Monday, June 29, 2009

Love's Pursuit

Review at the end!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love's Pursuit

Bethany House (June 1, 2009)


Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

A Constant Heart was her sixth novel. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. She has been called one of the clearest, most original voices in the CBA.


In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.

In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love's Pursuit, go HERE

Pattie's Review:

Siri Mitchell's latest historical novel is an engrossing look into the Puritan ways of life during colonization. I really enjoyed the examination of the issue of faith vs. works, a struggle most Christians deal with on a daily basis.

Susannah's transformation is truly touching. It's not without conflict and great struggle, but it is a true and wonderful one.

All this being said, I feel compelled to state that this was not my favorite Siri Mitchell novel. It is the second of her historical offerings I've read, and frankly I enjoyed her Elizabethan era novel A Constant Heart much more than this one. I really enjoy her contemporary stories the most, particularly her Christy award winning The Cubicle Next Door. It took me awhile to get into this story. The shift in narrators also gets to be confusing at times.

Overall, if you enjoy historical American fiction with Scriptural truths and accurate historical details, this would be a book for you. If you're looking for something light, however, this is not the book for you.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Friday Felicities for June 26
  • Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. They send me books, for free, to read and review! So many, in fact, that I have had to limit my choices based on my schedule . . .
  • My girls' ballet studio. They held a class with just my girls last night instead of cancelling.
  • Our new laminate floor that is going in right now!
  • Working wireless internet.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spring Reading Thing Wrap-Up

Wrapping up Year Three of Participating in Callapidder Days' SRT:


[X] Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker (review)
- it was a good book, very enjoyable. Click on link above to read my review.

Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren (review) **Began, but then misplaced. I think I packed it when we moved stuff out of the downstairs. I'll find it and read it this summer! **

[X] Waiting by Ha Jin (book club) - It's a good one. We had a spirited book club discussion about this one!

[X] Channeling Mark Twain by Carol Muskie Dukes (book club) - Good, not great. Sort of hard to describe and review, which is why I didn't :)

[X] Fax Me a Bagel by Sharon Kahn (Jewish lit challenge) - I have read two of Sharon Kahn's Ruby mysteries, and I enjoyed both. I'll be checking them out at the library again soon!

[X] Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot (review) - Good. My review was for another site and hasn't been posted yet, so that's why no link.

[X] Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (reread before sequel...) - Enjoyed it again!

[X]Knit Two by Kate Jacobs (sequel to FNKC) (TBR Challenge book) - Really enjoyed this one! A satisfying sequel that I just finished today. I'm doing the "Georgia Afghan" pattern in the back of the book. If you want to find that, check out Kate Jacobs' site. Click on the book cover and then the "knit" on the top of the page, for the pattern!


The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (review) **began, then again, packed away and will find and read again later**

Experiencing the Spirit by Henry and Melvin Blackaby (review) **I read about half before setting aside.**

Clutter-Free Christianity by Robert Jeffress (review) **I read the first couple of chapters before setting aside.**

[X]GOD Strong (for military wives) by Sara Horn (advance manuscript! woohoo!) - No review because it isn't published yet. The review will come when it comes out.

I finished 8 of the 12 books I'd set aside for myself to read. What I didn't count on was more review material coming my way in the meantime, which set me back. Plus, I just don't read nonfiction quickly. Overall, I'm disappointed I didn't finish, but overall not unhappy with the challenge results.

Thanks again, Katrina, for hosting this!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Felicities

So here we are, Friday again! Time for things that make you happy. Pop on over to Becky's blog and post on the linky!

  • Strong dark coffee in the mornings.
  • Paperback Swap and Book Mooch, both of which have helped me recycle books I no longer want and get books I do.
  • All the military wives I've met on several websites and on Twitter. What a great way to support each other in this crazy life!
  • UP. If you get the chance, please go see this movie. Take kleenex. Snack bar napkins just don't cut it.
  • Remembering Nattie. This meme was her original idea.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Never the Bride

Welcome to the Never the Bride blog tour, sponsored by Waterbrook Multnomah Press. This is a novel adaptation of Cheryl McKay's play of the same name.

Book Summary and Review:

Jessie Stone dreams of the perfect marriage proposal, the perfect wedding dress, and the perfect groom. Eleven bridesmaid dresses hang in her closet. Journals full of her hopes and dreams--lovingly recorded with her purple plumed pen--grace her bookshelf.

The only thing Jessie needs to make her dreams come true is, well, a groom.

Enter God.

In the flesh.

As God becomes more and more real to Jessie, He asks her to give her plans and dreams to Him. He asks her to give Him her precious purple pen.

Can she do it? More importantly, can she place her full trust in a God Who promises her the best love story, the Author of the greatest love story of all time?

This novel contains an amazing story. It's more than "just a Christian romance." It's a story of trust, of faith, and yes, of love--but not just the romantic love of Jessie's journal. I laughed out loud while reading this story, and at times I cried as well.

One of the truths in this delightful story is that God's timing is most certainly not our own, nor is it always the most convenient. another is that often our own hopes and desires get in the way of God's plans for us. How frustrating that must be for Him. And yet, He loves us. Me. You. The world.

I wondered as I read this novel, could I relinquish my own beloved blue gel pen to my Saviour, my Friend, my God? I hope and pray that if He asks it of me, I'll willingly comply.

I highly recommend this novel. What a great summer read!

You can purchase the book here.

Author info:

Cheryl McKay is the co-author (with Frank Peretti) of the Wild and Wacky, Totally True Bible Stories series, which has sold nearly 200,000 copies, and the screenwriter of the award-winning film The Ultimate Gift. Rene Gutteridge has published thirteen novels including Ghost Writer, My Life as a Doormat, the Boo Series, the Occupational Hazards Series, and the Storm Series. Together, McKay and Gutteridge are the authors of The Ultimate Gift, a novelization based on the feature film and popular book by the same title.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

FaithWords (April 16, 2009)


Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt


ANNE DAYTON graduated from Princeton University and is earning her master's degree in English literature at New York University. She works for a New York publishing company and lives in Brooklyn.

MAY VANDERBILT graduated from Baylor University and went on to earn a master's degree in fiction from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in San Francisco, where she writes about food, fashion, and nightlife in the Bay Area.

Together, the two women are the authors of Miracle Girls


Ana, Christine, Riley, and Zoe have grown closer than ever over the past few months, but summer is over and it's time to put their friendship to the test.
It's been a little over a year since Christine Lee's mom passed away in a tragic car accident. Now her dad is engaged to Candace--"The Bimbo"--and Christine couldn't be less thrilled. When her attitude starts to take a toll on her schoolwork, the administration forces her to attend counseling sessions. At least she gets to skip gym class!
But with her father's wedding inching closer, Christine is growing even more bitter. To make matters worse, the Miracle Girls are beginning to drift apart. Christine's anger and the pressures of high school threaten to break the girls up when they need each other the most. Will they find a way to join together to help Christine come to terms with her mother's death . . . and her father's remarriage?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, go HERE

Pattie's Review:

It's always tough to review book #2 in a series if I haven't read book #1. It's like missing an episode of a television show, or half of an interesting conversation.

I liked this book--but only after I got about halfway through. At first, Christine annoyed me. Yes, she lost her mother and her father was gone all the time for work and she was stuck with a future stepmother and stepsister in the house. Whatever. She seemed like a spoiled brat with a nose ring and an attitude, who just needed to get over herself. But then, as the events of the first book were revealed, and her motivation and heart were becoming more clear to me, I had more sympathy. By the end, I got teary-eyed and enjoyed the resolution of the story.

Teen angst, friend troubles, boyfriends coming and going . . . all the makings of a good teen novel. Thankfully, however, the authors take the story deeper, and the story is all the better for it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reading Challenge Status Check

Spring Reading Thing: Hm. Not sure if I can finish in the next six days.

Chunkster: Haven't even begun.

TBR Challenge: I have completed 6 books and 2 alternates from this list, and my current read is from this challenge list. However, since the SRT is "due" first, I will probably put this slow-read Maguire book down in favor of Kate Jacobs' Knit books.

That's all! I have declined entering any other reading challenges for 2009, apparently, which is probably just as well. Between the book review books I have, plus the boxes of books to read that are stashed in my closet and on my bookshelf, I'm really set. For a good long while. Maybe years.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Felicities

Friday Felicities

I've gotten out of the habit of doing these, so here we go with a new Friday Felicities at Fresh-Brewed Writer.

  • I never get tired of seeing my work in print.
  • Starbucks iced coffee
  • Watching my girls perform, whether it be dance recitals, Summer Performing Arts shows, or just dancing around the house.
  • Making new friends.
  • Knowing my Heavenly Father knows what's on my heart before I can even articulate it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What should I wear???

I'm sure I'm not the only person who wonders, "What should I wear," but in this case, I had to begin to ask some questions of some friends.

You see, I only have three fancy dresses. Three. One of those is long enough to be formal, one is short, and one is tea-length. The latter two are velvet. I also have a couple of not-so-fancy, nicer-than-church-but-too-short-for-formal dresses.

And we have another formal banquet next week.

And the last formal banquet was earlier this year, and I wore my one long dress.

Not that everyone is watching what the Chaplain's Wife is wearing, but still. I want to make my hubby proud AND look worthy of his mess dress (which for my non-military readers is a funny name for the tuxedo uniform).

So, the other day I hit the Salvation Army, and yesterday I checked every clearance rack I could find at the mall. Nothing. My budget was $50.

Did I mention I'm also uber-modest and am nervous about any cleavage? Yeah.

So, today while my girls were at SPA (Summer Performing Arts), I decided to go to a couple of new-to-me thrift stores.

I found a dress, no name label, made in Canada. It's an amazing and nearly-indescribable olive color with a subtle large-floral print. Spaghetti straps, but covers my chest completely without looking Amish. $9.99 plus tax.

Then on my way to pick up my girl, I stopped in at the old faithful Goodwill. They had a nice selection of formals as well, so to kill time I tried a few on. Found another one! This one is a clingy knit, with short little cap sleeves, black and sparkly.

I nearly fainted when the cashier told me my total was $1.60.

So, for twelve dollars, God blessed me with TWO formals!

Now I have to decide which one to wear.

And I need a new fancy clutch....

Monday, June 08, 2009

checking in

I thought I'd check in on my summer goals thus far...

I finished Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy. It turns out that doesn't take much; it was a midseason replacement so it's only 9 episodes long. Now I'm in Season 2. I didn't begin watching the show until February sweeps of that season, so most of this is new to me. It's been fun watching the characters and their relationships evolve from the beginning (and thanks to I am not out a whole lot of money on rentals!).

I read four books last week. Not bad, especially since I worked several shifts.

Doing better on the Bible and journaling. Not great, but better.

Walking the dog ended up being stymied by weather and my own allergies/cold/loss of voice time at the end of the week. Today it's raining.

I had to clear out the downstairs coat closet in preparation for having the carpet ripped up. So it's pretty much empty at this point. Looking forward to organizing it better!

So far, that's the state of all things Pattie for now. This week begins summer dance in addition to the other summer stuff......

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes is the latest release from the always-delightful Robin Jones Gunn.

Publisher's Summary:

When a mammogram result comes back abnormal, midlife mama Summer Finley makes a snap decision to relegate fear to the back burner and fulfill a lifelong dream. Summer heads for Holland where she meets up with tulips, wooden shoes, and her best friend, Noelle.

Pen pals since fourth grade, Summer and Noelle have never met face-to-face. Through decades of heart-level correspondence, they have sustained a deep friendship. A week of adventure helps both women trade anxiety for a renewed and deeper trust in God. When Summer confides in Noelle about the abnormal medical report, Noelle finds the freedom to share a long-held heartache, and both women discover they needed each other more than they realized.

Women ages 35 and up, readers of Christian Boomer Lit, and fans of books such as The Yada Yada Prayer Group will enjoy Robin Jones Gunn’s humorous and uplifting style. True-to-life characters and moments of poignancy bring a deeper understanding of the value of life and the gift of true friends. Readers guide and bonus material included.


Robin Jones Gunn is the best-selling and award-winning author of over seventy books, including the Glenbrooke, Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, Katie Weldon, and Christy and Todd: The College Years teen series. The Sisterchicks® series has sold more than 300,000 units, bringing her total sales to more than 3.5 million books worldwide. A Christy Award winner, Robin is a popular speaker, both at home and abroad, and is frequently interviewed on radio and on television.

Pattie's Review:

OK, so anyone who knows me knows I LOVE me some Robin Jones Gunn. I did a book review in college of one of the Christy Miller books, and while I liked it, it was not exactly accessible to me as a college student struggling to balance American novels, Romantic poetry, and secondary education methods!

Fast forward to 1995. I was taking a semester break from grad school, and needed a reading break from all the heavy lit I was cramming in preparation for my master's comps. Enter the local Christian bookstore and a book called Secrets. I was hooked! I felt like Jessica was a kindred spirit--poor struggling English teachers that we both were. I've been a faithful follower of Robin's work in the Glenbrooke and Sisterchicks series ever since.

My favorite thing about Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes was how the friends connected after not having seen each other in decades. That comforts me, because as a military wife, I'm dealing with a LOT of friendship separation right now.

Another great part comes in the middle of the novel. Summer tells Noelle, "I want to remember it [the Bible verse]. There's a difference for me between memorizing something and really holding on to it in my heart." Noelle replies, "You want to own the truth and not just rent the words." Isn't that an amazing Truth?

I also loved how each woman tries very hard to enjoy the moments they share together, and enjoy life where they are in each moment.

So what are you waiting for? Go and order this book here or here, or drive on down to your local Christian bookstore and get it today!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

a poetry thought for today

"Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind.
It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private."
~Allen Ginsberg~

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

2009 Reading Challenges

My list of books I really need to or want to read and/or finish:

1. The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (OSC Book Club)
2. Waiting by Ha Jin (OSC Book Club)
3. Channeling Mark Twain by Carol Muske Dukes (OSC Book Club)
4. Knit Two by Kate Jacobs
5. Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle
6. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (also a Jewish Lit Challenge choice)
7. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire (holdover from 2008)
---8. Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire (holdover from 2008) **I give up. I will not finish this one, ever. I just can't get into it.**
9. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
10. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
11. Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
12. Odd Mom Out by Jane Porter

Suite française by Irène Némirovsky
The Hidden Life of Otto Frank by Carol Ann Lee }
Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg
Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
Big Girls Don't Whine by Jan Silvious

4 books about Judaism or written by Jewish authors. Challenge runs from Dec. 21, 2008 - April 27, 2009

Here is my list:
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Suite française by Irène Némirovsky
Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Fax Me a Bagel by Sharon Kahn (I read one other book in this series last year!)

Alternate selections (in case I can't finish the above books, or decide differently): The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak
The Hidden Life of Otto Frank by Carol Ann Lee (Dad gave me his copy)


Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America - Stephen Bloom

The Shack - William P. Young I am not reading this one, because I have to miss the meeting.
The House at Sugar Beach - Helene Cooper
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate Di Camillo
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons - Lorna Landvik

Waiting - Ha Jin
Channeling Mark Twain - Carol Muskie-Dukes

Yay for Spring!
[X] Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker (review)
Nothing but Trouble by Susan May Warren (review)
[X] Waiting by Ha Jin (book club)
[X] Channeling Mark Twain by Carol Muskie Dukes (book club)
[X] Fax Me a Bagel by Sharon Kahn (Jewish lit challenge)
[X] Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot (review)
Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (reread before sequel...)
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs (sequel to FNKC) (TBR Challenge book)

The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (review)
Experiencing the Spirit by Henry and Melvin Blackaby (review)
Clutter-Free Christianity by Robert Jeffress (review)
[X]GOD Strong (for military wives) by Sara Horn (advance manuscript! woohoo!) - No review because it isn't published yet. The review will come when it comes out.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Summer List

Once again, I'm inspired by my friend Dana. She made a "Summer 30" list. Like her, I love a good list. Also like her, I don't always finish the lists, but that never stops me from making one!

So in no particular order, here are some things I'd like to do during the summer months. For my purposes, "summer" is June 1-August 25. Periodically I'll go back and update this post, so the original posting date here is June 1, 2009.

1. Read the Bible - no particular time frame or amount, just more than I'm doing now.
2. Journal every day.
3. Read 25 books.
4. Organize books.
5. Walk Princess Buttercup (the overweight cocker spaniel) at least five times a week. Ideally this will be daily, but hey, it does rain sometimes.
6. Get my Curves jeans hemmed.
7. Organize my photographs into boxes.
8. Burn digital photographs from old computer onto CDs.
9. Finish moving teaching floppy disk data to old computer, then burn to CD.
10. Save all digital photos to the external hard drive.
11. Watch Season 1 and Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy. Done! Now watching Season 3.
12. Clean out and reorganize the linen closet.
13. Organize my scrapbooking supplies.
14. Reorganize the downstairs coat closet.
15. Go through review book box and notebook, and make sure all reviews are posted.
16. Write. Write. Write!!!
17. Watch The Office that I borrowed from my sister. Finish Season 1, watch Season 2. Watch Seasons 3, 4, and 5