Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Christmas Town, book #28

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.
When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?  (picture and description from amazon)

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Partners, book #27

Meh.  Half of the book was spend talking about Dale and not as much about George so I had no idea which way this book was going until they finally connected.

A knock at Dale Hathaway’s door changes the course of her life. Who would abandon a child on the steps of a boardinghouse on such a blustery night? Journalist George Rand is determined to find out, but first, he and Dale must work together to rescue the child. United in their efforts, can a lasting friendship develop for two lonely people?  (picture and description from amazon)

Can't wait to see my Book Club peeps this week!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Second Chance Cinderella, book #26

"I'll Wait for You Forever." 

Heartbroken when her childhood love never returned, Rose Smith soon learned she had even greater worries—she carried his child. Ten years later as a housemaid in London, she encounters Samuel Blackstone. The kind youth she adored has turned bitter with success. Feeling out of place in Sam's high-society world, Rose fears what he may do when he learns of their son….

A wealthy stockbroker, Sam is used to getting what he wants. And when he learns that Rose bore him a son, he wants to claim his family. But he'll have to convince Rose to trust him again if he's to have any hope of meeting the boy…or recapturing her heart.  (picture and description from amazon)

Cute story that was a quick read, but in Chapter 14 where the son meets the dad is a pretty far stretch from reality.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Covenant Child, book #25

This book was not on any list I currently have.  Not on my paperwhite.  Not on the side of my bed.  Not in the stack under the side of my bed.  Not in the stack across the room.  So why did I read it?  Well, I guess it was God.  

This book was returned to the library when I was working this week (our book has a different cover) and I hastily thought, "Hhm, that sounds interesting." So I brought it home and started in.

At first (and actually for over half of the book) I hated it.  Just like I hated The First Gardner. (Sorry Denise!) Just like I hated The Swan House.  It was just sad, sad, sad!!  Nothing funny, I never laughed once in this book.  I'm not really a crier when it comes to books, but if I was I probably would have been bawling my eyes out.  

Somewhat brief summary:
Dad is a son of a rich billionaire who grew a company from scratch.  Mom was a runaway who got Jesus.  Met dad, fell in love and got married.  Had sweet twins, then died in a car wreck.  Dad (who also got Jesus and doesn't want any of his dad's money) carries on the best he can with these two toddlers.  When they are three, Dad falls in love with Amanda and she embraces the girls as if they were her own, especially since she can't have any.  Well, a few months after they get married Dad and the rich grandparents all die in a plane wreck.  All the money/mansion/company/etc goes to Amanda, who doesn't even want it, like Dad didn't.  However, on the day of the funeral Mom's parents (who are trash from the scum) come to claim the twins, saying they are blood relatives and should raise them.  (Of course we all know they really just want the money.)  Since Amanda's adoption of the girls had not finished going through the process, the judge had no reason not to let them go with trashy grandparents (TG).  Tears ensue all the way around, except for TG who take them to their trashy dirty house and lock them in separate closets when they cry.  Amanda would give the TG everything, just to have the girls back since she promised she would take care of the girls no matter what for Dad.  However, the company that made them rich was falling apart due to bad lower management and since rich granddad was dead, that made Amanda the one to go in and get it back the way it needed to be.  She had no experience in running a huge company like that, but had two friend advisors come along and help her.  She didn't want to do it, but friend/advisors assured her taking care of the company would be taking care of the girls because it would be saving all the money for them for later.

Girls end up alone (TG go to the casino all night and sleep all day) and fall into all sort of bad trouble, have to fend for themselves, quit school, just all around yuck.  However, all the while, Amanda has been keeping tabs on them.  So TG convince them to sue Amanda for all their money when they turn 18 and tell them all sorts of lies about her.  When their birthday comes along, Amanda shows up with a free gift of everything, as long as they come live with her and follow her rules (which are really simple).  One twin does go, but the other still believes the lies.  The twin left behind goes forward with the suit against Amanda, but Amanda has made it clear she is not giving in.  It is all free already if only she will come.  

After a few more scraps, bumps, and all out catastrophes, other twin does come around and the good guys end up happily ever after.

Quotes that gripped me:

Lizzie, the twin who went with Amanda, explaining about what life was like at the mansion ~

"Kara, I feel like I was in a prison for most of my life, with cruel, greedy people lying to me and making me think that it was my fate to be there.  They kept us down, Kara.  They controlled us.  They made us into people without hope.  And it was a life sentence.  You're accepting that sentence, Kara, when the doors to that prison are open now.  But you won't walk through them.  We can go back to the family in the pictures of this photo album.  We can know peace and joy." 
"On her terms!" 
"Yes, on her terms.  They're good terms, Kara.  I've never felt more free in my life.  The whole world is open to me now.  I have a hope and a future.  Things are happening to me that I never even knew to hope or imagine.  For the first time in my life I feel like I'm standing on steady ground.  And I feel strong, because it's not just me, Deke and Eloise's tattered granddaughter.  I have all of Amanda's resources behind me, and she's there rooting for me and guiding me.  It's all about love, Kara.  Not money."

Less than two days after Kara got married. her husband beat her and threw her in a closet.  She found a way to escape, through a window, but it was narrow. 

"Gritting my teeth, I slid my feet through the window's opening, then scooted my body down until my rump rested on the sill.  It was like being reborn, pushed into a whole new world, frightened and damaged, but I managed to slip the rest of the way out and dropped to the ground."

Amanda’s heart broke as she watched them drive her beloved twins away. She resolved to hope . . . and to fight for them to her last breath.  Kara and Lizzie are heiresses to one of the largest fortunes in the country. But when their father dies suddenly, the toddlers are taken from the arms of Amanda, their loving stepmother, and given to relatives who only want the children’s fortune for themselves.  Kara and Lizzie grow up questioning their worth . . . until the day when they learn the truth.  Intensely involving, emotionally charged, and infused with hope, Covenant Child is an inspiring story that challenges us to embrace the life God holds out to us. (picture and description from amazon)

Here's to happy reading next time around!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Unashamed, book #24

Decided to clear off a book from my bedside table and picked this one up.  Complete turn from everything I had been reading ~ this is an autobiography!  

Not sure how many of you all have heard of Lecrae.  The only reason I knew his name was from my short stint in Adult Hip Hop years ago, where I was introduced to his music through God is Enough.  

This book was a quick read, but it was LOADED DOWN with some GOOD STUFF!!!  His story is like so many others for black kids "in the hood" ... never knew dad, raised by mom, lots of bad influences, abused as a child in many ways, sex, drugs, alcohol, in trouble all the time, etc.  He never fit in anywhere.  When he was in high school his step dad got a great new job and they moved to a nicer area and he was in a school with more opportunities for him.  However, it wasn't too long before he again didn't fit in.  The new area was predominately white and although he could get good grades and was super talented with his rapping and drama, others just still saw him as "the black kid".  His life just spiraled up and down over and over again until he was in college and started hanging out with the Christian kids because he didn't have anywhere else to go.  He ended up going to an amazing conference one Christmas break and really felt the Lord calling him.  He was saved that night and had his first true revelation about his life.  

Long story short .... he starts making music (he writes and performs his own material) and does really well, then the Lord brings him down to open his eyes to the next step He wants him to take.  Through all the various hills and valleys he finally has reached a point where he realizes he is exactly where he belongs.  Yes, he is a Christian, but his music is for everyone.  It reaches Christians and main stream because he writes from the heart ~ his heart.  His trials and tribulations.  His longings and weaknesses.  His victories through Jesus.  

Quotes that jumped out at me:

"I had finally been set free, but I was about to find out if I could live free.  A person can be removed from slavery in an instant, but it takes a lifetime for slavery to be removed from a person." 

"I'd been liberated from slavery, but slavery had not been liberated from me." 

"We fool ourselves into thinking that when we're 'born again' we come out of the womb walking.  But spiritual infants are like physical infants.  When a child begins to learn how to walk, they fall a lot." 

"All my life, I'd been hiding pieces of myself and putting up a front.  I'd been hiding my weakness so everyone would think I was hard.  So that people would like me.  I finally let go of all that and surrendered.  Now I refused to hide my struggles and imperfections, my temptations and my problems.  I refused to exhaust myself trying to conform to others' expectations or fit in their boxes.  For the first time in my life, I was free to live.  Unashamed."

Once he 'crossed over' to doing main stream, he got a lot of flack from his Christian fans who thought he was leaving them and turning back to his old ways.  

"But the critics don't know the whole story.  Critics almost never do.  They claimed I had been seduced by the money.   They didn't know that I was actually losing money at many of those mainstream events ....
The critics said I was just chasing fame by trying to become friends with famous people.  But they didn't know that I was an outsider at many of these events ....
The critics claimed I was a sell-out for being friends with people like Kendrick. .. They didn't know that he and I were constantly dialoging about faith.  The critics hated that I was loving this community instead of attacking them.  They didn't know that rappers would often come find me after a show--sometimes high and out of their minds--and ask me to help figure out what God wanted for their lives."

If you live for people's acceptance, you'll die from their rejection.
Two-time Grammy winning rap artist, Lecrae, learned this lesson through more than his share of adversity—childhood abuse, drugs and alcoholism, a stint in rehab, an abortion, and an unsuccessful suicide attempt.  Along the way, Lecrae attained an unwavering faith in Jesus and began looking to God for affirmation. Now as a chart-topping industry anomaly, he has learned to ignore the haters and make peace with his craft. The rap artist holds nothing back as he divulges the most sensitive details of his life, answers his critics, shares intimate handwritten journal entries, and powerfully models how to be a Christian in a secular age.  This is the story of one man's journey to faith and freedom.   

(picture and description from amazon)

To hear a bit of his music, go here.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Secondhand Cowboy, book #23

Iris Tatum hasn't seen her high school sweetheart, Callum Stewart, since he left years ago without a single word. Then she witnesses a horrific hit-and-run accident and comes face to face with her past - and Cal's triplets. A volunteer paramedic, Iris can't walk away...no matter how much she wants to.
Bull rider Callum Stewart was run out of town at age 20 and vowed never to return. Only one thing could bring him back: building a future for his sons. Now, thanks to the accident that left him with a broken leg, he needs help to care for his boys. He has no choice but to accept Iris's grudging help.
As they rediscover a friendship - and the sparks that never faded between them - Callum's secrets are brought back with a vengeance. How can they keep the past from destroying their future? (picture and description from amazon)

Another quick read that was really cute!


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Home is Where the Heart Is, book #22

Ten years ago, Violet Collingsworth left the town founded by her family, eager to escape a domineering grandmother and a past filled with hurt. Finally able to pursue her own dreams, Violet has spent the last decade traveling and enjoying adventures in the outdoors she loves so much. But now her grandmother's death has brought her back to Collingsworth and to the conflicted familial relationships of her past. Settling down anywhere, let alone Collingsworth, was not part of her agenda, but a run-in with the town sheriff has her reconsidering. Sheriff Dean Marconett has heard plenty about the Collingsworth sister who loved to travel, but he never imagined he'd be so drawn to her when they finally met. Hoping to win her heart, he keeps secret the one thing that might scare her away. Will he be able to convince Violet to consider settling down in the town she fled from so long ago before his secret is revealed? Or will her adventuresome spirit and the hurts and fears of her past, along with his secret, drive her away from a chance at love?  (picture and description from amazon)

Read on!