Faith Readers Group Review: Code Triage

Avgolemono soup in the crock pot!
Today’s another
Faith Readers Book Club review of Code Triage by @CandaceCalvert, but before I
dish the goods I’m pleased to announce the winner of the $5 Starbuck/Amazon
(winner choice)! Urban Fun Word Contest.
Erynn! Congratulations!
They were all really good and hard to choose from! 
Find my email
address on the “Connect” page and send me your address! I’ll make
sure to get it in the mail ASAP!
The night started
out with pre-excitement when our very own Jan Kerley aka Rockstar decided to be
brave and make the famous Greek soup, Avgolemono, that our hero cooked. Here’s
the link: Avgolemono soup! As a former chef with a Greek heritage obviously his specialty was the
Greek lemon soup that he made for the heroine before they were ever married. It
was a lovely way to meet and the soup itself was  yummy! Definitely a summer soup with the
lemon flavor, making it light! Jan also brought huge yeast rolls and since the
hero (former chef) is now a cop–we had doughnuts in honor of the stereotype!
Here are some of the
things we chatted about over dinner and before we talked with Candace through
could identify with all the characters in one way or another. I didn’t like
what Sam was doing, but with her background, I could see it.”
wanted to smack Sam and Nick at times!”
loved the symbolism in the story through the lemon tree, the dining room table
and even the horse.”
medical facts intrigued me. Made it feel very real.”
favorite scene was the luau they put on for the neighbors’ anniversary. I could
see it in my head like a movie. It made me laugh.”
like to read about Riley and her story.”
Our overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Candace Calvert
We had so much fun
skyping with Candace. It felt like she’d been one of our friends forever! She
was chatty, personable and interested in what everyone had to say. She talked
about a few of her favorite scenes to write!
At the end, she did
a drawing and gave her current book, Trauma Plan (Riley’s story) to the lucky
winner! She also sent us book marks which was really cool. Especially for this
chick who loves them (even if I normally read from my Kindle)!
Here’s a peek at the
3rd book in her Grace Medical Series, Code Triage.
*We hadn’t read the
first two book when we chose Code Triage, but we had no trouble at all jumping
into the story and understanding everything until the short epilogue to give
the reader a glimpse into the other characters from the first two books!
Dr. Leigh Stathos
likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused—“Treat ’em and street
’em”—with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson:
nothing lasts forever, including marriage. And the clock is ticking toward the
end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a
whole new set of lessons. 
San Francisco police
officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol
neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days
is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence
slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events
that will change lives forever. 
Do you read medical dramas, suspense or thrillers? And do you ever make recipes from novels? 

Faith Readers Review: Gone to Ground

I let it slip by. I guess I’ve been busy. Whatever. Point is, I haven’t posted our book club’s review of Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins. Brandilyn writes Seatbelt Suspense and she’s one of my favorite authors in Christian writing.

Vacations, night school and various other obligations kept many of our ladies from attending, but they did read the book. We kicked off conversation with brownies–an assortment. Turtle, chocolate chip, white icing and brownie bites. It was only fitting since Cherrie May, one of the southern characters ate them with the victim before the police found her dead! Dun, dun, dun!

We chose this book and by us, I mean the ladies. I choose the genre and give about 5 selections, then I sit back and watch them duke it out on which one to read. Kidding. They don’t duke it out…much. And when the picks all seem good to the ladies, they just download the others on their Kindles anyway!

Here’s a few things that were said: NO SPOILER ALERTS!!!

“I liked that she set it in Mississippi. I think she portrayed a small southern town well.” (Uh, we live in MS near Memphis)

“I thought using three women in first person was a little confusing at first.”

“I did too, but then once I figured out who was who, it didn’t bother me anymore.”

“I thought the twists were great and I had no idea who the killer was!”

“Me either!”

“I did.” (that was me btw)

“I thought the way she unfolded everything was well done. I hate books that at the end, the killer tells how he did everything. Who would do that? I mean a sprinkle of something maybe, but to basically tell the whole thing, uh, that’s the author not able to write a good story.” (Take notes, writers. Readers want organic story, not the villain telling it all at the end.)

“I didn’t care for the written dialect. I could figure out how she talked after the author described her. That just irritated me.”

“I loved her descriptions and I was into the story from page one.”

 “I let my mom read it and she devoured it in a night.” 

“I’d like to read more of her books.” 

Rating: 1-5 stars. 4!

Here’s a peek at Gone to Ground:

Brandilyn Collins website
Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named–bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison. 

In the past three
years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were
women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two
nights ago—a sixth murder.
Clearly a killer
lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis. And now three terrified women are
sure they know who he is—someone they love. None is aware of the others’
suspicions. And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer
down. But each woman suspects a different man. 

Our next genre was Medical Thrillers and the ladies chose, Code Triage by Candace Calvert. (I’ve finished it already!)

I talked about my crazy dog the other day at Lisa Jordan’s blog. Due to what happened, we had her groomed. I asked the people to cut her like a Schnauzer. OMG. I came home and my husband said, “Hey, what’s with the old Japanese Kung fu do?” 


Yeah…this is what they did to my dog! But I didn’t take her back and demand they fix her because after what she did to me, she has the grandpa beard coming. Punishment.

After LOL!!!!
Everybody Wang Chung
tonight! Oh wait,
they can’t because…
Everybody was Kung
Fu Fighting!

Go read the story…you’ll understand! 

Do you read suspense? Why or why not? Also, what do you think of my dog? LOL! 

Faith Readers Review: She Walks in Beauty

It all began at McAllister’s Deli to support our Haiti Missions Team! A fundraiser. Who doesn’t love to eat to help support missions? 

Afterwards we headed back to our Cornerstone Church cafe for assorted teas, scones, and chocolate cake bites! You can’t discuss a young woman’s debut into society without tea and scones. Uh, no…you can’t.

This book was an eye-opener to the times of a young lady trying to find a husband, learning all the rules of etiquette and socializing and fitting in.

Here are some of the comments made:

“Can you imagine having to sleep in a corset? I’d cut that thing off in a heartbeat!”

“I despised the aunt! How vain!”

“I don’t know that society today is less vain than the Victorian women, but I think we go about it in a different way. Both ways are equally sad.”

“I loved learning about the Victorian era and how the young women debuted.”

“I got tired of all the debut season. I skipped pages. I thought it went too slow.”

“I loved the romance and how it ended. I thought it was perfect.”

“I thought the ending was contrived.”

“The theme of God loving us the way we are needed to be said.”

“I’d have never made it in that day. Not if a 30 inch waist was considered overweight!”

Overall most everyone really enjoyed the book. The average rating from 1-5 was a 3.5!

After we discussed the book, we took a look at an online exhibition of  119 incredible works by two masters of the haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth 1825-1895 and Mainbocher 1891-1976. It was so much fun! We laughed, ooohed, aaahed, made fun of…made fun of some more…and laughed again. It was a fabulous book club! 
Here’s the link to the online exhibition! It’s worth a look just to see what they wore. Some dresses the women had to be sewn into! I know!

For a young society
woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her
social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the
affections of the city’s most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of
work–there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her
training soon pays off, however, as celebrity’s spotlight turns Clara into a
society-page darling. 
Yet Clara wonders if
this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend
has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to
love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes
it’s not just her heart at stake–the future of her family depends on how she
plays the game. 

 I’m taking a blogging break this rest of this week and I’ll be back on Monday, May 14th with special guest, author Amy Clipston! I’ll be around facebook and twitter, not completely out of pocket! 

Today answer the question:

If you had $1000 to spend frivolously, what would you buy and why? 

Faith Readers Group Review: Pearl in the Sand

The story of Rahab is a fascinating story in the Bible, full of faith, hope, and happily ever after.  It’s also a beautiful picture of God’s saving grace and a testimony to all that He doesn’t care about our past. He can use anyone for His glory. I love this story. Don’t you? There’s so much to unpack.

For the month of March, we chose Biblical fiction. The book: Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar. Here’s a peek: 

“Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel’ Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes. Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well–walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness. A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith…of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.” 
Mixed feelings arose about this book.  Here are some of everyone’s thoughts.

“It stayed on point and accurate to Biblical history.”
“I could identify with Rahab wanting her father’s love. Everyone wants to feel safe and loved.”
“I was grabbed from the beginning. I laughed and cried.”
“I like to read to escape and this was an easy, quick read. I enjoyed it.”
“I didn’t like this book at all. The author rushed through the beginning and never really engaged me. I didn’t have any emotions for Rahab, so I didn’t care as much when she became a prostitute.”
“The author used phrases and words that were not around during that time. I seriously doubt Salmone would look at a tired Rahab and say, ‘You look spent.’ This happened several different times–using modern phrases and words. And she thought the water was cold as ‘ice’ which they didn’t have then.”
“I thought it was more of a told story. I never felt like the character going through the events.” 
“I thought the author said some really good things about life and any woman who’s had a past, not necessarily as a prostitute, but a promiscuous past would benefit from reading this. There’s  a lot of healing in this book.”
As you can see, not everyone agreed but that makes for great discussion! We also enjoyed the desserts and fruit with our coffee! 

Overall rating out of 5 stars (it was literally divided down the middle between 4 stars and 2 stars):  3 star average

This won’t be anyone’s last Biblical fiction read, that’s for sure. We’re reading She Walks in Beauty for April! 

Have you ever read Biblical fiction? What did you read? Do you like it or not? Why? 

Faith Readers Group Review: Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

I’m not sure if it was the fresh baked chocolate cobbler or heart-shaped pumpkin, chocolate chip muffins, or the chocolate cake with drizzled chocolate icing that threw me off or the heavenly aroma of coffee, but I forgot to get a picture of our Faith Readers book club group–and we had a brand new member!

For the month of February, we read the romantic comedy, Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

It was pretty funny as we sat around eating dessert and sipping coffee because no one had tons to say. Why? We were all in agreement! For once! 

Here’s some of the things that were said:

“I didn’t want to read this book. I’m not a fan of romance, but a few pages in, I was like, ‘hey, this book is really good’.” 

“I thought the comedy and the romance was a perfect blend.”

“My favorite part of the whole book? She was a size ten!”

We talked about who  we pictured playing the part in a movie, because this book could most definitely be right up there with some of the best romantic comedies

No one thought the girl on the cover fit their profile of Lucy, the main character, but after a long discussion and a second…or third piece of cake, it was agreed if Kate Hudson put on about 30 pounds she could play Lucy. 

Some more thoughts:

“I loved the scene when she was took off down the sidewalk in her pajamas and he drove along beside her.”

“I loved the prayer with the new quirky Christians, “like a gold card, Lord, like a gold card!

Serious Thoughts: 
“I loved when the Youth Pastor had the teenagers nail lies the enemy had been telling them to the cross. I think that’s a great idea. Lucy had been believing lies so long too.”

“I don’t know how I’d feel if I found out a lie about my family.”

We talked about forgiveness, lies the enemy tells us about who we are and what we can’t do. 

It wasn’t a simple, light-hearted read. The theme was deep, at times a tear-jerker, but the mix of relevant humor and fun gave us breathing room and things to laugh out loud about. Literally laugh out loud. 

Out of 5 stars, we rated it a 4! 
Here’s a peek:

Jenny B. Jones

“You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom. Save the date…and say your prayers. When funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair Enterprises–the primary donor to Lucy’s non-profit organizaiton. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants. Alex has it all…except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart–and her future–on the line. Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams…and maybe even a date. “
If your life were a movie, what kind would it be? Drama, action-adventure, romantic comedy, B movie? LOL Can’t wait to hear these answers!

Faith Readers Group Review: The Christmas Note

Laughter, the smell of coffee brewing, a hint of chocolate in the air, and a mystery cake! What a great way to start off the new year with the Faith Readers women’s book club. Debra teased us on the facebook page and offered up a prize if we could guess what she was bringing. The hint: It’s from the book.

No one guessed it. 🙁 BUT…we still got to eat it! Hummingbird cake! Yummo and she even told us the story behind the Hummingbird cake.  

Our December pick was The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere. Many of her books can be found as Lifetime TV movies. After reading this book, we know why! It was made for a warm, fuzzy holiday flick.

It’s the kind of book you can cozy up on the couch with a quilt, a cup of coffee, hot tea, or cocoa and smile.

As we discussed the book, some of the comments were comical, some serious, others insightful. Here are a few:

Could you identify with any of the characters?
 “I could identify with the mom. She was a good mother, but she wasn’t Suzie Homemaker. They had cookies, but they were slice and bake. I can handle that.”

“I could sort of relate to Gretchen, but I don’t know if I could be as nice as she was when Melissa kept acting so rude. In fact, that would be the point I told the kids, ‘We don’t talk to the neighbors keep moving.'”

What character did you least identify with?

“Melissa because she came from such an abusive background. My heart broke for her.”

“Gloria, the mom’s friend. She was kind of out there. I’m not sure anyone acts like that.”

A few shook their heads. “No, we know people like that.”

What theme did you take away from the book?

“God’s hand is at work no matter happens in your life.”

“Sometimes you have to look back to see where God was.”

“I think she got her point across, but she overdid it. I mean one or two coincidences are fine. But every time you turned a page it was a new one. Not believable.”

“Yeah, that was ridiculous.” 

*Note to writers: Pay attention to these reviews! They aren’t from writers who joined a book club; they’re die-hard readers and they know what they like. I make notes every month! Don’t put too many coincidences in your  work! And by the way, they’re totally right! There were waaaaay too many!

Our rating out of 1-5:  
3 1/2 stars

Our next book for the month of February is in the romance category. We’ve voted on Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones.

Here’s a peek at The Christmas Note

“Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into a condo with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. As they build a life together in their new community, they notice a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, who lives next door. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help Melissa, but the apartment is a gut-wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished, but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers secrets about her family that she never could have imagined. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?”
Have you ever read a Christmas novel? Any favorites?  

Faith Readers Group Review: A Stranger’s Wish by Gayle Roper

A rain and snowy mix falling steadily, temperatures dropping in the low 30s and wind stinging like a horse’s tail against your face.

That’s the weather these ladies fought to get to book club, but homemade bread pudding, coffee cake and piping hot coffee with hazelnut creamer, good friends, and laughter  made it worth the trek to the Cornerstone cafe to discuss faith and fiction. We missed those who couldn’t come and always make book club night special! 

What’d we read? This month was Amish fiction. Many, including myself, had never read an Amish story. Oh, we’ve bought their bread and cheese and wondered. We may have watched an episode of Law and Order when one got killed on Rumspringa, but never read a story.

 So this was an experience. Especially for many who enjoy a fast-paced thriller with romance that makes us want to fan ourselves but not so edgy we have to take a trip to the altar on Sunday. But seriously, are we responsible for our subconscious dreams? Another blog. Another day.

We chose A Stranger’s Wish. It sounded mysterious. A key given to a Englishwoman. Not from Britain, as I thought at first. But what Amish people call, you know… us.

Here were some of our thoughts:

“I liked how the Amish parents didn’t give up on their son, even when he chose not to become a devout member.”

“I liked the main character’s quirkiness and her creativity.”

“I wanted more meat, but this book was mostly light-hearted and quick.”

“I thought there was going to be a bigger twist, but then it wasn’t and I was disappointed.”

“I couldn’t relate to the characters. Any of them.”

I asked, “Did you discover anything interesting about the Amish?”

“I didn’t realize the Amish were so works-based and not faith-based.”

“I think they should live by faith and drive a car. Seems easier.” 

I admit, we giggled at that. 

Overall, I have to say, this wasn’t the groups’ favorite read, but we didn’t hate it. And we all said we’d read more Amish fiction! After taking a poll, the rating for this book came in at 2 stars out of 5. 

We chose (out of 14 Christmas novel choices) to read A Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere for December, who we have never heard of. Have you? 

Do you read Amish fiction? Or write it? What fascinates you about these books or doesn’t? Here’s a peek at A Stranger’s Wish:

Englischer Kristie Matthews’ move to an Amish family farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, starts on a bad note as the young schoolteacher is bitten by a dog. A trip to the local ER leads to an encounter with an old man who hands her a key and swears her to silence.
But when Kristie’s life is endangered, she suspects there’s a connection to the mysterious key. While solving the mystery (and staying alive), Kristie must decide whether her lawyer boyfriend, Todd Reasoner, is really right for her….or if Jon Clarke Griffin, the new local man she’s met, is all he seems to be.

Faith Readers Group Review: The Chair by James L. Rubart

So what do you think? This is the front/back side to our book marks! Our church is blessed with a web designer, Jeff Redding, who designed this for us. We stuffed them in books to donate to local hospital libraries. If someone needs prayer, wants to join a local inspirational book club, or simply needs a book mark, they have it! 

Last night, we met for our 2nd book club discussion in our Cornerstone Cafe. We had home-made pumpkin dip with gingersnap cookies and a few other assortment of cookies for dipping. And of course, coffee! 

We settled in and over dessert we discussed 
The Chair by James L. Rubart

“So what is your final conclusion? 
Do you believe the chair has the power to heal?”

Each month I choose a genre and select 8-10 books within that genre, then we take a vote. Several women were outvoted in the speculative fiction category, but hey, we won’t always agree and that’s what makes book club interesting. (but those who got out voted ended up liking the book)
The Chair is about two brothers, Corin and Shasta, who haven’t spoken in ten years because of a tragic accident leaving Shasta paralyzed from the neck down. When an old woman brings Corin a chair claiming it was made by the greatest carpenter ever, Corin has his doubts, but when a little boy is healed from sitting in the chair, it takes him on a great journey of faith and hopefully answers to restoring the estrangement between himself and his brother, Shasta.
“Well how did you like the book? Did everyone here like it?” 
“I’ll admit, I really didn’t want to read this book. It’s a chair. Who wants to read a book about a chair? But…I was hooked to the very end. Out of 1-5 I give it a 4.”
“Me too,” another said. “I give it a 5 because it spoke to me personally. I was in the hospital waiting with my husband when I started reading this. They told me my husband may never walk again and for a few days he was paralyzed. And this year has been hard for my family, but God gave me the word ‘restoration.'”

No one scored The Chair below a 3 on the rating scale. 

The theme was restoration but 
not everyone saw that as the main theme. 

“I saw it as a journey of trust and faith. He had to dig to figure out what it was he believed and he was tested every step of the way.”

“I saw restoration.” Many agreed with this statement and the above.

Every one had someone to relate with.
“I could relate with Nicole.”
“I relate to Corin. I had an estrangement with my sister and even though I tried to mend it, she wouldn’t forgive me, but I was healed.”
I think we could even relate with Pastor Mark, hiding our weaknesses from others while desperately trying to find something to heal us inside from our sins. A quick fix when so many times healing and delivering is a process. Sometimes  God heals instantly. Sometimes He makes us walk it out.
“I could relate to Tori–the girlfriend. She was hurt in church and sometimes it’s harder to bounce back from a Christian hurting us than someone who claims no faith. We expect more from Christians.”
The Chair wasn’t what everyone expected. 
It was more.
I kept thinking, “Get in that chair! Put him in it!” And when something happened (I won’t give it away) it hit me that I was rooting for the chair…and not Jesus. Which shows how easy it is to take your eyes off the Healer and on the object. 
Here’s a peek at the chair:
When an elderly lady shows up in Corin Roscoe’s antiques store claiming to have a chair made by Jesus Christ, he laughs her off. But after she delivers an ancient looking chair made of olive wood three days later—with a cryptic message attached to it—he begins to wonder.
Corin’s world shatters as he searches for the truth about the artifact, and the unexplained phenomena that seems to come from it. And he’s not the only one who will do almost anything to possess the power that appears to surround the chair.
*Not every person made it to the discussion and some of them said they found it hard to get into, but liked it once they got going. One said, it simply wasn’t her cup of tea.

Discussion was great and I recommend, along with a lot of other ladies, The Chair as one of your reads, eve if it seems far fetched, hey, it’s fiction but the theme and the hope…well, that’s very real. 

For November we’re reading Amish fiction. I figure Thanksgiving, bonnets…you know. We voted on A Stranger’s Wish by Gayle Roper. 
I’m looking forward to it as it’s my very first Amish book to read. Ever! I’m branching out!

Also a big thanks, to Rhonda Ritenour for awarding me with the Liebster blog award! Yay! Check out her blog, Ritty’s Adventures in Writing!
Happy Halloween! Will you be trick-or-treating tonight, Trunk-or-Treating, Fall festival-ing it? What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Faith Readers Book Club Review: Edge of Grace by Christa Allan

Faith Readers
Book Club
(we were missing some)

First off, let me say a big thank you to Marji Laine for awarding me with the Versatile blogger award Yay! I blame it on my MPD and so do I! Me too!

I’ll follow the rules for it on Friday. Now, on with the show this is it!

I love books! I love talking about books. And that’s why I enjoy Faith Readers! An inspirational fiction, book club. Forming friendships through faith and fiction.

We kicked our first book off with Christa Allan’s the Edge of Grace. A book that will definitely make you talk!

Dunkin Donuts, homemade desserts and coffee, along with our cool Cornerstone Church Cafe made for great food & atmosphere. So many women, all ages, various backgrounds. I wasn’t sure what everyone would think.

After some dessert, we set up skype and had the chance to chat with the lovely Christa Allan. She made us feel at home by telling us up front that there was nothing we couldn’t ask or say to her. 

Her book is controversial and I’ve never read anything like it in the Christian market. (CBA) The big question was: 
“Can you be gay and be a Christian?”
Many answers came to that question!

“Absolutely not.” “It’s rebellion.” “I don’t know.” “Yes.” “I think you can, just like you can have sex outside of marriage and be straight, you still love God, but you struggle.” “We’re not supposed to judge.”

These are just some of the answers among our book club.

I asked, “Would you ladies recommend this book?”

One said, “I already gave mine away. A lady is dealing with an issue like this in her life, and starting a book club at her church. I thought this would be good for her.”

Another said, “No. I didn’t agree with the issue and I didn’t particularly like the main character; I thought she was whiny.”  

A reply came. “Wouldn’t you be whiny if you found out your brother was gay, you lost your husband to death, and you could barely pay bills?”

“I think that was the point, ” another said. “She whined about her brother because how it affected her. Everything revolved around her, but she evolved toward the end. We have a hard time loving people because we’re selfish.”

“I would recommend the book because this kind of issue isn’t going to go away. It needs to be out there for us to discuss.”

“We need these kinds of books! As Christians, we don’t have anguish for the lost, and we need these books to remind us to love.” 

What did you take away from this book?

“I had more compassion for homosexuals than before.”

“I’m still confused.”

What are some things you liked about the book?

“I liked that she didn’t stereotype them. The brother and his partner watched football and didn’t act like we assume they would. They were regular guys.”

Did the question get answered? No. Did we express our opinions and have a great time doing it? Yes!

Bottom line is this, the main character, Caryn, had a choice: Never speak to her brother again, never darken his door or…love him unconditionally. 

Christa said she had to come to terms with the fact that her own brother wasn’t going to stop being gay. He just wasn’t. So she chose to love him anyway. That’s what Caryn, the main character chose to do too. 

In  a controversial, yet touching novel, Christa Allan weaves a story of love, forgiveness, and family. Even if it isn’t the family that the main character asked for. Her wit and humor was exactly what you expect out of her, if you’ve read her debut novel, Walking On Broken Glass. Spot on. 

It’s a book that will make you stop and think, pray, and remind you that people are people and they deserve agape love, no matter what they look like, or which sex they prefer. 

You can analyze it all day long (and we did): Are they born that way? Were they molested? Did they have a bad home life? You think they have too much testosterone or estrogen? And so forth and so on. 

And at the end of all that debate, when answers did not come, it boiled down to one simple word: LOVE.

Christa Allan

Here’s the back cover:
“An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker’s world. Unable to cope with her brother’s news that he is gay,  Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent life as a young widow and single mom. But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith, and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.”

Care to weigh in with your thoughts, opinions, or experiences? And, have you read the Edge of Grace? 

*We chose The Chair by James Rubart as our October book!

Bonded by Faith and Fiction…and a Little Dessert

Not everyone could make the
first group, but look at all these
lovely ladies!

Reading, dessert, (some even weight watcher friendly), and coffee. Who doesn’t love that?
Last night we launched FaithReaders, a bookclub/lifegroup at my church, in our sweet cafe.

Four years ago, my husband and I pastored, and yes I say pastored, even though it wasn’t a paid position, our young adult group. 18-28. Tim had led the choir previously, and I had led Women’s Ministry. We loved every minute of it.

But where I felt the most connected, was teaching the young adults on Sunday mornings. I wanted to impart so much to them. I wanted them to have a voracious appetite for the Word. To understand it. Long for it. Live for it.

So I began writing Bible studies. They called them Patch Packets. I did it for 2 reasons. 1. I wanted them in their Word, studying–not just skimming and wondering, “Huh?” and 2. I wanted them to understand the Old Testament. To see it as more than an angry God with tons of rules, smiting this and that.

I loved those few years. They learned. I learned. We both grew, and I never felt more connected in the body of Christ as when I was teaching. To watch nearly 20, and sometimes more, young adults pull themselves from bed to show up early on Sunday morning was amazing. It was an honor for me.

Our church cut Sunday morning teaching aka Sunday school, because they didn’t feel there were enough attenders to keep it going, or it wasn’t relevant with today’s generation of church goers. Maybe there weren’t. Maybe it’s not.

But it was to me.

 We still led our group, but I wasn’t as actively involved. My husband preached on Friday nights and while I was available, I wasn’t connected. I wasn’t a big toe or a pinky. It was a lonely time for me.

After a few years of service, we felt like it was time to pass the torch to someone else. A young couple in our church took the group, and they’re amazing. They’re taking it to a level we couldn’t. That’s how it’s supposed to be. I’m proud of them.

But now, we really had no fit. We picked up nursery, because it’s something we could do, and we felt like we needed to be doing something. See a need, fill a need (Robots the movie). Tim loves harassing babies, ahem…loving on babies!

I kept feeling God nudge me to start a book club at church. I kept telling Him I didn’t have time. I wrote out a list of why and held it up to Him. Not really, but basically.

He said to me, “You’re going to do it. Period.”

“Fine! Geez, You don’t have to be so Bossy about it.”

He gave me “The Eye.” I know He did.

And then…when I surrendered in my Jessica-kind-of-way…

Ideas began to spring to my mind, like wildfire. I felt that old giddiness well up in my heart. Excitement raced through my body at the possibilities! I stood at my table during two Sundays and watched as 25 women signed up. Bonded already by faith and the love of fiction.

We’re not simply reading books and discussing them.

We’re praying about which books to read, asking God to speak to us–minister to us through the stories. We’re praying for the author each day we read (let’s face it, us writers need prayer), and we’re going outside the walls and into the community. Oh yes, we can share our faith through books.

We can volunteer our time at libraries, one of our members is a librarian in our community! We can can help with literacy programs. The ideas are limitless and we can show, through our love, time, and service who Jesus is. We don’t have to keep it contained within our group.

That’s not what it’s about.

And once again, I feel connected. I feel part of the body of Christ again. And it feels good!

I had a great time last night. We talked, laughed, shared. I missed the women who couldn’t be there and look forward to them laughing with us in September.
Next month we’ll be discussing our first book, The Edge of Grace by Christa Allan. And…each month I’ll be posting our GROUP REVIEW! How fun will that be? You’ll get to meet our members, and hear what they all had to say.

Are you in a book club? What books have you read, and do you get involved in your community?