Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: We Stood Upon Stars by Roger Thompson

Title: We Stood Upon Stars by Roger Thompson
Source: Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review

About the book:


We are made for freedom and adventure, friendship and romance. Yet too much of life is spent unfulfilled at work, restless at home, and bored at church.  All the while knowing there is something more. You’ll find some of life’s best moments waiting for you over a campfire, on a river—even in that coffee shop or brewery you didn’t know you’d discover along the way. It’s time to begin the search.
In the literary spirit of well-worn tales about America’s open road, this poetic, honest, often hilarious collection of essays shows how to embark on adventures that kindle spiritual reflection, personal growth, and deeper family connections.
From surfing California’s coastlines, stargazing southwestern deserts, and fly-fishing in remote mountains of Montana, you’ll be inspired to follow the author’s footsteps and use the hand-drawn maps from each chapter to plan your own trips.  There you will hear God’s voice – and it may help you find what you’re searching for.
 
“We search mountaintops and valleys, deserts and oceans, hoping sunrises and long views through the canyons will help us discover who we are, or who we still want to be.  The language of our hearts reflects that of creation because in both are fingerprints of God.”

My thoughts:

This book is quietly beautiful, like standing in the wilderness beneath a deep blanket of stars. I took my time with it, as I would anything to be savored, reading a chapter here, one there. It is a book for dreaming by, with its gorgeous imagery and prose. 

Every chapter is somewhere new, and is preceded by a hand-drawn map of the author's design, highlighting the secrets of the area - where to get a good cup of coffee, for one, or where to find the best fish tacos. Thompson shared his journey, from the material to the spiritual, within the pages of this book. I learned about his grandfather, his father, his wife, his sons, and of their joys and challenges. Of how nature and the wild can speak to you, if you just stop and listen. 

His writing is incredibly vivid, with images that stick with you. For instance, the book opens with:

"Grandpa rode out of the Oklahoma dust bowl on the back of a Harley Davidson after the Great Depression. His father, my great-grandfather, was driving. To make better time, his father tied Grandpa to his body with a rope so Grandpa could sleep without falling off. Though in oven winds, sleep seldom came."

What a great image, that of a motorcycle riding preacher pulling out of town, his son strapped to the back. 

He speaks of loss, when their family loses their beloved dog, Logan. 

"Fathering comes somewhere between the deep breaths and the blank page where there is no script. What my boys needed to know was the truth - that I hurt along with them. they needed to know a father's heart is a broken one, that it's been mended stronger, and as a result has strength to carry any of the pain they cannot." 

Simple and beautiful. 

The spirituality that lies within the pages does not beat you over the head with chapter and verse; instead it is more a way of looking at the world, being mindful and grateful and appreciative. 

I very much enjoyed this book, and feel it is one I will read again and again.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

A little bit about the author:

ROGER W. THOMPSON is a successful entrepreneur, collaborator, adventurer, and writer. He’s spent his career building innovative businesses and nonprofit organizations. In addition to creating the first mission tourism resort in Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project, he’s produced surf films, built skate parks, and outfitted adventure trips. Alongside his wife, he travels, surfs, snowboards, and fly-fishes—and is teaching his two young sons to do the same.




Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

This week was pretty much all business of some sort - doctor's visits, work, etc. Although necessary, it was just an average week - which is better than a bad one! My husband and I did have a fun date night the other night, walking around the street art fair in our town. It is one of the biggest in the state! I saw lots of things I liked but nothing I had to have. It was nice just to walk around together, check things out, and just be together. 

Read Last Week/Reading This Week:

I never charged my Kindle so I didn't get to the book I had planned to read. I am awful about that, keeping it charged. Anyway, I ended up reading one book and starting two others.


To Live and Die in Dixie - This wasn't too bad. The book had pretty strong similarities to the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil murder, but also some big differences. I would say it was influenced in part though, by the Jim Williams trial.

  

I started these two books. I am enjoying them both very much! I think the Gerald Durrell book is one I will probably read here and there, and not straight through, but I love it. I love the BBC show based on the books, so I knew I had to read them. And Everything We Left Behind is the sequel to Everything We Keep, which I loved. I plan to keep reading it, and then starting the book I intended to read last week, Wicked Deeds by Heather Graham. I am also keeping my fingers crossed one of my many holds comes in ~ I hate waiting! I may break down and purchase one or two of them if they don't come in this week. It's hard sometimes to settle on a book when you are waiting on something you really want to read. 

  


Watching:

The Tour de France, Wrecked. The Tour is so good this year! So many crazy surprises, so many top contenders out of the race. There have been a few pretty serious crashes too ~ thank goodness no one was too badly injured, although a few guys had to leave the race due to their injuries. Richie Porte, who was one of the cyclists that race forecasters believed could give Yellow Jersey winner from the previous year, Chris Froome, a run for his money, had one of the worst crashes this race. 





There have been a few lighter moments, including this video shot by cyclist Taylor Phinney..






How about you guys? What have you been up to lately?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Wow, we are just having a jam packed, full of fun and adventure summer. We had a fabulous 4th with my brother and his wife - we went to our hometown parade, that my brother and I have been attending since we were little babies. Now our babies went together. Then Saturday my cousin hosted a family BBQ, and we hung out with all of my cousins and their kids. One of my cousins has two girls, ages 7 and 4, and then the rest of them all fall in a line - starting in October 2014, then three more following in Jan 2015, March 2015 (my guy!), and finally, the youngest my niece in August 2015. It was fun to see all of them together. The dads all took to the pool with them, while the moms hung out poolside with our drinks. It was a beautifully perfect day. 

Read Last Week:

 

This was a pretty good read. I didn't care for it too much at first, but I stuck with it because I generally love DBF. I am glad I did because I ended up enjoying it more than I had thought. However, this is not my favorite book by her. I would put it near the end of my DBF favorites list.

Reading This Week:


It's been a while since I have read Graham and the Krewe of Hunters series. I took a break and when I saw this on Jennifer at Book Den's blog, I was reminded of how much I had enjoyed them. I am looking forward to returning to this series. 

It's also library day! Yay!

Watching:

Mostly the Tour de France. There was some serious controversy last week! Peter Sagan, who is a big name in cycling and sprinting, was ejected from the Tour! There was an incident with another cyclist, Mark Cavendish. Cavendish tried to squeeze into a spot that some say he should not have attempted. Peter Sagan came zooming up and threw an elbow. Some say Sagan did not do this on purpose, and should not have been disqualified. This decision inspired lots of arguments and discussion, as both men are huge favorites of people. The crash was huge and pretty alarming. At that point in the race, both men were probably reaching speeds of 60- 70 km per hour, which is around 40 mph. Cavendish went down hard, and actually had his face run over by another biker as well. He was ok but did get injured and had to leave the race. Here is a link to an article including videos if you are interested.


Today (Monday) is a rest day and they need it after Sunday, which was through some massive mountain climbs.


What about you guys? What have you been up to lately?


Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

We had another fun week ~ I had book club, then Billy and I had a fun date night at the Detroit Zoo for their bike safari event, which was awesome! Next time we go we want my brother and SIL to go too - it will be fun to have some adult hang out time with them again. On Saturday, we did go to the Detroit Historical Museum with them and then for ice cream, which was a great time. The Detroit Historical Museum has a lot of really great exhibits, if you are ever in the neighborhood.

We also lunched on crepes in honor of the start of the Tour de France! I know one little guy who loved them!


Read Last Week:

  

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale: I got this in the mail from the publisher to review. I of course started reading it almost immediately, and then found I had a hard time putting it down! So good. I am looking forward to the sequel.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: I loved this so much more than I imagined! A very fun, and different, romance.

Reading This Week:


Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank: I usually love Frank's books. I am a little nervous about where this one seems to be heading, but I am only a tiny bit of the way in. 

Watching:

The Tour de France, The Ranch, GLOW, Outsiders, iZombie


Posted Last Week:





What have you guys been up to? 

Have a great 4th of July, if you celebrate! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Review: Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: Serenity Harbor
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Source: Lake Union Publishing

Goodreads Summary:


Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he's arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there's more to sexy, wary Bo than she'd ever realized.

Bo never imagined he'd be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn't know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he's ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there's room in it for him, too…


My Thoughts:

I have read many RaeAnne Thayne books. Usually I love her Christmas stories the very best, but this book is now my hands down favorite. Thayne is one of my favorite contemporary romance writers, and if you follow her on Facebook, you can see she is a genuinely super nice person too.  

This book touches my heart, and on two topics particularly close to my soul. Special needs children, and adoption. My son has Cerebral Palsy, and before we had Wyatt, we were in the process of trying to adopt. Thayne tackled these two topics with great skill, understanding, and sensitivity. I feel many times that I read books that use these things as props, without any real heart or soul or understanding behind them. Like it is just there to manipulate the reader in some way. It is different with this book. You can feel the love that Thayne has for her subject matter and characters, and that level of care in her writing takes the book to the next level.

And I love these characters. Katrina, Bowie, Milo. Katrina and Bowie are both determined and driven, motivated to be the best parents and guardians they can be. Katrina especially. Nothing will stand in her way of returning to Columbia and reuniting with the little girl that her heart as claimed as daughter, just as that little girl's heart has claimed her as her mother. Nothing can tear that bond, and Katrina will fight as hard as she can to return to her and bring Gabriela home to Haven Point. Her relationship with Milo is so sweet and caring, and I love the two of them together. I even got a little teary at one point in the book! 


In my opinion, Thayne has outdone herself with this latest book - I loved it completely! 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What are you reading?


                     

 
Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post

It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date
 
I had a great week, full of activity! After months of being kind of housebound, it was nice to get out, socialize, have a different kind of fun. We had a family craft night, Billy and I went on a date night, and my friend had one of those at home leggings parties. I even bought a pair to bop around the house in - they are so soft!

Read Last Week:

I finished up the two books I was working on. The Robyn Carr book was particularly good! 





Reading This Week:

  

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne - my friend's June book club pick
and I will probably pick something else up at the library tomorrow too. :)

Watching:

Alone, Orange is the New Black, The Ranch, GLOW, The Good Witch

How about you? What have you been up to?

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


 
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Better late than never! The high heat and humidity continued through last week, and this week, finally, we get a reprieve. It is beautiful out today! We have been doing a lot of front porch sitting in the evenings, me with my white wine, Billy with a beer. He's been drinking one called Archangel that is really good - it's a Michigan craft beer with a hint of cherry juice. We have been having a good time watching our robin family - they built a little nest in the crook of our Maple, and we see the mom and dad constantly feeding their babies. So cute!

We had a pretty fun Father's Day weekend - I hope you all did too! Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there!

Read Last Week/Reading This Week:

I didn't finish my book but I did start two. I am really enjoying them both!

  


Watching:

iZombie, Supernatural, Orange is the New Black, The Ranch, Alone

Posted: