Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sisters of the Quilt

When Hannah Lapp's life is torn apart by unthinkable tragedy, it seems no one in her old order Amish community understands. Faced with viscous rumors and heart-rending decisions, Hannah's faith begins to grow as she learns to trust God with her pain and with her future.
This book was so good! Emotional, intense, and just wow. At times, I just wanted to cry along with Hannah and her pain, but at the same time it was beautiful to watch her grow in faith and find healing. I recommend this for more mature readers, because Hannah is taken advantage of and the description is not graphic, but you clearly understand what's going on. This is so different from any other Amish fiction I have ever read, but what a great story!

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe

Chelsea Chamber's life is in shambles; the cafe she inherited comes with an enormous debt and a dwindling clientele, she is seeking a divorce from her husband and her son resents that decision. But things change when she hires a bumbling assistant named Manny, who helps her run the cafe and installs a mysterious new router that only accesses on website: The God Blog. Guests can ask God one question, and He will answer. Chelsea is skeptical and bitter about her past, but she learns that miracles happen when you call on God.
This was a really creative and cozy story from beginning to end. It's not the most complex story, but I enjoyed the underlying currents of forgiveness, love, and um... coffee. So grab a large cappuccino and box of Kleenex, and enjoy the journey!
I received a free e-copy of this book compliments of Thomas-Nelson publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The River




Ruth and Tilly, have both forsaken their Amish upbringing and are happily settled in the "English" world. The sisters begrudgingly return home to celebrate their parents anniversary, but the troubled past haunts both girls as they seek for the answers they never found. Can the hidden truths bring healing and redemption to the shattered family, or will the past drive them all apart for good?
This was a great book! And it isn't often that I just love an Amish story, so many of them seem so similar or else entirely focused on romance. This was a very touching story about family, faith, and understanding. I definitely recommend this book to anyone. It is very clean, and should be very enjoyable even for younger readers.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Revolutionary



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so good! I was absolutely mesmerized by this story, drawn into its grasp, and unable to rest until I discovered the conclusion. T his book far exceeds the second book in this series. I loved that the main focus of this story wasn't "who is Thalli going to fall in love with". That was included, but not in an overbearing way. One cannot help but observe the similarities between this series and "The Hunger Games", (Although much less so in this book ) and I can honestly say that I prefer this series for several reasons. One, Thalli is a real hero. She is willing to sacrifice herself for those she loves, and is always thinking of others. Katniss, on the other hand is usually looking out for herself and will do whatever she has to to stay alive. Secondly, though evil and tyranny are clearly depicted, it is not as dark as "The Hunger Games." Thirdly, I love how The Designer is an important part of the characters lives, and He is always in charge no matter how grim the situation. And the plot was very surprising, at times. I never saw that coming! Great book, and a great series. The only downside is that now I'm sad that it's over.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Miracle in a Dry Season

When Perla Long shows up in a small Virginia town, she only hopes to start a new life with her daughter while avoiding unwanted attention. However, when hard times hit the town and Perla uses her God-given talent to feed them, the questions start flying. Casewell Phillips, a bachelor, seems to be the only person in the town who believes in Perla and supports her. But can the two of the weather the storm of animosity that is brewing against them? Now Perla must decide if she will use her gift to help those who need it, or if she will let the condemnation of the others stop her.
While I appreciated the elements of forgiveness, serving others, and doing the right thing even when it's not popular; I couldn't entirely get into the story itself. Not that there was anything wrong with it necessarily, it just didn't "click" with me. It was good enough to keep me reading, however, and if you enjoy romantic/historical type reads, it may be your cup of tea.

I received a free copy of this book through Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Awakening

So let me start out by saying that I was completely captivated by this story. The writing style drew me in and held me tightly in it's grip right down to the last page. There were times that I thought the story was a bit odd, and it took me a little while to figure things out. But the suspense and intrigue were irresistible, and I totally loved this book. I am a major Tracey Higley fan, and I've read some great books by her, but she outdid herself on this one. I think this may be Higley's best piece of writing yet. If you're looking for romantic/suspense with just a touch of sci-fi and history, give this one a shot.

Merlin's Nightmare

                                                         My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Arthur is 18 years old, and ready to reveal his identity as the true high king of Britain, but the forces of evil are not idly standing by.  The odds are seemingly insurmountable, darkness cloaks the land, evil appears to have the upper hand. Merlin and Arthur persevere in the face of darkness, knowing that if their God is fighting with them, none can be against them. This story was great, the plot riveting, and the action heart-stopping.  I was absolutely captivated by this story, held fast in it's fantastical lair right until the end. The end brought me back to earth a little bit though. I suppose it is only my own impatience that makes it so; I was so excited to know the end of the story that I read at a feverish pace, almost non-stop, anxiously awaiting the conclusion. Only to find then that instead of the epic ending I desired, another series was yet to come. Don't get me wrong, I am excited that there is more to this story, and I will be looking forwards to continuing this journey. But the suspense is driving me crazy, and I am not the world's  most patient reader.

I received a free copy of this book through booklookbloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Auschwitz Escape

I am a bit intimidated at trying to review this book. It was so good I don't think that I can really do it justice. I think this may be the best fictional wwll book that I have ever read, and I have read some really good ones. Everything about this book was amazing. I don't know what else to say except for "Read it!"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Vienna Prelude



This book didn't really impress me. It just didn't really seem to have much of a plot except for "which guy is Elisa going to fall for?"
I guess about the only thing I really just liked in this story was Elisa's violin. And I guess that probably sounds a bit strange, but I really really love violins. I also thought Elisa seemed a bit detached at times. Like her romance was more important than her family or her friends or anything. I don't even know if I will bother with the rest of the series or not, this book just didn't leave me wanting more. But I don't much care for books that are nothing but romance. I don't mind if books have romance in them, but that can't be the whole story.
 



Monday, May 12, 2014

Daisys are Forever


Gisela Cramer is an American living in Heiligenbeil with her sister and grandfather. When the Russians began to invade, Gisela takes her sisters two children and flees to Berlin. Along the way, she finds a British man who is posing as an SS officer. In a desperate attempt to save him from being captured or killed, Gisela proclaims that he is her husband. As Gisela struggles to protect her "children" and "husband" along their perilous escape, she finds that she too needs protection. As the "family" encounters the horrors of the war, they soon discover just how much they need each other.
I enjoyed reading this, greatly because the story was based off of the true stories of two women who lived during this time. It was a very sad story, however. This book gives us a glimpse of the terror and pain that existed for the citizens of wartime Germany. The book was very well written, and held my interest until the end. I thought character development was just a tiny bit lacking, the emotion of the characters was not keenly felt to me. Overall this is a good book, from an interesting perspective. If you enjoy a wwll based fictional story with a little romance in it, give this one a try.
I received a free copy of this book through booklook bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Death By the Book

A string of murders draws Drew Farthering to investigate. Who is behind the grisly "hatpin murders"? How are all the deaths related? And why would anyone want to kill all these people? As Drew races against time to stop this ruthless killer, the clues lead him closer and closer to home.
I did not dislike this book, but I did not necessarily like it either. There were some things I did like: the author made reference to Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and Shakespeare which says to me that the author is well read and has at least some appreciation for classic literature. And the conclusion was definitely surprising, and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. I do have a few complaints, however. For one, I found the writing style to be a bit simplistic and I never found myself caught up in the story. It was interesting enough for me to finish reading, but I did not find it riveting. Secondly, I thought Drew's character was perhaps a bit aloof and artificial. Thirdly, I wasn't entirely happy with the ending. It was ok, but I thought it was just a bit odd to me. The killers motive for example, what was THAT all about?!? Final issue, I think the author simply added more to this book than was necessary. Far too much time was spent on Drew trying to woo a girl and win over her prickly aunt. In fact, that almost seemed to take precedent over the mystery at times.
As a reader of classic mysteries, I was simply unable to get into this. If however you like a little suspense mixed with romance, give this one a shot.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, April 7, 2014

For Such a Time

Hadassah Benjamin is rescued from a Nazi death camp, and is able to persuade the young SS Komandant Colonal Aric von Schmidt that she is an Aryan woman. Hiding behind her false identity as Stella Muller, Hadassah is safe. But how can she watch her people being sent to death camps and do nothing to help them? Did God send Hadassah into favor with the Komandant "for such a time"? And if so, Hadassah must decide if she is willing to make the sacrifice that may be necessary.
I thought that this was a really interesting idea, re-telling the story of Esther in a WWll setting. I really enjoyed the story, and found it to be very well written and engaging. Even though, if you are familiar with the story of Esther you will probably draw parallels between certain characters and have a pretty good idea what will happen to them, there are still enough plot and uncertainty to keep you reading. And for a debut novel, I am very impressed with this book. The only thing I did not like as well as some other historical novels I have read is the simple fact that a lot of the events surrounding the climax were entirely fictional. Granted, they turned out the way we wish history had turned out, but even if it would have made the ending sadder I think that it would have been nice to stick to the historical facts. As a work of fiction with a historical setting, this is a very good book and if you enjoy this genre this book is definitely worth reading. 
    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid

Lydia is just a simple handmaid to Queen Cleopatra. Her life seems to hold no special significance, but when her dying mentor entrusts her with a sacred mission, her life is forever changed. Lydia must deliver the scrolls of the prophet Daniel to the Temple in Jerusalem on a set day. Lydia leaves Cleopatra to serve Queen Mariamme in the Holy City, but the forces of evil are bent on destroying the scrolls and Lydia. Lydia must put her trust in God as she battles political and spiritual evil.
This was a very good book filled with political intrigue, historical characters, and a spiritual theme leading to The Messiah. The plot was very engaging, albeit quite dark in places. I really enjoyed the historical setting. It was very fascinating reading about the tumultuous time leading up to the birth of our Savior. I also loved the fictional elements of the story; the characters, especially the characters Lydia, were very well depicted. If you enjoy historical/Biblical fiction, I would absolutely recommend this book. Just a word of warning, due to the darkness of the times depicted and the despotic nature of the rulers involved, this book is best suited for ages 17 and up.
I received a free e-copy of this book through Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review

A Stillness of Chimes


When Laura Gantt returns to her home in Prospect, Georgia, she hears some unsettling rumors about her father whom was reported to have drowned twelve years ago. Some people have claimed to see Elliot Gantt alive and in the area. Laura, with help from her lifelong friend, Sean, begins to investigate the situation and find out if indeed her father is alive. Yet even as she hopes to find him alive, her heart aches to know why he abandoned her for so many years. And Sean has some very troubling suspicions that he desperately does not want to believe. And the deeper Laura and Sean look into the mystery, they are shocked at how many secrets that have lain buried in their own hometown.
I actually really enjoyed this book. There was some romance in it, but it wasn't the main point of the story. The plot was very well developed, and the writing was engaging. While I suspected a few things were going to happen, there were still a lot of surprises by the end of the book.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good clean fictional/romance. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five, was because I didn't think the spiritual conflict was resolved satisfactorily. Laura struggles throughout the book to embrace the beliefs of her childhood, yet there is really no defining moment when she finds her way. Other than that little detail, I thought this was a very nice book.
I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Garden Gate

I absolutely could not get into this story. I didn't read the other three books in this series prior to reading this one, but I had a very hard time understanding the context of this story. Also, there were several things about this book that I did not like at all. First of all, I was quite shocked that in one place a character actually used the word "p***ed", and in another place a character said " What the..." although the sentence wasn't finished you get the picture. Secondly, I thought it was pretty dumb that some of the angels in the story used cell phones "just to fit in".
And finally, I thought some of this story was rather irreverent towards God. For example, in one place an angel is talking about the nickname he uses for The Holy Spirit. Writing or speaking about God should only be done very reverently and respectfully, and I think this book fell far short. In fact, I couldn't even finish reading this book. I definitely do not plan to read the rest of this series!
I received a free copy of this book through book look bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Quilted Heart Omnibus

While I am not usually a fan of novellas or books with too romantic a plot, I did enjoy this book. The author has a really good way with words that made this book very enjoyable to read. I also enjoyed the historical context and the stress that was placed on honoring God and your parents.
The Quilted Heart Omnibus is a collection of three novellas that are set in the tumultuous years following the Civil War. In "Dandelions in the Wind", Maren Jensen is a young mail-order bride whose husband to be abandoned her when he learned of her failing eyesight. But with her faith in God's provision, Maren finds that God has a better plan for her.
In " Bending towards the Sun", Emilie Heinrich is attracted to a young man but her father wants her to have nothing to do with him. Though torn between the desires of her heart and honoring her father, Emilie learns that when she honors her father and her God, God will always provide.
In "Ripples Along the Shore", Caroline is a lonely war widow who has decided to travel west to start a new life. However, the leader of the wagon train forbids her as a single woman to travel in the caravan. Caroline learns that if she will trust God, he will direct her paths.
If you are a fan of historical/romantic fiction, I recommend this book to you. It was a very enjoyable read, and has a gorgeous cover!
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Press in exchange for my honest review.

A Draw of Kings

King Rodran is dead, and Duke Weir has assumed the throne. Errol and his friends return from Merakh only to be captured and treated as enemies of Illustra. Death and destruction close in on Illustra, but can the discovery of the true heir to the kingdom turn it around?
Finally, conclusion to the Staff and the Sword books! I have anxiously awaited the final chapter to Errol Stone's story, and I was not disappointed. This book was exciting and engaging, really a pleasure to read. The ending was not quite what I had hoped for, but it was very good nonetheless. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of epic fantasy novels.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tide and Tempest

Tillie McGrath lost her fiancé on the voyage to America nearly two years ago. Now the ship's captain tells her he believes that he may have been murdered. As Tillie and Captain Morgan investigate the mysterious death, they are swept up in more danger than either one of them imagined. Someone thinks they know too much and wants both of them dead, will they uncover the truth on time?
This was a very good book, and I really enjoyed it. I loved the plot and the mystery was very well played out. If you enjoy historical suspense/romance, you are going to love this book!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Echoes of Mercy


My rating: 3 of 5 stars


 Caroline Lang is an undercover agent investigating a suspicious death in the world famous Dinsmore's Chocolate Factory. Ollie Moore is also an undercover agent, but he is the son of the factory's owner and is investigating the working conditions of the factory. Soon Caroline and Ollie discover that they are on opposite sides of child labor issues, but can they form an alliance against an even greater evil ?
   This book was ok, but it didn't really speak to me at all. It seemed to me that the book was shallow in some way. I thought the suspense and the plot were under developed, and the emotions and romance seemed kind of hurried and insincere.
   It's not that I disliked the book, but I just couldn't get into it. If you like historical romance, you may enjoy this. It seems I am the odd one out on this book, it gets a lot of 4 and 5 stars reviews. So, I think a lot of you actually will enjoy it.
  I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.




Monday, February 3, 2014

Luminary

Luminary by Krista McGee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


 Thalli and her friends believe that they have outsmarted the scientists, but in reality they have just walked into a trap.
  This is a really hard book to review. I really enjoyed it, but I don't think I liked it quite as well as I liked Anomaly. Don't get me wrong, it is still a very exciting book and well worth reading. Some parts just seemed a little much like parts in the first book, and I kind of got the feeling " Oh, this is like that part in Anomaly where____________." Great book, but perhaps my expectations were so high that I couldn't enjoy as I could have.



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Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest by Chuck Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


 Sir Rowan is a decorated tournament champion, and he believes that is his calling in life. But when Rowan is bettered by another knight and left to die, he reconsiders his priorities. Finally, he decides to serve The Prince at any cost and finds his true calling is greater and more important than anything he could have imagined. His path is riddled with danger and heart-break, but The Prince is with him through it all.
   While I really enjoyed this book, it is my least favorite of The Knights of Arrethtrae series. Like all the books in this series, it contains a challenging message and is very interesting to read. It just seemed to me that the story was perhaps a bit hurried, and it just didn't seem quite as personal as some of the other books. That being said, this is still an excellent book and I would most highly recommend it and all the rest of the books in this series to absolutely anyone. Just because it is the least favorite of mine from the series in no way down plays this one, but that should tell you just how good the other books are!



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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Like Moonlight at Low Tide

Like Moonlight at Low Tide: Sometimes the Current Is the Only Thing that Saves You by Nicole Quigley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



"This is not a story about suicide. But you should know that when I was seventeen, the only boy who ever called me by my full name took his own life...Nothing else I do for the rest of my life will ever be able to change this fact. This story is actually about three boys. One who loved me. One who couldn't. And one who didn't know how."

Missy Kaiser has been bullied and teased all through school. Now when she returns to high school Sam King, whom Missy has dreamed about dating for years, starts to show her attention. Everything seems perfect for Missy, but her next door neighbor, Josh, always seems to be interfering. To make matters worse, her home life is in shambles; and it seems that Missy is doomed to a superficial life devoid of love. Then Missy learns that there is a God Who loves her, and will forgive her past if only she will let Him. But can she let go of her pain and trust Him?

   This was an exceptional book, especially for a debut novel. It powerfully expresses the heart-break and emotional trauma that bullying causes. It was a very vivid look into what so many people suffer on a daily basis. The story itself was gripping, very hard to put down. I would recommend this as a good book for 15 and over, as it contains some things that may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
   I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.




Sir Quilan and the Swords of Valor

Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor by Chuck Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


 Sir Quinlan answers the call of The Prince and never looks back. But he could never have imagined the evil he would face, and he never knew how many souls were at stake in the fight.
   This was an excellent book. It was not my favorite of The Knights of Arrethtrae books, but that is certainly not to say that is was not very enjoyable and thought provoking. I most highly recommend these books to any child or adult that I know.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Unwilling Warrior

My rating 4 of 5 stars
 When Valerie Fontaine returns home from boarding school, she finds that her father does not welcome her. Furthermore, she has an unwelcome suitor and her father's house-guest to entertain. When she is forced to flee her home, scandal and lies dog her every step. Can Valerie overcome the vicious sabotage that threatens to destroy her?
This was a really good book, it had perhaps a bit more of a romantic plot line than I care for but it had many things about it that I did like. For example, I loved that the young man in the story was careful to look for a woman who shared his faith, and even when he found her he constantly was seeking God's will for their relationship. The suspense and plot were pretty good as well. Overall, it was a very enjoyable read that I would recommend if you enjoy a historical fiction/romance story.

Lady Carliss and the Water's of Moorue

Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue by Chuck Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


 Lady Carliss embarks on a mission to save her friend from the poison of a deadly lizard. But as Carliss races against time, she encounters delays, hindrances, and betrayal that threaten to stop her from her mission. In the end, Carliss must make a heart-rending decision: will she save the life of her friend, or will she save the lives of many other people?
   This was a really good book. I didn't like it quite as good as "Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart", but it is definitely worth reading. I really don't know how Chuck Black manages to write such high action stories and still keep them so clean. While there are lots of fighting scenes, there is never anything gory or nasty. And best of all, these stories will challenge you to be a better knight for The Prince. I most highly recommend this series for anyone ages 9-99.



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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart



 Sir Dalton is a knight of the Prince, but his faith is not grounded and soon he finds himself a captive to fear and doubt.
       This book was so good. It is hard to write good reviews for books in a series, but these books deserve a better review than I am capable of writing. Each one is so unique and touches on different areas of life and your relationship with The King and His Son. Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart was amazing. I was challenged by the message of this book, as I think anyone with an honest heart will be. While this is a very well-written and entertaining book, it is so much more than that. I highly recommend this book to young and old alike.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sir Bentley and Holbrook Court



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


 Sir Bentley has everything in life, but he forsakes all of it to follow The Prince. The dangers are numerous and intense, but the love of The Prince is greater than the fear for Sir Bentley.
   This is an amazing book! It is very entertaining and pleasurable to read, yet it is not "just a story. It is written to inspire the reader to draw nearer to The Prince, and the conflict and the devotion of the characters should do just that. Indeed, I found my own heart cry out to know The Prince better as I read this book. I highly recommend to children and adults alike.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


 I was really dragging my feet to start on this book. After all, it sounded to me like a cute kid's story about knights and dragons and while that may be nice for youngsters, I could use a bit more depth. But,was I ever wrong! While I could recommend this to any young reader that I know, I could also recommend this to any adult that I know. This was a very well written and entertaining book, but it is so much more than that. The symbolism and allegory are not painfully obvious as some books that I have read are, yet they are clear enough that even young children will understand. And by the end of the book, my own walk with God was challenged and a fresh longing was stirred for "The Prince". You can't go wrong with this one, highly recommend to anyone!



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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Born of Persuasion

Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1)Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


 Julia Elliston is orphaned and under the care of a "guardian" who has determined to send her to Scotland to attend an elderly woman. She is allowed to marry to escape servant-hood, but her child-hood sweet-heart is out of reach for her and the only other choice she has is dark and mysterious Mr. Macy.
  I really enjoyed this book, although it is a bit more romantic than I typically care for. I found it really fascinating and engaging. There are a lot of unsolved conflicts that have left me eager to read the next book in the series. If you enjoy a clean Christian romance after the tradition of Jane Austen, I would give this one a try.
  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest reveiw.



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A Tale Of Two Cities

A Tale of Two CitiesA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


  Wow! This book is a masterpiece. The political intrigue of the French Revolution combined with the emotional drama of Dickens story telling make this story irresistible. I actually could not put this book down, I found it to be a little easier to read than most of Dickens works, and the story and characters are amazing. I believe this is the best Dickens book that I have read to date. It has everything you could want in a great story; love, war, revenge, peace, mercy, and sacrifice. And the characters! A doctor unjustly imprisoned and driven to the brink of insanity, a ragged good-for-nothing man inspired to heroism, a brave young man who forsakes the corruption of his family, an evil woman who knits the names of her enemies into a register, just to name a few of the colorful characters in this story. This is very emotionally driven; by the end you will want to cry your eyes out, and want to read it all over again. Oh, did I forget to mention? I LOVED THIS BOOK!



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