My Christmas Book Wish List!

Are there books you would love to have, but will not buy for yourself? Me too! Yes, believe it or not, there are some books I just cannot justify buying for myself…

There are 14 total Wizard of Oz books written by L. Frank Baum. I would love to have this hardcover set for my library. Would I read them? Doubtful, as I have read them all before. I think it would look fantastic on a shelf in my library.

Another is anything ever written about Abraham Lincoln. I believe most of you know my feelings about our 16th President … I own numerous books about President Lincoln, but there are so very, very many out there. Biographies, Fiction, Civil War books, and the list seems nearly endless. I can honestly say there is probably not a book currently in print that would have any information about Lincoln that I do not already know. So, there would be no sense in me buying them. I would still like to have them though! Below are some of my favorite pictures taken in Springfield, Illinois.

Finally, I would love to have the new Harry Potter illustrated novels that are being released. I absolutely love this series, but I would not ever spend that kind of money on these illustrated editions. Honestly, I am perfectly content with having my mixture of hardcover and paperback novels of the 7 books. I also have not read The Cursed Child, and wouldn’t unless if someone gave it to me as a gift. For me, Harry Potter ended after book 7, and I prefer to leave it that way.

HP Illustrated POA Cover
photo courtesy of amazon.com

What is on your Christmas wish list? It will be here before we know it!

Judas: The Iscariot Warrior Series (Book 1) – Roy Bright

Disclaimer: This book has grammatical and punctuation errors throughout. I talked to the author personally, and the book is currently undergoing a 2nd edit. It is nothing unbearable that does not allow you to read the book; I have seen far, FAR worse than this. I loved this book so much I am recommending you read it before the 2nd edited version gets uploaded if you have the time.

I am not sure where to even begin. Have I ever insisted you buy a book? I do not recall that I have. Well; I am now. This book is f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c! I would label this story as an action and adventure novel. I am also going to try to avoid giving away any spoilers, while at the same time describing just how great this book is.

Judas Book 1 cover image Roy Bright

The plot and descriptions are well written: you get the right amount of descriptions to see the scenes in your mind, without any areas that feel long-winded, drawn out, or just way more descriptive than necessary. There is plenty of action, it is fast paced, and keeps you from wanting to put the book down. I’ll give you fair warning that there is plenty of foul language throughout the story, but it suits the story and is a necessary part of the theme throughout. I also have to add that this is not a “religious” book as you might expect it to be. Hopefully I’ll be able to explain that in the following paragraphs 🙂

Judas Iscariot, thee Judas who was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, has been alive and wandering the world for all of these centuries. He did attempt suicide as we are all aware, but was cursed by God for his sin to live forever, never being able to benefit from anything good, enjoy anything in life, or experience love.

While he has performed various tasks for God throughout the years, he is tasked with the most important one of his life. Charlotte Hope, the 2nd child God is sending to Earth, needs to be protected from Lucifer and his armies until she turns 7 years old, and saves the world from their path of destruction. Luckily for Judas (or unlucky?), this is happening in a time frame of hours versus weeks or months.

Judas is told that the usual restrictions he has been bound with have been lifted, and he can protect this child by whatever means necessary. Also; that if he succeeds he will no longer be punished as he has been for the past centuries. 2000 years of pent up frustrations are about to be let loose, and with the help of a few key characters along the way, Judas is literally in for the ride of his life.

I will say no more, as this truly is a book you need to read for yourself. I have put some important links below, and if you are lucky enough to read this story, I hope to hear what you thought of it!

You can purchase this book at the following links:

From Amazon US: Judas Book 1 (USA Customers)

From Amazon UK: Judas Book 1 (UK customers)

You can visit his personal website here: Author Roy Bright

 

Magic Realized: and Other Poems on the Human Spirit – Louis Alan Swartz

 

As someone who is not a huge fan of poetry, I once again found much joy, comfort, and peace in the poetry of Louis Alan Swartz. There is something here for everyone; and by everyone, I truly mean everyone. This is volume two to the book of poems titled Constructed of Magic. You can find that book here: Constructed of Magic paperback book

On to Magic Realized, and look at this beautiful cover!

Magic Realized Cover Image

As no two people will read the same poem in the same way, or take away the same meaning, it can be difficult to express what these poems mean to me. Surely they will mean something different to you? Of course they will; your experiences are different than mine! That is what makes poetry so meaningful, and important.

Some of my favorites?

He Loves. The things a man sees and experiences at different points throughout a day, and how they bring him joy, and love.

When We Played with Wooden Toys. A reminder of times much simpler, more than they could ever be now. Don’t we all want to go back, just one more time?

Street Scene. The bare honesty that we can only truly get from a child.

He Never Began to Live. Relatable. Seen this more times than I care to remember.

Drawing Out the Magnificence. Everyone should be required to read this. A little understanding and empathy goes a long way.

Creations. This poem made me feel warmth; I could picture, smell, and feel every description as if I were experiencing it right at that moment.

There are so many beautiful poems here, on life, love, living, family, and relationships. How to love, live, and let go when necessary.

Do you write or read poetry? Who is your favorite?

Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee

I want to tell you I loved it; but I can’t. I am not ready to tell you I hated it, either. I tried my best to ignore all of the spoilers and media-hype as I was reading this story, and I think I was fairly successful.

photo courtesy of http://pastemagazine.com
photo courtesy of http://pastemagazine.com

But; life goes on as it always goes on, and I was well beyond distracted with work, daughters, school-things, editing, and oh, yeah: I have not been feeling well for 6+ days now.

So, I will absolutely cut Ms. Harper Lee some slack here. But I do feel that even in my most focused state of mind, I would have found this a bit difficult to read.

When I first started it, it was like a breath of fresh air: someone who wrote because they had to, and it all came natural and nothing sounded forced. But then the point-of-view was changing faster than my teenage daughters change their clothes, or minds, or attitudes; truth-be-told.

At this point I am looking forward to hearing what you thought of it. One passage that I absolutely have to share:

‘Why doesn’t their flesh creep? How can they devoutly believe everything they hear in church and then say the things they do and listen to the things they hear without throwing up? I thought I was a Christian but I’m not. I’m something else and I don’t know what. Everything I have ever taken for right or wrong these people have taught me – these same, these very people. So it’s me, it’s not them. Something has happened to me.’ (Ms. Jean Louise Finch, pg 167, Go Set a Watchman).

Did you love it, or did you hate it?

For Your Reading Pleasure! Meet a New Author

Crushing Hearts Publishing

July 8th, 2014 – 7 to 9 pm, Eastern Standard Time

Joe Roper: Author and Writer at Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing.

Here is your chance to catch a new series right from the get-go! I am definitely going to be there, and as long as you have an internet connection that enables you to read this post, you can make it to the release party too!

 

Don't Miss This One!
Don’t Miss This One!

Find it on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/769023239795535/769236923107500/?notif_t=event_mall_comment

Hope to see you all there!

Leo Tolstoy – Eleven Stories Review

1) Three Questions– I loved this story, for being the first thing I ever read by Tolstoy. The moral of the story here is that the current moment is the only moment you have any control over. The person you are with is the most important person at that moment, and the most important thing you can do is make that person happy, because you do not know if you will ever be with that person again, or have the chance to make them happy.

2) How Much Land Does a Man Need? – I got a chuckle out of this one. As one man works to con others out of their money, we learn that the only land a man truly needs is however much space they are going to take up when they are dead and buried. You can’t get much more true than that!

3) The Candle– Under the service of a harsh taskmaster, a group of men plot to murder their master, because it cannot be evil to God to remove such a person from the Earth, right? By being true to God, and their beliefs, one man was able to overcome the master by doing exactly what the master asked him to do. By his own goodness, he defeated the master.

4) God Sees the Truth, But Waits– A tale of mystery, the wrongly accused, and redemption. The strength of one man to forgive another who wronged him in the worst manner.

5) The Coffee House of Surat– Many men, of many nationalities, in a coffeehouse debating, and arguing, about whose religion was correct. A wise comment from a wise man puts the debate to rest.

6) The Grain as Big as a Hen’s Egg-A very short story, but very clever. The moral of the story here is that things were better, and bigger, when man was satisfied to do his own work, without taking from others, or expecting from others. As man came to depend on others to do their work for them, things got smaller, and worse.

7) Little Girls Wiser Than Men– 2 little girls have a disagreement that draws in the parents, and many other adults, to continue the argument. The little girls resolve it, move on, and go back to playing a game. The adults continue to argue over the situation, not even realizing the little girls have stopped arguing and moved on.

8) Esarhaddon, King of Assyria– A 2 paged story, showing a man at war how the evil he does to others, he is also doing to himself. Life is sacred, whether it be the life of man or beast.

9) Where Love Is, God Is– A man who loses another of many children born to him, and after losing his wife, gives up on religion, and stops attending church. He is told that he feels despair because he is living for his own happiness, and not for God. He has a dream and is told Christ will come to visit the next day. He does visit, but not like you might expect.

10) Too Dear-This story is too funny, and a must read! However it must be done, find this short story and read it. A man sentenced to execution gets one over on a whole country, and comes out ahead in the end.

11) A Spark Neglected– A good, old-fashioned neighborly fight. One that also gets out of hand, gets the whole town involved for a while, sees a terrible situation, and when one is smart enough to admit guilt, all seems to go right again in their world.

 

I will definitely be getting his bigger works. Have you ever ran across any of these 11 short stories?

The Lutheran Ladies Circle: Plucking One String – Kris Knorr

Being as I am a long-standing-volunteering-attending member of a Lutheran Church, this book took on a special interest for me. Do the people in the story relate at all to the people I encounter at church? I have to say, there were a few characters whom I could easily rename to someone who attends my church. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I am just saying I now definitely have an image in my head of what Lorena, Ellie, and Vera look like. When I now read their name in the text, I am picturing a specific woman of the congregation.

 Image

I do have to be honest right from the get-go, this story has one thing that I absolutely cannot stand. Say it with me people. “Too many characters”. This is my pet peeve; having so many characters (and usually storylines to match) that you cannot keep them straight, let alone determine if they are relevant to the story or not. With that being said, I am about halfway through the story, and am starting to get the correct pattern worked out to whom belongs with who, whose children are being talked about when no reference to their parents are mentioned, etc. As the author stated in her forward that she has herself encountered some of these types of people at church, I am guessing that it was easy for her to write because she knew all along in her mind that Ellie was Mrs. Y, and Vera was Mrs. Z, etc. She did not need to fill in the blanks on who these characters were, because she could see them already in her mind’s eye.

 

So enough of that. It is a good story, and I will read more in the series (I am guessing there is a series as this book says it is #1). I am getting comfortable with the who’s-who, and am feeling a connection to these characters enough that I already want to know how their stories continue on past this book. I am trying to be better about the spoilers, so I will just say that their Pastor died unexpectedly, to be replaced by someone younger, someone looking to change some things. Vera is the widow of said previous pastor, and feels she is slowly getting pushed out of her “always involved in everything even though it is not my job” situations.

 

We also get a birds-eye view of bickering amongst the women at their weekly-monthly meetings, and this has be wondering exactly how much bickering is going on at my church meetings. Expecting to be finished with this sooner rather than I will let you know if there is anything off the wall that happens at the end that I never even saw coming, otherwise I am moving along to the next story.