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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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June 20 2016 2 20 /06 /June /2016 21:55

 

    I received Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe from the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild.  Now I am familiar with the age-old adage to not judge a book by its cover, but I often do so anyway.  This was one case where I did judge the book by its cover, and I therefore didn't even pick it up to read it for weeks.  I don't know why, but for some reason the cover just seems (to me) to show a woman so covered in shame that she can't raise her head, so tainted that her sins were like scarlet, as red as crimson.  I've dealt with enough shame in my life that I didn't really want to read a story so seemingly consumed with someone else's.  When I turned the book over to read the back of the cover, I discovered that the story was about St. Augustine's concubine.  Really? I thought to myself.  Really.  THIS is what the Fiction Guild sends me? What happened? They've done a pretty good job so far of picking stuff that I like to send to me.  But this? Who would want to read a story about a concubine? 

 

    Eventually, though, I did start the book, because I had to review it. (Which I've since discovered isn't required) I have to admit, it took me several more weeks to get into the story.  The first 30-50 pages were riddled with paragraph-length sentences and unusual vocabulary words that made the reading tedious yet slightly poetic.  But mostly tedious.  Then around the 50 mark, bam! I was in love.  I don't even remember a specific event that happened to the character, but somehow, the wording became easier to read, the story started flowing, and I was hooked.  And by "hooked", I mean like hook, line, and sinker.  Totally captivated.  I've managed to tear myself away from the book--I'm a little over half way through right now--to come here and write about it.  If the you've heard of or seen this book but the cover and/or summary has thrown you off, I suggest giving it a try anyway.  So far, and I cannot speak for the rest of the book as I have not as of yet finished it, the book is fantastic.  The character isn't weighed down with shame; in fact, she's lighthearted and free.  She's loved and she's lost a few people along the way so far, but she's followed her heart and kept her head held high.  She's gotten me captivated, and I dearly hope that the story doesn't end with something that makes her hang her head the way that she is doing on the cover, because so far, this book is shaping up to be on my Top 10 list for 2016.

 

     Thank you so much to the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Fiction Guild for sending me this book.  All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.

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June 15 2016 4 15 /06 /June /2016 21:46

 

    Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble is the third book that I've read by this author, but is the second book in the "Sunset Cove".  I have not read the first book in this series.

 

     Mallory Davis's father died suddenly, and Mallory travels to where he lived to try and solve what happened to him.  His last words told her to find her mother, but her mother had been dead for several years.  There's someone following her though, and she may have to rely on her childhood sweetheart, Kevin O'Conner for protection and inside information on the evidence from her dad's death.

 

     Kevin O'Conner had his heart broken by Mallory many years ago, but he risks it again for the sake of helping Mallory and protecting her from her stalker.  Will he be able to open up to her again?

 

     This was a book that I couldn't put down, that's for sure! Unfortunately, I didn't necessarily like it.  There were a lot of "stereotypical suspense novel" things that happened in the plot, which I can't specifically complain about without giving away spoilers.  Even Mallory's fourteen year old daughter was "stereotypical", which was disappointing (and slightly insultingly overdramatic) to myself, being an older teenage girl, and having younger sisters, whom do not act as the character in the book does.  In other words, a little more creativity was in order for the characters and the plot.  Besides the characters and the plot though, I liked the book.  I enjoyed how ties to Denise Hunter, her books, and her characters were woven in, as I am a big fan of hers.  The romance was good, and woven in well, but mostly I just love the cover of the book! The sunset and silhouette are gorgeous, and the title is so mysterious yet romantic sounding.  I loaned the book to my sister and plan to loan it to my friend, so I would still recommend it overall.

 

     Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson publishers and 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, nor was I compensated in any way other than receiving the book itself.

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June 10 2016 6 10 /06 /June /2016 22:47

 

    

  Backwards Beauty: How to feel ugly in 10 simple steps was written by Jessie Minassian.  It was published in 2016 by NavPress in alliance with Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
    I was elated to have the opportunity to read and review this book.  I loved the idea of an ironic way to heal feelings of insecurity, as this is a prominent problem in today's teens, namely girls.  Specifically, the way Jessie Minassian chose to write this book set her book apart from others. She accomplished this by naming 10 ways to feel ugly, one in each chapter, and then facing the lies that they hold and breaking down the strongholds.  Minassian told several stories of how others and she herself have fallen into the comparison trap.  She shared about her insecurities, starting at her childhood with a simple yet hurtful comment made by another child.  She walked through the insecurities she experienced as a teenager and adult, and was honest as she admitted she was still in the process of recovering from insecurity herself.  I found this aspect made her relatable in her struggle, and the writing style was reminiscent of an older sister sharing her advice.  As I read through the book, I found myself identifying with her feelings of inadequacy.  I loved her down-to-earth writing style in this book.  In fact, I enjoyed this book so thoroughly that after I read it I purchased another copy for a friend in a similar situation of insecurity.  I believe it is helping her too.
    I would recommend this book for all ages, for anyone who is feeling like they're not enough.  I will end on this:  If you feel like you're that person that's going through insecurity, know that you are enough.  You were made a wonderful person, for powerful purposes, and you are amazing just the way you are.
    Thank you to NavPress, Tyndale House Publishers, and Jessie Minassian for giving me a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not required to write a positibe review.
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June 6 2016 2 06 /06 /June /2016 20:11
Africa Study Bible

 

 

I am so excited to share with you all a new project that I was invited to promote! The Africa Study Bible is a fantastic resource in the making for people groups in Africa. There are study notes in the Bible relating to trials that are more personal to those on the beautiful continent of Africa, and kickstarter campaign where you can donate to the project. With only 10 days left and over 200,00 orders for this Bible already placed, your support is vital. Please click the link below to help!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816907898/launching-the-africa-study-bible

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June 1 2016 4 01 /06 /June /2016 21:09

 

    The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury is a unique book.  I have not read much from Karen Kingsbury (gasp! I know! My mom and several of my friends have read her works, but for some reason, they usually don't hold my interest), but what I have read from her is contemporary works, so to read a biblical fiction/Bible study was interesting.  Ms. Kingsbury wove in fictional details about Biblical characters lives with the intent of making Bible study and characters more interesting and relatable to us.  This was tastefully and creatively done, and I think it is a neat idea.  This would be a great conversation starter in a book club, or a neat study for a Sunday school group.  There are correlating study guides and DVDs that can be purchased in addition to the book also.

 

     Thank you so much to Net Galley and Howard Books 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, nor were they affected by anything other than the book itself.  I was not compensated beyond receiving the book itself.

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May 31 2016 3 31 /05 /May /2016 02:16

 

     Her One and Only by Becky Wade is the fourth and final book in the "Porter Family" series, and I am SO sorry to see this end! I have loved following this cowboy-Marine Corps family!  After three swoon-worthy brothers, I was interested to see this wild sister have her own story.  

 

     Dru Porter is a former Marine just like all her older brothers, as well as a black belt, fantastic shot, and a security agent at a local firm.  She's petite, but boy oh boy, she's fierce.

 

     Gray Fowler is a star NFL player whose team managers want him to have a bodyguard around the clock.  Gray personally doesn't see the need, nor does he see how a little girl could possibly protect him.  I mean, after all, he's like twice as big as she is.  So he ignores her...until he realizes that he can't do without her.

 

     I loved this book.  I can't honestly say that it works as a stand-alone, because Meg and Bo are the secondary characters and it really helps to remember their story from book one.  Also, this is a cute story.  It really is.  And while I'd give it five stars by itself, when compared to the rest of the series, it was more of a four and a half.  I don't know why, but something was a little less than the others.  I mean, I loved it absolutely loved it.  I will probably read it again.  I just liked books two and three better.

 

     Thank you so much to Bethany House 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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May 20 2016 6 20 /05 /May /2016 23:31

 

    The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson is the second book in the "Medieval Fairy Tale" series, the first of which was The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I liked this one as well.  The main characters from the first book carried over into this book, but The Beautiful Pretender works as a stand-alone (although there were some funny moments that wouldn't be funny to those who weren't familiar with the original characters).  I've read several reviews saying that this is a "Beauty and the Beast" spinoff, and while I did sort of see that, I thought it was more of a "Princess and the Pea" spinoff.

 

     When the Margrave of Thornbeck inherits his title from his brother, he has to find himself a bride, and quickly.  He sends out an invitation to noblewomen nearby to come and stay at his place so he can get to know them and pick a bride.

 

     Avelina is Lady Dorothea's lady's maid.  When Lady Dorothea receives an invitation to stay at Thornbeck Castle, she realizes that she's already in love with one of her father's knights, and runs away to elope the night before she's scheduled to leave.  Lady Dorothea's father summons Avelina and commands that she go in her lady's place and receive provision for her family or be left destitute forever, Avelina is forced to go along with the deception.  All she has to do is not let the Margrave fall in love with her and say whatever she thinks her lady would've said.  Seems simple enough.

 

     I really enjoyed this book! The characters had great dialogue with each other and the elements of suspense did not seem overdone (although they were close).  This series is great for teen and tween-age girls who like historical fiction and twists on fairytales.  I know my younger sisters love these stories, and I do as well.

 

     Thank you so much to Harpercollins/Thomas Nelson 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, nor was I compensated in any way aside from receiving the book itself.

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