Monday, December 22, 2014
I really love a good advent book. I love reflecting on my spiritual life at Christmas and I think the reason is because there is such a gentle hope in Christmas in the middle of all the hurt and heartache.
Watch for the Light is pretty perfect for the thoughtful person. Filled with reflections by some of the greatest names in Christian thought, the entries and piercing, gentle, probing, and comforting. It's a really fantastic reminder of what Advent is all about.
The book itself is a beautiful hardcover but small enough to easily transport during the busiest time of year.
I haven't had a chance to fully finish the book as I received it later than expected but I can give its recommendation with full confidence.
Posted by Amy at 12:01 AM
Sunday, December 7, 2014
I feel like it's been a really long time since I just wrote a "hey, how's it going post" The reason is that I think once you fall out of the regular rhythm of blogging it's really hard to get it back? I'm really thankful for anything I've agreed to do as far as giveaways and scheduled posts because it's kept me up to date. The other thing is that I keep thinking--I'll blog about xyz once I've blogged about such and such and then never get around to writing the original post.
I have to admit that my own blog reading has also been sporadic, for which I apologize. My reading has been way down across the board this year, and yet I still have reviews to write! While I'm watching and enjoying TV there hasn't been a lot that I've wanted to write about in any depth. It's just been a strange year or maybe I'm just getting older, I don't exactly know.
So one of the things I kept meaning to write about was The Walking Dead mid-season finale. I was pretty sure Beth was going to die, because while I don't obsessively follow spoilers, I do track a few TWD tags on tumblr and this stuff just seeps out. Word was that Emily Kinney hadn't been seen filming for awhile, so her death was suspected. I hated it so much, though? Like, I'm almost always sad when someone dies but sometimes it feels like a huge waste of character more than others. Like I would never say a show has to kill anyone off, but like Hershel's death--while awful and sad felt less like a waste--Hershel had some years on him, and he had some troubles, i.e. his leg. But Beth felt so much like she was just beginning to come into her own as a character. I really admire what the show did with her in the second half of the season last year, but then the way things went down at the hospital just angered me. And I will never forgive them for Andrea's death.
The show is too packed with characters and so some have had to go. I get it. Still makes me sad. On the whole, I liked the first part of the season much more than some other fan reactions I've seen, although yes there was too little Michonne, too little Rosita, etc. Hopefully, that will be fixed. I think the lack of Michonne really did give me less of an emotional investment in the first half of the season and all I had was tied up in Beth which made her death that much more crushing. Pretty sure the show will never succeed in getting me to care about Abraham.
In other news, I'm reading about three different books right now and gearing up for the holidays! I'd love to hear how you are all doing and what you are up to! Hopefully I will manage to finish reviewing books and write some year end thoughts before 2015 :)
Posted by Amy at 11:25 PM
Monday, December 1, 2014
To be honest with you, I hadn't heard of this facebook page before, but I was drawn to the idea of a book that collects short devotionals for each day of the year. I definitely feel like I'm at a place in my life where I feel like I need these types of reflections and reminders in a way that's easy to find and read.
And this book is fantastic! For each day of the year, there is an entry. Each entry leads off with a Bible verse and then a few short reflective thoughts on that verse. After these thoughts, the book offers up a challenge to put the ideas into practice via a practical means using social networking tools. I absolutely love this because it's a good reminder that we can use how connected we are via the internet to encourage others and even deepen our relationships. We can use these tools to be thoughtful and outward focused. I know that sounds strange, but I think it's an easy trap to fall into to become self-focused even in the social networking realm!
For example, the entry on my birthday talks about how we often want to skip the instructions when we buy something new and jump in, because we wish to understand it intuitively. It was actually a little bit of a relief to read this because I am exactly this way and I didn't realize it was a phenomenon. It then reminds us that we are often the same way in our Christian lives and we skip the practices we know will lead to a more fulfilling life. The tip is to reach out to an online friend and share an area where you're struggling.
This would make a great gift for any Christian on your list, and especially for any who love the online space or are looking for a tool such as this one in their lives. It can be purchased at Barnes & Noble or another retailer of your choice.
I'm really excited to be able to offer a giveaway as well! One winner will receive a copy of Jesus Daily as well as a T-shirt. To enter, just fill out the form below by December 8, 2014. Winner will be notified via email.
Posted by Amy at 12:06 AM
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Tis the season, guys!!!! Tis the season!!!
I unashamedly adore Christmas books but ever since I've had a book blog, I find it hard to review them. Publishers want reviews of anything new in October-ish when the books come out--which well at that time I want to be reading spooky stuff, plus there's always a slew of Big Fall Books. I'm usually more in the mood around, lol, December 20th, but then there's no time to write about stuff! But this year I've just given in. I'm already indulging in Hallmark's Christmas movies and happily reading Christmas books, I've had numerous Peppermint Mochas, etc.
Susan May Warren remains a go to author for me for comfort reads and Evergreen is no different. This is a novella...not a full length book and it does fit in another series she's already writing but it's not necessary to have read those books--I haven't! At most, it gives you a few teasers for them.
Ingrid Christensen is dreading the upcoming holidays since her children won't be home, and her husband has ideas about how to take her mind off that and give her a wonderful holiday, but despite his efforts, every idea he has only drives a wedge between them. Meanwhile, her nephew has come to live them and she must plan the live nativity against incredible odds. Will there be any merry Christmas for Ingrid and John?
This is very much a marriage story and I appreciated it as such. Ingrid and John have their own individual hurts they are holding onto and they must let go and come together. I have to admit, there was a part of me that was like "you've been hanging on to THAT?" when Ingrid's hurt was revealed, but really there are so many reasons we have pain in our lives and I think one thing I appreciated about this book is that it was a sort of ignored resentment that bubbled to the surface at once and was closely connected to a pain I felt much more...understandable. (it's not that Ingrid being upset didn't make sense, it's just that she's so abundantly blessed beyond what many have in this certain area that it seemed like a self indulgent pain--it's hard to explain without spoilers) I also like that these characters are flawed and far from perfect...but a warmth permeates the book anyway.
This is a fall leads up to Christmas kind of story and also a lovely one! WARNING THOUGH, I feel while maybe considered spoilery, necessary--sad dog stuff :( I cried.
I received a copy of this to review. I recommend it as a warm, Christian fiction, Christmas novella.
Posted by Amy at 12:00 AM
Monday, November 24, 2014
Rogue Wave, the second book in The Waterfire Saga comes out on January 6th. Why not catch up ahead of time and celebrate at your holiday parties with principessa colors?
About the Book: Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.
When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations.
Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.
About the Book: In this exciting sequel to DEEP BLUE, the mermaids are on an exceedingly important and dangerous quest. Their journey is testing their skills and their friendships, forcing them to grow and take on new challenges, and will alter their lives forever.
Serafina, Neela, Ling, Ava, Becca, and Astrid, six mermaids from realms scattered throughout the seas and freshwaters, were summoned by the leader of the river witches to learn an incredible truth: the mermaids are direct descendants of the Six Who Ruled–powerful mages who once governed the lost empire of Atlantis. The ancient evil that destroyed Atlantis is stirring again, and only the mermaids can defeat it. To do so, they need to find magical talismans that belonged to the Six.
Serafina believes her talisman was buried with an old shipwreck. While researching its location, she is almost discovered by a death rider patrol led by someone familiar. . . . The pain of seeing him turned traitor is devastating.
Neela travels to Matali to warn her parents of the grave threat facing their world. But they find her story outlandish; a sign that she needs to be confined to her chamber for rest and recovery. She escapes and travels to Kandina, where her talisman is in the possession of fearsome razormouth dragons.
As they hunt for their talismans, both Serafina and Neela find reserves of courage and cunning they didn't know they possessed. They face down danger and death, only to endure a game-changing betrayal, as shocking as a rogue wave.
THE PRIZE PACK
One winner in the United States will receive, courtesy of Disney Hyperion:
Acopy of Deep Blue
custom Deep Blue and Rogue Wave nail polishes
Just fill out the form below to be entered:
You can also purchase the book at Barnes & Noble, take the Which Mermaid Are You? quiz, and visit the official website
Posted by Amy at 12:00 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2014
This is a really fun book, y'all.
Found footage horror movies are one of my favorite genres even if 85% of them terrible. I was sold on them from the first time I saw Blair Witch Project, and in more recent times I loved the Paranormal Activity movies (until the fourth one broke the trend of them getting progressively more awesome and was just mediocre). If there is an equivalent to FF movies in books, they would be the style The Supernatural Enhancements is written in...a collection of diary entries, handwritten notes, written transcripts of video footage, etc. Another book that successfully pulled this off this year was Sarah Lotz's The Three.
So imagine a haunted house story told in this way! Awesome, right? And it is. What makes this even cooler is that it's presented as an investigation into the secrets of the house. Two young people go to check out this newly inherited house and learn about ~haunting. But they quickly learn there are many many more secrets the house is hiding and they work hard to solve the puzzle. But of course they themselves begin to be affected by the power of the house.
And everything turns out to be much different than you originally suspect...looking at the cover might give you a clue? But really I don't want to say too much because the way it all unfolds is the fun of it! This is a super fun, page turner. Give it a look!
I did read an egalley provided to me by the publisher.
Posted by Amy at 8:47 AM
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Since a few people actually asked my thoughts on recent TWD episodes, I thought I'd post! Hopefully I can get back in the swing of sharing thoughts on a weekly basis..even though there are only two episodes left before another hiatus :(
I've really enjoyed the season for the most part! I do have to say I'm surprised they split up the group again so quickly employing the same methods of character development they used last season when I was fairly certain they said they wouldn't do that again. Even so, it's been successful for the most part--I absolutely loved the episode with Beth in the hospital (this episode proves the spinoff has a chance imo) and I enjoyed Daryl and Carol's episode a lot as well. The one with Abraham and Eugene and company..I don't know I am just not warming up to those two characters and the writers still haven't given Rosita much POV at all. It's really frustrating to me because I think they have succeeded with Tara, she's realized..you get who she is, but Rosita is like a blank slate still and it's just kind of sad to me. So yeah that episode bored me, ugh.
Bob's death was painful and sad, poor Sasha. I did really love the reason he gave for not telling her the second he was bit, that's been one of my favorite death moments on the show. Sometimes this show gets emotional truth so well. I feel like at the time I had ~thoughts about the brutal slaughter taking place in the church--a place of sanctuary and I had a lot of thoughts on Michonne and her katana, but it's been too long now.
Anyway, I was kind of bummed that Carol was actually captured by evil hospital people and it wasn't a set up, but I'm curious to see how everything plays out!
So yeah, I'm really enjoying the season, but I'm thinking are more tightly integrated next week--how about you guys? What do you think?
Posted by Amy at 9:25 PM
It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies—conscientious objectors to the war—and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.
Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.
Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?
Posted by Amy at 9:03 PM