Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (August 23-29)

This week...

I read Jeremiah 9-15 in the RSV Bible
I read 2 Samuel 11-13 in the ESV Study Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review: What is the Bible?

Bostrom, Kathleen Long. 2009. What is the Bible? (Part of the Little Blessings series by Tyndale). Illustrated by Elena Kuchank. Tyndale.

This August, Tyndale is releasing two more stories in the Little Blessings series by Kathleen Long Bostrom. (I reviewed a four-in-one collection back in January.) These two new titles are What is the Bible? and Who Made the World?

I've heard people talk
of the Bible in church.
It seems extra special,
so I'm on a search.

Who wrote the Bible?
One person? A few?
What does it say?
Can you give me a clue?

Is it a book
I will need as I grow?
Does it tell stories
of people I know?

This one is about the Bible. Or perhaps I should say the B-I-B-L-E. (I don't know why that song popped into my head just now, but it seems a little fitting, doesn't it?)

This book is divided into three parts. The first part is a question-poem written from a child's perspective. These are simple questions, questions that may be a bit familiar to parents with curious kids with a heart for God. The second part is an answer-poem written from an adult's perspective. The third part is for Bible references. What I love about this last section is that it goes through line-by-line of the answer-poem, and it provides a verse or two to back up the rhyme.

The illustrations by Elena Kuchank are traditional and cutesy. The types of illustrations that you might find on greeting cards. One plus to the illustrations is that her illustrations are multicultural.

Are you a Christian parent? Have you read any books in this series? What do you think?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Question of the Week #31

Do you have a favorite bible story book for children? If you're a parent or grandparent, what books would you recommend for Christian families to have in their home libraries. Is there a particular author or a particular series that stands out as excellent? OR in case you're not around any little ones, which books do you remember--if any--from your own childhood days? OR what things do you look for in a 'good' christian book for children?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book Review: Who Made the World

Bostrom, Kathleen Long. 2009. Who Made The World. (Part of the Little Blessings series by Tyndale). Illustrated by Elena Kuchank.

Earlier in the year--way, way back in January--I reviewed Questions from Little Hearts, a four-in-one collection of stories by Kathleen Long Bostrom. (The book contains: What is God Like? What is Prayer? What About Heaven? and Are Angels Real?) This latest book is in a similar format.

1) a question-poem written from a child's perspective.
2) a small transition-type poem written from an adult perspective--something that points the child towards God
3) An answer-poem written from God's perspective
4) Bible references for parents and older children.

As you could easily guess, this one is all about creation. Here's how it starts off...

The world is so pretty!
There's so much to see.
A rainbow! A river!
A flower! A tree!

So who made the world?
God, I think it was you.
Did you have a helper?
If so, tell me who!

What was the first thing
you made, and the last?
Did you snap your fingers
to make it go fast?

Of course, that's only the beginning...

I really enjoy this series. And this one is no exception. While I don't love, love, love the illustrations--they're not bad by any means but they're not incredibly amazing either--I do love the text. I'm so happy to have discovered these books because I think they are great for Christian families.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (August 16-22)

This week...

I finished Hebrews in the NASB Bible.
I finished Ruth in the RSV Bible.
I read Jeremiah 1-8 in the RSV Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book Review: Whirlwind

Hake, Cathy Marie. 2008. Whirlwind. Bethany House. 358 pages.

"I've come to a decision."
Millicent Fairweather clasped her hands together at her waist and waited in silence for her boss to continue. The clock in the far corner of the dim study ticked loudly.
"My daughters are of an age to expand their horizons. A change is in order. Therefore, I've located a place for them."

After Millicent Fairweather loses her position as nanny, she decides to join her sister and brother-in-law in immigrating to America. They hope to start a dress shop--her sister, Isabelle, has quite a seamstress. On the trip to America, Millicent is hired by a stranger, a Mr. Daniel Clark, to care for his young son, Arthur. Nanny is a role she's entirely comfortable with. And all seems to be going well, through Millicent, Daniel befriends her sister and her brother-in-law. But their arrival in America on Ellis Island does not go as planned. In fact, it turns tragic. Frank, the brother-in-law, dies leaving Millicent and Isabelle a bit perplexed. Where will they go? What will become of them? Fortunately, they're not friendless. Daniel offers for Millicent. He needs a wife--someone to be a mother to his child. And he'd be happy to take Isabelle into his home as well. Perhaps she can have her dress shop after all, as an extension to his own new business, a store.

Daniel Clark has big dreams. He hopes to make a success of it in Gooding, Texas. And this is where his new family will be established. Of course, changes aren't always easy. Millicent has some adjusting to do. She's not used to being a wife and a mother and a store clerk. Even if the marriage is for convenience without any intimacies expected.

Can these two newlyweds fall in love? Is their hope for Isabelle in America? And what secret has Daniel been keeping--and why--from his wife?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Bittersweet

Bittersweet by Cathy Marie Hake, 2007.

Bittersweet is the sequel to Letter Perfect. While Letter Perfect was narrated by Ruth, Bittersweet is narrated by several characters including: Laney (Josh's sister and Ruth's sister-in-law), Galen Sullivan (Josh's best friend, Laney's long-time crush), and a new character named Ivy. I don't know if it was the change of narrators, or if my dark cloud has lifted, or if I've just grown used to her writing style, but I really enjoyed Bittersweet. Enjoyed perhaps isn't strong enough of a word. I loved this book.

A year has passed since Letter Perfect ended. It is the fall of 1860. The book opens with Laney and Ruth (not to mention the unforgettable Hilda) at the Fair (I'm assuming a state fair) along with some of the Sullivan family. Galen has remained at home to take care of the farm and tend the horses since he is in charge of one of the pony express stations. (I don't know if station is the right word since my knowledge of the pony express is severely limited.) And the time away from his family has shown him several things: he doesn't know anything at all about cooking OR cleaning. He is surviving on the kindess of strangers--okay, they're not really strangers, they're just neighbors who know that a bachelor would need some care and attention while his mama is away. The other thing that he learns is that there is a family (father, son, daughter) squatting on his land. He is not overly thrilled to find them. He wants them gone. He doesn't trust them. But finally, he relents to the man's pleas and allows them to stay if and only if he agrees for his son (I'm assuming 19 or 20ish) to work for him several days a week. Ishmael is the son's name. Ivy is the daughter. Ivy makes a good substitute cook and housekeeper while his mom is away at the fair. Not that she stays at the house--that would be improper--but she does cook a few meals for him and cleans up the mess he's made of the house.

The book is about what happens when everyone returns. Ivy and Ishmael are now "working" for the Sullivan family. Mrs. Sullivan has mercy on the family and sees how they are on the verge of starvation. So she 'hires' Ivy to help her cook and sew and do other household chores in exchange for food for her family. Ishmael, Galen discovers, is also a hardworker. But both Ivy and Ishmael lack polite manners. They've never been taught how to interact and behave around others. They don't know which subjects are taboo. Galen encourages Laney and Ruth to be patient and to try to teach Ivy some of the things she needs to know. A task that proves more challenging than anyone can imagine.

Galen begins watching Laney. Watching how Laney acts with Ivy. Noticing how kind she is. How patient. How forgiving. And he notices just how beautiful his best friend's little sister has become. He is madly in love with her. And he declares his intentions to Josh. But just as he begins to court the woman of his dreams, the unexpected happens.

Life isn't always easy. It isn't always sweet. Sometimes there is pain and confusion. Sometimes there is heartache. Sometimes there is anger. Sometimes life can make you bitter. As the McCain and Sullivan families learn, you may not have control over what happens to you in life...but you can learn to control how you react to life's unexpected turns.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review: Letter Perfect

Hake, Cathy Marie. 2006. Letter Perfect.

Ruth Caldwell, a clumsy tomboy, travels west to ultimately find love and danger in California, 1859. Grieving the loss of her mother, Ruth travels west alone to meet the father she never knew. Unfortunately, her father has died. Fortunately, her father's partner Josh McCain, Sr. and Josh McCain, Jr., offer her their home. There is also a sister. Laney, Elaine Louise, McCain. Ruth becomes best friends with Laney, and though Josh at first finds her more than a little frustrating to be around, he soon becomes smitten. But in this "Wild West" setting, little is as it appears. And danger may be closer than they'd ever think.

I was mostly puzzled by Letter Perfect. Greatly puzzled if I'm honest. It's not that the writing is bad. It's not. It's just confusing in a few small ways that end up all in one big mess by the end. The book begins with Ruth Caldwell being introduced as a tomboyish miss who is clumsy both physically and socially. She's always making a mess of things. Always getting in and out of trouble. Just a real handful. You never know what to expect. That is how this character is set up. And it's true for the first chapter. We see Ruth Caldwell out of her element at a ladies' school...a charm school. She ends up making a calamity at a dinner and getting thrown out of school for being unladylike. But once she's out of that environment, that label doesn't really fit anymore. Yet Ruth refers this way about herself over and over and over again. Which I suppose I can see as possible. Certainly we as humans have a way of seeing what we think are our flaws and magnifying them above and beyond what an outside observer would note. So I'm not being over critical there. Not necessarily. But this one thing kept working with a larger theme: I never knew quite what to expect next. This story wasn't predictable at all...not remotely. You might think that was a good thing. It might even be a good thing to another reader. But I wanted to know where I was going. I knew it was a romance. I knew it was set in California. But everything else was like a thousand different plots being juggled in the air and randomly caught and pieced together. First there was a big deal made about the pony express. Then there was a great deal of focus spent on the transcontinental railroad. Then there was a chapter or two where I thought the author was leading the reader in the direction of a Native-American (Indian) versus whites/government/soldier. There was some talk of Indians attacking forts and settlements. Some talk of how unsafe it was to travel. How Indians would murder you. And whatnot. And there were a few chapters were there was a big emphasis on slavery and Abe Lincoln and how the North and South couldn't continue on in peace...that something was brewing. (The book is set in 1859). And then there were bits and pieces about a women's suffrage movement. All those plot elements thrown in and jumbled together. They'd talk about a thing for a chapter or two and then either not mention it again for the rest of the book, OR they'd wait five or ten chapters to bring it back up. Regardless, all of these little indicators were adding up to false advertisement.

The main thread of the novel seems to be a mystery of sorts. But again the clues are all over the place and the reader has no clue they're even supposed to be looking for clues until you're well over halfway through the novel. Up until that point where you learn that


one of the characters is embezzling funds from the ranch, you have no clue that there is a mystery to be solved and a villain to be caught and dealt with.

What adds to this confusing "mystery" is the fact that the author whether purposefully or accidentally uses names interchangeably. What do I mean? I mean for two thirds of the book, perhaps except for one scene of introduction, this character is called "Dad." He is the father of the man Ruth eventually marries. Even after the reader learns that he is behind the embezzlement and that he most definitely is a drunk. And he could have other vices as well. He is still referred to as "Dad." Not unusual, right? But then out of the blue, "McCain" shows up. If you're like me, you're going McCain who???? Where did this guy come from??? Who is he??? What's going on???? But then you either flip to the beginning or read a paragraph or two further and discover that Dad and McCain are the same person. From that time on, she refers to "Dad" as "McCain" about 75 or 80% of the time. All the characters by this point know him to be a villain. Yet there is one chapter close to the end, and after about ten or twenty chapters after "Dad" has only been called "McCain" in the text that he all of a sudden--out of the blue--is "Dad" again. Why this switch back again? Why? Why the switch at all? Why use them interchangeably if it's a stylistic thing???? If McCain is a cold, calculating, distant man who is a murderer, then why refer to him as Dad again once the reader is aware of his true nature. His own daughter now knows him essentially to be an immoral criminal who would not stop short of murder. His son knows the same and is trying to protect the woman he loves. Yet he's "Dad" again. But only for that one chapter. I believe the next chapter sees him as "McCain" again.

So while I don't feel Letter Perfect is a bad book by any means, it left me just a wee bit puzzled. Especially this whole McCain/Dad thing. I tend to think that you should pick a name and stick with it. To bounce back and forth seemingly at random is just confusing. Grant you, I thought it odd that this book told almost 99% through her eyes would have this man, this stranger, be "Dad." So in some ways, it was almost a relief for him to be called something else. But he does make a good villain, I suppose. He was bad to the core and he didn't repent.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday salon: Week in Review (August 9-15)

This week...

I finished Luke in the NASB Bible
Read 1 Thessalonians in the NASB Bible
Read 2 Thessalonians in the NASB Bible
Read Titus in the NASB Bible.
Read Philemon in the NASB Bible
Read Hebrews 1-4 in the NASB Bible
Read 2 Samuel 7-10 in the ESV Study Bible

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review: North! Or Be Eaten

Peterson, Andrew. 2009. North! Or Be Eaten. Water Brook. 331 pages.

"Toooothy cow!" bellowed Podo as he whacked a stick against the nearest glipwood tree. The old pirate's eyes blazed, and he stood at the base of the tree like a ship's captain at the mast. "Toothy cow! Quick! Into the tree house!"

North! Or Be Eaten is the sequel to On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the second in the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. It stars the Igiby children: Janner, Tink, and Leeli. And the adults that love them--their grandfather, Podo, their uncle-friend, Artham (a.k.a. Peet the Sock Man), their mother, Nia, and their bookseller-friend, Oskar N. Reteep. Of course, there are enemies to be found as well. The danger has tripled or even quadrupled in this latest installment: there are the Fangs of Dang, the monsters of Glipwood Forest, the thieving Stranders of the East Bend, and the merciless folks at the 'dreaded' Fork Factory.

If you're a reader of fantasy and like action, adventure, mystery, suspense, and some humor...then this one might suit you well. Though I would definitely recommend starting with the first book. It does require you to suspend your disbelief and engage your imagination. Peterson has created a whole new world--filled it with people and various creatures--including dragons and monsters--and tried to give it a culture all its own.

I can understand and appreciate the family dynamics and relationships. The Wingfeathers (aka, the Igibys) are a complex bunch no question. And our hero, Janner, is well-developed. It's hard not to love such a hero. But it's harder for me to believe, to accept, some of the fantasy elements of this world--the wild creatures, etc. I think this comes easier for some readers than for others. So on the one hand, I cared about these characters and I chose to keep reading because I had to know what happened to them, but I didn't necessarily love the fantasy bits. As an adult, it's really hard to judge at times how well a book is going to work for its intended audience.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: June Bug

Fabry, Chris. 2009. June Bug. Tyndale. 326 pages.

Some people know every little thing about themselves, like how much they weighed when they were born and how long they were from head to toe and which hospital their mama gave birth to them in and stuff like that. I've heard that some people even have a black footprint on a pink sheet of paper they keep in a baby box. The only box I have is a small suitcase that snaps shut where I keep my underwear in so only I can see it.

June Bug, our nine-year-old heroine, lives with her dad in an RV. They travel the country together year-round. Never settling down into any one place. When the novel first opens, the pair happens to be stuck in a Walmart parking lot in Colorado. He's been waiting for a part to come in for several weeks at least. Sheila, one of the Walmart employees, notices June Bug wandering the aisles of the store day after day. Notices how she looks at the other children--the other girls--as they shop. Having a big heart, she offers them both a place to stay. The RV is towed to her land, her home. And while the dad, Johnson, stays in the RV, this is the first time--at least the first time that she can remember--where June Bug sleeps in a real bed with a good mattress. During these few weeks, she learns to ride a bike, gets a nice doll of her own, and is just thrilled that Sheila's neighbor has horses and is willing to let her ride. Sheila's convinced that June Bug would be happier if her father would settle down, would give her a "normal" home, a chance to go to school, a chance to make friends, etc.

Natalie Anne Edwards has been missing since she was two. Her grandmother is convinced the little girl is still alive. She still prays for her safe return. Her grandfather and her mother are less convinced. Especially the mother. When a new clue comes to light, the police begin to refocus their attention to the case--as does the news.

How do these two stories for yourself in this modern retelling of Les Miserables.

What did I think of this one? I liked it for the most part. In a way, I wish more of the story could have been told through June Bug's perspective. We have a little bit of her story as seen through her own eyes. But the narrative shifts throughout the book to many different characters. What I did like was that most--if not all--of the characters we get to meet have some substance.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review: Lady of Milkweed Manor

Klassen, Julie. 2009. Lady of Milkweed Manor. Bethany House. 412 pages.

Twenty-year-old Charlotte Lamb laid her finest gowns into the trunk, pausing to feel the silken weight of the sky blue ball gown, her favorite--a gift from dear Aunt Tilney.

Charlotte Lamb has disgraced herself and her family, but her life is far from over. When we first meet our heroine, Charlotte, she is on her way to a place of refuge--a lying-in home for unwed mothers. Who's the father of her unborn child? Who's the man responsible for ruining her? That's what her family would like to know. But having stubbornly refused to name names, Charlotte finds herself abandoned by her family.

Dr. Taylor never expected to see Charlotte Lamb--now calling herself Charlotte Smith--at a place like this. His work with the manor--the home for unwed mothers--is important to him. But to meet a young lady from his own past...some one he admired's a bit of a shock to say the least. And poor Charlotte, she's embarrassed to be recognized. Dr. Taylor was a young apprentice, an assistant, to Dr. Webb, her family's doctor. They spent time together--enjoyed each other's company. Both wanted more. But it was not to be...

It would be hard to say who is more surprised at this unexpected meeting.

It's a complicated story--much more than I was expecting--and I loved it. This wasn't a flimsy Regency romance. Here is substance. It was a great read for me--very hard to put down--and I loved it very much.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday salon: Week in Review (August 2-8)

This week I read...

Finished Romans RSV Bible.
Read Luke 4-22 in the NASB Bible.

Next week, I hope to...

Finish Luke in the NASB Bible.
Get back to reading 2 Samuel in the ESV Study Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday:

This week, My Friend Amy, asks:

What do you think about the portrayal of pastors and ministers in general market fiction? How about Christian fiction? How was the pastor portrayed in the last book you read with a minister? What's your favorite fictional minister? What do you think is an accurate and realistic fictional clergyman?

I think there are various categories: the good, the bad, the ugly. I think sometimes the bad and ugly are more memorable to the reader. Who can really forget Mr. Collins or Mr. Slope? Would I want to listen to Mr. Collins or Mr. Slope week after week? Would I want to have to be in church meetings with them on Sunday afternoons? No. And no! For the record, Mr. Collins is found in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Mr. Slope is found in Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. Both books are ones I'd recommend. And if you've got a phobia of reading classics, there are GREAT movies of both of these.

As far as Christian fiction, I think the vicar in Lawana Blackwell's Gresham Chronicles was a nice portrayal. He wasn't perfect--he had flaws--but it was those flaws and the lack of self-righteousness that made him a good character. He definitely wasn't stereotypically wise and all-knowing. (Book one is The Widow of Larkspur Inn and book two is The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter. There are others in the series. But I haven't read them yet.)

The problem I have with portrayals of Christianity--of pastors--in mainstream, contemporary fiction is that they often miss the mark completely. Sometimes the theology is just out-and-out wrong. Offensively and abrasively wrong.

One of the fictional characters that I think most people would love to see die a horrible, terrible death is the pastor in Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Review: The Frontiersman's Daughter

Frantz, Laura. 2009. The Frontiersman's Daughter. Revell. 412 pages.

I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately when it comes to Christian fiction. I've not really enjoyed much of anything in several months--most of the summer really. But The Frontiersman's Daughter changed my luck. I just loved--and I do mean loved--this one. It's good historical fiction with a touch of romance.

Set in the 1770s in Kentucke (which is Indian Territory at this time) it is the story of Lael Click, daughter of Ezekiel Click, one of the first frontiersman in Kentucke. When the novel first opens, our heroine is just thirteen. But as young as that is, it's not too young to have caught the notice of Captain Jack. But I'm rushing into things aren't I? Oh well. That can hardly be avoided. The white settlers have an ongoing struggle for peace with their Indian neighbors, the Shawnee. And Ezekiel Click is an interesting case. A white man who was 'captured' (he chose to surrender instead of to fight) by the Shawnee and lived among them several years. He learned their language, learned their ways, earned their respect. Captain Jack is another white man--one captured as a young boy--living among the Shawnee. He is one of them. When the novel opens, a group of Shawnees are visiting the Click cabin. They're speaking with Ezekiel. And at one point, one asks--in English--to see his young daughter, to see Lael. He asks her to let down her hair. She does. And he obviously likes what he sees because he starts leaving presents for her to discover--a necklace of blue beads, a blanket, etc. But her mother has something to say about this! She won't stand for it. Not one little bit. So Lael is sent away--rather quickly--to visit Ma Horn, a woman who knows her herbs and is known as a healer. Lael learns her art, her techniques, something that will prove helpful later on in life.

The novel spans almost a full decade. We see Lael grow up. Lael loves the outdoors. She loves living in this 'wild' and 'uncivilized' place. So she's most unhappy when her father sends her away--sends her to Briar Hill, a school in Virginia that will teach her how to be a lady--a proper lady, civilized. It isn't until her father's death that she is able to return to Kentucke, to the land she loves.

She's strong. She's intelligent. We see her being pursued by several men: Simon (the brother of her best friend), Captain Jack (her father's friend, a white man living as an Indian), and Ian Justus (a young Scottish doctor). Which man is right for her?

What did I love about this one? The characters. The story. The details. I felt a connection with this one almost immediately. It was an absorbing read, one that was hard to put down.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 3, 2009

Book Review: Montana Rose

Connealy, Mary. 2009. Montana Rose. Barbour. 318 pages.

I wanted to like this one. But it suffers from the sad condition of having a silly unnecessary villain as a plot device. (Not all readers are bothered by this. Some romance readers actually consider silly a guilty pleasure, something to enjoy.)

What do you need to know about this one? Well, the author was "inspired" by Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly. This made me a bit curious. Love Comes Softly was the first romance I'd ever read. (Well, unless you count These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder.) And it really doesn't get much better than Marty and Clark. At least for me. Not in this genre of Christian historical romance. How does this one compare? It doesn't. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Cassie Griffin has just buried her husband. But this husband was no gem. (Though it takes a while for Cassie to admit just how awful a husband Griff was to her: physically and emotionally abusive.) Her husband was in debt. And what Cassie needs...and a husband. The gravedigger, Red Dawson, is the lucky man whose proposal she accepts. (He is not the only man there at the funeral to offer for her. She gets many proposals that day.) He's a good man, a Christian. And he's willing and able to be a father to her unborn child and a good husband to her. He pays off some of her husband's debts--though he can't save any of her things, things her first husband mortgaged, things like her family bible that just happens (oh-so-conveniently) to be a Gutenberg Bible. (A fact that I found more than a little implausible. Since it would have been around four hundred years old, and at the time of the original printing something that only the extraordinarily wealthy could own. Most were owned by monasteries or churches or universities. In other words, not private individuals.)

Cassie and Red are attracted to each other from the start. The only resistance between them coming from Red who doesn't want to rush her, to make her feel that she has to love him. The two do their share of bickering. Cassie doesn't know how to do some of the chores--though she does know how to cook--and working with animals--horses and cows and pigs and chickens--doesn't come naturally or easily for her. But Red is patient--most of the time. And even when he is impatient, he's never cruel or harsh or demeaning or abusive. So he's definitely in the good guy camp.

Insert the superfluous villain, one Wade Sawyer. A young man who for better or worse turns into a drunkard stalker determined to kill Red, though he's a bit of a coward at the killing part, and "rescue" Cassie. He's been stalking Cassie since before her first husband died. He's a creepy guy. (Reminded me of Jud Fry from Oklahoma now that I think about it.) He's got an overactive imagination and that's just the start of his problems. Not that we get to know him well, he's a bit one-dimensional at that.

Readers are also introduced to Belle, an outspoken and slightly-crazy man-hating woman with lots of kids. (She counsels all her daughters to hate men as well.) But Belle being inspired by Cassie decides to be nice to her husband for a change to see if she can inspire her husband to reform. But so far--at least in book one--no such luck. Her husband, Anthony, is one big loser. Perhaps this story line was introduced--these characters were introduced--to prepare for later books in this new series. Since this story only marginally relates to Cassie and Red's romance.

If this story had focused only on Cassie and Red, then I probably would have enjoyed it more. I think there's a chance, you'd like this one more than I did. But I don't care for her self-proclaimed style: "mayhem, disaster, comedy, and gunfire."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

The Pickle Gets a Sippy Cup

Veggie Tales: Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella. (August 2009)

This is Minnesota Cuke's second adventure. And while I remember enjoying the first--quite a lot actually since it was one of the first Veggie episodes I watched--I really, really loved this one. I loved everything about it. Larry stars as 'Minnesota Cuke.' And this time the search is on--a bit reluctantly at first--for Noah's Ark. Mr. Muffet ( is building a goldfish pond for his backyard, and he thinks Noah's Ark will complement it perfectly. But he isn't Muffet's first choice--Professor Rattan, his first choice, has gone missing. It is because of his friendship for Rattan--not Muffet's eccentricity--that he takes on the case. The first clue takes him to Mexico where he is reunited with the beautiful Julia. But this reunion is brief as Julia is kidnapped... Now he's off to find Julia, Professor Rattan, and if time permits...Noah's ark. This one introduces a new villain, Wicker, who is wicked and wily. This villain isn't after the ark, he's after Noah's umbrella.

The silly song. Not every silly song works for me. Some are funnier or should I say sillier than others--The Monkey Song currently holds the #1 spot in my heart. But I really, really, really loved this Sippy-Cup themed silly song.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Salon: Week In Review (July 26-August 1)

This week I...

Finished Acts in the RSV Bible.
Read Ephesians in the RSV Bible
Read Romans 1-9 in the RSV Bible
Read Luke 1-3 in the NASB Bible.

Next week I hope to...

Finish Romans in the RSV Bible.
Read some more in Luke in the NASB.
Get back to reading 2 Samuel in the ESV Study Bible.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible