Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Review: I am seriously in love with this new fantasy series published by Morgan Busse. I've just purchased the first book of her steam-punk trilogy because I can't get enough of her work. While I wait for it to arrive, I picked up "Flight of the Raven" and read it again. I am incredibly short on free time these days, so to say I read something twice is remarkable. I realize I'm gushing, but I had a fantastic time escaping into this world of make-believe.

The first thing that captured me about this series (there are two books so far, the third comes out in February) is the depth of soul in the characters - particularly in Selene. I want to tread carefully here as it is way to easy to give the story away, but Selene is forced into a life she would have never asked for at the hand of her own mother.... a life that has hardened her and changed her to a point where even she doesn't know who she is anymore. Now, at the hand of another person (to avoid a spoiler I won't say who), she has been given an ultimate choice to decide what her future is going to be, how she is going to live, and what deity she is going to follow. Her inner struggle is as real as the physical war building in her land, and her burgeoning magical powers add yet another dimension to her changing world.

I would definitely recommend this book (read the series in order though). A warning though... once you enter this magical world you won't want to leave it. The Ravenwood Saga is fast paced and the use of magic in the realm of the dream walkers is creative and mysterious. I am looking forward to the next book in February.

Want a sneak peak of Flight of the Raven? Click HERE

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Back Cover: 

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new role as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill.

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: accept the Dark Lady's offer or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other freedom. But time is running out, and if she doesn't choose soon, her decision will be made for her.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

An Hour Unspent By Roseanna M. White

Review: It's always a great sign when I can't put a book down. "An Hour Unspent" was pretty much grafted to my hand this past weekend as I lost myself in the world of World War I England. This book is actually the third book of a series called "Shadows Over England." I haven't read the previous two books (I'm sure they are great though), and I had no trouble understanding or immensely enjoying this book as a stand alone. That being said, I'm going to go back and read the other two books simply because I enjoyed this one so much.

Barclay Pearce is the hero of this book...and he is pretty much impossible not to like. Barclay is an interesting character in that he is a... wait for it... a thief. So right there he piqued my interested. Barclay knows the London streets like the back of his hand and he is brilliant at blending into the shadows and moving unseen. He knows how to stay hidden and how to track those who don't want to be followed. His resources in the underground of London are extensive, and he is a force to be reckoned with.

Apart from his street smarts and status as a 'somebody' in London's poorer districts, Barclay is not a criminal at heart. Recently hired by the Admiralty for his skills, Barclay is working on the right side of the law for the first time in his life. Determined not to mess it up and to earn an honest living that is in line with his new found faith, Barclay and his adopted sisters pull on all their skills to help their mysterious benefactor "V" uncover the clock-maker's secrets. Along the way, however, Barclay finds his head being turned by the clock-maker's daughter... a woman he certainly does not want added to his collection of 'sisters'.

The clock-maker's daughter, Evelina, is made of strong stuff. A polio survivor and a suffragist, it takes a lot to rattle her, but as things begin to heat up with Barclay and her father's plans, Evelina finds herself swept into an adventure that has her steady heart racing with fear for those she loves. Can she find it in herself to trust a man who used to belong to London's underground?

As I mentioned before, "An Hour Unspent" was a very entertaining read. As with all of Roseanna White's work, it was well written with engaging dialogue and really great characters. Speaking of the characters... apart of Barclay and Evelina there is a fantastic cast of support characters in this book that are amazing. Honestly, many of them deserve their own books. You wont have a dull moment with "An Hour Unspent", and as an added bonus there are some very interesting real-life events woven into this novel that will have you going, "Really? That actually happened?"

You can read the first few pages HERE

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing House, for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

...and for the Back Cover:

 With Danger Creeping Ever Closer,
Do Their Dreams Still Matter?

Once London's top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war, including keeping an eye on a talented engineer working as a clockmaker. But not until he rescues the man's daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly dreamed and worked for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end their engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clock repair with her father, she can't help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges deeper into war, the race is on for any technological edge, and Evelina's father's ideas have captured the attention of many--perhaps too many. As danger seems to encroach from every side, it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Jerusalem's Queen by Angela Hunt

Review: What an amazing and worth while read. I can't even begin to fathom the number of hours that went into the exhaustive research for this novel. I was blown away by the use of Hebrew, the time-accurate descriptions and word choices, and the incredible historical events that I had no idea where taking place right before Jesus' birth. This is a book that I will certainly be reading again soon because there was way too much information to properly absorb with one reading.

"Jerusalem's Queen" was a third Bible study, a third history lesson, and a third delightful fiction. Angela Hunt did a very credible job pouring history through her work while telling a very believable and riveting story of one of Jerusalem's most prominent women in a rather terrifying time.

I can not recommend this book enough. I enjoyed every page and "Jerusalem's Queen" left me entertained but also feeling like I had learnt an awful lot. This book is a "must read".

You can find a link to download an excerpt here: LINK

Back Cover: Born in the small village of Modein, a town made famous by the warrior Maccabees, Salome Alexandra knows better than to harbor grand dreams for her future. She pales in comparison to her beautiful older sister, and though she learns to read at an early age, girls are not valued for their intellectual ability. But when her father and sister are killed, John Hyrcanus, a distant relative, invites Salome and her mother to live with his family in Jerusalem, where her thirst for knowledge is noticed and indulged.

When her guardian betroths her to a pagan prince, she questions HaShem's plan. When Hyrcanus finally marries her to a boy half her age, she questions her guardian's sanity. But though Salome spends much of her life as a pawn ordered about by powerful men, she learns that a woman committed to HaShem can change the world.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing House, for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Review: It feels like yesterday that Connilyn Cossette was the 'new girl' in Biblical fiction. I remember clearly picking up her first book only because I liked the cover. About five pages into her first novel I was hooked. Now, I don't even read the back cover. If Connilyn Cossette is the author, then I'm reading it, and so far? I've loved every book she's penned.

Shelter of the Most High is probably one of the more liberal stories she has written. While her first series was tightly based on the exedous from Egypt, her latest series is about the Cities of Refuge. The Bible doesn't have a lot to say about these cities, but it does give an explanation for their purpose and their locations. Thus, it leaves a lot of room for creative story telling, which Ms Cossette has taken full advantage of.

This novel was oh-so-sweet and it brought back some beloved characters from her previous works. The story felt accurate for the times and really emphasized how captive the residence of these Cities of Refuge truly were. It was wonderful to see little Eitan back and grown into a man.

I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of historical romance. This is a lovely, sweet story. As a cautionary note, there is a vivid and violent massacre within the first pages of this book that made me cry and I wouldn't let a young adult read...but then again, I'm pretty sensitive. So, just a warning.

Thank-you to Graf Martin and to Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for a copy of this book.

Back Cover: 
The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a city of refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood, yet chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Can they uncover the betrayal in time to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

Review: Elizabeth Camden is truly in a category of her own. Her grasp on history and her ability to make the reader feel and breath her settings in uncanny. When I read one of her books, I honestly feel like I've been transported back in time. Her series on the early 1900's water development project in New York is incredible. How does she take such a small notation in history and weave such a spectacular and gripping series?

In addition to the historical aspects on her novels being wonderfully researched and written, Elizabeth Camden's ability to invest her readers in her characters in amazing. With every one of her books I've fallen in love with her dimensional, flawed, and unique characters. The romances she weaves never feel forced but yet they are gripping. The story of Eloise and Alex is no different. Eloise is a character that we were introduced to in Nick's story, and one that I had a hard time figuring out if I liked or not. She complicated. But within the first chapter of A Desperate Hope, the reader quickly figures out why Eloise is the way she is, and I couldn't help but start cheering for her. Alex is crazy. He is Eloise's opposite. He's wild. Unpredictable....which makes their story quite entertaining to read.

And did I mention the mystery? This book would have been wonderful just as a historical romance, but Elizabeth Camden had to weave a mystery component into it...which for me brought to book from a 'very good' to an 'excellent'.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone wanting a clean, well written, historical romance/mystery. I would suggest that this book be for older highschoolers/adults as there is open suggestion to adult content - nothing explicit, but still something I wouldn't give a young reader.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing House, for a copy of this book.

Back Cover: Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she believes is finally behind her. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed. 

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Back Cover: Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him. He has been allowed to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, he must make a sincere apology to each person he's hurt. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused. 

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused isn't so simple. It's gut-wrenching. 

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm, and Luke's clumsy efforts to befriend her only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge. 

Review: Due to the overwhelming flood of Amish/Quaker novels in the last decade I have become decidedly burnt out reading this particular type of fiction. It's been a couple of years since I've picked up an Amish novel, but this story sounded sweet so I hesitantly decided to give it a go, and I will admit that I enjoyed it.

The faith element of this book was real, and I found myself encouraged by the steady Biblical presence within the pages and the constant faith-focused messages woven throughout. 

I also found the story quiet sweet. I loved how Izzy truly can't stand Luke, and she made him work for her respect (Go girl!). The dynamic between the two of them is highly entertaining and really kept me turning the pages. Although I picked up this book with hesitation, I will certainly read the next installment of "The Deacon's Family" when it comes out. 

The last thing I want to mention about this book is the humor. "Mending Fences" is based on a young man's journey to seek forgiveness from all the people he has wronged during his growing up years....and some of the examples of the emotional damage he caused from his pranks really made me giggle. They are a little - if not a lot - far fetched, but it just added to the charming appeal of the novel and drove home the faith message that we truly don't understand the impact our actions can cause on other people. 

Overall, I will give this book a recommendation to read if you are in search for a wholesome, sweet, Christian novel to brighten your day and give you a faith message in addition to an entertaining read.

Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing House, for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion and review. 

Monday, 11 March 2019

Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker

Review: "Rise of the Mystics" takes off right where the first book, the "49th Mystic" left off. This is one of those series that you definitely can not read "Rise of the Mystics" without reading the "49th Mystic" first. Well, I suppose you could... but you wouldn't understand it at all. You can find the review to the "49th Mystic" on my blog as well.

I found the "49th Mystic" completely riveting and I would say the same for "Rise of the Mystics". These books take you on a wild ride and stretch your comprehension of our world. The parallels that Ted Dekker draws between our world and the scenarios he has created in this series lead to in-depth thought and contemplation. The truths revealed about our Lord are powerful and force you to pause and give your own faith some serious contemplation.

This is not a light read nor an easy one, but it is certainly worthwhile. I would recommend both books in this series.

Thank you to Graf-Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing Group for a copy of this novel

Back Cover: Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams. They are all wrong. 

Rachelle Matthews, who grew up in the small town of Eden, Utah, discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned that she is the 49th Mystic, the prophesied one, tasked with finding five ancient seals before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness.

In The 49th Mystic, Rachelle found the first three of those five seals through great peril and mind-altering adventure. But two seals remain hidden, and the fate of both worlds hangs in the balance.

As Rachelle sits deep in a dungeon, Vlad Smith is just getting started. Thomas Hunter's world is about to be turned inside out.

So begins the final volume of high stakes in one girl's quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward. 

Ready? Set?