Friday, June 26, 2015

Dysfunction Junction (a book review)

Last week I finished a terrific book, Dysfunction Junction by April Erwin. This is April's second book and is a fun and engaging novel that reminds young women that true beauty is found within and not to give up on God's plans. 

Here is a short synopsis of Dysfunction Junction.

“I’m twenty-six and I’ve never been kissed.” Staring into the bathroom mirror while making this brilliant comment is supposed to make it feel real. It doesn’t.

Finding true love these days feels impossible to Kianna Ravencamp, only dysfunction surrounds her. Her sister’s married to an abusive husband and marriages she’s admired for years are falling apart. Maybe relationships like her parent’s don’t exist anymore. She dreams of true love and a family, but she’s never even been kissed.

For her birthday, her best friend gives her a journal and dares her to follow her dream of songwriting and vocal lessons quickly follow. Kianna’s finally dared to dream big… if the three men in her life don’t get in her way.

Nick Steele, her new vocal partner is flirtatious and charming. Derek Simpson, the new vocal coach is asking her out for coffee. Even Jason Payne, a childhood friend is acting odd. For the first time in her life, she will have to navigate dating and flirtation. Will her inexperience be her downfall? How will these relationships affect her songwriting career? 

Letting go and trusting God is the only answer that brings the path to real love and success.

I am doing my best to give a detailed review without divulging too much information, but there may be a few spoilers.

Genre: Christian Chick-lit
I would agree completely that Dysfunction Junction is Christian Chick-lit. It is great for young women wondering just what God's plans are, especially when it seems her own plans are falling apart. Young men may enjoy reading this book, but it's intended audience is definitely female.

Age range: 21 years and older
Due to some more mature content.

God/Christianity: Throughout
Our main characters are regularly praying and talking about God and His will in their lives. Scriptures are mentioned as well. They also attend church regularly.

Drug and/or alcohol content: Some
Even though the heroine does not consume alcoholic beverages, she does put herself in situations where alcohol is served and she is interacting with people who are or have been drinking. This is spoken about in the book and clearly shown that our heroine and her friends and roommate do not drink alcohol and do not approve of alcohol consumption.

Cigarettes are also smoked at a few places that Kianna visits.

Cursing/Off-color Language: Very little
There is mention of a four letter word being said, but the word is not actually written in the book.

There is a joke at the beginning of the book where men are compared to parking spaces. Some may find the comparison offensive.

Violence: Moderate
As mentioned in the synopsis, our heroine's sister is in an abusive marriage. Dysfunction Junction explores this and we are able to see some of the abuse as it happens to both Kianna's sister and niece. (This part of the story line is intense and may be difficult for some readers.)

Sexual Content: Mild
Kianna and her friends talk about dating, kissing, and not putting themselves in a position that could compromise their beliefs or reputation. It is not explicitly stated, but implied that our main characters believe in waiting to be married before engaging in sexual intimacy. Despite her beliefs, Kianna does find herself compromising her standards and allowing herself to be in a questionable situation in her apartment all in the name of letting her walls down and allowing herself to fall in love.

There is a humorous story shared at a girls' night that mentions undergarments and an inconvenient position in which one of Kianna's friends finds herself.

Kianna's friends take her shopping, and she has bra fitting where she must take off her blouse and bra. 

There is also a humorous situation involving Kianna becoming stuck while getting dressed.

The descriptions of sexy and hot are used.

Marriage and Divorce: Throughout
One of the main topics of this book is marriage and how so many people are finding themselves in unhappy marriages or getting divorced. Kianna is overwhelmed by it all and begins to question if happy marriages can truly exist outside of her parents'. 

Although working through differences and attending marriage counseling is spoken about, the author also shares beliefs that abuse is an acceptable reason to seek a divorce. 

I very much enjoyed this book. It was difficult to put it down. I connected deeply to the characters and wanted Kianna to see herself the way others do. I highly recommend this book, especially to young women just out of college.

Monday, June 22, 2015

reading for fun

I love reading, but being a homeschooling mother of four, I hardly find the time to read for pleasure. I find time to read to my kids and read books/magazines about homeschooling, but not a lot of time to read for pleasure. Since reading is very important for children and adults, I'm working on finding the time to read just for fun. Reading aloud and modeling reading help children see that reading can be a fun way to learn and spend leisure time. Once kids think reading can be fun, they'll read more often and quickly find that reading allows them travel to far away places (including fantastical places), travel to the the future and back in time, meet new people (both real and fictitious), and so much more. Unfortunately,  I find myself easily engaged in other things rather than reading, so when I was given the chance to read and had a purpose to do it; I was thrilled! (Sometimes I need a little "kick in the pants" to do what I know I should.)

A few weeks ago my friend April Erwin gave me that kick in the pants. She asked for people who would be interested in reading her two newest books and giving an honest review of each book. It seemed like a great idea since we're doing very little school work right now, and I have missed reading books. (It also gives me a chance to get back to blogging.) I'm excited to be reading more of April's books and to give my children a good example of reading for fun!

So be on the lookout this summer for book reviews for young and older. I'm thrilled to spend more time reading for fun and reading to my children. I hope you enjoy my reading for fun series this summer! Be sure to do some reading yourself, and share your thoughts on the books you read.

Friday, June 12, 2015

About disappointment

Disappointment is a good word to describe my trial with the elimination diet. I know others have had great success with the diet and felt their bodies "reboot" and become like new. Well, that's not the result I had. I do feel better, I have more energy and can walk better. I rarely have to use my braces and it has been months since I needed the wheelchair. Matter of fact, I rarely use a motorized cart when grocery shopping (although that is due to my children's needs and not just mine). Even though these are WONDERFUL benefits, I'm still not able to do the things I really want to do.

I still want to be able to take my kids to the park and play with them. I'd love to be able to run with them and work in the garden even though it's hot outside. I want to go on nature hikes, roller skate, ride bikes, etcetera. It's difficult for me to not feel disappointed at another failure in both finding a diagnosis and getting my body to where it should be for a 36 year old mom. I'm working on being happy and feeling blessed with the results I did receive, but it is definitely a struggle for me. I feel like I'm letting my kids down and my husband down. 

For this reason (and some other trials our family currently has) our Scripture to learn this summer gives hope and promise for renewal.

Isaiah 40:31

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

-Inspired Version