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August 26 2016 6 26 /08 /August /2016 01:17

 

    She Walks in Power is the first book in a new medieval romance series called "Protectors of the Spear" by MaryLu Tyndall.  I have been eagerly awaiting this new release and I am so pleased that it is finally here! Fans of Tyndall may worry that this isn't a pirate book like most of her others, but I can assure you that it is still phenomenal.  Also, there seems to be quite the trend recently with young adult red-headed heroines in the Christian fiction market.  Authors including Jody Hedlund, Melanie Dickerson, and now MaryLu Tyndall have all recently released novels with this in common, but again, I can assure you that this book is still worth the read; it stands out among the rest and is in fact my favorite of the three.

 

     The novel centers around a girl of noble birth who is hiding out in the woods since an assassination plot on her life almost a decade before the book begins.  She is a follower of Christ and has been gifted with a spirit of discernment, which may be disconcerting for some readers, but I believe in it and loved to see it interwoven into current fiction.  Anyway, this girl, Alexa, was entrusted by her mother with the spearhead that pierced Christ's body to ensure he was dead on the cross.  This has been passed down through the ages in the story, and is now protected by Alexa.  Alexa is also a Robin Hood type figure, who hunts in the forest where she lives for food for nearby villagers.  She also tries to keep crime low and morale high.

 

     Ronar is a local knight who happens to be traipsing through Alexa's forest one day.  Naturally, she attacks him, and naturally, he fights back and tries to catch her before realizing that she is a woman.  This catches both of them off guard: Ronar isn't used to being ambushed, and Alexa's not used to being caught.  The story that ensues from this meeting follows the two as they try to follow God, defeat evil, and per the series title, protect the spear.

 

     I have been a fan of MaryLu's writing for many years now, and I must say that this is one of her best books yet.  I loved, loved, loved the spiritual aspects woven in, the characters were so fun to read about, and the plot was very unique.  The only thing that I could complain about was that the story's narration jumped to and fro from four or five different characters--some of which weren't even main characters.  It was very confusing and frustrating, but not enough to dissuade someone from reading the book over.

 

     Thank you so much to the author for providing me with a electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

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August 21 2016 1 21 /08 /August /2016 00:52

 

     To Have and to Hold is a collection of three novellas in the "Year of Weddings" series, this being the autumn addition.  The first, "Love Takes the Cake: A September Wedding Story", is by Betsy St. Amant, the second, "The Perfect Arrangement: An October Wedding Story", is by Katie Ganshert, and the third, "Love in the Details: A November Wedding Story" is by Becky Wade.

     Personally, I requested to review this book for the sole purpose of being able to read Becky Wade's addition, but I made the mistake of not reading the description of the book in my excitement, and was disappointed to see that it was the same novella that was released last year by her.  Oh well, I thought to myself,  I guess I'll just read the other ones.  Boy, am I glad I did! Both were cute, fun stories, and one was even a spin-off of Pride and Prejudice, which completely and totally made up for my mistake--I let out a giddy squeal as soon as I read the first line!  None of the stories are boring or rushed, as novellas in collections can tend to be; all were fresh, original, and adorable.  I would totally recommend this to anyone looking to get a quick read in amidst all of the back-to-school busyness.

     Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson and their Book Look Bloggers program for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

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August 11 2016 5 11 /08 /August /2016 04:35

 

     Uninvited is the latest release by Lysa Terkeurst.  I've really enjoyed her past releases and have found them to be very relatable.  This was no different. 

 

     Uninvited discusses the power of rejection.  With real-life anecdotes from the author and applicable Scripture verses, this book really touched me.  I think everyone has dealt with rejection in one form or another; I know I have.  Uninvited not only provided ways to deal with past rejection, but also helped to prepare for similar pains in the future.  This is a book that you will want to buy in paperback so that you can properly highlight it and write notes in the margin.  I would highly recommend this to all women, especially those who are teens or above.  It's a message that will appeal to many generations.  In addition, I have heard that all of the profits of this book are going to charity.  Also, I just really love the cover. :) 

 

     Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson publishers and their Book Look bloggers program, as well as Net Galley, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. 

 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.* 

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August 2 2016 3 02 /08 /August /2016 03:00

 

    Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah Ladd is the second book in the "Treasures of Surrey" series, which is published by Thomas Nelson.  It was my first novel by this author, and it worked as a stand-alone for me.  Seeing as I expected this to be like Jane Austen with a dose of mystery, I am sorry to say that this didn't measure up to my expectations.  Of course, to be fair, who could measure up to Jane Austen?

 

     Isabel Creston has lived at a boarding school since she was seven, which was shortly after her mother died and father left her.  Now, she's twenty, and believes that she doesn't have any family left, except her half-sister, who is also at the boarding school.  Out of the blue, an aunt of Isabel's pops up and invites Isabel and her sister to come and stay at her house.  Upon Isabel's arrival, she finds that she doesn't quite fit in socially, plus she has two admirers, which she doesn't know how to handle.  There's also a supporting plot involving smugglers in a magical forest.

 

    I'm not sure what this story was supposed to be.  A romance? A historical novel? A mystery? Suspense? Dawn at Emberwilde seems to try to be a mix of it all, and I'm sorry to that it doesn't mix together as well as I'd hoped.  However, I would still recommend giving it a shot; I loaned it to my friend, and she liked it.  

 

    Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

 

     

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July 30 2016 7 30 /07 /July /2016 19:03

 

    A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears is in the Teaville Moral Society series and is published by Bethany House.  I've enjoyed previous books by this author because of her sense of humor, so I was looking forward to this book.

 

     I have mixed reactions to this book.  For one, the hero greatly challenged and encouraged the heroine in her faith and acts of service, which is something that I personally think makes a hero attractive.  However, I've read other books with similar plots--two people unfriendly towards each other, need to help each other out for common and mutual benefit, fall in love--but with those other books, the dialogue between the hero and heroine was much more witty and fun to read.  Thus, the hero of this book seemed more dull and empty.  So on one hand, he sharpened and refined the heroine's strengths, but on the other hand, he wasn't very interesting--and I personally believe that he had the potential to be both.  

 

     I still flew through reading this book, but it was slightly tedious in parts because there was no dialogue that kept me entertained while still promoting the message.  All in all, I think that this book did have a good message and was thought provoking, and I would recommend it.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Bethany House publishers for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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July 21 2016 5 21 /07 /July /2016 03:46

 

     One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank is a stand alone book published by Blink, a division of Harper Collins publishers.  It is the first book that I've read by this author, and I thought it was a decent way to pass the time.  Blink publishing is not specifically Christian, so read with caution with books published by this publisher if you are expecting something overtly Christian.  Personally I think this book is appropriate for older teens.

 

     While many would consider a summer vacation to Paris to be amazing, Sophie Brooks does not.  You see, her dad divorced her mom and moved to Paris, leaving Sophie, her brother, and her mother in South Carolina.  Sophie's hurt and doesn't want to have anything to do with her dad, much less her soon-to-be new stepmom and stepsister Camille, the latter of which she has to share a room with.  Camille doesn't like Sophie from the start, and the two are at odds for much of the book.  Meanwhile handling her dad and new stepsister, Sophie's brother's friend comes to visit, and while Sophie has been crushing on him for years, Camille quickly takes over his interest.  And worst of all, Sophie was promised that she would be able to practice piano over the summer so that she could apply to Juilliard, but alas, there is no piano.

 

     Luckily, a friend of Camille's happens to have a grand piano that Sophie can practice on every day.  Unluckily, Camille is against anything that could benefit Sophie, including letting her date any cute friends, especially those with pianos.

 

     I thought that this was a cute teenage read, and as I previously said, I would recommend this, but probably just to older teens.  The story was cute even if cliche and the characters were a little immature.

 

     Thank you to Blink publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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July 10 2016 1 10 /07 /July /2016 23:09

 

    Forever Safe by Jody Hedlund is the fourth and final book in the Beacons of Hope series.  It is not published by Bethany House, as the rest of the series was, but is instead self-published.  This story follows Virginia Cole, the daughter of Henry Cole, who was mentioned towards the end of book three in the series and whose personal story is featured in the prequel novella.

 

     Virginia Cole is a very wealthy heiress who has a stalker.  She plans to be married but it seems as if someone is against her every attempt.  When her bodyguard is hurt protecting her, her father scrambles to find another man for the job.

 

     Tom Cushman is bodyguard who usually only takes jobs watching over older ladies, but when his friend is hurt on the job and asks him to take over watching Virginia Cole, he feels that he can't deny his friend's request.  When she's put in more serious danger, Tom feels that Virginia must going into hiding so that he can protect her.  But can he protect her from himself?

 

     I loved this book.  There was suspense and there was romance, and I read through it very quickly.  This is a great summer read that I would highly recommend!

 

     Thank you so much to Jody Hedlund for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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July 2 2016 7 02 /07 /July /2016 00:46

 

    Counted with the Stars is the debut novel Connilyn Cossette and is the first book in the "Out of Egypt" series, which is published by Bethany House.  I was hesitant to give this a try because I haven't been a huge, huge fan of biblical fiction, but this may turn out to be one of my favorite novels of the year! I read it in a weekend; once I start I couldn't put it down.  I got my whole family and some of my friends hooked onto reading it also.  I wouldn't recommend starting to read this if you can't finish it in one setting.

 

     Kiya is a Egyptian whose family has fallen upon hard circumstances.  Her father make a bad business deal and had to sell Kiya as a slave to a nearby family.  At seventeen, Kiya is heartbroken; she was practically engaged to be married and now she is reduced far below the status that she's always known.  Thankfully, she befriends a servant in the household whom she laughs with and works with.  This servant girl, Shira, is a Hebrew, and she tells Kiya of her God.  When plagues begin to assault Egypt, Kiya must decide which god she will follow, even if it means leaving her all she's known behind.

 

     I really really really loved this book.  I've always wondered what it would be like to experience the 10 plagues of Egypt, and this book allowed me to do so through the author's imagination.  This is such a fascinating book.  The characters are well-developed and the plot moves right along.

 

      Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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July 1 2016 6 01 /07 /July /2016 01:57

 

    No Other Will Do is a stand alone novel by Karen Witemeyer, and is published by Bethany House.  As usual, this novel is set in the American West in the 1800s, but the characters had their own unique passions.  

 

     Emma Chandler grew up with her two eccentric, feminist aunts.  They're compassionate to those in their communities and have nothing against men; they just live without them.  When Emma was a child, there was a young boy who'd snuck into their barn.  The three ladies took him in and cared for him for two years, but then he left unexpectedly.  It's been over a decade since then, and Emma and her aunts have made a community for women.  When trouble strikes, Emma knows who to call: the boy from the barn.

 

     Malachi Shaw has worked to make his way in life on his own.  He doesn't believe in kindness until he meets Emma Chandler and her aunts, and feels very much in their debt.  He makes Emma promise to let him know if she ever needs help, so when he reads her request for help, he drops everything to come and save her.

 

     I thought that this was a very cute story! The characters were unique and I loved their personalities and reading their reactions to each other.  The setting of a town of suffragettes was interesting to me, even if it was only fictional.  I would recommend this book! There are some action/suspense scenes that are a little intense, but I really enjoyed this book overall.  It was quite possibly my favorite book by this author so far.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor was I compensated in any way other than receiving the book itself.

 

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June 25 2016 7 25 /06 /June /2016 20:32

 

    From This Moment is the latest stand  alone novel by Elizabeth Camden.  It's published by Bethany House and was a fascinating read.  Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite authors because I can tell that she puts a lot of research and time into her novels, but her insight is woven into the story in a way that I find myself interested, not bored.  The characters in this book are passionate about the publishing process: the type fonts and illustrations.  

 

     Romulus White is a part owner of a scientific newspaper in Boston.  He's been fighting his way to the top for years, and he wants to hire London artist Stella West to grow his subscribers.  Stella has always been elusive to him throughout the years that he's pursued employing her.  Now, however, he finds out that she's in Boston too, and he continues his search.

 

     Stella West is impressed yet annoyed by Romulus's pursuit, but she has more important things on her mind.  Her sister has recently passed away, and Stella suspects foul play, so she seeks employment at the same place where her sister worked before her death, hoping to find clues.

 

     I really liked this book from Ms. Camden; it was better than Until the Sunrise but still not as good as, in my opinion, The Lady of Bolton Hill or Against the Tide.  The characters were quirky, and I didn't actually like Romulus too much, but I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the plot.  Overall, I would still recommend it, but perhaps not to a reader new to Elizabeth Camden.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers and Net Galley for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive, nor was I compensated in any way other than receiving the book itself.

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