Sunday, October 23, 2016

#Readathon -- Final Hours, Final Stats, Final Thoughts

Over 16 of the 24 hours, I actually managed to read 6 books total, just over 1000 pages, so they were all very short compared to my normal fair. What surprised me about this was that only one was fluff (the Ms. Marvel graphic novel). I had definitely not thought I would be reaching for the substantive, but I'm glad I did. I read some books that I had long been wanting to read, and I got a great deal out of them. Also, my #spinepoetry won one of the Litsy prizes they gave away as a part of the readathon, so that was fun!

Here are my last two books, shared mostly through Litsy pictures, so you can also get a taste of what is fun about Litsy.

A little note here.  This book is about one woman, and her three husbands.  They are each very different.  The book is a testament to black lives at that time (early 1900s), but it is also an amazing commentary on life and marriage in general. It really does pack a punch, which is how I ended up finishing it in the end, because I was all of a sudden WIDE awake.  It's long been on many lists and many good intentions.  Such good intentions that I've actually read other Zora Neale Hurston works, just not this one. (Those were similar but didn't compare with the heart of this story). I continually tried but found it incredibly difficult to stick with, so it took something like a readathon to push me. What a great thing! This is on the canon of American reads for a reason.  If you recently loved Underground Railroad, you simply must read this. Or just read this first. 

So I thought I was done with just 3 hours to go, but I couldn't stop my mind, so I turned on The Book Of Job, as a one hour audio book.  It was everything I thought I would be.  Yes, it is a direct translation from Hebrew of the book of Job by a master translator.

Here is my review.  

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the last little book I sneaked in at my end of the #readathon until I crashed around 4ish am. I'm a huge fan of the translations by Stephen Mitchell of the Iliad and the Odyssey, so I started looking to see what else he translated. I found this. The audio is only an hour long, and this just seemed the perfect way to end my participation in the 24 hour reading event, and stop my mind whirling, and send me to sleep. Beautiful verse rendition in iambic pentameter. Encounter this ancient text when you think your world may be crashing down around you. Listen to it all in one sitting. Go into a cocoon, and listen, and arise a changed person. I've never noticed before how many roots of Christ's teachings are encompassed within this text. I've never noticed before how the three friends resemble the fates. I've never noticed before how whiny Job really was, how truly at the end of the rope he is. He's had it! I've never noticed before the power of the metaphors and similes evoked in God's answer to the accusations. This puts the prosperity doctrine right where it belongs.

Whether you have any kind of faith or not, these words will speak to you, and comfort you. Highly recommend.

So, I am very glad I did this.  I never would have if I had not suddenly found myself alone over the weekend with no one to answer to.  I think the hardest hours for me were the switch to the second book, and then of course the tiredness in the middle of the night.  But I approached this without expectation since I hadn't planned it out, and told myself I would quit reading whenever I wanted to quit.  The best thing about it was the ability to totally immerse myself in deep thought without much of the social media interruption.  (Participants were encouraged to take short social media shout out breaks).  I needed to get away from the madness so it was a real blessing.  Plus, some true prayers were answered, and that was worth it, in and of itself. 

Maybe next time, will some of you join me?  Or, lets just do more #spinepoetry!

Behold the dreamers
For the love
Being mortal
Under the wide and starry sky
Let the great world spin
A god in ruins

Saturday, October 22, 2016

#Readathon 10/22/16, 13 hours in, 4 books read, loving life

Its a bit amazing how time is flying by.  I have not been a slave to reading every single second (obviously), but I can say that I am thinking about reading just about every single second.  I'm still rather amazed that the chance to participate in this fell into my lap.

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible StandardsFor the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So. By all appearances, this was an accident that I read it right here right now. I had planned on reading this book over Christmas. I read one chapter that I loved, and somehow never picked it back up. Then today while looking for lighter fare for the #readathon, my kindle froze. At that point, I had pretty much decided I was using my time over this 24 hours to read my "backlist." Somehow, I grabbed this one and it was exactly the right thing at the right time. That's why I didn't read it back then. I needed it now. I thought I was picking it up because I needed to be reminded that there are still Christians who believe in grace (for others, not just for themselves). That is why I bought the book. But in the end, it was there for the love. That's right. To show that there are Christians who still believe that loving others is the actual calling. Thank you, Jen. I really do wish we could love each other. There's a world full of hurting people out there. I choose love. Help me choose love.

And this is from Book 4.  After a quick restart, my kindle app worked.  This is the Ms. Marvel graphic novel series (comicbook on a kindle app).  Ironically it is Volume 4, and guess what it is all about?  You got it.  Love.  One thing I love about this Ms. Marvel is that the unlikely hero is a 16 year old Muslim woman.  I love seeing inside her world, and I love how the story is developing.  This picture is just a super sweet moment in this particular volume.  Its pure fluff, and yet is is not pure fluff.  

So, here are my updated stats:  

Forgot to mention, still 0 Politics, yay!  Also, 2 audio books, 1 print book, 1 graphic book on Kindle app. Pretty much true to me. 

And, just for fun, here are some cool Reading Facts that I lifted from the sponsor's 

page, Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.  Crack a book people.  It really is good for you! 

#Readathon 10-22-16 7 Hours in, 4 hours read, 2 books read

The stars somehow magically aligned so that I can participate in a 24 hour #readathon, my first since the readathon I participated in which raised awareness for the National Book Foundation.  This one is Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.

Why am I doing this?  Well besides because I love to read, because I really need to stay away from all that political social media.  And Yay, it's working!

7 hours into it, I've read 4 hours and 2 books.  (It's funny because I really feel that I have read 6 hours!!). That's all audio, so it takes longer, but they are short, so its all good.  And I'm about to take a break with a graphic novel.

Here are my thoughts thus far:

I was already reading this, so it was a quick finish.  My Life on the RoadMy Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This really spoke to me as a human being. It reminded me of how important Gloria's writings were to me in my younger days, particularly the Playboy Bunny peice and the whole book on self-esteem. This book is about travel, America, and all of the fringe elements it has to offer. Did you know that Taxi Cab Drivers are Best at predicting elections? I loved that it included a chapter dedicated to Wilma Mankiller. Texas figures big, too, in some surprising and not so surprising ways. How did I ever forget about what Gloria Steinem has to say? Well, I didn't. But I'm glad I now realize that.

Here are the possible books I'll read.  Not including the ones on my kindle and audible app.  Yeah, I know, I've left it wide open, but I don't like being hemmed in during off work hours. The coloring books are for when I am actually sitting down listening to audio, which so far I've been piddling around the house and haven't sat, so no #audioart yet.

And my first stat update. 

Working like a charm, do you see that?  0 Politics!  yay!  After my first book, I engaged in some suggested #spinepoetry for a break.  

This is called #spinepoetry and here is mine:

Behold the Dreamers
For the love
Being Mortal,
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Let the Great World Spin
A God in Ruins

Undaunted, I plowed ahead to "Another Brooklyn," because I loved Jacqueline Woodson's "A Brown Girl Dreaming" so much.  It's good, but I think I'm the only one that it isn't speaking to like the other.  Maybe I just loved the other to high heaven so I'm having trouble adjusting. Here is my favorite quote from that book, which is about girls in Brooklyn and the things they encounter.

So, I think I am glad I read this, and I feel like I would not have without the Readathon, but at the same time, I didn't connect, which is probably why I didn't stick with it in the first place.  That brings me to my next Stat Update.  

And I'm off to a graphic novel, for a change of pace! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gathering Courage by T. A. McMullin
A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, 
Adversity, and a Reading Disability
T.A. McMullin
Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Publisher: Gathering Courage Media
Date of Publication: January 19, 2016
Number of Pages: 222
Scroll down for Giveaway! do some people find success despite hardships and others sink into a pit of despair?
Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. “Terry” McMullin is the author's incredible, award-winning memoir meant to inspire hope and encouragement to those who are going through tough times.
Terry dusted off the hurt from abandonment, rejection by her adoptive parents, dyslexia, shock of placement in a foster home, and a life-altering accident. Her faith and tenacity along with the internal desire to overcome is thought provoking as Terry worked her way through Texas A&M University. Terry’s life transformed from a broken-hearted child who could barely make out words in elementary school to a distinguished educator and writer who encourages young people to work hard and achieve their greatest aspirations.
Any reader who loves a true story with a Christian focus should definitely read this book. Learn about the special love for rescued animals and how they played a part in healing hurts and encouraging success.
*North American Book Awards, 2015 Winner
"Gathering Courage is an American story filled with adversity, triumphs, heartbreaks, and great personal victory. . . I give this epic book five stars. I held my breath after every chapter and you will too! -- Charmaine Carraway, writer for the HUFFINGTON POST
"Overall, this memoir is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit in the face of emotional and physical pain. The author consistently notes the need for love and encouragement when dealing with both people and animals as well as the necessity of prayer and thankfulness; it's almost a rhythmic incantation in the text. Readers will feel as if they're walking alongside McMullin as she tells her story and advises readers how they, too, can survive setbacks. -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"Gathering Courage is a truly moving read that will touch many hearts and positively inspire them to touch the lives of others.” -- Faridah Nassozi, READERS' FAVORITE

* Amazon * Barnes & Noble * winning Gathering Courage author, T. A. “Terry” McMullin, knows as well as anyone that hard times are a part of the journey of life.
Terry was born in an orphanage, then adopted, and made a foster child by her parents.  Because Terry struggled with reading, comprehension, and spelling, she was placed in a foster home at the age of nine.  As a child in the 1960s, hardly anyone recognized the learning issues related to dyslexia. The struggle to learn continued through high school.
From her deep faith in the Lord, Terry developed an internal desire to excel, no matter the obstacle, no matter the situation. Pushing adversity and a reading disability aside, Terry enrolled in college. While attending college and working full-time, Terry taught herself how to read and study.  With pure grit and determination, Terry succeeded and earned  Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas A&M University.
At crucial points in her life, Terry found people who showed her unconditional love and encouragement. Terry gained gratification, emotional, and spiritual support from working with horses and dogs. The encouragement from others made Terry’s life better so she vowed to be a champion for others who needed help.
Terry lives on a small ranch in Texas, a forever home, with her horses, donkeys, and rescued border collie dogs.  
October 3 - October 17, 2016

Author Interview 1
Excerpt 1
Guest Post 1
Author Interview 2
Excerpt 2
Guest Post 2
Author Interview 3
blog tour services provided by: 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Short Stories by Texas Authors, Volume 2 from Texas Authors, Inc.

Volume 2   
Short Stories by Texas Authors, Volume 2 is comprised of winning stories
submitted in an annual contest to highlight Texas Authors
while raising money for literacy programs.   
Genre: Short Stories
Date of Publication: October 3, 2016
# of pages: 110
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Texas Authors have once again allowed their creative minds to open up and expand the Universe in which they live with short stories that captures one’s emotions through the everlasting aspect of storytelling.
In this, the second volume of award winning short stories, readers are taken on a personal ride of growth and understanding then through history both factual and fictional as they explore each side of two wars. Then fear grabs hold of readers and shakes them with terror before unleashing giggles and out-right laughs. These are just a few of the emotions readers will experience as they read these 17 short stories from all parts of Texas.

$2.00 from the sale of every book goes to DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) Texas literacy program, which gets books into schools, libraries, and those in need.  Last year, we donated $5,000 worth of books by Texas Authors, Inc., and we are currently on track to donate $10,000 for 2016.  
$2.00 from every sale is donated to 
DEAR Texas literacy Programs


click the authors' names for their bios and books!
Story Titles & Winners:


1st Place - The Bluest Eyes in Texas by ElizabethGarcia

2nd Place - Tough Love by Jackie Smith


1st Place - John Sleeps by David Hughes

2nd Place - Cheeseburgers by Teresa Trent


1st Place - Cactus Anne by Lorri Allen

2nd Place - Getting Even by Jackie Smith


1st Place - Bluebonnets for Naomi by Teri Metcalf

Non-Fiction Biography

1st Place - A Diamond in the Rough by Roger SFriedman

2nd Place - Hodge Podge by Teri Metcalf


1st Place - Funny How Things Turn Out by Robert DeLuca


1st Place - Homecoming Queen by ElizabethGarcia


1st Place - A Private War by Mary BryanStafford


1st Place - Todd by Fern Brady


1st Place - Mountain Laurel by Jan Sikes

2nd Place Tie - Dawn of the Angry Guns by Pat Hadock

2nd Place Tie - Gone by Curt Locklear


1st Place - The Last Day by William Harper




1 GRAND PRIZE: $25 Gift Card to Texas Authors Book Store

5 RUNNERS-UP: Copies of Short Stories by Texas Authors!

  October 10 - October 24, 2016

BONUS REVIEW by Sydney: 

I began to whisper my prayers and thought of my mom ’ s worries. “Grandma,” I leaned on my elbow. “Do you think the H-bombs are going to blow up the world, and we ’ll all vanish like the Comanches did in the tornado?” Grandma pinched her lips, reflecting. “ No, Steven, no great war. A man once said that war is bound to happen . . . as long as you believe it is bound to happen. Once you believe it is not bound to happen, it does not have to be. You decide. What do you believe?” “That there won ’ t be an H-bomb war.” “That kind of hope is what’ s kept mankind alive for a long time. Keep that hope. Maybe other people will join you.” 

This quote is from a short story titled "Gone" by Curt Locklear, and I loved it.  I had to see what was in this book for myself, and of course flicked right to the historical fiction and non-fiction.  I liked everything I read.  This little story took me back to childhood, there were so many great things that are the Texan experience that happened in it, and it is a sweet story, too.  I hope you all will get this book, I think you will enjoy. And please enter the sweepstakes, you just might win it for free! 

 Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 
10/10  Hall Ways Blog
10/11  Syd Savvy
10/12 Chapter Break Book Blog
10/13 The Page Unbound
10/14 Country Girl Bookaholic
10/15 The Crazy Booksellers
10/16 Kara The Redhead
10/17 Reading  By Moonlight
10/18 Texas Book Lover
10/19 StoreyBook Reviews
10/20 It's a Jenn World
10/21 Forgotten Winds
10/22 Momma On The Rocks
10/23 Books and Broomsticks
10/24  A Novel Reality

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