Book Review: Shadows of Darkness

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Looking for apocalyptic, Christian fiction can be hard. I was so happy to receive an Advanced Readers Copy of Shadows of Darkness on Reedsy Discovery. Shadows of Darkness is Jonah White’s debut novel and it’s a fantastically immersive read.

This is a solid ★★★★☆ novel and bound to keep you on the edge of your seat right to the final page.

You can check out my full review and preview the book here.

The Shining: Movie vs Book

Andrea reviewsTis no secret that The Shinning (the movie) has caused mixed feelings over the years. Some called it one of Kubricks masterpieces and some say that they got WAY more out of the book than the movie… Surprise (HERE’S JOHNNY!), I fall into the latter of the two.

Upon stumbling on Noelle Gallagher on Youtube and having just read Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, I decided to dive into King’s novels, starting with those most well known and highly recommended. And so I endeavoured to devour the novel within the week so that I could reward myself with the movie over the weekend. I usually never have the opportunity to first read the book so I was extremely excited.. and thus my rant begins.

The Cast and Characters

I think most would agree that the casting of this movie was questionable even though there were a total of 5 characters in the book, two of whom leave the novel after the introduction and return during the ending.

Jack Nicholson made a great Jack Torrence, however the severity of his alcoholism was downplayed in the movie while his withdrawals were quite prominent in the novel. I was somewhat satisfied with the actor who played Danny but his role in the film was cut to about a quarter of his actual role in the story which was quite sad. Wendy Torrence was seriously misrepresented (no offence to the actress). In the novel, Wendy presented mixed emotions – in some cases she frustrated the reader, but she was also a mother who paid attention to the strange things that were going on with her son and was the first between herself and Jack to realise what was really going on. She developed a sense of urgency to save the family. She had a “shine” 😉 that was totally ignored in the movie and the movie portrayed her as more of a supporting role who was really just a babysitter and not a character in her own right. 

The Plot

The movie’s sequence of events were very fast paced as compared to the novel. The novel presented sufficient history and back story of the Torrence family that were left out of the movie. The movie failed to fully explain what Danny’s “shinning” was and how it worked as well as the relationship between Danny and The Cook who also had a “shinning”. 

The movie also failed to encompass that the hotel was not just a haunted hotel that affected its residents due to the horrible things that happened there, but was actually an entity in itself. The Overlook hotel WAS the villain. 

The movie element of the twin girls who were once killed was never a part of the many ways that the hotel taunted Danny in the novel. Yes, the previous caretaker did kill his family, but that was the end of his story line. The other ways in which the hotel taunted the family, and most of all Danny, were grossly misrepresented and other details such as the changing of the door number in room 217 and the maze (which did not exist) felt unnecessary. 

The ending 

The movie changed a satisfying ending in novel to something that didn’t make sense. At the end of the book you get a sense of completeness and that every story was rounded off well. In fact I don’t even feel the need to read Doctor Sleep, however the movie’s alluding to some sort of time traveling “generational” thing was just uncalled for. The ending of the book was WAY better. 

All in all, I would highly suggest reading the novel. It was well written and well rounded. I was completely satisfied and didn’t feel the need for the sequel but… I guess we’ll see about that one.

Crystelda

 

 

 

Book Review: The Next Right Thing – Emily P. Freeman

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“The only person you’re guaranteed to spend every day of your life with is you”

Facing decision fatigue is a harsh reality given the number of choices we have to make daily. Not knowing what we want is what tends to leave us stuck at a crossroads and unable to make any choice. If you’re feeling caught between a rock and a hard place, unable to make a decision this is the book for you.

I was gifted this book by CUM Books and sat down to read it while I faced a few of my own decisions in life. Each chapter has a prayer and a practical application, which is a great way to leave space for introspection. With her approachable and conversational tone, Freeman has made this an easy book to read within a day. However, I suggest that you take the time to sit down and go through a chapter a day. Maybe grab a cup of coffee while you delve into the day’s chapter, creating the space for your soul to breathe and ensure that your decisions are made in love.

Are you being led by love, or pushed by fear?

“…knowing what you want is valuable in all stages of the decision making process.”

What I realised when reading this book, is that my own indecision is what causes fear and anxiety. That’s how I end up stuck at the crossroads and needing someone else to make the decision for me. I become more concerned with making the perceivable “right” decision, that I end up unable to make a choice at all. You either know what you want before you are even faced with a choice, in the middle of confrontation or after you have made a choice based on pressure.

Freeman has not written this book to provide you with a scientifically proven way to “make the right choice”, but rather with a book that is designed to encourage you to create space in your life, embrace silence rather than filling it with noise, and allow you to decide what it is you really want. It’s true, “knowing what we want and getting what we want are not necessarily the same thing”, but when we know what we want it allows us to make decisions based on love and not pressure or habit. Fear will no longer govern our choices and determine our path, but love, passions and purpose.

Decision fatigue arises when we don’t know what we want, and this book is a great reminder that we should stop, pray and consider what we wand out of life. Freeman also reminds us that as much as we may want to be control, we need to remember to enjoy the surprises that God has in store for us. Through her many tales and experiences, Freeman reminds us that more often than not we are in competition with an imagined version of ourselves and need to be released from the pressures we place on ourselves. We may seem stuck now, but God can work in the light and in the darkness, we just need to step back and trust Him.

Recommendation

This is a solid 3 star read ⭐️⭐️⭐️
It’s a book that’s definitely worth reading at least once, particularly if you find yourself indecisive often. The light and conversational tone will feel like having a chat with a friend about the very same decision you are facing, and it will help you clear the muddle and focus on what you’re praying about far more clearly.

This book is available in a hard cover edition at CUM Books for R250.00

Crystelda


This review contains product gifted by CUM Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take Heart

take heart.

Finding hope when the world is out of your control is hard. When anxiety and fear is knocking at your door, hope is fleeting. The tribe and I started the Hope Devotional this week and it’s so far July has been a learning experience emotionally and spiritually. There’s so much in the world in 2020 that it’s easy to allow our hearts to lose hope and fall into fear, anxiety, stress and panic. Focusing on hope helps the heart remember where home is.

 

Here’s my thoughts after spending 5 days in the Hope Devotional that went out with the July newsletter

(Download the HOPE DEVOTIONAL for free here)

Take heart

To “take heart” is defined as regaining your courage. Sometimes when we are afraid we lose our courage and submit to our fight or flight response. When anxiety kicks in, it’s easy to lose hope. Over the course of 5 days, the devotional takes you from a simple place of remembering that God is your Shepherd and friend through the concepts of protection, strength, loneliness and ultimately a place to find hope again. We can truly take heart in any situation because there are circumstances when we have to let go of trying to control outcomes and trust that God is in control.

What is Hope? Hope is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary “to desire with expectation of obtainment of fulfilment, to expect with CONFIDENCE: TRUST”. Hope is not as simple an emotion as the 4 letter word would have you fooled to believe. To have confidence in a desired outcome can seem impossible, but our hope is not in an outcome but in the God of the outcome. Sounds super religious, I know, but stay with me. A pivotal part of what creates hope is where we are either choosing to, or unconsciously, putting our confidence and trust. What I learned during the 5 day devotional journey is that my mind can know to put it’s confidence in the right place, but my heart is slower to follow. Some seasons of our life may seem impossible to work our way out of, and our logic causes us to fall into a false sense of confidence in things that ultimately fail us. The devotional journey, the reflection and the gratitude time and the intention created with starting it all was a great recalibration tool for where I find myself in life right now.

Be strong and courageous

It may not seem like it, but we have so much to be grateful for. There are so many things that could have gone wrong and so many battle scars we wear that no person could ever imagine. That’s the beauty of hope; our confidence and our trust lie in so much greater than the world and we could ever provide for ourselves. Our trust lies in the Creator of the universe. That’s why we can have courage even if the impossible seems impossible, that why we can pull ourselves up and have emotional and spiritual strength. We are never alone even when it feels like we are, we have a Greater support than could ever be imaged.

Don’t forget that you can download the HOPE DEVOTIONAL for free here and become part of the hope journey ⬅️

You can subscribe to the newsletter here ⬅️

Crystelda