Book Review · Books

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

I haven’t read the whole Chronicles Of Narnia series. Yes, it’s a shame since it was one of the earliest series my mom would start to read to me as a little girl. As an adult I had heard bits and pieces about C.S. Lewis and his marriage, but until I read this stunning historical novel about his wife, Joy Davidman I had no idea all it entailed.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis sucked me into Joy’s 1950’s world of New York. She was married to Bill with two little boys. Her and her husband were both writers. Bill was an alcoholic and a cheater. Joy was miserable, but did her best to try and keep the peace at home.

One day Joy has a spiritual conversation of sorts. She decides to write to C.S. Lewis some of her spiritual, Christian questions. She had read one of this books and thought he may be able to provide her some insight. This brings to life a correspondence between them that gets intense. Bill starts to get concerned, but when Joy’s health goes down hill she is told she must get away to rest. Of course Joy decides to go to the UK, to C.S. Lewis, to finally meet the man, the myth, the legend. Will meeting her new friend be all she hopes it to be? Will Joy and C.S. Lewis’ friendship blossom, or will the reality of being in person dampen their connection?

This novel is the best love story I’ve read in a long time. I’m not into romance novels, but this one is sweetly written, magical, suspenseful and leaves you feeling stunned after the last page. If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis and want to read a historical novel that will keep you reading nonstop, and it’s over 400 pages, then I highly recommend this beautiful novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan care of TLC Book Tours from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are strictly my own. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this amazing book grab a copy from Amazon and check out more about the author, Patti Callahan. To get a sneak peak of the audio clips of chapters one and two: https://soundcloud.com/harperaudio_us/sets/becoming-mrs-lewis

Book Review · Books

Lifesaving For Beginners

Death is not an easy topic to talk about. Reasons for someone passing are varied and the effects of it last a life time. Author, Anne Edelstein, takes us on her journey through dealing with the unexpected death of her mom, who she longed affection from, but who gave it sparingly. Anne’s memoir is dark, raw, contemplative and wistful. Her extended family has dealt with death by suicide and the effects of not knowing the why still haunt her as Anne is trying to come to terms with her mom’s passing.

This memoir touches on the topics of death, family, siblings, mental illness, cancer, marriage, religion, children and legacy. Mrs. Edelstein weaves in the topic of swimming and how her love of swimming at her family’s favorite pond in Maine during the summer helped her connect with her mom through her act of swimming.

I received a complimentary copy of Lifesaving For Beginners by Anne Edelstein from Red Hen Press through TLC Book Tours. Opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. If you enjoy memoirs that bring you out of your comfort zone then I highly recommend this short book. If interested click here for Amazon and here to check out Mrs. Edelstein’s website.

Book Review · Books

The Girl In Building C

I can’t fathom being 16 and stuck living in a sanatorium with tuberculosis. Marilyn Barnes lived this reality in the 1940’s, during WWII. Marilyn lived with having different treatments and having strict bed rest. Getting letters from family and friends kept her spirits up and the different roommates she had throughout her stay at Ah-Gwanghwamun-ching State Sanatorium in MN. The Girl In Building C is the collection of her letters and photos from her three year stint at the sanatorium.

Only select activities were allowed. Marilyn’s life mainly consisted of reading, naps, and writing letters. She was only allowed certain privileges till her tests came back negative for tuberculosis and even then it was baby steps to doing normal things like going to the restroom. I love resting, napping and reading in bed, but what would my view be of it if that was my life for 3 years? Can you fathom not being allowed outside for months, or to even just walk around in the building? I always thought that expressions from the 50’s was a tad exaggerated in movies, but Marilyn’s hearty use of words and/or expressions like: swell, kids, gee, folks was fascinating. I didn’t realize those were from the 1940’s.

This book was educational. The procedures and surgeries that Marilyn endured boggle my mind. The mid 1940’s was not that long ago. Can you imagine having ribs removed?

This review is for an ARC of The Girl In Building C edited by Mary Krugerud from Edelweiss Plus care of the Minnesota Historical Society Press and is my unbiased, honest opinion. If you enjoy reading nonfiction that is in letter format you won’t be able to put this book down. If you enjoy researching different ailments then this book is a must read, though if you tend to be a hypochondriac or a vivid imagination then I might caution you.

Personal

Jesus Was A Saint

My job entails talking with people for my whole work shift. I am a people person, but being an empath makes it hard sometimes with all the range of emotions coming through my phone. I’ve gotten a thicker skin than I used to have, but when people get rude with me I react by getting teary vs getting firm back.

I was sitting at work the other day and thinking about how Jesus truly was a saint for the patience he had with humanity while living physically on earth with us. Having patience with people’s attitude is not easy. Sometimes if I get upset my voice gets wavery which is hard to disguise. I am a naturally happy person, but being social for my job nonstop is draining.

I have become quite the introvert over the years and my current job has increased that part of me on weekends so I can recharge for the upcoming week. I recharge by reading and mentally recharging. I do best hanging out one on one or in a small group. I don’t do big groups and I abhor sitting at a table in the middle of a restaurant. I feel overly vulnerable being in the middle of a room like that.

Is it easy to be nice 24/7? Nope. It’s very challenging, though being courteous isn’t hard. Sometimes it feels like society as a whole is depressed and negative. It makes it tough as an empath to feel that negative energy off and on all day. Can any of you relate?

Book Review · Books

Pull It Off

The cover is colorful. Julianna Zobrist loves color. Her picture on the front of her book makes me think of Lady GaGa due to the creative outfit she’s wearing. Her memoir Pull It Off is a short book filled with how we view our identity shapes us and our confidence.

She is not preachy, but Julianna shows through Biblical scripture our identity is in Christ. Julianna doesn’t harp on us being perfect, but on learning to accept our imperfections and allowing God to work through that. She provides stories from her life and what it’s like to be married to her professional baseball player husband.

This memoir was light hearted with nuggets of Biblical truth sprinkled in. Julianna is not your typical Christian living genre type author. She thinks and expresses herself outside the box. The chapter where Julianna describes how her home is decorated made me sit in awe. Think of Candy Land throwing up decorations all over her home. Yes, it’s that colorful and fun. The allegory about the dandelion at the end was emotionally powerful.

I received a complementary copy of Pull It Off by Julianna Zobrist from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are my own. If you love Christian books that are helpful, but not bossy in tone then you may enjoy this book. I hope Julianna will write more books.

Book Review · Books

LaLa Lovely

The title was different. LaLa Lovely. What kind of book would this be? Author, Trina McNeilly, compiles a collection of her essays about life and what it looks like to find beauty in life when all you feel you can see is pain. Her essays range from topics on friendship, family, creativity, self care, doubt, faith and more. Each chapter is graced with photos from her life. This book felt like a warm blanket on a chilly night. It keeps you warm, but eventually certain topics become too, hot, so you have to throw the blanket off and be honest with yourself. These essays are poetic, heart wrenching, inspiring and most of all written with love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you love memoirs, or essays on the above topics you will treasure this beautiful book. Thank you for sharing your heart Trina.

Book Review · Books

Shameless: A Sexual Reformation

If you love edgy, outside the box Christian then you’ll love any book by pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber. When I saw Shameless, as an option to possibly get to review I had to request it since I loved reading her book, Pastrix.

Shameless is a book about how the church and Christianity has made sex and sexuality something to be ashamed of if it doesn’t fit in the white conservative Christian picket fence family dynamics. Pastor Nadia shares some stories from a few of her parishioners that are gut wrenching and disturbing. She also, shared stories from her own life in how the way the church talked about sex was seen as dirty unless you were married. Pastor Nadia also, talks about the gender stereotypes kids are shaped into by their church and family. If you aren’t straight you can be viewed as sinful, off the straight and narrow and needing to be reigned in.

If you were a Christian teen in the 90’s you may recall the True Love Waits Movement that swept Christendom up in its hype. Did this movement prepare young Christian couples for intimacy in marriage? I’d wager no. Hearing your whole life you have to wait till marriage doesn’t exactly prepare you for the wedding night part. I get waiting for sex till you’ve found your forever partner, but just being told no without any directions on what to expect once there’s a green light is the blind leading the blind.

Sadly Christian schools and some Christian families are against sex education in schools. If Mom and Dad won’t have any in-depth talk then all those kids being pulled out of Sex Ed are oblivious to potential dangers when they slip up and go too, far when their sex drive awakens and I’m not meaning the potential pregnancy scenario.

This book was a really personal read for me being raised in a Christian home. I did survive public school Sex Education class. All I recall is there being a fill in the blanks body part test in fifth grade. I recall my parents helping me study for that. Only main thing I was told was not to wind up pregnant like so and so. Ah, how could I forget the book for preteens my parents gave me to read. I’ve always been a bookworm, but something’s are more personal when talked out vs being given a manual of sorts. I know talking about literal private things can be awkward for a parent, but I’d rather hear from my own parents on what to expect. I can relate in more ways than that with this book, but that could be a separate blog post.

This book gives me hope for Christendom. I have so many evolved views on sexuality, marriage, education and more. This one is a keeper and I can’t wait for it to come out so I can have a physical copy to highlight and notate to death.

This review is for a digital ARC of Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Boltz-Weber from NetGalley and is my own unbiased opinion. I loved this book. I adore how wise and snarky Pastor Nadia is with such an important topic. If you need someone who understands and has been through a similar upbringing then you’ll want to preorder a copy of Shameless. If you need someone to talk to or vent to feel free to contact me.