What I’m reading: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

This book has restored my faith in reading… No, seriously.

 

I started this book sometime ago… This year has been a weird time for all of us… Add to that, several books I read during 2019 very nearly ruined me for reading at all. I understand everyone has different likes – and perhaps some people did truthfully enjoy the books I’m speaking of – but I find that hard to believe, personally.

Given all of that disappointment and disillusionment, it’s really no surprise that it took me so long to get back into reading… and, that I pretty much stuck to what I knew already.

When I finally sat down and gave this book a chance, it hooked me immediately. I got both my mother and my daughter interested in the series purely by seeing how much I was enjoying it.

I may not enjoy everything Gail Carriger writes (I’m already certain I won’t), but I LOVE this series!

Sophronia is precisely the sort of heroine girls need more of!

The irony is, many people might draw parallels between this series and Harry Potter… But, The Finishing Academy series is more dangerous, more daring, more inclusive, and more exciting from hilarious start to breathtaking finish!

Read it!

 

 

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For the record… I do NOT recommend The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

If you enjoy mind bending, heart breaking, devious and underhanded outright evil, this may be the book for you. If not… well, then it’s not.

I will say that Suzanne’s writing was stellar in this book, just as it was in the remainder of the Hunger Games series.

It lured me in with a somewhat false sense of security

However, I will NEVER understand why authors take the time to make us fall in love with a group of characters… who they then torture and kill off one by one… and then they expect us to actually enjoy a back-story for the villain who is responsible for all of that torture and death.

If you do not have a big, soft, open heart – and you are not someone who actually wants to throw a book across the room when something horrific happens to a favorite character of yours in said book, you might actually enjoy this book.

If you are someone who obsessively must read every book that is even loosely related to a beloved series, read this book, but be forewarned. Snow is evil. Really. Just go in knowing that. I don’t consider that a spoiler. We all knew that years ago.

I am just glad that I didn’t buy the book. I borrowed it from the library. I don’t want this book in my collection. I don’t want this book in my house. If I could figure out how to get it off my borrow history, I would.

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Feature & Review © J.C. Morrows 2020

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Midnight Sun has arrived! Finally!

Maybe it’s because I’m an author… Maybe it’s because I write fantasy… Maybe it’s just because I have never been one to take the word of others on whether or not something is good… Or maybe it’s just because it really is a GREAT book – and a LOT of people are missing out on why!

And… YES! These custom jackets from Juniper Books are on my wishlist!

As a young girl, I was one of those perverse kids who wore outfits and colors deliberately because they were NOT popular.

I am one who understands EXACTLY what she means when Alice (Alice in Wonderland) says: “Who’s to say what is proper? What if it were agreed that “proper” meant wearing a codfish on your head? Would you wear it? … To me a corset is like a codfish.

I NEVER watched movies or read books or wore clothes JUST because they were popular. In fact, most times I did everything I could to avoid those things. That is likely why I missed out on so many great book and movie series at the very beginning of their popularity. I was always late to the party. Which really isn’t all that bad a thing when you think about all the crazy lines I missed having to stand in as well.

With The Twilight Saga, it was somewhat the same story. I did not miss out entirely on standing in lines or waiting for upcoming releases. I picked up book 1 when the first 3 were out, so I did have to wait for book 4 and Bree. Plus, the movies were only a blip on the horizon at that point so I did have to wait in line for each and every one of those.

In fact, my mother and I were at the midnight show for the first 3

And I truly hope Stephenie decides to write the other 3 books (or more) from Edward’s perspective.

Of course, as much as I would LOVE for them to do the movies over with this wonderful new information, I would hate to lose the awesomeness that is Breaking Dawn parts 1 and 2. So, I will live with the ridiculous Edward and the pathetic wardrobe and the crappy car chosen.

 

As for Midnight Sun…

And because the only thing about the book I don’t care for is the cover… this is my very own fan cover:

I will never understand how anyone could NOT LOVE this book!!! It was quite simply AMAZING! PERFECTION! STUNNINGLY BRILLIANT! Not only did Stephenie stick to what she had written in twilight… I know I would’ve been tempted to change things if it had been my story… She added so much depth to the story and the character.

I understand Edward in so many more ways that I ever have because of this AMAZING BOOK that I just could not put down.

Seriously… my mother and I fought over who got the read it first. We ended up taking turns, and it was always a struggle to let her have her turn. Fortunately, she is a morning person, so she mostly read before I got up.

Way back when, in another post about The Twilight Saga, I said the following:

Actually I do think that most of us “TRUE” fans got it.

And we are the ones defending it to the ground. We are the ones who realize that he is NOT being “human” here. He is not being a jealous, controlling boyfriend. He is being her protector and he’s doing everything he can just to keep her alive.

Maybe the problem is this…

Too many of us have bought into this whole women’s lib thing and forgotten how nice it is to actually have a great guy to lean on when we’re stressed or exhausted or just beaten down by all of the world’s crap. We’ve forgotten how great it feels to have a guy hold our door open for us, take our hand to help us out of a car, let us walk through a doorway first, pay for our dinner and surprise us with amazing gifts – just because they want to.

And because so many women have forgotten how great these things are, too many men have stopped doing them. They make us open our own door, make excuses like they left their wallet at home and we get stuck with the check (or they expect more than they should if they actually pay for your dinner) and they treat us like crap – because they can and we keep coming back to them for more – because we don’t know that WE ARE WORTH MORE!

I don’t know if the words in the above paragraphs are actually why so many people dislike the books, or if it’s jealousy or just plain meanness, but this new book is an exceptional addition to the series – and I do not understand why ANYONE is saying anything to the contrary.

In my book, the only thing that really matters when you pick up a book to read – is whether you enjoy reading it.

And I did!

I enjoyed every single part of the book. The story pulled me right back in. I was entranced and entertained and I remain enthusiastic about even the remote possibility of more books from Edward’s perspective!

 

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Feature & Review © J.C. Morrows 2020

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What I’m reading: The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

A wonderful story about faith, family and love.

 

THE MEMORY HOUSE by Rachel Hauck is just what I have come to expect from her books; WONDERFUL!

Another exceptional story from a unique perspective, exploring the past and the present through disaster and healing and a house that connects two couples across time.

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a new captivating novel of two women whose lives have been destroyed by disaster but find healing in a special house.

Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

“Hauck is a master at weaving together plots from multiple time periods.” —Library Journal

Accomplished Hauck demonstrates genre finesse as she blends inspirational romance with a cinematic style of storytelling, bringing empathic characters to life as they cope with grief in marriage and faithfulness, parenthood and adoption, death and tragedy. Challenging decisions, the blessing of finding love again, and the solace of a beautiful Victorian home all come together in this spellbinding, lovely novel.” —Booklist

 

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What I’m reading: Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

A wonderful story about faith, family and love.

 

GLORY ROAD by Lauren K. Denton is one of those stories I pick up because it intrigues me, but I’m never sure what to expect.

Thankfully, this one does not disappoint. Denton does a wonderful job of pulling the reader in to her story about life, family, and the love that binds them together. Every family is different, and they each travel their own path in this world, searching for love along the way.

That is this story. And it’s positively delightful.

 

Written in Lauren Denton’s signature Southern style, Glory Road tells the story of three generations of women navigating the uncertain pathways of their hearts during a summer that promises to bring change—whether they’re ready for it or not.

“Glory Road brims with faith and family, second chances, and new horizons.” —LISA WINGATE, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

The only thing certain is change—even in a place as steady as Perry, Alabama, on a street as old as Glory Road.

Nearly a decade after her husband’s affair drove her back home to South Alabama, Jessie McBride has the stable life she wants—operating her garden shop, Twig, next door to her house on Glory Road, and keeping up with her teenage daughter and spunky mother. But the unexpected arrival of two men makes Jessie question whether she’s really happy with the status quo.

When handsome, wealthy businessman Sumner Tate asks her to arrange flowers for his daughter’s lavish wedding, Jessie finds herself drawn to his continued attention. Then Ben Bradley, her lingering what-could-have-been from high school, moves back to the red dirt road, and she feels her heart pulled in directions she never expected.

Meanwhile, Jessie’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Evan, is approaching the start of high school and navigating a new world of emotions—particularly as they relate to the cute new guy who’s moved in just down the road. At the same time, Jessie’s mother, Gus, is suffering increasingly frequent memory lapses and faces a frightening, uncertain future.

In one summer, everything will change. But for these three strong Southern women, the roots they’ve planted on Glory Road will give life to the adventures waiting just around the curve.

“Rich colorful characters capturing my heart, combined with a story that kept me up till the wee hours, Glory Road is a perfect read. Lauren Denton has done it again!” —Lisa Patton, bestselling author of Rush and Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter

“Once again Lauren Denton brings her lyrical writing and compelling characters to a story that will enthrall readers from page one.” —Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, author of Only Ever Her and co-founder of She Reads, for Glory Road

“From the opening of The Hideaway, the reader is captured by the voice of a woman who has for too long kept a story that must be told, one the reader wants to hear. Denton has crafted a story both powerful and enchanting: a don’t-miss novel in the greatest southern traditions of storytelling.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

“A poignant and heartfelt tale of sisterhood, motherhood, and marriage, Hurricane Season deftly examines the role that coming to terms with the past plays in creating a hopeful future. Readers will devour this story of the hurricanes—both literal and figurative—that shape our lives.” —Kristy Woodson Harvey, national bestselling author of Slightly South of Simple

 

 

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What I’m reading: To Best The Boys by Mary Weber

This is not your grandmother’s kind of girl power.

 

To Best the Boys is one of those books that young girls, and young teen girls need today! It’s not some ridiculous novel that keeps shouting “girl power” at you. It’s the kind of story that SHOWS you girl power… and still shows human weakness and imperfection.

Mary mentioned on social media the other day that she struggled with this novel more than a little bit. I tend to think that is part of what makes this such a compelling read. That struggle is embedded in every word on the page, shining through the characters’ words and actions!

There’s also adventure, and danger, and MAGIC!

Don’t miss it!

 

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University.

Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

 

 

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What I’m reading: Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devos for a Busy Day

 

 

Before you charge into the busy day, take a few minutes to equip yourself. Jesus Calling(R) 50 Devotions for Busy Days brings the warmth and insight that more than 25 million people enjoyed through Jesus Calling(R) and curates these devotions specifically to prepare you to handle busy days by setting aside your worries and enjoying God’s peace.

Jesus Calling(R) 50 Devotions for Busy Days features 50 topical readings from Jesus Calling(R) combined with relevant Scripture verses on the topics of peace, calm, and perspective.

This book is part of a three-book series for teens, each focusing on a felt need. The other two books in the series focus on themes of thankfulness and growing in faith. These books are great for an individual study and make a great set for gift giving.

Readers around the world already love how Sarah’s words help them connect with Jesus. Now the new Jesus Calling(R) topical devotionals offer a way to focus even more deeply on the major felt needs in your life . . . and the lives of your friends, family, church, school, and friends.

 

Another wonderful book of devotions for teens!

The devotions in this book are especially great in this crazy, busy world we live in now. It has the same breathtaking imagery, wonderful devotions, and exceptional verses.

Teens need the reminders from God’s word about how they need to find a balance in the day to day busy-ness of life!

Don’t miss this devotional either! Get one for yourself… and your teen… or better yet, get one and share it with your teen!

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m reading: Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devos for a Thankful Heart

 

 

A thankful heart opens the door to a vibrant relationship with Jesus. Jesus Calling(R) 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart brings the warmth and insight that more than 25 million people have enjoyed through Jesus Calling(R) in devotions curated specifically to help you see the blessings God has poured out on your life and help you develop a heart of gratitude.

Jesus Calling(R) 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart features 50 readings from Jesus Calling(R) gathered together in a new way and combined with relevant Scripture verses on the topic of thankfulness.

This book is part of a three-book series for teens, each focusing on a felt need. The other two books in the series focus on themes of growing your faith and dealing with busy days. These books are great for an individual study and make a great set for gift giving.

Readers around the world already love how Sarah’s words connect with Jesus. Now the new Jesus Calling(R) topical devotionals offer a way to focus even more deeply on the major felt needs in your life . . . and the lives of your friends, family, church, school, and friends.

With a beautiful, classic cover and affordable price point, these topical devotionals are a natural addition to the Sarah Young brand–and the perfect way to pour into those you love.

 

This is a wonderful book of devotions for teens!

I highly recommend it for your teen, or for you! This book is filled with beautiful images, wonderful devotions, and exceptional verses.

Personally, I am not much a fan of any version other than the King James. However, in this instance the page of multiple versions keep the devotions interesting, current, and easy for teens to connect with.

Do not miss this devotional! Get one for yourself… or your teen… or better yet, get one and share it with your teen!

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

What I’m reading: Preparing Your Heart for Marriage by Gary L. Thomas

 

 

The wedding is planned, but are you spiritually prepared for your wedding day? Trusted relationship author Gary Thomas coaches engaged couples on how to grow closer to the Lord in the days leading up to the wedding as a means of preparing them for all the days after the wedding.

Engagement is bursting with promise, hope, joy, and anticipation of all kinds. It can also be one of the busiest times your life. For some, planning a wedding, with all the decisions involved, can feel less like the onset of marriage and more like a long to-do list. Amidst the busyness, this devotional is designed to help you think through the spiritual priorities and challenges that lie ahead in order to grow an outstanding marriage filled with love, grace, and God’s blessing.

This lovely book provides encouraging entries that will help you deal with common issues such as:

What real intimacy means
How to celebrate your differences
Remembering to laugh together
With a special section on the marriage vows and meditations for the bride and groom, Preparing Your Heart for Marriage will help you grow in your relationship as a couple as you become closer to God.

 

Pretty sure I am not the right person to read and review this book…

I mean, it reads well. The devotions are well written. And everything sounds good to me, but given my past… my life… my complete and utter lack of anything that could be remotely deemed success in the are of relationships or marriage, I’m thinking there are a lot of people who would be better equipped to review this book.

Nevertheless, I am… So, here goes.

I actually got the book for my daughter and son; who are both in their teen years. And, while it’s a bit above their heads for now, there is still valuable information to impart at the ages they’re at now.

Plus, I hope the advice within will be invaluable to them at some point. I pray and hope, and pray some more every day that neither of them will have the same sort of hopeless, horrible experiences that I have had in my own past relationships.

Where was this book when I was seventeen!?! Gah!

 

 

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What I’m reading: Evermore by Sara Holland

You know that meme that says…

Or, in this case, hardback…

Yeah. Evermore is one of those stories.

I actually read a few other reviews for this book, and the ones that said it was not as good as the first, I wondered at.

And then I read it, and WOW! I do not get those reviews! Because I thought Evermore was every bit as good as Everless… maybe even better. It pulled me in, and every time I had to put the book down, it was all I could do not to snap at whomever was the reason for it that time. It was AMAZING! The ending was not at all predictable. The story was so intriguing, I found myself racing ahead, just to find out what was going to happen. I actually had to make myself go back and read what I had rushed through several times because I was so excited, I missed things.

It was just that GOOD!

 

The highly anticipated sequel to New York Times bestseller, Everless!

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

 

 

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What I’m reading: Defiant Joy by Stasi Eldredge

TAKING HOLD OF HOPE, BEAUTY, AND LIFE IN A HURTING WORLD.

 

Bestselling author Stasi Eldredge shows readers how to choose a joy that stands against the tides of life’s real and often overwhelming pain.

We are called to live. And, miraculously, to live with joy.

We all spend a lot of energy reaching for happiness, but we are never quite able to hang on to it. Real life happens, and our circumstances take us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. So the Bible’s call to “be joyful always” sounds almost crazy—and out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be.

Joy is meant to be ours, a joy that is defiant in the face of this broken world. This joy is not simply happiness on steroids; it’s the unyielding belief that sorrow and loss do not have the final say. It’s the stubborn determination to be present to whatever may come and to interpret both goodness and grief by the light of heaven.

In Defiant Joy, Stasi Eldredge invites us with courage, candor, and tender vulnerability to a place beyond sadness or happiness. She shows us how to maintain a posture of holy defiance that neither denies nor diminishes our pain but dares to live with expectant, unwavering hope.

We are called to live.

And, miraculously, to live with joy.

Those are words written with the intention of changing lives!

 

Why defiant joy? Why not… simply joy?
… In this world where we find ourselves living, having joy often feels both crazy and out of reach.”

Those words say it all. This world is not one where any of us can find joy without being defiant… without “standing against the tide, going against the flow…” without making the tough decision to grab hold of joy and refuse to let go.

This is a book that everyone needs in this hopeless, miserable world we exist in, this world where joy is quickly sought out and squashed by the enemy on a daily basis.

 

 

Feature © JCMorrows 2019

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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 to 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 cryo 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