Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Driftwood Tides: My Review

Driftwood Tides

About the Book:
When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

My Comments:
This is a book about finding yourself, finding the person God meant you to be, and giving that person to others.  However, even though the book is Christian fiction, there was no real hint of religion or faith until about halfway into the book.  Libby is a young engaged woman.  She loves her fiancee and knows he loves her, but she feels smothered by him.  She doesn't think her mother loves her and she knows her father doesn't--he left her when she was small and never came home; instead he started a new life with a new family.  When she learns she was adopted she goes in search of her birth mother, someone else who has rejected her.  Instead, she finds Holton, her birth mother's husband who has been drinking himself into a stupor since her mother was killed in an accident.  Wanting to know him better before telling him about her birth mother, Libby talks her way into an internship in Holton's art studio.  As the book progresses both Holton and Libby have to take responsibility for the choices they make and have to learn to accept the love that is in their lives rather than the love they wish was there.  Also they learned that when you value yourself and your work, others do too.

While the book has a happily ever after that includes romance, it is not a romance novel and I enjoyed reading a story that, while it had more depth than the average romance, was still an easy feel-good read.  Grade:  B+.

I'd like to thank the author for making a review copy available via NetGalley. 

Review: The Christmas Train


About the Book:
An estranged father and daughter meet for the first time at Christmas in this touching holiday story that will tug at your heart, from USA TODAY bestselling author Rexanne Becnel.

On the train to meet her father, young Anna Spano befriends Eva Stephens, an older woman who occasionally thinks she’s traveling to her home village in pre–World War II for the holidays. Recognizing Miss Eva’s disorientation as the same dementia her late grandmother experienced, Anna isn’t sure who is actually taking care of whom on the journey.

At the far end of the journey, Tom Thurston is anxious about what to expect when his daughter arrives. So he’s doubly shocked when a teary old woman embraces him, convinced that he is her long-lost brother.

At Anna’s insistence, he reluctantly agrees to bring the woman home with them and try to locate her family. And as Anna clings loyally to her new friend, and Tom struggles to be who Miss Eva needs him to be, both father and daughter begin to understand one another. And through Miss Eva, they learn the true meaning of family, and of love.

My Comments:
This is a Christmas novella.  That usually means a short but heartwarming book and The Christmas Train does not disappoint.  Anna's grandmother, with whom she has lived for years, just died.  Her mother doesn't want her and puts her on a train to meet the father she has never met, saying it is his turn to take care of her. The railroad won't let Anna travel without an adult, so her mother sits her next to a little old lady and tells Anna to tell the train people that they are together.  Anna listens to Ms. Eva tell her stories of WWII Europe and her life in the US thereafter.  When they finally arrive, Ms. Eva thinks Anna's father is her long-lost brother.

This is absolutely a happily ever after story in which way too many good things happen and in which there is a total lack of conflict.  I cried my eyes out near the end of the story and smiled at the ending so I guess Rexanne Becnel met her goal.  Grade:  B.

Thanks to the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  I was not obligated to provide any review, much less a positive one. 

I Won!

Don't you love blog giveaways?  Even though my mailbox stays full and sometimes I feel overwhelmed with my tbr stack, I like winning as much as anyone.  Pete over at The Catholic Book Blogger ran a Mega Advent Giveaway and I won!


I guess I have my Catholic reading material for the next year as I won forty-five books, a Digital Tablet, five CDs, and two DVD's.  Guess you'll be seeing plenty of Catholic books on this blog for a while.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts fo I rr the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post. Click here to sign up.

Well, I was late last week so I'll be early this week.  Saturday will start with dropping my daughter off for Girl Scout camp.  From there I'll walk to the other side of the parking lot and help with the parish craft fair.  I'll take a break from the craft fair in the middle of the day to have lunch with the local chapter of the Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association.  Then it is back to the craft fair for clean up.  

Since all I posted last week was the linky, I'll go back a bit further with my posts.  Last week I was at a Girl Scout retreat, which made me reflect on the story of Martha and Mary.  I reviewed The Christmas Ranch which is a sweet romance.    I posted about my success with Lending Club.  I reviewed a Catholic book for young teens. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Are You a Martha or a Mary?

Are you a Martha or a Mary?  I'm a Martha, I'm a doer, I see what needs to be done and I do it.  At Mass this weekend we heard from Proverbs 31:

 "She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor,
and extends her arms to the needy.

That woman isn't being praised for sitting and listening; she gets stuff done.  I get stuff done.

This weekend I took my daughter on a Girl Scout retreat.  It was held at a local camp/retreat center and put on by a committee of women involved in both Girl Scouts and the Catholic Church.  It was sponsored by the office of youth ministry for our archdiocese.  My daughter was the only girl from her troop who chose to attend; most of the other girls there were with their troops.  My daughter was put in a dorm with a couple of troops and those troops' leaders were the adults in that dorm (there were only two adult spots available that complied with the Safe Environment guidelines).  Because of the set-up,about half the adults, including me, ended up in a dorm with just adults.  We were all troop leaders, we were all women who were used to spending weekend camping trips planning, facilitating, teaching, and corralling girls.  We were used to being kept up at night by talking girls and being woken up by the girls as soon as the sun was up (if they slept that late).  On this trip we were away from them and with other adults who do what we do, and we had a ball.  Usually on trips like this, the girls are up half the night Friday night and then are exhausted Saturday night and sleep.  Well, the adults were a little different.  We all were asleep pretty early Friday night (unlike the girls in their dorms) and Saturday night we delayed lights out because everyone was talking, sharing stories, comparing troop activities, problems and solutions.  Yes, we pitched in when we saw work that needed to be done but we weren't in charge, we weren't responsible, and if we wanted to wander away to the chapel or to take a walk, we weren't missed.

One thing the girls did was skits acting out Bible stories.  One they did was Martha and Mary.  They "updated" the story and had Martha and Mary planning a party and Martha had her lists of things that needed to be done, stuff they had to get and so forth.  The party started and Mary was greeting the guests and spending time with them; Martha was in the kitchen doing chores and was upset that Mary wasn't helping.  Jesus told her to chill and that it was more important to spend time with the guests than to handle all those chores.  My thought was "cute".  

Tonight I was thinking about the retreat and about how much I enjoyed not being in charge and then I remembered the girls' skit about Martha and Mary.  I doubt you'll every completely turn me into a Mary, but I think God's message to this Martha this weekend was to chill a little and spend some time with Him. 

Sunday Snippets--Snippet Edition

I was on a Girl Scout retreat this weekend and now have to run to work before running to....  anyway, sorry I forget to preschedule.

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