Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge

A joke cracking, somewhat snarky, but always loving Jesus…I’m in!!!  I read this book in an hour and it was just what I need…funny, touching, and poignant.  The book deals with tough stuff…loss of a sibling, a grief struck mother, a deceased father…it is hopeful, not depressing.  And while the title implies a highly religious overtone (and Jesus is one of the main characters,) it is not overly religious…it is definitely more spiritual.  It reminded me of the Jesus in the movie Dogma (Kevin Smith), with no bad language.

Here are some of my favorite moments: 
“Noah prayed?”

“Oh , yeah.  One night out on Bethel Road. He was by himself, and he got out of the car, looked up at the sky, and said, “Who am I, anyway?  Really, who the hell am I?”

“That doesn’t sound like a prayer to me.”

Jesus said, “Sure, it was.”  He leaned and petted Shadow, who let his tongue loll out in ecstasy.

Walker asked, “So what did you do?”

“I loved him.”

“That’s all?”

Jesus caressed Shadow one more time.  He straightened up and looked directly at Walker.

“Dude,” he said, “that’s everything.”

“Little kids I don’t mind.  Every kid wants a pony.  It’s grown-ups that get my robe in a knot.  Stop with the begging, okay?  Adore me for a change.  Or give thanks.  I like gratitude.  Or ask for guidance.  But oh, no.  It’s always the pony.”

Jesus moved closer.  “Walker, listen to me, okay?  You ask what happens when someone dies.  Well, the body decomposes and the worms play pinochle on your snout, but Walker, my dear Walker, the light never goes out.”

Book Description via Amazon

When Jesus shows up in Walker’s life, healing triumphs over heartbreak in Koertge’s finest and funniest novel yet.

Walker shouldn’t have been so surprised to find Jesus standing in the middle of his bedroom. After all, he’d prayed for whoever was up there to help him, and to help his mom, who hadn’t stopped crying since Noah died two months ago. But since when have prayers actually been answered? And since when has Jesus been so . . . irreverent? But as astounding as Jesus’ sudden appearance is, it’s going to take more than divine intervention for Walker to come to terms with his brother’s sudden death. Why would God take seventeen-year-old Noah when half of the residents in his mom’s nursing home were waiting to die? And why would he send Jesus to Coaltown, Illinois, to pick up the pieces? In a spare and often humorous text, renowned poet Ron Koertge tackles some of life’s biggest questions — and humanizes the divine savior in a way that highlights the divinity in all of us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Outside by Laura Bickle

The Amish vampire apocalypse continues in this sequel to The Hallowed Ones.  I wanted to love this, I really did.  It received decent reviews…I was ready for some horror…but uggggg.  First off, I am able to suspend reality REALLY easy…vampires exist, yup I am with ya…crazy supernatural beings living in our world, most definitely…but weird green luminescent people able to repel vampires…I’m out.  I will say though, it was no *so* terrible that I didn’t finish it, but this does not go on the YOU MUST READ THIS RIGHT NOW list.


After a plague of vampires was unleashed in the world, Katie was kicked out of the safe haven of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. She enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two friends and a horse by her side.
     And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can they be trusted, and are they even people at all?
     In this sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it's up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to sacrifice in return?

Monday, November 4, 2013

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

My obsession with Downton Abbey + a book about friends = love.  I read this during an extremely frantic time when I just needed to escape…and boy did this deliver.  It made me want to start my very own Downton Abbey viewing party complete with fancy hats and even fancier cocktails.

From Booklist

Wax breaks from her Ten Beach Road series to indulge her obsession with the popular British television show Downton Abbey in her latest novel. When Edward, concierge of a posh Atlanta building, decides to host a weekly Downtown Abbey viewing party, it brings together an unlikely trio of residents. Behind her poised facade, Samantha harbors the belief that her husband married her out of pity, and she lets her younger siblings take advantage of her. Empty-nester Claire has taken a year off from her day job to write her next novel, but crippling writer’s block has her dodging her editor’s calls. Frumpy single-mom Brooke must face her ex-husband and his glossy new girlfriend, who have moved into the building. Wax’s trendy premise makes for a surprisingly poignant and enjoyable story about friendship. Readers need not be fans of the show to enjoy this tale, but they may relate more to the characters’ infatuation if they are. --Aleksandra Walker