Peace

Peace

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

I recently finished this book, which I received to review from BookLook Bloggers, and I finally have a few minutes to write this review. The book I received was Storm Siren by Mary Weber. It is the first book in the Storm Siren Trilogy. It is a young adult fantasy book, and I think it has the potential to become very popular one day, if more people learn about it and read it and spread the news. It was a very exciting book and I enjoyed it so much that I read the whole thing in one sitting, I loved the story and I loved that there was plenty of action and excitement from the first page.



This book is the story of young woman named Nym. She is what this world calls an Elemental: a forbidden creature who can control the weather and storms. Not only that, but she is the first known female Elemental. All others before her have been men. When the book begins, Nym is a slave, but is bought by a wealthy noble woman who wishes to use Nym's powers for her own gain. The book tells of her struggles with her powers and her struggle with whether or not she was born to be good or evil. I also love how this book has romance thrown in amidst the fantasy and excitement.  All in all it is an excellent novel and I highly recommend it to all young and old. It is an awesome story with ALOT of potential. I cannot wait to read the next installment!

Note: I received  this book for free from BookLook in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

       The Panopticon is a novel written by author Jenni Fagan, It is an excellently written dystopian type novel that has become quite popular since its debut in 2012. The novel focuses on teenager Anais Hendricks and her struggles with foster care, the law and life in general. The book is actually named for the rehabilitation center the Panopticon, which is located within the depths of a forest. This center houses kids of all ages, and is for chronic young offenders. Anais is sent there because she is accused of beating a policewoman and putting her in a coma, though she claims she cannot remember anything that happened. The novel tells of her time at the Panopticon, the friendships she makes, and it touches on her past as well.

       I actually really enjoyed this book. It was wonderfully written. It was compelling, suspenseful and emotional. The language, prose and rhetoric was exceptional, which added to my overall enjoyment. There was quite a bit of drug use (acid trips, pot, etc.) that Anais used as a coping mechanism and some language and unpleasant sexual encounters so I would recommend it for older teens as well as adults, but not for a younger audience. I love how the main protagonist (Anais) is so strong and even though she has undergone so much hurt and pain in her life, she is still fighting. There are times when she doubts reality, and she says some pretty strange things, but I think that just adds to the uniqueness of the book. All in all, I greatly enjoyed this book. It was different that a lot of books I have read in the past few years, and to me that was refreshing. It was emotionally gripping, and not an easy read, but I recommend it to all older readers who enjoy reading something new.


 

       “I dinnae get people, like they all want to be watched, to be seen, like all the time. They put up their pictures online and let people they dinnae like look at them! And people they’ve never met as well, and they all pretend tae be shinier than they are – and some are even posting on like four sites; their bosses are watching them at work, the cameras watch them on the bus, and on the train, and in Boots, and even outside the chip shop. Then even at home – they’re going online to look and see who they can watch, and to check who’s watching them!” (Jenni Fagan)

Note: I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. 

Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company by Homer Hickam

       Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company was a very interesting novel. It was written by Homer Hickam and is the third installment in his Helium 3 series. The novels “Crater” and “Crescent” precede it. The main character of this book (as well as the other two) is a man named Crater Trueblood who owns a business that specializes in search and rescue. He, along with his warrior friend Crescent must come to the aid of his former love Maria Medaris, the co-leader of the richest and most powerful family on the moon.




       I have to be honest, this was not my favorite book that I have read recently. In fact, I really did not want to read it one I found out that it was not the first in the series. I think that if I had read the other two books, this book would be a thousand times more enjoyable for me. Actually, in the future I am going to read the whole series, because I love science fiction, and I am sure I will love these books as well. That being said, because of the fact that all the characters and relationships had already been introduced and developed, I found that I did not connect with any of the characters like I usually do. Crater and Maria has already fallen in love, and all of the characters previous adventures were mentioned frequently, but not in enough detail. However, it was still a good book, and I look forward to rereading it after reading the first two in the series.

Note: I received this book for free from BookLook in exchange for my honest review. 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

       The Revealing, by Suzanne Woods Fisher, is the third installment in the Inn at Eagle Hill series. I did not have the opportunity to read the first two books in the series, but this novel was intended to be read as a stand alone if you have not read the previous books. The entire series takes place in the Amish community of Lancaster County, and The Revealing focuses on a young Amish woman named Naomi King, who is carrying the weight of a big secret on her shoulders. Naomi is in love with Tobe Schrock, but keeps it a secret out of fear of what her brother Galen will think of the situation. Then one day a unexpected visitor shows up at Eagle Inn with shocking news that could change everything.


       I really enjoyed reading this book. It was heartwarming and exciting. It had a strong story line and I found myself really getting attached to a few of the characters story. I enjoyed reading it as a stand alone, but I think I would get more out of it if I read the other two in the series to get more of the back story and learn more about the other characters. All in all, I truly enjoyed reading it and I give it a five out of five stars. Suzanne Fisher did an excellent job and I can not wait to read the other two in the series!


       Note: I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Blind Trust by Sandra Orchard

Hello again! I am writing yet another book review. I actually have three more exciting novels to read and review by the end of July. Can't wait!

I just finished a few days ago a novel called "Blind Trust"
by Sandra Orchard. Blind Trust is the second novel in the Port Asher Secrets series. It is a Christian mystery novel and was an excellent read. It tells the story of Kate Adams, a woman who recently lost her friend to murder and was involved in the murder trial. This takes place after an finds Kate involuntary and accidentally involved in a counterfeit money investigation after doing some grocery shopping for her elderly neighbor, who gave her counterfeit bills. Tom Parker, a detective whom Kate has known for some time, is the head of this investigation and Kate and Tom find themselves in the middle of a dangerous situation full of fear, uncertainty, and romance. During these tough times Kate has to learn how to trust God, as well as Tom, with her safety and well being.



I actually have not read many mystery/crime novels. I tend to learn more towards fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. This novel however was very good and I might even read more from its genre due to enjoying this one so much. It has just the right amount of suspense and mystery and romance thrown in. It was enjoyable from the beginning to the end. However, I wish I had read the first installment of the series because a lot of Kate and Tom's back story and information would have been helpful while reading the second one. I also liked how there were Christian aspects and revelations written throughout. I definitely recommend this book to readers who love a great mystery laced with romance and God.

Note: I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

" A Place in His Heart" by Rebecca DeMarino

        “A Place in His Heart” by Rebecca DeMarino was an very good heart warming historical romance novel that is actually based on the author's ancestors. The book tells the story of Anglican Mary Langton, who after being left at the altar, longs to marry for love. Barnabas Horton, a Puritan who recently lost and is grieving for his precious wife, is on the search for a mother to care for his young sons. Although Barnabas is still in love with his first wife, Mary agrees to marry him in the hopes of caring for him and his sons, as well as eventually winning a place in his heart. The novel tells of their trials as husband and wife, as well as the struggles that comes with taking the heart wrenching move to the New World.



        For me, this book was highly entertaining and really well written. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. However, I was slightly disappointed that it took so long for Mary and Barnabas to truly fall in love and realize what was in front of their faces the whole time. I kept waiting and waiting for Barnabas to realize that he needed to start treating his current wife better. In fact, I kept finding myself mad at him for treating her like he did. However, I think that almost made it an even better book to read, due to the anticipation that built up throughout. I loved how with each trial and tribulation Mary faced she grew and her faith increased considerably. For me, the end of the book was very fulfilling especially after waiting page after page for Barnabas and Mary to truly fall in love. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love historical fiction like me. Great first novel; I cannot wait to read the next installment in the series.
Note: I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review. 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Dark Eden by Christ Beckett



        Dark Eden by Chris Beckett tells the story of an alien, sunless planet called Eden and the 532 members of the Family who live within the Forest. The only source of light comes from plants and animals that have have evolved to emit heat and light, and beyond the Forest is the Snowy Dark, which no one has ever crossed in fear of its cold and bitter nights. The Family is content to stay within the safety and warmth of the Forest until one young man, John Redlantern changes everything. He and his friends abandon everything they have ever know to venture into the Dark. Dark Eden tells of their journey and how they discover the truth about their past and about their world.

       Dark Eden is a strange and compelling novel and it has a lot of neat and unique concepts. One of the reasons I chose to review this book is because many of the reviews I read mentioned the book having unique language and being amazingly imaginative. Both of these facts are true. This novel really is beautifully written with rich language. In fact, there is a lot of vocabulary the reader has to learn along with the customs of this new world. It was actually quite fun to immerse myself in and learn about this new world. However, it was a little strange to me and I found it hard to get past that fact that so much emphasis was put into “slipping” which is the Eden term for sex. The characters in the book have sex whenever they want: young with young, young with old, etc. It was quite disturbing. When I requested to review this novel, I though I was getting a young adult novel, but I would never let a young adult read this book due to all the disturbing sex scenes apparent throughout. However, I would still have to say this book was extremely intriguing, original and imaginative and I would probably read the sequel if published.


Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Press in exchange for my honest review.  

Life Behind the Wall by Robert Elmer

     

        Life behind the Wall is a juvenile historical fiction novel that contains three different stories: “Candy Bombers”, “Beetle Bunker” and “Smuggler's Treasures.” Each one tells of three different generations of the same family and their experiences living in Germany before as well as after the Berlin wall was built. The first story is centered around a young boy named Erich in the days after World War II, and tells of the devastation and struggles apparent during that time in East as well as West Berlin. The second story, “Beetle Bunker” focuses on Erich’s half sister Sabine who finds an abandoned bunker that could be a potential way under the wall, while the third story, “Smuggler's Treasures” tells the story of Sabine's daughter's Lisel and her quest to find more out about the history of the Berlin Wall and her family history.

       Overall, I found this novel to be very enjoyable. While the book is geared towards a younger audience, I found that all ages can enjoy it. It is a very entertaining and easy read. It is also an excellent way to introduce younger readers to the historical era of World War II and the struggles that occurred before and after the Berlin Wall was constructed. I loved how this book evoked many emotions while reading it: laughter, tears, hope, sadness. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and family, as well to a younger reader. It will help open their eyes to the past while giving them a entertaining and educational read.


       Note: I received this book for free from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

"Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest"

This post is part of the “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!
About the book:
Move beyond surviving to a rejuvenating place of soul rest.
How many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? Bonnie Gray knows what that's like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, she saw her plans shatter into a journey through painful memories a
nd anxiety. In her search for answers, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.
          I found the novel, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” to be an excellently written novel. The novel is written by Bonnie Gray, who is the writer behind Faith Barista.com. She wrote this book about her inspiring, heartbreaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. I am taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and I invite you too read it too. You can get a copy HERE.


          “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” was one of those books where you sit down to read it and it completely consumes your attention. I enjoyed every minute that was spent reading it, and while I did not dive as deep as I wanted to into the book this first time around, I plan to go back , read it again and use it as a way to truly find what my spiritual whitespace looks like. It is an excellent way to further your relationship with Christ as well and if used properly will help you start your journey towards finding rest in Jesus. Within the book, Bonnie Gray tells of her her own painful journey with PTSD that actually arose from writing the novel. She also reveals how to awaken our own souls to spiritual rest and also how to become closer to Christ. In her words: “Spiritual Whitespace makes room- room in our hearts for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, room in our lives for rest, room in our souls for rejuvenation.

          The book is written in a way that encourages the reader to pause and ponder. Each chapter ends with various prompts and tools for prayer, discussion, etc; I loved this and when I go back and read it again these will definitely help me to dive deeper and soak up the material and wisdom being presented. I also highly recommend this book to all who want to heal and find peace. 
          Favorite quote/ passage: “God is the Artist and Architect of the soul. He doesn't use up every single possible space on the canvas. When God looked at what he was holding- after placing his lips and breathing into the dust- he saw something come alive. Something he never, ever made before. It's what God sees, looking into your heart and mine today. He is making something beautiful out of you.”

Note: I was given this book for free in exchange for my honest review from Revell.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

HOPE


      My church started a new series two weeks ago called 50 Days of Unleashing Hope, and of course it has gotten me to think a lot about hope. My own hope, but also hope for the whole Earth. A few months ago, I had hope that God would open the door in my life that he wanted me to go through. While I had hope and I trusted in God, I also was experiencing despair and anxiety about what my future was going to hold. I was in the process of hearing back from the graduate schools I had applied to for Fall 2014, and my prospects were not looking good. I had also just went through the same thing for the Spring 2014 semester, so rejection seemed to be all I had to look forward to. That being said, I never once lost hope in the fact that God knew what my future held, even if I didn't. Then, at the beginning of April I finally heard the good news I had been waiting for. I was accepted into graduate school! I was absolutely thrilled, and when I read that acceptance letter from Antioch University New England the amount of hope I had in my future as a graduate student skyrocketed.

Antioch University New England, the school I will be attending in August!
       But then, with my hope greatly increased, people started talking about coming of the apocalypse, and how certain factors (like the blood moons that have been occurring) are pointing to biblical evidence of the end times. Now, I do not know if these signs point to the coming of Jesus, and no one but God will ever know when the time for the new heaven and earth to be created is. Still, it bothered me a little bit because I am getting ready to begin my career as a Conservation Biologist and all this talk about blood moons, the apocalypse and the end times have had me wondering lately what the point is to earning my master's degree, if God is going to come soon and destroy the earth. Then I remembered a discussion we had about this topic in my Environmental Ethics class. The fact is, we as Christians are called, from the very beginning of creation, to be good stewards of God’s creation. This is apparent throughout the Old Testament and well as the New Testament. This being said, some still believe that taking care of God’s creation is pointless because one day it will all be destroyed, or burnt up and there will be nothing left to care for anyway. 

       However, Hebrews 1:2-3 is a clear indicator that no matter what lies in the future, we should care for the Earth in the present. “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” This passage talks about Christ as being the heir of all things in the universe. Jesus Christ “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (verse 2); he sits at the right hand of God. Because Christ is the heir over the cosmos, we should want to keep and protect his inheritance for when he comes in the future. Colossians 1:15-21 also supports this point. In Jesus, all things were created and Jesus is the firstborn over all creation, things in heaven and on earth. We should simply want to look after creation (even if it is going to burn) because God, our heavenly Father and Creator, made it and saw that it was good.

       "He is the image of the invisible God. the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or ruler or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all thing hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or things in heaven by making peace though his blood shed on the cross" (Colossians 1: 15-20). 



Monday, May 5, 2014

Burning Sky

      

       The novel Burning Sky by Lori Benton is a fantastic novel. I was thoroughly impressed by the historical accuracy, and how much the author researched into the American Revolution and what actually took place after the fact. The novel tells the story of Willa Obenchain, who abducted by Mohawk Indians before the war began at the young age of fourteen, felt compelled to return to her home in the New York frontier where she lived before the kidnapping. While the Revolutionary War is over, she returns to find things have greatly changed. Her parents are no where to be found, and her world seems to be falling apart. She becomes determined to live a single solitary life, dependent on only herself. Then, on the border of her father's lands meets a wounded Scotsman, and her idea of a solitary life starts changing.


       This is a beautiful story filled with romance, pain and heart tugging moments that made it hard to put down. I remember reading a story when I was a child about a young girl who was also abducted by Indians as a child, and I was super excited to read another novel along the same lines and about early America. I was slightly disappointing that there was not more Native American culture and lifestyle added to the story line. However, this did not change my opinion of the book in the least. I loved that while romance was a big part of the story, there was a lot more going on. There is violence and hate and struggles that Willa and the other characters have to contend with, as well as other side stories that added to the overall plot. I highly recommend this book, but readers should know that it is not a gooey romance, but a complex novel filled with love, forgiveness and of course healing from the past's trials. 
       Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review. 


Ascent from Darkness: How Satan's Soldier Became God's Warrior

       

       Ascent from Darkness by Michael Leehan is not a book one should read lightly or take lightly. It is dark and intense from the beginning to the end. There is no denying that is an excellently written story: gripping and emotional. It is also one that I believe every mature Christian should read when they are ready to learn about what Satanism is and what it entails. The novel is the true story of the author, Micheal Leehan who, for 20 years of his life, was a hard core satanist. When he was 33 years old he made the decision to renounce God and allow Satan into his heart and into his life. The book retells his journey and transformation from satanism, which is filled with darkness, loss and suffering, to the day when he finally allows the goodness and light of God back into his soul.

       When I started reading this book I found that once I picked it up I could not put it down. I read the entire novel in one sitting because I needed to finish it, to see what happened, to see a happy ending to his life of misery, evil and darkness. While I did enjoy this book, I wish I would have known what I was getting into before I read it. It was scary, and opened my eyes to a world I knew existed, but knew absolutely nothing about. It is terrifying to me how well a Satanist blends in, and how one who serves Satan strives to ruin the lives of those filled with the light of God. When I finished it, I found myself incredibly uneasy, and I barely slept that night. I was full of apprehension and fear, and I discerned a spiritual oppression around me for a few days. My mind was full of thoughts of Satan and the book, which is why I warn those who are not ready to learn more about spiritual warfare and about what goes on unseen in the world of Satan and evil to prayfully consider reading this book. It has the capacity to overwhelm the reader if not careful. All that aside, however, this is an excellent novel in which God eventually triumphs over evil and as I said before I definitely recommend this to a mature Christian who is strong in their faith.

       Note: I received this book for free from Booklook Bloggers for my honest review.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Just 18 Summers



       Just 18 Summers, a novel by Rene Gutteridge and Michelle Cox, is inspiring, emotional, and God filled. This novel is told from the point of view of four different families and takes place after the tragic death of Butch Browning's wife, Jenny. Each family is at a different stage in life  as well as parenthood and as the summer flies by they come to realize that the time they have with their children is precious and will not last forever.  Butch, after losing his wife, has to deal with the  struggles of being a single parent for a grieving  eight year old little girl, as well as feeling lost and hopeless with grief of his own. The Anderson's are faced with an fast approaching empty nest as well as their daughter marrying a young man they know nothing about and do not yet approve of. The Buckley's, who are the Anderson's neighbors, are so focused on providing their kids with everything they could need and more that the have forgotten what their children desperately need from them, love and attention. The fourth family, the O'Reilly's are expecting their first child and dealing with the doubts and emotions that come with becoming a parent for the first time. Each family faces the truth of what really matters, that they have a limited time together as a family and need to make each moment count. 

       As I was reading this book I found myself laughing and crying throughout. I truly enjoyed this book, and even though I am not a mother myself I found that I could relate to what the characters were going through because of the fact that I have a little sister who is 12 years old and turning into a teenager faster than I would like. This book reminded me that time with her as a child is very fleeting. I need to make the most of her childhood now while I can. Pretty soon she will not want to be tucked in and kissed every night, she won't want to cuddle with me while watching a movie, and she probably will not ask for my advice like she does now.

       I found that I within the four families I enjoyed reading and elated most to Butch's story, not because I am a single parent, but because my father was a single parent during my baby years, and I know first hand how much of a struggle it can be to provide everything for a family on your own. 

       The biggest takeaway for me from this novel is that I have to make every moment count. Life is short, whether or not we want it to be. We need to make the most out of every situation, good or bad. My favorite part of the entire book came on page 363 when I read this quote, "God is not at all restrained by time. What I've perhaps wasted, he can multiply miraculously." I love this quote for various reason but mainly because it is true and gives the reader hope in God, hope for mending the wasted moments in life. 

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Patience

             God has been teaching me a lot about patience lately. Lately I have learned that waiting is one of the hardest things for me to do, and I have been doing A LOT of waiting these last few months. It is not that the act of waiting itself is hard for me, it is the act of waiting patiently and contently. These past few months I have been waiting to hear back from the University of Nevada, Reno to see if I have been accepted into the Natural Resources and Environmental Science masters program. Well, graduate orientation starts January 15th and I still have not heard an admissions decision. This means that these next few days I have to wait (patiently?) for a few people to decide which path the next few years of my life will be like. So basically, my life is on hold and has been since I submitted my application. Their decision in the next few days means I will either be packing up in a hurry and moving to Reno to start life as new graduate student, or I will be looking for a job to sustain me while I wait until the Fall 2014 semester in August (which means more waiting!)
               Throughout these taxing and stretching situations, I found I was praying for patience every time that I prayed, which happened to be multiple times throughout the day. And then one day, a conversation that my twin sister and I once had entered my mind. During this conversation she told me that I should be careful when I pray for God to teach me how to be patient, because in order to do this God will send you opportunities to practice, test and expand your ability to be patient. Well, God is definitely answering my prayers, and yes throughout these times, my patience has grown enormously. In fact, as I am writing this blog, my father has just called to inform me that I have a letter from UNR in the mail, and now I have to WAIT to see what it says. But, I will be patient and continue writing this blog until he gets home (!!!).


Now, I am not necessarily complaining about this situation, because while it is has been very very hard to put my life on hold, it has also taught me a valuable lesson that I have to keep learning over and over again. No matter how out of control my life becomes, how many frustrating situations I come across and how out of control I feel, the Almighty Creator of the Universe knows what He is doing. I may feel like the universe is spiraling out of control, but in reality my future is in God’s hands and honestly, there is no better place to be. There are a few verses that have really helped me through these times of waiting; that help remind me that God is good and that God is in control.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29: 11
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubles and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
But I trust in you, Lord: I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Psalm 31: 14-15