Wednesday, September 30, 2009
(How's that for an opener?)
I triple pink puffy heart her writing.
I triple pink puffy heart her ability to captivate me.
I triple pink puffy heart her bravery when writing.
I simply gasp in delight when I find out she has a new book out (when I can pick it up in a blog tour it's even better).
But I can't say, I love her books. And I hate that because they are so darn good.
She tackles issues that I wouldn't touch. I once tried to write an abortion into my novel and simply couldn't do it. Too much controversy. Too much pain. Mary? She tackles sexual abuse and bitterness (Watching the Tree Limbs), interracial relationships (Wishing on Dandelions), child abduction and domestic abuse (Daisy Chain), and drug abuse, infidelity, tiptoes around abortion, and again, interracial relationships (A Slow Burn). But the overriding theme in all her books is redemption. And that's why I keep going back. Life isn't full of pink puffy hearts, for the most part and reality can be ugly. But redemption? It's there--in Jesus. And, as usual, Mary didn't disappoint. A Slow Burn is full of suspense and full of love and full of story and full of redemption. But it sure takes until the final, final, final to get there. Here's hoping book three hurries itself out.
To see what other people think about Mary's latest book A Slow Burn check here.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Just this spring I found and read Melody Carlson's I Heart Bloomberg and took great enjoyment in reading about these four very different young ladies sharing space, so when I got my paws on Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah I was eager to see what else was in store. Imagine my confusion, then, when I couldn't figure out WHAT was going on. It was like we skipped months and plot lines.
Um, yeah. Two books worth. Oops.
But once I started, I figured I'd figure it out. I mostly did. Though I will have to make a run to my library and get the other two before long. I don't care for missed plot lines. (And thankfully the author isn't one of those that spends 3/4 of the book rehashing what came before.) I honestly think it would have been easier had I NOT read the first book, as I think this one would stand alone if I didn't have 1/4 of the plot floating around in the back of my brain.
But, just for giggles, here's the info on this one. But I would prefer to recommend the whole series of 86 Bloomberg Place if you like girlie, roommates that don't get along and then eventually do drama-drama-drama plot lines. Dad, that would not be you. And I'm guessing not Sir Not-A-Guy, OJ, and JL either.
Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah
In the final installment of the 86 Bloomberg Place series, a crazed competition
for bridesmaids, wedding locations, and showers takes center stage
In a wild combination of Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, and Gilmore Girls—with all of the drama but none of the taboo—beloved author Melody Carlson offers readers her final installment in the 86 Bloomberg Place series, Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah (David C Cook, September 2009). Written in her well-known conversational, colloquial style, Carlson’s latest novel continues to follow four diverse young women, with varying levels of faith, differing interests, and unique personal issues, through the high dramas of their romantic lives.
The four-book 86 Bloomberg Place series offers an emotionally engaging look at the individual dilemmas of four unlikely female friends—Kendall, Lelani, Anna, and Megan—who share a small bungalow while launching their careers and maturing through difficult family situations and romantic relationships. Carlson’s unique ability to capture young women’s attitudes, voices, and heartfelt desires with meaningful storytelling keeps pace with the lives of her readers as she weaves varying perspectives and voices together with both humorous and poignant threads.
In Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah, Lelani has returned from Maui to Bloomberg Place with her toddler Emma and is trying to book her wedding date. Unfortunately, there are scheduling conflicts for that same weekend. For starters, Megan and Marcus have a family wedding commitment. Anna and Edmond have promised to attend his stepbrother’s Bar Mitzvah and, to everyone’s surprise, Kendall has just accepted her “Maui Man’s” proposal of marriage and also wants to be wed on that same weekend in June. Let the games begin!
To complicate matters, Lelani wants to keep her wedding simple, but Gil (the groom) has a Latina mama with other ideas. Meanwhile Kendall (the pregnant bride) wants to pull out all the stops on her wedding—and suddenly her absentee parents are on the scene. A crazed competition for bridesmaids, wedding locations, showers, attention, and a little peace and quiet takes over 86 Bloomberg Place. Yet at the same time, friendships are being forged that will last a lifetime.
With only two months to pull off both weddings (on the same day), the pressure is on, and the stress just might kill all promise of happily ever after. Are their friendships strong enough to weather the hassles and heartaches?
Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah by Melody Carlson
David C Cook/September 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
His New York TimesThe Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.
Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn the “protocol of heaven.”
In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can be a “Delivery Guy” from heaven in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.
You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and I expect to!”
I have to admit, this book terrifies me. I have a comfort zone. It is creeping tighter around me by the day. This philosophy does NOT bode well for my parameters. I know he's right (if not a little formulaic). We are God's instruments. Delivery people. Whatever. But I do not know how to do what I know I should do (even though he so clearly gives the "keys").
This is going to take a lot of work.
Books that make me work, make me strip off my self...I'm sure I'll be grateful eventually.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
If you've read my blog for long, you probably know my feelings about mothers of boys. As in, mothers of boys are a different creature than mothers of girls, even if the mothers of boys HAVE girls. It is even more apparent when the mothers of boys have boys first (b/c mothers of girls that have A boy somewhere in the middle still see life differently). Yes they are generalizations, and yes someone will be the exception, and no, I'm not singling anyone out, HOWEVER the trend (as I see it) is there. We can find one another in the crowd. We are usually marked by the blood smear on our shirt and we're the ones sitting on the sidelines calling out to our wresting sons, "Privates are off limits mister. I don't care how goofy it looks on America's Funniest Home Videos! Dude, you totally deserved that kick to the chin; I saw you bite his ankle!" Well that, and our sons are the ones wrestling...and our daughters have potentially jumped into the fray.
So there was this book I was going to write. It was going to talk about the wonder of what it means to be a mother of boys and the joys and [smell] honor and responsibility that incurs. My book began with a popped light bulb. (For you mother's of daughters, that is how you describe the phenomenon that occurs when a son jumps off the top of the refrigerator (Oh, I kid. It was the table...or was it the stove? I was in the basement and only heard the thud and the hearsay) and the light in the basement actually explodes and is rendered dead in the socket.) I'm not sure how my book was going to end. Hopefully with the boys surviving until college. But I won't know, either, because Jean Blackmer wrote it before I could get the light bulbs replaced and write it myself. And if you are a mother of boys (even if it is only one and he's surrounded with seven sisters) this book is a valuable resource.
About the book: Raising boys isn't easy. Life with them is loud. If it's quiet, they're probably up to something. Boys are messy, competitive, fearless, and proud. Living with them pretty much guarantees that you're in for an adventure.
In Boy-sterous Living, Jean shares a few of the priceless stories and laugh-out-loud lessons that she and her boys have experienced over the years. With humorous insight and practical advice, she offers encouragement and ideas to help both mothers and fathers impact and shape the lives of their sons. From understanding their love of sports to overcoming the superman complex, Jean shows moms how to find joy and contentment in everyday life by celebrating the laughter, passion, noise, and endless energy boys bring to our lives.
About the author: Jean is currently the Publishing Manager for MOPS International and she's been free-lance writing for 16 years. She has been published in a variety of local and national publications, including: Guideposts, MomSense, Today's Christian Woman, Christian Parenting Today, American Girl, Proverbs 31 Woman, Chicken Soup for the Mother and Son Soul, Chicken Soup Cookbook for the Busy Mom's Soul, Focus on the Family's Teen Phases, Guideposts Miracle Series, and others.
She also co-authored her first book, Where Women Walked: Powerful True Stories of Women's Perseverance and God's Provision. (Tyndale/Focus on the Family, 2004) This book was nominated for a Gold Medallion Award.
Jean graduated from the
CONTEST: Enter your grossest or funniest moment as a mom of a boy (No boys? That’s okay – we still want to hear your story!) and you could win movie tickets and a snack for you and a friend to escape! Share your story by emailing your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org or posting it on the Moms of Boys facebook page!
And if you want to know what other people are saying about Boy-Sterous Living, check here.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
We put on a front. We smile and act nice. Some of us even are nice. We want to win over our crotchety neighbors that love to incite us to anger and then use that anger as proof that they would never want to join OUR club. But who wants to join up with a bunch of people who won't admit that life is sometimes ugly?
Anyway, when I read the description for Christianish; What if We're Not Really Following Jesus At All? I had to see if Mark Steele had any wisdom for me and my dilemma.
Back Cover Copy:
Rediscover what it means to live like Christ and ditch the ish.
Somewhere between cold faith and hot pursuit lies lukewarm spirituality. And in the media between the wide path and the narrow road we find the middle ground of the spiritual walk. It’s something not quite Christian. More like…Christianish.
Christianish tells the story of one man’s journey to move from the in-between to a life centered on Christ. To move forward, author Mark Steele goes back to the beginning, to examine Christ’s life and words. Through stories and insights that are sometimes profound, often hilarious, and always honest, Mark delivers a compelling look at what our faith is all about.
(I'm back) And that copy doesn't even do the book justice. I rather expected dry reading and the first page (of the prologue, no less) left me gasping for air. This guy is hilarious. He opens the chapters with vignettes from his life that, gracious, who can tell stories like that? And then whamo! Smacks you upside the head with a figurative two by four of truth. Seriously, there are so many underlined passages in my book, I may as well just re-read the whole thing.
One of my favorites?: "...we cannot truly exemplify godliness until we shut up." [! *] (pg 103, top paragraph)
Oh, but what stemmed my rambling opening came from page 45, top paragraph. Oh, it's gooooood.
(that was your teaser)
Every now and then I come across a book I would like to go through with people. This is one. Anyone wanna?
Thursday, September 03, 2009
I figure I go to the doctor once a year and, by golly, I am going to see a doctor, even if I do have to schedule myself three and a half months out.
As, as I have mentioned, I insist upon seeing the Doctor (MD, that is), and, as I have mentioned, I only see him once a year (and usually a little more than that as I forget that I have to schedule three months out and sometimes my schedule conflicts with my schedule once the three months is up and I have to reschedule--three months out), I save up all my woes for the year to ask him about.
Like the moles on my back that my chiropractor called "suspicious."
Like the fact that my vision has done some random fuzzy, blurry, tunnel vision, woozy things.
Like the burning in my stomach that sometimes grows to pain of such ferocity that not only can I not sleep (did that double negative there?), I can't even lie down and must rock back and forth on all fours and then prowl about the house at 3AM when others in the house are trying to sleep.
Like the high blood pressure???! (what?)
Didn't know about the last one until my appt. this morning. And most of you would consider my blood pressure "normal" but I assure you that for a woman who can be five days overdue and in labor and still have a blood pressure of 98/63, 130/78 is HIGH.
What the heck?
Guess what he told me?
My mom asked, "Is there anything WORSE he could have told you?"
Well, I'm sure there was, but under the circumstances, I'm having a hard time thinking of what that might be. (no lectures, I know, nothing is malignant, I'll live until I'm 90---if I give up the coffee---but GAH!)
Which brings me to the book I read this week, TOTALLY FOR FUN, which extrapolates on the joy of coffee. Let me give you a few nuggets from The God Cookie:
"'If you drink enough coffee, you can forget to eat for roughly two days before your eyes roll up in your head and you collapse into a twitching heap.'"
Does that sound like blurred tunnel vision? This sentence would resonate with me for a reason, that's for sure.
And this: "'I always wanted to help humanity through the caffeine arts.'"
Followed by this: "'They sip, that tension between their eyes releases, their eyebrows come to life. You see the happy blinking after the first blush of caffeine rises to their cheeks and they can face the day, a productive, caffeinated human being.'"
He's been spying on me, I tell you!
Seriously, though goofy, this book was also meaty. I loved this: "What if he'd never risked anything, never put anything on the table but always expected God to play? Hadn't he treated God, often as not, more like a magic dispenser than a fellow player at a game of cards?"
Anyhoo, I discovered Geoffrey Wood when he wrote Leaper which is a fabulous Unbreakable-meets-Jumper-meets-GOD off-the-wall extraordinarily fun and awesome read (deep breath) and when I saw The God Cookie (and I've waited FAR TOO LONG for another by this guy--it's been like two years, dude (Um, however it has apparently been out since February, but don't read that the wrong way. I just got it last week. I'm slow on the uptake of new releases if I don't see them on a review list.)) I snatched and coveted and snarfed it down in a satisfying, can't-get-anything-done-I'm-readin' kinda bibliofile gluttonous feast.
And if you're into that kind of thing, you won't want to miss, well, frankly, either of them.
Even if you don't like coffee. You crazy person, you.
(Look at that! Leaper is only a penny. A PENNY people! That is wrong on so many levels.)
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
What is it about an open bag of chips on the table that demands to be consumed?
Musta been a lot of MSG in that bag to call me like that.