Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

If a book is suggested by a friend or other reliable source, do you read the cover before you decide whether or not to read it or do you take your friend's word on it?  Do you judge a book by the cover or do you read a few pages before you commit?  I ask these things, because I don't always read the information on the book before I dive in.  I end up with interesting things I NEVER would have read.  If I had read the reviews for the Sasquatch book, I probably wouldn't have read it.  If I hadn't have taken my librarian's word on Leaving Time, I probably wouldn't have listened to it.  There are many other books I've read over time that I wouldn't have chose for myself.  I'm glad that I've read those books, though, even if I didn't love all of them.

This is one of those books I probably wouldn't have picked for myself.  This book is full of heartbreak, family issues, and mystery.  There were times I almost wanted to cry for goodness sake!  I don't read fiction that makes people want to cry!  I read fiction about zombies and vampires, but this book was on the Summer Reading Challenge, I had to cross it off the list.  I gotta say, I'm glad I read this one, too!  I downloaded the audio for this book from my library's site for FREE!  We all love free books, after all.

This story is about a biracial family in the 1970's who is faced with the tragic loss of a teenage daughter.  Her mother, father, sister and brother are all trying to figure out what happened to her and why it happened.  They are all trying to cope with this disaster and learn to live without Lydia.  This will either destroy this family or bring them closer together as they reflect on the events that lead up to the day she disappeared.  There were a couple times I wondered if we would ever figure out exactly what happened, but thankfully, this book ended with adequate closure.  That's all the spoiler you will get out of me.

I thought this was really well read and really well written.  I'm not usually in tune enough to realize when a writer is using imagery and figurative language to build a story and get a point across, but I noticed with this book.  I'm not organized enough to take notes to give you specific examples, I'll work on that, but I really liked the prose used by this writer.  I would read more by Celeste Ng and have started following her on GoodReads.

I recommend you pick this one up.  I listened to the audio, but I think the written would have been just as good.  As always, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Divine By Mistake by PC Cast

Have you heard of P.C. Cast?  Well, you should!  P.C. Cast writes about Oklahoma girls!  While I have only read this one book so far, I know she has a couple other series where the protagonist is a woman from Oklahoma caught up in mystical circumstances.  There is a series about vampires in Oklahoma, (you know I wanna read those!) and a series about Oklahoma girls that end up as goddesses.

In this book, Broken Arrow high school English teacher, Shannon Parker, gets swept away to an alternate world where she finds out that she is the Goddess Incarnate and Beloved of the warrior goddess Epona.  She lives in a temple and is surrounded by hot guards and pretty hand maidens and is betrothed to a handsome centaur.  

This story is a non-stop adventure for Shannon, known as Rhea to the Partholonians.  It turns out Rhea is a much more gracious and kind leader than the real Rhiannon who forced her into this world. Is she strong enough to lead a whole country?  Will she ever make it home?  Does she actually want to go home?  Read it and find out!  

I borrowed this title from the library's digital downloads. Before I finished the last chapter I had already downloaded the second book!  If you are a fan of fantasy fiction, this is a must read.

Finished two books in two days?!?  My house must be a mess!  

What do you think?  Have you read any P.C. Cast?  Comment!

Esther (A Dangerous Beauty Novel Book #1): Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt

I am a fan of biblical fiction.  Especially the stories about the women of the bible.  I loved Red Tent.  I loved Sarah.  Now I love Esther. 

This book was written from two perspectives, the  obvious perspective of Esther, a middle class girl who ends up the queen of Persia when Persia pretty much ran the world, and the perspective of the king's chief attendant.  I thought this was genius!  The king's attendant gives us insight into what the king is thinking and is doing but without being arrogant like I would expect the king to be.  There may have been too great a contrast if the story was told from the haughty point of view of the king compared to the simple Jewish girl's point of view.

Coincidentally, there has been a series of sermons on the radio recently about the book of Esther.  I've listened to bits and pieces and this book followed pretty stinkin' close.  I REALLY love biblical fiction when it follows the Bible pretty closely.  I listened to the audio version of this book and I really enjoyed it, but I think I would have enjoyed reading it as well.  Give this one a try!

I wanna hear what you think!  Comment!  Email me!  Let's chat!  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

When God speaks

I set out recently to read the bible like a great novel. Really read the stories for what they are and enjoy the Good Book. When I finished Genesis and planned to move on to Exodus, because that is how a book works.  The reading plan in the app I was using guided me to Mark instead. That threw a wrench in my plan, so I ditched the app and set out on my own.

If you have experienced God working in your own life, you will know that doing things on our own without His guidance is usually a bad idea. I did pray over this dilemma, then cracked open the second book. I couldn't get more than a few verses in and I just couldn't read it! I'd get distracted by nothing and everything and I just couldn't get into it like I did with Genesis. I loved reading Genesis! There are so many good stories in those 50 chapters! I was so excited to see what happened to the children of Isreal next, but I just couldn't move on!

I prayed, "Okay, God, was I supposed to follow where the plan in the app lead? Was I supposed to skip to Mark? I'll try it that way if that is what You want me to do."  So I did. I opened the app, skipped all the rest of the stories in the Old Testament (much to my own sadness) and started to read Mark.

Know what happened? The same thing! I couldn't concentrate, I couldn't get into that book either!  What is going on here?!?  I put my Bible away for a while and focused on prayer. I asked God to guide me and show me clearly where I should start reading next. I got a very clear answer and it went something like this:

"April, you aren't finished with Genesis. You can't move on yet."

"But God, I finished all 50 chapters of Genesis, when I turn the page, I should be in Exodus."

"Yes, you read all the chapters, but did you really understand? Did you get any of My lessons while you were reading or were you just reading it to say that you had read it?"

Ooh, I guess He got me there.

Sometimes I feel like maybe God is leading me one way or another, but I don't feel 100% convinced it's God and not my brain doing it's own thing. This time I am hearing God's voice loud and clear. 

Since that conversation, another Bible study app I have, First 5, has started a study in Genesis and several of the radio shows I listen to have touched on different parts of Genesis. Coincidence? I think not.

I'm going to go back through Genesis and keep studying until God leads me to another book. I hope to tell you all lots of interesting things that I'm learning along the way. I doubt I'll find anything completely revolutionary and new, but maybe we will all gain some insight on God's plan for our lives. Stay tuned!

When is the last time you clearly heard from God?