Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dried Out Bones

          The song Dry Bones by Gungor can't help but play on repeat while finishing this latest masterpiece by Katie Ganshert.  The Art of Losing Yourself is a novel that is both painful and enriching. I am not normally a person to read books that will bring me to tears.  I don't need catharsis as so many people claim to need.  When I read, I read for enjoyment and to escape from the world of reality and into something lighter, better, uplifting, and exciting.   Ganshert took me through raw emotions and situations like I never wanted to feel and like I have always feared feeling.  The very interesting thing that she did was that each chapter, and sometimes within chapters, she gave a heading of one of the two sisters' names and told the story from their POV.  This helps readers to become greater connected with the characters and their emotions.  From a young girl who has never had hope or care to a woman who can no longer feel hope or care, this tale travels loss and a just plain sad reality (or several of them) that so many people are forced to walk.  What is truly amazing about Ganshert is that, as in other novels, The Art of Losing Yourself is not a novel where she skirts the dark parts of life and shows characters following God; no, she shows these darkest moments in characters' lives and allows readers to see (even if it takes looking backward on it) God walking through those times with them.   I was able to read this book thanks to receiving a reviewers' copy from WaterBrook and Monmouth Press.
It is impossible to recommend this book enough: it has slow moments, and moments you have to struggle to get through because of the nature of those moments--you will cry but in the end it will leave you thinking, searching, praying, and waiting, not because you are expecting a sequel but because you see God beginning to work in the characters' lives, beginning to pull them out, and it makes you wonder, just maybe if He is beginning to work in yours too and you have yet to notice it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Season to Close the Seasons

          "Through the years, love and faith would do far more than just see them through the good times and bad.  It would rise to meet every challenge with joy and hope" these words echo a lesson that permeates the entire series of Cindy Woodsmall's Amish Vines and Orchards series.  Though the series went through twists and turns that were sometimes well done and sometimes felt entirely too author imposed, it ended well.  It still ended in a way other than hoped for and I, for one, wish I had stopped at book one.  The first book was amazing; however, after reading book two and just getting through book three, book four--Seasons of Tomorrow-- was very well crafted.  Having similar points of view shifts to Breaking Dawn, this books changed who was seeing the story unfold in a masterful way so as to take the reader along the trials, the joys, and the questions with the characters in a wonderful manner.  Jacob returned to more of the character denied to him in book two and completely taken from him in book three, and was a very enjoyable part of this book.  Woodsmall took the reader through some horribly dark times in such a way as to let the reader morn with the characters for their lives, but also for their own personal life, and then brought them into the joy in such a way as to give the reader hope that even in their own dark hours God does have a greater joy in store for them.  Steady on.