Monthly Archives: March 2014

And All The People Said AMEN!

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Give thanks to the LORD for His love never ends!

Happy Monday!  I haven’t done a song in a while and if you’re like me, Mondays I could always use a bit extra encouragement.  We’ve been loving this newer Matt Maher song lately and even been ending our prayers with the chorus of this song.  It has such a good message that I wanted to share to anyone that needs a little extra push this Monday morning.  (For another Matt Maher favorite and constant prayer of mine – check out Lord, I Need You.)

Simple message – yet so profound and a great reminder each and every day. “We are all the same in need of mercy, To be forgiven and be free, It’s all you got to lean on, But thank God it’s all you need.”

The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. Lamentations 3:22 (NCV)

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19 (ESV)

That’s it for today.  Short and sweet.  Meditate on it, share it, live it!  Enjoy your week!  Amen!

“All The People Said Amen”
Matt Maher

You are not alone if you are lonely
When you’re feeling frail, you’re not the only
We are all the same in need of mercy
To be forgiven and be free
It’s all you got to lean on
But thank God it’s all you need

And all the people said Amen, whoa oh
And all the people said Amen
Give thanks to the Lord for His love never ends
And all the people said Amen

If you’re rich or poor, well it don’t matter
Weak or strong, we know love is what we’re after
We’re all broken but we’re all in this together
God knows we stumble and fall
And He so loved the world He sent His son to save us all

And all the people said Amen, whoa oh
And all the people said Amen
Give thanks to the Lord for His love never ends
And all the people said Amen

Blessed are
The poor in spirit who are torn apart
Blessed are
The prosecuted and the pure in heart
Blessed are
The people longing for another start
For this is the Kingdom
The Kingdom of God

And all the people said Amen, whoa oh
And all the people said Amen
Give thanks to the Lord for His love never ends
And all the people said Amen

Praise the Lord! He is good.
    God’s love never fails.
Praise the God of all gods.
    God’s love never fails.
Praise the Lord of lords.
    God’s love never fails.
Psalm 136:1-3

One last shout out for the day – Happy 1st Birthday to Evergreen Church.  Amazing accomplishment and a great church home in the Peachtree City GA area.

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Teaser Tuesday – March 25th

I’m writing out my latest book review (here), publish it, then move along, when it hits me – it’s TUESDAY!!  Seriously, my brain is gone lately.  I’m actually going through NetGalley as we speak trying to find a new read.  Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of books piled up, but for whatever reason, I want something different!  I can’t quite figure out why…so today I’m going to pick the last book in my queue and really pick a random quote for you.

It is from Scarlett Says by Julie Cannon (click on book for description), coming out next Tuesday!

“It’s so quiet I can hear Siggy breathing.  Am I willing to pay the high price he’s asking? I ask myself.  Willing to enter the world of my nightmares, to exchange pieces of my life – painful memories – to get this freedom?” (59% in)

I think I’ll be diving into this tonight – even I have no idea what is coming – this was a good one if I do say so myself!!

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

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Book Review: Picturing Perfect by Melissa Brown


Picturing Perfect
By Melissa Brown
Borrowed through Amazon Prime

Rating: 4 bones

 

Finish Time: 3 nights.  I needed a fluffy filler.  I haven’t been approved for any books in my NetGalley queue lately, and I’ve finished my March Kindle First, so I went back to my trusty Kindle Best Sellers list, and decided to use my “free” monthly borrow (which I haven’t done in a while.)  I’ve been reading some heavier books of late, so just something cute, easy, and as I said before fluffy, to get me through a few nights.

This book was simply sweet.  Not too deep, not hard, not thought-provoking.  Just a sweet story that made me smile.  It was hard to rate for me, as it wasn’t what I was used to reading (somewhat challenging), but I usually go with my gut and I have nothing bad to say about this book.

The book follows Hadley Foster, a young girl just trying to figure it all out.  She had a plan that derailed, something most readers can relate to.  But in that derailment, she found a job with meaning that filled her life and heart each day.  She found some great friends.  She figured out things (people) she didn’t want.  And was surprised to figure out what she did want and how in that process it encouraged others to do the same.

The characters are lively and really warm your heart.  Hadley is a genuine person, makes choices based on her gut, and you can’t help but respect her for it.  There is the part of me that wants to be skeptical about Jason, the too-good-to-be-true male hero in this book.  But for all the “bad” guys I’ve read about lately, I needed Jason.  He is the personification of the “perfect” guy and I couldn’t help in my current state (we’ll just call it emotional) to like that.

Overall, I’ll say it again, a very sweet book.  And very quick too.  Exactly what I needed as a refresher between books.  Check it out if you could use something like that too!

Blurb from Amazon:

Hadley Foster has been through a lot in her twenty-two years: the death of her beloved father, her mother’s descent into mental illness, and the loss of her soulmate, Jason Kelly, from whom she walked away years ago.

Despite all this, Hadley has remained hopeful and optimistic about life. She has been with upstanding investment banker Tucker for six years, and the future looks bright—until a trip to Europe with her best friend brings a series of events no one could have foreseen. Suddenly the brilliant future she has envisioned for herself seems to shatter before her eyes. She is faced with a stark choice: move on again, or pick up the pieces.

Back home, nerdy but handsome Jason Kelly is now a successful writer who could have anything—and anyone—he wants. But deep down, he still misses his beloved “Haddie” and dreams of winning her back.

When destiny leads their paths to cross once more, Hadley and Jason must confront not only their painful past, but what the future may hold for them both.

 

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Book Review: You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

You Should Have Known (click book for details)
By Jean Hanff Korelitz
Released 3/18/14
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 4 nights.  I had to think on this book for a while and still have some unanswered questions.  It started out really strong, middle was a bit boring (in comparison) and then the ending was intense.  So overall – it was a fast read and kept me up late turning pages.

Meet Grace Reinhart Sachs.  Wife. Mother. Therapist. Fundraising Board Member at the exclusive Reardon private school.  Daughter.  Stepdaughter.  Daughter-in-law.  Friend.  I’m probably missing some – but she played a lot of roles in this book, each individually explored.

Grace is the author of a book titled “You Should Have Known”, sharing tidbits from what she has learned as a marriage therapist.  Her theory mainly being that people don’t change.  There are signs there at the beginning of a courtship/relationship that you may notice yet ignore because you are so caught up in the moment, but come up after the honeymoon is over and are issues.  Interesting concept, probably true.  But she is proved a hypocrite when her husband turns up missing and a whole other side of him is unveiled throughout the book, that, go figure, she didn’t know.

Really makes the reader think, should she have known?  would you? can someone hide something that big from someone?  are there “big” issues you have chosen to ignore in your partner?  I think this book is set up perfectly for a prequel as the book starts after Grace has written this book and the biggest drama of her life begins.  So some insight into the meeting, courtship, and beginning of her relationship with Jonathan may have shed some light on recent events.  The reader merely has to take Grace’s word for it when she says there were no signs.  But it’s really hard to see how there couldn’t be and think she was just too busy with other things to know what was going on.  While you do feel for her at some points, and definitely her son, could she really be that ignorant?

I was also annoyed at times at Grace’s withdrawal from the whole situation.  The book presented so much drama, unsolved drama, and Grace’s instinct was to leave it all.  Never having and hopefully never will be in that situation, it does make you wonder what you would do.  Would you want to follow what is happening to your once “perfect” life now thrown all over the news and the topic of gossip in everyone you know?  Probably not, but as a reader with Grace as your guide, it leaves you dying to know details.  They come, be patient.  And when they do, oh boy, it is more than you would ever expect.

Again not an easy topic, like the last book I read that dealt primarily with adultery, but this one you really get involved in the story and want answers right along with everyone else.  Not happy, but a satisfying end, that may leave it open too – I’ll be watching this author for more!

If you get a chance – you’ll like this one.  Check out a bonus teaser from this week too!

Blurb from Amazon:

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

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Teaser Tuesday – March 18th

Happy Tuesday!

This week’s teaser comes from “You Should Have Known” by Jean Hanff Korelitz, which releases TODAY!!  Good timing – huh?  I’m about a fourth of the way through and this one has me hanging on – review to come later this week!

“She could get up now, open the door, and greet them early.  She could, she ought to, probably, but for some reason she didn’t, and the clock ticked forward as if nothing had changed, and Grace just sat there as if nothing had changed, because she wanted to and because she could.  But not for much longer.”
25% into book

And the description from Amazon:

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

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Book Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Hidden (click book for more info)
By Catherine McKenzie
March Kindle First read – releases 4/1/14

Rating: 2 bones

Finish Time: 4-5 nights.  I don’t like giving books low reviews, I really don’t.  I knew going into this one that is was a subject matter I didn’t like (adultery).  I wanted to keep up my monthly Kindle First reads, and this seemed the best choice for the month.  The length and maybe it would surprise me were my motives.  It was short, thank goodness, but it did not surprise me.  Check out my “teaser” from last week – many comments said it was a sad teaser, and it was, and so was the book.

I guess I was hoping maybe for more fun, or drama, or excitement?  It was a story that could happen, a lot of people got hurt, and just made me sad.  I guess it was written alright, it was easy to read and somewhat easy to follow with the narrator shifting in each chapter.  But none of the characters were particularly likable as I didn’t find myself really feeling for either of them.  They all had made poor choices and hurt a lot of people in the process.

The main characters is Jeff, who dies right at the onset of the book, but every 3rd chapter or so flashes back to give the reader a glimpse at where they are today.  His widow Claire and their son Seth.  Then the “other woman” Tish, her husband and daughter Zoey.  I felt for the kids, you could see them hurt by the whole situation, and as a mom, that just sucked too.

You can read the description by clicking on the book or I’ll paste it below, but I’ll just leave it at that.  It’s a sad story and just sucks for everyone involved.  I hope it never happens in my life or to anyone I know, but unfortunately seems like something that does happen all to often.   But it does ask some tough questions – would you want to know?  especially if that person is gone and nothing can be changed?  and what secrets would be revealed if you died today?  is that how you’d want to be remembered? Questions that I guess put a challenge out to the reader, something I normally like, but in this case, just too sad.

Thanks Kindle First for the free book, but I’ll definitely be more selective for my April book.

Description from Amazon:

Why do people cheat? It’s a question we never seem to tire of asking. In Hidden, Catherine McKenzie takes a story as old as the institution of marriage and makes it new. What is so novel about her book—what hooked me from the beginning—is that it’s told in the voices of all three main characters: Jeff Manning, who is killed in a car accident; his wife, Claire, who struggles to pick up the pieces after his death; and Tish Underhill, Jeff’s coworker and friend. 

Of course, when you ask three witnesses to tell you about the same event, you get three different stories. Reading Hidden, I found myself torn in three directions—I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic to each character’s perspective. It’s no surprise that Catherine, a lawyer by day, has a keen sense of observation and an uncanny ability to tease out the flawed yet very human motivations behind her characters’ reckless actions. In this portrait of modern love and family obligations, she blurs the boundaries of fidelity and what constitutes a marital transgression. 

Was Jeff planning to walk away from the life he had built with Claire? Was Tish more than just a good friend? Will Claire ever discover if her suspicions are grounded in reality? 

A good domestic drama keeps us turning the pages at breakneck speed. A great one causes us to question even our most tightly held beliefs. Hidden does both. Just like I did, you’ll race through this book to uncover the truth.

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My Life in Disney Songs

Hello my severely neglected blog and followers.  As you should know by now, we are in the process of moving.  Selling a house, travelling back and forth, and just figuring out the million little pieces and keeping them all in motion, has me a little stressed to say the least.  But in our free moments, we like to have Disney Dance Parties, and I’ve come to the realization that our life right now can be summed up using a variety of Disney songs. So I hope you enjoy this fun little glimpse into our lives as told by songs:

As we are preparing to move and enter into “A Whole New World“, the motto I’ve been trying hard to have is “Hakuna Matata” – you know how it goes – it means no worries!  Not quite that easy to “Let it Go“, but we’re trying.  (Check out a past post on that song specifically!)

We’re realizing we can get by some days with just the “Bare Necessities“, but each day it’s “Heigh Ho“, off to work we go.  While I wish we had a fairy godmother or a magic wand to say “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” and have it all be over with (the work that is!)

We are  “Almost There” and will soon be singing at last “I See the Light” when we can proudly say we’ve been able to “Go the Distance.”  .

I guess it’s all part of the “Circle of Life“.

But I will always be singing “You’ll be in My Heart” to all my beloved friends in Georgia and know that “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” always and forever.

And please know that everyone is always invited to Cleveland to “Be Our Guest” anytime!!

And finally just for fun – since I am out of words – here is one of the kids favorites these days “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious“!!

Thanks for stopping by today – any others I forgot?  What sums up your life these days?

The songs are from these movies referenced above are (in order):
Aladdin
The Lion King
Frozen
The Jungle Book
Snow White
Cinderella
The Princess and the Frog
Tangled
Hercules
The Lion King
Tarzan
Toy Story
Beauty and the Beast
Mary Poppins
And pictures were all from this link. (Unless they link to their original source)

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Book Review: Strongwood: A Crime Dossier by Larry Millet

Strongwood: A Crime Dossier (click on book for more information)
By Larry Millett
Releases 3/15/14
Downloaded free through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review

Rating:4 bones

Finish Time: too long.  That is not a reflection of this book, this book was great.  Although I’m still trying to figure out if it is based on a true story or not.  It is written as if it were (footnotes and all), but it appears upon a quick Google search that it is not.  And I had to ask my husband what a dossier was, because I did not know.  I actually am embarrassed to admit that I thought this book would be about a woman detective! Not the case, as it was the trial of Addie Strongwood, who was accused of murder.

dos·sier noun
\ˈds-ˌyā, ˈdäs-; ˈd-sē-ˌā, ˈdä-\

: a group of papers that contain detailed information about someone or something

At the very beginning of the book, it actually prepares you for never really knowing the truth, so I was a bit skeptical as I would have hated to get to the end of the book only to be left wondering.  I had that in the back of my head the whole book, but needless to say, the ending was satisfying – so don’t let that deter you, as it almost did me.

It’s almost a “he said she said”, except HE is dead.  So it’s a “she said” v. everything else that came up in court.  SHE in this case is Addie Strongwood, the book gives you such a clear picture of this spunky little woman.  She is the true definition of a firecracker.  She admits to killing Michael Masterson, but only out of self-defense.  The entire book includes excerpts from a 7-part article Addie published in a local newspaper, her testimony in court, and then various figures from her past, Michael’s past, Michael’s family, co-workers,and a variety of others.  Just when you thought you knew all the facts, more were presented.

The book kept me guessing and going back and forth at different times of the book as to who was really guilty.  Neither character was anything close to a saint, it was really who was the best of the worst!  Really kept me thinking and wondering about Addie, she was either an amazing liar or truly innocent.  And the end will keep you thinking long past putting down the book!

Also fun (and I guess a hint as the fictional side of this book) is the “guest appearance” of Sherlock Holmes.  It appears the author, Larry Millett, has a lot of recurring characters in his books, Mr. Holmes being one of them, who ultimately uncovers the “key” to this case.  Definitely makes me want to read some of his other works.

images (1)

Overall a fun read, frustrating at time, but very well put together.  Had me hanging on to the very end – check it out and let’s talk about it!

Here was a teaser from the book too to wet your whistle!

Description from Amazon:

The place is Minneapolis, the year is 1903, and Michael Masterson has fallen in love, or so he claims, with Addie Strongwood, a beautiful working-class girl with an interesting past and a mind of her own. But their promising relationship quickly begins to disintegrate before reaching a violent conclusion. Amid allegations of seduction, rape, and blackmail, Michael is shot dead and Addie goes on trial for first-degree murder. As the case unfolds in a welter of conflicting evidence and surprise discoveries, a jury must decide whether Addie acted in self-defense or killed her one-time lover with the coldest of calculation.

Reconstructing the case through trial testimony, newspaper stories, the journal of Addie’s flamboyant defense attorney, and her own first-person account as serialized in the Minneapolis Tribune, Larry Millett builds a suspenseful tale of love, money, betrayal, and death. Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, long known to readers from Millett’s previous mysteries, play crucial roles in the unraveling of the case, which also offers a glimpse into the sharply divided worlds of the rich and the poor at the dawn of the twentieth century.

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Teaser Tuesday – March 11th

Better late than never?  I’m sorry I’m neglecting my blog these days, with the move, I hope you understand why.  Please be patient, with the move to a new city soon – it will be worth it!  But I am always reading, just a little slower than normal.

I did post a teaser last week, but scheduled it the night before and forgot to repost anywhere else.  Check that out HERE, and review coming soon.

This week’s teaser comes from my Kindle First read for March.  One I’m not entirely proud to admit I’m reading (just not a subject matter I support), yet one that sounded the most dramatic (like I need anymore drama in my life these days!)  But it’s from Hidden (click on the book below) by Catherine McKenzie:

“I took her in my arms and held her, but it didn’t seem to help.  And the longer I held her, the more I could fell the loss inside, as if an elemental part of her had been taken away.” p.151

And the description from Amazon:

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.

Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

 

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

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Teaser Tuesday – March 4th

Missed y’all last week.  Our house was overtaken by the stomach bug and the big MOVE.  But I’ve still been reading nightly and have a teaser ready for you this week.

It’s from Strongwood: A Crime Dossier, releasing March 15, 2014, by Larry Millett.

“It had to be, as Michael was untrue to me in every way that a man can be, and now he has paid the price for his crimes.”  At least, those were her words. (about 8% into the book)

And the description from Amazon:

The place is Minneapolis, the year is 1903, and Michael Masterson has fallen in love, or so he claims, with Addie Strongwood, a beautiful working-class girl with an interesting past and a mind of her own. But their promising relationship quickly begins to disintegrate before reaching a violent conclusion. Amid allegations of seduction, rape, and blackmail, Michael is shot dead and Addie goes on trial for first-degree murder. As the case unfolds in a welter of conflicting evidence and surprise discoveries, a jury must decide whether Addie acted in self-defense or killed her one-time lover with the coldest of calculation.

Reconstructing the case through trial testimony, newspaper stories, the journal of Addie’s flamboyant defense attorney, and her own first-person account as serialized in the Minneapolis Tribune, Larry Millett builds a suspenseful tale of love, money, betrayal, and death. Sherlock Holmes and Shadwell Rafferty, long known to readers from Millett’s previous mysteries, play crucial roles in the unraveling of the case, which also offers a glimpse into the sharply divided worlds of the rich and the poor at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Here are the rules:

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Thanks for stopping by today – please leave your link below too!

Leave a comment

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