March 23, 2011

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

A Billion Reasons WhyI won A Billion Reasons Why on Kristin Billerbeck's blog and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a fast paced, with fun, witty dialogue, and had a dreamy hero...my kind of romance.

Here's the back cover copy:
Katie McKenna leads a perfect life. She has a fulfilling job, a cute apartment, and a wedding to plan with her soon-to-be fiance, Dexter. She can think of a billion reasons why she should marry Dexter. He's everything she wants in a husband.

And then in walks Luc DeForges, her bold, breathtaking ex-boyfriend. Only now he's a millionaire. And he wants her to go home to New Orleans to sing for a friend's wedding. As his date.

But Katie made up her mind about Luc eight years ago, when she fled their hometown after a very public breakup. Yet there's still a magnetism between them she can't deny.

Katie thought her predictable relationship with Dexter would be the bedrock of a lasting, Christian marriage. But what if there's more? What if God's desire for her is a heart full of life? And what if that's what Luc has offered all along?

My thoughts:
I love a strong, take charge type of guy, and Luc DeForges is just that! He is dreamy and goes after Katie with such determination, she doesn't really stand a chance. But she tries...oh yes, she does! There is a lot of romantic tension in this story and the snappy dialogue between Katie and Luc is so much fun.There are great secondary characters, such as Katie's mom, that adds a lot of flavor to the book.

I think what I loved about this book is the theme of living life real. Sometimes we shove who God made us to be in a little box, thinking that we should be this or that instead. Sometimes who we think we should be is not the best that God made us to be. Sometimes real, vibrant life is lived out when we let ourselves be who God made us to be.

A billion Reasons Why is a fun read, that will make you smile and heave a sigh at the end.

March 21, 2011

Spring Break Has Sprung

Today I am back at work, probably inundated with new students to register for school. After any holiday or at the end of a term, we lose students and we gain students, making my job extremely busy. The problem with being busy today is that my brain will not be working like it should. It will be sluggish. That's what happens after a break.

But what a great Spring Break it was. We bought a brand new couch on Monday! What makes this special is 1) We were given money to buy a couch, and 2) It was the second new furniture purchase we have ever made! I know, you saying, What? Your kidding, right? You see, when you are in the ministry, you don't have a lot of extra money, and people know that, so they give you things. That is a huge blessing in our lives, truly, but it makes it oh-so-special when we can purchase something of our choosing. Here is a picture of the couch we chose.
The second best thing about Spring Break is that I got to sit on my new couch with my laptop and write. I critiqued, I wrote, I edited, and I blogged. Yes, I even changed my blog layout...in case you hadn't noticed. The other was getting to busy for me. I got more done than I expected, which makes my heart smile.

The third best thing about Spring Break was I got to watch movies. My husband and I began Downton Abbey, which is excellent. March Madness has gotten in the way, and I am threatening to continue the series without my husband. I watched some chick flicks...The Switch, Morning Glory, and Life As We Know It. All good. (Well, The Switch was just so-so.)

And the fourth best thing about Spring Break is I got to read. There's nothing like reading in bed late at night, knowing you don't have to get up early. There's also nothing like reading in bed until 10 or 11 in the morning. So indulgent. Let's see...I read Deep Trouble by Mary Connealy (a galley copy on my Kindle from NetGalley.com) Very good, and my review will come out later in April, before the book is released. I then I started several other books. I am reading them all at once, so I haven't finished any of them. I am reading Plan B by Pete Wilson, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke, and The Glory of Green by Judy Christie. All very good, so far.

That was the extent of my Spring Break. I didn't go anywhere, since I didn't have a car, and that was fine by me!

What did YOU do for Spring Break? Or what are your plans if you haven't had your Spring Break yet?

March 18, 2011

Paperback Sales Takes A 30% Nosedive

I just read on GalleyCat that the adult mass market paperback book sales dropped almost 31% in January 2011 when compared to January 2010. Hardback sales dropped around 11%.  It went on to say that total book sales dropped by 1.9%, totally $805.7 million. They have a total breakdown of the sales here.

Also at GalleyCat, eBook sales were up 115.8%. That is a jump from $32.4 million to $69.9 million. It stated that there has been an increase in sales in the past nine years since the Association of American Publishing has been tracking it. You can read the breakdown of the sales here.

I find it extremely interesting. I don't know what it means for the future of publishing, but I do know that ePublishing will be a part of the future, for sure. I'm sure it opens up many avenues for publishing, even for big name traditional publishers.

I would think that without having to purchase paper, printing ink, and all that traditional publishing entails, these publishers could take on more clients and get more books out. It probably means smaller advances, cheaper ebooks, and smaller sales, but maybe the trade off is people buying more books. Hey, it's cheaper and they can get it instantly!

What do you think about it?

March 07, 2011

Selecting Dorms and Letting Go

University of Texas Longhorns
My daughter and I went to Austin Friday to look at the University of Texas. She was recently accepted into their Studio Art Program. (Yay--I am so proud!) Friday we looked at dormitories and Saturday we went to Open House at the Fine Arts Building.

So when it comes to picking dormitories, my daughter and I differ on what is important. She liked the feel of the biggest dormitory that housed 3,000 students. It felt like an airport concourse, with fast food and shops on the first floor. There were people break dancing, people playing music, people studying...you name it. It was alive. It had energy. She could overlook the fact that it was run down and stunk.

I preferred the dorm that was clean and less busy, with a private or shared bathroom as opposed to the community bath. These dorms are mostly coed with guys and girls sharing floors, though they have separate community bathrooms. I know she liked the energy of the big one, but I think after awhile, she will get tired of the noise and energy and will want a quiet place to retreat.

So what are we going to do? Compromise, of course! While I don't like the coed dorms, the only women's dorm is on the opposite side of the campus...and this campus is 40 acres big. (Yes, my legs and hips STILL hurt from all the walking this weekend!) There are 3 smaller dorms near the big one she likes, so we are looking into those. They are coed, but are smaller, only housing 200-300. It still makes me nervous though.

There comes a time when you have to let go. You have to trust that you have done your best in raising your child and they know right from wrong and will follow in the path you have set them upon. One day they leave and their life is out of your protective hands.

It reminded me of writing our stories. We can hang on to them, editing them, perfecting them, making them shine, but we have to let them go at some point, trusting that God will direct them in the way they should go. Of course, our stories don't have a will of their own, but we still have to entrust them to God and let Him make our work flourish. He is the one that establishes the work of our hands.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

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