Books · Religious · Reviews

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron Book Review

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The insanity of living with an addict rolls into your life like fog as you stand on the shore of your hopes about the future. Then the tide begins, imperceptibly at first, to rise. Over the years, the water gets higher and higher, the fog continues to thicken, and one day you realize you’re lost, over your head, and even the calling of gulls has stopped.” page 224

This year I have realized anew how much I like memoirs. Unlike most of my readings, I can sail through a good life story in a few days which was what confused me about Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. I was expecting to be placed in the story and swept along which just did not happen. What did occur, for me, was meandering slowly through the first half of the book which was full of stories about his horrible father, how the CIA played a part of his life unknowingly, and a boyhood that just seemed hard and sad.

When I arrived at the second half of the book, it picked up for me and I finished quickly. Cron’s story that centered more on God was what I enjoyed. His friend Tyler who caused me to hope for this boy and his turning into a very different type of Dad is what drew me.

This is not a solid, scripturally strong testimony of a boy who realizes he is a sinner, ask forgiveness for his sins, and becomes a new man. Because of the chapters that Cron chooses to share, you don’t know any details of where he truly stands with all that. When Ian writes things like, “Even God was surprised.” (pg.168), I was sure by his style he was kidding, but I have to admit that within the stories the theology seemed questionable at best. 

He does warn in the first chapter that he is embellishing this memoir. Many of the stories happened so long ago, that the details are not exact. Knowing that, I think the whole point of Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me is Cron’s coming to terms with his father and about forgiveness with a little of how Cron changed as a person.

Would I recommend this book? I’m not sure. I suppose I would share it with people who deal with an addict in their life or had a troubling childhood but maybe not. I did enjoy the writing style for much of the book and perhaps it is there that the real value lies.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Giveaway · Reviews · Writing and Journaling

Journaling with Your Computer: The Journal 5 Review and Giveaway

I was invited to join Rafflecopter and because there were no entries in my giveaway yet, I decided to add Rafflecopter and extend the giveaway by one day!

After clicking The Journal 5 button on my desktop and typing in the secret password, the following is what shows up….

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If you like keeping a daily journal on your computer, this is the one for you. I like the simplicity and the ease of this platform.  I also like that fact that it is offline and saved on my computer, although you can back it up online as well if you want and if you don’t like green that is easy to change too.

My goal was to write a token from each day. Sometimes I have just one line to write and other days a picture with story or conversation.  If  a day is missed, I freed myself from going back and filling it in so that it does not become a chore but a welcomed way of closing out my day.  Keep in mind, that if you have trouble coming up with something you can add a simple daily journal template that is quick and easy to help you along.

When you purchase The Journal 5, it comes with easy to follow and clear directions. Plus it allows you to add tabs, lists, and things that interest you. For example, I have a Happiness Project Tab where I list some things that I wanted to remember from the book by that name. The Happiness Project has a place where you can keep these lists online, but I prefer mine to be private and so I am keeping them in my journal.

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My favorite thing about The Journal 5 is the Memory grabber add on.  I highly recommend this as it allows you to keep a running timeline of your life along with memory questions to remind you of key events you won’t want to forget.  The timeline (pictured above) has room to add your age to each year as well as monumental events. The space expands if you have a year that warrants more writing. I plan to list births, weddings, graduations, big moves, significant current events, and major life happenings. The memory questions include family, childhood, work, favorites, talents, and many more.

I highly recommend the Journal 5 for people looking to keep a simple desktop journal. You can purchase a download now or on CD in various bundles and packages. Head over to The Journal’s website to see more page views and insights to the program.
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You can also win The Journal 5 with the Memorygrabber (a $59.95 value)

RafflecopterSettings = { raffleID: ‘OTgwOGUzM2Y3ODYwMzNkNzkwZTBlYjZmYzhmYTVkOjE=’ }; You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway.I received a download of The Journal 5 in exchange for this review which is my own opinion.

Books · Reviews · Uncategorized

The Fine Art of Insincerity​ by Angela Hunt {Review and Interview}

a_The-fine-art-of-insincerity1Angela Hunt is one of my favorite fiction authors. She has well crafted stories that follow widely different themes and characters. That takes some serious talent to pull off and Hunt seems to do so effortlessly.

Hunt has the distinct ability to draw the reader into the lives of her characters. In The Fine Art of Insincerity, Angela Hunt shares the lives of three, very diverse sisters who each have demons they are wrestling.  Because those we meet in The Fine Art of Insincerity are messy, it makes them easy to relate to and more realistic. I found myself turning pages wondering the outcome and roads each would choose. Although the issues, some obvious from the start, are hinted at, the manner in which they are resolved is a surprise even to the very end.

Three Southern sisters with nine marriages between them–and more looming on the horizon–travel to St. Simons Island to empty their late grandmother’s house. Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she’s the only one who hasn’t inherited what their family calls “the Grandma Gene”–the tendency to enjoy the casualness of courtship more than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a “girls only” weekend, closing up Grandma’s memory-filled beach cottage for the last time, for the sisters to unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind. (summary credit)

Angela Hunt graciously agreed to answer some questions about her book, writing, and how you might connect with her…

1. I have read many of your novels, The Fine Art of Insincerity felt different to me in the way it was told by three different sisters, how did the idea come to be?       I am one of three sisters, so I’ve always wanted to write about that situation. Plus, many of the stories are adapted from my real life. My grandma has a lot in common with Grandma Lillian.

2. When you write, do you know where and how things will wrap up or is it also a discovery for you as well?
It’s about half and half. I always have a vague idea of the ending, but I often struggle with the details up until the very end

3. The Fine Art of Insincerity is an interesting title, what is one lesson in relationships that you learned while writing or that you hope your readers will take away?
That what we think is love often isn’t–it’s responsibility. There’s a huge difference.

4. Can you tell my readers a little about your blog and where else they can connect with you online.      My website is www.angelahuntbooks.com, and my blog, Facebook, and Twitter all spring off from that.       

5. Since this blog is Missional Mama, I was wondering if you would like to share how you are impacted by missions or being missional.
I consider my books my missional statement, and the world my mission field. Sometimes Christians fault me for not being “Christian enough,” but they forget that the world doesn’t speak our language. You have to reach people where they are.

6. Will we see these characters in future books? What other book or books can we look forward to next?
I won’t be working with these characters again, but my next book is also concerned with three sisters. It should release next summer (2012).

I truly enjoyed The Fine Art of Insincerity and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiction and especially Christian fiction. Hunt is a fantastic author. Check out what Liz Curtis Higgs wrote, “Only Angela Hunt could write a relationship novel that’s a page-turner!”

What is your favorite Angela Hunt book?

I was given this book by Glass Road Public Relations  in exchange for my honest review and opinions. I was not required to write a positive review.