Sunday, February 08, 2009

Catching Up

I'm trying to get caught up on everything that got lost in the shuffle of this week. I took it easy yesterday to let my body recover, but still I woke up this morning barely able to walk. So I'm missing church (Grr!) and resting in bed in hopes that tomorrow will be better. Howard is doing the same, so Mom and Audrey are still with him. Mom's going home today though to rest and go back to work tomorrow, and that's a good thing. She's been so exhausted from getting no sleep and constantly worrying.

This week in the midst of all of the other worries, we found out that Jesse has Celiac's Disease, which means that he is allergic to gluten and can't have any of it in his diet. You would be amazed at how many things have gluten! Anything with wheat, barley, or rye, plus a whole host of other things that are used as additives in foods. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, Jesse bought some special foods and has completely changed the way he eats. It's making a big difference in his health. His body wasn't processing nutrients, so he was always sick to his stomach and always tired. This weekend he's been full of energy and getting so much done. It's not an illness anyone wants to get, but in this case, Jesse is making the best of it and it's making his life (and mine) better for it.

Here are the book reviews I promised earlier in the week!

Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate is the follow up to Talk of the Town about the small Texas town of Daily. Nate Heath has been working as a screenwriter on his friend Justin Shay's movies for years. But The Shay's career has been bottoming out due to addictions and his restless nature, and Nate is about ready to call it quits when Justin asks him to rewrite a screenplay that has been bouncing around in Hollywood limbo for years about a cowboy who works with an abused horse and autistic boy bringing healing to both. Lauren Eldridge hasn't returned home to Daily, Texas in the two years since the tragic death of her husband. But when her father calls her and asks that she train a former racehorse for a movie, she can't turn him down. Both Nate and Lauren are afraid of getting too close to anyone, but the denizens of Daily don't allow anyone to keep their distance. Soon the whole town is involved in the production of a movie and the restoration of hearts. Wingate has a unique talent for grasping character's personalities and being able to translate that to print so surely that it's hard to believe they are fictional. I've been reading so many books lately that have let me down, but Wingate describes scenes and people in a way that draws the reader in. Lauren and Nate narrate in alternating chapters, and Wingate writes each with a specific voice. Nate writes cinematically, everything is a possible scene in a movie, and he has an almost sweet cynicism. Lauren, on the other hand, is very down to earth and direct. She doesn't smack readers over the head with faith and preaching, but the lessons she imparts about how God draws people to him are beautiful. I'm ready to pack my bags and move to Daily, Texas myself!

The Rose Conspiracy
by Craig Parshall is another book in the growing genre of mysterious books and secret societies, ala The DaVinci Code. J.D. Blackstone is a hotshot D.C. lawyer with a fast car, an addiction to adrenalin, and no personal relationships. When Vinnie Archmount is accused of murdering a Smithsonian official to steal the missing pages of John Wilkes Booth's diary, she calls in Blackstone to defend her. The case quickly goes from mysterious to dangerous as there is an attempt on his life, and the deeper Blackstone investigates, the more secrets he uncovers. Throw in the Masons, the secret to eternal life, and the Gnostic Gospels, and you have plenty of thrills. I've read some of Parshall's books, and I have to say this is the weakest of them. The characters aren't fully formed beyond stereotypes, so it's really hard to care about Blackstone's grief about his lost family or Vinnie's arrest. The whole book just felt a little too slick to me. Blackstone is hard to like, and the Christian aspects are mini-sermons.

Tomorrow I'm kicking off the first of two book contests this week! And I promise that there is plenty of romance involved in time for Valentine's Day!