Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Gift

Book:  The Gift
Author:  Richard Paul Evans

Nathan Hurst hated Christmas.  For the rest of the world, it was a day of joy & celebration; for Nathan it was simply a reminder of the event that destroyed his childhood.  Until a snowstorm, a cancelled flight, & an unexpected meeting with a young mother & her very special son would show him that Christmas is indeed the season of miracles.
Get to slide in one more book for the end of the year...

And what a book!

I love Richard Paul Evans - everything he writes & his books he puts out at Christmas.  I think this one is from last year (possibly 2 years ago) & I just put it in my pile & forgot about it & didnt want to read it any other time but around the Holidays.  I remembered this year, & was so glad I read it - I got through this book like like 2 days... would've one day if I didnt have to work (dang work!)

But this book is the story of a little boy, Collin, who has cancer & died & was brought back.  He remembered being on the "other side" & came back with some special powers.  He can "read" people & the kind of person they are.. & he also has a special "touch" about him that ends up causing sort of a riot. 

His mother, Addison, is a very strong, independant, woman & strong, single mother as she takes care of her children.  Collin's sister, Elizabeth is also such a realistic description of what a younger sister would be. 

And they run into Nat one evening at an airport when everyone is snowed in.  Nat couldnt let them sleep in the airport when he obviously can see that Collin is sick.  That night he offers his hotel suite to them - that night sets in motion their lives all connecting.  Especially after Nat is "touched" by Collin & his power that he has...

This book isnt a "Christmas" book really - but it will definitely warm your heart & make you smile, & most definitely will make you cry.

And its also really depicts how people are so wanting so desperately to put their faith into something....

One other character that I loved in this book is Nat's assistant, Miche - everyone should have a friend like this lady... love that in a book, you can have a male/female friendship that isnt anything other then friends... good to see!

I totally recommend it - anytime of the year!
My rating - 4 skeins

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Perfect Christmas

Book: The Perfect Christmas
Author: Debbie Macomber

What would make YOUR Christmas perfect?
For Casie Beaumont, its meeting her perfect match.  Cassie, at 33 wants a husband & kids & so far, nothings worked. She turns to a professional matchmaker.  He's Simon DOdson & he's VERY choosy about the clients he takes on.  Cassie finds Simon a difficult, acerbic know-it-all, & she's astonished when he accepts her as a client.

Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her 3 tasks to complete before she meets him.  Three tasks that are all about Christmas; being a charity bell ringer, dressing up as Santa's elf, & preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (whom she happesn to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all - & she's finally ready to meet her match.
Well, I'm sure you can figure out who her perfect match is....

Yes, you can pretty much tell from the first chapter who's going to be "coupled" up in this book, but it doesnt take away from the story.  I love Debbie Macomber's writing anyways & love her yearly Christmas books just because they ARE easy reads & just with the background of Christmas, its a fun read to take in during the season.

I did chuckle out loud - which is a good sign - at some parts of the book... & even gasped at surprises at some of the things that happened.  And I was smiling at the end of the book, pleased with the ending, & just because it was enjoyable to read.

While this isnt a literature masterpiece - it was perfect reading to do the week of Christmas...

& the only reason I'm not giving this a 4 is because the idea that the ONLY way you can have a PERFECT Christmas is to have the perfect husband & the 2.1 kids & the dog in front of the tree... I can let that slide because its a fun Christmas book - but I'm going to be honest, that did aggravate me a bit..

My rating: 3 skeins

Monday, December 14, 2009

Split Ends

Book:  Split Ends
Author: Kristin Billerbeck

She's armed with hot irons, sharp shears & a flair for color.
She's dangerous - truly bad news for bad hair.
And she's going to do whatever it takes to make a place for herself in the exclusive Beverely Hills salon.

Even if that means sweeping hair, emptying trash, scrubbing dummy heads, & making soy lattes for the stars that come in Yoshi's salon.

Even if it means hiding the fact that she's not really an up-&-comer from New York, but a drunk's daughter from small town Wyoming.

Even if it means ignoring her attraction to a tall, dark stranger in a fedora who just stepped off the elevator... & into her heart.

But can a talented hairdresser from the sticks really make it in image-obsessed LA?  And can she ever find true love & real success in a town that wrote the book on fake?
The story of Sarah Claire moving to the big town & trying to make it was cute.  I liked the book has lots of pop culture modern references - but that means down the road, 10 years, people will laugh at some of the references...

It was refreshing to read a story of what seemed like a real character in how she talked & the things she said - & even more refreshing that in the story, Sarah Claire is a Christian & meets a Christian man, Dane...

Many characters from Sarah Claire, her cousin who she moves in with, Scott - the crazy LA hair dresser she's working for who will put her in the big leagues, Yoshi... her friends she left behind, the body builder she meets on the streets... all cute, easy characters... loved that Sarah Claire was a girl who loved old time movies & had an obsession with Carey Grant.  Ahh - the old romantic ways of life.  And she found a man who fell right into that & even more, agreed with taht old fashion sense of romance...

For me, the story was cute, but drug out a little... just alot of focus on some things that I thought they spent way too much time on, or a topic they'd keep coming back to.  I found myself at the end just wanting the story over so I could move onto the next book. 

My Rating: 3 Skeins... wasn't HORRIBLE - but not fantastic.. just OK.. so middle of the road...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Have a Little Faith

Book:  Have a Little Faith
Author:  Mitch Albom

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! If I had enough money, I'd buy this one (along with "The Noticer") for everyone I knew. 

This is the true story of Mitch getting an unusual request:  to deliver a eulogy for his rabbi from his old hometown.  He feels unworthy & insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago.  Meanwhile, Mitch becomes involved with a Detroit pastor - a reformed drug dealer & convict - who preaches to the poor & homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian & Jewish, African American & white, impoverished & well to do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similary in fighting for survival:  the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches;  the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep him & his church afloat.

These men touch on things such as how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God & the importance of faith in trying times...

In the end, as the rabbi nears death & a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Mitch sadley fulfills the rabbi's last request & writes the eulogy.  And he finally understands what both men had been teaching him all along - the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than youself.

My Rating:  5 skeins!!!!!!

I'm telling you - it was a wonderful read... I marked so many thing that just touched my heart... so this may turn into the longest post ever... but I want to remember these things I got out of this book
From a sermon by the Reb - 1975
"A man seeks employment on a farm.  He hands his letter of recommendation to his new employer.  It reads simply, "He sleeps in a storm".  The owner is desperate for help, so he hires the man. 
    Several weeks pass & suddenly, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm rips through the valley.  Awakened by the swirling rain & howling wind, the owner leaps out of bed.  He calls for his new hired hand, but the man is sleeping soundly. 
     So he dashes off to the barn.  He sees, to his amazement that the animals are secure with plenty of feed.  He runs out to the field.  He sees the bales of wheat have been bound & are wrapped in the tarpaulins.  He races to the silo.  The doors are latched, & the grain is dry. 
    And then he understands.  "HE SLEEPS IN A STORM"
    My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love & behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business.  Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight.  We will never wallow in the agony of "I could have, I should have"... We can sleep in a storm.
   And when its time, our good-byes will be complete
When a baby comes into the world, its hands are clenched - right? (He made a fist)  Why?  Because a baby, not knowing any better wants to grab everything, to say "The whole word is mine!"  But when an old person dies, how does he do so?  With his hands open.  Why?  Because he has learned the lesson. (He stretched open his empty fingers) - We can take nothing with us.

What do people fear most about death?  I asked the Reb.
"Fear?"  He thought for a moment.  "Well, for one thing, what happens next?  Where do we go?  Is it what we imagined?  But there's something else"
What else?
He leaned forward.
"Being forgotten" he whispered.

I call Jesus the greatest recycler I know!  He lifts me up - he rearranges me - he repositions me!

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she;
But oh!  The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.
-Robert Browning Hamilton

Nothing haunts like the things we dont say....

What I do here, every day for the rest of my life, is only my way of saying "Lord, regardless of what eternity holds for me, let me give something back to you.  I know it dont even no scorecard.  But let me make something of my life before I go....."And then Lord, I'm at your mercy"

Monday, November 16, 2009


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Book:  thirsty
Author: Tracey Bateman

There's no place like home, they say.

"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."
For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.
This book was tagged as a "Christian Vampire" story...

I didnt really think it held that much clout for anything compared to Twilight, but I will say, this was a really good story!

How Nina is struggling with her "thirst" of alcholism & the man, Marcus, who is a vampire, & the "thirsts" he struggles with as well - it was very interesting.

But the story of Nina & her life & how her struggle with alcohol had affected her, & then her family - it was interesting to see.  Especially as she tries to start her life again & tries to mend bridges with her teenage daughter. 

I could feel the pain that Nina was going through as she had to fight her past - coming home to see parents she hadent seen in years after she ran away.  To see her relationship with her sister who loved her & took her in when she needed a place to go.  To see how her husband loved Nina through the years, through EVERYTHING she put him through...

It had its suspensful moments.... especially at the end, I was biting my finger nails trying to figure out how it would end.

If you like a book about survival, about beginning again, & throw in a bit of suspense, you'll love this book!
Here is the link for more info & for purchasing:

My Rating:  3 skeins

Touched by a Vampire

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Book:  Touched by a Vampire
Author: Beth Felker Jones
"Examining Twilight through a Biblical Lens"

People around the world are enraptured with Edward & Bella's forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga.  This book investiages the themes of the Saga from a Biblical perspective.  Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer's Mormon beliefs.  But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story's redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.
I'm going to admit from the get go - I'm a Twilight NUT! I've even done a post about views I've seen of comparing to Scripture on my Home blog (Button on the top right)...  So I was so excited about getting this book to see what else others had to say.

I was also excited because the book also holds a guide for group discussions & since I get to spend time with youth girls who also love Twilight in our church, I was anxious to see what some of the discussions could stir up.

I think maybe because I am such a die-hard Twilighter, this book wasnt what I expected. 

For example - here are some of the titles of the chapters are the following:
Forbidden Fruit - The allure of Dangerous Romance
Body & Blood - Twilight's Take of Abstinence & Sex
Baseball & Loyalty - Twilight & the Ideal Family
Monster Spawn or Precious Child?  Children in the Twilight Saga

I mean, I really did appreciate what this book was saying but at the end of each chapter, I found myself saying "ITS JUST A NOVEL!"....

For me, reading the Twilight series ever made me question God, or my relationship with God.  And while I would LOVE for someone to be as incredible as Edward - I know there is no one that is going to sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight & be there to protect me from evil vampires...

One chapter dealt with how Jesus should be the center of your life - not necessarily a man like Edward.  Well, you can look at ANY book, especially a romance book, & come up with the same conclusion. 

It talks about how children should be a blessing & not have a "baby who eats her mother alive"... seriously!  I think we can all agree, that's not a good thing...

I almost found it irritating because I felt like it was sorta underminding, personally...

Maybe if someone hasnt read the Twilight series & was going into reading this blindly, maybe it would touch them more.  For me personally, a true Twilight-er, it wasnt a book for me... but that's OK... books reach different people at different times.

I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else read it & what you thought...

if you are interested in checking it out for youserlf & want to form your own opinion, go here:

My Rating:  I hate saying it was bad, but it was bad for me. it definitely could have potential for others.. 2 skeins.

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Picket Fences - GIVEAWAY!!!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Book:  White Picket Fences
Author:  Susan Meissner

The Janviers have the idyllic life - a beautiful home, great jobs, two wonderful kids - & surrounding it all is the proverbial white picket fence that protects them, offers them a serene sense of security... & hides all their secrets.
This is an amazing story that will suck you in.  Its about a young girl, Tally, whose father left her with his grandmother to go on a search that no one knows about, except Tally.  When her grandmother passes away & no one can get ahold of Tally's father, Bart,  her aunt, Amanda, steps up to take Tally into their home.

Amanda & Neil Janvier have two children around the same age as Tally - Delcy &Chase.  Tally &Chase seem to get along & understand each other.  Soon they are working on a school project where they are looking into history &researching the Ghetto during the Holocaust, where their great-grandfather was killed.  They meet up with two men from a nursing home that can fill in part of the story of what it was like - these men share some amazing stories &; are so endearing to see their friendship through the years...

Along the whole path, secrets that have been hidden are brought to light.  Secrets from Chase's past, from Amanda & Neil's life, from their great-grandfather... all secrets that effect a life.  Secrets that people try to hide & when you hide them, they eventually eat you up...

There was a question/answer session at the end with the author & she talked about the heart of the book & she mentioned the EXACT same line that really impacted me... I want to share that:

What do you hope readers come away with after reading White Picket Fences?  The moment that Josef (the man in the nursing home) says "That is what all survivors must decide.  We have to decide how much we will choose to remember & how much courage we are willing to expend to do so".  It takes courage to acknowledge &remember what drove you to your knees or nearly killed you.  If you choose to forget - that's assuming you actually can - then it seems to me you suffered for nothing

That just impacted the tar out of me... So lucky for you guys...   The publisher sent this to me for review & gave me an additional one, so I get do to a giveaway!!!!  All you have to do is leave a comment for one entry & if you are a follower - you get an additional entry!  Simple enough...

And if you arent a winner - you can always get it right HERE...

The drawing will be Friday night...GOOD LUCK!


Yes - she won the last one too!  I am using the random number generator & putting them in order of the comment posts... so she is just one lucky lady!!!!  Congrats Dawn!  Another book is headed your way!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Voice that Calls you Home

Book:  The Voice that Calls you Home
Author:  Andrea Raynor

As a hospice chaplain, cancer survivor & a chaplain at Ground Zero following September 11, Andrea Raynor has gained a keen perspective on the meaning of life & death, comfort & grief.  Through her own experiences, Raynor reminds readers that even in the most dire of circumstances, we still have the opportunity to recognize beauty, to be inspired by the tenancity of the human spirit, & to feel connected to something greater. 

Raynor acknowledges that we may not be able to prevent the difficulties that come in life, but we can always choose the way in which we face them.  She urges us not to "live with our heads down, our eyes closed, & our hands in our pockets".  Instead, she prompts us to remain open to the blessings that are all around us & to face life's challenges head on - "to increase our courage, renew our hope, & unite us in teh knowledge that we are not alone"
The wonderful publisher of this book send me a copy to look at.  I am always interested in life stories - especially a story of a chaplain.  I was looking into becoming a chaplain in hospitals or hospice envirnoments years ago, so this piqued my interest from the beginning.

This book has some amazing stories of people in hospice.  Stories of mothers loosing their children, wives loosing their husbands - stories of people who are ready to leave this world while doing it with the knowledge of knowing life doesnt end at the last breath of this world.

There are many chapters of Andrea's life during the weeks at Ground Zero.  I cant imagine the things she actually experiences hands on.  The stories are hard enough to read....

And the story of her diagnosis & battle with breast cancer herself is an inspiration.

I think that this book would be really appreciated by someone that has just lost a loved one, is dealing with grief, wondering about the last stages of death, just needs comfort & insight from someone who has seen death touch so many.

The one con of this book for me - for a chaplain, Andrea does seem to have many "New age" beliefs... & while that may not bother some people, some of her views may be edgy for others.  That is not saying the book is not good.  The point I keep getting throughout her book is still an amazing point - we need to be PRESENT... we need to be there for those who need someone. 

here are two parts of the book that really hit me:
As he (ElieWisel) was forced to watch a young boy hang from the gallows of a concentration camp, dying a slow, torturous death, a prisoner in the crowd cried out: "Where is God now?" Wiesel writes, "And I heard a voice within me answer him:  "where is He? Here He is - He is hanging here from the gallows"

Why do terrible things happen?  Perhaps they happen not because God refuses to act in human history but because we refuse to act humanely.  We are children running with expensive watches, with scissors, with the power to break & to hurt, to squander & to maim.  We have the freedom to make terrible choices or to aspire toward holiness.  And if we continue to point to the absence of God in the presence of evil, we will never take responsbility for our own actions, nor will we discover the God-ever-present, whose heart continues to break with ours.
(This part of the book really touched me - a story of a pastor's wife who never had children due to infertility.  She was so amazing with children, Andrea assumed she has children, grandchildren... here's what she said about it)
"Well", she began, "It was hard in the beginning, certainly.  But when I look back at all the children I have mothered, all the little ones who needed love, I realize that I could never have been there for them in the same way if I had had my own children.  You see," she continued her face aglow, "I am really the mother of more children than I ever could have imagined.  God has truly blessed me"
How do I rate this book?  I think this book will touch those who are in need of these words at the right moment.  It definitely hit home for me in those words above... I'm sure certain stories & words would hit someone else going through a loss of some sort...

My rating:  3 skeins

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells & GIVEAWAY!!!

Book: The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Author: Cindy Woodsmall

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store & serves as a contact between Amish craftsmen & Englischer retailers. But remorse & lonliness still echo in her heart every day, & she still wears dark dresses to indicate her mourning of her fiance. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow in an Englischer store, something deep inside Beth's soul responds & she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking & after meeting Jonah, the artist, she is determined that Beth come to know this man whose hands create healing art. But it's not that simple - Beth has cut herself from any possibility of romance. Will Lizzy's elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth new hope & a second change at real love - or just more heartbreak?

I have to start off immediately by saying I could not put this book down. The writing in this story was great - easy enough to be able to digest it & complex enough where you feel you know the characters so well by the end. I read this book in just a day - didnt want to put it down.

The story of Beth & the life she has lived & the reason she is mourning so deeply is just interesting to unfold. And the story of Jonah & the sufferings he too has dealt with in his life is just as intriguing. The "scheme" that Aunt Lizzy pulls is sneaky & risky...I dont want to give anything away about the story... but its a story that I think anyone could really appreciate. The under lying story of God's forgiveness & how someone handles regret & guilt is also so relevant. Wonderfully done!

Of course, for me - I love a good story that involves family, love & God as the center of everything so this was a home run for me.

You can buy the book right HERE or you can be the lucky winner!! I have an extra copy & am excited about giving this away to someone who loves a great read!

All you have to do is comment!!! Simple enough! If you want to "follow" this blog, I'll throw in another entry.... I'll do the giveaway on Oct 16 - Friday... so act quick!

This book is a perfect read too with winter coming & the Christmas season... Good luck!!!!

My Rating: 5 skeins!!!!

*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

***UPDATE:  THE WINNER OF THE BOOK WAS DAWN'S COTTAGE CORNER!!!! Thanks for participating everyone... another book give away will be coming soon!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Catching Fireflies

Book: Catching Fireflies
Author: Patsy Clairmont

Patsy weaves stories & scripture between lasers, lighthouses, & lamps to illuminate the heart & enliven the spirit. Whether you're bored with the routine, struggling with a crsis, or just ready for a good word, Patsy meets you there with vulnerability, inspiration & an infectious grin. As a daily devotional or a weekend read, Catching Fireflies will light up your day even as it brightens your smile.

I LOVE Patsy Clairmont. If you've never seen her in person, you cant fully appreciate her! She can tell a story about poop that was keep me on the edge of my seat - I guarantee it! So I picked this book up at the latest Women of Faith conference. Mainly because she was talking about her best friend who passed away with cancer & how she was the light in her life - she gave off sparks of light like a firefly. It made me just have to pick this book up.

It didnt disappoint. It was an easy read that I would be laughing about a story Patsy would tell & then find she had woven it back to a story or scripture in the Bible. I love when people can do that.... makes the Bible come to life!

The story of the man who created the Nobel Peace Prize really touched me - I'll be doing a story on that on my Home Blog...so many small stories that make an impact!!!

My rating: 4 skeins... would totally recommend it to anyone... especially those who like to laugh!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Best Friends Forever

Book: Best Friends Forever
Author: Jennifer Weiner

Addie Downs & Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across teh street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.

Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame & fortune working as the weather girl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parent's house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge Illinois caring for a troubled brother & trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face &blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened" Val tells Addie, "& you're the only one who can help."

That's how the story starts off... & what an adventure these friends are on from that moment.

Its such a interesting book that flashes back to their young years together & you find out the story of both of their lives -what brought them together, & what ultimately tore them apart. You glimpse into their families lives & see the impact of family on who you become. The story of Addie's brother just broke my heart - & to see the sort of mother Valerie had... you see how they become the adults they are.

Soon, the chief of police, Jordan is involved & we get a new character in the mix that is on the hunt for these "Thelma & Louise" runaways....

I laughed out loud at particular parts of the book (the bank-robbing scene) - & my heart broke for Addie in parts where she described her teen years. She was an over weight teen with a beautiful popular friend & I could totally relate to that. I knew the truth of some of the things she said. My heart broke for Addie as she did become the "picked on" teen in the school when all she wanted to do was protect her friend.

I dont want to give anything away, but the end was very interesting to me - a happy ending for one of the characters - a lesson learned for another - and regret finally setting in for another character... its interesting to see how the past still can haunt you....

Would I recommend this book? It is a cute, fun read - especially if you ever had a girlfriend you grew up with...it has some language & some parts that I personally could have done without - but it wasnt horribly vulgar. I do think its a good weekend read though.

My rating: 4 skeins

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Difference Do it Make?

Title: What Difference do it make?
Author: Ron Hall, Denver Moore, & Lynn Vincent

So I got this book to review & I have to say from the get go... I was FLOORED with how good it is! Apparently this book has a book that went along with it - this is a follow up, but its not necessary to have read the first. Although now, I WANT to read it so badly, I'm dying!

This book is about a relationship between two friends - Ron & Denver. Denver was a homeless man that lived a life like no other. And I say that because the insight he came away with is so touching & amazing. Ron's wife, Deborah, had a passion for homelessness & befriended Denver & it was lives changed for all of them. Deborah has since passed from cancer but left a legacy that has grown into touching so many's lives. Whether it be inspiring others to work with homelessness or just changing the way they see things in their own lives - or the way they see others - its truly the work of God's hand on a life that was dedicated to Him.

This story continues with the lives of Ron & Denver. Ron's story is so touching as it deals with his relationship with his father & how sometimes, the way you deal & look at your own family can be difficult, but it takes the same love & forgiveness you have to offer everyone.

Denver's words are just powerful - no other way to put it... you will see below in some of the quotes I have written down...

Also, included are stories from people who read the first book & how it changed their lives. If you think God cant use a story.... check this out & see how it already had changed lives & how this book will change lives. I know it will change the way I look at homelessness - or people in general.

Here are some of the quotes I got out of the book... hopefully they will inspire you as well...

*Most people on the streets know Jesus love ‘em. But they figure nobody ELSE loves ‘em BUT Jesus. Street people done heard more sermons than most preachers ever preached. Lotta good folks come ‘round the ‘hood, talking ‘bout Jesus this, Jesus that. Tellin us about Him is one thing… who gon’ stick around and SHOW us Jesus? –Denver

*Needy people don’t need no perfect people neither. When Jesus sent His disciples out, He sent Peter right along, knowin Peter had a bad temper & a potty mouth & was gon’ deny Him three times. He sent John & James even though they was full a’pride and fightin over the best seat at the table. He even sent Judas, knowin Judas was gon’ betray Him. Even though Jesus knowed all a’their sins & weakness, He sent ‘em anyways.

*Listen, if the devil ain’t messing with you, he’s already got you –Denver

*I aint got no way to read the mind a’ God, but I ‘xpect part a’His business is making it Christmas for somebody EVERY day! If all the Christians – I mean ALL of ‘em – got outta the pews on Sundays & into the streets, we’d shut the city down. We’d shut down hunger. We’d shut down lonliness. We’d shut down the notion that there is any such of a thing as a person that don’t deserve a kind word & a second chance. – Denver

*It is a blessing to the homeless when they see people who care. But to really help, you’ve got to get down in the pit with people & stay with them until they find the strength to get on your shoulders & climb out. Helping someone is when you find out how to help them move toward wholeness & then hang with them until they make a change”

*That Deborah would get cancer made no more sense than a drive-by shooting… what Denver had said three weeks earlier haunted me. “Those precious to God become important to Satan”….
If you are interested in this book - you can go here
My rating: 5 skeins!!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lucky One

Book: The Lucky One
Author: Nicholas Sparks

When US Marine Logan Thibuault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman half-buried in teh dirt during his third tour of duty in Iraw, his first instinct is to toss it aside. Instead he brings it back to the base for someone to claim, but when no one does, he finds himself always carrying the photo in his pocket. Suddenly, luck is on his side. His best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph - his lucky charm.
He sets off to find teh woman, traveling on foot from Colorado. He finds her but didnt expect the strong but vulenrable woman he encounters in Hampton, North Carolina - Elizabeth, a divorced mother with a young son.

When Logan finds her, he cant tell Elizabeth the story of the picture & he lets "life" just take its course. From finding a job in a dog kennel, to his encounter with her ex-husband - the horrible, nasty town sherriff, Keith Clayton... to the wonderful relationship with Beth's son, Ben... & the incredible dog, Zeus.... & Beth's mom, Nana... the story is full of wonderful characters that you really feel like you know.

The story of Beth & Logan is a wonderful romance that develops. I was on the edge worrying about the creep Clayton & always afraid he was going to hurt the dog... luckily, no such thing happened...

But the story was refreshing - another book that shows me why I love Nicholas Sparks so much.

My rating: 4 skeins

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tears in a Bottle

Book: Tears in a Bottle
Author: Sylvia Bambola

"Becky Taylor lies in a secluded recovery room of an abortion clinic when she hears a man's angry voice, then gunshots amid cries of terror. Lying still behind the curtan, she holds her breath in fear. But the silence that follows reveals the icy truth; she's the only one left alive"

This book shows the world of abortion, so its a topic that is touchy anyways, much less have a book - or a novel - on.

The story follows Becky's life & the pressure that is put on her as a teenager to have sex & then the result that follows.

It also follows the story of Maggie, who runs a center for healing for women who went through an abortion. More characters involve the doctors who are performing the abortions & who are turning this lifestyle into something even worse, selling parts for money to cosmetic companies & scientists. Finally, another character, Canon Edwards... a man whose wife had died during an abortion where everyone told her it was a simple procedure. Canon served time but is still seeking for revenge.
To me, the story was OK, but it just felt too "childish"... I believe there is a darker world in the abortion clinics that doctors are dealing with, but this book just didnt pass that to me as believable. That part of the story was sorta corny to me. I did feel the heart of the stories of the women in the clinic, or even Becky's story - but that wasn't even really gripping to me.
My rating: 2 skeins

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Convenient Groom

Book: The Convenient Groom
Author: Denise Hunter
"She wrote the book - literally - on finding the right mate. But does she really understand what love's about?"

This is the cutest book - a true fairy tale - a true romance! Loved every page of it.
This story is about woman who is like Dr. Phil of relationships - Dr. Kate. The book starts on her wedding day... where her groom jilts her... on the same day her relationship book comes out. What's a girl to do? She gets a new groom!!!

Enter Lucas Wright - the most amazing man character a book has... he's everything - caring, sweet, handsome, & he really loves Kate. She doesnt know this & the understanding in the marriage will only last for a year - to get her book out & push the publicity. Lucas is hoping in that year, she'll really fall in love with him.

Of course, nothing has an easy path... but the story is just in no other word - CHARMING...

I couldnt put it down... was sad it was over. But seen there are more "Nantucket Love Stories"... so I've got to check them out.

I really recommend it if you're looking for a light, fun read that is full of romance & in the end, has a message about Christ. The author has a message at the end that focuses all of it back to the main point - Christ being the only one you can count on for the love of a lifetime!!! AWESOME!

My rating: 5 skeins

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Gargoyle

Book: The Gargoyle
Author: Andrew Davidson

I was very interested in this book - it involves a man who was burned in an accident. With my husband having been in a horrible fire that left him with scars, it peaked my interest.

But first, let me say - I'm not a total prude... I can handle today's books... but I couldnt even get through the beginnings of this book. I got to Chapter 3 & I finally had to stop & just put the book away.

I wasnt expecting the language to be so foul ..... & I wasnt expecting the main character to be a porn star...that threw me off... so within the first few chapters, it was just too much for me. Then the talk of suicide coming in - I just knew this book wasnt for me...

Again, I'm not a prude - but I only really have to set some standards for MYSELF.... so I just put the book in the pile to be sold... & I literally just got the book in the mail today... darn!

If some of you read it, & you like it... kudos to you.. it just wasnt for me...

My rating = 0 skeins

The Reader

Book: The Reader
Author: Bernard Schlink

I remember when the previews came out for the movie - it intrigued me. But as always, I think books are better. I never got to see the movie, but I went ahead & read the book... WOW... now, I gotta see the movie!

This story is about a 15 yr old boy that mets an older woman in Germany. They start an affair & during this time, she asks him to read stories. There are clues throughout the book on why she has him reading these things to her... but its very interesting to watch their affair. Its interesting to see the affect Hannah Schmitz has on Michael Berg - throughout his whole life.

Hannah disappears suddenly one day, & Michael cant forget her... & then he sees her in court for her dealings in a concentration camp. The results of the trial shows exactly what Hannah has been hiding...

The story is beautifully written - It shows how someone can come in your life & never leave it - even if you dont talk to them anymore.

The end of the story shocked me.... I gasped... but again, very beautiful with how Michael ends the story... gotta go see the movie for sure now!

Rating: 5 skeins... very good book!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bridge to Terabithia

Book: Bridge to Terabithia
Author: Katherine Paterson

I came across someone's book list that had their top 10 books as a kid. This book was on it & I remember when the movie came out (never saw it) & remember talking how good that was too. So I ended up finding the book really cheap off of Half.com & thought I'll read it.

I noticed right away it says for ages 10 & up.... & that it wasnt very long. So yes, I ended up reading it during my work day (which was nice)... but I wasnt disappointed in the story at all - this is a story that any age would like. I'm actually surprised it goes for as young as 10, but think its probably good for them to see a story about real life.

Never seeing the movie, I thought it would go into detail about their "imaginary world" of Terabithia that Jess & Leslie created. The book didnt do that - which I was happy about. But did show how their friendship was so deep between a boy & girl in 5th grade - something that rarely happens. But being neighbors in farm territory, they were able to grow closer through the year. With Leslie's story telling & Jess's art abilities, these two were a perfect friendship.

I had read in all the reviews... so if you dont know & you DONT want to know how it ends... stop reading NOW!!!!..... but I knew the end was coming with Leslie's death - but it still is never easy to read of the reactions of how a death affects someone - especially a 5th grade boy who was best friends with her.

I really enjoyed the end how he realized in this "world" of Terabithia where Leslie made Jess a KING - he knew he was knighted to go into the world on his own without his queen.

With the way Leslie died - the rope giving way over rushing water - I loved how Jess made his baby sister a bridge to start her own adventures in this world.... a very sweet ending... a very sweet book...

My Rating: 5 skeins.... I do think a young reader could appreciate this book - even its "grown up" themes & words at times... a beautiful story of friendship.

Let it go

Book: Let it go
Author: Sheila Walsh

I rarely like books that are like "self-help" books. They dont hold my attention & get too repetitive & boring. There are just a few select authors I like like that. Max Lucado is a YES to every book, Patsy Clairmont is a YES to every book... but there are few that I just gotta read.

But after picking up Patsy's book at the latest Women of Faith conference, I thought that was it.... until I heard Sheila talk about her experience of letting go bitterness & resentment & emotions she was having towards her husband about things in their life. Something in me hit me to go get this book... & I'm so glad I did....

This book is properly titled "Let it go"... its such a reminder of letting go of the things that we hold onto - especially as women - that end up eating us up, end up tearing us away from God & driving wedges in our lives & our families & relationships.

I especially enjoyed at the beginning of each chapter, there was a parable sort of story that really explained what the chapter would be about & they were just such good, heart felt little stories. I even wrote one out on my "Quote blog"... http://rebeccajosquotes.blogspot.com/2009/08/let-it-go-sheila-walsh.html

I also wrote SOOO many quotes from this book, it was CRAZY... such good insight... here's the link to the quotes I took down

My favorite though that I will probably always carry with me is the following from Corrie Ten Boom:

"The purpose of being guilty is to bring us to Jesus. Once we are there, then its purpose is finished. If we continue to make ourselves guilty - to blame ourselves - then that is sin in itself"

Do I recommend it? I really do - I think its a easy read, interesting & just an easy way its delivered that shows God in every situation...

My Rating: 4 skeins... (Which is REALLY good for me & a book of this sort)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Miss Invisible

Book: Miss Invisible
Author: Laura Jensen Walker
This story is about a girl named Freddie who is a "big girl" - so already, I'm interested in this story.

She works in a bakery & is fantastic at what she does. But with her weight, she feels like most of the world ignores her - or any bigger girl - hence, the name Miss Invisible. Her boss degrades her because of her weight - her father & step mother treat her so horribly because of her weight & she's also single & trying to find a good Christian man to date while feeling so down on herself.

But she finds a new friend, Deborah, that just changes her life & is also a bigger girl - & busts through all the myths of how a big-girl SHOULD act... she's a fantastic character in the book! Deborah is a caterer & soon, gets Freddie to use her skills of cooking & fast become partners in the food world!

We get to see Freddie grow in this book - emotionally that is! She becomes stronger - becomes more comfortable with herself - becomes someone she doesnt think she could ever become - all with the help of her fantastic friends.

She also starts a BLOG in the book - which really made me happy... being one who loves all things bloggy!!!

This is a Christian novel, which I LOVED - Deborah is very much a Christian influence with prayers & scripture being brought into the story all the time.

Freddie finds out some devestating news about her father & her mother at the end... but its such a good reminder of the family of God & how you can have your "chosen family"....

This was a very easy read - enjoyable - cute.... definitely a story I didnt mind getting into. Freddie & Deborah - & Simon, Shane, Nicole, Lydia, Millie, Samuel ... & little Sam... all seemed like friends I would want to have

Because it was a story of a big girl who blogs... gotta give it 4 skeins!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Book: The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
OK - I have seen this book out & wanted to buy it. Lynn let me borrow it & I was excited... my bubble was popped though... I didnt care for this book at all....

The story is about Dr. David Henry & about his wife who gives birth to twins. The first is born healthy - the 2nd is a daughter born with Down Syndrome. He asks the nurse to take her to a home & gives her up, telling the mother the baby died. The nurse, Caroline, wasnt able to leave her & ran with the baby, Phoebe, & raised her on her own.

The secret between David & Norah caused a rift in their relationship - that only builds more secrets... & then when their son Paul gets older, he too starts getting caught in the "rifts of secrets"....

Good story idea I guess... but for me, I just couldnt "get into it"... LONG chapters, complicated wording to tell a simple thought. Like someone would be thinking of something & next thing you know, they are thinking of the past, & then right back to the present... for me - that was hard to follow.

Plus, I thought it was sad in the end when David never got to meet his daughter or explain...

Again - this is just my opinion... this book wasnt for me... at all...

My rating: 1 Skein out of 5

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Vigil

Book: The Vigil
Author: Cecila Samarlin
So this is the last book I read since starting this. A publishing company got ahold of me & sent it to me before they released it. That was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I was so busy & didnt get to read it before it was released... but once I got into it, I was sucked in & wished I read it earlier...

This is a story about a young girl named Ana who lived in El Salavador during war times. The way she survived is by God's hand & she soons finds herself in a convent with a Sister who helped her. Before she is to take her vows, she is to go to be a nanny in a home that is in need of her touch.

The little boy is a handful - but no match for Ana & soon the family expands with another little girl. Ana is now part of the family. She sees these kids grow up - she watches the relationship between their parents... & she falls in love...

The story flashes back from the deathbed of her husband to her past & it merges to the present. The passing of her husband is so sad - I actually teared up on those pages ... but it shows how "into" the story I was.

It was a fast, easy, nice read.

The only thing that struck me - Ana was a good, kind hearted person who wanted to become a nun - in one part of the story, she used a curse word that was SOOOO out of character. I wonder why they put that in - it just didnt "fit" Ana... but other then that - the story was really well told.
One of my favorite quotes from the book: "He was an uncomplicated, happy man with a soulful laugh that could tenderize the toughest of moments"... isnt that great?

My rating: 4 out of 5 .... I was going to use stars - but I love yarn & skeins - so I'll give out SKEINS instead of stars!!! Just who I am - its my blog - right?

My books!

Well, I blog about everything else - I thought, why not blog about my books - because it is interesting to me how many books I read in a year.

I do have my sight at http://www.shelfari.com/rebeccajovincent/shelf

& this is showing that I've read 14 books so far this year... pretty cool....

So I'm going to keep that up, but also wanted to have a place where I could easily look back at the books I've read....

So here we go!