Loveology – Book Review

Loveology – God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female By John Mark Comer

Let me start off by saying, any book that has a grey cover with bright pink writing, and the words, love, sex, marriage, and God, is going to catch my attention.  Not to mention pink font inside, bright pink bubbles and just an all around really girly pretty book.  The cover alone makes me want to ‘swoon’ a bit it’s so nice.

Loveology is the theology of love by the pastor of Portland’s A Jesus Church -Bridgetown.  It’s relatively basic biblical theology on the relationships we have with our partner/lover/spouse written in a very comfortable easy, and almost watered down manner.  With background on the original Greek translations, in John Mark Comer’s style (if you ever listen to any of his sermons, you will understand what I mean). Five chapters on Love, Marriage, Sex, Romance, and Male and Female, including a Q and A section, the book is a fast read geared towards young marrieds, singles and dating couples.

Okay, now the gushing will ensue.  I LOVED/LOVE this book.  When I got it after waiting almost three weeks, I just could not put it down because it was so pretty. I mean, this guy, really knew how to appeal to women. This book is just marvelous to hold and run your hand over. It is a really nice size to slip in a bag and you just want to keep reading it.  John Mark Comer is brilliant in getting a more conservative Christian theology across. Without sounding preachy, he really gets you laughing at some of the funnier aspects of love. That being said, you are a Christian and you don’t already know this, then this book won’t help.  It’s a fun thing to read if you already know the theology, but you should already know it if you are reading this. But that’s my own take.

I enjoyed the book immensely, but that being said, I don’t always agree with the ‘watered-down’ take on the bible.  I find John Mark Comer has a great sense of humor and makes you want to read more, but it’s almost incredibly basic.  Maybe it’s because I was raised in a Conservative Baptist church, but this is much more moderate in style.  But on a scale of one to five, I’d give this a five star rating.

This book was provided to me through Harper Collins  for my honest review.

Signing off

~Kate

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And the Phone Rang – Flash Fiction

The Phone

The Phone

The antique rotary phone rang with a blaring ring that was loud enough to wake the dead. Of course she bolted out of bed and reached for the receiver before another deafening brring could escape the damned machine.  A muffled “hello” was muttered into the mouthpiece as she fell back into the pillows.

God, why did Sears need to call to remind her that the repair was tomorrow?  Couldn’t the automated machine have called later?  And who in their right mind would want to have this phone by their bed?  It should be installed in a padded room where the sound would be slightly muffled.

No, she was not a morning person, and ringing phones did not help matters.

 

Rotary phones…. so much fun.  I happen to have one by my bed to try it out.  The above is a semi-autobiographical incident from this morning.  Okay, fine, you got me. It did happen, and it did not help that I had an antihistamine drugging up my system.

Signing off

~Kate

Three Wishes – Daily Prompt: Lucky Star

tumblr_m5y9k7oDPX1r3a6jho1_500“If you had three wishes, what would they be for?” he asked as he stroked his fingers up her bare arm.  They were lying out beneath the stars, waiting for the meteor shower she had promised him. Lying on the blankets in the bed of his truck, snuggled together after amusing themselves with taste, touch and passion of skin.  Keeping the chill off their bodies by becoming one.  Bodies that were now slightly chilled from sweat and mountain air.

He pulled the blanket up over her back and pulled her closer.  “Three wishes,” he breathed in her ear, “what would they be?”

She shivered as his breath washed over her and tightened her hand around his waist.

“Mmm.  Well, my first one would be for you to take me again,” she giggled.

“Be serious,” he admonished and tapped her arm in a mock slap.

“I am being serious,” she said provocatively.  “I could use you again.”

“Okay, I’ll file that away for later. But really, what would you wish for?” He said seriously.

She thought for a bit, staring up at the velvety midnight blue sky.  At the diamonds twinkling and she thought hard.

“I’d like to never have to clean the house again,” she finally said.

“We could hire a maid.”

She laughed.  “Don’t be silly. I really don’t mind it that much, but it would be a nice thing.”

“Okay, number two.”

“I’d like to go to Paris.”

“Is that it?” He asked in surprise. He thought she might wish for something outlandish, but Paris was reasonable. Something he could save up and give her in the future, possibly the near future if he was willing to forgo getting a new truck.

“Okay, and the last?” he urged.

“That was the last one.  Sex, maid, and Paris.  Yeah, that’ll do.” She sucked in a breath as he skated his fingers up her ribs that then sent her into peals of laughter when he tickled.

“Confound it woman, you are incorrigible.”

“Stop. Stop!” She laughed and punched him in the arm. He stopped and pulled her close again and she let out a sigh.  “Okay, your turn. What would you want if you had three wishes.”

“Well, while sex might be nice, since I know I can get that, I think I’ll try for something a little more crazy.”  It was his turn to laugh when she smacked him.

“So, first off, not having to work another day in my life, but having plenty of money to make you happy.”

“You do make me happy. Every day,” she murmured.

“I know, but it would be nice if I didn’t have to spend all the time working and could just be with you. Two, I’d like to go to one of the Superbowls.” She rolled her eyes at this, but he ignored her.

“And three?” she prompted. He was much faster at this than her answers, spitting them out like he had thought about them a lot.

“Three.  Three is more tricky.  I’d wish I could own this lake and the mountains surrounding it. It’s been our spot forever, but I’d like to build a cabin or house here so that we could sit out and make love under the stars whenever we wanted without having to drive an hour to get here.”

Via http://ladylandscape.tumblr.com/ Wish all you can ! by Joe Dsilva on Flickr.

She was silent, slightly surprised.  She hadn’t known he loved this place as much as he did, considering it was she who had first brought him to this spot years ago right after they’d met.  She’d never told him why this place was so special, nor that technically the land was hers, or would be eventually.  It hadn’t really mattered because they came here as often as they could in the summer.

“What would you say if I told you that at some point I could grant you the last wish?” she asked, leveling herself up to look down at his face, shadowed in the starlight.

“I’d say you were crazy and how much money did you plan to throw at Uncle Sam?”

“The government doesn’t own this land. My uncle owns it.”

“You don’t say? No wonder we always come here. Why didn’t you tell me it was in the family?”

“Never saw the need to since we came here all the time.  But not only is it in the family, but since I am the only relative of Uncle James, other than Dad, he uh, has me as the heir.  When he dies, I get this land.”

He stared up at her. Emotions flashed across his face; hope, longing, adoration. A mixture of thoughts and dreams bundled up in the surprise.  Clearly she was more able to give him something that meant a lot to the both of them.

“Well, darling,” he said huskily, then flipped her onto her back. “While I might not be able to grant you every wish of yours, and you have certainly thrown a shock to me with your little wish granting, the least I can do is give you your number one wish.”

He kissed her. Then again. Then some more, and as they began to move, the heavens rained down stars. Stars that flashed and granted wishes to all those who had wished.

 

 

 

Wow. How this all came out like this, I’ll never know.  Sorry it’s a little long. I just started writing and could not stop.  I am like that sometimes.  I was picturing the Perseids meteor shower in August of every year.  One of my favorite meteor showers. And I imagine making love under the stars would be, well.  Eh em, moving on.  Lets just say that it sounds delightful.  This was probably not the prompt Daily Prompt: Lucky Star meant, but this is what you get.  I love it and the image is so vivid in my mind.

Enjoy

Signing off

~Kate

Twenty-Six – Flash Fiction

early-morning-runTwenty-six. That’s how many songs were on his playlist.

Twenty-six. That’s how old he was, give or take a few months or days.

Twenty-six. That’s how many miles he was training to run. Miles he would run in a marathon that was taking place on his twenty seventh birthday.

He smoothed his hand over his freshly shaved head before putting in his earbuds, turning on his iPhone, and going to his playlist.

Morning, before the sun came up over the mountains, when the air was cool and fresh, was when he liked to run. His feet would pound the pavement in an ever repeating rhythm as he ran through the quiet streets of his neighborhood. Mini-vans and cars silent in their driveways. Sprinklers on their automatic timers watering emerald lawns and sidewalks, the excess running into gutters. It was a world of another world. The inside of a snowglobe before you shook it and all the snow or glitter sprinkled down. It was his and his alone. He could relish the peace of the moment as he ran, stepping into this world within a world. Forgetting for a moment his life that was waiting for him. Forgetting the uniform he put on every day. The uniform, where the minute he put it on, he became someone else and people regarded him differently.

He could forget his life as the music washed over him, as he repeated the same mantra over and over. Twenty-six. Twenty-sic. Breath in. Breath out. One more mile. One more moment of himself.

He turned the corner of his street and saw his young son sitting on the front step of his house. Gloria, the next door woman who watched his son when he went on a run, was drinking her coffee as she stood next to his boy.

“Daddy!” his son called and the world in glass faded away.

All that mattered was his son.

 

This was a prompt from  The Daily Post. Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered. The prompt being to use the number 26 as a role.  It’s funny how a post can start off one way then have a mind of it’s own and just go from there.  There was nothing specific when I started this other than twenty six sounded like a nice long playlist. Then I pictured a man running in the morning. Then the man had a shaved head.  And suddenly the whole story morphed to being for someone and about someone I know. This is just for him and he is going to get his own copy in the mail.  Hopefully he doesn’t read this on a regular basis because then the surprise is gone.

It always blows my mind how a story can come out of just one thought.  How plots and characters just grow into a story.  Well, this is for someone I would like to call a friend.  And for all of you to enjoy.

Signing off

~Kate

I Feel Like Sushi! – Flash Fiction

“I feel like sushi!” she announced as she looked up from her book.

He looked at her cautiously. “Is that a metaphor?” he asked warily. It was common for her to spit out strange metaphors at the oddest of moments.

Her laugh was like little bells.  “Heavens no! I want sushi.”

“Well that’s nigh impossible now,” he said, indicating the clock that read 1:30AM. “Plus, you really shouldn’t be eating that now,” he said, hinting at her very pregnant state.

“I know, but it sounds so good,” she sighed.

They went back to reading.

“How about tacos?” she blurted out.

“That we can do,” he said, smiling at her very strange switch of foods, but sliding out of the covers and slipping into his jeans, nonetheless. Ah, the things he suffered through to make his wife happy. But tacos sounded good to him too.

 

It’s amazing what kind of flash fiction you can get out of the back of a magazine with an ad for Siri. The first line is from that ad.  Enjoy.

Signing off

~Kate

The Captive Maiden – A Review

Let me preface this book review with a bit of commentary regarding fairy tales. Right now, anything dealing with a fairy tale is my thing. I blame Once Upon a Time for making me focus on that. I also blame Once Upon a Time for ruining fairy tales for me. I will never be able to read another fairy tale and not think of Snow White as being Emma Swan’s mother or Prince Charming being Emma’s father. Captain Hook will always be a sexy Irishman, and Rumpelstiltskin is this evil, but kind of cool villain.  So, all that being what it is, I had to choose a fairy tale story when it came up in the list of available books to request from Thomas Nelson/Booksneeze back in December. That also being said, I had to keep reminding myself that in all the classic fairy tales, Emma Swan is not best friends with all these heroines!

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson is a retelling of the classic Cinderella story.  Taking place in a province of Germany called Hagenheim in the early 15th century.  Duke Wilhelm rules and his son, Valten, Lord Hamlin is our ‘prince’ to Gisela’s ‘Cinderella’.

Gisela lives with her nasty stepmother and two stepsisters just outside Hagenheim.  By sheer luck, or the grace of God, she happens to meet Valten in the Marketplatz when he is disguised as a commoner, though she knows who he is.  He invites her to the jousting tournament that is to be held the next day.  Gisela comes to the tournament, despite her stepmother telling her she can’t go, and is crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty.  There she will remain, until the tournament is over, but not before dancing at the ball with Valten.

However, evil forces are at play, from the evil stepmother who sells Gisela to Ruexner, a knight who has a vendetta against Valten! Will she escape?  Not before being tricked, captured, rescued, captured, and rescued again!  There is so much action and suspense hiding among the pages of this story.  There are good friends and helpful monks who come to the rescue of both Gisela and Valten.  And Gisela is far from a damsel in distress, though she is a damsel, and at times, she is in distress. (thank you Megara from Hercules for having that tidbit always in my brain) Gisela can fend for herself!

Does it all turn out okay in the end.  Well I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but think. It is a Cinderella story.  Usually the maiden does get the ‘prince’.

The Captive Maiden is a nail biting book. I had to keep jumping ahead of myself to make sure it was going to turn out okay because I was so certain everything was going to go wrong. My heart was in my throat several times.  I’m not sure why I didn’t stop and remind myself that it’s a Cinderella story and of course it is going to turn out okay.  Melanie Dickerson may have written this for teens, but honestly I feel it it is for teens and up. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Valten is quite gallant and believable as a struggling young man that has to settle down and is finally ready to when he meets the girl of his ‘dreams’. Gisela is feminine and charming, but still a strong woman character. None of that weakling damsels in distress. I love the one line where Gisela says that maybe she will rescue Valten instead of him rescuing her! It’s reminiscent of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. And Ruexner is a truly horrible villain next to the stepmother.

I like how Melanie Dickerson kept the religious aspect from getting too much in the way of the story like some authors are wont to do. The inner prayers of both Valten and Gisela are so believable since they sound like what I would say to God when I am struggling with something. One doesn’t have long conversations with Him when in the middle of something happening. It’s short prayers and little thoughts.  You can really feel the panic and frustration of Valten and Gisela. Also, the monk is quite believable and charming as a guide, giving wisdom and guidance to two struggling young people.

I think this was a charming book and I’m glad I could read and review it. I am now quite interested in reading Ms. Dickerson’s telling of Snow White in her book The Fairest Beauty.  I would give the Captive Maiden 4 out of 5 stars.

This book was provided for me from Thomas Nelson books free of charge for a fair and honest review.

Signing off

~Kate

Maybe He Had A Better Reason For Leaving – Flash Fiction

farmers-wife-magazine Maybe he had a better reason for leaving. Maybe it was the summer sun that first started the wanderlust. Whatever the reason, on day Janis watched him walk out of their front gate, not knowing when she would next see him.

He left no plans, no way to contact him; He only said he’d be back in the fall. Whatever that meant.

Janis watched him close the white picket gate, the one he had built last summer and walk towards town proper. She dried her hands on the dish towel she held, just shaking her 33-06,FrmrsWfhead.

“Silly man,” she muttered, smoothing down her apron. She wasn’t surprised he was leaving. Every couple of years he’d get this look in his eye and by the next day he’d have his knapsack packed. He’d go off finding adventure, though he never told Janis what he ended up doing on his treks. He could be gone a week or months. Once he was gone only two days, but another he was gone almost a year.

She didn’t know if he had another woman, she hated him if he did, but she doubted him fooling around. There were plenty of women around here who would have gladly taken him into their beds. No, the look in his eyes was not the lust for human flesh, but of fresh air, mountain peaks, and sandy beaches. Sometimes she would find bits and pieces of nature hiding down at the bottom o f his knapsack when he’d return. A small shell, a green rock, and once she found an old arrowhead.

For Janis the reprieve of married life was always a chance for a renewal of herself.  She slept in, not needing to make his breakfast. She enjoyed her poached eggs on toast without complaint. She tried new hairstyles and bought a new outfit or two. She would hire a couple of local girls and they would tear apart the house, cleaning it from top to bottom, then Janis would rearrange the furniture or paint a room. She’d have a gardener come in and give the whole yard a nice clean up, getting all the spots He never got to when he was at home. She’d splurge on a new rose bush or something exotic and fancy that would last only the summer season.

She’d invite her friends over for luncheons and teas. They’d gab about kids and husbands, though Janis never mentioned Him other than to say he was on sabbatical. They all knew what that meant. The ladies would discuss flower arrangement and wallpaper options. Painting versus staining re-purposed furniture. Then Janis would show off her new redone room and all the ladies would ooh and ah, commenting on how they wished their husbands would let them redo a room whenever they wanted to.

The friends would leave and Janis would clean up the house to a spotless state, fix a small meal and eat dinner watching one of her favorite movies. Something he wouldn’t like and try to talk over. She’s go to bed whenever she wanted, sometimes late, sometimes early. And every night till he came home, Janis would cry herself to sleep.

Who would have thought a short story or flash fiction piece could come out of a Harbrace College Handbook?  The first line and title of this piece was a line of correction under commas in my Harbrace. I was reading it the other day and this line caught my attention and I knew I had to write something. Not exactly sure if I have the commas in the correct spots (I’m a comma girl and I use way more than I ever should), but I’m happy with how this turned out. I have a fifties or sixties esque thought pattern in my head for Janis. Like she does her hair in the flip styles and wears big patterned dresses with bold flowers. Well, whatever she looks like, this was fun to write out the other day in a matter of moments on a piece of lined paper. Sometimes inspiration strikes from the funniest of places. And this story did not even come close to what I had in my mind, but hey, sometimes the character takes you places you never knew were hiding.

Signing off

~Kate

Blue-Eyed Smitten – Being Thwarted – Flash Fiction

Part Two of Blue-Eyed Smitten

I had been thwarted. I had spent a week of trying to find a plausible reason to speak to Mr. Blue-Eyes. Something that didn’t sound inane and ridiculous. Fortunately, due to his distracting beautifulness, I actually hadn’t paid attention to something he’d told me. I had a reason to call! I played our conversation over and over in my head practicing and discarding what wouldn’t work. I knew what I was going to say.

I dialed the number carefully, rehearsing what I had practiced saying. I waited through the answering service information, heart pounding. I pressed the extension number.

“Is he in?” I asked the receptionist.

He was! But he was with a patient, could I hold while the question was asked?

Now I stare at the silent phone, defeated. Deflated. My question was answered. I had my information. I did not get what I had wanted.

I had wanted to hear his voice. To teas and ask him my question, while making it obvious I was interested in him. Impossible to convey that to the receptionist.

Cross plan B off the list. Now what?

 

 

There is that moment in the film Serendipity, where Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) goes to take Sarah’s number from her and a gust of wind comes up and blows the slip of paper away.  It’s that moment when “fate’ is telling the two to back off. That it isn’t time.

I am a huge believer in fate, Destiny, and God.  All interact completely.  So clearly, this was not my time and ‘fate’ was telling me to back off.  My only consolation is that the receptionist did have to go ask him my question, and she did have to use my name.  And I am supposed to make an appointment in 6 months…. Plan C?

Enjoy the continuation of my life in flash fiction form.

Signing off

~Kate

Blue-eyed Smitten – Flash Fiction

jordon l legault edit blue eyesI was smitten. Staring up in to the most beautiful blue eyes on God’s green earth, with lashes that were too beautiful to belong to a man, I was dumb struck.  Eyes that were  only inches from mine. So close. I could drown in eyes this blue. Bluer than mine. Like those icebergs you see that are so blue they seem unreal.  And yet, this was the most awkward position for a me to be in; on my back with a beautiful man looking down at me. There I was with my mouth wide open and dental tools scraping away at my teeth.  Oh yes, this was a flattering way to tell a guy that you could drown in his eyes.  Why did awkward always happen when a gorgeous man, with no ring on his left hand, was anywhere near me?

A moment of real flash fiction from Monday. I never knew a man’s eyes could be so gosh darn beautiful. Or that a man could be so drop dead gorgeous. Well, that was the best visit to the dentist ever.  The picture is not of his eyes. His eyes were so much better. However. Enjoy.

Signing off

~Kate

Dear Mr. Knightley : a novel – A Review

Dear Mr. Knightley; a novel by Katherine Reay is my new favorite read of 2013. Samantha Moore has always lost herself in the works of Austen, Dumas, Bronte, and various other writers, instead of really stepping into the real world.  Escapism at its best. However, when an unknown benefactor offers her the chance to go to the prestigious Medill School of Journalism, Sam has to choose between trying to make it on her own or take a difficult course that could jump start an amazing career.  The only stipulation is that Sam write her benefactor letters on her progress, somewhat like a diary.  The letters are to be addressed to a Mr. G. Knightley.

So begins Sam’s quest to become a journalist, something she is not comfortable with, and learning how to let people into her dark past.  Will she be able to traverse the social world without always quoting from her books? And what will happen when she meets one of her favorite authors, Alex Powell, and he turns out to be an incredibly warm, charming and young man? Will she retreat into her safe, bookish world?

Dear Mr. Knightly is an epistolary novels, which means it is written completely in Sam’s letters to Mr. Knightley over the course of her schooling. A quarter of the way through the book, I was really not liking Sam, which is unusual for me since I usually love the heroine right off. I thought Sam was like an Emma in her own ways. Superior in her knowledge of English literature and closed to criticism.  However, she starts to grow on you and when she finally really starts to open up to Mr. Knightley, you feel so much for her. The secondary characters add an amazing warmth to Sam’s life. Friendships and ‘family’ help her grow and become a much more confident young woman.

I knew I had to read this book from the title because any Austen fan knows of Mr. Knightley’s wonderfulness. I almost laughed three-quarters of the way through the book when Sam wrote and said: “I think I’ve told you this before, Mr. Knightley, but a name is a powerful thing. I don’t know that I could have shared so much with you if you were a Mr. Elton or a Frank Churchill.  They weren’t honorable men. George Knightley was. So I trusted you on that association alone – at first.”

That statement is spot on. You immediately trust Mr. Knightley.

I absolutely loved this book and it will be one I will want to read over and over. The struggles of Sam left me laughing, crying, and sharing in her plight. I want to meet her. I want to read Alex Powell’s books. These characters feel so real to me.  I think my only eyebrow raise would come from how well Alex can quote Jane Austen and knows what quotes Sam is using. I have never met any guy who is a ‘real man’ who could do that. However, it does make for a charming story. Five stars and then some.  Read it. If you love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you’ll love this.

Signing off

~Kate