4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace by Johan Twiss ~ Review

4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace by Johan Twiss

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What would you do if you were paralyzed from the tip of your head all the way down to your toes? What if your doctor says you are brain dead, yet you hear and understand everything he says? This is the foundation of the story, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace  by Johan Twiss. At first, this story did not turn out the way I had expected. But that soon became unimportant, because I was enthralled with what I was reading.

In spite of the very serious nature of the premise, this is really a book that takes a flight of fantasy in its execution. A twelve-year-old boy, Aaron, becomes paralyzed after being exposed to a rare virus which paralyzes him from head to toe. Very few people know he is even aware of his surroundings, which are bleak, and the activity around him. He recognizes his nurses, parents and doctors by their smells as they approach his bed. The story picks up two years into his “incarceration”, as he calls it, in a nursing home for acute care. By this time he has coped by creating a mind palace where he retreats regularly to act out actions and adventures his mind creates. This is where the story takes an unexpected twist. He gains a roommate.

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Solomon Felsher was a senior citizen with episodes of dementia. But when this former jazz player slipped into those dementia dreams, Aaron was mysteriously pulled into them and he experienced those events along with a much younger Solomon. It’s the variety and action in these events, based on true events in history during Solomon’s lifetime, that makes this such an interesting book to read.

My guess is that the target audience would be young people, perhaps young teens; especially for boys. But the way the book is written, with a touch of fantasy and possibly even a bit of steampunk, it is universally appealing. I know I really enjoyed reading it. I don’t recall ever reading anything even remotely like this story. I give the author an A for creativity. It was fascinating.

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Once I got involved in the plot, I found it difficult to put the book down. The variety of events was intriguing. There are other dynamics that makes this book interesting. A change in Aaron is inevitable, but have no worries. It’s all for the good, and there is actually a happy ending for the book.

I realize this book does not have a Christian theme, which is usually what I place on this blog. But it was such a good book, actually a great piece of literature, that I wanted to share this with my friends. And there were lessons in this story that are consistent with the Bible whether it claims to or not. I love a variety of genres, and this one, a variety of fantasy, historical fiction, and possibly steampunk, just fits the type of book I love to read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Now go tell a friend about it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this ebook through AXP Books Elite and the author. I reviewed this book voluntarily. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall ~ Review

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall

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The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall is the second book of a three book series: Ada’s House. This trilogy reminded me how much I enjoy books by this author. Ms. Woodsmall creates tales with emotional dynamics that pulls me in, keeps me reading intently without wanting to put down the book, and connect with the well-developed characters so that I feel I have a vested interest in the outcome.

Cara and Ephraim’s story is continued from the first book into this one. We also get to know Deborah, Ephraim’s sister a little better since she, Cara and Ada live together in Hope Crossing now. Cara is helping Deborah recover when her fiance leaves her and his mother without support. It seems he even left the Amish lifestyle behind him. The three women eventually establish a good business as a bakery in their new setting in spite of a rough beginning, while Ada continues to mentor Cara.

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Meanwhile back in Dry Lake, where the story originated, Teacher Lena is having difficulties in school with a rebellious and angry student, a bull in the neighboring pasture threatens the school children, Grey is having marital difficulties, Jonathan is attracted to Deborah, Israel is beginning to see Ada, and Dwane is being downright creepy. While we don’t know these characters now, this authors manages to capture our interest in them quickly as our sense of community grows. Suspense builds, and so does the drama. I recommend you bring along a box of tissues when you read this book. The drama in this tale is just as heart-wrenching and touching as those in the first book.

Midst all the emotional valleys and mountain tops, this author holds it all together with great humor and meaningful life lessons. I found it helpful to read this book right after book 1 of the series. The three books together run seamlessly into each other, building on the storyline right at the beginning. You can read them independently, but you would lose some of the references to the action that went on before. Because of that, I recommend purchasing these books together.

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One other thing really attracts me to this author’s works. She weaves into her stories examples that steadfastly demonstrate God’s involvement in our everyday lives. These stories are like word pictures in action. We’re not preached at, but we see God’s principles enacted throughout the book in such a way that it has to touch our hearts. Whenever I read her books, I find myself delving into deep thoughts of spiritual meaning, how God can live through me more effectively, showing how much He loves His children. All this comes so naturally to the author’s pen, that we barely notice it while reading these tales. This is why Cindy Woodsmall is one of my top favorite authors.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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The Hope of Refuge: An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall ~ Review

The Hope of Refuge Cindy Woodsmall book1

The Hope of Refuge: An Ada’s House Novel by Cindy Woodsmall

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall is the first book of a three book series: Ada’s House. This trilogy reminded me how much I enjoy books by this author. Ms. Woodsmall creates tales with emotional dynamics that pulls me in, keeps me reading intently without wanting to put down the book, and connect with the well-developed characters so that I feel I have a vested interest in the outcome.

Two of the main characters are Cara and Ephraim. Cara had been running since she was 15. She found respite once she married Johnny. The best thing that ever happened to her was their daughter Lori. But Johnny had cancer. And now she is on the run again, with Lori in tow. The one thing she has from her past that has brought her peace and direction is her diary from her mother. In it, she recently found a clue to past memories that were fleeting now. Acting on those clues, she left the city she grew up in and found herself without cash, out in the country, with Amish all around her.

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Ephraim found the mother and child in his old rickety barn. His first impulse was to chase them away. But eventually he learned that Cara had a reason for being in his barn. It had to do with memories from twenty years before. They couldn’t stay in the barn, and no one else seemed to want to help the two. So he took a risk, and did something that was dangerous to his standing in the Old Order Amish community. He let them stay in his house while Cara worked to get enough to set out on her own.

This isn’t a simple Amish tale. The author includes some truly heart-wrenching details, with twists and turns I didn’t anticipate. In spite of Cara’s rough background, and desperation at facing so many wrong turns, I had to admire her for her desire to care for her daughter and keep her safe; and what Ephraim had to do to protect this mother and daughter may also take you by surprise. I absolutely loved this book. It was so well written, I had difficulty finding a place to stop reading just to do normal every day tasks. Their story resolves nicely at the end. Be sure you have a box of tissues on hand toward the final chapters; you may need them!

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Looking ahead to the second book, the subplot in this book involving Ephraim’s sister, Deborah, and one of his good friends, Mahlon, becomes one of the main plots of the next book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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