The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Reposting my earlier review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $2.99
Takeaway: The classic 1973 book, which was made into the 1987 movie, is still worth reading.

Like most of my generation and later, I was introduced to the movie before the book. The book was written the year I was born. And the movie came out when I was 14. So the characters have always been the movie characters in my head.

I first read the book pretty soon after the movie came out. I expected a movie novelization, but while the movie was closely based on the book, it was clearly not a novelization. At the time I remember it as a book where I literally laughed out loud often.

I have not read it since, but I have maintained my appreciation of the book and movie. I still usually watch at least a few minutes of the movie every time I notice it is on tv.

I do not always want to re-read books that I have fond memories of. I have re-read too many books that on a second or third reading, a decade or two later, do not hold up. That is probably a bit true here, although I still really enjoyed the book (it just felt a bit too long.)

The joke of the book is that it is an abridgment of a classic novel and William Goldman puts himself into the book and makes lots of comments about why he is abridging a section. But also the ‘original author’ S Morgenstern also is continually making aside comments as well.

8 Free Christian Kindle Books

Travelers Rest by Ann Tatlock

355 pages, 90 of 106 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled, Previously Free, The audiobook is discounted to $3.99 with the purchase of the Kindle Edition.

Jane Morrow has a dilemma. She’s engaged to Seth Ballantine, a member of the National Guard’s 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and he’s returned from Iraq severely wounded. Jane hasn’t seen him for nearly a year, and with trepidation, she heads to the VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is being treated.

Seth isn’t happy to see her. He’d asked her not to come. He wants to end the relationship. But Jane loves him, and despite his injury, she’s determined to convince him that they can have a life together. Her faith has never been strong, yet she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do.

Beautifully written, Travelers Rest takes readers on a journey through pain and tragedy to a place of hope and redemption.

This is No Fairy Tale by Dale Tolmasoff

32 pages, 9 of 9 reviews are 5-star, Lending Enabled

Do You Love Fairy Tales? Once Upon a Time …

Fairy tales tell about brave princes and beautiful princesses, castles, giants, magic, and other amazing things. But this story doesn’t need any of that. That’s because this story is no fairy tale. But it’s still amazing – and it’s true. This book tells the story of Jesus Christ so you will see him for who he is – not a fairy-tale character, but God’s Son and the one true Savior.

Children and adults alike will be captivated by the beautifully written and illustrated story in this popular children’s picture book. Perfect for young readers, this eBook edition allows children to view the engaging illustrations and tap to zoom text!

To Protect And Serve by Staci Stallings

352 pages, 104 of 122 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Previously Free

To save others’ lives, they will risk their own…

Houston firefighter, Jeff Taylor is a fireman’s fireman. He’s not afraid of anything, and no situation is too dangerous to keep him on the sideline if lives are at stake.

Lisa Matheson runs a semi-successful ad agency that’s on the brink of falling apart. Her employees are incompetent, and her schedule has become exhausting. When she takes on a client with a brilliant idea for a big conference, she thinks that maybe, finally this is her lucky break. However, the fire station wasn’t what she had in mind for finding conference speakers. When she falls for a handsome but shy firefighter, it’s possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can’t control Jeff and the death wish he seems to have…

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

Summary: Funny, but read more like a series of jokes than a cohesive book.

I am not sure who introduced me to Jim Gaffigan, but I thank whoever it was. I have a tendency to be a bit overly serious and so I have to be intentional about adding humor into my world. Jim Gaffigan is my favorite stand up comic right now.

I read his Dad is Fat right after it came out last year, and bought the audiobook of Food: A Love Story on Tuesday, the day it came out.

If you are going to read a comic’s book, you should get the audiobook if they are narrating. Comics understand delivery, even if they are not professional narrators. There were a few places were it was clear that Gaffigan was reading, but most of the time the delivery was good and more similar to a stand up show than a narrated book.

That is also part of why I did not enjoy the book (and Dad is Fat) as much as I thought I would. Yes, there were lots of funny moments. And I still definitely recommend it if you are a Gaffigan fan.

9 Free Christian Kindle Books

Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz

433 pages, 153 of 173 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

On a bitter December day in 1785, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of master blacksmith Liege Lee in York, Pennsylvania. Just months from becoming a master blacksmith himself, Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship and move west. But Liege soon discovers that Silas is a prodigious worker and craftsman and endeavors to keep him in York. Silas becomes interested in both of Liege’s daughters, the gentle and faith-filled Eden and the clever and high-spirited Elspeth. When he chooses one, will the other’s jealousy destroy their love?

In this sweeping family saga set in western Pennsylvania, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. Love’s Reckoning is the first entry in The Ballantyne Legacy, a rich, multi-layered historical quartet from talented writer Laura Frantz, beginning in the late 1700s and following the Ballantyne family through the end of the Civil War.

Shrewd: Daring to Live the Startling Command of Jesus by Rick Lawrence

272 pages, 46 of 48 reviews are 4 or 5-star

It doesn’t seem to make sense: Jesus tells his disciples to take a lesson from Satan himself.

A scandalous idea? Yes. Essential to the Christian life? Definitely.

Drawing on Jesus’s parable of the shrewd manager in Luke 16, Rick Lawrence explores Jesus’s shocking mandate to be as shrewd as Satan and as innocent as the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus implies, if we are going to be any good for the Kingdom of God, we’ve got to be a lot shrewder than we are now.

Shrewd shows us how Jesus was naturally shrewd in every encounter he had, using leverage such as laughter, generosity, and bluntness to influence a situation for good.

God calls us to be shrewd without evil intent, just as Jesus was. Because the truth is that we have no salvation outside of the holy shrewdness of a loving God. And that’s a scandalous story worth telling.

The Demise: A Mystsery by Diane Moody

311 pages, 17 of 20 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

Tiny Braxton, Tennessee, is a quiet, tight-knit community wrapped around an old town square just a stone’s throw from Nashville. But when the town’s most prominent citizen is found dead at the base of its water tower, news of Peter Lanham’s apparent suicide roars through town like a massive tsunami.

Peter, the handsome, beloved CEO of Lanham’s Fine Foods, had taken a small, family-owned grocery store founded in 1927, and grew it into a successful national chain. With most of Braxton’s residents employed by Lanham’s corporate headquarters, word of Peter’s demise left them searching for answers. What could possibly have made him take a swan dive off that tower?

3 Free Audiobooks and a Sale Audiobook

Below are three free audiobooks (one is just a short story). They are from three different sources, so please read the directions for each carefully.

Sale (Not Free, today only)

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor – $3.95

9 hrs, 5 mins, Average of 4.1 Stars (out of 5) based on 257 ratings (at Audible)

This collection of nine short stories by Flannery O’Connor was published posthumously in 1965. The flawed characters of each story are fully revealed in apocalyptic moments of conflict and violence that are presented with comic detachment.

Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.

Free (not sure how long)

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

10 hrs and 1 min, Average of 3.9 stars (out of 5) based on 49 ratings (at Audible)

A haunting debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

Directions: This is a part of the Ford Audiobook Club at Goodreads. First you have to sign up for Goodreads. Then you need to join the audiobook club (you can drop out once you get the book) and put the book on your to read shelf. Then you will be sent a link to download the book free from Audible. This club is new, but this is the second book that has been discussed so it might become an ongoing source of free audiobooks.

The Playground by Ray Bradbury

44 mins, 3.5 stars (out of 5) based on 56 reviews at Audible

This is a short story that Audible is giving away to celebrate new recordings of three of Ray Bradbury’s books (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles).

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

The Good Luck of Right Now: A Novel by Matthew QuickSummary: A 38 year old man (maybe on the Autism spectrum?) learns to cope with his Mother’s death by writing letters to Richard Gere.

Mental Illness is serious, which is why I think it is so important that Matthew Quick has made a career of writing good, usually funny books about it. The three books I have read all follow roughly the same method.

They are all first person narrative told entirely inside the head of the protagonist. They all have some wacky other characters and come to a sort of resolution without minimizing the real issues of mental illness. They all have characters that want to help one another and are generally likable. (Note: I know that Autism is not really a mental illness, but Quick is mixing it in as if it were. There are also three other characters that more clearly have mental health issues that are also a part of the book.)

In the Good Luck of Right Now, Bartholomew Neal is writing to Richard Gere. Bartholomew’s mother has just recently died of brain cancer. As part of her cancer’s effects, his mother thought that Bartholomew was Richard Gere, her favorite actor. So Bartholomew played along and is now confessing to Gere, seeking his advice and looking for a friend.

Zondervan Sale – Still Going On

The still unannounced Zondervan sale is still going on. Some of the books that were originally on sale are not any longer, but other books are on sale at different prices.  There are now just one 1000 books from $0.99 to $4.99 (some of those are normally priced, but getting mixed into the sale search.) I have posted these four previous posts on the sale (One, Two, Three, Four). There are a lot of Christian Fiction books that are also on sale, but honestly I just don’t read enough Christian Fiction to recommend what is good.

Honestly by Sheila Walsh – $2.99

234 pages, 20 of 22 reviews are 4 or 5-star

Talented and beautiful, Sheila Walsh seemed to be on top of the world. But behind her public success as a performing artist and talk show host, a private story was unfolding. Unable to cope with the inner turmoil that plagued her, Sheila stepped down as co-host of television’s 700 Club to deal with a pain too pressing to ignore.

Honestly takes you on a journey past the walls that most of us put up and into the recesses of one woman’s heart. With rare grace, Sheila shares the story of her pilgrimage—the journey of a soul as it moved from hopelessness, to honesty, to freedom, and, ultimately, to a life of deepened faith and joy.

Grace: An Invitation to a Way of Life by John Ortberg, Laurie Pederson and Judson Poling – $2.99

144 pages, 10 of 11 reviews are 5-star

Many Christians have an easier time being saved by grace than they do living in grace every day. But grace is at the center of the life God calls us to–and reflects the heart of the One who calls.

These studies in Grace will help you make the connection between grace as a remote biblical concept and grace as a lifestyle–a reality you experience day in, day out. Through an unfolding study of Psalm 23, you’ll learn how God–our Good Shepherd–is for you, how he longs to walk with you through temptation, sorrow, and even deep regret. You’ll discover God’s desire to make his joy your joy. Throughout, you’ll learn how enduring, powerful, and life-affirming God’s work in your life can be—and rediscover why it’s called amazing grace.

Jesus the Pastor: Leading Others in the Character and Power of Christ by John Frye – $2.99

194 pages, 9 of 10 reviews are 4 or 5-star

A personal and practical guide to help pastors find Jesus as their mentor.

For decades, Paul has been the model for today’s pastors. But Pastor John Frye says we must instead look to Jesus as our model. “While we may lift Christ up as Savior, as we bow down to him as Lord, as we marvel at his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, as we walk with him as Friend, we seem to ignore him as the supreme Senior Pastor.”

Sharing thought-provoking, biblical insights and personal experiences, Frye calls other pastors to become apprentices to Jesus himself. He is the One who invites pastors to watch him in action and draw close so he can shape who they are and how they fulfill their ministry.

Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life by Shauna Niequist – $3.79

256 pages, 155 of 170 reviews are 4 or 5-star

Cold Tangerines is a collection of stories that celebrate the extraordinary moments hidden in our everyday lives. It is about God, and about life, and about the thousands of daily ways in which an awareness of God changes and infuses everything. It is about spiritual life, and about all the things that we have called nonspiritual life that might be spiritual after all. It is the snapshots of a young woman making peace with herself and her life, and trying to craft a life that captures the energy and exuberance we long for in the midst of the fear and regret and envy we all carry with us. It is both a voice of challenge and song of comfort, calling us upward to the best possible life, and giving us room to breathe, to rest, to break down and break through. Cold Tangerines offers bright and varied glimpses of hope and redemption, in and among the heartbreak And boredom and broken glass.

9 Free Christian Kindle Books

This Fine Life: A Novel by Eva Marie Everson

353 pages, 61 of 81 reviews are 4 or 5-star

It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn’t sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father’s apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?

In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes readers on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown. Readers will experience the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.

Love is Faithful (Rock Creek #2) by Holli Rebecca Burnfield

347 pages, 12 of 14 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

“Love Is Faithful,” the much awaited sequel to “Love is Patient,” continues the story of BethAnne & Jacob Hill, along with many other residents of the town of Rock Creek. Adversity and shocking secrets come to light, threatening to shake the very foundations of the beloved characters whom readers of the Rock Creek Series have come to know and love.

Holli Rebecca Burnfield lives in southern Indiana with her husband Jason and their five daughters, Iona, Isabel, Emily, Holli Faith, and Layla. She is currently working on Book Three of the Rock Creek Series.

Little Children. Big God. by Sarah Hawkes Valente

200 pages, 12 of 13 reviews are 5-star, Lending Enabled, Previously Free

“Little Children. Big God.” is an intricate weaving of deep study and childhood wonder as told by Sarah Hawkes Valente, a mother of five young children. Each chapter introduces essential doctrine through beautifully concise narrative—simplifying sometimes confusing scriptures while still preserving their integrity. Sarah challenges us to diligently teach our children, to be continually taught by the mouth of our Father, and to apply His eternal precepts to our everyday lives. This book is for anyone in search of renewed, child-like eyes with which to more clearly see the heart of our great big God.

Splintered Oak (Winsor Series #3) by TL Gray

408 pages, 213 of 220 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled, Previously Free

Draped in darkness, his only hope was her light…

Jake Matthews understands loss. In just one year, he lost his mother, his first love, his career and now his cousin and best friend. But loss is the very thing that allows him to see the amazing woman he’s always overlooked. And for the very first time, Jake wants to be worthy of such a pure love.

Pound Foolish by Dave and Netta Jackson

Pound Foolish Windy CityI met a Christian screenwriter and producer a few years ago and he gave me a piece of advice I have never forgotten, “writing stories about faith cannot be treated like ketchup on a hot dog…something that can be wiped off. Writing stories about faith must be treated like an egg baked into a cake…something that’s impossible to separate”. Dave and Neta Jackson do this well.

The Jackson’s have written their fourth book in the Windy City Neighbor series. As with each tome, the primary character was a secondary character in a previous story, all of which take place on Beecham Street in a Chicago neighborhood. In Pound Foolish, the reader gets to know Greg Singer, a sports show coordinator for power boats, snowmobiles, jet skis, etc. Singer works very hard for his family, assuming a healthy bank balance and grand vacations are what his family requires.

Four Reviewed Books on Sale

Here is another list of reviewed books that are part of the Zondervan ebook Sale. Previously I posted 6 other reviewed books.

Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend by Andy Stanley – $2.99

352 pages, 490 of 514 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Review

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus started a movement that has grown like wildfire throughout history. Author and pastor Andy Stanley draws from Scripture and over 25 years of pastoral experience to bring to life the irresistible nature of this movement known as the Church.

With surprising candor and transparency pastor Andy Stanley explains how one of America’s largest churches began with a high-profile divorce and a church split. But that’s just the beginning…

Deep and Wide provides church leaders with an in-depth look into North Point Community Church and its strategy for creating churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend. Andy writes,

“Our goal is to create weekend experiences so compelling and helpful that even the most skeptical individuals in our community would walk away with every intention of returning the following week…with a friend!”

Later he says, “I want people to fall in love with the Author of Scripture. And while we can’t make anyone fall in love, we can certainly arrange a date.”

For the first time, Andy explains his strategy for preaching and programming to “dual audiences”: mature believers and cynical unbelievers. He argues that preaching to dual audiences doesn’t require communicators to “dumb down” the content. According to Stanley, it’s all in the approach.

The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good New Revisited by Scot McKnight – $4.99

193 pages, 94 of 122 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Review (Second Reading Review)

Contemporary evangelicals have built a “salvation culture” but not a “gospel culture.” Evangelicals have reduced the gospel to the message of personal salvation. This book makes a plea for us to recover the old gospel as that which is still new and still fresh. The book stands on four arguments: that the gospel is defined by the apostles in 1 Corinthians 15 as the completion of the Story of Israel in the saving Story of Jesus; that the gospel is found in the Four Gospels; that the gospel was preached by Jesus; and that the sermons in the Book of Acts are the best example of gospeling in the New Testament. The King Jesus Gospel ends with practical suggestions about evangelism and about building a gospel culture.