Aaru by David Meredith Review

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Synopsis:

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis of this book piqued my interest and it definitely did not disappoint. Immortality is something that I think everyone thinks about from time to time and this book explores this possibility in a unique way of downloading your persona onto a massive super computer called “Aaru”.

The story was very well done…the writing flowed very smoothly and I was engaged from the first page to the last. It had some unexpected moments and ended in a way that would satisfy but also leaves me wanting more (book 2, Aaru, Halls of Hel is advertised to be released in 2018).

The characters were interesting. I did find it difficult to be on board with Koren being  only 13 or 14 years old, based on the lack of parental supervision and some of the things that happened to her (although I realize that this does happen).

Rose was a sweet character and I loved seeing the virtual world through her eyes. I did find some of the concepts of Aaru to be a bit confusing at times but overall the world building was solid.

This is not a Christian fiction book, so there was some cursing and some references to Heaven and God that I didn’t agree with.

Overall, this was a nice change from the contemporary stories I’ve been immersed in lately. It had a mixture of many genres…fantasy, thriller, horror, mystery, and romance.

My Rating:

4 stars

I received this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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When Through Deep Waters by Rachelle Dekker Review

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Synopsis:

Alicen McCaffrey finally has the life her mother always dreamed for her: beautiful home in Santa Monica, successful husband, adorable daughter. Then tragedy blows her carefully assembled facade to pieces. Worse yet–Alicen feels solely responsible. At rock bottom, she decides to accompany a childhood friend back to Red Lodge, Montana, where they spent summers together as kids.

The peaceful mountain landscape, accented with lush forests and small-town charm, brings back happy memories of time spent with her beloved, eccentric Grandma Josephine. Alicen begins to hope that perhaps things could be different here. Perhaps the oppressive guilt will lift–if only for a moment.

But when Alicen starts hearing voices and seeing mysterious figures near the river in the woods, she begins to fear she’s completely lost her sanity, as it’s rumored her grandmother did. Or might there be more to Red Lodge than meets the eye? Could the voices and visions be real–and her only means of finding the healing she so desperately needs? Or will they prove to be her final undoing?

My Thoughts:

This is a difficult book to review because I have many mixed feelings about it. I didn’t really know what to expect when I started reading it, based on the synopsis and it was definitely different than anything I’ve read before.

It almost felt like the author was adding elements of magical realism to the story and trying to fit them into the story of salvation but to me, it didn’t quite work. The theology behind some of the things said and seen in the story just didn’t make sense. I’m not a fan of magical realism/paranormal aspects so this probably had a lot to do with my feelings towards the book.

I liked the character of Alicen and felt that her grieving process seemed very realistic. I also found the descriptions of how depression felt as very accurate. I also loved the friendship she shared with Louise and the support she received from her.

The story moved very fast and I found myself flying through the pages. Unfortunately, I just felt like some elements of the story were confusing and a bit strange. It wasn’t the book for me.

My Rating: 2.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Hunter and the Valley of Death by Brennan S. McPherson Review

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Synopsis:

Experience the psalms like never before–through thought-provoking fiction. 
A man wakes up in the Valley of Death and realizes he’s given up everything, including his memories, to attempt to kill Death so that he can bring his wife back to life. But when he fails, who will be there to rescue him?
The Hunter and the Valley of Death is a profound meditation on life, death, loss, and love. Formatted as a fantasy parable on the topic of surrender, this story shows that there is only One who could kill Death–and because of him, and him alone, we say, “Oh, Death, where is your sting?” 

My Thoughts:

This small book packed a lot of punch! The story is a fantasy parable relating to Psalm 23 and many other stories of the Bible.

Told in a fantasy style, the story moves at a swift pace and the reader travels with The Hunter through many places and encounters many creatures along the way.

The symbolism is easy to decipher for those familiar with the Bible. The story is packed with symbols, many that are subtle, so this book would be great for re-reading as new things would be discovered with each read.

It took a bit for me to get invested in the story but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put it down. The descriptions were very vivid and the story was hard hitting. I went through a vast range of emotions when reading the story, from sadness and remorse, to joy and thankfulness.

This would be an excellent story to use in Bible studies and small groups. There are author’s notes at the end that explain the symbolism and how the story relates to the Bible, specifically to Psalm 23. The author’s love for Christ and the scripture truly shines through and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to read this book.

This is the first book in a series (the Psalm series) by various authors and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next story.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Title: Just Let Go

Author: Courtney Walsh

Release Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Romance

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

This is the second book by Courtney Walsh that takes place in Harbor Pointe, Michigan and I was delighted to revisit this quaint little town and to see some of my favorite characters from “Just Look Up”.

This story follows Grady and Quinn, two broken people who at first glance seem like opposites but after digging deeper, they come to realize they have a lot in common.

I loved the character development that occurred in both of the main characters. It was gradual and felt genuine. I also loved the inclusion of the side characters…Quinn’s dad, her friends, and the judge were developed very well and made a nice addition to the story.

The faith content was great in the story. I loved how Quinn stuck to her morals regarding purity and dating, but there were also discussions about redemption and forgiveness in regards to this.

I enjoyed this story but not as much as the first in the series. I didn’t relate to the characters as much in this book and at times I found that the plot was becoming a bit repetitive.

My Rating

3.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts an opinions are my own.

About the Author

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Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two more books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at http://www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

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Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Courtney Walsh is giving away a grand prize of a library of Courtney Walsh’s books and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/d0a4/just-let-go-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Falling for You by Becky Wade Review

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Synopsis:

Willow Bradford is content taking a break from modeling to run her family’s inn until she comes face-to-face with NFL quarterback Corbin Stewart, the man who broke her heart–and wants to win her back. When a decades-old missing-persons case brings them together, they’re forced to decide whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

My Thoughts:

I read the first book in this series and although I enjoyed the setting and the writing style, the main character drove me crazy and I had a few issues with her decisions.

This book was much better than the first in my opinion.I really loved Willow and related to her compulsion to shop when she felt stressed. I also loved the relationship she had with Corbin.

Willow works through issues of her past and finding forgiveness. This was a wonderful lesson as many Christian women struggle with looking perfect to the world.

Willow’s grandmother was one of my favorite characters because she wasn’t the cliche’d image of a loving, doting grandmother. She was grumpy and not afraid to share her opinions.

There was a great mystery included in the story that really added to my enjoyment of the book.

I’m eager for the next book in the series as I love Britt and can’t wait to see her story.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinion are my own.

 

The Complete Guide to Dream Interpretation by Marsha Trimble Dunstan Review

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Description:

Simple, Dynamic Plan and Comprehensive Dictionary for Dream Interpretation

Too often, books on dream interpretation can wander off into complicated interpretation techniques, clinical language, or an incomplete “CliffsNotes” set of information. With wit and warmth, dream interpretation expert Marsha Trimble Dunstan gives readers a truly simple, comprehensive, and biblical approach to interpreting their dreams.

Thoroughly grounding her teaching in Scripture, Dunstan lays out a concise step-by-step process for straightforward interpretation and then gives a wealth of real, modern-day examples of dreams and their interpretations. Included at the end is one of the most extensive dream symbol dictionaries on the market, with over 3,800 entries, all with biblical references.

If you’re serious about discerning what God is saying to you through your dreams, this dynamic book is sure to become a well-used staple next to your bedside, providing you with the practical tools you need night after night.

My Thoughts:

I dream almost every time I sleep and sometimes my dreams can be very strange so I was very eager to find a book that discusses dream interpretation from a Biblical perspective. I truly believe that God still speaks to people through their dreams but sometimes it’s difficult to understand what He’s saying.

This book is very informative and provides a lot of insight into interpreting dreams as well as deciphering whether the dreams are from God.

The author provides many examples of dreams with the interpretations, which really helped me to understand and grasp the process easier.

There is also a very large dictionary of dream symbols in the last half of the book that gives the Biblical symbol and the Biblical reference.

After reading this book, I still feel that  dream interpretation is a difficult process but I definitely feel like I have more knowledge and tools to learn more about what my dreams mean.

I highly recommend this book to Christians who may feel like the Lord is speaking to them through their dreams but doesn’t know how to understand them.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh Review

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Synopsis:

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home–a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work–something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along–if only she’d just look up.

My Thoughts:

This story follows Lane, who struggles with social anxiety and has trouble fitting in with her family. She still feels the effects of her childhood, where she was nicknamed “Pudge” and not treated well.

I related to Lane in many ways. She felt very real and the descriptions of her anxiety were very accurate. As I was reading, I was reminded of some difficult memories from my childhood of being teased and feeling left out. I also related wholeheartedly when her brother was almost questioning her anxiety and making her feel like she could control it. (Been there, done that). I also found myself nodding furiously during the scene when she goes to her hometown church.

I loved how Ryan helped Lane to see where her priorities should be and found his love for her to be very special.

The town of Harbor Pointe was a great setting and I’m excited to know that this is only book one in a series of stories taking place in this small lakeside touristy town.

I also found Lane’s job as an interior designer to be interesting to read about. I’ve often thought that would be a fun job so it was fun to learn some of the ins and outs of it.

Overall, I loved this book. The writing flowed very easily and I flew through the story and was very sad to see it end. I will definitely be reading more books by Courtney.

My Rating:

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