When fourteen-year-old John Smith fell through the ice on a Missouri lake one January morning, Joyce Smith was terrified that she would lose her son. When she arrived at the hospital, John had been without a heartbeat for more than an hour. Joyce wasn’t ready to accept that her son was dead and in a moment of pure, desperate faith, Joyce cried out to God to save her son.
At that precise moment, John’s heart began beating again.
Though his heart was going again, John was no where near out of the woods. Despite all of his doctor’s worries and facts, John quickly began to improve, with the mighty power of prayer behind him. Sixteen days after John fell through the ice, he walked out of the hospital, completely and miraculously healed.
I first heard of this novel when I saw the trailer for the movie. This got me interested in the novel. When there was a giveaway for the novel on Goodreads Firstreads, I figured I would enter. And then I won.
Being as this has a lot of medical scenes in it, I figured that if I didn’t win I would just see the movie. I know, I know. The book is always better than the movie, but I am not knowledgeable in medical jargon and I worried that I would have to Google search one term after the other while reading. Thankfully, though there are a lot of medical terms, Joyce Smith took the time to explain what they ment.
Joyce managed to put the reader right there in the hospital with her. The writing made the whole situation very real for a mother like me, from Joyce’s panicked dash to the hospital to the day John walked out of the hospital. I was there.
I thought this novel was a well written and worthwhile read. I gave this book five out of five stars and would recommend it to anyone looking to believe in miracles.
I won my copy of this novel from Goodreads Firstreads and the image above is my own.
Avaline Hall is both a magical creature and in love with one, both of which are dangerous at Blythewood Academy. But with Judicus Van Drood still scheming against the Order, she may be all that stands in his way. As everyone else, it seems, fall victim to Van Drood’s evil magic, Ava and Raven search for a way to break the spell that has trapped her friends and teachers, and to find out what it is that Van Drood is really up to. The more she tries to help those she cares about, the more it seems that she will have to reveal her secret to them all, but how will they react when they discover she is half Darkling, a creature they have been taught is an enemy? Will Ava be willing to do anything, and sacrifice her secret, to save her friends?
Blythewood is a place of magic for the girls who attend, but it is also trapped in its traditions. When Ava and the other girls return to school in this second installment of the Blythewood series, the world around them is evolving, while nothing is changing inside Blythewood.
I was surprised by the vast amount of change that we see in Ava early on in the novel, however, it was to the betterment of her character. Ava’s character grew between book one and two, but it was not drastic and unrealistic. Since she is coming to terms with the fact that she is part darkling, she is forced to come to terms with the very real possibility that this could effect her body with changes unusual to young women, as well.
I was happy to finally have a better gimps into the world and community of the Darklings. In book one, Raven was the only Darkling was really get to know. In this second installment, we get to meet many more darklings and see how they live.
I was thrilled to see some new and interesting creatures enter the series as well. I particularly enjoyed meeting Ru and her “family.”
I must comment on the fact that one of the scenes in this novel reminded me greatly of a scene in the novel “Lost in a Book” by Jennifer Donnelly. Though I am also obigated to point out that the similarities are not exact replicas and the novel “Lost in a Book” was published after this novel, I ony read it first.
The writing is easy to follow and the vocabulary was acceptable for the target age group. This is a young adult/teen fantasy novel.
I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading the third and final installment in this series. I gave this novel four out of five stars and would recommend this novel to fans of Fallen by Lauren Kate.
I bought my copy of this novel from Bookoutlet.com and the image featured above is my own.
Emilina Flores wants nothing more than for her queendom to be restored and her people to be prosperous, but she would also like peace for Ruina and the other kingdoms. Her sister Olivia, however, would much rather destroy the neighboring kingdoms. For these sisters, victory means two different things. As time passes, Olivia’s thirst for revenge takes over and leaves utter destruction in her wake.
Em isn’t the only one losing her patience with Olivia; other members of the Ruina army are worried about Olivia’s increased violence. Before long, they find themselves divided, some following Olivia and some following Em. Only one sister can win, only one vision of the future prevail, and there is only one battle left. Will Em’s vision of peace fall before Olivia’s bloody vengeance or will Em save her queendom and return peace to the lands?
This was an interesting series for me, and this final installment was the ending I needed.
One thing that set this young adult fantasy novel apart from the rest was how violent it was. If it wasn’t a young adult novel but instead an adult fantasy novel, the violence level would be on the low end, but this was one of the most violent young adult series that I have read in a long time.
The writing was easy to follow and the story easily pulls the reader in. The dialogue is realistic and believable in circumstances such as those the characters face.
Em’s character is your average conflicted heroine. She has good qualities and a good morale, despite the violent home she grew up in. She also possesses the knowledge of right and wrong, along with some of the other Ruined . Though she wants nothing more than to have her sister back with her, she doesn’t want to hurt anyone else. She knows that most of the people they encounter are innocent and good people; they are not the people that murdered her family or hurt the people of Ruina under the late king of Lera.
Olivia is obviously suffering from her time imprisoned in the Lera dungeons, but she was a violent person even before she was taken prisoner. Olivia is outright malicious, intent on revenge. She does not care who she hurts.
I enjoyed this novel and gave it four out of five stars. I would recommend this novel to fans of The Orphan Queen and The Seven Realms series.
I borrowed a copy of this novel from my local library and the image above is my own.
Philip Rivers is a private investigator thinking of moving to the little town of Hertford. One night, while sitting down with his colleague Jo, Rivers witnesses a lover’s quarrel between one man and separate women across the street. Feeling that his talents may soon be needed, Rivers and Jo head over to the bar across the street.
Three days after the argument Rivers witnessed took place, the man, a Rob Corcoran, is found dead outside his home. Rob Corcoran’s parents hire Rivers to investigate Rob’s murder. The three jilted women may seem like the most likely suspects but Rivers quickly discovers that there are a wide variety of characters who could be responsible. Can Rivers and Jo catch a killer and bring justice to Rob or will they end up as the killer’s next victims.
Private investigators bring an aspect to a mystery unlike those investigated by police officers or even the average citizen. I’ve always liked private investigator mysteries. I must admit though that this novel is far from a favorite.
Philip Rivers is an interesting character. Being a private investigator, he keeps his eye out for trouble, as that may lead him to some work, which is how he first comes to know of Rob Corcoran and some of his troubles. He feels very protective of people in his life and those he feels need them. He is very good at reading people and knowing whether or not they are telling the truth.
Rivers has hired a good friend named Jo to work with him. Jo has worked with Rivers in the past and his great investigative instinct. He has some trouble in the small town of Hertford for a bit but finds his way after a while.
Rivers and Jo work with the police during this investigation. They work with Manners and Clark. Manners seems to be a great character and works well with Rivers, as they have worked together in the past as well. Clark on the other hand is a new officer and has some rough edges that need worked on.
What really bothered me about this novel had less to do with plot and had more to do with structure and grammar. As far as structure, I try not to notice a few mistakes throughout a novel, we all make mistakes after all. But when they happen repeatedly throughout a novel it makes it difficult for me to be drawn into a story. One of the most noticeable issues was when the author chose to explain something in the middle of a character’s dialogue but failed to end, or pause, the dialogue. When this happened it appeared as though the character was explaining this, which made little sense.
All in all, I thought this story was an okay read. I gave this novel two and a half stars out of five and would recommend it to readers who enjoy, private investigator novels but don’t mind sharing the investigation with local police.
I received my copy of this novel from BooksEtc. for the sole purpose of providing an honest review and the picture featured above is my own.
It has been five years since the rehabilitation camps were closed. Since then Zu has become the government’s spokesperson for the psi population. When things go terribly wrong at one of her speeches, Zu finds herself on the run from the very government she works for along with two other psi who are also on the run.
In a desperate attempt to prove her innocents, Zu teams up with Roman and Priyanka on a search for safety and answers. Along the way they will discover just how the government’s recovery is going and shed some light on all that is still wrong.
I loved the Darkest Minds series and though I felt that the third novel’s ending was satisfactory, I had wanted to know more about how everything would change throughout the nation, as well as, what happened to Zu and her friends. When I heard that Alexandra Bracken was writing this novel, I knew I would have to read it.
I highly enjoyed reading about Zu and everyone else again, though I would have liked to read more about Ruby and Chubs.
However, this novel was not about the original gang, it was about Zu and all that she is coming to understand and realized about herself and her nation.
I also enjoyed getting to know the new psi, Roman and Priyanka. Their unique psi abilities and their origin were sad yet fascinating. I also helped to highlight the issues still plaguing the nation regarding the psi children.
It was also great to see how much Zu had grown and changed in the past four years. She is no longer the kid that we grew to love in the first three books.
I hope to see more books evolve from this novel. I gave this novel five out of five stars and would recommend it to fans of young adult dystopian novels.
I borrowed a copy of this novel from my local library and the image above is my own.
As the undead sweep across the empire, Nazafareen and Darius enter the Shadowlands to answer the summons of the demon queen and the rescue Darius’ father, Victor. While Nazafareen struggles with her new powers that she doesn’t understand, they make their way to the house-beyond-the-veil, but will they be ready for what they find there?
This is the conclusion to the Fourth Elements series by Kat Ross. I stumbled across the first novel originally through a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. I’m so extremely glad that I did, though I am sad that this is the last installment.
While Nazafareen and Darius journey through the Shadowlands, we discover that it is in some ways like wandering through a dark forest with a canopy that blocks the sunlight. It quickly becomes clear the dangerous nature of the Shadowlands.
Meanwhile, Tijah and her group pf daeva children are making their way across a dangerous landscape on their way to Gorgon-e-Gaz with a desire to free their parents. Along the way they encounter enemy soldiers, Tijah fights the desire to join her fallen daeva, as well as, her developing feelings toward the oldest of her companions.
The writing of this novel mirrors the writing of the first two. It is fast- paced and exhilarating. The action is nearly nonstop, but with that considered, there was still plenty of times that the characters showed their softer side. Spending a lot of time in the company of Darius’ mother and father, was also quite enlightening. Seeing his mother truly open up and show her true character and her true thoughts away from the press of a master allowed her to become more real for me as the reader.
I was shocked by the revelations behind the demon queen’s obsession with Victor. Also, I was in no way prepared for the revelations regarding the origins of the daeva.
I am disheartened that this is the end of the Fourth Element series, however, I am also hoping that there may one day be another book that further delves into the continued lives of all of the characters. I also hear that there is another series attached to this, now available. I will be considering reading this series, as well as, other works by this author.
I highly enjoyed this novel and this series in its entirety. I have given this novel five out of five stars and would recommend this novel to fans of fantasy.
I bought my copy of this novel on Amazon.com and the image above is my own.
Our emotions are very powerful things. On any given day we will feel a wide range of emotions from embarrassment to unabashed joy. Appropriately, we desire to feel joy more often than embarrassment, however, emotions such as embarrassment, guilt, and feelings of inadequacies still infiltrate our lives.
While many people believe that shame is a singular emotion, however, several emotions can be classified as being in the shame family. In this book, Dr. Joseph Burgo will highlight the differences between destructive, toxic shame and beneficial shame that helps to build character and self-esteem.
We always try to avoid shame. It makes us uncomfortable and sad. Dr. Burgo launches his book by describing the differences between shame and SHAME; shame that's hurtful and shame that is helpful. I found this section of the book to be a pretty basic introduction to help readers approach the book by wading in. I was not surprised to read that embarrassment and guilt are a part of the shame family. Nor was I surprised that when we feel these emotions we exhibit outward signs that mirror each other, thereby linking these emotions.
Dr. Burgo than proceeds to explain different forms of shame and how some may be beneficial while others may be destructive. He also uses case studies to further his point and to allow his readers to connect to his argument.
I found this book to be unlike other books that I generally read. At times I found myself lacking interest in what he was saying, and the repetitive nature was somewhat irksome. At other times it was extremely intriguing. Because of these differing thoughts, I gave this novel five out of ten stars. I would recommend this novel to anyone who is seeking ways to improve their self-esteem.
I received my copy of this novel from Books Etc. For the sole purpose of providing an honest review and the image above is my own.
When Sheri Cooper died, she had no idea she would be stuck in the same clothes she died in. Earlier that night, Sheri had spent time picking out a hot outfit, doing her hair, applying her make-up. The party was alright, as the night waned on, the party turned to party tricks. Afterward, Sheri was soaring through the air four stories to the ground.
Now she can’t remember exactly what happened, but she knows she didn’t jump like her friends said. Now she is trying to find her murderer, watching her friends, entering their dreams, looking for any kind of clue that can help her find her murderer before they kill again.
This is actually three novels in one, the whole trilogy. So that said, I’d like to review the novels a little separately.
I highly enjoyed the first novel in this trilogy. The mystery behind who killed Sheri was extremely intriguing. Also, trying to solve the mystery from the point-of-view of the ghostly victim.
Sheri is an interesting character. At the beginning of this novel, she reminded me of the classic “mean girl” from a high school chic flic. She wasn’t the hero of the story, she was the one that you can’t stand. However, as the story progresses, she is presented with the opportunity to evaluate her life. The more she watches those who possibly murdered her, she realizes who her real friends are and who she really was.
The setting is interesting, a kind of ocean-side metropolis. The building she fell from was a four story apartment building, full of sleek modern architecture and high enough to see the ocean in the distance.
Without his knowledge, Sheri will team up with a drunken detective, the only one who doesn’t believe she jumped.
The second novel also follows the ghost of Sheri Cooper, though the author adds some additional characters. This novel deals more with the spiritual aspect of being a ghost and also delves into the mystic properties of the universe. I did not enjoy this novel nearly as much as I enjoyed part one, though I did enjoy it enough. The writing style remained relatively the same as the first novel and the character of Sheri continued to develop and grow.
The third novel took a completely new turn with a genre change. Book one was a paranormal mystery, book two was mostly a paranormal, spiritual journey with hints of mystery. While the third novel took on more of a science fiction feel. That, above all else, bothered me and made it harder for me to enjoy it.
I gave this novel four and a half out of five stars and would recommend it to readers who can handle such a genre change.
I bought my copy of this novel at a local thrift store and the image featured above is my own.
A rose by any other name still smells as sweet, or does it?
Belle is convinced that she was given the wrong name. The name Belle means beautiful, and she is convinced that she is anything but; not like her two older sisters. Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do about it. She simply must let it go. In doing so, she finds pleasure in woodcarving and hopes to one day be able to carve a branch of the Heartwood tree and reveal the face of her one true love.
When Belle and her family are forced to move away from the home she has always known, they must travel through the forest that surrounds the town. Later, during a fierce storm, her father stumbles from the path and finds himself at the base of the legendary Heartwood tree, and face-to-face with the lonely beast who guards it. He manages to make a deal with the Beast; he can go home to his family only as long as Belle carves from the Heartwood branch for him.
I enjoyed this unique and beautiful retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. This is not the same story Disney told in their version of Beauty and the Beast and I was happy to see some of the original aspects of the original Grimm stories coming through.
Belle is an interesting character. I was surprised by how much her name bothered her and how much thought she put into her beauty and appearance. One of the things I’ve always liked about Belle was her down to earth spirit and her focus on other, more important, aspects of life.
I was also happy to see her siblings and mother return to the scene. I was a little worried about her father’s friend and business partner. I was worried that he might end up being the beast but I was happy to discover that my worries were completely unfounded.
The writing style is perfectly suited for the age group of the targeted audience. The vocabulary is appropriate while still conveying the differences in the setting and the time period.
The Beast and his home was nothing like I was expecting. I’m not exactly sure what was so different about him personally, but there was something that made him different.
I really, really liked this novel and would give it four out of five stars. I would recommend this novel to fans of Beauty and the Beast who is not extremely attached to Disney's version.
I bought my copy of this novel from a local thrift store and the image above is my own.
On the night Aunty died, Mup caught her first glimpse of the Raggedy Witches. They chased Mup, her mother, and her little brother all the way home, their pale faces flashing overhead through the trees. The Raggedy Witches are relentless in their devotion to the tyrannical queen they serve. The queen has outlawed nearly all magic and runs her lands through fear and oppression. She also just happens to be Mup’s grandmother.
When the Raggedy Witches kidnap Mup’s father, it is up to Mup and her mother to enter the witches’ realm and rescue him before it is too late.
I loved this novel. I found it to be extremely unique and intriguing, unlike anything I have read in a long while. I am now doubly intrigued by the Irish mythology and folktales.
Mup is a very interesting young character, full of spark and a sense of style to match my five-year-old's. Mup believes in magic and bad witches and things that go bump in the night, and unlike any young girl, they do scare her a little bit. At the same time, she knows the power of good is stronger than that of evil.
Her mother is an intense character whom I will admit I didn’t care much for. Half of the book I was questioning whether or not she cared about rescuing her husband. Something in the way she acted that made me feel as though she would rather not be a mother, and that upset me.
The setting is vague and magical at the same time. The fact that Mup lives in our world but her grandmother lives in an alternative plane is very interesting, especially considering that these planes connect in Mup’s backyard.
There isn't too much to their journey, action-wise, but not in a bad way. Mup and her mother meet numerous magical people and go to a number of new places.
I highly enjoyed this novel and will be researching Irish lore more. I gave this novel four out of five stars and would recommend it to readers who enjoy unique and magical reads.
I received my copy of this novel from librarything.com for the sole purpose of providing an honest review. The image above is my own.
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