Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Forgiving My Daughter's Killer" by Kate Grosmaire: Review

I just finished reading Forgiving My Daughter's Killer by Kate Grosmaire, and I wanted to share my thoughts on the book. 

This book is the story of the Grosmaire family and the tragedy that they went through. Ann Grosmaire, the author's daughter, was shot and killed by her boyfriend, Conor, who had always been very close with the family. Immediately, the family began praying for Conor. The family visited Conor in prison, telling him that they forgave him. The Grosmaire's also worked with Conor and his family to reduce his prison sentence. They wanted him to use the time he would have spent in prison to do volunteering and work that Ann would have done had she survived, as they wanted his sentence and punishment to be meaningful.

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to like a story about forgiveness. The people who write the books who were able to forgive someone who did something so awful always seem so strange and unrelatable. They seem like super-Christians without flaws who can forgive anything with no effort. However, that was not the case with this book. The author Kate Grosmaire pointed out many times that she often had a hot temper and had trouble forgiving people (usually her husband) for small disputes. However, she was still able to forgive Conor.

Kate also stated that forgiveness is a process, and not a single act. She wasn't able to forgive Conor immediately, but over time she was able to forgive completely with God's help. 

She also said that forgiving someone isn't the same as pardoning what they did. She said, "Forgiveness is an emotional release for the forgiver." By forgiving Conor, Kate was able to get rid of the burden and hurt on herself, and in turn get a sense of peace. Of course, she was still greatly pained by the death of her daughter. But she didn't have the anger of hatred hanging over her. She showed that forgiveness is possible for everyone.

I found this book to be really interesting, and I enjoyed the way the story was told. It was organized really well, which can be uncommon in books that aren't written by professional writers.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, and I would definitely recommend it.

Have you read this?
What did you think?

*I received this book from the publishers through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 21, 2016

40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe: Review

I recently read 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chloe, and I really enjoyed it.

This book is split up into 40 chapters, one for each day of Lent leading up to Easter, with a fast for each day in order to prepare us to be awed by Christ's resurrection. For each day, Chloe gives a narrative of what Jesus was doing in the days leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection, reflection material and questions, the day's fast (usually a concept, such as regret, collecting praise, avoidance, isolation...), information on Lent origin and theories, and finally a short related Bible reading. At the end of each chapter, there is space to take notes. I am not very familiar with Lent or the Biblical narratives given about Jesus, so I really learned a lot from this book. I also thought the fasts were really helpful, and definitely manageable. Though this book is designed to be read to lead up to Easter, it can be read and be helpful at any time.

I read this as an eBook, which I actually preferred for this book, which is unlike me. Having the eBook version was really nice because I could take notes without cramming writing into the margins, and I could highlight things that I thought would be important and helpful. I personally don't like to write or highlight things in physical copies of books, so this format was perfect for me.

I sat down and read this cover to cover over a couple of days, but if you can, I recommend reading one chapter each day, and simply focusing on one fast each day. I didn't do this because I wanted to finish it to get my review done, so I couldn't take forty days to read the book. I would however like to reread the book, next time only reading it one day at a time. 

Chloe used works from both Biblical scholars and the Bible, as well as her own experiences to teach about Jesus' sacrifice and Lent. Through these, she definitely expresses Biblical truth, as well as making the lessons very personal.

I  definitely recommend this book, particularly those who are unfamiliar with Easter of the stories of Jesus leading up to his crucifixion. This book was really eye opening for me, and gave me a whole new perspective on what Jesus went through to save us all. I gave this book 3.5-4/5 stars (somewhere in there...3.5 seems too low and 4 seems a bit high). 

Have you read this?
What did you think?

*I received this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

"Gabriel and the Swallows" Review + Release!

Hello again everyone!

Today I want to share with you an AMAZING book that comes out today- Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno! I binge read this book the past two days and I absolutely loved it.

The blurb online says "A lonely farm boy. A girl with swallow's wings. An ancient city buried in a volcano. A mystery old as blood and bone." Just seeing this, I really had no idea what I was getting into or what the book was going to be about.

The book takes place between the 1950s and 1980s in Italy and follows Gabriel, who is about ten years old at the beginning of the book. Gabriel is a poor farm boy who doesn't have friends at school and is bullied. One day, Gabriel finds an injured bird and brings it home. It is then discovered that it is actually a little girl with a swallow's wings, and not a bird at all. They call her "Volatile", and she quickly becomes an important part of their family. There is all sorts of danger and mystery that follows.

As well as being an interesting fantasy story, the book dealt with growing up and how your life changes as you get older. I really loved how those aspects were dealt with. 

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars, I loved it so much!!! It was not at all what I was expecting from this book, and it was constantly surprising me. I wasn't able to predict any of the turns the plot took, which I was definitely very happy about. I 100% recommend picking up this book, which is now available today! I read this as an ebook, and I really think I need a physical copy for my shelf now. You can find the info for this book or buy it here.

Also, once you read this wonderful book, keep in mind that the next book entitled Orlando and the Spirits will come out in 2017. I already can't wait to read it.

Have you read or ordered Gabriel and the Swallows?
Let me know if you pick up a copy, and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Cover Reveals!!!

Hello everybody!

Today I'm super excited to be sharing the book covers for Oftomes Publishing's 2016 releases! I know that you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I totally do. I love to have books with beautiful covers that I want to show off on my shelves. Every single one of these covers are beautiful and I can't wait to have them on my shelves. I'll show you a picture of the cover, and you can see the blurb listed on the Oftomes Publishing website.

First, there is Into The Forest by Freedom Matthews. I'm a total sucker for faeries and wings, so I automatically love this cover. The enchanted-looking forest and the girl with the wings just look so cool! The link to the book is here. This book comes out May 2016.

This book is Mist & Whispers by C.M. Lucas, out this April! This book looks like it is going to be full of magic and fantasy, and I cannot wait! More information on this book can be found here.

Here we have the cover for Tears of Time by Joel Lawrence, out in September 2016. I know a lot of people don't like it when book covers are pictures of people, but I really like them, as long as it's done well. I love this cover, the necklace and the girl's face just look so cool! You can read the blurb for this book here.

Here's another case of a beautiful cover with a person on it: Initiate by Laura L. Fox. This book comes out on November 2, 2016. This is a young adult sci-fi novel about a girl in an apocalyptic world full of mystery and deceit. More on this book here.

Finally, we have Inherited by Freedom Matthews, to be released spring of 2016. This faery tale/folklore/romance novel looks so good! Based on the cover, I'm really hoping that this book has to do with pirates. That would be really awesome!! More info here.

Which cover is your favorite?
Which book are you looking forward to most?


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When I'm Not Writing...

As a blogger, an English major, and a writer for The Odyssey, it's probably not a surprise that I spend a lot of my time writing, whether that's blog posts, papers, or other assignments. While writing takes up quite a bit of my time, I still do have lots of time for other things. Here are some things I do when I'm not writing...

  • Reading
  • Knitting/crochet
  • Sleeping (naps are SO underrated)
  • Going out with friends
  • Binge-watching things on Netflix
  • Taking walks outside (when it's nice out)
  • Watching BookTube videos
  • Online shopping
  • Random internet browsing
  • Sewing/crafting
  • Playing games
  • Daydreaming
Those are just a few of the things that I like to do when I'm not writing. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Monday, March 7, 2016

March TBR 2016

Looking through my bookshelf here at school, I realized that I have a ton of books that I really need to read. I say this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I still have unread books that I had on my TBR way back in October. Secondly, there are a few series that I need to read the last book of that I really need to get to and finish.

So I think that March reading will be dedicated to reading the books I've been meaning to read for months and finally finishing some series. Here are all of the books I hope to read this month.

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon- I'm currently reading this one, and it's taking me quite some time. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm just not speeding through it like I normally read. 
  2. Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno
  3. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  5. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  7. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
I'm really hoping to read all of these books this month, but it wouldn't surprise me if I don't, since Outlander is taking me a while to read. However, I do have spring break this month, so hopefully I will get a ton of reading done then. Even if I don't read all of these this month, I'll be happy just making a dent in my TBR pile.

Have you read any of these?
Which do you recommend most?
What do you plan on reading this month?


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Author Introduction: Esther Dalseno

Hello everyone!

Today, I would like to introduce you all to Esther Delseno, the author of many wonderful books, including Gabriel and the Swallows, which comes out on March 11. 

Born in Australia, Esther has a love for travel, traveling all over the world before settling in Berlin with her family. I really think this travel gives her such an interesting perspective in her writing.

Her currently available works include Totoro's Garden and Drown, a retelling of The Little Mermaid- you can find more information on her works here.

Gabriel and the Swallows is the first book in The Volatile Duology, and how cool does that name sound?? I cannot wait to read this book!

Have you read anything by Esther Dalseno?


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February Wrap-Up 2016

Hey guys!

So this month was actually pretty successful for reading. Seeing as how it was a shorter month and I've been really busy with school, I am super proud of myself for how much I read. In February, I read 13 books. I can't believe that I read so much, it doesn't really seem possible! Anyway, here are the books that I read this month, and my ratings...

  1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 4/5 stars
  2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 5/5 stars
  3. The Resurrected Ones: A Story of Life, Death, and Resurrection by Richard K. Thomas 1/5 stars
  4. The Martian by Andy Weir 5/5 stars
  5. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 5/5 stars
  6. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket 5/5 stars
  7. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket 4/5 stars
  8. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket 3/5 stars
  9. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 3/5 stars
  10. Carrie by Stephen King 4/5 stars
  11. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket 4/5 stars
  12. Winter by Marissa Meyer 5/5 stars
  13. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket 4/5 stars

I'm really happy with this month, especially since I set a really high Goodreads goal this year. I can tell already that March isn't going to be as good of a reading month, though I have quite a few books that I'm excited to read in March. Right now I am currently reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. While I am really enjoying this book, I can tell that it's going to take me a while to get through on top of school and everything else.

Did you read any of these books?
What did you think of them?
What books to you recommend?