That Amazing, No, Addicting Thing Called BookBub

Have you heard of BookBub yet? It’s a really nice resource if you’re looking for new books to read. It’s a great way to access books you might not consider. I was introduced to BookBub by a coworker who loves to read.

This website is a great tool for any bookworm. BookBub allows you to create a free account. From there you select your favorite book genres. Based on your choices, you will receive an email every day from BookBub with books suggestions based on the categories you selected. All the book suggestions are titles that have many reviews, and the best part is that these books range from $0-$2.99 in price. How about that for a great deal! It’s an amazing tool, and I enjoy reading the book descriptions and choosing new books to read that I might not otherwise consider reading. Sometimes books I really want to read show up in my BookBub email update. The other great thing is that they only send one email a day, and I never receive any other email from them. They do not flood your inbox. BookBub gets to the point because they know your time is precious and they know you want to read the next book.

What are you waiting for? Go to bookbub.com and sign up to receive your free daily email update. You’ll be happy you stopped and dropped to read this email. I promise!

Reading about the Twenty-eighth Day of the Eighth Month

I encountered a story online about two years ago via a blog that I regularly read and follow. That blogger shared a YouTube video about a couple that beat all odds to make the most loving marriage a young couple could have. Ian and his girlfriend, Larissa, met in college, and they did not click at first. She found his jokes cheesy, and that just wasn’t her thing. Through mutual friends they got to know each other and decided maybe they could like each other and be friends. They became inseparable; then one day the unexpected happened. Ian was in a tragic car accident that caused severe brain damage. There was a time when the family was not sure if Ian would make, but God had other plans. Their journey came with many hardships and even another family tragedy, but through it all, they grew closer to God.

Because Ian had a brain injury, the doctors were not sure of the extent of his injuries in the beginning. Miraculously, his long-term memory helped him greatly, although his short-term memory was more a struggle. Only time would tell if his injury would develop into a change in his personality. While Ian struggled in the beginning with many many therapy sessions just to figure out how to do every day tasks, Larissa supported him the best way she knew how. Be present. Through struggles and trials Ian slowly gained back movement and relearned many things to help him become more independent.

Many things can be learned from their story as it shows the dedication it takes from family members and close friends to see someone through a tragedy or trial whether be an accident or a severe illness. One key part that got them all through the tough days was their faith in Christ. Larissa admits her personal struggle with her faith during that time, but she grew because of the journey. Sometimes God allows these things to teach us something bigger than ourselves. He makes a way for us to realize we must put Him first above ourselves.

I recommend this book to young adults in college, an engaged couple, recently married couples, or anyone that wants to read a story of renewed faith and strength in God. You will be taken on a journey through someone’s personal life that shows just how precious life is. Treasure each moment, and be faithful to keep Christ first in all of your relationships. If you’re looking for an inspirational story, then stop and drop to read Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy.

Long Time, No Reading

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve blogged here. I wanted to blog regularly about different books that I’ve read. My goal for this blog was to share my personal opinions about books that I’ve read so others can decide if they would like to read some of those same books. My other goal was to help parents find books that might be good to share with their families. As a teacher and a new mother, that is my goal for this blog more than ever.

I want to share books that are fun, encouraging, uplifting, and helpful. Reading has been a passion of mine before I even started going to school. I have always loved books and reading.  I hope I can pass that on to my daughter. I’m already starting her own little collection of books, and I enjoy reading to her even at eight weeks old!

Since it has been about a year since I last wrote anything here, many things have happened. I began my second year of teaching, and it was a wonderful year. I learned so much right along with my students. I also got pregnant with our first child, and she was born (three weeks early) on July 6. She brings so much joy to our lives, and we couldn’t be happier. While I absolutely love teaching and watching my students learn and grow, we made the decision that I would stay home with our sweet baby this year. It was a decision that we thought about for quite a while, but I know it was the right thing for us. Now that I am home full-time, I am caring for my little one, and I would like to start blogging again. Although I have not been writing, I have not stopped reading. I am looking forward to sharing some of the great stories that I have read over the last year as well as some cool resources for finding new things to read. I’m thankful for the journey and the opportunity to share the things I love. I invite you to join me on this reading adventure!

Kindred

Perhaps you remember reading Anne of Green Gables as a child. Do you remember what Anne called her closest, dearest friend? If not, I will remind you– kindred spirits. If you ever hear the word “kindred,” this might be what you think of. You have probably figured out by now the word “kindred” reminds me of Anne. There is a small word within the word kindred (kin). Now, what do you consider “kin” to mean? So what if your kindred spirit was someone related to you, someone that lived generations before you, and there is no possible way you could ever meet? I know sounds weird and possibly crazy. However, that is the logical, factual belief because we cannot travel back in time.

Kindred is a neo slave novel that begins its story with a black woman married to a white man in the 20th century. That alone could be troublesome in some parts of the country, even in the 1950s. Add in the ability to travel back in time to a time when slavery was still in existence and something interesting is bound to happen.

I really enjoyed this book because of the sense of mystery and suspend Octavia Butler continues to build. This story is great to use as a supplemental text when studying US History during the time of slavery. The text could also be used in an American Literature class, which is precisely why I read this book. A warning to teachers, parents, and students– language is a recurring issue in this book. Abuse and rape are also present themes that were often associated with slavery. If used as a resource, it may be a good idea to put forth this information for parents so that they are aware. However, these topics can be tactfully discussed. I recommend that students read Kindred with guidance of a teacher. Have you read Kindred? Do you think it is appropriate for teens? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Burnt Bridges are Hard to Overcome

bridgeHave you ever been through a trial in your life, and you thought it would be easier to just cut all ties, leave everything, and start all over? That is exactly how two characters in Francine Rivers’ newest novel, Bridge to Haven, felt. Francine Rivers is an award winning author of Christian fiction novels. You may know her most by her best-selling book Redeeming Love. This “prodigal son” story brings to light some very difficult situations a child like Abra might experience. Abandoned at birth, Abra is a foster/adoptive child that does not feel loved though she is very well loved and cared for by her adoptive parents. This is an intriguing story about a girl who seemed to be unloved (in her eyes), but she is rather beloved in her hometown of Haven.

Abra was a character that was easy to fall in love with and empathize with, yet she made you want to so much for her eyes to be opened to the truth. How much heartache could have been saved in your life had you “seen the light” early on in your own experience? Unfortunately, like Abra, we burn every single bridge before we realize what we’ve lost and begin to rebuild  a bridge that leads us back to the place and people we love most.  I really enjoyed reading the latest book by Francine Rivers, but I caution young readers as many mature themes are explored. Such themes include rape, mild forms of exploitation, and other intimate relations. Moms of teens that love to read Christian fiction, you may want to do a book club style reading or read the book, and make the decision that is best for your family in regards to letting your teen girl read this novel.

Bridge to Haven is available for purchase at Lifeway, Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. The novel is also available in the Nook and Kindle versions. If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts on the novel? If you have not already read the book, I encourage to add it to your summer reading list.

Reading While on Break

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post. Last fall I was student teaching, and it was INTENSE. I’m happy to say that part of my training is complete. I was blessed to be hired as a teacher just two weeks after I completed student teaching. God was really watching over me and totally had His hand on the entire situation. I started teaching right after Thanksgiving, and Christmas break began three weeks later. Over the break, I had some time to catch up on some reading, and I finished reading the Divergent Series. I had already read the first book, and one of my favorite bloggers wrote a review of the series which made me that much more interested in them. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the series.

In the first book of the trilogy, Divergent, we are introduced to several people who all live in different factions (four to be exact) Each faction serves a different function to make the whole work. The series can be viewed as a “coming of age” story since the story begins with an aptitude test for young teens to see which faction they fit in best. These factions take pride in their work and duties, and they do not like overlapping. That overlap causes big problems for some characters such as Beatrice Prior (Tris) and Four. Divergent means something, and it has a negative connotation with it for the factions. As you read the series, divergence becomes empowering rather than debilitating. That is one positive aspect I love about these books. The things that are seen as negative influences become empowering in a good way, or at least with good intentions. Insurgent and Allegiant are no different.

Insurgent and Allegiant will keep you on the edge of your seat as Veronica Roth leaves little surprises around every corner. This book series is both captivating and full of surprises. Each twist and turn along the way made the journey more and more interesting. Roth does such a wonderful describing the characters. I have left this review a little open ended because I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that I was somewhat surprised by the ending, but one thing the author makes clear is that sometimes we all have to make sacrifices at some point in our lives. Those sacrifices come in different forms, but the lesson to learn is be sure you are spending time desiring and trying to make a difference.

So, who is this book series good for? Well, the series was written for teens ages 14-17 according to Barnes & Noble, but I think it is also good for older readers as well. The series can be compared to the Hunger Games, but the violence in the Divergent Series is different. In my opinion, these books would be suited for mature readers (both boys and girls) according the age range previously stated. If you have read the series, I would love to hear your thoughts on it as well. For all of those at home due to snow, grab a good book, blanket, and curl up on the couch to read for a little while, and enjoy the day.