Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Road To Becoming by Jenny Simmons

Jenny Simmons, author and Christian musician, shares a period of terrible struggles in her life. During one point, it seemed like one bad day might only lead to a worse day. Without the help of hospitable strangers, Jenny and family, would not have had clothes to put on their backs or a place to stay. In one incident, their RV explodes. At another time, Jenny finds her baby, Annie, bleeding from the ears and mouth. I often gasped over these disturbing events and felt for Ryan and Jenny and the team of musicians. Then, through the simple but inspiring way Jenny Simmons references scripture in The Road To Becoming I felt myself fill up with hope and faith and the knowledge that God never leaves us, and His love for us is complete.

I liked the chapter names. Each chapter title is a step in the process of making our dreams come alive. For example, there is: The Burying and the waiting. I felt especially interested in the chapter about desert life. Thought I would flip out if I didn't find out more information and photos of the Joshua tree. Unforgettable were the kindly gestures from strangers. Gentle people who would have been insulted if their gifts were not taken and used. I thought there really are angels who step into our life at the perfect time. As the author notes, God speaks softly to us in different circumstances.

I have to write that Jenny Simmons owns the ability to make me feel less afraid as I walk my personal adventure.The one important thing is to always remain with Jesus. I must not give up no matter how bogged down the path becomes with mud. Because no matter what the road looks like, feels like, it is our personal story.  The one in which we can finally say, BakerBooks


Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Beginnings

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They keep saying "the body" and Flora thinks this might make her scream and never stop. Speaking in whispers that are not quiet enough, as men do, they say it over and over. "We can't have the body simply lying in a room here." "If we put the body in the bathing pool, then it might appear to be a drowning." "But when they examine the body they'll find no water in the lungs." And so on.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First Chapter, First Paragraph

"When I was a little girl, I had my own magnolia tree. No one else in the world was invited underneath her canopy of waxy citrus leaves. She was all mine. My fortress, my empire."

"When Madge arrived in Chicago, it was an unusually windless summer day, and she could not take her eyes off the bluest water she had ever seen. She believed she was seeing the ocean for the first time, but she had heard from a woman who had heard from another woman that the ocean stirred waves as tall as trees, and this broad..."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Congregation by Desiree Bombenon (Netgalley)

When life becomes too difficult for the younger generation, they form a group named The Gathering and Inner Circle. In these groups are young people who have been abused by family members or church clergy. Soon, there is a plan chosen to save themselves and other young people from abuse.This plan entails thirty letters being sent out to different states. On a set date a revolt will occur. This revolution will deeply involve a huge church which has congregations all over the world. Gavriel and Josh are the ones really in charge of this move to make a change in the world. Amanda and Jake Bannon are a married couple. They are ideal at thwarting disasters. To help stop catastrophes, Amanda Bannon uses her psychic abilities. In this instance, all of these desperate and bloody take place between Rome and Chicago.

I wasn't prepared for the violence in The Congregation by Desiree Bombenon. The violence perpetrated in this terrorist situation is mind boggling. I had to put the novel down and walk away for a while. Soon I was back. I picked up The Congregation and stayed with it until the end. The novel is a magical weave of suspense.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Congregation by Desiree Bombenon (NetGalley)

"They arrived forty-five minutes later at the Hotel Hassler, located at the top of the Spanish Steps of the Piazza della Trinita dei Monti...Amanda found it exhilarating and awe-inspiring when she thought of Rome's role in history and its importance in shaping so much of the current world."(Wikepedia)

Days Of Awe by Lauren Fox (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

Days of Awe have become a part of Izzy's life. Her life, at this time, definitely fits the Holy time of remorse and sorrow celebrated by the Jewish population. She and everyone in her family are deeply stirred by the death of Josie, a close friend of the family. Josie dies on an icy road in her car. She is a young and vibrant woman. I could feel her loss jump from the pages of the novel. In Days Of Awe by Lauren Fox, Josie's death seems to cause a compound of calamities in each characters life. Everything seems to go through rapid change. With this one person's death, it seems like the world has begun to spin out of control.

Not only does Izzy deal with the death of Josie she also goes through a separation from her husband. Izzy had no idea her marriage was headed for disaster. It's just another shock to her system. I had to wonder. What must it feel like to not have known your husband was falling out of love with you? There is also the fact that your close friend has just died. She is the one you would have talked to about this new truama in your life.

Like glasses falling out of the cupboard, another incident occurs in your life. One that will cause guilt and shame. Izzy has been extremely busy. She has missed the fact that her daughter is a chronic insomiac. Hannah screams out in her sleep. Chris, Izzy's husband, is on top of the situation. He seems to have heard the daughter's cries from the very beginning. This leaves Izzy feeling clueless and like a bad mommy. I think one of the worse pains a woman can feel is to learn that she missed experiencing the immediate pain her child has lived through.

There is also the painful realization that your husband thinks you haven't been a good wife. Chris tells Izzy that "darkness" always surrounds her. I can't write it the way Chris says it. I felt he had shot a bullet in to Izzy's stomach. I felt angry with Chris because he puts so much blame on Izzy. I didn't understand how Izzy could continue to sleep with him. Perhaps, it took time for her to come to grips with one more loss.

I really liked the way Lauren Fox handled a new relationship in the book between Cal and Izzy. At first, I didn't like Cal. He seemed like just some old guy looking for friends at a support meeting.  I also thought he seemed more like Helene's age and not Izzy's age. Helene is Izzy's mom. Really, all the time, he wanted to meet Izzy. Soon there times together seemed as sweet as an old fashioned romance. I experienced each tiny touch between the two. By the way, why does Izzy call her mom, Helene instead of mother or mom?

For all that happened I am left knowing that the loss of a friend is traumatic, and life doesn't stop and allow you to get off the merry-go-round to grieve one horrible moment in time. It just spills more stuff on top of you. Izzy called these calamities "accumulated snow." I am grateful to have been a part of this group of characters. I must leave with a word about Miss Reinhoffer, the cat. She made me laugh, and there were many other times I giggled at the author's "dark humor." laurenfoxwriter