Before I begin, let me just say – I really really like this cover! The one that is wrapped around my advance paperback is pretty, sure, but the one I’ve used below really catches the eye!
OK . . . now to what is between the covers.
I LOVE . . . LOVE LOVE LOVE . . . the Harry Potter series.
I even love the movies.
In my personal opinion, the 8 HP movies are a bright and shining example that once in a while . . . a long while . . . a movie (in this case, movies) can be made right!
Yes I know – I got distracted again. I do that.
OK . . . WOW!
And I really mean WOW!
Nicole Rivera has a gold mine in this wonderful devotional! This book has not only given me a new appreciation for one of my all-time favorite book series, it has shown me a wonderful new look into the story behind the story!
I don’t know if I ever would have connected all of those dots. Of course, I never saw the Biblical significance in the Narnia stories either – until someone pointed them out to me. That is the brilliance of such stories (or rather – parables).
God has truly given Nicole a vision and I am thrilled she is sharing it with the world!
Here is a short synopsis of the book and the opening letter – which will give you some insight into Nicole’s vision.
Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter.Explore life’s deepest truths. Discover wisdom about friendship, courage, loyalty, and love from the Boy-Who-Lived and his magical friends. Coming December 10, 2015 in ebook and trade paper.
Finding Unauthorized Faith in Harry Potter by Nicole L Rivera, is a Christian devotional especially suited for young adults and all fans of the remarkable series, and for use as in group Bible studies.
Nicole reveals the Harry Potter story as a guide to life’s deepest truths, offering inspiration about faith, friendship, courage, loyalty, love, and other wisdom of the Bible. She advises us about how to live like Christ and the Harry Potter heroes.
The book is not yet available everywhere but it is available for pre-order at the following retailers: SMASHWORDS, B&N, ITUNES, and AMAZON.
WHOO HOO! I have officially gotten in on the ground floor this time!
It feels so good to be here for once in my life.
And YES! I am taking sides.
I LOVE IT!!!! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
Haters are gonna have their say, but those of us who love it will too.
First a bit of back-story — because I am an author and we all love back-story — haven’t you noticed . . .
I did not discover twilightuntil it was already slated to become a movie. I literally (yes I know it sounds like I am comparing myself to a certain heroine, but I’m not – I’m really that way) stumbled across a discussion on a social site and was immediately intrigued.
I have always been a bit different from everyone else I know . . . slightly odd, slightly off, slightly obsessed with weird and unexplainable things (remember, I write speculative fiction) – and so the idea of non-evil vampires was too exciting to pass up.
So . . . anyway, I found a copy at a nearby bookstore and started reading.
And . . . I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
I don’t care what anyone says. Yes, it may have been rushed a bit. Yes, it was Stephenie’s first novel. Yes, there may have been some errors or spots where the writing lacked, but you know what – I am not a natural editor and I do not remember ANYTHING pulling me out of the magnificent story world . . . well, not anything from the book anyway.
I began pretty late in the day and read right through the night. Even though I knew my kiddos would get me up super early, I did not close my eyes until I’d finished the very last page of the book.
Actually, it was probably about a half hour after I finished that last page, because I sat there grinning like an idiot for at least five minutes and then it took a long time to get my brain to shut up so I could go to sleep. I kept going over my favorite scenes and stifling the ridiculous schoolgirl giggles that kept escaping.
Obviously, I went out the next day and hunted down copies of new moon and eclipse, and it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure I had to wait for breaking dawn – which I’m certain was a special kind of torture, but somehow I survived.
You see, these books had done something for me that no trashy romance novel I had ever read could – they had given me a REAL fantasy about what love truly should be.
And it was amazing!
Speaking as someone who has not had good fortune in the romance department, I was thrilled to read about a young woman who made good choices where love was concerned.
Far too many people look at Bella Swan and pick at her because when everyone around her is doing their crazy superhero thing, she stands there and lets them handle things, but those are people who did not read the scene at the end of the book . . . clearly. Most of them probably never made it through half the first book, much less the second and third and last book – where Bella becomes the ultimate superhero . . . the one they all look at with this crazy awe, the one who most certainly does NOT stand behind anyone else, the one who . . . literally . . . saves. the. day.
Stop glaring at me. That is not a spoiler. Not at this late date.
And now for the painful part.
The movie killed it, absolutely destroyed that beautiful bubble of perfection for me.
When every other female in the theater screamed as “Edward” came on screen, I groaned – yes, out loud. I am quite certain no one heard me because they were too busy screaming and hyperventilating, but I did.
I groaned because that guy was not my Edward. The Edward in my mind was actually flawless – not stupid and awkward and wearing a stinking “members only” jacket – which, in case you aren’t my age – meant you were the ultimate dork . . . or at least it did when I was in school. No. Way. to make that cool for me. E. V. E. R.
Yes, I watched the movies – because in some crazed, desperate way, I kept hoping it would somehow get better enough to fix that horrible, agonizing death.
And in a way, it did . . . a little.
Rob’s makeup and wardrobe got better with the second movie. His acting even improved . . . slightly.
The second movie was done incredibly well and I quite enjoyed it, but . . . it really didn’t matter. The bubble had been decimated and there was no getting it back. All I could really do was hold on to the improvements and try to enjoy the ride.
And I do enjoy watching the movies. I enjoy – immensely – that last scene of the last movie. I enjoy the music . . . well, most of it, and I enjoy seeing Bella be the amazingly awesome superhero that saves everyone – everyone!
But it has never been the same.
OH. MY. WORD!
I refuse. REFUSE! to spoil the new story for anyone.
But I can say that my faith in the series has been restored!
Sitting there, reading about Beau and Edythe, I felt the same delirious, giggly, romantic high that I experienced when reading the original twilight for the very first time.
Somehow, Stephenie has healed the devastation – that movie #one caused in me – with this wildly perceptive idea of hers!
And regardless of what anyone says – ONLY an INCREDIBLY gifted author could have pulled this off!
Only an AMAZINGLY talented author could have had me hearing a guy’s voice in my head as I read Beau’s words . . . knowing many of those words as well as I do from the dozens of times I read the books before I watched the first movie.
Impressive that Stephenie was able to accurately describe how differently a young man would react to things – because, let’s face it; boys do not react to things the same way girls do – not often anyway.
Doubly impressive to see how different Stephenie succeeded in making the few reactions that were essentially the same ones we had seen from Bella . . . feel . . . as if they were actually tailored for Beau, when we remembered that was not the case, because Bella had reacted just the same way.
However, the most impressive part was when I became so involved in the story, that I completely forgot I was reading a story that bore a strong resemblance to another I read nearly ten years ago.
It felt fresh and brand new.
It was amazing and exhilarating and exciting!
And I just may be able to go back and read the original twilightagain and really enjoy it.
Thank you, Stephenie.
By the way . . . just for the record . . . I finished the book on Wednesday. Just thought you should know. 😉
This movie touched me so deeply – I’m not even sure there are words to describe it.
Years ago, a story was shared with me about an abortion survivor – something that I was not even aware was possible. This movie brought every bit of that raw emotion right back to me.
I know a little bit about being unwanted… I was not a survivor of a failed abortion but I was a survivor of a failed marriage – and a child unwanted by her father.
Even now, thirty-five years later, my father and I only have a relationship at all because of my children… and – while I am thrilled to say that I have forgiven him – he will most likely never admit there is anything that needs forgiveness. For myself and my children, I have let go of that bitterness and our lives are so much better because of it.
I CHOOSE LIFE!
Every Life is Beautiful and we live in a society that seems to have forgotten that. It’s easy to proclaim yourself as pro-choice… but remember that YOU ARE HERE so clearly your parents were PRO-LIFE!
Aside from that, the movie itself was beyond amazing – absolutely believable, excellent flow and pacing, superb acting, spectacular staging and filming. How can I give it 10 stars… 20!
A MUST SEE Movie!
DON’T MISS the special features! There are some AMAZING extras included that just may elicit an emotional response that rivals the movie’s.
“You saw me before I was born.” Psalm 139:16 (NLT)
As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah-unscripted-collapses in front of the stunned audience.
After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend.
Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future.
In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.
At least he was nice enough to wait until we left the theater before he started picking the movie to pieces.
Now, years later… I find myself doing the exact same thing.
Why? Because I finally got why he did it.
There are some really fantastic movies out there – and it is absolutely possible to watch them and turn off the critic in your head and just… enjoy.
But when the credits roll, you start thinking. And when you think, you realize there are things that happened during the movie that essentially make the presumption that you – as the watcher – are an idiot.
And so you analyze and you point out the obvious flaws and you pick it to pieces… all the whole hoping that people you watched it with, “get it” too.
And I could go on… and on… and on…
But I won’t. I’ll stop right there and say this – I believe this is one thing that makes me a natural book reviewer.
And you know exactly what I mean…
There is a very thick line of difference between those of us who are natural reviewers and those of us who just review books.
Those who are natural reviewers can spin a tale about the wonders that take place between the pages – without giving away important plot points or telling the read how the story ends!
We don’t just analyze the tale – we pour our heart and soul into the words we pen (or type in most cases) about the beloved books we read day after day – time and time again!
We don’t just tell you what we did or did not like about it – we regale you with descriptions of our own experience with the story, the characters, the setting, the wondrous ending.
We let you in to our own hearts and minds and souls so that you can see how the book touched us and why.
Some of us even write our reviews as a bit of a story in itself. We seek to entertain as much as the writer of the book we are imploring you to give a chance!
Anyone who follows my book blog, knows that I review books… A LOT of books! I LOVE to read and I love to share my thoughts on these books with my followers.
Along this journey, I have been blessed to join several different street teams.
Recently I was forced to leave one of those street teams (on my own… NOT by the author). And, given some drama that has trickled through blogger circles of late, I felt the need to make mention of something that tends to be misunderstood…
A REVIEWER is someone who reads books and then posts reviews on sites like Christianbook.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc…
Some of these reviewers are sent books by publishers or promotional companies or the authors themselves.
Along with this “gifted” book comes the requirement that the reviewer gives an HONEST review… not just a positive one.
An INFLUENCER is someone who is part of a selected group of people who are chosen to help launch a book. Most authors ask the members to post reviews but they require them to be positive. In the case that a reviewer can not post a positive review, they are asked to post none at all – or at least to wait until a month or so after the book has released.
But the main job of an influencer is to help get the word out about a book’s release. They are responsible for splashing notifications across social media, requesting the book at local libraries and passing out promotional materials like bookmarks and pens.
A STREET TEAM is a combination of the two above.
The street team members’ job extends beyond a book’s release. They notify their followers and friends about sales on the author’s books, special giveaways and more. They also hand out promotional materials (when the author has them to pass out), and they are usually required to read the author’s books and review them.
Typically, an honest yet positive review is no problem in these groups because the members are generally fans of the author’s work. However, most authors do not require a positive review – simply an honest one… in order to have lots of reviews up – to encourage sales.
If a street team requires a positive review, this should always be made clear before the reviewers join. However, lately there has been a bit of drama that has made this point a bit murky.
There are street teams out there that are run, not by the author but by a fan or by the author’s assistant. When the case is a fan running the team, there may be some issues because the fan has their own ideas about the author’s work and if a member’s review does not line up with their own opinion, they may find it difficult to be unbiased.
My caution is this:
Reviewers – be careful about what street teams you join. DO not join simply because the author is high-profile. Join the street team of an author you admire, one you will have no problem promoting!
And be sure to read all of the requirements BEFORE you join!
Authors – be cautious about how you run your team (or who you choose to run the team for you). Any drama that goes on will not be laid at the feet of that person on social media. It will be attributed to your team and YOUR name.
Also… you should be extremely careful about setting boundaries about reviews. 5 stars on Amazon is great but word of mouth still carries a tremendous amount of weight and if a reviewer is unhappy, they will most likely tell almost everyone they know about it.
I would also suggest you watch what works and what doesn’t with your friends’ street teams. Learn by example and never hesitate to make suggestions to friends about their own teams. Just because you see where something doesn’t work, does not mean they do.
Of course it has to be said… some authors do not deal well with bad reviews. But think of it this way… Is it more important to have ALL good reviews or to have a large number of reviews? Whether the reviews are bad or good, having a large number means that a large number of people have read the book.
And… I speak from experience when I say that I have NEVER allowed a negative review to sway me from reading a book that interested me. I have also read more than a few books that received nothing but glowing reviews – which I did not enjoy.
FSOG IS NOT a Love story! It is a story of manipulation and ABUSE!
This review is going to be quite a bit different from every other one on this blog but please bear with me… I promise I’ll be as succinct as possible!
There is a certain movie opening this weekend that is seeking to DESTROY Valentine’s Day and all that is precious to us about it!
There is a massive facebook/twitter campaign going on right now – against the heinous 50 Shades of… books AND movie! I am using the campaign’s hashtag in my title above – #NoGreyNoWay. You can click on one of the links below for more info…
You should be aware that some of the posts on these sites contain graphic information – as many women and men are sharing their own personal experiences about past abuse.
Please stand with us as we spread the word to our friends, family and even strangers.
If you truly care – you will want to do everything possible to protect others from the damaging and devastating effects of this series!
And that begins with NOT seeing the movie this weekend! In fact, I am going so far as to steer clear of ANY movie theater showing the movie! Putting money in their pockets – even for another movie – is NOT going to make the point!
NO, I have not – and I will not – read the book (or watch the movie)! And that may be confusing some of you who read my reviews because you’re wondering why I’m “reviewing” something I haven’t read or seen…
I know that there are times that Christian leaders feel the need to read or watch what they are begging their followers to oppose – so that they have all the information they need to present a well-argued case.
But in this case… and in my opinion, that is a very bad idea! Exposing your mind to ANYTHING of this nature is just inviting the devil to create a foothold in your very soul – which he will then use to create a stronghold which will push more sin into your life.
Allowing this story into your head allows it into your heart, your mind, your soul!
You think you can handle it. You tell yourself that you need to be able to make an informed argument. You tell yourself that you need to have ammo to feed that argument. You tell yourself that you can’t properly argue against something you haven’t read or watched personally…
But this series is FAR TOO DANGEROUS to adhere to these rationales.
I am here today to ask you to stand with me and millions of others
and put a stop to this movie right now!
We need to send a strong message to the makers of the movie. They HAVE TO KNOW we are serious!
They HAVE TO KNOW that they will not tear down strong women… men… families… marriages!
They HAVE TO KNOW that we will not lay down and let them roll right over us!
We will stand up for our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, our friends! We will not allow someone to tell us that it is OK for a man to mistreat a woman – even if she agrees to it!
An abuser is very skilled at convincing you that you asked for it, wanted it, enjoy it.
IT IS A LIE!
No one has the right to treat you like a thing!
No one has the right to treat you like trash!
No one has the right to degrade you and drag you down!
An abuser will tell you that you are not enjoying yourself because you aren’t submitting in the right way.
The greatest trick the devil ever played on women was to make them think submission equals abuse… and then to make them think that choosing to be abused is not abuse but is instead, empowerment – that it is fun, exciting, sexy…
Choosing it does not make it LOVE!
Choosing it does not make it RIGHT!
Choosing it does not make it ENJOYABLE!
It doesn’t matter if it’s consensual or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s by choice or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s “fiction” or not!
From what I understand about the series, the whole consent situation is murky at best anyway – as miss Ana was under the influence of alcohol at the time she “gave consent” – Men have gone to prison for less!
Abuse and degradation are nothing to take lightly or as something that is OK as long as we’re talking about two adults or even as long as we are talking about fiction!
It is NEVER OK –not in a fictional story, not in a movie, and certainly not in reality!
Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that absolutely tore you up until the last five minutes or 20 pages?
You slog through because you don’t like to quit or because you promised someone you would but it’s a struggle. And until those last five minutes or the last 20 pages, you were either bawling your eyes out or your stomach was all tied up in knots or both… But you got to the end and suddenly the whole thing was worth it.
The last bit completely changes your outlook on the whole thing.
You feel like you’re walking on air, the knots in your stomach disappear and everything is right with the world again.
And the funniest part of it is this: when you’re finished, when it’s all over – it’s a little difficult to remember just how upset or torn up you were. All you remember is that the end left you feeling all warm and fuzzy.
So that’s what sticks with you.
A lot of the books I have read recently have been this way. I go through the whole book worrying that someone is in big trouble or my heart breaks when the guy dumps the girl or vice versa or there’s danger around the corner and I know it’s coming but I can’t do anything but watch as it unfolds and the Hero is completely surprised!
But, for some strange reason, when the end comes and everything is once again right with the world – trouble blew over or went away, the guy got his girl or the villain was foiled… I completely forget about the gnawing in my gut or the feeling of despair that had me in tears for 100 pages.
So tell me, is it just me? Is it a girl thing – like how we forget the excruciating hours of labor we just went through when they place that little pink bundle in our arms…
Or is it something a lot of people do?
PLEASE tell me it’s something a lot of people do! I’m not a freak… I swear. PLEASE tell me I’m not the one weirdo who does this?
I would have warned you to grab a box of tissues but it would have ruined it.
We “old-fogey” parents complain about technology ruining family time and we are bitter about our kids spending so much time playing video games or texting but this video shows an entirely different perspective, something a lot of people never think of when they see a teen on their iPhone® or Gameboy DS®.
I hope this commercial will give teens the idea that their family is more important than they sometimes realize. And I hope it will show parents that they don’t always know exactly what is going on with their kids. Don’t jump to conclusions parents. Just LOVE your kids.
OK… I have to go find another box of tissues now so I’m just going to keep this one short and sweet. I think the video says it all anyway.
I mean… How can I top that? Way to go Apple!
One other comment come to mind as I watch this. Too often, we participate in things but we miss the “little moments”.
The argument goes on and on that it’s better to “BE THERE” than to be video-taping but something like this can help us all hold onto those precious memories forever!
GOD Bless you!
Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below. I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.
Adults read this WITHOUT your young children reading over your shoulder.
We are down to two weeks. Only two more weeks until Christmas morning.
My absolute favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street. I watch it every year. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve watched that movie.
Miracle on 34th street deals with a lot of touchy subjects and I’d like to talk a little bit about one of them today: Faith.
The idea of Faith is a tricky one. Belief in Santa Claus or The Easter Bunny or so many others, are often lumped in with belief in God and there is a line in the movie that caught my attention last night and I think that line is the real heart of the issue.
There is a scene in the movie where “Santa” talks with Mrs. Walker – one of the main characters – the mom who “doesn’t believe”.
I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I… I… I’m a symbol.
I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives.
If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.
~ Santa Claus in “Miracle on 34th Street
My only real problem with the statement above is that a lot of people attribute this type of “faith” with faith in God and that sends a very wrong message.
Faith in God is very different from faith in myths or whimsical figures or anything else along those lines. And because of that – too often people either feel afraid to allow their children to ever believe in Santa Claus because telling them differently later might make them question their faith in God…
Or they encourage them to believe and make a big production of the whole thing and carry it all too far. And then they try to drag it out much longer than necessary to allow the children to keep that “faith” even after they’re ready to let it go.
I feel it’s only fair at this point to let you know that my children figured out all by themselves just who “Santa Claus” is in our family.
I was talking about this with a dear friend and we have come to the conclusion that there is a danger in the whole idea of Santa Claus
(THIS IS NOT POINTED AT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).
Santa Claus is worse than a myth.
Santa Claus is an excuse! An excuse to do something for your kids that they really don’t deserve at a time of the year where everyone has gone a little gift-crazy. It’s a way to ease your conscience… even though it’s not really about your conscience – it’s really about easing your guilt because you haven’t been as good a parent as you should have been and you know it.
We see it all the time in movies or in TV Shows, even books.
Some dad(mom) works too much, he(she)’s never home, the kids are spoiled rotten and they misbehave. They torment the housekeeper or the nanny or the au pair until they quit. This usually goes on for a while.
The story always shows this in a light that makes the kids look like the victims. They can’t help being so spoiled and bratty. They just want their mom or dad to be home more often.
I’m not going to get the popular vote for what I’m about to say next but it has to be said.
NO one in this situation is the victim! Except maybe the housekeepers and nannies and au pairs who are tormented by the spoiled children.
Parents are the ones responsible for their children. If they have to hire a nanny, they still need to be enough of a parent to teach their children how to behave properly. It’s the nanny’s job to watch the children, not be their parent.
And the children are equally at fault. No amount of bad behavior is acceptable, no matter what sort of attention it gets from a parent. And maybe it can be overlooked when the children are under the age of 6 but once they’re old enough to know how to dress themselves, they need to start growing up and start figuring out how human beings behave.
Of course this goes to a much larger issue and it’s a major problem with our society but I’ve ranted enough for today so I’ll stop there.
What’s the bottom line you say?
Parents, be parents! If you don’t want to be a parent, don’t have children. It’s as simple as that.
We pass on our convictions to our children by the things we tolerate. ~ Amish Proverb
And on that note, I will say adieu.
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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.
Well, if you go read that post, it will tell you about why but if you want to know without having to go somewhere else, just keep reading.
I posted about Christmas books – 25 of them. And let me tell you, you never realize until you go look, that it’s difficult to actually find 25 Christmas books that you like. So I put in quite a few that I haven’t actually read. Most of them are on my to-read list but a few of them, I put in because I’d heard good things or (in the case of the ones that got the whole thing going) I loved the movie.
If you enjoy Christmas movies, you’ve probably seen “Mrs. Miracle” or “Call me Mrs. Miracle” at some point or other.
And if you’ve never read the books, let me caution you…
There is bad language in the first paragraph on the first page.
It’s bad enough the man calls his son such a thing but to actually spell out the word repeatedly is unnecessary and in very poor taste in my opinion.
First if all, it’s not really required to spell out the actual word. There are plenty of writers who allude to the word without actually putting it right there in black and white for all to see.
Second, to keep repeating it (it’s right there in the first chapter at least twice more) is just reprehensible.
Third – and this is the big one – It’s a story about an Angel! Am I the only one who thinks this is completely ridiculous? Really! In a story about an angel, we’re really going to put bad language… and spoken to a child in a completely inappropriate manner.
Needless to say, I felt a great desire to edit my post, removing the books by this author and adding in some others by trusted Christian Authors.
And that is what has truly annoyed me.
Everything, and I mean everything I did to edit this post met with disastrous results. Every picture I tried to insert, every excerpt I tried to paste and every synopsis I tried to move caused mass havoc.
Suffice to say I had a rough day and it took copious amounts of Hot Cocoa and a favorite movie to soothe my ragged nerves.
On the bright side, I feel better having stood up for my principles.
And I am reminded again of what Jesus did for us so long ago.
His ideas were not popular with everyone. His teachings made a lot of people angry and he ultimately died for his principles.
So with that in mind, I feel even better about it all.
Rant over. Go about your business.
GOD BLESS YOU!
Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.