T5W – I Don’t Want Your Love

Ack! I go away for one week and miss my perfect Top 5 Wednesday topic!!!

Today’s T5W topic is: Books Without Romance. (See, told you!)

To be fair, this is actually a hard topic, even for me. Half the lists I’ve seen include children’s books or at least children as the main character. I myself was tempted to include a couple non-fiction books. But I really think all the books listed should be adult (or YA) fiction in order to hold true to the spirit of the topic.

Doctor Sleep (Stephen King)

16130549I’ll admit, it’s been 2 or 3 years since I read this one, so I can’t be 100% sure there WASN’T romance in it. But if there was, I definitely don’t remember it. Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining; it follows Danny into adulthood and depicts a brand-new adventure with horrifying vampire-demon things and a new kid sidekick with mental powers. It was actually REALLY good. If you like Stephen King, I’d highly recommend it.

The Buntline Special (and subsequent Weird West Tales) (Mike Resnick)

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This is a fun series. It pulls in a lot of real-life ‘old west’ characters, such as Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Geronimo, Billy the Kid, Teddy Roosevelt, and more; but the stories actually take place in an alternate universe, where shamans can do real magic and are holding the border at the Mississippi River. Doc Holliday, the main character, does have an on again/off again with a saloon owner, but it is not AT ALL part of the main plot.

NPCs (Drew Hayes)

22088245Now, I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, but this first book is fairly limited on the “I love you so much” scale. In this first novel, the NPCs (non-player characters) in a role playing game suddenly have to take on the roles of the heroes in order to save their town from a tyrannical king. The characters are much more focused on their adventure than romance, though there IS some foreshadowing that romance might occur in the future.

The Shack (William Paul Young)

1812457This is probably the closest I’ll get to cheating. A book where the main character spends 80% of the time having a face-to-face with God and 10% of the rest has to do with his child being kidnapped? Yeah, not much time for romance in this one.

Welcome to Night Vale (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)

51IZUXor7hL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_The creators of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast really outdid themselves on their first novel. They managed to take a bunch of very minor characters from the show and create an entire novel, with those characters coming together to solve a huge mystery that started out as an off-hand comment. It’s amazing! There ARE a few hints to a previous relationship…and of course Cecil can’t ever NOT talk about Carlos, but the majority if this story has nothing to to with romance.


So how about it? Do YOU know any great stories that don’t have any romance in them? I would LOVE to get some feedback on this one, so I can start a TBR list! 😀

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Book Review – The Shack

Book: The Shack – Author: William Paul Young

Genre: Christian Fiction, Spirituality

Description from Goodreads:

Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

My Review:

I’ll be completely honest, even as a Catholic, I’m not usually comfortable reading Christian books. Most of them come across as ‘holier-than-thou’ and really pushy; like, “I’m right, you’re wrong, and if you would only let God into your life, maybe you wouldn’t be such a horrible person”. Yeah, there’s a reason there’s such a stigma about Christians these days. :/

This book is not one of those books. Yes, it’s super religious. I mean God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are actually main characters and the entire book is about Mack learning to love and believe in his faith again. But it really comes across more as a family conversation rather than a push to get people to believe in Christianity. It’s very much a “we’re here for you and we love you, please don’t push us away” kind of novel. It was touching and honestly something I needed to hear in my life right now.

For those of you nervous about the kidnapped daughter plot…yes, it is very sad. But they don’t really dwell on the details of what happened to her. They do discuss her being taken and then give closure to that part of the story, but it’s not the focus of the book. This is a story about Mack, not his daughter.

On the technical side, I thought the writing was really good. The descriptions of everything happening at the shack were beautifully done and the dialogue was very believable. Dialogue can be tricky even in the simplest of books…and this was NOT a simple book. There were some very deep questions being raised and the author answered them as thoroughly and understandably as he could, considering he is not actually God.

And yes, I understand that these answers are just his opinion. Everyone has their own and that is completely fine. I felt that a lot of what he said aligned with my personal beliefs and that’s why the book really felt true and comforting to me. I would recommend this book for people who are either of the Christian faith or want to learn about our beliefs. And if you end up thinking it’s all a load of crap, that’s totally ok too. 😉

Similar Books:

Not necessarily religious books, but books that make you explore what it means to be you.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

Whatcha Readin?

Hi all! I am in the middle of a few books, so I don’t have a full review for you today. Instead I thought I’d do a little promo for the books I’m currently reading. They are so good!

The Juliet (Laura Ellen Scott)

29511753Description: During Death Valley’s great wildflower bloom of 2005, retired cowboy actor Rigg Dexon gives a rootless woman a gift that will change her life forever: the deed to The Mystery House, a century old shack long thought to be the hiding place of a legendary emerald known as The Juliet. Willie Judy remembers Dexon from cereal commercials she watched as a kid, but now she’ll spend the next seven days searching for the truth about him, the house, and herself, as the history of The Juliet reveals the American Dream’s dark side—one that is corrupt, bawdy, and half insane.

Thoughts: This one is a bit odd, but I’m really enjoying it so far! I plan to do a full review of it when I’m done, so I won’t say too much here. Suffice it to say, if you like a little bit of mystery, a touch of thriller, and a lot of The West, you should enjoy it! 🙂

Ireland (Frank Delaney)

90360Description: One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and their neighbors to join him by the wintry fireside, and begins to tell formative stories of Ireland’s history. Ronan, a 9-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again. Ronan’s search for the Storyteller becomes both a journey of self-discovery, long unspoken family secrets, and an immersion into the sometimes conflicting histories of his native land.

Thoughts: I’m really loving the storytelling vibe of this one. I’m doing the audiobook, which is the perfect medium for this type of novel, especially since the author contributes his wonderful Irish brogue which only enhances the tales. If you love history, Ireland, or even just listening to someone tell you a good story, this one is for you!

Up Next:

The Shack (William Paul Young)

1812457Description: Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

Thoughts: This one was chosen by my Book Club to be our next read. I’ll be honest, even being Catholic, I get a bit leery about “religious” books, but the story line sounds thoughtful and hopefully a bit inspiring, so I’m gonna give it a go.

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery (Kurtis J Wiebe, author & Roc Upchurch, artist)

20299683Description: Who are the Rat Queens? They’re a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they’re in the business of killing all the god’s creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.

Thoughts: The description goes on to say the book is “like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack”…how could I resist that?!? 😉 Honestly, this sounds like a fun series and the artwork is really cool, so I’m going to cross my fingers and dive on in!


So how about you guys? What are you reading right now?