Friday, December 30, 2016

Flirtation Walk by Siri Mitchell

I am working on catching up on book reviews. The irony is, the review for this book was written on paper in the front cover, and I found it when I went to loan this book. Oops.

So, with apologies to Siri Mitchell for not posting this on my blog many months ago, here is my review of the wonderful Flirtation Walk.

https://www.amazon.com/Flirtation-Walk-Siri-Mitchell/dp/0764210386/

Publisher's description:


Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He's kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth's mother's money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn't fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It's too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won't she?

Pattie's Review:

Secrets. Identity. The characters are all dealing with identity issues long before modern psychology was in the picture. Lucinda is wondering if she can change. Can she leave the past behind and forge a new identity? Can Seth lose his first place standing and get to the bottom to win the assignment in the wild west? And can their mutual attraction survive their attempts to change their very identities, or is it merely pretense?

I found myself intrigued long after I finished the novel by the idea that change can indeed be wrought, but often at a great price. True change must begin in the heart, and by God. Yet there is something to be said about masks and personality shifts. The core of our personalities: can they change? Should we try? These are not easy questions.

The novel is intriguing and the characters are multilayered and complex, as are all of Siri Mitchell's characters. No stock characters here. No predictable plot, either. She remains one of my favorite authors in the Christian market, mainly because her books make me think. And what more do we want from good literature?


#flirtationwalk #sirimitchell #bookreviews #BethanyHouse

Thursday, July 07, 2016

A Simply Tuesday Giveaway

A year ago we were unpacking boxes and making our Georgia house a home. A year ago I stared at the mountain of boxes in the garage, thinking I'd never make my way through them all (still haven't, to be honest; but it's down to only a handful of my own stuff rather than the family's, and they're stored in the garage's perimeter). A year ago I didn't have a job. A year ago I had just finished reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman, and I was mulling over how in the world I could be happy with the small and mundane of life.



I hope you haven't forgotten about this book. I haven't.

A year after reading it for the first time, marking the advance copy (pictured on the left) with my notes and observations, I have been thinking about how I can incorporate the "It's simply Tuesday" idea into my own classroom this coming year. I would like for my students to be thoughtful and observant, and maybe I'm being idealistic in believing brand-new high school students will be able to settle down into this--but I'm going to try anyway.

In the spirit of sharing and collaboration, I am going to give away the pretty, shiny, new copy pictured on the right. To enter, please leave a comment below. If you share this giveaway on your social media platform, let me know. (I can see the shares on Facebook, but if you share on Instagram or Twitter, tag me with @pattierwr so I can give you an extra entry.)

The winner of the book will be chosen on Tuesday, July 12 - sometime in the evening Eastern time.

Finally, for the observant reader who may not have heard: Yes, I got a teaching job for the fall! I'll be teaching freshman English at my daughter's high school. The rest of my "summer break" will be sprinkled with planning, professional learning opportunities, and meetings.

**The winner...Deborah! Thanks so much!** Comments will now be turned off.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summertime

SUMMER. For teachers (and substitute teachers), summer is always highly anticipated. However, I have not even accomplished half of what I've set out to do, and summer's nearly half over.



My tendency is to beat myself up over this. Why do I insist on doing that? Every time. Every day. 

So, today I'll write a list of things I have accomplished, and one in progress, just to see where I am at the moment.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Brazen by Leeana Tankersley

Don't tell Leeana, but I do not feel brazen. At all.


In fact, it's the subtitle of the book Brazen that reached out and grabbed me: "The Courage to Find the You That's Been Hiding." Yes. YES. That's me.

I've been a fan of Leeana Tankersley for a while now. In fact, I just realized  I wrote about her first book, Found Art, as a part of a blog tour six years ago. Then we worked together over at Wives of Faith for several years, she as columnist, me as (grateful) editor.

You can imagine how excited I was to hear about this book. I signed up for the tour as fast as I could, and the book arrived just as I was finishing Looking for Lovely, feeling a bit tender. I wish I could say this book soothed my heart, but it has continued to prod at the tender places instead. (This is how the Lord works on me--over and over and over again with the same message till I get the point.)

So what is the point? That I need to learn more about how to be and to listen, rather than do and accomplish. At least, that's where I am at the moment.

Brazen explores the idea of being brazen: without shame, without artifice, being honest and open and real and vulnerable before God, and learning how to recognize "soul bullies," those inner voices that are not of God but to which we listen. The prose is, as always, poetic and lovely, gentle but firm.

I'm still working my way through the book at this writing, because Leeana's book is so rich and full of wisdom, it's impossible to read quickly (or without a pen or highlighter in hand!).

Each chapter has a "reflection and expression" prompt that I'm responding to in my journal. It also has a "brazen board" suggestion for artists; Leeana describes it as a "storyboard for your soul" (I'm not doing that just yet).

I think reading this book right on the heels of the Lovely book was actually good. I believe these books are twins, in a way: sisters from different mothers, challenging and comforting, encouraging and pointing straight to Jesus.

I'll keep reading, and you go get a copy, okay?

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Disclaimer

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and help in promoting the book. No affiliate links are included here. The photo used in this post is my own.

Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs

Annie F. Downs is probably one of the most conversational writers I've ever read. Internal monologue? Check. Questions? Check. Answers? Sometimes in the form of more questions. Check.

Enter her latest book, Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Hernandez @mdez

Looking for Lovely sounded like a great book for me. Collecting moments? Yes. Loveliness everywhere? Yes, please. I'm still in awe that not only did my copy of the book come in an envelope complete with party confetti, it's signed by the author!


It's like a party!

And then I started reading. And it was hard.

I'm not sure why this book was such a difficult read for me. Is it because so much of it touched the tender parts of my heart? Because I completely related to the self-loathing and pain and "broken crazy" Annie Downs describes?

Yes. Yes, I think, to all of the above and more.


 It has become even harder for me in recent years to believe in the deepest parts of me that I am truly worthy of the love of God - of the sacrifice of Christ - of the calling of the Holy Spirit. Years of rejection and self-doubt have caused me to brush off compliments and think it's all for you and none for me. I am not awesome. I am not worthy. Yet, the Word of God says otherwise, doesn't it? Yes, ma'am, it does.

Hence, my struggle.

Enter Downs and her lovely teal and confetti-sprinkled book that begins with pain and talking about quitting and beauty and something she calls "broken crazy" - a phrase that is just general enough of a descriptor to be completely identifiable - and you have a perfect storm of Pattie tears.

Music and painting nails and nature walks and traveling around the world. These are the lovely things. These are moments for Annie; may we find our moments too.




I recommend this book to women, mostly, but to anyone looking for lovely in the pain and brokenness of life. For it is in the brokenness that light shines through - and stained glass can be formed from pieces - and mosaics can be designed from shards - and our perfectly imperfect selves can allow the light of Jesus to shine through and be glorified.


This book is a lovely follow-up to Emily P. Freeman's Simply Tuesday from last year. Where Emily's book is about finding beauty in the ordinary, Annie's book is more about finding beauty in our painful situations.


Annie's own prayer for her book is found here.

To learn more about the book you can go to the book's website here.
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Disclaimer:

No affiliate links are included. I was given an advance reader copy from the author and her publisher in exchange for my honest review and promotion of the book. Except for the first photo, all other photos are my own.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Looking for Lovely Preorder Goodies

 www.lookingforlovelybook.com 

One week from today, I will be posting two separate book reviews for two wonderful books by two women I greatly admire: Looking for Lovely and Brazen.

For today, here is a promotional preview for all the preorder goodies you can get for Annie F. Downs's book Looking for Lovely. You can access the website by clicking the graphic or here: www.lookingforlovelybook.com

It's spring break here, so I should get to writing...

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Where did January go?

No, really.

Where did it go?



I am sitting here on a Saturday morning, typing between coughing fits (Yes, I went to the doctor. Yes, I have bronchitis, so yes, meds and I am drinking lots of water.), incredulous that I haven't written much at all since November.

I have been journaling a bit more, which is good for me personally. But even that has gone by the wayside in favor of more time with my family and more time reading. I still have the burning in my heart to write a book, and I have been jotting down ideas and thoughts toward that topic and those things to explore.

I have also been working. Ten months ago when we learned we were moving to Georgia, I started the process of applying for a teaching license and filing applications with both the high school where my daughter attends and the colleges in the area. Now I am working as a substitute teacher in her school, and twice now I've had long-term assignments. This has taken all of my previous online writing time and channeled those energies into the classroom. It's funny to me that several people have asked me if I want to teach. It's more that I feel I have to. It's not perfect, peaceful, or always fun, but it's where I feel most purposeful.

One thing I must address is this: My work with Wives of Faith (www.wivesoffaith.org) is complete. The ministry closed its doors last week, and so ends my seven years of online ministry with that wonderful group of ladies. You can follow Sara Horn for more info about her ministry, which I hope to continue to support with my friendship and my love for her and her books.

As for a "one word 2016" - I never got one, so I'm not too worried anymore about whether or not I'll get one. Maybe it's "teach" or "work" or even "don't stress out so much, for the love!"

I have several books to review in coming weeks that I haven't gotten to yet (major apologies to the authors! I have been talking them up on social media and in my friendship circles, I promise!), so I will be posting book reviews.

So...what's new with you? How's 2016 for you? Are you sick of political stuff yet? :)

All We Ever Wanted: A Review

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