Thursday, December 31, 2015
Friday, December 25, 2015
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
A Christmas Promise is the 5th book in the Cape Light Series and follows the story of James Cameron (not the director), a missionary who decides to spend the holidays in Cape Light. When his car collides with another, a hint of trouble comes down to this tiny village. The woman in the other car Leigh Baxter is no hurt, but she needs to remain in town while her car is getting fixed. She never expect to fall in love with this quaint little town, or James. But she is worried that he will not accept her dark secrets, could someone love her after finding out about her past? Meanwhile Sam and Jessica's relationship is put to the test, and the attempt to have a baby of their own.
I fell in love with this series when I was a young teenager, my mom had bought me the first Cape Light novel and I devoured it. I found the characters to be relatable to an extent, some of the things the family went through and experienced didn't seem like something most families would, but then again it is a work of fiction. Thomas Kinkade is known as the painter of light, and with this novel, he brings light into the reader's life through his words with Katherine Spencer.
I found the religious aspect of the story to be light and breezing, it did not seem like the authors were trying to "shove it down readers' throats." The romance in the novel focused on the building of the relationship rather than the physical aspect of the relationship. I like stories that focus on a couples struggles and how they work them out rather than the couple constantly in the sack. It feels more realistic and plausible when a couple fights and then work together to come to a solution.
I think this series is more relatable and would be more enjoyable to women rather than men, but hey guys might enjoy a good light romantic novel from time to time right? For a rating I would give this a 4 out of 5. I'll have to see if there is more to the series than the last book I read.
Friday, December 18, 2015
Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars is a book that will work it's way into your conscious and never leave. After reading this book you will crave more from this author, I know I do! The Wonderland he creates is nothing like the Wonderland we have come to know and love. It is darker, depressive, run down. Beddor's story played with the idea that Carroll had gotten his story wrong and Looking Glass Wars is what really happened in Wonderland. It was an interesting idea, and while some Alice in Wonderland spin offs have fallen short of expectations, Beddor exceeded them.
Princess Alyss grows from a spoiled little girl to one struggling to survive in a new world, only to be thrown back into a world she had but forgotten. She had to learn to be queen and regain her powerful imagination in a short time period. She became a true warrior rather than a young girl content on relying on others. Looking Glass Wars is a novel that definitely has a strong, courageous female lead that uses her intelligence to succeed. We watch as the characters evolve into different characters, stronger, more intelligent characters. One thing I did enjoy was images were included on what different characters would look like. I would enjoy seeing what Hollywood would come up with for a movie based on a novel.
I cannot begin to say how wonderful I think this novel is, and I plan on running out to get the second book in this trilogy. I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy Wonderland, fairy tales, even a good action/suspense novel. I would give this a 5 out 5 rating. I hope the next one is just as good!
Warning: I love Alice in Wonderland so much, I just received another spin off to go on my TBR shelf. Keep on the lookout for my review of After Alice by Gregory McGuire.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
James Creed wakes thinking it is any ordinary day, only to find himself back in his parents home, in 1985. His memories are a little foggy and he is unsure if he had a vivid dream about being in the future. He comes across two people who claim to be from the year 2035: Michael and Daria. Even crazier, Michael claims to be James' son! From there the trio embark on a whirlwind of a journey to stop another man Dearborn, from changing major events in history, while trying to figure out why James has the abilities he does. James and his new friends must now literarily race against time to save the future.
While the concept of time travel is not a new thing, the idea of traveling through time with the use of your mind rather than physically was interesting. I wanted this explained a little more because it was hard to understand how a person traveled with just their minds to other bodies, how would they know when and where they are going. After discussion with the author, he stated this will be explained in future novels. Pinard uses a lot of scientific jargon and ideas, but he explains it well enough that everything is easy to understand. Land of the Living makes you wonder "if I could change the past, would I change, and if so what would I change?"
The writing is direct and to the point, it is easy to understand what is happening and where the story is headed. But it is not predictable. It may be a little slow to get into the "meat" of the story, but once you do, it is difficult to put down. I recommend this novel to those who enjoy a good thriller/science fiction novel, and would give this a 4 out of 5 rating.
I have a more detailed review of Land of Living on Online Book Club; click here to read the review and what others have said.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Monday, November 30, 2015
Thursday, November 26, 2015
From our home to yours, may you have a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving and a joy holiday season. Thank you all for the support you have shown thus far. There is so much in life to be utterly thankful for. Take a moment this whole holiday season to reflect on everything to be thankful for no matter how large or small. There is always something.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
A young teenage werewolf turns up murdered, Luna cannot rest until she finds the killer. Her team (known as the Freak Squad") begin investigating a man who has been known to leave bars with young women. What Luna didn't expect was the investigation to be tied to the Russian mob and human (or were) trafficking. Quickly Luna finds herself ensnared by the very men she is trying to capture.
I picked up this book based on the blurb on the back, it sounded so interesting and really drew me into the plot. When I opened the book and started reading, I discovered the blurb on the back was not for this book! How did that manage to get past editing? I decided to give this book a chance despite the error in the blurb.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Sarah wants to marry Jack RedHorse, but of course Grandfather has other plans
While Painted Girl finds herself through her pottery and work with clay, RedHorse goes off to become great warrior, and Grandfather must come to terms with the circumstances of his own past to move forward to the future of the tribe. Painted Girl and RedHorse need to discover their Inner Indian, and Grandfather thinks he knows how to help them along their journey, and to each other. But as always, his plans don’t work out the way he expected.
One thing I love about RA is that her novels focus on the actual relationship building in romance. She tells of the struggles and heartaches some couples are faced with as they learn to not only love one another, but love themselves. That is what Painted Girl and RedHorse must do before they can properly love one another. RA Winter shows the reality of a relationship rather than the physical aspect of it. “It is good to know your heritage so well. You need to know where you are from before you go somewhere.” This line spoken by Grandfather is a strong example of one theme found in the series: honoring one’s heritage. This is what the series is all about: honoring oneself, like I said loving yourself before you can love someone else.
This story is as much about Grandfather as it is about Painted Girl and RedHorse. He struggles with his own background and knowing where he comes from. I love Grandfather and enjoyed seeing a lot more of him in this novel, which is something I hope continues throughout the series. We learn more about his thought process and where he wants the tribe to be. We see his fears and insecurities as well. I love that RA includes these elements into her stories. Just a fantastic read, check it out.
I have a more detailed review on OnlineBookClub if you want to read more. I give this novel a rating of a 5 out 5 and cannot wait for another novel
Thursday, November 19, 2015
What can I say about this novel other than it was a fantastic read. I enjoyed each of the characters individually, but I enjoyed Baron the best. There is more of a mystery behind this character and I wanted more of him. Devi is a complex character as well, though she seemed more pre-occupied with her relationship with Baron than she was with her powers and research. Through the research the group performs, it is evident Beth did her own research and knew what she was writing about.
There is a multitude of description and details involved in this novel, but it does not get too overwhelming. If anything it makes readers want more from this fantastic author. I honestly have not read a novel that compelled me to stay up through the night in order to finish quite like this one did. This is a novel that weaves all the great elements of paranormal, ancient culture, and a little religion/philosophy thrown in. This is done with such talent that she makes her readers want to learn more about the elements she includes. There is not one point where you can predict what is happening, the whole story is suspenseful and enthralling. Beth did a fantastic job with this novel, and I honestly hope there are more to come! I rate this a 5 out 5 and recommend this to everyone who enjoys a good novel.
Monday, November 16, 2015
I have found my want to read list keeps getting bigger rather than smaller, but I guess that is the mark of a an avid bibliophile. I constantly am looking for the next book to read even though I have stacks of books piled everywhere in my room. Sometimes I think I need to downsize then I realize the horror of my thoughts. I wanted to share some of my want to read list and maybe you can share some of yours and maybe find something new to pick up.
After Alice by Gregory Maguire: After Alice by Gregory Maguire explores what happened after Alice fell into the rabbit hole. It doesn't exactly follow Alice as one may think but rather Ada; a friend of Alice's. She is off to visit Alice, but arrives after Alice has fallen into the hole, and then falls in herself. Ada brings a different viewpoint to a world we know and love so well. She begins a quest to find Alice in addition to finding their way back home again. Based on the descriptions, it seems she discovers everything just after Alice, almost like she is just one step behind as she is tracking down her friend. While she is behind Alice it seems she is experiencing Wonderland different than Alice did. Being an Alice in Wonderland fan, I cannot wait to get my hands on this book and devour it.
Shadow of the Wind which is fantastic. In this novel an aspiring writer David Martin is struggling to stay afloat. It takes place in the heart of Barcelona. David jumps at a mysterious publishing deal that seems too good to be true. After beginning his work, he pays a visit to the Cemetary of Forgotten Books (we are introduced to this in Shadows of the Wind). Since his visit he is beginning to realize there is a connection to his writing and the strange shadows lurking about. Could the publisher be involved with the shadows as well? What secrets is he hiding from David? After reading Shadow of the Wind, I became an instant fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafron. After reading the descriptions of this book, this book is taunting me from my bookshelf, I need to pick it up soon.
The Grindle Witch by Benjamin Myers: The Grindle Witch by Benjamin Myers is the tale of an ancient evil awaiting to return. The story follows Jack Jolly who recently move to the village of Grindle. Having once lived in the city he thinks life is boring, nothing of entertainment in this small town. That is until he finds himself knee deep in the mystery and possibly confronting the evil known as the Grindle Witch. He and his friends think they have figured out how to stop the Grindle Witch, but in the process they could potentially unleash more than they expected. What could be more evil and terrifying than the Grindle Witch? This novel brings chills to my skin when I think about out it. It reminds me almost like a story I read recent The Curse of Crow Hollow, and ancient being thought to be evil lurking in the shadows. I have it sitting on my Amazon wish list and I keep hoping soon I can add it to my shelf.
There are so many different books on my to read list, this is just 3 out of over 1,000. Can you imagine trying to read that many books while continuing to add to it because of new books that come out! How will a literary cat be able to keep up? Head to the comments section and let me know what are some of your to read books you cannot wait to open up?
Friday, November 13, 2015
Stryker has plans to eliminate all dark hunters and humans like in order to avenge his sister's death. When an old enemy returns all his plans are turned to dust. Also add his ex-wife into the mix and things get really steamy. Zephyra is the only woman he has ever loved, and also the one woman who could possibly stop him. Not only does he plot the death of humans and dark-hunters alike, but he also thinks he can bring down one of the most powerful goddesses around: Apollmyi. The dark hunters need to figure out what Stryker's plans are and how they can stop him before it is too late.
This is the book that started my obsession with the Dark Hunter series. I kept walking past the book at work and decided to step out of my comfort zone and read a romance novel, and boy was I blown away. I haven't stopped reading Kenyon since and have a very nice library of her books (I need to add to it as well). I think what really drew me to the series is the heavy mythological basis it has. Not only does it play on the Greek/Roman mythos, but also other mythologies as well as creates some of it's own. Kenyon takes the things I love most and creates something new to love. After reading this novel, I wanted..no needed more from her. And thus began my slight obsession with the Dark Hunter world.
Kenyon does a fantastic job with not only this book, but all the books. While this is considered a paranormal romance novel, there is so much more included. She does not focus completely on the physical relationship between a couple, but shows them growing and building trust and respect for one another. Every character she creates are interesting and complex that one book doesn't seem to be enough to tell their tale. She also includes minor characters that make you want to know their story and anticipate it as the next read. It is completely easy to become enthralled in Kenyon's stories. While it was brief, there was interesting dynamic between Nick, Stryker and Ash. Because their encounters were brief it makes one wonder what is the story behind those three.
I recommend this book and the series to well...everyone. If you enjoy paranormal romance novels, this is perfect. If you like a little action and adventure, Dark Hunters are perfect for you as well. There is a little bit of everything for everyone. I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Creatura is the first book in Nely Cab's Creatura series, and it was an interesting start. Isis has been plagued by a mysterious creature in her dreams, causing her months of sleepless nights. She finally decides to face her fears and confront this monster, only to discover it is not a monster, but a man. One who is anything but a dream. A jealous/violent ex-boyfriend, multiple discoveries, and a loving sacrifice through Isis' world upside down. Will her life ever be normal again? How will she be able to come to terms with her new discoveries, and possibly new identity?
Honestly I do not know how I feel about this book. What isn't there to love: gods who are anything but mythical, a dangerous ex boyfriend, shocking news, young love. Sounds amazing right? Unfortunately, this novel seemed to fall short for me. Maybe it is because I have read so many novels dealing with mythical pantheons, I had incredibly high expectations. The mythology involved was well written and interesting, I wanted a little more on the Creatura other than basically being forbidden undesirable beings who were supposed to have been completely exterminated. Then other creatures are mentioned such as Tribus (I think I spelled that correctly) but we aren't given much more information on them.
The characters were weak, and almost generic. At times I liked David, but other times I hated him. He almost always contradicts himself. One point he is sweet, caring, romantic, but then becomes possessive and borderline abusive. When Isis simply says "hi" to a male classmate, David flies off the handle and manhandles her. This is not a quality in a man that we should be promoting to young women as acceptable. David is quick to anger and doesn't think before he acts, you would think a god would has been around for millennia would know think before he re-acts. Galen and Eryx are a hilarious duo, I certainly wanted more of their characters. I enjoyed seeing different aspects of the gods and goddess powers, but they all seemed to be empathic, able to see feelings and internal make-up. It would have been far more interesting if there were other powers included. While we are on that subject, David has a few powers that are mentioned but never explained such as his power to tranquilize someone, heal someone and if he is struck the offending person is infested with parasites. Why is this not explained more??
Overall it was a decent first book to a series and left a lot of questions open that I hope will be answered in upcoming books. Young adults and those who enjoy a little mythology would enjoy reading this book. My rating I would give a 3 out of 5 because there were things that were unexplained and character qualities that were somewhat contradictory.
Monday, November 9, 2015
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick is a young adult suspense/thriller, semi mystery novel. It follows teenage Britt Pfeiffer as she is kidnapped and forced to help two wanted men down from the mountain. Britt and her friends planned a weeklong camping/hiking trip at her friend's family cabin. What Britt hoped for but didn't expect was Korbie's older brother (and Britt's ex-boyfriend) would be joining them. When the two girls get stranded on the way to the cabin they abandon the car in search of shelter for the night. They never expect to fall into a trap. The guys they meet seem to be nice enough, that is until one of them, Shaun turns on them and demand the girls help them off the mountain. Britt convinces the men to leave Korbie behind and risks her life to help these men. Along the way she learns things about both men, all the while hoping that Calvin (the ex boyfriend) would find and rescue her. Britt soon learns things are not as they appear, and people have hidden secrets.
<sigh> There are good and bad things about the novel, sadly it seems the bad might outweigh the good. While the story itself is interesting and has some merit to it, there are aspects of the storyline and characters that are disappointing. First off we have Britt who completely admits that she relies on the men in her life to provide and protect her, so then how does she expect to backpack 40 miles by herself? The novel spend a great deal of time with her re-living memories with Calvin and expecting him to come to her rescue, all the while thinking she might return to him if he asked. She then begins developing feelings for her kidnapper! WHAT REALLY? I understand Stockholm Syndrome and all but she even tells herself this is the case, but still makes out with him and forgives him for what he's done.
Aside from the annoyance of Britt and her characteristics the story wasn't too poorly written, it was entertaining and compelling. I actually finished the book within a day, but I did find myself sighing throughout the novel. at one point Calvin kills someone in cold blood and Britt doesn't bat an eye, and Ace continues to keep secrets from her and she completely trusts him enough to begin cuddling and kissing. Her actions towards men are completely stupid and naïve, maybe that was the point as she is a teenager after all. The good parts of the book were the descriptions of the settings, dialog for the most part, and while Britt's character can be annoying and starts off as a pampered little girl, she does change and begins to learn to try and protect/provide for herself. She begins to actually think about her actions, though it is far and few between that she does.
I understand Mason/Jude was trying to find a killer, but what I don't understand is how he got mixed up with Shaun when he had no real evidence linking him to anything. He was a likeable enough character, but when given the chance to explain everything to Britt, he still keeps secrets. He did try to convince them to leave but doesn't even give the suggestion of driving them to their cabin. We get the sense he isn't like Shaun at all, maybe a good guy mixed up with the wrong crowd feeling. As for the plot twist, I feel it was almost predictable, I figured it out fairly early in the novel. The clues were pretty obvious once you started into the core of the story.
Overall, this is a good YA book reading it as an adult does make it harder to find perfect enjoyment out of the novel because I think as an adult and see the stupidity in the actions taken throughout the novel. I think a young adult who is into the thriller/suspense would enjoy the book. Fans of Becca Fitzpatrick would definitely enjoy this novel. As for my rating, I struggled with what I would give this book, and I decided to give this book a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
Friday, November 6, 2015
I am a huge fan of the parables Jesus told. They taught us things using analogies that were easy to understand in that time, but might to hard to understand now. Some things are different such as our words, jargon, and generally how the world is viewed. In John Macarthur's book "Parables," he takes a deeper look into the parables and their meanings. He looks at what the time period was all about and what people did and why it was so important.
Jesus used the parables to give His followers and understanding of faith and what it means to follow Him. John MacArthur does a good job at breaking each parable down and addressing each aspect individually. He uses historical and cultural facts to provide readers with the materials we need to understand and grow closer to God. He provides readers with ways to appropriately interpret Jesus parables. Something I enjoyed was that MacArthur pulls in other scripture, showing even these teachings run deeper than we originally thought.
There were times when it felt like the book dragged on. While he gives us a lot of information, sometimes it feels like information overload. I know some people have read this book quickly. I suggest taking it slow and actually study the teachings John MacArthur provides along with the Bible.
I completely enjoyed this book and learned a lot. I think others would enjoy this as well. If you are looking for ways to understand Jesus' s teachings, then this book is the one you need to invest in. I give this book a 3 out of 5 because there is so much information. At times it was too much and actually made things a little harder to understand.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
CLAMP does a fantastic job with this manga. They continue with the elements that CLAMP is most known for - being primarily considered a female manga because of their appeal to emotions over action. They appeal to the elements females find well..appealing. Although I know several men who have also enjoyed the story of not only Clover, but also other CLAMP authored manga series.
The artwork is stunningly beautiful, I mean look at the cover art. The lines are fluid, the details are intense and the expressions throughout the pages match the mood and emotions the characters are experiencing. The women of CLAMP seem to be experimenting with blank space in this manga series. Typically we see clean lines between each sell, but in Clover, we see unique angling of the cell and usage of blank areas. All this is good because the manga is fill to the brim with images and words, there is a break for the eyes to focus on for a moment or two.
The characters themselves are interesting and make readers want to know more about them, see more of them. CLAMP experiments with technology a little bit within this manga, the characters can look completely normal and then have robotic wings the next as we see with Suu. Suu is a unique character in that she is something that should not exists, something rarer than a four leaf clover. A character of experiences a deep sense of sadness and loneliness. It was really easy to relate to her as often times, I have felt the longing to belong somewhere as she does.
I would recommend this manga for any who is looking for something unique and interesting. I give this manga a 4 out of 5 rating. I wish there was more to it. To me, it seemed to end abruptly and left several questions unanswered.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
After reading Willow of Fate, I could not wait to get my hands on Clara. Suzanna is such a wonderful author, she draws her readers into the story straight from the beginning. She creates a world and characters that readers want to know more about. In Clara, right off the bat readers are wondering where the story is going to take young Clara. I almost wanted a little more about the horrors that led up to her being mute, but that is a mystery that plays out throughout the novel. We see Clara treated as if she was invisible, barely seen. Even after saving the king she is still treated as a servant and not noticed by others.
I enjoyed Clara's personality because while she is angry and upset most of the times, she still has compassion and love for others. She stands up for what she believes is right now matter the consequences. Some have noted her has unsympathetic, but there are moments throughout the novel where we see this theory is wrong such as when she stops the king's advisor from beating a servant child. But she still has a hard exterior and has human aspects to her such as being selfish at times, stubborn, angry, frustrated, thinking without reason (come on ladies how often do we do that?), and feels like everyone is out to do her wrong, which she is partly right, but there are those who wish to protect her.
Gavin's personality was a little hard to gauge, though there were times when I got utterly frustrated with him. Everytime he tried to speak for Clara was frustrating because we know she is intelligent and capable of speech and smart thinking, but Gavin doesn't see past his own emotions to allow her to do so. he even feels upset with her when she wants to travel with them. Emmerick is also another one that is hard to gauge. He comes off as surly, out for revenge and nothing more. He seems to only want Clara for her gift of sight rather than her intelligence, but we soon see that change. He is ruled by his own passions and guilt over his past.
The story is a medieval fantasy. Suzanna does a great job with descriptions and setting, I felt as if the world really came to life as I was reading it. I would have liked a little more from Marduk. He was such a key focus for Emmerick's rage, but we don't view much of him throughout the story. What made him want Clara, how did he find out about her? What put him on the path to bring him to assassinate kings and strive for power and evil magic? How did he discover the casket and what it can do?
This story takes readers on an exciting adventure page by page, chapter by chapter. As the story gets deeper, the harder it is to put the novel down. I would recommend this book to any fantasy lover, as well as someone who might be venturing into the genre and aren't sure what to pick up. I would give Clara a rating of a 4 out of 5 because there were things readers would want to know more about such as Clara's muteness and the origins of Marduk rather than him seemingly popping up and trying to overthrow the kings. Overall great novel, so glad I have it in my collection.
Monday, October 26, 2015
I wasn't sure about this book when I started it. It seemed to start off slow and didn't seem to appeal to me, but I stuck with it and I am completely happy that I did. The story really picks up in the cave when Chris and Mark find the Bible under rubble. One thing that was a little difficult was the story would switch quickly between the past and present without much of a warning. It would take a few moments to realize that the setting changed to a different time or rather a memory Chris was having while he was in his cell. The memories and present accounts are necessary to the story, and help progress the story along, I just wished there was a different way of letting readers know they were going back into a memory even with a few sentences describing that while Chris was unconscious in the cell, we would be entering a memory. There were times when this was done, but there was not consistency with it.
Friday, October 23, 2015
While this seemed like a highly interesting story, it falls flat almost immediately. I struggled throughout the novel to finish it. Most of the writing is dry and tedious. Straight from the beginning it is hard to allow myself to get drawn into the story and I am not sure why. There is a lot of description that tends to take away from the story. The characters were difficult to feel a connection to for some reason or another. They didn't seem real enough. When reading the description, it seemed more exciting to read. I wish I could have gotten into it more. Unfortunately I will be giving this book a 2 out of 5 rating. As far as a recommendation, I honestly don't know. I cannot even put my finger on why I find this novel entertaining. I have read other reviews and recommendations that mentioned this feeling like a man's book, so I would suggest the same that maybe it would be more entertaining and relatable to a male reader.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Kayn has lost the love of her life, and she struggles to let go of his memory. The rest of the clan members strive to help her move forward and begin the path to Enlightenment. Kayn and Frost begin a confusing friendship that borders crossing the line into something more. With Kayn struggles with her feelings for both Kevin and Frost, she must learn to strengthen her abilities and be the Ankh she is meant to become. When the clans meet for a summit Kayn is faced with a difficult struggle of learning to let go and follow the path she is destined to be on. Kayn must learn what it takes in order to find her abilities and become "Enlightened" and pass her testing. Throughout the novel she bonds with all the members of her clan and learns what it means to be a part of a clan.
Kim's follow-up to Sweet Sleep is wow. I enjoyed reading this novel, though I think I like the first one better. Enlightenment focused a lot on the clan and their moments of bonding and a sense of becoming one unit rather than each individual person. Kayn struggles a lot with not only her own feelings but those of Chloe that seem to linger. I was surprised with some of the revelations made throughout the novel, nothing was predictable. Kims words simply captivated me and when I couldn't read it like going through withdrawal.
The first portion of the book seemed to drag on. The last one left off at an intense moment, i almost expected this one to pick the intense mood right up. I think the story really began to pick up once the summit began and the three new Ankh members had to relive their Sweet Sleeps. It was a great way to give us a glimpse into Zach and Melody's background. There is a lot to be said in this novel. Kayn had to learn how to let go of Kevin, to let go of her past and move on; it was hindering her Enlightenment. How often does our own past hinders our future?
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
To NatureIt may indeed be fantasy when I
Essay to draw from all created things
Deep, heartfelt, inward joy that closely clings;
And trace in leaves and flowers that round me lie
Lessons of love and earnest piety.
So let it be; and if the wide world rings
In mock of this belief, it brings
Nor fear, nor grief, nor vain perplexity.
So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee,
Thee only God! and thou shalt not despise
Even me, the priest of this poor sacrifice.
Monday, October 19, 2015
I don't know where to begin with this book. I began to read it and honestly could not put it down. I finished it within hours. Max has always been a staple author in my family's home, I have read several of his Christian Living books, but this is the first fiction novel of his that I have read. I was not disappointed. Many things addressed in this book were relate-able on a multitude of levels. I caught myself asking "If you could ask God one question, anything at all, what would it be?" Throughout the novel, Chelsea does not utilize the "God Blog" and tries to do everything on her own. I was slightly disappointed that there was not more of Chelsea finding God and turning to him more. I expected more of that, more of her realizing she needed God in order to survive, but that doesn't come until later in the novel. But I guess that describes how we are, we don't realize we need God until later in the story of our lives.
Max and his team develops the story nicely and moves it along at an easy pace. There were elements that reminded me of It's A Wonderful Life with the guardian angel coming to aid his charge. That is one of my favorite movies so it was easy to find a correlation. But that was an element I highly enjoyed as well. The aid not Chelsea needed, but also her children came in the form of a guardian angel. I couldn't help but chuckle when he watched Star Wars for the first time. I admit this is not normally a book I would pick up, but I am glad to have read it. While it is a fictional novel, it gives readers something to reflect on, even in the discussion questions at the end.
I would give this novel a 4 out of 5 because there were elements that seemed cliche and the main character not finding/utilizing her faith. I would recommend this to any of my friends who enjoy a Christian fiction. It is great for discussion groups and even study groups eager to learn new ways of reflecting on their walk with God. Every enjoyable.
Friday, October 16, 2015
Darrak and his companions face more challenges in their fight against those who wish use Halla magic to destroy not only Dragonath, but also Earth. An ancient enemy from the past has been resurrected from the death without a passing thought to the consequences. Mionee faces a consequences of her decision to join forces with Niemel as well as the things she has set in motion. The companions are joined with new allies in the wolf who helped them in the past as well as a dragon who could help turn the tide of the war. The fellowship faces challenges they never imagined facing such as betrayal, and treason. Darrak slowly learns what it means to accept his destiny as the heir to the throne, but can he handle the responsibility that comes a long with it? Will the kingdom be able to fight of the enemy advances with little resources they have? Will dragons come to the aid of the heir or will the remain hidden?
Andi has done it again! In her second novel, she continues with the action, suspense and twists she creates in the first novel. The themes of betrayal, trust and relationship continue to be important in Awakening as they were in The Lost Heir. In this novel the betrayl seemed to hit harder than in the previous novel, probably because as the characters didn't expect the betrayal, neither does the reader. It was something that takes readers completely off guard. I gasped when I read certain parts of the book, and may have audibly uttered "NO." Andi O'Connor has the talent to bring her characters to life and create a world that feels beyond realistic.
I was happy to see the characters continue to grow stronger, but also continue to recognize their faults and short-comings. It is refreshing to see characters display faults and learning how to turn those faults into strengths within a group such as this. Darrak is one of the characters I think who grew the most in this novel. He comes to accept his role and the heir, but struggles with the responsibility. At this point we see him learning to lean on someone other than himself for strength and guidance. While relationships with one another whether romantic or not are an important part of the story, it was nice to see the story did not rely soley on that aspect of the plot. It was simply a supporting element to develop the characters in a different way.
Something I would have liked to seen more use out of though was the dragon as well as the wolf. I expected more from Wistera. The aid of dragons appear to be a important element to the story, but we didn't have too much of a background for them other than the short history lesson Andrillian gives us in the beginning, maybe we will see more dragon action in another installment. While the story is largely about Darrak and him taking his rightful place, this installment was also largely about Mionee. We see the torment and horrors she endures from her husband and soon Niemel. We see her become even more remorseful and regretful of her previous greed. There is still the question of what caused her desire for power?
As with Lost Heir it was difficult to put this novel down in order to sleep or actual be productive. The world Andi creates in Dragonath is so easy to get lost in. I don't say this often about books...but I would love to see this made into a movie, I would love to see her characters come to life. She has the talent to contend with some of the fantasy "best-sellers." Without a doubt I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Andi has swiftly become one of my favorite authors, and believe me that is not an easy task! If you haven't read my review of Lost Heir, do so and then read both novels.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Alice 19th is a manga series about a young woman named Alice who has a small run in with a white rabbit. Thus the story begins and where the similarities between Carroll's work and Watase's work end. Alice saves a little rabbit from the road one day on her way to school, only this is no ordinary rabbit. The rabbit transforms into her "true form" and reveals to Alice that she is to become a Lotis Master. These Masters use the power of words and communication to enter the inner hearts of others. Alice must learn to use these words in the proper manner.
During a dispute over a mutual love interest, Alice makes her sister disappear. Now she must use her Lotis words to bring her sister back from the darkness. She joins with Kyo (her love interest who also has the Lotis powers) and Frey (another Lotis Master). The group soon discover that Alice's sister has been overtaken by Maram words, which is the dark equivalent of Lotis words. Alice and Kyo now have the task of becoming Neo-Masters and discover the lost Lotis word that will bind Lotis and Maram words. Only this will save her sister.
As with any story that reflects on Alice in Wonderland, I gobbled this manga up. Yu happens to be one of my favorite manga writers. She also wrote Fushigi Yuugi which happens to be my favorite anime. She does a remarkable job developing her story. She weaves various elements from the traditional story into her own and makes it new. While the series has 7 volumes, I wanted more. I wanted to see this as an anime and taken farther. Yu has a great talent for creating her own world that is different from others created by other manga writers as well as herself. I enjoyed the idea of words and communication having power over other people for either good or bad. It is something we all intrinsically know, but to use it the basis of a story is a wonderful idea. I mean during an argument Alice says something regretful and causes her sister to disappear into another realm of darkness. How often has our words caused someone pain and sent them into their own world of darkness?
The artwork is also beautiful and well done. The artist captures the emotions and feelings of the characters in a way that makes the reader feel they are a part of the story with the characters. The minor love story between Alice and Kyo does not take away from the main plot, in fact it adds a different aspect to the main plot. The idea that uttering words of love to one another could be deadly was another interesting aspect. It shows that even the good words uttered in sincerity could have negative backlash. The manga is written in the traditional style of right to left, so if you are unfamiliar with the style, it might be difficult to get the hang of which order to read the panels. All together I finished this series in about 6-7 hours or so depending on how engrossed in the volume I had gotten.
I would recommend this manga to females who love reading magical girl series, and even males if they enjoy that genre. I would recommend this to anyone who is just starting to read manga, it is a great series to begin with. I give this series as a whole a 4 out of 5. I wanted/expected more from the series, but it still a fantastic read.
Monday, October 12, 2015
I have been looking for ways to naturally detox without the use of pills and other expensive things. Green Juice: 32 Recipes is a great book to use to accomplish that goal. We hear so often how important it is to incorporate green foods into our diet, in fact I was just told that this past Wednesday. Doing so can be so difficult sometimes, but this book helps in finding ways to get the essential nutrients we need from these green foods.
It starts out with tips on juicing in order to get the best juices such as "peel oranges, lemons, grapefruits and especially pineapple, pumpkin, and cantaloupe. In other words super hard skins." I wouldn't have thought of peeling pumpkin for juicing. After that is a section on the benefits of the juices from different fruits and vegetables. Did you know beets are good for cleansing your liver and gall bladder as well as the bowels? That is something I learned from this book, it is rather interesting. Then the book talks about vegetables and fruits that are low in sugar like broccoli. So before you even get into the recipes this books is very educational and helpful.
The recipes included in this book are easy and simple to follow. They combine items I never would have thought to combine like kale, strawberries and apple in one recipe. I know there are people who are weary about trying these recipes and I admit I was one of them. But I tried one this morning for the first time and it was good. I tried the Minty Ginger Green juice, it tasted of course minty with a hint of apple and lemon. The fruit juices combined covered the taste of the spinach. I think this is a book of recipes I will continue using on a daily or semi daily basis. I cannot wait to try a different recipe.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Raquelita's mother is moving her and her younger sister from Texas to Florida, away from their father. While on the train ride to Florida, Raquelita is seated next to a young soldier. They are instantly connected and begin a conversation that changes their lives. The two quickly fall in love and must try to figure out how to manage their budding romance through harsh trials such as Raquelita's mother's iron fist, and Matthew being deployed to war. Things do not turn out exactly as the two love birds planned and both struggle with choices they make in the time away from one another. Will they be able to make their love work? Will destiny have other plans?
Destiny's Plan is an interesting story in that it tells the story of not only Raquelita and Matthew, but also her mother: Isabel. I will warn you there is a lot of adult content within this novel including abuse and allusions to rape in the past. I actually wanted a little more of Isabel's past to be told or rather Raquelita to learn more about her mother. There were some points in the story that felt dry and seemed to drone on, but those were far and few between, the rest of the book made up for those moments. I was drawn into the story of Matthew and Raquelita, and honestly I was worried it would be a story of just them missing one another and trying to get past the hardship of her mother, but it is so much more than that.
Victoria has a style of writing that is very descriptive and informative. Though it does not feel as if it was too much, it was perfect for the story. We see Raquelita develop through the story from a scared little girl to a semi-confident woman trying to learn things on her own. While she makes the wrong decisions and learns the harsher lessons of life the hard way, she learns and becomes stronger because of them. As Isabel deals with her demons in various ways, she becomes a kinder woman, even if not completely. It is interesting to see her transform and struggle with alcohol addiction, the demons of the past, and so much more. While she may seem like a weak character, she is indeed a strong one.
Victoria does a fantastic job with this story, I would recommend this for those who enjoy a historical romance. She does her homework in the Vietnam war and includes that into the story. She is a very talented author and I look forward to reading more. I give this book a 4 out of 5 because of the dry moments that seemed dull, but as I stated, the story really picks up in other places.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Bride of the Water God is a manga that focuses around the legend of a water god and a village sacrificing a young woman to become his bride.
Soah's village is suffering from a severe drought. In order to appease the water god, the village needs to sacrifice the most beautiful woman; Soah. Soah expects to die by his hand, but instead Habaek takes her to his Kingdom. Now she must learn to live in a strange new world, but she gets caught up in the mystery that surrounds Habaek. In the meantime she meets and falls in love with Mui, who is unknown to her, the true form of Habaek.
This series tells it's story through 23 volumes. The artwork throughout the series is beautiful. Each scene is detailed and intricate. Readers can see the time and effort that went into these drawings. They are breathtaking, I would want to use one as pictures throughout my home. I was initially drawn to the artwork of this manga, and then drawn into the story.
It seems to be a simple story, but it is compelling at the same time. We watch as Soah learns to adapt to her new surrounding and learns a new way of life. Everyone else in the castle seem to do everything for her, so one wonders what is left for her to do. I enjoyed the sense that this manga was steeped in folklore surround the water god and the possible curse upon him where he is weakened during the day. I made me want to learn more about the Japanese legends and folklore.
I recommend this manga to anyone who enjoys reading this type of book. It is a good story with beautiful artwork. I give the manga a 4 out of 5 because at times it felt like the same picture was used multiple times and the story could have had a little more to it.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Let me just say this story is a rollercoaster of a tale. It starts off feeling like another romance story with teenagers discovering themselves through various experimentation, but then it develops into something darker and more sinister. This is a story that was very well written; one that captivates readers straight from the beginning. Lisa Terry's story is fast paced and thrilling. While it is fast paced, it does not feel as such simply because you will want to fly through the story in order to find out where the story will progress next. The story is unpredictable and thrilling.
Whispy starts off the story as a naive young woman. She has no clue about the dangers of the world, which we see when EJ tries to warn her against his grandfather and she misses his point. As the story progresses and she learns new things, she grows and looses some of naivety. I enjoyed the tidbits of Great Aunt Whispy's diary entries at the end of chapters, it leaves the feeling that young Whispy might be becoming like her great aunt. There is a lot in this book that deals with depression and the act of cutting, but it does not glorify it as I have seen in other novels. This is a subject that Lisa Terry deals with in an elegant and respectful manner.
I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy a good steamy romantic thriller, or those who like romance. I would give this book a rating of 4 out 5 because some elements were a little surprising and startling in a novel. But that comes from my own naivety in some areas of life.