Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs (Alpha & Omega #4)

Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega, #4)Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been so long since we last heard from Anna & Charles but on March 3rd we get the newest book in Anna & Charles' world! And this new chapter in their story doesn't disappoint. The mated couple travel down to Arizona so that Charles can visit his old friend Joseph, before Joseph dies from cancer. Seeing as Charles doesn't keep many people close, Anna is intrigued by the visit and surprised to know that Charles has opened his heart to a human at all. Joseph's family raises horses and since Anna's 26th birthday is approaching they decide the trip will also serve to get Anna a new horse as her gift. Though excited for her gift, it is not exactly what Anna most wants. What she wants is to have children with Charles.

This book reads like a suspense-thriller with paranormal flair and I enjoyed every bit of it. It includes characters from previous books and we get to learn a lot more about Charles along with Anna as she takes measure of his emotional history in an effort to open him up to the idea of children. The details about horses and riding are seamless and will make any horse-lover happy as several of the animals become pivotal to the plot. Joseph Sani's family and Navajo culture also make it easy to invest yourself quickly and I especially loved getting to know the Sani kids: Max, Mackie, and Michael. They are funny and loving and I couldn't help but have a soft spot for them.

My only problem with the book is that it ended so abruptly for me. But that says more about me than the writing, because when it comes to Patricia Briggs I just always want more. In actuality, the ending isn't so much abrupt as it is an obvious closing point for this one book and very apparent that there's more to come in the Alpha & Omega series. And thank goodness for that because I adore Anna, Charles, and of course Mercy Thompson. Can't wait for more :D

Thank You to Penguin Group for the review copy via NetGalley!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this a while back but it's still in the back of my mind as I think about and read other books on philosophical topics. I think the main reason is because I read it for the first time just last year, and it was in preparation for an Oprah Super Soul Sunday discussion that included the author. Had those things not been a part of my reading process I might not have been affected by the book at all.

And here's a sentence I thought I'd never say:
I'm in a really intense period of spiritual growth and learning. So much so that Super Soul Sundays have become a favorite for me.

When Paulo Coelho was the guest he discussed The Alchemist and it's 25th anniversary. The book had almost not been published, and then even when it was finally published it was not selling. So Coelho went door to door to hand-sell it and as the fates would have it, one of those doors would be the second publisher for the book. Coelho says it was the Universe doing what it does (when you allow it) for everyone, "conspiring to help us" achieve what we want once we make a decision.

There are omens, signs, etc to guide us on our paths. These are part of the language of the world. The language of the world is in everything, from the rhythm of the seasons to the energy of the animals and nature. And every one of us has a personal legend. Our personal legend is akin to our destiny, calling, or purpose in life.
These concepts seem simple, I know, and I can hear many people asking, "what the hell man?!" lol. I know this because I would have been one of those people not very long ago. But, as is probably self evident by my blog's title, my heart and mind have been cracked open by trauma and grief in the past and it's made me struggle to do even basic living sometimes. When grief strikes your life it has a way of swallowing you up and blocking out any light, any joy. For me, books were my one little piece of respite. It's the only thing I could do that came close to allowing escape of any circumstance.
Now many years later, I am finally reading about things I didn't understand before and learning how spirituality and religion are not the same things. I'm learning that it's possible to find myself at any age and never too late to pursue my personal legend as long as I'm alive. Hearing Oprah and Paulo discuss the book in depth at the same time as I've read the book did wonders for me. It helped me see beyond the simple story and through to what are the universal messages: the Universe is conspiring to help me, I am the Universe, YOU are the Universe, we are all star stuff.

This book was a personal copy.