Camellia: Song of the River {Book Review}

I certainly had a hard time putting Camellia down until I had turned the last page. Another novel set during the Civil War {seems to be a theme for me at the moment, LOL}, a neat turn to this one was ‘seeing’ Vicksburg in my mind while reading the latter part of the novel which was set there. We had a family reunion there by the river, and spent a day at the Civil War locations. The National Graveyard there is a sight to behold. Definitely a trip I recommend as highly as this book!

Camellia {the character} starts out a little a lot on the self preoccupied side, which is as irritating in a novel as it is real life. But it is interesting to read her transformation as her eyes and heart open to what was the big issue with slavery… the belief that the slaves were not to be considered as human beings. After watching the movie, The Help, also based around that premise, it is heartbreaking to think of the years people lived in miserable conditions because others had power over them. I treat my pets better than most treated their servants/slaves. The title you give them is based on whether it was before or after the slaves were freed… but was there a big difference in the way they were treated until MLK?  I believe consideration of others is a very important aspect of how we interact with others, and hope that my children learn from my actions that it doesn’t matter whether someone is rich, poor, or of a different skin tone… you treat them like you want to be treated yourself.

Back to the book…

Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver take you through all that ‘mess’, and manage to weave a beautiful love story in there as well. Camellia grows into a woman as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and her leading man is dashing and heroic as a Civil War novel demands of him.  Her family is hilarious, and I can’t wait to read the story of her older sister, and am hoping they continue this series with the other family members too.

From the Publisher:

Natchez belle turned riverboat maiden Camellia Anderson misses her old life of privilege. She misses the balls and she misses the suitors. . .then a chance to attend finishing school in New Orleans catapults her into an exciting world—and a whirlwind courtship with a dashing Confederate soldier. It’s beautiful, uncomplicated romance until a trip to Memphis brings old friend—and Northern spy—Jonah Thornton back into Camellia’s life. Now she’s torn between two loves, but will she risk everything to save a Union soldier?

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley to review. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions.

 

The Shadowed Onyx, by Nicole O’Dell {Book Review}

The Shadowed Onyx is a YA {Young Adult} fiction novel… which if you have followed my book reviews you know is not my standard. I was curious when I read the back and it mentioned; Friend’s Suicide, Witchcraft, and Depression. All things that seem to be more of an issue with today’s teens. With my girls so young it is easy to forget sometimes that they will be teenagers before I know it, but I feel that staying on top how things may influence them later is an important part of a parents job. You don’t have to be ‘hip’ or ‘cool’, but knowing what the hot topics are with youth is very critical. Now onto the book…

This is the third book in Nicole O’Dell’s Diamond Estates series from Barbour Publishing. And is set during the Sevententh year of Joy Christianson’s life. While doing fine in high school, succeeding in sports, and being active in her church; her world and faith are rocked when Joy finds her best friend after she committed suicide. Suddenly Joy has faded, and starts trying to find answers.

Enter some very helpful, not on the right track, teens that tell her they have answers and introduce her ‘innocently’ enough to a Ouija board. After feeling the power there, and knowing in her heart it is wrong. Joy continues to explore witchcraft all in the name of finding ‘real’ answers. In the end she finds that it wasn’t worth it, and she wants her faith in Jesus back. But now she is stuck, and can’t get out.

Reading this book was amazing. I will definitely encourage my girls to read this series as they grow older. The Shadowed Onyx shows how things that seem innocent enough (that you don’t understand why in the world you parents are against them) can take on a life of their own and entrap you. How you deal with each instance of your life has a lasting impact on you and those around you. The discussion questions in the back of the book are on-point and great conversation starters. I agree totally with Nicole O’Dell’s point that “fiction is a way to open teens eyes to temptations, choices, and consequences”. Taking away the mystery of something is half the battle in resisting those temptations. With spiritual battles reminiscent of Frank Peretti’s novels this book was a great reminder of the conflict between good and evil for the souls of both the innocent and not so innocent.

From the Publisher:

Uhrichsville, OH – From Nicole O’Dell, author of the popular Scenarios series comes the third and final installment of her Diamond Estates series. Scheduled to release in December 2012 from Barbour Publishing, Shadowed Onyx tells the story of Joy Christianson as she struggles to overcome the darkness and depression that has laid claim on her soul—and restore her faith—at Diamond Estates.

At age seventeen, Joy Christianson is the life of the party. That is, until her best friend commits suicide. Joy’s already wavering faith slips completely out of her reach; darkness sets in, and her smile fades. Her “friends” lead her to the Onyx, meant to help her let go of the past and bring her into harmony with reality. Joy embarks on a dark journey of witchcraft.Eventually, afraid of letting the depression and evil take root,Joy decides to seek help in the haven of Diamond Estates – and tries to reclaim the Joy she once knew.

DISCLOSURE: I received an eCopy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the publisher to review. The opinions contained in this review are 100% my own opinionated opinions

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I'm Kimberlee, the owner/creater of 'The Spunky Diva'. Here is a little about me... In addition to my love of blogging I adore all crafts, sewing, quilting, improving my non-existent cooking skills, and playing with my two girls. We have a 'collection' of animals around the place to keep us busy; two 'huge' dogs, a cat, kittens, several horses, and assorted wildlife. We live east of Austin, Texas, in the middle of farm country. Here at 'The Spunky Diva' blog I get to share daily life moments, fun crafts, sewing and quilting progress/finishes, and brag about my 'Babies'. Thank you for visiting and sharing some of your day with me!

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