Showing posts with label spirits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spirits. Show all posts

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review of The Gifting by K.E. Ganshert

"If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous." 

      In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her family is too. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill. 

      Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something—that he might somehow be responsible. 

      But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?

     I used to say I didn’t read much YA. I can’t say that anymore. I have discovered that I’m not too old to enjoy a youthful story. This particular book also fits well on the psychological thriller shelf, which is really my cup of tea. Although not as terrorizing as many PTs, the reader has to decide between what is reality and what is mental illness. The real draw for me is the twisted mind stuff—not necessarily the thriller part—so this book was right up my alley. (Think Secret Window or A Beautiful Mind.)

     For much of the beginning, I did think that the story would really appeal more to teens and twenty-somethings (my grandgirls) than my peers (a.k.a. old lady friends)—there’s a lot of high school social life stuff going on. But I was still entertained. Very entertained. 

     The main character, Tess, appeals to me from the beginning. Empathy pours out for this poor girl who is ostracized from the crowd, with her sanity hanging by a thread. Her world is one in which mental illness is shunned to a much greater degree than even in today’s world. It is considered a defect—even a danger—not worthy of being allowed to exist in society. Stack that kind of pressure on a mixed-up outcast teen! You. Will. Care. About. Tess.

     The story moves along at a good pace. I like Ganshert’s writing style—revealing Tess’s thoughts throughout the dialog. There are plot twists right up to the last page. And speaking of the last page…

     This book is the first in a three-part series. They are not ‘stand alone’ stories, but a continuing chronicle of the main characters’ experiences. Though this book is a good read without the other installments ***TINY SPOILER ALERT***—it has a cliff-hanger ending.  END OF SPOILER You will want to read the next.

     I have to be honest—I downloaded this eBook only because I am familiar with the author Katie Ganshert and it was free. The YA genre was a new branch for Ganshert, who has written many novels in the inspirational contemporary romance genre. I’ve had this eBook since last year, and finally decided to read it.

     I loved this story so much I am buying the other two books of the series! WARNING: Do NOT read the summary of parts two and three if you don’t want any spoilers. I just did and I was so… Nope. Not gonna tell. But the description does let you know what happens after the first book--something I didn’t want to know yet.

     If you can’t fathom reading about high school crushes and popular kids, don’t read this book. But if you want a thoroughly enjoyable story with mystery and a lovable underdog, I highly recommend this one. I’m giving it five stars! And I just now bought book two, The Awakening. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

 *UPDATE: I finished The Awakening and immediately purchased The Gathering. Loved book two even more than the first! I couldn't put it down. I went on to finish book three in a couple of days. I made excuses to sneak away and read. I highly recommend these three books.

This series is one of those where you don't want it to be over. It was amazing! There are lots of surprises in the plot. The characters were great. The pace was excellent. The only negative is there is no fourth book in the series!
Do read them in order as they are not stand-alone
stories, but a three-part tale.

This story would make an awesome movie!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Review of Piercing The Darkness by Frank Peretti

I was having a heavy conversation with a good friend about spiritual forces, and the prevailing wickedness in a current situation. She jumped up and said, "I've got a book for you to read!" A minute later she was back with not one, but two Frank Peretti books. She explained that he writes novels about spiritual warfare going on around us. I was intrigued...


If you don't believe in God and/or don't like reading books with heavy spiritual messages, do yourself a favor and skip this one. I read several negative reviews based on a dislike of the genre rather than quality of writing or story. Don’t buy Christian fiction, and then blast it for being spiritual. One reviewer went as far as to accuse the author of false allegations against a well-known organization that has a similar name to the powerful group in the story. True—one does infer the connection while reading—but knocking the story because it isn’t true doesn’t seem fair to the author. It is FICTION. And, if a buyer would read the summary before purchasing... Well, enough said.

On the other side of the coin, most of the positive reviews seemed to be based on emotion tied to religious conviction. Am I alone in not buying a book solely because I share the faith of the author? This book does speak to some serious issues, and gives an awe-inspiring view of the angelic realm that perhaps surrounds us as we go about our daily lives, but that alone does not a good book make. I don’t give stars based on agreement in spiritual matters.

Peretti’s writing style: There were a number of characters introduced early on—it was hard for me to keep them straight—so this is not a book to pick up if you read a few minutes before bed each night. Also, this author doesn't mind using lots of run-on sentences--and by run on, I mean paragraph-length. Aside from a couple of minor details, the writing was technically correct. However, based on style alone, I would give this book just two stars on the Goodreads’ scale—it was okay. The pace was not to my liking, structurally speaking, and it was rather lengthy. At times I wanted him to hurry it along.

I really struggled reading through all the names of the evil spirits. Some lame—some too abrupt. For me, it was often an interruption in the flow of the story that should have wound up on the editing floor. Also, most of the battle scenes were hard to enjoy—just spirits zooming and slashing everywhere. (I admit to 'speed-reading' a bit during some of those.)

The storyline: There were two intertwined storylines to this book—one in the spiritual realm and one in the earthly realm. Although the plot was far-fetched and at times complicated, it will touch a cord with Christians who see the fallenness of today’s world and sense a climate of persecution toward the Church. Peretti’s story hits close to home in what we see happening in today’s culture—both in the secular society, as well as in the church itself. I see this as the selling point of this story.

NO SPOILERS HERE: The ending was a little disappointing. You know when you say to yourself, “I can’t wait to see how he ties all this together!” Well, it wasn’t all I was expecting. He did tie it together, although not convincingly in some areas. It lacked the ‘Wow!’

On a personal note, I felt a bit convicted about my prayer life. As we begin to see the battle between the evil forces and God’s warriors, we are reminded to stay awake: 

“…It was a perfect place to begin the process.” His beastly 
face grew tight and bitter. “Until they started praying. 
Until they ceased being so comfortable and started 
weeping before God! Until they began to reclaim the 
power of the…” The Strongman sealed his lips.

“The Cross?” the aide volunteered. 
 (Excerpt from page 36)

On another personal note, I thought I'd share this photo of
the table where I keep my bedtime reading. Girly, isn't it?

I struggled a little with what rating to give this book, finally settling on four-stars—the ‘really liked it’ on Goodreads’ scale. The writing wasn’t my cup of tea, the plot had holes like swiss cheese, but in the end, I read for entertainment—and I was thoroughly entertained!

I was also intrigued by the thought of the spiritual battle going on around us. More importantly, I was invested in the characters. Even when I wanted him to hurry along, I wasn’t willing to skip over anything. I wanted to know that good wins over evil. I wanted the ugly spirit to get his ‘what’s coming’. I wanted the MC to be safe and saved. I wanted the righteous to triumph!

This was my first Frank Peretti novel. It is book two in This Present Darkness series. There are hints about the first previous story from an out-of-town character, but you need not read these books in order. 

I plan on reading the other book
my friend loaned me
before I make up my mind
on this author.

Perhaps I'll review it here in the near future.