~Countryside~ Book Review

Name: Countryside & The Tears of Adina

Author: J.T. Cope IV

Rating: 5

Summary from the back of the book:

Countryside:

“You have a power within you, one that is within everyone…It’s the same power that fills that building, that keeps that tree alive…and the same power that has attracted your attention…I know it’s all a bit strange to you, but I assure you it is quite real…”
Eleven-year-old Luke Rayburn has never seen a skyline without skyscrapers or fallen asleep to anything but the sound of traffic. But his life is about to change in ways he never imagined. When his father leaves for a year of military service, Luke and the rest of his family move into their grandparents’ home in the remote town of Countryside, a place like no other. Reachable only by a mysterious traveling tunnel and horse-drawn carriage, centaurs roam the landscape and shadowy wraiths slip among the trees.
There, Luke will be drawn into a centuries-old quest for an almost-forgotten book whose secrets will determine the fate of the world. He will have to reach deep to discover the power within him as he battles the forces of darkness and an alliance of sinister men who seek to destroy any who get in their way.
Luke’s only hope is to find the book before they do, but to do so he’ll need help from someone he never expected as the forces of evil come to bear on the magical world of Countryside.

Tears of Adina:

Luke Rayburn has spent summer vacation running up and down sandy beaches with his family. He’s explored hidden coves, learned how to write invisible letters, and even met an ocean nymph. But his friends write to tell him of strange happenings in Countryside and he’s anxious to get back.
When Luke returns, he finds that much has changed. Mischievous gnomes are spreading chaos across the valley, a lone wolf haunts the forests, and Mayeem, one of Luke’s new teachers, just happens to be a mermaid. And then there’s the hunter, a man with golden eyes, only part of a soul and the belief that Luke has hidden something he wants—something he’s willing to destroy Countryside in order to get.
Hounded by blackhearted men and soulless creatures and with darkness luring him in, Luke must gather his wits and ferret out his true friends. But as he draws close to finding what it is the hunter seeks, he will learn that there is more at stake than he understands. He’ll learn that it’s not the hunter he should be afraid of and that, once done, some things cannot be undone.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, I want to say how refreshing it was to read a series that has morals behind it. There were underlying lessons throughout the two books that taught respect, on a very noticeable level. As someone who teaches young children (dance, but I’m still around children on a daily basis), it is rare to see respect anymore and I would be more than willing to have any child read this series even just for that aspect! It is an exciting story and I loved that not only would it be safe for young ones to read, but it would actually be teaching them on multiple levels as well.

Now onto the actual story-line of Countryside…I cannot stress enough how much I loved it. The first book was very much about character development and introducing the whole plot line. The friendship that was formed between the main characters was fun to follow and it only strengthened throughout the book. It was fantastic. The second book did an even better job of character development. There are a LOT of characters but it was very easy to follow. Cope did an amazing job of introducing each one and giving them their own specific traits so it didn’t get confusing between any of them. Also, the suspense of what was developing in the plot kept me flipping through the pages!! There is a strong sense of good and evil throughout the story and I just loved the Biblical-spiritual parallel. (It’s not an in-your-face Biblical parallel, but I did see it and it was awesome and inspiring!!)

As a person in her late 20’s, I highly recommend this series – to older and younger readers alike. If I’m correct, there is a plan for it to be a 7 book series and I am anxiously awaiting for the rest of them to be written 😉 Cope has such a gift because to create the world of Countryside takes some major talent! If you are a fan of Harry Potter, Narnia, and/or Percy Jackson this series is definitely for you!

~Shaken~ Book Review

Name: Shaken

Author: Tim Tebow

Rating: 5

Summary from the back of the book:

Who are you when life is steady?
Who are you when storms come?
 
Most of us have been on the receiving end of rejection, a broken dream, or heartbreak. And while this is not an easy space to go through, when we are grounded in the truth, we can endure the tough times.

In this powerful book, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow passionately shares glimpses of his journey staying grounded in the face of disappointment, criticism, and intense media scrutiny. Following an exceptional college football career with the Florida Gators and a promising playoff run with the Denver Broncos, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets. He was released after one season.

In Shaken, Tebow talks about what he’s learned along the way, building confidence in his identity in God, not the world. This moving book also features practical wisdom from Scripture and insights gained from others who have impacted Tebow in life-changing ways.

Though traveling hard roads is not easy, it’s always worth it!

 

My Thoughts:

I’ll start off by saying I don’t read many books that are outside of fiction. I was back and forth about reading Shaken because of that reason. But boy am I SO glad that I decided to go ahead and give it a chance. Not only was it an easy read because it was fantastically written, but it was one of the most inspiring things I’ve read in a long time.

It is way too easy to fall into autopilot in life and not even realize it’s happening. Wake up, prep a meal, go to work, come home, go to sleep, repeat. But what is happening in the in between moments? Are you just cruising through them hoping you’ll encounter an exciting moment one day? Or are you consciously making an effort to make a difference in the world? And I’m not talking about donating a million dollars to a charity or some other major notion that is impossible for most people. I’m talking about holding the door for the person behind you just because it’s the right thing to do. Or smiling at someone in hopes that it’ll brighten their day a little bit. This thought process came about after reading Shaken. I didn’t even realize my life had been on autopilot…for the past 5 years. I’ve been cruising through my life not making a conscious effort to live my life as Christ would want me to. Yes, I’ve had some great moments with family and friends, but something is missing. And that something is me pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to go too deep into my own personal thoughts, but if this sounds anything like what you’re going through, go read Shaken. I promise you will not regret it. It has sparked something inside me that I haven’t felt in some time now.

So thank you to Tim Tebow for going ahead and writing this book because I know for a fact it has changed lives…including mine. It has inspired me to want to do more with my life and make a lasting impact.