Friends! Come one, come all to what promises to be a super fun finale for our season. Terri Blackstock’s If I Run is not only suspenseful, it’s a cliffhanger and will provide you with two more books you’ll want to read to find out what happens. Yes, it’s #1 of 3 in a series!
Nancy Tinnell was most gracious to write a teaser for us. (If you’ve not read the book yet, you’re going to want to!). Here’s Nancy:
”Terri Blackstock’s suspenseful novel, If I Run, is our final book club selection this year. We will be discussing it on Monday, April 22nd, and you are invited to join us! I apologized in advance to the group last month for the cliffhanger ending in this story. It provides an automatic summer reading suggestion for us: books two and three of the If I Run Series. Those titles are If I’m Found and If I Live.
Casey Cox, the anxious young woman at the heart of the story, is in a desperate situation. She has discovered a crime scene, knows that DNA evidence will point to her, even though she is innocent, but she doesn’t have much faith in the local authorities. She feels they let her down at the time of her father’s death thirteen years earlier. Casey is so wounded in her spirit and feels so alone in this dilemma that she chooses to run.
In this story, we follow her as she constantly changes her location, her appearance, and her identity, so she can buy time to think through the situation and decide what to do. There is a lot of suspense involved here, so be prepared to feel a bit anxious yourself.
Enter the love interest! Well, Dylan is not a love interest yet. He’s one of the authorities trying to track her. But we can see it coming. I just know it! He has a knack for analysis and can see that the details don’t add up to her guilt, even if the DNA evidence does implicate her. Also, Dylan’s back story makes him a sympathetic character.
At book club, we’ll be discussing these characters and several others, in addition to probing Casey’s suspicions about this crime and the circumstances surrounding her father’s death.
Since Casey has to live on fast food on the road, our suggested snack theme for our April meeting is “food on the run.” What do you fix when you have to fix something super-fast? Or what do you “drive through the drive-through” to pick up when you are in a hurry? Or what leftovers in the fridge can you pull together quickly? Food on the run, lots of fun! See you on the 22nd, book lovers.”
Thank you, Nancy! We will also announce our selections for our 2019-2020 season. We had a meeting last week and chose four fiction and three non-fiction books, all of which look wonderful!
The Living Word Bookstore in Southeast Christian Church is partnering with us to carry our selections for our new season. You may call them at (502) 253-8220. (Their website is: www.livingword.org ) They’ll be happy to order your books for you.
Gather up a carload of your friends! We hope to see you Monday, April 22nd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. Please RSVP to Nancy at (502) 245-8839.
Finally, since this week is Holy Week, here’s a reprise from last year should any of you have any anxiety about anything at all…our friend Max Lucado has just the help we need:
Anyone lugging around worries that are making you anxious? (I’m just realizing lug is in luggage.) Luggage denotes “inconveniently heavy baggage.” Well, take heart, I’m bringing you good news to lighten your load and bless us this Holy Week!
Many of you know how often I quote author Max Lucado. His book, Anxious for Nothing—Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, is a current favorite, its’ many pages already highlighted and dog-eared.
I’ll share a few of many favorite quotes which I pray will ease our anxiety, perhaps even erase it altogether, blessing us with a peaceful Holy Week. In the meantime, you may wish to grab this book as it’s a resource you would return to time and time again.
Max begins with, “Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs…
Anxiety is trepidation.
It’s a suspicion,
Life in a minor key with major concerns…
You’re part Chicken Little and part Eeyore. The sky is falling and it’s falling disproportionately on you.” Anyone?!!! Max not only cracks me up, he often perfectly depicts my own moods.
Flip on the news or grab a newspaper and “anxiety disorders” are usually the front runners. Epidemic proportions.Max states what we think, yet fear to admit:
“One would think Christians would be exempt from worry. But we are not. We have been taught that the Christian life is a life of peace, and when we don’t have peace, we assume the problem lies within us. Not only do we feel anxious, but we also feel guilty about our anxiety! The result is a downward spiral of worry, guilt, worry, guilt.”
What’s a person to do? Thankfully, Max gifts us with the solution straight from Scripture. Philippians 4:4-8 says:
Max shows us that these five verses include, “four admonitions that lead to ONE WONDERFUL PROMISE: ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.’” (v. 7)
Additionally, this book blesses us throughout by equipping us with a simple acronym, the word “CALM”. Put this in your anxiety arsenal and you will have a peaceful Holy Week:
The concept of “CALM” is introduced in Chapter One, and expounded on throughout the book. You’ll never look at it again in the same way! (See page 10 for starters!)
We readers are reminded to consult the Apostle Paul’s words and actions. Max says, “Paul believed in the steady hand of a good God. He was protected by God’s strength, preserved by God’s love. He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings.”
What does that look like for us? It translates into savoring God’s sovereignty. Clinging to His sovereignty and reminding ourselves daily that God is still on the throne. Always occupied. Always interceding for you and for me…
This Holy Week as we march toward Good Friday and Easter, may we remember the acronym “Calm”, and hear Max’ reminder: “God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday.”
Max’ book also includes a Study Guide which would be great for anyone, but also super for a Small Group to work thru’.
Have a blessed Easter.
‘Til next time!
Friends! You and your friends and neighbors are invited to our next Branches Book Club meeting, on Monday, February 25th, at Middletown United Methodist Church, where we’ll discuss Francine Rivers’ compelling and page-turner of a novel, The Masterpiece. (We meet from 6:30-8:00 p.m.)
While it’s a tome, I read it in no time, quickly loaning it to a friend so she could enjoy it. Fast forward to this week when I called on our faithful friend and fearless leader, Nancy Tinnell to come up with a “teaser” to get you to book club. Let’s learn a little more about The Masterpiece…
“Francine Rivers has done it again. She creates characters that compel us to lean in to them. We are drawn to them like flies to honey, and, if you’re like me, you can’t wait to finish the book to see how the story will end.
The Masterpiece has that wonderful element of bad boy/good girl that we so often love in our novels, but this one has a twist. The bad boy is somewhat reformed from his juvenile “tagging” days, but he has some distance yet to travel. Our good girl does not feel truly good because of her past. I got so caught up in Grace and Roman’s story that I wished I could climb into the pages and counsel both of them.
The bonus in the book is the cast of characters surrounding our primary duo. I even got drawn into their stories! Thank you, Francine. This book does not disappoint. If they ever make a movie based on it, I could see Antonio Banderas playing Roman. But I’m not sure about the actress to play Grace. Reese Witherspoon, maybe?
We are giving a nod to the book’s location (California coast) by making healthy, coastal snacks our food theme. When we get together for book club, I’m dying to ask your opinion on something in the book, but it will have to wait. I have to leave you with that teaser for now.”
Thank you, Nancy!
So, girls, you can tell we will have quite a discussion. If time allows, please bring a California Coastal treat per Nancy’s suggestion and RSVP to her at (502) 245-3839. We look forward to seeing you next Monday night!
’Til next time!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!**
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!
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.
‘Til next time!