Between the Lines [book review]

“Just so you know, when they say “once upon a time” … they’re lying.

between-the-lines-review

What would you do if a character in the book you were reading suddenly started talking to you?  And you could see them move?

You’d think you’ve gone crazy, right?

So does Delilah in this book when it’s protagonist, Prince Oliver, begins to talk to her.  The thing is, she’s not crazy.  Oliver really is talking to her.  She learns that there’s more to the book once it’s closed; the characters are free to do their own thing when the book is closed, and Oliver is sick of it.  He wants out of his prison to be free to do whatever he wants.

Together, Delilah and Oliver try to figure out how to get him out of the book.  All the while they find themselves falling for the other, but they soon realize that getting to their happily ever is easier said than done.

Between the Lines 2

I love the idea of the characters in a book having their own lives when the book is closed, even if it’s quite like Toy Story.  However, as a book lover, this idea is more appealing to me. (Plus they can’t harm you since they’re trapped, ha)  It was interesting to see what the characters were really like when they weren’t playing acting.

Along with the book characters being alive, the romance between Delilah and Oliver was another part of the story I enjoyed.  Come on, we’ve all fallen in love with a fictional character or two… can you even imagine if they could fall in love with you too?  The fact that Picoult and her daughter took this concept and wrote a book about it … amazing.

What was interesting about this book was that you not only read from Delilah and Oliver’s points of views, but you also got to read scenes from the actual fairy-tale book that serves as Oliver’s home.  We might not get the entire fairy-tale, but you can get the gist of it from the parts we’re given.

It was easy to get lost in this story.  The characters are all lovable and the style of writing makes for an easy read.  This could easily be a stand alone book, and maybe it was intended to be one since it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger… however, I’m excited to continue with Delilah and Oliver’s story in the sequel, Off the Page.

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When in Doubt, Consult the Book Jar

You sit there staring at your pile of unread books, but have no idea which one you should read.  How can you decide?  They’re all great books!  Here’s what you do…

You consult the Book Jar.

thebookjartitle

First of all, I am not taking credit for coming up with this idea.  It is something that I saw on Facebook about a week ago and it’s been on my mind to do this… so I did.  This is just my way to share the idea with my fellow bookworms.

I wish I knew who did come up with this idea so I could personally thank them.  Not only is this a good idea to decide what book to read next, but it was a fun little project to do.  Even though the steps are simple, I’m going to show the pictures to walk through what I did.

paper

cut up titles

Obviously the first steps are to write down the titles of all your unread books, or even ones you want to read again soon, and cut them into small pieces of paper.  Luckily I already had colored paper to use for this.

folded titles

Then there’s the fun part of folding each piece.  Yay.

For me it wasn’t too bad of a task since I don’t have nearly as many books as some book bloggers I follow.  I mean, I wish I had that many books.  I suppose I could gather a list of library books I want to read as well to add to the jar.

mason jar

Then you get a jar that you want to fill.  I was originally going to use a mason jar bank that I’m not using (since we have a ton), but it’s painted and I wanted to at least be able to see the colored paper scraps.  So I went to Michaels and bought a cute little jar with a hinged lid – like the one I saw in the original book jar post.

I don’t think it really matters what kind of jar you use.  It’s a matter of personal preference.  If you want to use a painted jar, where you won’t be able to see the paper, that’s fine too.  In fact, that’ll make your choice more of a mystery since you can’t see the colors of the paper.

Then you fill said jar.

full jar

And BOOM!  You have a book jar for whenever you can’t decide what to read next.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be using this a lot.

What do you think of the book jar?  Would you make something like this for your books?

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My Future is in Good Hands

I’m just going to admit this… I was a mess this morning.  An emotional, worrying, crying mess.

Because of the immediate future.

Gods will for my future

The lease is about to be up on our place, and my mom and I are considering moving.  We found a place we want in a new town and we sent in the application.  The thing is, without going into detail, the only way we can get this place is through God and if it’s in His will for us to move there.

Why was I a mess?  Scared of the outcome, I suppose.  I was attacked by numerous thoughts of doubt for both ends – on whether we get the place or have to stay where we are.  I’m ashamed not only because of my doubt, but because yesterday I was so full of faith and there was no reason for me to pull a complete 180.

It’s amazing how quickly God can speak to you when you crack open your Bible for your morning reading and suddenly you realize all that worrying was for nothing.

I’m currently reading Romans and instead of stopping where I planned after chapter 7, I continued on to chapter 8 and read a verse that I know, but constantly forget where it is:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28 (NLT)

For some reason this verse made me think of another one I know well, but it hasn’t been in the front of my mind as of late (you know, until today):

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

After reading both of these verses this morning, I felt the relief and comfort wash over me.  I know that God isn’t going to let us get this apartment if it isn’t the right move.  My mom and I have both prayed that we want whatever God’s will is for us when it comes to this decision.  While we might not have gotten an answer about whether we should’ve applied or not, I came to the conclusion that applying is the step we needed to take to see if God will open this door for us or keep it closed.

“Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright”

(What Faith Can Do – Kutless)

Was I still scared to bring the application in?  A little, maybe.  But before I even left the house to drop off the application I was restored in faith knowing that God has control of the outcome, and that only His plans for us are going to unfold.

“…yet not my will, but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42 (NIV)

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Tribulation Force [book review]

tribulation force review

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

In one cataclysmic moment, millions around the globe disappear.

Those left behind face war, famine, plagues, and natural disasters so devastating that only one in four people will survive. Odds are even worse for enemies of the Antichrist and his new world order.

Rayford Steele, Buck Williams, Bruce Barnes, and Chloe Steele band together to form the Tribulation Force. Their task is clear, and their goal is nothing less than to stand and fight the enemies of God during the seven most chaotic years the planet will ever see.

Kicking off right after the end of Left Behind the four characters are all feeling their calling from God and how they are supposed to serve Him during this time of tribulation.  Though reluctant because they do not want to split up their core group and they might find themselves working for the Antichrist himself, they reason that it might be the best way to witness to others under his influence.  They know that soon enough the time of tribulation will officially begin and hard times will soon befall the earth.

Despite the serious tone of the book, there are still little accounts of humor between the characters as misunderstandings happen, which I think really adds to it.  They’re still human after all, and they’re all undergoing constant character development as new believers in Christ.

Like in the first book, I still found myself thinking about when the actual event of the Rapture happens.  I felt motivated to really pray for my loved ones and that somehow God will use me to bring others to Him.

And again, I’m not trying to push away non-believers to read this series.  I might only be two books in (out of twelve), but I can tell this is a series that is worth the time to check out.

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Opposites In Love?

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘opposites attract.’  If you haven’t… oh, who am I kidding?  You’ve heard it.

It makes sense that we like to say that.  When we think of magnets attracting each other, it’s the opposites that do.  When it comes to atoms, the positives and negatives attract one another.  So it only makes sense that this would happen with people too.

But the other day when I was listening to ‘Perfect Match’ by A*Teens a thought occurred to me… does it really work out that way with people?

opposites in love

I can see being attracted to someone who is different than you.  Their way of life might excite you and you want to learn more about them.  Beyond that, does it still work?  Unless you pull a Danny and Sandy and make changes to yourself for the other person, then most likely.  However, if you aren’t willing to change for a person, then you probably shouldn’t be with them.  I’m not saying you don’t love them though – because I’m thinking in my own terms if someone asked me to give up my relationship and belief in God for them… then see ya sucker!

At the same time though, if a couple has too many similar interests they’ll probably become bored with each other.  They might not though.  I’m the furthest thing from a love expert, so I don’t know for sure.  This is just my thought on this topic.

Personally, I think a little of both is good.  Being with someone who enjoys some of the same stuff you do, but also has interests of their own.  I like the idea of being able to do my own thing while my future husband does his without any complaints, but I’d also want to go on little adventures together that possibly involve photography.  Again, that’s just me.  Some couples might want to do everything together and I think that’s great.

I guess the most important thing though is that you love and trust the person you’re with.  As long as you have that, and communication, you should be okay.

What are your thoughts?

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry [book review]

A story about embracing the plot twists of life.

aj-fikry-review


“A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.”  (Synopsis via Goodreads)

Compared to other books I’ve read, this one seemed to make more jumps in time over the years.  Something that you’d think would be a bother, but it actually ends up working for this novel.  I’d personally say there’s no “real” plot that the story follows, but rather it’s a collection of linked moments in time of a cranky bookstore owner who gets a second chance and learns how to enjoy life again.

A year after A.J.’s wife dies, he is thrown into a series of plot twists beginning with the loss of his collection of rare Poe poems.  Rather than withdrawing from these trials and drinking his troubles away, he learns to embrace the changes and learns to love and care for others again.

A.J. was a character I very much enjoyed.  Sure, he was cynical and grumpy, but at the same time he was witty, clever and lovable.  Though a book snob, it’s easy to respect him for being so critical about the kinds of books he reads… though I feel like he might’ve been a little too critical at times.  Though he goes through a seemingly major character development, he still retains some of his old nature, which just makes him even more realistic.  That is something that isn’t easy to pull off and that is what I liked most about A.J. – he was real.

“A town isn’t a town without a bookstore.”

This book was both happy and sad, funny and serious… but that’s what makes it work.  I think it’s a good read for anyone who enjoys a story about second chances.

I actually bought The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry not knowing what book it was, as I bought it off of the Blind Date With a Book rack in Barnes and Noble.  I would definitely buy another book this way because it was a cool way to discover a new book.

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I Went On a Blind Date… With a Book

I’ve seen this trend of going on a blind date with a book on social media plenty of times and I always thought it was an interesting idea.  We’re so quick to judge a book by it’s cover, or even the first few pages, that we can end up missing out on a good book.

So when I saw a section of these in Barnes & Noble a while ago, I couldn’t resist buying one that sounded very interesting.

blind date with a book 1

The system that Barnes & Noble uses with their blind date books is to tell you what genre the book is and give three main points of the book as opposed to a synopsis.  Here’s what mine said:

Book Genre: Fiction

  • A cantankerous bookseller main character for readers to either empathize with… or despise.
  • A theft in the dark of the night, precious and rare words stolen.
  • An original and exemplary tale of character development.

I’ll be honest, what really got me on this description was that it was about a bookseller.  After reading Karen Kingsbury’s The Bridge and my desire to own a bookstore there was no way I could resist a story where the main character is a bookseller.

Now I didn’t read this book right away, since I was in the middle of a different book at the time and had planned on reading Left Behind next.  So intend of opening it right away, it sat in the dining room for a while… still a complete mystery as to what book it could be.

Then one morning I finally said to my mom that I was going to open it because I really wanted to know what it was.  And as I predicted, it was a book I’d never heard of before…

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

blinddatebook

Even though I had never heard of it, I was still excited to read it.  Like I said, I was interested in reading a book where the main character was a bookseller.  Plus, you know, I paid for it.  I might as well read it, even if I didn’t end up liking the synopsis on the back of the book.

Thankfully, I did.

If you want to know what I actually thought of the book, you can check out my review over on my new book blog – Books We Left Unread.  Spoiler alert: I liked it.

Overall, I enjoyed the ‘blind date with a book’ experience and I would gladly try it again.  It’s a cool way to discover a new book that you probably wouldn’t have picked out otherwise.  I can tell you right now that I probably wouldn’t have given this book a second thought just based on the name.  Yes, it’s shallow… but it’s the truth.

Have you ever tried a blind date with a book?  If you haven’t, would you?

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The Chance [book review]

Who doesn’t want a second chance?  A second chance for love, family, friendship and for faith in God.  That’s what we find in Karen Kingsbury’s The Chance.

the chance review

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Years ago, the day before Ellie moved from Georgia to California, she and her best friend Nolan sat beneath the Spanish moss of an ancient oak tree where they wrote letters to each other, and sealed them in a rusty old metal box. The plan was to return eleven years later and read them. But now, as that date arrives, much has changed.

Ellie, bereft of the faith she grew up with, is a single mom living in a tired apartment trying to make ends meet. Sometimes she watches television to catch a glimpse of her old friend —Nolan, now an NBA star, whose terrible personal tragedies fueled his faith and athletic drive in equal measure. But Nolan also suffers from a transcendent loneliness that nothing has ever eased.

We follow the story of Ellie and Nolan through the two themselves, but also through the perspective of Ellie’s mother and father.  We see how the characters’ journey in faith and their personal relationships with God change throughout the story – from growing stronger in faith, to losing it, to realizing what true faith really is. This story is definitely a tear-jerker of both sad tears and tears of joy.

After reading The Bridge, I was definitely excited to read another book by Karen Kingsbury.  I love her style of writing and how she can make the faith her characters, or lack of, believable and relatable.  I noticed that both books I’ve read by her so far are about second chances at love, not just with a person, but also with God.  These stories are encouraging in knowing that this type of redemption is really possible, as long as you believe it is.

So not only do I recommend The Chance, but I also recommend checking out any book by Karen Kingsbury (despite only reading two by her).  I know I will be reading more by her and she’s definitely making her way up as one of my favorite authors.

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Would You Rather? (Bookish Edition)

Alright, I was tagged by Johnny to do this fun, book version of Would You Rather?  I’m excited to do this because… books.  Need I say more?

So let’s get started.

would you rather books

Would you rather…
  1. Read only trilogies or stand alones?  Stand alone.  There are just a lot of great ones out there that I’ve read and so many more that I haven’t.
  2. Read only male or female authors?  Female.  I’d say that all but one of my top authors are female.  
  3. Shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?  Barnes and Noble… no questions asked.
  4. All books become movies or t.v. shows?  TV shows.  Do you even know how much better Harry Potter would’ve been as one?!
  5. Drop your book in the toilet or watch it fall into a wood chipper?  I guess I’d handle the toilet better than a wood chipper…
  6. Read only 1 book a year and remember everything or read 100 books a year and remember nothing?  Read 100… because I can’t read just one book a year.
  7. Read only the 1st page of a book or only the last page of a book?  First page.
  8. Get locked in a library or locked in a bookstore?  Does it matter??  I guess bookstore though.
  9. Drop your book in a lake or accidentally set it on fire?  Ugh… lake.
  10. Have the end of a book spoiled or never know what happens?  Never know what happens because I have a great imagination and I’d just make up like 10 different endings myself.
  11. Read a book that is missing the middle chapter or read a book that is missing the first and last chapters?  Middle chapters.
  12. Have to start every conversation of your life with a quote from a book OR not be able to remember any quotes from any books but be able to speak normally?  I’d start every sentence with a quote.  Normal is boring.
  13. Never be allowed to read the last chapter of a book but be able to read as many books as you want OR only be allowed to read one book a year, but be allowed to finish it?  Never be able to read the last chapter.  Again, I can just make up the endings myself.

And that’s all folks!  Like Johnny had said in his post, this isn’t actually a tag post, but I’m going to go ahead and tag Manda of White Sage Beauty and Sly of 99+ Sly Thoughts to do this challenge if they wish to!

If you do this challenge, let me know!  I want to see your answers too!

And speaking of books, go and check out my new collab book-blog – Books We Left Unread!  I’ll still be doing book-related posts here, but I will be doing even more over on that blog along with Donatella from Ciao Donatella.

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