Book Review · Books

A People’s History Of Heaven

Step into fictional Heaven. It’s a slum in India where developers are trying to bulldoze it down to build more shopping centers. The only thing is that they have to contend with the residents of Heaven who want to keep their homes. This story dives into the lives of each protester whether it be a mother, or their daughter. It’s a clear story of how the caste system works and when you live in a slum you don’t always get to choose when the big wigs want to expand your area.

This story is rich in description, characterization and brings India to life. I have never been to India before, but growing up my grandmother would make me chapatis. They are unleavened flatbread. We’d eat them for breakfast with whipped cream and honey or jam depending on your flavor preference.

There has great LGBTQA and religious representation in this novel. Some of the characters are figuring out who they are and who they love wether it’s to a boy, or girl and if they were born a particular gender that it may not be who they truly feel they are. The different characters share a variety of faiths from Hindu, Muslim and Christian.

I received my complimentary copy of A People’s History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian from Algonquin Books and NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This a beautiful novel that needs to be read, shared and talked about it. It’s a women empowering women story that shows that you don’t have to be rich to be powerful in spirit. Thank you for allowing me to win a copy of this book Algonquin Books.

Book Review · Books

Manga Classics: Jane Eyre

I haven’t read Jane Eyre since the summer before fourth grade. I’m not a huge fan of manga, but it can make for a lighter, fun read. This was the case with Jane Eyre. This manga has beautiful artwork and this classic book was condensed in a way that brought the story to life.

Jane Eyre is an orphan whose taken in by her rich aunt. Her older cousins are cruel and pick on Jane nonstop. Her aunt decides to send her off to a strict boarding school called Lowood. The school isn’t much improved from her aunt’s house. Thankfully Jane has a classmate, Helen befriend her. Life gets more bearable, until Helen passes from getting sick.

Jane sticks it out at Lowood and decides she wants to be a governess. She responds to an ad for one. Thornfield is a massive mansion of sorts and the owner never seems to be home. Thankfully the housekeeper keeps her company along with the little girl she’s teaching, Adele.

The master of the house comes home and Jane realizes he’s standoffish and placates Adele by buying her fancy gifts. Jane keeps to herself and teaching Adele. One night Jane hears a noise and goes out of her room to investigate. She discovers that there’s a fire in the master’s room. Jane runs in to wake him up. This scary incident makes Jane wonder who would want to harm the master of the house? The master, Mr. Rochester, tries to distract Jane from overthinking the incident.

Will Jane figure out what her employer is hiding? Is there more to Mr. Rochester then meets the eye? Follow Jane on her journey to figure out what secrets may be hiding at Thornfield.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte from NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own will. This manga brought Jane Eyre to life in a way I’d forgotten. This novel is so dark, spiritually deep and intense. It’s definitely not for kids. It might be even a tad too, adult for a high schooler. I can’t believe I read it before 4th grade.

Book Review · Books

The Sound Of Stars

What would we do if aliens landed on earth? This scenario seems more timely lately with all the current UFO sightings. The opening of this novel has our MC, Ellie stuck in a building with other New Yorkers, held captive by aliens called the Ilori. Any kind of entertainment or form of art is illegal. Ellie can’t stand by and let all the books be burned, so she stashes away a few favorites.

Ellie gets the brilliant idea to lend out her books to select teens she can trust. It’s risky, but worth it to provide a distraction from their now boring existence. One night when she goes to check her secret library stash she discovers a book is missing. Who has the book?

Enter in Morris, whose a labmade Ilori, created to serve the true Ilori masters. In looking for contraband he discovers Ellie’s library stash. He decides to borrow one of the books. This book opens his eyes to a story he can’t put down. When he goes to return it one night Ellie discovers him. Will Morris report Ellie? Can she trust this strange alien who likes to read books?

This novel is apocalyptic mixed with aliens, romance, adventure, suspense and so much more. I think it will take me time to come down from my book high after just finishing this book. I can’t shut up about telling other book bloggers to please request this title because my gosh it’s brilliant.

I received my digital complimentary copy of The Sound Of Stars by Alechia Dow from Harlequin Teen and Inkyard Press, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and my own choice. Thank you for the opportunity to discover, yet again, another favorite book, new favorite author and the feels are real.

Book Review · Books

Postmark Berlin

Father Burke was at the pub drinking away his worries while Meika Keller was needing to speak with him. Why ten at night? The next morning she is found dead, floating in the water of the Halifax coast. Father Burke is overcome with remorse. His gift of sight doesn’t help him sleep at night when all he can see is her expression as she’s floating in the water.

Why would Meika be killed off or kill herself off? From outer appearances she seemed to have a wonderful life teaching at a prestigious university, her stepchildren adored her, as did her husband. Who would want such an accomplished, beautiful woman dead?

Father Burke knows a little bit of her past from Meika sharing with him that she’d escaped East Germany in the 70’s and that her daughter had not survived the escape. He decides he wants to figure out why she died. His conscious won’t let him rest till he figures out the mystery. Father Burke decides to travel to Germany with his brother Terry after they discover that Meika received a cryptic postcard from Germany.

Father Burke is not only dealing with Meika’s sudden death, but the drama at the school where he teaches music. He has one troublesome student who thinks he can get away with bullying since his parents are one of the main financial donors. One of his students, Normie is a young girl who cares about her priest and is worried about how much he’s known to drink. Will Father Burke be able to cut back on his addiction?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Postmark Berlin by Anne Emery from Baker and Taylor Publishing Services, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own choice. This novel is filled with twists and turns that will keep you reading to find out what happened to Meika. This novel was a tad long, but interesting enough to keep you guessing what happened. The characters are complex and interesting. I will have to read the other books in the Father Burke series.

Book Review · Books

What Unbreakable Looks Like

Do you know what it’s like to be trafficked by your own mom’s boyfriend’s friend? Poppy can tell you. She thought she was Mitch’s favorite of all the girls. Her world is thrown for a loop when the cops bust into the hotel where they are staying at and she’s sent to the hospital to get checked out. Poppy finds out her aunt, Krys, wants to take her in. Does Poppy want to escape the Hell hole that her life has become? How can her own aunt choose a broken, used up teen like Poppy? Will anyone truly love her?

When she gets the chance to escape the hospital with one of the other girl’s pulled from the hotel Poppy stays back and decides from then on she’s going to relearn how to be Alexa. She’s leaving Poppy behind and wants to reclaim who she was born to be. Lex.

Will Lex go and live with Krys? Does she cave in and decide to return to Mitch? What will she choose? This novel drops you smack dab into Poppy’s world. It’s a story about how evil sex trafficking is and how one teen decides if she wants to face her demons.

This story is not for the faint of heart. This topic is very adult, heartbreaking, gut wrenching and leaves you stunned. Can you handle Poppy’s story? Her story is addictive and I can guarantee you’ll stay up to find out what happens. Poppy is a character you can’t resist rooting for. Not only rooting for Poppy, but for Lex. Will Poppy allow Lex to shine?

I received my complimentary digital copy of What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin from MacMillian, care of NetGalley. The views are of my own will and are mine. This novel better win lots of awards because this story is vital for everyone (age appropriate of course) to read. I can’t stop thinking about Poppy, Lex and a whole cast of characters you’ll wish you could call up to chat. This novel has the power to change and to help end sex trafficking.

Book Review · Books

Calm The F*CK Down Journal

Do you stress easily? Does your imagination go to town on scenarios that most likely won’t happen, but your mind likes to screw with you mentally? Was this book secretly written for me?

Calm The F*CK Down Journal is a journal that provides helpful tools to help you figure out if something you are stressing about is worth your energy. Sarah provides different quizzes to help you determine which kind of freak outer you are. She also, helps you categorize the level your stressor really is vs what your imagination is telling you. She writes in a fun, yet frank manner. If you haven’t discovered her books yet, I do recommend her.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Calm The F*CK Down Journal by Sarah Knight from Little Brown Company, Hattachette Book Group and Voracious care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own will. This journal is very helpful and a great way to keep your stress in check so that aren’t wasting your pressure energy and emotion on things that won’t happen and if even if it’s a potential years down the road, why stress early if it’s not needed? I definitely would like to add this journal to my journal collection.

Book Review · Books

Once You Go In

Some memoirs you read and wonder where has this particular author has been all your life. If you have been disenfranchised by the church, dealt with spiritual abuse, or are wanting to find a different church expression then this book might be calling out to you.

Carly takes you into her homeschooled world of Northern California. She’s always felt different, wanting to belong and one day when she discovers Pine Canyon Assemblies Of God Church she thinks she may have found a place to fit in.

This book is Carly’s journey into the world of the charismatic church. Her descriptions of what the services can be like is spot on and the peer pressure to speak in tongues even when you may think the whole idea to be weird is huge. When Carly does finally speak her special language she describes the spiritual high she gets from it and how everything else in life sort of fades away when she’s in that mode.

I recall when I visited a charismatic church and there was pressure to be slain in the spirit. When the piano player timed the music a little too, planned I sensed the whole sham that I felt it was. Were church goers truly under the Holy Spirit’s power, or was it a false spirit? Is having what looks like seizures truly a move of God, or demonic? I left that service with my charismatic interest snuffed out.

This church is Pentecostal and on fire for Jesus which includes speaking in tongues, long prayers and being monitored by the leadership. It’s all in love right? Carly’s parents are believers, but not as intense as this church body is. She longs for approval and to be seen as worthy, to be as spiritual as her youth pastor’s wife, that befriends her.

When something goes terribly wrong on a mission trip Carly tries to chalk it up to her not listening to the rules for the trip. Other things happen where logically she feels the leadership is being overly legalistic. Carly wants so badly to do the right thing that she brushes off her gut reaction.

How do you know when a church is unhealthy, or spiritually abusive? How do you stand up for yourself when your spiritual leaders have you under their spell of sorts (not an actual spell)? Carly deals with these vital topics and more.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Once You Go In by Carly Gelsinger from She Writes Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own will and mine. I commend Carly for writing so candidly about her church experience and faith journey. It’s not easy to share such personal moments. Thank you for baring your soul, so others know they aren’t alone in their journeys to find their spiritual home, whether that’s in a church or in a park.