Book Review! Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee cover

Title: Hiddensee
Author: 
Gregory Maguire
Rating: 
2/5

Description from the Publisher:

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (October 31, 2017)

From the author of the beloved #1 New York Times bestseller Wicked, the magical story of a toymaker, a nutcracker, and a legend remade . . .

Gregory Maguire returns with an inventive novel inspired by a timeless holiday legend, intertwining the story of the famous Nutcracker with the life of the mysterious toy maker named Drosselmeier who carves him.

Hiddensee: An island of white sandy beaches, salt marshes, steep cliffs, and pine forests north of Berlin in the Baltic Sea, an island that is an enchanting bohemian retreat and home to a large artists’ colony– a wellspring of inspiration for the Romantic imagination . . .

Having brought his legions of devoted readers to Oz in Wicked and to Wonderland in After Alice, Maguire now takes us to the realms of the Brothers Grimm and E. T. A. Hoffmann– the enchanted Black Forest of Bavaria and the salons of Munich. Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann’s mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier– the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale ballet– who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.

But Hiddensee is not just a retelling of a classic story. Maguire discovers in the flowering of German Romanticism ties to Hellenic mystery-cults– a fascination with death and the afterlife– and ponders a profound question: How can a person who is abused by life, shortchanged and challenged, nevertheless access secrets that benefit the disadvantaged and powerless? Ultimately, Hiddensee offers a message of hope. If the compromised Godfather Drosselmeier can bring an enchanted Nutcracker to a young girl in distress on a dark winter evening, perhaps everyone, however lonely or marginalized, has something precious to share.

Review: The writing itself in this book was well done and the imagery produced by it was vivid and captivating. However, I found the story lacking.

I had a really hard time getting into this book and I never felt as though the story took off. I felt like I was constantly on the outside looking in, never feeling a part of it.

I was disappointed with how little this story reflected anything to do with the Nutcracker until the very end. I know this was the back story to Dirk but I felt as though most of this story could have been about anyone.

This was my first book by Gregory Maguire and I think it’ll be my last. There is nothing wrong with this book, but I don’t think this type of book is something I would enjoy.

About Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly StepsisterLostMirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes WickedSon of a WitchA Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

Find out more about Maguire at his website and follow him on Facebook.

Purchase Links:

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

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Book Review! Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

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Review: Title: Blind Spot
Author: 
Dani Pettrey
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: 
October 3, 2017

Description from the publisher: “The Wrath is Coming. But They Don’t Know Where–Or When.

“The wrath is coming” were the final words that FBI agent Declan Grey heard the suicide bomber say. Now Declan is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after or when the threat will be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation’s best clue leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw for assistance. She’s sought justice for refugees and the displaced around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. As they work together to uncover the mounting threat, the tension between them also includes a spark she can’t deny–and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything more can develop, they find themselves in a race against time to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.”

Review: This book was intense, suspenseful, faith filled, action packed and incredibly difficult to put down, and I loved every minute of it.

The suspense was incredible and the action never stopped. Even at the end, there was a wonderful cliffhanger, making it excruciating to wait for the next installment of this series. Unfortunately, the premise of this book is completely relevant in today’s society. Dealing with terrorists and drugs has become the norm now and the ease in which these “villains” were able to bring these into our country is terrifying. I’m just thankful there are wonderful people out there protecting us, as these detectives do is this series.

The way faith was portrayed in this book was inspiring and fantastic. These people were perfect examples of putting your trust in God in times of trouble. The way Declan, Tanner, and the rest of this elite group prayed before making decisions and trusted God’s guidance was how I would love to live my life. I just wish this happened more often.

I really loved this book and cannot wait for the next book to come out. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Christian Romantic Suspense.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

 

 

Book Review! The Beautiful Word for Christmas By Mary DeMuth

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Title: The Beautiful Word for Christmas
Author:
 Mary DeMuth
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
October 17, 2017

Description from Goodreads: “Enjoy the beauty and wonder of Christmas with The Beautiful Word for Christmas. The hand-illustrated Christmas story Scriptures are accompanied by 31 devotional readings. Featuring a lovely, embellished cover and beautiful color interior, this book will be a welcome addition to your home as you and your loved ones celebrate the birth of Jesus.”

Review: This book is absolutely gorgeous and perfect for the Christmas season. The beginning is the story of Jesus’ birth written out in storybook format. The words are beautifully scripted and each page has a different script and decoration to it. Kids and adults alike would like the way this story is spread across the pages.

After the Bible story, it moves into daily devotions for the days of advent. You get a wonderful devotional message, then after you get done reading the devotion, there is a daily activity to bring you even more joy and to help others in need this Christmas season.

I love this book and I think it will help make Christmas even more special this year. I plan to share this with my family as well to make it something we all do together.

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

Book Review! Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore

Title: Crisis Shot
Author: 
Janice Cantore 
Rating:
4/5
Release Date: 
September 5, 2017

Description from Goodreads: “Tess O’Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue’s Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor’s wife, goes missing and the woman’s cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue’s Hollow’s first murderer, she worries that she’s breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.”

Review:  Crisis Shot is the first book in new The Line of Duty series and I cannot wait until the next book comes out. If it’s anywhere near as good as this one, I will love it as well.

This book was wonderful, suspenseful, and I didn’t want to ever put it down. The police involved shooting, is totally relevant in our society today. With all the controversy over these shootings lately, it was nice to see the police point of view.

This was really well written and I could not figure out who the murderer was. I was able to see the story play out and I would forget that it was not real. I felt as though I was there, right in the heat of the investigation.

I loved Tess and how she was not willing to back down when she was in hot water and so many people turned their back on her. The way she always handled herself was inspiring. She never let anyone intimidate her and kept to her morals, no matter what.

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

 

 

Book Review! Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

Title: Merry and Bright
Author: 
Debbie Macomber
Rating:
5/5
Release Date: 
November 16, 2017

Description from Goodreads: Merry Smith is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.”

Review: I have always loved Debbie Macomber’s Christmas novels but this one is probably my favorite so far. Merry and Bright was a super sweet romance and I was drawn in instantly.

This book made me want a mug of hot chocolate and to go wandering around looking at Christmas lights. I was reminded of all the wonders of Christmas time and to take time out of my busy schedule to do something wonderful for someone in need. There are many people out there who don’t have the advantages we do, Christmas is the perfect time to help out someone and make their day special too.  Debbie Macomber put me right there in the middle of this beautiful Seattle Christmas and I didn’t want to leave. The ending came way too soon and I reluctantly turned that last page.

This was such a fast read and filled with so much holiday cheer and wonderful romance. I couldn’t think of a better Christmas book to curl up with on a lazy Sunday. I loved this book and will definitely reread during that magical Christmas season!

 

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

Book Review! A Well-Crafted Home by Janet Crowther

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Title: A Well-Crafted Home
Author: 
Janet Crowther
Rating: 
4/5

 

Description from Goodreads: A beautiful, practical book for both aspiring makers and seasoned crafters. Here are 60 projects for high-quality furniture, textiles, and accessories to enjoy all through the house–plus all the techniques you need for dyeing or sewing fabric, cutting leather, antiquing mirrors, working with wood, and much more.

A Well-Crafted Home includes simple, creative details that will tailor a space to your taste. More than just -DIY- crafts, these carefully designed projects call for good materials–like linen, leather, and wood–so the finished product will last you a lifetime. Ranging from beginner to more advanced, each item elevates a room in a way you’d never expect: a large-scale painting with an effortless -dot- design looks like a modern piece of art, flax linen bedding sewn with a few easy seams is gorgeous way to set off the bed (and is more affordable than you would think), and a copper pipe rack for hanging clothes is so pretty, you’ll want to keep it on display.
There’s something for every room in this book:

The Entryway: 
Dowel Wall Hooks, Reclaimed Wood Bench, Woven Leather Basket, Soft Planter Cover, Block-Print Pillow, Looped-Tassel Wall Hanging
The Living Room: Dyed Fabric Ottoman, Tassel Wall Banner, Bleach-Dot Lumbar Pillow, Flange-Edge Throw Pillow, Tied Shibori Throw Pillow, Gemstone Box, Air-Dry Clay Bowl, Rolling Trunk Storage, Glass-Cover Pendant Lamp
The Kitchen: Wooden Herb Planter, Rustic Footed Cutting Board, Quilted Cushions, Leather-Loop Tea Towels, Ombre Ceramic Vase

The Dining Room: 
Heirloom Linen Tablecloth, Indigo-Stripe Napkins, Leather Napkin Rings, Clay Candlesticks, Boro Stitched Trivet, Beaded Light Fixture,

The Bedroom: 
Framed Cane Headboard; Linen Bedding with Duvet, Shams, and Pillowcases; Simple Stitch Throw Pillow; Sewn Leather Pillow; Trimmed Waffle-Weave Blanket; Modern Latch-Hook Stool; Dyed Fabric Art in Round Mat; Natural Jute Rug; Painted Ceramic Tray; Acrylic Side Table; Refurbished Table Lamp; Boro Stitched Memory Quilt
The Closet: Copper Garment Rack, Leaning Floor Mirror, Wall Shoe Display, Thread-Wrapped Pendant Light, Liberty Print Hamper, Antiqued Mirror Table

The Bathroom: 
Natural Wood Stump, Oak Tub Tray, Knotted Rope Ladder, Terry-cloth Towels, Leather Wastebasket
The Outdoor Oasis: Simple Sewn Hammock, Painted Wood Stump, Restored-Frame Tray, Ice-Dyed Blanket, Colorwash Sheepskin
With beautiful photographs of rooms styled with all of the projects, A Well-Crafted Home proves that even the smallest touch of handmade can make a house a home.”

Review: I loved this book a lot. I love to do crafts and make wonderful things for my home rather than spend a bunch of money for something of far less quality at the store. This book had so many wonderful ideas for things that I hadn’t even though of, and really great directions for things that I wouldn’t have been able to figure out on my own.

 

I love to make things and give away as gifts and with Christmas coming up, this book will be a wonderful way to change up my gifts.
I love that this isn’t just ideas for one type of crafts. I sew and do woodworking, but with this book, I might be able to get into a few other types of crafts as well! I am really excited to see what I can do!

 

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for any person who enjoys doing crafts and making unique things for their home! This would also make a great gift for that crafty person on your Christmas list as well.

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*

Book Review! The Truth About Angels by Tony Evans

Title: The Truth About Angels
Author: 
Tony Evans
Rating:
4/5

Description from Goodreads: How much do you know about angels? Few supernatural beings are of more speculation than angels. In art we see them depicted as chubby babies and fierce, radiant warriors. Sometimes they wield swords; other times a bow and arrow surrounded by floating hearts. Some have halos; some do not. Clearly we re confused.In “The Truth About Angels,” Tony Evans goes to the Scriptures to set the record straight. He clearly and simply explains who angels are, what they do, and it what it all means for the everyday lives of believers.A short, practical, and engaging book, “The Truth About Angels “is a one-stop guide to the role of angels in the world and eternity. It will help you fight the good fight of faith, knowing that the heavenly hosts are waging war on your behalf. “

Review: I have always been curious about Angels and I have been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one before. I didn’t get to see what it actually looked like, but I saw the fleeting white out of the corner of my eye after that Angel saved my life. When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. It’s difficult to discern all the different descriptions in the Bible so it is wonderful that somebody else went through and did all the difficult work for me.

This book was really short and was a quick read; I was able to read it in an hour. It is not what I expected but it was really informative.

The main focus of this book is to learn how to defeat the most powerful angel, Satan. The role the other angels play in the spiritual warfare was really interesting and something really important to understand, especially in today’s world.

It seems that our world is filled with evil and that is exactly why we need the guidance given in the Bible, and books like this one. We need to understand how Satan works, and how to defeat him in our lives.

I am glad I read this book and will pass it on to those who need it.

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*