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For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

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For the Love by Jen Hatmaker For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker
Published by Thomas Nelson on August 18, 2015
Source: Gift
Genres: Christian Life
Pages: 224
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The popular writer, blogger, and television personality reveals with humor and style how Jesus' extravagant grace is the key to dealing with life's biggest challenge: people.

The majority of our joys, struggles, thrills, and heartbreaks relate to people, beginning first with ourselves and then the people we came from, married, birthed, live by, live for, go to church with, don't like, don't understand, fear, struggle with, compare ourselves to, and judge. People are the best and worst thing about the human life.

Jen Hatmaker knows this all too well, and so she reveals how to practice kindness, grace, truthfulness, vision, and love to ourselves and those around us. By doing this, For the Love leads our generation to reimagine Jesus' grace as a way of life, and it does it in a funny yet profound manner that Christian readers will love. Along the way, Hatmaker shows readers how to reclaim their prophetic voices and become Good News again to a hurting, polarized world.

For the Love is more a collection of essays, and random funny bits, centered around loving ourselves and loving others, rather than a unified book. I wasn’t expecting that, so it kind of put me off at first, but once I got into the groove I found a lot it relatable and funny and occasionally inspirational.

I really enjoyed Hatmaker’s voice. For a Christian writer, she is hilarious and hits on some of the exact things I feel. The book is pretty light overall, in part because of the amusing tidbits and asides. It’s about loving others, near and far, but there isn’t really much new in it. At the same time, her love of Jesus, of the church, of people shines through.

Some things that stood out for me:

“We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.” (7)

“If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” (19)

Two of the later chapters were particularly thought-provoking, Poverty Tourism and Dear Church. They made me think about how our church handles mission trips and how much we rely on staff-led ministries.

And I’d really like to belong to a supper club like Hatmaker’s or hang out on front porch. She’s that kind of person, someone you feel like you could be friends with. I feel like she’d be supportive and non-judgemental, but also let you talk through issues. And she’d always have a funny story to tell.

 

About Jen Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker is the author of the New York Times bestseller For the Love and happy hostess of a tightly knit online community where she reaches millions of people each week. She and her husband, Brandon, founded the Legacy Collective, a giving community that granted more than a million dollars in its first year. They also starred in the popular series My Big Family Renovation on HGTV. Jen is a mom to five, a sought-after speaker, and a delighted resident of Austin, Texas, where she and her family are helping keep Austin weird.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Published by Random House Audio on August 26, 2014 (first published May 24, 2012)
Source: Gift
Genres: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller
Length: 19 hrs 11 mins
Format: Audiobook
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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Gone Girl was all the rage a couple of years ago, but I didn’t get around to listening to it until now. I shouldn’t have put it off. It was unique, well-done, definitely attention-grabbing, maybe not quite unputdownable, but close.

Nick and Amy are not nice people. Neither is really the good guy, although you do sympathize with Nick. The audio had two narrators, one for Nick and one for Amy, which I thought was a great choice. It always takes me a while to get used to anything different than one narrator of the same gender as the main character, but this format worked so well with the story it was the perfect choice. Both narrators did a great job capturing the points of view, the dark humor, the nuances in the phrasing. I think that listening to it probably made it even better than reading it in print would have.

I can’t say much about the plot without ruining it, but it did keep me guessing, wondering what the truth was, who the bad guy was. I knew it wasn’t as straight forward as it first appeared, mostly due to the hype when the book and then the movie came out, but I wasn’t sure how it was all going to fit together. I have to say I love how Flynn plotted the whole thing. And the ending was perfect for the rest of the story.

Now, I have to convince my husband to watch the movie with me. One of the guys at work told him not to watch it because it would make him paranoid.

About Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn is an American author and was a television critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her first novel, Sharp Objects, won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller. Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

Thursday’s Tale: The Sleeper and the Spindle

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Today I’ve got a fairy tale re-telling to share. It is a gorgeous book, by the way, perfect for any of the fairy tale lovers on your gift list for Christmas.

Thursday’s Tale: The Sleeper and the Spindle The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Published by HarperCollins on September 22nd 2015
Source: Gift
Genres: Fairy tale
Pages: 69
Format: Hardcover
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A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems.

This is a short story and feels like the fairy tale it is. The characters are all nameless, but we know the Queen is Snow White after the kiss from the prince. There are three (magic number) dwarves, a quest, magic, but I like the female twist. The one prince in the story is conspicuously absent, although the dwarves are loyal and trustworthy and brave.

The Queen learns about the sleeping princess and that the curse if spreading, so she heads out to deal with it. She puts on her armor takes her sword and tells her prince they’ll have to postpone the wedding. Doesn’t take him with her, you notice; she’s a little ambivalent about getting married. It’s a darker twist on the traditional tale and there’s a bit of a twist at the end. The end is not quite happy though, at least not in the typical fairy tale way.

Snow White is just awesome here. And the illustrations are gorgeous and intricate, black and white with touches of gold, definitely one to keep on my “favorites” shelf.

I wouldn’t pick this one up for little kids who love Disney princesses, but I think middle school kids (and teens and definitely adults) will enjoy it. There’s only a little violence and while there is a kiss, it’s not sexual- it’s part of the job.

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Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

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