What to Read Next?

I literally have hundreds of books lining the wall of my basement, probably hundreds more ebooks waiting to be read on my kindle. But I thought I'd share my immediate TBR list! Here are the books I hope to read this summer:

 Can You See Anything Now? by Katherine James
 The Hunter and the Valley of Death by Brennan McPherson
 The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
Freedom's Ring y Heidi Chiaveroli
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse
The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron 
If I Run by Terri Blackstock
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk
The Last Disciple by Hank Hanegraaf and Sigmund Brouwer
The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry
Joanna A Story of Love and Betrayal by Gene Everett Weatherly

This is what I currently have planned to read next, but you will probably understand if I stray from this list some! Something new may catch my eye, or a different book may jump out of the shelf at me one day! Anyway, what are you reading now?


Giveaway Time!! Long Way Gone

I've been so excited to be able to read again and blog again that I've been buying books like crazy. It seems on my recent trips to Ollie's that I have purchased some doubles.  I really must want to read these books! I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to host some giveaways!  This week's offering is Long Way Gone by Charles Martin.

From the back cover:
At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O'Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.  
Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.   
When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it's too late to tell her the truth about his past -- and if he is ready to face it himself.  
A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.  

We have so much to learn from the stories and parables of the Bibles. For a chance to win a new hardcover copy of Long Way Gone, comment with your favorite Bible story or verse! And don't forget to tell your friends to visit for a chance to win too! Winner will be posted here next week With more giveaways to come!


Story Peddler

What a fun new fantasy series with some great lessons and applications. Perfect for readers of all ages, I know my daughter will enjoy this book as I did.

Lindsay A. Franklin's story telling creates a world where words become color, stories crystallize into pieces of art, and "art has a way of revealing the truth."

Tanwen is a story peddler/story weaver, who creates tangible trinkets from her with her story telling. When she loses control of her gift, she finds herself being hunted by the king's guard. Rescued by an unlikely band of other weavers. Tanwen works with this group to attempt to restore the kingdom. My one complaint was with the romance/love triangle. I wanted to see the feelings develop slowly and naturally, but instead it felt rushed. Aside from that, I found The Story Peddler to be filled with unique and lovable characters with an exciting and fast-paced story, and I thought this was a super-fun read. 


Biblical Fiction at it's Finest

Mesu Andrews is one of my favorite authors, and I have read most, if not all, of her books. I finally got around to reading Miriam and I was not disappointed. Mesu Andrews does her research, and it shows in the rich historical detail. While her books are fictional, the plots always align with the corresponding Biblical accounts. Andrews brings the historical figures of God's Word to life, adding plausible emotions and personalities.

Miriam, set during the plagues and exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, obviously centers around the sister of Moses. This book opened my eyes to new aspects of the Hebrews' journey to freedom: the suffering they experienced, the doubt many must have felt, and
the emotions and choices that everyone faced. I loved following Miriam's internal journey to growing faith in light of God's evident power. Her once strong faith was challenged when the God she thought she knew and understood seemed to change. While God worked, Miriam realized that Yahweh was the same loving and intimate God that she knew in El Shaddai. At the same time, His newly revealed power and miracles, brought new believers and follower in both Hebrews and non-Hebrews.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That same Yahweh, who brought plagues that led to his peoples ultimate deliverance, is working in and through us to continue to deliver His people from bondage. WOW!!! He Is also that same El Shaddai who dances over us, whispers love to us, showers us with hope and joy---if we just open our eyes to Him.  Double WOW!! 

Thank You Lord, for your Word, for stories that reveal your power, your grace, and your love. Thank you for your intimate involvement in our lives, for including us in your plan and for having a plan for our lives. And thank you for story-tellers that bring Your Word to life, and drive readers back to the Bible hungry for Truth, hungry to know you better. 


A New Favorite

I have found a new author to add to my list of favorites. Ginny Yttrup's writing style is light and conversational. I knew from the first page that this book was going to be something special, but I didn't know how special.

Words switches points of view alternating between Sierra, an artist who is a recovering addict still grieving the loss of her child and Kaylee, a young girl who is living a literal nightmare and can no longer speak due to the horrors she has experienced. These two characters are vivid and heart-wrenching as God crosses their paths to deliver freedom to both.

As a pediatric occupational therapist assistant who works with children who have experienced trauma, this novel painted an accurate and haunting picture of how traumatic experiences effect all aspects of life. It also demonstrates the power of God's love in the healing process and the privilege of being used by the Lord to show others His power.

I loved this book, the writing, the characters, and the message. Ginny Yttrup has found herself another fan. In fact, I was on Amazon checking her other titles as soon as I finished this one. If you are curious, her other titles include: Home, Invisible, Lost and Found, and Flames.


Grace Got You

How often do you listen to the radio and even sing or hum along without really knowing the words to the song?
Today I happen to be paying attention and the words I heard made me smile and think of my daughter. As soon as I got home I looked up the song, Grace Got You by Mercy Me and played it for her.  She loved it too.

Listen to these words. How fun is this song? The first line is: Have you ever met someone who keeps humming when the song's through?  Do you have someone in mind? Maybe that's you!
Or how about this:  When you're standing in the rain again , You might as well be dancing -- YES!!!
Finally, the chorus!! Let's all live like this.
Choose one and do it today or do them all.
Sing! Glide! Dance! Laugh! Smile!

Sing, so the back row hears you
Glide, 'cause walking just won't do
Dance, you don't have to know how to
Ever since, ever since grace got you
Laugh, 'til your whole side's hurting
Smile like you just got away with something (This is my daughter's favorite line!) 
Why? 'Cause you just got away with something
Ever since, ever since grace got you


Avengers: Infinity War

Friday, my son comes home from school with a slip of paper asking if he can meet a friend at the movies. At eleven, I am still hesitant to let him go places alone, even in our little town. So I got to see Avengers: Infinity War on the opening weekend with a room full of die-hard Marvel fans.

I am not a movie reviewer and didn't watch it with a reviewer mind, but I will tell you my favorite aspect of the experience. Twice a new character showed up on screen and the room erupted in claps and cheers. Even though it took me a moment to realize that one character was Captain America and I only knew the other was Stan Lee because my son told me about his cameo appearance, I enjoyed the group excitement.

Then at the end of the movie, no one left. Well, maybe a handful of people, but the vast majority of the room remained in their seats, while a few stood in the back of the theater waiting. They had been given the heads up of a post-credit scene. At one point, the credits turned black and throughout the room, you could hear "shhhh" "shhh", "shhhhhhhh." Hilarious! Especially when, immediately more credits rose from the bottom of the screen. Finally after probably 15 minutes of credits, we witnessed the brief scene introducing the next chapter of the Avengers adventure.

I like comics, Marvel, DC, superheros, the works, but I am not a one that doesn't miss a new release. I haven't read the comics, and I haven't seen all the movies. I will tell you something though: the atmosphere is fun and exciting. There is not many things like it. It is mildly like walking into Disney- everyone is so excited and noticing all the little details around them, that even those who "aren't Disney people" can't help but get caught up in the excitement, you know!