Archives For This Fine Life

“Do you remember those things we used to play with as kids? You’d draw on them and then shake them and everything would disappear?”

“An Etch A Sketch?”

“Yes. An Etch A Sketch. Sometimes I wish life were like one of those.”

“Just shake and start over . . .”

This conversation from Eva Marie Everson’s latest novel, Chasing Sunsets, illustrates what many of us experience in real life: reaching a point in our personal histories where we’re longing for a do-over. This is the central desire of the main character, heart-broken divorcee Kimberly Tucker, and many of the secondary characters she encounters when she spends the summer on idyllic Cedar Key Island.

Happily, some of those desires are realized as Eva Marie Everson reminds us that Christ is still in the business of making all things—and people—new. Characters receive forgiveness, new beginnings, and second chances at love as they draw closer to the Lord and allow Him to work in their hearts and lives. There’s lots of family drama, a sweet romance, poignant flashbacks, and great descriptions of the sea, the beach, and the sunsets.

My favorite character in the book was Patsy, the seventy-eight year old woman who is computer savvy enough to facebook with her grandson and yet has My Utmost for His Highest, a Daily Guideposts devotional, and a well-used Bible piled up on her nightstand. The intriguing glimpse into her past made me eager for the second book in the Cedar Key series, which will reveal Patsy’s life story.

Chasing Sunsets is not a light read, but to me, it’s a true beach read. Perhaps because I teach and our school year ends in June, I find this slower-paced time of year more conducive to making resolutions than January 1st. So I can totally relate to characters who find that a beach in the Gulf is the perfect place to re-examine their lives, allow God to point out the areas that need to change, and then use the rest of the summer days to gear up for a new year and a changed life.

Verse from Isaiah 43 ~photo from my Memphis trip 2010~

***Chasing Sunsets is available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A special thanks to Revell for providing my review copy! Follow this link to purchase a copy from Amazon.com. Continue Reading…

How would you like to read a great book, share your thoughts about it, and maybe win a prize? That’s what I’m inviting you to do for this month’s Christian Fiction Book Club. What’s the book? Whichever one you choose!

By letting each participant choose her own book, I’m hoping to entice more of you—new friends, old friends, former student/friends, homeschooling moms, moms with little kids, busy working moms, grandmothers, non-bloggers, and bloggers—to participate.

So I’m calling this month’s chapter of the club, the Christian Fiction February Free-for-all.

Here’s how it works:

  • Find a Christian fiction book that you can read by the end of the month. It might be the book you have right there on the top of your To-Be-Read pile. If you have nothing in mind, I’ve listed some wonderful suggestions in this post.
  • Read your book in time to post here between February 25th and 28th.
  • Jot down your thoughts about the book. Sometimes it helps to answer a few specific questions about the story. If your book doesn’t come with discussion questions, I’ll be posting a few on a special page in my header soon.
  • Then you can choose how you’d like to share with the rest of us: 1. You can stop back in on book club day and post a mini-review of your book in the comments section. Or . . .
  • 2. You can email me your thoughts about the book, and I’ll include them in my post on book club day. I’d love to put your first name, the state you’re from, and maybe a picture of you with your comments. My email is reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Emails should be sent by February 23rd.
  • 3. If you’re a blogger, you can blog about your book. Then link up here on book club day.

Do you feel like you’re back in English class? Are you thinking, “Why should I take the time to do this?” I have an answer for that question . . .

  • When a new friend tells me what she likes about a favorite character, I catch a glimpse of what she values in others.
  • Often when a booklover explains why she relates to a particular theme or situation in a story, she ends up relating a real-life experience that helps me know her better.
  • When I find out someone I just met loves the same characters and books that have meant much to me, I know I’ve found a kindred spirit.

As C. S. Lewis said, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.” So talking about the books that bring us closer to the Lord can bring us closer to each other.

Don’t know where to start? I have favorite books for every mood and season of life I’ve experienced! Here are some suggestions from among my many favorites. Most of these books have been out for a few years, so you may be able to find them through your local library. Did you miss any of these treasures the first time around? Or maybe it’s been a while since you’ve read one of these. They’re all worth a second look! Continue Reading…