Review: The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind

The First ConfessorThe First Confessor by Terry Goodkind


In the time before the Confessors, when the world is a dark and dangerous place, where treason and treachery are the rule of the day, comes one heroic woman, Magda Searus, who has just lost her husband and her way in life.

My Thoughts:

The First Confessor (The Legend of Magda Searus) by Terry Goodkind is exactly what the title claims, the story of the Magda Searus, the first Confessor.  The events played out here are a crucial part of the back story of the Sword of Truth series.  As the story opens, Magda Searus has just lost her husband, First Wizard Baraccus.  Feeling lost and alone, Magda sets out to commit suicide in the same manner as her husband, by throwing herself off the wall of the Keep and falling to her death a thousand feet below.  At the last possible moment, she finds a note left by Baraccus, urging her to find truth.  In the chapters that follow, the reader is given a closer look at the events laid out as backstory during the Sword of Truth series.  How the war between the Old World and the New was first started, the making of the Sword of Truth, the hiding of the Temple of the Winds, the creation of the D’Haran bond, the dreamwalkers, the traitors in the Keep, and the reasoning behind the creation of the Confessors.  And other events even further back in history are hinted at.

This was an excellent read.  I’ve read each book by Goodkind in one sitting, and this was no exception.  This book explains many of the secrets behind the Sword of Truth series and gives the characters mentioned in the series their own stories.  Even though this wasn’t about the main characters, Richard and Kahlan, I was just as interested in the characters and eager to know more about them.  The only two problems I had with this book were that now I feel the need to go back and read the whole series again and now I want to know more about the other events mentioned in the series.  Here’s hoping Mr. Goodkind feels the urge to write more of the backstory.


A note about the format:  The First Confessor (The Legend of Magda Searus) is a self-published e-book.  Many of his loyal fans seem to be quite upset that it’s only available in e-format, as they don’t have the necessary e-readers.  Terry Goodkind wanted to tell the story in his own way, without the limitations imposed by a publisher.  Apparently, he’s one of the first big name authors to venture into the realms of self-publishing.  His reasons for doing so can be found on his website at   As reviewers, we tend to shy away from author self-pubs.  Many that we’ve read have had lots of grammatical errors, formatting issues, continuity problems, or just plain poor editing.  I didn’t find a single thing wrong in this book.  That’s not to say there aren’t problems, just that I didn’t find them, and I usually do.  If you’re leery of reading this because it’s a self-pub, don’t be.  It could easily have been printed by any of the major publishers and I wouldn’t have noticed any difference while reading it. 

My Rating:




5 Penguins


Early Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like NormalSomething Like Normal by Trish Doller

  • ISBN-13: 9781599908441
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Source: Netgalley


When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

My Thoughts:

Something Like Normal is about a young man, Travis, who enlisted in the Marines, just three days after his eighteenth birthday.  The was running from his father and the fact that Travis has never meet his expectations.  Now, a painful year later, Travis is on leave after returning from Afghanistan. He is determined for this to be as normal as possible but he is haunted by the death of his best friend, Charlie, who died in Afghanistan.  Travis has vivid nightmares and just does not adjust well to life at home.  He find that his ex-girlfriend, Paige, is dating his brother, yet she is determined to sleep with him again.  His father is cheating on his mother, yet she does not want to deal with what is going on.  She dedicated every moment to either worrying about Travis overseas, putting together care packages, or gathering supplies for the children in Afghanistan, like Travis had suggested.  In that process, she stopped paying as much attention to those around her and it has caused a lot of issues.  Travis is full of guilt about not responding to his mother’s letters and packages.  The problem was he just could not deal with.  Shortly after returning, Travis runs into Harper, the girl who’s reputation he ruined when they were just fourteen years old, she put him in his place but Travis is drawn to her.  Harper might just be the life line Travis need to being to heal.

I have heard a lot about the transition that soldiers go though as they return to real life after being deployed but I did not really understand what it might be like until reading this book.  There are flashbacks and dreams that are in your face and painful, but I can only imagine that it multiplies by a hundred for the person experiencing them.  I commend Trish Doller for taking on this topic.  I think that there are a lot of teens that find the idea of enlisting a big adventure but may not realize just how much one is changed by seeing war first hand.  Most of the news reports and such talk to men and women who are a bit older than the minimum age and I think that it is very important that the teens have an understanding of the reality of military service.  By no means am I discouraging serving our country, just that I feel that there should be some better education around what it really means.  I met with an Army recruiter when I was a Senior in high school and I can remember things that all he was telling me was about the good things and how I knew deep down that it was not all good.  I think to be able to make the best decision, you have to be informed.  A story like Something Like Normal would be a great book for a teen who is considering service.  It just gives a different side of the story.

I really enjoyed the manner in which Something Like Normal was written.  While there were some very raw war scenes, they were balanced well with Travis trying to make his life back in Florida as normal as possible.  The dreams were very well defined as well as the idea of Travis seeing Charlie.  I also felt that there was great character development and I really connected with not only Travis but Harper as well.  There were tears, but I could not put this book down.  I read it in one sitting.  You should really check this one out.

My Rating:




5 Penguins – A very powerful and emotional ride

Review: Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Still MissingStill Missing by Chevy Stevens

  • ISBN-13: 9780312573577
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Source: Purchased


On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin—which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist—is the second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over. 

Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted novel about surviving the unsurvivable—and living to bear witness.

My Thoughts:

While I knew the basic idea behind Still Missing I was still surprised and blown away by the power of this story.  Because this story is written in Annie’s therapy session with her doctor it is clear right from the beginning that Annie survives her abduction but what happens as the story unfold is nothing less than disturbing and painful.  On the day that Annie is abducted she has an open house and plans for dinner with her boyfriend afterward.  During the open house, her mother contacts her about a coffee pot and they get into a disagreement.  Annie is just closing up after a very slow day when she sees a van pull up and she is excited that someone is interested in the home.  Little does Annie know that her whole life is about to change.  The book take the reader through the event of the abduction and the time that Annie is held captive by the man Annie refers to as “The Freak” as well as what is unfolding in Annie’s life now that she has returned, which has not been an easy adjustment that the things that are uncovered blew my mind.  What “The Freak” puts Annie though was very difficult to read, it is raw and disturbing.  It was very hard to get through at times because of the level of detail that was provided, I know and understand that it was necessary, but that did not make it any easier.  I expected this and really only this from the story but was pleased to find that the reader was given breaks from the painful parts of the story with what is happening in Annie’s life now that she is back home.  The reprieve made the book much easier to get though, but also made me not want to put it down because as the details of the events that lead up to the abduction start to unfold I was amazed and blown away at just who was responsible for the plan.  No matter how off track it got, the person responsible is the very last person that I had expected.  I actually think that discovering who was at fault made the story many times worse in my mind.

Chevy Stevens writes in a powerful way and in a style that made this topic tolerable.  The rawness of the topic of abduction and just what happens when someone is locked in a house with no windows or connection with the outside in difficult to even understand but Chevy Stevens presents the facts and experience in a first hand manner that allows the read to understand yet detach themselves enough from the pictures painted that while painful to read it makes you want to find out more and get to the root of what is going on.  There were tear for me at more than one stage of this book. That being said there were also times that I was excited for Annie and found her to be such a strong woman.  Despite being broken, she does not lay down and just let someone else trying to solve what happened she takes an active role in finding out who was responsible for ruining her life.

I highly recommend this book, yes it is a tough and painful read but it is also very worthy of the time and earns every bit of hype that is out there about it.  

My Rating:




Powerful and Raw but so worthy of every moment spend reading it.  Amazing twist and turns.  I never saw the who done it coming.