What I’ve read lately

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I don’t seem to be consistent at writing book reviews anymore, probably since my book club message board faded away. Until I get that sorted out in my brain (possibly with the aid of a to-do-list app) I’ll attempt regular posts with thoughts on what I’ve read. At the least, I’ll have a record of books read! Yes, I have that at GoodReads, but this should be easier to note in a chronological manner. And I’m partial to this blog, anyway, so I’d rather have lists here. ;)

I was sent a reading challenge on Pinterest that I liked, so I’ll be choosing some of my reading material in 2015 based on that list. Here’s what I have for January:

A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet, plus A book by a female author – Always on My Mind (Susan May Warren). Soooo good!

A non-fiction book – From Tablet to Table (Leonard Sweet). Interesting, thought-provoking and hopefully practical for my own life.

A book from an author you haven’t read yet, plus A book you own but have never read – Firewall (DiAnn Mills). Good suspense, interesting premise!

A book you can read in a day – The Ordinary Princess (M.M. Kaye). I should re-read this every year, I love it so much!

A memoir – My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business (Dick Van Dyke). Very interesting, though I admit that I was lost at times with references to show biz names I hadn’t yet heard. Pretty long career for me to know everyone, though, plus his interest in silent films, knowledge of which I am quite lacking. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the read and feeling like I got to know a favourite actor better. :)

And I’m currently reading The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman) but I haven’t checked where that might fit on the challenge list. It’s been on my shelf since summer and I promised to pass it on to my mum, so I better read it!

I’ve requested two more titles from Tyndale, including Unveiled Wife (a blog I’m familiar with), and then want to save a space for the next Susan May Warren, book five in the Christiansen Family series. It would be nice if I could get them all as review ebooks, but I’m hooked on the series anyway!

Now I need to organise my days enough that I know when to fit in reading along with other pursuits. I can understand when people say they don’t have time to read, but if it’s important to you (and it is to me) you make time!

Review: From Tablet to Table (Leonard Sweet)

This ebook was provided by the publisher for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

This was an interesting non-fiction selection. I’d never heard of Sweet before, but after reading this particular book, I definitely want to sit down for a meal at his house! ;) I liked hearing about the connection between food and teaching in the New Testament, and I nodded many times at his insights on the disconnect that happens nowadays with so many people addicted to screens and not caring about healthy, homemade meals. I hope the insights Sweet shared in this book will result in a more lively mealtime tradition in my own home.

Review: Always on My Mind (Susan May Warren)

This ebook was sent to me by the publisher for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.

I’m always excited when it’s time to read a Susan May Warren book. Good romance and family drama are ahead of me, from a Christian author as well. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed with this latest novel from Warren. Really good story and characters, satisfying ending. Warren knows how to deliver! :)

I’m looking forward to the next novel in the series and I hope it won’t be too long!

Susan May Warren guest post!

My review for Susan May Warren’s latest book, Always on my Mind, is coming soon! While you wait, here’s a little something from the author herself. :)

It’s January.

This is what my town looks like in January.

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Do you see the cold pallor? The icy streets? Right now, I am currently sitting under a blankie, with little half-gloves on to keep my fingers warm.

I know, I know. WHY do we live here?

Because it’s a gorgeous place to set a story. Located on the rocky shores of Lake Superior, it’s a little touch of Lake Woebegone – all the men are good-looking, all the women heroic. And it has the overtones of small town Cheers, where everyone knows your name. Which means that when you get into trouble, the entire town knows about it. Ack!

Welcome to Deep Haven, the home of the Christiansen family!

Their resort…Evergreen Outfitters and Cabin Rentals is located on an inland lake in the woods, nestled among the pines, serenaded by the call of the loons and the waves against the shore.

And if you haven’t met the Christiansens, they’re a crazy, love big and live life out loud family who might be a little like my family. (And one that might feel like yours, too!) The six adult children and two parents run a resort and try to figure out faith while living life (that often goes wrong). They make mistakes, but they love each other through them.

Not unlike our family. (That’s us, not the Christiansens. Just in case you might be confused.)

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The Christiansen family series follows each one of the adult children through their trials and triumphs of falling in love and finding their way in the world. The next book hits the shelves in the next month – Always on My Mind, a story about Casper, brother #2, who just can’t get the wrong girl off his mind…

Right now, I’m hunkered down writing book #6…The Day After Forever, the last story in the series, a story that asks…can Prodigals come home? (Um, I sure hope so!)

I wanted to write a series about a family with adult children, learning what it meant to carry on the legacy of faith into their lives. And I wanted to write a series that would really let readers dig into the family, feel like they were a part of their journey. The first two books ignite the series not only by introducing us to Darek and Eden, the two oldest children, but also set up the series with the loss of the family resort to a forest fire. Book 3, When I Fall in Love, brings us to Hawaii and back home and sends our prodigal on his way, and scatters the family.

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Book 4 picks up the pieces of the prodigal’s actions and brings home the family peace-maker, Casper, in Always on My Mind, and Book 5 adds in a new twist, when daughter Amelia has to choose between a hometown boy and a rich European she met while overseas. (And hello – have you see the hunk on THAT cover? The Wonder of You, baby!)

And then there’s Owen. Troublemaker Owen who just might surprise them all when he comes home…just in time to save the day. Or not… (Cover still pending!)

As the Christiansens rebuild their resort, the kids need to decide whether they want to carry on the family legacy…or if life and faith might bring them somewhere else.

And, did I mention romance? Oh yeah – we have to have something to keep us warm up here during the chilly months.

It’s a series full of family drama, community and…some really great food.

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And cookies. (Seriously – check out: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/blog/2014/11/11/tuesdays-tasty-treat-eden-graces-lucky-kiss-peanut-butter-cookies/ )

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That’s the news from Lake, um, Superior.

Have a great January…and try to keep warm – Susie May the Siberian

Words to Ponder, Matthew 6:19-21

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (NLT)

Blogging through the Bible: Welcome to Exodus!

This month, my Good Morning Girls Bible study group is beginning the book of Exodus. And I am trying a study method new to me: colour-coding the study passage! Hopefully this bit of quick analysis as I read through each chapter will bring new insights to my mind.

This week’s insight I’d like to share actually comes from Chapter 5, which I read this morning. In verse 3, Moses and Aaron are meeting with Pharaoh and they say “The God of the Hebrews has met with us.” (NIV translation this time because I’m colouring in an older Bible. NLT is a newer translation for me and that’s where my Verse of the Day emails usually come from when I post here.)

The phrase “has met with us” brought to mind the myths of the Roman and Greek gods, who are distant or tyrannical and sometimes both. But our God meets with us. He is not a distant ruler, or a Creator who retreats to let His creation fend for itself. Instead, He wants to guide us, give us insight on this life and the next, and just love on us! (I use that phrase “love on” because it conjures up images for me of cuddling, tickling and hugging my children. Who wouldn’t want a Heavenly Father like that?)

Take this knowledge with you today and let it encourage you as you go through your day. He wants a relationship with you. And He waits for your answer. What’s it going to be?

Review: Pitchin’ A Fit (Brandilyn Collins)

I’ve waited for over a year and a half for Brandilyn’s second Dearing Family novel, ever since I finished reading the first! I loved the Dearing Family, the humour in the story and their wonderfully spunky dog, Lady Penelope.

While the first book introduced us to Ben Dearing’s fiancee Christina, the second one gives us the highs and lows of the preparation for their wedding, including an unwanted family member just turning up suddenly and potentially spoiling the big event.

Once again, I enjoyed the humour and the pet, who could have made more appearances to my mind. What I didn’t like was the treatment of the unwanted guest- almost everyone was rude to her in a way that seemed uncharacteristic of the family, especially one so rooted in their faith. I wanted to see some open arms and honest conversation taking place so that the wedding would include this person in a good way. And so I was disappointed. I suppose the story was more realistic than I wanted?

I’m still looking forward to the next in the series, and not just because I have some loyalty to Brandilyn after the years of great suspense reading she’s given me. I’m hoping for more family humour and more Yorkie!

Alex is 11 months old!

Alex has gained another tooth in the past month (just before Christmas Day, as I suspected might happen) and he discovered the “dropping game,” where he drops all sorts of objects just because. Sometimes he even says “bm” for “boom”! Very cute, though I do appreciate it more when he’s dropping little toys and not food or his cup… He’s starting to pass toys and food as well, like he wants to share but doesn’t quite understand the process since he often takes the item back before you can grab it.

He loves to sit up on the couch like a big kid, but that is done sparingly and with very close supervision because I keep thinking he’ll pitch forward as if leaving the couch or chair head-first is the thing to do! I’ll be relieved when he understands how to dismount correctly. Hopefully he learns that before he really gets a love of climbing.

His favourite toy right now is a parking garage with ramp and elevator. He can drop toys down the elevator, watch cars go down the spiral ramp, and the entire garage offers enough resistance that he uses it as a walking tool. (Actual walking toys move too quickly with their light weight plus wheels that move easily – and our laminate flooring likely doesn’t help – so he’s not a fan of those yet.)

I’m excited to see what the next month will bring for development, and I can’t wait to see him tear into some cake for his first birthday! :)

Coming in 2015 to a blog near you…

I’ve been part of a Bible study group online for some time now (almost two and a half years, I think) and I’m going to start blogging about that, sharing some of the lessons we’re learning. I should have a spiffy new badge in the sidebar to go with that, making the Tyndale one not quite so lonely, hee hee.

It might also help me stay organised if I post about some of the household projects I’ll have going on – clearing out storage spaces that become too cluttered, attempting to add more storage options, yardwork, etc. I may install the WordPress app on my phone to make that sort of blogging really easy to keep up.

And I should also have some sort of regular update on the writing or editing I’m doing, a form of accountability.

Hopefully that makes for a well-tended blog and a happy author! :)