Category Archives: Book Reviews and Recommendations

Edition: Beauty

Wednesday Reads Wide51U+Oh04eDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In a world where beauty is synonymous with sexy and physical appearance is valued more than a soul’s depth comes a novel that challenges these superficial societal standards. A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert offers the reader insight into the innocence-stealing world of modeling.

Ivy Clark has spent the last ten years of life learning that appearance is everything. At the sweet age of 14 she was whisked away into a life of clothes, cameras, and compromise. Not long after signing with a modeling agent, she was coerced into giving away her innocence. Soon she realized that her beauty and sexuality could control the men in her life.

Now she’s 24-years-old and faces the end of her modeling career. In desperation, she returns to her South Carolina home to model for her stepmother’s bridal wear, a job that daily reminds her innocence lost.   Davis Knight, a former New York Fashion photographer, is tasked with capturing the beauty of each bridal gown. In spite of his success, Davis left the fashion world abruptly, and Ivy cannot figure out his story. She can’t control him with her allure, and she can’t reconcile his disdain for the world of fashion. Her developing relationship with Davis forces Ivy  to face her broken past, including her broken relationship with her father and stepmother. All along God calls her to exchange her ashes for His beauty, but it might be too costly gift for Ivy to accept.

In her third novel, Katie Ganshert manages to gently weave the truth of God’s word into the daily struggles of a woman. Even though Ivy is a high-fashion model — something most women can’t relate to –readers easily identify with Ivy’s feelings of inadequacy. The media constantly reminds women that we are pretty enough, skinny enough, or sexy enough to be valued. Katie pokes holes in those lies through Ivy’s story allowing female readers to learn that God values us and hand-designed us perfectly. He has called us by name and redeemed us – no matter our past.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful is a perfect read for women of any age. In fact, I highly recommended it for teen girls who will be tempted to identify themselves by their outward appearance. This book will serve as a powerful reminder that lasting beauty always comes from the inside out. In the end Ivy teaches us a lesson we can all learn: Love yourself no matter your appearance or past choices.

Note: Katie’s newest book The Art of Losing Yourself debuts in April 21st. I’m currently reading an ARC and cannot wait to tell you all about it. Look for it’s review soon!

Edition: Mystery and Magic = Marvelous

Wednesday Reads Wide

 

21897317Ada Bates escaped her torturous life at 14-years-old. Leaving her mother’s care in the middle of the night, she sets sail on a journey both ambitious and tragic. Rising from the lowliness of a servant at the famous Biltmore Estate in North Carolina to the stardom of the first female illusionist, selling out grand theaters around the nation. She maintains a life by creating magic for audiences while keeping up the illusion that she isn’t haunted by an evil past – one that could rear its head at any moment. Along the way she finds Clyde Garber, her manager and eventual love of her life.

The Amazing Arden, Ada Bates’s stage name, is known for her feat of sawing a man in half and then restoring him whole. However, the illusion goes awry when her husband turns up dead from the same wounds as her mesmerizing illusion. Trying to escape, she heads out in the dead of night and is accidentally captured by a local police officer. Now as she is hand-cuffed to a chair, she must recount her story — one that spans over 10 years — to prove her innocence. That tale is one wild ride to the truth – or is it a lie?

Since I’m a voracious reader, I don’t very often come across a book that I adore – and adore The Magician’s Lie I do! As soon as I turned the last page, I couldn’t wait to share this spellbinding story with my friends.

As a historical novel the book dives into a time when society was dominated by males, and yet the story centers around a female illusionist who captivates audiences, both men and women, with her talent. Her occupation alone keeps the reader riveted to Arden’s ever-deepening character. The story is told in a series of flashbacks that return to present day every few chapters. It’s interesting to note that much of the plot’s tension take place in the chapters where she recounts her story to a local law officer who is fighting his own internal struggles. A police station’s phone rings in the dead of night and both sit through the piercing rings while the reader wonders who is on the other end.

The plot was equal parts mysterious, creepy, romantic, and action-packed. The combination provides a riveting page-turning experience. This was one of those books where when I wasn’t reading it, I was wishing that I was. I couldn’t wait to get to the end, and then I was bummed when it was over. The point of view switches from Ada’s story to a movie camera’s view of the events occurring in the police station. Just when you think Ada is guilty, she shares a story that makes you believe in her innocence.  All along though, she tells her side of things with a detached air that causes the reader to question its truth – maybe she was capable of killing her husband.

Readers will cheer for Ada from the moment she first loses the chance to escape her poverty stricken life and the clutches of Ray (winner of creepy character award). She is a survivor, and we love that she is a self-made women who works hard and dedicates herself to her craft. She is talented, beautiful, yet slightly dysfunctional. We want her to love and be loved and when her happiness begins to crash around her, we must flip the page to see if she can hold on to it.

The Magician’s Lie is Greer Macallister‘s debut novel. I guarantee readers will anxiously await the next book published by Macallister as the first one provides a unique thrill ride with characters to both love and hate. That’s a story to adore!