One of my favorite perks in this business is the opportunity to read and review books for friends. So far as I know, most writers get to do this–some more than others, and some enjoy it more than others. Some authors are just so swamped, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t read all the books they’re asked to read. That’s kinda where I’m at. There are so many things I have to read that I have little time for things I want to read. But every now and then, the two overlap. This is one of those times.
The three books I have on deck are entirely different–as different as the personalities at the keyboards when they were written. I haven’t read all three of these yet, but because these authors are among my favorites, I have no qualms telling you about them now.
The one I’m reading right now is Ane Mulligan’s Chapel Springs Revival. If you’re a member of ACFW, you know Ane, and if you know her, you already know what a wonderful, whacky redhead she is. Passionate about everything, fun, funny, supportive. She’s one of my favorites of God’s creations. So it’s no big surprise her debut novel is just as fun and funny as she is.
Ane’s main character, Claire Bennett, is one to charge into a situation without thinking, then wind up with a foot in her mouth. That’s why I love her: we have so much in common. What I love most is that not even I am as crazy as she is. No way would I find myself in the jams she lands in.
I’ll give a full review later, but meanwhile believe me when I tell you: this one should be on your “must-read” list!
Next up is C. Hope Clark’s lowcountry mystery Murder on Edisto. This is the first in a new series. I thoroughly enjoyed her first–The Carolina Slade Mystery series–so when she approached me about this new one, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Hope’s characters are always quirky and sharp, written in a pen dipped in South Carolina ink. But the main character in this new one, Callie Morgan, is originally from Boston. I can’t wait to see how a woman from a state that clips their syllables is going to get along in a state where one syllable can be stretched into three. But mostly, I can’t wait to see what twists and turns await from the master mind of Hope Clark.
This last one, In the Heart of the Dark Wood, is special to me because Billy Coffey is special. His works are different from anything I generally read, and his talent is both unsurpassed among new authors and unrecognized in the industry.
I first came across him when one of his blog posts caught my eye. He presents truth in such a way that’s both simple and deceptively deep, and the source of his inspiration seems to come from some of the strangest places. Or the cutest of places. The most recent post I read was “Have a God Day,” a totally charming piece inspired by his ten-year-old son’s desire to send mistake-free texts to his dad.
Billy’s books aren’t easy reads. Don’t get me wrong–his writing is downright lyrical. It’s soothing and flows by as gently as a babbling brook. But his works often hit home, and hit hard. The last of his I read, When Mockingbirds Sing, reminded me how difficult it is to be a believer when surrounded by those who don’t believe–or only pretend to. How hard it is to be the voice crying in the wilderness when the message doesn’t tickle ears.
I don’t know what message I’ll find in In the Heart of the Dark Wood, but I know it’ll touch me–and probably haunt me as much as the other still does.
You know what it’s like to know a book is going to be good just because of who wrote it? That’s the way I feel about these. Even without having read Billy’s and Hope’s books, I can recommend them. And even before I started on Ane’s book, I knew it was going to be good because I know her. I’m a little over halfway through it, and I definitely recommend it. So, if you like as much variety in your reading material as I do, here are a few to choose from!