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review 2018-04-04 02:01
Dramatic but Underwhelming
Shadows of Hope - Georgiana Daniels

Let me preface this by saying that this is not the type of book that I would normally pick up. Had this been promoted by a non-Christian publishing company, I would not have considered it. However, the premise sounded fairly intriguing and I wanted to dip my toes into something outside my comfort level. With that being said, “Shadows of Hope” just didn’t really get off the ground with me. The drama, while expected given the subject matter, was in my opinion overdone, and the characters didn’t resonate much with me. The narrative is divided between Marissa—whose viewpoint is related in the first person—her husband, Colin, and Kaitlyn, the “other woman”. I found it difficult at times to sympathize with Marissa because of her self-centered attitude toward her marriage and her sometimes unrealistic expectations overall. Colin didn’t seem to have many redeeming features, while Kaitlyn is portrayed as an angelic figure. The way that these three interact throughout the novel does add a definite human interest aspect, but the plot seemed too drawn out.

The faith element was present, but almost as a side note, or so it seemed for much of the story’s duration. Granted, there was no profanity or sexual situations—this was a clean read—but faith was not as prominent an issue as I was expecting and hoping for. This was hard to reconcile with my expectations. I also anticipated more suspense and was surprised when so much of the story’s backbone was revealed relatively early on. Nevertheless, I did want to find out exactly how things turned out in the end for each character. Despite not being the most compelling novel I’ve ever read, “Shadows of Hope” does offer a look at redemption and at facing life’s challenges and heartbreaks.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-04-01 21:11
Shadows of Hope
Shadows of Hope - Georgiana Daniels
Title: Shadows of Hope
Author: Georgiana Daniels
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four
Review:

"Shadows of Hope" by Georgiana Daniels

My Thoughts....

What a very thought provoking read that will leave you with food for thought long after the read.
There are a lots of good question in the ending of this novel that were right on point. Be ready for a read that deals with 'marriage, betrayal, infertility, drama, friendships, secrets, faith, pregnancy forgiveness and moving on.'

I found these three characters Marissa, Tristan , Colin and Kaitlyn were all well developed, portrayed and believable giving the reader a decent story in the end. I did enjoy how this author was able to give Christian guidance in their daily life for some of the characters.

This is definitely one of those stories [infidelity] where the choices one makes and the consequences that are left in how this all affects everyone involved when it's said and done. I also believe that there are many women who can relate to what has happened in Marissa's position. Bye the end did we have a 'love triangle?' "How will God work this all out in all these peoples lives? Will Marissa and Colin’s marriage survive this infidelity?" 'Will God's love heal this relationships?' 'And what about forgiveness? Can they forgive themselves?' 'Will God forgive them?'

Well, to find out the answers to all of these questions you will have to pick up this interesting read "Shadows of Hope" to see if there is any hope left for these people.

 
 
 
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review 2018-03-12 19:40
Emotional Story of Forgiveness
Shadows of Hope - Georgiana Daniels

Shadows of Hope is a story of Marissa & Collin Kimball’s journey to recovery after suffering infertility for years in their marriage. Shadows of hope tells a vivid story of not only their journey to overcome the strain infertility has placed on their marriage, but their individual sources of distraction from the issue. While Marissa is distracting herself with the clinic she has built, her husband has a distraction all his own. Attempting to fast track his career as a college professor into tenured status, Collin has placed everything on the line for a young co-ed; including his marriage.

 

Tristan, best friend to Marissa is caught between a rock and a hard place. He has to watch his friend agonize her way through the situation, without wanting anyone to help. Conflicting with his psychologist nature to help. Tristan may not be on team Collin, but he does a good job of providing unbiased advice.

 

Meanwhile, Marissa is befriending the very women that has her contemplating what to do about her marriage; Collin’s mistress. Saving grace for the mistress, Kaitlyn, she has no idea until it’s too late, that Collin is married. You won’t spend the whole story disliking her or upset (or that could just be me). I think anyone can identify with Kaitlyn’s guilt at being a part of situation she didn’t know the whole truth about until it was too late. Ignoring the red flags, an often in hindsight, obvious signs that something wasn’t right.

 

While there are some spiritual elements & brief scripture references in the story, it wouldn’t be hard for someone who has had the same struggles, and doesn’t believe, to identify with the struggles of Marissa & Collin. Georgiana Daniels uses great imagery & technique to evoke emotional responses to her characters. You will hurt with Marissa as you watch her attempting to cope with the infertility. Which will leave you furious with Collin’s behavior at focusing on his own selfish feelings, from the problems he has created.

 

I gave the book 3 stars, because I didn’t like the development of Marissa. She lacks accountability in her actions and throughout the story. Collin’s affair isn’t justifiable, but her unwillingness to accept responsibility for the state of her marriage prior to knowing is on Marissa. As well as her relationship with Tristan. When you knowingly manipulate a person’s involvement in your life because it is beneficial for you, its wrong. In Marissa’s relationship with Tristan, you get no sense that Marissa has any regard for how her desire for his friendship affects Tristan. She acknowledges awareness, but never accountability.

 

Overall, I would say it is a good story, with a lovable group of characters. The ending definitely came out of left field for me. It was definitely a plot twist I wasn’t expecting.

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review 2018-02-15 12:33
The Pen is Mightier by J.A. Cipriano
The Pen Is Mightier - J. A. Cipriano,Luke Daniels,Jason A. Cipriano

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

My thoughts are pretty mixed on this book. I decided to give it a try because the premise sounded really entertaining and I am a huge fan of the narrator. It was a pretty easy listen that seemed to move pretty quickly. It ended up being an okay book for me.

Roger starts off the book having a rather bad day. I actually liked down on his luck Roger that seemed to be doing his best just to get by on a daily basis. He is given the task to delivering a sandwich to the carnival and leaves with a magic pen. I love the idea of a magic pen. You can write something down and it (usually) comes true. Just think about what you could do with that. Need a couple of zeroes added to your paycheck? Or maybe just write your own winning lottery ticket? You get the idea how great this could be and watching Roger try to figure out what he could do with it was fun at first.

I started to have some issues with the story when the pen started causing women to fall all over themselves to be with Roger. I don't consider myself to be a prude and I don't mind sex in books. In fact, I usually like it when it is done well. The sex in this book caused me to do some major eye rolling. I didn't feel any chemistry between the characters and it didn't strengthen any relationships. It was more on the ridiculous side of things. There was also the little issue that none of the sex would have happened without the pen. I can't say that Roger controlled the women because he did not write that they would have sex with him but there was a real fine line. 

Luke Daniels did an awesome job with this book. Honestly, I am not completely sure that I would have finished the book without his voice encouraging me to keep going. He handled a lot of different characters and some crazy scenes with ease and really kept the book fun. 

I thought that the concept and exploring the limits of the pen were incredibly interesting and fun at times. I think that maybe I am not the right audience for this book. I think that this book may work a lot better for other readers so you may want to give it a try if it sounds interesting to you. I don't think that I will be continuing with the series myself.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from the author via Audiobook Boom.

Initial Thoughts
The narration was wonderful and the concept of the story was interesting. I did think that the magic pen always being the key to sex got old quickly. I don't mind sex in books. In fact, I like it but something about how it was used in this story felt off to me. I did spend a whole lot of time wondering what I would choices I would make with a magic pen. This was an okay listen but I don't think I will be continuing with the series.
 

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review 2018-02-10 04:08
Undivided - audiobook
Undivided - Audible Studios,Neal Shusterman,Luke Daniels

 

 

An amazing end to this brilliant series. There were times I was screaming in anger, crying with sadness, and slamming my fists in frustration. I loved this series and now must find something else from Neal Shusterman to read.

 

 

 

Stay Whole.

 

oh and...

 

Nice socks.

 

If you like dystopian books, you should try this one, you won't be disappointed.

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