Oct 052017
 

The Sinner

Author: Petra Hammesfahr
ISBN: 9780143132851
Publisher: Penguin

Summary

On a sunny summer afternoon by the lake, Cora Bender stabs a man to death. Why? What would cause this quiet, kind young mother to stab a complete stranger in the throat over and over again, in full view of her family and friends? For the local police, it’s an open-and-shut case. Cora quickly confesses and there’s no shortage of witnesses, but those questions remain unanswered. Haunted by the case, the police commissioner refuses to close the file and begins his own maverick investigation. So begins the slow unraveling of Cora’s past, a harrowing descent into a woman’s private hell. A dark, spellbinding novel, where the truth is to be questioned at every turn.

About the Author

Hailed as Germany’s Patricia Highsmith, Petra Hammesfahr has written more than twenty crime and suspense novels, and also writes scripts for film and television. She has won numerous literary prizes, including the Crime Prize of Wiesbaden and the Rhineland Literary Prize. Her breakthrough novel, The Sinner, was a major critical and commercial success internationally, including in Germany, where it stayed on the bestseller list for more than fifteen months. The Sinner has been adapted for television as a limited series on USA starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman.

My Review

I decided to purchase this book after being completely enamored with the limited series on USA. It was an amazing show, if you haven’t watched it, go binge those 8 episodes -you won’t regret it!!

As for the book, it is equally amazing. It does follow the show fairly closely but we do see a lot more of the abuse that Cora has gone through as she grew up and the way she came to be. I feel like the show was more about someone else inquiring into Cora’s actions that day on the beach, but the book explains to us how Cora was raised and really answers everything amazingly well. The show did too and I honestly can’t compare them as far as quality goes.

Normally, a show is either better or worse than the book, and while I would love to say that the show was better simply because the English wasn’t the greatest for the book as it was translated from German, the story itself is equally as compelling and forces you to keep turning the page. If you love one you will love the other.

I am looking forward to reading other books by Hammesfahr that are translated to English.

The basis for the “instantly gripping” (Washington Post) limited series on USA starring Jessica Biel, The Sinner is an internationally bestselling psychological thriller surrounding an unexplained murder

On a sunny summer afternoon by the lake, Cora Bender stabs a complete stranger to death. Why? What would cause this quiet, kind young mother to commit such a startling act of violence in front of her family and friends?

Cora quickly confesses and it seems like an open-and-shut case. But the police commissioner, haunted by these unaswered questions, refuses to close the file and begins his own maverick investigation. So begins the slow unraveling of Cora’s past, a harrowing descent into the depths of her own psyche and the violent secrets buried within.

A dark, spellbinding novel where the truth is to be questioned at every turn, The Sinner is now a smash summer hit, with the TV series hailed as one of the best new shows of summer.

“As I read [the novel], I kept going, ‘I know where this is going—there’s no way this could be interesting.’ And then it would just take a com­pletely different direction.” —Jessica Biel

“The Sinner is unnerving and weird and guaranteed to stick with you weeks later.” —Sarah Weinman, editor of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives and Women Crime Writers

“Hauntingly insightful and sensitive.” —The Guardian

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
Feb 202017
 

Chaos (Scarpetta #24)
by Patricia Cornwell
ISBN: 0062436724
URL: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062436726/chaos

Summary

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

My Review

I absolutely LOVE Cornwell and the Scarpetta series, however this wasn’t the best in the series. There was a lot of buildup to a fairly fast ending. The book is entirely narrated by Kay Scarpetta and talks about her family and the past and things that anyone who has read the majority of this series would already know. That said, its a GREAT book for someone who is new to Cornwell and the Scarpetta series! It wasn’t as big of a page-turner as other Scarpetta novels, but it was still good and a book I will keep on my shelves to read again!

I did feel like I have missed the last book previous to this because there were some major life changes for one of the main characters, but it was explained enough to understand and to be honest, I don’t know if it would be in a prior book. I will certainly find out when I see the book I am missing!

About Patricia Cornwell

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

 

Feb 032017
 

The printer spitting out papers in booklet format as I prepare for Hello Mornings new study and while I wait on that I go to Amazon and download a couple of free thrillers to read. I feel like an oxymoron with God on one side and crime thrillers on the other.

I know these are the complexities of being human though. Working our brains. Enjoying what we do while keeping a safe balance to it all.

For some struggling to keep things in the “safety zone” is the struggle though. Overindulgence being catastrophic to their wellbeing as they violently swing from one extreme to the next, never placing their feet firmly on the middle ground, or even recognizing what the middle ground is.

The pile of books at my bedside include my planner, my new MEV Bible, Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie and Mary’s Diary –Jesus Through His Mothers Eyes by Marilyn Friesen. The pile inside of my iPad tends to be where the other books go. The ones I love to read but don’t want to spend the money on because I know I will likely never read them again.

I feel like maybe I am not the only one who writes that has multiple books and multiple genres going at the same time. I used to be one who would sit down with a book and read it completely through before grabbing the next in the pile, I still do that with fiction, but I always have non-fiction and Christian books going too. And the Bible, I can read it front to back and never be finished with it!

I sing along to a Garth Brooks song and wonder how I never knew the song was his before. My mind in a constant state of multitasking while I try and avoid today’s latest news headlines, at least for now.

I wonder if the girlchild is up yet. She isn’t really a child anymore. At almost 15 she pretty much does everything for herself, except you know, cook, clean, pay bills, stay organized, etc; Pretty much a full on adult. -smiles-

Really, it’s not that I do much better. The water guy was in my house this morning for nearly three hours before knocking on my bedroom door to tell me he figured the water pressure was fixed now and that he was sorry for making the dog bark so much. I definitely don’t have this adulating thing down yet. Secretly, I hope that I never do.

I don’t want to stop running through empty parking lots and sliding on the ice or quit jumping off of snowbanks onto busy sidewalks in our small town. I don’t want to worry about singing the wrong lyrics to the song playing at the top of my lungs in a grocery store or walk in embarrassment and shame for being caught.

Maybe I have a bit of what I always called Peter Pan syndrome, the extreme desire to never grow up. I mean, yeah I have bills and I pay them, I have kids and responsibilities and a boyfriend who I love. I’ve never had a ticket and have done my best to stay on the right side, but there is no reason I have to give up my quirks because my age dictates I should.

Perhaps, we would all be a lot happier if we forgot the chores and laid in bed in our pj’s reading all day.

 

 The Promises of God Creative Journaling Bible is a double-column, widemargin Bible in the beautiful Modern English Version translation.  This unique Bible for craft enthusiasts is a wonderful resource for creative art journaling and coloring. Beautiful illustrations spread throughout the Bible, with both lined and blank margins, allow for a wide variety of creative uses. Scripture art is beautifully displayed on each of the sixtysix book introductions throughout the Bible, along with many other illustrations that can be colored to make the Bible customizable to your personality. Every page of Scripture features extra-wide 2.25” margins that include a variety of blank space, ruled lines, and illustrations for multiple creative uses. The 8-point font allows for comfortable reading, and the high quality off-white paper is optimal for creative art journaling.   

 
$21.99 USD
We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings
· Pray panic-, blood pressure- and stress-reducing prayers to usher in lasting peace
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day
· Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courageous habits
 
Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
Dear Diary
I am so frightened. Someone saw of my diary scrolls and wants to get them distributed.
They are from a strange, far away place and are asking to stick them on the Internet and do other queer things with them.
Did I even spell that odd word right? I have NO idea what they are talking about.
Oh I wish Jesus was here so I could ask His advice, but He floated up to Heaven in a cloud.

But…on the other hand, it was such a wonderful, yet often terrifying experience raising Jesus from a little boy and watching Him develop into a strong caring Man. He brought joy, healing and peace to so many people and yet they killed Him in the most awful way imaginable!Maybe I should let those strangers do whatever they think is best with my scrolls. It would be so nice if others could know how wonderful He really is. I sure hope no one in our village finds out, though, that I did something so outlandish! They’d never understand what happened to me.
Love, Mary

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
Dec 172016
 

Let Worry Go! #FearFightingBook

I woke up in the middle of the night, my mind tossing and turning worse than my body had been ten minutes ago.

Everything hit me at once: I’m not taking care of my family well enough. Good moms make their kids homemade meals, they don’t buy the boxed variety in the aisle’s of Trader Joe’s. They aldo don’t have picture ornaments hanging on their Christmas trees without the faces of their loves ones in them. Most of all they don’t forget birthday parties and gym day at school. Not only this, they don’t leave their houses complete wrecks; they tidy them. I’m the worst mom. I’ve got to do better. I can’t do better though, there is hardly any time for anything. My kids are bound to hate me one day.

Worry is like a spin cycle that never ends. It turns and turns and turns and turns until you are nauseous from its movement.

I should know; I sit in worry often. Do you?

The worst thing about worry is that all its circles get you nowhere. They clean nothing up, they spic and span no dish sitting in the sink and they fix no task before you.

So, why do I worry so much? You may be asking yourself the same question.

I’ve sat up countless nights circling this question. Kelly, why are you worrying? Why are you shredding a good night’s sleep with this stupid process? And, why can’t you stop thinking about what you are thinking about?

Nothing of value is ever accomplished in one’s mind in the middle of the night. I’ve determined this.

So, what is a peace-hungry woman supposed to do?

Finally, brothers and sister, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8

That’s what! Do you know how it looks for me in the middle of the night, when the sneaky enemy prowls around like a ravenous beast?

It looks like me saying the ABC’s of God’s goodness.

It goes like this:

A is for Always by my side, God will be.
B is for Before me, God goes.
C is for Carry me He will, when I am weak.
D is for Delight in him, he will give me the desires of my heart.

Can I tell you all something I’ve never made it all the way through the alphabet.
Never. Ever. Ever.

I’ve always fallen asleep – in peace.

When you focus on the goodness of God, you find the good thing you were always after. When you trust him and his ways, he leads you to the best way. When you stop worrying that you are worrying, you make space to start praising his name.

It works. It works anywhere at any time in any place. Start singing. Start thanking. Start noticing creation as you drive on a traffic-filled street full of cars that will never let you arrive at your destination. Still, it works.

With this, tonight, rather than dozing off to the doozy that is my motherhood-style; I’ll doze off to the truth that God has good in store even in the center of all I cannot control.

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:

Author and speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her boo, Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s cousel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day. www.FearFightingBook.com

About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at www.FearFightingBook.com

We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings
· Pray panic-, blood pressure- and stress-reducing prayers to usher in lasting peace
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day
· Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courageous habits
 
Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.
$15.99 USD
Oct 112016
 

Author and Farmers Wife, Ann Voskamp, has written a whole book on giving thanks. The hard eucharisteo, and for me her words flowing off the pages was absolutely life changing. I think they were for a lot of people given that One Thousand Gifts was a New York Times Number 1 bestseller for some 60+ weeks.

As someone who reviews books I have an idea of how many are published every single day so earning that spot is insane, earning it and keeping it for over a year is unheard of, or at least it was.

My journals filled each year and put into the box in the closet filled with the blessings of the year, the good and the bad. The unspoken-broken that needed to be acknowledged.

Now, I see that this fellow Canadian who is used to waking long before the sun does, who collects eggs in the snowy minus 40 has written another book, The Broken Way, and while I have yet to read it I also completely understand how broken life can be, how in order to experience wholeness I must first experience a shattering of the soul so that God can place me back together.

I am excited for this book. Even the trailer speaks to my soul-holes and brightens the shadowed spots with the One that is the Light. And, we could all use a little more God, stronger faith, more Light.

As the days shorten my faith grows long.

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!
$18.99 USD

New York Times best-selling author of One Thousand Gifts Ann Voskamp sits at the edge of her life and all of her own unspoken brokenness and asks: What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This is the one begging question that’s behind every single aspect of our lives — and one that The Broken Way – also a New York Times bestseller – rises up to explore in the most unexpected ways.  

This one’s for the lovers and the sufferers. For those whose hopes and dreams and love grew so large it broke their willing hearts. This one’s for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with an unlikely good brokenness.  You could be one of the Beloved who is broken — and still lets yourself be loved. 

You could be one of them, one who believes freedom can be found not only beyond the fear and pain, but actually  within it.

You could discover and trust this broken way — the way to not be afraid of broken things.

X

$22.99 USD
Jan 312016
 

I have been seeing so many people talking about the KonMari method from the books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and her new book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up both by Marie Kondo. So, I decided maybe this was for me!

I have been a perfectionist of the worst kind for several years. I am either all or nothing. Meaning, if I can’t do it all perfectly, I don’t do it at all. This either leaves us with a very clean house, or now that I am in pain most days, a very messy home that seems to be falling apart around us.

I have spent a long time placing the blame for the clutter on my family. They don’t want to part with anything and the house is cluttered, but MY SPACE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE! When I began to learn a bit about the KonMari method of decluttering it really hit home for me. What is worth my time and my pain to keep tidy and clean? From there I purged down my closet but I didn’t follow the rules of pulling out every article of clothing that I owned and placing it in a pile and going through each one, touching each one and seeing if it sparks joy while deciding to donate, toss or keep.

This afternoon I did just that with my clothing. Some of which had been stored in bags that I haven’t looked at in a few years. Since I already did my main clothes last week I didn’t pull those items out again as I know they are all part of my wardrobe that definitely spark joy. Here is the floor of my bedroom after I pulled everything that I had stored out. I am shocked that I had so many things stored, some of which still on hangers! Please tell me I am not alone?!


It only took me about a half hour to do my first sort through. I did 3 piles that I knew would work well for me. Keep, toss and maybe. This giant pile was quickly split in half which left me thinking “do I really want to hang up these things and keep them?”

So I went through the keep pile again and only kept a few pieces. A dress for my daughter that is brand new and will likely be worn to a school dance, a button up shirt, 2 leather skirts, a leather jacket, my pink spring trench coat, my white leather jacket and 3 tanks. Funny enough, these were ALL items I had been looking for and was upset that I couldn’t find. I had assumed they must’ve been lost in the move and I was looking to replace them. I am definitely happy I found these things! It saved me money and are pieces that I LOVE!


I also kept a stack of things my grandma made that bring me joy. They don’t fit but they have sentimental value. I will have to re-evaluate these items when I get to the sentimental portion of the KonMari method! For now, they stay.


And this is what I am getting rid of. I would have loved to be able to donate everything but unfortunately most of the things that were taking up space in my life were torn, stained and embarrassing. They served me well at one point and they definitely showed it! The blue bag is what I am able to donate. It includes pyjamas, pants, shirts, skirts, and even a set of sheets. I am excited that this bag will be able to bless others. I am also excited that I won’t be hurting my back anymore moving these things around just to tidy up.

I am definitely feeling like this method is something that is going to work for me. I am excited to get through all of my things so that I can then move forward to the kids and help them tidy up their lives and only have things that bring them joy as well. Who knows, maybe the rest of the family will catch on too!!!

This in total probably took me about 45 minutes, including pulling everything out of storage, dumping it out, sorting, sorting again, bagging things up and moving them to the door to be taken out by my dad. A task that had literally waited years because I didn’t have the time ended up being super easy and more than fulfilling! I would love to know how you declutter and how you keep things organized. Have you read through Marie Kondo’s books and did they help you?

This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

$16.99 USD
Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionized homes—and lives—across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.
$18.99 USD
Jan 312016
 

Summary

If you find yourself in between one thing and another, changing from who you used to be into who you are becoming, how will you live in the messy, beautiful middle? And what if the middle pages hold storylines that wound and surprise? Is God with us on those pages, too?

In Even If Not, Kaitlyn Bouchillon invites you to let go of trying to figure out the ending of your story and instead lean into the faithfulness of God. With honest and vulnerable storytelling from her own in betweens, Kaitlyn encourages you to say – no matter what page of the story you find yourself on – that although you believe God could come through how you’re asking, you’ll trust Him… even if not.

About the Author

Kaitlyn E. Bouchillon is an author and blogger who believes every person is a walking story and every story matters. She loves writing – blogs, books, and handwritten letters – is addicted to queso, and is crazy about her people. She currently splits her time between Starbucks and her cute little apartment in Birmingham, Alabama.

Thoughts

This book is available for pre-order on Amazon right now! I am so excited for Kaitlyn! She has been such an inspiration to get to know over the last few years on Twitter. She is definitely a child of God and I have NO doubt that this book will reflect her amazing journey with Him! To tide you over until the book is in your mailbox you can check her out on her blog!! Remember that if you reserve your copy of the book on Amazon now you are guaranteed the lowest price if the price changes in the meantime! Congratulations Kaitlyn! So proud of you!


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