Day: June 30, 2018

Book Review: Nature of the Witch by Helen T. Norwood

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Plot almost always comes first for me when I choose a new book. I don’t often venture into the fantasy and/or science fiction genres, but occasionally the story just calls to me. When I read a description of Nature of the Witch by Helen T. Norwood, I was intrigued. I love a true battle between good and evil, especially when the lines between which is which (no pun intended) falls into a murky oblivion of where to place your trust. Norwood’s novel is a prime example of why it’s good to chance something new!

There are witches — sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not so good. They are protected by a secret society of strong men, the Gwithiaz — sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not. {Side note: the questions come up with the characters whether witches can be men and the protectors can be women — I do love a good analytical discussion!} But then there are the Creatures who hunt the witches. From the beginning, I know enough to be afraid from the earliest descriptions of the wrath that they bring to any encounter. But who sent them? And why do they hate the witches? Lots of questions… yet the physical battle between all involved is carefully avoided until the very end of this book.

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The story is told from the perspective of a new witch and a new Gwithiaz, each being taught by what are supposedly the last of each’s own kind. But everyone knows what we’re told in fairy tales and fables is never the final or complete story. And that’s certainly the case here… Norwood weaves a spiderweb of deceit and confusion all throughout the first 90% of the book. It’s unclear who is telling the truth, but it forcibly pulls you into the story on the edge of your seat siding with each of the groups. Beyond the primary story evolves a growing relationship between the two newly anointed souls responsible for carrying forth the destiny of the witches. It could be friendship, love or just a pure family connection. Both lost their parents at a young age and have been searching for that unconditional love to no avail.

Until now. Yet that’s where it all comes crashing together in the end. I hadn’t know this was going to be a series until I read the last chapter and thought… wait, I need more… and then I turned the page to find a note from the author who was working on Book 2. WOW, she got me! I’m very excited to see what happens in this series. Between the vibrant descriptions, fantastic world-building and complex sense of loyalties, it’s a drama to the fullest extent. It reminds me of tv shows I’ve watched like Grimm and Sleepy Hollow, not to mention countless short stories and books about witches and battles – I felt like it was Hansel & Gretel seeking out evil! {Reference to a movie in case you’re confused about what little children from a forest have to do with the Creatures!}

Kudos to Norwood for enticing a new fan of the fantasy world! I’m a sucker for anything with witches, but this took it to a whole new level!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: The Nuns of Lemon Tree House by Melanie Mole & Robert Brooks

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I was introduced to author Melanie Mole in 2017 when I read one of her earlier books which talked about embracing the simple life. In the book, she also covered a small part of her interest in joining a convent, but it is in her latest book, The Nuns of Lemon Tree House, co-written with Robert Brooks, where Melanie explores the entire experience. Although it would never be the life for me (I love the silence and can be obedient, but I think I might miss a few things like tv, foods, liquor, et al…), reading about someone else’s days in a life that often seems to embrace so many of the things to keep us healthy and relaxed is quite intriguing.

The first thing I’d convey about this book is that even with the simplicity of having very little events, it is warm, inviting, and full of action. But that’s kinda the point, isn’t it? A half-day’s walk around the convent just exploring the architecture or floor plan while not highly eventful does offer significant experience and commentary about life. Asking questions, thinking about change, or finding connections between your own life and those living within the convent’s walls induces tons of moments I enjoyed reading about. The authors’ descriptions of everything are in very fine details, conjuring up full images of what Melanie saw during her days with the nuns. It’s vivid and bright even when the room she’s meeting with one of the nuns is dark and gloomy (until she opens her eyes to what’s really present).

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The next thing I found charming about the book was Melanie’s own voice and tone. She laughs at herself and finds humor even in the negative experiences. Fully acknowledging she will have issues with the ‘vow of silence’ helps set the stage for many moments where readers hear her ask question or speak to a nun only to realize she’s not supposed to… after a few, I felt myself reaching out to stop her — it brought levity to the topics and helped us connect with the narrator, Melanie herself, as how many of us would truly remember to keep our mouths closed! But it was when she began talking to herself out loud in the hallways as she explored the buildings and grounds where I realized she’s actually quite savvy at embracing the virtues of the order in her own way. And it helps lead to the answers she’s been searching for.

The journey is one that provided opportunity to learn — both for Melanie and for readers. Slowing down to ask questions (even silently in your own head), to wonder how the nuns function together with little words being said, or to understand how sometimes doing nothing can be more tiring than doing something… all these theories pop into your head. I enjoyed this break from my normal reading style and genre, but I also enjoyed learning about someone else’s life and thoughts. It’s important to breathe in other opinions and experiences, and what better way than by reading a memoir / autobiography of a few weeks in someone’s life.

Kudos to both authors (I’m curious how’d they co-write this… interesting approach), but I also wonder whether Melanie provided a copy to the nuns for future guests in the convent? Life can be a giant circle sometimes and wouldn’t this be a way to connect the past and present together for all visitors and those interested in learning about becoming a nun… And so, you are probably asking yourself whether she became a nun after this experience. Well, here’s what happened… oh, wait, I don’t believe in spoilers for other people. Experience it yourself and go read the book. I’m confident the ending will be quite a fun surprise!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.