Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Noel Diary, by Richard Paul Evans

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My turn came up for the newest RPE book... I started it last night at about 8pm - and finished it this morning at 1:30am.  It was good.  haha

He said in his emails leading up to the release of this book (if I remember, correctly) that this story has more of his personal life experience than any of his other books.  It's his wife's new favorite of his.  So, naturally, I had to read it.  I just didn't plan on reading it in one night.  haha

Like his others, it was very well-written.  I think that's why they're such quick reads - they just flow.  He certainly has a way with words.  The more books of his I read (I've read them all... except his science fiction series - which are still written well, I just don't dig that sort of storyline.  I read the first one, which I loved.  But mostly through the second one, I decided it just wasn't my thing.), the more I feel like I can see a lot of who he is through his writing.  I wonder how much of his stories come from real life experiences and people he's met.  He kind of hints at things like that in some of his recent books I've read.  It's almost like he's sneaking in small confessions or something.  haha

This is a story about a boy-turned-man, still hurting and trying to heal the pain of his childhood.  He finds someone along his journey who is attempting the same thing, only to find their lives are more intertwined than they knew upon meeting.  Of course, there's the love story - not too sappy.  They never are.  I love that about his books.  Clean and nice - not too much gush.  And there are always additions to the story that make them not sticky sweet.  I like that.  These things could happen in real life... One can hope, anyway.

I would highly recommend this book, too.  I recommend all of his books.  He has a flair for the written word.  I'm certainly glad he didn't hide his talent under a bush and instead shared it with the world.  He's my fave.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Mistletoe Inn, by Richard Paul Evans

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This! This is the perfect example of why I love RPE's books! Oh, how I love them!!

He writes so incredibly well! In this book, he inconspicuously gives tips on writing and publishing and becoming an author, in general.  He has a writer's retreat, just like in this book, he even uses his agent's name as a character - a literary agent, actually.  It's about a woman who's ready to give up on love and her writing aspirations when she comes across a writers workshop - for romance writers, of all things.  Her father pays for her to go but she's reluctant because of some not good news he just gave her... but that's all I'm going to say.  You'll have to read it to find out how wonderful it is.  ;)

I love his way of weaving a story; of creating the characters and plot line and all the details in between.  I love that I got to read this before Christmas (I had been on a waiting list).  I'm still on a waiting list for his newest holiday book, which I would imagine will still be a few weeks before my turn comes up.  Won't stop me from reading it, though. 

Man, I love his books.  This one renewed my desire for more - it almost has me wanting to go back and read every single one of them.  He's clean, funny, real, and just so knowledgeable about what he writes.  It's apparent he pulls from his own life in many cases... or at least I would imagine he does.

He just knows women so well and writes them so well and knows how to pull at their heartstrings.  His romances are never cheesy and always just right.  I love them, for sure.  (Not that I haven't made that clear, yet.)

As always, I would definitely recommend reading this if you want something light, quick and enjoyable.  I just saw that it was made into a movie just this year - of the Hallmark sort, of course - and I want to see it! I wish I had cable! Maybe Netflix will pick it up for next year... One can hope.  :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck

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I found this book at Goodwill and am very glad I bought it.  I normally don't buy books till after I've read them and will likely read them, again.  I'll be reading this, again.  It was a sweet book.

It's a work of fiction but based on his true life experiences.  It's heart-breaking at some parts and uplifting at others... he wrote it very well.  It's a story of redemption and forgiveness and spiritual growth.  Very good for this time of year.  Again, I'm unsure of how much to say about it because I don't want to give the story away.  It's about a boy who learns one of life's hardest lessons and experiences the opportunity to make things better.  There's an unexpected twist at the end - one I wasn't sure I was in favor of, but I decided I do like it.  The emotions portrayed had to have been felt by the author to be woven into words the way they were.  My heart goes out to the author and am glad for the happiness he was able to find in spite of his own battles.

I do recommend reading this and am always willing to lend it out.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Mistletoe Secret, Richard Paul Evans

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It's been a busy month! I started three books... and finished one! #success

I've read one other of the Mistletoe series,  The Mistletoe Promise, likely during the three years I didn't post about what I read.  It was nice.

This one was just that - nice.  Nothing spectacular.  I sometimes feel as though some of his books are simply to fill a contract... that or I'm losing my zen for romance.  And in case RPE happens upon this blog entry (I was trolled by an author I somewhat harshly critiqued, once - it happens.), I love you, you're awesome, keep writing, I love your work, you're a rock star.

It was a simple romance, one that needed a little knowledge about at least the geography and history of the location it's mainly staged in.  Richard does do his homework.  I have no doubt he flew to the place he wrote about and did a little research.

It was a sweet story.  Maybe a little obvious.  The ending was pretty easy to guess, the further into the story I got. 

But it was good.  I have the third one on hold at the library (and two other books to finish).

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Rosemary's Baby, by Ira Levin

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Before those of you who know me and also know this book gasp in horror at my possible reading of it, know this - I didn't.

I was nearly halfway through, though, before I decided to stop.  That's when it started to become disturbing.  Before that, it was just intriguing, nothing dark.

I have heard of this story, only by title, and knew it was something of a - well, I can't say horror novel because I didn't relate it to that in my mind.  (I do, now.)  I thought of it more as a somewhat eerie story about a woman who lives next to neighbors who want her baby. 

Nope.  Not even close.  Well, ok, a little close.  I only know this because I read the summary of the story on Wikipedia. 

But, dude.  If I had known the extremity and depth of the darkness that is this book, I never in a million years would've even given it a second glance.  This woman's neighbors do want her baby, but only because they're a cult/coven and want it for their devil worship.  Apparently, the child is an actual spawn of satan.  (I don't capitalize that name on purpose.)  Her husband was in on the drugging and, well, everything that happened after, so that this baby could be made.  He did it because he was promised success in his career as an actor if he did. 

Who comes up with this crap? What dark and twisted mind actually conjured up a story like this? Good gravy!

I wish I had had the sense to look into it, further, before I started reading it.  This is why I'm posting this - to warn others who wish to avoid such ugliness.  My brain wishes to cleanse itself of the small bit of disturbing content it did read. 

Don't read this.  It's horrible.

A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena

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My daughter saw this in a bookstore so we checked it out from the library.  She is the one who wanted to read it but hadn't, so I thought I would.

It was ok.  It was enough to keep me reading - it built up my curiosity for the ending.  There was an unexpected twist at the end that left me feeling a little disappointed.  Not that she didn't write it well, I think I just had a certain ending in my mind and when it didn't play out, I felt disheartened.  I don't like how she made the main character out to be.

The author has a slight Mary Higgins Clark style about how she writes, which was good.  I didn't care for her use of the F-bomb but she at least kept it clean.  She did manage to weave a story with pieces of a puzzle that I had to see completed, so I'll give her that, too.

I guess I just didn't like the ending.  I didn't care for the twist. 

If you like thrillers, this is a decent read.  I just don't like the feeling of disappointment it left me with.  It also had me realize I prefer something a bit more uplifting, I think. 

Oh, well... on to the next!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rebel Queen, by Michelle Moran

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I love Michelle Moran's novels! They're all historical fiction and so extremely well-written.  I read this many moons, ago, but realized there were a great many books I read in the three years I didn't post anything (2014-2017) that I want to log.  This is one that came to my mind, today. 

Moran does her research.  If you visit her website, that becomes clear.  She doesn't just rehash things she's read, she travels and learns and absorbs the information, then she uses her literary magic to twirl it into stories that engross the reader.  She makes it quite hard to put her books down.

So far, I've read every one of her books.  I used to follow her journey through the creating of her next... then life happened and I forgot all about them.  Something plucked that brain string in my mind, today, and here we are. 

The Silver Star, by Jeannette Walls

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I finished this a bit, ago.  It was excellent.  I had to keep reminding myself it was a work of fiction.

Having read her memoir first, though, I can see how much of this book was inspired by her life story. 

She's good, that's for sure.  I truly enjoy her writing style.  I have her other book on hold at the library, right now, and can't wait to get it!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Broken Road, by Richard Paul Evans

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I almost feel like a bit of a traitor... I used to make sure I bought every RPE book that came out.  He's my favorite {living} author! I haven't read, let alone purchased, one of his books in *gasp* years! (Shame on me! haha)

I saw this one at a bookstore and decided to check it out from the library since I'm on this not-spending-money-on-unnecessary-items kick and will not be purchasing any books anytime, soon.  Even if they're purchase-worthy... It truly pains me to do this because, like all of his books, this one fits into that category.

I'm always in awe at how "flowy" his books are.  He certainly has a way with words.  And he does his research... I had to some of my own research to verify this was a work of fiction because he wrote it so well.

Now, I say work of fiction, but at the end, there's an author's note that this is based on a true life - the real story of a real person.  He's changed the name and such.  The prologue is what had me doing some Googling because of how he tells it. 

This is the first book in a new series.  It tells of a man who went from an abusive childhood, dumpster-diving and living in poverty, to finding the love of his life and an amazing opportunity for financial success, which is something he craves.  It ends with a sad and significant change for his future.  It ends with a new beginning... and I cannot wait until next Spring when the next addition in the series will be complete!

I'm always a little wary of putting too much... I don't like spoilers.  I guess I used to do that, but I've moved on to more of, "This is what I read... you'll like it... or you won't... Check it out!".

I do always highly recommend any RPE book.  They're clean and so very well-written.  He knows his stuff.  If you read this one, you won't be disappointed.  In fact, you'll likely be hooked and in the same boat as I am... waiting somewhat patiently for Spring.  ;)

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

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I finished this a little while, ago, just haven't had the time to post about it.  I saw something on social media about the movie that's coming out and saw that it was based on a book.  A memoir, no less.  So, naturally, I had to check it out. I waited for over 100 people who had the same thoughts to take their turn before I got mine.

It was quite the emotional book.  This woman... I'm amazed at what she survived.  I also think she survived because of what she survived.  Her upbringing and childhood circumstances made her strong... she had to be.  Her brother and sisters, too.

I wanted to slap her parents.  At times I wanted to downright kick them in the head.  I was at times outraged at what they allowed their children to experience and their reaction (or lack thereof) to things they faced.  Unbelievable.  That was the word I often found myself vocally uttering while closing the book to digest what I just read.  Simply unbelievable.  I couldn't believe that this really happened, that it happened when it did, and that it likely still happens for others.  It seems unfathomable, to me.

I want to write to this author and tell her my heart was with her on her journey, though I knew nothing about it at the time.

It helped me see the things we often take for granted.  I complain about my big house being too hard to keep clean.  I complain about having to spend hours meal planning, list making, grocery shopping, cooking.  I complain about neverending laundry.  I complain about having to make my kids' lunches every morning.  I complain about having to pay for water or electricity or gas prices.  This book makes one grateful for all of those things.  Every time my kids complain about what I make for dinner, I'm reading them this book.

I highly recommend it.  It's quite good.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall & Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

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If you liked Fireproof, Courageous, Flywheel or Facing the Giants, you'll love this book.  I saw the movie trailer and couldn't get through it without tearing up.  If the trailer was so touching, I imagined the book would be just as great or even better.

It was.  It didn't take me long to read it - it was hard to put down.  It was incredibly touching and made me want to be a better person, showing God's love to any and all I meet.

The two men who wrote this book are real and their story is real.  Their lives were changed by Ron's wife, Deborah, who not only blessed their lives but the lives of so many.

I'm not going to give any spoilers, but this is definitely worth the read.  But only if you like true life inspiring stories and own some tissues.  Tissues are surely needed when reading this book.

I'm excited to see the movie.  I consider myself blessed to have made this story a part of my life.  I'm grateful to the authors for sharing it.

Here's a sneak-peak.  ;)

The 5 Second Rule, by Mel Robbins

I read this book in one day.

I love her simple concept that could so profoundly change a person's life.  I don't buy books unless I'm going to read them more than once... I'm buying this book.  I consider it a wise investment.  Plus, I want my own copy so I can mark it up, make notes, and highlight sections for reference.

I've begun to implement the 5 Second Rule in my life and it has been cool to feel so empowered.  We all too often talk ourselves out of something great, simply because it lies outside of our comfort zone.  This book teaches you how to stop doing that.  It really is pretty great.  She provides the tools needed, the testimonials to back it up and examples of the many areas in your life that could benefit from using this powerful method of making lasting changes and accomplishing goals.  She even provides research to back up how and why it works.  And it's easy.

I would highly recommend adding this book to your virtual, literal, or mental collection.  It's just dang awesome.  I can't wait to read it, again, and this time fully digest it.  (The first time I practically devoured it - it was due that same day with no renewals.  How's that for motivation? Ha!)

Here's a sneak-peak.  ;)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Don't Sweat Much For a Fat Girl, by Celia Rivenbark

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I like this woman.  She says it like it is.  She's irreverent.  She's real.

And, yet, I couldn't finish the book.  What's up with that?? I love these kinds of books! Or so I thought.  I prefer non-fiction to fiction, any day.  I love a good romantic comedy in pretty much any form, but I love people even more.  I love their stories, the raw and real.  The true life experiences of anyone.  I love it.

I yearn for a page-turner, one I can't put down.  I miss that! I need that!

I just had an idea... I need to go on a fast, of sorts.  I need to delete Netflix and all things visual from my life for a time... maybe a month.

And I need to spend some time at the library without my impatient family.

I would recommend this book, though, to those who aren't afraid of reality.

Monday, April 17, 2017

I Feel Bad About My Neck, By Nora Ephron - March

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I felt pretty excited about this book because the author is the screenwriter for a couple of my favorite flicks (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail).  I thought, this should be perfect!

It was ok.

In fact, I didn't even finish it.  It was just a collection of short little blurbs from her life experiences with random things (like her neck or her purse).  They were slightly entertaining, but I wasn't drawn in.  I didn't find myself shirking my daily responsibilities to nab a few more minutes of reading time.  I was bummed.

It's a quick read.  I should've just persevered.  I feel like my goal for March wasn't quite met.  Though, to be fair to myself, it was the second book I attempted to read.  My next book (should I be able to finish this month - I haven't exactly started it, yet), will make mention of the second attempted book for last month.  I guess you'll just have to see.  😉

Monday, March 6, 2017

Avalanche: A Love Story, by Julia Leigh - February


I finished this with just a couple days to spare - and I'm just now getting it blogged.  Busy, busy, busy!

This is a true story of a woman's journey through IVF and trying so desperately to become pregnant; to be a mother.

She talks about her struggles with many emotions.  She's older and knows her chances of becoming pregnant are pretty slim, but that doesn't stop her from trying again and again.

She finally accepts that being a mother isn't in the stars, for her.  I can't imagine how that must've felt, but I can imagine the heartache.  My own heart has been heavy, of late.  My arms have been feeling quite empty.  I don't know if another baby is in the stars, for me, but I dream about it.  I usually have a baby girl, but it's someone else's.  Anyway, that's a post for a different day.  Or a different blog.  ;)

I found it hard to like this book; maybe because I can relate to her pain? I don't know.  I thought she sounded rather dismal, throughout.  Maybe I'm being insensitive.  I have no doubt this was a very difficult and depressing time, for her.  It was brave (and probably a little therapeutic) to share this experience with the world.  I hope she has found happiness.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

On Living, by Kerry Egan - January

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I haven't posted in a while... (that's putting it lightly).

I have some goals, this year - one of them is to read at least one book per month.  I work 20 hrs a week, volunteer at preschool for 5 hrs per week, church for 3 hrs per week, sit through soccer practice for 2 hrs per week, at least one soccer game for 1-2 hrs per week, and try to get laundry done, groceries gotten, food prepped, house clean(ish), and, you know, shower on occasion.  There are times, as I'm typing this, that I find can do double duty, so I shall take advantage of that.  I hope.

Anyway, I have one book under my belt, so far.

I have a yen for the non-fiction, real-life stories of people.  I super love people.  I will sit and listen if you want to tell me about yourself.  I find it highly fascinating.  I love stories of love and survival and trials and triumph and heartache and living and happiness and suffering and conquering and lessons learned..... all of it.  I love it.

This was the perfect find, for me.  Kerry Egan is a chaplain for hospice patients.  She says a lot of patients don't always want to talk about God or religion or prayer or whatever.  Some do, yes, but what people want most, when they're in the final stages of their mortal existence, is to tell their stories.  To give voice to their regret; to give their memories life, again; to express their dark secrets and deepest wishes and dreams.  And she gets to hear it, all.

She has done a great service to these people and to her readers, by making some of these experiences accessible to the rest of the world.  Throughout the book, she even intertwines her own heartache and fears and life experiences, making this book even more personal.

It makes me want to become a chaplain for hospice care.  I would truly love that vocation.  I found it takes a great deal of schooling to become one, officially.  But, no one said I can't just listen to people.

So, I will.  :)