Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: "The Thief" by Stephanie Landsem

Photo credit: NetGalley

I decided to read The Thief (Howard Books), by Stephanie Landsem, simply because it looked interesting enough.  I never was one that loved speculative historical fiction.  I dabbled in it a bit last year, so I decided to give it a go.  The Thief follows a young Jewish spinster (Nissa), who becomes the best thief in Jerusalem in order to pay the rent and keep her blind brother (Cedron) fed.  She crosses paths with a Roman centurion (Longinus) who coincidently is hunting "the thief."  Her blind brother is healed by a certain teacher you may have heard of (Jesus), but instead of their lives becoming easier, they become a lot more complicated.  Cedron and Longinus become drawn to this teacher, and Longinus and Nissa to each other.  Nissa's web of lies becomes even more complicated, and her heart torn.  They end up in the middle of Jesus's arrest, trial, and crucifixion and  must decide for themselves what the Truth really is.

I DEVOURED this story.  I'm falling in love with stories that teach you to read scripture differently.  Not to just read the same words you've always read but to look at the story from every single angle.  I think then you are able to more fully understand.  It tears your heart up a little more, and that's okay.  There's something about imagining what it would have been like to be there, to see Jesus's eyes, to witness such true love and compassion.  It wrecks me.

I would definitely recommend this book, and I would actually read it again (which is rare for me, there are just too many new books to read!)

Published: February 25, 2014

This book was provided for review by NetGalley

Update: Enter to win your very own copy here! http://www.stephanielandsem.com/2014/02/giveaway/

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date" by Katie Heaney

Photo cred: Goodreads

I HAD to pick up Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date," (Grand Central Publishing) by Katie Heaney, because it had been out for only one day and I had already read about it countless times all over the internet.  Katie Heaney is a 25 year old who has (kinda) not dated, but has surely never had a boyfriend.  I was smiling the entire time I read this book.  Her stories of "love," or at least the trials and hopes of trying to get there, start in kindergarten and work up to her  current age.  We are both Midwesterners, went to catholic grade school, had crushes on some of the same 90s heart throbs, and have never had a boyfriend.  Although I do really like Apples to Apples, and have not done some of the things she has.  Katie is over all pretty relatable; I found myself laughing, cringing, and wanting to cry. So relatable in fact that after reading about her younger hers, I myself had a weird middle school feeling, like it just totally brought me back.  I found myself reading parts out loud because I just couldn't get over how true they were (and how funny)!  I am baffled at how Heaney could write and publish this (I could never), but I am so glad she did!  As you follow her adventures in crushing you will learn so much more about friendship.  Some of these pages may be from her (Lisa Frank) diary, but more importantly it is a beautiful ode to her friendships. 
I think the last two lines sum of the book best "Falling in love is totally unimaginable to me.  I think maybe the best things often are." 

Published: January 14, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Frog Music" by Emma Donoghue

Photo credit: Goodreads

I received Frog Music (Little, Brown and Company,) by Emma Donoghue, for free via Goodreads First Reads. Had I not, I'm not sure I would have stuck with it. The storyline is interesting enough (at least the concept is). However, it was far too crude for my liking, especially in places that didn't lend to plot development. To be honest I was much more interested in the story once I finished and discovered it's based off true circumstances. The mystery behind that is quite interesting, and I'm not sure this novel played it proper homage. If the main characters were my ancestors I'm not sure I would be pleased at the assumptions placed upon their characters.  I would not necessarily recommend the novel, but would neither dissuade a reader from picking it up.
Expected publication: April 1st 2014