Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

While I know there are many people who are excited to have a three day weekend from work, and I admit I was excited to have an extra day to spend with my boyfriend and a day to spend reading.  It is easy to forget what the meaning behind this day is, and that is to remember those who have lost their lives in battle.  Throughout history there have been many men and women who have dedicated their lives to our country so that we may have the freedoms we have today.  We need to take a moment during the picnics and cheerful laughter to say thank you to those who have perished in wars past and present. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Warroom Bible Study

I was excited to get the War Room bible study after watching the movie.  It was such a great movie, but I was a little disappointed in the Bible Study.  While there is a lot to learn in the study, it was difficult to put myself into some of the situations that were presented.  I found it to be a great Bible study to have in a group because there are numerous discussion questions that relate to a group study, but it is a little harder for an individual study.

One of the things I didn't like to much was there parts of the Bible study wanted you to watch portions of the movie, and if you do not have the movie readily available to you, it is hard to answer questions or follow along with what the study is talking about.  It does help you dig deeper into prayer and how to make your prayer life better.  It does provide ways to help battle through some of the evil that comes our way throughout life, but as stated, there are points where it was difficult to relate the situations to our personal lives.

I liked how the study was set up and it made it easy for the group to follow along and see what areas of our life need help.  While the book does seem helpful, I do not think I would recommend this Bible Study because you do need the movie to go with it.  I prefer a study that is not heavily reliant on a movie it is related to.  For that reason I give this study a 3 out of 5.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

So very true

I try to make it a habit to support my local library,  you never know who is being helped within those four walls plus ALL THOSE BOOKS!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Eve by W.M Young.

"Lilly, fairy tales and myths are born inside imagination's storehouse; just because something is considered to be 'a story ' doesn't mean it isn't true."

Eve tells the story of Lilly after she was found in a shipping container, broken and frozen.  Through tests and healing processes from The  HEalers and Scholars, it is discovered that Lilly has the genetic make-up of every race known to man, meaning that she is literally THE daughter of Eve: Mother of the Living.  Through dreamlike states Lilly meets with Eve and is invited to witness the truth about her life, and in turn the truth of all life.  No one who is connected to Lilly could know what her survival could mean for everyone.

I highly enjoyed Young's previous novel The Shack, so I was excited when I seen he had published a new book.  I have to say I am slightly disappointed in this novel.  I am not entirely sure of what I was expecting when I was reading this book.  It is supposed to be a look at the creation story, and I think I expected something along the lines of the Shack, but it wasn't.  Sure there were moments when Lilly meet with Eve in the Garden of Eden and witnessed things, but it wasn't her walking alongside God discussing these things or even really discussing them with Eve.  Yes she questions and wonders about things, but I don't feel like it went as in depth as it could have.

There are things that are mentioned throughout the book, but nothing is done with them such as Lilly being a Witness, what does that mean, how does that play into her understanding of God and His love?  She is also referred to as Lillith several times throughout the novel.  This is never explained.  There is folklore that Eve was in fact Adam's second wife and Lilith was his first, but would not submit to him, and was abolished.  Knowing this lore makes the references to her being Lilith very confusing, if she is the daughter of Eve, she cannot be Lilith.  So what is the significance to her being called this?  What is significant of Lilith, or is Young trying to confuse readers?

I found the writing in this novel to be boring and dull.  There were moments I had to stop because it was too strenuous to continue reading.  I admit I have tempted to read this book several times and needed to walk away each time.  It pains me to admit that a book had this effect, especially one from an author that I have previously admired.  Sadly I give this book a 1.5 out of 5 star rating.  I would recommend The Shack, but I do not think I would recommend Eve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Clara's Return by Suzanna Linton

I have waited rather impatiently for this novel to come out!  Clara's Return is the sequel to Suzanna Linton smash novel Clara.  It tells the story of a young woman who discovers she is a Seer, and uses her talents to help Emmerich gain the throne, she then losses her sight and begins a journey to discover who she truely is.  Clara's Return picks up with Clara on her journey with Captain Jarrett.  Things in Bertrand are beginning to take a turn for the worst as a man riding a Giant threatens the well-being of the city.  A young page boy shows signs of having the Sight, but without anyone to help him learn his gift, he finds it overwhelming.  Bruin and others discover there is more to the aeriels (I might be spelling this wrong but I don't have a copy of the book with me as I write, so I apologize)  than being mere creatures of Marduk.  Will Clara, Emmerick, and the others be able to stop this mysterious wizard before all is lost?

When this book came in the mail, I think I literally let out a squeal of joy, and living in a big city I am sure those around me thought I belonged in a psych ward.  That is how excited to got for this book.  I cannot begin to say how much I love Suzanna's writing, she is incredibly talented and quickly became a favorite author of mine.  Her writing style is simplistic to the point of not having a large amount of fluff and unnecessary things.  She tells the story as it happens and doesn't digress from things to tell a completely unrelated story.  It may seem simplistic, but it is completely complex at the same time.  Her characters are so complex and they continue to get deeper as the story progresses.  Each person grows stronger in their self worth/self discovery.

Clara's Return expands on Clara's story and makes it more compelling.  I have to say I enjoyed the aeriel elements, they are such cute creature with personalities and intelligence to match.  I look forward to see how she uses them in the story.  I couldn't get enough of Bran's story either.  He is such a sweet little boy who wants nothing more than to serve his King and make his mom proud.  The elements surrounding him creates a new twist to the story (nope not going to tell you because you need to read this book).  In the short time that we see Bran he grows on the reader's heart as it breaks for him.  There are so many elements that make this book fantastic, Clara meeting someone important to discovering her background; or rather two people, the strength one wizard has in his magic, new discoveries about the aeriels, and so much more.  There is a lot happening in this book, but it doesn't come across as being too much, nor does it feel like it is too heavy with information.

Suzanna draws on elements she created in the first book and expands on information we have already had.  She reference back to these elements in nightmare flashbacks or simple remembrance without taking away from the story at hand.  Some sequels rely heavy on the original story, but not this one.  It is a story of it's own, and could be read without reading Clara first, but it is helpful to do so.  Clara has become like a trusted friend that I will miss greatly until I meet her again.

I am not sure if Suzanna plans on writing more about Clara and her friends, but I really hope she does.  I long for more from this universe, well more for Suzanna period!  I give Clara's Return at 5 out of 5.  I think anyone who enjoys fantasy novels would enjoy Clara and Clara's Return.

** I am honored to say Suzanna provided a copy of her book in exchange for an honest, heartfelt review**

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce

When I picked up Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce, I originally thought it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but as I read more of the story it is a retelling of the Snow Queen's fairy tale.

Ginny has been friends with Kai since childhood; they even had plans to live in New York for a little while together.  Kai was a genius on the violin and Ginny was still learning her way in life.  When Kai's grandmother died suddenly, their plans and lives changed.  A mysterious girl shows us and puts Kai under and spell.  He leaves town with Mora and Ginny begins her journey find and win him back.  Along the way she learned the things that Kai's grandmother spoke about were real, even comes in contact with a few werewolves.  She does everything in her power to overcome her odds and rescue the man she loves.  Will she be able to defeat Mora and win Kai back?

This story was a little different from the other books in that it wasn't about what the wolves did with the women, but what happened when one of the women escapes the clutches of the wolves.  It really played on the Snow's Queen's themes of acceptance and belonging, not just with Mora, but also Ginny and Flannery.  It ties in with Fathomless in that Mora's ocean girl name was Ry, someone we briefly met in the previous novel.  The story was a little slow going at points, and I don't think this was one of Pearce's better novels, but it also isn't the worst.  It is still an thoroughly entertaining book.

The characters are interestingly strong.  Ginny is a woman who will not allow anyone to come in her way of accomplishing her goal, nor will she allow the man she loves to disappear without sound reason.  There were times when she came off as borderline obsessive, but if an evil woman steals your boyfriend what would you do?    Flannery is a character that I wanted more from, she seemed like she could have been a strong, powerful character as well.  Mora is the villain readers feel compelled to sympathize with.  She was conscious about what happened and wondered why she never felt as if she belonged or why she struggled to hold onto a love she lost. 

I am beginning to be able to see this series turned into a movie series as epic as Twilight or Harry Potter.  Pearce has an ongoing story that entralls readers and draws them in and causes them to crave more.  I personally cannot wait to pick up the next book in the series and see where Pearce takes this amazing story.  I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars for a rating.  I am excited to see what Pearce will come up with next and which fairy tale will be next in this roller coaster ride.

Friday, May 13, 2016

In A Dark Dark Wood By Ruth Ware

In A Dark Dark Wood is a mystery thriller story that takes place in you guessed it some woods.  Nora gets an invitation to the bachelorette (hen) party for a woman she hasn't spoken with in 10 years or so.  When she arrives she meets with a mixmatch group of people.  The maid of honor has a creepy "Single White Female" vibe going and Nora notices small things that concern her throughout the novel.  The first night there, Nora finds out Clara is marrying her former boyfriend, one Nora is still in love with.  In a crazy series of events, the party ends with murder and Nora is considered a suspect.  How will she be able to prove her innocence when she is in a hospital room and cannot remember any of the events leading up and including the murder?  Will she be able to remember what happened and convinced the authorities she had nothing to be with the murder?

Ruth Ware creates a story that simply clings to the minds of her readers.  She builds the tensions and suspense throughout the novel that readers can hardly contain themselves as they anticipate what will happen next.  She builds a lot of back-story making readers think they know what will happen or who the killer really is, but then Ware throws in a twist that no one expects.  She develops the characters in a way that makes them come off in a certain light, but then reveals them as something completely different.  Through this she shows that things are a matter of perspective, how we perceive people and things. 

This was another book that I finished within the day/night, simply could not put it down.  When I finally finished it, it was about 2 in the morning.  Crazy I know, but this book is that good.  I could see this being made into a really great movie that has people on the edge of their seats.  I admit I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, and I was blown away.  The cover of the book suggests something eerie and dark, but the tone and atmosphere of the novel are anything but eerie.  The setting of the novel, a cabin isolated in the woods amplifies the story as there is limited cell phone service, limited lighting, landline phone is shortly cut down, and so much more adds to the mysterious tension of the novel . 

 In A Dark Dark Wood is an exciting debut novel for Ruth Ware, and I cannot wait for more books from her in the future.  She has compelling, deep characters with loads of reliability, the plot is so captivating it has readers on the edge of their seats. I found the novel highly entertaining, even if some things seemed a little out there like the issue over tea and how Flo was acting.  But overall I will give this novel a 4 out of 5 rating.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Illusion by Sherrilyn Kenyon

In this installment of the Chronicles of Nick, Nick is expelled to a parallel universe where he is not the Malachi, his mom married Bubba, and everyone is normal for the most part.  The Nick from this world is now in his body cowering in fear as Caleb, Zavid and Kody are trying to figure out what happened to Nick and how to get him back before his generals destroy the world.  Someone did this to Nick, making him vulnerable in both worlds so that they may be able to kill him easier, but they underestimated Nick and those who care about him in both worlds.

I am a little sad to say Illusion felt like it was lacking something.  It seemed to progress slowly and drone on until the real action took place.  I missed seeing Acheron having a role in the book, even though he does make an appearance, it is not in the way that I expected.  But true to form Nick triumphs and kicks butt out of the big bad in this novel.  I expected more things to be revealed about Nick, but things are revealed about Kody and Savitar, making the plot thicken.  There is now a bigger mystery that surrounds Kody, and I almost feel the need to write down her family tree to keep everything in order. 

Like with the other books in the series there are twists and turns throughout the book.  Once you think you have everything figured out Kenyon changes things and blows you away.  I honestly started and finished this book within 5 hours or so.  I wanted to see what would happen, where the story would go and what would happen to our Nicky-poo.  As with all her other books, Kenyon brings the story life and makes her characters all jump off the pages.  I simply hunger for more about Nick and other members of the Dark Hunter series.  I like that she has a series devoted to Nick, and kind of gives an insight to his character more.  I have read almost all the Dark Hunter novels and always wanted a book just for Nick, and I guess his story took more to tell.  I almost hoped there would be a series dedicated to Acheron.  One could only dreams...hmm Acheron...oh wait we are talking about Nick.

I have this image of Nick in my head and I don't know if anyone else does, but I picture a young Gregory Peck, swaave and smoothe, sexy but at the same time a little awkward.  Somewhat of an old sole in a young man's body.  A man older than his years.  I wonder if that is something Kenyon goes for with Nick, maybe not. 

Anyway, I got a little sidetracked.  Illusiion is a good book for the series even if it felt a little slow.  It continues to set the stage for something bigger to happen to Nick and I can only speculate at what that will be, some things I know from the Dark Hunter series, but I am waiting to be completely blown away with the ending to this series whenever it happens.  But for now on to the next book!

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Life of Rhyme by Chris Month

My Life of Rhyme is a beautiful collection of poetry written by Chris Month.  The poems are set up in four different sections and deal with different aspects of life.  They are reflections and observations on the things she encountered during her life.

Her poems are full of wit and wisdom of someone older than her years.  There are times when it felt like the words came pouring out of her and readers can feel the sense that it was an emotional cleansing to write the poems included in this collection.  Poems like "Regret" make readers sit back and think about the words she has written:

If only, if only, if only
If I could correct each mistake
But death won't allow for do-overs
'Cause life gives us only one take.

These words and others included in this collect hit directly into the heart, and draw out emotions the reader may not have thought they had.  The collection has an overall feel of something deeply personal and intimate.  Month let readers into an aspect of her life and does so in such a raw and emotional way.  Some poems are lift and airy while others have deep and dark undertones. 

There are no words to describe how wonderful this collection of poetry really is, I recommend it to anyone who loves a great collection of poems.  It would make a great addition to any shelf.  I give this collection a 5 out of 5 rating.  I hope to be able to read more from this poetess.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Paper Towns by John Green

I have read two novels by John Green previously: Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska and I fell in love with both books.  They were moving and compelling novels, so naturally I picked up Paper Towns to see if I would instantly fall in love with this story as well.  I did not.

Q spends a great night with the girl he loves Margo as she seeks revenge on those who hurt her.  But then she doesn't show up to school, and has been declared missing: a run-a-way.  Q spends his time following a series of clues he thinks Margo has left him so that he can find where she went and bring her home.   His quest tests his friendships and his loyalty to his friends in their final weeks of college.  Will Q be able to figure out where Margo has gone and whether or not she is still alive?

While I loved Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, I am not a fan of Paper Towns.  It seemed to lack a certain quality and at times I found it rather boring, which saddens me to say.  While there were elements that were true to Green's style there were things that felt like they were forced or misplaced. Many questions arise that are left completely unanswered. Somehow Margo manages to take Q's door off the hinges to put an address in it, how could she have done this in the time span we are given without his knowledge?  Other questions I will not post because I don't want to give away any spoilers, that would just be mean.

I understand why Q became obsessive over trying to find Margo after she disappeared, but some of the links he made seemed to be a little far fetched.  It was hard to feel for Margo or relate to her because we see so little of her, I think if there was a little more to her character before she disappeared it may have helped.  There isn't much to the character of Q, he becomes so obsessed with finding Margo, he neglects his friends and gets upset that they aren't as obsessive as he is in finding her. Part of my problem could be that I was reading this as an adult rather than a young adult, someone much younger than I am.  Sometimes I forget to change my frame of mind and reading this book was one of those times.

I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy young adult novels and of course fans of John Green.  I would give this novel a rating of a 3 out of 5 because it felt like it dragged on and wasn't up to his normal caliber. While I was not thrilled with Paper Towns, I eagerly await the chance to read another one of his books.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Oh, A Book!

Are any if you like this as well?  I tell myself I cannot purchase any more books until I read some of the ones piling up on my bedside table, but then I see a book I "NEED".  It is almost like an addiction sometimes.