Every now and then you stumble on a book that changes the way you view the world, life, or yourself. Those seemingly lucky accidents that come your wa...moreEvery now and then you stumble on a book that changes the way you view the world, life, or yourself. Those seemingly lucky accidents that come your way through a gift or a glance at a shelf in the library, a cover that catches your eye in a book store. This, for me, is one of those books.
Esme Ellis shares her life story, from her childhood in Sheffield to her adult life in London and the South, with open candour. It's not not simply the fascinating story of a woman choosing the non-conformist life of an artist and sculptor, it's her personal journey from youthful good health through a terrifying illness that almost consumed her. A journey of becoming a wounded healer.
You could read for the insight into the problems faced by someone with a legitimate disease (ME) that was not accepted as being real at the time. You could read it as a self-help book, giving useful insight into the creative ways the mind and spirit can be used to heal the body. Or you could read it as a most amazing conversation between a Spirit being and the woman he takes care of. Because this book has a co-writer, who adds comments and insights as well as entire chapters. A most unique co-writer - Esme's Spirit guide.
If you don't believe in Spirit guides or anything esoteric, don't worry about it. Neither did Esme, until she was left with no other explanation for what was happening to her. It would be a shame to skip his sections, since they are full of warm humour and loving advice, but the book is vastly worth reading for Esme's sections alone. For the courageous story of how a remarkable woman coped with nearly dying and having her life plans and career completely torn apart by serious crippling illness to finding her way back to health and sunlight once again.
I stumbled upon The Scent of A Soul and was intrigued by the title. So, I took a look at the first few pages on Amazon and decided to read it in sp...more
I stumbled upon The Scent of A Soul and was intrigued by the title. So, I took a look at the first few pages on Amazon and decided to read it in spite of what it was.
In spite of? Yes, that surprised me as well. You see... it's a paranormal romance and the genre is not one of my favourites. Beyond Jane Austen I stopped reading romances in High school. As for paranormal... it's a genre I do enjoy, but the recent frenzy for all things supernatural (thanks to Buffy the vampire slayer and Harry Potter) has brought us a lot of really bad fan fiction in recent years.
The Scent of the Soul is nothing like that. It isn't a fan fiction spin-off - it should be creating it's own fan fiction. This really is an excellent book and I enjoyed it just as much as those first few pages hinted at. The characters are solid and real. Even when they step out of the everyday into the supernatural they manage to stay believable. The action is violent in places, but then this is a story of a battle between brothers that spans the realms of Good and Evil. The romance is intense and there are twists I wasn't expecting with not just one romance, but... well... you'll need to read it to find out. ;-)
All in all I enjoyed it immensely. I loved the hero. Marek is very attractive and not because of his muscular physique, Scottish accent or piercing blue eyes. Marek is hot because he's an old-fashioned kind of guy. Like the knights in the legends of old, Marek still believes in all those things that truly can sweep a fair maiden off her feet: honour, respect, consideration, chivalry and romance. Better still, he's not the only charmingly handsome man in the story. Lilliah's problem is not only will she get her man, but... which one? There are at least seven really attractive and likable men woven into this story.
I liked Lilliah, which helped a lot. I've read some romances where the heroine made me want to slap her. I can't read a romance where the lead lady is so irritating I can't connect with her. In my opinion there is nothing romantic about whimpering, simpering, fragile or neurotic. Lilliah, thankfully, is none of those. She is uniquely herself, stubborn-minded and a little headstrong, but still very likable. I wanted her to get the right man and I felt for her when her loved ones are drawn into danger by the chaos created by Marek's evil brother.
Worst Book Irritation:
Here and there the author slips from telling the story from the point of view of Lilliah into telling you what a minor character is thinking. It's a minor moment of jarring your brain, but I'm here to be the picky reviewer so I have to mention it. And too many names. There are a lot of characters in this book and then the author adds the extra names of people we meet briefly, or not at all. I started to wish there was a front list of who was who at times.
Best Book Moment:
There's a scene which mimics one from the Twilight books. I'm not sure if the author did this deliberately or not, but the results had me chuckling with delight. I'm not a fan of the Twilight books. Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of my all time favourite movies, so silly sparkling teen vampires are NOT my thing. But Jennifer Thompson has taken an idea from there are reworked it in a way that, in my opinion, works even better than the original concept.
In fact... my next best book moment are Jennifer's concepts. I'll avoid spoilers by just saying that she's taken an old supernatural idea and given it her own intriguing twist. I like that a lot. I like this book a lot.
It would make a smashing set of movies. More than one, I'd say, since the plot is complex and there are so many interesting side stories woven into it. Now... who do we get to play Lilliah and Marek? ;-) (less)
I Call Myself Earth Girl hides a deep message within an easy to read story. It's written alternating the story between the "here and now" life of Glo...more
I Call Myself Earth Girl hides a deep message within an easy to read story. It's written alternating the story between the "here and now" life of Gloria and the very different life of Earth Girl. Is Earth Girl merely a vivid dream or something more? Well... you'll have to read and decide for yourself!
The storyline is clever and has some interesting twists. The main characters are fleshed out nicely and the dialogue is excellent, but I did find some of the descriptive portions a bit rushed. I would have liked to have been shown more and told less, but that's a personal complaint. It doesn't detract from a well-crafted plot and, all in all, a good thought-provoking read.