I know I have an amazing book on my hands when I just can’t stop highlighting enlightening words and anecdotes. Kamaria G. Powell’s words feel as if they are bubbling from a pot of sincerity and love, as if a sister is trying to encourage you in your darkest hour.
WTF is Enlightenment is a clarion call and book of personal experiences, detailing just what the heck spirituality is and all it can be.
The really cool thing, is that Kamaria does not just tell us what enlightenment is, she reiterates over and over that we “have to embrace our own spirituality” and this can be difficult for many of us because who we are tend to be tied down to religion, passed down teachings, titles and material wealth.
“What I learned from my deep longing to be seen as a spiritual being, was that you don’t need anyone to knight you.”(WTF is Enlightenment, 2017)
How is it that we allow people outside of us to tell us who we are? That is impossible! Whatever the Creator of the universe has given us, was given by Him. If we need to make moves and make a change, we are already equipped to do so.
Kamaria even gives us some background on her own life story. She does not sugarcoat her mom’s mental illness or her dad’s incarceration, and her choosing to see the lessons and the light from that situation will encourage the reader too.
This book is a welcome fresh air that was not difficult to understand at all. As I said before, this book is a clarion call to be who you are. What can be more beautiful than that? Here are a few tidbits from the book that were precious gems to me:
Listen to patterns in your life.
You are the access to the Divine- everyone else is a guide.
Being spiritual does not require a specific text.
You are an expression of God.
Plus many more affirmations.
“You have the power to start thinking of your life as a science that you must study in order to discover your personal truths…”
After reading this wonderful book, I have become more aware and will definitely heed to the lessons Kamaria points out in the material.
If you’ve ever wanted a guide that was not boastful , yet intelligently and simply written. Please choose this one.
Her Secret Life by Tiffany L. Warren
Published by Dafina Books(2017)
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0872-4 Book received for free from Netgalley
Note: This book can be categorized as Christian Fiction but has a few disturbing scenes and language you may find distasteful.
Her Secret Life was actually a pretty good book. It had all the right ingredients.
Including the ingredient for annoyance.
Onika was born to a cracked out black mother and handsome Puerto Rican father/pimp.
Her grandmother, Earlene ends up raising her in a strict, religious home.
Every day Onika and her grandmother prayed for her mother to be healed by God and for years that never happens. Coupled with Earlene’s ornery attitude, Onika eventually gives up on Church and God completely and no one can blame her at this point.
Eventually, Onika earns a full scholarship to a prestigious college in Washington, D.C. where she meets a handsome guy at least ten years older than she and that is when things get really interesting…
She was Judy’s child. It was inevitable that she’d be addicted to something. [Quote from Her Secret Life, 2017]
She is not my favorite character at all.
The book itself is actually quite good. It kept me up reading very late, I talked my husband’s ears off about it, so yeah it was pretty good.
The author wrote in a way that makes me believe she actually knew these people. I think this is what made me dislike Onika all the way around.
Onika comes off as proud and even intelligent. Then she’d turn around and do something utterly dumb.
There were times in the story where I lost all pity for this girl and I feel bad because I knew people who have been in bad situations like her so she has every right to feel like she need to keep her life private.
But to lie to everyone…?
Then disrespect those helping you?
I could not take it anymore. When I lose connection to a character, the story is lost for me. I began rooting for Graham(Onika’s new love interest) and enjoying Charmagne’s(Onika’s benefactor) character. Even though Charmagne was a holy roller and attributes every single thing to God all the time, she had a Christ-like attitude and was refreshing to the story.
This book also touches on issues such as colorism, drugs, and Christianity/Churchianity.
Again, a very nice book, but I abhorred Onika’s character.
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-The Write Web
His hands crushed mine, not tenderly, but tender in love and fiercely. The honey brown orbs that were his eyes, pierced mine as he grabbed hold of me, already feeling me slip away.
I never seen my boyfriend cry before. But I am now. It hurts like no other pain.
Everything was growing blurry…two of him, twin tearing men. His white shirt, rumpled with a few paling brown coffee stains splattered on the front, probably from rushing into to see me in my final hour.
“NANINNNNNE! Don’t you dare leave ME!” He growled, his hands no longer felt tight on mine. Was I slipping from this world to the next so soon?
I said something, I think. My lips moved, a tear raced down my cheek as my truly handsome boyfriend stared in terror.
Did not matter how often we prepped for this moment.
All the prayers and all the research of my breast cancer. Late stage, lead us here. I guess, the Final Act cuts deep.
My grip suddenly felt ghost to me. Foreign. My hold loosened on it own as Eric leaned closer to me. My family were all crowded around me, their hands touching my legs, my stomach. Praying. Weeping.
A door slammed in the distance. Another reaction to my dying.
Adin’s warm breath reached my eyelids. My heart began a lub….DUB….lub…..so achingly slow. My lungs couldn’t catch up to any natural rhythm either. The pain meds wore off long ago.
“Nanine.” He slides his hand up the side of my arm. “Don’t. You. Leave. Me. I will chase you across worlds. Remember? I will-” My poor man choked up. I gather strength enough to look into his eyes.
What I saw shocked me.
Shocked me enough to make my heart hit a few beeps.
His eyes, pupils dilated, were deep pools of black. His full lips leaned down over me and my gaze stuck to his as his hot lips landed on mine sensuously in front of everyone.
Only Adin can make me feel this way. Even with my bald head, body nothing but bones from the chemo that ravaged my body, he made me feel sexy. Alive. Always have.
His hot gaze, fierce, determined, supremely angry, swallowed me whole. I believed for a full minute that he literally could chase my soaring soul to wherever.
Our connection have always been so strong.
After the kiss, he only moved an inch from my face and ran his hand down my cheek. “I will find you.”
Suddenly, I couldn’t chase air. My heart’s rhythm, a normal drum in my chest, ceased it’s beat.
I can’t! I can’t breathe! My heart won’t tick!
The room, Adin, my family their echoes of pain sounded so far away. I mentally clawed for life. Clawed for it.
Adin’s face of anguish, his honey eyes were the last things I saw before complete darkness overtook me.
My lips were kissing something wet and very cool. Smooth.
My eyes were drawn so tight, they felt like lead at this point and I was afraid to open them. My memory slipped from me. Where am I ?
I risked opening my eyes slowly, shocked at the clarity without my glasses. In clear, HD panoramic view, there were lush trees and bushes everywhere, birds chirping.
Some cherry blossoms, floated by me and landed near my face. My face was hovering above clear, beautiful liquid, too amazing to just call water.
My body felt so…clean and lightweight.
Staring at my reflection, I was shocked my skin seemed to glow whereas it was usually pale. It had a hint of gold to it, but the ripples in the water from my movement caused my shimmery glow to vanish.
I finally pushed myself up and on the bank, startling a small squirrel prancing around, chasing its own tail.
The squirrel seemed more orange than brown.
Where am I?
A deeply male, familiar voice made my heart race. I look down at my slightly sun kissed skin and was terrified at how I could see through hands, as though through a veil.
The male approached me.
He was as naked as I am. Shimmering like me. Barely solid, barely ghost.
Oddly familiar too.
His eyes were large, his body designed and perfected in some lab probably and his lips had to be fashioned in supreme love by God himself. I felt nervous, giddy, confused.
He approached me but kept a safe enough distance. “Welcome home, Nanine.”
He reached out to me with his hand. Feeling lost and so utterly confused, even with all the beauty surrounding me, I take his large hand.
“I told you I would chase you from one world to the next.”
Familiar words. Familiar face and lips. Those eyes.
Why did they look so familiar?
Why do I feel…connected to him somehow?
Stay tuned this week for the short conclusion to this love story!
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No more conscious of sins, is the theme here for such a wonderful, romantic filled story by one of my favorite writers today, Julie Lessman.
In Love Everlasting,Shannon O’Bryen is tasked with ensuring that playboy, heart throb Sam Cunningham, gets home safely after a night of him imbibing.
Shannon’s brother Jack warns her that Sam can charm anyone. In fact after reading this book I understand how he can charm the skin and fangs off a snake. With this fair warning, Shannon promises she won’t take the bait. However during Sam’s drunken state with him calling her Angel Eyes as she wipes him down clean and cook him food, Shannon already feels…something but even more importantly, Sam feels it too. On a major level. The question is, does he still love the sexy Jasmine, or will he give in to his warm feelings for the woman who rescued him? A woman who seems as pure and moral and untouchable as a saint?
Note: Feel Free to skip to the extended character review of Sam and Shannon!
If you have not read Book 1, I suggest you do, technically you have to read that one to understand the relationship dynamic among the people of Isle of Hope, Georgia. However in theory one could still read Love Everlasting and enjoy the work tremendously.
Seriously this book was fun, serious, and very romantic. The characters and the setting works for a very strong story here. Isle of Hope is a real place and is very beautiful with its Southern charm of lakes and greenery you can imagine the characters as real people walking down the Isle for a nice stroll or a swim.
Lessman’s creativity when it comes to characters is strong as well. Sam was well rounded. He is a doctor but comes from a troubled past. He knows what he needs and what he wants. Shannon is a quiet soul. She is like me. She is a writer, she loves God and is about marriage and family but even she has a secret that just may destroy whatever it is she wants with Sam.
Loved this book. You have to read it.
**I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
Wait! Here’s a Juicy Extended Character Review: What Makes a Great Romance 101
Love Everlasting is one of those books where character is everything. In fact in most books, that is what drives the story. I want to point out a few of the reasons why this book received five stars by focusing on the two main characters Shannon and Sam.
Successful children’s doctor.
Was once orphaned himself.
Very charming and intelligent.
Has swoon worthy looks and appeal.
Who can tame a playboy?
What I loved most about Sam is that he has a boyish side to him that only Shannon has seen. His temper tantrums or not wanting to share her. But he is such a poet and his words made me melt:
That’s because it’s not just a kiss,” he whispered bowing his head to touch his forehead to hers. “It’s the gift of my heart, Shan, all wrapped up.”(pg.220).
Now on to Shannon.
A believer in Christ.
Cleaned Sam after his vomit of liquor(so, she is caring).
Jack is Shannon’s brother.
Jack is also Sam’s good friend, soooo…
Shannon is off limits(or should be off limits) to Sam.
Yet, Shannon is not so squeaky clean. You see, Sam views Shannon as an angel, unmarred by sin.
He wants Jasmine back so bad that he enlists Shannon’s help to get her back and one of Shannon’s requirements is that he become a believer in God. But is Shannon herself perfect? After a while, Sam moves from head over heels for Shannon to an all out love for her and for Shannon that is good and not so good.
Wait until he learns her secret.
This book definitely deserves the five stars because anytime you have the Playboy Meets the Angel, sparks sure does fly!
Did you guys read the story too? What did you think?
Sunday school teachers and preachers told Samson’s and Delilah’s story like this:
“She was a vixen that tricked Samson. The end.”
But if we are talking about true accounts of the bible, it may have been more complex than that right?
These were real people, right? Is that what we’re assuming…?
Well, thank goodness for writers like Angela Hunt of the Beauty series. Her story about Samson and Delilah painted them in such a human light, that I can believe that version rather than the one I heard about.
When I compared Angela Hunt’s version to Scripture, I find that Samson was kind of a “ladies man” and the bible say he fell in love with Delilah. This was not some woman he met in two seconds and then she betrayed him…
Then again, I was not there.
Here is a snippet of my review from Goodreads,
Delilah is harmed by her own stepbrother, abused in every way and on top of that her mom has been sold into slavery. Surviving only off her wit and the help of a friendly few, Delilah finally settles down in Gaza but now she wants revenge. Enter Samson. The strongman. Everyone has heard about his mighty strength, even though he doesn’t look so strong. He meets Delilah one day and falls in love with her, but what happens when the taste of revenge is stronger than the taste of true love?
My Reaction: From the very first page of this book I was enthralled. The author captured the atmosphere of ancient Philistia very well(read more of my Delilah Review)
Here is my question to bookworms and Christians.
Has there ever been a time when a author captured the essence of the past so well, their version was more believable? Is it wrong to do this? Does it encourage you to do your own research or did you view it as healthy entertainment?
Irish Beth Maddock releases her award-winning children’s book
while opening up about her own past
It isn’t every day that you hear of an author who was once abandoned by her mother, raised by her father only to become a prolific, amazing writer and get so many awards for her works.
Award-winning author Irish Beth Maddock released her first children’s book in Canada last year to a heap of awards. Beyond raking in positive reviews, The Great Carp Escape (Word Alive) has won recognition from 10 literary award sponsors thus far, including Reader’s Favorite Awards, a USA Best Book Award, and an Illumination Book Award. Maddock’s debut Christian children’s book is a quiet allegory of the Gospel of Jesus and how He brings us–as represented by the carp–from dead water to living water.
Abandoned by her mother at the age of four and raised by a working father, Maddock was left to care for her one year old brother. Growing up with such great responsibility in childhood, but also with much freedom, Maddock and her brother took to living a life of lakeside discovery.
Living on Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, Maddock and her brother spent many afternoons playing in the shallows and discovering God’s creation. After a particularly wet spring where a shallow pond formed from the lake’s overflow with bottom-feeding carp, Maddock discovered the premise for her story. Promoting compassion and appreciation for all of God’s creatures, The Great Carp Escape helps children discover God’s love through understanding and community.
The Great Carp Escape has earned the following award placements:
2015 Illumination Book Awards – Gold Medal – “Enduring Light” Children’s Picture Book
2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards – Winner – Children’s Religious
2015 USA Best Book Awards – Finalist – Children’s Religious
2015 International Book Awards – Finalist – Children’s Religious
2015 Reader’s Favorite Best Illustrated Book Award – Christian
2015 National Indie Excellence Awards – Finalist – Children’s Religious
2015 New Apple Book Awards – Solo Medalist – Religion / Spirituality
2015 Global eBook Excellence Award – Silver Medal – Children’s Christian Picture Book
2015 NABE Pinnacle Book Awards – Fall – Children’s Interest
2015 Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Medallion – Awarded by author, Bil Howard
To view The Great Carp Escape book trailer, click here.
Irish Beth Maddock has been a newspaper columnist, been featured in Reader’s Digest, and on broadcasts including: 100 Huntley Street, Okanagan News Television, and Canadian National Broadcast Radio. She is a published poet who has both performed in and directed plays and musical theater productions. Her award-winning children’s book, The Great Carp Escape, is available as a fundraiser for schools, churches, charities and ministries in need and has raised over $1000.00 for such causes thus far. As a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Independent Book Publishers Association, Inscribe, and The World Guild, Maddock would like to continue to do something about those ideas that get downloaded into her brain at 2AM.
Word Alive, Inc. began as a distributor over twenty-five years ago, and today is one of the largest and most trusted suppliers of Christian books, entertainment and giftware in Canada. Word Alive Press is harnessing the power of conventional royalty-based publishing and distribution and infusing a new partnership approach to the process.
***Read Below for Even More About Irish Beth Maddock ***
Irish Beth Maddock tells the story of two children becoming champions to God’s creation, in her new book The Great Carp Escape (Word Alive, Inc.). A children’s story steeped in real life events, Maddock weaves a fish “tail” of discovery and love by encouraging everyone, young and old, to become a voice to the voiceless and show respect to all of God’s creatures.
Abandoned by her mother at the age of four and raised by a working father, Maddock was left to care for her one year old brother. Her book, a quiet allegory of the Gospel of Jesus, is a celebration of God’s redeeming love in her life.
Living on Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada, Maddock and her brother spent many afternoons playing in the shallows and discovering God’s creation. After a particularly wet spring, a lake flood forms a shallow pond by their weeping willow tree, trapping bottom feeding carp, which become the premise for Maddock’s story.
Although Irish was a child when her “Great Carp Escape” happened, it wasn’t until her twenties that she discovered God’s love for her. Irish realized not only does God think we are all wonderful but that without Him, we are all simply fish out of water. The redemptive message of how Jesus brings us from dead water to living water is quietly written in The Great Carp Escape for people of all ages to see. With the dad in the story portrayed as Jesus, the book is based on Psalm 27:10: “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”
Maddock offers The Great Carp Escape as a fundraising tool for schools, churches, and charities in need and has raised over $1000.00 to help causes thus far. As a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Independent Book Publishers Association, Inscribe, and The World Guild, Maddock would like to continue to do something about those ideas that get downloaded into her brain at 2AM. To learn more about her, visit her website here.