Maybe a wild ride in a shiny black Mustang convertible, and some mother-daughter bonding is exactly what Dr. Kathryn Bailey needs, when she agrees to a road trip with her mother. Escaping the aftermath of a nasty breakup, and seeking to heal her broken heart, Kathryn has no idea what awaits her in the forested mountains of Elk Horn, WA.
While traveling back to her favorite childhood destination, a run-in with the sexy town sheriff sets Kathryn on an unexpected course; one that may very well change her life, especially after becoming witness to something only spoken of in the hushed voices of local legend.
When a horrific event rocks the sleepy, rural town, only days after her arrival, Kathryn is immediately drawn into a mystical world of sacred legend and folklore. Suddenly, she must question not only her eyes, but her beliefs.
As she comes to terms with these newfound experiences, will she come to know that with love, believing isn’t always seeing?
We often think of death, and what awaits for us on the other side. Some of us, in the "believers" category, would even venture to say there is wonder, and love, and light, so pure and dazzling in Heaven; and perhaps fiery and anguish in the depths of Hell. We don't know what awaits for us. We just know that death is certain. Life should be treasured and lived, because we are never guaranteed our next breath.
As a doctor, Kathryn knows full well about dealing with the precariousness and preciousness of life. She tries to patch our bodies up as best as she can, hoping and praying with us that we can make it to another year, another milestone that we feel we must cross.......but in the end, our paths won't waver. We may be granted another chance, but it's still there. Death looms over us, watching, waiting and I'm sure, very bored with our bargaining and pleading with a thing that is certain.
And then there's Armel, Death's servant. He is neither here nor there, but serves as a guide to help us get from this side through whatever awaits for us on the other side.
This book felt like a buildup of something grand, and it didn't disappoint as it climaxed to the finish. There is certainly wreckage, and disbelief. Mass confusion and heartbreak. I'm not sure how I can cover all of it in one swoop. But, trust that there is something deeper within these pages that isn't just about a doctor and an quasi-angel of death, or how she escapes from one cheating and wayward heart, and runs into the solid and steady heartbeat of her soulmate. I cried over some parts, especially regarding the relationship of a mother and a daughter. It could be that I am emotional from having to enroll my first child in Kindergarten this week, and seeing that at some point I need to let go of her. I do hope, and pray to have the same crazy relationship with my daughter as we both age as I love the dynamic between Kathryn and her mom, Claire. Those are my hashtag mother/daughter goals.
No, in between a lover's meeting, and hugging it out with mom, Gloria Herrmann takes us on a beautiful walk with Armel, as he 'collects souls.' As scary as that is to lose someone we love, I can only imagine how scared and lonely it will feel when we realize our time on Earth is up. I'm sure it's comforting to imagine that someone that used to be one of us, a man who knew life and death, love and grief; someone who has seen it all through the ages. To have a friend, and not an angel who can't imagine why we cling to life so much when there's so much more waiting for us on the other side.......why we have to bargain so loudly to hang onto all of this much life here.... no, it's easier and comforting for us to imagine a friend will be the one to help us go through this door into the afterlife.
Thank you, Gloria, for taking me on a walk deep in the forest, and reminding me for a moment that life is simple - we live, we love, we die but we just complicate things because that's what we do. But in the end, it won't matter who we were in life, because we all have to go through The Pass Through.
*** sidenote: this is most definitely not a Christian or a clean book, as there is sex in here. But I love the idea that there exists angels and spirits among us. Call it the Catholic in me and the belief in purgatory. Or my Filipino blood that had to read this only during the daytime, because we're a very superstitious bunch, and something about the supernatural gives me the heebee jeeves if read in the dark. Whatever you want to call it, I chose to read this story because I found the blurb intriguing and the idea of Armel, and his goodness, and his sacrifice is haunting; and his interactions with angels, only add more questions to what we don't know. This was a neat take on what we don't know about death, angels, souls, or what the Great Taker (Death), or the Creator (God) looks like. So if you want to read a lovely novel about all of this, pick up this book. If you are disheartened that I choose to read something that wasn't a Christian novel......I hope and pray that it takes more than a novel to sway your beliefs. This was a great read for me.***
About the Author
Gloria Herrmann is a romance author living in beautiful eastern Washington. She is an avid reader and lover of words, and becoming an author has been a dream come true for her. She still pinches herself all the time and wonders how she got so lucky.
Her debut novel, Loving Liam, the first book in The Cloverleaf Series was released in October of 2015, and three more titles from that series were released by Limitless Publishing. Gloria wrote Single in Seattle, a three-book erotic contemporary series that will be released by Totally Bound in 2017. She has several self-published titles, including The Pass Through, which hit #1 in Native American Literature on Amazon.
To find out more about her books and current projects, please visit the links below.
TOTALLY BOUND PUBLISHING:
༺❃༻ IT’S A CRAZY ASS BLOGIVERSARY BLOG HOP! ༺❃༻
Join in some Crazy Ass Blogiversary Blog Hop fun as we celebrate three years of Crazy Daisy Book Whore. Visit over 90 participating authors and bloggers for some awesome giveaways.
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❃ #Giveaway hosted by this page ❃
A copy of Love, Defined
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What every parent needs to know in a world full of drugs, drinking and gasp! Sex.
Written from her experience as a Christian "wild child", now a mother and the wife of a recovered addict, Leah Grey sheds light on her childhood rebellion and how her life was ultimately saved- by finding her true identity in Christ.
If you're a Christian parent struggling with how you're going to successfully raise children in an increasingly sex-crazed, sin-filled, oh-my-goodness what can we do kind of world, this short book is one you'll want to read! With chapters like, "Wake Up and Smell Satan's Coffee", "The Truth about the Technological Era" and "We All Get It Wrong Sometimes" she addresses the problem of insecurity in our children (and their parents!) and how it leads to drugs, drinking and sex, what godly boundaries look like and where our children are really being influenced.
This is not a parenting book filled with "to-do" lists and "top ten ways to"... it's one girl's testimony to the importance of teaching children how to find identity in a broken world.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
-Romans 12:2 (NIV)
We all have an opinion on parenting. We all base assumptions on what we see at the playground, during and after the school drop off/pick up rush, at restaurants, etc. Everywhere we see a family, we unconsciously compare ourselves to how other people parent. As if there was a bar of measurements or a winning look that screams, PERFECT PARENTING DONE RIGHT HERE. In truth, we all have our bad days and our good days. And even though we know in our hearts we're doing "alright" for ourselves and for our children, this comparison thing drives us.
Leah Grey tells us a few things:
1.) You need to stop comparing your parenting styles to other people's parenting styles.
2.) There is no perfect way to parent.
3.) Let's reexamine this thought about doing "alright" as parents. Wouldn't you want to be better?
Being better parents means putting, and asking, and letting God into our parenting, and maybe trusting that He can do so much more for our children than you and I could ever imagine. Our children aren't really ours but God's. We truly only have our children for a short amount of time, and God has them for a lifetime, and then the rest of eternity. Over the course of their time with us, we need to make sure to put God into every aspect of their life, so when the time comes to 'let go' of the reins, their foundation in Christ has been set.
At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions that let us reexamine how we are to our children. Do we engage with them? Are we on our phones all day long?
Sidenote and this one hit me hard: that we - those of us in our early thirties - "we are the end of an era. The last generation to know what it's like to play outside all day long....the last to use an encyclopedia, or to the library....the last to hear stories about World War I and II, straight from the mouths of veterans." Just sit on that for a moment. Our parents never needed to worry about social media and how that affects our teens. Our parents never needed to worry about having complete access to the things we shouldn't have access to, on our persons. Our children will never know the type of innocence you and I may have experienced in our childhood. And then that part about Paul Harvey's speech....CHILLS. I was shocked and saddened and it's no wonder that motherhood has taken up flak in today's society.
Let's move on. Leah sounds like that awesome friend who is honest about her past realities of being a wild child and then finding Grace in the beautiful mess. She's the kind of friend who will not only pray for us, but hold our hands to tell us that we need to be putting God first, and foremost in our lives. We need to actively seek Him, and have our children come to Him daily. Don't you want that kind of friend who cares about our souls and our children's souls? I know I do. I love the friends that I can message or call up and say, 'please pray for me.' They don't hesitate. They pray. That's the kind of thing you need in your motherhood tribe. The kind of friendship that tells you to stop comparing yourself to the way other people parent. The kind who will lead us back to the truth and tell us to ask God for wisdom. The kind of wisdom that no one else can give. We need to have the kind of friend that will stand in front of us, look at us in the eye, and say, "we're not okay."
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Leah Grey moved to New York City full of hopeful aspirations until her husband went into long-term treatment for addiction. Unable to afford to stay, she picked up her childhood dreams and moved back to her rural, Canadian beach town with her two young children. From rooftop city skyline views to her parent’s basement, in the darkest time of her life, she created Grey Ministries to support, encourage and empower women with loved ones who struggle with addiction. With a practical faith-based approach, she challenges popular beliefs about addiction while teaching women in crisis how to find God’s peace within the storms of life. In March 2016, she launched her website, LeahGrey.com and online peer support community, “Live, Love, Hope”.
Join by visiting http://leahgrey.com/livelovehope.
Book Club Pick:
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!