2015 Book #48 – The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott

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Title: The Wonder of All Things
Author: Jason Mott
Date finished: 5/23/15
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Mira
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Pages in book: 303
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

On the heels of his critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned, Jason Mott delivers a spellbinding tale of love and sacrifice.
On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators. After the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds disappear.
Ava has an unusual gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. Now the whole world knows, and suddenly people from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to catch a glimpse of The Miracle Child. But Ava’s unique ability comes at a great cost, and as she grows weaker with each healing, she soon finds herself having to decide just how much she’s willing to give up in order to save the ones she loves most.
Elegantly written, deeply intimate and emotionally astute, The Wonder of All Things is an unforgettable story and a poignant reminder of life’s extraordinary gifts.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Roof Beam Reader TBR Pile Reading Challenge, #10 on the list I set for myself at the beginning of this year. I had seen this book featured in a lot of different places last year towards the end of the year and after reading the description of the book, I really wanted to give it a try. There were a lot of things going on in this book, and so many feels. Word gets out to the world that Ava can heal people almost as if by magic. People start flocking to the small town of Stone Temple, almost all of them wanting something from the girl who can perform these miracles. Ava can’t just heal people with no consequences though, and the more times she has to use her “powers” the worse her health deteriorates.
What amazes me is that even as people realize that helping people in this way makes Ava sick, they still expect her to use her gift to heal people. This astounded me. It was very thought-provoking, realizing that people in desperate situations expect a little girl to give up her health in order to save people she doesn’t know. It is overwhelmingly depressing at the same time thinking that there is so many things in the world that are unfair, like the little boy that the Reverend wanted Ava to heal in the book who was dying of brain cancer. To think of this little boy’s parents, if I were them yes I would demand that Ava do everything that she could to help my boy. But would I want her to hurt herself to help my family? I can’t honestly say what I would do in that situation. Its easy to claim that I would do the right thing but at the same time I would do anything possible to save my son.
I loved Ava’s character, and Wash’s too. Their friendship was pure and innocent and would’ve grown into something more at some point I’m sure. This story’s ending was a bit tragic to be honest but I found it both touching and moving. It was overwhelmingly emotional, I ended up crying for pretty much the whole last chapter. There were a lot of characters in this story, and I wouldn’t necessarily say they were good or bad people but most of them had their own agendas and they were just acting within that scope. Overall I thought this was a great story and was interesting and very moving.

The bottom line: I would recommend this book, I would have a box of tissues handy though.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge – Weekly Update April 4th

As part of the #ReadingMyLibrary challenge, there are optional weekly update posts. This week’s topic is to talk a little about your library. Unfortunately I haven’t yet been able to finish any books for the challenge, this weekend is a busy church weekend for me. I hope to read two books in the next week though and I should have a lot more free time after April 15th (I’m an accountant during the day). Also as a side note if anyone is still interested in signing up, there is still time! You can sign up here until April 15th.

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The Terryville Public Library is one of my absolute favorite places. Terryville is a relatively small town, pretty much just a blip on the map, but I think our library has a great selection of books and very good resources as well. I was fortunate enough to work at the library when I was in high school and I loved every minute of it. I have always loved reading so working at the library was a perfect fit for me. Stacking the shelves introduced me to a great number of books of all kinds.

When I went away to college, my home library was too far away to go to as regularly as I would like. So I began going to different libraries in the area to see what kind of book selections they had available. This taught me about my great love for not only my home base but all libraries. I love going to new libraries and exploring the different book selections and seeing all the different set-ups. There was one library up near school that I used to study at a lot. It had huge windows so there was a lot of natural light and they left out puzzles on the tables that people could do. It was this library that made me realize that libraries are hubs of the community. They are used not only for finding a book to read but are used for a great variety of resources and social outlets.Tville lib 2

Getting back to my home base library, Terryville Library has a personal connection for me. When I was younger, my mother pointed out a portrait hanging in the library stairwell and told me that one of our relatives had been the head librarian at this library. Her name was Dorothy B. Wilcox, and she is my great-great aunt (there may be more or less greats in here, not exactly sure on the number of greats). Below are her portrait and a brief history of the Terryville Public Library, in which she is mentioned.

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From the Terryville Public library Website:

History of the Terryville Public Library 1895 – 2015

The beginning of the Terryville Library dates back to 1839, during the Presidency of Martin Van Buren, when thirty citizens of the Town of Plymouth organized a private subscription library. The records of the Terryville Lyceum Library show that it flourished for twenty years. Shortly after the Civil War, interest dwindled. In 1891 the record ends. At that time, a group of far-sighted townspeople were determined that Terryville should have a free library. Miss Gertrude Ells was appointed librarian at 25 dollars a year and the Terryville Free Public Library was born. Shortly afterward , the Lyceum Library donated all of its books to the new library. The collection was housed in the court room in the town hall. In 1922, when the Terryville Public Library opened the door of the new colonial building, the head librarian was still Miss Gertrude Ells, who had as her assistant Mrs. Dorothy Wilcox. Miss Ells was succeeded in 1926 by Miss M. Gertrude Fenn, whose ancestors had been original subscribers of the Lyceum Library. Mrs. Nelly Baldwin was librarian from 1931 to 1938, succeeded by Mrs. Dorothy Wilcox. Mrs. Wilcox retired in 1964 after forty-two years of service and was succeeded by Mrs. John Cox, whose father James Murphy, was a member of the 1895 committee as well as the library building committee. She resigned in 1970 and was succeeded by Georgiana Miloenson who served until 1972. Mrs. Joyce Reid took office in 1972. The book collection in 1922 was roughly five thousand and is now numbered twenty thousand. In 1975 an addition was added to the present library and dedicated on February 22, 1976. This addition provided over 8,000 square feet to the to the original library. Between 1978 and 2006 there were four head librarians; Barbara Brown, Sandra Miranda,  Frances Rice and  Sharon LaCourse. Lynn White was appointed Director of the Terryville Public Library in January 2007. Portions were adapted from Plymouth, Connecticut 1776-1976 by J. Francis Ryan.

The Book Blogging Community

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I just started blogging during the last year and I really feel that in the past year a whole new world has been opened up to me. The Book Blogging community is astoundingly vast. There are so many people who want to share their opinions on the books they read and to connect with other people who like those books as well. When my husband first suggested to me last year that I should start a blog about my reading, I thought to myself “no one cares what I think about the books I read.” But I’ve found that there is a large not only community but also an audience for book bloggers. People actually are interested in your thoughts about the books you’re reading, especially other book bloggers! The social aspect of book blogging is a great way to get the word out about your blog and increase your followers. Its also a great way to find new interesting books to read!

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One of the things I recently discovered is the world of book memes. Book memes are a great way to become more involved in the book blogger community. A meme is usually where you take a picture and add words to them to make the picture more comical (examples can be found here) but a book meme, specifically for blog posts, is a posting with a certain topic that ties in with the day of the week. Usually one site will “host” the book meme and then everyone who posts on that topic can put a link on the host site’s page. This makes it easy to connect with other bloggers posting on the same topic and see how their ideas compare to yours. And the good news is that there are just tons of them. A few examples of book memes that I know of are Friday Finds, Waiting on Wednesday, and Top Ten Tuesday. These are just the few that I have participated in, but you can find a more extensive listing here.

Another interesting aspect of book blogging is reading challenges. The whole idea for my blog started because my mom and I decided we were each going to set goals for ourselves for the year (in 2014), me with my reading and her with quilting. Suffice it to say, I love challenging myself to read more books each year and to read a variety. Due to that, I have been very excited by the great number of reading challenges that are incorporated into the book blogging world. And its also fun to create your own reading challenges. Last year I “hosted” a Spooky Series Reading Challenge for October, and though I was the only one to participate, I still had a great time. This year I’ve joined into a few reading challenges from other blogs, including the TBR Pile Reading Challenge at the Roof Beam Reader site covering all of 2015 and Pop Sugar Reading Challenge for 2015. And a really awesome one I found in January is the Bookish Bingo from the Great Imaginations blog. You get a bingo square with different kinds of books in all the spots. Its really interesting and due to my LENGTHY to be read listing, I am usually able to find books to fit the categories from ones I have been wanting to read but never got around to. Plus I’m discovering a few new books that I never knew about! And that’s just a handful of reading challenges you can find on the web, here’s a listing of a few more.

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I recently learned that there are a lot of great resources for book bloggers. There are directories and how-to’s and checklists and pretty much anything and everything a beginning book blogger could ask for. One of these sites is bookblogging.net, which I know will be a site that I am definitely going to use in the future. There are over 1,000 book blogs listed on this site, and the site has a directory for current reading challenges, book memes, blogs, giveaways, and events. Another site is bookbloggerlist.com which looks like a great site for finding other blogs to connect with. I liked that you could pick your blog to be listed under multiple categories on this site as well. I read a decent (though I could be better) variety of books and I don’t like to have my blog required to be pegged down to one category. And the last one I wanted to mention is the Book Blogger Directory Blog which also looks like it will be a great tool in discovering new blogs to connect with.

So overall I think you can tell that I’m really happy to be part of the book blogging community. I’ve learned a lot in the past year and I look forward to growing my blog in the future. Thanks to my loyal followers!