids. The personalities of the family members are so varied that they are constantly clashing. The conversations are often hilarious, and everyone can find some member of the family that they identify with. In the end, their love for each other brings them back together.

 
Excerpt from pages 12-13:

Now, every time I visit, I make him tell me who I am, which bugs him no end. I also test him with other questions, like what day it is, or what year it is. Last night he retaliated by pelting me with questions the minute I walked into the room. He really loved it. You could see him perk up the minute he saw me. “Who’s the president?” he yelled so loud they could hear him all the way down the hall. “What month is it? What planet are we on? What’s the square root of seven hundred? When was the last time you had a bowel movement?”…

When Dad and I played our little question game, Mom waved her arms back and forth to try to quiet us, but we ignored her. Then my sister Pam stepped in to take Mom’s side. Pam doesn’t usually like to mess with me directly, so she turned to Dad instead and said, “Settle down, Dad. The doctor said you’re not supposed to get all riled.”

“He’s not allowed to talk?” I asked.

“Bellowing down the hall is not talking,” Pam snipped.

Mom said, “Don’t you know there’s sick people in this hospital? You don’t have to create a ruckus.”

The Eye Of Moloch – by Glenn Beck (2013)

The Eye Of Moloch
What do you do when life has kicked you down over and over, the world is against you, and your hope is gone? You retreat to lick your wounds, rest for a bit, then re-group to decide whether it’s worth doing battle again.

This is the condition at the beginning of “The Eye Of Moloch”. Six months have passed since the end of “The Overton Window”. The band of Founders’ Keepers is a defeated group. The fire seems to have gone out. But from the ashes of despair comes a small spark that re-ignites the flame. They become convinced that no matter how outnumbered they are, they just can’t quit.

The book is full of action, impossible situations, heroic characters, and government oppression. The story introduces another group of people who say they want to restore America, but are brutal and violent. They want to merge with the Founders’ Keepers group, which wants no part of them. Although the battle seems impossible to win, you will feel hope rising in you by the end of the book.