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Reviews: Becoming Calder: Mia Sheridan



Becoming Calder
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Pre-order/Buy: Amazon
Release Date October 5, 2014
View the Trailers: part 1, part 2, and part 3

There is a place in modern day America with no electricity, no plumbing, and no modern conveniences. In this place, there is no room for dreams, no space for self-expression, and no tolerance for ambition.

In this place, there is a boy with the body of a God and the heart of a warrior. He is strong and faithful and serves his family honorably. But he dares to dream of more.

In this place, there is a girl with the face of an angel and a heart full of courage. To her family, she is the vision of obedient perfection. But she dares to want that which she has been told can never be hers. 

Becoming Calder is the story of good versus evil, fear versus bravery, and the truth that the light of love has always found its way into even the darkest of places... From the beginning of time, to the end of the world.



I know anything by Mia Sheridan is going to pull me in, keep me enthralled, and make me feel. I went into Becoming Calder blind and did not even re-read the blurb, I just got ready for the journey. And oh what a journey it was...She hits us right away with a prologue full of desperation then leads us back to where the story began.

This story is completely unique and unlike anything I have read before. The whole set of circumstances of how these people live, relate, work and worship is different. It is a place that appears frozen in the past with no modern conveniences and their own shared values and expectations. Their leader, Hector Bias, takes the education, beliefs, and values of his followers seriously, and expects obedience in exchange for a sense of peace and the promise of a positive shared future

We hadn't chosen this life. It had chosen us.

We meet Calder Raynes as a young boy, full of hope, optimism, and is happy with their existence. But he also has some dreams for his future in allignment with his community. And Eden comes to live there as a young girl and outsider. But she  is a girl with a special purpose. They are not supposed to fraternize but, they form a connection that does not even require close proximity to exist and continue. But then as teens they do begin to share more time together, and that brings awareness, temptation, feelings, and a longing for more. 

He was goodness--raw unguarded goodness. It glowed in him.

Eden, yeah, she was definitely a morning glory: pretty as a flower, with the strength of a weed. 

I became completely entranced by this story and characters. Calder is patient, kind, intelligent, funny, artistic, and protective. Eden is sweet, inquisitive and thoughtful, but also spirited and has an inner strength and determination. Their connection could not be denied and I could feel the intensity of their longing, fear, passion, and love. His lifelong best friend, Xander is loyal, supportive, resourceful, and fearless. Their commitment to each other is unwavering, but their futures are tied down by beliefs and perceived destiny. Friendship with Eden is forbidden, so love or intimacy should be out of the question. And thinking for themselves or wanting to learn more about the sinful world outside is also frowned upon.

As mesmerized as I was with the beautiful connection of Calder and Eden,  I was equally disheartened at the obvious inequality in their community. There were people that I hated with a passion and those that just annoyed me from sheer ignorance. But there were also a few other individuals that touched my heart in various ways. The whole situation is hard to wrap your head around, but the author managed to make you feel like you were there living it with the characters.

My heart ached as I watched these young people struggle with what they were taught, what they really felt, and dare to start to dream for themselves. But belief in destiny and fate, and the will of others has a strong influence on their life paths.

"Because it's my heart that makes me want to deny my so-called destiny."
It's my heart that wants you to be my destiny.

"I had dreams as well....I admitted to myself that I longed for more for my life and maybe those dreams were beautiful, too. Brave. I had always pushed that desire away, shamed of it, thinking it sinful, selfish. But maybe, just maybe, my own dreams weren't as sinful as I'd always thought them to be...somehow."

The challenges and risks these three went though had me tense, frustrated, angry, and heartbroken. I swear for the last part of the book I was often holding my breath or gritting my teeth. I am sure I even gasped out loud a few times. But they were so courageous and determined and when hope was lost they could usually find a glimmer of hope in each other. 

"Where do you find your strength, Morning Glory?"
"From you."

But as the situation becomes more dire, will all hope be lost?

This story has so many underlying themes...good vs. evil, weakness vs. strength, destiny vs. free will, greed vs. selfishness, fear vs. bravery, defiance vs. obedience, and truth vs. deception. It was an emotional,  passionate, painful, suspenseful story of forbidden love, sacrifice, trust, fate and forging your own path. Their individual journeys and realizations were difficult as they found challenges and injustices. But the characters show so much growth and change during the course of their experiences. 

Even though I was left emotionally spent and seriously in need of the rest of the story, I understand why the author broke it up and she did so at a logical stopping point. This first installment is a good full length novel full of exquisite detail that brings the characters and setting completely to life. And the fact that Finding Eden will also be released on the same day as Becoming Calder is an amazing gesture by the author showing that she is not doing this to keep us in suspense or build up interest so people will buy her second book months from now. She is giving the readers the whole experience to be enjoyed at once. But this story is so epic that it could not be told in just one book. 

Mia Sheridan has done it again and completely exceeded my expectations. She really does have a gift for story telling. This one is unique, controversial, powerful, and intriguing. It is hard to put into words without giving too much away. It is just something you have to experience. I am totally invested in these characters and their stories. Parts of it might surprise people or make them uncomfortable, but these young people did not choose this life. Personally I found myself shocked, annoyed, and angry regarding the foundation of their community. But it is all part of the trials that these characters face. The world can be unforgiving, as can people. And sometimes self forgiveness is just as difficult.

My heart still hurts. I felt every emotion in this story so strongly from both of their points of view. My mind is spinning. I am thinking back to the prologue and how it fits with the ending. I am looking forward to what comes next. This one is leaving me with a book hangover for sure. And I can guarantee that Finding Eden will put me thorough the wringer all the same, but I can't wait to get there and experience it all good, bad and in between.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 



I don’t even know what to say. Part of me wishes I could have written this review before I finished the book because putting coherent sentences together right now is a challenge! Without too many spoilers, I fear writing a review will be nothing but a serious of oh my goshes. And while that pretty accurately describes my feelings right this second, it doesn’t give much clue about whether another reader will love or hate this book. 

Calder Raynes grew up in Acadia, a community with no running water and no electricity. He has never been to the outside world, nor has he had any desire to do so. He has everything he needs, his family, and hope for the future that has been foretold. He is the water-bearer, making sure the crops are watered and the people have drinking water.

Eden came to Acadia as a child. She is kept secluded from the rest of the community, apart from the workers and all the other children. She is sweet in her innocence, strong in her convictions, and stealthy in her challenges. She was so easy to love from the very beginning.

Neither character chose the life they were leading, but the situation they find themselves in is in no way easy. This book challenged me in so many ways. With religion at the center of so much of their story, I was by turns frustrated and sympathetic with the situation. With choices removed because of their age and station within the community, I often felt equal parts horror and awe at how they handled themselves. 

Oh my Gosh. Hector Bias, the leader of Acadia was creepy in his charisma early on. It made me reconsider the quick judgement when religious cults hit the news. He has a power that causes people to believe him, follow him, and blindly accept his edicts as gospel. Even as he made me cringe with what he taught and how he interacted with Calder and Eden, his leadership of his people showed their faith in his teachings.

I spent as much of this book anticipating Calder and Eden’s plans coming to fruition as I did worrying that it would never work. There were as many sweet moments as there were heartbreaking ones. And after the prologue, I spent the remainder of the book both wondering how Eden ended up where she did and in horror of finding out how she ended up in that situation. 

As with previous books in this series, Becoming Calder is a standalone. There is no overlap between any of these characters. But what does carry over from each book is a set of strong characters. Each new set of characters faces completely different challenges in a way that The Signs of Love series always feels fresh and it addresses situations that constantly challenge its readers. 

This is one book where I am so glad the author has decided to publish both portions of the complete story at the same time, and I will be ready to read Finding Eden as soon as I can possibly get my hands on a copy. I must know how this story ends.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Finding Eden (book 2)
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Finding Eden is the continuation of Becoming Calder. 


Both books will release simultaneously, October 5, 2014.

See our reviews posted on release day October 5, 2014.
 A Sign of Love Series can be read as stand alones 
and the stories  are not related. 
The exceptions are Leo and Leo's Chance(male alternative POV) and 
Becoming Calder and Finding Eden(part two). 




Leo's Chance (male POV of Leo):
Goodreads/Amazon/B&N


Archer's Voice:



Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm SOOOOO EXCITED for this release today! I ADORE Mia Sheridan so this was an automatic one-click for me!
    Great Reviews ladies, thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete

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