Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review of Love Everlasting

From the back cover:

Growing up in a Seattle bridal finishing school never prepared Abrianna Cunningham to become one of the brides, but now Wade Ackerman, who has always been the reliable boy next door, is indicating he wants to be more than friends. And even the people closest to Abrianna believe Wade is the man she should marry. So why is she having such a hard time choosing between Wade Ackerman and Priam Welby?

Watching Welby's relentless pursuit of Abrianna is making Wade's blood boil. Welby can offer her wealth and security, but what about character and integrity? Surely Abrianna can see past Welby's smooth tongue and fine clothes, can't she?

Caught between the devil and the boy next door, either choice she makes will change Abrianna's life forever.

My thoughts:

Congratulations fans! The moment you've all been waiting for has arrived! Abrianna Cunningham and Wade Ackerman are engaged! I don't want to give anything away, but despite Abrianna's apprehensions, the evil Priam Welby was never in the running.

Side note: Priam Welby? You know he's a bad dude just based on the name. What were his parents thinking?

I had some trouble with Abrianna Cunningham. The novel talks about her previous, "daredevil" exploits and I felt like the woman I was getting to know was rather flighty. While she asked a lot of interesting and thought provoking questions, it seemed to be the main focus for the first half of the book before we saw some action. Once the main conflict started to unfold, I was more engaged. However, once resolved, Abrianna was back to questioning everything again, and that frustrated me a little.

I liked Wade Ackerman. He was sweet, a little stubborn, and had that swoon worthy element we love in heroes. Wade's persona screamed. "I will always protect you. I will never leave you. I will always love you." Due to Abrianna's unexpected inheritance, he struggled with needing to provide for Abrianna himself before realizing that hello, they were going to be married. It was manly of him to want to provide for her himself, but also a good reality check that you work together in marriage.

I liked the ending, but really, who doesn't love a happy ending? *Sigh* Justice. A Wedding. Then flash forward to seeing the happy couple settled. That's what I like.

Truthfully, I haven't read very many of Tracie Peterson's books, but I had expected this book to be different. It wasn't bad. Just different. Not my favorite cup of tea. Perhaps it was simply the style of this series combined with the environment of the story? Regardless of my expectations, I know the author put a great deal of time and work into this story.

Love Everlasting is the third book in Tracie Peterson's Brides of Seattle Series. Fans of the series who followed the love stories of Abrianna's close friends, as well as watched Abrianna grow up and mature, will be very pleased with this final instalment.

I was given a copy of Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

See you guys on November 1st! God bless your end of October! :)

V. Joy Palmer

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Pregnancy Ride

Currently, my husband and I are expecting our first child. Theorectically, we are due the end of November, but God only knows when this little one will make her appearance. Despite the fact that the nursery is not even close to being done - or built - I am ready for this baby to be here.

Mommas, you feel me. On a side note, who else is slightly disturbed by the use of that expression? Being pregnant, I don't really want extra people feeling me...

I know the baby needs to stay put for a while longer. I know it's for her health and benefit, but eight months into the pregnancy, you start to get antsy. Anybody who says otherwise is lying through their teeth. How do I know this? I'm pregnant. I know this.

Ah, to not have a watermelon gut. To not be throwing up all. the. time. To sleep through the night without a backache, hip ache, or rib ache. To be able to eat a turkey sandwich again. To not have to worry about my heart. To not have achy feet and swollen hands. To be done with contractions and hurting muscles. To not need to run for the bathroom every time I stand up. To not have heartburn anymore. To not feel sleepy all the time. To be done worrying about everything. Shall I go on?

On the plus side, I'll never forget the first time I felt my baby move one dreary morning. Or watching her wave to us during the ultrasound. Or looking at the pictures of her sweet face. I've spent so many hours watching my stomach bounce around. I love thinking about her, daydreaming about what kind of person she will be, imagining what she will look like, wondering if all my poking is giving her a complex.

Pregnancy is full of many exciting moments, woes, joys, difficulties, and blessings. It's like one of those awful fair rides that shoot you up in the air, and then drop you so fast you think you will go splat. Actually, I hate those rides, so that's a bad example. However, you get my point.

Terrifying. Exhilarating. Exciting.

It's like anything worth having in life. A career that God has given you. Marriage. Friends. Dreams.

And Just like everything in life, fear comes frolicking inside your comfy abode.

My biggest fear is "What am I going to do to screw this kid up?" That's an awful thing to think, isn't it? This hasn't been an easy journey, and while I would 100% do this again if given the choice, it's been hard. Parenting is hard, and parents make mistakes. There's just so much I could do wrong, and I think that's the driving force behind so many of our fears - "How am I going to mess this up?"

It's not that I haven't had an amazing example of mothering from my mother. It's not that I'm not equipped to take care of a baby. It's not that I'm afraid of my baby... well, not a lot. It's not like God has said, "Here's a kid. Good luck, fool." It's that it's new. It's scary. It's different. It's an opportunity for me to stumble and fall. It's that I look at the people who have hurt me and broken my spirit, and I worry that I'm just like them.

But despite all that...

"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

God hasn't given me a spirit of fear. He's given me power over fear! He's given me all His love! He's given me a sound mind - something all parents need! He hasn't called me to any task, past, present, and future, that He hasn't enabled me to do. God hasn't made me in anyone else's image. He made me in His image.

And He's made my baby in His image.

Bottom line, even if I do mess up, God is holding my baby in His capable hands. He won't let her go. He will help her through anything that comes her way. He won't ever stop loving her.

Where I mess up, God cleans up. Thankfully, that will always be the case.

Thanks for letting me share my heart with you guys today! See you on October 20th!! God bless!!

V. Joy Palmer

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Benefits of Wrting Conflict

I might have mentioned this before, but I hate conflict in real life.

Hate it. I just want people to get along, work together, hold hands, and skip through life all merry while the sun shines above them. I utterly despise yelling, I avoid confrontation, and I hate that icky feeling when I succeed in delivering a scathing remark.

So, reading conflict can make me a bit crazy. As in the butterfly net definition of crazy. I will be the person screaming, "What is wrong with you? Tell the truth, and end up together already!"

Unfortunately, what I want is not realistic. People are people, and we attack each other's throats sometimes. You also can't have a realistic story without conflict.

The good news is that writing imaginary conflict is way easier, satisfying, and lets just say it, way more fun. I actually like writing conflict! It may seem a little strange, but it's really quite logical when you think about it.

1. You always get to use your zinger.

I'd like to point you to Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. Meg's character in this popular rom-com stated that she hated conflict because she would become tongue-tied. In the heat of the moment she would say something lame and unimpressive. Later, when she was rehashing the fight, she would think of the perfect, scathing zinger, but by then it was too late. When you're writing a scene with conflict, you can always go back and add that perfect zinger to the conversation.

2. Redo's.

Have you ever noticed that when you are fighting with someone, the argument starts to mutate and segway off into other fights. Afterwards, you think, "How did we end up here?" If you start to segway in the writing world, you can just select, delete, and force your characters to stay on topic. Instant redo.

3. It's cheaper then therapy.

If you're like me, and you tend to hold onto stuff, you reach the point where you just blow up about anything and everything. Using your characters to vent some of life's everyday frustrations is much easier on the purse strings then court ordered therapy from demolishing the bathroom because your husband left the toilet set up again. Working out your feelings and aggression can make a big difference.

4. Quicker, more efficient fights in real life.

All the fighting we do on the pages teaches you how to fight in real life, and no, I don't mean that it helps you develop snarkier comebacks. I mean that it teaches you to keep your fights quick and to the point. What if we look at it like this? If the most frustrating thing for me in reading conflict is how the characters drag out the drama, how much more frustrating is it if I do that in my own life? I certainly don't want to become the thing that I mock, because then what would I mock?

"The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out." Proverbs 17:14

This is such a great verse! It teaches us to let go before the fight mutates and segways, before we say something we regret, before we smash the tub butter into the floor out of frustration, before we loose our minds and end up broken hearted. We are human, and we will always have some friction, but that doesn't mean we have to drag it out. We can learn to let stuff go, forgive, move on, make up, and end up together. Amazingly enough, writing conflict teaches you how to do this in real life.

See. I told you I had some logical points. ;) What about you guys? Have you noticed any real life benefit to writing conflict?

Awesome hanging out with you guys today! God bless, and I will see you guys on October 10th!! :)

V. Joy Palmer