Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

Being a healer's apprentice affords Rose many benefits. She reads Latin, writes stories, knows how to use herbs to heal, and earns an income that allows her to avoid marriage to a bachelor of her mother's choosing. Rose's problem is that blood makes her squeamish. When she must treat Lord Hamlin, the future duke, it isn't just the blood that makes her unsettled. His handsome features and personal integrity draw Rose's interest, in spite of his high social status and well-known betrothal. Lord Hamlin is committed to fulfilling his duty. Rose is committed to becoming a capable healer. Despite their friendship and attraction, Rose and Lord Hamlin must each learn to walk their own path and follow the One whose plans are greater than their own. Read more in The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson.

The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson is based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. The story moved very fast in the beginning and right at the end, but for the majority of the time it was well-paced with intriguing characters and an engrossing story that felt original in spite of its fairy tale basis.

The Healer's Apprentice is marketed as Young Adult reading and had definite YA overtones that were mixed with Middle Age Catholicism. I was creeped out by the strange pagan rituals and demonic possession scene. Had I known those were in the book, I wouldn't have read it. Given its Sleepy Beauty basis, I suppose this shouldn't have been as surprising to me as it was. With an obvious Catholic/Christian perspective, the name of Jesus prevails over the demons. However, for me, that didn't negate the disturbing scenes. Had that part of the fairy tale been creatively changed somehow, I probably would have given this book a five star rating. The creepiness factor brings it down to three. The Healer's Apprentice is well-written and engaging, but I wouldn't read it again or recommend it to any of my friends.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Covers: Do They Need to Pull You In?

Book Blogger Hop

Every week Coffee Addicted Writer hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Participants answer a question and then visit other blogs of fellow participants to chime in on the discussion. This week's question is:

“Do covers pull you in?”

My answer: Absolutely!  If there's something stunning about the cover, I'll check out the back cover to see if I'm interested in the book.  Conversely, a dull or amateur-looking cover will put me off even if the synopsis sounds interesting.

Here are some eye-catching covers of books that I've read recently (or at least semi-recently):

 Hmm... I think I see a trend. Yes, a lovely evening gown is sure to catch my eye.

And here's one cover that I think is exceptional sans-evening gown:

Something about the model's smile looks genuinely happy and it makes me want to find out the reason for her happiness.  :)

What about you?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sharing Christ with the Dying by Melody Rossi

No one wants to think about the death of a loved one. Knowing that an individual is not ready spiritually to cross from this life to the next can be a source of turmoil to anyone who believes that salvation through Christ is the only way to reach heaven after death. Melody Rossi knows the difficulty of dealing not only with a loved one's physical illness, but also the spiritual threat to the dying person. By following the leading of the Holy Spirit in multiple ways and covering her loved ones with prayer, Rossi witnessed the spiritual births of her mother, father and step-mother. In Sharing Christ with the Dying, Rossi shares her personal story as well as gives guidance on matters such as: how to show the love of Christ by serving, how to hold on to hope, how to recognize and respond in the moments of spiritual openness, and what to expect spiritually and physically from a dying individual.

Reading Sharing Christ with the Dying by Melody Rossi helped me to understand more about how to talk to my loved ones about spiritual matters. Having walked this journey multiple times, Rossi seemed like a wise, experienced friend who offered compassion, encouragement and Biblical-based reasons to hope. I come from a background with a lot of emphasis on verbal witnessing and somehow I learned it was my responsibility to save a soul. I had the mindset that if I could do everything just right, then my loved ones would turn to Jesus. However, I've come to see that I'll never be perfect and Rossi made a statement that resonated with me, “It is not your responsibility to save that soul. That is the job of the Holy Spirit, and anything done apart from Him will fail (pg 34).” The theme of this book really is about coming alongside what God is already doing and working with Him to lead another person to know Christ. Each unsaved person's journey will be different, but Rossi gives some broad tips that can apply to many situations. Additionally, there is a section of questions for the reader to answer to help him or her identify a path of service and to better understand the backgrounds and needs of the dying person.

I highly recommend Sharing Christ with the Dying by Melody Rossi to anyone who has a dying loved one that does not know Christ. There is so much information that I'm getting ready to read it through again and I know I'll be keeping it to refer back to in the future.

Read an excerpt from Sharing Christ with the Dying on the publisher's website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."