Great Reads for Easter WeekendHello, all! Are you enjoying your Easter weekend? I’m actually heading to Ottawa today to look for houses. My oldest daughter is heading off to university in the fall, sharing a house with two other girls. So we’re out house hunting today! It’s bittersweet; she’s so ready to be off on her own, and I’m so very proud of her. But I’ll also miss her tremendously. Thank goodness for Skype!

For those of you who are at home this weekend, though, and are settling in to a peaceful weekend, I thought I’d share some great books that I’ve devoured recently.

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Grouchy O’Malley Learns About Love, fun Children’s Book

If you’re like me you struggle with Easter chocolate. Those Cadbury cream eggs are SO good, and a chocolate bunny never lasted very long in my home. But at the same time, it seems a bit of a distortion of the real Easter message–something designed to distract us from the wonderful good news that He is Risen, and we are forgiven.

When the girls were little we never bought very much Easter chocolate. They always got a bunny from Grandma, but it just wasn’t emphasized. Maybe you’ve found a more creative way of dealing with it. Teresa Gearing has written a lovely book for children that gives the Easter story–with the bunnies–a new twist. Available on Kindle, it can jumpstart conversations with your kids about the real meaning of Easter and The Resurrection.

Grouchy O’Malley is old. Really old. And he’s really grouchy. He lives on a big farm where he has an abundance of everything, from apples to bunnies. He eats the apples and nuzzles the bunnies.

Young Connor watches on, hungry. He and his mother don’t have great variety in their diet, and he offers to trade labor for food. O’Malley decides to take him up on it, and slowly but surely the two develop a friendship. Through that friendship O’Malley also learns about Jesus, and the knowledge changes his life. Teresa does a good job at telling the gospel message at a level that children can understand.

The book has some bittersweet moments, but children understand about loss. And in the end, there’s a twist with the bunnies and the Easter baskets that can help remind the kids why we really celebrate. So if you’re looking for an Easter story to read to your children tonight, this is a good one to choose!

UPDATE: It’s FREE on Kindle Sunday and Monday! So download away!

 

Fatherless, by James Dobson and Kurt Bruner (Novel That Makes You Think)

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My internet friend Kurt Bruner (I’ve never met him in real life, but we’ve helped each other out with writing articles, etc.) co-wrote Fatherless with James Dobson. It’s the first of a dystopic trilogy–a dark look into the future if current trends continue. It was engaging, riveting, and sobering.

It’s 2042, and the population has reached a tipping point. People have stopped having babies, and there are no longer enough younger people to care for the older ones. The economy is stagnant. Marriage is almost non-existent. And those who choose a more traditional lifestyle are derided and thought of as uncouth.

The crushing economy has ushered in new cost saving measures that are sold as “humanitarian”, the worst being “transitioning”. People can choose euthanasia, even if they aren’t terminally ill, in order to save the state, and their families, money. With so many people only having one child, or no child at all, and with the state having little money for nursing homes, it makes the most sense for older people to decide to stop being a burden.

In fact, it makes so much sense that an 18-year-old severely disabled boy decides he should “transition”, too, much to the horror of his mother who is too late to save him. And thus begins this look into an all-too-plausible future.

Look around us: people aren’t getting married in as large numbers. We no longer value children. More and more couples are remaining childless. We don’t value the elderly. And the economy is collapsing. How can we keep caring for all the older people if there are so few younger ones? It’s all going to come back to haunt us.

The hero of the book is an unlucky Congressman who is trying to inject some Christian values into legislation. By studying “bright spots” in the country, where the economy is still growing, he finds that the healthiest places are those where people are still having children, and where fewer “transitions” occur. Yet he can’t sell his vision to his peers, and the book ends with him in the midst of a personal and family triumph, but a political failure. Fatherless is the first in a trilogy, and I’m eager to see what comes next.

On a side note, I really appreciated how Dobson and Bruner handled the more personal aspects of the couple’s marriage. There was nothing graphic or titillating, but at the same time, they didn’t shy away from showing the couple being appropriately intimate. It was a refreshing change in Christian literature.

True confession: I used to be totally addicted to political blogs, and read them voraciously daily. I’ve stopped in the last few months as I found I was getting so disheartened and so discouraged. I’ve decided to focus my energies where I think I can actually make a difference: by encouraging people’s marriages. But I do find books like this so fascinating, because it sounds straight out of the news. And what scares me the most is how believable their world of 2042 actually is.

Get Fatherless here.

 

Unrivaled, by Siri Mitchell (Fun Novel!)

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0764207970&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=sheilawrayg00 20 - Great Reads for the Easter WeekendI really love Siri Mitchell. My youngest daughter calls books like this “hair books” because basically she buys them for the women’s hair on the cover. And all Christian romances always show women with great hair.

I was sent another new release romance to review, and while I read it I’m not going to comment because I just didn’t like it. There aren’t very many Christian romances that pass muster with me. Too many have characters that are too perfect; they follow Jesus and everything goes well and they never have an evil thought and the worst thing they do is gossip. It never seems real to me.

Siri Mitchell shows real characters, and I appreciate that.

Lucy Kendall’s dad is a genius at making candy, but pathetic at making money. And so he lost the rights to Royal Taffy, an amazing candy he created. Charlie Clarke’s dad swindled those rights away. And now Lucy has to figure out a new recipe for candy that will take the world by storm to rescue her dad’s company. But at the same time Charlie is trying to show his worth to his own father. Can these two rival candy-makers make peace?

I absolutely love the world she creates. She lets you in to the early 1900s when industrial espionage was common, and when modern marketing campaigns were just beginning. Just reading the book makes you hungry.

But my favourite character was a minor one, just a friend, who always said exactly what she was thinking, and cut through all the excuses and justifications both Charlie and Lucy made for their own wrong actions. She points them both to Jesus in an unobtrusive and yet matter-of-fact way. I wish I could speak as she does. It was inspiring.

My complaint, as with most romances, is that they end at the wedding. Just like with Austen’s books I always want to see what comes next, because to me that’s when it gets really good. It’s after the wedding that all the trouble often starts, and it’s after the wedding that you discover what real love is. But nevertheless, I still enjoyed this book, and I think you will, too. The characters are not perfect. They struggle with what’s right and wrong, and make plenty of bad decisions. The Christian element of the book is real and not formulaic. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to pass the weekend, pick it up!

Unrivaled has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group


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