Review: Homecoming

Today’s we are taking a peek at Homecoming by Kate Hasbrouck. This has been a fun read, but first let me tell you a little about the author!

The Author

KateHasbrouck“Kate Hasbrouck has been writing and creating stories for as long as she can remember. She had written several stories by the time she was a teen, but Homecoming was the first full manuscript she had ever written with the intention of sharing it with other people. She attended Houghton College, where she received her Bachelor’s degree with a dual-major in Writing and Psychology where she honed her skills. She lives in Florida with her husband who is a youth pastor at a local church. She spends her time writing, ministering to teens, and enjoying the life God has given her. Homecoming is the first book in a trilogy.”

In addition to ^^^ all of that, she is kind and such an enthusiastic author. She’s a good egg. <<<You like that? A little egg humor right after Easter? 🙂

The Book

Unknown“Kerana is being sent to Earth to begin her duty as an Eldurian. Hers are a perfect people, without flaw and without sin, never experiencing the fall of man. Created by God to shepherd His people on Earth, they remain in the shadows, unnoticed. Kerana looks human, speaks like them, and has been taught to act like them. Above all her mission is to serve the humans.

Arriving on Earth, Kerana meets Eli at school. He is an ordinary human, with a father suffering from alcoholism, and a past that threatens to ruin his life. A star scholarship lacrosse player, Eli has to forget his true passion and live in a shell that doesn’t let anyone in. Until he meets Kerana. They find themselves intertwined in a connection that neither can quite explain. When this connection puts the two of them in danger, they find comfort and protection from each other. When Eli discovers that there is more to Kerana than just her stunning looks and grace, the Eldurians and their home planet of Eden may not remain a secret for very long.”

My Review

The Story: I’m so excited to report that this story is not only intriguing, but I can genuinely recommend this for the young adult age of readers. The characters are in college, but I can say it is 100% appropriate to pass on to a young teen. Thank you, Kate! There are so many books I love, but because of sensitive material I don’t feel comfortable passing them along to youth age kids. You can definitely tell that Hasbrouck helps minister to young people—she is mindful of where they are in life in her writing.

I also really enjoyed the character depth in the story. While Kerana is pure and innocent, Eli is broken and has a past that cripples him from being who Adonai has called him to be. We all have things in our past that are huge hurts, and I love that Hasbrouck has addressed that reality.

The story really starts (seemingly) focused on Kerana, but I find that the story leans into a “self-discovery” for Eli. It’s really a story of searching for wholeness in our broken Human world, and finding comfort in a God who is real. Plus, some sweet romance too! 😉

The Writing: Hasbrouck has remained within her target audience!!! Again, let’s just give some finger-snaps for this. 🙂 Highly recommended for young adults.

There were a couple of things that I would have loved for Hasbrouck to dive into more in her writing. I think that the point of view needed to be deepened in places. Just because I wanted even more action beats of what people were doing, but I would say over-all that is nitpicking!

I loved her two secondary characters Steven and Ev. It would be so awesome if she wrote a book about those two! They were both funny and dynamic, perfect supporting roles for the more serious and focused Eli and Kerana. AND…let’s just take a moment and applaud that name—Kerana—SO. COOL.

SO. I hope you guys check out Homecoming! Also, make sure to check out more reviews via this blog tour page. Would you be interested in Homecoming? Leave me a comment and we can talk about it!

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Review: The Winner’s Trilogy

Today is a two-for-one! The newest series from Marie RutkoskiThe Winner’s Trilogy—starts off with a wrenching right hook to our fangirl guts, and the second installment spins our heads around.

Unknown-4The first book in the series is based upon an auction theory called The Winner’s Curse (also the title of the book). It says that a bidder will experience this curse when overpaying for an item because of emotional or perceived worth rather than it’s actual worth. Quite a foundation to start with in the story telling world, huh? One that most of us writers would say to ourselves: “Why didn’t I think of that first!!??”

Our heroine, Kestrel, is a conquering general’s daughter. She is set high in society, is accustom to owning slaves, and is not commonly concerned with the morality of it. Yet, one afternoon a crowd witnesses her pay an outrageous price for a seemingly disobedient and possibly troublesome slave, all because he can sing. Music is what sweeps Kestrel away to irrationality, but also to peace.

In the weeks following she isn’t sure that she has gained anything in the purchase. Arin is too outspoken, bends rules, and challenges her authority. He embodies The Winner’s Curse. However, we see that it is possible she got more than what she bid for when she is swept away not by his voice, but by Arin himself.

This is artful, plot-minded, and full of first love that is utterly thwarted by the stations of these two very different—yet altogether similar—people.

I finished this so quickly…you can’t imagine. These characters are enigmatic and for a non-love triangle, I got plenty of who, what, when, and why on their relationship progression.

You’ll also be thanking your luck stars that the second book is out because, oh man!  The cliff hanger of an ending!!!

{{{SPOILERS AHEAD}}}

UnknownLet’s now talk about The Winner’s Crime. I Have to say most of the time second installments are not that great. It’s usually where I will decide…nope…don’t want to even bother with the third book (as we learned from my post on worst series enders). This however, was tortuously wonderful. Reason being: Kestrel and Arin could NEVER see eye to eye. They were always missing the point, misunderstanding the other, or assuming the worst of the other. DRAMATIC IRONY MUCH? I mean, Rutkoski just drug us through the mud on this, but we love her. Yes, we do! Admit it…you do too!

Kestrel is having to face her choice to save Arin by becoming the crown empress who is pressed under the thumb of a wicked, controlling emperor. They each weave a dangerous web of lies to save the other (crimes against the empire), but they can’t seem to succeed. They won’t let truth reign.

I will just leave you with this: By the end. You will want to eat Ben & Jerry’s, and say “I told you so.” Your mouth will be agape, and you will wish that you could’ve held their hands and said, “Go this way young padawan.”

Where are you book 3???

What do you think about this series so far? Have you enjoyed it? Do you want to read it now? Leave me a comment so we can chat!

Review: How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?

Have you every wondered how God feels about you, or if He speaks during the crazy days of parenting? Rachael Carman brings us How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, a beautiful look at what God is saying during our daily lives.

What I love about this book is the nature of what Carman is saying to us. God is speaking.

IMG_7186As a mother of two, most days I’m lucky to have showered by 5pm. Simple tasks become frustrating, whining ensues, things get broken, the house seems to grow dirty laundry, the dishes are molding, and we haven’t even gotten past breakfast. What we need to know in those moments is to slow down. God is wanting us to learn. He is available to be heard.

I love the style of this book. The small chapters make a devotional type of reading, because let’s face it, we’re busy. It’s anecdotal, so we see that Carman has walked these truths out before delivering them to us. At the end of each chapter she offers introspection to help us gain more from the text. I also love that she has put scripture references in each chapter so that we can further study on our own.

I would highly recommend How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?It is perfect for a Mom or Dad who is overwhelmed by the day-to-day, and wants to make sure God is important even through the normal “go” of our lives.

How do you feel after a long day with your kiddos? Would you be interested in hearing God’s voice in the way we speak to our kids? Leave a comment and let me know!

Review: The Red Queen

Hello, book lovers! Today we are going to talk about The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It is the winter read on the Epic Reads 365 Days of YA. I’m super pumped to say that I have been doing my best to participate in the 365 Days of YA. I’m not going in any particular order, but you will get a few reviews from me this year in accordance to the list. By the way, let’s just go ahead and give the Epic Reads team some major props. This list is the bomb. There are seasonal, monthly, weekly, and daily reads. I mean. What more could we want in a YA #tbr list?

Anyway. Back to The Red Queen. Aveyard is debuting strong with her first installment of a fantasy series that takes us to a world where physical power, courtly beauty, and twisty shifts are all wrapped up into a tidy bow and presented to us like the finest present.

10212034Mare Barrow is a red-blooded commoner. She is forced to live menially with her large family: A father who is war-wounded, a mother who wishes Mare didn’t thieve, and a sister who is better than her in more ways than one. Oh, and let’s not forget her three heroic brothers at war.

Not only are the Silvers the elite, but they are all gifted with power and unwilling to send their own into the fringes of war. As you can imagine, the racial divide is gaping. Some Silvers can move the elements, some meld the mind, and their blood runs pure silver. So, what happens when a Red—Mare—can manipulate electrical currents?

Mare finds herself in an intriguing match between accepting her fate, or having it force fed to her. She is brought into a dangerous court, smashed between two brothers (princes I might add), and forced to chose a cause. Be the obedient puppet, or take up a role as a spy. What happens is nail-biting and well worth the read.

The writing is immediately captivating and sharp. Mare is instantly likable. She deals with extreme guilt, and a huge inferiority complex. What’s not to love about that? Don’t we all deal with feelings of inferiority?

I loved the character and plot development. Each character goes through obvious changes in the story. Each of them are changed by the conflict in the book. I have to say…when even secondary characters are changed by the tension, you know the author is doing something right.  Also, the plot. You won’t see some of this stuff coming. I promise. So, props Aveyard, props.

This is very well-writen, and is set up to be a great series. Now we just have to wait a year for the next book! Noooo! 🙂

What did you think of The Red Queen? Is it on your #tbr list for this year?

Review: Ignite

Whew, guys…SO long since I posted, but I am so glad to be talking about Ignite today by Sara B. Larson.

IGNITE_CVRIgnite is a perfect second installment in the Defy series. If you are unfamiliar with Defy…familiarize yourself. You will thank me later.

Ignite is again from Alexa’s point of view, and I love her voice. She is extremely relatable, and if anyone knows me, they know I like the characters to be real and vibrant. That is what YA is all about. Yes, we love plot, world building, etc., BUT if we can connect with the emotional journey of a character—and maybe their dreamboat too—we are hooked!

Sara B. Larson gives us loads of dreamy moments, but also reminds us that we are dealing with a formidable warrior who will stop at nothing to save those she holds most dear. 

The evil in this book is cut from the cloth of the most maniacle kind. Lady Vera and her brother Rafe are incredibly fearsome, and I didn’t know how Alexa was going to overcome all the she was thrown into. I was truly worried by these characters, but Alexa is not deterred. I love that she shows us real fear, but yet she continues to fight until the last moment.

AND. Let’s just give a nod to Rylan. Bro has high hopes, and he isn’t letting them die. I’m proud #teamrylan, and maybe it’s just a root-for-the-underdog-complex, but he needs to have a shot!

I would 100% recommend this book. It’s got everything that you want in a YA read, and BONUS for teen moms out there, its clean.