Book Review: Letters to the Lost

Yes, I’m alive. Can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last post! I’ve been reading like crazy, but I just haven’t been blogging. It’s on my goal list for this year, so maybe I’ll be better! I always love sharing about books, just can’t always find the time to blog.

Letters to the Lost CoverBook Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

While doing community service, Declan finds a letter on a grave that speaks to his heart. He is moved enough that he feels compelled to add a note to the bottom of the letter. Later, when Juliet sees his note, she is both furious at the violation, and slightly curious, so she writes back. The two begin correspondence. Through these letters (later emails) they both share things they aren’t able to share with others, but life is rarely that easy. Will the friendship last if they discover each other’s identity? Especially since they quickly learn, they go to the same high school.

I was so thankful for this book because I started my year with a few duds (books not people). I grabbed this book because it is on the 2019 Lone Star List, and I loved the cover. This book is beautifully written, and I had to stay up late to finish it in one sitting. I really enjoyed that even the minor characters have some complexity, and there were quite a few main character layers I wasn’t expecting. I’m interested to read her next novel, because I think there is sooo much more to learn about Declan’s best friend Rev.

Reader’s Note: I would suggest some Kleenex if your heart is a defender of the marginalized. The feeler in me wanted to punch/shake/hug some characters-sometimes in the same chapter.

Quote-none (book was due next day, so there were a few I loved but didn’t have time to collect).

Recommended Grades: 7-12 (tiny bit of language-but not much and some tough issues)
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion: Recommend
Source: Book

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Book Review: Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Mass

Book CoverBook Review: Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Mass

When life gets hard for her family, Feyre must learn to hunt and provide for her family. When she kills a wolf that is really a faerie, she is forced to live with the faeries she hates. Except, the more time she spends with them, the more she realizes what she knew could have been wrong.

I listened to this on audio; which was really well done. Anxiously awaiting book two (seems like it’s been on hold forever, but I’m first in line now). I’m not a huge faerie fan, but I loved this story. It was as much about relationships and perception of reality as it was faeries.

Quotes

None

Recommended Grades: 8-12

Genre: Fantasy

Overall Opinion: Recommended

Source: audiobook

Book Review: Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott

Hear the Wolves CoverBook Review: Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott

Sloan has been paralyzed with fear since her mother abandoned the family. A preceding incident left her forever changed, and Sloan finds herself unable to move on with her life. Her family leaves her at home for what should be a quick trip, but when a snow storm sets in, Sloan is forced into action. The harsh conditions only get worse,and then the wolves in the area decide to attack.  Will Sloan and her friends be able to get to safety in time?

This is a really quick read with lots of excitement. I was a little worried about not having enough time to connect to the characters, but I didn’t find that to be true. I loved the friendship between Sloan and Pilot, as well as the complicated relationship with his father. Be sure to read the author’s note at the end about her trip to visit the wolves. It’s pretty interesting!

Quote

“…there are hundreds of kids in the world like Pilot and me. Maybe thousands. All of us just dangling from silver threads, fearing-and sometimes hoping-that someone will cut the strings and we’ll all fall down.”

“No matter how people live their lives, they leave holes. Because once a person is gone, all that is left is the wondering. Wondering what might have happened if they’d stayed. If things were good, how much more good could there have been? And if things were bad, could they have ever gotten better?”

Recommended Grades: 5-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction (or Action Adventure)
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: Book

Book Review: Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Uninvited CoverBook Review: Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite fit in? Do you find yourself looking for the approval of others in your church, family,  job or personal life? Then this book is for you! Terkeurst delves into how God is the one that should occupy our attention and capture our hearts. It isn’t a book just for singles, it is for everyone at all walks of life.

I think it only fitting that I start a ridiculously long blogging hiatus (sorry about that) with the book that changed my life this year. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a total people pleaser. That isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, sometimes it reduces a lot of conflict, but when I read this book I realized how much that has crippled my spiritual growth. I’ve talked before about how I invest a lot of energy at work because I find success there, but what I hadn’t really looked at was my attitude towards service. I realized that I was serving Christ in a desire to be loved. I KNOW that salvation is by grace, but insecurity can make you wonder if you are doing enough to make Him happy. I mean, we all want to make Him proud. The answer to that question is: He loves me. It’s as simple as that. The outpouring of love I share shouldn’t come with expectations of return, it should just be. I’m a work in progress there, but it’s opened up a part of my heart I didn’t realize I’d closed off. Since reading this book, I’ve seen God reveal His love to me daily. I think I’d just stopped watching for it, because I know it never went away.

Quotes

“Live from the abundant place that you are loved and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.”

“Then I would rev up my Christian to-do list with all manners of serving, blessing, and giving others in the kind of love that I was so desperate to have boomerang back on me. Those are all good things. Fabulous activities. Biblical instructions. But when given from a heart whose real motivation is what I’m hoping I’ll get in return, it’s not really love at all.”

“God’s love isn’t based on me. It’s simply placed on me. And it’s the place from which I should live…loved.”

There are some great parallels to ballerinas also, but I’d have to quote several pages for the full effect. It’s pretty early in the book, you’ll find it! Oh, and the part about the lady at the gym…hilarious!

Recommended Grades: 7-Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Overall Opinion:  Highly Recommend
Source: Book

Book Review: Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

Out of the BoxThis book features 25 different projects that you could create with cardboard. There are step by step directions and even patterns provided. Some of the topics include masks, cars, dinosaurs, flowers, towns, and more. Students (and adults) can choose the projects that interest them.

One of the things I loved best about this book is that the supplies are reasonable. I also like that the book progresses in difficulty. It starts with easy projects and goes to more complex projects. The author even talks about how to fix mistakes and deal with challenges. I love the little maker mentality plugs sprinkled throughout the book.

Quotes: none but man, I’m going to make that lion mask!

Grades: 4-Adult

Genre: Nonfiction

Overall Opinion: Recommend

Source: eBook from Netgalley

Book Blog: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

If I runWhen Casey discovers the body of her best friend Brent, she knows she has been framed for his death. Now she knows she must not only run from the law, but also run for her life.  Dylan is hired by Brent’s family to track down Casey. At first it seems like and easy job, but the closer he gets, the less sure he is about his task.

Told in two voices, this Christian fiction will hook you from the start. I read this in a free ebook from Netgalley but I also listened to the audio.  The audio is very well done, but I would have loved to have a different reader for Dylan’s chapters. Can’t wait for the next book.

Quote I liked on prayer:

“I suppose prayer is always a good thing, even when it hurts.”

Genre: Christian Fiction

Overall Opinion: Recommend

Source: eBook and audiobook

Book Review: Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Court of FivesJessamy was born into a life where class decided her value. When she finally breaks tradition and trains in secret for the Fives; a deadly competition that tests her both physically and mentally, she knows she must keep her identity hidden. But things are never that easy. Situations with her father’s political ambitions complicate her options, and a forbidden friendship with Kalliarkos changes things in new and unexpected ways. 

Could not put this book down. In fact, I haven’t started the next one because I’m worried it will be the same way. I loved Jessamy’s character and some of the tough choices she had to make. I’m really interested in the the path this story will travel. A few of my teens have loved this, but some had trouble getting started at first. Once they give it a few pages, most have been hooked. This is on the 2017 Texas Lone Star Reading List and the Tayshas Reading List as well.
Quotes

You know that time you had a lot of great quotes, but you couldn’t find them anywhere???? Boo. Sorry people. I’ll make up for it when I read the next one.
Recommended Grades: 8-12

Genre: Action Adventure

Overall Opinion: Highly Recommend

Source: Book