Archive | August 2017

The Space Between Words

I normally don’t read Christian fiction. I’ve found it can come across as cheesy. The Space Between Words,  is a Christian fiction novel set in France where the main character Jessica is visiting her best friend Patrick with their friend Vonda. On the last night of their visit in France Vonda decides she wants to go to a concert rather than go to a boring museum. Jessica agrees to go while her while Patrick goes off to the museum. The night of the concert changes their lives forever when there is a terrorist attack.

Jessica survives. After she’s had some time to mend, Patrick insists she still go with him on his journey across France. Still fragile and recovering Jessica agrees to tag along. On one of their many stops to look at antiques Jessica finds an old sewing box. Later on after it’s purchased Jessica discovers a secret compartment in the sewing box that contains old journal papers. Jessica is intrigued.  Why would someone have hidden pages of the Bible? With the help of her B&B hosts, Mona and Grant, Jessica is determined to find out what has become of the author of the journal, a French Huguenot refugee.

This book covers topics that aren’t easy to stomach. Sadly since Sept 11th America knows what terrorism is like. I have no clue even on a fictional level what it would be like to be in a foreign country and go through what Jessica did. Her journey to discover what happened to the journal author’s life is fascinating and scary. History is interesting, but will finding the future end point be worth it?

I received the ARC of The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix from NetGalley, care of Thomas Nelson for free in exchange for my honest review. This book is fast paced, sweet, tense, fascinating and heartbreaking, I don’t know anything about the Huguenots, but if the parts about the Huguenots in France are based somewhat on fact it would be interesting to research their history further.

Tube 


If you haven’t heard of Ksenia Anske then its high time you have. I discovered Ksenia via Twitter who was searching for beta readers for her first novel, Siren Suicides. Since I loved the idea back in 2012/13 to get to read an ARC I signed up to review. This novel was intense, descriptive and I couldn’t wait to read more novels from her. This lead to reading Ksenia’s other novels (Rosehead and The Badlings) that have been self published. When I was asked recently if I wanted to beta read Tube I jumped on board.
Knowing a bit of Ksenia’s personal background Tube took on an even more vivid picture in my mind. Tube is a fictional novel about Olesya, a Russian ballerina. She is dating her dance partner for Swan Lake, Dima. Olesya wants to be intimate with him, but for some reason every time they go to be intimate she freezes up. They are on their way traveling on a train as a troupe where Olesya encounter’s her five-year old self.
Her little self hands her Tube, the toy locomotive that her father gave her as a gift when she was little. It was from America and considered fancy. She hears a man’s voice calling for her younger self and realizes it’s her papa’s ghost.
Olesya tries to figure out why she was given back this old toy when she’d thought she’d gotten rid of it years before, after her papa unexpectedly died. She doesn’t understand why her mama never grieved her papa’s death. Her mama tried to force her to throw away Tube, but younger Olesya kept the locomotive piece. It was her one thing that reminded her of her papa and her happy memories of playing with the train set.
Olesya meets a man who works on the train named Yuri. This man has talent to see through people’s facade and notices when they are hurting emotionally. At one point Yuri mentions to Olesya that he can see she has a hole in her. Yuri wonders what or who has caused her so much pain. She hasn’t told him about the pain of her past, so she wonders how he knows. When Olesya confinds in Yuri that her papa’s ghost is on the train Yuri is very concerned. He’s heard rumors there is a ghost living on the train.
At first Olesya thinks somehow Tube can open the locked compartments, but of course the toy locomotive won’t fit in the key hole. She is able to see the invisible hole in her that Yuri can see. Olesya wonders if maybe putting Tube in the hole will open the door. It hurts very much, but the compartments open.
Olesya is brought back to relieve what occurred between her and her father, a different memory for each compartment. The only challenge is that her papa’s ghost doesn’t want her finding out. Little Olesya tries to keep her papa’s ghost from stopping grown up Olesya from visiting all 8 compartments. She only has so much time before they arrive at their destination. Will Olesya discover the reason in time?
Ksenia covers topics that aren’t for the faint of heart. Parent child relationships can be challenging. We hope our parents have our best interests in mind, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. If you were raised in the 80’s stranger danger was taught. What do you do if it’s a parent you are supposed to trust? What if you love your parent and want to think the best of them?
If you are interested to learn more Ksenia click here to visit her lovely website. She is the most down to earth author I know and have had the pleasure of meeting in person. Ksenia cares about her readers and their feedback. You can download her novels for free, or if you want to help support by paying for a paperback copy. Either way Ksenia wants you to be able to get to read her wildly unique novels. Tube is truly a testament to the powerful of the human spirit and love.

Your Guide To The Apocalypse

The End Times is a hot topic. The news with updates on different wars, environmental issues,  health scares and violence increasing, it’s no wonder society may think the end of the world is near. Pastor Matt Hagee explains why from the Bible he believes we are the last generation to witness Jesus coming back. His guide gives over the reasons why and how the first 3 chapters of the book of Revelation explain the signs of how we are in the last days. He believes that believers will be taken up to heaven before the Antichrist steps on the world stage, hence why he didn’t go past chapter 3 of Revelation. This book I think is geared towards Christians, but he does speak to unbelievers. Depending on your church background or lack of church and Bible exposure you may understand what’s expressed in this book.

I am a post tribulation ‘fan’. Honestly I don’t see why believers of today should get out of having to go through the tribulation. It seems like too, easy of a ticket. Some of his view points I get, but to state this is the truth vs showing the other viewpoints feels a tad arrogant. I know Pastor Hagee means well, but to me only Jesus can open your eyes to the truth.

I received an ARC of Your Guide To The Apocalypse by Matt Hagee for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. If you are a pretribulation believer then this book is for you. If you aren’t it might ruffle your feathers, or it might enlighten you.

Dryland

Addiction is something we don’t like to fess up to. Whether it’s over spending, over eating, or drinking we all have our own personal demons. When I agreed to review Dryland I don’t think I glanced at what it was about since I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs. This memoir is about Nancy and her alcohol addiction.

Nancy loved swimming since she was little. She was talented and won a lot of swim meet awards growing up. She almost made it to the 88′ olympics. Winning made her Dad proud, so she focused on swimming until her swimming career came to an end. Not having swimming as her anchor she signed up for the Peace Corps. Nancy traveled to different countries where she had different adventures in the process picking up a stronger addiction to drinking. Culturally in the countries she was in it was socially acceptable to drink.  It took Nancy going to the Middle East where the severity of her addiction slapped her in the face. 

This memoir is honest, raw, funny and not an easy read. For Nancy to come clean about her near deadly alcohol addiction isn’t easy. It’s tough enough to just admit to yourself you have an addiction, let alone publish it for the whole to read. There is a risk in being judged, or misunderstood, but what Nancy has done is graciously opened a door for conversation on this vital topic. No matter what your addiction might be, Nancy’s memoir of her journey to sobriety will keep you cheering as she swims her way to victory. I received my copy for free of charge from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I recommend this book for anyone needing inspiration to quit an addiction. Thank you Nancy for your authentic, lovely self sharing your struggles, but most of all your triumphs.

Forty Autumns

Forty Autumns is a tour de force. This stunning memoir is about the author, Nina Willner’s mother’s life growing up in East Germany during the Cold War and escaping while she still could. I have not read much about the Cold War, but this memoir packs a punch. It’s a tad hefty of a tome, but Nina’s mom, Hanna’s life is intriguing and sobering. Nina includes personal photographs which brings her mom’s life and her own from black and white into full color. From Kansas to the Emerald city it describes the heartache of what it’s like growing up under communism to knowing what freedom is like.

What would it be like to be separated from your family by a wall, armed guards and police? To know you could be shot just by stepping a toe over the dividing line? To live in a world where every move you make is analyzed to make sure you don’t slip up, to be given the impression your immediate world is superior, when deep down you wonder if the other side is just as awful as you’ve been lead to believe. Unless you’ve been raised in a communist country this sounds surreal, but to think this was the norm in East Germany only 28 years ago is scary.  This memoir is a powerful reminder to be thankful for our freedoms if you live in a free country. Not all country’s are free, but never give up hope if you don’t live in a free country. Thank you Nina for such a powerful testimony to your family’s strength for never giving up.

This memoir was given to me for free in exchange for my review from TLC Book Tours, care of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. To purchase this captivating memoir please go check it out here. If you love to read and have a blog where you like to share your review of books you love feel free to check out TLC Book Tours

Maddie & Sayara

Maddie And Sayara is about two young teens from different countries who meet while on vacation. The girls bond over their stuck up older sisters who just care about appearance and luxury. Maddie learns that Sayara’s female cousin has been jailed because she was caught driving which is forbidden in their kingdom. Maddie can’t understand why a young woman wouldn’t be allowed to drive. Sayara tries to explain why to Maddie, but Maddie can’t grasp that not all countries in the world treat women or girls as equals to men and boys. Maddie decides she wants to go help Sayara rescue her cousin. This novel follows Maddie on her journey into an unknown country to rescue Sayara’s cousin. Will Maddie be successful?

This book was given to me free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. While this book is considered YA I felt the tone of Maddie came across more of a middle grade age group than high school in her maturity level. This story was a nice overview of what other countries might be like where a women’s freedoms aren’t as free as in other countries. Topics of freedom in how a woman or girl dresses and what they are allowed to do is explored throughout this novel. I might recommend this book to a junior high or older elementary age girl as insightful and educational.

Words In Deep Blue

The cover called my name. Blue is one of my favorite colors. The cover is downright book gorgeous. I just had to buy it.

Words In Deep Blue is about used to be best friends Rachel and Henry. Rachel comes back to her home town to distract herself though she doesn’t want to deal with Henry after he didn’t respond to her goodbye letter she left him after she moved away with her family three years prior. Henry is a nerd who lives at his family’s used bookstore that has living quarters above the store. Henry has always loved Amy. Rachel used to love Henry, but Amy always kept coming back in the picture distracting Henry. She learned to get over him after she moved, but having moved back to stay with her aunt, Rachel realizes Henry still has his charm minus the problem of shallow Amy. Rachel gets a job at Henry’s family bookstore for the summer. Will Henry and Rachel get along working together? Can they mend their friendship?

Henry’s dad asks Rachel to catalogue the letter library. This section of the store is where people can leave their favorite books. These books other patrons can highlight favorite passages or leave letters for others inside their favorite books. This is a tedious process. Reading the letters left behind Rachel realizes different romances have blossomed and some people don’t realize who their admirers are.

This novel is sweet. It makes me miss working at a used bookstore. Bookworms are a unique bunch to work with and have as customers. We are quirky and march to the beat of our own drum. Used bookstores aren’t necessarily cash cows as a means to get rich, but the quality of connection between patrons and workers is priceless. Being around the mildew smell of old books is a perfume all on its own. There’s a peacefulness like walking into a church when a bookworm walks into a bookstore.  If you love books, bookstores, reading and friendship with a potential for romance then I highly recommend this savory read.