What I’m reading: Everless by Sara Holland

I can see this is going to be a year of stunning reads!

Have you ever been so enthralled with a story, so immersed, so desperate to get to the conclusion that is dangling oh so tantalizingly out of reach… that you actually miss part of the story and have to go back and re-read?

THAT is precisely how intense the pull was for this reader at multiple points of the story. I literally had to put the book down, remind myself to breathe, and then pick it up and read again the story I had just read.

Everless is one of those stories that will pull you in and refuse to let go. Long after you release the last page, the haunting story will hold you in its grip and you’ll have to remind yourself that it’s not real… that the words are just a fictional creation that was given birth by a mere mortal from this little blue world we inhabit.

Yes. It’s that GOOD! And how fortuitous that we do not have to wait for book 2. Evermore is already here, released into the world to wreak a similar havoc among readers such as me.

 

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

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What I’m reading: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

WOW!

CJ Redwine was 100% spot on it when she said this book was “Brilliant, fascinating, and utterly impossible to put down.”  

I picked this book up at the library yesterday and only put it down early this morning, nearly breathless with the absolutely exceptional ending.

Whether you enjoy fairy-tale retellings or just refreshingly exciting fantasy, this is a book you should immerse yourself in immediately!

You won’t be sorry!

I picked it up at the library on the recommendation of a friend and now I will be buying not one, but two books, because I have to have both books in the series and I dearly hope Miss West will grace us with another!

Don’t miss the companion novella; Fields of Fire! That’s my next read. It will keep me enchanted until I get my hands on Realm of Ruins; book 2 in this incomparable new series!

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Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting.

An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors?

She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m Reading: Wake Me After the Apocalypse

 

 

When a killer comet hurtles for the earth, 18-year-old Joanna Murphy is selected to wait out the apocalypse in an underground bunker. She enters cryosleep with her close-knit team, preparing to resettle the planet after the atmosphere clears in two hundred years.

Joanna is the only one who wakes up.

Faced with a bunker full of bones and a blocked exit, Joanna must claw her way to the surface, figure out what happened to her team, and try not to panic—or die. That’s going to be tricky if she’s the only person left in the world.

 

Don’t be fooled by the short blurb for this book. There are no zombies waiting on the surface… no post-apocalyptic wasteland where Joanna will wander, slowly starving to death while parched with thirst… and no actual ghosts plaguing her waking hours.

The story starts off with intensity and confusion, threading in scenes from “BEFORE” as the story unfolds – to catch you up on what you’ve missed.

It doesn’t take long ti discover that all was not right in BRP land before the candidates went under, which only adds to your intense desire to discover what really happened to all of the other cry tanks, if any of the other bunkers survived, and what will become of Joanna by the end of the story.

Fair warning: there is strong language in this book and several mentions of sex (though it is not graphically described). Parents; you might want to read the book yourself before handing it over to your teen or pre-teen.

Personally, I think the story would have been much better without the language.

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Boundaries for your soul

 

 

Do your emotions control you or do you control your emotions? Many people let guilt, anger, or self-criticism dominate their lives and negatively affect their relationships. Boundaries for Your Soul shows you how to calm the chaos within. This groundbreaking approach will help you know what to do when you feel overwhelmed, understand your guilt, anxiety, sadness, and fear, welcome God into the troubling parts of your soul and move from doubt and conflict to confidence and peace.

Boundaries for Your Soul includes relatable anecdotes, helpful exercises, an engaging quiz, and opportunities for personal reflection. Gathering the wisdom from the authors’ twenty-five years of combined advanced education, biblical studies, and clinical practice, this book will set you on a journey to become the loving, authentic, joyful person you were created to be.

 

An excellent resource for Christians in today’s confusing and crazed world. It’s difficult to live in this world and control your emotions – especially when no one around you seems to.

If you struggle with these issues, you should really give this book a try.

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Belle by Cameron Dokey

 

 

The story of Beauty and the Beast finds new life in this magical and imaginative retelling that’s filled with romance and adventure.

By the time her sixteenth birthday comes around, Belle feels more convinced than ever that she is being called by the wrong name. Unlike her older sisters Celeste and April, whose names suit them perfectly, Belle knows that she is not beautiful. She begs to be called by her given name, Annabelle—or even Anna for short—but to no avail. Her solace is her wood-carving hobby, and she longs to find the Heartwood tree: Legend has it that, when carved by the right hands, it can reveal the face of one’s true love.

One day, during a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the fabled tree—only to become ensnarled by it and come face-to-face with a terrifying and lonely Beast, who will set him free on one condition: that Belle carves the Heartwood. Belle agrees, never dreaming that she and the Beast have the same wish: to be seen not with the eyes of the mind, but of the heart.

 

There is nothing I like more than an intriguing fairy tale retelling that is fresh and original… even though the story holds more similarities to the original story than the most frequently told story these days.

One of the best parts about a retelling is how much more involved you get with the main characters. In the original fairy tales, the story focused on the middle and the end. With a retelling, you can explore the beginning.

Belle does that and it’s wonderful. We have a chance to become very attached to Belle and her family, get a look into who she really is and what makes her tick. It makes the middle of the story that much more exciting and intense.

I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the books in this series, and I’m glad to discover that I’ve not started in the middle since most of the books seem to be stand-alones.

If you haven’t read them, you should check them out HERE.

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Am I Enough by Grace Valentine

 

Have you had enough?

Young women today are constantly told they are not enough for this world—not pretty enough, not smart enough, not exciting enough, not spiritual enough, and just plain not good enough. The barrage is constant. The consequences are real. The damage often feels permanent.

As a young woman herself, Grace Valentine has felt the pressure of trying to survive in a toxic culture, let alone thrive. But she’s had enough. With an engaging combination of honesty and humor, Grace uses her story to confront the lies the world tells us every day—lies such as:

You are beautiful because a guy told you so,
Love must be earned,
You should forget your past,
You will never be enough, and more.

Am I Enough? is a line in the sand. It’s a declaration that we will never be enough for this world because we were not created for this world. Instead, Grace reminds us that we were created by Someone better for something better. We can choose the One who has chosen us—the One who says: “You are enough for Me, My child. Come as you are.”

 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this book, is that it could have been so much more.

The author had an opportunity to present positive ideas and affirmation and yet, the majority of the book reads as judgement.

Don’t get me wrong… The writing is humorous. The stories are well told. But the underlying message is judgment, not affirmation.

In 221 pages, the author had ample opportunities to tell the reader that it does not matter whether the world thinks they’re beautiful or not, they are beautiful because God made them in his image.

But she didn’t.

Instead she spent the 221 pages, in the guise of helpful advice, telling young girls that they are not as good a Christian as they should be if they focus too much on their looks or on their abilities.

I do not get the feeling that message was the author’s intention. I feel as if the true message was perhaps lost in translation. Perhaps the author conveyed this message better on her blog. I suppose I’ll have to read it to see.

As for the book, I don’t plan to pass it on to anyone, but you never know… I might run across someone who needs it…

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson

Hagenheim novel #8! Who else is excited!


From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn.

With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

 

I fell in love with Melanie’s books years ago in an intriguing twist of fate that can only be described as a situation where truth is stranger than fiction.

This is just a mother in a long Line of amazing fairy tales written without magic or any actual fairies.

REAL people live out AMAZING adventures in these true-to-life Historical Happily Ever Afters!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Book 1 of the Waterfire Saga! YAY!


Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation – and burden – that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk.

On the eve of the Dokimí ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother’s hopes.

The Dokimí proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin’s arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina’s darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heriones scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

 

Walking around Book Market a few weeks ago at my mother’s book signing led to [as usual] book buying! By the way, I’ll be at the Book Market for a Book Signing of my own on July 21st!

And I’ll likely find more books then to buy! No big surprise there! Me walking into a book store nearly always leads to me leaving with a stack/bag/arm/box-full of new books to stack. . . and read. . . and photograph. . . and then find a place for on one of the many shelves and bookcases in our home.

At any rate. . .

This series caught my eye because it had a Mermaid on the cover!

So, of course, it caught my attention and my daughter Macy‘s too!

Then we discovered that it was a 4-book series! WHAT!

Well, obviously we had to have all of them! Book Market had book 1 and book 3, but not 2 or 4. TRAGEDY! And thus began a three store journey to find ALL of the books! Spoiler alert: we found them all! YAY US!

Now to read them all! YES! the fun begins!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

A new and exciting novel from Nadine Brandes


Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

 

I am sad to say, I didn’t even hear the door when the UPS man arrived yesterday, but I am sure everyone in the house heard my shriek of excitement when I opened the box and found this book that I have been waiting for – for what feels like FOREVER!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s FINALLY HERE! And it’s SOOOOO pretty!

Seriously, the cover image above does NOT even begin to do justice to the breathtaking cover!

And THIS is why some of my books are steme-themed. I LOVE the historical aspects; balls and intrigue, fancy clothes and cool masks. Awesome to find other authors who enjoy the same elements I do in Fantasy fiction!

An exciting premise! A daring adventure! An intriguing story!

If you enjoy Nadine Brandes’ books, don’t miss this one!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m reading: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

OK… I finished with Marissa Meyer’s ASTONISHING Lunar Chronicles and I had to go back and reread her NEW triumph (that I’m still hoping someone talks her into expanding into a series) Heartless!

 

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Continuing on my feature of Marissa Meyer’s incomparable Lunar Chronicles, this week’s feature is book 4: Winter! WAH!!! It’s over. . .

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

 

It’s available in Paperback now so I can finally complete my collection! I’ve been waiting forever because I LOVE having all of my books matching (of course, I’ve had the eBook all this time so I could read it!)!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Continuing on my feature of Marissa Meyer’s incomparable Lunar Chronicles, this week’s feature is Fairest: the story of that most wretched of all evil queens!

 

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

 

I detest stories that try to excuse a villain’s abhorrent behavior–and I was thrilled to find that this is not one of those and that is all I’m going to say because I simply refuse to chance spoiling it for anyone!

But trust me… READ IT!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m Reading: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Continuing on my feature of Marissa Meyer’s incomparable Lunar Chronicles, this week’s feature is book 3: Cress! HELLO Thorne!!!

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

 

Thorne reminds me of the clever and inventive reluctant hero from a certain NEW movie about the long haired fairy tale Princess. . . and I am not the only one!

Oh my, Captain Thorne! Who doesn’t love a devious scoundrel!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2018

What I’m reading: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Last week I featured book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles series. This week, I want to talk about book 2.

 

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

 

Too often, a sequel just does not live up to the original. Not so with Scarlet. This is an exceptional second installment! BRAVO Marissa!

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2018

Book Review & a Look Back | A Chilling look at what may well – be our future… | The Liberation by Marissa Shrock

Can you hear the screams from there? Can you!!!

Marissa Shrock has finally given us the sequel to her stellar debut; The First Principle!

Do NOT miss this sequel!

Both books are a MUST-READ!

Marissa Shrock is an amazingly talented author!

Her words grab hold of you and absolutely will not let go until you reach the very end of the story! She illustrates the journey of her characters with such skill, you feel as if you ARE Vivica! (or rather… Fredrica)

I am so very excited to see this long-awaited sequel release. I devoured the first book of the series and have been patiently (not so much) waiting for the journey to continue!

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, but I will be purchasing it anyway! Yes, It’s that good!

Review © JCMorrows 2016

5star

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, click HERE to check out the link to that review… Perhaps I can convince you…

 

“The First Principle is certainly what I would call a MUST READ! And I applaud Kregel Publishing for having the courage to stand up with women everywhere over a tremendously important issue!” – review by JC Morrows (2015)

 

Don’t miss this compelling look at what could very well be our future.Tweet this!

THERE IS NO PRICE you can put on a HUMAN LIFE!Tweet this!

“Without life, there can be no liberty or pursuit of happiness.” ~ Marissa ShrockTweet this!

 

More about The Liberation:

How far would you go in the fight for your country’s freedom when it’s crumbling from within?

In the near future, all seventeen-year-old Vivica Wilkins wants is a normal life. Time with her boyfriend, her computer, sports. But after becoming a fugitive, the only place she’ll be safe is among the enemies of the government. She has no choice but to join the Emancipation Warriors, the only hope for the United Regions of North America to return to the country it once was.

When her mother is taken as a political prisoner and slated for execution, the Emancipation Warriors change Vivica’s appearance, identity—everything. With her vaunted computer hacking skills, she’s able to infiltrate the government with a job that gives the Warriors a foothold in their fight for freedom and the chance to save her mother.

But soon Vivica is discovered, and her only chance of escape is to become allies with one of her greatest enemies. Together they must follow the government’s trail of evil to its highest levels, where they learn not only the future of their country is at stake, but the entire world.

From the cities of the United Regions of North America to the high-tech corridors of Asia, The Liberation is an international thriller with an all-too-possible scenario that will grab you by the throat and refuse to let go.

GOD BLESS!

AND

HAPPY READING!

 I was blessed to receive a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are entirely my own.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

Book Review | Blue Ribbon Trail Ride by Miralee Ferrell

 

I did not acquire this book for myself. I have a nine (almost ten) year-old daughter who is positively enamored with horses.

My only experience with horses was more than a little negative and I was never one of those girls who just loved horses.

. . . unicorns . . . dragons . . . griffins . . .

But not horses.

However, my daughter loves them, so I snagged this series for her. And I can only hope she will enjoy reading them as much as I have.

This is so much more than just a book for girls who love horses. There’s mystery. There’s intrigue. There’s a group of young teens who are determined to help out their friends (and younger brother).

I never knew that Miralee Ferrell wrote young adult books – much less such entertaining ones. It is so very refreshing to find such wonderful family-friendly stories that are not only suitable for all ages, but appealing as well.

I also believe these stories will be a tremendous help to those young adults who don’t really understand things like autism. We could all use some positive reinforcement that shows us that just because someone is a little different . . . doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them.

I highly suggest you start with book 1: A Horse For Kate, but I am someone who enjoys reading a series from the very beginning so that’s just my personal suggestion.

Happy Reading!

 

Review © JCMorrows 2016

More about Blue Ribbon Trail Ride:

Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt!

As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

Miralee Ferrell

{MORE ABOUT MIRALEE FERRELL}

Miralee Ferrell is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels. She and her husband live along the Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where she enjoys riding the wooded trails and spending time with her grown children. In addition to horses and dogs, Miralee once owned two cougars.

Find out more about Miralee at http://miraleeferrell.com/main.

 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

God Bless!

 

Really… it’s not what you think – and it’s not what they say either…

 

Just so you know what you're in for...
Just so you know what you’re in for…

WHOO HOO! I have officially gotten in on the ground floor this time!

It feels so good to be here for once in my life.

And YES! I am taking sides.

I LOVE IT!!!! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

Haters are gonna have their say, but those of us who love it will too.

First a bit of back-story — because I am an author and we all love back-story — haven’t you noticed . . .

I did not discover twilight until it was already slated to become a movie. I literally (yes I know it sounds like I am comparing myself to a certain heroine, but I’m not – I’m really that way) stumbled across a discussion on a social site and was immediately intrigued.

I have always been a bit different from everyone else I know . . . slightly odd, slightly off, slightly obsessed with weird and unexplainable things (remember, I write speculative fiction) – and so the idea of non-evil vampires was too exciting to pass up.

So . . . anyway, I found a copy at a nearby bookstore and started reading.

And . . .  I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

I don’t care what anyone says. Yes, it may have been rushed a bit. Yes, it was Stephenie’s first novel. Yes, there may have been some errors or spots where the writing lacked, but you know what – I am not a natural editor and I do not remember ANYTHING pulling me out of the magnificent story world . . . well, not anything from the book anyway.

I began pretty late in the day and read right through the night. Even though I knew my kiddos would get me up super early, I did not close my eyes until I’d finished the very last page of the book.

Actually, it was probably about a half hour after I finished that last page, because I sat there grinning like an idiot for at least five minutes and then it took a long time to get my brain to shut up so I could go to sleep. I kept going over my favorite scenes and stifling the ridiculous schoolgirl giggles that kept escaping.

Obviously, I went out the next day and hunted down copies of new moon and eclipse, and it’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure I had to wait for breaking dawn – which I’m certain was a special kind of torture, but somehow I survived.

You see, these books had done something for me that no trashy romance novel I had ever read could – they had given me a REAL fantasy about what love truly should be.

And it was amazing!

Speaking as someone who has not had good fortune in the romance department, I was thrilled to read about a young woman who made good choices where love was concerned.

Far too many people look at Bella Swan and pick at her because when everyone around her is doing their crazy superhero thing, she stands there and lets them handle things, but those are people who did not read the scene at the end of the book . . . clearly. Most of them probably never made it through half the first book, much less the second and third and last book – where Bella becomes the ultimate superhero . . . the one they all look at with this crazy awe, the one who most certainly does NOT stand behind anyone else, the one who . . .  literally . . .  saves. the. day.

Stop glaring at me. That is not a spoiler. Not at this late date.

 

And now for the painful part.

 

The movie killed it, absolutely destroyed that beautiful bubble of perfection for me.

When every other female in the theater screamed as “Edward” came on screen, I groaned – yes, out loud. I am quite certain no one heard me because they were too busy screaming and hyperventilating, but I did.

I groaned because that guy was not my Edward. The Edward in my mind was actually flawless – not stupid and awkward and wearing a stinking “members only” jacket – which, in case you aren’t my age – meant you were the ultimate dork . . . or at least it did when I was in school. No. Way. to make that cool for me. E. V. E. R.

Yes, I watched the movies – because in some crazed, desperate way, I kept hoping it would somehow get better enough to fix that horrible, agonizing death.

And in a way, it did . . . a little.

Rob’s makeup and wardrobe got better with the second movie. His acting even improved . . . slightly.

The second movie was done incredibly well and I quite enjoyed it, but . . . it really didn’t matter. The bubble had been decimated and there was no getting it back. All I could really do was hold on to the improvements and try to enjoy the ride.

And I do enjoy watching the movies. I enjoy – immensely – that last scene of the last movie. I enjoy the music . . . well, most of it, and I enjoy seeing Bella be the amazingly awesome superhero that saves everyone – everyone!

But it has never been the same.

 

 

until now!

OH. MY. WORD!

Stephenie Meyer - Life and Death - twilight reimaginedI refuse. REFUSE! to spoil the new story for anyone.

But I can say that my faith in the series has been restored!

Sitting there, reading about Beau and Edythe, I felt the same delirious, giggly, romantic high that I experienced when reading the original twilight for the very first time.

Somehow, Stephenie has healed the devastation – that movie #one caused in me – with this wildly perceptive idea of hers!

And regardless of what anyone says – ONLY an INCREDIBLY gifted author could have pulled this off!

Only an AMAZINGLY talented author could have had me hearing a guy’s voice in my head as I read Beau’s words . . . knowing many of those words as well as I do from the dozens of times I read the books before I watched the first movie.

WOW!

WOW!

WOW!

Impressive that Stephenie was able to accurately describe how differently a young man would react to things – because, let’s face it; boys do not react to things the same way girls do – not often anyway.

Doubly impressive to see how different Stephenie succeeded in making the few reactions that were essentially the same ones we had seen from Bella . . . feel . . . as if they were actually tailored for Beau, when we remembered that was not the case, because Bella had reacted just the same way.

However, the most impressive part was when I became so involved in the story, that I completely forgot I was reading a story that bore a strong resemblance to another I read nearly ten years ago.

It felt fresh and brand new.

It was amazing and exhilarating and exciting!

And I just may be able to go back and read the original twilight again and really enjoy it.

Thank you, Stephenie.

By the way . . . just for the record . . .  I finished the book on Wednesday. Just thought you should know. 😉

 

Gear Signature - JCM

©JCMorrows 2015

Soulmate (Teen Paranormal Romance Series) (The Soulmate Series: Paranormal Teen Romance Book 1) by Kellie McAllen

An intriguing supernatural story of life and love.

The premise for this story is one I’ve not seen before. Kudos Kellie for such an original idea! And it’s a series so the story doesn’t stop with book 1 – which is always great. I typically read Christian fiction, and while this is not, it is a clean read and even has the bonus of great moral lessons.

I love that Kellie isn’t afraid to tackle some serious issues and in a way that will not be too harsh for most readers – well done, Kellie! She brings to light the harsh realities of abortion, the ideas of what is “normal” in society, and the dangers of dating with no rules.

All in all, an entertaining and difficult to put down read! Excited for the next installment!

Review ©JCMorrows 2015

4 Stars

More about the book from Goodreads:

Most people search for decades to find their soulmate; Rachel Masterson was born with hers. Sharing her body with another soul has had its ups and downs for 15 year old Rachel, but there’s no one she’d rather share her life with than her soulmate, Rider. Fiercely devoted to him, Rachel has ostracized herself from most of her peers and gained a reputation as someone just a little too far gone on the wrong side of crazy.

Her family’s sudden move, however, gives her a chance at a fresh new life, without the stigma of her “imaginary friend.” Hit with the triple-whammy stress of trying to make new friends (and her first boyfriend) in a new school, in a new town, far away from the only other person who has ever understood her, Rachel’s relationship with Rider is strained by the choices that she makes, choices that ultimately lead to their separation.

When a tragic accident tears them apart, can Rachel learn to live and love again?

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds

Not what I was expecting… at… all.

And not a book my kiddos are interested in either unfortunately.

Not much of a surprise though – my daughter is much more interested in Princess stories and my son has such a high reading level, it’s difficult to find young adult books on a high enough level for him.

I do believe that many middle grade students will enjoy the story though. It highlights the type of things many kids deal with in their school career and amazingly enough, even I related (and I was in middle school… well more than a few years ago).

The irony is this; my son’s imagination is every bit as active as the main character’s… but he didn’t recognize it. Perhaps that’s normal for someone with an overactive imagination. It feels perfectly normal to them, so they don’t see where they’re different.

Of course, in Atticus’ case, his classmates have pointed out just how different he is so there’s no doubt in his mind. WHY it is acceptable to make someone feel like a freak when they’re clearly exceptional… I will NEVER understand. OK… OK… I won’t go off on that tangent now but you get the idea.

 

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Zondervan:

Atticus Hobart couldn’t feel lower. He’s in love with a girl who doesn’t know he exists, he is the class bully’s personal punching bag, and to top it all off, his dad has just left the family. Into this drama steps Mr. Looney, a 77-year-old substitute English teacher with uncanny insight and a most unconventional approach to teaching. But Atticus soon discovers there’s more to Mr. Looney’s methods than he’d first thought. And as Atticus begins to unlock the truths within his own name, he finds that his hyper-imagination can help him forge his own voice, and maybe—just maybe—discover that the power to face his problems was inside him all along.

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info about this book:

GOODREADS   ZONDERVAN   LUKE’S BLOG

AMAZON   BARNES & NOBLE   CHRISTIANBOOK

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

“Her Brother’s Keeper” by Beth Wiseman

WOW! Nothing  like I was expecting…

I really mean NOTHING!

From the first words of the synopsis, to the last page of the book – I was HOOKED!

Beth Wiseman is an incredibly talented author… WOW!

This story will pull you right in and you’ll have to force yourself out of it, literally!

I’m not going to spoil the story for you but I will say this… Beth Wiseman makes it really tricky to know who you want to root for here…

Do you root for the grieving sister who has no real idea what happened with her brother…?

Or do you root for the grieving ex-fiance who is struggling to figure out whether she will get to see Ethan in the hereafter…?

It’s NOT an easy decision – and if you’re anything like me, you’ll switch sides a dozen times while reading.

DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK!

 

Review ©JCMorrows 2015

 

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Thomas Nelson:

Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.

Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.

But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.

Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancé, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.

As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info on this intriguing NEW book:

GOODREADS   THOMAS NELSON   BETH’S WEBSITE

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Barnes and Noble.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

,I was blessed to receive a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

DO NOT MISS “The Choosing” by Rachelle Dekker!

This was a tricky one for me.

I have never read one of Ted Dekker’s books – I couldn’t get past the covers, so I was hesitant to even consider his daughter’s book. However, I am very glad that I did!

…and that isn’t even the reason this was one of the most difficult books I have ever reviewed!

 

The Choosing is one of those books that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go until it’s finished with you!

And the main focus of the story is something that I have had difficulty with ALL my life!

Looking at pictures of Rachelle Dekker, it is difficult to believe she could know anything about having a low self-worth… but if she never experienced it, she clearly did her research well.

And in reading other reviews, I’m not sure everyone who read the book has truly gotten the point… clearly they have never dealt with low self-worth (or they’re just trying to mask that they have) but as someone who has been there for much of her life, I can tell you that she hit the mark squarely!

And… if you’ve never dealt with low self-worth, it’s a fantastic post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel that will really grab your attention!

Don’t miss it!

 

Review © JCMorrows 2015
Rachelle Dekker The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com

 

 

Here is a brief synopsis from Tynedale:

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.

In the meantime, you can click the links below to find more info on this book:

GOODREADS   TYNEDALE   RACHELLE’S WEBSITE

Buy from Amazon.
Buy from Barnes and Noble.
Buy from Christian Book Distributor.
Buy from iBooks.

GOD BLESS

and

HAPPY READING!

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below.
I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

Be careful little fingers what you type…

During her Bible Study picnic this morning, my daughter was singing the children’s song that inspired my post title.

 

I would just like to take this opportunity to remind reviewers everywhere how important it is to be careful what you put in your reviews.

Yes, we know you are excited about the book!

No, we know most of you would NEVER spoil a book for readers on purpose!

However… when writing up your review, it is always a good idea to have the book handy. A good rule of thumb is this: if it’s not in the back cover blurb, don’t reveal it in your review.

There are times when authors will also reveal bonus scenes – especially in a series or a long-awaited release – but again… that is up to the author, not the reviewer.

And if the author reveals bonus info, it’s fair game. You can even quote the author and link back to their post. They’ll love that because it’s like double exposure.

 

If you’ve read many of my reviews, you’ll know I once had a book spoiled for me.

If that reviewer had mentioned they had spoilers in their review, I NEVER would have read it… and it was all I could do to finish the book.I was glad I did because there was so much more to the story than what was revealed in the review but it was not the same.

… and the experience has had two unfortunate side effects:

1 – I don’t read reviews anymore until AFTER I’ve read the book. This means I don’t find new books to read often – unless it’s from a person I trust not to spoil it for me.

2 – I don’t often share others reviews – which is sad because there are some really great ones out there – but since it bothers me to even read reviews until after I’ve read the book, and I don’t usually NEED to read them by that time, I miss out on the good with the bad.

 

So be careful reviewers; what you type…

 

GOD BLESS!

© JCMorrows 2015

October Baby – A more touching movie I’ve never seen…

This movie touched me so deeply – I’m not even sure there are words to describe it.

Years ago, a story was shared with me about an abortion survivor – something that I was not even aware was possible. This movie brought every bit of that raw emotion right back to me.

I know a little bit about being unwanted… I was not a survivor of a failed abortion but I was a survivor of a failed marriage – and a child unwanted by her father.

Even now, thirty-five years later, my father and I only have a relationship at all because of my children… and – while I am thrilled to say that I have forgiven him – he will most likely never admit there is anything that needs forgiveness. For myself and my children, I have let go of that bitterness and our lives are so much better because of it.

I CHOOSE LIFE!

Every Life is Beautiful and we live in a society that seems to have forgotten that. It’s easy to proclaim yourself as pro-choice… but remember that YOU ARE HERE so clearly your parents were PRO-LIFE!

Aside from that, the movie itself was beyond amazing – absolutely believable, excellent flow and pacing, superb acting, spectacular staging and filming. How can I give it 10 stars… 20!

A MUST SEE Movie!

 

DON’T MISS the special features! There are some AMAZING extras included that just may elicit an emotional response that rivals the movie’s.

Review © JCMorrows 2015

More about the movie from AMAZON:

You saw me before I was born.” Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah-unscripted-collapses in front of the stunned audience.

After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend.

Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future.

In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

You can also find it on: ITUNES, CHRISTIANBOOK.COM, LIFEWAY, AFA.NET, FAMILY CHRISTIAN, CHRISTIAN CINEMA

 

GOD BLESS!

Book Reviewer… Influencer… Street Team… Where do I fit and what do I do?

Anyone who follows my book blog, knows that I review books… A LOT of books! I LOVE to read and I love to share my thoughts on these books with my followers.

Along this journey, I have been blessed to join several different street teams.

Recently I was forced to leave one of those street teams (on my own… NOT by the author). And, given some drama that has trickled through blogger circles of late, I felt the need to make mention of something that tends to be misunderstood…

BookReviewers_Badge_3

A REVIEWER is someone who reads books and then posts reviews on sites like Christianbook.com​, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc…

Some of these reviewers are sent books by publishers or promotional companies or the authors themselves.

Along with this “gifted” book comes the requirement that the reviewer gives an HONEST review… not just a positive one.

 

shutterstock_143336716An INFLUENCER is someone who is part of a selected group of people who are chosen to help launch a book. Most authors ask the members to post reviews but they require them to be positive. In the case that a reviewer can not post a positive review, they are asked to post none at all – or at least to wait until a month or so after the book has released.

But the main job of an influencer is to help get the word out about a book’s release. They are responsible for splashing notifications across social media, requesting the book at local libraries and passing out promotional materials like bookmarks and pens.

2b82cdeA STREET TEAM is a combination of the two above.

The street team members’ job extends beyond a book’s release. They notify their followers and friends about sales on the author’s books, special giveaways and more. They also hand out promotional materials (when the author has them to pass out), and they are usually required to read the author’s books and review them.

Typically, an honest yet positive review is no problem in these groups because the members are generally fans of the author’s work. However, most authors do not require a positive review – simply an honest one… in order to have lots of reviews up – to encourage sales.

If a street team requires a positive review, this should always be made clear before the reviewers join. However, lately there has been a bit of drama that has made this point a bit murky.

There are street teams out there that are run, not by the author but by a fan or by the author’s assistant. When the case is a fan running the team, there may be some issues because the fan has their own ideas about the author’s work and if a member’s review does not line up with their own opinion, they may find it difficult to be unbiased.

 

My caution is this:

Reviewers – be careful about what street teams you join. DO not join simply because the author is high-profile. Join the street team of an author you admire, one you will have no problem promoting!

And be sure to read all of the requirements BEFORE you join!

 

Authors – be cautious about how you run your team (or who you choose to run the team for you). Any drama that goes on will not be laid at the feet of that person on social media. It will be attributed to your team and YOUR name.

Also… you should be extremely careful about setting boundaries about reviews. 5 stars on Amazon is great but word of mouth still carries a tremendous amount of weight and if a reviewer is unhappy, they will most likely tell almost everyone they know about it.

I would also suggest you watch what works and what doesn’t with your friends’ street teams. Learn by example and never hesitate to make suggestions to friends about their own teams. Just because you see where something doesn’t work, does not mean they do.

 

Of course it has to be said… some authors do not deal well with bad reviews. But think of it this way… Is it more important to have ALL good reviews or to have a large number of reviews? Whether the reviews are bad or good, having a large number means that a large number of people have read the book.

And… I speak from experience when I say that I have NEVER allowed a negative review to sway me from reading a book that interested me. I have also read more than a few books that received nothing but glowing reviews – which I did not enjoy.

Think about it…

God Bless!

 

© JCMorrows 2015

Letting it go…

An hour ago I was livid.

 

I’m not anymore.

image

I work very hard on my reviews. I chase down links, insert pictures, include blurbs and craft tweets to make sharing my posts that much easier for my readers.

Sadly, this is not the case for all bloggers. My mother and I both blog, both review books, and we both write. We have also… both had pieces of our blog posts stolen/imitated/paraphrased by other bloggers.

And I’m sure many of you who also follow my author blog – will remember the Fairy Tale Tabloid debacle from about 18 months ago. LINK.

So you can see why I was livid about an hour ago…

 

However… what other people do is between them and God. It’s not up to me to judge. It’s not up to me to even care.

I’m not going to stop posting or stop working so hard just because other people don’t want to.

but I am going to pray for them.

And I’m going to be very careful about who I let on my own street team when the day comes! You can be certain of that!

 

Good night and God bless!

© JCMorrows 2015