There are few books that move me to tears, or even strike a chord with me. Most of the time I feel like I'm forcing myself to find something that can bring me closer to a book. I've had One Day sitting on my bookshelf since the beginning of this year, and when I noticed it was being released as a movie in August, I knew I should read it soon. I don't think a book has ever captured characters I could relate to so well, or tell a story that is beyond what is love about, but life in general.
Here is a quick overview before I continue though. Emma and Dexter have a fling after they graduate from college. This fling begins a friendship that spans over twenty years. Throughout the years, Emma and Dexter keep in contact. The books shows how people change, and grow throughout the years. Emma and Dexter witness the other's triumphs, and defeats, which brings them closer, and tears them apart. In the end the audience wonders if the two will ever realize that it is each other that motivates them in life?
I won't tell you the answer to that, but I will tell you why this book connected so well with me. I feel like Emma was me. She is someone who hasn't quite found her footing in her twenties, and she has so many opportunities she wants to explore that it causes her to feel stuck in life. Emma bounces from a couple of relationships that aren't completely satisfying because she's lost the person that makes her feel happy, or she believes you accept the people that are treating you good regardless of how you may feel about them. I've done this both in the past also. Hopefully I'll find my footing eventually as Emma did, but it took many years in the slump she believed she was in before she did. There is also Dexter. I found him less relatable, but there were a few moments that make him relatable. He is the complete opposite of Emma. Instead of achieving everything later in life, he burned out all his dreams in his twenties. This leaves him feeling like a burned out thirty year old after his career has fizzled.
This book is beyond a romance because it is about how life shapes, and changes us. The things we don't realize now could be very clear to us twenty years down the line, and it could be one day of every year that shapes us to getting there. I believe everyone has felt like a major failure, but there can always be some type of redeeming factor to be found in the end. This is what this book leads to.
I still can't read the last twenty pages of this book without getting chills, or feeling like I'm about to cry. It is very rare that anything has me fighting tears, and I can't remember a time that fiction was so powerful it gave me chills. I can't stop talking about this book, and I read it over a week ago now. I hope this movie released on August 19th does the book justice.
I can't remember a book that I've picked up that completely missed the point of what I thought it was about. On the front cover it says "Why our bodies matter to our faith". I don't remember the author explaining anywhere in the book what I didn't already know. The topics included cover sexuality, tattoos, the body of the church, and death. All of these topics hold great potential to explore how they connect us to our faith.
When I began reading I believed that the author was setting up a little background so I could understand the book when he finally went in depth. The author never grazed over anything deep though. I believed the book would help me understand the scientific ways that are body showcases our beliefs. The guy annoyed me with some of the points he made. For instance he said that feminists read the Bible from a woman's perspective. Don't all people read writings in a way that they can relate it to their perspective? Also, aren't male and females from different cultures that determine what we receive from messages such as the Bible? I know what Anderson means by this, but he could somehow shape his point on this to better express what he is saying. I have a feeling that if I was around Anderson for a long period of time, and discussed the topics of tattoos, or whatever, that me and him would get into an argument. It would be a lot of fun though.
One point that I do like is how Anderson acknowledges the sacrifice a woman's body makes during the process of pregnancy. A lot of men I've been around will try to relate the toils of pregnancy to something they go through, which I believe doesn't respect what the woman goes through carrying a child.
The book is an interesting read, but if you're expecting to be enlightened about how the body works then you'll be disappointed. The book at times read more as a lecture than informative. If you're looking for something that might fuel the debate in you, then this might be the book though.
This complimentary copy was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review.
As I continue to work on the novel, Fade to Farewell, there is one song that seems to be the theme song to the novel. Winter Winds by Mumford and Sons is a song that captures a feeling many people can relate to. I still listen to it whenever I need motivation for working on material for the novel. The song is sad in message though. It is about someone who doesn't love someone, but is torn between the fear of being lonely, or staying with them for comfort. I think since I've personally encountered the scenario in a variety of ways that I find it relatable to myself, which increases my ability to write a convincing novel.
When were teens not having sex? According to Braner it's only a recent occurence happening between mass proportions. The truth is teens have been having sex for a very long time.. The average age of marriage is at least now in the mid-twenties, but a few decades ago people were marrying as teenagers more often. It isn't that more teens are having sex, it's that marriage now occurs when people are older, which increases their chances of more sexual encounters.
Before I continue my rant about that though I'll share with you what this book addresses. Braner is giving advice to parents on how to help their teens stray from sexual temptation. He provides a lot of discussions he's had, and a few statistics that have been found about how sexually active teens are. I believe that Braner is trying to stay realistic in providing advice, and his intent is good, but the book makes stereotypical points that may misguide parents on how to relate to their teens.
I'll agree with Braner that guys don't really think about their wedding day plans as much as women, but I don't agree that women don't think about sex as often as guys. Many girls think about the honeymoon night, and I would even say anticipate that about as much as the wedding. Girls won't be as quick to admit that though, since we still haven't gotten to the point where girls are admitting they think, and talk sexually about as much as a guy. It's like the author forgot the erotic fiction market is one of the hugest, and it's main audience is women. That should convey something about how women are drawn to sexuality, but not in the visual way men are. I also knew girls who read erotica in high school, so it's audience has a huge range.
I do like how Braner encourages dating though because he believes that in order to get know ourselves, and other people, we need to. He doesn't write it off as Joshua Harris does. For some reason I felt this book was older than it was, but I'm not sure what made me feel that way. I like how this book is attempting to be helpful to parents, and encourages them to be active in their teens lives.He also gives a good layout on why dating is useful.
Overall the book does provide good points, but it has so much stereotyping which weakens his point. I believe that the majority of guys, and girls are as he explains they are in the book, but you have to consider the people who aren't like that so you aren't missing anyone. He could have elaborated on how sex is an emotional experience both men and women, but he doesn't. Not all guys treat sex as a tool for their physical needs, and not all girls treat it as an emotional bond. You have to address those instances because those do occur. This book is a good starting place for parents who are trying to understand teens though. The way sex is treated isn't just a teen problem though, because anytime sex is being mistreated by any age there is a problem.
This complimentary copy was provided by NavPress in exchange for a review.
We're probably aware that not all countries allow the same rights that the United States grants its citizens. I think until you truly get a glimpse of that difference to realize how drastic the difference might be. I can't testify to how accurate this book is since I have no experience, nor have I researched Chinese culture much. The story this book tells is one I related to despite my lack of knowledge on the country, and I owe that to the characters.
Ben Fieldings, and Li Quan were best friends in college, but over time they have grew apart. Ben decides to reach out to his friend, and visits him in China. Not only does Ben discover the persecution that Quan lives in as he practices his faith in China, but he also rediscovers his own faith in Christ.
There were a few spots where I think the story wasn't consistent. It took me a few pages of the flashes to Heaven to understand the author was writing from that perspective. I think that could have been better included so I wasn't so confused about it at first. This book also advertises on the back cover that the proceeds from this book go to the persecuted church, and then inside it randomly includes a child giving away his savings for a trip instead to the persecuted church. I don't know what this had to do with the story, besides the fact to encourage readers to do the same.
The characters were the strength of this story though. Ben, and Quan represent people with strong faith, and people who are natural skeptics. I think Ben could have been better written because he appeared to be too naive, but he provided a very interesting perspective to argue against Quan's. Quan is strong in his faith no matter what though unlike Ben. He looks for the way that God can work through the good and bad situations even when he is suffering.
The story has some very inspiring moments, and there were a few times when I could recall pondering what the characters were discussing. This was another book that I got that I mistakenly though was non-fiction to find out it was fiction when I got it. This story reads almost like a real account though. The fact that it is fiction does not take away from the impact the story had.
This complimentary copy was provided by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review.
Have you ever read a book that you wish wasn't fictional? I hadn't until reading A Place Called Blessing. I don't think it was the story that was so great that made me think that, but it was the depth of emotion captured by the characters. The story is about Josh, who has been in child services care most of his life. When he becomes an adult he sets out in the world to find a job, and find the one place he has wanted most his whole life, a home.
I will admit that when I first began reading this book, I thought I was reading non-fiction, but after glancing for a place that clarified it wasn't, I found nowhere that said it was. The story though is really well captured, and I'm glad it was told in only 159 pages, because I think it would have been slow otherwise.
Josh isn't perfect, and you will want the best for him, and also feel anger as he grows out of the negative feelings that a life of neglect has brought him. It is really difficult to put down this book, and stop reading, because when you think you nowhere it's going another element is added to the story.
This is based on the objectives found in John Trent's other book, The Blessing, but since I haven't read it, I didn't see the points he was trying to make in this book from it. The story is intented to give insight to children, and I suppose how their lives affect them. I persoally found a lot more in this book than that though. Any adult who has struggled with obstacles of any kind will find something to encourage them from this book. If nothing else it will allow to analyze your own life, and how you can be a blessing to other people, or realize who has been a blessing in your life.
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone since it stretches across lines of who would find it relatable. It gives insight to the care of children have been left in foster care or other homes, and how their life can be after they move into adulthood. We here so much about children being placed in that type of care, but we don't understand how it might affect them. Whether you're looking for a good read, or an insightful book, then this is it.
This complimentary copy was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for a review.
I've always needed music to help me write, and certain songs provide the inspiration or tell me the scene that I'll remember to jot down. The songs I've recently found most relatable are ones that seem to play as a soundtrack to stories I'm writing. One band that has been huge in helping me is Ra Ra Riot. The Orchard has a few songs on it that I'll mention later, but the one I want to talk about in particular now is Keep it Quiet. When I first heard this song I missed the real meaning behind it. The song is about two people who've become distanced from each other in a relationship, but one person still wants to keep staying around despite the cold feelings that have happened. It's perfect for a scene when you need write about a broken relationship. Whenever I feel like the couple is past arguing, but also not really wanting to try to talk to each other anymore I put this song on play. There are so many instances where a characters feels like he or she wants to be with someone just because losing the person is scary, but the person can think of no reason beyond the fear of loneliness that they're with them, and that is where this song fits perfectly.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a book that would title itself Fierce Beauty. My first thought was Tyra Banks telling me to be "fierce" while making frightening model expressions at me, and while this book did give me some of that vibe with the constant repetitions of the word "princess" I was thankfully able to find stories that were well tied to how we can view our beliefs.
Kim Meeder leads a very adventerous life, and I felt she was even a tomboy, so the crown, and references to princess I believe hurt the vibe. She begins the book about talking about her experience mountain climbing, and the rest is highly focused on her stories involving the ranch she runs. The message of the stories are riveting. One particular story about a horse named, Hero, almost had me crying. Most of all I liked how each story was able to convey something about how we can relate it to our beliefs, or understand how God conveys his love for us.
The constant references to other books she has authored at the end of several chapters was a tad annoying. I felt like this book was a marketing ploy to her other works. I would arrive at the end of the chapter and then it would have a note at the bottom to purchase another book for more information. Shouldn't I be able to read a book without the author having to tell me to read her other works to get the whole story?
I feel like when a woman writes a book similiar to this they feel they can only market it to women, so they dress it up by putting a princess crown on the front, and only make references to extremely girly things. I was never a girl who pretended to be a princess, so that part of the book made me cringe slightly. Then again the author may feel she wants to only address women, and that is all good too. This book could have a much broader audience, because God doesn't only want women to think about the things presented in this book, but I'm sure men could find something in each of these stories too. This book made me feel something, which is what is most important to me when I'm reading.
This complimentary copy was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for a review.