Review: Collide

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review:

From reading the synopsis of this book I honstly had a totally different impression of the kind of story I was going to read. Maybe that’s why I came away slightly disappointed once I’d finished the book, but I think in the end my 3 star rating for this book had more to do with what felt like an underdeveloped narrative than my under-met expectations.

When I started the book I was excited to read a story about a girl who wakes up after a traumatic event and her whole life is different. Usually this opens authors up to really flesh out their characters, change out their lives and really explore the idea of choice, like if the character had made different decisions in life where would they have been and who would they have been. So I was looking forward to all of that when I first got into the book and the first few chapters really seemed headed in that direction. But once Anna, the main character woke up in her “new life” it became apparent that this wasn’t a matter of exploring different choices.

Spoilers! So the author chose to go with a multiverse theme for the book and while I thought that was an interesting way to go and was curious to see how it was played out, it honestly didn’t work out well at all. I fell like the author didn’t think it through completely and in the end the book suffered for it. Especially because when you get to the ending it seemed like the author just copped out and went with an afterlife motif because she couldn’t figure out how to wrap everything up, it felt utterly unfinished. Spoilers!

I was looking forward to Anna having to look at the choices she made in her other life compared to the one she as “Annabelle” has made and see which life would have been the happier one. But instead what happened in the book was simply Anna running around trying to get back together with her boyfriend from her “real life”, Jake, even though he was with someone else in this alternate life. Plus, after everything that happened I couldn’t help but root for Zac, the boyfriend of her alternate self, Annabelle, because he was so selfless and basically saved the day in the end, while Anna was too busy just trying to have a happily ever after with Jake at the expense of everyone else.

This book was frustrating because there were so many elements that could’ve been good but they got muddled up by trying to make the “time jump” a more significant thing and making the entire plot fit into a week which just doesn’t usually work if you want the characters to be believable. Plus the villain was easily figured out from the start, which isn’t a horrible thing it just makes it harder to believe that the characters have such a hard time figuring it out.

Overall I’m glad I gave this book a chance and I still think it’s a good book, I’m just sad because with a few modifications it could have been a great book.

Genre: Young Adult / Romance

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Author: Michelle Madow

Synopsis:

I should have died when I was shot at the Halloween dance.
Instead I woke up—one week earlier, in a parallel universe where my mom’s fatal car accident six months ago never happened.
A world with my mom still in it was all I ever wanted. But in this timeline, everything is different—my grades, my friends, and even my boyfriend. I’m a stranger in my own body, and I don’t like who I’ve become.
But one thing is the same—that shooting will still happen at the end of the week.
I’m the only one who knows. Which means I’m the only one who can stop it.
But first I need to convince someone—anyone—that I’m telling the truth… and then get them to help me.

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Review: Steel and Fire Series

I had never heard of Jordan Rivet before I signed up for a trial of Kindle Unlimited and decided to try out some different books. I was honestly skeptical about the quality of the books I would be reading as a lot of them seemed pretty low quality and so I wasn’t really interested. But the plot of Rivet’s books really captured my attention and before I knew it I had read her entire 5 book Steel and Fire series. It’s a wonderful ride through another world of magic, medieval weapons and romance and I loved every second of it! Below are my mini-reviews for each book, I recommend this series to anyone who wants a fun read that will take you on an amazing journey.

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Title: Duel of Fire #1

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: The start of this series was perfect. It really launches all the pieces into play and gets everything going so you’re itching to know more about the characters and the world. I was so invested in Siv and Dara’s stories right from the start that it was hard not to just get sucked right into their romance. This is definitely a slow burn, which I think is great and works really well for their dynamic together. All of the talk about dueling is super interesting and I liked that the author is detailed about the world and what is going on so I never felt lost at any point. The author does a great job of making everything seem realistic and believable even amongst so many fantastical elements.

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Title: King of Mist #2

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: As a sequel this book is actually my favorite in the entire series. It kicks the action into high gear and that ending is just spectacular. All of the twists and the battle are just beyond perfectly executed. The development of Siv and Dara’s relationship is great in this book and gives just enough of a push forward for them to keep the reader interested as they go into the next few books. And I was happy to see that the secondary characters got development as well, like Vine who is quickly becoming a favorite too. With each book I feel more immersed in this world and am more interested in what’s going on with the characters. The magic gets more in-depth and intriguing and I’m fascinated learning about the political workings of the societies.

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Title: Dance of Steel #3

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: As other reviewers of this book have stated this is a very middle-of-the-way book. It has a lot of exposition and setting up for further plots and things that are going to happen in the last two books. But with a lot of the traveling narrative that goes on is a fair amount of individual character development for Dara and Siv which I think was nice. It gave the characters a chance to stand apart from their romance and become their own person, which the author did an excellent job writing. I loved all of Siv’s chapters in particular with the pen fighters as he was more on the humorous side. This book also marks the introduction of Sora’s POV which I liked as it began to expand the book into further characters worlds and their views on things.

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Title: City of Wind #4

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: While I liked this book as much as the others I will admit that I didn’t like it the same way. I felt like with the addition of Selivia’s POV there was more of a focus on the overall war narrative and less of a focus on the smaller character arcs. I do wish there had been more between Siv and Dara but I loved what there was and their relationship is still the best part of the series. The way the author depicts Siv’s confidence and trust in Dara and her unwavering faith in him and willingness to protect him is just wonderful. I was not a fan of Wyla at all but I did like finding out more about how the individual powers worked and delving more into the societies and power struggles of these places. And of course the introduction of dragons was just fantastic to top off everything that was happening already.

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Title: Night of Flame #5

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: After everything that happened throughout the series I still feel that the second book was the best one. The build up, battle and overall story was executed perfectly in that book. But as far as endings go this one is pretty close to flawless. While I could’ve done without so many deaths of favorite characters I get why authors do it, especially when a series has gone on for more than a couple books. I do wish Dara’s final showdown with her Father had been more climatic than it ended up being, but I was pleased with the way it ended and I’m so happy with how everything finished up for Siv, Dara and all of the main characters. I would love to see a spinoff with Sora and Kel, I felt their story got dropped a little at the end, which was sad, but this series was more about Dara and Siv overall. I’m so glad I decided to read this entire series because it’s definitely one that can’t completely be enjoyed until you’ve read every book and are sitting at the end marveling at the great journey you and the characters have been on. One with dragons, magic and plenty of romance and thrills I think these books will excite all kinds of readers.

Review: God Distorted

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Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

“Religion says you can’t measure up. Grace says you don’t have to.”

I actually can’t remember when I first picked up this book. I’ve read little bits and pieces of it over time and I finally decided to sit down and reread it the other day and I’m so glad I did. This is one of the most insightful and powerful books I’ve read.

John Bishop has such a wonderful way of getting to the heart of our distortions of God and teaching how to see who God truly is without making the teachings seem like something I’ve heard a million times before. He manages to make a holy God approachable in a way that other pastoral authors have failed to do. He draws out new biblical knowledge from passages most of us will have encountered before but may not have understood their true depth or meaning.

There’s always a fine balance between being personal in a book and sharing too much, and I think Bishop is able to strike that perfect balance. By sharing his own ordeals with his son and his own life, we know that he sympathizes and empathizes with us and can truly know what we all have gone through and that his teachings are not shallow. Biblical teaching are often more believable when they come from someone who has walked the path before you and so John Bishop is able to honestly and kindly lead us all through a path of healing as he has been down the road with God already.

This book leads us on a road towards healing as the book unfolds, from discovering the source of our distortion, to knowing God as He truly is, to then moving forward in our new understanding. This book is one that I could read several times and still learn more from, in fact I’m sure I still haven’t grasped the full meaning of everything I read this first time I’ve read it. That’s the beauty of a book that teaches you something though, you’re never done learning.

Honestly, it’s hard to do a review on this book because it deserves every one of the 5 stars, but it takes you on a very personal journey which is difficult to explain in a review. This book altered many of the distortions I had from having an imperfect father myself and I can truly say that the wisdom contained within its pages is more than worth your time.

Genre: Christian Non-Fiction

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Author: John Bishop

Synopsis:

When you hear the word “father,” do you think of someone who is loving…or angry? Someone who is pleased with you…or constantly disappointed? Someone who is always available…or someone who is too busy, preoccupied, or distant? When you think of “Father God,” what images come to mind?

Regardless of the type of father you grew up with—or without—it is likely that your view of God is influenced by the relationship you had with your father. Author John Bishop wants to help you discover that God is not just like your dad. Instead, God is the Father revealed in Scripture, where the truth is clear. Filled with biblical insight and practical tools for reflection, healing, and restoration, God Distorted will enable you to break free from the lies of the enemy and see your heavenly Father as He truly is.

Review: A Dangerous Legacy

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review:

“Theirs was a case of David versus Goliath, and in battles like that, the honorable people were supposed to persevere until they finally won.”

I think I’ve said this before but it can’t be stated enough, books with unrealized potential are the ones that frustrate me the most. The books that start out on a path where you can really see great plots, well developed characters and awesome stories but as they go fizzle out into just so-so stories, those are the saddest ones.

I don’t like sounding harsh and I always think you can find something about a book that’s noteworthy or that is interesting. This book was very good from a historical perspective and that alone is what earned it the two stars. I enjoyed the historical elements and the time period placement as well as the attention to historic details. The talk about morse code, carrier pigeons and the high society nuances were all interesting. Aside from that the book fell apart for me.

I really liked the setup for the characters in the beginning, Lucy was funny, confident and a woman who could take care of herself. She and her brother were an excellent team all on their own and I really liked their close relationship. Colin was a bit snarky and rough around the edges but a charmer and I was excited to learn more about how he would overcome his past with the war. I could see some good redemptive arcs being put into place early for all the characters. But as the book got further and further along I got more and more disappointed. I felt the author degraded Lucy’s character by having her act morally superior while doing things that were morally corrupt. Nick ended up becoming an angry character for most of the book and by the end was almost wrangled into a deal for a life he wasn’t cut out for and didn’t seem to want. And Colin began to come across as a jerk as he would mess with Lucy’s affections while pursuing his own ends. I know none of this is likely what the author intended, but it’s how everything came across. There just wasn’t enough backstory or development to make me love or invest in these characters.

As for the romance, while I loved Lucy and Colin’s chemistry as a couple and their banter together, by the end I was left scratching my head as to why they would end up together. Without going into spoilers too much, it really bothered me that by the end it was insinuated that Colin really loved Lucy all along, but the impression the writing had given was completely otherwise. A man who professes his love for a woman, while practically yelling at her for being selfish at not wanting to pursue money, all so he could get out of debt and they could marry is not a good guy, he’s a scoundrel. And just because that plot was conveniently resolved in the end does not change that character flaw.

I was just disappointed with how the author ended up handling the characters. She set them up really well but honestly didn’t resolve anything. Everything still felt wide open. The ending felt too rushed and hurried and the characters incomplete. While they appeared to learn things on the surface, the real lessons aren’t learned at all and none of the characters grew or became anything truly different.

Overall I’m glad I got a chance to read this book, and the historical elements were wonderful. Maybe with the sequel more will be explored, but I don’t think it’s a series I’m likely to continue reading, but you never know.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Bethany House) in exchange for an honest review *

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Series: Empire State Novel #1

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Author: Elizabeth Camden

Synopsis:

Lucy is determined to keep working as a telegraph operator at a news agency, even though the arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith threatens her position. When she discovers Colin’s shocking secret, she agrees to assist him if he helps her find her family’s stolen inheritance–not realizing that the trail leads into a web of treachery, danger, and conspiracy.

Review: Abounding Might

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Release Date: October 3, 2017

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

“I hate being weak. It feels so much like failure, and if I am to fail I want it to be on my own terms, not because my body has betrayed me.”

It’s been awhile since I read the first book in this series and I unfortunately did not get the chance to read the second. Luckily for me they can each be read as stand-alone pieces in a bigger world so I had no trouble reading through this book and feeling right at home again in the world McShane has created.

Just as before, I come away from this book feeling like I had a grand adventure while still learning something new. Setting off to India and all of the intrigue and plots that followed there were a wonderful way to weave the stories of the characters and the book’s pace never slowed down to a point where it felt boring. I was always interested and engaged in what was going on, whether it be the romance, the secret war or just the average days of the characters, it was all meaningful.

The romance in this book was again very likable. Although I discovered toward the end of the book the courtship was much shorter than I thought, which makes you question the whole validity of the relationship, I still really liked Daphne and Fletcher together. Their mutual trust and respect for one another was wonderful and the things he said to her were just so adoring and honorable, how could you not fall for him. He was by far my favorite of all the characters in the book, although I wouldn’t mind learning more about Major Schofield or Bess, or any one of them for that matter, they were all intriguing their own ways.

I still wish there was more background on the abilities. While Fletcher’s Discerner ability has to be the most intriguing so far, I have to say I want to know more. There’s just enough there to know how things happen between the characters and of course, in regards to Daphne, the limits of their abilities, but there’s so much that still hasn’t been said. I guess in a way that’s what makes these books exciting and mysterious, not everything is explained, which keeps me coming back for more!

Overall I really enjoyed this third book. The plot was great, the setting was interesting, although I fully admit to being in the dark when it comes to past or present knowledge of India, and the characters were once again very dynamic. I’m so glad I got to revisit this blend of real and unreal world McShane has created. She’s such a talented and unique author who’s able to write stories with depth, heart and characters that you honestly like getting to know through the pages. I hope that if she writes more I will get to experience these future stories as well. I recommend this to any reader who loves adventure and a book that will sweep you up until the last minute.

Review for Burning BrightExtraordinaries #1

*I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher (Curiosity Quills Press) in exchange for an honest review*

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Series: The Extraordinaries #3

Links: Goodreads

Author: Melissa McShane

Synopsis:

Calcutta, 1813. Lady Daphne St. Clair, who as an Extraordinary Bounder is capable of transporting herself anywhere in the world with a thought, has longed to serve in the Army for years. But an unexpected weakness at the sight of blood makes her responsible for a good man’s death in battle. Unable to serve on the battlefield, Daphne is sent to India to be transportation for the Governor-General’s wife and children. In disgrace, Daphne fears she will never achieve the fame and glory she has worked so hard for.

A chance encounter with Captain Phineas Fletcher, attached to the Honourable East India Company as a troubleshooter and investigator, leads to Daphne being given a new opportunity: help Captain Fletcher discover the truth behind a series of strange occurrences in the town of Madhyapatnam. Daphne is willing to do anything to restore her reputation, even something as small as Captain Fletcher’s investigation. As the days progress, her attachment to the members of the team grows deeper, as does her growing attraction to the captain.

Review: Choosing a Life That Matters

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review:

“As someone once said, “Sin would have fewer takers if its consequences occurred immediately.”

I’ve heard of Dennis Rainey before. I’ve listened to his blurbs on my local Christian Radio station here in Florida many times. But I’ve never really read anything about him or by him before. Honestly, it wasn’t the best experience.

This book wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything that made me go “oh, wow” either. It was right there in the lukewarm world of Christian books. For one, it was incredibly short even though there was much that could’ve been expanded upon and by the end of it I had the thought of “well I’ve heard all that before.” And not that a Christian author can’t write on topics that have already been used. People have written on the books of the bible, the nature of sin, being different in a “fit in world” for years but if you don’t bring a new perspective to the topic then the book isn’t going to teach or do much. By the conclusion I just felt like I had read a really good sermon outline and that was about it. Heard it before, know it already, teach me something new please.

The author also used a lot of his own personal stories throughout, but instead of these stories being relational in nature they came off as showy or proud, which I know was not the intention but was how they read anyway. His idea of “choices” was not exactly what I had assumed it to be and even trying to read the book objectively a lot of what he wrote still seemed to come off as “it’s an easy process, do this then this will happen…” which is not the whole truth of a life lived through Christ.

To be honest, this book was just not for me. It’s not a book I’m likely to recommend to others or purchase for myself but I know that everyone is different and that’s why I still gave it three stars. Because the biblical principles are there, the overall merit of what is trying to be taught is there, I just think the execution is lacking. It had some good points but it didn’t stir my soul for more and that’s my biggest critique. Too much was left out, too much was left unsaid. If you’re looking for a book with practical biblical knowledge and how to apply it to your life in a general way, then this is the book for you. If you want to go much deeper in your faith, then this may not be the right book.

My final take on this book is that I hope those who read this book find something they are searching for. I did not, but all walks are not the same and praise to the Lord for that.

*I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review*

Genre: Chrsitian Non-Fiction

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Author: Dennis Rainey

Synopsis:

With warmth and wisdom that only comes from weathering the storms of life, Dennis Rainey shares seven ways to not only build a strong foundation, but to choose to live the life of purpose and potential you were created for. When the winds of culture blow, you will be able to stand firm on the Truth. You will be able to choose a life that matters. A life that makes a difference in the here and now–a life that echoes into eternity.

You are at crossroads of culture and Christianity. Which way will you choose to live?

Review: Blessed Are the Misfits

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Release Date: November 28, 2017

Rating: ★★★★★

Review:

“Pretty sure I’ll be seated at the misfits’ table. Pretty sure there won’t be any non-misfit tables, now that I think about it.”

I was having a low point when I decided to click “Read Now” on this book on NetGalley, and I’m glad I did. You know those books that make you feel like someone has reached deep into that lonely, aching place of your heart and given it that extra special squeeze it so desperately needed, well, this is one of those books.

I didn’t know anything about the author, Brant Hansen, before choosing this book to read. I found out through reading it that the author is speaking from many of the perspective’s he’s writing to, he’s a misfit just like us. Dealing with Asperger’s syndrome, nystagmus and being an introvert, he’s able to come alongside the misfit believers and talk to us in a way other cannot. It was clear from the title that the misfits were meant to represent those who struggled to feel that they were connecting with God spiritually. They didn’t understand emotional worship, they thought they were missing something when they saw other believers who seemed to “have it” and they didn’t get why they were so introverted in their faith when others weren’t. This was the beauty of the “misfit” Hansen was appealing to. I’ve never read a book that honestly sought after these people, my people, me. And so that’s why I gave the book five stars is because the author really manages to get after and talk to these people in the kingdom of God. He laughs with us and teaches us at the same time.

Alive with laughter, practical biblical knowledge and warm friendship from someone who understands the struggle, Hanson is able to capture the unique beauty and grace of being a misfit. He illustrates God’s love for the marginalized through Jesus, the radical and uncommon nature of Christ’s choosing the unknown and unlikely people and how in most cases God did not look for the people everyone expected, but chose the people no one wanted. His stories are immensely relatable, things those of us on the outside, the questioners and seekers have all wondered if others felt but never dared to reveal ourselves. His assurances that emotions are not the end all is a refresher to the push of culture today and he breathes new life into the idea that being awkward, introverted and a struggler are not the worst things in the world to be. Sometimes these things are what draw you closer to the arms of the Father. One of the many quotes I highlighted in this book was the one below and I love it because it reminds me of a truth I’ve known but never been able to express. The truth that there is more and sometimes, when you’re a misfit, you know it and you seek it from God all the time and when others don’t it makes you feel like you’re wrong, but Hansen is here to tell us that maybe that’s just not the case

“Lovers yearn, but religious people don’t. Religious people have their rules, and they have them in full. There’s nothing to yearn for. But God calls us to relationship, and that means yearning.”

The writing style of this book is unique. Honestly the best way I can describe it is like sitting down to have a conversation with a friend and just letting the conversation go where it goes because sometimes that’s just how it feels, like talking to a friend. Hansen can be a little jumpy in his writing and some of his stories seemed out of place for the narrative, but these are nitpicks to the overall wonderful message he was able to get across with this book. While I can disagree with him that God has favorites and I agree that God is a healer but sometimes, because of the fallen nature of man, not everyone will be healed, I can’t explain enough how wonderful it is to read a book that really resonates with me. Right now, so many Christian books are about watered down gospel and watered down struggle. But this author is willing to tackle the real struggles while still staying true to the God of Scripture. A humble thank you to him for this book, for his honesty in writing it, and his wisdom in sharing it. I’ll leave this review with one last quote, and it’s another really good one. Being a misfit means you’re often left out and kept out, but so was Jesus and you know what, that didn’t stop Him from loving the world anyway. Hansen writes in his book about this great love for the marginalized and how we as misfits need to remember that Christ was a great misfit too. He died for everyone, the misfits and the non-misfits, so that they may know eternal life,

“So, in sum:

  1. Humans make no sense. 2. Love them anyway.”

*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley from Thomas Nelson-W Publishing in exchange for an honest review*

Genre: Christian Non-Fiction

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

Author: Brant Hansen

Synopsis:

Warning: If modern church culture makes perfect sense to you, and you always fit in seamlessly, don’t read this. As for the rest of us…

While American church culture (and American culture at large) seems largely designed for the extroverted, it’s estimated that half of the American population is introverted, and they’re often left wondering how, even if, they fit in the kingdom of God. As one of them, popular radio host Brant Hansen brings news. It’s wonderful, refreshing, and never-been-said-this-way-before good news.

Review: The House on Foster Hill

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

“With death came the certainty that life would always be a mere breath of hopeful continuance.”

I’ve never been much of a fan of dual time period narratives. It’s hard to get engrossed in the minds or time of one set of characters only to be pulled out of that place in the next chapter or two. So when I decided to read this book I knew that there was a high chance I might have a hard time connecting with the characters because of the changing narrative. Well now I can convincingly say that was not a problem at all with this book.

To be honest I’m shocked that this is Wright’s first solo book. I checked out her page and while she’s had material included in anthology series, she doesn’t seem to have had her own standalone piece until this book, which surprises me. It does so because this book is so marvelous. Well written, mind capturing and hard to put down, I can say without a doubt that for a first standalone book this is quite an impressive one. 

There are two narratives in this book, Kaine Prescott and her ancestor Ivy Thorpe. A lot of the plot revolves around how these two women are linked even though they’re centuries apart. How can generations of history affect the present?

As far as story goes I enjoyed Ivy’s much more than Kaine’s. That probably has a lot to do with the period nerd in me, I just love anything having to do with historical writing. I also think that Ivy and her love interest Joel were much more fleshed out and their story together was so wonderfully complex. The evolution of redeeming their broken relationship and all of the misconceptions on Ivy’s part were so beautifully written. And I liked the fact that Wright never felt the need to over-explain, she always left just enough for the next chapter and the next; building that suspense of the romance and the restoration. Like this quote below, it gives just a glimpse of the connection between the two, but it makes you want to know more and that’s the beauty of a well written romantic plot.

“He’d often teased her that her feet had wings and she flew without thinking. She always told him thinking was too painful and one day he would learn to fly ahead of her.”

Kaine’s story was good, but I think my dislike of her story had more to do with her fast paced relationship with Grant than anything else. The mystery surrounding her stalker and the clues she found in the house were all great, but I found that I was not enjoying how insta-romance her and Grant became. In the end it would’ve been nice for them to have been more of a friendship team and then for the feelings to have budded at the end, in my opinion.

Of course, both stories were tied together by this overarching mysterious death of a woman that happened in Ivy’s time and trying to solve who was the murderer and where this woman’s baby had disappeared to. The unfolding of this mystery throughout the book was done especially well. I’ll admit to being just as clueless as the characters the entire way through the book, which made the reading even better as I too wanted to know who-dun-it and where this mysterious baby had vanished to. The suspense was gripping the entire way through the book, and even in the end there are a few threads that aren’t neatly tied, which leaves it up for us as readers to finish out some of the pieces.

The faith element of this book was beautifully written as well. I always enjoy when an author is able to weave faith into a book without making it seem forced and being able to work religion into the story in a way that’s true to life. Wright manages to make the character of Gabriella (the woman who’s death and missing child both Ivy and Kaine are trying to solve) a catalyst for the restoration of faith for both Ivy and Kaine. Much of the book revolves around these scribblings that are discovered to be from Gabriella, ones she writes about her faith, God and her suffering, one such scribbling really summed up what I believe much of the premise of the book to be about,

“What will I leave behind? What will my legacy be? I choose hope.”

This book had a lot to do with legacy. What will we leave for those who come after us and who will remember? But this book shows that it’s about the person we are and the God we trust in to handle our lives and circumstances, no matter how unfortunate, that matters. That is what will carry on in the end.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loved to read a good mystery / suspense or historical book and I look forward to any new books Jamie Jo Wright has coming out in the future!

*I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery / Suspense, Historical

LinksGoodreads / Amazon

Author: Jamie Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Synopsis (Goodreads) : Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. 

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–
including her own–are lost? 

Seeking Feedback from Book Blog Readers!!

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Calling all book blog readers! Whether you’re a reader of my reviews or not I’ve got a few questions I’ve been meaning to post on this blog for awhile. My reading has dropped off as of late (life, ugh) but I’m going to be picking up here soon and would like to get some of these questions answered if I can before I start back up again. Comment below with your answers to the questions, I don’t care if they’re long, I want to know! Or if you really want to let me know you can just go to my Contact Page and submit your answers there, up to you! Feel free to answer as many or as few as you like 😊

HERE WE GO…

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Review: Haunt Me

9780763691622

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

SynopsisWhen her family moves after a rough year, Erin feels instantly at home in her new bedroom — even after she realizes that she’s not the only one occupying it. As Erin becomes accustomed to Joe, the spirit of the teenage boy who lived in the room before her, she starts to sense an inexplicable connection between them. Meanwhile, Joe’s brother, Olly, is trying to find a new normal since his brother passed away. Before Joe died, Olly was king of the school — and it’s not until Olly meets a new girl that he realizes just how many ways he’s changed . . . including the type of girl he could fall for. And when Erin finds herself caught between two brothers, and two choices, will her decision destroy her completely, or can she save herself before she’s lost forever?

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review:

*I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley from Candelwick Press in exchange for an honest review*

“Maybe you only know how precious it is to be a part of the world once your time’s up and you no longer get the choice.”

I’m not much for contemporary books. For some reason if it doesn’t take place in another world or have lots of fantasy elements I’m usually not interested. But for some reason the synopsis for this book really captured my attention. It’s probably the weird, sappy romantic in me. And wow was she satisfied with this little gem of a book.

I didn’t expect much going in. And I’d never read anything from or even recognized the author, so I was ready for your typical formula, girl finds ghost, they fall in love, obstacles get in the way and either they get around them or she finds love with someone else. Now without spoiling too much because I want you all to read this book, the plot is extremely easy to suss out early on. The way the author has things play out, you know where the characters are headed long before they get there, but that was the beauty of it almost, knowing and yet getting to know the characters anyway. This book, while following several clichés and patterns that I normally hate, somehow made me fall in love with it.

Much of the reason for my liking of this book comes from the authors loving attention to her characters. Their raw honesty and true-to-life details make me feel like I could actually know them in real life, or in Erin’s case, be them. The depth of emotions and complexities she layers the characters with makes it easy to sympathize with them and want to get immersed in their unfolding story. And her use of a rotating POV between Erin, Joe and Olly was excellently executed as I always felt the characters had their own voice while still being connected to the story. I also applaud the author for having her characters tackle difficult things like bullying, depression, anxiety, loss of loved ones and just the general feeling of alienation. Things we all may have faced in one way or another but can sometimes fail to put into words.

The romance element is what joins this whole book together and while I have a few nitpicks with it there isn’t much I would change. The dynamic between Erin, Joe and Olly played out so well amongst the pages that by the end I was highly satisfied with where they all ended. My only gripe is that I wish Erin’s feelings for Olly would’ve been more fleshed out as by the end I still felt her connection to Joe was much stronger.

I admired the author’s use of poetry in the book as well, joining Erin and Joe by their shared use of writing to help them cope with stress and the release of pent-up emotions, it was a wonderful device to show how each of the characters words connected them and wound them together. The writing of the book itself flowed almost like poetry at times, beautiful in its pauses for quiet moments but the frenzied pace of what was happening in the characters lives and how each character was handling their own view of the situation.

Overall this was a spectacular book that went well beyond the surface of a normal contemporary read. The characters reminded me of what it means to struggle, make mistakes and even in the end they weren’t completely healed, which is sometimes how life turns out so it was nice to see an author be honest about the somewhat-happily-ever-afters. You can read this book as a fun love story, you can read it as a ghost story, either way this book is definitely worth a place on your shelf.