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Monday, February 27, 2017

Pearls of Great Price



I sit here with the tears just drying on my cheeks. We've had a rough week and what pulled it all out were these things: MP3's sung by my friend Michael Young and a few other artists, a call from my daughter, and a fabulous book by Tessa Afshar called PEARL IN THE SAND.

You might think that a Canaanite woman forced into the harlot trade at the age of fifteen would have a difficult time following the God of the Israelites--or even wanting such a thing. But Rahab of Jericho is a different sort of gem. She has longed to serve a God who isn't thirsty for the blood of little children much of her life. Her own gods have betrayed her at all turns.

When two Israelite spies come to Jericho, she harbors them, and in doing so, saves the lives of her family in the oncoming war.

The boys take Rahab and her loved ones to the Israelite camp, where she begs that they might join with their erstwhile enemies.

Through the entire gripping story runs a ribbon of self-loathing and shame. Rahab had been a harlot. Who would ever want or love her?

Someone not only grudgingly steps up to take care of them, but finds himself falling for this woman who would normally have faced stoning in his culture. Both he and Rahab have much to learn about how God goes about His business. This book about God's matchless love and repentance and forgiveness really touched some chords in me. It lays everything out so clearly and concisely, without being preachy or heavy-handed.

For being a book about a repentant harlot, there is zero sex, no bad language, and no graphic violence (despite it also being a book about war). 

I give this book five linen shirts out of five.

You can purchase PEARL IN THE SAND on Amazon at this place. Thank you, Tessa, for such a beautifully told tale and for giving me a way to speak to and forgive my loved ones. If I had the print book, it would sit on my favorite books shelf.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

PUSH Review




Jared Garrett is now one of my new favorite authors. He wrote a book called PUSH, which is the second of his series, which starts with BEAT (although there is a side story called Keepers that fits somewhere between BEAT and PUSH). I haven't read his other books yet, but I just bought them. I want to know how this story started.

Push flies by like a post apocalyptic comet, scattering rubble everywhere, causing calamities in its wake. Nik Granjer and his band of rebel outcasts spend the entire book running from impending doom. Somehow Nik, who seems to be around sixteen or so, is thrust into the role of de facto president, leading his raggle-taggle band to some kind of safety. 

Only there isn't any.

The monster, Adam Holland, has obliterated most of the non-compliant people in the world with a disease they call the Bug. He's after Nik and his keeper (gun) toting teens to end their trouble-making days. He sends the Ranjers out to round up families and friends, kidnapping and holding some for ransom, killing others indiscriminately. Holland's aim seems to be complete annihilation of the free-thinking human race in order to sweep the planet in preparation for his new breed of superhuman to take over.

Nik has to grow up at light speed, charged with making life or death decisions for all of the survivors. For some reason, he doesn't want to comply with Adam the freak. In fact, Nik is pretty torked that the Ranjers have taken his parents in order to keep him away from Holland. Unfortunately for the megalomaniac, he badly misreads the boy. Nik and his unit race to get ahead of the oncoming avalanche of superhuman cyborgs, (or whatever they are) staying only a toenail's length ahead of terrible doom.

None of this is easy. Nik and his people are damaged, hungry, exhausted, and mad as heck. Did I mention damaged? We're talking sieves here. But what's a guy to do when the lives of humankind are resting in his shaking, bloody hands? And it's not even that easy. He has to stop and prioritize. And those priorities rot.

This book has no sex or swearing (except the made-up kind). It does have lots of violence, sucking chest wounds, flying bullets, explosions, clones, newfangled gadgets, action, cyborgs, and a great setting. I love how Garrett has worked to imagine how San Francisco would look in 120 years, after a huge earthquake drops the elevation enough to flood the city during every high tide. It never fails to amaze me how fast roads can deteriorate, even now.

This book is believable. People actually get hurt and have to work around their wounds. Bad things happen to them that can't be fixed by some amazing band-aide fix that suddenly shows up right when they need it. Nothing works when it's supposed to. I love it.

In fact, I stayed up until two am trying to find out if they killed the bad guy or just one of his clones. I still don't know for certain.

Since it's part of a series and I was coming in in the middle of it, I would have liked a couple of clues at first that let me know what the Bug is, why Adam Holland is such a freak, and why Nik Granjer is the hinge on which the whole human race swings.

So now my only choice is to get the other books and fill in the empty spaces in the story.

My take on this? Five grenades out of five.
You can get PUSH at Amazon.
Thank you, Jared, for a fast, though bumpy, ride.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Val-n-Fork-tines

So I went to the store the other day in search of a Valentines gift my husband wouldn't punt through the back door into the waiting jaws of the dog. Since our anniversary is on Groundhog Day I try to find things at roughly the same time. You'd think it would be easy.

Women are easy. You give her a box of chocolates, maybe some roses or any other plants living or dead (except maybe poison ivy or skunk cabbage), maybe a sweet romantic movie or book or music and she's good.

In fact, she'll love you to bits if you just treat her like a queen and acknowledge the fact that she's your whole world.  She'll rock your world if you show her how much she means to you. I know. I'm a woman.


But it seems to me that Valentines Day is mostly made for WOMEN. "Why is this?" you ask. It's supposed to be all about LOVE. Or so 'they' say. "They" are trying to push all kinds of heart-shaped, fuzzy, cinnamon-scented crap as stuff you'd give your significant other. Yeah. Let's just get him an enormous stuffed animal that will take up all the space in his room otherwise needed for oxygen and comics. As a boyfriend, he'll have the perfect thing to tear the head off of when your relationship goes sour.

Most of that stuff they would punt as soon as your back is turned. Have you actually seen any guy keep a stuffed animal on his bed? Ever? Or lacy heart-shaped pillows stuffed with potpourri? I didn't think so. And there are only so many heart-embossed mugs and smelly candles they'll stand for. He still has music you bought him five years ago for Christmas with the plastic wrap intact on it.

I don't want to give him something that'll encourage him to spend even less time with me. It's counterproductive and against everything Valentines Day actually stands for. That gets rid of computer games, Magic cards, and D&D paraphernalia.  

And movies? Don't even get me started. Most men call anything that doesn't explode or feature tanks, guns, cars, sports, or scantily clad women a chick flick. The closest you can come to a touchy feely love movie is one where the guy just got blown to Kingdom Come and the scantily clad chickie comes and kisses him. So that pretty much leaves every movie with the least loving message out in a blizzard.

So what the heck do you buy a guy for Valentines that he actually wants? 

@>-->-----Tools? 'Cause a new drill so says "I love you, my Sweetheart."
@>-->-----Sweats and a gym membership? Because you love him so much that you want him to be super healthy? See the above retort.
@>-->-----A new set of sleepwear (preferably with hearts)? Because his holes have holes? Meh. Maybe.
@>-->-----A new watch band to replace the one he keeps breaking? Meh.
@>-->-----Fudge? 'Cause you don't want him to be too healthy? That's a possibility unless you still have a pound of it in the freezer from Christmas.
@>-->-----Movie tickets (or sports you can also stand to watch) and an Olive Garden card in hopes he'll share it with you? A little self-serving and sets a bad precedent. What's to then stop him from giving YOU the new drill?
@>-->-----More computer hardware? Not until he gets rid of the other computer crud from your bedroom, bathroom, hallway, kitchen, shed, kids' rooms--in fact every other freaking room in the house. NOPE. Hard pass.
@>-->-----A set of tubs to put his junk in that is cluttering up your bedroom? Right. He'll use them less than you do.
@>-->-----A book? He doesn't even read the ones you've gotten him for the last several Christmases.
@>-->-----How about food? They'd actually like to eat that cinnamon roll more than a candle that just smells like it and reminds him he's hungry all the time. So that's a possibility.
@>-->-----Probably not paint ball gear...'cause he'll shoot you with it.
@>-->-----Pass on the new puppy. Probably. Unless he's really adorable. And intelligent enough to train quickly not to pee on your floor. It's a whole other box of dog doo-doo.
@>-->-----A new truck? Not unless you're independently wealthy--which I'm not. 
@>-->-----Do you settle for socks or a tie? Probably. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

So, hey. If you can think of better options, PLEASE fill up the comment box. I'm open for good suggestions.