Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Things you Kiss Goodbye

The Things You Kiss GoodbyeThe Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm actually torn in a lot of emotional pulls on this one.
First, this book deals with abusive relationships. Something you really dont think too much in a younger person's dating life. I was struggling with how Bettina was handling this with her boyfriend Brady - the one kid that changed so much through the years & who everyone looks up to.
& then I had a YES & then NO feeling when Bettina meets "Cowboy". I loved he was giving her courage & letting her be herself, but the age gap was sort of strange to me making me feel like this was not a relationship that should be happening.
& the relationship with her dad - a pure Greek father - had me frustrated & aggravated at how little he saw his daughter & treated her fairly compared to her sons. Their relationship bothered me. It almost made me think he was the example that she should over look abuse.
& then the end of the book? Again, torn between heart broken & numb, but the outlook of a new beginning.
See? All over the place.
But I will say, this book held my attention. I devoured it. That says something it of itself.

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Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cant even begin to say how much I loved this book.

A book that makes me get teary eyed in the first few pages just because I was so happy to visit these characters again? Yeah, an automatic 5 star book.
I dont want to give any of the MAGIC away of this book but I adored the idea of the story. That we see Harry Potter as a parent now & to see the characters grown up with kids that make their own decisions in life.
I also adored that we get to go down memory lane of past books & relieve some of the past stories with a little twist on 'what could have been'
I honestly couldnt have been happier with the book... except that it had to end.
I also loved the style of the book & how it was written up for a screenplay. To me, it really helped with the visual of the story & I could totally see it in my mind as a production.
Now, I'll have to add to my bucket list to go see this on stage one day.
Thanks JK Rowling for letting us for a brief moment get to spend some time with our favorite wizards.

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Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places

Friday, August 19, 2016

Uninvited

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and LonelyUninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's just a handful of Christian authors that really speak to my soul with realness & words of REAL life that I can relate to. Lysa TerKeurst is one of those people.
I was excited for this book when I heard it was coming out & actually pre-ordered it. I hardly ever pre-order anything. So excited for this book, the topic it was on & it did not disappoint at all.
I have to say, it sort of really wasn't what I was expecting - some of the topics & some of the main points that she really focused on - but it was lessons I never knew I needed to learn.
This book is probably at least 60% highlighted right now with things I want to remember & quotes & scriptures I need to remind myself of.
I am leaving this book fully convicted in some areas & feel a pull to make some changes in my life - all in drawing closer to a God that will never reject me.

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The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers:
Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt.
Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence.
Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
Stop feeling left out and start believing that "set apart" does not mean "set aside."
End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.
 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

When Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette: Loving People Like God DoesWhen Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette: Loving People Like God Does by Max Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. For some reason, i was thinking it was a story, but quickly found out otherwise.
The beginning of the book is Max Davis's life experiences & how God lead him to become a writer. A LOT of talk about this "Green-eyed Brunette" - which sort of got on my nerves a bit. It's why I gave it 3 stars instead of 4. I think the first few chapters just didn't hold my attention. It was just like reading someone's biography & it just didn't flow easily for me. Example - this talk about the green-eyed brunette was so much of the story, but then it was like in a hot second, we found out her name &that they married. WHAM! BAM! It was just odd how after referring to his wife like that for so long, the deliverance of her name & that they were married was just short ended. Hard to explain. Again, to me, it the was flow. Off putting.
I almost gave up on the book - but somewhere about half way through, I really really started loving it.
There were stories from other people & their experiences with God & they were so powerful. Some of the stories of people dealing with problems, health issues & even impending death - so moving. I loved the stories of how powerful the Word of God is. & the illustrations between a bonsai tree & a red oak? I'll never forget those example & will never look at those trees again the same.
Some of the book is repetitive in the things that most people that have been in church for awhile have heard - like how each disciple has died & how they could have easily said they didn't believe in Jesus. ... but I'm sure if a new believer was picking up this book, it may be a first time they saw this, so I respect its there.
In the end, I really had a change of heart about the book & glad I kept pushing on reading it.

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Book Description
When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette weaves heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus showing up in ordinary people, revealing that He knows us and is fully present in our everyday circumstances, especially in our difficulties. As best-selling author Max Davis puts it, "When we are born again, Jesus lives inside each of us. He is very much alive today and still does incredible things -- sometimes supernatural things -- through us!"
Davis's own life was dramatically altered when he first came face-to-face with Jesus living inside a green-eyed brunette. That encounter started a forty-plus-year journey where Jesus became his best friend. When we see others as God sees us we will love them as God loves us.
Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. By letting Jesus live through us we become a conduit of His love. Authentic Christianity is not about religion but a relationship with Jesus. Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive His grace -- we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book, you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus


Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Love that Split The World

The Love That Split the WorldThe Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure how to feel about this book.
On one hand, I was so into what was happening & NEEDING answers on what was happening with Natalie going from one world to the next & how Beau, the guy who mysteriously appears in a field one day, can also do the same thing. And why can people see them in each world but not the changes in the world around them.
Only Grandmother knows the answers... & WHO IS THIS GRANDMOTHER?
SO many questions. I was really into this - trying to figure it out. & while I did get part of it right, I was taken back by some of it... & just plain ole CONFUSED by the rest.
I'm not good with most sci-fi things. Its why I steer clear of them, but this was mixed in with the love story at heart & while I could appreciate it, it just left me saying "HUH?" through most of the explanation of the story - which is what I wanted to find out so desperately. Because of that, I had to give a middle ground rating.

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Description of Book:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Before I Die

Before I DieBefore I Die by Jenny Downham
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was so torn on giving this book any stars at all.
First, I have to say, for some reason, I thought this was a Christian novel - not sure why I thought that. Maybe just where I had it sitting on my shelf? Anyways - its SOOOOO not a Christian novel.

But this is the story of a young girl who has terminal cancer & is going to die. Before she goes, she has a list of things she wants to do. First on her list, have sex & other things like break the law, get her parents back together, become famous. After just coming off of another book about lists, "Since You've Been Gone" - I thought this might hold some potential. Not really.

The author is apparently from England & some of the terminology clearly is from a different usage of words. & maybe some things that are normal there, seemed a little strange to me.

It was weird because I really didn't like the book. About half way through, I almost stopped reading it entirely, but thought I came so far so quickly, I could finish up the book in 1 day & maybe it would take a turn & be amazing. It didn't. But it held my attention. I did become involved in caring for Tessa & her family, especially her little brother Cal - & seeing where her relationship with her new boyfriend Adam was going to do. I loved the special things he did for her trying to help her out with her list (Namely, the "Become Famous" item)

The story doesn't hide that this isn't going to end well for Tessa &it was just heart breaking. By the end, I still hated the book but for another reason - it broke my heart. Having a best friend that passed away of cancer, I could just imagine how she felt in those last few days & few hours from reading this.

Because of that grip it had on me in the end is the only reason I gave it 2 stars.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Probably not. I probably wont even keep it on my shelf. But I am heavyhearted today thinking about Tessa so I guess when a character gets wrapped up in your heart, you gotta throw a few stars their way.

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Synopsis

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of "normal" life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time runs out.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is like that cute movie with Drew Barrymore & Adam Sandler where she forgets everything when she sleeps & wakes up....
except this one is a 90 degree turn of that ... terrifying & mysterious. Nothing cute & funny about this book.

Christine has to keep a journal every night to know what secrets she finds out about her life so she can piece them together every day & find out what happened to her & how she got to this place in life where she has no memory of anything she's gone through.

Like most mysteries, I trusted no one in this book, which made it fun to read. I couldn't wait to get to the end for answers. It was very intense but I enjoyed the whole ride of it.

The good: Love the mystery. Loved the idea of the story of her having to write down her discoveries every day & having to try & piece her life back together.
The bad: I hated the last second was like one long chapter - it was hard to always know when to stop. I also wish I knew more about the other characters. Especially Dr. Nash who is a main character. Like, how did he come upon Christine. I just wish there was more about their relationship. Also, one part of the ending, I didn't care for. Sort of a cop out to me.

I had no idea it was already a movie with Nicole Kidman but I'm totally going to have to hunt it down now & watch it, even knowing the ending. I'm anxious to see how true to the book they stay. I can totally envision this being a movie though, or actually a real life thing - I could totally imaging hearing of this sort of crazy thing - at least in the Enquirer. ;)


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