Review: *DNF* Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

In case you may be wondering what happened to me this past month, or where I have been… I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. While I will be posting reviews regularly, the rest of this blog’s content won’t come back for a bit. Not until we find our new rhythm. I and family are doing well. 

Unfolding

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

January 31, 2017 – Blink YA Books

Purpose: Review

Source: Booklook Bloggers

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

DNF

                When I read the summary of this book, I immediately wanted to get my hands on a copy of it. I just had to read it ASAP. So when I had the opportunity to review it, I jumped at the chance. I really thought that I would like this book, I really wanted to. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I was frustrated and bored with this book that I couldn’t even finish it. I hate to review books that I didn’t finish, but there are some cases where I have to. And this is one of them.

I would say that I finished a third of the book, at least a hundred pages into it. And yet, if someone was to ask me what this book was about, I wouldn’t be able to clearly explain it (hence why I skipped that part of my review).  A boy with scoliosis and who is also an epileptic is friends with a girl who was delivered to his neighborhood via a tornado and who is also able to see into the future. I know that something has happened and something is currently happening, I have no clue what that is.  The mystery, the selling point for this book was very slow to unravel. The beginning gives you a lot of questions, but no clue as to the possible answers. A lot of cloak and dagger and otherness, without a real or defined purpose.

My other complaint would be with the characters. Each seemed to have a role to play, and while they have distinct personalities, I didn’t really like any of them. I didn’t connect with any of them, in any way that would cause me to be invested in them or the story.  What this story does have going for it is the potential. I think that the bare bones of this story are good and strong, but it’s everything else that just didn’t work for me.

Always Shine 

*DNF* Review: A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz

A Moonbow Night

A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz

Source: Revell Reads Review Program

Purpose: Review

Christian Fiction, Historical

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

*DNF*

Historical books are often hit or miss with me. The last few have been big hits, so I went with it and selected this one for review. I want to stress that this book isn’t bad, it just wasn’t for me. Frantz’s writing is beautiful, the premise of the story is interesting (that’s what drew me to this book in the first place).  It’s the execution that didn’t work for me. The pacing was too slow, I made it a third of the way through before I put the book aside. And I simply couldn’t motivate myself to come back to it. This was a lot of time and space to get to know the characters, and yet, I still felt as if I didn’t know very much of substance about them. Sion and Tempe had the budding of a romance that promised to be sweet and long lasting (at least in my opinion), but in the part that I read they spent more time apart then they spent together.  Frantz was able to draw me deeply into the setting; the time and place of the story. Unfortunately, she was not able to keep me engaged with what was going on.

 

 

Always Shine!

 

*DNF* Young Adult Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)

*DNF* Young Adult Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Source: Library

Purpose: Personal Choice

*DNF Review*

I typically don’t do DNF reviews for books that I pick up on a whim. I reserve DNF reviews for actual review books, and even then, I try my best to finish them. But, I feel that I need to put my voice into the mix for this book. I picked this up because everyone was raving about it, it’s got good ratings on Goodreads. Jack the Ripper and forensics are buzz words for me. I read the summary and thought, “Yes! I’m in!” And then I started reading it. Disappointment soon set in. Immediately. I followed my 100-page rule and then gave it another 25 before I set it aside. As far as the mystery, it was interesting and I am curious as to how it all works out. I suspect that it’s either the brother or the father. (But those two are so super-obvious that if it is one of them I’d be even more disappointed). There is a part of me that is a but curious about how it all works out.  The two main reasons that I am dnfing this would be 1. The romance and 2. The main character, Audrey Rose.

The romance: it’s instant. As soon as Audrey Rose hears Thomas’ voice she’s in love. And that is just stupid.  Thomas Cresswell swings between being overconfident and annoying to creepy and annoying.  I am sure that they end up together but I find it rather disappointing.  The main character: Audrey Rose is obviously not doing what “normal” girls her age are doing in this time period. But she is choosing to follow this path, so she should be okay with it. There’s no reason to beat this fact dead into the ground every couple of pages. I think that if she was truly confident in herself her interactions with the rest of the characters, especially Thomas, would have been a lot less annoying.

There are a lot of positive reviews for this book, and I am not sure why. But I wanted to share my opinion so that if nothing else, the next reader is forewarned.

DNF Review

*DNF Review* 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations

The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations: Walking alongside People Who Believe Differently

9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations by Mary Schaller and John Crilly

Source: Tyndale House Publishers

Non-fiction, Christian, *DNF Review*
A copy of this title was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Normally, I try to read review books in their entirety. But, after starting and stopping this one, I decided that this book just may not be for me. Or maybe I am trying to read it at the wrong time. Since I’ve had this book for a long while, I thought that it was time to  move forward with it, especially since it is unlikely that I will come back to this.

I will say that this books was easy to read. It was not bogged down with a bunch of fancy terms or technical lingo. From what I read this book was easily accessible. What bothered me was that the premise is really nothing original, it’s common sense. Yes, what it is suggesting goes against the norm and common practice. But the entire book can be summed up in one or two sentences that the authors kept coming back to (at least from the small part that I read).  From what I could tell, the rest of the book breaks the central idea into actionable steps.

Just because I was not able to get into it, doesn’t meant that it’s not worth checking out.

 

Always Shine!

Blog Tour and Review Post : The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

I am excited to be participating in the blog tour for Rachelle Dekker and her second book in The Seer series, The Calling.  She participated in a Q &A, which I have posted a part of it here, on my blog.

Q: The Calling is the second book in The Seer Series. Does it pick up right after The Choosing leaves off? No, a year and a half

RD:No, a year and a half has passed when we rejoin the characters in The Calling.

Q: This book is written from Remko’s perspective. Did you face any challenges writing from a male point-of-view?

RD: There was definitely a looming pressure as I started to write the book. As a woman writer, I wanted to make sure Remko felt masculine and authentic, so I was constantly aware of how he sounded, and how he reacted. Once I got into a flow with his character though, it started to feel more familiar I didn’t have to think about it as much.

Q: The theme of identity from The Choosing continues in The Calling. Carrington reminds herself, “When you know who you truly are, you realize there is no war left to fight at all.” How does this statement apply to our Christian faith?

RD: For me this is simply a reminder that God is still God. Regardless of my circumstance or how I view the world, the Father is constant and hasn’t changed. He has already won the fight, already conquered death, already set me free. It’s only when I forget who He calls me and who He is that I feel the need to fight against life instead of surrendering to Him and letting Him be God.

Below you can find out more about the book and my thoughts about it.

The Calling

The Calling by Rachelle Dekker 

The Seer #2

March 8, 2016  – Tyndale house

464 page – Young adult, dystopian, fiction, christian, fantasy

Rachelle Dekker

Facebook: yes

Twitter: @RachelleDekker

Purpose: Review, Tyndale

.I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Click here for the Goodreads summary, if you would like to know what this book is about.

My Thoughts: I did something I normally would not have done. I attempted to read the second book in the series without having read the first book. Only because I have the second book for review, and I am part of the blog tour.

Yesterday’s post was my DNF review for The Choosing, the first book in The Seers series, so I will not get into detail about that one. Normally, I wouldn’t have gone on with the series if the first book didn’t compel me to. But, I am part of the blog tour, and was told that the author would be visiting each tour stop and would be expecting a review. Having the author visit my blog is always an honor and gets me excited, but it doesn’t really affect my feelings/thoughts on the book. This time, that knowledge did convince me to give a book a chance it normally would not have gotten.

I made it much further in book 2 than I thought that I would. While there were parts that I liked (it had nice action scenes), there were a whole lot more parts that I just couldn’t get behind. This book is told through Remko’s perspective. Remko is now married to Carrington and they have a daughter together. For all intents and purposes, he is the leader of the rebels. But, I didn’t buy it. I am not saying that every hero is without faults. It’s their flaws that make them that much more human and believable. If the hero is human, than it is normal and expected of them to be afraid. But in Remko it alternated between being weak and being more feminine than what was probably intended.

 I wish that I could say that I was invested in either the characters or the story/plot. While parts of what I read was interesting, there was still something missing, something that kept me from believing in this story. I struggled with making it as far as I did. It took me a week to make it through the 145 pages that I did  get through.

DNF

Always Shine!

DNF Review: The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

The Choosing (Seer, #1)

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker 

The Seer #1

May 19, 2015 – Tyndale house

464 page – Young adult, dystopian, fiction, christian, fantasy

Rachelle Dekker

Facebook: yes

Twitter: @RachelleDekker

Purpose: Review, Edelweiss

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Click here for the Goodreads summary, if you would like to know what this book is about.

My Thoughts: To be completely honet, the main reason that I wanted to read this books was because I am a huge fan of her dad, Ted Dekker’s work. I wanted tos ee the type of stories that his daughter would spin. I was very happy that while she may have followed her dad into the writing world, she had her own voice and her own story to tell. I was excited that her writing was nothing like her dad’s. But, that’s where the excitement stayed. I am a little disappointed because I was confident that I would love this book.

The synopsis makes the book sound so much more interesting than it really is. I know that I am in the minority when I say that I didn’t enjoy this book. Even more so when I say that I couldn’t finish it. I stopped at the 25% mark. (For a book that is 464 pages, 25% is a lot, about 116 pages into the book.) Id the book was cut by about 150 pages and the pacing was increased, I my have enjoyed this enough to at least finish. But, as it is, do you  know what happened in the 116 pages that I did read? Nothing. Carington is not chosen, says good-bye to family, becomes a lint reunites and befriends  Larkin, rescued  by citywatch guard Remko, a lint girl is found murdered, Authority somebody lets his wife die and Carrington runs into her mom and little brother in the city. Yes, all of that moves the story from one page to the other, but what happens? Is any of it important? Why should I care?Along the way the story is peppered with the obnoxious message that  females are only worth something if they are chosen (this message is beat into the ground), and if they are not chosen they are only good for manual labor in service to the Authority.

I couldn’t into this story  and I didn’t care about any of the characters. So, I decided to not continue with this particular installment.

DNF

Always Shine!

Review: Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan

Come to the Garden

Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan 

February 23, 2016 – Howard Books

240 Pages – Adult, Fiction, Christianity, Fantasy

Jennifer Wilder Morgan

Facebook: yes

Twitter: @Come2theGarden

Purpose: Review, Howard Books

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

From Goodreads: A novel based on true experiences, Come to the Garden is a story about a woman’s journey with a mysterious angel that encourages readers to believe heaven is closer than they think.
Years ago, author Jennifer Wilder Morgan served as a hospital volunteer, visiting critically ill patients—praying with them and listening to their stories. As she created a safe space for those of all faiths and backgrounds, patients began confiding in Morgan about the mysterious ways God speaks to them—including encounters with angels, visions of loved ones who’ve passed on, and messages of comfort spoken in dreams. She witnessed the profound healing that occurs when people are permitted to talk about these experiences, and as a result, Morgan was inspired to share her own personal encounters with God in a novel.
In Come to the Garden, the main character Jenn wakes up on her birthday to find an angel introducing herself as Margaret in the backyard garden. Lately, Jenn has been struggling to make sense of the mysterious ways God has been speaking to her and is trying to understand what he wants her to know. The angel takes Jenn back through her memories and life experiences, revealing how God has been connecting with her all along. Under the angel’s guidance, Jenn finally understands the messages God has been speaking to her, in her dreams, divine promptings, and unexplained coincidences. It becomes clear that God is a faithful and persistent pursuer of the human heart.
Framed as a series of conversations between Jenn and her guardian angel, this unconventional and charming narrative will strike deep into the hearts of anyone seeking a greater understanding of God. Come to the Garden is an inspirational fictional story about the surprising ways God works in our lives and affirms that heaven is truly closer than we think.

My Thoughts:  First, I have to apologize because I didn’t finish this book. To be completely honest, I can’t say that I even read most of it. I skimmed and skipped, but didn’t completely read. I don’t have much trouble Dnfing books (it has taken me a long time to get to this point), but I hate doing it to review books. Especially review books that I pick and request.

With every fiction book the reader is required to suspend a certain amount of belief. Unless you live in a world where vampires, werewolves and other magical beings and realms exist, not everything you read will be true or could happen to just about anybody. But, when I come across a story that is based on true events, I expect that the story will be a bit more believable than the other worlds that I’ve encountered. Even suspending my belief, even trusting the author to transport me into her world, into her story. I didn’t buy into it.

I started with the note from the author, and that made me happily continue with the book. I was looking forward to having a glimpse of Wilder’s angelic encounter. But then the first chapter. Oh that first chapter, whose job it is to introduce the story, lay the foundation, start stripping away my disbelief.  I found the first chapter to be a bit cheesy, and that made me unsure about continuing. I mean, who truly forgets their birthday on their birthday? Let’s say that you do, I didn’t believe the character.  There was something else that was bothering me about the writing style, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But, after finishing the first chapter, I found that what little interest I had in the story was gone.  So I skipped ahead a couple of chapters and then a couple chapters more.

I was able to figure out what was bothering me about the writing style, and I am very aware that this could be a subjective (I.E. not everyone will agree) kind of thing. It was the voice, maybe of the author or the narrator, which I am not sure. What I am sure of is there was no credit given to the reader. The reader’s intelligence was not valued or accounted for, so it felt as if I was being talked down to. It was insincere. For a book that is based on real events you would expect to the undercurrent of truth in the words, but I did not. I could not find it here. I believe that if I did not feel as if I was being talked down to, or whatever disconnected me from this story, I think I would have enjoyed it.

DNF

Always Shine!