The audio narration by Jenna Lamia is outstanding. She is the perfect choice to read this novel. Her voice and inflections are on point; the characterThe audio narration by Jenna Lamia is outstanding. She is the perfect choice to read this novel. Her voice and inflections are on point; the character voices distinct. She made listening to the book an enjoyable experience.
However, I had a very difficult time staying focused on the story itself. And, honestly, it might just be me. This is not the typical genre of book that I read. I wanted to read it only because the author is a fellow book blogger. The storyline is not one that I would normally gravitate toward, so I may have brought some preconceived biases into my reading experience that are not fair.
With that said, there were parts of it that intrigued me ... but I was left wanting more. There were other parts that went on and on ... that I just wanted to skip over. Felicia Ward is a seventeen-year old girl who finds herself in Level 2, the stage between life on earth and Heaven. Felicia is dead yet she is stuck in this in-between world where she relives her life through countless memories. This is how the reader is introduced to Felicia's back story - her life on Earth, so to speak. I was intrigued by some of her memories; others did not seem to move the plot forward in any meaningful way but instead showed a part of her character or an aspect of a relationship that helps us get to know her character a little better. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Neil, was adorable - how they met, their first date, etc.
The dystopian-esque elements of the book (the Level 2 parts) were just plain confusing to me. The Morati who oversee Level 2 are in the process of rebelling because they want to go to Level 3, but are forever stuck on Level 2. Then Julian, Felicia's maybe-but-maybe-not love interest breaks in to free her and tries to get her to join the fight against the Morati. Julian was part of Felicia's real life and they engaged in a relationship, but as far as Felicia in Level 2, it is all about Neil. Neil is her one true love. So, the premise of there being a love triangle was a bit flawed. The Neil/Felicia relationship seemed more real and emotional than the Julian/Felicia relationship.
The ending felt a bit rushed and contained some surprises that I am not sure make sense, but I am ultimately happy about.
Overall, a mixed read for me. Enjoyed some parts; other parts were confusing, but this could be because this is not the typical genre of book that I read. ...more
Jennifer Barrick is a faith-full teenager who wants to be used by God in big ways. But, due to her quiet demeanor, she prays often for boldness to shaJennifer Barrick is a faith-full teenager who wants to be used by God in big ways. But, due to her quiet demeanor, she prays often for boldness to share her faith. One night, on the way home from a concert, the Barrick family's lives are forever changed when they are involved in a horrific car accident which leaves Jen severely brain damaged.
The book is told from her mother, Linda's, point of view, as this is ultimately a book about a family. The faith of the whole family is tested through this trial. Each member is affected differently by the accident, but, out of this tragedy, God reveals Himself in amazing ways. Jen is transformed into a bold vessel for Christ, sharing the light of His hope, love, and grace to others. Throughout her medical crisis and subsequent trials stemming from the brain injury, this book reveals how Jen's relationship with the Lord is strengthened beyond anything imaginable. Her child-like faith and hope are contagious. She is not down and out about her condition - she is happy to be able to proclaim the love of Christ to others, if that is how God wants to use her. I'm just amazed by this young girl and her testimony. Her story is incredible.
There is some repetitiveness to the story, which is why I give it 4 stars instead of 5. The story is a bit choppy in places and does not flow well, but, as a whole, the story is amazing and one I highly recommend....more
Rick Denton had spent his life angry and bitter at his stepfather, Art, for some perceived transgressions Art committed against Rick, namely marryingRick Denton had spent his life angry and bitter at his stepfather, Art, for some perceived transgressions Art committed against Rick, namely marrying his mom, Leeann. When Art suffers a medical crisis and Rick is called home to care for Art and Leeanne's Christian bookstore, many old feelings surface. Rick is forced to confront his emotional baggage and face past hurts that are holding him in bondage from living a full life. Ultimately, REMEMBERING CHRISTMAS Is a story of redemption, faith, and hope. 4 stars....more