Book Review: Finding Love in Eureka, California

There is so much going on in this book. I kinda wonder if the author went, “I want to take all the controversial issues that are important to me and make a story from them, yes, I’ll do that!”

Genevieve Wilson is happily living her life. She enjoys her job, she’s building her photography business and daydreaming about the pilot from work. She is a happy person who just…sorta ignores the bad in her life. It’s so much better to make up her own narrative right?

Matt Lake is one of those guys who has crafted the “perfect life”. He has everything he wanted, he is on a path to have a pretty #blessed life. But, life has a habit of shaking things up.

This is a very good book, and handles topics which could have gone very, very poorly with grace. Again, there is so much going on. Both Genevieve and Matt have complicated lives, and both have to overcome ways they protect themselves from reality or risk. Matt wants to be the hero in the story. To his girlfriend, to Gen. He doesn’t know what to do when he can’t be the hero, and when it’s possible his actions could have hurt someone instead of saving them? He doesn’t even know what to do. The people in Genevieve’s life keep leaving, try as she might to get them to stay. It’s just easier to assume people will leave, because that’s what people do. Better to live in a daydream than to take a risk on reality.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to see a continuation with a story about Genevieve’s sister Rosie! And more aerial and goat yoga please.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

 

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2017 Reading List

  • The One Thing by Gary Keller
  • Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
  • Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell
  • The Genesis Tree by Heather LL Fitzgerald
  • If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski
  • Forget Me Not by Miralee Ferrell
  • Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell
  • Dreaming on Daisies by Miralee Ferrell
  • Fields of Gold by Shelley Adina
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  • Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt
  • Presumed Dead by Angela Ruth Strong
  • An Anchor on Her Heart by Patricia Lee
  • The Princess and the PI by Angela Ruth Strong
  • I Thought it Was Just Me (But it’s Not) by Brene Brown
  • —-
  • Financially Fearless by Alexa von Tobel
  • Adopted by Kelley Nikondeha
  • At the Crossroads by Christa MacDonald
  • Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
  • Runaway Romance by Miralee Ferrell
  • Make Haste Slowly by Amy Rognlie
  • Find Love in Eureka, CA by Angela Ruth Strong
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
  • Lift Like a Girl by Nia Shanks

Book Review: Make Haste Slowly

I sat down to read this book and really didn’t know what to make of it. I read it in relatively few sittings and I never really knew where the story was going, and it ended in a way I didn’t expect. In short- Make Haste Slowly does good work of being a mystery.

Callie Erickson has started a new life in small town Texas, content to live life with her friends, her pugs, and her new flower/knitting/book shop. She is settling in nicely to routine and the author made me laugh out loud a few times at the antics of Callie’s pugs. This new calm life is not meant to be when Callie discovers a mystery bag and a dead body on her doorstep.

In feel? This reminded me of watching Murder She Wrote with my mom. I liked how it told a solid story, but definitely left room open explore more about these characters. My only criticism is while I generally really like references to other stories and books, these references were so ingrained into the story that if I wasn’t familiar with the book the characters were talking about, I couldn’t follow that part of the story. It seemed to assume the audience had read all the same books.

I look forward to reading where this series goes next.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review: At The Crossroads

I loved this book. I was having trouble figuring out what I’d say in this review because normally I do a small summary, the stuff I liked, the stuff I didn’t like and then my concluding thoughts. But I can’t think of anything that wasn’t done well. It was that good.

At the Crossroads has a widowed mother with two kids who is making do and getting by, and lives in a manner that she is always expecting the other shoe to drop. And unfortunately? You don’t blame her, she has had a rough go of it. The last thing she needed was a crush on the pastor who may or may not be staying because his heart really is in the mission field overseas.

Christa MacDonald expertly portrays both small towns and private Christian schools, in that she shows the good, and the bad that come with those environments without feeling like she’s trying to make a point to the merit of either of these things. Private Christian schools can be great, but they can also be legalistic and condemning. As a single mother the heroine Erin, gets both ends of that. In the previous book her daughter was pregnant out of wedlock, and now she gets nastygrams from parents saying she should resign from her position as the physical education teacher. And she is clearly treated as a “lower class” than the other moms.

Dan Cooper is the pastor of the small town church, but he always meant this to be a temporary gig while he waited for his mom to recover from a stroke. Then the years rolled on and his mom didn’t improve, and he was still pastor. At the same time that he really notices Erin is when he reaches a crossroads. Is he going to lay down roots, or still aim for far off lands.

Yes, this is a romance novel, but that isn’t what I got out of being the point of the novel. Whether you get on a plane to serve in a mission field with a brand new language and culture, or you preach to a small town, or are a single mom to your two kids- that is your mission field and an equal calling to any.

What pushed me over the edge from “this is a really good book” to “ah I’d love to meet this author and tell her how good she is” is this one scene where you have this character who is in full time ministry and she’s preparing to go overseas and she is on fire. And while she’s in the small town she offers to help this newly divorced woman move. Now this divorced lady not only had her husband cheat on her, leave her, she’s having to majorly downsize her life. Our on fire ministry lady has zero compassion for her because she’s “an educated white woman. she’ll be fine. She’s better off than so many woman in the world.” Just because she’s not wrong about the facts, doesn’t mean she hasn’t missed the point. How are we to show love to people if we’re always comparing their sorrows to “well it could be worse”.

As I said, I think this is a great book, and I think especially people who have been in ministry will love it and probably be convicted by it as well.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Of Goals and Striving

I am a goal oriented person. I have to be careful because I can get hyper focused on a goal and in the process become not a great friend.

When I did 30 before 30 it was a vivid reminder that I have had the opportunity to do so much and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had. I’ve achieved things that 12 year old me never would have dreamed. Those four sheets of paper represent the current four Huge Goals I have. The two on the right I know I can achieve given time and effort. Both feel big and scary? But I can work hard and achieve them.

The two on the left are different. I cannot work hard or save up my way into them. If there was  a way, I would have done it. But these aren’t strive until you get there goals. And that is frustrating as we have all had those things. But for me, what I have found is when I strive for those left two goals…I move farther away from the right two. While I try to catch what I cannot seem to figure out it sabotages me for the goals I know I can do.

I have decided to stop striving.

And because I am a visual person, I lit those two sheets of paper on fire. I will no longer try to create situations that will make those two goals come alive. Instead I will take a deep breath, step back, and if those are in God’s plans He’ll have to open the door and likely push me through it. I am going to focus my energy on pursuing those things that I know I am supposed to be pursuing and goodness knows, those are big enough on their own.