Heaven is for Real – Todd Burpo

This afternoon I spent 3 hours at my favorite Barnes and Noble reading Calvin and Hobbes comics and finishing the book I started a couple of days before called “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo. I didn’t want to post anything religion related in case of offending anyone, but this book blew me away. It is a true story about a boy who had not yet turned 4, went to heaven and back, and met people that weren’t alive in his lifetime.

Colton was turning 4 when his appendix burst and had to undergo surgery, the chances were slim, but he made it out alive. Months later during a casual conversation Colton brought up that angels sang to him at the hospital. And that’s how it started. Further on, and several questions later, Colton describes heaven, the people there, Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, his great-grandfather, his miscarried sister, and so on.

This book was remarkable. Everything was put in a language a child could understand. Answers that people try to figure out for years was put into a simple sentence a 4 year old could understand. Phrases like, Jesus died on the cross so we can meet his dad.

How could someone his age lie about this kind of stuff? After watching an interview on CNN with prodigy Akiane Kramarik, Todd showed Colton the painting “Prince of Peace” and Colton stopped in his tracks and said that was him. The same hair around his face, the same “beautiful” eyes, the same rough but kind face. After reading this I looked back at the picture and turned my eyes away after a split second. I was embarrassed of myself infront of a mere picture of Jesus. This must be the most accurate picture of Jesus to date. I couldn’t look at the painting without feeling ashamed. For who I am, who I’ve become, and what I now strive for in life. I was taken aback. Near the last 1/4 of the book Todd says that Colton would constantly say “God loves his children” and “don’t forget God love his children”, numerous times a day. I couldn’t help but cry during the book over and over again. No I did not sob in the middle of Barnes and Noble, but in the small space I was reading in, tears streamed silently down my face.

This is a must read book. Christian or not, this book tells the amazing story of innocent faith. I give this, undoubtedly a 5/5. It was well written, with true emotions and reactions, I felt like Todd was personally telling me the story.


The White Queen – Philippa Gregory

Alasss– I have finished The White Queen. I don’t know why it took me so long to read. Maybe because the majority of the books I’ve read lately have been fast paced, action filled books. Not to say that this book wasn’t fast paced, because it was. It fit like 20 some odd years in 400 pages.. hahaha. Overall I would give this book a 3.5/5.

It was a really good read. It was written fluidly, easy to understand and had a lot of good witty lines.

Before we go into the plot and content, I wanted to start off by saying what I really liked about the book. For starters, weaved in the book is the story of Melusina the water goddess, who is the main character, Elizabeth Woodville’s ancestor. The story itself is quite sad but I liked the reference to the actual book. You also get a feel for the character and what it might have been like on the throne in that time period.

This book is about “the cousins’ war”. King Edward falls in love with the commoner Elizabeth Woodville and marries her against the will of basically everyone in the court. They get married, she becomes queen, and has multiple children. All the while all these people are trying to steal Edward’s throne and Edward is constantly in and out fighting battles. After Edward dies, his brother takes the throne and imprisons Elizabeth’s sons in the tower of London. However Elizabeth is quite clever and makes decisions that eventually leads to a.. not-so-bad ending.

Before we continue, can we please look at what these people really looked like?

Kind of disappointing especially because while I was reading the book, I expected him to look like this.

Anyway, during the book, you never really know for sure who is an ally and who is an enemy. Many people do things completely unexpected that leads to a lot of deaths. I got really taken back by some parts and I thought the ending would be horrible and they would all die. But in the end, Gregory wraps it up pretty well and I was actually really content with the ending.

There were a lot of things in the book that totally took me by surprise. I thought the two lost boys in the tower were Edward and Richard but nope. I think she changed it though, because in reality I’m pretty sure it was.. Maybe I’m wrong. Either way I was so happy when Richard/Peter came back! I also totally did not see the daughter Elizabeth falling in love with and ultimately marrying her uncle.. uhh awkwarddd.. Richard. Who killed Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Grey’ son and her brother. How could you be attracted to someone like that??

I think she also portrayed some really good similarities to reality. For example when the young Elizabeth was telling her mom that she was in love, and her mother kind of denied it at first but then told her to love who she loved. I thought that was very cleverly put in because it was relatable to our times. But, I did agree with the young Elizabeth when she said that her mom was too caught up with getting the crown, and asked her why they couldn’t just escape and live normally.

I did feel pretty horrible about what happened to Edward and the page-boy in the end. I just feel like they were literally children and to be thrown into that kind of world at that age was completely unfair. What’s even worse is that poor page-boy had to undergo such a fate. I mean he did not have to end up like that, and he was even younger… 

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne, in this dazzling account of the ars of the Plantagenets. They ruled before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women.
The White Queen tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition, who secretly marries the newly crowned boy king. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become the central figures in a famous unsolved mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the lost princes in the Tower of London.

The Iron Daughter – Julie Kagawa

I’ve just finished “The Iron Daughter”, and UGHHHHHHHH
A 3/5. STILL not the GREATEST book alive.. but it was SOOO much better than the first…

Basically, this book begins with Meghan trapped in the Winter court. Eventually she escapes with the help of Ash to find the scepter that was stolen by iron fey. They escape and Puck comes back alive and well and confesses his love for Meghan.. love triangleeeee. Ash leaves them because he is set on finding the scepter himself and returning it to the queen. All the while Meghan has been ‘glamouring’ iron bit by bit. I hate how they use ‘glamouring’… can’t they use bending? Like in Avatar? Anyway, she doesn’t really know what’s going on with the ‘bending’, but it become REALLY obvious near the end. So after Ash leaves, Megan, Puck, and Grim find their way to Leanansidhe, queen of the ‘outcasts’, basically fey or half-breeds who have been exiled. She lives in between the human world and Nevernever. And in the end, she receives help from a lot of people to reach whoever has the scepter, in order to return it to the winter queen.

UGHHHHHHHHH… This book was good… soo good… especially after the first one which was quite bad. To begin… Meghan is still stupid. You would think that she would have some good sense to NOT talk to Ash while there are other people around. She called him Ash in front of the queen, and the other princes which made me cringe. STUPID. Ash is a prince of the winter court.. that’s like me going up the princess Diana and being like, ‘yo P.Di, what’s crackin’?’ *shakes head*… so it’s pretty obvious that Ash would act cold to her…

Second, to further exemplify her stupidity, she keeps clinging to Ash which I mean I guess they did end up together at the end, but still I mean, it broke my heart when the book kept bringing up Ariella. Especially when Ash is hurt and she looks in a drawer for some.. cream thing, and sees all these things he kept that belonged to Ariella. I mean isn’t she the slightest bit embarrassed or something???

Moving on… PUCK. OH MY GOD PUCK. Team Ash, Team Puck, cut the bull crap.. I hate when people ask me those type of questions.. I DON’T KNOW… I wouldn’t know who to pick because from the book, Puck is hotttttt, Ash is hot too obvi, but I don’t know. I love how Puck cares about Meghan so much, like when he says he would come back from death for her. *swoon*… And as much as Ash shows that he likes Meghan from small gestures.. e.g. saying she’s worth it, asking her to stay while she is healing, asking her to save a dance… I’d still be a little skeptical about him and Ariella.. I mean.. I don’t know…

Aside from the characters, well one last thing, Ironhorse was such a good… uhhh iron fey? I was heartbroken when he died…. BOO. Moving on to the plot… The plot was good, there were a lot of good scenes that got pretty intense. The tip off when Ironhorse was dying and he says it was an honor, ‘my queen’, bolts ran through my head.. OMG. Further evidence would be when Virus saw her ‘bending’ iron and she says it wasn’t possible, and that the king was supposed his power down to her because she was ‘second’ was like an alarm. DUHHH. The title of this book and the next??? Meghan is the ‘iron daughter’ so to speak and in the next book will probably be the iron queen. Epic. No not epic but good, very very very good. I also thought the part with her father was soooo clever. I NEVER would have thought. I was so surprised when I found out Charles was her dad. I loved it because I like it when books resolve things and brings small stuff from previous books into play and piece them together.

The ending was not good. Not, not good as in bad, but not good as in.. wahhhhhhhh. I shouldn’t have been surprised when Meghan ultimately chose Ash, but being exiled and all was a little.. whoa.. hahaha and i was so sad when Puck was like, no, I can’t follow you this time. *shaking head*… le sigh.. I guess we’ll have to see what happens in the next book…

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey–ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help (…not that she actually has any.. I just had to say that). Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart. 

Deadly Little Secrets – Laurie Stolarz

Deadly Little Secrets was definitely a quick-er read than most of the books I’ve read / been reading. It’s a really thin book and I don’t know how they jam-packed like 270 pages into it, but it was a shorter read than others. Although it’s short it does move kind of quickly so you get a good sense of things after the first 8 or so chapters. Given that the chapters are usually no longer than 2 pages. For me it was a fun read, somewhat creepy… like really creepy, but good. I give it… 3/5.

This book is basically about a girl, Camelia, who is attracted to this guy, Ben, who is staying distant to Camelia. But when Ben touches Camelia, it feels.. for lack of a better word.. different. As the book goes on, Ben begins touching her more (just like a bump or swipe in the hallway), Camelia starts getting weird calls, gifts, and pictures of her in the mail. All the while in between a few of the chapters there’s a page or two snippet of a journal belonging to the mystery person who is following her and sending her these weird things.

Then Camelia finds out Ben is psychometric and can see things like the past or future by touching. For example, Ben can see someone’s past, feelings, or future by touching them. He can also touch things like letters and see things through the ‘vibrations’ someone left in them. Interesting, no? I think so. For the most part I liked this book and I was convinced that Spencer was the mystery guy and I was really kind of shocked when I found out who it really was.

My favorite parts of the book was when Ben and Camelia were in.. biology? chemistry? and she holds up her mixture and says ‘thirsty?’ ahahaha I thought that was so cute and added good comical relief. Also when Camelia calls Ben and asks if he can pick her up, or meet or something, and he says ok and she says really?, and he says I’m already on my way, or something along those lines.

The whole part with.. creep man *cough*adam*cough* was … different, but well writtenI was grossed out, freaked out, and I didn’t know what to do. What I mean is, it really felt like I was experiencing what Camelia was. For example, when she woke up and realized she threw up, I thought I was going to throw up, I mean that’s just gross. And when she describes the room being no larger than a walk in closet, I started getting claustraphobic, and just everything that she did, kick the walls, try to break the rope, I mean I was reading it and I kept thinking… ‘what would I be doing if I were her’…  and then it hit me… shit.. I’d be too damn scared to do anything hahah.

The ending was also really disappointing, maybe because I like happy endings but I was really upset when Ben left Camelia. Then I read the summary for the second book (Deadly Little Lies) and got even more pissed when I read that Ben leaves and she finds someone else (Adam) and starts dating him and what not.. UGH. BOO YOU.

Until three months ago, sixteen-year old Camelia’s life had been fairly ordinary. Then a mysterious boy named Ben started junior year at her school and changed everything.
Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. Despite the rumors, she’s inexplicably drawn to him… and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she’s in danger, and that he wants to help–but can he be trusted? She knows he’s hiding something… but he’s not the only one with a secret. 

The Iron King – Julie Kagawa

I finally finished “The Iron King” and I have to say I’m kind of on the fence about it. If I had to give it a rating out of 5, I would have to say it was a 3/5.

The book starts out pretty interesting once you get past the basic background information and they, they being Puck and Meghan, get to Nevernever.

Basically the book is about Meghan who goes on a journey with her best friend Puck to Nevernever in search of her little brother, Ethan, who has been kidnapped. On their way to the summer king they encounter many interesting things and eventually when she arrives she finds out she’s actually part faery… which really wasn’t that surprising. Then she comes to encounter Ash, the winter prince and apparently their families are enemies, big shock. After a series of events she finds out the iron king is keeping Ethan captive and eventually journeys to the iron kingdom with Ash, Puck, and a cat.. a very awesome cat.

I can’t say much without releasing something along the way, but I shall try my best… I thought the book was pretty good up until about 2/3 of the way in. Before that it was really quite interesting. It was a mix of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Alice in Wonderland”, and I don’t know, something with weird water creatures. But I thought it was fun and kept me pretty entertained. I really like Puck, he’s so.. I don’t knowww but I like his personality and how he gets protective at some points. Ash grew on me towards the end of the book, but.. Meghan.. I was ok with her until the last third of the book.

For starters Ash and Meghan’s relationship was way too sudden, it was like one second they were still in the ‘let’s just awkwardly gaze at each other from a far and debate whether to make a move’ and then all of a sudden they were making out! It was just really weird. AND THEN… when they were all getting chased in New Orleans and she ran up to the police man?! Puck got shot because of her!! LIKE WTF was she thinking?!?!?! I wanted to stop reading because she was being so STUPID.

However, I must say the last few chapters caught my attention again. I NEVER expected the iron king to offer her to be his queen… uhh awkwardddd… isn’t he like old or at least old enough to be creeped out by an offer like that??? But the whole battle thing was quite good and keep my attention for the most part, but then the ending just broke my heart. The way that Ash came back for her, I ALMOST forgot about the deal…

Overall I give it a 3 because the ideas were interesting, like the small characters within the forests and ponds. I also really like the logic behind things how things don’t exist if people don’t believe in them, but since Puck had so many things written about him he would live on for a long time, and the small shocker at the end. HOWEVER, it didn’t get a 4 because of the overly rushed ‘acted on’ romance between Ash and Meghan, the ridiculous stupidity of Meghan at some points, and to be frank, it did get a little bit boring at some points. Also sometimes the description of a few scenes were confusingly written so I had to read over them, and sometimes just gave up and skipped past it. But I guess it had to be an ok book considering the fact that I’m reading the sequel. ;)

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny – one she could never had imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She never quite fin in at school…or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s know is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth–that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.