An Open Letter to Debbie Macomber: My Review of A Girls Guide to Moving On

Dear Debbie,
My name is Kathryn. I am a part time bookseller at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Crestview Hills, KY. I was lucky enough to receive one of the advanced copies of your new book A Girl’s Guide to Moving On and saw in the front that you like to hear from your readers. So, I thought I would write this blog post/open letter to you.

 
Your name has been a staple in my house for at least the past 10 years. My mom has been a huge fan of yours for quite a while. Funnily enough it was my baby sister and not my mom who told me that under no uncertain terms, I had to read one of your books.
My sister, Juli, is insanely gifted when it comes to art and creating things. She’s been known to on various occasions make my mom, siblings, or myself little creations “just because”. One day she called my mom and I and asked if we had “any extra romance-y type books we could part with”. My mom was nice enough to mention her stock pile of some of your books. My mom and I used to frequent a hole in the wall type book store by our house (sadly, it has now gone out of business) and my mom would buy MULTIPLE copies of your books. Especially The Forgetful Bride. Since I do the same with various books I never questioned her. (I found out later she gives them as gifts along with a little basket of goodies)

 

So, my sister starts cutting out romantic lines from The Forgetful Bride and ends up building this beautiful frame for a picture/quote from a movie. Now, as much as it pains me to admit that one of my siblings damaged a book in anyway, I swear it was for a good cause!

425797_10151191965072453_1594941026_n

Sorry for the grainy photo!

She read the entire book while creating this piece for me and grabbed a new copy from the stock pile, handed it to me and said “You read so fast. This will take you no time at all. You HAVE to read this now.” I did. I read it right then and there. It took me 45 minutes. I came back to her sobbing and thanking her for making me read it. Thus began my own personal enjoyment of your books. I can go into detail about The Forgetful Bride, how much I ABSOLUTELY ADORED the originality of the story, your Cedar Cove book series and more but I will try very hard and focus on the book I am meant to be reviewing. 🙂

 

More than anything I want to say thank you for writing this book. As a child of divorce, I am not going to lie, the topic made me VERY nervous to read it. My parents break up was a bit more similar to Leanne and Sean’s than Nichole and Jake’s. While my dad did not cheat on my mom with other women, he did cheat on her with “the bottle”. On top of that he was constantly putting her down and killing the bright spirit that is my mom. Leanne’s struggles hit very close to home for me because I remember being a spectator of that kind of abuse day after day.

 

I have not been in a relationship yet myself, so I realize I cannot understand what it is like to spend 18 years of your life with someone and create 5 children with that person to have them give up on you. I remember begging my mom to stop trying. To leave him. To realize she was worth more. That we were worth more than what he made us feel like. I couldn’t understand her struggle and I think a small part of me resented her for that. Something I never wanted to admit to myself or to her. Reading over Leanne and Nichole’s struggles helped give me an unbiased insight into what my mom might have been feeling.

 

I don’t really like to talk about this too much because I am afraid people will tease me but because of my past I have become deeply terrified of men. I was told by the one person a girl is supposed to trust time and time again that I would never be pleasing to any man. Too fat, too insecure, too nerdy, too attached to my family, you name it-he said it. So I hide behind this shell of insecurity and self-pity as a defense mechanism to keep from getting hurt. I try and be bright and bubbly on the outside but I clam up the minute I feel too comfortable around a guy. There have been a few times I let myself become vulnerable and led to disastrous results (one told me to lose 30 pounds and he’d think about it, one went for the younger prettier girl, etc). I had slowly started to retreat back into that shell when your book was placed in my box at work.

 

Your book has allowed me to heal in a way that I didn’t even realize I needed. I know that my journey to love my self and to find love in another will still be a long haul but you have given me hope. That is what I love most about your books. Yes, there are the romantic moments and the “meet cutes” but at the end of the day, your stories, characters, situations, are REAL. Real people, real emotions, real faith.
Again, I cannot thank you enough for this book. For Leanne, Nichole, Nikolai, and Rocco. This book was absolutely fantastic, moving, beautiful and healing (for me anyways).

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the bottom of my heart.
-A little less broken Kathryn

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Doomed To Repeat

Hello again friends!

This post might not make sense to many people but I really felt the need to put my feelings down. I don’t want to start any kind of fight, I just need to share.

The 6th of December, President Obama aired a Presidential Address to the United States. I  know most people moan and groan about it interupting whatever TV show they were currently watching but I am so glad I saw this on Sunday.

You can find more info and a video of the address here.

These are all opinions and thoughts I had that may or may not be shared by others but here is what I want to say. That address made me feel a lot of emotions.

One of my first thoughts was about how there we were the day before the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Listening to a Presidential Address in a room surrounded by people I love and care for talking about the threats on the American people. I thought to myself, did they feel like this? With the threat of America’s invovlment in WW2 hours away from becoming a reality, did they look around and take stock in what they had? In a time of econmic strife were they thankful for their lives and people that loved them? I’m sure they were. I’m sure they were not thinking of getting whatever the hot new item was that Christmas. It hurts me to think, and I do this too, how much we have lost those core values. I paused. I looked at my mom and all of my siblings. I thought about my niece or nephew growing in my sister’s stomach and how it is oblivious to this world going on outside the safe home my sister is providing for it right now. I thought about how incredibly blessed I am to be alive, be able to support myself, and how blessed I am for each person sitting in that living room with me.

As President Obama continued further into the address, the reality of what others might be thinking started to seep into my mind. All the hateful slurs I am sure people were more than willing to throw at our President and the people that live here. It made me sad but it also made me very happy for my degree: History. Something people are ok to dismiss as boring dates and unimportant facts is one of the things I am most passionate about. Want to know a big reason why? History repeats itself when people do not listen. It brews hate. It brews fear and that gets us no where. It has turned brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, time and time again. All because fear is one of the most driving factors in every human being. When we get scared, we lash out. That will help no one. I do not want to live in an era where camps of any kind exist again under the disguise of safety. People, when will we learn?! This breaks my heart. Countless times we have seen that this does not work.

Additionally, I can’t stand to listen to some people we want to someday lead our country talk about what they think are the easiest way to keep people out. Again, back to History, our country is a country of misfits. We wanted to make a better place to live, a much more free place to live. I honestly think that  in 239 years (I’m giving people the benifit of the doubt and starting in 1776) we still do not have that. We won’t have that until people, ALL people, are willing to work together for a common goal.

Really, all I am trying to do is like many people, I am trying to not let the very real threats that have now become a day to day occurance stop me from living my life. I want to enjoy the time I have with my family, with my friends, and in a world where greed and power does not lead over morals. I want people to be kind and to smile at one another again. All I could think about as the speech neared its conclusion and tears filled my eyes was just how far away we all have strayed from the values that formed this country we all love so much.

We should stop listening to muckrakers and the media. Do your own research, be informed!

America, let’s please wake up now and not become a “boring fact” or statistic. Let’s be a GOOD example again.

We should of listened when Washington said no parties.

We should have listened when God said “…Love your neighbor as yourself…”.

 

Blog for today

I am writing something to write something for today. I wrote a short but moving peice about why I love Chirstian Fiction and the computer froze and now it is gone. I just wanted to add a picture :(. Oh well such is my life.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day.

Thankful in Novmebr: books.

E Harmony: For reals this time

I have honestly put off trying the online dating scene again.

Why? Because it was terrifying the 2 times I tried it. Absolutely terrifying. Also, I just don’t have the money to afford that.

I resigned myself to waiting for someone to fall out of the air in a perfect movie magic moment and BAM! True Love! (I know this would never happen btw).

Well, my co-worker Anita mentioned her son’s success with E Harmony and they were having a 78% off sale so I thought, why not?! This way I can actually SEE the guys and not just cartoon shadows, be able to interact via the website and see where it leads.

So far, no terrifying people! Yay! Plus there! We’re only 2 days into this new venture though and time will tell!

I will say, one guy from North Carolina was very persistent in communicating with me. Completely missing the “I want kids someday and you CLEARLY don’t” message I kept sending. He, thankfully, got it eventually.

I hadn’t really thought about my views and disappointments regarding my lack of a significant other until Caitlin reminded me a few weeks ago that I am “always living in a Jane Austen novel. Women are married at 15 in those!” In a way, its true. I do indeed live in a Jane Austen novel.

What happened to people TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER?! The incredibly sweet moment of asking to court a girl and all the balls and the clothing!

Before anyone starts, I am well aware of all of the “down sides” to that time period. I promise. I would DEFINITELY miss running, clean, water and much more.

However, people now go out of their way to not communicate with a living human being. We order our pizzas via apps and websites, we blog, we Facebook, and more. How are we supposed to meet someone after high school/college other than the internet? How do we make connections when our gut reaction is to grab our cell phone, or electronic device, or in my case a book to hide us from the world.

In keeping with the Austen theme, I desperately want a Henry Tilney. Everyone and their brother can go on and on about Mr. Darcy this and Mr. Darcy that but give me Henry any day. What I like the most about him, HE’S REAL! He is an honest guy with a fairly crazy family who falls in love with a normal girl. There is no added wealth or brooding or hurtful jabs at the person’s lower station in life.

In fact, he doesn’t even love Catherine at first. He finds her naive and vulnerable and you know what, he DOES NOT take advantage of her! That is what I am hoping for. Someone who does not see my incredible lack in the dating scene as something to abuse. Here’s hoping! 🙂

henry and catherine

will you

The cutest scene ever

Anyways, I am trying very hard to remain positive and not cynical about this.

Thankful in November: for the people in my life

Bookselling

Let me first say, I am greatful that I have 2 jobs which have allowed me to do a lot more that I ever thought. Also, I know a lot of worse places to have a second job than in a bookstore. Especially if you love books as much as me 🙂

  • I first of all hate “selling” books just to sell them. I know it’s not the correct thing but I will tell you when I have not read a book. It is not in my nature to just say “You should buy this because the company says so” can’t do it. However, I will tell you what I have heard and which I prefer.
  • The best feeling in the world is when someone actually purchases a book you love and you suggested! Especially if its an author you’ve loved for years (still happy about Bella reading The Mediator!!!!). I will use this moment to say everyone should buy The Royal We (Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan) and Tiffany Girl (Deeanne Giest) because they are AMAZING
  • As we approach the holidays, please be patient with me and I will be patient with you. Meaning, I know you will forget your shopping list with the book titles and authors. You though need to know that there are way too many books in the world that are “red and has something to do with a girl” so it is going to take me a bit to narrow that down since I am not a mind reader.
  • This is just a personal note for me but I am BEGGING YOU to please do not call a bookstore and say “Hi! I’m looking for a book.” Really?! Are you?! Thank the Lord because I was worried we would run out of those! GAH! I have to hold my breath and count to ten everytime I hear that. I am so glad you came to a bookstore to look for a book. Could you please narrow it down from the thousands we have in the store? Instead please say “Hi! I am looking for ‘Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book. Do you have any in stock?” 
  • To all the lovely people who want to purchase my Christian Fiction books. You are without a doubt my favorite people in the world. So much love for you. Yet, I do need to say I am more aware than anyone how very little stock and variety of books I have. I PROMISE you I am working my butt off on that. Buy something that does interest you, even a little, and help get my sales up!

Even though there are little quirks and annoying bits of the trade (too many to tell here) I am so lucky. For a few days a week I get to tell people why I love books… And get paid for it!

Thankful in November: the ability to have a job

Previously My Life…

Ten points if you get the reference

Hello all! Well, Blog-o-wri-mo (or whatever I want to call it) has gotten off to a great start. 😉 Its November 3rd for the 1st blog. Ah well.

So, as stated, previously my life:

  • I have become absolutely obsessed with the BBC TV show Miranda
  • Same for the Great British Baking Show/Off
  • One sister got married
  • I’ve moved house

Since Kimmy had to go and marry the man of her dreams (who is awesome) I was left without my super amazing roommate. I did look into a place by myself but instead, decided to find a place big enough to accomodate myself, my 2 younger siblings and my mom.

This has been terrifying for me to admit to anyone for the longest time other than my other siblings and my Grams.

I know I should want and crave independence. In my own ways I do crave it and enjoy it but I hate watching one of my siblings suffer for something they didn’t do/deserve. Our house is going to need some major work done on it over time and this way everyone wins. I’m not suffering with rent/bills on my own and my siblings and mom have a place to be and live and work on our place at their own speed.

Plus, my siblings are THE BEST. I wish I could spend all my time hanging out with them.

I have been teased quite a lot by a certain person at work for my need to constantly rescue my family. I’m sorry. That’s just what I do. So, I hid it as long as I could there.

Also the first friend I told, when not checking her cell phone, gave me so many wierd looks. Like she couldn’t possibly understand why I would want to go back to living with my family. So, needless to say I was terrified to tell anyone else.

Guess what, the people that MATTERED to me understood and were supportive. Their support has meant so much to me with this. I love them so much.

The nights I spent at my old place by myself, without Kimmy and her stuff while I was moving was THE WORST. I do not do well on my own. Not at all.

Well, before I loose another day (this was mostly written yesterday) I will post this short and sweet one to get something out there haha

To all my friends participating in Nanowrimo-enjoy! Can’t wait to see what you write!

Have an awesome November everyone!

Thankful in November: Music that speaks to you right when you need it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=273eSvOwpKk

Reflections

Hello all

(obligatory my life has been busy etc etc etc post here)

Now that we have that out of the way, I’ve been thinking on something recently.

Some incredibly happy news in my family has caused me to reflect back on my childhood a bit and think about my older “sisters”.

They shaped my life and the way I view and treat my siblings more than they will ever relaize.

My sisters had a rocky (at best) relationship with our dad. Now, admitedly, I do not know what their childhood was like and they sure do not know what mine was like so I will say that before we go further.

My sisters were a fairly big precense in my life during my very early years. I was a little baby born right when they were at the tween age of being obsessed with babies. My mom, the KINDEST heart in the universe, wanted so badly for us to be raised as siblings. She did not see “halves” she loves everyone no matter what.

However, my newness did not last forever. For reasons I don’t know (because I was 0-4 during this time) they drifted apart from us and my dad. I heard later that it was because my dad was demanding/mean/whatever else. At the time, he was a fairly good dad. He had his moments, FOR SURE, but overall ok.

Then, my sister got pregnant at 16. No parent in their right mind is going to be like ” YAY! A BABY! WOOOO!” to their 16 year old child so I can’t fault him for not doing cartwheels about this. At 7, I didn’t know what being an aunt was like. It terrified me to be honest but I was excited for a baby!

I did get to see my niece. About the same about of time I got to see my sister, once a year. For about 2 years or so. Then I didn’t see her until my next niece was born. Then not again until 5 or more years later when my oldest sister was in an accident and suddenly realized she wanted a relationship with ALL of her siblings.

The next time after that? 2 years ago. I think I have seen my nieces a total of 5 or 6 times in their entire life.

I know that as a parent, time is not your own. I watched my mom always scramble to keep things together, get people places in time, you name it. However I know that is not strictly the case with my sisters. I was punished and kept from my sisters and my nieces for a very long time because of their relationship with my dad.

So, what this post comes down to is this: I love my siblings. Kari, Kimmy, Tommy and Juli (and now Zack and Aaron) are the best things that happened in my life. I was lost and alone and they gave me guidance and a purpose without even knowing it. My sisters and their lack of interest in me left a cut in my life that I didn’t know how to heal so I filled it with loving my full biological siblings as much as I could. (Sometimes too much) I don’t ever want there to be a shadow of a doubt how much I love them and that I wouldn’t drop everything to help them. I never EVER want them to feel the hurt and abandonment I went through as a kid. Ultimately, my sisters looked out for themsleves and would occasionally grace me with a phone call or a gift. No one should have to live that life. To have that foundation ripped out from under you is one of the worst feelings in the world.

What my whole post is about is this: I never want my siblings to feel that they need to chose a relationship with my dad or a relationship with me. This is not going to be easy for me and something that I will probably always work on but I never want there to be split birthday parties or something like that. I couldn’t handle knowing my feelings towards my dad kept me out of my future nieces and nephews lives. I am a bigger person than previous examples set for me. I will not let this beat me.

This in no way means I am ready for a father/daughter relationship with my dad though. I don’t believe I ever will be. What I will be though, is civil. Not in a condesending way. Not in a “I’m better than you” way. A genuine “this life means a lot to everyone in this family and is more important than past irresponsibilites” way. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Something I need to remember in my everyday life.

I’ve spent my life trying to NOT follow in the footsteps of my older sisters and I am not going to start now.

Anyways, I hope wherever you are in the world, you are having a great day.

Lots of love, Me

(except for the fact that they will NOT be invited to my wedding. How does that feel sis?! Couldn’t find room for 3 extra people?! Bull. Sorry. Still a sore topic.)