Bookish Radness

Awesome Giveaway Coming Next Month!

I have a December giveaway coming up and wanted to make sure you knew about it! Because I’m sneaky, the photo above is only hint of what’s in the giveaway….

So how do you enter to win? It’s easy, just sign-up for my newsletter! I’ll have one newsletter during December and I’ll share all the fun giveaways and prizes, plus a Christmas bonus! You can sign up here. I’ll pick a lucky winner from my list of subscribers.

Does this mean you’ll start getting daily emails from me? Not at all – I send it out twice a month, featuring favorite reads and exclusive author interviews. I promise it’s fun!

I’d love for you to help spread the word, so please feel free to share this with friends! You can share this direct link or this blog post.

Sign up here!

Bookish Radness

WaterBrook & Multnomah Books I’m Excited to Read

Fall is a busy season for book releases. We’re talking ALL THE BOOKS. It makes for some nonstop work days, but also that means I get to snag a lot of books from the office. There are quite a few recent releases (even a couple from earlier this year) I’m looking forward to reading from WaterBrook, so why not share with y’all?

Have you read any of these yet? Which ones are you looking forward to?

Some Kind of Crazy by Terry Wardle

An unforgettable story, in the tradition of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, that reveals how a careful look at a broken past can open a path to profound healing and a satisfying future.

This is the intriguing story of the arduous childhood of a miner’s son growing up in the Appalachian coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania. The brokenness of Terry Wardle’s early life led to problems in adulthood that brought him to confinement in a psychiatric hospital. But that was not the end–in time Wardle experienced an emotional and spiritual transformation that began a journey toward greater health and personal freedom. So what does a man whose life was shaped by an often affectionate, sometimes hilarious, and always dysfunctional family have to share with all of us? Some Kind of Crazy is alternately, funny, tragic, insightful, and deeply biblical, a riveting book that will lead you to a place where God may touch and heal your own brokenness, whatever form it may take.

I’ve Seen the End of You by Dr. W. Lee Warren

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science–and between death and hope–as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Dr. W. Lee Warren, a practicing brain surgeon, assumed he knew most outcomes for people with glioblastoma, head injuries, and other health-care problems. Yet even as he tried to give patients hope, his own heart would sink as he realized, I’ve seen the end of you.

But it became far more personal when the acclaimed doctor experienced an unimaginable family tragedy. That’s when he reached the end of himself.

Page-turning medical stories serve as the backdrop for a raw, honest look at how we can remain on solid ground when everything goes wrong and how we can find light in the darkest hours of life. I’ve Seen the End of You is the rare book that offers tender empathy and tangible hope for those who are suffering. No matter what you’re facing, this doesn’t have to be the end. Even when nothing seems to makes sense, God can transform your circumstances and your life. And he can offer a new beginning.

A Month of Sundays by Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson was quite concerned about the language we use between Sundays. He strived for a continuity of language between the words we use in Bible studies and the words we use when we are out hiking, at work, or eating dinner with family. He illustrated this passion in his writings and weekly sermons. A Month of Sundays is a devotional collection featuring excerpts of Eugene’s Sunday sermons arranged into thoughtful readings for every day of the month, drawn from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The four gospels give us snapshots of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Dig deep into Eugene Peterson’s thoughts regarding select passages, and discover clarity, insight, and wisdom in his distinctive style of earthy spirituality.

Double Blessing by Mark Batterson

New York Times bestselling author and pastor invites readers to pursue, recognize, and flip every blessing from God. He provides the tools necessary to inventory one’s blessings and participate in double blessing – that moment when a blessing in your life is leveraged to doubly bless another.

Mark Batterson believes it’s possible to experience more of God’s blessing – but that might look different than you would initially expect. The first wave of blessing is that which God gives you: time, treasure, talent. The double blessing, the second movement in this relationship, is our giving back to God by giving to others. In a day where divine flourishing and godly stewardship has been reduced to a hashtag; #blessed, Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.

Something Needs to Change by David Platt

USA TODAY BESTSELLER – The author of Radical takes readers on a soul-searching journey through impoverished villages in the Himalayan mountains, daring them to make a difference in a world of urgent need, starting right where they live.

“Grippingly vulnerable and unforgettable. I could not put this book down.”–Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts

While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.

Blessed Broken Given by Glenn Packiam

An invitation to find beauty and meaning in the ordinary and imperfect aspects of your life; not as a call to settle for less, but rather as a way to mysteriously participate in God’s power and purpose.

Glenn Packiam wants to empower readers to find great joy, purpose, and passion in their daily living. While bread may be one of the most common items on our dinner tables, Jesus chose to take it at the Last Supper and invest deep, wonderful, and transcendent meaning in it. Like the bread that was blessed, broken, and given; readers will see how God uses ordinary experiences to cultivate their mission and their brokenness to bring healing to the world. The ordinary is not the enemy; it is the means by which God accomplishes the miraculous. Through clear biblical teaching and practical steps, Packiam leads the reader into a more purposeful, directed, hopeful future.

Finding God’s Life For My Will by Mike Donehey

The lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for award-winning contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North shows readers that by seeking God first and focusing on serving Him, we can live daily in His will.

“Perhaps God isn’t giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan.”

This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey after years of wrestling with his obsession to know God’s specific plans for his life. He came to the realization that waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uberspiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret–just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life.

“This is my story…how I gave up begging to know God’s will and began to ask His life to come and change my will.”

With his signature humor and relentless hunger for God, Mike will show you that discovering the Father’s purpose and plan for our lives is not the shell game that we all too often make it out to be. If you’re unsure what to do next, take heart and accept the ultimate invitation: learn to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan.

These two aren’t traditional books, but I’m excited all the same!

My Real Story by Becky Thompson

What if you were able to recognize the story that God was writing in your life as you were living it? A popular blogger to millions of women helps you answer that question for yourself, as you create a unique keepsake journal.

Becky Thompson invites you to reflect on your own spiritual journey. With mini-devotions from Becky, artistic scripture verses, personalized prayers, reflection pages, and spaces where you can record those moments you don’t want to forget, My Real Story will encourage you to look back through the different seasons in your life in order to capture the heart of who you are in Christ.

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner by Mark Batterson

(I have used this every day since I snagged a copy)

The perfect companion product to New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson’s compelling manifesto, Chase the Lion. This undated week-at-a-glance 12-month planner features excerpts from Chase the Lion sprinkled throughout to encourage the user to face their fears, defy the odds, and hold tight to God. Each week has space in the margin for trackable items such as the week’s goals, goals met, prayer requests, to-do lists, etc. At the end of each month is a page of self-evaluation questions and space to write a step toward a personal manifesto. Finally, the planner will wrap up with a multi-year calendar for user reference.

 

Happy Reading!

Bookish Radness

“When You Want to Go To Europe, But You Can’t Yet” Book List

It’s been far too long since I’ve been to Europe. Have you ever been? There’s so much I love about it and so many countries to see. But since I don’t have a trip planned on the direct horizon, I have been wanting to read more books by European authors or set in Europe. So I’ve started and list and wanted to share with you all, in case you also have the travel bug.

Some of these I’ve read and others were recommended. Also, England, France, Spain, and Italy have all been on my list, so I’ve focused on those countries.

France

  • Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau
  • The Red Notebook by Antonine Laurain
  • Author Simone de Beauvoir

Spain

  • Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez Reverte
  • Author Federico Garcia Lorca

England (not by the Inklings or Jane Austen)

  • Author Laura Purcell
  • Author Peter Mayle (bonus for the French too)

Italy

  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
  • Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
  • Author Elena Ferrante

Bonus (these came up in conversation):

Chilean author – Pablo Neruda

Any other European authors to add to the list?

Bookish Radness, Fiction

The Joy that is Jane Austen Retellings (and Some New Ones to Check Out!)

Today is one of the days we honor Jane Austen. It can be a bit weird to honor someone on the anniversary of their death (She passed away on July 18th, 1817), but I guess when you’ve forever impacted the literary world, people do that, and honestly, I’m here for all the Austen celebrations. Today, I wanted to share some recent Austen retellings I’ve read. I love retellings – whether movies or books, it’s such a fun way to experience Jane. I’ve decided there are three types of Austen retellings:

1. An almost exact retelling, but names, dates, and locations changed. These can be hit or miss.
2. A barely recognizable version of Jane, where the author tried to hard to be different, but it usually ends up not working.
3. The best kind. The author has enough changes to make it different, but the nod to the genius that was Jane. These are obviously my favorites.

Am I missing any? I tend to lean toward Pride and Prejudice retellings, which also seem to be the most popular.

What’s a favorite Austen retelling of yours? If you say Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, let’s hang out. I don’t care that Jane might be rolling over in her grave, I love that movie (it’s one of those rare ones where I like the movie more than the book).

Finally, here are some recent ones I’ve read. As with any book, some I liked better than others, there were some things I wish the authors didn’t do, but overall, I think they’re all worth checking out. Have you read any?

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal: In this one-of-a-kind retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry—until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.

Told with wry wit and colorful prose, Unmarriageable is a charming update on Jane Austen’s beloved novel and an exhilarating exploration of love, marriage, class, and sisterhood.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin: A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston: When Elizabeth Bennet first knew Mr. Darcy, she despised him and was sure he felt the same. Angered by his pride and reserve, influenced by the lies of the charming Mr. Wickham, she never troubled herself to believe he was anything other than the worst of men–until, one day, he unexpectedly proposed.Mr. Darcy’s passionate avowal of love causes Elizabeth to reevaluate everything she thought she knew about him. What she knows is that he is rich, handsome, clever, and very much in love with her. She, on the other hand, is poor, and can expect a future of increasing poverty if she does not marry. The incentives for her to accept him are strong, but she is honest enough to tell him that she does not return his affections. He says he can accept that–but will either of them ever be truly happy in a relationship of unequal affection?

Diverging from Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice at the proposal in the Hunsford parsonage, this story explores the kind of man Darcy is, even before his “proper humbling,” and how such a man, so full of pride, so much in love, might have behaved had Elizabeth chosen to accept his original proposal.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi: Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge (This is a book I got to work on, so yes, a little biased : ): “Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”―Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn’t so far away.

Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (I actually haven’t read this one yet, but I’m really excited to): Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

– Never trust an outsider
– Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations
– And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.

Bookish Radness

A Literary Rebel

Sometimes I decide to make things and sell them. This time? My love of being a Literary Rebel.

A friend once said “Books change the world because books change people and people change the world.” Books, stories, words: They help see humanity in others, they motivate us into action, move us toward compassion, give us hope. Books also teach us, encourage us, and inspire us.

Today’s times are hard. Watch the news for 53 seconds and you know what I mean. People can no longer have discussions and have hidden behind a computer to yell and name call. Critical thinking seems like a distant memory and the art of debate buried.

As a person who loves Jesus and tries everyday to love people like He does, the environment we’ve created breaks me. People no longer see people. They see issues. Issues they have opinions about.

May that never be me. May I always see a person’s value and humanity and love them, no matter what faith they follow (if any), what life choices they make, what good or bad decisions they make, whatever it is. May I always see the person.

That’s what books help with. This isn’t just an opinion of a biased book-loving, publisher-working reader. Science, studies, and so many things point to this: When we read books and stories (especially true with fiction), we are kinder and we have compassion. Why? Because we are able to see humanity through the words of a book.

So this was going to be a one paragraph introduction to the mugs and stickers I have on Etsy, but apparently I had a word to share! So friends, keep reading books. Read books about stories you aren’t familiar with and people who look and act differently from you. Be a person known for compassion.

May we always rebel against that which isn’t love.

Want the mug or stickers? You can check out my Etsy shop >> here.

Want to get more recommendations than you’ll ever need? You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Also, don’t forget to sign-up (its free) for the Penguin Random House Readers Program. Buy books, earn points, get free books. Definitely a way to be a Literary Rebel. Sign up here#TeamPRH #ReadWithLoyalty

Bookish Radness

Earn Free Books! Penguin Random House’s Reader Rewards Program

Y’all know how much I love working for Penguin Random House. They recently kicked off the best rewards program and I want to make sure the book world knows because you know what’s the best? FREE BOOKS!

It’s simple: Sign-up HERE to become a member of the Penguin Random House loyalty program.

Buy a Penguin Random House book at any retailer(!!!) and submit your receipt.

Earn points for buying books and redeem them for free Penguin Random House books.

SERIOUSLY.

FREE BOOKS.

Sign up here!

#TeamPRH and #ReadWithLoyalty

Bookish Radness

The Books Behind Disney

I love Disney. The parks, the movies, the cartoons. So when I heard there would be live actions for both Aladdin AND Lion King (both in my top 5 favorites), I was immediately in. Recently they dropped the full length trailer for Lion King and y’all, I WANT A PET LION CUB. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Did you know the The Lion King was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story? Although, it was inspired by both Shakespeare (Hamlet) and the Bible (the lives of Joseph and Moses). I love hearing the inspiration of movies I love and because no one on the internet asked, I’m here to provide a list of other well known Disney movie inspirations or the book they’re based off of:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: This Brothers Grimm tale was the first animated film produced by Disney. Have y’all watched this one recently? I started watching it with my niece a couple years ago and had to turn it off because we she got scared by the Queen.

Cinderella: Also by the same name by Brothers Grimm. Their version is much more gruesome.

Little Mermaid: The original story was written by Hans Christian Andersen. Is it the same romantic ending? Can’t say it is. She doesn’t end up with the Prince, but doesn’t turn into sea foam like all other mermaids, so there’s that.

Beauty and the Beast: Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve is credited with the oldest version of this tale. She was around in the 1700s.

The Fox and the Hound: This one is based on the 1967 novel by American Daniel P. Mannix and guess what, it’s just as depressing as the movie.

Pinocchio: The 1883 Italian classic The Adventures of Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi, reveals that Pinocchio was much more into making bad decisions than the cartoon classic.

Tangled: Based off of Brothers Grimm’s (again!) Rapunzel, the original story shows us that these brothers and those who told these early folk had some issues.

Aladdin: We can thank the French archaeologist, Antoine Galland, for the interpretation of Arabian Nights for this one.

Mulan: This was inspired by the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. Apparently Mushu isn’t real though. I’m sad.

The Princess and the Frog: Shout out the Brothers again, but also 2002 book, The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker. Disney changed the setting though, thus the New Orleans vibe.

Frozen: This one was inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (1884).

What’s your favorite animated feature film?

I’ll end with the trailer for Aladdin because I’m really excited about this one too. Although, can we talk about how the casting of Jafar as creepy old man is neither creepy nor old man??

Book Wisdom, Bookish Radness

What Book Made You a Reader?

Do you remember the first book that made you a reader? People might guess that mine would either be The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia, but I didn’t encounter Tolkien or Lewis until much later in life (after college). Although, there is a very vague childhood memory of the epic 1970s epic Hobbit cartoon and the most terrifying Gollum to ever be on screen, but I didn’t make the connection until after watching the LOTR movies.

Anyway, there are two books I think of from childhood that I claim as those that made me a reader. One I have no clue the author or title and it was published in the late 80s/early 90s. So good luck finding it – haha! All I can remember is that it was a fantasy book about a young girl who had to leave her castle (I think), go on adventures, and save her family. The cover had her (I think she had a brown braid) and a mountain on it. Possibly included animal sidekicks. If you can help me find that book, I promise to send you every fiction release I’m working on this year.

The other book? The Land I Lost by Quang Nhuong Huynh

I still have my original 1986 version.

I read this book so many times when I was young! I was completely fascinated by Huynh’s stories. How different they were from my own. I loved the stories of his animal encounters (even the scary ones and, after reading it again recently, some violent ones), his pets, the adventures, and the love of his home country. It was so exciting exciting to learn about a culture millions of miles (at least it felt that way to young Jamie) away from Southern California.

I didn’t fully understand all that it meant at that age, but I knew it made me want to learn more about other people, places, and lives. Isn’t that one of the greatest gifts a book gives us?

I’d love to hear from you! What book made you a reader?

Also, if you have kids in your life, GIVE THEM ALL THE BOOKS! You never know which stories will impact them.

Bookish Radness

Brio Magazine Feature!

I had an awesome opportunity to be featured in Brio Magazine for their April/May issue. God is always up to something isn’t He? Thankful for the opportunity and chance for young ladies to hear a bit of my story. My prayer is that by reading it, they may be encouraged that God is working in theirs!

Life is a wild journey, but an incredible one. God has given each of us unique talents, passions, abilities, and quirks. May we embrace those and expectantly wait to see what God will do in His perfect timing.

You can find out more about the issue here, but I also snagged some photos!