Saturday, November 30, 2013

Where ya been?

This probably seems like a crazy title for someone who purports to be somewhat of an expert in American English language usage. Indeed.

But sometimes, friends, we gotta tell it like it IS.

I've been offline a lot the past couple of weeks (well, I've been on Facebook playing games and stalking friends' holiday photos, but who hasn't?). I have not, as you might wonder, been writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. I started, but then, well, I got bored. I'm not sure why.

So I quit.

Then I had surgery. Again. On my right ear. Again. It's the third ear surgery I have had in the past 24 months.

This time around, I gave myself permission to take time off, to recover. Thankfully my husband was okay with me taking the winter term off from teaching, so other than possibly substituting after my next check-up with the ear surgeon, I am off till January.

I'm also taking a break from most of my volunteering with Wives of Faith. I love the ministry, but it was time for me to step back and take more than a one- or two-week break for moving or surgery. I think having the holidays off will be good for me.

I have been reading and watching movies, spending more purposeful time with my family, and resting. Not just sleeping more, but really trying to rest. (Then again, the other day doing laundry and taking a shower nearly did me in--so that's the extent of my energy levels these days!)

I think this break will rejuvenate the writing part of my brain, hopefully rejuvenate my teaching brain, and certainly give me some time to evaluate what I want to do with my time and energy.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

CFBA: Paige Rewritten Book 2 in Paige Alder Series

My review is at the end of this post.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Paige Rewritten
NavPress (October 8, 2013)
Erynn Mangum


A few things about her:

So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!


Paige Alder is in a really good place. She’s dating nice guy Tyler. Her boss has offered her a raise. Her walk with God is strong. Life is great—and that’s when things start to change.

First, the youth pastor at church keeps asking Paige to work with him full-time. Then her sister shows up newly engaged and wanting to reconnect, even though they haven’t spoken in years. And now former boyfriend Luke has come back into her life. How is Paige supposed to know what the right decisions are?

This warm and humorous second book in the Paige Alder series will help young girls work through important issues, such as forgiving others and obeying God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Paige Rewritten, go HERE

Pattie's Review:
What I like about Erynn's writing is that it's easy to read, spiritual, without hitting me over the head with preachiness. Paige is as likeable a heroine as Lauren Holbrook or Maya Davis. She's a good Christian who struggles with grace. And as someone who grew from a "good kid" to a "nice lady" I can totally relate to Paige's struggles with forgiveness--not only with those who wronged her, but with herself.

Being book two in a series is a tough place to be. I did not read book one, but with the cliffhanger closing this book, I'm definitely looking into book three when it comes out in the spring.

Monday, November 04, 2013

All For a Song by Allison Pittman

All for a Song is a fascinating novel by Allison Pittman. It tells the story of Dorothy Lynn Dunbar, a woman who is used to singing for church, but longs for something more.

From the Publisher:

Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and plans to marry the young pastor who took over her late father’s pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother’s old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister’s family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life—movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson’s crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

Pattie's Review:

Allison Pittman says she got the idea for this story from reading and researching the life and ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson, a female evangelist who traveled and preached in the 1920s and 30s, eventually settling in Los Angeles where she founded the Foursquare Church.

But this novel focuses on Dorothy Lynn Dunbar. Dorothy's quest for something more is much more than a desire for fame and fortune. She longs to make a difference in this world, to make a mark in history and for Christ...and yet, there's that fine line between ministry and fame. Pride creeps in. And the admiration of others. She questions everything she was taught, everything she knows, and she questions her own heart, too.

It is fascinating to have the story of 107-year-old Lynnie intersect with a young Dorothy Lynn, and having Charlotte reminding Lynnie of the past is a nice framing device for the story.

An excellent and fascinating novel by Allison Pittman. I look forward to reading her latest, All for a Story.

Review: Greetings from the Flipside

CFBA presented this book a couple of weeks ago, and I posted that intro here. I received my copy of the book about a week later.

Greetings from the Flipside is a quirky story by coauthors Gutteridge and McKay. I signed up to review this novel because I had totally enjoyed their previous book Never the Bride. I was not disappointed. Quirky is the best word I can think of to describe this novel. Fun, funny, silly, and profound all at once, the story of greeting card writer wannabe Hope is a fun, yet profound, view into the world of a creative woman who feels trapped in her own life.

The best part of the book, for me, is the characters. They're fun and unusual, and yes, quirky. Not bizarre, but certainly not "stock characters" or what anyone would consider "normal" in the usual sense.

The plot twists were enough to keep me guessing, and for an English teacher and avid reader (and sometimes cynical critic of fiction), that's quite a job. But I enjoyed this book, all the plot twists and turns, and I really am glad I was able to read and review it.

This book is for fans of unusual (not speculative, but not predictable) fiction. It's lighthearted, yet has its moments of grounding. It's not overly preachy, but still has a message consistent with a Christian worldview. And for those who enjoy a good romantic comedy, I think this one delivers an enjoyable story.