Book Review · Books

Questions Of Perspective

Dave is an attorney who works at befriending his colleague John. The two become great friends. One day John doesn’t come to work for a few days without any warning or preamble. Dave is concerned so he offers to go check on John. When he arrives at John’s place his landlord acts drunkenly surprised that his tenant is MIA. He allows Dave to go into John’s appointment to see if he’s home, but there is no one there. The only inhabitant is his cat, Peaches. Since Dave feels bad for the cat he asks the landlord if he can watch over Peaches till John is found. The landlord seems fine with that.

Dave tries to locate John, but can’t. He’s utterly disappeared. After a year goes by Dave is out briefly during his work lunch break and bumps into John. Understandably he’s furious that John just abandoned his job and cat. What John shares briefly with Dave is what it’s like to be God and know/see everything. Dave in confounded. John explains that he, himself have become God. Dave is skeptical, but the glimpse John allowed Dave to have changed Dave. Living a mundane existence didn’t cut it any longer, so Dave decides to change his life. Journey with Dave as he processes what it’s like to have his friend become divine and how he works to answer the questions John/God pose to Dave.

This novel was outside the box. We have enough challenges with the Western view of God, but what if one of your closest friends became God and then life started not going as you planned? What if God wouldn’t answer your prayer? The characters are memorable. I like how Peaches goes on hikes with Dave, leash free.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Questions Of Perspective by Daniel Maunz from Black Rose Writing, care of TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are mine and my choice.

Book Review · Books

Affirming

Sally was raised in a Christian church that adamantly believed being gay was a sin and not what God wants. She was devout in her faith and loved her church. She was raised in a strong Christian home where her parents and grandparents showed and reflected their faith to her through how they lived their lives. The challenge came when she noticed she didn’t like boys in the same way her girl friends did. Instead she got crushes on girls. This quandary bugged Sally because she wanted to the do the right thing. She tried, prayed and begged God to change her desires. Nothing worked. When Sally encounters believers who have a different view of monogamous gay relationships between believers what she has tried to believe is challenged. Follow Sally as she goes on a faith journey to figure out just what exactly God wants.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Affirming by Sally Gary from William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This memoir I couldn’t put down. Sally is candid and not preachy, but kindly shares her faith throughout. She talks about how not only how her church helped shape who she is, but the impact her family had on her with how they showed love to others through their hospitality. I can relate to Sally when it comes to always having different people coming over for dinner or staying with your family for months at a time when you are growing up. Flexibility and patience is key. I think this is an excellent book to help open up an important discussion within the church. If you have read God And The Gay Christian or Torn, then you’ll want to add Affirming to your Christian LGBTQA library collection.

Book Review · Books

The Grown Woman’s Guide To Online Dating

Dating in this day and age is plain weird. If you are a Christian woman wading through the different dating apps out there, trying to figure out how do they work, are there any good men left, then this short book may be just right for you. If you aren’t straight, then this book isn’t written for you in mind, but the different nuggets within this book’s pages just may help you as well (just substitute gender, etc.).

The author goes through the joys, pitfalls and lessons she’s learned through online dating. Each section tackles a different topic. If you aren’t sure how to compose a profile, then Miss Starbuck will give you examples and also, provide examples of things not to put in your profile. She does interject some faith points throughout her book and quotes by different people. The author also, tackles ways to detect fake profiles and how to be savvy with friend zoning dates that don’t make the potential forever cut.

I was expecting this book to be more heavy on the faith aspect, but honestly it was more faith light. One of the quotes given at the start of a chapter was by Marianne Williamson, which surprised me since she promotes A Course In Miracles. But I know a lot of believers are more progressive than traditional. I can relate to that.

I received my complimentary copy of The Grown Woman’s Guide To Online Dating by Margot Starbuck from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and my own choice.

Book Review · Books

Those Who Prey

College is a time for freedom, to discover yourself, enjoy dorm life and take the classes that interest you. Emily was thrilled to go away to Boston, away from her home in the south. Dorm life wasn’t the greatest. College life was lonely, until a cute guy interpreted her reading at the local coffee shop.

Josh invites her to hang out with his friends Heather and Andrew. Emily is excited to meet new people and make new friends. Heather seems very nice and that she wants to become genuine friends. Emily gets invited to an event where she gets a glimpse into the group that her new friends are involved in. Heather isn’t religious, but hearing one of the leader’s speak she is transfixed. Who doesn’t want improve their life, to discover their spirituality?

Heather is Emily’s mentor of sorts and as Emily goes through the process of learning and growing it seems Heather becomes even more controlling. Emily brushes off the caution in her gut. Heather wants the best for her, right?

When an internship spot opens up through the group Emily wants to go since Josh is going. The only challenge is that Heather wants to go. Which of them will get picked?

I received my digital complimentary copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett from Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This book will make a great conversation piece. This novel is a cautionary tale of sorts and an important one. I’m still processing my reaction.

Book Review · Books

In The Neighborhood Of True

Ruth Rob moves to Atlanta from New York after her father passes. Living with her grandparents, along with her mom and sister is different. Her grandparents are well off and into social status. Ruth is plain Jane, but wants to fit into the new social circle she’s trust into at her new private school. Her mom is not wanting her daughter to get into the whole debutante scene that she ran away from herself. She wants her daughter to keep her independent self intact, not become a fufu sheep.

Ruth has her own secret she holds to her heart. Her Jewish faith. When Ruth decides she wants to participate in the social ball her mom makes her agree to going to the local Temple with her. There Ruth meets Max. He’s a tad quirky, but he’s not Ruth’s crush, Davis whose part of the fufu crowd at school. Both teen boys vey for her attention.

Diving into life in Atlanta in the late 50’s is fraught with social clashes between Jews, whites and blacks. When an awful event happens, Ruth has to determine which teen boy is worthy of her. Is Davis all true charm? Is Max just nerdy, or is there more depth to him? Will Ruth ever come clean about her own beliefs?

This novel delves into the ugly topic of racism in the south in the 50’s. This book’s description of this era is spot on. Written charmingly, details so accurate I want to put on bright classy red lipstick and a cute skirt with a cardigan. There are details in this novel I wanted to jump up to Google because it sounded so unique I wondered if it was truly something from that era.

I received my complimentary digital copy of In The Neighborhood Of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton from Algonquin Books, Care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and my own choice. This book is hard to put down. It handles the topics within it honestly, raw and with grace. I hope the author will choose to write a sequel.

Books

The Depth Of Six Feet Under (SPOILERS)

Last night I pretty much finished my fourth round of watching Six Feet Under all the way through. Each time I do a different character stands out to me. This round didn’t disappoint.

If you haven’t ever watched this highly popular HBO drama, then you are missing out. The only warning I have is there is a hearty dose of colorful language, nudity, violence and of course different death scenes at the start of every episode. If you find funeral homes fascinating, then do proceed.

A quirky family that owns a funeral home in Los Angeles. You’ve got the three offspring. One is following in their father’s footsteps (David), the elder son who escaped before getting sucked into the family business (Nate) and the youngest, Claire whose moody, artistic and still in high school. Their mother, Ruth is a repressed woman who secretly is having an affair with her hairdresser. Their father, Nathaniel, Sr. is engrossed in his family business with occasional time with his kids. When the father is in a fatal accident his sons have some big choices to make. It doesn’t help that it happens on Christmas Eve.

This show delves into the psyche of the different characters. This fourth watch had me change my angelic like view of Nate and how the character Brenda gets royally screwed over ultimately after she worked through her own issues, to focus on staying true and present with Nate and his young daughter, Maya. I saw the realistic representation of a person off their antidepressant medication through Billy’s character. Seeing Ruth’s character blossom after she grieves her husband’s passing is epic. Not only does she deal with deep grief, but menopause. David’s character is very adolescent like at the start when he’s still coming out to himself and learning his self worth and confidence. I still can’t say I’m a fan of Keith. Claire is one of my favorite characters. She’s moody, but how she comes into her own throughout the show is inspiring.

This time around the character that stood out to me most is Brenda. She’s a complex character whose always been thrown into the motherly role with her brother since her academic parents are too, obsessed with their clinical work. Billy is a ball of ranging emotions he helps curb with medication and having Brenda at his beck and call. When Brenda attempts to create her own life without Billy being front and center it doesn’t go over well. Brenda loves Nate, but commitment feels foreign and scary, so she acts out different fantasies. After a turn of events she chooses Nate and they marry, but sadly things aren’t as they seem.

This show deals with topics that are very adult. The subject of death is the central theme with other topics that range from suicide, marriage, divorce, domestic abuse, mental illness, coming out, children and more. I don’t know why I love this show so much. It never fails that anytime I hear the end finale song I’ll bawl my eyes out. I think I love how deep each character is in their own weird, twisted way. This show can be challenging to stomach at times, but to me the end result shows just how important family relationships are and that dynamic can be varied.

Personal

42 Reflections On My Life

1. Being a preemie survivor is a lot to mentally digest.

2. I have no shame in eating pizza with a fork and knife.

3. Were braces worth the four years of headgear torture?

4. Being a bookworm has always been a comfort to me.

5. I always seem to be drawn to the underdogs because I, myself am one.

6. Fashion is overrated compared to wearing comfy clothes.

7. Being babysat by a lady who rakes inside her house? Priceless.

8. First kisses sometimes don’t count.

9. Friendships come and go like the seasons.

10. I never allowed myself to be a classic girlie girl after my brief stint liking the color pink in 1st grade.

11. I don’t like odd numbers.

12. I can be very chatty or quiet depending on my mood.

13. I love writing poetry.

14. My first celebrity crush at 8 was Fergie.

15. I got to be in the audience of “Kids Inc.” as a preteen. That experience opened my eyes to the cruelties of Hollywood.

16. As a little kid I would dutifully look in the newspaper for any local movie auditions. I wanted to be an actress.

17. I still recall how much I loved my cheesy Punky Brewster high tops that had her hologram face on the side.

18. I loved being a tomboy with enjoying He-Man and Transformers.

19. As kid I had a big imagination (still do) and enjoyed exploring a ditch behind my house. Loved to make up stories to go along with random items found.

20. I was a dare devil as a little kid. I’d ride on my plastic imitation big wheel and fly down the street. It was a very steep street. I’m shocked I was allowed to.

21. I always wonder what my life would be like with a different name.

22. When I was 8 I wanted to be a pastor.

23. I was quite the legalist as a child. No drinking soda in the car.

24. I lived through the Loma Prieta earthquake. Once you’ve experienced one you never forget.

25. Reaching 100 books read in one year is a great feat, but a lonely one.

26. I will always love Six Feet Under, This Is Us, The Fosters and Gilmore Girls.

27. Trees energize me as does rainy/cloudy weather.

28. I can’t stand dresses, but a part of me longs to wear 40’s/50’s vintage style dresses.

29. Worst haircut of my life was a buzz cut.

30. Coming out to oneself is the hardest thing EVER.

31. I’ve always felt ‘different’ from others since I was a little kid.

32. As a small child I was always nervous hearing planes flying overhead, afraid of b**bs. I didn’t watch war movies growing up, but then fell in love with WWII in 4th grade. A few years ago watching a documentary on that topic I had a flashback of living in that time period. That freaked me out. Maybe there is something to past lives.

33. I believe God is BIGGER than any Holy book.

34. I was bullied for being so small and short.

35. I have a Booktube addiction.

36. I studied with a JW for four months. Fascinating to be challenged to explain my faith and why I believe what I do. Sadly that friendship’ was not legit.

37. I don’t know why cults are fascinating to research (JW, Mormonism, etc). I think it’s the desire to belong and have your life scripted for you. I think there’s a comfort in that and a feeling of safety.

38. I am learning in life it’s not about how many friends you have, but the quality of friends, those you can truly trust with your life.

39. I can’t believe I’ve been a book blogger for over 3 years.

40. I never expected to love reading fiction from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

41. I’ve always felt awkward about receiving gifts, like I’m not worthy to.

42. LOVE is not cookie cutter.

Book Review · Books

Awful Beautiful Life

I just finished the last page. Becky Powell’s memoir is memorizing in its crushing, Hellish storyline. Honestly I’m shocked her faith held out through her whole ordeal. That’s how faithful God is. I can’t fathom having a spouse, or family member chose suicide. Just that mere tragedy alone is mental breakdown territory, but Becky’s faith surged on day one after her husband, Mark’s passing. She started her day off reading her Bible. Heck I would be too, mixed between sobbing hard or raging to be able to sit and read the Bible. I’d most likely be mad at God. I’m sure Becky struggled with that, but she pressed on in trusting Him when the average person would be like, “Not now.”

Not only did Becky deal with the passing of her spouse and best friend, but she had to solider on to muddle through the financial scandal her husband left her with. This is a whole can of worms topic. So many marriages have the traditional role of the husband strictly handling the finances while the wife takes care of the home and children. I vote for wives to be fully aware of and involved when it comes to their team finances.

I’m still mentally and emotionally processing this memoir. It was so intense, powerful, and such a testament to how life can turn crappy, but God is still there along side you.

I received my complimentary copy of Awful Beautiful Life by Becky Powell with Katherine Reay from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own choice. Thank you Faith Words, Hatchett Book Group for the opportunity to read such a beautiful book. It’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to come back to earth once this book hangover subsides.

Book Review · Books

Book Connection

Some books you just soak up. I noticed this book at a local used bookstore, but it was a tad pricy hardcover, so I resisted. When I saw it at the library my eyes lit up. I just finished The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. It was a gem filled with gorgeous photos, quotes and interviews with a wide range of individuals. Each section covers a different topic.

I’m not an Oprah groupie by any means, but this book she put together is so inspiring, convicting, educational and eye opening. I definitely want to secure my own copy so I can book tab it all over.

Thank you Oprah for opening your soul and allowing the world to see you fully as you are. You are a wonderful woman who blazes a path ahead for those of us learning to take our first independent spiritual steps.

Book Review · Books

Life At 8mph

I dragged finishing Life At 8mph. I didn’t want this memoir to end. It was too, rich in life to have to get to the last page. This book will have you laughing about every page. The author has a way of describing a scene that is so vivid you just need popcorn while reading.

Peter was needing a new job and saw a job posting at his seminary. Little did Peter realize the adventure he was about to embark on part time. When he arrived to meet Richard he didn’t realize that Richard has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. Richard didn’t let Peter escape with the, “I need to pray about if I should accept this job,” since Richard was a reverend of sorts, so he just offered they prayed together on the spot. This memoir is Peter’s journey helping Richard with seminary classes and day to day things. The adventures these two go on are hilarious, sobering and inspiring.

This book was so satisfying that I hope Peter will write a sequel. If you need a great book on the power of friendship then this is a wonderful book to splurge on, or gift to a new friend. Peter is not preachy, though there are Christian nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout this book.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Life At 8mph by Peter Bowling Anderson from KiCam Projects. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. I can’t shut up about how much I love this memoir. Now all we need is Richard to write his memoir.