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You’re Invited for Our Last Book Club Meeting of the Season, Monday, 4/23, Featuring Julie Klassen’s THE INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL

Friends!  Save next Monday night, April 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.,  where we’ll have a delightful time discussing Julie Klassen’s Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Come and bring a friend with you!

Thanks to my sweet friend, Nancy Tinnell, bailing me out yet again on the write up of our selection (She’d finished the book and I had not yet!), you’ll get to enjoy her teaser on the book below:

 

On Monday, April 23rd, Branches Book Club will end the season with a discussion of Julie Klassen’s The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. What a contrast this book is to last month’s selection, The Choosing, which took place far in the future.

For April, we have traveled in our literary time machine back to Wiltshire, England in the year 1820. Passenger coach travel supports the existence of charming inns, where travelers can find good food and a soft bed before resuming their journey.

After the death of her husband, Jane Bell is expected to keep the Bell Inn running efficiently. Her knowledge of business in general and how the Inn functions from day to day are equally lacking, but she must somehow pull things together. She is surrounded by long time Inn employees and relatives of her late husband, but can she trust them to help her and not take advantage of her? We are left wondering for a while just who the good guys and bad guys are in this novel.

Publishers Weekly had this to say: “Klassen blends her tale well; each ingredient-romance, friendship, mystery-is measured to produce a lively tale that will satisfy Regency aficionados and general readers, too.” I totally agree! I loved attempting to assess brother-in-law Patrick’s motives; the intentions of Mr. Locke, and how long it would take mother-in-law Thora to soften.

Many of our Branches Book Club members have a soft spot for Regency fiction, and this book, first in Klassen’s TALES FROM IVY HILL series, does not disappoint. We look forward to sharing with you on the 23rd!

Yes, we will be in the sanctuary! This will keep us near the special LifeWay display in the lobby. Our friends from LifeWay will have all of next year’s books for you to purchase at a discount, in addition to other titles you may be interested in. Posters of next year’s book list will be available for you to share with others. We hope to see you there!

 

Thank you, Nancy!

Another fun fact is several of us have also enjoyed another book by Julie, “The Apothecary’s Daughter“, just in case you’d like to read another selection by her.

We hope to see you next Monday night, 4/23, from 6:30-8:00.  Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502) 245-8839 and don’t forget we’re meeting in the sanctuary.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

Also you will NOT want to miss this opportunity to learn of our selections for our next season (BIG REVEAL!!!), plus you’ll want to discover which authors are coming to be with us, and to snag the books early for your summer reading that LifeWay is so gracious to set up for us!

‘Til next time!

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Love Stories and Chocolate Treats (Part 3 of 4) Please join us for Book Club February 26th!

Friends! Grab some of your friends and head over to Book Club to hear what promises to be a grand discussion of an even grander love story and mystery, Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon.

The Branches Book Club gals will be meeting at Middletown United Methodist Church on Monday Night, February 26th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

It’ll be fun to hear everyone’s thoughts on their favorite characters, and let me tell you, author Irene has created some real characters. You won’t want to miss the love story budding in this book and I suspect you’ll be as frustrated as I was with the twists and turns.

Frustration only kept my eyes peeled on the pages while neglecting the laundry and dishes as they began to pile up. Shhh, don’t tell my husband! Also, don’t miss other books by Irene! She’s a three-time Rita Award winner, having written fifty-plus books…

While Irene keeps the story moving, she dots it throughout with what I call “wow” statements. An early example is:  “Letting yourself care for anyone—or anything—was an invitation for grief.” Perhaps she does this to brace us readers for what’s around the corner.

Irene also weaves pictures of grace throughout the book.  We readers struggle right along with some of the characters trying to overcome their past. Adam Stone spent time in prison and is trying to get a new start.

Single mom, Lexie, is the police chief of Hope Harbor. She conveniently works on Sundays so as to avoid church. She and Adam converge over vandalism done to his home which triggers sparks for a potential romance. Irene says, “Strange how adversity could turn some people away from God yet lead others to him.”

You’ll find yourself turning pages more rapidly once the mystery of multiple vandalism unfolds coupled with Adam and Lexie’s relationship.  Other characters enhance their relationship in fun and many times humorous ways.

One teenage boy, after being discovered as one of the kids involved in one of the vandalisms, gets mentored by Adam, keeping him out of trouble. His mother is also a single mom.  His, and later his Mother’s transformation is another bonus we readers get to witness.

It’s surprising so many of these characters wind up together at the local church.  Don’t miss the orchestration!

Hurry and read Sandpiper Cove to find out if the mystery gets solved with the vandalisms, if Lexie and Adam jump the hurdles necessary to start a relationship (including a late-into-the-story complication against Adam’s character), and if grace really can be extended to those who seem guilty.

Come join us Monday night, February 26th from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Please call Nancy Tinnell to RSVP at (502) 245-8839. We’d love to see you!

Our chocolate treat this week comes from Kentucky cookbook Bluegrass Winners by the Garden Club of Lexington.  Don’t miss the Chocolate Torte on p. 280.

 

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’re Invited to a Wildly Fun Book Club, a la Bob Goff, Monday 1/22! (**PLUS FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY Opportunity !**)

Friends!  Call up your friends NOW and invite them to what promises to be a boatload of fun next Monday, January 22nd, from 6:30-8:00 at Middletown United Methodist Church. It’s our first Book Club Meeting of the New Year!

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

We’ll be discussing Love Does—Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by the one and only Bob Goff.  Once you get to hear Bob speak, you can’t miss his inflections in his book. He depicts some kind of crazy in everything he does!

Louie Giglio says Bob is “a one-man tsunami of grace, a hurricane of love.”  Bill Hybels says, “If this book doesn’t make your heart beat faster, book the next flight to Mayo Clinic!” And in the Foreword, by Donald Miller, he says, “Where you and I may want love and feel love and say love, Bob reminds us that love does things….

“…It writes a letter and gets on a plane. It orders pizza and jumps in a lake. It hugs and prays and cries and sings. Much of what we’ve come to know and believe about love doesn’t ring true once you know this man whose love does.

Then for the next thirty-one short-n-sweet chapters, Bob will show you what Jesus with skin on looks like.  Some are hysterical, while others will cause you to fetch a Kleenex. Bob is so not about himself and all about others.  (“All the proceeds of this book are being donated to Love Does to promote human rights and education around the world. www.lovedoes.org and also the Mentoring Project, www.thementoringproject.org These two organizations are committed to loving kids in tangible ways…”)

Don’t miss Chapter Seven, “Sweet Maria”, about Bob’s bride.  And while you’re at it, you’d also love Maria’s book, Love Lives Here—Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want.  From the short glimpse of their relationship in Bob’s book, you’ll get the bigger picture with wildly fun details in her book. (I wrote about it last September.)

In each chapter you get to be Bob’s righthand man, hanging out with him, seeing him in action. You’ll get to meet  Bob’s Young Life Leader, named Randy, who did something so outrageous in the first chapter, you’ll be hooked and won’t be able to put the book down.

Check this out:

“What I learned from Randy changed my view permanently about what it meant to have a friendship with Jesus. I learned that faith isn’t about knowing all of the right stuff or obeying a list of rules. It’s something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making a sacrifice. Perhaps that’s why Jesus is sometimes called Immanual—‘God with us.’”

And with that, you’re jump started into the next chapter and the next and the next!  If you’ve not read the book yet, still come to hear the discussion at Book Club Monday night. Then maybe try reading a chapter a day for a month—31 days straight.  See if your conception of Jesus isn’t expanded, all for the better! It’s a beautiful experience! (FYI:  My three favorite chapters, if I had to pick, are:  “Friends, Welcome Home!”, “Memorizing Jesus”, and “Palms Up.”)

Meanwhile, come join us for what is sure to be a lively discussion at Book Club next Monday, January 22nd!  Please bring a healthy snack if time allows.  Since we’re into the New Year and by now have probably ditched our diets, let’s resume our healthy eating.  (I confess instead of granola or carrot sticks, I may bring carrot cake, but don’t tell anybody.)

We look forward to seeing you next Monday, January 22nd, from 6:30-8:00!  Happy to report the Connection Center is still available for January while the remodeling project looms closer and closer…

Please RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502) 245-8839.  And bring lots of friends! Everyone is welcome!

‘Til next time!

**Leave a comment in the next week if you’ve read the book or heard Bob speak before and tell us WHY you like his method to his madness so much.  You’ll be entered into a free giveaway of Love Does AND Love Lives Here you can either keep for yourself or give to a friend!**

 

 

 

 

 

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Come Enjoy 5 Fun Treats at Book Club Monday, 11/27 (“Christmas Playlist” by Alistair Begg)

Friends! Be thinking of who to bring with you to our next Book Club gathering on Monday, November 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. You won’t believe what all is on our agenda!

First up, we have some special guests coming who will serenade us! Yes, the Cincinnati Christmas Carolers are joining us! (www.cincycarolers.com )They will not only get us in the Christmas spirit, they will be the perfect segue way into our book we’ll be discussing, Christmas Playlist—Four Songs that Bring You to the Heart of Christmas by Alistair Begg.

Many of you know of Alistair and have been blessed by his preaching on the radio via Truth for Life. (www.truthforlife.org )  He’s been the Senior Pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio since 1983. (www.parksidechurch.com )

I used to listen to Alistair every morning after dropping off the children in carpool.  His Scottish brogue, along with his inspiring message, calmed my frazzled self to enjoy the day.

The second treat we’ll experience is watching a short-but-sweet video message Alistair made just for us! How fun is that?

Thirdly, all the while this is going on, we can taste fun Christmas party appetizers everyone is bringing (how about that Christmas tree-shaped cheese mold?!!!) to share.  Get creative, but please do avoid fruit cake. (Nobody quote me on that, and please do forgive me, I know some of you actually like the stuff.) And relax, no judgment will surface if you blow into Kroger and buy something readymade.  Food is food is food.

Fourthly, we’ll have a lively discussion about the book, your favorite songs, Christmas traditions, you-name-it.  This will be a sure cure for any potential Scrooges to infiltrate your homes.

The four songs Alistair shares with us straight from Scripture will prepare our hearts and minds to embrace the Christmas season. Unlike the innkeeper who said, “Sorry, there’s no room in the inn…”, we will uncover ways to make room for Jesus and celebrate His birthday in the best possible way this Christmas.

Fifthly, and finally, in addition to your Christmas party appetizer, please bring a wrapped ornament for our Ornament Exchange! This was so fun last year and a huge bonus to have a new ornament to take home and hang on your tree. This will be our grande finale to a most outstanding and uplifting meeting.

Make arrangements now to join us, toting friends with you, at our Christmas Book Club gathering, Next Monday, November 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

Please call Nancy Tinnell to RSVP:  (502) 245-8839.

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Come Meet Author Laura Frantz Next Monday 10/23 at Book Club!

Friends!  Grab your friends and head over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday night, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., for what’s sure to be a blast of a book club meeting!

The gals at Branches Book Club have invited author Laura Frantz to come and speak about her book, A Moonbow Night.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, do come as it’s always a treat to get to meet and hear from the author. Laura is currently living in Berea in a log cabin. Her passion for history influences her writing, including her book we’ll be discussing, A Moonbow Night. It has several twists and turns I’m excited to ask her about. Be thinking of questions you’d like to ask!

LauraFrantz.net

One of many fun snippets include Kentucky’s very own Daniel Boone and his family making an appearance in the book.  The connection to their family with Tempe is one of many surprises. Set in 1777, Laura’s characters truly live a pioneer life.  Our modern day comforts we experience didn’t exist back then. (Yes, they camp a lot!)

Some of Laura’s epigraphs are actual Scripture, while some frighteningly foreshadow what’s ahead:  “Our way is over mountains, steep hills, deep rivers, and muddy creeks; a thick growth of reeds for miles together; and no inhabitants but wild beasts and savage men.” (Francis Asbury) Yikes…

Laura exhibits her character’s faith and prayer lives throughout the book. She paints lovely portraits of God’s creation as well while her characters traipse across many miles, i.e. “The woods were an unending palette, its unearthly hues evidence of a Master’s hand.” (One of many reasons I love Christian fiction.)

Nancy Tinnell said, “I’m such a city girl that my enjoyment of the frontier-themed books we’ve read in book club has come as a surprise to me. Laura Frantz is the real deal! She grew up in Kentucky, having lived in both western and eastern regions of our state.”

Nancy added, “A Moonbow Night is about as authentic as it gets. Every page is so thick with descriptive language that you can almost hear the leaves blowing in the breeze and the twigs snapping under someone’s foot. She writes beautifully and makes the forest come alive. And of course, there’s a love story!”

Yes, well, let’s chat a minute about that little love story.  No spoiler alert, but I must say the relationship that blossoms throughout the book didn’t happen as quickly as I’d have liked.  That is what makes the book such a page-turner, the reader nearly YELLING for Tempe and Sion to become united, in the midst of running from Indians—as in the kind that’ll scalp you!

I got tickled at Laura in an interview saying she likes to give her main male character dark hair as well as making him tall and handsome.  My guess is Nancy may be envisioning a twin to Tom Selleck.  (We’ll have to ask her Monday night.)

Because of Laura’s Kentucky influence, we’ll be having Kentucky-themed food, so think about what you’d like to bring. Country ham biscuits, grits, derby pie anybody??? (I also discovered Laura likes peanut butter and chocolate anything, so a good ole’ Reese’s cup could do the trick!)

Finally, I’m happy to report Laura has a new book coming out in January, The Lacemaker. Let’s remember to ask her to give us a sneak peek.

We hope to see you next Monday night, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. Please call Nancy to RSVP at (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

‘Til next time!

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Come Meet Author Sarah Ladd and Learn About Her Novel, “The Heiress of Winterwood”, Monday, April 24th, 6:30-8:00 P.M.

Friends! I pray you and your family had a blessed Easter. We rejoice that He is risen, indeed.

It’s with great excitement I get to tell you a wee bit about Book Club and turn over the details to my dear friend, Nancy Tinnell. Nancy will reveal what all is happening next Monday, April 24th. Be thinking about who you’ll invite to bring with you to Book Club! You do NOT want to miss this!

The gals at Branches Book Club have really cooked up some fun. Here’s the book they’ll be discussing:

Even better, you’ll get to meet the author, Sarah Ladd!

Now, please allow me to pass my pen to Nancy Tinnell:


“The Heiress of Winterwood”
Sarah Ladd

Why do we love Regency fiction so much? Even as an adult, it’s easy to fantasize about a wardrobe of empire waist dresses with ribbons trailing down the back, and, of course, an upswept hairdo!  Shades of Mr. Darcy!

Sarah Ladd makes it easy to love period fiction in The Heiress of Winterwood. Though we may look back on those days with the idea that it was a quiet and genteel time, Sarah brings to the surface the reality of what it’s like to marry under pressure so you don’t lose your property; the struggle Amelia Barrett experiences when she finds her heart has been touched by another man; the disappointment felt when trusted family members are found to be not so trustworthy.

Amelia is a “good girl,” a rule follower, and she must learn that sometimes being obedient and faithful to God challenges our own rules and requires that we follow Him. Oh, how Amelia learns to trust in the Lord and lean not on her own understanding! (A vision of Proverbs 3:5-6!)

Author Sarah Ladd will be joining us at Branches Book Club on Monday, April 24th, at 6:30 p.m. for the final meeting this spring before we break for summer. What a great time this will be to ask her questions about her work.

As a bonus, Lifeway Christian Store will have a display of Sarah’s books, AND, last but not least, Lifeway will be selling copies of our next season’s book club selections at a discount. Can it get any better than that?

Well, as a matter of fact, it can! Our snack theme is an English tea party, a la Downton Abbey! Bring your finger sandwiches and cookies (or biscuits, as the British say), and enjoy an evening with Sarah Ladd and your book club friends. There will be door prizes, tea and dainties to consume, and the schedule for fall and spring’s book club selections, so you can get a head start this summer.

You may remember author Kristy Cambron’s visit last September when we read her book, The Ringmaster’s Wife. Kristy and Sarah are friends, and it was she who suggested we invite Sarah to be with us. All of us at Branches Book Club are excited Sarah’s coming, and, of course, we hope to see all of you! Make plans to join us!


THANK YOU, NANCY!

Please call Middletown United Methodist to RSVP at: (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

We look forward to seeing you!

‘Til next time!

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You’re Invited to a Super Fun Book Club! Monday, 3/27 at 6:30 p.m.: “The Promise of Jesse Woods” by Chris Fabry

Friends!  Grab  as many friends as you can find and dash over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday, March 27th from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

 The girls at Branches Book Club will be discussing a beautifully written novel by Chris Fabry called The Promise of Jesse Woods and you do not want to miss a minute of it! 

Because there’s a mouth-watering church picnic scene in the story, we decided we’ll be having our own potluck supper Monday night.  Please bring a side dish to share if time allows.  The main course and drinks will be provided. Just one more incentive (read “bribe” and smile) to get you and your friends coming to Book Club!

One more teaser:  Chris has graciously sent us a twenty plus minute personal message about this book, so you won’t want to miss him either!  

Every single book I’ve read of Chris’ I declare it to be my favorite, and The Promise of Jesse Woods is no exception.  What’s fun about Chris’ writing is my sweet Hubster, a/k/a John, enjoys Chris’ books too and we have a blast discussing them.  This book received the 2017 Christianity Today Book Award Merit in the fiction category.

Some of his other books have won the coveted Christy Award (Dogwood 2009, Almost Heaven 2011 and Not in the Heart 2013)  and the Christian Book Award (also Almost Heaven 2011).  Click on his website and check out all the other books Chris has written:  fiction and non-fiction. And don’t miss his daily radio show, Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. (www.moodyradio.org )

One of many endorsers of this book happens to be author Charles Martin. Many of you know how much I like his writing and you’re in his camp as well.  Charles says Chris’ book is “a tender coming-of-age story of first love, innocence lost, and the soul-freeing power of truth.”

Before we get into a few glimpses of this novel, you guys out there may be interested in at least two of Chris’ non-fiction books. My guess is you had no idea he wrote these very cool, true stories:

Coming Back Stronger—Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity by Drew Brees with Chris Fabry

The Winners Manual—for the Game of Life by Jim Tressel with Chris Fabry

(Fun sidebar:  John and I happen to have a copy of this book, signed by Tressel.  This came about when our dear friend Joe Daniels was Coach Tressel’s Quarterback Coach.  Like Tuesdays with Morrie, Jim Tressel sat at Joe Daniels’ bedside every single Tuesday while he battled cancer.  He gave a most poignant speech at Joe’s funeral.)

Back to our book:  You’ll love the characters in The Promise of Jesse Woods and feel as if you’re riding bikes down the roads of Dogwood, West Virginia with them.  You’ll sympathize with Matt whose extra pounds he’s packin’ bring him relentless teasing.

He and his family have moved to Dogwood for his Dad to be the town’s new preacher.  This makes Matt not only the new kid in town, but the Preacher’s Kid, and we all know what comes with that…

Matt quickly makes two new friends, both dragging a wagon full of baggage.  Matt’s new friend Dickie, is biracial, which brings that whole component with the story’s setting in 1972, while his other friend in the trio happens to be a girl named, Jesse Woods.  She becomes Matt’s first love which complicates matters just a tad.

In the book, Chris flips back and forth from 1984 to 1972, however you figure this out easily and read that much faster, trying to figure out where the plot will take you next.  One of the bad guys in the book will make you so mad because of how he affects so many, Matt’s Father, included.  His name even sounds like a dark cloud hovers over it:  Basil Blackwood.

At one point in the story, Matt wonders when his Father may grow a backbone no thanks to the very wicked Mr. Blackwood. Seems Mr. Blackwood minds the church’s business more than his own.

When Matt moves away to Chicago, he loses touch with these friends who’d been inseparable.  He says, “After high school I had ripped the rearview off my life.”

It’s back in Chicago where Matt gets a blast-from-the-past phone call from Dickie.  They really needed to patch things up, but the more pressing matter comes with Dickie’s announcement that their beloved Jesse is getting married in a few days.  Oh my…

Will Matt return to Dogwood?  And if he does, will he stop the wedding?  Will Jesse’s fiancée go after Matt?  Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out!

Before we close, I’ll share just one of many beautiful quotes I’ve highlighted and dog-eared.  Matt is talking with his father who says, “Life is never easy…it may seem like it on the surface, but there’s a struggle to it all.  When Jesus told the disciples to go across the Sea of Galilee, they got in the boat and obeyed. And that was when one of the biggest storms blew up. So obeying God’s will can sometimes get you into trouble. But it’s better to follow him into a storm than to stay on the shore alone.”

One thing I always hunt for in a book is the meaning of its’ title.  You will flat fall out of your chair when you reach the meaning of The Promise of Jesse Woods.  I never saw it comin’…

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest book story and grab this book.  Even if you don’t finish it before Monday, you’ll still enjoy and be blessed by our lively discussion, fun fellowship and delicious food.

We’ll look forward to seeing you Monday night, March 27th at 6:30! 

‘Til next time!

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