Monday, May 23, 2016

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples is a Terrific Read

Hunting Hope is a perfect blend of tender honesty, raw emotion, sweet humor, emotional & physical struggles and eternal triumph. I'm not quite sure how she does it, but Nika Maples writes in such a way that you simply feel like a friend with whom she's having a deep and personal conversation. Nika does not shy away from the fact she has experienced seasons of depression in her life. But through the hardships, Nika remembers to rely on and trust in God, and gives continual examples throughout the book of when God has lifted her, sustained her, encouraged her, challenged her to press on, and continually gives her the hope to move from the winters in her life to the joys of spring. Hunting Hope is a fantastic book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

*I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*

Hunting Hope
Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light (April 2016, Worthy Inspired)
Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.
Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.
Nika Maples became a hope hunter after suffering a massive brainstem stroke that left her quadriplegic in her twenties. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and-if she lived at all-she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes.
Whether you or someone you know is going through a situation that feels hopeless, you will find encouragement in Hunting Hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical trauma, a financial hardship, or a relational crisis, you will find empowerment in Hunting Hope. As you read, you will cling to 20 truths about God’s character and practice 5 daily disciplines that will develop your own character in crisis.
You will become a hope hunter.
Maybe it doesn’t matter what causes suffering in our lives as much as it matters what suffering causes in our lives. Maybe we were all meant to be hope hunters.
About the AuthorNIKA MAPLES
Nika Maples is the author of Twelve Clean Pages, the memoir of her survival of lupus and a stroke that left her quadriplegic at age 20. After learning to walk and talk again, she became a public school teacher, winning 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. She holds an MA in English Education from Columbia University and currently is pursuing an MDIV from The King's University. When she is not traveling to speak, she lives, writes, and laughs as much as possible in Fort Worth, Texas.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review of 'Sister Dear' {by Laura McNeill}

'Sister Dear' is the first novel of Laura McNeill's I have read, and she is now an author to which I will turn when I'm wanting to read something dark, mysterious, and intriguing. The plot starts out simple enough--after spending 10 years in prison for a crime she didn't commit, Allie is gaining her freedom and returning home. But home is in a town where everyone still believes her guilty, her parents remain distant, her high school daughter Caroline considers her a stranger, and her sister Emma wrestles with helping her and staying away.

McNeill has layered the past & present with secrets. While the secrets have had the biggest toll on Allie's life, they mix and mingle and truly affect the entire town. Just when the reader begins to put the puzzle together, another secret is revealed and the reader finds himself or herself wondering once again, "who committed the murder"? Another dynamic of the book comes within the character development, as one character who appears to be a protagonist starts looking more and more like an antagonist, and minor characters begin to become complex major characters within the various storylines.

The novel did hit a point in the middle where the storyline to drag just a bit, but it could be that I was just getting more anxious to get to climax of the plot line and see not only who committed the murder 10 years ago, but also to see all the storylines come together and present a common resolution. While the ending chapter was just a tad rushed, overall I was very pleased with the pace of the novel and the final outcomes.

*Please note; if you are looking at this book because it is from Christian publisher Thomas Nelson and are searching for a Christian book, I do not feel this one qualifies. But if you want a murder mystery with suspense and some adult content, 'Sister Dear' is a good choice.*

*I received a complimentary copy per my honest review.*

Sister Dear
Sister Dear (Thomas Nelson, April 2016)
All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?
Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish – time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.
But Allie’s return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie’s claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already-fragile bond with family.
As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret—one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

Laura McNeill is a writer, web geek, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is completing a graduate program in interactive technology at the University of Alabama. When she’s not writing and doing homework, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time at the beach. She lives in Mobile, AL with her family.