Friday, April 21, 2017

Belle

BelleBelle by Cameron Dokey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what the story was about - I mean, I get what it was about, but not sure if it was the same re-telling, or a new one - I just knew I saw the name & the cover & had to have it. I got home & found out this was released in 2008 & re-released with this new cover. It totally suckered me in.

Not that I needed suckering in. I loved this book. Another version of the Beauty & the Beast story - nothing like the Disney one - & similar aspects of the original - but kinda different. Stands on its on.

The story of Annabelle Evangeline Delaurier & her sisters, Celestial Hevans & April Dawn ... "Belle" being the youngest of the sisters & someone who feels like she stands in the shadows of her beautiful sisters. But Belle has her own talent of feeling what wood feels. Weird, huh? But it was a neat concept. She would widdle wood into what the limb wanted to be - she could see the REAL things inside.... Hello Foreshadowing!

It's a really good time period book - the days where their father makes his careeer on freight on fleets of ships. The language even reflects a time jump.

& I was kind of shocked when I was half way through the book & we still hadn't even met the Beast. That's probably my only grief about the story. I wish we had more interaction between Belle & the Beast. & the ending got kind of repetitive about "true love"... other than that, I really did love the book & glad I have it. It makes me want to check out the Once Upon a Time Series now.

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The story of Beauty and the Beast finds new life in this magical and imaginative retelling that’s filled with romance and adventure.

By the time her sixteenth birthday comes around, Belle feels more convinced than ever that she is being called by the wrong name. Unlike her older sisters Celeste and April, whose names suit them perfectly, Belle knows that she is not beautiful. She begs to be called by her given name, Annabelle—or even Anna for short—but to no avail. Her solace is her wood-carving hobby, and she longs to find the Heartwood tree: Legend has it that, when carved by the right hands, it can reveal the face of one’s true love.

One day, during a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the fabled tree—only to become ensnarled by it and come face-to-face with a terrifying and lonely Beast, who will set him free on one condition: that Belle carves the Heartwood. Belle agrees, never dreaming that she and the Beast have the same wish: to be seen not with the eyes of the mind, but of the heart.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My Kind of Crazy

My Kind of CrazyMy Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked the story - it kept me wanting to read what happened. When a guy accidentally catches a tree on fire trying to ask the popular girl at school to prom by lighting sparklers... & then runs away when the fire spreads, but someone sees Hank. The strange girl Peyton Breedlove. She lets him know she saw him & he befriends her to keep her from telling it was him who caused this problem. Soon their friendship develops & they learn so much about each other.
It really held my interest, but I have to say I was shocked it was YA. Just the language & some situations in the book, I wouldnt let my "too" YA read it. For sure.
I really enjoyed how the book wrapped up too. One of those books that I enjoyed but wasn't the kind that was life changing or I'm screaming for the world to MUST READ. I did close the book though rooting on Hank & Peyton as they venture into life on their own.

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Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house. 

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Between Heaven & the Real World

Between Heaven and the Real World: My StoryBetween Heaven and the Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure how this was going to go. When you are a fan of someone/something, expectations are high. & coming out of the Beauty & the Beast book & being a little disappointed, I was hoping this book written by favorite artist wasnt going to let me down.
Oh mercy - it didn't for one second.
The story of Steven Curtis Chapman's life growing up with his brother & his family & meeting Mary Beth, working in Opryland (I now wonder if he was working there when I was there with my family when I was little!!) & how he started in Christian music. All the way through his amazing story of becoming a husband & a father & then the adoption of his 3 girls... & then the tragic story of loosing sweet Maria. & how the family has endured since. The Lord gives & takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Being a fan of his since way back in the day, & seeing him in concert so many times, I actually felt really familiar with a lot of these stories, but they didnt seen old to me. I loved reading them again & seeing little extra inside information in the stories. But there were plenty of new stories I've not heard or wasnt aware of. All of it making me just love the Chapman gang even more.
I just appreciated the honesty in this book about his marriage & sharing about the loss of his daughter. It tore me up all over again reading it & hearing about the days afterwards. But it's just so cool that they share to show how God works in it all. There's one picture & story they talk about after deciding to tear their house down that gave me total chills. I've not heard that story before & the picture... just wow.
I thought I was going to be overwhelmed when I saw how thick this book was (over 400 pages)... I zoomed through this book. Couldnt put it down.
Again, I may be biased because I have been such a Chapman family fan since I was a teenager so this to me was just like the cherry on the ice cream sundae to me. Couldnt get enough & wanted more.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

If I Could Turn Back Time

If I Could Turn Back TimeIf I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What is that movie with Jennifer Garner - 13 going on 30?... this is exactly what this book reminded me of.
Ramie Phillips gets a little life check & then hits her head & wakes up in her bedroom - very Peggy Sue Got Married like. I guess this story has been done a few times. Let's throw in the one with Zac Efron & Matthew Perry too... I like the idea of going back & knowing what you know now & how would you do things differently kinda stories.
& while this was cute, it was just what you expected... though it did have a little extra twist in it which was nice.
It just sort of bothered me how some things were repeated over & over - like how Ramie knows she's 38 years old but its OK she's hanging out with 18 year olds because... blah blah blah... no one is judging here Ramie. & just small things that just got on my nerves. It was like they were trying to drag the story out but it just made it feel just like that - DRUG OUT.
I did enjoy it though - enjoyed the story of Ramie getting to go back & see her father again & seeing how life could have been different if she took a different path ... Hello Mr. Destiny - forgot that movie!
A fun easy read - not life changing - but a good one to pass the time.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Beauty & the Beast: Lost in a book

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a BookBeauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I could say I swooned over this book... I liked it. It was enjoyable. But it wasn't the end all, be all Beauty & the Beast books. My favorite of all time is still Beauty by Susan Wilson FYI... THE BEST. I need to re-read again.
I think I have read every Beauty & the Beast book there is - Rose Daughter, Beastly, all sorts of retellings of Beauty & the Beast.. I'm a total addict. This was a good one but not up there with some of the others.
It does pick up with the movie, using characters like Plumette in it (which apparently has kicked Babbette out of the picture) but now I'm also intrigued to see how the movie plays out this week because in this book, the Beast is a big reader. That's different.
Another part of the book - which I dont think is a spoiler - but kind of had me like WHAT? was Mrs. Potts explained to Belle what happened to the Beast - about the enchantress putting a curse on him. WHAT??? But apparently they dont tell her how the spell can be broken. Well, put 2 + 2 together & DUH!!!!
I think that's what got me - this book just felt like out of character. I get all the Beauty & the Beast stories are different - I'm OK with that - but if you are going to use the Disney name & use the Disney characters, I would think having their character stay in line with one another in the movie & the book would make sense. & in this book, Belle gets trapped in a book after Death & Love make a wager on Belle & the Beast. A different idea... but to me, it just had Belle looking dumb. Not making smart moves - which to me, Belle is exactly the opposite of. That was my issue with it.
It's definitely a book I'm glad I have, glad I read it. It's just not something I'll go back to & read over & over again or hold close to my heart like Beauty does. That's OK... I'm still 110% a Beauty & the Beast fan & not everything is going to win me over (Cough... Cough... that new yellow dress... cough... cough...)

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An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.

This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios' film, Beauty and the Beast.
 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Grace is Greater

Grace Is GreaterGrace Is Greater by Kyle Idleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I knew I wanted to read this as soon as I saw it was a book on Grace - one of my favorite things to be reminded of. & especially when I saw who wrote it - one of my favorite Pastors.
This book did not disappoint, in the least.
Kyle Idleman has such a way of putting Biblical principals into relatable terms. You'll laugh at some of the personal stories (especially if you read the footnotes!!) & then you feel like you've been gut-punched with the truth that the Bible has that you tend to put aside. He's just so good at making God's words & promise easy to understand. Opens your eyes to noticing it more in your own life.
This book is broken up in how Grace works in a life - For you, for you to give to others (did I mention that gut-punch thing?) & how Grace is in all your circumstances.
As someone who goes to Kyle's church, I will say, I have heard many of the things he mentioned in this book in sermons. That's not a negative to me - it just reminded me of the great messages I've heard before & now glad to have some of the points written on paper to refer to more often & not have to rely on my ever forgetting memory. & I'm even more glad that the amazing messages that I get to hear every week is getting shared a bit with the rest of the world.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough if you struggle with wondering if God has enough mercy & grace for you in your mistakes you've made... or if you are having trouble forgiving others. You will close this book with an encouraged heart.

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The writer of the letter to the Hebrews said, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God." Over the centuries much ink has been spilled on the subject of grace. Yet perhaps nothing is as hard to explain as God's grace. It doesn't make sense. It's not fair. It can't possibly cover over what I've done. The best way--perhaps the only real way--to understand it is to experience it. But too often in our churches we're not getting grace across and grace is not experienced. 
Bestselling author and pastor Kyle Idleman wants everyone to experience the grace of God. Through the powerful medium of story, Grace Is Greater leads readers past their hang-ups toward an understanding of grace that is bigger than our mistakes, our failures, our desire for revenge, and our seemingly impossible situations. No sin is so great, no bitterness so deep that God's grace cannot transform the heart and rewrite the story. 
Perfect for individuals and also for small groups and church-wide studies, Grace Is Greater will help readers truly grasp God's grace, even if the Christians around them have failed to live it.

Friday, February 17, 2017

We Should Hang Out Sometimes

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True StoryWe Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this guy is very likeable.
It's the story of a guy who just struggles on the dating front - so he goes back & looks over the girls that he was interested in growing up through middle school & high school, into college & telling the stories of their 'relationships' - if you want to call them that... & then figures out what went wrong. Even talking with these ladies to discuss what happened & what went wrong.
A pretty neat idea.
I have to say, its not a heavy, thought provoking, rocket science book. But it was a nice, easy, fun read to look into someone's openness about dating. Especially when you've had cancer at a early age & lost a leg. Add that into being a teenage boy - & you're going to have dating issues.
You're going to love Josh & his innocence & sweet nature.
Is this a MUST read? Nah... but I did enjoy it.
... & side note - i have since found his web page & his YouTube channel & enjoy him more in action than on these pages. I wish I would have heard his voice & seen his personality before I read it - it may have added more life to the story.

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What's the book about?

A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh's semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided "grand gesture" at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love--or at least a girlfriend--in all the wrong places.