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Being different has made me more aware

One of my goals for 2015 is to read more diversely. This is something that has been brought to my attention after reading several articles on Book Riot about this very topic.

Most of the authors that I read were white (white women to be specific) and therefore almost all the books I read had white main characters in them. Growing up the majority of my friends were white and therefore I wanted to be white too. I wanted to have brown or blonde hair, lighter skin, and blue eyes. I even wanted freckles. I also wanted a last name that people could easily pronounce. I used to want to just blend in with everyone instead of being the one that always stuck out. I hated that someone could just reference “the Asian girl” and it almost always meant me. It’s refreshing to know though that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

The thing is, as awful as all that sounds, it’s made me become so much more aware today than I think most people are.

Sadly I know a lot more prejudice and racism that my white friends will luckily never experience. I’ve been called names, made fun of, and heard so many jokes about features of myself that I can never change. It’s hard also seeing depictions of my race and culture constantly being made fun of in media and entertainment. While I can take and make a cultural joke, it’s also really hard to hear and see truly derogatory insults on a regular basis.

I do feel like I see the world differently than most of my friends. Unless they go out of their comfort zone and do some traveling, it will be very likely they will ever feel like the minority. I don’t know think they know what it’s like to sit down and see you’re the only one in a sea of similar people. And it’s probably hard to understand why I would not want to be myself and be like them instead. You can learn to understand this more if you marry into the culture but at the same time, it’s still really hard to understand what I go through.

I’m not saying all this to play up any race cards or make anyone feel guilty. I’m just trying to explain why I am in favor of learning more about diversity. In those Book Riot posts, it’s talked a lot how most books we read subconsciously are written by white authors and also about white characters. It is what sells. Just like the writers in the post, I too got very excited any time there was a character in a book that looked like me. Claudia Kishi from The Baby-Sitters Club was my favorite character because she was the only Asian girl and therefore I could relate to her. Mulan is my favorite Disney princess because she looked like me. I have always been disappointed that there was only one Asian American Girl historical doll, Ivy, and even then she’s the sidekick friend and not the main doll but even then, it’s exciting because hey, she looks like me! But these are exceptions to the rule and not the norm sadly.

I’d love for more people to become more culturally diverse. I can’t force or make anyone else learn or understand this. But I can do it for myself in books I choose to read. And it’s helping me to see the world a lot differently in a good way.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 7

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan (Adams Media Corporation, 2014)

My blurb: This book is HILARIOUS. Though you will probably appreciate it more if you work/worked in a public library (obvs). Which I do. If you do read it, please don’t be those people.

Checkmate by Steven James (Signet Select, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been reading this series from Steven James for about 6 years. It is one of the best thriller series I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the few series that my mom and I both read. This was the conclusion and it was very satisfying. Also gory. Which is fantastic. Also elements of faith. Also fantastic. Also set near DC, woo! Sad to see end but so worth it.

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle Books, 2014)

My blurb: These are just the cutest books ever. Seriously if you’re a Star Wars fan and you don’t like these, then you are not one with the Force. While you can read this to your kids, adults will enjoy them even more. SO CUTE.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (Touchstone, 2014)

My blurb: As you already know, I’m a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. One might think that this book was redundant, because The LBD is already a retelling of Pride and Prejudice so wouldn’t this book be more so? Nope. It gives more insight into the story, plus the writers had to make sure everything matched up with the videos. That meant if they mentioned a date they had to go back to the timeline they had  created already to make sure that all characters were actually available on that date. Talk about fact checking! It’s a wonderful addition to the series.

Yes Please by Amy Poeher (It Books, 2014)

My blurb: This book is awesome. First off, it’s a beautiful book. The pages are not your normal book pages, they’re more glossy and heavy. Second, if you’re a fan of Amy’s you’ll love this book. It’s hilarious just like her as well as insightful. It’s not all deep and heavy full of secrets like other celeb memoirs. It’s just Amy. If you’ve read her BFF Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, you’ll enjoy this one too.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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Words Words $#K@:R#@ Words

Last week in the Christian fiction book world there was a review of an upcoming book from a well known Christian fiction author that was given a rating of 1/2 a star due to language. There were other issues in the book (such as they couldn’t tell it was a Christian book at all) but that was the main focal point of the review. The reviewer summarized by saying that if this book had been marketed as a general market novel it would have gotten a higher rating but since it’s a Christian book, it was worth only 1/2 a star. There was a rather interested reaction to this review from members of the Christian fiction community. While there were those that agreed with the review, there were others (including authors and readers) who felt the review to be unjust and nitpicky.

What was most interesting to me was that in another Christian fiction book, I found a curse word used AS a curse word and NO ONE has said anything about it yet in all the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads that I’ve read through. That same reviewer in fact gave the book high stars! I don’t get it.

Let me start out by saying two things. One, I realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that this publication has every right to uphold their own beliefs. The second is, I’m a Christian and I curse sometimes yet I feel that my relationship with God is on solid ground.

Cursing is not something I enjoy doing and I actually don’t do it a lot. There are certain words that I really don’t like using/seeing//hearing but it also comes with the intent behind the words. A word is really just a word. It’s all in what you mean behind it. A curse word stripped down is just a bunch of random letters lined up next to each other. It cannot hurt you until you take that word and throw it at someone in a derogatory way. That being said, any word can be used to harm someone. Chicken is word that most use to call an animal or a type of meat. Or it can be used as an insult. I mean even the word “girl” is used as an insult.

Going back to the review, personally I’m looking forward to reading this book. While I enjoy reading a lot of Christian fiction books, I also take issue to books that want to stay in the bubble. I understand that there is and always will be an audience that wants to separate themselves away from the rest of the world and I respect them for it. But at the same time, I also prefer reading books that don’t preach and is able to be enjoyed by ANYONE who picks it up. I have known for years that I’m not the target audience for most Christian fiction and that’s ok. I stated on another blog that I just like author’s who do share my beliefs and are able to tell a good story.

It just irks me when I see authors who do just that get harsh reviews from those that don’t see things that way. Again, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. It’s just funny that Christians want a label stating that it’s not “really” a Christian book, while those who aren’t of the same faith will want a label saying it’s a faith based book. While excessive cursing used as filler in any type of book is unacceptable because it’s sloppy and unimaginative, the opposite is just as bad too.  Too many times have I read novels where it’s very obvious that the writer is trying to avoid using curse words but it comes across as looking completely unrealistic.

I guess the biggest thing for me is that I feel like it shouldn’t even be that big of an issue when there are so many other things that is lacking in that genre. (Diversity for one) I do feel like Christians spend too much time worrying about keeping things clean and trying to make everything safe.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” – The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe

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That Time I Got Really Geeked About a Spreadsheet

So I’m going to get all book nerdy on you today.

Last week I talked about my reading stats for last year and my reading goals for 2015. You might also remember that I had trouble remembering exactly how many books in each category that I read last year. This was due to Goodreads being the only source of how I kept track of my books. In order to figure out numbers in each genre, I had to count from the beginning several times. When one reads over 200 books, this becomes a bit problematic because after a while everything just runs together. I knew I wasn’t giving the correct numbers but I was tired of having to keep going back and forth.

I knew that I needed to make a different change in 2015. That’s when I decided to keep a reading spreadsheet.

Now let me first say that I really love doing data entry. I’ve worked in records management and secretly let me tell you it’s something I really enjoy. I love stats and keeping track of things so I can see trends and growth over time.

I knew that other folks had been keeping their reading habits on spreadsheets but I had dismissed them earlier. After all, I used Goodreads. Why should you use something else? Then I ran into my problem and realized I needed something more than just Goodreads.

Book Riot (which if you love books and reading is site you need to be visiting every day) had an article up a few months ago called “How I Track My Reading: The Ultimate Reading Spreadsheet.” The author of the post feels the same way I do about data, tracking, stats, and reading. She also gives a link to where one can download a template for a spreadsheet and then customize it to their own preferences.

Google Drive is an amazing feature. I don’t currently own Microsoft Office products but with Google Docs and Google spreadsheets, I don’t need to. And being online, I can update this spreadsheet anywhere that I can have internet access. No more waiting hours later to write down that book!

As stated last year, the biggest genre I read the most of was Christian fiction. This meant that the majority of the authors I read were white and female. This year, I want to read more diversely. This doesn’t mean I’m purposely choosing what I read but I want to keep a closely better track of what authors I’m reading. I also want to read more non fiction as well.

So here are screenshots of what my spreadsheet looks like. I have many different things I want to keep track of as you can see. And yes I have read 10 books at this point, by the time this publishes it might be more. (Click on the images to make them bigger)

Here’s the first half. The first column is for when I finish the book. Then there’s title, author, gender of author (drop down menu to choose from female, male, collaboration), publisher, year version I’m reading is published, date started, date ended, pages, Fiction or Non Fiction, Level (drop down menu for Adult, YA – young adult, or MG – Middle Grade).

Reading Spreadsheet1

The second half – Genre, Format (book, ebook, ARC – advanced reader copy, etc), source (where did I get book from), Nationality of author, Diversity – is the author a Person of Color (this is any author that is not white). Then we get to the formula tracking columns which tally up pages read, books finished and how many POC authors I’ve read.

ReadingSpreadsheet2

I realize that not everyone cares so much about data like this! These are the things that are important for me to keep track of when I read however. I know that some people couldn’t care less who writes their book or even how many books they read. But I am trying to read outside my normal routine so for me it is important to know that I’m not just reading the same thing over and over. Re: tracking diversity of author, it can get a little tricky because sometimes that means researching an author’s background but after last year of reading over 200 books and only reading THREE POC authors, I want to make an effort this year of reading more.

I still use Goodreads to keep track of what books I’m reading and also because I’m doing their reading challenge. And it’s a good tool and website. I just know that for me personally, I want more info and that means doing this spreadsheet. It may mean a little bit more work but that’s ok! You may get sick of seeing spreadsheets after work all day. But for me, this is great fun.

Now on to more reading!

Thank you very much to Book Riot for the inspiration to do this.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 6

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 211 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 3 weeks left to go!

The Regal Rules for Girls by Jerramy Fine (Berkley Trade, 2012)

My blurb: Prince Harry is still up for grabs and this book showed me how to get him. No, but seriously as an Anglophile and very interested in the Royals, this book gave a great insight to what it’s like to learn to BE British. It’s sort of like an etiquette book but not as proper or formal. I highly doubt it will happen to be but still very fun to read.

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen (Viking Adult, 2014)

My blurb: It’s like the story of my life! Being the daughter of Asian immigrants and reading Little House on the Prairie! This story gives a “what if” to the story of Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter as well as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. It really was like reading a story about me.

The Walking Dead: Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (Image Comics, 2006)

My blurb: I’ve been watching the show for several years and finally decided to cave and read the comics since we have all of them at the library. I’ve been reading one a week. And they are quite different from the TV show. I keep expecting Daryl to show up even though I know he never will. Characters are totally different and there are some changes in the plot. But otherwise it’s still really good and I’m enjoying it.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: I’m a huge Julie Klassen fan. (I was even published as a blurb in one of her books!) Her stories are set in the Austen time period. This is her best. It’s like Northanger Abbey, the gothic mystery romance. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen until the end. It’s rich and descriptive as well as a darn good story.

Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Food and Jane Austen references and a sister story? Yes please. LOTS of food. Two sisters who have grown apart reunite due to cancer. It’s not a retelling of Pride and Prejudice which I had been a little worried about but instead it just talks about Austen a lot. It is a cancer story, so there’s that in here but I thought it was portrayed very realistically. I really loved all the characters as they are flawed and not perfect and never become so. Also interracial marriages. FTW.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose You Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (Crown Archetype, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. I mean it’s NPH and a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I however did the thing where I just read it straight through. I know. But you really can flip around and choose NPH’s destiny. It’s an extremely funny book as well as very enlightening as to what went into the real Doogie Howser/Barney Stinson’s life. I don’t normally read celeb memoirs but this one was extremely well done.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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Reading Challenge Accepted!

library

Normally if I’m going to talk about books, I’d save it for Fridays for the Geekness posts. But since today is December 1 and it falls on a Monday, there’s a reason why I’m writing about books today.

2014 is almost up. My reading goal for this year is to read 225 books. I have currently finished 200 books. I have 31 days left to read 25 more books. This shouldn’t be a problem if all goes well.

Now then, why am I talking about this on a Monday instead of a Friday? Because I have one more reading goal for 2014. To read as many of the library books I have currently checked out before I get new ones.

I was inspired by this post on BookRiot, One Man’s Diary of a Month-Long Library Closure. In it, the author’s library was closed for a month for renovations and he prepped in advance by checking out as many things as possible to get him through the month. He thought he had gotten WAY more than he would be able to finish. He ended up finishing everything a week before the month was up and in such realized how important libraries were.

That post made me want to challenge myself to do the same thing by getting a huge number of books beforehand and prepare myself for a month without checking out new books.

This is actually harder than it seems. See I work IN a library. Plus I have library cards to three other libraries. I currently don’t have anything from one library system but between the other three systems I have 44 books checked out. This also doesn’t include all the music CDs, DVDs, and audio books I have checked out as well. My problem is that I keep checking out new books before I read the old ones. And since I work in a library, this doesn’t help at all when I keep seeing things I want to read on the shelves or being returned as I work.

Therefore I made a challenge for myself. From December 1 to December 31, I will read books that are from my current library TBR pile and NOT check out any new library books. The only exceptions are if I placed the book on hold BEFORE December 1 and I am allowed to put books on hold ONLY if they are new books to be ordered and not currently in the library system.

This challenge should then fulfill two purposes: 1) I’ll meet my 225 book goal for the year and 2) I should whittle down my library TBR pile and stop stockpiling books I should be reading.

I know to a lot of you this is slightly crazy and yeah it probably is. Still, making challenges and goals for myself is how I seem to work the best.

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Books + Movie = Happiness

This week, one of my highly anticipated movies of the year comes out: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 comes out. (Don’t get me started on the fact that they broke up this book in half. It was my least favorite book of the series and it wasn’t even that long! $$$$$$$) Then next month The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies arrives in theaters. (OMG. Don’t even get me started on how there are THREE movies for one book) I’m super excited for both of them.

I don’t know the exact statistic but it’s safe to say that a lot of movies made are based on books.

I love when books I really enjoy turn into GOOD movies. There is something both very satisfying and slightly disappointing about seeing your favorite book turn into a movie. The thing is that reading a book is a very personal experience. Everyone has their own view of how they visualize the story, the characters, the settings, etc. Even how you would pronounce things and names can vary from person to person. So a movie basically takes the movie creators’ interpretation of how they viewed the book and puts it on the big screen. It doesn’t mean that what is shown is canon but it does become the main visual guide of how the story will be remembered.

The hardest part with book to screen adaptations is how faithful the movie will be to the book. I understand that the two are completely separate entities. You will have people going to see the movies who have no interest in reading the book or have no clue that the movie they are watching is even based on the book. The movie makers have to make these people happy so they have to make the movie so that this audience is able to follow and enjoy the story without being lost. At the same time, the die-hard fans want to see EVERYTHING and they will know when you messed up something or included things that make no sense at all.

There are some movies where I was ok with the changes because it makes sense. Sometimes there are scenes that cannot be transferred from words to screen. This also helps when the actual author is either the screenplay writer or is consulted for help with the script. Then there are times when it makes absolute no sense at all why things were added or left out. It’s almost like the people making the movie forgot that it was a book that made it possible for them to do this and that fans of the book are the reason why it was popular in the first place.

I will say that I absolutely cannot stand when a film reviewer bashes a movie based on a book for doing a certain thing….and it happened EXACTLY like that in the book. Again, as I stated I realize that the book and movie are two different things. But if Harry Potter is annoying you because he’s all teen angsty and you give the movie low marks for it because it doesn’t fit with the other whimsical movies, then sorry for you. That’s what happened in the book! Read the book!

I’m not going to talk about the bad movies based on books I loved because it just makes me sad that they destroyed what could have been really good (Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader *cough cough*).

Instead I’m going to just give a very brief list of books that I have read and the movies (not TV miniseries or shows) based on them that I really enjoyed. (I’m sure I’m missing out on TONS but then this list would super-duper long considering how many books I’ve read.)

The Joy Luck Club

Both are equally moving and I tear up EVERY DAMN TIME I read or watch. There are some things changed but as Amy Tan was involved with the screenplay I am ok with this.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

pride_and_prejudice

Yes, I know that the 5 hour TV miniseries may be better. But MOVIE wise, I adore this version. Yes things are shortened but for me this is a beautiful adaptation. I love the scenery, the music, the camera work, and I ADORE Matthew MacFadyen’s Darcy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1&2 

harry_potter_and_the_deathly_hallows_part_i

The first Harry Potter movie was great (I actually watched it BEFORE reading the book, I know I know) but the last two movies for me REALLY got to the heart and soul of movie. It is the only time I fully endorse splitting into two movies because there is so much they couldn’t leave out.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I adore everything about this movie. It is exactly how I wanted this movie to turn out (Sorry old BBC production). Sadly it went downhill afterwards but this one is just glorious.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

great_gatsby_ver15

Almost everyone had to read this book for high school. And this version does a sensational job of capturing the Roaring 20s. And who better to play Gatsby then Leo? The scene of him with the champagne/fireworks alone is worth it.

Little Women (1994)

little_women

Words cannot describe how much I love this movie. Everything about it is perfect (other than the fact that Jo rejects Christian Bale. WHO REJECTS CHRISTIAN BALE??) and it is one of my favorite adaptation of ALL TIME. I am looking forward if/when I have a daughter and we can read the book and then watch this together. SO GOOD.

What are some of your favorite book to movie adaptations? What’s a good book that should be turned into a movie?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 5

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 181 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 1.5 months left to go!

Wildlife by Fiona Wood (Poppy, 2014)

My blurb: It’s a story set in a wilderness high school experience in Australia. So it’s pretty much like a story about camp. And I love camp stories. I feel the US cover is a bit deceiving because it looks like it’s all about a girl and a guy but it’s really more about two girls and told from their points of view.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (Bloomsbury, 2014)

My blurb: I love stories that take place in other countries because if I can’t go there yet, I love reading about it. At first I was super annoyed with the main character because she was complaining about how she was being sent away to Italy to study and all she wanted to do was stay at home. But her adventures in the country really made me want to go travel there myself one day. If you liked Roman Holiday, you’ll enjoy this.

A Cry From the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: I didn’t know what to expect when I read this because the cover seems very non descript and not at all like your typical Christian fiction cover. Well basically, it’s about historical Mormons that massacred innocent travelers and then in the modern day, a cancer recovery woman who tries to stop it from happening again. That on the cover my friends is a death mask.

The Well by Stephanie Landsem (Howard, 2013)

My blurb: I’ve always be fascinated by how many different interpretations there are of the woman at the well from the Bible. A lot of stories portray her in a horrible light because she had 5 husbands. But they never seem to consider the circumstances of why she did, they just automatically assume she’s a skank. This book however doesn’t immediately assume this. Also, the ending wasn’t what I was expecting. That’s all I will say.

Camp FoxTrot by Bill Amend (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 1998)

My blurb: FoxTrot to this day is my favorite comic of all time. I love the adventures the family has, the fact that they tied in pop/geek culture references all the time, and just how good the story is. I’ve read this collection many times but it always brings a chuckle and I love all the tiny details you don’t notice at first go round.

Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 2009)

My blurb: If you’re familiar with the blog of the same name then you know what to expect. I’ve actually been waiting for 5 years to read this book! Long story short, it was everything I hoped for. There’s stuff in there that (as far as I know) wasn’t on the blog and it really makes you wonder what on earth these bakers and cake decorators were thinking. It’s always good for a laugh and then it makes you just want to eat cake.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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Having fun isn’t hard, when you got a library card!

Full disclosure: I work in a library.

My love affair with the library started when I was about 3 years old. My mom had taught me and my sisters to read when we were super young so we loved books pretty much all our lives. The library was the best thing ever because it was a place with ALL the books. I remember loving going to church every Sunday as a small child because it meant I could check out books from the church library.

I got my first library card when I was 7. Back then there was a book limit of 20 books. To a 7 year old that seemed like a huge amount of books and I had visions of walking out with stacks of books 20 feet high. My parents never banned us from reading things from the library though they did make us read non fiction books to level out the Babysitter Club and Sweet Valley books we were also reading. We also had to read a number of classics as well. This was fine with me as I could usually find a bunch of non fiction books I enjoyed. We also participated in the summer reading program every year and ROCKED those things. We had to xerox the log in sheets because we read so much.

Fast forward a decade and a half later and I found myself working in the library I grew up in as a shelver. It was a dream come true. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to learn the ins and outs of working in a library and got to know the collection so much better. I learned that working in a library isn’t as easy as it seems and there are some not so fun parts but I really enjoyed it. I moved up to the part time library assistant where I got to interact more with the patrons and found that challengingly fun as well. Now I currently work again in a library and it’s pretty awesome.

Now I know that some people don’t use the libraries and I respect your decision. But if you pay taxes, you really should take advantage of your local library. There’s so many free resources besides just books. I’m not going to go all into that today.

But I will say take advantage of your library if you can. Read this article here to find out 6 ways to be a power library user.

Just remember to bring back your stuff to the library. Or this guy will come after you.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 4

To new comers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 159 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 2.5 months left to go!

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee (Howard, 2014)

My blurb: As far as I can remember, the Queen of Sheba gets a blip of a mention in Sunday School but I don’t know that much about her other than she came to visit King Solomon and they had a lot of wise talks. This book takes her character and creates a whole story for her that is incredible. You can tell there was a lot of historical research that went into the book. Tired of safe fiction coming from the Christian fiction publishers? This one has lots of sex. Good stuff. Heh.

An Accidental Life by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H, 2013)

My blurb: This book is about woman lawyers and abortion. But lest you think it’s a preachy pro-life book, it actually isn’t. It’s more about the legal issues surrounding the pro-life/choice debate and makes for a very compelling read.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: To sum up this word in just a few words: West Virginia and food. Seriously there is a ton of food in this book. And the best part is that one of the characters has the gift of making more food come. But people think she’s a witch! Like I said…..West Virginia.

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon (Putnam Adult, 2014)

My blurb: I LOVED this book. I’ve read all the Mitford books and this one was just like going home again. You know how when some authors go back to their most popular books and they just cannot recreate the magic? Not this time. Everything and everyone was there. I also haven’t laughed so much while reading a story in a long time. This is wonderful comfort reading. I don’t know if there will be more books but even if there isn’t, this was a joy to read

Blur by Steven James (Skyscape, 2014)

My blurb: Confession: Even though I LOVE Steven James’s books, I nearly avoided this one because it wasn’t published by a mainstream publisher. (I’m snobby about that.) I’m glad that I went against my normal way of thinking because this was a really great read. It’s a YA suspense with some paranormal elements and it is GOOD. James writes the story from a first person teenage boy’s POV and I believed it.

The Miracle Thief by Iris Anthony (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2014)

My blurb: This book is an amazing historical fiction read set during France during the 900s which is a time period you don’t see a lot of these days in books. Stuff about miracles and witches and nuns and royalty. All good stuff. Also even though I know what the word means, this was the first time I’ve actually seen the word “palfrey” used in a book and multiples times at that.

Sing for Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck (Howard, 2014)

My blurb: Interracial relationships! Jazz music! Immigrants! The 1930s during the Depression! This book was fantastic. There is a serious lack of interracial couples in Christian fiction so I’m really glad that this book happened. Lots of soul in this one.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Not your typical WWII Christian fiction book. It doesn’t romanticize the time period at all. But if you have a love of music and European history, you will definitely enjoy this book. Out of the box.


Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry by Perry Noble (Tyndale, 2014)

My blurb: We all know I worry a lot. And how I’m really trying not to. I’ve watched sermons from Noble’s teachings online and I’ve read excerpts from this book in an online devotional and really liked his style of teaching. I basically devoured this book in a day. There’s a lot of what goes through my mind in this book and he really touches at the heart of the manner. I don’t read a ton of non fiction normally but this is one that I needed and definitely recommend.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?