Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flash Flood on a Mountain!

I live on top of a mountain.  In fact, our town's name translates literally as "Land High".  We rarely see flooding, but today was unusual.  Someone suggested it was because the ground was saturated from snow (although we hadn't had much of that this winter, either.)

I went to the kitchen this afternoon to pour myself another glass of iced tea and looked outside and this is what I saw!  There were some better photos posted by others on Facebook, but since I didn't take those, I didn't want to use them on my blog! It was unreal how much water was in town about a mile from here!

I think our basement is flooded.  I'd rather not look right now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing a Memoir

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a MemoirThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Memoir by Victoria Costello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to books. Anything that first insults my intelligence and then proceeds to teach me about something is not likely to end up on my bookshelf.

That said, I received a copy of this book to review, and who hasn't dreamed of writing a memoir or some type? I know I have, so I decided to see what it had to say.

What I found was a book that is great in helping you organize your ideas, pointing out what is important, what to leave out, and of course what to put in your story! It had pointers for how to handle dialogue. I know I enjoy well-written dialogue, but if it's not well written, I tend to skip over it. This is true not only for memoirs but for any book I read! There were suggestions on how to recreate a conversation that may have happened decades ago.

Of course there is basic writing tips such as plot and structure, as well as information on self-publishing, and even legal issues that can arise. (Thinking of writing a tell-all about your family? Might want to think again if they are still alive because it could be a lawsuit waiting to happen, but this book addresses the stickier issues you may not have considered.)

The quick prompts would be great for those who have less of an idea where they are going with their book. With the book I would like to write someday, I have it somewhat structured in my mind and they weren't as helpful to me. I did, however, find myself taking notes and jotting things down as they came to mind that I hope to add to my manuscript.

Overall, this is an excellent book and one I would recommend to anyone who is thinking of writing a memoir, even if it is just to give to your grandchildren!

FTC disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. In no way did that influence my opinion of the book.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In the hospital EIGHT days

I wanted to do a quick check in here on my blog.  I was in the hospital for a total of eight days this month, and sick for almost a week before I went in.  I had a bone infection and still on some pretty high powered antibiotics and still not feeling the best.  All in all, I think I was pretty lucky that it wasn't any worse than it was with all the infection.  I did lose two permanent teeth, but for as much infection as I had in me, I still consider that pretty lucky.  I never had anything that hurt that bad -- ever.  I'm still healing and may be a while before I blog too much.  But I'm mainly wanting to stay in bed, and I'll pick up a book and read for a little bit, so when I'm back to blogging there will be lots of book reviews to be posted!  :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top Ten Reasons I'm glad I'm Single this Valentine's Day

10.   "No instead of a movie,  I really should get reading done for class".

9.  "No really, I am allergic to flowers.  No, please don't send me any.  No, really, I do prefer to stay home and play Scrabble over going out to dinner."

8.  I avoid an argument when I play "qi", "za", or "ai" in above Scrabble game.

7.  I don't get "Do you always have to be right when the Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary says that ai (common noun) is a South American sloth and I say I know I can't use proper nouns.

6.  I won't get a love song played to me on a tuba, harmonica, or armpit.

5.  Teddy bears don't snore, hog the covers, roll over on you, or sleepwalk.

4.  I don't have to do my make-up on Feb 14th and can spend the evening in old, comfy PJs.

3.  I don't have to do a "He's so wonderful guess what he surprised me with on Valentine's Day" Facebook post and try to compete with friend for "Luckiest woman" based on his romantic abilities.

2.  Did I mention "A Survey of the Old Testament" by Andrew Hill is 799 pages long?

1.  It's just Jesus and me.  When it's time for me to move I don't have someone with athlete's foot wanting m to stay!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blog Tour: Four Letter Words

Four Letter Words: Conversations on Faith's Beauty and LogicFour Letter Words: Conversations on Faith's Beauty and Logic by Bill Giovannetti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was filled with four letter words about faith. I think the idea was a great one but could have been better executed. The author wanted to show how that to many outside Christianity words like "pain", "wait", "true" are offensive. As I read it, there often felt like there was a stretch to make the topics fit into a "four letter word" title.

Also, while a unique idea, I'm not sure the QR code idea was a great one. There were lots of codes you could scan on your smartphone to send you to a website. I tried one, and it felt awkward trying to hold a book and scan a code and then explore the website. I realize that the book is to appeal to a generation younger than I am, but unless they are already reading it on a mobile device, I think a list of recommended websites to visit would have been a better idea.

For those two reasons, I'm not sure this book has "staying power" as a Christian classic, which is rather disappointing to me. This is a book I feel is needed in the church, especially for newer Christians and teenagers. The author gave good reasoning behind each of the topics he chose to present. This would work well as a book for a teen Bible study group, but I'm left thinking in five years time what will happen to this volume when it's sprinkled with QR codes? I'm not sure the technology has the sticking power this book would have if that was eliminated all together.

This is also a great resource book. I admit, it took me a while to read it because it wasn't what I consider a fun read. However, this is a great book to pick up when you are looking for information contained within one chapter, and for this reason I am giving this book four out of five stars. I doubt many people will pick it up to read straight through. It will likely be used as a study guide, or reference book. I think this book has the potential to be a "go-to" book for Christian teens, but I'm afraid the QR codes may limit the length of the effectiveness of this book unless it updated in a few years.

My final recommendation? It's a great book for young people of today who have questions about the basics of faith. For them this book would be a great choice.

About Four Letter Words:

Thou shalt tolerate every opinion... except the Christian's. Today's postmodern "prime directive" leaves many followers of Jesus tongue-tied. In the global village, isn't it unreasonable, and even dangerous, to suggest that the Bible has a monopoly on truth?

The church needs a new breed of Christ-follower. We need Christ-followers who are alert to today's touchy ideas, the truths that fire up more heat than light. We need Christ-followers who can make a clear case for the Bible's worldview; who are ready to help our friends think through their beliefs; who can recognize inconsistencies and challenge them; and who can do all of this with humility, confidence, humor, and love. For more information visit
About Bill Giovannetti:

Dr. Bill Giovannetti is a professor at A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary and the senior pastor of Neighborhood Church of Redding. An experienced speaker and author, Bill informs the mind in ways that touch the heart. He enjoys life with his wife and two kids in northern California. For more information about Bill and his other books, visit  and

Bill is celebrating the new Kindle edition of Four Letter Words (for only $4.99)! He’ll be traveling coast to coast over the next few weeks on this virtual book tour and he's celebrating by hosting a great giveaway!

Click here ( to find out how you can win two gift certificates to Amazon (in the amount of $50 and $25) and free downloads of his yet-to-be-released title, Recession-Proof: Living a God-Blessed Life in a Messed Up World.

The whole scoop here:

Please check out the entire blog tour here:

FTC disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Link to buy:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Living In Love

Living in LoveLiving in Love by James Robison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked up this book.  After all, there are so many books giving the ABCs of a good marriage, but yet somehow I thought this book would be different.  It didn't disappoint. 

James and Betty Robison wrote this book as if they were sitting down having coffee with someone.  I like that writing style where you feel like you are sitting down chatting with the authors.  They told their story, and through examples they shared how they made their marriage work.

This was not an instructional guide to a perfect marriage.  Instead, they shared from the heart about some of the problems and pleasures of marriage to help encourage, instruct, and inform.  

I am single, yet found this book a great read because if I ever get married, I'll have some ideas of how to work through problems based on the Robisons' examples.  If I never get married, I have a better idea of the challenges of marriage when talking with friends.

The only thing I didn't like about it was one of the reasons I liked it -- they covered so many topics.  By covering so many topics it was difficult to go in depth with any of them, but rather it gave a good overview of marriage.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is single or newly married.  I don't think those who have been married for a while would find it as useful as those who haven't.

It also includes a discussion guide and would be a great book for a married couples' book club.

Please take a second and rank my review.  This helps in what books are available for me to review in the future.  Thank you.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Review: The Devil in Pew Number Seven

The Devil in Pew Number SevenThe Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you don't like the preacher at your church, you would switch churches, right?  Well, that's not what happened in the case of Mr. Watts.  Every Sunday he sat in pew number seven, loudly making noises and disrupting services.  When his threats to the Nichols family went ignored, he stepped up his game to get them to leave.  He had made phone calls and written letters saying they would leave, dead or alive.  When that didn't work, he started setting off bombs of dynamite around the parsonage.  There were gunshots, and the author's little brother even was lying in a crib of shattered glass after one attack.  Thankfully no one was hurt through these attacks, at least physically.  It took a toll on the entire family mentally.

As if living in a war zone of bombs going off wasn't enough, one fateful day a man entered their house with a gun, shot her parents and she had to run to a neighbor's house for help.  Her mother was dead.  Her father never recovered mentally. I expected the murder of her mother to be connected to Mr. Watts since so much of the book focused on him, but he was not the one who killed her mother. 

This is an amazing book, and the author even tells about her appearance on the Dr. Phil show to see her mother's murderer.  I felt compassion for the author when she said that flying to the Dr. Phil show, she and her husband requested flights on different planes.  That way if one crashed, the other parent would still be alive and their children would not be orphans.  As she states in the book, this is a story she lives daily, and for the rest of us, we can set the book on the shelf and that be the end of it for us.

She talks about forgiveness and how if forgiveness is not granted, the bitter person is the one held in a prison of their own making. 

Had I not been sick while reading it, I wouldn't have put it down and would have read it straight through.  Few books have captured my attention like this one, and I would recommend it to anyone.

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Review: Turned Away

Turned Away: The World War II Diary of Devorah BernsteinTurned Away: The World War II Diary of Devorah Bernstein by Carol Matas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not much of a fiction fan. However Scholastic's "Dear. . . " series are always books I can't put down. "Turned Away" was no exception. Because this was from the "Dear Canada" series, I learned things about WWII I never heard as an American. I didn't know Canadian troops were stationed in Hong Kong and the statistics about them through the book were very interesting. Also, I had never heard of "If Day" where they participated in one day that might be what life would be like if the Nazis were to invade Canada. Of course, the story was compelling. Devorah has a Jewish cousin in France. They send packages to her family, and in the midst of Devorah's life there is worry about Sarah, as well as letters Sarah is able to get to Devorah. I am an adult reading this series, and I sometimes think the issues confronted may be a little too complex for younger children. I highly enjoyed this book, and the only thing that I didn't like about it (aside from how it ended) was that a 12 year old kept calling her mother "Mommy". That sounded a little too young for a twelve year old, but then again maybe that was common in 1941 Canada.