This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Judy Kelly pens a story of self-discovery in her novel Blessings and Curses. Olivia did it; she’s ready to graduate from the seminary. Even though she is thrilled, a dark cloud hovers over her excitement. Olivia has decided not to become a priest after all. She knows this decision will disappoint Father Wilson and, most of all, her parents. Yet, deep inside, Olivia carries a heavy burden, a dreadful feeling, a curse lurking in the shadows of her mind. If only she could remember. Olivia struggles with darkened memories, dimmed remembrances of life before she was adopted. All she knows is she isn’t priest material, she is tainted. Olivia meets with Father Wilson and tells him her decision. He is understanding but wants her to continue being a prayer team leader. He gives her the assignment to pray with a death row inmate nearing his time of execution. Fr. Wilson suggests that praying with the prisoner might possibly help her find herself and direction. Olivia feels completely unqualified but takes on the task. God indeed has a plan. The next two weeks uncover what has been hidden deep inside Olivia all her life.
Blessings and Curses by Judy Kelly is much more than a story; it is a journey into an elusive past. In the opening chapters, I felt slightly confused by the mysterious narrative hook. Honestly, I was baited by curiosity only, not really hooked. However, as the chapters unfolded, the vagueness gradually dissipated, revealing what was hidden deep inside each character. The cast of characters is woven together by the past. The conflict results when the present exposes what is hidden within them, and they are forced to face it. Each has a choice; to believe or deny the truth. The characters are real and relatable; they tug at each other while tugging at the reader’s heartstrings. Blessings and Curses reveals the effect of childhood trauma, proving that what we don’t understand, we reject and, in this case, we bury. For the young heroine, her childhood is veiled, but when the curtain is ripped aside, she discovers a transforming beauty, blessings, and freedom residing within the fear and ugliness. Judy Kelly vividly reminds us to let go of the past and choose to live life to the fullest. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)