Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard

Title: Merlin's Blade
Author: Robert Treskillard
Publisher: Blink
Pages: 432
ISBN:978-0-310-73507-6
Publication Date: April 16th, 2013

Synopsis:
Merlin's Greatest Weakness Could Become His Greatest Strength

When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow—a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur's kingdom, as well as the new Christian faith. The only person who seems immune is a young, shy, half-blind swordsmith's son named Merlin.

As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role God ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, armed only by a sword he's named Excalibur, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil ... without losing his life?
Review:
I have always been intrigued with stories of King Arthur and Merlin. I've read the tales of the round table, I've watched anything from the old cartoon movie, to blockbuster movies, to the made for TV mini-series. Seeing this new series, I knew I needed to check it out.

Robert Treskillard is able to take such a well known story and make it new and fresh.Usually, when we think of Merlin, we think of him older and being an adviser to Arthur. Here, in Merlin's Blade, Merlin is just a young man, barely out of his teenage years. Arthur is just King Uther's young toddler son. With these ages, there is so much space to work in.

Unlike previous settings, Merlin's Blade is set during the time when Rome still had some control over Briton and Christianity was starting to spread. Knights and Ladies aren't exactly present, but warriors and soldiers are. Briton sits on the precipice of moving forward into Christianity or going back to its pagan origins.

The characters that move this story along are strong. Each offer much to the story and are based on the well known characters that most of us grew up with. There are changes, which I enjoyed. Merlin is a young man, having lost most of his sight in an attack when he was a boy. He has struggles, but he faces them well. He works and fights for what he believes in and has hope. He also relies on his faith and his belief in Jesus. Merlin is a strong male lead. He is surrounded by adversity in this story. He is smart and either fights with his brains and if need be his brawn.

There were a couple of sections in the story where in the beginning I got a little confused by the characters, but as the story moved along, everything eased together, and the story flowed. I'm interested to see where this series goes!

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Robert Treskillard holds a BA in Biblical &Theological Studies from Bethel University, Minnesota. He has been crafting stories from his early youth, and is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometimes a bladesmith.








Thank you to Booksneeze and Blink, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Death by the Book

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week allows you to spotlight an up-and-coming releases you are excited about.

Waiting On:
Title: Death by the Book
Author: Julianna Deering
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?
Why I'm Waiting:
I loved the first book in this series, Rules of Murder. It was fun and offered a chance to visit England in the 1930's. It was a wonderful story full of mystery and suspense. I can't wait to dive back into this time and see what these characters have been up to!

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher (Litfuse Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Title: A Promise Kept
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 296
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8765-6
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
God was going to save her marriage, Allison was sure of it. But neither her husband nor her marriage had been saved.
What had become of His promise?

Tony Kavanagh had been Allison’s dream-come-true. They were in love within days, engaged within weeks, married and pregnant within a year. Her cup bubbled over with joy . . . but years later, that joy had been extinguished by unexpected trials.

The day Allison issued her husband an ultimatum, she thought it might save him. She never expected he would actually leave. She was certain God had promised to heal; it was clear that she'd misunderstood.

Now, living in the quiet mountain cabin she inherited from her single, self-reliant Great Aunt Emma, Allison must come to terms with her grief and figure out how to adapt to small town life. But when she finds a wedding dress and a collection of journals in Emma’s attic, a portrait of her aunt emerges that takes Allison completely by surprise: a portrait of a heartbroken woman surprisingly like herself.

As Allison reads the incredible story of Emma’s life in the 1920s and 1930s, she is forced to ask a difficult question: Does she really surrender every piece of her life to the Lord? 

Drawing from her own heart-wrenching story of redemption, A Promise Kept is Robin Lee Hatcher’s emotionally charged thanksgiving to a God who answers prayers—in His own time and His own ways.
Review:
A Promise Kept was a story I couldn't put down. This was a story I connected with. And few times, I could replace a character with myself, well with my old self. A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher offered a glimpse into the life of divorce, but not just one angle, but two. It is an uplifting and a reminder that God keeps his promises to us, sometimes not in the way we imagined, but He does.

Allison is in her forties, divorced, moving into her great-aunt Emma's old cabin in the woods. This cabin has always been a vacation spot for the family and a time to visit with the family's favorite single, self reliant aunt. Now, the cabin is Allison's. Left to her before her aunt passed away. It is now Allison's permanent home, after she gave up what was her family's home in the divorce.

As Allison settles in, she discovers in the attic, some old trunks that belonged to her aunt. As she looks through keepsakes, she stumbles upon her aunt's old journals. In doing so, Allison uncovers an old, long buried family secret. Through this secret, Allison finds a connection with her Great Aunt Emma.

The connection I felt in this story is that to Allison's great aunt Emma. Her story though based in the 1920's and 1930's resonates with today. It is a timeless tale, Allison's tale as well, unfortunately. As the story unfolds, even tough God doesn't seem like he's around starts presenting Himself, a little bit at a time and as hearts are opened to hear Him, His way becomes more visible.

Robin Lee Hatcher wrote a wonderful story. A Promise Kept is based off of her own experiences, and what a wonderful testament this book is. Divorce isn't the end, even though it isn't something you hoped for or wanted. Divorce can be just the beginning that is needed to lead you down the path that God has for you.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Robin is the author of 65+ novels and novellas. Her home is in Idaho, where she spends her time writing stories of faith, courage, and love; pondering the things of God; and loving her family and friends.

Find out more about Robin Lee at http://robinleehatcher.com.




Giveaway:

Don't miss Robin Lee Hatcher's stunning new novel, A Promise KeptRobin is celebrating with a fun giveaway and an encouraging Facebook Author Chat Party.
promisekept-400
 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6th. Winner will be announced at the "A Promise Kept" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 6th. Connect with Robin and friends for an evening of encouraging book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Robin's next book!

So grab your copy of A Promise Kept and join Robin on the evening of February 6th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 2/6!


Thank you to Litfuse and Thomas Nelson, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: With Autumn's Return by Amanda Cabot

Title: With Autumn's Return
Author: Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 406
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3461-9
Publication Date: January 21st, 2014

Synopsis:
She's planning on instant success. She didn't plan on love.

When Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne to open her medical practice, she is confident that the future is as bright as the warm Wyoming sun. Certain she'll have a line of patients eager for her services, she soon discovers the town may not welcome a new physician—especially a lady doctor. Even Jason Nordling, the handsome young attorney next door, seems to disapprove of her chosen profession.

When a web of deceit among Cheyenne's wealthiest residents threatens to catch Elizabeth and Jason in its snare, they must risk working together to save one of Elizabeth's patients—even if it means falling in love.
Review:
With Autumn's Return is the first story I have read by Amanda Cabot and after finishing this story, I look forward to reading her other titles!

The story follows Elizabeth Harding as she tries her hardest to establish herself in the town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Her two older sisters led the way to this town, and now that Elizabeth has finished her schooling, it is her turn to to join them. However, Elizabeth has a harder time than most. Even though she has a well established family in the community, it is her profession that keeps some people back. Elizabeth just graduated with her degree in medicine and is starting her career as a doctor in Cheyenne. She has heard many great things about the territory when she was back east and couldn't wait to move away from the prejudice she experienced. The truth quickly reveals its self and Elizabeth finds that Wyoming isn't as progressive as she hoped. Instead of a practice jumping off and running, she finds that she is moving at a snails pace. People just don't want to see a woman doctor. She is told on several occasions that she is nothing but a glorified midwife and that a woman's place is in the home. Instead of backing down, Elizabeth strengths her resolve and battles on.

At her first day in her new office, Elizabeth meets her new neighbor, a very young and handsome attorney, who is currently representing a man in court for murder. It is the biggest news story in the area. However, things do not go the way Jason Nordling expects in court and the day just seems to get worse when he introduces himself to Elizabeth. Jason is a strong character. Quick to stand up for what he believes is right, but he does waiver after an incident in court. He tries to not let it bother him, but the questions he faces, he knows he will have to deal with them.

When I started to the read the story, I wondered if it would be a strong push for the women's movement. I'm happy to say that, that wasn't the case with this story. Jason and Elizabeth each face the question, I know what want, but what is it that God has called me to do? Elizabeth has felt called to be a doctor, but she has always heard, she would have to make major sacrifices for it to happen. Elizabeth is certain marriage and family are not in her future. Jason believes that a woman needs to be in the home. He had a rough childhood without his mother and he knows he doesn't want his future children to have his childhood. They each have to search for the answers. In doing so, they gain a lot of wisdom and they grow.

The writing was fantastic. It was so easy to be captured into this story. There was a bit of mystery, to go with romance and it is all set in the west. It really was a wonderful mix. The characters were well developed and dealt with a lot of real life issues that are related to in this time.

Even though this was the third in a series, it was a fantastic stand-alone novel. There was no detachment or anything disjointed to make this story hard to read out of order. I look forward to going back and reading the first two books in the Westward Winds series.

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, Christmas Roses, Summer of Promise, and Waiting for Spring. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers Best. She lives in Wyoming.
Find out more at www.amandacabot.com.






Thank you to Revell Publishing Blog Tour, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (29)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week allows you an opportunity to highlight the books you got this past week. They can be the books you received for review, bought, borrowed, or won.

Review:
Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard (Booksneeze)
If the Shoe Fits by Sandra D. Bricker (MP Newsroom)
A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman (MP Newsroom)

Bought:
Guardian of the Flame by T.L Higley

What did you get this week?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: If the Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale by Sandra D. Bricker

Title: If the Shoe Fits: A Contemporary Fairy Tale 
Author: Sandra D. Bricker
Publisher: River North
Pages: 284
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0628-6
Publication Date: May 15th, 2013

Synopsis:
Julianne used to believe in fairy tales; she's been watching for Prince Charming to come charging in on his white steed ever since the day her mother read her Cinderella for the first time. But she's never come close to finding the perfect man-instead she's always tripping over her childhood best friend, Will. And who finds their Prince Charming on a 10-speed bicycle on the other side of the cul de sac? Well... Julianne does. Only she doesn't have a clue.

She and Will are attorneys now, and they've joined up in private practice in a beautiful Cincinnati office building that overlooks the Ohio River. And then one day Julianne is on her way to court, and runs right smack dab into Prince Charming. But when she looks again, all she finds is a metaphoric sign she is certain came straight from Heaven: The Prince's toolbox has fallen off the back of his truck, and a work boot along with it. What better way for God to grab the attention of a Cinderella-in-training than to show her a glass slipper...errrr, work boot?...waiting to be reunited with its owner?

So she sets out to track down the mysterious Prince Charming. He's the most gorgeous guy she's ever seen...and a caring animal rescuer, too. Surely he must be the soul mate God has prepared her for.
But, Julianne's prince is starting to look less and less charming all the time. No matter how she tries to romanticize him, he just keeps tumbling down off that dumb pedestal. And with the Bar Association dinner coming up that will honor her for her outstanding charity work over the year, Julianne wants so much for her friends and colleagues to see her with someone besides her best friend Will. To make matters worse, Prince Charming has no designs on wearing a penguin suit and attending a stuffy old dinner. With her pride pressing in on her like sticks from a cactus, Julianne sinks to the bottom of the proverbial barrel and actually offers to pay Paul to be her date.

Julianne is on a collision course with God's perfect plan for her life...if only she could open her eyes and see it before it's too late.
Review:
I'm a lover of all things fairy tale, I started young with all the wonderful Disney princesses and it has morphed into more than just cartoons. It has expanded into TV shows and now into the wonderful world of books!

When I saw If the Shoe Fits, I knew I had to read it. There is just something wonderful...magical about fairy tales. They can be set in the past, in another world, or in a contemporary setting and they work. Sandra Bricker offers a wonderful and modern version of a classic, Cinderella.

Julianne has worked hard her whole life to get where she is at today. She is opening a law firm with her best and dearest friend Will. They met when they were ten-years-old and haven't been separated since. They went through all their schooling together, high-school, college, and law school. Will went through a pretty difficult breakup, but he is doing well despite it. Julianne is determined to find her prince. She is a girl who can see signs from God in anything. As Julianne looks, Will gets to watch and listen to her play-by-play.

Throughout this story, we watch as two characters battle with themselves and each other over what is really right for them. Is what they always imagined what they really need, or is just a dream that they hope they can squeeze someone into. Julianne has always loved fairy tales and hopes her prince will sweep her off her feet one day. Even though she is a grown woman, she hopes, it's interesting to see how she reacts in certain situations in the book. There are times when she is a bit frustrating, but I get where she is coming from. Julianne is not perfect. Her flaws are displayed. She is a character I enjoyed watching as she learned and grew. Will, you just want to hug him and then slap him! Even though he doesn't live in the dream of a fairy tale, he still has a lot to learn.

Even though this book is a modern fairy tale, it is also a wonderful book on friendship and the importance of the relationship. What we say to one another and how we act can effect that relationship. Even though things are said without much though, can leave a lasting impression. It's a good reminder.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television’s hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

“I guess most people would see my career as a publicist as a sort of dream job. But giving it up turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me!” she declares. “Not only was I given the gift of getting to know my mother as an adult woman before she passed away, but I was also afforded the blessing of being able to focus completely on my dream of a writing career.”

Sandie’s real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research.

Thank you to Moody/River North, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman

Title: A Marriage Carol
Author: Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman
Publisher: Moody/ River North
Pages: 121
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0264-6
Publication Date: August 19th, 2011

Synopsis:
On Christmas Eve twenty years earlier, Marlee and Jacob were married in a snowstorm.   This Christmas Eve, they are ready to quit, divorce is imminent. Their relationship is as icy as the road they're traveling and as blocked with troubles as the piling snow. They take a shortcut to get to the lawyer's office, on a slippery, no-fault path. She thinks they need to stay on the main road. He disagrees. They fight. Story of their lives and they slam into a bank of snow , spinning, drifting, falling, out of control. Just like their lives. Reluctantly, freezing cold, hungry, scared, she trudges up the hill. Jacob is nowhere to be found. Her ears frozen, fingers and hands red, she comes to a house on the hillside, built like a Bed and Breakfast, a green wreath on the red door and the door-knocker is in the shape of a wedding ring.

The red door opens and the first thing she notices is the fire in the room, blazing hot, a warm, inviting, friendly place and the voice of an old man welcomes her in. There are three golden pots on the hearth, shining, glimmering things. The old man claims that they are used to restore marriages. She laughs-and begins a journey through her past, present, and future that will test how she views her lifelong love. There are two futures available. Which will she choose?
Review:
Jacob and Marlee Ebeneezer have been married for 20 years. Their marriage started out as they had hoped. They were happy and in love, then life started happening. They had three children, the house, and work to think about. As the years passed, the distance between them grew as well. On their twentieth wedding anniversary, which also happened to be Christmas Eve, Jacob and Marlee are on their way to the lawyers to sign their divorce paperwork. Their children don't know what they are doing, and Jacob and Marlee decide to wait till after Christmas to tell them.

On a short cut that Jacob wants to take, they wreck. Marlee can't quite grasps what happened and is frantic when she can't find her husband after the wreck. With no sign of him anywhere, Marlee starts looking for a working phone to call for help. after a walk, she stumbles on a quite house. She is greeted by an older man who helps her get settled. The phone lines are out, and the older man offers Marlee to look for Jacob. He returns with out Jacob. Marlee doesn't know what to do. The older man offers what ever he can to help Marlee. As they talk, Marlee starts to reveal the story between her and husband. It seems that this is the place Marlee needed to be at. The older man is a marriage counselor. As they talk, Marlee is willing to try the suggestions that he offers. In doing so, Marlee is able to look back on her marriage to Jacob, then sees what is happening to her family in the present. The story wouldn't be complete with out a look into the future.

A Marriage Carol offers a wonderful homage to Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but it also offers a fresh look into the trials of marriage. When it seems all is lost, it really isn't. There is always hope. If it seems like divorce is the only option, see what brought you to this moment.

Even though this is a short story, it offers a powerful message. It offers a lot to think on. If you think marriage is solely about love, love will save it all, and what is the use when the love is gone, this story offers more to think on. Many people can connect to what Marlee is going through. It is a wonderfully written story that offers an interesting twist at the end.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Authors:
Chris Fabry is an award-winning author and radio personality who hosts the daily program Chris Fabry Live! on Moody Radio. He is also heard on Love Worth Finding, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, and other radio programs. A 1982 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University and a native of West Virginia, Chris and his wife, Andrea, now live in Arizona and are the parents of nine children.

Chris’ novels, which include Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven, Not in the Heart, and his latest release, Borders of the Heart, have won two Christy Awards and an ECPA Christian Book Award, but it’s his lyrical prose and tales of redemption that keep readers returning for more.

He has also published more than 65 other books, including nonfiction and novels for children and young adults. He coauthored the Left Behind: The Kids series with Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, as well as the Red Rock Mysteries and The Wormling series with Jerry B. Jenkins. RPM is his latest series for kids and explores the exciting world of NASCAR.


Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Five Love Languages. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing readers not just where they go wrong, but also how to grow and move forward.




Thank you to Moody/ River North, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Waiting on Wednesday: Sadie's Secret

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week offers you the ability to highlight an up-and-coming release you are looking forward to!

Waiting On:
Title: Sadie's Secret
Author: Kathleen Y'Barbo
Publisher: Harvest House
Publication Date: February 1st, 2014

Synopsis:
from GoodReads
From bestselling author Kathleen Y'Barbo comes Sadie's Secret, the third book in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series. These historical novels capture the romance of the South mingled with adventure and laced with secret identities and hidden agendas.

Louisiana, 1890--Sarah Louise "Sadie" Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime.

Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage--pretend or otherwise--but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years.

Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.
Why I'm Waiting:
I really enjoyed Millie's Treasure. The mix of historical fiction and steampunk offered such a fresh and fun feel to the story! I can't wait to find out what happens to Will Tucker. He is a smart guy, but the law has to catch up with him some time!

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: Luminary by Krista McGee

Title: Luminary
Author: Krista McGee
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 311
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8874-5
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
Thalli thought escaping to the surface would mean freedom. But is she any less of an anomaly aboveground?

After escaping an underground annihilation chamber, Thalli, Berk, Rhen, and John find themselves fleeing across the former United States, aboveground for the first time. As the defectors cross the for gotten landscape, the three youths see things they had only read about on screens: horses, rain, real books—and a colony of unsanctioned survivors living the ancient way in a town called New Hope.

When the citizens of New Hope reveal the truth of what happened years ago, Thalli is left unsettled and skeptical of everything she’s ever been told. Can she trust anything from the State, including her own feelings for Berk? When she volunteers for a peace mission to New Hope’s violent neighbor, Athens, her confusion mounts as the supposedly ruthless Prince Alex turns out to be kind and charming. Although everyone in New Hope warned her not to, she can’t help but fall for him.

Meanwhile, John’s unwavering faith in the goodness of the Designer begins to make its mark on Thalli’s heart. But can Thalli really come to trust in a generous, protective Designer who rules over all things? Would that not be setting herself up for another betrayal?

The time for her to decide is now . . . because the State is closing in.
Review:
The world that Krista Mcgee has created is interesting and detailed and keeps expanding with each book. In Anomaly, we only see a small amount of this world with the State. Now, we get to see what is left of a world ravaged by a massive war. Though desolate, the people are strong. In these two communities, there is so much that is different. In New Hope, they live as a community with their elders. In Athens, they are ruled by a king and his line and fear is the driving factor of submission.

We have several questions answered in Luminary which was great! Instead of waiting till the end to have all reveled, these revelations helped move the story along. It also offered a an opportunity for Thalli to learn from and question what she already knows. As the story progresses, her emotions and her knowledge grow, and you are able to watch her morph into a stronger person, both mentally and spiritually. Thalli has many questions and she does her best to find answers.

With Thalli, we have the return of Berk, Rhen, and John. Each offers much to the story. John is a sweet older man who just wants to share his faith. He has hope and is thankful to be free from his prison. Rhen, even though is still the quieter one of the group offers more in Luminary. She is slowly coming out of her submissive state and is offering her knowledge and help on her own and taking a little more of a lead. Berk is still strong and determined to lead and protect this little group, however when he is faced with physical injury, his intelligence can't seem to help him with Thalli determination to help.

I can't wait to see how this trilogy will end. The ending of Luminary left me with even more questions and I can't wait to find out the answers!
Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Krista writes for teens, teaches teens, and more often than not, acts like a teen. She and her family have lived and ministered in Texas, Costa Rica, and Spain. Her current hometown is Tampa, FL.










Thank you to Booksneeze, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (28)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week you can spotlight the books you either received for review, bought, borrowed, or won!

Review:
 Luminary by Krista McGee (Booksneeze)
Distortion by Terri Blackstock (Litfuse Publicity)
Blog Tour: 2/24/14-3/11/14
Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
Blog Tour: 2/17/14-3/4/14


Won:
 Gunpowder Tea by Margret Brownley (GoodReads)

How was your book week?

Review: The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen (Litfuse Blog Tour & Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway)

Title: The Dancing Master
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 424
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1070-9
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.
Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch's daughter. Though he's initially wary of Julia Midwinter's reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul—and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master—a man her mother would never approve of—but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec's help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village...and to her mother's tattered heart?

Filled with mystery and romance, The Dancing Master brings to life the intriguing profession of those who taught essential social graces for ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a "good match" in Regency England.
Review:
Julie Klassan sweeps us back to regency England again with her beautiful writing style and superb attention to detail in The Dancing Master. As with the previous book that I have read, The Tutor's Daughter, Julie is able to mix Jane Austen with Charlotte Bronte.

As The Dancing Master starts off, we are presented with many questions. What is Lady Amelia Midwinter mourning and why does it seem she is keeping the town of Beaworthy hostage to her mourning by canceling the May Day festivities for the last twenty years and why is dancing forbidden? This is what Julia, Lady Amelia's daughter wants to know. She wants to know the history behind her mothers anger toward dancing, why Lady Amelia only mourns her brother and not her sister.

A little over a year later, three new residents appear in town. Alec Valcourt, along with his mother and sister have come to Beaworthy to reside with Alec's uncle and to find a new position in work. Upon arriving however, Alec learns his trade is not appreciated in the small town, as he is former dancing master in London. However, all is not as it appears with Alec and his family, as they hold secrets almost as deep as the Midwinter family.

The book started off a bit slow for me. Julia reminded me a bit of Emma, from Jane Austen, more of the book then the movie. Because of that, it was harder to read through her parts, since I wasn't a fan of the book Emma. Unlike Emma, Julia is desperate to marry so she can explore the world and get away from Beaworthy. In doing so, Julia doesn't mind putting her in a position that could ruin her reputation. Alec to me was a quiet hero, to the point where he does get beat up in a fight, but he learns from it and is able to out smart his opponent. He is also a determined man, who doesn't mind pushing against the restrictions placed on him. As the story progressed and Julia started to grow up a bit more and the secrets started to revel themselves, the story was able to hook me and kept me turning pages to find out more about what these characters were hiding.

3 1/2 out of 5

About the Author:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane---Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Learn more about Julie at: http://julieklassen.com




Giveaway:

Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master. Enter and RSVP today!

dancingmaster-400
 
  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the "All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)" Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen DVDs, fun "Jane" merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!


Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Rules of Murder

Title: Rules of Murder
Author: Julianna Deering
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 331
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1095-2
Publication Date: August 1st, 2013

Synopsis:
Introducing Drew Farthering

From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be—not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer—and trying harder to impress Madeline—Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.
Review:
What a fun and mysterious adventure this was!

If your dream is to time travel, this book is the book to do just that. Rules of Murder takes you back to the time of the 1930's. Not the 1930's of America and prohibition, this is the 1930's of England. The war is over and people are back into their routines. Gentlemen and ladies are around, but are shifting with the changing times. And the parties are hopping!

Drew Farthering is a young man in his twenties. He is now in charge of the his family's estate, since he father passed away when he was younger. He hasn't been particularly close to his mother, but he is close to the people who are on staff. Especially the butler Dennison and his son, Nick, who he was raised with. Drew is quick with quips and is fun to follow along. Life for him seems very enjoyable and promises to get better when he finds out that the niece of his stepfather and her friends are coming to visit.

A party has been planned to celebrate the new arrivals. Everyone is dressed to the nines and are cast of characters are in play. We are introduced to Madeline Parker, Mason Parker's niece. She brings with her a freshness to story, as Drew brings his humor. They are a fun pair to read between. However, the festivities of the evening come crashing down when dead body is discovered in the green house on the estate. The search and chase is on from here.

The story takes you in so many different directions. Each part that was reveled led me to a new thought to who the murderer could be, only to have that thrown away a short time later.

The writing was suburb and brought this period in time alive with dialog and the the actions of each person. Each character brought something to the story. The detail to the crimes was good, as was the police work. I enjoyed that immensely. 

I look forward to reading more about Drew Farthering in this series!
Too Read!
5 out of 5

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Outcasts

Title: Outcasts
Author: Jill Williamson
Publisher: Blink
Pages: 407
ISBN: 978-0-310-72424-7
Publication Date: January, 7th, 2014

Synopsis:
The remnant from Glenrock is now living as rebels within the Safe Lands, looking for a way to find purpose in their lives. When a young rebel is murdered and his death points to a rebel leader, it's hard to know who to trust.

Levi tries to organize a plan to free the children and fights for respect as elder over those who'd rather go their own way. Omar tries to change his image of a traitor by donning a costume and going out into the night as a vigilante hero. And Mason stumbles onto a shocking secret about the Safe Lands meds, but his investigation just might get them all liberated.
Review:
Jill Williamson just keeps picking up steam with the second installment in The Safe Lands series with Outcasts. It's a fantastic continuation to Captives and the story keeps the pages turning with the desire to learn the answers.

Mason is still working for the The Safe Lands as a medic, under Ciddah. Their relationship is still complicated, especially with Mason unsure if Ciddah is spying on him for the higher-ups. Out of the three brothers in this book, I did enjoy reading Mason's story the best. He is able to find the best balance of things, despite the struggles he is facing. Levi is now the elder of the Glenrock community and with that responsibility, the stress has escalated, especially with his desire to keep his wife Jemma safe. All he seems to care about is the Glenrock people, everyone else is just in the way or his enemy. Omar, he is still like a lost sheep, but he wants to try, but the shinning lights and the glitz of the city appeal to him still. It's hard to shake.

Following these brothers story's is a fast paced ride. Again, through Omar, we can see the destruction that drugs and premarital sex can bring to a person and how it affects those around them. Even though it is prominent in the story, it isn't glorified, but is a good warning. Levi is the rebel, ready to fight, but he has a lot to learn, even tough he is the elder. Mason, we learn a lot through him and his discoveries. Each are different, but offer so much to the story.

The world that has been created in the Safe Lands is a fantastic, futuristic, glitzy, wasteland. Even though it shines, there is death all around. Each character offers something different to the story. There is nothing flat about this series.

I can't wait for the third and final book! The cliffhanger...oh, the cliffhanger! So many questions...
Too Read!
5 out of 5