One of the Few – A Review

I was given the opportunity to read One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd, when the author contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to review his book. I snapped at the chance as I have never had an author ask me for a review.

One of the Few is Jason’s personal account of his life in the marines and his coming to faith. The book is divided into three parts,  Part One being Jason’s story of being a ‘military brat’ and going into the service and finally deciding to be a fighter pilot. We learn about some of his family life and his relationship with his wife who was a Christian, while Jason was not. Then one little question from Jason’s wife starts Jason on the path to discovery of Christ.  As he traverses the training of being a pilot, he also searches out what being a Christian is about. Part two takes a look at the concepts of certain versions of Christianity(I say this because it’s not a ‘this is the only way it is’ in my opinion depending on which area of Christianity you are in) and having a worldview and bouncing those beliefs off of what is going on in life.  Part three is supposed to be about using Jason’s background in peace, war and defense to prepare you for the spiritual warfare you will encounter in life and how to deal with if you are struggling.

The first part of the book captured my interest in the training Jason did in the military, along with little bits and pieces of how being a person of faith applies to life, but towards the  end of Part one, I started to not understand what Jason was getting at in regards to military training and applying it to faith. I also struggled with all of the military acronyms. In my opinion, if you are going to have that many acronyms, have an index of them at the end of the book or beginning or somewhere because, after only one explanation of what the acronym is, I forget it. Then when they are used over and over, I have no idea even what I’m reading. That happened a lot.

By the time I got to Part two, I struggled with what the core of the book was. I honestly am not even quite sure what part two was about except for segments on various Christian ideas. I wasn’t sure how it applied to anything except for feeling like it was a ‘do this, don’t do that’ rambling sort of narrative mixing in Jason’s continued research into being a Christian. While it’s supposed to be about putting your Christian faith up against what you see in the world, and is it right or wrong, I never got that impression.

By the time I got to Part three, I was entirely lost. You could take each segment withing each chapter on its own, possibly, but combined, I never quite figured out what was going on. Basically, the book is combined of a bunch of essays that don’t necessarily connect enough to understand what the total package is. Jason explains what the three parts of the book are about in the introduction, but I felt like he was unable to accomplish it in a concise manner where you understood how each point related to each other.   Roughly five pages into part three , I felt like Jason was not  accomplishing the third goal he had laid out  in his introduction. From this point, I struggled with finishing the book. I had already needed to skip ahead in Part two, hoping that the book would make more sense if I read Part three. Another problem for me was Jason takes an incredibly academic look at Christianity. For me, who grew up in the church, reading all of the more in-depth theological discussions left me feeling tired and bored and scrambling to figure out how it related to Jason coming to be a Christian. Jason also states his opinion about his specific beliefs as fact, a problem I’ve found with Christian authors. For a person who has not been a Christian for very long to state things that way, tends to turn me off a bit. Religions are made of opinions and my opinions are different than Jason’s so they cannot be stated as fact.  I actually felt like Jason had a great idea for this book, but then he jotted it out so quickly, it appeared to have lost its outline which he states in his introduction.

In the end, I’m not quite sure who would find this book helpful other than those questioning their faith and wanting to look at a more academical approach to faith, though at the same time, I felt like it was only barely scratching the surface and wasn’t quite helpful enough for even that.

Another little tick that I found frustrating was all of the notes at the end of each chapter. In most traditionally published books, the notes are at the end of the book, which I find, leaves a clean look to the book. Rarely do I read any of the footnotes or notes in a book, so having them contained at the end of the book leaves a more clean look to reading and gives less of a distraction.

Unfortunately, I find myself having to give this book only 2 out of 5 stars.

Kate

Kisses and Cigarettes

staticdesign-mart-scholliers-unsplashI dream about really good kisses as much as I dream about having a cigarette. I crave really good kisses as much as I crave that first drag on a cigarette. Funny thing; I’ve never smoked. Unless you call that one puff my father let me try  of one of his really good cigars. Trust me, it wasn’t that good. In fact, after swirling the smoke around my mouth, I wondered why anyone would want to do this.  And I didn’t even inhale.

But ever since then, I want a cigarette so bad. Not all the time, but after that dream where I can’t find my pack of them and I need a smoke, I’ll wake up wishing I could light one up. An insatiable desire for the forbidden.

After that dream with an incredible kiss, I swear I wake up , lips tingling, heart racing, wishing it had really happened and I’ll be getting another one soon. An insatiable desire for pure, unadulterated pleasure.

Neither have happened. I wake up, go about my day wishing for one or the other……… or both if the dream was so nice as to grant me with two cravings. Oddly, both cravings involve the lips. Weird, huh?

I’ve had one good kiss in my life. One so good I refer to it here and there. I dream about it, write about it, think about it. It’s kind of like that one taste of tobacco smoke. That kiss kine of opened my eyes to what a good kiss is like. Especially after two boyfriends and countless bad kisses from them. At the time, I didn’t know they were bad kisses. Now that I’ve had good bourbon, why would I go back to cheap crap?

How could two very simple things take control of my life? Currently I’m thinking about both cravings days after two very vivid dreams. Personally I think the only way to cure either is to go have a smoke then have a really good kiss. But then, would it cure the disease or make me need a fix that much more?

Signing off

Kate

31 Days of Autumn in the Mountains

31-days-of-autumnGetting this post up last minute, but life has been crazy. Like the two previous years, I will be participating in Write 31 Days which you can read about if you click that link. Or you can also check out my past years of of Write 31 Days.  Previous Write 31 Days in October

Basically it is a challenge to write every day for the month of October. Due to Writer’s Digest having their November Poem a Day chapbook challenge, I didn’t want to burn out my writing in October, so I am going to be doing photography of autumn/fall images for the next 31 days of October.  Anything that is autumn related here in the mountains. Be it the mountains engulfed in clouds or autumn crocus, or falling leaves, or anything else that strikes my fancy. I hope you enjoy the images and the quotes I hope to post with them. So far, there isn’t any theme to the month, unless I decide on one. Basically, what image I can take that day, or a couple previous ones, and how nature and life goes.

Looking forward to October. Do you plan to do the challenge? Let me know if you do!

Kate

Life is Better at the Beach – A Review

089689Life is Better at the Beach by Christina Vinson, published by Thomas Nelson, is a beachy, devotional-y, inspirational-y charming book. Truly beach and nautically inspired, the book gives you fifteen rules for living life like the beach. Not so much as making sandcastles every day and picking up seashells, but more along the lines of “life is [blank]” but let’s take some ‘rules’ from being on the beach and apply them to life.

For instance, life at the beach is sandy, but at home dirt must stay outside, hands must be clean and the house must be just so, but Christ didn’t live in perfect, clean conditions, and it’s okay to be a bit dirty. Dig in the dirt, make cookies and let the flour spill. It’s okay.  Rules for beach life: Read a book, watch the sunset, pick up shells, make a sandcastle, soak in the sun, take a nap, walk barefoot……

There are gorgeous pictures of the ocean, sea, waves, sunsets, sandcastles, sand, shells, coastlines, everything beach related. There are inspirational quotes and verses that apply to life in a simple way. I think the book is perfect to pull off the shelf, or to leave out for a daily jolt of reminders how to take the simple things in life. Small enough to slip into a purse or book bag, it’s a nice book to take along with you.

This book is lovely with a host of sea colors, pictures that inspire and make you want to be at the beach. The quotes are both Biblical and non- Biblical and all apply in a nice way to compliment the pictures and each section of the book. The segments are short so you can read just a little at a time and be inspired. I find this book to be one you want to leave out on a table to constantly pick up and read a little excerpt or reminder to take a breath, notice the little things in life, remember Christ, and just ‘chill out.’ One of my favorite sections is Rule #11 Read a Book. I mean, I can’t imagine people not having time to read a book, but it’s such a nice reminder, and since I love books, well, it totally applies to me. (Honestly, anything beach related applies to me as well.)

I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A few less stars just because I was expecting a bit more of a devotional book and found it to be just a little less ‘devotional’, but still a really charming book. The colors and images alone are my thing. I don’t get to the beach hardly ever, so this is like a little retreat to have in hands. One I will find myself picking up over the years to just be reminded to calm down.

Kate
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com&gt; book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html&gt;

Where’s The Writer Been?

I realized that I’ve been a little unfocused when it comes to blogging when I got a notice from the book review site that my account had been deactivated. Just as I was working on a new review! Crazy summer. I’ll blame that. And that I have been spending more time writing within my actual writing instead of blogging. You have to give up a lot of stuff to be a writer. Even your sanity at times.

That being said, I have some posts in the works, and a couple of reviews coming down the pipeline. Along with that, in just 10 days I will be doing another Write 31 Days. This year’s theme will be 31 Days of Autumn Photography, or something titled like that. Then come November I will be participating in Writer’s Digest PAD challenge again. So things are coming. So sorry to be behind the times. And gosh, I hope I get my Gold status back again on the BookLookBloggers.

Kate

In Remembrance of 9/11

Today we remember the fate of so many souls lost on September 11th. We remember the towers crashing to the ground and the plane that was stopped from destroying our White House because of brave people that stood up to terrorism. Today we mark our calendars and minds and hearts with remembrance of that horrific day 15 years ago.

But we must not forget those souls we lost 4 years ago in Bengazi, Libya. Our ambassador, a state employee and the two brave men trying to save both of them. We mustn’t forget the men who went in to protect our ambassador and put their lives at risk not knowing what was in store for them on that fateful day. We must remember Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.

And we must not forget that according to one of our candidates running for president says that we did not lose any lives in Libya.

Yes we did. And they were good men sent to an area that was rife with terror.

Let us not forget our fallen men in Bengazi.

Let us not forget those we lost in the Twin Towers and Pentagon.

Let us not forget.

 

Respect the Reviewer: How to Find, Contact, and Stay on the Good Side of Book Reviewers

I was recently contacted by an author to review his books. It’s in the pipeline (meaning I’m reading it) but these are some really good tips for people who want a review. I might need to make up a submissions page.

A Writer's Path

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by thehappymeerkat

Here’s the second Respect the Reviewer article I’ve written (the first can be read here).  This is for all authors out there.  While some tips might be obvious others you may not have thought of, either way I hope some of these tips will help you find a reviewer and go about contacting them the right way. :)

All authors know the importance of getting book reviews. Not only can a good book review encourage others to buy your book but if you get enough of them your book will be listed higher on amazon (or so the rumour goes). But how can authors go about contacting reviewers? And what’s the right or wrong thing to say and do when asking and waiting for a review?

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Curio – A Review

_225_350_Book.1802.coverCurio by Evangeline Denmark is a new steampunk-esque, alternate universe, young adult novel set in a time period of late 1800s in Colorado in the wonderfully named Mercury City.  A city of miners, rules, regulations, members of the opposite sex who are unable to touch each other if unmarried, curfews, and Chemists. The people are ruled by the Chemists who control them with a potion that is their only way to have nutrition, instead of food, yet there is Grey. Grey, a young woman, has a secret. She is able to eat solid foods unlike others.

When Grey’s friend, Whit is taken away for improper behavior towards Grey, and the Chemists come after Grey, her grandfather sends her to the hidden world in his shop….Into the Curio.  A place where porcelain and clockwork people exist. Running off of water, steam and magic.  It’s a place she will have to learn to navigate to save her friends and family.

I was so excited to read this book, but as it has taken me nine months to post a review, that should say something as to how well I liked the book…. Unfortunately I have struggled trying to read this book and figure out what is going on half the time. The first part about Mercury City and all the things going on pulled me in, and I was excited about this young woman in a red coat that can’t be touched even by her young male friend. I happen to love steampunk, specifically things a la Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, but this style of steampunk left me with a blah taste in my mouth. Creative at points, but losing me quickly to the slow-ish story-line, I have just struggled to like this book. I especially don’t like the porcelain sentient beings being called Porcies. It reminds me of pigs (called porcine) and it annoys the heck out of me. That’s my own personal thing, nothing against the author.

Also, unfortunately, as I write this review, I am in the DNF (did not finish) category with this book. I have plans to finish it at some point, in which I might change my opinion, but if I can’t even get through the first 22% of the book( Kindle for PC) without being bored out of my mind, then I don’t have a lot of high hopes for it to get any better.  Due to the inability for the author to really keep me interested, I’m only going to give this a 2 out of 5 star rating.  I really hate doing that, but this book is just not to my taste. I’d say the biggest issue is just not having a clue what is going on.  There isn’t enough detail to really explain anything and I’m left wondering about a lot of things.

This book was provided to me for my honest opinion by BookLookBloggers. I was in no compensated for my opinion.

Kate