Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still Waiting for Bunn & Gunn, but this will do

A couple of years ago, Robin Jones Gunn told me that she'd most like to co-author a book with Davis Bunn so that the spine would read "BUNN & GUNN". I'm still waiting for that book, but in the meanwhile, I'll keep reading!

Canadian author Janette Oke has partnered with one of my favorite fiction authors, Davis Bunn. I like his writing, but I also think he's possibly the nicest people I've ever met!

So, I was pleased to receive the advance reader copy of "The Centurion's Wife" - a swift departure from Oke's typical writing style, but not such a departure from Bunn's historical fiction. Leah, the niece of Pontius Pilate, is caught up in a scheme to find out who exactly this prophet whom Pilate executed really was - and whether the Jews who followed Jesus are planning a large-scale rebellion. Her husband-to-be, Alban, happens to be the Roman Centurion whose young servant was healed by Jesus (recorded in Matthew, chapter 8).

Separately, these two lead characters are assigned to to find out the truth about Jesus identity, and what happened after His crucifixion. While the dialog can tend to be a little lacking, the story itself is very enjoyable. I liked considering what Pilate, his wife, the disciples, the Centurion at Jesus' crucifixion, the women at Jesus' tomb, etc. all experienced after His death and resurrection. Putting things into context is always very helpful for me, and this story did just that. The Centurion's Wife is much shorter than a Brock & Bodie Thoene or Francine Rivers historical, biblical fiction title, and I wish that this book had been more fleshed out and made into a meatier story, but it was still satisfying. I will look forward to reading the next in the series.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Review: The Apothecary's Daughter

I am an unashamed Jane Austen / Regency Era addict. So, when I read Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen a number of months ago, I brought a discerning Regency eye to the writing. And I was definitely not unhappy with what my Regency-trained eye found. In fact, I was addicted. When the advanced reader copy of Klassen's forthcoming title arrived on my desk then, I picked it up immediately.

Julie Klassen's second "Riveting Regency", The Apothecary's Daughter, continues on her exploration of working-class 19th Century England. Lilly Haswell is a thoroughly likeable character, understandably torn between the life she knows with her tradesman father and developmentally delayed brother and her aspirations to find a life of something more, as offered to her by a wealthy aunt and uncle.

The unique glimpse provided into the 19th century world of medicine and the life of a working class family is well done. Klassen has obviously thoroughly studied her subject (and acknowledges this in the Author's Note), and uses detail to create a great sense of authenticity. Of course, a number of twists and turns in Lilly's complicated love-life ensue, and an enjoyable romance is woven throughout the larger story. However, the full story line intimates that Regency life was not all balls and gowns and garden parties, but full of the same life choice issues common to all people of all generations.

The cover copy tells us that The Apothecary's Daughter is a story with 'fascinating historical detail and vivid characters' and I would happily agree. I was not disappointed.
*Note: there were a few titles called "Apothecary's Daughter" when I searched - this review references only the title authored by Julie Klassen.

I'm Coming Back

Okay, so it's been waaay too long since I last posted. So much has happened! I got married, lost my job (RG Mitchell went bankrupt - NOT the result of my work, FYI), started a new company (check out http://www.grafmartin.com/ soon!) and did all the other life-adjusting stuff that comes along with major changes.

However, I want to start blogging again. In fact, I'm hoping to make my blog an integrated part of my new website, so thought I should get started right now. So there you go - it's a small start, but it's a start. First thing I'm going to do is publish my reviews for a couple of fiction titles I've just read and thoroughly enjoyed!

It's good to be back - now, we'll see if anyone even notices!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Does Bridezilla Look Like?

Apparently, this is what Bridezilla looks like...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Avoiding Bridezilla

Dan proposed on Christmas Eve, and we're getting married on February 16th. And no, it's not a 'shotgun wedding'. While some people think we're crazy, we've had a lot of confirmation from friends saying that a short engagement is definitely the way to go (although all the bridal magazines are telling me I need at MINIMUM a year to plan!) So, recently a friend asked what my tips would be for getting married quickly.

Here they are, for what they're worth:

1. Work on your guest list now, and compile all their addresses into a spreadsheet so that it's really easy to make them into address labels or print them on your invitation labels. This saved us tons of time, since I had them already in a spreadsheet for my Christmas card list!

2. If you find a dress you like now, buy it! I'm wearing bridal separates that I love, and i'm happy because I didn't care about having a big frou-frou princess wedding dress since we're having a small ceremony, larger reception.

3. Get married where you live, and not necessarily where your family lives. They'll travel if they want to be there, and you can handle the details a LOT easier. If i'd gotten married in Nanaimo it would have been a lot more stressful.

4. When you register, don't be picky. You can always exchange / return things. Find things you like, but don't agonize over them being perfect. They'll probably be just fine. Of course, all the magazines and websites, etc. tell you that this is your dream list and it has to be perfect, but see how everything looks when you get it and if it doesn't work, then exchange it!

5. Let your friends help you. They are going to be part of your marriage - not just your wedding. This is a big one! I've been absolutely AMAZED at how people are helping and supporting me, knowing that I have a short time frame, my mom and family aren't here, etc. They've been incredible. I'm totally blessed. My matron of honor did a lot of calling around and checking out halls for us - and we found one we LOVE - St. George Hall. I've been given the wedding cake by my friend Michelle and her pastry chef sister, the wedding decorations by various people, an amazing price on my flowers (Rebecca is a talented florist), a sister-in-law to take engagement photos, a sister to host the rehearsal dinner and people are popping out all over the place to offer things. It's amazing what happens when you don't hold your own wedding plans so tightly. And you know what, it's so incredible that it's become not just my event, or Dan and mine, but it's become a community event.

6. Set yourself aside and see what God will do. The best thing about a short engagement has been that we don't have the luxury of arguing over things. It's been more like "this is a great hall - do you like it?", "yup","okay - done". We have to be partners and work as a team. Also, it allows us to let God in on the details. We need him to intervene! I'm pretty organized, which helps, but I can only do so much. God has provided so much for us - from great deals on the things we need for the wedding, to people to purchase things we need to get rid of in the combining of two households. And yes - this was all basically organized within 3 1/2 weeks. Not 12 months.

So there you go. I don't have time to go all bridezilla! I don't want to be bridezilla, because frankly Dan doesn't like me so much when i'm stressed, and I don't like myself so much when i'm stressed!