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Dear Mom...

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Dear Mommy,

 

     Mother's Day comes only once a year. It seems odd and insignificant to spend only one day out of the year celebrating the people who brought us into existence and shaped who we are. Once every year we do what small things we can to show you our appreciation for all that you do 24/7/365. You deserve to be celebrated every day. There's never enough that I can do or say, nothing I can give you that measures up to all that you've given me. It's one of those days of the year where I am forced to pretend like "thank you" and "I love you" is enough. But those things never seem to say what I want them to say. And the amount of times I say it doesn't add up to the amount it should. Those words touch the fringes of what I feel, but they don't go deep enough.

 

     The question is, how does one tell another person that they love them to the extent beyond what words can say? Is it even possible to express as much love as I want to? As much love as you deserve?

 

     And the answer is, you've shown me how. You've been saying "I love you" to me, to our whole family, your entire life. You've been saying it from the time you were a girl who wanted twelve kids when she grew up. Your dream has always been to be a wife and mom, and I've been told we are your dream come true. It's one thing to have your own dreams come true, but to be told that you are another person's dream come true? Especially when that person is the one you most look up to, admire, and love? That is an unmatchable honor.

 

     When you prayed over each one of us from the moment you knew we existed, that was you saying "I love you." From the time you first held each of us in your arms to coaching us through our early accomplishments and friendships, you've been saying "I love you." When helping us during those awkward in between years when everything is changing, from the way we think and perceive the world to the way our skin behaves, you were saying "I love you." When I started to pursue the things I've wanted my whole life, when I've started to fulfill what you've raised me up to do and become... you've believed in me the whole time, and you've been saying "I love you" through all of that.

 

     Most importantly, you've taught me that Jesus loves me. I was already His in the womb, because you dedicated my life to Him, and it was the best thing you could have done for me. And now you, along with my father, help me to see the very tiniest bit of what my heavenly father must be like through your example. I think I understand Him better because I have you.

 

     You've been a mother for sixteen years, and you're still saying "I love you" in everything you do every single day. It's in how you let me follow you around the house and talk until I have said everything that needs to be said and then some. It's how you hold me when I need to cry. It's in our hugs before I go to work or to bed each night. It's in how we text each other back and forth when we're apart because I just can't stand being away from you. It's in how after long days, I just need to be with you in silence, because you mean peace, acceptance, comfort, and love. It's in how you encourage me to live my dreams passionately every single day. It's in the fact that you are my best friend, and I can tell when I'm with you that it's not forced. You truly enjoy your children, and that means the world to us.

 

     It also means everything that you listen to us and take us seriously, even when we're not making any sense. Even when we're very young, you listen and discuss things with us in mature ways. You take our opinions seriously, and treat us like people who matter. You believe in us when we don't believe in ourselves. If I come to you and say "this may sound crazy and stupid, but..." you listen and then say "That sounds amazing." You're the mom who has her kids with her everywhere she goes, and there's a massive hole any time we're apart.

 

     I know I will never have a friend as valuable as you are to me. There is no one who understands my heart and very being like you do. The only other people who have sacrificed as much are the other people in our family, and the only one who has sacrificed more for me is Jesus. I'd say if the only other being in existence beating you at these things is Him, you're doing a pretty amazing job.

 

     I have done nothing to deserve you. I am so incredibly blessed that God chose to put me into your life. I've been growing up for sixteen years, and you've been patiently training me all that time, when I was selfish, didn't understand, wanted things my way, fought with you, struggled through petty problems, made messes that didn't need to be made. You loved me through it all, and it's because of all of that that I am the person I am today. Not perfect, but a whole lot better than I was and a whole lot better than I could have been. Still growing, but grateful. Even now I know that I can't quite understand, but someday I hope to have my own children, and I hope to be half the mom you have been. If I can ever achieve your level of love in motherhood, I will count my life a massive success.

 

     Your motherhood is not just something you turn on every day when you get out of bed and turn off when you're away from us. You are a mom. It's part of your being and you can't change it. And you couldn't be anything more important.

 

     God knew that this crazy family was going to need someone who could hold them all together and love them all equally despite the fact that not a single one of them was anything alike. And we all know we're difficult. But you've perservered spectacularly. The hand the rocks the cradle rules the world, and you, my dearest mother, are one of the greatest rulers of them all.

 

 

     Mommy, I love you. With all of my heart, I love you. I will always need my Mommy. I will always be your little girl. You've always been there for me, and I will always be there for you. Other people come and go, but a mother is forever. And the family that you've created is forever. And I will always be grateful for the love you have demonstrated, the full measure of it that you have lived out every day of your life for as long as I've known you.

 

I love you.

 

Your daughter,

 

~Bethanny

The Magicatory, by Amy Vansant

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on May 5, 2016 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)



     "Brian, Anna, Marc and Cecily stumble into a wizard’s spell and are swept to the Magicatory, the magical factory / laboratory where everything is made. Too bad they picked a lousy time to visit! A mysterious girl and a horde of goblins is planning an attack, one of the shape-shifting mages has been kidnapped, and a crazed dodo bird is on the loose. Now the lost siblings have to figure out how to use their new superpowers before the multiverse is destroyed and they can never return to Earth!"


Short Summary: This is an entertaining, fast paced book that is packed with humor. It's my favorite book I've read in a long time!


Full Review: The Magicatory is a middle-grade fantasy. I would be cautious giving it to children ages 9-11 because of some violence and mild rude humor, but would easily recommend it for kids ages 12 and up.

     I was laughing the entire way through this book. The action never stopped for a moment, and while there was plenty of suspense it was also hilarious. And the plot twist at the end was certainly not one I ever would have seen coming.

     The story is told to us by "Auntie," the CEO of The Magicatory. I cannot express how much I loved Auntie. She was the perfect narrator, broke up the story at the right times, and (small spoiler alert) meeting her at the end of the book was one of the most satisfying parts of the whole thing. It was like finally meeting a pen pal or being reunited with a close friend. I loved hearing her give us some backstory at the beginning, and her comments and jokes scattered throughout the story were a nice touch. She was easily my favorite character.

     It's set in a place where magic is the norm. It reminded me of something I saw on Pinterest talking about how neat normalized magic would be in modern society, like fairy-run coffee shops where you can get a latte with a shot of charisma before a big meeting, or psychics running hair salons who always know how you want your hair to look, etc. The Magicatory did that. It was a change from the traditional awe of magic to, as soon as the kids from earth got over it, something everyone seemed to have in some form or another. I thought it was rather refreshing, and added another layer to the story. Not to mention the fact that almost every creature introduced in the story was one never invented before. They certainly made things more complicated, in a good way.

     The characters were charismatic and their interactions were quite enjoyable. Even the extras, who were only around for a chapter at the most, played their parts spectacularly. (Berg was another favorite of mine.) It was the perfect mix of adult and child. I also enjoyed that the adults had just as much fun as the kids, if not more. Most kids books portray adults as boring, or the authorities as people who never understand and are so high and mighty and worried about always being right that they get in the way of the kids. These adults and children acted like best friends and equals.

     As previously mentioned, the ending contains a plot twist that is equally shocking and satisfying. It tied up loose ends very nicely, although there was room left for a second book and questions left unanswered. I will be looking forward to Amy's next book with great anticipation.

     Overall, I loved this story. It is well worth reading. It's been quite some time since I enjoyed a story this much, and it was very refreshing. Simple, and yet complex at the same time, this book was easy and enjoyable to read. The pace never slows down, so readers never get bored, and I will certainly recommend it to fellow book-lovers


Overall Rating: 5

*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Butterfly Blink, by Karl Beckstrand

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on April 20, 2016 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

"Follow the stages of a monarch butterfly from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. With each blink the butterflies multiply (until a playful dog disperses them). Children (ages 2 – 6) cement vocabulary as they make up stories to go with colorful illustrations. Wordless book activities include finding and naming insects and characters and describing the action in this butterfly book. Includes diverse kids, special concern species, and insect habitat conservation. Blink and they multiply—blink and they’re gone!"


Short Summary: This wordless book is a unique approach to learning that very young children will appreciate.


Full Review: This book is different than any I have reviewed before, and is much different than most books I remember ever reading. There isn't one word in the entire book. This makes it a very quick read, something to keep children busy even before they can read while fostering an appreciation of books, and helps spark imagination as children tell the story themselves.

     The only complaint I have is that it's difficult to understand what the point is or where the plot is going unless you've read the synopsis, where the author explains the purpose and intent of his wordless book. Otherwise, you're just not going to get it. However, if you read the synopsis, there should be no trouble.

     This book should be used to encourage children's imaginations and creativity. Instead of being read to, they see the pictures and make the story up on their own. If an adult is there with them, they can help guide the children in the direction the author intended. Thinking of my four year old sister, I know she would have no trouble with any of that!

     In conclusion, there isn't a doubt that this is a children's book. Adults reading it to them: don't overthink it. Just let the kids read to you this time.


Overall Rating: 4


*I recieved this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Escaping The Prince, by Lorrain O'Byrne

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on April 16, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)


"Buttercup Hickleberry is a mischievous, devil may care pixie from Brandydook Kingdom. Much to her astonishment and dismay, she is selected to be Prince Morgan's bride. In fear of losing her independence, she escapes to the land of humans where adventure and terror lurk at every turn. While Buttercup battles deadly spiders and gigantic birds, amongst other things, Brandydook and all the pixies are catapulted into terrible danger and only she holds the key to its survival. Prince Morgan must find Buttercup and return her to his homeland before it's too late."

Short Summary: This middle grade book is perfect for younger readers. The plot was enjoyable even to me, but it reads in a way that will keep kids engaged and excited to the end of the story. Anyone who reads it will be anxious for the next book in the series.

Full Review: Escaping The Prince is written in an easy to read style that fits a younger audience. The plot is fast-paced and doesn't stop to dwindle anywhere, so children with short attention spans will have a story that keeps up with their need for action. I would say it easily fits into an age range of 8-12, and may be a refreshing book for children a bit older to read if they get tired of longer, more difficult books, and parents will enjoy reading it to their kids.
     The plot doesn't lack anything in the way of action, adventure, suspense, and even a little romance. The characters are woven well and there are definitely lessons to be learned from them. I don't know if it was the author's original intention, but as readers listen in to the thoughts of pixies and animals and watch their interaction with humans, I think we can learn a lot about our own flaws. It gives a better appreciation for nature and the world around us.
     Buttercup is a relatable character with flaws that, while we don't approve of, we understand. Most of us likely would have acted the same way were we put in her place. Prince Morgan is much the same, although perhaps a bit more admirable because of how he grew and changed, and how willing he was to break out of the ordinary, accepted ways of doing things and the sacrifices he made.
     Wendy, a human child, is a walking annoyance. She is careless, rude, ungrateful, and doesn't take care of her dog, Bruno or show him the love he so desperately wants from her. Many children have the tendency to take on these traits, whether they mean to or not. This book may help make their own character flaws more clear.
     The only thing that takes away from the book is that at one point a pixie calls the prince "A royal pain in the ass." Since this book is written for children, that seemed very inappropriate. The entire time I was reading this book I had my nine year old sister in mind, and had plans to buy it for her, but I'll now have to reconsider as I know she would be shocked to read something like that. Granted, it only happens once, but these are children we're talking about, not adults or teens who have been exposed to such things before. The innocence of children is something to be protected. Standards can still be held to.
     Other than that, I cannot find fault in this book. It is written appropriately for it's audience, it's engaging and well thought out, the story is not dumbed down in any way, the characters are relatable and lovable, and the lessons it teaches are healthy. If you're looking for a book for a child that will make you feel like you're in the middle of a Disney movie, this is the book for you!

Overall Rating: 4

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Teen Dreamers Unite!

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on March 14, 2016 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (2)

Are you a young person with a big dream? Welcome to the club! That's what I've been all my life, and at age 16 I have accomplished more of my dreams than I ever thought possible, and I'm still going strong!


 

The only thing different about my dream is that I pursued it with all my heart. There's nothing about my dream that makes it better or more achievable than yours. You're every bit as capable of doing that as I am. And believe me, knowing you're going to be doing what you love and are passionate about for the rest of your life is pretty great.


 

So are you ready to start making your dreams reality? I'd love to encourage and inspire you! Like my page and follow me on Facebook for some awesome posts. ( https://www.facebook.com/bethannysbooks/?fref=ts ;) Also, shoot me a message! Let's talk about your dreams and help you make them a reality.


 

You can also check out my dream come true at this amazon link. ( http://www.amazon.com/Legends-Heretrua-Rulers-Light-Volume/dp/151874401X/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&keywords=Legends%20of%20Heretrua&qid=1457975857&ref_=mp_s_a_1_1&sr=8-1 ;) It's a book about... yeah. A bunch of young people being amazing and capable of saving the world. Kinda like you, right? ;)


 

I look forward to getting to know all of you dreamers! Let's change our lives, and along with them the whole world, together.



Guardians of The Scroll, by Steven Loveridge

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on March 4, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)


    

     Thrown back in time by The Palace Library to ancient Egypt, three children must protect a dangerous and magical manuscript. Only the power of The Scroll can control the savage creatures of The Nether World.

 

     Harry, Eleanor and Grace must battle monsters and face fire to wrestle The Scroll from the cruel grasp of Caesar and Cleopatra.

 

     At the moment of victory, a new evil emerges to steal it away.

 

     Captured, with the Library of Alexandria burning all around them, how can they escape?


     Short Summary: A fantastic, engaging story for all ages that could easily spark discussion topics and would be perfect to read in book clubs or for a family friendly story.


     Full Review: If you needed an example on how to capture someone's attention from the very beginning of a story and keep it to the very last word on the very last page, this book would be the one you should read.

     I'll often complain that books are too emotionless, or that the emotions feel forced and unrelateable. In this book, the author doesn't even attempt to include certain emotions or spark mushy sentiments. Instead, it's a refreshing change to hard, tough, practical emotions in the midst of a lot of chaos and desperation. We don't mess around with romance, and we don't read sappy scenes that show the characters discussing with long speeches how much they care about each other. That's still there, but it's shown, not just explained to the reader. It's shown in how the characters stick together, stand up for each other, and would do anything for each other. The relationships between characters are fantastic and convincing, as are the motives of each individual, and all of the characters were well-rounded and easy to get attached to.

     I very much appreciated the strength in the book. I'm an advocate of young people being able to do amazing things, being mature and capable, and this book certainly makes its young characters act exactly like that. I had no doubts as to their capability, and I certainly didn't find it ridiculous that they were doing what they were doing. They stood up for themselves and made their abilities known so that no one could pick on them for being unrealistic.

     In the beginning of the book, we get right into some action through a dream Henry is having. Sometimes dreams at the beginning of a book doesn't work, but in this case it did. It helped get us in the mood of the story and set us up for what was coming. The beginning of the story lasted just long enough to set up the characters and give us the background we needed, but not long enough to feel dragged out, boring, and unnecessary.

     The Romans and Egyptians have always been some of my favorite people to study throughout history, and in this book I got a combination of both. It was the perfect combination of history and magic. Mythical creatures that aren't as commonly used in stories made an appearance, and I thoroughly enjoyed their part in the story. The action and suspense kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

     I would recommend this book to anyone aged 9 to 99, and I can't wait to read the next one!


     Overall Rating: 5


*I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*

Stone and Silt, by Harvey Chute

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 25, 2016 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)


     "A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold. At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door. Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death. Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love"


     Short Summary: This books brings together several different types of families and cultures together in a beautiful display of the courage people can display when faced with the ugly side of life.


     Full Review: This book is a masterpiece of meshing cultures. Nikaia is our main character, a sixteen year old girl from a family of mixed races. Her father married and Indian woman, which makes it hard for the family to truly fit in anywhere. There's nothing about the story that could be considered especially remarkable, shocking, or never done before in literature, and yet it's such a beautiful story in it's simplicity. I love it when books manage to create a great story in realistic circumstances. Sometimes, the truth is what seems really impossible or most incredible, and this story follows events that, while entirely fictitious, could have reasonably happened to anyone living in that time.

     The characters in this book are all unique, and none of them are perfect. There are very few flat characters, most of them add a lot to the story through their diversity, how they interact, and their different ways of life and how they intersect.

     Nikaia's mother and her Indian family have a very different lifestyle than the one Nikaia's father came from. The cultures are unique and fascinating all on their own, and together they are beautiful and entirely different. I loved this couple's support of each other, and how they brought different elements of their lives together to raise their family. Despite any persecution, they were strong because they were together. They only really needed each other. This family was a beautiful illustration of what a healthy family should be.

     Then there's Nikaia's best friend Yee Sim, and his Chinese family. They're hardworking like Nikaia's father. They are happy and content in the simplicity of their life and home.

     Frannie goes to church and weeps in the back alone, because she has to make her living at the saloon from the company of men since her husband died. Yet she shows more goodness and kindness than most of the high in society, or the enforcers of the law. She is the one there for Nikaia's family in their time of need, she hides Nikaia and gives her information to help her discover the truth and restore peace to the town, along with serving justice to those who deserve it.

     The Sheriff's deputy, in a position of one who should be upright and responsible, wants wealth as much as the family in town known to cause to trouble to get what they want. Because of this, he teams up with that family and together they use deception and thievery for self-gain.

     All of these people are living together, working together, worshiping together, and surviving together. The people of the town have different motives and entirely different goals in life, yet they all come together in different ways when a big issue comes up that drags them all into the same fight. It's a good lesson on morals and ethics, and would be a fantastic book to spark discussion in classrooms or book clubs.

     This is a story that truly shows how much the author has invested in their characters. Because of this investment, the characters leads the story into its greatness. Rather than the plot leading the characters around, the characters lead and demand the plot in a humble, quiet, simple, yet incredibly powerful way.

     I loved how effective the bit of romance was in this book. It didn't try to overthrow the more important parts of the plot, and it wasn't overdone. I could relate to Nikaia and her thoughts and feelings even though we're from completely different times, cultures, and families. This went beyond just romance. She was so real, as were all of the characters. I think that's why it impacted me in the way it did.

     Overall, this book may not have the appearance of “the next big hit” but it made a profound impact on me because it tried to stun me or attempt something no author has done before, but because it drew out the issues in real, human life, and connected to me in it's realness and the beauty humans can show when put through the fire of trials.


     Overall Rating: 5


*I recieved this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*

A Spy's Devotion, By Melanie Dickerson

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 16, 2016 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

 

     "In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and deception thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

     At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?"


     Short Summary: Melanie Dickerson was already a favorite author of mine, but this really takes the cake. Her fairy tale romance series was beautifully woven and very enjoyable as well, but this new series she's beginning, Regency Spies of London, is definitely a path she's going to thrive on. This is my favorite book of hers yet, and with good cause.


     Full Review: Melanie Dickerson has done it again, and I daresay this is her finest work yet.

     This book is what I suspect Jane Austin would be like if she wrote in a style easier to understand in our deteriorated language of today, geared towards younger people rather than adults. It is much easier to read than Pride and Prejudice, yet it has all the style, culture, grace, and intrigue of the very-classy classics.

     We are told the story from two different perspectives, those of Julia Grey, and Nicholas Langdon. Julia is an orphan who was taken in by her Aunt, Uncle, and cousin Phoebe. She dearly loves her cousin and wants the very best for her. So when Phoebe decides she is in love with Mr. Langdon, Julia helps direct Langdon's heart towards Phoebe. However, when Julia becomes involved in a plot her uncle has to help their French enemies after Mr. Langdon requested her help, her feelings are also dragged into the mess. She becomes more and more attached to Mr. Langdon, even as she hopes for her cousin's happiness.

 Nicholas has returned from the war to heal from his injuries. His friend entrusted him with a diary before he died and instructed Nicholas to take it to the War Office. Unfortunately, the diary is lost to people who hope to use it for personal gain. Nicholas turns to Julia Grey to help him gain information before everything is lost. However, when her world crashes in as a result of her cousin Phoebe's affections towards Nicholas and her uncle's deception and treason, Nicholas starts to realize just how much she means to him.

     Love triangles usually make for a good story, but tend to be overused, or used ineffectively. Not so in this book. Take love triangles ruled by society and what is considered proper, use people who come from many different stations of life with many conflicting goals in life, triple the stakes, and then you have a killer love triangle. In this case, there may even be multiple triangles all crashing together. Romance can't stand alone, it has to be driven, and boy is this romance driven! It's refreshingly realistic and yet incredibly sweet and satisfying.

     Dickerson took a world so different to us and made it so real. She took a society and a culture so perfection-driven, so filled with rules on how to behave, a world where people aren't allowed to do one thing wrong or improper, and showed us it's underbelly, it's faults. Nobody and no society has ever been perfect. These are humans. They made mistakes. They did things for self-gain. They fell in love with the wrong people. They broke the rules, they did improper things. And it's beautiful, because it rings so true, because it's so real, and because even then the good shows through. The honorable people, fighting for what is noble and right, shine all the more for it.

     I loved the plot, I loved the characters, I loved the suspense, I loved the plot twists, I loved everything about it. Dickerson's books are all obviously a labor of love. Rather than losing fire, she just gets better and better the more she writes. I look forward to more great things from her in the future.

     If you're looking for a good, clean story from an author you can trust, this book or any of Melanie Dickerson's other books would be perfect for you!

     Overall Rating: 5


I recieved this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Dear Little Brother

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 12, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Little Brother,


     I read a post the other day that I found on Facebook about why being the older sister to a brother is the best thing in the world. I was going to share it with you, but it wasn't good enough for you, so I wrote my own. Here goes.


     Since the day you were born, I have absolutely adored you as my prince charming, my knight in shining armor, my partner in crime, and most importantly, one of my very best friends. You know who my other best friends are, and they're all related to us, too. But you, bro... you were the first. My first new best friend to welcome into the world, to be excited about living life with. For a while it was just us two, sharing that bunk bed, jumping on pillow trails that led across the living room, putting on puppet shows, and carrying our baby blankets with us everywhere we went. We held onto those for a while, kind of like we've held on to each other.


     Time has passed, and there are six of us now, all the best of friends. As the only boy among five girls, you're pretty special. I no longer tower over you, but you have to lean down to hug me. (By the way, I LOVE it when you hug me.) I may be the older sister, but I'm not the “big” sister anymore, just like you're not the “little” brother anymore, although I'm still going to call you that because it's more endearing to me than “younger brother.”


     So even though some things have changed, a lot has stayed the same. The best part of us is that we have a relationship that doesn't change, no matter what happens to us. We change, our situations change, we mature, we don't play with matchbox cars and stuffed animals anymore. But our love stays the same, and the bond that is so close and unbreakable stands firm.


     There is nothing better than having a little brother for my best friend who I know always has my back. We both understand that we will ultimately do anything for each other. I hate having activities I do without you. Of course, I don't expect us to have all the same passions, but I'm used to traveling as a pair. I like to have you along with me. We're Sherlock and John. I even like to make new people think we're a couple, because I am not ready to share you with another girl, and because come on, it's really funny.


     We share “squads.” We stay up until three in the morning together having deep conversations along with making ourselves laugh until our stomachs hurt and trying to do backwards somersaults. We take each other to our favorite movies all the time. We'll go wander around in random places together just because and have a blast doing really nothing. We discover new things together (remember Doctor Who? Blink? Huddled in that big chair together, truly scared to death?) We steal each others food, and yes give each other plenty of food, too. We listen to music together and sing and dance. When we're excited about something, we want to tell each other. When we're down about something, or confused, we come to each other. I have gotten so much comfort from you just by sitting in your room watching you mess with Legos. If people disappoint us, if everything else fails, we come rant to each other and tell each other it's all gonna work out. You're there when nobody else is there. You're trustworthy when I can't trust anyone else. You have wisdom when I feel lost in insanity. I can sleep on your shoulder and read a book while you play Minecraft and it's one of the coziest, safest-feeling places in the world.


     And that's another thing. You never fail to protect and guide me even when I don't want you to or think I don't need it. You've had the opportunity to say “I told you so” and didn't. You loan me your tactical pen when I want to go across the street to get donuts. You'll go walk places with me when you don't want to go just to know I'm safe. And you'll always offer me advice (even if I don't ask for it) but in the end you support me in all my endeavors.


     In short, I love you. All those things I said you were in the beginning you still are now; my prince charming, my knight in shining armor, my partner in crime. My best friend. I hope I can be the same for you, because you've been so much for me ever since that magical, wonderful day you came into my world. And you will forever be that much and more to me.


     Your “big” sister,


~Bethanny

Broken Banners, by Mark Gelineau and Joe King (Book Review)

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 11, 2016 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

    

     "Slaughtered and left for crows, soldiers of the King’s Army lay dead in a field. A grim reminder: the king’s law ends at the gates of the capital.

 

     Elinor fought for what she believed and now she is an outcast. No soldier will follow her. No officer will stand with her. Yet when she finds her brothers and sisters slaughtered, she cannot turn her back on them.

 

     Long ago, they swore an oath. Not to the king, but to each other.

 

     And woe to those who break that bond."


     Short Summary: I cannot think of a single thing wrong with this book. Breathtaking action, engaging plot, believable characters, and realistic emotion. There is some pretty brutal violence, but it adds to the story in ways that are absolutely necessary. If that doesn't scare you off, you need to read this book!

     Full Review: This book is incredibly captivating. From the moment you pick it up to the minute you set it down, the story wraps you up and won't let you go. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The characters are beautifully created. It's easy to feel like you know them pretty quickly, even though we don't get long explanations of their back story or descriptions of their character. The plot was equally well-spun. The fast pace of the book kept my interest peaked and pulled off real emotion in the midst of engaging action. I have not read the first book, but I could follow this story easily anyway. I certainly want to go back and read the first one after how good this book was!

     Elinor's strength is admirable and refreshing. Her ability to not only believe in and attempt crazy things, but to actually get them done and get them done well is something not often done so well through a character, let alone a female character.

     This book makes you think, and you have to pay attention or you'll get lost, but it's not difficult enough to be intimidating. I was always waiting to learn more, always guessing as to what would happen, to what people were going to do, or trying to figure out along with other characters exactly what the truth was about what had already happened.

     Not only were the characters wonderful all on their own, but the relationships between the characters were diverse and endearing. Con's trust in Elinor and his willingness to follow her wherever she led was a beautiful show of loyalty and the relationship felt deep without degrading the seriousness of the story with “puppy love.” He was strong on his own, too, but you could see that Elinor had earned his undivided loyalty, and that meant a lot.

     As for Elinor and Aldris' relationship, it was pleasantly mysterious. I was a little nervous when romance was hinted at, but it was very short and subtle. So many good stories have been ruined by unnecessary romance. This is not one of them. I look forward to watching the relationship develop more in future books.

     This book was packed with emotion and the story was breathtaking. I'd recommend it to anyone who isn't scared of a little violence.


     Overall Rating: 5


I recieved this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.



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