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!