Sunday, December 6, 2015

Miracles from Heaven (A Little girl, her journey to Heaven, and her amazing story of healing)


Miracles from Heaven by Christy Wilson Beam

Summary: Annabel Beam spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals with a rare and incurable digestive disorder that prevented her from ever living a normal, healthy life. One sunny day when she was able to go outside and play with her sisters, she fell three stories headfirst inside an old, hollowed-out tree, a fall that may well have caused death or paralysis. Implausibly, she survived without a scratch. While unconscious inside the tree, with rescue workers struggling to get to her, she visited heaven. After being released from the hospital, she defied science and was inexplicably cured of her chronic ailment. 

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN will change how we look at the world around us and reinforce our belief in God and the afterlife.

<3 <3 <3 <3

Review: Miracles from Heaven tells the story of Annabel Beam told by her mother Christy.  The story follows Annabel's journey through her sickness and her family's experiences along with hers. The story culminates around Annabel's miraculous healing after she is rescued from falling headfirst into an old hallow tree on the family's property.  Annabel falls about two to three stories and lands headfirst. Miraculously she is pulled out with just minor cuts and bruises and a concussion.  After this event as about a year passed Annabel's mother chronicles the family's journey as they realize that Annabel really is healed and no longer has the serious medical problems that she had before the fall.  But most amazing and heartfelt is Annabel's story that she went to Heaven while she was 'in the tree' and that she met her Heavenly Father and Jesus.  

Annabel's mother (Ms. Beam) does a wonderful job describing her daughter's journey through heart breaking sickness, a miraculous healing and the experience of seeing Heaven and meeting God.  The book is written beautifully; it pulled me in from the first page and I finished it in one sitting. I would recommend it to anyone who is a Christian or to those who may be doubting your faith; this book reaffirmed my faith for me in a beautiful non-intrusive way. It's a beautiful story of a little girl and her family's faith and reaffirms the fact for me that God truly does know the end from the beginning and is always doing what is best for us even when we don't realize it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott


The Daring Ladies of Lowell 

By: Kate Alcott


Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of THE DRESSMAKER comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to the looms of Lowell, Massachusetts--and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love.

Eager to escape life on her family’s farm, Alice Barrow moves to Lowell in 1832 and throws herself into the hard work demanded of “the mill girls.”  In spite of the long hours, she discovers a vibrant new life and a true friend—a saucy, strong-willed girl name Lovey Cornell.

But conditions at the factory become increasingly dangerous, and Alice finds the courage to represent the workers and their grievances.  Although mill owner, Hiram Fiske, pays no heed, Alice attracts the attention of his eldest son, the handsome and reserved Samuel Fiske. Their mutual attraction is intense, tempting Alice to dream of a different future for herself.

This dream is shattered when Lovey is found strangled to death. A sensational trial follows, bringing all the unrest that’s brewing to the surface. Alice finds herself torn between her commitment to the girls in the mill and her blossoming relationship with Samuel.  Based on the actual murder of a mill girl and the subsequent trial in 1833, THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL brilliantly captures a transitional moment in America’s history while also exploring the complex nature of love, loyalty, and the enduring power of friendship.

Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
My Review: The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott is a novel told in the two voices of Samuel Fiske and Alice Barrow.  With the main focus being on Alice Barrow. Samuel Fiske is the heir apparent to the dynasty his Father Hiram Fiske has built in the town of Lowell with their mill industry, His family is known for their respectable reputation which includes keeping the girls who work in their mills safe. Samuel thus far as led a comfortable life but his world is turned upside down when he meets Alice Barrow who will change the prospects of his future and his very life.

Alice Barrow is a mill girl who has escaped her Father's tyranny and a brave heroine who has come to Lowell looking for her own life and independence.  She finds a friend in Lovey; one of the girls who lives in her boarding house with her.  They develop an immediate bond but Alice's world is torn asunder when Lovey is found dead; at the hands some say of the Methodist Reverend Avery whom it is also said got Lovey with child.

The novel tells the story of working conditions in the factories which left much to be desired and the unrest it caused which would eventually lead to the workers demand for change.  It follow's Alice and Samuel's love story as well as the trial of reverend Avery for Lovey's murder.  It was a very easy read and was a book that I did not want to put down. It felt as if the reader was transported right into the story and the characters felt as though they were friends you were rooting for.

For anyone who loves or is interested in the 1830's and 1840's this story is a shining example of how women in those times fought for what today are considered human rights for workers and for equal treatment of women; also if you want a story that has excitement; friendship; and heroines who you feel as if you could talk to even in this modern day and age I'd recommend this book highly.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle 

<3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Penelope Devereux arrives at Queen Elizabeth’s court where she and her brother, the Earl of Essex, are drawn into the aging Queen’s favor. Young and na├»ve, Penelope, though promised elsewhere, falls in love with Philip Sidney who pours his heartbreak into the now classic sonnet series Astrophil and Stella. But Penelope is soon married off to a man who loathes her. Never fainthearted, she chooses her moment and strikes a deal with her husband: after she gives birth to two sons, she will be free to live as she chooses, with whom she chooses. But she is to discover that the course of true love is never smooth.

Meanwhile Robert Cecil, ever loyal to Elizabeth, has his eye on Penelope and her brother. Although it seems the Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen, as his influence grows, so his enemies gather. Penelope must draw on all her political savvy to save her brother from his own ballooning ambition and Cecil’s trap, while daring to plan for an event it is treason even to think about.

Unfolding over the course of two decades and told from the perspectives of Penelope and her greatest enemy, the devious politician Cecil, Watch the Lady chronicles the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty.

Review:  This was my first book written by Elizabeth Fremantle and I loved it. Watch the Lady takes the reader into the world of Queen Elizabeth the first's court; the book begins with the young Penelope Devereux and her entrance into the court of Queen Elizabeth.  The book follows Penelope and the rest of the Devereux's as Penelope is forced into her first marriage with a man she loaths; and she becomes Lady Rich.  It chronicle's the families journey as they rise and fall in the court of Queen Elizabeth the first.  The main characters include Penelope's brother Lord Essex, Robert Cecil who is an enemy of the Devereux family in his role as one of chief councilors to Queen Elizabeth; and Sidney who is Penelope's first real love, and many more players as the book continues.

The life of Penelope and the others chronicled in this book were not characters that I was as familiar with in Tudor historical fiction however I loved the writing style. It had its own pace and way of describing characters, scenery and events that is very original to Elizabeth Fremantle.  I literally could not put this book down and I finished it in two days. 

It was a new side of Queen Elizabeth that I hadn't imagined before; also the book chronicled events that I was not familiar with so I was excited to see what happened as the book progressed.  If reader's enjoy Tudor fiction in the least then I would most certainly recommend this book highly.  The author has a very original voice and it is very easy to connect with the characters.  The book is around 500 pages but it doesn't seem like it because you get very invested into the story and pulled into the character's world and time in history.  A book I'd highly recommend.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Taming of the Queen


The Taming of the Queen
By: Philippa Gregory 

Summary: Why would a woman marry a serial killer?

Because she cannot refuse…

Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives—King Henry VIII—commands her to marry him.

Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.

But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy—the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…

From an author who has described all of Henry’s queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power, and education at the court of a medieval killer.

Review: 
Kateryn Parr was an amazing woman; in Philippa Gregory's latest book The Taming of the Queen her story is told in a narrative voice from the point of his proposal up until Henry's Death.  In the author's note it is also described how Kateryn did live to marry her love Thomas and that she would eventually die trying to give birth to their child.

I love Philippa Gregory's book but this one is a favorite now by far.  In it the voice of Kateryn speaks out passionately to the reader and it is almost moving to a point as you follow her on her journey of thinking that a woman's role is just being a wife and surviving to the realization in and of herself that she has the power to be able to write and study just as any man does specifically for her this
epiphany  occurs when she is studying the Word of God.

Kateryn goes through hell and back trying to survive Henry the 8th and all his mind games; even to the point of him setting up a fake arrest to scare her into submission as if he hadn't already by that point; but Kateryn stays strong and survives the marriage with cunning and grace.  She was a woman truly out of her time who I believe would have been a great writer if she'd been born in a period with more tolerance for women and their rights.

The characters were easily relatable in this book and I found myself cheering them on.  In a way Kateryn can be an inspiration for women today.  She survived an extremely abusive marriage, raising step-children, living in a royal court, and she did it all while still wanting to study and having a thirst for knowledge that I truly admire.  She was also the first woman to publish a book in England.

Gregory knocked this one out of he ballpark for me and its a book I will most definitely keep on my shelf.

Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3   

Monday, August 17, 2015

Persian Brides Review

Persian Brides 
By: Dorit Rabinyan


<3 <3 <3 <3 

Summary:Persian Brides is a novel of rare beauty and extraordinary accomplishment. Set at the turn of the century in the fictional Persian village of Omerijan, it tells the magical story of two young girls--Flora and Nazie Ratoryan--and their many neighbors in the almond tree alley in Omerijan where they live. Fifteen-years-old, pregnant, and recently abandoned by her cloth-merchant husband, Flora longs desperately for the return of her unborn baby's father. Nazie consoles and pities her, and though she is still a child of eleven, she yearns--just as desperately--for her own future marriage. Although the narrative spans only two days, it branches out and back, encompassing the lives and histories of many of Omerijan's inhabitants. Rabinyan's vivid depiction of the village is a sensual feast, recreating the odors and flavors, the colors, sounds, and textures of everyday life. A masterful blend of fantasy and reality, the narrative forcefully conveys the shocking cruelties endured by many of the characters while at the same time weaving a modern-day Arabic legend where snakes offer jewels in exchange for milk and death is thwarted by appeasing the village demons. Written with passion and elegance, Persian Brides brings a rich array of characters to life--telling of their hardships without ever losing the magic and wonder that is so much a part of their lives.

Review:

Persian Brides was a book unlike any other I've ever read.  It tells the story of the Persian village of Omerijian; and details the story of the young women specifically the young Jewish women who live in it as they are born, go through childhood; get married and have their own children.  The style of writing was very descriptive and open; it could almost be called provocative in some ways.  There were no details left to the imagination; all of the girls sexual experiences growing up and all of the customs that the women and men in the village observed were very specifically detailed in the book; so if that type of thing bothers you as a reader then I would be careful with this book also I would not recommend anyone under the age of fourteen reading it.

It took awhile for me to get into the writer's tempo with how things were described but once I did I ended up loving this book and finishing it very quickly.  I learned a lot I didn't know about customs in a different part of the world, marriage rituals, spiritual beliefs, and I loved the style of writing.  The characters in the book were very easy to relate to and the chapters ended in a way that made you want to keep reading.  The book centered mainly around the lives of two girls named Flora and Nazie, and their families lives in Omerijan; their entry into married life at the ages of between eleven and fourteen.  And their loyalty to each other. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of magic woven into the books they read and who wants a book that is hard to put down; but don't read it if you can't handle parts that are very truthful about the realities of life for women in this time and part of the world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION

IMZADI

By: Peter David

<3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Years before they served together on board the U.S.S. EnterpriseTM, Commander William Riker and ship's counselor Deanna Troi had a tempestuous love affair on her home planet of Betazed. Now, their passions have cooled and they serve together as friends. Yet the memories of that time linger and Riker and Troi remain Imzadi - a powerful Betazoid term that describes the enduring bond they still share. 
During delicate negotiations with an aggressive race called the Sindareen Deanna Troi mysteriously falls ill and dies. But her death is only the beginning of the adventure for Commander Riker, an adventure that will take him across time, pit him against one of his closest friends, and force him to choose between Starfleet's strictest rule and the one he calls Imzadi.


Review: Imzadi is a novel based upon the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The main characters that are involved in the plot are Deanna Troi and William Riker.  I was very curious when I first borrowed this book from my boyfriend to see if it would be like other science fiction and or fantasy genre books that I have read; and in addition I wanted to know if it would stay true to the television series.  This book in particular had more of a romantic twist to it as it from the very beginning went into detail about the sexual inuendo and romantic relationship between Riker and Deanna Troi.  That I did think differed from the television series quite a bit in the fact that on the show their relationship (Riker And Troi) usually stayed on the professional end.  I did enjoy the authors take on how they met and how Deanna got Riker to see beyond himself and to be able to open up to her and let her into his inner sanctum as she might say.  

There were parts in the book that stayed very true to the television series too however that I believe quoted word for word; I admired the writer for being able to do that while still adding his own twist to the main plot line of the story.  It was really more of a love story than the other books in this series that I've come into contact with; but it is able to stand on its own merit because it has enough adventure in it that the romance does not pervade the whole storyline so much that the reader even if they were not a lover of romance that they would get bored with it.  If you like the Star Trek: The Next Generation Series then I would definitely recommend this book; however even if you'd never seen Star Trek it I still think you could read it and find the story interesting enough to get through. 

While reading this book I was in the mood for a predictable ending; which to a point I did get so if your looking for a light read with a little romance and a little bit of adventure I'd recommend this book.

The star system is 
*= horrible
**- Not good
***= Average
****= Great
*****= LOVED IT