Monday, May 30, 2016

King's Folly- Jill Williamson

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: The gods are angry.

Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, ground shakers--everything points to their unhappiness. At least that is what the king of Armania believes. His son, Prince Wilek, thinks his father's superstitions are nonsense, though he remains the ever dutiful heir apparent to the throne.

When a messenger arrives and claims that the town of Farway has been swallowed by the earth, the king sends Wilek to investigate. But what Wilek discovers is more cataclysmic than one lost city. Even as the ground shifts beneath his feet, Wilek sets out on a desperate journey to save his people and his world. But can he do it before the entire land crumbles?

My Thoughts: What can I say that will fully express how much I loved this book? Back in high school, I read Jill's Blood of Kings trilogy in one week and, if the rest of this trilogy were already published, I believe the same would have happened. I've spent the past few days after having finished King's Folly attempting to formulate my review, but all I can come up with are sighs of contentment after having finished such a great book.

King's Folly is far darker than the Blood of King's books, telling of a time in this world's history when men have fallen away from Arman and instead worship false gods in the most despicable of ways. Everything is caught up in this false worship and the heroes are stuck between what they have been raised to believe and what they know deep down is right. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is put off by some of the darker side of history as this first book shows a world completely turned away from Arman and his teachings.

If, however, you are willing to read a story reminiscent of the book of Judges and of the darker part of Israel's history, you will find this book to be beautifully written with a complex set of characters and cultures. There is light at the end as well, hope that Wilek and Trevn can rescue their people, not only from a crumbling world but from the destruction of their souls.

I can barely wait until the sequel comes out. This is such a great book and I am sure that the series will only get better. In the meantime, I will just have to reread my favorite parts.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Anchor in the Storm- Sarah Sundin

My Rating: 4 Stars

Descriptions: For plucky Lillian Avery, America's entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg's attentions only annoy--even if he "is" her brother's best friend. 

During the darkest days of the war, Arch's destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves--and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian's trust and affection? 

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won't soon forget.

My Thoughts: I absolutely love this series. Sundin has done an amazing job of creating characters who feel as though they live right down the street. Yet she sets them in situations that are far more interesting than daily life, using both their strength's and weaknesses to solve their problems.

As with the first book, this one follows two story lines: the one on land and the one at sea. However, in this book, the stories are far more intertwined with the events on board the ship having a greater connection to those on land. In this book as well, Arch plays a greater detective role than Jim did in the first.

I was not as excited about Arch and Lillian's relationship as I had been about Jim and Mary. While Arch and Lillian's fears mirrored one another, Arch fearing that he would only ever be loved for his money and Lillian fearing she would never be loved at all, I was often irritated with Arch's way of handling his fears. While Jim and Mary's relational problems made sense to me, Arch and Lillian's were not as relatable, especially since there seemed to be a lot more pushing apart than pulling together.

I still really liked the mystery aspect of the story and how it wove the lives of the two characters together, as well as Arch's willingness to look past other people's issues to the heart of what was hurting them. I'm excited to see what comes next in this series and how Sundin will mix history and mystery.

I received this book through Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Samara's Peril- Tour and Giveaway

Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Samara’s Peril, has been released! Samara’s Peril is the third book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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About the Book
When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.
Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks! Add to Goodreads

My Thoughts
I can't tell you how much I looked forward to reading this book. Jace has found his way onto the list of my favorite characters and I probably would have read this book if it were just about his daily life, with nothing else going on. But instead, we get to see Jace fall back into some of this darkest moments and how Elon saves him.

Jace's story is a powerful one about what it looks like to be completely broken and what it means to be completely forgiven. I can't wait to see where the story goes from here and can only hope it will be just as good.

There are some things I wish had been different. In a book where the Savior makes an appearance, I had hoped that he would have taken on a more prominent place in the story itself. Whenever Elon was mentioned, I kept hoping that this band of main characters would have taken on a discipleship role, yet the story takes the characters elsewhere. I also felt like there started to be a few too many characters for me to keep track of, though that did seem to enhance some of the story's epic scope.

The last quarter of the book is a rather intense battle, one that will keep you wondering if your favorites are going to make it and how much the survivors will have lost. But I guess you will have to read it to find out.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

JayeAuthor2015About the Author
Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)


Tour Schedule

Friday, May 13

Saturday, May 14

Sunday, May 15

Monday, May 16

Tuesday, May 17

Wednesday, May 18

Thursday, May 19

Friday, May 20

Saturday, May 21

Monday, May 9, 2016

Siren's Song- Mary Weber

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Nym and Draewulf prepare to face off in a battle destined to destroy more lives than it saves.

With the loss of Tulla still fresh in mind, Rasha’s fate unknown, and Lord Myles taken over by the dark ability, Nym and the few Bron soldiers rush to warn Cashlin’s queen. Only to discover it may already be too late for the monarch and her eerie kingdom. As the Luminescents are sifting through Nym’s past memories and the queen is reading into her future, Nym is given a choice of how to defeat Draewulf, but the cost may be more than she can bear. And even then there are no guarantees.

With that reality burrowing into her bones—along with the guilt of the lives she will sacrifice—Nym returns to her homeland of Faelen to raise an army of peasants through promises of freedom. But when the few friends she has left, along with the world and citizens she loves, are staring down the face of a monster and his undead army, will Nym summon every element her blood is capable of controlling . . . or surrender to a different strength—one of sacrifice?

Because in the end, death may be more merciful for them all.

My Thoughts: First, I have something to confess. I never read the second book in this trilogy and I had not cared overly much for the first book. I received this book as complete surprise for review from the Fiction Guild.

I liked this book better than the first one. The feel is not quite as dark and there seems to be less sexual innuendo, though still some. Nym has grown into a capable leader and has learned to stop self-harming, acknowledging that cutting herself doesn't fix anything. I also really liked Kel's character and snorted out-loud when Nym mentally addressed one of the other characters as Sir Doesn't Matter. The ending was one that I both liked and hated: liked because it kept me wondering, hated because it used a point of view other than Nym's... and it kept me wondering.

Overall though, I couldn't get attached to this story. I really didn't like most of the secondary characters and Eogan was about to get on my last nerve up until three fourths of the way through because he refused to talk to Nym about his problems. I also spent a lot of time wondering why characters held off on sharing information until the last minute.

I see where others enjoy the story. Nym is a strong heroine, one who doesn't think that being strong means hating everyone, and the fight scenes are very well done. But while I liked this book better than the first, I don't feel the need to go back and read the second.

I received this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Confessions of X- Suzanne M. Wolfe

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Before he became the sainted church father of Christianity, Augustine of Hippo began a love affair with a young woman whose name has been lost to history. They were together for over thirteen years, and she bore him a son. This is her story.

She met Augustine in Carthage when she was just seventeen years old. She was the daughter of a tile-layer. He was a student and the heir to a fortune. They fell in love, despite her lower station and Augustine’s dreams of greatness. Their passion was strong, but the only position in his life that was available to her was as his concubine. When Augustine’s ambition and family compelled him to disown his relationship with the her, X was thrust into a devastating reality as she was torn from her son and sent away to her native Africa.

A reflection of what it means to love and lose, this novel paints a gripping and raw portrait of ancient culture, appealing to historical fiction fans while deftly exploring one woman’s search for identity and happiness within very limited circumstances.

My Thoughts: This is by no means a quick read. Wolfe's lyrical form of writing requires the reader take their time and mull over her descriptions, mentally digesting images of life and living. The analogies she uses fill an otherwise straight forward narrative of everyday life with complexity. But though the writing is beautiful, I could not find myself fully engaged in the story.

Though "X"s life is bittersweet, having years of love and a son only for those to be taken from her, I did not find the majority of it to be captivating or even all that interesting. I could have done without a recount of her childhood or how often her and Augustine "come together". As a work of fiction, I would have preferred there have been more focus on certain events, such as her decision to become Augustine's concubine, rather than the full scope of her life.

There are redeeming qualities to this, and those who love lyrical prose and narratives of a character's life story will absolutely enjoy The Confessions of X. However, the narrative was one that struck me as simply ok rather than attention grabbing.

I received this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.