Between Two Shores

Y’all, you know it’s a good book when I can’t stop talking about it. Well, here my official review is, so I’ll at least stop talking about it for a while. ūüėČ

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 409
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Title: Between Two Shores
Fiction

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WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Jocelyn Green writes some of the best Historical Fiction, so she’s one of the few authors on my auto-buy (or auto-review) list. I was so excited when Bethany Publishers chose this as their book to send out physical copies to for their reviewers and right away jumped at the chance to have it in my library.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

I have¬†so¬†many thoughts about this book – some of which I’ve shared on my blog and Instagram (if you want my extra bookish musings you can follow me there), but now I’m endeavoring to write an actual review.

Style: This book skips back and forth in time periods (over a ten-year range) which really isn’t my favorite but I see how it was necessary to tell the full story. Miss Jocelyn did a great job of keeping the backstory snippets suffice and on-point so they didn’t take away from the story we were in the middle of, plus she did a good job of keeping the time periods as unconfusing as possible.

Characters: I didn’t really jive with any of the characters, yet the story was so skillfully written and kept my interest to the point that my lack of relatability didn’t bother me.
Catherine: Seeing Catherine trying to bridge two worlds was heart-tugging and beautifully written. I can imagine that the life Cathrine lived and tried to be a part of was what a lot of children in that era experienced. Watching her struggle to find acceptance and purpose and her identity without actually saying that’s what she was doing most of the time was amazing and reminded me of what a great storyteller Miss Jocelyn was. Catherine was my favorite character and I’m so glad we got to see the world through her eyes.
Catherine’s Mohawk Family: These characters made the story for me. They hardly ever did what I wanted them to do, yet what they did was so in-line with who they were and I applauded every move they made as keeping in character, even when I wished they were different.
Catherine’s Other Family: Her dad and Thankful were both so thoroughly written and real and made me expereince all the emotions that an author should invoke in a well-crafted character.
I’m not going to say much about other characters because of spoilers, but I will say I wished I would have liked some of them more because if I had, then the one major plot twist would have hit me a lot harder than it did. More below.

Plot: This book really does focus mainly on the history of the time period which was a refreshing difference from Historical Fiction books that put far too much emphasis on the romance. In fact, every time I thought it¬†might¬†be going in a direction that would take away from the history Miss Jocelyn reeled it back in and I was like “Way to go!”
While reading this book I got so involved in the story that I literally couldn’t remember¬†who¬†won the war. We get to see it from Catherine’s point of view, and she’s pretty much being tugged every direction. Forgetting how the war ended actually really helped me stay riveted to the page and what to find out what in the world would happen next. It also made me skim some because of the suspense.
There was a plot twist in the book that when I first read it I was like “Oh.” But then as I kept reading I was like “Oh! My! LANDS!” And I knew how that plot twist turned out, in the end, would determine my rating for the book. Thankfully, the author did what I hoped and the book got a solid four-star rating from me.

CONCLUSION

Someone on Instagram asked why I only gave the book four stars while I was raving about it, so here’s my answer: I very rarely rate a book five stars (for example, last year I read 79 fiction books and gave only one of them five stars), that means that for me a four-star rating is actually really high. And, although I really liked Between Two Shores¬†and was exceedingly pleased with how Miss Jocelyn handled the plot twist and created the characters, the fact that the style wasn’t my favorite and I didn’t really relate to the characters held me back from giving it the illusive five-stars.

There were some battle scenes in the book that were a bit detailed, plus some abuse, manipulation, drunkenness, etc… But all of these were handled with care and the violence can easily be skimmed without losing out on the plot. (And, it was very realistic for a historical fiction book set during a war.)

RATING

I’m giving Between Two Shores 4 out of 5 stars.

((I got this book from Bethany House Publishers so I could review it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.))

When Reading Has No Chill

As it turns out, my reading is up and down and all over the place almost to an extreme. I’ve given up on reading predictions, reading goals, TBR stacks, and bookish challenges.

When it comes to reading, I go with the ebb and flow of life, cravings, and (sometimes) deadlines. Mostly though, I just pick up a book and read it without a lot of pre-meditation or over-analyzing. Tracking the books I read and trying to at least note when it was that I read them has proved to be most amusing to me.

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For instance, between May 21st and November of this year, I read a grand total of one nonfiction book – and that one was a beta project for me. Considering the fact that I read a nonfiction book basically every week last year I was rather horrified with myself when I realized the track record I was producing for 2018.

I decided to read a couple of nonfiction books in November and was just pretty surprised when I looked at Goodreads and saw I read five of them last month. Yeah, that’s right. After over five months of no nonfiction reading (except for the Bible), I polished off five of them without really even trying.

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I sit at my computer today – over a third of the way through the month and have to shrug my shoulders at my reading for December. How many books have I finished, you may ask? Zero. In fact, I’ve only read probably a 150 pages altogether during the last two weeks.

Last month I read around 2,362 pages, which equals nearly 79 a day. That sounds way impressive when compared to the average of 15 pages a day I’ve read this month, but when I compare it to my record, which was 1,200 pages in one day….Well? Then it sounds minuscule.

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Do you know what my point with all these random stats is? Reading is a tool. A vacation. A joy. And yes, part of my job as a writer. But reading is something I control, not something that controls me. I’m not going to let it stress me out when I don’t get reading in, and I’m not going to feel like a super-human when I catch up with books. Books, reading, words… They’re all wonderful things, but they don’t define me.

This week I’m fine with being chill. And who knows? Maybe next week I’ll swallow books whole. With me you never really know. ūüėČ

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Autumn Book Tag {Vlog}

A delightfully happy cold and windy Thursday morning to you! I’m off to make people’s day at a coffee shop, and in the meantime y’all can watch my latest vlog, which is an autumn book tag. Autumn and books? What could be better!

What’s your favorite genre to read in the autumn?

October Reading Wrap-Up {Vlog}

Happy Thursday, y’all!

In October I read a lot of books – 15 to be exact, as well as listening to 7 audiobooks. It was by far the most bookish month of my year so far, and although it was fun, I hope to read a lot less in November and focus more on editing.

One of the best parts of reading so much last month was catching up on my nonfiction reading. I tried to be pretty succinct with what I said about each book so the video wouldn’t be an hour long this week, it was a kinda hard, but fun, challenge.

What are some of the books that you read in October?

20 Benefits of Reading

  1. You get to travel basically anywhere in the world without spending an exorbitant  amount of money or time
  2. You get to learn massive amounts from other people’s mistakes, which means you don’t have to figure everything out through trial and error
  3. You’ll have an endless supply of random facts and stories and words that cause people to look askance
  4. Books are quite portable, and therefore can pretty much go everywhere with you
  5. Books are endurable and withstand crazy amounts of abuse – sure they might not look pretty afterward, but they’re generally still readable
  6. You meet new friends all the time – both fictional and real (authors make great friends)
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  7. You never run out of subjects to talk about because there’s always your latest read to discuss
  8. That beautiful moment when a book recommends someone to you (aka, a perfect stranger is reading one of your favorite tomes)
  9. You learn to think outside of the box and are blown away by someone’s creativity and imagination
  10. Lightbulb moments are frequent occurrences
  11. You’ll be inspired to live a fuller, more rich life
  12. Reading is a great thing to do while multitasking. Reading and brushing your teeth? Yep. Reading and cooking? Yep. Walking and reading? Yep. (See?)
  13. While traveling you can bring old favorites along and read them if you get homesick
  14. The library will supply reading material for totally¬†free!¬†(It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?)
  15. It broadens your horizon as you learn to see the world through multiple generations, mindsets, worldviews, and cultures
  16. Reading is a great way to stretch your brain and revisit forgone conclusions
  17. You lengthen your attention span
  18. Reading helps you learn how to relate to others better
  19. Reading can help you relax
  20. Readers can find a community of other readers where they discuss thoughts about what they’ve been reading¬†FullSizeRender-3

Bonus (which may or may not be benefits):

  • You’ll have a larger readability vocabulary than speaking vocabulary which will lead to cringe-worthy mispronunciation

What are some of your favorite benefits to reading?

 

Little Girl Dreams

As a little girl with missing teeth and hair twisted into two blonde braids, I loved books.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mom and oldest sister reading to us. I can clearly remember scenes from books that they read when I was four, and maybe even younger, although I don’t have a good way of gauging when everything took place before my fourth year. (And it’s rather easy to figure that out, because that’s when my little sister entered our lives.)

On the weekend we celebrated my fourth birthday my oldest sister surprised me and my siblings by making us cute little sandwiches, then giving us blankets to sit on the floor and eat them while she read to us. That was the day that we read The Crown and the Jewel. I clearly remember the scenes, then excitement, the wide-eyed wonder the book brought. (Which, come to think of it, that might be when my love for princesses began?)

They would read to us at bedtime, while we folded laundry, on rainy days, and the list goes on. Once when I was five I was running with a stick (not a good idea folks), fell down, and had the stick go straight up under my chin, then break off. While waiting for the proper assistance to remove the fragments of wood, my sister cuddled me in her lap and read The Christian Mother Goose to me. 

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I remember coming down to our living room early one morning when I was five or six to see my next-older sister curled up on the couch with a red book with a horse on the front. She rather smugly informed me that our oldest sister had awoken her early to ask if she wanted a private reading lesson, and she had excitedly agreed. I remember bemoaning my extra sleep at that moment and wishing fiercely that I had been the one learning to read.

That’s the first time I recall the strong urge to learn how to read for myself. Thankfully it wasn’t long before my own reading lessons started. I don’t remember a lot about learning to read – mostly just trying to sound out letters that had little lines and squiggles over them, and thinking that it was really weird.

Reading was work to begin with. Instead of being fun like I had imagined, I had to concentrate and the stories were rather lame. We had a basket that contained a multitude of little treats, and each time one of us kids finished reading a book (which were obviously varying in size and difficulty), we were allowed to choose a prize from the basket. There were several Illustrated Classics in the basket, and those were the prizes I remember choosing. Because, well, books.

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It wasn’t long before I had mastered the art of reading, and I was thrilled and amazed as a thousand worlds opened their doors to me. From that time I began carrying a book with me nearly everywhere I went. I made a special little nook in one of our closets (complete with a miniature rocking chair), and spent hours rocking back and forth reading¬†Laura Ingalls.¬†I constantly asked Mom for more book recommendations, and studied our bookshelves studiously, choosing anything that looked interesting.

I would read books during my spare time, then dance about acting them out as I completed my job list. Instead of being Lydia as I hung out the laundry, I was Annette and the hills around me were actually the Swiss Alps. I gulped down stories as fast as I could, delighting in the way that I could (nearly magically) hear a whole story in my head by simply running my eyes over little squiggles on a page. (It still amazes me, actually.)

At that time I never imagined that I would one day have a bookshelf of my own containing hundreds of books. At that time I never imagined that I, too, would become one of those authors who created worlds for others to delve into. At that time I had no clue what the future held for me, nor how incredibly delightful it would be.

I am so thankful to be a writer. I dream of possibly being one of those authors that other little girls are inspired by one day. And that motivates me to keep going, to keep writing, and to keep creating.

What about you? Did you grow up loving to read?

“That” – When a Book Leaves You Wordless

I average reading nearly a dozen books a month. My world sometimes seems like it revolves around words. I read. Write. Study the craft.

Yet it’s only a couple of times a year that a book sucks me in and holds me captive. It’s like a shell tangled in seaweed. The sticky threads of the story wrap their arms around me and compel me to continue reading.

Currently I’m thankful that 1) It’s still nearly two weeks before I actually have post a review of the book I just finished and 2) That I have a host of housework that needs done so I can focus on that this morning and let my brain recover a bit.

This book. Wow.

The writing was beautiful. The storyline so true. So incredible horrible. And so very real. The crazy thing was it’s a subject I’ve felt tugging at my heart for several years, but I had no clue that was what the book was dealing with when I began reading.

And for once, I wholeheartedly agree with the ending of a book, if ending is even a correct term. (That’s a huge deal considering I very, very rarely ever like how stories end.) There was seriously no other way to end the book.

Did I like the book? No. Was it enjoyable? No. Did I agree with everything (anything?)¬†the characters did? No. But was it powerful? Yes. Was it a subject that needs talked about? Yes. Did it make me want to shove it into hands of people I’ve met in real life? Yes. Will I recommend it? Well… unfortunately probably not.

And this, my friends, is what it feels like to be overwhelmed (in a very good way) by a book.