Here are a few short reviews of what I’ve read lately:

Blood and Ice (Robert Masello) — This book was not quite what I expected, but I LOVED it! I was worried when I figured out, about 100 or so pages in, that this book was going to be about vampires, but Masello really made it work. There was a wonderful balance between historical fiction, science and romance. At nearly 500 pages, this was the longest book I’ve read this month, but one of the ones I just couldn’t put down. The characters were engaging and all very well drawn and fleshed out — even the animals! At one point, a dog, who had been introduced 50 or so pages before, died, and it about broke my heart. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to just about anyone.

A Reliable Wife (Robert Goolrick) — This book has had a lot of buzz surrounding it, and is on the New York Times bestseller list. I had to wait nearly two months to get from my local library! I was excited to read it, and I really wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I can see why so many people have loved it; the language was beautiful and descriptive, the characters were well crafted, and the plot was very interesting. I, however, had a difficult time connecting with the characters, and I’m not sure why. A third-person, omniscient narrator may have contributed to this feeling, but I think a large part of that feeling came from not having anything to identify with in any of the characters. To be honest, I didn’t really like anyone in this book! There is a lot of sex and sexual manipulation in this novel, which bothered men in a few scenes.

Running Out of Time (Magaret Peterson Hadix) — When I was about twelve (half my life ago!!!!), I read the inside of the book jacket and was intrigued by the plot, but never checked it out. I’d always wondered what happened, how it worked out, and a few weeks ago I googled the basic premise, and was able to find it and check it out from my local library. This children’s book focuses on Jesse, a young girl who thinks she’s living in the 1840’s until many of the children in her village become sick. Her mother tells her they are really living in a tourist village in 1996 and Jesse must find help or the other children will die. I enjoyed this book, but it is geared for children. There were some themes and events that, had this been geared for someone  older than 8 – 12, I would have expected to see either handled differently or explored more in-depth.

The Centurion’s Wife (Davis Bunn & Janette Oke) — I checked this book out from my church library because the cover looked interesting. The story didn’t disappoint either! This book is set right after the Crucifixion of Jesus and follows Leah, a servant in Pilate’s house, and her betrothed, Alban, a centurion in Pilate’s service. Pilate’s wife, Procula, commands Leah to find out if Jesus’ followers pose a threat to her husband’s rule; Pilate does the same with Alban. Parts of the story were a touch cheesey or cliched, but I really cared about the characters, which made this book quite enjoyable.