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Books & Chocolate

I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.


Oh, and I love chocolate.

Shattered Rose

Shattered Rose - T.L.  Gray

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a firm believer in things happening when and how they are supposed to. A few years ago for work, I completed the Strengths Finder 2.0. My 2nd highest rated strength was Belief and my 5th was Connectedness. It's a strong part of who I am.


I mention this because I've had Shattered Rose on my Kindle for 2 years. I could be disappointed that I waited so long to read it since I really enjoyed it, but I'm not. Instead, I believe that I needed to read it at this precise moment in my life. 


I'll start by saying that this is a Christian book. It's interesting because, as usual, after I completed the book I read through some other reviews. There are some readers who do not feel this is a good representation of a Christian book. Too much alcohol. Too much cursing. Pre-marital sex. Not enough preaching. Relationships between believers and non-believers. So if you're a Christan and reading all of this in a book will bother you - don't read it. That simple. 


I, on the other hand, really liked the way that the Christian aspect of this novel was carried out. I'm a Christian, but I'm what I would call an 'accepting' Christian. If you don't know what that means, then chances are you are on the opposite side of the Christian spectrum. And that's OK - I don't believe either side is more right than the other. Just what is right for each individual person. See, there's that accepting part of me. I like how the author chose to show the unconditional love you can experience through Christ by playing it out in the relationship between Avery and Parker, rather than preaching in a written sermon. I liked that Parker was an accepting Christain and could be friends with people that many other Christians would deem as unholy. Bottom line - I personally liked the approach in this novel.


There was a lot of connection I felt with Avery, the main character. Avery is in college and struggles with self-doubt, major self-esteem issues, and an eating disorder. I've been there, done that - still doing it today (not the college part - well past that part of my life). I have never purged, but I do suffer from binging. I'm an adult and it's something I've had to deal with most of my life. I'm now getting to a point where I am making great progress - and that's why I say this was the moment that I needed to read this book. Any sooner and I wouldn't have been ready to connect the way I did and let it help me heal. 


I thought the book was very well written. My only real criticism with the writing was that the transitions between time were not smooth. There were no section breaks within the chapters. For example, I'd be reading along and suddenly it says four months had passed when I was thinking it was just the next day. In many cases I can look past this if the rest of the book is well done (and it was), but, in this case, I felt the timing was important. Avery's issue was not one that could be resolved overnight. I think that if the transitions were better, then the timing aspect of the novel could have had a greater impact.


Finally, I do feel that the 'epiphany' that Avery goes through at the end of the book is a bit unbelievable. I like the steps Avery took to find her truth, but it comes about quite sudden. I realize that it may seem sudden because the book is not preachy throughout -which makes this a double-edged sword kind of thing. 


I don't usually quote lines from a book, but I have to make an exception here. I haven't talked much about what I loved in the book because I don't want to give anything away. I will say that while following the love triangle between Avery, Parker, and Jake I was waiting to see how she made her choice. Waiting to see if she only made the decision based on how each guy treated her, or if she also realized it was important to look at the person she became with each guy. Thankfully I found what I was looking for, and it can be summed up in this one line:


"What matters is that I love myself enough to do what's best for me."