The Dark Healer (The Gifted #3)

by C.L. McCourt

From Goodreads
Rhea's confidence took a blow when her quarry escaped; his parting words taunting her. Shaken, but not defeated, Rhea and her companions devise a new plan to take down the barbarous troublemaker and his band of terrorizing thugs. Along the way, they discover that if his true plans of death and destruction are realized, he will wipe the realms from Libritas. As the Libraim's channel, Rhea's gift is powerful, but is it enough? Will she and her friends be able to stop him before all is lost?

My rating

My review
It took me a few chapters to settle into this book, probably because it's been months since I read the first two in the series. But once I did, I found it had a wonderfully engaging plot line that thoroughly captured my attention.

Here comes the "but" (you knew it was coming). The Dark Healer reads like a draft, and not a final one. If it had one more thorough edit, for both grammar and content, I would have given the book a much-deserved higher rating. The text was riddled with obvious typos, and one major relationship was so awkwardly written in the first seven chapters that it wasn't at all believable. It does smooth out a bit after this rough start, though.


Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

by Kathleen Norris

From the back cover
When, more than twenty years ago, Kathleen Norris began attending her grandmother's small-town church on the Great Plains, she was a transplanted poet with more doubt than faith. Still, the strong pulls of tradition, family, history, and community compelled her to return week after week to Sunday morning services, and her deepening ties to a nearby monastery awoke in her a desire to believe.


Blending history, theology, story, etymology, and memoir, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith is a poet's journey through language to faith, with each word serving as the occasion for an examination of a particular aspect of the Christian lexicon. It is the story of one woman's gradual conversion, but it is also an investigation into how we can embrace beliefs that have been passed down to us.

My rating

My review
While it's not quite up to par with The Cloister Walk, I still very much enjoyed reading Amazing Grace. At first, I was frustrated with the lack of definitions in this book. It is, for the most part, assumed that the reader already has a basic understanding of what each word means, as in true poet form, Norris often comprised a chapter wholly of what came to mind in reaction to the word she was reflecting on.

But once I realized that Amazing Grace is just that, a compilation of reactions to words, and not a glorified dictionary, I was better able to settle in and enjoy Norris' unique and engaging writing style. Sometimes she did throw in a definition where she deemed necessary, and other times I could work it out myself by the end of the chapter. Sometimes I still had no idea, but extracted a lesson from the pages anyway.

This is a book to savor out on the back porch with a glass of sweet tea in the warm summer months (although I suppose hot tea and a cozy chair will do in the winter!).

Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith


book haul!

These all came from different places in the past few weeks, and I've already read and reviewed one of them. In any case, here are my most recently acquired books:

Fancy Pants by Cathy Marie Hake
I've had my eye on this one for a while, so when I found it at a local thrift store, I snatched it up. Historical fiction about a young woman dressing as a man to work on her uncle's ranch.

One Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul
I'm not sure why I didn't devour this book as soon as it was released, much less why it has taken me so long to acquire a copy. My husband remedied the issue by buying it for my birthday. :D (Though I still haven't read it...)

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight
This should look very familiar, as I reviewed it earlier this week. I won it in a blog giveaway, along with a wonderfully woodsy candle, leather bookmark, and wolf necklace. If you like Christian fantasy, this might end up on your favorites list.



by Jaye L. Knight

From the back cover
Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

My rating

My review
I was at first mildly interested in this book because of its attractive cover and the fact that it is Christian fantasy. I expected mediocrity, and received instead high-quality writing with a thick strand of genuine faith woven throughout--no forced scripture quoting or unrealistically cheesy conversion scenes. It captured the beauty of Christianity: mustard seed faith, friendships founded on love, and the quiet surprise of hope.

Jaye L. Knight has a talent for character development. I loved the mystery of Jace and the startling familiarity of his veiled yet strong emotions, as well as the contrasting Kyrin, who, while a strong character, strayed slightly from the usual spunky heroine. I don't always like reading stories of persecution, but the characters were so beautifully painted and the tale so perfectly woven that I couldn't get enough of it.

Of course, I have one complaint, one flaw to the otherwise perfect novel that nearly knocked my rating down to a four. The ending was wrapped up neatly with a shiny bow and warm fuzzy feelings, which, I thought, was a huge contrast to the rest of the book. It was comparable to a simple "and they lived happily ever after," and left me feeling entirely unsatisfied. The good news? Book two is in the editing stages.

*I received this book in a giveaway from blogger Amber Stokes at Seasons of Humility.