Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Million Little Ways - a review

Do you desperately fear you have nothing to offer the world but secretly hope you're wrong?

You were born to make art. You were made to live art. You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are--in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are.

Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made to do, it's about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify--in a million little ways.

In this book, Emily Freeman says many things I've been thinking through but have never yet found in one single book.  She leads her readers on a journey into discovering themselves as God's artwork who also make art.  This book is one of the best I  have come across for explaining the worldview of the Christian artist. 

Much of A Million Little Ways is directed to the non-creative people who don't see themselves as artists.  This was a little boring for me, but the parts I needed to hear far outweighed the parts that didn't apply to me.  Emily's writing comes across as 'artistically modern' (tense changes, lots of adjectives, strangely written sentences, etc) which some readers will love and some might be confused by.  I confess I didn't enjoy the writing style as much as I thought I would, which is the only reason why I'm not giving this book a 10.

A Million Little Ways is highly recommended both for creative Christians and those who would like to be more creative.

My rating: 9 out of 10

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God's Double Agent - a review

God's people are hiding in plain sight
Tens of millions of Christians live in China today, leading double lives to hide from a government that relentlessly persecutes them.

By day, Bob Fu was a teacher in a communist school; by night, he was a preacher in an underground house church network. This edge-of-your-seat book tells the true story of Fu's conversion to Christianity, his arrest and imprisonment for starting an illegal house church, his harrowing escape, and his subsequent rise to prominence in the United States as an advocate for his oppressed brethren.

God's Double Agent will inspire you to boldly proclaim and live out your faith in a world that is at times indifferent, and at other times murderously hostile, to those who spread the gospel.

It's too easy for us in the west to forget about the rapidly growing but persecuted church in China.  The story of Bob Fu's childhood, his conversion to Christianity, his romance with his wife Heidi, his work as a preacher, his imprisonment, and his escape from China provides a wealth of fascinating information about Chinese culture, Communism, and the role of Christians in a hostile nation.  But more than that, it's interesting!  God's Double Agent is an intensely readable story that captured my attention better than many novels do. 

Recommended for any Christian, particularly those wanting to know more about Chinese culture and persecution.

My rating: 9 out of 10

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Bride for Keeps - a review

Synopsis: Everett Cline will never humiliate himself by seeking a mail-order bride. Not again. He's already been jilted by three mail-order brides and figures a wife just isn't in his future. However, a well-meaning neighbor hasn't given up on seeing him settled, so she goes behind his back to bring yet another woman to town for him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. A mail-order marriage in faraway Kansas is a last resort, but she'll do anything to leave her life in Massachusetts and the heartbreak she's experienced there.

Although Everett doesn't see how a beautiful, cultured woman like Julia could be happy sharing his simple life, he could really use a helpmate on his homestead. Determined to prove she's more than just a pretty face, Julia agrees to a marriage in name only. Faced with the harsh realities of life on the prairie and hesitant to explore the tentative feelings growing between them, can Everett and Julia ever let each other in long enough to fall in love?

I'll say it right away: Melissa Jagears is a talented author.  Julia and Everett were both captivating characters  and their story unfolded beautifully.  However, I didn't enjoy A Bride for Keeps as much as I expected to. I may be a hopeless romantic, but I like thinking that 'falling in love' is actually about loving someone instead of just admiring them physically.  Everett's interest in Julia for most of the story is about how gorgeous she is and how much he wishes they could, ahem! have a real marriage. Which for a single girl like me is Unhelpful and generally Not Nice.

But if you enjoy mail order bride stories and don't mind a high level of physical mushiness, you still might want to try out A Bride for Keeps.

My rating: 6.5 out of 10

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Monday, September 30, 2013

Head in the Clouds - a Review

When a recovering romantic goes to work for a handsome ranch owner, her heart's not the only thing in danger!

Adelaide Proctor longs to find a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a governess position on a remote Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her silly romantic yearnings behind.
Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, never expecting to end up with a child. To his dismay, five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon—and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions.
When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the girl—and her inheritance—Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. Soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

I hate cliches. I hate books that abound in cliches while pretending to be unique. But I think very differently of books that use tried and true storylines to give a familar, feel-good story without worrying about uniqueness. These stories are sometimes the best of all.

Head in the Clouds reminded me of a fairy tale or a little girl's daydream. A delight for the hopeless romantic, things aren't kept out of the story just because 'those things don't happen in real life'.  Impractical, certainly, but perfect for a rainy day's distraction.  With likeable, but not deep characters and appealing Victorian-era setting, this book is one to be enjoyed!

My rating: 8

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance - a Review

She's learned you can't count on anyone--but she didn't count on landing in Last Chance.
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

My review: By far my favorite thing about Welcome to Last Chance is the warm, homey, community feel. Although there is never a lack of small-town drama, these friendly people do try to take seriously the command to love your neighbor as yourself. Especially Elizabeth, the sweet old grandma who takes Lainie in and tries to show her Christian love. Lainie herself is a puzzle: hardened, and a little calculating, but it was a joy to see her sweeten and soften over the course of the story. The hero, Ray, is a bit of an enigma himself. Just imagine a bar owner who doesn't drink, an artist who doesn't show people his paintings anymore, and a Christian who doesn't go to church, and you might have an idea. Reading Christian fiction I usually prefer the hero to the heroine (strange, I know...) but in this story, I loved Lanie far more than Ray.

Welcome to Last Chance was enjoyable, not exceptional in its genre, but a pleasant afternoon read.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

Any self-respecting literary purist would have shuddered in horror when the book she was hoping to read began to look like a Dorothy Sayers rip-off. Not me. I said to myself, "How delightful!" and decided I was in for a good time.

And I was right.  About the good time I'd have reading it, that is. But Rules of Murder is by no means just a Dorothy Sayers rip-off.  There was a  taste of Dorothy Sayers' influence in the matter of characters and style, it is true; as well as a bit of Agatha Christie flavor in the setting; and the tiniest bit of P. G. Wodehouse fun around the start of the story.  However, that only added to the charm of this delightful and clever book. Julianna Deering is an accomplished mystery writer in her own right.

Drew Farthering is 1930s landowner with not a thought in the world farther than enjoying life as a stylish gentleman and falling in love with a beautiful American, Madeline Parker. But when a dead body is found in his own gazebo, he decides to solve the crime, armed with the skills he's gained as an avid mystery reader and a complete knowledge of the rules of what cannot happen in a murder mystery.  But what will happen as murders pile up and the murderer seems set on ignoring all the rules?

What can I say? Rules of Murder combines the Golden Age Mystery feel with a Christian fiction flavor, perfect for old mystery buffs who want to read something newer or romance lovers who want to get into mystery. I'm happy to say there were a couple twists and turns in the plot that surprised me and I didn't guess the murderer 'till the very end (quite an accomplishment on the author's part.)

A few months ago, when I was thinking of writing a mystery myself, I looked up Father Knox's Rules of Detective Fiction and was very disappointed when my oh-so-lovely plot broke one of the rules. But I'm delighted to see Julianna Deering intentionally break almost all of his rules and still end up with a clever story.  As a matter of fact, I'm a little miffed I didn't get to the idea first.

Highly recommended.

My rating: 9 out of 10

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Trouble in Store

Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let an obstinate woman with newfangled ideas ruin all he's worked for. In hope of turning her interest elsewhere, he determines to get Melanie married off, and luckily, there are many single men in town quite willing to take her off his hands.

The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry any of them. He's drawn to her more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store offer unexpectedly positive results.

But someone doesn't want the mercantile to succeed, and threatening words have escalated into destruction and danger. Will Melanie and Caleb's business--and budding romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?

My review: Trouble in Store was a fun read. In my opinion, romance and bits of murder mystery make for a winning combination (only in BOOKS, of course. I wouldn't want murder to interrupt a real-life romance, mine or anyone else's. ;)) 

Aaaanyways.... what to say?

Oh yes. A thing I loved about this book was the gorgeous Arizona setting. Mrs. Cox lives in Arizona and obviously knows what she's talking about, so that added a touch of real-life-place feel. The characters, also, were varied and colorful, from a strange professor interested in poisons, to a jealous rival shopkeeper, a snooty mayor's wife, a lonely, troublesome little boy, and of course Caleb and Melanie themselves. While not exceptional among other Christian romances, Trouble in Store is a fun afternoon's read for anyone who enjoys romance mixed in with a little bit of mystery.

My rating: 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Review: Small Town Girl

How long can two people stand on the brink of love without plunging in headfirst?
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town practically vibrates with apprehension, as if it is holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of Jay Tanner, the handsome best man, can't draw her interest.

Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything and Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways. Could she truly be in love with him? And if he enlists, will she ever see him again?

 Ann Gabhart's Small Town Girl had no trouble finding its way onto my favorites list. Written with heart and incredible artistry, the sweet small-town moments of this lovely book are soothing and wonderful. The characters, too, with their stubbornesses, their struggles and their loyalties, stand head and shoulders above the average romance story people. Kate's adopted sister Lorena, a darling but spunky little girl, captured my heart at once and fans of Gabhart's Angel Sister will love seeing her again in this book. I've never read anything else my Mrs. Gabhart, but after Small Town Girl, I am very eager to!

My rating: 9 out of 10

P.S. Looking over my review, it does sound a little like an advertisement. Oh well, I really did enjoy the it (and it's set in World War II, which is always a plus in my book :D)  But I'm on holidays and don't have much access to internet, so I've got to make it quick.  Greetings from Manitoba's beautiful prairies (and soon, their gorgeous cottage country where I'll be spending the next week) and I'll get you properly updated when I come back!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fully Alive - a Review

Irenaeus, an early church father, once famously wrote, "The glory of God is a human being made fully alive." Let me reshape that thought a bit, and re-state it as the question that incited me to write this book:
What does it mean to be fully alive as a male or female for the glory of God?
Dr. Crabb says that being fully alive has to do with relating to others, showing something about God by how you relate as a man or a woman. He uses his background as a Christian, psychologist, counselor, and husband, to write a scripturally-dependent, psychology-flavored study of gender uniqueness.
The first section of this thought-provoking book touches on what discovering masculinity and femininity. The rest of the book focuses on identifying core terrors that prevent us from relating as men and women, identifying relational sin, and becoming fully alive as men and women, especially in our relationships.
Maybe it's because it's a big book with small print. Maybe it's because Dr. Crabb talks like a psychologist and I sometimes couldn't quite get what he was saying. But however it is, I have mixed feelings about Fully Alive. I did appreciate his study of the biblical roots of masculinity and femininity, as well as his insights into the core terrors of men and women, and especially the very helpful two chapters on submission. I'm not sure about the rest. Being fully alive is all and only all about relating to others as a man or a woman? Dr. Crabb has good points, but sometimes it seems like all he thinks matters about the Christian life is relating to other people as a fully alive man or woman. And it irked me when he subtly put down traditional Christian views on manhood and womanhood. Not because his book disagrees with them (it doesn't) but because he wants to promote his view as better, more liberating or something. Even though it all comes down to the same stuff. And never, ever, bad-mouth your parents in the prologue of your book. It just isn't done. Please.
So what do I think of Fully Alive? It's a thought-provoking book with some very insightful sections and some not-quite-so-comprehensible ones. It has very helpful thoughts on how to relate as men and women, and, while it isn't technically a marriage manual, I think it would be most helpful for married couples who want to go deeper in understanding and relating to each other. It's not as easy a read as many other books of its kind, but it can be worth it.
Disclosure: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Deadly Devotion - a Review

Kate knows the truth is out there--but if she's right, that means a killer is out there too.

Research scientists Kate Adams and Daisy Leacock were on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy was suddenly found dead. Kate knows that her mentor's death wasn't suicide or a careless accident--and she's determined to do whatever it takes to unearth the truth about what happened to the woman who changed her life.

Former FBI agent Tom Parker is finding it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gave him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom's just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation into her friend's death, he knows his job is at stake. But despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate may have something to hide.

As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?

What I loved: I don't normally read this kind of story. Actually, I never read this kind of story, but I enjoyed it. The mystery elements kept the story from focusing only on the romance and the romance elements kept the story from having nothing but investigations.  Kate and Tom are two likable protagonists and it's easy to hope they get over their difficulties and find a happy ending together.
I also enjoyed the mention of all the herbal remedies and teas Kate's interested in. It was fascinating and gave the story a nice little touch of authenticity. And of course Tom's kind, former police chief Dad found a special place in my heart too. deadly devotion isn't exceptional for either a romance or a mystery, but it was riveting enough to keep me glued to its pages for most of the day and I know I'll be looking for other books by the author.

What I didn't like so much: I was a little disappointed in how their investigations went. It was like all their clues were leading them to nothing but dead ends until the murderer suddenly incriminated him/herself.  Of course who it is should come as a surprise to the readers, but not necessarily to the detectives, especially when one of them is a former FBI agent and supposed to know his stuff. I grant that I didn't have a clue of who the murderer was either, but I would have appreciated a few more related clues and a clearer motive to help me along. And then the murderer never actually got convicted for his/her crime. *groan*

I know that that kind of writing just screams, "Read the next book!" But since I did enjoy the story and I want to know what happens next, I think I will.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Stealing the Preacher - a review

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

My Review: Okay, I know the cover looks cheesy, but from the unlikely premise Karen Witemeyer has crafted an enjoyable story of faith and hope.

Joanna is a capable and compassionate girl who wants nothing more than a preacher to help her share her faith with her ex-outlaw father.  Crocket is a faith-filled cowboy turned preacher who isn't afraid of hard work.  The two are first attracted by each other's faith and then by something more...  But first from Crockett's desire to go and later from Joanna's own insecurities, her stubborn father and a flirtacious girl more than a little interested in Crockett, many things are happening to keep them apart.

Can I tell you how much I enjoyed how Crockett and Joanna are first attracted to each other!  Frankly, I'm tired of romance books where the characters are only interested in each other because they're drop-dead gorgeous. What kind of shallow base for a marriage is that?  But a story where they first become close because of their shared faith, and later because of a strong friendship (and don't worry, there still is some of the physical attraction stuff in Stealing the Preacher if you like that kind of thing; it just isn't my personal favorite) makes me very, very, happy.

This is the first of Karen Witemeyer's books I've read, and it made me very eager to read the prequel, Short-Straw Bride, and whatever sequels Mrs. Witemeyer may write. This book has definitely made me a fan of hers!

My Rating: 9 out of 10

P.S. If you want to see a sweet little book trailer, here it is!

Disclaimer: Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Adoring Addie - a Review

Not Since Romeo and Juliet Has a Couple Faced Odds This Long
The Cramers and Mosiers have been angry with each other for as long as anyone can remember.  Things had cooled to a simmer… until Addie Cramer and Jonathan Mosier fell head over heels for each other.  Now old tensions are renewed, and Addie’s parents insist she marry stolid and uninspiring Phillip Eicher.
Distraught at a future apart, the two decide their best hope is to reconcile the two families… but that means digging into the past to see what tore them apart. Will their love be enough to keep them together or will long-held secrets ruin their chance at happiness?
My Opinion: I don’t normally read Amish fiction, but I love Shakespeare, so when I heard that Leslie Gould was writing Shakespearean stories adapted to an Amish setting, I thought I’d see what it was like.  I’m still not sure what to think of Adoring Addie.  It’s loosely patterned after Romeo and Juliet – love at first sight, a family feud, a boring suitor – but the plot, from there, goes totally different.  Mrs. Gould even went to the trouble of putting a balcony onto the Amish house just for Addie, but then she doesn’t put in the balcony scene! (I was SO hoping for a balcony scene.  Pity.)
Jonathan is idealistic and gentlemanly and Addie is sweet, but their families are just plain horrible.  Addie’s Dad is domineering and inconsiderate, her mom is like a mentally disturbed version of Cinderella’s stepmother, and most of her siblings are wild and selfish.  Addie and Jonathan (with an occasional, aunt, uncle, cousin, or little brother thrown in) are the only sane people around in a sea of candidates for a mental asylum.  Instead of being tragically sad, most of the book was just depressing.
Mrs. Gould is a talented writer, but by and large, Adoring Addie just didn't do it for me.  If you like Amish fiction and don’t mind dysfunctional families, go for it.  Otherwise, read something else.
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friday, May 24, 2013

When Love Calls - a Review

Hannah Gregory doesn’t like keeping rules, but with a job as a switchboard operator being the only way to support her orphaned sisters, she has no choice.  She doesn’t like Lincoln Cole, the attorney who turned them out of their mortgaged home, either.  But when Lincoln persists in hanging around and the attraction between them begins to build, what can she do?
My Opinion:  We all know what’s in the standard Christian fiction. Sparks fly between the feisty heroine and handsome hero, a Christian mentor gives them good advice, they kiss a lot, and then they get married and live happily ever after. 
Well, When Love Calls is like that.  But if it’s standard Christian fiction, it’s standard Christian fiction done well.  The plot is engaging and sweet and all-round a delight to read.  The characters are likeable and full of personality, from the honest but stubborn Hannah, to the gentlemanly Lincoln and the cooking-loving Charlotte and  the loveable Tessa, Hannah's sisters.  I was glad to find out that this book is only the first of a series on the Gregory sisters.  I will definitely be looking forward to Charlotte and Tessa's stories!
My Rating: 8 out of 10  
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Farewell, Miss Darcy

No, this is not the end and I am not leaving.  I love this blog and these followers too much to do that. :)

But it is the end of Miss Georgiana Darcy.  You see, when I started blogging (almost two years ago already!) little me was a barely-teenaged girl, shy, rather too silly and extremely fond of Jane Austen.  Since then, I have matured (I hope!) and while I still love Miss Austen's books, this bloggie is having less and less to do with them.  And I'm not as shy anymore.  In fact, though I still think her name sounds sweet and elegant, it is time for it and me to part ways.

In short... I will be renaming my blog.  Miss Georgiana Darcy has a lot of sentimental associations with it, but I have at last found The Perfect Name that I think will reflect my life and my aspirations, as well as my blog, a lot better.  So here's a fond farewell to  Miss Darcy and hopes that you will like the new name, which is shortly to be revealed.

Until then!  I hope to post a nice long update on life in general soon.  There's so much to talk about that I don't even know where to start, but we'll see.  Have a lovely week, ladies!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Idolaters? Us?

We sit in the audience listening to him.  Perhaps he's the pastor at our church or maybe he's a speaker at an event or conference.  He's speaking about idolatry and since none of us (I hope) worship statues anymore he focuses on idols in our hearts. 

Our minds whizz with scenes from that latest TV show we watched.  We think of a clever thing about it we could say to our best friend when we meet her next.  We try to push these thoughts to the back of our mind, for now, and we listen, more or less attentively.

"These idols aren't always false gods," he says. "They're whatever steals our heart and focus from God.  It could be your financial prosperity, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your looks, some material possession, your family..."

We listen, checking off boxes in our minds. Financial prosperity? I can always use money, but it doesn't matter that much to me.  Boyfriend or girlfriend? I don't have one of those.  My looks?  For heaven's sakes, I'm not vain. I spend time on my appearance but I don't obsess about it.  Some material possession?  No, I can't really think of any I idolize.  My family? For pity's sake, I don't love them nearly as much as I should!

All boxes done.  All clear.  We're not idolaters. He finishes his speech and we go home.

We sign into pinterest and scroll through the pins on our home page. We see a Sherlock pin. It says "This show has taken over my life!"  We smile.  We repin.  We move to other pins and grin with the rest of the fandom that shares in our obsession.  Then we write a blog post about how amazing this character that we love is. Maybe he's Sir Percy Blakeney.  Maybe he's the Doctor.  Maybe he's Mr. Knightley.  Emails whizz between us and that friend who just happens to share our obsession.

After a long and fruitful evening on the internet, we go upstairs and rush through our devotions.  Somehow we just can concentrate on them tonight.

In the few minutes before we fall asleep, our mind goes back to that speech.  It was a good speech.  Did he forget to mention anything you could idolize? We think through it again.  No, we don't think so.

Then we fall asleep and spend the night dreaming about Lord Peter Wimsey.

"These idols aren't always false gods," the speaker had said. "They're whatever steals our heart and focus from God." 


Of course not.  Those movies, those books, those shows, they're (for the most part) clean and appropriate.  They're exciting and well-done and have a good moral message.  Some of the most loving, least idolatrous people we know love them.  Those things are.... good. 

But do you remember that gold the Israelites in the desert used to make the calf idol? It was perfectly good gold.  The problem wasn't with the gold, it was what they made it into. The human heart is expert at fashioning idols.


God help us.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dear Peoples - a Quick Question

Since I know many of you love Les Miserables, I have a question that I hope you can help with. 

I know the movie has some skippable scenes.  Just... where?  I got the movie from the library and I'm hoping to watch it soon, but I'd like to know at where the objectionable scenes start so I can fast forward them beforehand.  Preferably even the specific beginning and end times of those scenes if you happen to know them.

Thanks so much!  I'm very sorry for not doing any 'real' posts in the last while, stuff and life has caught up with me, but I hope to totally redo the whole blog and go back to posting in the next few weeks...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moonlight Masquerade - a review

Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are the cat or the mouse.
Lady Céline Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need-or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.
When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London’s West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham’s spell.
Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, what then will he do?

The perfect historical romance... spying, secret attraction, intrigue, secret kisses...  All the same, I wasn't quite sure what to think of Moonlight Masquerade.  On the one hand, it is exquisitely done, brimming with attraction and intrigue, a book that I would have been proud to have written; on the other hand, Mrs. Axtell goes a little farther romance-wise than I would have done (clandestine kisses make everything soooo awkward afterwards... Just have a little self-control, will you?), the middle is melodramatic and the ending is unnecessarily drawn out.
All that to say that you shouldn't expect a perfect book.  But if you want a very well-written Regency Romance, what are you waiting for?  Other than the fact that the cover is gorgeous; (always choose a book by its cover!) the setting is lush and vivid and the interaction between upright, gentlemanly Rees and beautiful, clever Celine makes for a hard-to-put-down story.  This is the first of Mrs. Axtell's books I've read and I'll be definitely looking for more.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group