I recently received an ePub copy of this book as part of the Litfuse Blog Tour of MAKING MARRIAGE BEAUTIFUL by Dorothy Greco.
Now if there’s one thing I know, it is that marriage takes work. This book goes over some of the basic tenets of marriage — things that often get overlooked or are difficult to work on: expressing anger, being a good listener, gender roles and stereotypes. Greco peppers her chapters with personal anecdotes and stories of couples with whom she has worked. I have to say that her husband was a good sport for contributing so honestly to this work as well! Each chapter ends with thoughtful discussion questions and it is all set into a framework of Biblical guidance. It would make a nice wedding gift for a Christian couple!
Thank you for my review e-copy!
What makes a marriage beautiful? Honesty? Compatibility? Physical and emotional intimacy?
All of these are important, but there’s one component that determines the quality and longevity of a marriage more than anything else: a willingness to grow.
Because a wedding joins together two imperfect people, all couples experience disappointment, conflict, and pain. How husbands and wives respond to these challenges determines the kind of people they will become and the kind of marriage they will have.
Making Marriage Beautiful
reveals how the pursuit of Christ results in profound transformation for both the individual and the marriage. Rather than offering clichés and formulas, Greco relies on candor, humor, and real life stories to bring encouragement and wisdom to all couples, regardless of whether they have been married four weeks or forty years.
Dorothy Greco and her husband, Christopher, have spent their entire twenty-five-year marriage helping men and women create and sustain healthy marriages. They have served numerous churches in the Greater Boston area for thirty years. Dorothy’s writing has been featured in “Relevant Magazine,” “Christianity Today,” “Sojourners,” and “Her.meneutics.” She is a regular contributor for “Gifted for Leadership,” “Today’s Christian Woman,” and “Start Marriage Right.” The Grecos have three sons and live near Boston.
Blog Tour Schedule: Follow Along and Discover a New Blog!
(Dates may have been changed from those originally listed)
Sara | SK Bell
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Tami | This Mom’s Delight
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life1/25
Shannon | Mrsreadsbooks
Jennifer | Jen Around the World
Megan | Crazy Bananas
I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour today for Ace Collins’ THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR – A Christmas devotional. This is a super little book chock full of scripture, reflection, recipes, and crafts. I plan to share mine with my family.Thank you for my review copy!See below for more info and to enter the fun giveaway!
Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins’ new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.
Celebrate 31 days of a Christ-filled Christmas season.
For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart.
With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.
Join Ace’s Christmas festivities by entering to win the Magic of Christmas Prize Pack. Create new traditions this holiday season with your family and friends with the goodies included in the giveaway.
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry!
The giveaway ends on November 21. The winner will be announced November 22 on the Litfuse blog.
My friend Susan Bailey – whom I know through Orchard House – was kind enough to gift me with a copy of her new book: LOUISA MAY ALCOTT Illuminated by the Message, part of the Literary Portals to Prayer series. This selection is one in a series of books from Catholic publishing house ACTA that takes beloved writings by authors such as Dickens, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen and paisr them with similarly themed passages from the Bible.
Using a variety of Louisa’s writings, Ms. Bailey has made connections between some of the most touching passages of Louisa’s children’s books and her journals, linking them to Bible passages of both the Old and the New Testaments. One of my favorite passages links an excerpt about Beth in Little Women as she cares for her broken but beloved dolls to a psalm that cites God as a safe-house for the battered.
This would be a nice volume to keep nearby for daily reflection. It makes me realize how deeply one can interpret Louisa’s work, too.
Thank you, Susan, for my beautiful gift copy!
As you know, I spend a lot of time commuting.
Recently, I’ve enjoyed some really good audiobooks through my Audible account.
ORDINARY GRACE by William Kent Krueger was a mixed mystery/coming of age story that was really well-written. Here’s the description from Amazon:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2014 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
WINNER OF THE 2014 DILYS AWARD
A SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2013
“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.”
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
I really enjoyed this book — it kept me listening right up unto the end. I particularly loved the main character and his reminiscences of this fateful summer of his youth. It is read by Rich Orlow – who did a fantastic job – and runs 11 hours.
Another fantastic book was Z by Therese Anne Fowler. This is historical fiction about Zelda Fitzgerald. Here’s the Amazon overview:
“Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume – same as I would wear that evening….”
Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, 17-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match. But when Scott finally sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Zelda defies her parents to board a train to New York and marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Life is a sudden whirl of glamour and excitement: Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel – and his beautiful, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, trades in her provincial finery for daring dresses, and plunges into the endless party that welcomes the darlings of the literary world to New York, then Paris and the French Riviera. It is the Jazz Age, when everything seems new and possible – except that dazzling success does not always last.
Surrounded by a thrilling array of magnificent hosts and mercurial geniuses – including Sara and Gerald Murphy, Gertrude Stein, and the great and terrible Ernest Hemingway – Zelda and Scott find the future both grander and stranger than they could have ever imagined.
I LOVED this book so much! Zelda’s story is so tragic yet you can’t look away.
The narrator, Jenna Lamia, was AMAZING and I can still hear her voice in my head (in a good way!). It runs approximately 12 1/2 hours.
I also listened to the novel: THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, by Daniel James Brown, about the Washington college crew team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Here’s the Amazon overview:
Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.
The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together – a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.
Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boatis an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.
What a great story! I love a feel-good athletic underdog story!!
This 14 1/2 hour book was read by Edward Herrmann. He did a fine job, but his voice reminded me of the voiceover from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom when I was a kid. To be honest, I would have loved a bit more pep.
Currently I am listening to THE LINCOLN LETTER by William Martin. I love his books! In this one Peter Fallon is looking for a lost diary of President Lincoln.
What have YOU been listening to lately?
Today I’m part of the Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour for Marianne Jantzi’s non-fiction book of “snapshots” of her life as an Amish mother.
I’ve always been fascinated with the Amish and how they live their lives. These stories are short glimpses into the daily life of their household, from pregnancy, to child care, to jobs, to household “dailiness”. It was a lovely read and very insightful. And that cover just brings a smile to my face whenever I see it!
I read that the publisher is one that focuses on having Amish individuals tell their stories so that the world can have a better understanding of Amish life and culture. Love this!
Here’s the description from Litfuse:
Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family’s life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for the Connection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.
Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her Northern Reflections column for the Connection. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store in the Milverton Amish community of Ontario.
Follow the tour and discover a new blog!
Mary | The Mary Book Reader
Karen | Karens Korner
Jalynn | A Simple Life, really?!
Pam | Southern Gal Loves to Read
Amy | Forever Beloved
Amanda | Inklings and Notions
Terra | Heck Of A Bunch
Cristi | Cristi’s Reviews
Lisa | A Rup Life
Margaret | The World As I See It
Shawna | Not The Former Things
Laura | Lighthouse Academy
Gloria | Amish Reader
Amanda | The Talbert Report
Heidi | Heidi’s Wanderings
Susan | Susan Heim on Writing
Tammy | Bluerose’s Heart
Melissa | Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers
Heather | Mom 2 Mom Connection
Athena | The Loose Screw
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Megan | When life gets you down…read a book
Beth-Anne | Book Reviews
Brenda | WV stitcher
Kristie | Moments
Pat | Living Life With The Love’s
Colletta | Colletta’s Kitchen Sink
Sarah | Running Through The Storms
Alyssa | 1 Six 1 Five
Crystal | Eccentric Eclectic Woman
JC | J.C.s BookShelf
Donna | Donna’s BookShelf
Alison | NOVA Frugal Family
Carol | Buttercup Counts Her Blessings
Julie | More Of Him
Annie | Just Commonly
Kemi | Homemaking Organized
LeAnne | Rockin’ My Mom Jeans
Joyce | Joyce Maree
Carrie | Reading Is My SuperPower
Dominique | Mama and the Bears
Beth | Beth’s Book-Nook Blog
Patty | Tammycookblogsbooks
Vicky | Walking in Grace
Alaina | The Untrained Housewife
Wendy | Life at Rossmont
Maureen | Maureen’s Musings
Lindsey | Growing Kids Ministry
Bethany | Perfect Beginnings
Leslie | Did you hear about the Morgan’s?
THANK YOU for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!
If you know me, you know I love Christmas! I recently got two books from Net Galley that focus on the Christmas season.
This is how Net Galley describes A STUBBORN SWEETNESS AND OTHER STORIES FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON by Katherine Paterson (one of my fave children’s book authors!):
A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season is a collection of modern-day short stories by Katherine Paterson, award-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins—both loved by children and adults for over twenty years. This compilation includes stories of real-life people such as a shopping mall’s night watchman, a lonely widower, a pregnant teenage runaway, a political prisoner in China, a grieving mother, and a privileged American, who have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas because of loss, pain, greed, or circumstances. Through unexpected and uplifting ways, each is reminded of the first Christmas story and the vision of hope and peace it offers the world. They realize that even in the darkness, the light and song of Christmas can be seen and heard.
This heart-warming gift book, filled with stories of realistic people finding hope, courage, and faith amidst life’s circumstances, radiates the spirit of the season and reminds each of us what Christmas truly means. Originally written to be read during her church’s Christmas Eve service, this collection of holiday stories is perfect for individuals, families, and churches to read and share during the season.
I love, love, loved this compilation of short but touching stories which have as their theme the true meaning of Christmas. I read one each night before I went to bed. Highly recommended for a calming read at night or to give as a thoughtful gift of the season.
I loved the title of this book and was drawn to it right away. I love not only the Narnia chronicles but C.S. Lewis’ adult writings on faith.
Here’s how Net Galley describes it:
“Walking into Advent can be like walking through the wardrobe.”
With its enchanting themes of snow and cold, light and darkness, meals and gifts, temptation and sin, forgiveness and hope–and even an appearance by Father Christmas–C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe fits naturally into the Advent season. As the reader seeks a storied king and anticipates the glorious coming of Christmas, these twenty-eight devotions alternate between Scripture and passages from the novel to prompt meditation on Advent themes. Each devotion also includes questions for reflection. The book also provides several resources for churches, including four sessions for small group discussion and ideas for creating a “Narnia Night” for families. Readers will ultimately come to know God better while journeying through Narnia.
This was a series of devotions and reflections that the author, Heidi Haverkamp, had done, in part, with her own church congregation. What a brilliant idea! While I loved reading this on my own, I would have loved even more having a group to share this with.
As always, thank you for my review copies, Net Galley and Westminster John Knox Press. Both books are available online or at your favorite indie. Merry Christmas!!
I’m happy today to be blogging about my friend Susan Bailey’s book: RIVER OF GRACE, which was sent to me via Net Galley. I know Susan from Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, and we have a lot in common.
Here’s the description of it via Net Galley:
Catholic recording artist and popular blogger Susan Bailey reveals, in this personal and moving narrative, how several major losses helped her rediscover creativity and faith. Filled with powerful insights on the presence and action of grace—in the Mass and sacraments, in nature, and even in grief—River of Grace guides readers to strengthen their faith during tough times and discover their own hidden gifts.
In just a few years’ time, Bailey experienced one challenge after another: the deaths of her father and mother, financial issues, and the loss of her singing voice. Using the rich imagery of a river of grace, Bailey relates how her devotion to the Eucharist inspired her to see Christ’s presence in her life and helped her to trust again.
Each chapter relates Bailey’s experiences of loss and growth and features original activities and personal rituals that include everything from Joni Mitchell music videos and hot baths to imagery and uncooked spaghetti. These inspirational tools guide readers to reflect on their own experiences. Prayers and poetry are found throughout the book and a set of insightful reflection questions are placed at the end of each chapter.
I really enjoyed this short and very readable book and immediately purchased a copy of it for a friend who had recently had a loss in her life. The image of a river, along with Susan’s inspirational writings about faith and dealing with loss, make this book a unique and meaningful read. I like how she has included short, optional activities at the end of each chapter. Being Catholic, I can identify and relate to Susan’s devotion to the Eucharist and the healing power that God’s grace can bring to us through it in our time of need.
Thank you for my review copy!
Susan Bailey is a blogger, musician, and speaker who frequently contributes to CatholicMom.com and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. Her work has also appeared on Catholic.net, and Catholic Online. Bailey blogs at Be As One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion. She also writes a monthly column for The Catholic Free Press called Be As One. Bailey, who works as a marketing/advertising assistant, was a member of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where she served as chair and secretary and helped organize the biennial Gather Us In conference. Formerly a professional musician and graphic artist, Bailey released three CDs and worked as a cantor for fifteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (US History and music) from Bridgewater State University. She and her husband, Rich, have two grown children and live in North Grafton, Massachusetts.
I recently read two very moving memoirs from the Holocaust: FAREWELL TO PRAGUE by Miriam Darvas (sent to me by the publisher) and OUTCRY: HOLOCAUST MEMOIRS by Manny Steinberg (which I got free on my kindle).
Both were amazing stories of strength and resiliency.
OUTCRY is Mendel (Manny) Steinberg’s story of his family’s experience. Manny and his brother Stanley clung to each other and kept each other going to survive the brutal conditions that they were forced to endure at Auschwitz and three other concentration camps. Their story is remarkable and a testament to their faith and strength. Honestly, when you read it, you can hardly imagine how anyone could endure what they did. OUTCRY is a short book and reads very quickly. It is published by Amsterdam Publishers.
FAREWELL TO PRAGUE was sent to me by the publishers (MP Publishing). This another short but unforgettable account of a young person surviving the war. Miriam’s father was Jewish and her mother German, but her father was quite outspoken against the Nazi’s. Her family sends her miles away to safety, but she travels alone and has to rely on her own wits and strengths and the kindness of strangers.Eventually she makes her way to Britain with other child refugees.
Since both of these novels were short, I read one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. I have to say, it was a bit depressing when I was done with these books. I think I’m drawn to Holocaust stories because I am so amazed by the resiliency of the authors, and the incredible experiences they had – and how they can find kindness and goodness in the midst of so much depravity. These two stories were no different. I must be honest, though — I was making dinner Sunday night and looking at all our nice food and actually started crying thinking about Manny and his brother and how starved they were.
You can find both of these stories online at Amazon. As of this writing, FAREWELL was 99 cents and OUTCRY was free for Kindle Unlimited. Look for them at your favorite indie, too!
When I saw that Net Galley was offering this book, I signed up for it right away.
Here’s the description from Net Galley:
A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.
Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.
Along the way, he reveals the untold story of Hans Asperger, the father of Asperger’s syndrome, whose “little professors” were targeted by the darkest social-engineering experiment in human history; exposes the covert campaign by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner to suppress knowledge of the autism spectrum for fifty years; and casts light on the growing movement of “neurodiversity” activists seeking respect, support, technological innovation, accommodations in the workplace and in education, and the right to self-determination for those with cognitive differences.