On her way to work and strung out on Oxycontin, Amanda crashes her car, killing a woman anFrom my blog.
Amanda Hofer's life changed in just 15 seconds.
On her way to work and strung out on Oxycontin, Amanda crashes her car, killing a woman and the woman's young child.
Dr. Henry Steadman is on his way to speak at a medical conference when a series of bizarre circumstances begins to unfold. He is pulled over for a minor traffic violation, harassed by the patrol officer, arrested and placed in the back of the police car. When he is asked a series of 9-11-esque questions, he becomes concerned - what is going on here? The officer finally lets him go and as he is writing out a ticket, a car pulls up and shoots the officer and speeds away. With no witnesses, a dead police officer, and Henry as the last contact, the police are hot on his tail.
He retreats to his good friend's house for help, only to find another unsettling situation. Not knowing what to do or where to turn, Henry runs, trying to uncover the mystery as he hides out. Finding a sympathetic ear in Carrie Holmes, the Community Outreach Director at the police department who is manning phones at the hotline center, Henry and Carrie begin tracking clues to discover who is framing him and why. Carrie is recovering from her own tragedy - an accident that took the life of her husband and severely injured her son.
Gross skillfully plots a suspenseful and intriguing story from start to finish. What I found fascinating is that the initial elements of the story are actually based on fact; something that Gross describes in the Acknowledgments section at the end of the book (you can also read about it here). Something so small can truly change your life - in a matter of 15 seconds.
I loved this book. It kept me riveted to see how the plot would play out. I was not sure how Amanda and Henry were connected, if they were connected at all. Gross kept me turning those pages, wanting desperately to know how the story ended. There was only one thing that was not completely resolved for me, but if I talk about it here it will give out spoilers. So, if you have read the book and want to talk about it, let me know! But that is my reason for the 4 star rating instead of 5 stars. I just wanted a bit more detail about a particular situation. Other than that, I definitely recommend this for mystery/thriller lovers out there!
Note: This book contains graphic violence and language....more
Lexie is a Christian wife and mother who is trying to live her life for the glory of God. But she is facing the biggest challenge of her life. Her marLexie is a Christian wife and mother who is trying to live her life for the glory of God. But she is facing the biggest challenge of her life. Her marriage is in trouble. Her husband is an atheist who does not understand Lexie’s beliefs. This difference in beliefs makes for high tension in their marriage. Compounding the stress is Hugh’s job. He is working longer hours in hopes of receiving a coveted promotion.
What neither of them realize is that something more sinister is working against them. Something dark. Something evil that wants to tear apart their marriage. Something that will stop at nothing to ensure that Hugh never comes to believe in God.
I truly enjoyed this book. The author created this amazing character with a in-depth and detailed back story and she is only briefly mentFrom my blog.
I truly enjoyed this book. The author created this amazing character with a in-depth and detailed back story and she is only briefly mentioned in the Bible! I have a few little quibbles about some things, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but overall this is a richly drawn story and one I would definitely recommended to anyone who enjoys historical/biblical fiction.
In the beginning we meet Kiya, a young girl whose village is overrun by rebels and her parents are killed. When she and her fellow villagers are later freed by Egyptian soldiers and taken to the city of Heliopolis to live, Kiya cannot believe her luck. She continues to miss her village, but over time she comes to accept where she is and actually likes it.
Soon, Kiya is adopted as a priestess-in-training and given the name Lady Asenath. She has many encounters with Joseph throughout her young life and is immediately drawn to his strength and to his God. I found these parts of the novel very sweet. To think that they were smitten with each other years before they actually got married and were star-crossed lovers, so to speak, was an interesting way to approach the character of Asenath.
I think the author took a bit of liberty with the story of Joseph and Potiphar. The Bible tells us that Potiphar “burned with anger” (Genesis 39:19, NIV) after hearing about Joseph supposedly taking advantage of his wife (even though she advanced on him and he ran from her), so he threw him in prison. In the fictional account of Asenath, Potiphar has a soft heart for Joseph and does what he can to help Asenath see Joseph in prison and to help Joseph however he can. I do not see his fondness for Joseph backed up by scripture, so I had a hard time believing it. Now, I do understand that this is fiction, but I think the main themes of the Bible should remain intact. If Potiphar “burned with anger”, I cannot see him softening toward Joseph and helping him while he was in prison. On the other hand, since we know literally nothing about Asenath, I had no problem with the back story that the author created. The Joseph/Potiphar relationship was my only quibble with the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It is easy to read and I found myself anxious to get back into the story each night. It is a rather quick read, too, at less than 200 pages. I would definitely recommend it....more
"7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and"7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence." (Amazon.com)
This description may invoke various responses in you - and I'd like to suggest that it should. This book is the story of the Hatmaker family - Jen, her husband, Brandon, and their three children to various degrees, going on a 7 month long fast in 7 different areas of their life - Food, Clothes, Spending, Media, Possessions, Waste, and Stress. A book that may initially seem very preachy and over-the-top ended up being nothing of the sort. Jen is honest and hysterically funny in telling of her family's struggles with each month's fast from each identified area. When they make a mistake, she admits it. They are human just like the rest of us. This book isn't about looking down on the rest of us and telling us what we all should be doing. It's about taking a hard look at our lives and asking ourselves the important questions - are we actually living the Christian lives that we claim to be living?
In each chapter, Jen offers statistics and facts about the area her family is working on (i.e. food, consumerism). I found some of these passages to be a bit tedious and slowed down my reading of the book. It could just be that I'm not that into statistics. But they did make me think, which was probably the point (um..yeah!). Overall, there was much, much more good stuff in this book than not and I found myself saying "Yes! Yes!" and making notes in my e-reader often. Jen will make you think. And rethink. And want to begin making immediate changes in your own life and community.
If any book can do that, it's a worthwhile read. I'd even suggest, it's a must read. ...more
Maddie Kern is a budding violinist with dreams of attending Julliard. Her brother, TJ, has his own dreams of playing baseball. At the opeFrom my blog.
Maddie Kern is a budding violinist with dreams of attending Julliard. Her brother, TJ, has his own dreams of playing baseball. At the opening of the novel, they are both still reeling from the loss of their mother in a car accident and the subsequent catatonic state of their father. TJ is very angry at his father as he feels he is to blame for the accident; however, Maddie continues to visit her dad in the nursing home, playing the violin for him with little to no reaction.
When she secretly marries her brother's best friend, Lane, the son of Japanese immigrants, life is changed forever. The morning after their wedding ceremony, Maddie and Lane wake to the news that Pearl Harbor has been bombed - and everyone of Japanese descent, including Lane and his family are now suspect. Forced to move into an internment camp, Lane, his mother, and his sister leave the American life they have grown accustomed to and begin a new life full of suspicion, fear, anger, and hate directed at them.
Maddie chooses to follow her husband, joining him and his family inside the camp. Maddie struggles to connect with her mother-in-law as Lane tries to cope with being ostracized from the country he was born into. He ends up joining the Army on the American side, willing to do anything to prove his allegiance to his country. TJ also steps up and joins the military, willing to risk his own life to serve and protect his country.
No words I can write could do adequate justice to the work of literary gold within the pages of Bridge of Scarlet Leaves. This book captivated me from page one and did not let go until the final word, some 400 pages later. McMorris exquisitely captures the raw emotions - the angst, the pain, and the love - of each character in such a way that truly mesmerized me. The story is told from multiple viewpoints (Maddie, TJ, Lane), but the story never gets confusing or jumbled. The reader can feel each of the emotions that the characters are feeling, the sorrow and the joy, during their journeys. I was transported into another time and place and became so immersed with these characters that I did not want to leave them! I recommend this book without any reservation. McMorris is phenomenal - don't miss her first book, Letters from Home!...more
There are times when I do not know how to describe how I feel about a book. This is one of those times. This book is well-written and honFrom my blog.
There are times when I do not know how to describe how I feel about a book. This is one of those times. This book is well-written and honest in its portrayal, but I found it lacking…something. I cannot quite put my finger on what that something is, though. From my understanding, at the time of the writing of this book, she was still young in her Christian faith, so I can understand that my feelings are attributing to that somewhat. Heck, I am still young in my faith. But, I am not a convert from another religion, so I am trying to give her a bit of grace as a write this review.
First and foremost, I am proud of Ms. Winner for being brave enough to follow her heart. She felt Jesus prompting her to follow Him and she answered that call. Being that she was an Orthodox Jew, I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for her. However, even after finishing the book, I am still not fully understanding the reasons for her conversion. She had a dream about mermaids and Jesus. She did not feel accepted by some of her Orthodox friends, especially her boyfriend’s family (she was not a *true* Orthodox Jew as Judaism is passed through the mother and Ms. Winner’s father was the Jewish parent; however, she chose to convert to Orthodox Judaism as a teenager). But, she had others who were like family to her and accepted her as such. I just don’t think these sections were fleshed out enough. I wanted to know more of her heart and I only got more of the “I didn’t fit in” and “My boyfriend’s mom didn’t like me” responses. I don’t think she had enough distance at the time of writing this book to fully understand the decision she made and that is why some of the heart issues are not fully addressed.
As someone who is completely unfamiliar with Judaism, Ms. Winner explains in detail all of the Jewish customs, holidays and rituals. I am glad I got this e-book through my library so I could look up unfamiliar words immediately because there were a lot of them! It was almost too much for me at times. But, I was really fascinated with her explanations and narrative about her former faith. This book is laid out according to the Christian liturgical seasons. I found this format interesting. Yes, it works, but I found some of the stories she included to be unnecessary. In the context of the whole novel, I did not understand how they fit in or why these particular stories were included. They confused me and muddied the waters.
Ms. Winner talks in detail about how she found the church she now attends, but I found that Ms. her focus on the ritualistic aspect of the faith to be a detriment to the actual prize – the personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I think she missed a golden opportunity to explore this more in depth. I wanted to know more about her relationship with Jesus and how she developed in her relationship with Him. There just wasn’t enough there for me.
Overall, this is an extremely well-written book, but I found it lacking some personal connection. I had a hard time relating to Ms. Winner. I would recommend this book with reservation....more
I have mixed feelings about this book. It has languished on my TBR shelf for nearly 3 years. My mother and sister-Review originally posted on my blog.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It has languished on my TBR shelf for nearly 3 years. My mother and sister-in-law read it before I did and raved about it. Many others in the blogging world have given this book high praise. So, when I started it, I expected to be blown away.
But I wasn’t.
I wish the book was told entirely from young Sarah’s perspective. To be honest, I didn’t care at all about Julia and her story. There was so much drama with her husband that it really took away from the full impact that this story could have had for me. The Vel’ d’Hiv story is tragic. Tragic is even a light word for it. It’s horrifying. Thousands of Jewish families rounded up by the French police and shipped off to the Auschwitz gas chambers . . . it makes me sick to my stomach.
We meet young Sarah as her family is being rounded up by those French policeman in the middle of the night. In order to save her brother, she locks him in their secret hiding place, a cupboard in their bedroom. She thinks she will be right back to let him out; however, things do not go the way Sarah thinks they will.
Julia Jarmond is a journalist who is covering the 60 year anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup. What she uncovers during her research will change her life forever. Her personal struggles with her husband are ever present throughout the novel and really detract from the powerful story that is Vel’ d’Hiv.
Told in alternating viewpoints, Sarah and Julia’s stories eventually merge into an unexpected conclusion.
This is a good story and tells of a time that is not well known in World War II history, so for that purpose, I would recommend it....more