Book Review: ‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson

Book description:

When the man she loved years ago returns to town, one young woman’s complicated past rises again, threatening to expose her well-kept secrets.

If Maxine could put her finger on the moment when her life went into a tailspin, she would point back twenty years to the day her daddy died. She tells herself he’s the only person who ever really knew and loved her, and if he hadn’t left her behind, her future would’ve taken a different path. No absentee mother, no stepfather, no rebellious ripping and running during her teenage years. And no JD, who gave her wandering young heart a home, at least for a time.

But that’s over and done with. All grown-up now, Maxine has pledged her heart and ring finger to Theodore Charles, the man she’ll promise to love, honor, and obey in front of God and everybody. At least that’s what she’s telling anybody who will listen. The only folks buying it are the dog and the readers of her column, however. Her best friend and family aren’t having it―not even Celeste, the double bass–playing thirteen-year-old the community of Mount Laurel, North Carolina, believes is Maxine’s adopted sister. And apparently, neither is the newly returned JD, who seems intent on toppling Maxine’s reconstructed life. As her wedding day marches ever closer, Maxine confronts what it means to be really known and loved by examining what’s buried in her own heart and exposing truth that has never seen the light of day.

A Christian fiction novel with a poignant story of romance, a search for truth, and a journey to redemption. For fans of Chris Fabry, Lauren Denton, and Charles Martin.

Book review:

After reading A Long Time Comin’ last year, I had been anticipating Robin’s new book and it did not disappoint. Robin is a wonderful writer who pulls you right into her character’s world. This story is a story of forgiveness, not only for others but accepting God’s forgiveness and love for ourselves.

I enjoyed the story of Maxine.

Maxine, a columnist for a small Christian magazine, is supposed to be getting married, but she has a big secret and, at first, I found it insanely naive and selfish of her to believe she was going to marry her Theodore without him one day finding out a very, very big secret from her past. If she didn’t feel comfortable sharing this with him before they were married, then I couldn’t figure out how she thought she was going to have a strong marriage. The marriage was going to be built on a foundation of lies. But, of course, that’s the point of Maxine’s journey – learning to unravel the lies and pain and face them.

Maxine works through some of her internal struggle through the columns she writes for the magazine and as a writer myself I was amazed by how Robin managed to write several columns by Maxine in addition to the story. That requires a great deal of talent, in my humble opinion. Of course, a great deal of talent is indeed what Robin possesses.

Robin wonderfully described Maxine’s predicament and her reluctance to deal with it. The fact I feel so strongly about Maxine’s faults, for lack of a better word, is probably because, again, I see so much of myself in her. Feeling so strong about a character is a testament to what a strong writer Robin is. She really pulled me into Maxine’s journey.

I think Robin wrote Maxine as stubborn for a reason and it isn’t as if Maxine doesn’t redeem herself or that her character doesn’t develop throughout the book. She does both of these things, but not in a cookie-cutter way, which is much more realistic than many books in this genre.

Her character growth is messy, complex, and doesn’t have a cute little bow on it.

That’s real life and that’s what Robin writes so well.

I definitely recommend this book for its messages of forgiveness, redemption, and healing. I can’t wait to see what else Robin writes!Thank you for your review.

Book Review: Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner

Some books ooze the personality of the author and I think Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is one of those books — if Bethany Turner’s social media accounts are any indication of what a fun, hilarious person she is in real life — and I think they are.

First the Goodreads description for the book:

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanaugh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley.

As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along, but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.

Fan-favorite Bethany Turner serves up a heaping helping of humor and romance with this thoroughly modern story centered on cooking, enemies, and second chances.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the lighthearted moments woven among some tender, difficult memories and realities for the main characters — Hadley Becket and Max Cavanaugh, both high-profile chefs. Hadley was definitely the one with more of a sense of humor, while Max was more of the “grump”. As you read you realize that some of Hadley’s humor is to cover insecurities and hurts and that Max’s grouchy tendancies are for the same reasons. Attempts to cover flaws with their moods aren’t the only similarities the pair have, of course, something readers learn as the book continues.

I’m always impressed with Bethany’s way with words. She is a master of using humor, cultural references, and yet, still keeps her fiction free of swearing, sex, or violence.

She’s also a master at descriptions. One of my favorite descriptions in this book was how Hadley described the way Max’s shirt fit him: “The T-shirt sleeves strained just slightly to their resting point mid-way down his bicep, and with his arms crossed over his chest, as they were now, you could almost hear an audible sigh from the front of the shirt, as it was allowed a moment to relax from the tightness that Max’s well-toned chest and shoulders usually created.”

These days we need something light and romantic to distract us and Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish is the perfect way to do that. Find out more about Bethany on her Instagram and Facebook accounts or her website: http://seebethanywrite.com/

Book Review: Wooing Cadie McCaffery by Bethany Turner

These days it’s nice to have something light to read and while Wooing Cadie McCaffery by Bethany Turner had some serious topics, it dealt with them in a lighter way than most books might have.

The book is definitely Christian, yes, but it isn’t a preachy Christian fiction book. It’s very real, authentic and points out some of the struggles within the Christian faith, especially when it comes to relationships, sex before marriage, and dating in general.

Lest I make this sound like a serious book, however, let me assure you there is some serious humor in this book. Humor and characters you will fall in love with. Cadie is an employee in the accounting department of a sports channel similar to ESPN. Her best friend, Darby, works with her in the same department.

Cadie’s boyfriend is Will Whitaker, a researcher within the company who will eventually become more of a face of the company when he lands a big story.

The book begins with Cadie and Will meeting each other but continues four years later when Cadie has just about given up on Will ever proposing to her. And since he won’t propose she wonders if their relationship has any real future. An incident within them leads Cadie to break up with Will and Will to strive to become the man she wants him to be and “woo” her back. Humor abounds during this process, involving Cadie and Will, their boss Kevin, who is a retired famous NBA player, Darby, and Cadie’s parents.

Cadie is a hopeless romantic, which is part of her problem throughout the book. She seems to think her life will play out like a romantic comedy, but is thrown off kilter when life instead starts to play like a tragedy.

Cadie’s mother is a well-known personality within the Christian world and the host of a show on a church network. There are times Cadie feels like nothing she does is right in her mother’s critical eyes and when she and Will separate she dreads telling her mother about the incident that led to the breakup, afraid her mother will lecture her about her failings as a Christian.

Cadie’s parents certainly don’t make it any easier on Will either, since he feels they’ve already told him he doesn’t measure up for their daughter. Adding to the complication for Will is the fact that the career he always wanted is taking off just as his personal life is crumbling. He’s almost ready to give up the career to win Cadie back, though, and he decides to recreate scenes from some of her favorite romantic movies to do it, which definitely allows for some hilarity to ensue.

This book switches between first and third person every other chapter and at first I found that distracting, but Turner pulled it off by creating an entertaining plot and lovable characters. All of Cadie’s chapters are told in the first person and all of Will’s in the third. This allowed Turner to let the reader see into the mind of each of the characters throughout the book.

For anyone looking for a fun, light ride, with a little bit of emotion tossed in, and who isn’t these days, then I would definitely recommend this one.



Sunday Bookends: Social anxiety, libraries, snow and what I’m reading

Our winter has been weird this year. We haven’t had as much as snow as other years and if we have had it, it’s come suddenly and all at once, and usually after a warm spell.

That’s what happened Friday when six inches of snow was dropped on our small town (more in the higher elevations around us) in about three hours. The snow came after a mixture of heavy rain and ice fell throughout the night and early morning hours. The temperatures went from 51 earlier in the week to 24 by the end, which, of course, our sinuses never appreciate.

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My oldest jumping into the snow off our porch because I told him he wasn’t adventurous since he became a teenager.

The youngest declared she wanted to go out in the snow, but I knew she’d probably run out and five minutes later run back in, because, in addition to the snow, the wind was blowing. She did want to come back inside in about five minutes but this time it was because there was snow in her boot. We didn’t get the kids snow pants this year, I think because we were so distracted with the house stuff we simply forgot. And since the weather hasn’t been very “wintery” all winter, we haven’t been too worried about it.

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DSC_7487I’m sure I’ll share more snow photos later this week.

I read a blog post by Lisa at The Manitoba Mom Blog a month or so ago where she said she needed a good snowstorm to snow her in and give her a break from normal life and we were lucky Friday to get that snowstorm. I needed it after a long, emotional and physically draining week. After a week-long painful (men, turn your heads) PMS experience, I then did something to my neck that felt like a pinched nerve. The pain radiated down my arm and kept me from typing and finishing revisions on the first draft of A New Beginning for a couple of days. All of this pain was going on while we had two house showings (yes, I am sick of writing about this) and I finally got my rear in gear and took my daughter to storytime at the local library.

I have been boycotting our local libraries after an incident with a lost children’s book where they didn’t notice it was missing for three weeks, but when they did they called and texted me once a day for a couple of weeks, sometimes twice a day. I called them and told them I was sure I’d brought it back. They said they couldn’t find it. I finally said I’d pay for it but the messages continued until I told one of the staff, when I saw her somewhere else, I’d be in to pay for it and she joked about how the libraries were now sending some people to the local judge when they didn’t pay their fines. I wasn’t sure how to take that comment but luckily I found the book the next day and returned it and paid the fine. After that, and another incident with that same staff member involving my oldest, I backed away from the library and started buying books instead.  I didn’t want to risk losing another one and getting the texts and phone calls again.

However, we needed to go somewhere during a house showing last month and we ended up at a different local library. My daughter wanted to play in the children’s room and that’s when I picked up a book by Karen White called Falling Home. I had never heard of her so I decided to start reading the book to waste time. I was hooked in the first few pages, but I was on a library strike, so I finished chapter two and put it back on the shelf, planning to look on Kindle for it. I did look on Kindle and they wanted $13 for it and I rarely spend that much money on a Kindle book unless it is an author I know well. (Aside: recently Erin at Still Life with Cracker Crumbs mentioned that her library lists how much money she’s saved throughout the year by going to the library. I didn’t think our local libraries did this, but when we got our books, six of them altogether, the receipt said we had saved $106 this year. Huh. Interesting.)

I guess you could say that my finding that book was like a (single) woman meeting a (single) man somewhere and not being able to get him out of her head because I could not get that book out of my head.  I thought about that book so much I finally talked my daughter into storytime this week so I could break my vow to never sign books out of the local libraries and sign it out.  And then I took that book home to be mine, all my mine (for two weeks at least). If you have read this book, please don’t tell me what happens. I’m only on Chapter 10 or so, but so far I am in love and have found a new author to follow.

In case you are interested, here is the synopsis of the book from Goodreads:

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You know that saying about how sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug?

It’s true. Take me, for example. I shook the Georgia dust from my feet fifteen years ago,vowing never to leave Manhattan. I traded sweet tea for Chardonnay, fried chicken for nouvelle cuisine, lazy days on my aunt’s front porch for ad campaigns and board meetings, and the guy who broke my heart for my handsome boss, who soon became my fiance. Perfect, right?

Until my sister called. We haven’t spoken since I left home—because she married the guy who broke my heart. What’s more, she called to say my father is dying—but he refuses to finish until I show up. So I’m back in the hottest, dinkiest small town in Georgia, facing my sister and my old boyfriend over the heads of the—count them—five children. It couldn’t get weirder, right? Unless you count Sam Parker—a long-forgotten classmate, now the town doctor—and how good he’s beginning to look to me.

I’m falling apart, I think, wondering why resentment and wounded pride seem silly here in Walton, where forgiveness and acceptance go hand-in-hand with homecoming. And I’m beginning to suspect that I’m falling in love for real this time, with a man whose touch is so right, I feel like I’m…Falling Home.

In addition to picking out my book, I asked my daughter if she wanted to pick a few books out for herself. One of the highlights of my childhood was picking out my own books at the library, maybe because I didn’t have video games or other devices waiting for me at home. I also didn’t have a life, but anyhow, I digress. My daughter was thrilled with her books and I’ll talk about her picks in a post later this week.

While at the library I was reminded I don’t talk to many adults in person anymore since I started homeschooling my son two years ago. Because I don’t see people as much anymore, I have developed severe social anxiety and because I have social anxiety I ramble like I haven’t talked to another human being in decades when I run into actual adults. Those poor women I ran into Tuesday . . . I definitely feel for them. I’m hoping if I go to storytime again I can stop rambling like a drug addict on speed and act like a normal person, but I don’t have much faith in that happening unless I ducttape my mouth shut.

I didn’t watch a lot this week but Friday we did watch The Hunt for Red October for our family movie night. I hadn’t seen it in years and, of course, it still bugs me they slacked off and didn’t use Russian accents for the majority of the movie. As if it is normal for a man with a thick Scottish accent to be commanding a secret Soviet submarine. And Tim Curry with his cockney/Soviet mix accent. Good grief. But the movie is still a good one. Hollywood is always making remakes so it would be nice if they remade this one and gave the Soviet Navy actual Soviet/Russian accents.

On the blog this week, I rambled about a variety of subjects:

My 87-year old aunt reminding me I’m fat;

The Real Blanche Behind A Story to Tell;

Fiction Thursday: A New Beginning Chapter 18

Fiction Friday: A New Beginning Chapter 19

January in Photos

Flash Fiction Challenge: A Dog in the Daisies

So, what all are you reading, watching or doing this week? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday bookends: A trinity of movies, winter depression, and ready to burn the house down

Desperate to stave off the deep depression that normally besets me during winter, I’ve been burying myself in movies and books and writing this past week or so.

I watched two movies and a mini-series this past week (in between waiting on children and letting a dog in and out the back door, cooking, suffering with a cold, petting the cat, and pondering our earthly existence) and continued reading The Cat Who Lived High, slowly since I couldn’t see through the watery eyes from the cold earlier this week.

51tIxEH0QoLWith my eyes a little better I’m back to reading a little more and have added The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glen McCarthy, an independently published book for middle school-aged children, to my reading list (again). It is so creatively written and I tried reading it to my daughter since I’m much better at Southern accents than British ones, but she rejected it and asked for Paddington again for her nighttime reading.  In case you are interested in finding out a little bit more about the book, here is the blurb on Amazon: For Eugene Appleton, the summer of 1876 in Rattlesnake Junction, Colorado promises to be just as sleepy as the ones before, his only excitement provided by the pulse-pounding Dead-Eye Dan adventure novels he devours. But Eugene’s life takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of Tumbleweed Thompson, a gangly, red-haired boy who spins yarns about whaling voyages in the Atlantic and hidden stashes of gunpowder. Drawn into Tumbleweed’s orbit, Eugene soon finds himself chasing smugglers, firing rifles, and competing for the attention of the lovely Charlotte Scoggins.”

I also rambled in some blog posts about a bunch of things because this blog is called Boondock Ramblings. I’ll link to those at the bottom of the page.

MV5BYjBkOTZlNmYtN2NjOS00YWM2LTk0MzMtOTEwMmIyNWIwMDA5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg3MDMxNzU@._V1_After seeing a preview for Wild Rose at one of the only movies I saw in the theater this year (Brittany Runs a Marathon, which was pretty good, but not my favorite.), I was interested to see it when it popped up on Amazon. The movie is about a young Scottish woman who wants to become a country singer in Nashville but lets her temper and her propensity for alcohol to get in her way. Her other issue is that she is a young, single mother with two children. The movie opens with her being released from jail and returning home where her mother has been raising her children for the last year.

Without spoiling anything, the movie does not take the darker paths I thought it would and it does not end the way I thought it would either. It was rated R and with that rating, I thought dark scenes would abound, but thankfully, they didn’t.  I don’t watch too many rated R movies and in case you are curious, this one is rated R because the main character, Rose-Lynn Haran likes to use the “F” word a lot. In other words, I watched this one on my laptop with the earphones in so my children couldn’t hear it. I also watched it with close captioning because I’m not Scottish and their accents were very thick.

(Incidentally, my husband has been watching old Siskel and Ebert episodes on YouTube and because of that when I share my thoughts about a movie lately I hear Roger Ebert in my head. Is that weird? Yeah. I knew it was.)

Next up on my list Jane Eyre, for some reason, I have no idea why. I guess I was looking for something different to watch while I blew my nose all day long Tuesday and got caught up in it. Like many movies based on either Charlotte Bronte or Jane Austin books, there are about 1,000 movie versions of this story, but this series was from the BBC in 2006. It starred some British guy and some British girl I’d never heard of. (Okay, I looked it up instead of being lazy… it was Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens). I have never read the book (I know. I’m sad) but for some reason, the story was very familiar to me when I got to the end.

It’s possible I had seen a movie version of it before or heard the story somehow I suppose. As far as plot, Jane Eyre is a bit bizarre, but the actors in it won me over and I had to keep watching to see how it all turned out.

On the recommendation of my brother, I watched Stranger Than Fiction (on my phone, in case of bad language or scenes) and then made the rest of the family watch it a couple of days later. Starring Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Molly Gyllenhaal, and Emma Thompson, it came out in 2006, but I’d never heard of it, probably because in 2006 I was busy with a newborn and working full-time at the newspaper. The movie is about an IRS agent who begins to realize someone is narrating his life and he needs to find a way to stop the narrator when she announces she plans to kill him.

I could relate to the author in the movie as she struggles to complete the book she is working on, her first fiction novel in ten years. She was part of my inspiration for an upcoming blog post about the mental torture writing fiction can be.

In the midst of contracting my son’s cold (which is no surprise since he came over to talk to me one day and had an uncontrollable coughing fit  . . . in my face.), winter came back with a vengeance – frigid temperatures, snow and all.  So, here I sit on Saturday, writing this post while snow swirls around the house and wind slams it against our windows. I’m writing this in-between cleaning the house for yet another house showing tomorrow. This is our tenth and I’m pretty much ready to burn the house down at this point to get rid of it. Of course, I am absolutely not serious, but there are days the thought has crossed my mind.

As for blogging this week:

I shared a flash fiction entitled “Carrying Out His Wife.”;

Shared a guest blog post by Lisa at The Manitoba Mom Blog;

Shared aRound-up of Blog Posts from around the blogosphere;

Chapter 13 of A New Beginning;

Chapter 14 of A New Beginning;

Remembering Truett, in honor of TobyMac’s son, who passed away suddenly at 21 a couple of months ago.

This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon.

So, how about you? What have you been up to this past week? Let me know in the comments!

 

Sunday Bookends: Dick VanDyke, Noelle, sappy, predictable Christmas movies, and light reading

Bah-humbug to the crummy week this past week was.

And bah-humbug to:

  • the people who thought they could pay us almost $35,000 less for our house than we were asking so they could flip it (not very Christian but I wanted to flip something else at them);
  • the people who verbally trash houses so they can try to talk sellers down in price;
  •  photo sessions with drunk adults and parents, aunts and uncles all yelling at the kids to “look here” (at their cellphones!) while the photographer (me) tries to take their photos;
  • my husband to swerving to miss a deer and hitting a rock and popping a tire.

I’m not a drinker, but if I was, I’d be pretty sloshed by now trying to deal with all the stress from last week. Instead, I’m just gaining weight from chocolate consumption.

I already mentioned yesterday I’ve been binge-watching Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas romance movies to distract from the stress (help me!), but I’ve also been binge-watching the old Dick VanDyke Show from the 60s (yes, also on Amazon, but no! I’m not being paid by them to say this.) I’m watching these movies and shows while cleaning, cooking, or — uh, crying — by the way, so I’m not just sitting and watching movies and doing nothing else.

The Dick VanDyke Show is one of those shows that really holds up. One of my favorites is when Laura tells the world that Rob’s boss, Alan Brady, is bald. It’s in Season 5, episode 1, if I remember right.

I love the chemistry among the characters in The Dick VanDyke Show, especially Mary Tyler Moore and Dick VanDyke. The storylines are always so inventive and hilarious as well. It was definitely a forerunner for todays sitcom, although most of them can’t hold a candle to the superb acting by VanDyke and the rest of the cast.

In addition to Dick VanDyke and the cheesy Christmas romance movies, I also watched a movie that featured some pretty bad acting, but was worth pushing through to get to the message. The movie, called Noelle, (but first released as Mrs. Worthington’s Party), is an independent film with some beautiful imagery and symbolism.

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It was written, produced and directed in 2007 by David Wall, who also stars in it, and who I can find very little information about other than he released another independent film last year called Gold Dust. Wall was pretty much the only competent actor in the movie, but again, it was completely worth pushing through it to reach the message behind it.

In the book world, I had very little time this week for reading thanks to the house showings, the cleaning, the rainy weather that wreaked havoc on my sinuses and the watching of cheesy Christmas romance movies.

I am still reading The Cat Who Lived High by Lillian Jackson Braun and The Hobbit (I will finish this book!), a book called Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrell, and with my kids, I’m reading The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glenn McCarty and More About Paddington by Michael Bond. I read Paddington to my daughter each night, at her request, complete with all the voices, which makes it hard for my husband ever to read it to her because he can’t do a British accent.

I also run into trouble with this by playing Doc McStuffins with her, imitating the voices of all the characters as we play. Sometimes when I need a break from playtime with a 5-year old, my husband says “Can’t Daddy play with you?” She always says “No. Because you can’t do the voices.” I’m not sure who to feel more sorry for – me or my husband.

So how about all of you? What are you reading, watching, or up to? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to know!


Lisa R. Howeler is a writer and photographer from the “boondocks” who writes a little bit about a lot of things on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She’s published a fiction novel ‘A Story to Tell’ on Kindle and also provides stock images for bloggers and others at Alamy.com and Lightstock.com.


 

The Cuckoo’s Calling almost made me Cuckoo and the week in review

(This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon).

I promised a couple of weeks ago I would finish The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym for J.K. Rowling) and I finally did it. I was determined to finish the book because it was a different type of book for me and one my husband suggested.

For anyone who is a fan of clean fiction, with positive and cheerful stories of loving people — this is not the book for you. I didn’t count them but I would say there are about 300 uses of the “F” word and about 1,000 semicolons and 100 parentheses.  This isn’t my usual type of read, as I said above, but it was well-written (even if I don’t think the excessive curse words were necessary).

I guess J.K. Rowling was making sure she shook off any Potter fans with this crime novel debut, using the Galbraith pseudonym and the fictitious author bio in the back of the book.  I wouldn’t call the book a fast read by any means. At 466 (or more) pages, the book is definitely dense and full of detail I often found unnecessary. However, the extra information was entertainingly written so I didn’t mind that J.K. rambled on a bit in places. It’s not like I’m the queen of being succinct, as anyone who has read my blog knows.

51VB32EnfTLI’m not sure if I’ll continue with books 2-4 of the Cormoran Strike series, though my husband said he especially enjoyed book four (and strongly disliked book three). I enjoy crime fiction but sometimes the gritty stories filled with ridiculous uses of swear words (especially the f-word), are not my cup of tea (pun totally intended since this book was based in London).

As for finishing The Hobbit, another goal I have for November, I’m not there yet, but I did advance further in the book this past week. My son, for his part, is almost done with the book and will be writing a book report for it this week.

I’m still reading through two Mitford books – re-reading A Light in the Window (because it’s been so long and I love the love story of Father Tim and Cynthia) and reading A Light from Heaven, which I somehow never read when I was going through the series. I also never read “Home to Holly Springs” which was a Father Tim novel. It was supposed to be the first of others but I don’t think Jan Karon ever wrote any other Father Tim novels and now in her 80s, she has ended the series. I plan to tackle Home to Holly Springs after I finish these two Mitford books and The Hobbit.

I’ve been watching Shakespeare and Hathaway, a light crime series that takes place in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England to keep my mind off the stress of house hunting and house selling. The main characters are a man and woman private detective team. The man, Frank Hathaway, was the private detective to start with, after being kicked off the police force and the woman, Luella Shakespeare, sort of fell into the profession when she hired Frank to investigate her fiance and then stayed on to help him at his office.

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The episodes feature some humor with drama mixed in but they are fairly light and void of any topics that are too dark, which was a nice reprieve after reading through The Cuckoo’s Calling.

As for my writing quest, I’m in the middle of writing the sequel to A Story to Tell, and I’m sharing the chapters here on the blog each Friday for Fiction Friday. I’m also offering others a chance to link any fiction they have written on their blogs every Friday. If you share fiction on your blog, please feel free to join me this Friday and share your links.

Speaking of fiction, if you haven’t checked out Lunch Break Fiction, I highly suggest you do. It’s one of my favorite blogs out there these days.

So what are you up to this week? What are you reading or watching? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know!

 

Looking back at October ahead to November, reading and otherwise

I actually managed to finish a couple of books in October and start a couple more.

I don’t read as fast as others who share and link up on Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon and Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post and The Book Date’s, What Are You Reading post, but I enjoy the books I do read so I figure it’s all good. I read them in between working on my own stories, homeschooling a 12-year old and 5-year old, cooking dinner, editing photos for stock photography, and occasionally cleaning the house (being a housewife is not necessarily my calling).

I won’t have as much time for reading this month since I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month and hopefully finish the sequel to A Story to Tell and maybe even make progress on Fully Alive.

I’m ahead of the game for NaNoWriMo since I already have 27,000 words for A New Beginning and about 14,000 for A Fully Alive but both books need a lot of work, plot and character development.

But I do plan to read some books this month and on the list to either start or finish include:

  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (to finish)
  • Light from Heaven by Jan Karon (to finish because I just started it)
  • The Misadventures of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glen McCarty (starting. It’s a middle school book for my son’s homeschool group book discussion).
  • The Hobbit (I know! I’m still reading it! I’m pathetic!)
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot (to finish)
  • The Dog That Whispered by Jim Kraus (to start)
  • Just Me On This by Donald Westlake (to start)
  • Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers (to finish)

Books I finished in October:

  • In this Mountain by Jan Karon
  • Memphis & Me by Diane Moody
  • The Runaway Pastor’s Wife by Diane Moody

I’m also reading Paddington Marches On by Michael Bond and Stuart Little by EB White with my 5-year old daughter at night. I love when she asks me to read to her to help her fall asleep, though it is frustrating when she falls asleep in the middle of the story and I want to know what happened. I can never figure out if I should wait to finish the story with her the next night or finish it. (Both books are broke into individual stories.) Sometimes I just go ahead and finish it and read it again the next night.

Our autumn leaves were pretty much completely annihilated by heavy wind and rain this week but we found these cool leaves I have never seen in my life in Pennsylvania at a playground near us.

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I have no idea what tree they are from but they were awesome. My daughter wasn’t really into throwing the leaves up in the air for me to take photographs but my son helped a couple of times.

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We had stopped at the playground after a funeral for my husband’s great aunt, who passed away at the age of 90 last Sunday. I was ready to go home since when I drove to the funeral I realized I had forgotten some photo albums my husband’s cousin had wanted and had to drive 15 miles back to my house and 15 miles back down to give her the albums. But my children don’t play at playgrounds as often as they used to so I took some photographs of them and then sat in the van reading Jan Karon while they played with a couple of little girls who had come to the playground as well.

Coming up this month my son and husband both have birthdays (my son will be 13 on Thursday and my husband will be … a certain age .. later in the month) and my brother and his wife celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary (on the same day as my husband’s birthday). We don’t have anything super exciting planned for November beyond recognizing those milestones. We will be plowing forward on homeschooling for both children and hunting for a house closer to my husband’s job and my parents during the month as well. I am planning a post later about house hunting. The post will be entitled “The soul-sucking process of house hunting.”

As for what I was watching in October, I watched a lot of a British sitcom called One Foot in the Grave (but Amazon only offers up to season three thorough Britbox so I may look for a DVD collection that can be played on American DVD players) and also watched Paul: Apostle of Christ, which I rambled about here.

On my blog in October, some of the subjects I rambled about were: autumn, a little about books and movies, and a bit about writing fiction.

I also blogged about:

For Fiction Friday in October I shared:

On my blog this month I’ll be continuing to share A New Beginning, the sequel to A Story To Tell, for Fiction Friday every week, or at least every other week. I’m sure I’ll ramble some more about my children and I’m sure I’ll share more photographs of whatever I see throughout the month. I’ll probably blog about what I’m reading or lessons learned during NaNoWriMo and maybe even some insights on God (because, you know, I’m someone people turn to for thoughts on God. Har. Har.).

So, how about you? What are you reading, watching, or up to?

 

More ‘Autumn in Pennsylvania’, photos, the Apostle Paul, and a little about books

Winter is coming in a bit like a lion this year as the North was lashed with wind and rain part of this week. We spent part of our week inside, under covers, watching movies and sometimes reading books.

Early in the week I rolled my ankle and thought I was on the way to the ER like Marcia at The Write Stuff (who visited the ER for the first time in her life twice in a week!) but luckily that didn’t happen. I wish I had an exciting story to go along with that ankle story but I was literally only pushing my son’s bike in the driveway to take it to the van so he could take it to his grandparents and my ankle just turned. That was all. Very boring story. The ankle was sore off and on all week but nowhere near a crisis. One day I thought it was swollen and then remembered I just have fat, Hobbit-like feet and ankles and it wasn’t actually swollen.

At the end of the week, I also feel in a hole at my parents, with the foot of the ankle I had twisted going straight down and sending me to the ground. My son thought it was hilarious because he said one moment I was standing and the next moment I screamed and disappeared. Luckily, I didn’t damage it worse and was still able to go to a community event with my husband later that evening.

Speaking of Hobbits, I have stalled on reading the book and I have no idea why because it’s a good book. Here is a goal for this week: finish the book, like my son who is finishing it up for schoolwork.

Speaking of books, I haven’t made a ton of progress on that front but did manage to progress in Diane Moody’s Memphis & Me and have made a list of other books I plan to break into this week, including:

  •  Village School by Miss Read
  • Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers
  • Rhythm and Renewal by Rebekah Lyons
  • The Misadventured Summer of Tumbleweed Thompson by Glen McCarty (middle school book for book discussion for our homeschooling group)

As for what I’m watching, I watched Paul, Apostle of Christ with Jim Cavaziel this week and wow, it was powerful. Jim is playing Luke this time, instead of Jesus. Paul is played by James Faulkner who gives a powerful performance of a man at the end of his 30-year journey as a missionary for Jesus. Paul is in a Roman prison, charged by Nero with burning half of Rome, which of course he denies doing. The movie shows that the fire was more than likely started by Nero himself, who then used the Christians as a scapegoat to take the blame off himself. The Christians are currently living in hiding, with many being murdered because of their faith, trying to decide if and when to leave Rome to seek a more hospitable situation in Ephesus. Luke sneaks into the prison to visit Paul and record his message to his fellow persecuted Christians.

There is some fiction thrown into the story to add some drama, but that doesn’t take away from the crux of the Bible-based portions of the movie.

The movie was very moving, thought-provoking, deep, and should be watched with tissues close by. I honestly had a hard time watching it and not thinking of our world today and how persecution against people because of their faith is not something of the past, but something of the present that is continually getting worse. I tried not to envision that one day Christians (or people of other faiths) will be marched to the coliseum to be eaten by lions like we and others were in the day of the Romans.

To lighten the mood a little (ha!) I’m also watching a British sitcom called “One Foot in the Grave” (it doesn’t sound lighter, does it?) about a cranky man who has been forced into retirement. The series has both humorous and heart breaking moments so it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally, but the humor is up my alley – a little dark and odd.

 

I snapped only a few more fall related photos this week, partly because we had rain and wind two days in a row and it was miserable weather to photograph in and partly because I didn’t go many places to take photos featuring the fall foliage.

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I’m fairly certain this after I fell in the hole because my son was laughing pretty hard after I disappeared. Little “jerk.” 😉

So how about you? What have you been reading, watching or doing lately? Let me know in the comments.

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This post is part of Readerbuzz’s Sunday Salon 

and Kimberly at Caffeinated Reviewer’s Sunday Post. 

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