Book Review · Books

The Reluctant Healer

Will is an attorney who goes to a bar after work with his coworker and has a chance meeting with a mysterious woman named Erica. She captures Will’s interest when she makes comments about his aura. Will is not into New Age lingo so it throws him off a bit, but when Erica mentions she senses he has healing powers his interest is piqued.

Will starts dating Erica and gets sucked into her alternative healing path. When an encounter with healing a man just by being in the room Will takes Erica’s stance a bit more seriously. Will he discover his healing powers?

This novel was outside my usual story zone. I think Will’s character was interesting seeing how he goes from skeptic to being more open to the alternative healing path. Erica’s character I found a bit on the bossy side. I didn’t feel Will and Erica’s relationship felt believable. I think it seemed like Will was being bullied into getting into Erica’s line of work, of energy healing. I did like hearing the story from Will’s perspective. His character is relatable in how we process new belief’s about life and mysteries we can’t always explain.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Reluctant Healer by Andrew Himmel from Greenleaf Book Group Press through Smith Publicity. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. If you enjoy novels about spiritual discovery then you may enjoy this book.

Book Review · Books

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

I haven’t read the whole Chronicles Of Narnia series. Yes, it’s a shame since it was one of the earliest series my mom would start to read to me as a little girl. As an adult I had heard bits and pieces about C.S. Lewis and his marriage, but until I read this stunning historical novel about his wife, Joy Davidman I had no idea all it entailed.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis sucked me into Joy’s 1950’s world of New York. She was married to Bill with two little boys. Her and her husband were both writers. Bill was an alcoholic and a cheater. Joy was miserable, but did her best to try and keep the peace at home.

One day Joy has a spiritual conversation of sorts. She decides to write to C.S. Lewis some of her spiritual, Christian questions. She had read one of this books and thought he may be able to provide her some insight. This brings to life a correspondence between them that gets intense. Bill starts to get concerned, but when Joy’s health goes down hill she is told she must get away to rest. Of course Joy decides to go to the UK, to C.S. Lewis, to finally meet the man, the myth, the legend. Will meeting her new friend be all she hopes it to be? Will Joy and C.S. Lewis’ friendship blossom, or will the reality of being in person dampen their connection?

This novel is the best love story I’ve read in a long time. I’m not into romance novels, but this one is sweetly written, magical, suspenseful and leaves you feeling stunned after the last page. If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis and want to read a historical novel that will keep you reading nonstop, and it’s over 400 pages, then I highly recommend this beautiful novel.

I received a complimentary copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan care of TLC Book Tours from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are strictly my own. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this amazing book grab a copy from Amazon and check out more about the author, Patti Callahan. To get a sneak peak of the audio clips of chapters one and two: https://soundcloud.com/harperaudio_us/sets/becoming-mrs-lewis

Book Review · Books

(Extra) Ordinary (Women)

If you need a book to inspire you to press on and not give up your dreams then I highly recommend the upcoming release: (Extra) Ordinary (Women) by Kristen Bartzokis. This slim volume showcases the stories of 10 ladies from different walks of life who overcame a variety of life challenges to become the successful women they are. Each women’s story is in depth and encouraging. I like that at the end of each chapter is a link to where you can help support causes that each lady supports.

This little book was a treat from page one. Each story held something I could relate to. Each chapter had tough parts to read. These women have been through life events that would cause the average woman to crumble, but they each soldiered on.

I received a complimentary ARC of (Extra) Ordinary (Women) by Kristen Bartzokis from KiCam Projects. The opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. If you enjoy reading about women who have overcame adversity then you’ll want to add this to your personal library.

Book Review · Books

Lifesaving For Beginners

Death is not an easy topic to talk about. Reasons for someone passing are varied and the effects of it last a life time. Author, Anne Edelstein, takes us on her journey through dealing with the unexpected death of her mom, who she longed affection from, but who gave it sparingly. Anne’s memoir is dark, raw, contemplative and wistful. Her extended family has dealt with death by suicide and the effects of not knowing the why still haunt her as Anne is trying to come to terms with her mom’s passing.

This memoir touches on the topics of death, family, siblings, mental illness, cancer, marriage, religion, children and legacy. Mrs. Edelstein weaves in the topic of swimming and how her love of swimming at her family’s favorite pond in Maine during the summer helped her connect with her mom through her act of swimming.

I received a complimentary copy of Lifesaving For Beginners by Anne Edelstein from Red Hen Press through TLC Book Tours. Opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own. If you enjoy memoirs that bring you out of your comfort zone then I highly recommend this short book. If interested click here for Amazon and here to check out Mrs. Edelstein’s website.

Book Review · Books

Pull It Off

The cover is colorful. Julianna Zobrist loves color. Her picture on the front of her book makes me think of Lady GaGa due to the creative outfit she’s wearing. Her memoir Pull It Off is a short book filled with how we view our identity shapes us and our confidence.

She is not preachy, but Julianna shows through Biblical scripture our identity is in Christ. Julianna doesn’t harp on us being perfect, but on learning to accept our imperfections and allowing God to work through that. She provides stories from her life and what it’s like to be married to her professional baseball player husband.

This memoir was light hearted with nuggets of Biblical truth sprinkled in. Julianna is not your typical Christian living genre type author. She thinks and expresses herself outside the box. The chapter where Julianna describes how her home is decorated made me sit in awe. Think of Candy Land throwing up decorations all over her home. Yes, it’s that colorful and fun. The allegory about the dandelion at the end was emotionally powerful.

I received a complementary copy of Pull It Off by Julianna Zobrist from Faith Words. Opinions expressed in this review are my own. If you love Christian books that are helpful, but not bossy in tone then you may enjoy this book. I hope Julianna will write more books.

Book Review · Books

Let Me Be Like Water

Holly looses her boyfriend to a freak accident. To try and restart her life she moves from London to Brighton. One day on a walk on the beach she first encounters Frank, a retired gay magician whose magic flair for life attracts Holly. Through Frank, Holly gets to meet Frank’s group of lonely misfits who gather for a book club every month.

Holly starts to attend the book club and befriend Frank’s friends. Each member of the book club reaches out to Holly in her grief, her first year grieving her boyfriend’s death. Holly learns each of them have their own complicated pasts. Their unconditional support help Holly learn to live a little.

This novel is short, but packs a powerful punch in how it reveals the process of grieving. S.K. Perry’s debut novel is poetic, gripping, heartbreaking, yet filled with hope. If you have lost a loved one or lover this book will be a cool balm. It’s raw in how Holly’s grief process is fleshed out in words. Nothing is sugarcoated. I love how the ocean is a metaphor for this book. The ocean can be calm and yet angry and turbulent in a split second. Loving someone deeply is the same thing. It’s risky, but worth it.

This review is for an early copy of Let Me Be Like Water by S.K. Perry and is my own unbiased, honest opinion. I received my copy for free from TLC Book Tours, care of Melville House Publishing. If you are interested in grabbing a copy of this powerful little gem click here to get off of Amazon and here to find out more about S.K. Perry.

Book Review · Books

Shameless: A Sexual Reformation

If you love edgy, outside the box Christian then you’ll love any book by pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber. When I saw Shameless, as an option to possibly get to review I had to request it since I loved reading her book, Pastrix.

Shameless is a book about how the church and Christianity has made sex and sexuality something to be ashamed of if it doesn’t fit in the white conservative Christian picket fence family dynamics. Pastor Nadia shares some stories from a few of her parishioners that are gut wrenching and disturbing. She also, shared stories from her own life in how the way the church talked about sex was seen as dirty unless you were married. Pastor Nadia also, talks about the gender stereotypes kids are shaped into by their church and family. If you aren’t straight you can be viewed as sinful, off the straight and narrow and needing to be reigned in.

If you were a Christian teen in the 90’s you may recall the True Love Waits Movement that swept Christendom up in its hype. Did this movement prepare young Christian couples for intimacy in marriage? I’d wager no. Hearing your whole life you have to wait till marriage doesn’t exactly prepare you for the wedding night part. I get waiting for sex till you’ve found your forever partner, but just being told no without any directions on what to expect once there’s a green light is the blind leading the blind.

Sadly Christian schools and some Christian families are against sex education in schools. If Mom and Dad won’t have any in-depth talk then all those kids being pulled out of Sex Ed are oblivious to potential dangers when they slip up and go too, far when their sex drive awakens and I’m not meaning the potential pregnancy scenario.

This book was a really personal read for me being raised in a Christian home. I did survive public school Sex Education class. All I recall is there being a fill in the blanks body part test in fifth grade. I recall my parents helping me study for that. Only main thing I was told was not to wind up pregnant like so and so. Ah, how could I forget the book for preteens my parents gave me to read. I’ve always been a bookworm, but something’s are more personal when talked out vs being given a manual of sorts. I know talking about literal private things can be awkward for a parent, but I’d rather hear from my own parents on what to expect. I can relate in more ways than that with this book, but that could be a separate blog post.

This book gives me hope for Christendom. I have so many evolved views on sexuality, marriage, education and more. This one is a keeper and I can’t wait for it to come out so I can have a physical copy to highlight and notate to death.

This review is for a digital ARC of Shameless: A Sexual Reformation by Nadia Boltz-Weber from NetGalley and is my own unbiased opinion. I loved this book. I adore how wise and snarky Pastor Nadia is with such an important topic. If you need someone who understands and has been through a similar upbringing then you’ll want to preorder a copy of Shameless. If you need someone to talk to or vent to feel free to contact me.