Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Book Review: Where The Blue Sky Begins, by Katie Powner

January is turning out to be an amazing reading month!
Week #4 and I'm already reading Book #5.
My Goodreads account won't know what hit it!

And, I'm already on Book Review #2:

Where The Blue Sky Begins, by Katie Powner

I can't think of a better description of Where The Blue Sky Begins than Katie's own:

"When a shallow but charming financial advisor from Seattle and an eccentric terminally ill woman in rural Montana are thrown together for the summer, their unconventional friendship will produce surprising results. Eric and Eunice couldn’t be more different, but they each must learn lessons about themselves, what friendship really means, and how to let go. When the end of summer comes, neither of them will ever be the same."

There were a lot of things to love about this book. The characters have rich backstories, woven together in a way only found in tight knit communities. The story unfolds with a great pace, and some unexpected twists. The town and landscape become characters themselves, shaping the people who live in their midst. There are strong themes of redemption, regrets, forgiveness, connection, and purpose. 

Eunice is definitely my favourite character. Her signature personality and sharp dialogue make you feel like she's in the room with her. I really appreciated the unapologetic portrayal of Eunice's health challenges. Nothing is too graphic, but at the same time, nothing is too pretty. It's a realistic picture of this particular character's physical, emotional and spiritual struggles, mixed with her unique humour, as she faces her final days.

I didn't really know what to expect when I requested this book,
but Where The Blue Sky Begins really hooked me in.
I read it quickly, yet it will stay with me for while.

Katie's website includes a section of fun FREE resources for individuals & book clubs,
including trivia sheets and discussion questions. You can find everything here:

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Guest Post - 3 Guideposts & 1 Prayer for 2023, by Rev. Hollis Hiscock

Please welcome my Dad - Rev. Hollis Hiscock - as today's guest blogger!

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3 Guideposts & 1 Prayer for 2023

“Thank God 2022 is over! Hopefully 2023 will be much, much better.”

These sentiments have been echoed by many people in varying situations around the globe.

So, as we journey daily into the evolving future,
may these three guideposts and one prayer
help us navigate our personal, communal, and global life encounters.

Hand of God

The first guidepost comes from Sunday School teacher, poet, and college professor Minnie Haskins. Standing near a second story balcony window at dusk, looking down a long driveway leading to a gate which opened onto the street and the unknown, she compared it with a new year or new journey and wrote:

I said to the one who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown";
and they replied,
"Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than a light, and safer than a known way."
So, I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night,
and God led me towards the hills and the breaking of the day.

Never Alone

The second guidepost comes from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. This song of comfort and encouragement was included to help a person coping with a devasting life situation. It is a reminder that we are never walking alone – God and other human beings are by our side.

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone.
You’ll never walk alone.

A Divine Perspective 

The third guidepost comes from St. Paul and Jesus Christ. 

In the Bible’s New Testament, Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans (8:38-39): 

"I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Similarly, Jesus/God promised (Matthew 28:20): 

“I am with you always.”

A Prayer to Help 

This prayer, with which St. Paul concluded his letter to the Christians living in the city of Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:14) several decades after Jesus’ resurrection, may be a good mantra for us to repeat often as we traverse time and space.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all.”

Happy New Year!

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The Reverend Hollis Hiscock 
is Interim Priest-in-Charge of 
St. John’s Church, Burlington, Ontario. 

You can read his 2022 Christmas message 
A "Way" in a "Lodge of Broken Bark"  

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Book Review: The Lost Melody, by Joanna Davidson Politano

Opening Line:

"One day in late May of the year 1886, I found myself imprisoned in the Hurstwell Pauper Lunatic Asylum. This was unconscionable - I had never been a pauper."

From line one, I needed to know more about Vivienne Mourdant.

The Lost Melody, by Joanna Davidson Politano, is a mystery, a romance, and a musical suite, all set in a tale of friendship, artistry, and healing in unexpected places.

Vivienne is a concert pianist with music in her soul. She interprets the world and those in it through melodies and harmonies. After the death of her father, she's given care of a mysterious ward - a woman locked in the Hurstwell Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Vivienne has never hard of this ward, but her picture looks like a woman she remembers from her childhood dreams. The asylum claim they've never heard of the unknown woman, which launches Vivienne on a search, which leads to our captivating opening line.

I was hooked on The Lost Melody! Even before reading more about Joanna, I knew she had to be a musician. The way she writes about music, the way Vivienne sonically interprets the world, could only be written by a musician. The plot keep me turning the pages. The historical setting was visceral and uncomfortable, in all the best ways. And I loved every character - their backstories gave depth and humanity to both the heroes and the villains.

I won't give any spoilers but make sure you read the Author's Note at the end of the book. Like all great historical fiction, The Lost Melody features a fascinating piece of real life history woven into its pages.

I highly recommend The Lost Melody!
Please enjoy this captivating novel,
and then enjoy some of the fun bonuses Joanna has created online...

To celebrate the launch of the book, Joanna created a YouTube list of all the music featured in The Lost Melody. You can find that list here:

Her website has an interesting blog and a free book if you sign up for her newsletter. You can find it all here:

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.