Sunday, July 28, 2013

Catholic Company Review: The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

About the Book:
What is the Breviary? How do I pray it each day?

The Liturgy of the Hours is the daily prayer of the universal Church, but all those "hours," the hymns, the multicolored ribbons, and page-flipping are intimidating. Daria Sockey provides a solid overview in this practical handbook, giving you the confidence you need to start right away.

Learn about the history of the Liturgy of the Hours, why it is relevant today, and how to choose from the many resources available for the prayers and hymns. Sockey helps you start slowly and build a daily habit that can fit into even the busiest schedule.

My Comments:
Somewhere along the line through novels I read I became aware that there existed something called the Breviary.  I'd never seen one, but I knew it existed.  Then came the internet and I was able to go to Universalis and read and pray the Liturgy of the Hours myself.  My first impression was that that was a lot of praying, but as someone told me once, praying is the job of those who pray the whole thing.  

In short, for the uninitiated, the Breviary, now known as the Liturgy of the Hours, is the second official liturgy of the Catholic church, the Mass being the first.  The Liturgy of the Hours, which all priests and most religious are supposed to pray at least part of daily, is said several times throughout the course of the day.  Each set of prayers is primarily Psalms but also includes other scripture, hymns and prayers.  It is designed to be prayed in community though individuals can pray it alone.

Daria Sockey  gives a short history of the Liturgy of the Hours and explains why we should pray it.  She lists both printed Breviarys (prayer books) and online versions.  She then looks at the various hours and describes the format for each.  She then briefly describes how to use the printed versions where  you have to figure out which set of prayers fit the day. I think I'll stick with the online versions.

I've been looking for a way to beef up my prayer life and I'm going to take Sockey's advice to pick one of the hours and pray it regularly.  I'm giving this book a B+ as being informative, easy to read and motivating.  

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

About the Author:
Daria' Sockey's articles on Catholic life have appeared in many publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms, and currently writes for Catholic Digest. Her book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, was published by Servant Books in 2013. Organizations Daria has been honored to associate with over the years include Catholics United for the Faith, Thomas Aquinas College,Franciscan University, Couple to Couple League, and the World Apostolate of Fatima. Chosen lifestyles have included both the homeschooling model and the kids-in-school/mom works outside the home model. She is a mother of seven and grandmother of one.  She blogs about the Liturgy of the Hours at Coffee and Canticles.

Monday Memes

It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey. She asks what we read last week, what we reviewed last week and what we plan to read this week.

 I've posted several reviews this week:

I loved this book about St. Francis of Assisi and definitely recommend it.  Click to read review.

Another book that I just loved.  My review.

I guess this was a lucky week.  Looking for Me also got an A from me, and as regular readers know, I don't give those out every day.  My review.

The Wishing Hill explores family relationships and secrets.  My review.

This is a romance but has more depth and better writing than most.  My review.

You can see my vacation photos on my Seven Quick Takes post.
This month Mailbox Monday is hosted by Tasha at Book Obsessed.  Bloggers list what the mail (or email) carrier brought this week.  

From The Catholic Company for Review (click photo to purchase)

Winter in Full Bloom (from Litfuse)

Review: The Wishing Hill

About the Book:
Years ago, Juliet Clark gave up her life in California to follow the man she loved to Mexico and pursue her dream of being an artist. Now her marriage is over, and she’s alone, selling watercolors to tourists on the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk.

When her brother asks her to come home to wintery New England and care for their ailing mother, a flamboyant actress with a storied past, Juliet goes reluctantly. She and her self-absorbed mother have always clashed. Plus, nobody back home knows about her divorce—or the fact that she’s pregnant and her ex-husband is not the father.

Juliet intends to get her mother back on her feet and return to Mexico fast, but nothing goes as planned. Instead she meets a man who makes her question every choice and reawakens her spirit, even as she is being drawn into a long-running feud between her mother and a reclusive neighbor. Little does she know that these relationships hold the key to shocking secrets about her family and herself that have been hiding in plain sight.…

My Comments:
Family relationships are always complicated and in this book they are more complicated than most. People have kept secrets to protect themselves, to protect others and to manipulate those they profess to love.  It’s one of those books that shows many of the bad consequences of modern sexual morality (or lack thereof).  Throughout the course of the book Juliet grows from a woman who, after being dumped by her husband, learns via a fling, that the reason she has never conceived a desired child is because her husband secretly had a vasectomy, to being an expectant mother considering a new relationship built on honesty and respect.  She grows from a woman who allows her mother to emotionally manipulate her into one who accepts her mother, but chooses the course of their relationship.  She learns family secrets, is hurt and comes to accept that her family members are just flawed people making the best decisions they could at the time and place they were making them.  

My two favorite characters were Giles and Claire.  Claire was Desiree’s neighbor and more.  She’s a senior citizen who has never been married.  She meets Giles at the pool one morning and he starts pursing her with romantic intentions.  He was unfailing patient, kind, self-giving, -- all the things most of the other characters in the book are not.  Life has dealt Claire some bad hands, but she’s made her mistakes too.  Still, she is a nice person who cares about others.

Desiree seems totally unlovable throughout most of the book. At the end her only real friend, a gay man, explains why he remains her friend.  Evidently there is more to her than meets the eye--but can’t you say that about  most of us?

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy via Edelweiss.  Grade:  B+

Saturday, July 27, 2013

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 for 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; some folks are forgetting that! 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.

We were on vacation this week so I got lots of reading and posting done.  We went to Gulf Shores for a few days and you can read about it on my Seven Quick Takes post.    I spent part of the time reading a book about St. Francis.  When we got home I had a cookbook waiting for me.  I wrote a review post and a post showing what I made.  Got to keep those Catholic families fed.  I have two "A" book reviews that published this week:  Looking for Me, and Orphan Train.  Finally, I reviewed Second Chance Cafe, which is a romance.  Generally speaking, I let me readers know the "steam" level of romance novels, and let them use their judgment about whether that level disqualifies the book from consideration.  While I'd never suggest anyone violate his or her conscience, Second Chance Cafe is one of the few romances that include steamy scenes that I'd recommend to folks who don't like steamy scenes.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Playing in the Kitchen

As I mentioned in the review post, I was provided with a review copy of this wonderful cookbook.  I tried several recipes I'd like to share with you.

Sally Lunn Batter Bread was easy to make and I think it tastes great, especially with honey butter.  My kids thought the shape was odd (it's baked in a tube pan) but that didn't bother me.  The texture is a little odd--the dough is a pretty standard yeast dough (maybe a little more liquid) but it isn't kneaded at all--that must be why, but it tastes like homemade white bread.  The recipe is here.

While chicken may be a low-fat dinner choice, this Nutty Oven-Fried Chicken is not.  But, it was good.  The recipe calls for a cut-up broiler or fryer, I used boneless skinless chicken breasts because my family doesn't like chicken skin and if I'm going to the trouble of making a coating for the chicken, I want it to be eaten, not discarded with the skin.  I served it with green beans and the Sally Lunn Bread.  The recipe is here.

I can't get a new cookbook without trying a new cookie recipe.  These potato chip cookies had (as in they are all gone now) an interesting texture.  They contain butterscotch chips and I found them a nice change from the oatmeal cookies I usually use with the butterscotch.  Try the recipe for yourself.  Next time I make them I'm going to double the recipe, as I had half a bag of butterscotch chips and half a bag of potato chips left.

The final dish I tried this week was Runza.  You can see the recipe and a photo on Taste of Home's website. I've never heard of them but the cookbook said they were German-Russian and since my grandmother was German-Russian, I figured I'd try them.  I'm going to my Dad's tomorrow, and we'll have some for dinner.  I'll have to see if he remembers eating them as a kid.  They are like calezones but are filled with a mixture of hamburger, onions and cabbage.  My teen daughter and liked them.  My husband said they were good but too dry.  My son almost never likes new foods and didn't like this before he tasted it and my youngest basically said the same thing.  I didn't get a photo, but of course mine looked better than the ones Taste of Home shows.

The verdict:  I recommend the cookbook.  Click here to purchase.  The Kindle edition is available now; the hardcover won't ship until September.

About Catherine Cassidy, Taste of Home Editor-in-Chief.

Catherine M. Cassidy is Editor-in-Chief of Taste of Home. She is responsible for driving editorial direction and product strategy across the brand's media platforms. They include Taste of Home, the number one food and entertaining magazine in the world;; social media; special interest publications; and cookbooks. She also is responsible for editorial direction for the magazines Simple & Delicious and Healthy Cooking and Enthusiast Brands Birds and Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm and Ranch Living, and Reminisce.

Taste of Home is a go-to resource for the holidays and any time of the year for information on food, cooking and entertaining. Each year, thousands of great home cooks from across the United States and Canada submit more than 40,000 recipes, of which 3,000 are published in Taste of Home magazines and online, making Taste of Home one of the largest and most successful practitioners of user generated content. Before being published, every recipe is tested in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen to ensure that it can be prepared with affordable, everyday ingredients from regular grocery stores. Taste of Home content is available in print; online at; in books; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps and Kindle; and Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Cassidy has toured the country as the face of Taste of Home for national and local TV, radio, and newspaper interviews in support of the best-selling Taste of Home products, including its cookbooks.

Prior to joining Taste of Home, Cassidy served as Editor-in-Chief of Prevention magazine, the nation's largest health publication, at Rodale, Inc. Cassidy joined Rodale in 1986 as an associate editor in the book division, and was later named Executive Editor of Rodale's Custom Publishing division. She started her career at Runner's World and Fit magazines in Mountain View, California. Cassidy lives in Mequon, Wisconsin, with her husband and two daughters.

About Taste of Home

For more information please visit http://www.recipesacrossamerica.comand follow on Facebook and Twitter

Review: Second Chance Cafe

About the Book:
Growing up, Kaylie Flynn was shuffled from foster home to foster home before being welcomed into Winton and May Wise’s family. It was May who taught Kaylie the comfort of home, and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie. Years later, May leaves Kaylie the money she needs to open her own café in the charming Victorian house they once shared. Now back in Hope Springs, Kaylie’s determined to finally make all her dreams a reality—and unearth answers to lingering questions about her past.

Soon, however, Kaylie’s carefully laid plans take an unexpected turn. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, is proving to be a very handsome and very unneeded distraction from her quest to uncover the truth about her parents. When a crisis threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build, Kaylie must decide where her heart lies: with the ghosts of her past or the love and promise of her future.

My Comments:
It's funny how books that have nothing to do with each other can have so much in common.  This is the third book I've read this weekend and they've all dealt in one way or another with people having to decide how much of the past to hang onto and how much to let go.  We all know that living in the past rather than the present isn't a sign of a mentally well person, but the mentally healthy know that the past has, to some extent, made them who they are.  

People in Kaylie's past have abandoned her.  She comes to Hope Springs seeking more information about her past, but then is afraid to seek it too much.  She finds that other people have things in their pasts that they'd rather forget.  As secrets are unearthed, people come together to find healing.

While this book is a romance and does focus primarily on Kaylie and Tennessee, it really goes deeper into other relationships in their lives than is typical in a romance novel.  The writing is also better than I usually associate with this genre.  It has a couple of very steamy scenes but it is a book I'd recommend to romance/women's fiction readers despite those scenes, which can be skimmed/skipped without missing any real plot points.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B+

Seven Quick Takes

This has been our vacation week.  On Saturday we traveled to Gulf Shores Alabama.  Traffic was miserable and we pretty much just had time to get our stuff inside the house before it was time for Mass.  The parish kids had just finished VBS and sang for us.  Fr. talked about rubrics, including genuflection and the proper way to receive communion.  After mass we hit the grocery store and then went for a walk on the beach.
Fun in the sand
Husband and daughter in the water

Sunday morning we headed for the beach.  It was overcast and the wind was blowing but we managed to have a good time anyway.  Just as we got back to the house for lunch it started to pour.  I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and sleeping.

Monday we again headed to the beach early.  Again, it started to rain not long after we left.  I finished a book I really enjoyed.  Read my review here.  It is the story of a pastor of a mega-church who loses his faith, and finds it again with the help of St. Francis of Assisi.  My girls and I headed for the outlet mall in Foley.  For some reason my husband didn't want to join us.

Tuesday we rented jet skis and rode them for an hour.  Yes, it was great fun.  My seventeen year old who hates to drive even loved driving them.  After that, back to the beach.  Our cupboard was getting bare so we ate out for both lunch and supper.  I got in some more reading time.
The view from my favorite reading spot
Time to return to reality, but you can have fun along the way.  Instead of taking I-10 home (it was a miserable ride over through Alabama and the other side didn't look any better) we took the Ft. Morgan Ferry to Dauphin Island and then drove to Bellengrath Gardens and did the tour.  While Gulf Shores had been overcast and breezy, Bellengrath Gardens was muggy and the air was still.  Not the best day for a tour but it was pretty.
My youngest on the ferry
My handsome husband

She likes \flowers (Bellengrath Gardens)

Dad and his girls

The youngest and her mom

The reason we had to return to reality is that we are getting sand pumped under our house and into our yard and they came on Thursday.  For those not lucky enough to live in the New Orleans area, "getting mud" is a regular home maintenance chore.  There are two ways to do it:  1) Some guy with a dump truck drops a hill of dirt at the curb and leaves. Then you and yours using shovels, wheelbarrows etc. spread the dirt around your yard.  2) You pay someone with the proper machine to use what looks like a fire hose to shoot the dirt under your house and around the yard.  Since we hadn't gotten mud in a long time and our foundation was very exposed, we are having it pumped.
While we were gone, a new cookbook showed up at my door.  Today I spent much of the day in the kitchen.
Potato Chip Cookies

Nutty Oven-Fried Chicken

Sally Lunn Batter Bread

These are all from Taste of Home's Recipes Across America, which I reviewed here.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Recipes Across America

About the Book:
Whether sinking your teeth into crispy Southern Fried Chicken, enjoying a Philly Cheese Steak or sampling a slice of Ozark Mountain Berry Pie, you simply can’t beat the comfort of iconic American foods. Now, it’s easier than ever to sample the flavors of the country with Taste of Home Recipes Across America.

This keepsake collection offers 655 recipes that deliver regional flair from all 50 states. Grill up a fiery Southwestern barbecue, stir together a little Texas Caviar, host a New England clam bake or share a Chicago deep dish pizza! You’ll find everything from no-fuss snacks and quick supper ideas to weekend menu items and impressive desserts…each of which left a delicious mark on its part of the country!

Divided into five regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest and West), Recipes Across America offers all the mouthwatering specialties enjoyed by locals, including unforgettable dishes featuring regional produce. You’ll even discover ethnic favorites passed-down through generations of cultures who established roots in various cities throughout the nation.

As a bonus, you’ll enjoy fun food facts and folklore sprinkled throughout the pages. (For example, did you know that Chef George Crum of Saratoga, NY is rumored to have created the potato chip after a customer complained about the chef’s fried potatoes?) There are even colorful photos and notes regarding regional landmarks, infamous restaurants and more.

With so many recipes, photos and kitchen tidbits, Taste of Home Recipes Across America makes it a snap to take your senses on a culinary vacation you’ll cherish for years to come.

My Comments:
I'll be doing another post on this book showing the recipes we've tried and letting you know what we think about them.  This is strictly about the book itself, which is a winner.  It is hard-covered and stays open easily. The paper is nice quality and there is a color photograph to go with each recipe.  The recipes themselves are generally easy to make and use ingredients commonly found in the pantries of ordinary people and in your local grocery store.  

Each page has a feature called "dishing about food".  From those little boxes you learn such gems as the fact that blackberries grow wild in the Ozarks, that spaetzle dumplings are German dumplings which can be served with butter or caramelized onions and gravy or can be tossed into soup.  My maternal grandmother was a German-Russian and I found a German-Russian recipe for Runza, which appears to be like a homemade hot pocket.  It is on my list to try.  The book also contains numerous photos of buildings throughout the US along with a note describing them.  

I'd like to than FSB Media for making a review copy available.  Stay tuned to learn what I cooked and how we liked it.  Grade:  A. 

Book Review: Chasing Francis

About the Book:
What happens when the pastor of a mega church loses his faith?

Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith in God, the Bible, evangelical Christianity, and his super-sized megachurch. When he falls apart, the church elders tell him to go away: as far away as possible. Join Chase on his life-changing journey to Italy where, with a curious group of Franciscan friars, he struggles to resolve his crisis of faith by retracing the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, a saint whose simple way of loving Jesus changed the history of the world. Read this riveting story and then begin your own life-changing journey through the pilgrim's guide included in this powerful novel.

Hidden in the past lies the future of the church.  When his elders tell him to take some time away from his church, broken pastor Chase Falson crosses the Atlantic to Italy to visit his uncle, a Franciscan priest. There he is introduced to the revolutionary teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi and finds an old, but new way of
following Jesus that heals and inspires. Chase Falson's spiritual discontent mirrors the feelings of a growing number of Christians who walk out of church asking, Is this all there is? They are weary of celebrity pastors, empty calorie teaching, and worship services where the emphasis is more on Lights, Camera, Action than on Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while the deepest questions of life remain unaddressed in a meaningful way.

Bestselling author Ian Morgan Cron masterfully weaves lessons from the life of Saint Francis into the story of Chase Falson to explore the life of a saint who 800 years ago breathed new life into disillusioned Christians and a Church on the brink of collapse. Chasing Francis is a hopeful and moving story with profound implications for those who yearn for a more vital relationship with God and the world.

My Comments:
In Chasing Francis, the author, Ian Morgan Cron, uses a a wrap-around story of a Protestant mega-church pastor going through a crisis of faith to present biographical and spiritual information about St. Francis of Assisi.  Chase started the church he now pastors, a church in one of the least church-friendly areas of the United States, the Northeast.  Chase had been raised as a nominal Episcopalian and during college he found Jesus through the evangelistic efforts of a friend.  His parents were aghast and never really approved of his career.  He started a church that now has all the trappings of the stereotypical mega-church.  Now he is having a crisis of faith and it shows in his preaching and he is asked to take a leave of absence to get his act together.  Chase calls and uncle who is a Franscian Friar and his uncle invites him to Italy to learn about St. Francis.  Together with some other friars they spend a few weeks touring sites important to St. Francis.  Chase reads about St. Francis and writes in a journal.  In short, through St. Francis Chase rediscovers Christ and what Christ wants from His Church.  

I loved the book.  I read it while on vacation in Gulf Shores, sitting on the balcony, looking at the lagoon, listening to the birds, bugs, rains and waves.  It was a contemplative setting and this is a book to contemplate.  

In some ways the book was a combination of Catholicism and Protestantism.  The setting is Catholic.  Chase prays in front of a crucifix.  He lives in a priory with his uncle and other friars.  He attends morning prayer and evening ;prayer (though those aren’t really described).  However, he generally avoids Mass, ostensibly because he is afraid he won’t know when to sit, stand, kneel etc.  Eventually he does attend and at communion, the friars invite him to come forward.  The first time he goes, he refuses to do so; the second time, he does.  While Chase‘s problems with modern Evangelical Protestantism are explored, in the end, Chase remains Protestant.  The friars tell Chase that all Christian communities have something to offer the others.  

Chase is introduced to Franciscan/Catholic spirituality.  He sees how stained class, cathedral architecture, mosaics and statues can draw him to God.  He is moved to tears during communion even though he doesn't receive.  He finds God in nature and listens to the friars explain that while Francis saw the Creator through creation, it was the Creator he worshiped, not creation.  St. Francis’ devotion to poverty is discussed as well as  his relationship with St. Clare.  

At Mass this week the priest talked about rubrics.  He said that the rubrics call for Communion to be received kneeling and on the tongue, and that the American custom of standing and receiving in the hand was an exception requested by our bishops.  In this book when they receive communion they do so at the altar rail, though it sounded like they received in the hand.  

In the book Chase is on a pilgrimage, a spiritual journey and as readers we take the journey with him.  It was one of those books I really needed to read and I’m thankful that God (and NetGalley) put it on my Kindle this week. The book ends, as many books do, with questions for thought.  In this case I actually read them and believe they add something significant to the book and the reading experience.   Grade:  B+.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

About the Book:
Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

My Comments:
This one has been on my Kindle way too long.  When I saw it reviewed on Peeking Between the Pages I decided it was moving up on the list.  It was a good move.

Its funny how it seems like a lot of books I read at about the same time all seem to have a common thread.  Lately the thread I've been seeing is possessions as holders of love and/or memories.  Everyone thinks Vivian should clean out her attic--get rid of all that junk she's never going to use again.  However, there are reasons she has kept all that stuff all these years and telling Molly about those reasons is the basis for this story.  The book alternates between Vivian's early life and the current day.  Just as it seems hard to believe women would travel across the country to marry men they never met, it seems strange in today's world that orphans would be put on a train and dropped off in small towns across America with very little screening of those who took them in, and little follow-up to see if a placement worked for a child.  On the other  hand, as Molly, and lots of other real Mollys in today's world can tell you, the modern foster care system isn't always any better. 

As Molly and Vivian work Molly learns how much they have in common and she is able to break down some of the  barriers she has erected to protect herself and is also able to reach out to help Vivian in a much deeper way than to just clean out an attic.  

While Orphan Train is a short book it packs a powerful punch.  Grade:  A.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review: Looking for Me

About the Book:
Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Looking for Me brilliantly melds together themes of family, hope, loss, and a mature once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. The result is a tremendously moving story that is destined to make bestselling author Beth Hoffman a novelist to whom readers will return again and again as they have with Adriana Trigiani, Fannie Flagg, and Joshilyn Jackson.

My Comments:
I've started this review several times and I just can't seem to get it right.  One thing is for sure, Beth Hoffman got it right when writing Looking for Me.  She managed to capture a panoply of human relationships and emotions within Teddi's story.  Her writing is top-notch and she manages to evoke emotions from the reader without manipulating them.  Again and again we learn that people aren't who they appear to be at first glance, and that that's okay.  Kind of like the furniture Teddi restores, when you get past the surface the real beauty of the person shines through.  

I guess I could keep writing but I just can't think of how to pull it all together.  Suffice to say that this is one of the best books I've read all year and I highly recommend it.  Grade:  A.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via Edelweiss.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

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 for 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; some folks are forgetting that! 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

Another busy blogging week.  I reviewed A Bride for All Seasons which was a fun collection of Christian romances.  I highly recommend The Sweetest Hallelujah, a novel set in Jackson Mississippi in the 1950's that deals in a gentle way with race relations.  My religious book for the week is Jesus:  What Catholics Believe.  Finally, I did Seven Quick Takes about the Zimmerman case.

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