Review: Bonhoeffer {by Eric Metaxas}

first, i must apologize, as this review was due a couple of weeks ago. the feeble excuse for lateness has much to do with all that has gone on in my life over the latter part of this year, but it also has much more to do with the fact that when you find a good, brilliantly written book, the last thing you want to do is rush through it.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
is just such a book.

the author, Eric Metaxas, writes such an in-depth and compelling biography that by the time you turn the last of the pages, you not only feel as though you are a better person for having gotten to 'know' this great theologian, but you actually feel the loss of such an amazing life being cut short.

the trouble with knowing only parts of a story is that we tend to skip over what we consider the less important parts to get to the good stuff. to be honest, the first part of the book, about Bonhoeffer's childhood and early family life, seemed a bit slow. but in reality, as for all of us, it was these formative years that shaped the man he was to become. to have rushed through this part would have been a waste.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed that being a Christ follower wasn't something simply done on Sunday, but should encompass the whole of our lives... even if one lived in Hitler's Germany and was surrounded by the atrocities that ensued. these words of Bonhoeffer's open chapter 17...
It is high time we broke with our theologically based restraint towards the state's actions–which, after all, is only fear. "Speak out for those who cannot speak." Who in the church today realized that this is the very least that the Bible requires of us?
* * * * *
The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount. I believe the time has come to gather people together to do this.
filled with history, intrigue, and even a glimpse into a beautiful love story told in letters, Bonhoeffer is a book that i am a better person for having read. i have raved about this book to strangers. on my flight home for Christmas, strangely enough, the man sitting next to me was just beginning this book as i was in the middle of mine. this is a one of a kind biography that should be read, whether you are familiar with Bonhoeffer's own books or not. it will actually inspire you to want to read more of this man of God.

if you didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, go buy this book. hey, even if you did get what you wanted, get this book. this story of an amazing life well lived with not only inspire you, but will challenge you to make a difference in the world where you live.

Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller.

Review: City On Our Knees

by TobyMac

for anyone who has ever wondered how they could possibly make a difference in the world, but has no idea where to begin, this book by recording artist, TobyMac would be pure inspiration.

City On Our Knees is packed with stories and real-life examples of what happens when ordinary people put aside their ordinary lives to make an extraordinary difference.

broken down into four sections, TobyMac relates the stories of some remarkable people, both from recent and past history. the first section is all about taking that first step, getting out there and beginning to make a difference in the world. part two is about leaving your comfort zone and making the dream that God has placed inside of you a reality, no matter what awaits. the power of togetherness comprises the next section, and how our efforts are multiplied when we band together. and the fourth chapter emphasizes the fact that action must be preceded and saturated by prayer.

if you don’t know what your calling is, if you are unclear, if you truly have no idea, but want to make a difference in the world, then the answer rings loudly all over the pages of this book: pray. and don’t stop praying until you have your answer.

i dare you to pick up this book. i dare you to look at the lives of these people and ask yourself if there is something, some dream that God has placed inside of you that you have been pushing down in favor of a ‘normal’ life. and i dare you not to be moved and changed in their shadow.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Review: Gracenomics

by Mike Foster

is there anything we want—or need— more desperately than grace?

and yet, is there anything we find more difficult than extending this same grace we crave to others?

this dichotomy is addressed beautifully in a book by Mike Foster entitled, Gracenomics. Foster, co-founder of People of the Second Chance, defines Gracenomics as ' the science that deals with the production, distribution and consumption of grace.' {p. 15}

unfortunately, the world we live in does not have to work hard to convince us that there isn't much grace to go around. anyone who has ever made a mistake or misjudgment only to be pounced upon by an online (or live) chorus of boo-ing and stone throwing, knows that grace isn't the default reaction when people feel wronged. But Foster, his book, and his organization strive to change that, one person at a time.

Gracenomics is packed with pithy subtitles, like 'Pez Dispensers of Grace', 'Don't Trust Your Blink Brain', 'People Are Not Evil, They Are Weak', and 'Grace is the New Black', along with thought-provoking quotes, and excellent real-life examples of grace in action. this book cannot help but inspire, challenge, convict and spur its readers on to becoming grace dispensers themselves. i know that it did all these things for me.

while this may have started out as just one of the 75 books i'm reading this year, it has ended up changing me— someone who has always struggled with both receiving and dispensing grace— in ways i cannot begin to put into words, and i have a sneaky suspicion that it's not finished with its impact on my life yet.

Review: Have a New You by Friday

by Dr. Kevin Leman

i don't know about you, but i don't need to think very long or hard when it comes to thinking of something i would like to change about myself. given that, Dr. Kevin Leman's new book, Have a New You by Friday: How To Accept Yourself, Boost Your Confidence & Change Your Life in 5 Days might seem like just the right book to pick up.

starting on monday, he takes each day of the week to tackle a different obstacle or challenge area in life. from personality discovery to family dynamics, and from love languages to what our childhood memories tell us about ourselves, Dr. Leman lays out a journey for his readers that culminates in friday's chapter of encouraging his readers to be their own shrink, not be afraid of doing the hard work with what they have discovered over the course of the week.

my only caveat is that unless you have some serious time on your hands, even for an avid reader, getting the most out of the book just might require more than one week. there is so much to think about, not to mention the many questions and exercises that fill the book, five days may be pushing it a bit. but for someone who is intent on improving their life, this is an excellent place to begin.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Review: Choosing To See

by Mary Beth Chapman

when you decide that you're going to read 75 books in one year, you end up picking up books that you might not otherwise have picked up. the good thing about this process is that you end up have your life greatly impacted by a book you would otherwise have missed out on.

Choosing To See is just such a gem.

most everyone in the Christian community heard of the tragedy that occured in recording artist, Steven Curtis Chapman's family back in May of 2008. the news that their youngest daugher, Maria, was tragically killed when their son, Will, hit her with his car. this unimaginable tragedy, parents losing one child at the inadvertent hand of another, caused many who heard of it to wonder how a parent would cope with it.

this book is the beautifully written, heatbreaking, and hope-filled answer to that question.

Mary Beth Chapman, the lesser know of these parents of six, writes a beautiful memoir of a life that didn't go exactly as planned, but even in the unplanned and unexpected parts of life, beauty can be found if you choose to look for it. Mrs. Chapman reminds us that even if life doesn't happen the way we want it to, it doesn't mean that we can give up when we face the unthinkable.

as i already mentioned, this book was a beautiful, raw, messy and joyful gift. i read it in one day, and while it is in no way comical, there were times when i actually laughed out loud. a short time later, however, i could not stop the flow of tears while walking with the family through their tragedy.

whether or not you normally read memoirs, i strongly recommend you pick up Choosing To See.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Review: In Every Heartbeat

by Kim Vogel Sawyer

given that i am not usually a fan of historical fiction, it surprised me how much i liked In Every Heartbeat.

three orphans, friends since childhood, leave the school that has meant both home and family to them to go to college together, each with their own dreams. Libby's desire is to become a journalist and travel the world making a difference. Pete feels called into the ministry. Bennett wants nothing more than to join a fraternity, to find a place where he belongs. but the attempt to reconcile the plans of the future clashes with the unresolved issues of the past, and ends up pushing these friends to the boundaries of friendship, as well as the edge of what they believe they can cope with.

even though the book has 300+ pages, i fairly flew through it, reading it in about three nights. with believable characters, each carrying their own private scars and issues from their abandonment, both towards God and others, you find yourself wanting Pete, Libby and Bennett to succeed and resolve all that holds them back.

all in all, it was a good book, and i recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Book has been provided courtesy of
Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Permission To Speak Freely

It all started with a simple question posted on her blog. "What is one thing you feel you can't say in the church?" And with this one question, Anne Jackson not only opened up a floodgate of responses from around the world, but also had the beginning of what would become Permission To Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace.

It's no secret that I read a lot of books, but the truth is that there are very few that I don't want to end, and even fewer of those fall in the non-fiction category, but this is definitely one of those precious few.

With snapshots of her own story woven throughout the book, Ms. Jackson takes her readers, like friends, into her life, giving us the benefit of lessons she's learned. From the far too prevalent role that fear plays when we walk through the doors of a church, to the power of confession, to facing down the shame that so many of us carry alone, Anne's voice rings out loudly the truth that none of us is as alone as we may feel we are. My favorite chapter, would have to be 'The Gift of Going Second', something so simple and yet so powerful, it amazed me, and filled me with new resolve.

The book itself is a thing of beauty. Filled with artistic answers to Anne's original question, some of the confessions are heartbreaking, while others left me with no other words than a whispered, 'me too'.

Permission To Speak Freely is, in my estimation, a must-read. Whether you've spent the majority of the Sundays in your life in a pew, or if you've never actually sat in one, the clear message of grace is one that we all need.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available now at your favourite bookseller.

Comfort Food

after telling my summer reading group about all the books i've been reading about food and cooking, a friend in the group asked if i had read Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs yet. it was already on my bookshelf, as i had bought it on one of our trips to St. Jacobs. when i told her that i hadn't gotten to it yet, she suggested that it would fit nicely in with my theme.

so i picked it up on the weekend... and finished it night before last.

and Jenn was right. it fit right in with my current theme. filled with family, friends, food, love and all the drama that comes with it, Comfort Food was a pleasant diversion from the exceedingly hot summer days that we've had around here. the characters were mostly believable, and charming each in their own way, even if some of the transformations that occurred in their lives seemed a bit forced and unbelievable. but i was willing to overlook that, mostly because the story on the whole was delightful.

Ms. Jacobs is also the author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, another one i picked up in St. Jacobs, but have not yet read. given that yarn is not something i even want to touch in the midst of this hot, humid weather, i think i'll save that one until fall!

* * * * *

Currently reading: Bird by Bird {Anne Lamott}, Patisseries of Paris {Jamie Cahill} and The Elegance of the Hedgehog {Muriel Barbery}

review: The Death & Life of Charlie St. Cloud

i keep being delightfully and immensely surprised by fiction that i probably wouldn't have otherwise picked up!

first with The School of Essential Ingredients, that i wrote about in my last post, which i couldn't put down, to this one, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, which had everything going for it to indicate that i would never read it in a million years. the previews for the movie coming out this friday made the movie look like a Nicholas Sparks novel, and while many drool over Mr. Sparks work, i am, shall we say, less than impressed by both his books and the movies that get based on them.

but what rescued this from the 'never' pile for me was the title of the book. if you look quickly, you might not even catch that the words death and life are in the order they are in. {another black mark for the movie is that they shortened the title to just Charlie St. Cloud... why?!} but the order of death and life intrigued me, so on Sunday night, i found the book on, and downloaded it to my eReader.

given that i was tired, i figured i'd read a few pages before i fell asleep, but by the time i managed to turn the light out, i had gotten nine chapters in and the last thing i wanted to do was stop reading. right from the very first page the book captivated me. and as i finished the last ten chapters last night, i was almost giddy at the Cecelia Ahern-like twist that Mr. Sherwood so skillfully weaved into the story. {if you don't know of my great and passionate love of all things written by Cecelia Ahern, you may may read a bit about my love here, and also know that her If You Could See Me Now is one of my top three fiction EVER! if you haven't yet read it, stop what you are doing, yes, stop reading this, and go here to buy it now.}

about the movie, given how perfectly brilliant the book has been, not to mention what i've seen of the previews, i'm not sure if the movie is for me. to be honest, i'm not even sure that a movie could compare to the brilliance of the book, especially one the appears to veer as far from the actual story as this one does.

so it seems i am two for two in the 'fiction i cannot put down category'. do you have anything you can recommend to make it three for three?


recently, i've noticed a theme to my reading, one i haven't seen before. usually the 'steaks' in my reading schedule have more to do with genres than topics. for a while i was reading only biographies. sometimes fiction, or even young adult fiction.

but this one is different.

the theme of my reading lately has inadvertently been all about food.

it started with Paris Sweets, a cookbook that Ang got me last year, that is so incredibly perfect, there are hardly words. while it is a cookbook, each recipe is preceded by Dorie Greenspan's thoughts and experiences on the Paris patisserie that inspired the recipe. reading this book is like having Ms. Greenspan take you on the very best kind of tour of the city of lights... one that includes all things baked and buttery.

from there, i picked up Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life, which i have not finished yet, but for the very best of reasons. this book of essays, all accompanied by a recipe, is like a visiting friend, the kind that you just don't want to leave. you don't want the visit to end. and for this very reason, i am purposely reading my way through it very, very slowly.

shortly after i started A Homemade Life, on a recent trip to michigan, i picked up the book I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti at Target. i had heard of the book in a review i read, so knew that it would be enjoyable. Giulia Melucci takes her readers on a memoir of her love life, the men she has loved, lost and cooked for. while i have no intention of emulating Ms. Melucci's love life, i have already used more than one recipe found in her book, and let me say that i am a great fan. it has also put in me the desire to do more cooking for friends.

and lastly, the book i just finished moments ago, The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister. this one took me by surprise. Ang lent it to me when i was visiting her last month, and i picked it up on Friday night, and was delighted the way only the best fiction can do. it is so good, i even stopped reading at the last chapter last night, simply because i wanted to save some of the magic for today. The School of Essential Ingredients is a beautiful tale of participants in a cooking class, and how their past experiences brought them together to the class, and how the mixing of the ingredients of their own lives ends up creating something beautiful. i can tell that this is one that i will definitely need to get for myself, as i will definitely want to read it again!

well, that brings me up to date. The School of Essential Ingredients is book number 36 for this year, which makes me exactly only one book behind in my plan to read 75 books this year. according to the schedule, today i should have finished book 37, but hey, at one point i was seven books behind, so what difference does one make?!

as usual, i am wondering what you are reading. do you have a recommendation that will surprise me the way this last one did?

what i'm reading...

Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis {Cara Black}
i love this series of murder mysteries all set in my very favorite city. if i cannot be in Paris, these books, each set in a different area of the city are a good substitute. this one, set on the Ile Saint-Louis, is special to me, as i have spent a good amount of time on this little island in the middle of the Seine, and have even dreamed of one day calling one of the apartments here my home.

A Homemade Life {Molly Wizenberg}
this series of essays and recipes is perfect summer reading. the author writes beautifully of her home life, and the way her family, especially her father, has shaped her into the person she is today. the author writes of one of my favorite blogs, Orangette, and checking out her blog will help you understand how very much a treat the book is. this is one that i will be very sad to see end, so i am reading it purposely slow.

The Liturgical Year {Joan Chittister}
this is one that i started a while ago, but it got shelved for some reason that i cannot remember. but i am excited to pick it back up, and get going on it again.

what are you reading?

review: Plan B by Pete Wilson

Plan B by Pete Wilson is a book that at some point or another, we are all going to need. the subtitle "what do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought he would?" pretty much sums up why. regardless of what the moment we are currently in holds, there will come another moment when something happens and it feels like all the air has been sucked out of life, and we are left wondering what on earth just happened.

a cancer diagnosis.

you spouse wants out.

your job ends without notice.

a loved one dies.

or any other of the myriad of ways that our daily lives can be instantly tossed into a blender and no longer seem recognizable.

Pete Wilson's book is preparation of sorts, for these times.

in each chapter, he uses not only personal examples, but also biblical ones of lives turned upside down and fully in need of a Plan B. Job, Joseph, even Jesus' mother Mary {among others} all have situations in their lives where what they had originally planned didn't work out, and a new reality was born. how they handled the change, the situation, and their response to God are the focus of these chapters, and help the reader understand how we, when faced with similar situations, need to respond.

as someone who has her own control issues, worries more than she wants, and is far more driven by fear than she would like, this book spoke to me on many levels.

trouble comes, on many levels, usually when you least expect it. of this we have no control. but what we can control are our actions and reactions when we need to abandon Plan A for what comes next. Plan B is excellent hope and wisdom to help us do just that.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available May 2010 at your favourite bookseller.

what i'm reading...

with vacation over, it's time to get back into the swing of things. i find it odd that during a time designed to vacate your usual life, that you can have even less time to read than during the usualness.

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher is my relaxing book. this is probably the seventh time i've read it, and it, as all Rosamunde's novels, never fails to weave its magic.

i am reviewing Pete Wilson's Plan B. the subtitle is 'what do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought he would?' hmm... should be interesting.

on my last trip to Chapters, i found a delightful little book in the 9-12 year old section called The Sisters Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives. it is definitely lighter than the Percy Jackson series, but the writing is good, and being a lover of fairytales, i am enjoying it immensely.

there are others on the horizon, but as always, i want to know, what are you reading?


i'm sure you've been here before.

probably around the end of january, early february. when the resolutions you made on new year's day find themselves more forgotten than remembered.

that is where i am with my 75 books this year goal.

but all is not lost. i will recover. i will return.

very, very shortly...


when people find out that you are planning to read 75 books in a year, you wouldn't believe the strange looks you get.

and the strange things people say.

        "how are you going to fit in the rest of your life?"

well, i do plan to continue to work. it helps support me in the manner to which i have become accustomed. and i still plan to travel a fair bit this year, not to mention the friends that i see weekly, if not more often. i've chosen to fit reading into my life, cramming it in. it does mean that i am watching less television, and wasting less moments. but since i always have a book with me anyways, it just makes sense to me.

        "are there even that many books?"

come on over and take a look at my bookshelf...

        "do you know how guilty that makes me feel?"

here, borrow a book.

        "don't you have more important things to do with your time?"

do you mean like watch countless hours of mindless, creativity zapping television, or waste countless hours looking at Facebook pictures of people that i went to high school with and and haven't seen in a couple of decades? then no, i don't.

* * * * *

i guess there will always be people who don't understand when you decide to undertake a project. but this one, i am doing for me.

review: A Distant Melody

by Sarah Sundin

Allie Miller has resigned herself to the fact that the man who will soon propose to her thinks her as dull as her beautiful mother does. But given the fact that Baxter is her father's right hand man in the family business, and both of her parents are thrilled with the match, she is willing to go through with her part to make their future work.

But before the fateful event happens, Allie boards a train to travel to her best friend's wedding, and en route meets Lt. Walter Nowak, a pilot taking his last furlough before being shipped overseas to fight in World War II. Although Walt has always been tongue-tied and awkward around girls, for some reason, he is able to to talk to Allie, and the two of them begin a friendship that will span the miles that the war will force between them.

A Distant Melody is a beautifully written book that was a pleasure to read. I read the 400+ pages far faster than I had anticipated, because I simply didn't want to put the book down. It's also one that I know i will read again.

Had I not read on the back of the book that this was Sarah Sundin's debut novel, I never would have believed it. As far as I am concerned, book two of this Wings of Glory series cannot arrive soon enough.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

reading challenge: day 82

things were flowing along so smoothly for a while, but it appears that i've hit a bit of a lull. not that i'm behind. i finished book 17 less than 24 hours late, and am well into book 18...but truth be told, not as far into it as i would like to be!

book 15, Flickering Pixels, is one that i know that i will need to read again, if only to glean more of its wisdom. its author, Mars Hill Grand Rapid's new teaching pastor, Shane Hipps, is one of the most media savvy people whose words i have ever read. he has eloquently explained how all media {even something we take for granted, like the alphabet} has changed us. absolutely brilliant.

i got Pauline Frommer's NYC Spend Less See More when i was in calgary at christmas to help my parents and i plan for our trip to NYC {which is only 37 days away!}. to be sure, i have read it at least twice so far, and will probably give it at least another read before i board my Porter flight. as far as travel books go, this one is pretty great for tips to enjoy a city when you don't have unlimited resources, and let's face it, these days, who does? i found myself wondering if there is a paris version as well, and wouldn't you know it but there is. happy day!

rounding out today's trio is a book that i won't say much about now, as i'll be blogging about it more on april 1, and that it Sarah Cunningham's Picking Dandelions: A Search For Eden Among Life's Weeds. i will say that i love Sarah's blog, and encourage you to read it as well. she has a beautiful, easy writing style, and is a great storyteller.

that's all i have for now. i'll be back on friday with a review of book 18. beyond book 18, i'm not sure what i'll be reading next, but i do have some ideas.

can you inspire me? what are you reading?

what i'm reading...

it's been much quieter on the book front these days, and i'm not exactly sure why. i guess, like much else in life, things go in seasons.

but life most definitely carries on.

i finished book 15, Flickering Pixels, right on time, and with book 16 due to be read next tuesday, perhaps the rainy weekend that this one is supposed to be will be a very good thing!

there are three books that have captured my attention right now...

Devotions For Lent... a little Lenten devotional that i am reviewing for the good folks over at Tyndale, with meditations and scripture readings for this season. i won't say much now— because you'll hear more next week—apart from the fact that i am loving it.

Emma {Jane Austen}... there really is nothing like a little Jane Austen. i am fairly certain that i won't have this one done by tuesday, for it simply does not do to rush one of Ms. Austen's works. but already, i am loving bumbling, silly Emma... oh, and i am super excited that i found the Collector's Library editions of the rest of Jane's works that i have Emma in, so perhaps one day i can have a whole matching set. how fun is that?

People I Wanted to Be {Gina Ochsner}... this book of short stories came highly recommended from somewhere, i just cannot remember where right now, and if the first story is any indication, then this could rapidly become one of my favorite books of all time. this one, i think, given enough of a grey, rainy weekend, could easily be finished before monday morning.

well these are the books that have my mind right now.

what are you reading?

reading challenge: day 63

it's been a while since i updated you on all the books in my life...

i'm actually a bit ahead of the game in order to get all 75 books read this year. book number 14, which i finished on wednesday, isn't due until tomorrow, with book number 15 due next wednesday.

book number 14, Thin Places by Mary DeMuth, i won't say much beyond the fact that it is brilliant, as i'm planning to review it next week.

not being one to read one book at a time, i've got a number of them on the go right now, so it's a toss up as to which one will end up being the fifteenth of 75. the big contenders are Flickering Pixels (which i am more than halfway through) and The Liturgical Year.

so that's what's going on in my world of of pages. definitely not as much as the last update, but still ahead of the game.

until next time...

review: Beguiled

by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker for some of Charleston's wealthiest citizens, loves her job, and the simple life that she's created for herself now that both her parents are gone. unfortunately, there is someone out there, with keen insight into Rylee's past, who is intent on brutally robbing the same people that Rylee works for putting both her job, and her life at risk.

Logan Woods, a reporter covering the break-ins is intrigued by the dogwalker, but the farther down he digs into the story, the more it looks like Rylee is at the center of all the trouble.

romance author Deeanne Gist and suspense writer J. Mark Bertrand combine their skills to come up with this excellent romantic suspense novel. to say that i couldn't put the book down would be almost an understatement. they had me guessing until almost the very end, which is difficult to do!

Beguiled is definitely well worth reading.

This book is courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favorite bookseller.

review: Swinging on a Star

by Janice Thompson

in this second of the Weddings By Bella series, Bella Rossi has definitely taken on more than she can handle.

her second wedding as the family's wedding facility planner is a Renaissance-themed fairy tale, complete with costumes, horse-drawn carriages and a castle. at the same time, her Aunt Rosa's dream of cooking for the Food Network is coming true, also at their home. Add to this her large family's already busy life, and a relationship with a great guy, and you can understand the stress she's under.

the last thing she needs is to discover that the best man is Hollywood's hottest bachelor, and part of Bella's wedding coordinator job is to keep his presence a secret before the big day.

Swinging on a Star is a fun book that you'll probably need to catch your breath while reading! it took me a bit to get into the book, but for the most part, i loved the family dynamics, the relationships, and let me say that the descriptions of Aunt Rosa's cooking made me more than hungry.

if you're looking for some light, enjoyable fiction, this is an excellent choice.

Book is courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller.

review: Anything But Normal

by Melody Carlson

it is Sophie Ramsay's senior year, and outwardly, everything seems to be going her way. she's just become the school newspaper's new editor, she's got some great friends, and a bright future ahead of her.

but that's not all she's got.

even though the summer is behind her, and she wants nothing more than to forget it, Sophie is about to learn that the repercussions of some mistakes are easier to hide than others.

this young adult book by Melody Carlson tells a very real tale that so many young girls find themselves in, despite their best intentions. Ms. Carlson does s superb job of relating Sophie's struggles with her situation, and all the corresponding emotions, not to mention reactions, while never condoning the reason she found herself there in the first place.

Anything But Normal is definitely worth reading, i read the whole book in one sitting.

This book is courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller.

what i'm reading...

i've never been one to read only one book at a time.

so, right now, i am reading...

Small Surrenders... daily lent readings. i've only just begun it, but already i can tell that it's a good one, and i can see it being my lenten companion for years to come.

Swinging on a Star... some romantic fiction. it's not exceedingly memorable yet, but i've barely begun it. here's hoping!

The Liturgical Year
... a fascinating book on the entire christian year. you'll be hearing more about this one.

Flickering Pixels... a mind-bending look at how media itself {apart from the message} shapes us, and how it changes not only the Gospel, but how we think and interact with our world.

what are you reading right now?

reading challenge: day 45

thanks to a day off on friday, i was able to finish books 9, 10 and 11!

number 9 was Cara Black's Murder in Montmartre, number 10 was Cupidity, which i reviewed yesterday. by friday, i had read much of both of these. which was good, since i think i had a bout of sleeping sickness on friday! i was simply so tired that all the plans i had made had to postponed, but when i was awake, i could read.

after i finished the first two books, then i went to check the mail and behold! there were three more books! so i began Melody Carlson's Anything But Normal, and before i fell back to sleep on friday evening, i had finished that one as well.

so this puts me well ahead of schedule, as book number 12 isn't due to be read until february 24!

i've got a couple that could be next, but the one i REALLY want to be reading is the sequel to Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief, called The Sea of Monsters, which my friend alicia brought over last night for me to borrow. after seeing the movie Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief on saturday afternoon. it's been a while since i saw a movie at the theater, but trust me, this one was well worth the wait!

review: Cupidity

find me a person who has never done something stupid for the sake of love, and i'll show you someone who probably still needs to read this book anyway! written equally for both the single and the married, Cupidity: 50 Stupid Things People Do For Love (And How To Avoid Them) is the best friend we all need to tell us the truth when we're making less than stellar love decisions, both before and after 'I do'.

the authors define Cupidity as 'where stupid and love meet', and break down the 50 things into five sections: emotional, mental, physical, social and spiritual acts of Cupidity. some of these acts were not really a surprise, such as 'believing romance equals love' or 'using sex to get love', but others were things i have simply never thought of before. such as 'letting technology define your relationship', something that even ten years ago wouldn't have been much of an issue, but today is far too easy to do.

there were one or two of the 50 that i am not sure about, but for the most part, this book offers great insight in an informal style, laced with the authors' own examples of their Cupidity.

so on this day that our culture sets aside to celebrate love, whether or not you have someone to buy daisies and sea salt chocolates for, i recommend this book.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

book number nine... Murder in Montmartre by Cara Black.

truly, if i cannot be in paris myself, reading about the adventures of Parisian private investigator Aimee Leduc is as close to bliss as i'm going to get.

while i've only ever driven through montmartre, never actually explored it for myself, after having read this chapter in Aimee Leduc's story, the next time i am in paris, i will definitely make it a destination.

oh, and pure excitment! the movie for book one of this year, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief opens today! how fun is that?


ah, the first post to a new blog...

you may be wondering why i'm here. well, grab a coffee and let me explain.

it all started with a challenge. this challenge to read 75 books in 2010 has been a good thing. it is forcing me to closely examine how i spend my leisure time. if you're anything like me, too many moments when you could be doing something productive get eaten up by mindless diversions.

but while it's a good thing on that front, i have noticed that it is taking over my original blog, shards of light, which i began for my own writing... and the last thing that i would want for all this reading to do would be to stop me from doing my own writing,

so this is my solution.

while i will, from time to time, mention books and my love of them on shards of light—when something is as big a part of ones life as reading is to me, it is inevitable—this is the place where you will find my book reviews, thoughts, etc.

so, welcome, kick off your shoes, grab another coffee and let's talk about books!

...and because there isn't much about the actual books themselves, here is a bit of where i am...
currently reading: Murder in Montmartre by Cara Black {book number 9, which will be completed today}
favorite book read in 2010 so far: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan