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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Captives by Jill Williamson

Recently I requested Captives by Jill Williamson from BookLook Bloggers. Well the book didn't show up, so I moved on and requested a different book. And then, what do you know, Captives arrives on my doorstep. I was really excited and finally had a chance to crack it open this week. I finished it yesterday morning and it was fantastic. 

Captives is set in the dystopian future where the water became contaminated with the "thin plague". The only known safe water supply is in the western American mountains (probably the Rockies, but that was never specified). A city was built around this water supply known as the Safe Lands. The residents of the Safe Lands were safe from the plague, that is until they began leading lives of debauchery. The plague had become bloodborn by that time and it began to spread among the cities residents. 

When the Safe Lands residents refused to change their way of living, several different groups of residents decided to leave the city and build villages of their own. One of these villages is Glenrock, found by Elias. Elias had three sons and the oldest, Justin, had three sons - Levi, Mason and Omar. Neither Mason nor Omar fit well into the village that focuses on hunting. Mason is more interested in medicine (a woman's task) and Omar is more interested in his art. This discontent leads to major trouble for everyone. 

The book is a wonderful read. It is fast paced and exciting. The characters are believable. They have true strengths and true weaknesses that make different parts of their lives easier and harder. There development as individuals is handled well as they all adapt and change throughout the story. However, there were a lot of different characters, each with their own story line that tied into the bigger plot. The perspective of the story was constantly changing, but you never had the feeling that something was happening that you didn't know about. 

While the Safe Lands is a world all its own (think the Capital in The Hunger Games) it is explained well and I never had questions about what was going on or why citizens were taking weird actions. There was lots of interesting ideas about what a future world might look like that were easily based in current times. This included some of the jargon of the city, though there were a few times I was left scratching my head until something was given a definition. 

Captives is something of a modern day Daniel story and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book of the series, Outcasts. I should have a review of it soon, as I plan to start reading it today. 

I received a copy of the book Captives by Jill Williamson from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is truly how I felt about this book. I really think that you will enjoy it too!

Friday, March 21, 2014

She Shares Truth: Jonah 1 & 2


Jonah 1 - 2

I've always loved the story of Jonah. As a child, the thought of a giant fish swallowing Jonah up and spitting him out because he disobeyed the Lord was pretty cool. I've pretty much always been a rule-follower. I know that breaking a rule has consequences and so the idea of Jonah getting what he deserved made sense to me. It should have been easy for Jonah to just follow the Lord's commands, right?

Now, as an adult, I have a very different perspective. While I haven't heard the voice of God, I know that He calls me to take the gospel to those in my own neighborhood. Which I usually choose to ignore because thoughts of being uncomfortable come racing into my brain. They are quickly followed by fears of rejection. Finally, I think to myself this gem, "If they wanted to find God, they could just go to any church and anyone would be happy to talk with them." Yeah, thats me and suddenly I'm thankful that I haven't (yet) found my way into the belly of a giant fish.

In chapter two we find Jonah there, with weeds wrapped around his head and he finally decides to pray. The Bible says that he was there three days and three nights before he finally calls out to God. I can imagine those three days and nights. If it were me, I would be sitting there making every excuse in the book, blaming this all on God or the Ninevites or even the fish. As he's about to die Jonah finally starts praying and he ends with this:


I remembered the Lord, 
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving 
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!
(Jonah 2:7-9)

 And then Jonah was vomited onto dry land.

I was reading this, thinking about Jonah and God and me. I realized that it usually takes me a bit of time to finally pray about whatever dilemma I am facing. I'm stubborn, like Jonah, I wait until I am about to break under pressure to finally cry out to my God who is waiting to hear from me. I am grateful that God is loving and forgives us. But I'm convicted that I need to make prayer my default response to trouble. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

My most recent NetGalley read is The Here and Now by Ann Brashares. You may be a fan of Brashares' work as author of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants books. (Yes, they are a series of books.) I read the sisterhood books in college and fell in love with them. They are on my to re-read list and may have just moved up several notches. 

Brashares' newest book The Here and Now is about Prenna James a girl from the future. Prenna is from the future because it had become impossible for humans to continue survival there. When her past catches up to her she finds herself caught up in a world far different from any that she has ever known. The future of humanity and herself is dependent on the course she chooses. 

By her side is Ethan Jarves. Ethan has known Prenna longer than she can understand and that gives him the distinct advantage of helping her fail or succeed. What will Prenna and how will she change the world? 

This was a fantastic read. I loved it. So much so, I kept finding myself thinking about it when I was not reading it and wondering what was going to happen. I highly recommend this book. I think fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Host will really enjoy this fast-paced read. You should definitely pre-order it today!

An electronic advance copy of this book was provided to my by the publisher through my NetGalley account. All opinions and synopsis are my own. I really do recommend this book!

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Doldrums

For some reason this week I've been thinking about white water rafting. I love white water rafting. I find it that its pure fun and invigorates me like not much else. 

(Via Cherokee Rafting)
Since Pop Rocks and I have been together we've gone down the Ocoee River three or four times.There is this part of the river that is called "The Doldrums" it is where the water is calm and you just float along. No paddling. No pressure. You've made it through several rapids including one called "Slice and Dice."

Lots of people will get out of the raft and float along in the water. I like to stay in the boat and enjoy the scenery. I also have a secret fear that I won't make it back in the boat before "Tablesaw." 

So anyway, The Doldrums. I was thinking about how in life there are periods of chaos (the rapids) and period of peace (the doldrums). For all intents and purposes I am in the midst of the doldrums. I am enjoying. The thing is though, I am still on the edge of raft ready to go. I don't want to be caught by surprise when chaos comes. I don't want to find myself unready and get dumped into the mean part of life. 

So what do you do in the doldrums? I am trying to keep my house clean. My husband fed and myself busy. Not too busy, just busy enough. I am finding new hobbies or old hobbies that are new again. I am thinking about what I could be doing or maybe even should be doing in order to make my life more chaotic. I don't know if there is something better or worse to do. I don't want to find out. I do know that I want to be one of those people who jumps into the water while its calm and fully surrender to the peaceful season. I guess thats what I'll be working. 






Friday, March 7, 2014

She Shares Truth: Psalm 130

(via)

Hi, Friends! I hope that this week has been a great one for you. I am a big fan of She Reads Truth. If you haven't heard of it definitely go check it out. This lenten season they are asking readers to take a text on Fridays and write their own post about it. Here is mine:

Text: Psalm 130

When I first read this Psalm I realized that it was exactly where I had been. I've shared before that last year was a tough year for me. I was dealing with medical issues and major stress at work and it all turned me into a not-so-happy-person. 

I cannot even begin to count the times that I have called yelled out to God for His mercy. I needed it and it seemed so hard to find. There was a tremendous depth to my cries. They were as deep as my pain. I kept waiting. I wish I could say that I did it gracefully or even patiently. No, I did it with a pout. Then stubborn soul that I am went in sat in my corner and said, "If God wanted to save me, He would just do it." 

Praise the Lord for His grace. His mercy. His redemption. His healing. His ability to save. 

Dear friends, He will save us. He will redeem us. He will rescue us. His mercy is great. His love, oh His love, is deep. Deeper than our pain. Deeper than our heartache. Deeper than our minds can fathom or our souls imagine. 

Do not lose hope in your journey. Jesus came to save us and He succeeded. We have redemption through His blood. He loves us. No matter what is going on or how we are acting. He loves us.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Runaway Saint by Lisa Samson

Runaway Saint by Lisa Samson is a phenomenal book. I was a little unsure of it based on the description, but the story really sucked me and kept me turning pages as quickly as I could. The story is about Sara Drexel. Sara is a graphic designer in Baltimore with her own business, husband, and fixer upper in the city. Her mother has become a hippy and her father is his usual professional calligrapher self. Out of the blue, her aunt returns from Kazakstan where she has been living for the last twenty-five years or so as a missionary. Sara's mother and her sister are estranged. Additionally, her mother lives in a tent on a farm (see, hippy). Consequently, Sara's Aunt Bel ultimately ends up living with Sara and her husband Finn. 

Sara was only four when Bel left to go overseas. No one has ever said much, except that she was a missionary over there. The family did not do much to keep in touch. Because of Bel's arrival, Sara begins a journey to uncover the past in order to understand Bel, her mom, herself, and her family. The past is full of lots of secrets. Tough things that will change Sara's entire world. 

This was an excellent book. The writing was wonderful. In fact, from the second page on I kept reading lines and thinking it was my favorite line, only for it to change a few pages later. The story is just dramatic enough to be able to create a book, but relatable enough for it be a tale told by a friend. Sara is one of the most wonderful narrators. She is honest and real, but still kind and generous to people. She views everything in her life with an attitude of "that's how it is" and her observations on marriage, friendship and family are invaluable.

As I am sure you can tell I really like this book. I can't recommend it enough. It is Christian fiction, but it doesn't rely on that to carry it. In fact, if you are looking for something that doesn't challenge you in your faith then this is not your book. 

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I really did like this book as much as I am implying. You should check it out.

Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

Glitter and Glue is Kelly Corrigan's memoirs about her time in Australia as a nanny and what it taught her about her mother. Corrigan weaves her own narrative on the mother-daughter dynamic in with the story of a family who had lost their own mother. 

It's a sad book with lots of happy parts. It was interesting and made me think about my relationship with my mother. For most of the story Corrigan was a twenty something on the cusp of "real life" trying to get the most out of her youth. This is what made it so relatable. In her accidental journey as a nanny she realized that all along her mother was really doing what was best for her and was dealing with the other side of things in her own way. As Corrigan points out her mother was changing because of their relationship and there was an emotional side to both parties involved in the argument. 

I can definitely recommend this book. It will make you laugh and cry. Think and feel. You should check it out.

An advanced copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange via NetGalley for an honest review. I really did like this book and truly recommend it.