Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: "The Here and Now" by Ann Brashares

I chose to read The Here and Now (Random House Children's) by Ann Brashares simply because she wrote the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and I LOVED those books.  Now don't expect the same, the premise of these novels are VERY  different.  The Here and Now is a futuristic novel that takes place presently?  I know a little confusing.  The premise is a group of people from the future, time travel back to the present to save themselves, and hopefully the future as well.  I had never read a book like this, but decided to give it a chance, because like I said SISTERHOOD!  I had read  some reviews on this before I started reading, which gave me some trepidation.  There were some REALLY bad ones.  And I don't understand, because although this is really meant for teenagers, I kind of enjoyed it.  I wanted to find out what happened!  Brashares idea (I think) was to write a novel of warning about what we are doing to the Earth and the consequences it means for the future.  A warning to change that while we still can.  Not quite sure she accomplished that (maybe she did, because I did get it). While I wouldn't recommend this to EVERYONE there are some specific people I know that would eat it up and I will tell them to read it.  Not necessarily for lovers of The Traveling Pants but definitely for teenage girls who are sort of into dystopian novels right now.

Publication date: April 8, 2014

This book was provided for review by NetGalley

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: "Eyes Wide Open" by Ted Dekker

WorthyPub requested pics WITH the book

NEVER enough autographed copies

When I started Eyes Wide Open (Worthy Publishing) by Ted Dekker I was a bit nervous that it was going to end up being like Thr3e, and I won't tell you why because I don't want to ruin a good story for you.  Thr3e was the first Dekker book I read and the reason I started reading them all; part of the reason he is my favorite author.  If you've read it, the thing with the main character Kevin, I thought that was going to happen with Austin and Christy.  I had that problem when I started reading Dekker, I thought every book was going to be like that, and they aren't.  Not one book is the same, they are separate stories, although all the Dekkies out there are able to spot tie ins that make these books even more exciting (including this one).  Although I'm sure all the die-hard Dekker readers have already read this, THE END THOUGH!!!!! Eyes Wide Open is different but it's the same, because like other stories there is a parable.  Like other Dekker stories, you start to get confused between what's real and what's not, but that should be expected I suppose.  It is a YA so it is an extremely quick read and well worth it; even past YA age! OOOOOOOOOOH AND HE MENTIONS SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE which is my favorite show! and that kind of freaks me out but totally got me excited. My favorite author and my favorite show! Eeek! Also noted the Green Bay Packers (Ted are you stalking my Facebook page or something?)...kidding, I'm sure that part had something to do with Kevin Kaiser.
Anyways....main characters Chrissy and Austin are both somewhat loners and get tossed in to this journey when Chrissy is buried alive and Austin sets out to find her.  They are trapped in an existence that may or may not be real.  They will question who they are. What is true.  So will you, not just about them, but about you. Are we blinded to the truth, or are we truly seeing it?  Are our lamps on or off?  There is so much truth at the basis of this novel.  A different story but a drive at the message of Outlaw.  I'm sure there is a reason the Eyes Wide Open novels are all connected...different stories trying to hone in on a certain message.  Because they are different stories those messages come across differently, you'll probably learn something different about yourself with each one.  I know I did.  These stories change my life,  They make me see things in a way I didn't know how before.

Sorry this was so jumbled, I just get so excited and passionate about these stories!  I would obviously recommend that everyone DIVE DEEP and read this ;).

Side note: I just read the back where it says it returns to the kind of storytelling of Thr3e, so maybe I wasn't so crazy to be "anxious" about that!

Published: January 21, 2014

A copy of this book was provided for review by Worthy Publishing via Goodreads First Reads (although I had already bought and read my own copy and passed it along before I got this copy in the mail)
(Pictures above are of my First Reads copy).
(This is also the first DEKKER book of my own that I let someone else have my original copy.  I get attached to them an don't let them go).


Book Review: "City of the Sun" by Juliana Maio

Photo cred: NetGalley

I had read about and been eyeing up City of the Sun (Greenleaf Book Group) by Juliana Maio for some time so when I was invited to read it via NetGalley I jumped on it.  A World War II story told from the perspective of "Paris on the Nile" (Cairo), City of the Sun follows an American journalist, a Jewish refugee, and a Nazi spy.  I have always been drawn to stories from the Holocaust, but have never read one from the Egyptian perspective.  It was fascinating to learn how fragile (and vital!) a place Egypt was at the time.  Who knew!? The main three character's stories began separately, which started the story off at a somewhat slow pace.  Once the characters' lives started to entangle I was hooked.  I especially enjoyed reading about Maya (Jew) and Mickey(journalist)!  As Mickey is recruited by the US Embassy on a covert mission and becomes somewhat of a spy, and you find out Maya's brother is just the person he's looking for, the book becomes a page turner.  The Nazi spy I could have done without, although he was vital to the story.  He just seemed a bit forced into the story to me.  His parts of the story were quicker, which may be why I was more disconnected from him.  Mickey and Maya were more relatable and (sometimes) unbearably human, which is probably why I was more connected to their characters.  As these three characters' lives become more entangled, and their secrets more complicated, the story becomes more addicting.  Overall I really enjoyed it, and while years of history were stuffed into a shorter time period for the sake of story, I was very interested to glimpse a bit of history I was somewhat unaware.  I would definitely recommend this read, and make sure to read about the author at the end (it makes this story all the more interesting)!

Publication Date: March 10, 2014

This book was provided for review by NetGalley. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: "Growing up Dugger: All About Relationships" by Jill, Jinger, Jessa, and Jana Duggar

Photo credit: NetGalley


Growing Up Duggar: It's All About Relationships (Howard Books) is incite given by the four oldest girls; Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger, of TLC's infamous family of their hit show 19 Kids and Couting.  Without an open mind I think many people won't like this book.  They'll open the cover expecting just stories, but if you have ever seen the show you know the basis of the Duggar's lifestyle and that's what you need to expect going into this book.  It is an interesting read whether or not you agree with their lifestyle and beliefs.  I have the same basic beliefs as they do, however when it comes to some technical points there are many differences, and that's completely okay.  It seems to mostly be written in a conjoined voice, and they specify when one of them is single handedly telling a story.  The book is as it says "All About Relationships" and each chapter is about a different kind of relationship.  It starts with yourself, ends with the world, and covers everything in between.

I enjoyed reading this, it's quick and insightful.  I too am a Christian, and I take the Bible literally.  There are some standards they follow that even I was like wow really.  It's not a bad thing, and they aren't condemning to others who don't feel led the same, it's just that going into reading this you have to understand there will most likely be lifestyle differences and not let that get in the way of the general message.  I really cannot stress that enough.  You learn a lot about what life was like growing up and how they were raised.  As you can imagine, with 19 kids, things had to be structured.  There seems to be a game plan for everything.  I was taking notes.  I don't plan on one day having 19 kids,  I imagine my family will be much smaller than that, but there are a lot of "strategies" they used that I was wowed by.  These "training" measures are ones I want to use on MYSELF.  Even if you don't have children, there is solid wisdom in this book that I think will strengthen every relationship.  Sorry for not being specific, I just don't want to give anything away.  There is value I read that I want to put in my relationships from friendship, to work life. 

I can't be overly specific, because I'm just not the kind of person that ruins a book for someone else.  I'd be more than happy to talk more about it after you read it.  The book focuses on God, the entire time.  And that's good.  There are some solid biblical principles that I believe, that I saw in a new way.  Even if I don't necessarily live these principles the exact same way, I saw some things in a new light.  I also found a bit in every section that I could apply in some sense to my own life.  In the end I would recommend this read (and have already actually face to face).  I would particularly recommend it to young girls.  Teenage years are so formative, and to see someone else who has successfully came through those years and while in those years lived their faith strong I think is important.

This book releases TOMORROW: March 4, 2014.  So hurry out to your local bookstore and buy it for yourself or as a gift!  Don't let your differences turn you away, read through to the end and keep an open mind.  I'm sure you will find some good meat in this book.  These girls are inspiring.

This book was provided for review by NetGalley.