Female of the Species: A Book Review

Title: The Female of the Species

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Copyright Date: 2016

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Mindy McGinnis draws you immediately into the action of this novel with the hook, “This is how I kill someone.”

Alex Craft’s sister was murdered, and ever since Alex has struggled to feel anything but numb. Withdrawn from the rest of humanity, Alex finds herself reluctant to log hours for a senior project at the local animal shelter. While working at the shelter, Alex meets Peekay, the Pastor’s daughter, who helps Alex open up little by little. A friendship forms between the two, and Alex finds herself thrust back into social interactions. But there was a reason she hid away. She’s protecting those around her.

The death of her sister not only stole her emotions, but also created an instinct. That instinct pulls Alex toward revenge and violence. As Alex goes from another face in the crowd to part of the in-crowd it becomes more of a challenge to keep her beast at bay. Falling in love also proves to be just as dangerous as she feared.

Told from three perspectives this novel gives the reader a glimpse into life of a pastor’s kid who loves to get drunk and frisky, a jock who falls in love with Alex, and a female vigilante out to avenge her sister’s murder.

I liked to envision Alex Craft as a young, female version of Dexter from the television series. She’s odd. People don’t really know the real Alex. Oh, and in her spare time she kills the bad guys that the cops let get away.

I’m a fan of anything Mindy McGinnis. After hosting her at my school, teaching her novel Not a Drop to Drink in my classroom, and encountering her several times in my SCBWI group I have mad respect for her as an author. This book is very well written, but I caution readers of her other works that this one is written for a much more mature readership. From the outset, she makes it clear that the intended audience should be okay with vivid scenes of violence. Additionally, she covers topics like rape, sex, and drugs throughout the course of Alex’s story.

Other books I’ve reviewed by McGinnis include: Not a Drop to Drink and A Madness So Discreet.

“The female of the species is more deadly than the male.”-Rudyard Kipling

The Ameri Brit Mom

How to Pack For an International Flight

As I prepare for our next English adventure I find myself returning to the advice of this two-year-old post. Over the next month my family will be heading back to England, my husband’s homeland. I can’t wait to keep you posted on our ventures!

The Ameri Brit Mom

I met my husband in 2007 and I have traveled every summer (and one Christmas) since to his hometown in England. As we embark on journey #9 to England I decided to share with you some things I’ve learned about packing for a two week journey overseas.

First off, I wish I had taken advice from seasoned travelers before my first couple of trips to England. It feels pretty helpless showing up in the airport to drop off your luggage and getting the red tag labeled, “OVERWEIGHT” strapped to the handle. Not only is there an added fee for any luggage over the limit (which for most airlines is 50 lbs.) but if it exceeds the limit too much they may force you to lighten the load before putting it on the plane. This is never a good experience. I’ve come a long way since my college days feeling the…

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Hope Unfolding: A Book Review

Title: Hope Unfolding

Author: Becky Thompson

Publisher: WaterBrook

Copyright Date: 2016

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I was introduced to this book while visiting a Mother’s cLife group at my church. As I sat around and listened to the way the women reacted to the book I decided that night I had to get my own copy. I listened as Mom’s fessed up about their own shortcomings, and I was brought to tears by the way they united together in support for the struggles that mothers often face.

Somewhere down the line our culture decided it wasn’t okay to talk about how difficult and demanding being a mother actually is. Many new moms find themselves aching to talk about the hard times, but instead they paint on a smile and act like motherhood is the easiest role they’ve ever played.

Becky Thompson calls out all those bluffs.

With chapter titles like A Fight for Joy, Is It Just Me?, Real Life Looks Lived In, and Don’t Run Her Race, Thompson brings a voice to some of the fears that society silences within moms.

As I read through this book I experienced breakthroughs in my own life. I never realized that certain things I do as a mother are indicative of living in fear. And as I began to throw off those weights I found myself joining Thompson in prayer. I want to see what parenting looks like when we join together as mothers and throw off all the fears. Fears of weakness. Fears of insignificance. Fears of comparison. Fears of not measuring up to impossible standards.

One thing that set this book apart from others is the refreshing format that Thompson uses. Each chapter seems more like a conversation than a lesson. Within the pages the author explains how she learned from her own life experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and then she provides you an opportunity to explore your own life and interact with the text.

Whether new to motherhood or years into the gig this book contains truth you need to hear!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Six Years

This Sunday my husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. He surprised me with a trip to a dinner theater here in Ohio, and my parents took Arianna over night. Sister Act was the show and it was hilarious. The night was lovely. We ate too much and laughed really hard. It was nice to enjoy some time just the two of us.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

A New Five Minute Friday: Future

I am very excited to announce a huge change in my Five Minute Friday community. Last week, a new site was launched- Five Minute Friday. The weekly link-up is still hosted by Kate Motaung, however, some of the changes to the site help with site navigation and make it easier to access tools and topics.

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a link-up (which is equivalent to a Meet-and-Greet in the world of blogging.) Each week, the topic changes and participants are encouraged to take five minutes to write according to the prompt. Because you only have five minutes, posts are raw and unedited. Luckily, Five Minute Friday is a positive place and by joining the group you are giving yourself permission to step outside the confines of perfection. It’s a place to write from the heart and to be encouraged.

So here is my unedited post on this week’s topic, Future:

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The first week of June is always a busy one in our home.

On Wednesday, the school year came to a close. On Sunday, we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Next week, I also turn another year older.

Many times it’s easy to get caught up in where we’ve been when we celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, but this year I find myself focusing on the forward motions of life. I’m dreaming about what is left to accomplish. I see the goals we’ve set for our family, and what once seemed so distant and far off is close enough to cross my vision. Exciting times are around the bend, and I am thankful for all God is doing to bless us as a family.

My heart beats with excitement when I think about the verse is 1 Corinthians, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him—” (2:9)

Those things that stir me most and cause anticipation for the future are just the beginnings of what God planned for me. I’m coming out of a season of pain, but I can now say in confidence that the future is full of bright things. The blessings that await each of us are deeper than what can be seen. How encouraging!

God is good!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Mom’s Group

For the most recent publication of my church magazine I wrote an article highlighting a Mom’s Group. Meeting this group of women encouraged me in my own walk. What started out as a writing assignment has become so much more.

Every other week these ladies meet together to discuss God’s Word and pray for one another. It is so empowering to be surrounded by other mothers who seek God’s direction in the same way that I do. Below is the article that appeared in the publication as well as a photo of the finished product with photo credits to Beth Simmons.

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Group Highlight-Crystal Beres’ Mom’s Group- By Lauren Sisley

Many of the cLife groups at Covenant are open to all types of people and from every point of life’s journey. One thing that makes Crystal Beres’ group different is that it is a cLife group exclusively for women. The group was founded on the principle that women need to band together and encourage one another. Currently, this cLife group is reading through Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson. This text helps to direct conversation about being a woman and living out that purpose with hope.

Christina Galvan is a young mother of two who has been encouraged by attending this group. “It’s easy to feel lonely and like no one shares your struggles as a mother, but when we meet I feel uplifted. The women’s group has impacted my life in a positive way and has connected me with strong and encouraging women I may not have met otherwise.”

Women who attend this group are mothers of babies, toddlers, and young adults. The group is also composed of both singles and married women. It is unique when women of these different distinctions gather because they serve as mentors and resources for each other.

“This women’s group quickly realized we needed to encourage each other in our marriages first before we focused on our kids. We know that sometimes our husbands get seconds when we have small children, but when we focus on our marriages God blesses the whole family.” Host, Tami Iguchi says of an important focus of the group.

Ali Spann has been attending the women’s group for several months and says her favorite part is, “how open and honest everyone is. I feel secure sharing things going on in my home and knowing I will be encouraged and not judged.”

After her first visit to the group, Jessica McMillan said the group was, “close knit, but willing to open up to visitors.”

The women of this group have come to value this time so much that they have  organized nights for their husbands to get together and meet in a similar format. cLife groups are designed to be places where we do life together so if you are a woman in need of a team to encourage you or lift you up in prayer, then check out this women’s group led by Crystal Beres. They meet every other Monday night at the home of Tami Iguchi.

Life Updates

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In life we go through many seasons.

Although every journey is different one thing that remains true is that each season has its own ups and downs. For the past several weeks I’ve experienced some of the highest points I can remember, but they’ve been coupled with times of trial. I’ve started new personal projects that thrust me from my comfort zone, and unfortunately, it’s stolen my small supply of energy.

I’ve also been carrying around a weight on my shoulders. For the longest time I tried to ignore the issue because it seemed easier than dealing with it. I tried everything I could to distract myself. I used exercise as a distraction. I listened more and talked less. I used television to fill my free time so that I didn’t have to write. All of this because writing made me vulnerable. The words I write come from my heart, but my heart aches and I am afraid to let it bleed on the page.

Someone I love very dearly is sick. Actually two people. There. I said it.

Over the past seven months my family has been under attack. Cancer snuck its way into the bodies of two people I love very much. It hurts to watch them fight. It hurts to see the messages and to hear the news. It hurts that in a time when we all need one another, that the illness keeps us apart.

Nothing can prepare you for this road, and I feel so helpless. I like to be in control. I like having answers and knowing outcomes. Just like everyone, I like to pray and see results.

So please forgive my absence. Many people tell me how encouraging my posts are, but I have days when being positive doesn’t feel honest.

There are times I rejoice over good news. Recently there have been tears of joy as things seem to be turning around, but as I tread this rocky ground I’ve struggled to find my footing. I’ve tried to keep my eyes on Jesus, but there are days when my strength is weak.

One thing I am sure of despite the battle is that God is good. Just because situations stink and the skies seem cloudy doesn’t change the fact that I trust Him. I know His plans are good and I rely on His strength everyday. I pray for God to lead the doctors. I pray for God to bind up the wounds and heal the sick. I pray for blessings. I pray for miracles. I pray that good will come from all this pain.

Thanks for letting me be honest with you today. Sickness is an ugly thing that can destroy healthy people and spirits. Please join me in prayer for my family, and know that I am praying for you and yours as well.

The Ameri Brit Mom