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.
"We need to be more Christian than Afro-American" - Pastor George Thomas
This book has hit so many points about the things & areas God is growing me in, that I have been truly encouraged to be a better disciple. Not a better human or American or Woman, but a better representative of Christ himself! Walking as we are called by God, doesn't mean we neglect the plight nor oppression of those around us. It means that regardless of the issue, we align ourselves with God 1st! We should always be standing with God, regardless of how counterintuitive it seems to the world. I thoroughly enjoyed all the lessons, transparency & open hearted honesty of the journey for Kim.
If God is calling you deeper or you just need to know how you can walk the straight & narrow from right where you are, then this book is for you! Kim Cash Tate doesn't use shame, guilt or condemnation to encourage you to let go of the labels/conformity of this world that hinder you. Instead, she is honest & loving in her personal story showing you how to follow God to the life He purposed for you!
Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester gave me a new understanding of P.T.S.D. afflicted soldiers. I now see just how deep the wounds can go when they have to go against everything inside of them all to obey a command.
David McClain is an army ranger who is looking to settle down & start a family after his final tour with the United States Army Rangers. After advice from his trusted friend Captain Eli he issues his request to the Heavens. So when his answer Lindsey Wood literally runs right into him while jogging he couldn’t believe the horrible timing.
Lindsey whose father Denis Wood is suffering P.T.S.D. believes there is something about David that makes her want to get to know him better. Lindsey finds out how life can have a funny sense of humor as David his impending deployment. They agree to keep in touch while David is away & intend to start an actual relationship upon David’s return.
Unfortunately for them David’s tour is one that will haunt him for a lifetime. Unlike any tour David has experienced this tour deals a deadly hand. David has to watch a child being brutally beat to death while commanded to do nothing. His father he so desperately wanted to make proud suffers a massive heart attack & dies. David’s fellow ranger Al loses his legs while saving David’s life & he can’t help but feel guilty.
David comes home & is trying to handle it all. He doesn’t tell Lindsey any of the things he has seen while he is away & he doesn’t let her know of his return. Once Lindsey finds out David is home she reaches out but David shuts her out. Lindsey wants to help David; to comfort him. David however, doesn’t want love because of the pain he is suffering. David spins into an alcoholic depression after learning of his fellow ranger Max’s suicide. He nearly kills himself in a car accident before accepting that he can’t heal alone.
Having help from Lindsey, David seeks treatment & begins the healing process. During which time he reaches out to Max Jr. so that he will know his Dad was a hero. You will have to read the book if you want to know how the story ends.
Steven Manchester definitely crafted a story that would open eyes & break hearts.
The Art of Hiding is a book about Nina McCarrick & her 2 boys Connor & Declan overcoming losing their patriarch Finn McCarrick. Finn has died & left category 12 hurricane destruction in his wake. So instead of mourning their loss, the McCarrick family is figuring out where & how to live, 1 week after losing Finn. Which is may very well destroy their love for Finn.
Nina has become a recluse housewife with no friends, job or outside social circle, she doesn't know who to call when her picture perfect Martha Stewart life starts imploding. Ignoring the warnings to preserve what she can immediately, Nina's world is shattered. Surprise! They're bankrupt, courtesy of Finn, now deceased. The creditors are taking what is owed them, including the house. Now she has to find a way to comfort her boys in a way she never imagined. Connor & Declan just want their Dad to fix everything, just like he always has. Except now, he is the reason their lives will never be the same.
Gone are the private school, luxury vacations & posh house. The McCarricks are destitute. Relying on her estranged sister Tiggy, Nina goes "home" to the impoverished neighborhood of her childhood. Here the McCarrick family's love for Finn will be tested, as they navigate an unimaginable life. Trying to figure out if Finn abandoned them or if fate really did deal them a treacherous hand. Either way, the Mccarricks have to find a way to live again. Even if it means being poor, together.
I gave The Art of Hiding 3 stars because it took some sensitive albeit complex subjects, & skimmed over them. Personally for me, if you're going to add some darkness to the plot, go all in. When you realize where the title comes from though, it gives you that bitter sweet affinity for the whole story.