I Need A Drink – Flash Fiction

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“Gah, I need a drink!” the blonde said as she swept into her best friend’s house.

“I have the tea on,” her friend replied rolling her eyes at the dramatics on display.

“Tea, dahling won’t do me a bit of good. Got anything stronger?” the blonde said, slumping into the chintz covered chair.

The friend just laughed and picked up the two teacups on the table.  Pretty little things with violets and gilt edging.

“Tequila or vodka? Take your pick,” the friend said showing the words painted on the cups.

The friend got a good laugh as the blonde’s mouth dropped open. When she finally recovered she chose the tequila cup, since a good margarita was in her mind. The tea was bracing, and hey, with the right mental image, anything is possible.

 

Signing off

Kate

Love Letters From God: Bible Stories – A Review

91QjaJsWoXLLove Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, is a collection of short Bible stories for children published by Zonderkidz. Each of the 18 stories has a companion ‘love’ letter to the reader written by “God” hidden under a flap with a charming ‘stamp’ as if it had just been mailed. There is a blank spot to fill in the name of the child for each letter, making this a highly personalized book. There is also one last letter at the end of the book asking the reader to join Jesus’s team and a blank letter for the reader to pen a response to Jesus.

Of the 18 stories, some are classics, like the Creation, Noah, Jonah and the Whale, and the birth of Christ. Then the less ‘popular’ stories such as Samuel, David’s Anointing, the lost sheep, and Zacchaeus. The pages are filled with full page illustrations, that are unique to each story, some having a more photograph feel set in with the drawings. The overall feel of the book is very elegant with heavy pages and a glossy and mat dust jacket. The choice of a turquoise as the main color makes it incredibly soothing in its own way. It’s a very well done book.

I found this book, though, hard to review. I found the premise of the book was creative with the personalized letters to the reader, yet I found each story to be ‘dumbed down’ to the point of being cutesy instead of containing enough depth to really teach anything. Most Bible stories are not what I would call ‘happy’, but Ms. Nellist has made every story exuberant in some way. The story of Noah, while one of my favorite stories, is all about God destroying all but a few people. It’s not about just Noah’s family and the animals in the ark. Nor is it exactly exciting for the lions to be soooooo happy because they are going to get to eat Daniel, in the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. I just think there should have been better content in regards to the stories instead of making them so ‘happy’. ( I feel like I should cue Pharrell Williams and his song “Happy”)

That being said, I think many Christian families will enjoy this book. I myself was raised with a more traditional backing where we read the Bible instead of learning the stories from other books. I think that there are methods to Bible stories that make it more simple for a child to understand without making it ‘fun’. For instance, one of the best methods I remember being taught the stories was with large flashcard pictures, that were works of art in themselves, while the story was read. The content wasn’t taken out, but the pictures helped coalesce the whole story. I found this book to be just cute and I wonder if once the stories have been read over it will become old. Also I would say with what I have seen of most children reading books, don’t let your 4-8 year old alone with this. The letters will get torn because there is great care needed in reading this book.

I’d would probably give this book at the most 3 out of 5 stars. And I can honestly say I hate to write more negative reviews.

I was provided this book free for my honest opinion and review from Harper Collins Christian publishing.

Signing off

Kate

The Non Reader & Me

I have always sworn up and down and sideways that I will marry a man who loves to read. (Oh and he won’t be obsessed with football) I want to be able to share books and have this mind meld kind of thing going on with books……. I’m not so sure I want it to be that way any longer. Barnes and Noble’s blog just posted the 18 Unexpected Perks of Dating a Nonreader, and honestly, I pretty much go for every single one except for #16, but that’s only because I get car sick, so reading is not possible.  I never thought much about all the advantages to being with someone who doesn’t read like I do, but wow, so many of these have crossed my mind that it’s not even funny.

I guess it’s like wanting to date a writer if I am one. That has gone by the wayside too.  Too much competition. I’ll stick with being the writer and reader and date a hands on kind of guy.  The list is below, but please check out the original article above.

1. More space for your growing book collection, because they don’t have any.
2. Your opinions about books are always right.
3. You can freely tell them the entire story of the book you’re reading, spoilers and all, because they probably aren’t going to read it.
4. They never judge any of the books you’re reading, even your guilty pleasure beach reads.
5. You’re never obligated to read books they’ve recommended to you instead of the books you actually want to read.
6. They think you’re super smart because you read so much.
7. They encourage you to blog about books so you have an outlet to talk about your literary adventures and opinions (true story).
8. They never stay up all night reading like you do, so they can be counted on to wake you up when you sleep through your alarm.
9. They never judge you for the books you haven’t read.
10. They make sure you get fresh air by forcing you to put down the book and get out of the house.
11. They never borrow your books and forget to return them, or return them in poor condition.
12.All your literary friends like them because they don’t engage in pretentious literary one-upmanship.
13. They know a lot about other things like engineering, cooking, music, wilderness survival, how to change a lightbulb…
14. They won’t judge you for thinking that the movie version of the book was actually pretty good.
15. They’re never late meeting you because they got wrapped up in a novel and lost track of time.
16. They do all the driving, so you can read at your leisure in the passenger seat.
17. They never mess up the order of the books on your shelves.
18. They’re willing to learn about literature from you.

Above all, by dating a nonreader, you open yourself up to new experiences and life lessons you might otherwise never discover. So if your heart is telling you “yes,” but your brain is telling you that you have too little in common to make it work, remember what The Princess Bride taught us: “Love is many things, none of them logical.”

Signing off

Kate

 

Saturday Inspires – Bookshelves

I have this thing about bookshelves. Maybe because I don’t have very many and what I do have is filled to the brim, but you want to see me drool, show me full, gorgeous bookshelves.  I want a house big enough for all my books, with a little room to spare.  I want to marry a man who will let me have those bookshelves… or he comes with a house that has empty bookshelves.  Honestly, I really don’t care, but I want gorgeous bookshelves.

So, today’s inspiration is gorgeous bookshelves.  Start the drooling.

For those interested, BookshelfPorn is a really good drool-worthy site.

Signing off

Kate

Outside the Box of Reading

10520846_780916705308107_765205069315425455_nI’m going to make it a short post for this Friday, 10 days into my 31 Days of October challenge.  I was scrounging around for a post idea that wouldn’t take me too long, and this image popped up from my local library via Facebook.  Isn’t it great?

I tend to not read the norms of society. Sure, I delve into some popular fiction (I just posted on Divergent and Cassandra Clare), but for the most part, I tackle things that don’t make the ‘airwaves’ so to speak. I like obscure books that really have a story behind them. I want something to sink my teeth into and really remember or want to read again.  There are very few books that have made this dramatic impact on me, but their are a few I can think of in the recent years.

What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones.  This book is written entirely in verse. You think, oh I won’t like that, but it’s incredible. I own it now, and come to think of it, I should read it again.

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti. While I’m not all into the women are better than men, sometimes men suck (just like sometimes women suck), but this is an amazing coming of age story about a girl returning all the things her dad has stolen from every one of his relationships with women. Important things. It’s a look at how some men can be jerks. And it’s a lot of fun.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Lots of people don’t really go for the slightly predictable and fluffy ending of this book, but any delightful book set in epistolary form gets to me. I love it. I wish the woman had written more than just the one book.  And that it takes place just after WWII, well, I like that time period best.

The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas.  Need I say more? It’s a classic. Maybe it’s too norm, but not too many people in my age would say they read it and liked it.

Anything Emilie Loring.  I have had several people mock my love of this author and the fact that I’ve ordered in all of them to my library so a whole shelf is devoted to her. But her books were clean, fun, and decent.  There was a mystery, usually.  The guy got the girl. The girl was spunky and someone who wanted ‘world peace’ (just kidding) she wanted to make a better life for herself. The men were dashing; air force captains, owners of mills, congressmen, lawyers, doctors, and other men that you could look to and admire. Honestly, I kind of want a man out of an Emilie Loring. They had class.

I could go on, but I said I wanted a short post!  So, do you read inside the norm or do you break from it?  What books have impacted your life that maybe no one knows about?  Yes, most of mine are fiction, but I write fiction and to write good fiction, you have to read good fiction.  There have been non fiction books that have affected me, but I won’t go into that right now.  So tell me what books you would put in this list.

Signing off

Kate

The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig – A Review

_240_360_Book.1329.coverSend in the pig! The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig by Chris Chamberlain is a marvelous guide on how to prepare pork , restaurant guide and cookbook.  Cook it, roast it, fry it, smoke it, bake with it, sweets with it; there are millions of ways to use pork and he first part of the book covers the history of Oink (i.e. the pig) how it came to be so popular and how it is properly prepared. From smoking, roasting, and frying, there are directions on whole roasted pig down to the spice rubs and marinades.  The second part of the book covers restaurants  in the south that are famous for unique and delicious ways of serving pork. And the third part of the book are recipes from the restaurants showcased in the second part of the book.  The information is quite vast and the recipes look so delightful with marvelous color pictures. Chris Chamberlain is  known for his other book The Southern Foodie: 100 Places to Eat in the South, and while I’ve not read that particular book, I’m betting this new book is a companion to his first book. This book is meant to be tossed in the glove compartment for restaurant suggestions or it can be in the kitchen for all the recipes.

While I probably won’t be able to get to the South anytime soon, I found this book incredibly informative and rather delightful to read.  I love having detailed guides to cooking and the history and methods of cooking pork in this book cover that quite well. The section on restaurants is so much fun to read and makes me want to visit every one of the places.  In fact I’ve asked Boris to visit one of the restaurants next time he is in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The restaurant is Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth, and I hope to be able to make a follow up review of the restaurant via Boris, at some later date.

I would give this book five stars and I have a feeling David Venable of In The Kitchen with David would approve of this book since he’s already a fan of Chris Chamberlain’s first book.  If you like the pig, then I recommend this book.

Signing off

Kate

Dystopian Vs. Dystopian

You can take your Hunger Games.  I’ll take Divergent.

So, in this past year and a half, the theme of young adult books has left the realm of vampires, thank God, and moved onto the dystopian universe thing.  The government has ended all normalcy and everyone is out to get the next. You have either the Hunger Game theme of totalitarian controlled government that has a violent Olympic battle to the death…. Quite popular amongst people that I think are a. to old to be reading it and enjoying it so much (shutup about my love of Twilight. Bella and Edward transcend all romance….) or b. too young to be reading something so violent.

Then you have the Divergent theme of government falling to war so we set up this five split set of factions where you live work and marry into.  Oh, your kids can divert from that faction but they can never see you again. The system works perfectly… except for those people that have aspects of more than one faction….

What camp am I in? I choose Divergent.  Now all those Hunger Game fans. STOP.  I’m not dissing on your love of Katniss.  Go right ahead. I view it as no different than those people that read Lord of the Rings vs. Harry Potter. (I am a strict HP fan) I think the theme of Divergent is a lot less violent.  Granted, I have not read Hunger Games, nor do I plan to. But I have seen the film, and I’ve also seen Divergent. I found Divergent a lot less violent, and just more appealing.  I like extraordinary people taking on the oppressive government system.  I like the relationship of Tris and Four ( I am not giving away spoilers. I know some people have not read the series. I suggest you try it.)

Personally though, I am not that big a fan of dystopian themes.  I mean, sure, they make great sci fi films, but eh, I could take em or leave em. Part of the reason I’ve enjoyed Divergent is it’s a fairly fast, but action packed series.  I like that. The same reason I really like The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  There is a lot of action.

And I honestly don’t see how these books should be for young adults as the themes in them are very adult, but that is another post I hope to talk about soon.

So, what camp are you. Comment below. I’d like to see if my idea is right. So tell me where you are.

Divergent

or

Hunger Games

Signing off

Kate

British Company Speaking – Flash Fiction

photo via It's A Dog's Life

photo via It’s A Dog’s Life

I rode up the quiet Main Street in the lingering evening. All the cars were gone and it was relatively silent. Except…

Bring! Brrriinngg! Rang the phone in the telephone booth.  The young man in the wife-beater t-shirt, low-slung jeans, and backwards hat picked up the receiver.

“Ello, British Company speaking,” he said with a fake Cockney accent.

I busted up laughing, because it was so out of the ordinary.  Then the laughter increased as I saw the other youth around the corner of the local deli on his cell phone, talking to Mr. British Company.

Ah, yes, to be young and silly again.

Yes. This is not true flash fiction, because it’s actually reality. I did see this happen and I was riding my bike up the street one quiet evening not too long ago.

Writing on

Kate

Goodnight Ark – A Review

51LYm8I1YXLGoodnight, Ark  By Laura Sassi, illustrated by Jane Chapman must be one of the best modern picture books I have read in quite a while. Laura Sassi tells the tale of Noah and the ark in a sing song rhyme that is incredibly pleasing and something that will charm a child.  The ark is filling up with animals and it’s time for bed…. but when the loud storm scares the animals, they all start ending up in Noah’s bed. Boars, goats, elephants, tigers and even skunks! How will Noah get the animals to calm down and sleep? Maybe a softly crooned song will do the trick!

I cannot express how much I enjoyed this picture book.  I am always on the lookout for a really charming and well written picture book, and this one fits the bill.  Regardless of whether or not it has a ‘Christian’ theme with Noah being the main character, this book is marvelous and any child would enjoy the wonderful rhyming rhythm Laura Sassi has used. Rhyme in any story is incredibly difficult (I know as I write picture books). Making it interesting enough for children is sometimes even harder. Laura Sassi has captured the lovable qualities of animals in this story and the style make you want to read the book over and over. (personally I have always been a fan of the story of Noah and the Ark.)

However, no picture book would be complete without the illustrator. I cannot expound enough about how much I love Jane Chapman‘s illustrations. I was first introduced to her illustrating with Karma Wilson‘s ‘Bear series books’, which I also own and adore. Jane Chapman’s art is incredible to look at with all the intricacies within the illustrations.  The fuzziness of the tiger’s hair, the little things that make you feel like you are on the ark. Food for the animals and even an umbrella for Noah.  I admire her illustrating so much that it was specifically for that reason I chose this book to review. I have said since I found her work, I want her to illustrate one of my picture books.  With Laura’s marvelous rhyme (akin to Karma Wilson’s) and Jane’s endearing illustrations, this is a wonderful picture book.

I would highly recommend this book for any child and I will enjoy reading this book over and over. Five stars and I could continue gushing, but I say, just get the book!

This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and Harper Collins Christian Publishing for my honest review.

Signing off

Kate

NIV Gardners Bible – A Review

_240_360_Book.1285.cover“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear The Son of God discloses,” are the words of a famous hymn that goes perfectly with the NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible Grow Your Faith While Growing Your Garden contributed by Shelley Cramm.  Take a walk in a garden with God as you meander through the Gardeners Bible, with daily devotions centering on the growth of the spirit. With daily essays on things pertaining to gardens, literally and metaphorically, this bible takes you on a journey of the soul of the gardener. Tending, growing and cultivating the spirit. Each essay, under the themes of Garden Tour, Garden Work and Garden Stories, gives you a verse, or selection of verses, a companion of cross-references and plenty of ‘food for thought’. Taking a year to meander through the Bible, just like a garden, our spiritual life is a constant through the year.

I was quite impressed with the Gardeners Bible. I’m a firm believer that we are stewards of the land and we are called upon to tend the land even though it may not be the Garden of Eden any longer.  Just as we till with our hands, we cultivate our spirit in God’s word. The essays are just right for contemplation, with a very green feel (as in the essay has a lovely green page to separate it out from the rest of the white pages.) The end of each essay tells you where to read the next day and so forth, and there is an index at the back of the Bible for ease of use.  The dust jacket and cover of the book are the same image, which I really like. The Bible has a very crisp and fresh feel, just like being in a garden.  Shelley Cramm uses an exhaustive bibliography, which is cited in her essays; a feature I always love for further reading. If you are a gardener in Christ and want and a supplemental devotional Bible, I highly recommend the Gardeners Bible.

 

This book was provided free of charge from Thomas Nelson and Harper Collins Christian Publishing for my honest review.

Signing off

Kate