Fiction

Firsts... A Sneak Peek

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 



Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List  a glimpse into what I am reading currently





Current book:

Firsts

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn



Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn a Sneak Peek on Reading List



Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.



Sneak Peek:

"The one in control calls the shots, and the one in control sets the pace. Most important of all, the one in control doesn't get hurt." p 35






Initial Thoughts

I actually picked this one up after hearing a few college girls in my study at church talking about it - they said it was a popular book with their friends, but the message was crazy.  And yes, this is a book full of crazy, but that thing is, as a piece of fiction, it raises topics that many teens never discuss with their parents... yet shouldn't they?






Thank you to A Daily Rhythm for inspiring Reading List's Saturday Sneak Peek link up!

Meet the Hosts of Saturday Sneak Peek:



Marissa writes book reviews from a variety of genres and  shares thoughts on motherhood & life on Reading List. She loves to see what others are reading to grow her to-read list.  Marissa also enjoys photography and a new journal to fill. 

Bloglovin' ~~ Subscribe ~~ Goodreads



Alyssa reads a variety of genres and writes about it at Sunrise Avenue. She is always looking for new bookish friends and recs'! Besides reading, Alyssa loves to bake and anything Doctor Who.


Twitter ~~ Google + ~~ Instagram ~~ Pinterest
Bloglovin' ~~ Subscribe ~~ Goodreads 





Here are some rules if you decide to join in:


• Pick up whatever book you are reading (non-fiction, fiction, children's... really the sky is the limit)
• Open to any page you have already read
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - make it interesting without flipping to a ton of different pages. 
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away -- You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so we can all add your book to our To-Be-Read lists!

This particular link up will be open for a month, so stop by often to share a new sneak peek, and grow your own TBR list!









Marissa at Reading List  http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com











Linking up with these fun hops, check them out!

book reflection

Deciding to Reflect the Sun

Friday, March 25, 2016

Deciding to Reflect the Sun

Refusing to Be The Focus & Choosing to Reflect 


"I cannot believe she did that! I mean she says she is a Christian."

"How can he say such a thing? Maybe he is not really a Christian... you know just one of those churchy people on Sundays."

"There is no way I would become a Christian.  There is too much pressure to be a perfect little Jesus... lots of rules... no way."


Do any of these sentiments sound familiar?  Maybe they have been said about you...  Or maybe you've said them about someone else?  

Deep down I know that all people are flawed and very susceptible to making mistakes, or saying the wrong thing (Christians call these behaviors sin).  Since all people sin, that means that Christians sin too. Yes, even devout Christians who go to church weekly, spend time in prayer daily, serve their community and are full of hospitality for so many people. (Romans 3:23)

Yet the mentality that Christians must be perfect is hard to overcome. (Romans 7:15) There are expectations... expectations that cannot be met, as people are not perfect. And really, where did this idea come from?


Deciding to Reflect the Sun





A while ago I shared a great book - The Memory of Light - with you all.  One small, almost random point made in that book quickly stuck in my mind.  Of course, my wondering mind started to ponder it and pray over it... and this exact sentiment and expectation started to clear up.

Around halfway through the book, the main character is in a counseling session with her doctor, and the doctor gives her these words of advice:
"You are not the clouds or even the blue sky where clouds live. You are the sun behind them, giving light to all, and the sun is made up goodness and kindness and life." p 111

Now if you read the book, this will sound like good advice for the characters.  And for many readers, this might sound like good advice in general. This is where the idea gets started that we, people, are the sun, "giving light to all"  is an issue.  Especially when Christians use the term "Light of the World" often enough that not-yet-believers know it... And expect it.

The root issue comes from the idea that we are the sun - the mentality that leads to the statements from above.  If Christians are the Light of the World, and the sun gives light to all, then Christians need to be shining brightly all the time, never stumbling, or saying the wrong thing.   People are not so powerful, not really.

A dangerous side point comes when Christians start to believe that they are superior because they are the ones lighting the world. Starting to believe that we are the sun, taking on that responsibility, becoming the center of the universe, is just not a role we were created for.




The key point is that as people, we have been created to be image-bearers. (Genesis 1:26-27) Specifically, God, the Creator, made us in order to bear His image - we were created (all people) to reflect His glory and light. Christians quickly learn that God created all people to reflect His glory and so they strive to do so.  But reflecting light is not the same as creating it.


For people who have never seen the glorious brightness of the sun, the moon is amazingly bright.



We (Christians and not-yet-believers) are more like the moon than the sun.  We reflect the glorious light of the source of light, the sun, on to the darkness of the world in night. Christians try to take on this responsibility while most not-yet-believers will try to reflect another's light, or even become little suns themselves.

For people who have never seen the glorious brightness of the sun, the moon is amazingly bright.  It can seem "perfect" - something to rely on to always glow brilliantly.  But we know that the moon is only reflecting an even more powerful light. The moon goes through phases of brightness, sometimes it goes so dark that it isn't visible.  But the sun continues to give life no matter what the moon reflects.  And that is what Christians needs to remember - we do not have to be the sun. We just have to focus on reflecting the Glorious Light of the Creator.



Reflecting light is not the same as creating it. @Reading_List1


Have you heard any of the sentiments from the beginning of this post?  Felt like saying them? How do you deal with the pressure to be "perfect" as a Christian? Is this why you won't want to become a Christian?



Marissa  @ Reading List













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Book review

Cold Shot: A Book Review

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cold Shot

Dani Pettrey

What makes a good mystery?  A horrible crime that needs justice?  A few characters who need to fix the world?  Or maybe need to fix themselves?  A book that is full of suspense?  Or maybe just a ton of clues that the reader can string together?

I'll be honest, I do not really know the formula for writing a mystery/thriller.  Even after taking a ton of literary classes and hearing the experts explain what is needed for a book to be a mystery, I still have yet to figure it out.

For me, a mystery is only good if the characters who are trying to find the criminal, or murder, or solve the "whodunnit" questions are interesting.  If the person who is in danger of being the next victim is written well enough that I care to find out.  Because if the characters are interesting enough, I have a hard time putting a mystery down, because I have to see if real justice is found.


Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey  a Book Review on Reading List






Story Overview 


Cold Shot introduces Griffin McCray, Declan Gray and Parker Mitchell as well as their friend Luke Gallagher, as the main four friends in Dani Pettrey's new series, Chesapeake Valor.  In this particular story, Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg where Finley Scott is leading an anthropology dig. During which a body is found.

As a former SWAT-team sniper, Griffin allows his job as a park ranger pull him deeper into the case.  Once his friends, Declan and Parker get called in on the cold case, Griffin's history starts to rush back into his present.  Since Finley is directly involved with the discovery of the body, her name gets mixed into the crime, and her life quickly becomes in danger.  Yet, her history and spirit keep her engaged enough to fight off the fear that could quickly relegate her to a corner until the whole thing is solved.

As the mystery slowly starts to be solved, Griffin and Finley work together and realize even if you try to run away from the pain of the past, it is part of you who you are.  They learn to lean on each and face the past in order to make a better future.



Personal Likes


My biggest like in this book has to be the three central male characters - while this is Griffin's story, the other guys are clearly vital to the series.  These men were all strong men and yet they had emotions, fears, and insecurities.  The use of multiple speakers allowed each of these men a chance to reveal their inner struggles and reflection on what they hoped for - it was nice to see instead of men who were weak or on a power trip. As a bonus, the women in the book are equally independent and strong, and yet they were completely respectful of the men in their lives.

Considering this is a Christian book, you should not be surprised that Griffin spends the bulk of his internal dialogue in prayer. A few of the other characters also have clear Christian morals and standards.  While for some this might be too much, I thought it was just enough.  We clearly knew where each of these men get their strength and yet the author isn't banging church into our heads, which I truly can't stand.


Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey a Book Review on Reading List



Personal Dislikes


On the dislike side, I felt like the introduction of the characters took up way too much of the first half of the book. Granted the mystery starts right at the beginning, which might be why the character background took so long.  This book a large group of main characters, since this is going to be Pettrey's new series.  And each character gets a good amount of time to share their current issues and past scars.  Here's hoping the whole series is good because otherwise this book was way longer than it needed to be.

Another minor issue came when I was discussing this book with a friend who watches Bones (and many other cold case crime shows) - she immediately started listing episodes that reminded her of this book.  So for some this might be a good thing for others, it might not.




Reading List Rating


Four Heart Rating on Reading List

I'm giving this one a four heart rating - I really enjoyed it.  I am hoping the rest of the series goes into more detail of the other characters.







My Suggested Audience


I would suggest this book to anyone who is interested in mysteries - even if you are not a big reader, but have an interest in any of the murder mysteries that fill so many channels every day on TV.  This is a clean mystery - yes there is a cold murder case, and the murder is trying to keep safe, which puts the characters in danger, but there really isn't crazy violence.  There are a few love stories that pick up, as this is a book series, but they are very tame, teenagers would be fine reading this book.  Please realize this is a Christian Mystery/Romance... not need to be surprised.  





Wondering Questions to Consider


This book is clearly focused on solving a cold case - yet the bigger intrigue comes from the fact that Griffin's life is completely different than what he had expected all because of one night that went completely wrong.  How many people do you know completely changed their life because of one night, one mistake?  Is there one moment in time when you couldn't handle what happened so you just walked away?  Does it still consume your thoughts?  Are you happy with the decisions you've made for your life?   Yep, all of those questions are issues that these characters struggle with, and so do so many readers.



How many people do you know completely changed their life because of one night, one mistake? #ColdShot  @Reading_List1




Are you a mystery fan?  Or rather, a Mystery/Romance fan?  Would you rather have a mystery where you are focused on figuring out whodunnit, or caring about the characters and their safety?



I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List






**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process. 




***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.







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Craft ideas

2016 Easter Round-up

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2016 Easter Round-Up

Help Us Celebrate Easter


In an effort to try to celebrate Easter with a little more enthusiasm I've decided to share some of the wonderful Easter posts that I've come across in the past couple of weeks.  As I mentioned last week, I'm surprised at how little I've done about Easter on here!  I mean.... I have been writing for years and yet there are less than 4 posts I've dedicated to the topic.

If you have an Easter post of any kind, feel free to link it up at the bottom, I'd love to add you to my Easter board, and gain some inspiration on how to approach this epic holiday next year.


Celebrate Easter an Easter Round Up & Link party for 2016






Crafts: for kids, and bigger kids




Easter Baskets & Easter Bunny Ideas




Thoughtful Reflections & Inspiring Ponderings








Share your #Easter tradition, books, crafts with us! @Reading_List1


Celebrate Easter a Link Up on Reading List


So... Here's our Easter Link up!  



Marissa @ Reading List


** If you're reading this from your email, click over and join us!  Reading List

The fine print: Please understand that by linking up with this Easter linky, you are agreeing to allow Reading List to share any post you link up with Pinterest facebook, twitter, and/or google+.




I'm linking this up with some these great blogs - check it out.

Christian

Playing the Part... A Sneak Peek

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List! 



Sneak Peek Saturday on Reading List  a glimpse into what I am reading currently





Current book:

Playing the Part

Jen Turano



Play the Part by Jen Turano  a Sneak Peek on Reading List




Sneak Peek:

"Refusing to rise to the urge to retur, which he knew full well was pointless with a woman of Mrs. Macmillan's disposition, he allowed himself a moment to ponder why he did keep such a disagreeable housekeeper on staff, even if positions were difficult to come by.   When a small voice in his head, one he had a feeling came directly from God, reminded him that unhappy people tended to lash out at other because of wounds their hearts had sustained, he released a breath, sent up a quick prayer asking for patience with his staff, and shifted Miss Plum around yet again in his arms." 







Thank you to A Daily Rhythm for inspiring Reading List's Saturday Sneak Peek link up!

Meet the Hosts of Saturday Sneak Peek:



Marissa writes book reviews from a variety of genres and  shares thoughts on motherhood & life on Reading List. She loves to see what others are reading to grow her to-read list.  Marissa also enjoys photography and a new journal to fill. 

Bloglovin' ~~ Subscribe ~~ Goodreads



Alyssa reads a variety of genres and writes about it at Sunrise Avenue. She is always looking for new bookish friends and recs'! Besides reading, Alyssa loves to bake and anything Doctor Who.


Twitter ~~ Google + ~~ Instagram ~~ Pinterest
Bloglovin' ~~ Subscribe ~~ Goodreads 





Here are some rules if you decide to join in:


• Pick up whatever book you are reading (non-fiction, fiction, children's... really the sky is the limit)
• Open to any page you have already read
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page - make it interesting without flipping to a ton of different pages. 
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away -- You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so we can all add your book to our To-Be-Read lists!

This particular link up will be open for a month, so stop by often to share a new sneak peek, and grow your own TBR list!








Marissa at Reading List  http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com











Linking up with these fun hops:

Christian

3 Thoughts on Why Relationships Fall Apart

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pondering "One Call Away" by Charlie Puth

3 Thoughts on Why Relationships Fall Apart


When I was in college I was an expert at coming up with a long intro to a paper in order to reach the word limit needed for the assignment.  In fact that is why I got a BS as my degree - that is the joke between my husband and me... however, I've been struggling with a way to intro this first post.  As I mentioned in my God Space series, I am going to start sharing some wondering question reflection posts.  And this first one I knew I needed to share the first time I heard this song.  And since then the words have left me.

3 Thoughts on Why Relationships Fall Apart a Reflection from One Call Away



So while I jump right in this time, please forgive me.

Do you ever listen to the top 40 popular songs on the radio? Well if you do, or even if you have been in a store that does, you have probably heard this song from Charlie Puth: One Call Away.

Just in case, please hit the play button on this video as you read so we can be on the same page.





Halfway through this song, I was in love with it.  It is so sweet to hear about a guy telling a girl he wants to be the one she turns to in life whenever life is hard.  He "just wants to see her smile" I mean come on isn't that so sweet?  (side note - this kid can play the piano...I mean anyone who plays Steinways for their videos...)

Then a little thought crawled into my heart - "This is why so many relationships fall apart."  I was in the car and felt like I got punched in the gut. Why would such a thought enter my mind?

That statement and the song stuck with me for the rest of the day - and as a mom who could easily pass as a taxi driver during the week, that is not normal. So I sat down after the kids were in bed, and really thought about it, rather, I started to pray about it.  (You see I knew that statement wasn't really from my own feelings - it was Truth growing me.)




Expectation of Friendship


The very first line that caught my pondering mind is in the first few seconds (in this video it's at 0:57) - " Call me, baby, if you need a friend, I just wanna give you love".  Fairly calm, shouldn't really stand out right?  Well, this statement, as a friend he just wants to give her love (not even physical intimacy here... or maybe... but let's keep it platonic) sets up so many relationships on bad footing.  You see when a guy starts to show affection towards a girl, it can start as brotherly love or "phileo" love.  However, it quickly moves into a more romantic love ("eros" love) because of the hormones God has blessed us with.  The goal is for the man and the woman to grow closer and get married, to grow the phileo love and eros love and work towards agape love (which is the love the Spirit will bless those who have accepted Jesus into their hearts).  

But let's be honest, that is not really the way relationships go anymore.  Instead of walking the path of growing a relationship mentally, emotionally and physically knowing that the end goal is marriage, or nothing, more and more people are just running headlong into the pleasure of physical love.

Our expectations of this kind of friendship (friends with benefits) start to blur the lines of friendship, and the intimacy of a marriage relationship.  So just needing a friend to give her love is setting up for disappointment.




Constant Need 


Let's looks at this line next (2:05 in this video): 
"no matter where you go, you know you are not alone..."
Alright - adorable for a new boyfriend to say to a girlfriend - even more, lovely to hear your spouse say it.  But life is hard. Life is different for each person, no matter how much you do as at team. There will be times when you experience something on your own.

Do you know who to turn to in those moments? Do you know who has promised to always go before you, walk behind you, and stay in step along the journey? Do you call on Him first when you are feeling alone? (Deut 31:8;  Isa 41:13; Matt 28:20b)

Another minor point that grabbed me has to do with our need for someone to always be there for us.  It is so easy to put the person you love most in a place where they almost need to be at your beck and call. We start to rely on them in a way that no person can really live up to - especially in the hard times.  Do not hear my wrong - you should be your spouse's first support person - but God knew we, as people, could not be everything to another person - that is why we need Him.

We need to make sure that we keep our spouse (or boyfriend/fiance) in the proper place.


3 Thoughts on Why Relationships Fall Apart from Pondering Charlie Puth's One Call Away: verse Deut 4:29






Three Cords


Last one (2:30):
"And when you're weak I'll be strong..."

If you are married - a strong, healthy Christian marriage, this verse probably wouldn't stand out to you at all. I mean this is what a spouse is supposed to do. But why?

Why do most husbands say this in some way to their wives?

Because they are modeling Christ - the Husband to the church.  Christ has promised to always be strong. In fact, in our weaknesses, He is all the more strong. (Eph 5:25-32)

My thought in pondering this song is what kind of damage are we setting our relationships up for when we expect another person, who does not have Christ as their strength, to be our strength when we are weak - every single time we are weak...

What will happen when that person cannot live up to our expectation of strength?

What would happen if your love could not live up to your expectation of strength? @Reading_List1 @charlieputh



God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman and blessed (continually) through Him.  In marriage, we realize that we are forming a union where God blesses the husband and wife, and the two work together to grow in relationship with God.

If we are in relationships where God is not that source of strength, then it is only a matter of time until one or the other person doesn't live up to the expectations of eros love, or even phileo love, and the whole thing crumbles.  But when the fruit of the Spirit love starts to grow in a married couple (which could begin to bloom before vows... maybe another topic?) that agape love allows such statements to stand because they are built on the promises of God.





There were a few other little things... but the breakdown is this - in your love relationship  (hopefully with your spouse...) how much expectation have you put on him? Yes, he can be the person you run to for a hug, as your sounding board, your friend.  But if you are running to him instead of running to your Lord, then you are setting yourself, and your relationship up for some seriously rocky terrain.

On the flip side, if you are walking towards the Lord with your husband - growing in a personal relationship with each other and with God then this is the kind of song that could melt your heart in a good way.


3 Thoughts on Why Relationships Fall Apart - Charlie Puth  One Call Away


Have you heard this song before?  Do you like it? Why? Why not?  Do you have any wondering questions after listening to it? 



Marissa  @ Reading List





~~ Want some more eloquent words on why marriage is more than just the feelings in this song?  check out this great article from Focus on the Family or read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas** or see what the Bible says about marriage.  Because I am not pretending for one moment that I am an expert on marriage.




**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here and support Reading List in the process. 





Check out these great blogs where I'm sharing this!

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