Book Review · Books

Holy Hot Mess

Christianity can scream for perfection, especially when it comes to women having to come across perfect in their looks, life and schedule. I’ll confess. I like to look at the author photo. I wasn’t disappointed. The author, Mary Katherine is stunning. Honestly I was afraid I was in for one of those cheesy, feel good Christian books. I wasn’t wrong. MK’s book is one of those such books, but it’s not all warm fuzzies and hot cocoa.

MK tackles some deep topics. There are topics that I can really relate to. The chapter on growing up and wanting to be accepted and be friends with a particular girl at school, well I’ve been there and got burnt as well. Going to church and not being in the mood to go? Yes, I am guilty of that more times than I can count. But you know what? I miss that family atmosphere. Yes, there is always going to be church drama. Imperfect people crammed into one building all trying to learn about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit that equals a recipe for spiritual/faith drama.

I loved Holy Hot Mess. MK never is condescending or uppity, she gets right across from us and shares her heart, soul and some extra leftovers because she doesn’t want any of her readers to be left hungry or left out. She is funny, serious, vulnerable and most important readable. She doesn’t dumb down the tough subjects, but her writing is conversational, personable and memorable.

I received my complimentary copy of Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom from Worthy Publishing. Views are my own and my own choice. I am so thankful I got to read this book. I love getting to discover new favorite authors. Thank you Worthy and thank you MK. I can’t wait to go read more of your books.

Book Review · Books

Peaceful On Purpose

Currently in the world, peace seems like the last thing that’s a possibility. We’re dealing with a world wide pandemic, there are raging fires and earthquakes that feel like they are just ramping up for a big one. Life feels like we are stuck on mental rollercoaster mode and we just want to get off this trying ride.

I admit I was a tad skeptical on the topic of being peaceful on purpose. How is that remotely possible? Christian or not. It sounds too pie in the sky and wishy washy. I’m sure lots of readers may be rolling their eyes. It’s understandable. Times aren’t exactly screaming peace.

Joel’s book is short with a powerful point. God is in control. We may be not be able to see the bigger picture or outcome, but He is in control. Not that we shouldn’t be responsible or accountable for our actions, but knowing He does have us in the palm of His hand should be comforting. We try to hold tight control to so much. That stubbornness just gives us more frustration and anxiety. Do we need more of both when times are already nuts? No. We need less.

I received my complimentary copy of Peaceful On Purpose by Joel Osteen from FaithWords in exchange for my honest review that is fully mine. This book was definitely thought provoking and even though the topic is very Christianese, it’s even more relevant for today.

Book Review · Books

A Socially Acceptable Breakdown

Poetry is deeply personal. It’s laying your soul out to be examined line by line. No poem is the same. A poem tells a story. Your story. They can be simple, complex, quirky, funny, sad, disturbing and so much more. A Socially Acceptable Breakdown is an epic book. Patrick’s poetry is a wild ride. He’s dealt with anorexia, depression, death of a family member, figuring out his sexuality and more. He gives you a peek into his life. The good, the bad, the what just happened?

If you are a fan of poetry then this book will be a must to add to your collection. These poems are gems to read, mull over and think on. I already want to reread it. I received my complimentary digital copy of A Socially Acceptable Breakdown by Patrick Roche from Button Poetry, care of NetGalley. The views are strictly mine and of my own will. This book inspires me to keep on writing my own poetry. It’s therapeutic and a great way to safely get out your thoughts and gives you a record of what you’ve been through.

Book Review · Books

Self Love Poetry

I’ll confess the title had me thinking something vastly different. This collection of poetry is stunning, thought provoking, moving, shocking and most of all POWERFUL. I almost finished it in one day. I couldn’t stop reading. Each poem spoke to me. I wanted to pause, to highlight and take notes. I’ll have to wait till it’s released, but it’s already sitting on my Amazon wishlist. Yes, it was that great of a read.

Poetry is primal and personal. It digs into your soul like it’s a pumpkin and your guts get squeezed out, but underneath all that orange slime are seeds that take root. These seeds water your soul with hope, bravery, compassion, humor, love, acceptance and joy. This poetry won’t leave you empty. It will inspire to keep going.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Self Love Poetry by Melody Godfred from Andrew McMeel Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. If you enjoy poetry I highly recommend this book of poetry. I think it will make a great gift this upcoming fall.

Book Review · Books

September 11th, 2001 The Day The World Changed Forever

It’s a day no one can ever forget. It was a regular day until it wasn’t. It splashed on the TV on repeat. The images on our TV seared into our brains, never to be removed. Two planes fly right into the Twin Towers. Buildings that appear sleek, tall, majestic, part of the NY city skyline. I’ve personally never seen them in person, but from images you can see their grandness. These tall towers couldn’t take it and they fell like stones. Almost 3,000 lives were lost. People who went to work there or people visiting gone in mere moments.

The aftermath of this horror spawned a war against the terror that was inflicted on America that day. What would it be like to be in a different country looking from the outside? When you’ve heard your own country’s view on a life alerting event it’s refreshing to hear how the same event is seen from a different perspective. This graphic novel is from the viewpoint of a French woman who was just a young teen when September 11th happened. This is her story of how this event affected her and the events that occurred after to her own country.

This graphic novel is thorough in going over the events of September 11th, the war that happened after and the other life changes that occurred because of this act of terrorism. It’s been over 20 years since that day. This book is a great recap. The artwork is modern and brings it to life. This topic is important and it’s something we never want to forget, but it’s definitely for a more mature audience. I wouldn’t recommend it for elementary school age. I believe it would be a good conversation piece for older junior highers and definitely high schoolers.

I received my complimentary digital copy of September 11th, 2001 The Day The World Changed by Baptiste Bouthier and Illustrated by Héloise Chochois from Europe Comics, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. If you want to grab a graphic novel that makes reading about history not boring, encourages a discussion and an important read, then I’d grab a copy later this summer.

Book Review · Books

Born In Lockdown

All of us can relate to how 2020 changed our lives. The good, the bad, the pure evil. This collection of poetry is powerful, insightful, gut wrenching, challenging and hopeful. If you enjoy poetry you just may fall for this collection. Each poem is unique and opens us up more to how this world event has altered our lives. No matter which aspect spoke to you: masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, lockdown, hospitals, tests, death, recovery, getting the jab, etc you will find something that will resonate with you.

This poetry collection inspires me to continue writing my own poetry. Yes, the main topic is not a pleasant one, but it seems most of the time that poetry is birthed out of hardship. Yes, romantic, cute poems exist, but we usually gorge ourselves on the more dramatic, sad, weepy lines.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Born In Lockdown by Tolu A. Akinyemi from BooksGoSocial, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. I don’t usually read poetry, but this is an author I’m going to keep an eye out on for any new content. I definitely want to read his other works. Thank you NetGalley for helping me discover a new favorite author.

Book Review · Books

The Essence Of Nathan Biddle

Kit is a deep soul who adores his girlfriend, Anna, until the day he gets his own personal Dear John letter. Why can’t she love him like he adores her? She’s gorgeous, smart and did I mention gorgeous again? Kit feels stuck in a rut. How can his life go on like normal?

Kit is so distraught over the breakup he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he goes on a little joyride with his ex job’s vehicle, crashing it. Kit swears he experiences an NDE and died at the scene, but was revived by Anna’s stepfather, the Ghoul. Now with a busted leg he’s stuck healing at the hospital.

Waiting in the wings to be noticed is his friend’s sister, Sarah. She’s even smart, or smarter than Anna and she’s equally as gorgeous. Will Kit give her the time of day that she deserves? It’s like Kit is for Sarah, what Anna means to Kit.

While mending in the hospital Kit has to see a shrink. Oh, the horror. What can he say? He wasn’t trying to die. Going over his life with the shrink he has to come to terms with his uncle’s dark past, to piece together a mystery so bizarre he can’t believe he’d even consider something so wild as a possibility. What’s the true connection between himself, his uncle and his cousin, Nathan who sadly passed? Is his uncle truly cuckoo?

I received my complimentary copy of The Essence Of Nathan Biddle by J. William Lewis from Greenleaf Book Group Press, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and provided of my own will. This novel is a chunk, but keep reading because you’ll want to find out what happens. This book does a great job of showing just how deep a first love can be and how catastrophic a breakup is. It gives a great example of how one can wrestle with what you are taught about life and how that affects your reaction to what life throws at you.

Book Review · Books

The Halo Conspiracy

Homicide detective Lucas Nash has a fairly basic existence solving crimes, until he’s asked to cover the murder of a big high tech muckity muck. At first Lucas thinks it’s a simple death of natural causes, until the doctor examining the victim gets sick herself. There are a number of individuals who were around the headhauncho before he died and Lucas has to figure out who the culprit is fast.

The only challenge is that Lucas has to help protect one of the potential suspects and she’s far from ugly. In the process of keeping her safe he witnesses that this particular lady has some very unusual characteristics. Can Lucas keep this suspect safe or will he let her beauty distract him from his job?

This novel’s theme of futuristic technology is sobering. Things we thought not too long ago were mere fantasy are now a part of our every day reality. If you like futuristic themed novels then you may enjoy this fast paced, fun read. The characters are quirky, unique and you can’t help, but keep rooting for Lucas.

I received my complimentary copy of The Halo Conspiracy by Michael Murphy, care of the author for my honest, at will review. Thoughts presented are mine. If you need a fun, light, yet thought provoking read I highly recommend this novel. It’s short, but a fast paced storyline that will keep you guessing.

Book Review · Books

To Shatter Glass

To Shatter Glass provides an array of poems that showcase the challenging life the author has lived so far. Sister Sharon dealt with alcoholism in her family, death and many other challenges.

I feel that Sister Sharon brings to life the turmoil of wanting a special Christmas, but not knowing if your parents are going to chose celebrating it or choosing booze instead. Another theme she describes is the loss of family, something no one is ever ready or prepared for. Especially when that family member is young. Sister Sharon also, writes about her faith journey.

I received my complimentary digital copy of To Shatter Glass by Sister Sharon Hunter, CJ from Paraclete Press and Iron Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. The poems in this collection are vivid, sobering, thoughtful and inspiring.

Book Review · Books

Sick Girl Secrets

Natalie thinks her life in high school is going great, until being sick morphs into having surgery and needing a wheelchair. Why does life suck? Kids at school can be jerks. A wheelchair will just be like a big red bull’s eye shouting to her school that something is wrong. Natalie doesn’t want to stand out in that way.

Day one of going back to school Natalie decides to ditch her new set of wheels and stashes it near the school at an old abandoned house. By the end of the week of physically walking everywhere she is shocked that someone stole her brand new wheelchair. Natalie is too zapped to move from the spot where her chair had been. After she is found by her aide and gets a talking to, Natalie caves to using her wheelchair at school.

One day in the bathroom Natalie encounters the one known disabled girl named Riley. She’s in a wheelchair and is very loud in her clothing and makeup choice. Natalie wants to avoid her like the plague. Why be associated with the school outcast?

Eventually Riley gets Natalie to befriend her. Natalie realizes that Riley is human with feelings and is a great friend. They hang out on the weekend and are excited for the upcoming school dance until the principal has other plans.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Sick Girl Secrets by Anna Russell from West 44 Books, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my choice. This novel written in verse deals with an important topic we don’t really discuss in school or socially as a society. Disability can be obvious, but also, invisible. Not all illnesses can be seen on the outside. Some are internal or mental. School can be a challenging place to try and fit into, let alone having to maneuver a wheelchair, crutches, etc. This story was fast paced, sweet, thought provoking and a satisfying read. Look for this upcoming fall release.