In this month’s roundup of the best-reviewed BookLife titles, we highlight a biblical mystery, a space colonization adventure, and much more.
Synopsis: Chapman’s audacious debut, in which a character dubs the New Testament “the Great Lie,” opens in first-century CE Judea, where the desire of Yeshua (aka Jesus), a god who can’t be killed, to share “the human experience” doesn’t turn out as he expected.
PW’s takeaway: The fast-paced plot is full of surprises. Readers will want to check out this alternate take on the origins of Christianity.
Comparable title: Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code
Sample line: “Symeon Bar-Jonah grabbed the wineskin from Andrea and drank with relish, testament to his thirst.”
Synopsis: The discovery of an Earthlike planet 27 light years away spurs fierce competition in Jeffrey’s dense but exhilarating debut.
PW’s takeaway: Readers will be glad to immerse themselves in Jeffrey’s immensely detailed world.
Comparable title: Aer-ki Jyr’s Star Force series.
Sample line: “His heart pounded in his ears. The metallic smell of fear flooded his helmet. Panic transfixed him inside a familiar nightmare where his legs refused to move, his feet embedded in the substance of death, unable to outrun a surging tidal wave of terror.”
Elisa Downing, illus. by Isadora Machado
Synopsis: A light brown–skinned child with cotton candy–esque pink hair fears “monsters in the dark.”
PW’s takeaway: This picture book debut will resonate with readers.
Comparable title: Jon Davis’s Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night
Synopsis: Two long-lost friends reunite, but their faith differences may keep them apart in this touching romance.
PW’s takeaway: Distler’s sweet story will win over fans of Amish and Mennonite fiction.
Comparable title: Gail Sattler’s The Narrow Path series.
Synopsis: In Daniels’s pleasant fourth mystery featuring Julienne LaMere, Julienne’s boss sends her to a wellness resort to train the staff.
PW’s takeaway: Daniels gently pokes fun at genre tropes while making her characters feel real.
Comparable title: M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin Mysteries.