Thursday, February 4, 2016

5: After the Crash

After the Crash was on the New Fiction table at my library so I read it with no preview. It kept my attention the whole way through. The mystery of the girl was is really well done, with several twists that surprised me. There was one aspect of the story that I strongly disliked, but I can't talk about it without giving away too much. It wasn't enough that I wouldn't recommend the book, and I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Amazon description HERE.

3: Revival

My third book was Revival by Stephen King. It came with the same level of sex and swearing as any other King novel, but didn't feel gratuitous. (Full disclosure, I did skip over the sex scene.) It was just scary enough to make me tingle, but not scary enough to keep me up at night. The story takes place over many decades and watching the main character go through major stages of life was really interesting. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Amazon description HERE.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2: Stone and Spark:

My second book for 2016 was Stone and Spark: Book 1 in the Raleigh Harmon Mystery series. This was a Kindle freebie, and that promotion will certainly pay off for the publisher; I would definitely read more titles from Sibella Giorello. I loved the writing style and the dry humor of the protagonist. Her inner monologue is well developed and her snark is on point. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Amazon's story description HERE.

Monday, February 1, 2016

4: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

My friend Nancy recommended my 4th book to me, and I'm so glad she did. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was a fantastic book, and my library carried the eBook so it was also free. If you truly love books, then a book about a bookseller who talks about books all the time is simply delicious. It has many beautiful and bittersweet moments, and the relationships are very raw and real. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Amazon description HERE.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

1: The Secrets of Lake Road

My first book this year was The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur. I don't remember where I heard of this book, probably on Goodreads.  The plot premise was great, which was what drew me in. It was clearly written by a beginning writer, but it was an engaging story. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads because I felt like it needed polishing and at least a few more chapters. The PG13 sex scene felt like it was added in to cover all the bases, although I did get that she was trying to show the dysfunctional nature of the relationship. I would like to have seen a bit more development of the Johnny character or his elimination entirely; the in-between didn't work for me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In which I describe my high levels of book nerdery....

I read 66 books in 2015. The shortest was more like a booklet, a 27 page read by Ted Dekker about his faith journey. The longest was one of the Harry Potter books, at 870 pages. So I figure just count each one and somewhere it balances out.

60. When People Are Big And God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Edward T. Welch. If you think you don't need to read this book because you don't struggle with this area, I assure you that you do need to read it and you probably do have a struggle in this area. On some level I think all people fear others; I certainly do and knew it, but didn't know how deep that ran. This was an insightful book but also offers some good practical advice on how to stop being a weenie about all the things.

61. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. Great story and characters, an enjoyable read. I didn't love that the point of view kept changing from 1st to 3rd, and the story at times was predictable. But her insight into the mindsets and thinking of the Amish was really interesting.

62. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them by Newt Scamander (JK Rowling). Charming and informative, a fun read for any devoted Harry Potter fan. I loved the entries on the Yeti and Loch Ness Monster especially.

63. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). This is the 2nd book in her Cormoran Strike series and really good. Definitely more sweary than I would prefer, but a great murder mystery.

64. Page After Page: Discover the confidence and passion you need to start writing and keep writing. by Heather Sellers. I loved this book! Incredibly insightful and both helpful and encouraging.

65. Waking Up - How I Found My Faith By Losing It by Ted Dekker. Dekker is an odd duck and his books always reflect that. I generally have loved his books. This was a booklet and it was okay. I understood what he was trying to do, to share his own struggles with his faith and how God led him back. I honestly just found it mostly boring, and a bit presumptuous. Dekker believes that all Christians are struggling with living out what they claim to believe, and I disagree. I think he's missing that sanctification is a lifelong process, that as we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, He is faithful to change us and grow us in ways we couldn't have dreamed possible. It seems that no one ever explained this to Dekker when he was a new/young believer, which is a shame.

66. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This is a classic for good reason. If you're not familiar with it I highly encourage you to check it out.

Now on to 2016!

Friday, December 11, 2015

That Family

{I wrote this at the beginning of October but for some reason never published it. A lot of this has quieted down since then, but there are still headlines about them often enough that I decided it's still relevant to post now.}

Are we done with the Duggars yet? Because this whole thing is exhausting. I'm tired of hearing about them, I'm tired of seeing the headlines. Please please let it just go away already. I have seen many wild opinions about all of this, from unquestioned support to complete hatred. The one strong opinion I have about this is that while many people are too quick to judge, many others are too quick to defend.

I'm a Christian, so I get the desire that other Christians have to defend the Duggars. We don't like when the media/public/internet trolls pick on any of our Christian family. But here's the thing. It is NOT OUR JOB to defend the Duggars. Just like everyone else who only has a dim picture of what really happened, we have no business telling others that they should stop picking on them and give them back their TV show. Like it or not, unfair or not, hateful or not, this family chose to become a reality TV family. Doing so comes with the whole enchilada of scrutiny about how you live your lives and raise your many kids. And I heart Michelle Duggar, don't get me wrong, but her doe-eyed innocence of what the outside world is really like is not my problem. This is a harsh way to learn that the world outside of your bubble has always thought you were fruitcakes, and now thinks you are terrible people.

I have no idea if Jim Bob and Michelle handled the situation correctly. I have no idea how I would have handled it were I in their situation. People always think they would do the right thing but many have never had to make a hard choice themselves. I'm by no means giving them a pass; they started filming their TV show within a few years of Josh's confession, and it doesn't seem like they gave any consideration that this could eventually come out. Why they chose to do this show is a mystery to me, because if they wanted to use it as a platform for the Gospel, they might want to actually mention Jesus on the show once in a while. I'm just saying.

As with any negative event in our own lives, God is no doubt using this to draw the Duggars closer to Him as they go through a very public refining process. My prayer is simply that God's will would be done in this family.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

IEP once again

E's IEP meeting went very well. I was super nervous, as I always am going into these, but I really started to lose my nerve when E's therapist texted and said she would have to join the meeting via phone as she was sick in bed with a fever. And of course my husband went back to day shift this week, so he couldn't attend either. I put out my DefCon 5 prayer alert on Facebook and man my people rocked it. I got so many replies with prayers and support, and then private messages and texts and phone calls. This is what Christian community is about, and I definitely felt every word of prayer that was spoken.

The requests we made for better assistive technology for E's dysgraphia got a very positive response. It's still in the red-tape-paperwork-process but they've already gotten him a loaner Chromebook that he's thrilled about.  We also were in disagreement with the school psychologist & speech therapist who don't believe he needs speech pragmatics therapy. I think I made a solid case for why he needs this and why the evaluation they did was faulty, and the E's therapist backed me up on this.

In the meantime, I dropped off E's application to attend our local tech school (next year). I'm praying that he gets in; everyone I've talked to about this believes this would be the best environment for him. When I took him to the open house he LOVED it and was fascinated by all of the computer class options they offer. I love that tech school has come so far from when I was back in high school, and the stigma of it is gone. There's a limited number of seats that our own school district is willing to sponsor, and I'm concerned that his grades will hinder his chances. It's definitely in God's hands!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A blog about a blog

Have you heard of Study With Friends? It's a great ministry with free resources, such as printables for Bible studies, along with podcasts you can learn so much from. I've been downloading the various series to listen to on my walks and I can't get enough of them.  So imagine the giant stroke to my ego honor that it was when I was invited to join the team by writing for their blog. Cool, right? (There's no punchline, it really is cool.) Hope you like it!

They put up a fancy little blurb about me with a nice picture on their Meet the Friends page. I wanted to use this picture but they picked the other one for some reason. #doctrinaldifferences

Monday, December 7, 2015

I have E's IEP meeting this afternoon and I'm nervous about it, so naturally I'm thinking about books instead.

57. Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince

58. AD: 33 by Ted Dekker. I have a mixed review of this one. I liked it, but like the first book, there are long stream of consciousness monologues where the protagonist explores her feelings, and the plot stalls. This happens often, and seems to be the deus ex machina of Dekker's books anymore. There's no action that resolves problems so much as there is spiritual change. Not that this isn't how God often works in our lives, but for fiction it's a bit dry.

59. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. King is a master and this doesn't disappoint. Very long book but an incredible story that brought me to tears. The ending has stayed with me for days.

60. Just started The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith and enjoying it so far.