Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Keeper of Her Heart- Guest Post

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

The Keeper of her Heart
by Stacy Henrie
Inspirational Historical Romance
ebook, 271 pages
September 26th 2017 by Beyond the Page Publishing

If you like the novels of Deanne Gist and Lauraine Snelling, you’ll love USA Today bestselling author Stacy Henrie’s inspirational romance set against the backdrop of World War One!

Even at a young age, Ada Thorne knew that she would marry only for love, never money. So when she finds herself irrevocably drawn to Ned Henley, the lowly gamekeeper on a neighboring estate, she defies her parents and society by eloping with him to London to build a new life.

Without her family’s support, life in the city is far more difficult than the one of ease and privilege Ada has always known. She’ll find herself relentlessly tested in ways she never imagined—especially when Ned, answering the call of duty, enlists to serve his country in World War One.

Alone and near poverty with a child to raise, Ada’s resolve will be strained at every turn. And as she struggles to remain true to her convictions and live life on her own terms, Ada will embark on a journey of courage, faith, and love that will surpass even her own humble dreams . . .

Advanced Praise for the Book

“Stacy Henrie possesses superior storytelling skills, her historical accuracy and attention to detail are unsurpassed, and she knows how to create characters we can identify with and whom we really care for.” —Fresh Fiction


Excerpt
Desperation strangled Ada’s breath, making her light-headed. “If I am not to marry for love, then what is the purpose of such a union?”
“To maintain the life you have always known,” her father said, his voice rising again. “You will marry a man of good breeding and fortune who will see that you want for nothing.”
An image of a content and pampered lap dog came to her mind. No wonder she preferred horses and their strength and power to other creatures meant to sit silent and look lovely.
 “Do you understand what we are asking of you, Ada?” This time her father’s tone was softer and more placating.
Rising to her feet, she nodded. “I will not ride out alone anymore, and I will become the well-bred young woman you wish me to be.”
“Very good.” Charles looked relieved. “You may go on up to bed now.”
She kissed her mother, then bid them both good night. But as Ada rushed up the stairs, eager to escape to her room, she felt a heady rush of determination. She would follow through with her word about the riding and her ladylike training, but she would never settle for a marriage without love—never. No matter how rich or poor or well-bred the men who came to court her, she would marry for love or she would not marry at all.


About the Author


USA Today bestselling author Stacy Henrie is the author of western romances and the Of Love and War series, which includes Hope at Dawn, a 2015 RITA Award finalist for excellence in romance. She was born and raised in the West, where she currently resides with her family. She enjoys reading, road trips, interior decorating, chocolate, and most of all, laughing with her husband and kids.

Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive a $40 Amazon e-gift card and an e-book copy of any of Stacy's books (winner's choice)
- Open internationally
- Ends October 25th

Monday, October 16, 2017

Heart on the Line- Karen Witemeyer

My Rating: 4 Stars

DescriptionGrace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can't let the villain she believes responsible for her father's death release his wrath in Harper's Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she's ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship--dare he believe, courtship?--has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.


My Thoughts: It is not everyday that an author of romance writes a hero with more brain than brawn... and even has that brain win out against a typical ladies man without much contest. Amos is a likable character who, unlike most heroes, is not overly confident in his ability to win the girl's heart. He knows that he is not the most handsome or the strongest man in town, but what he lacks for in more masculine traits, he makes up for in heart and courage. It was sweet to see him fight for the woman he loved even when he knew he couldn't hold his own in a fight. But he was still willing to stand between her and danger, which is what matters.

Honestly, Amos out shined Grace. While he was ecstatic to find that she was more beautiful than he had dared to dream, she was disappointed that he did not live up to her imaginings. Though she soon put aside her initial impression of him in favor of one that reflected his character rather than his appearance, Amos had already shown himself to be the better character of the two.

Though the description makes no mention of it, the book also contains a second romance, that between Helen and... well, that would be a spoiler, now wouldn't it? While this story was sweet, and did play somewhat into the greater story as a whole, I honestly did not think that it needed to be included. Helen's story would have been better served as a separate short story, where the focus could have been on her and her hero rather than their having to compete with Amos and Grace.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hitler's Cross- Erwin W. Lutzer

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: When Hitler was ruling Europe, where was the church of Christ? “Deine Reich komme,” Hitler prayed publicly: “Thy Kingdom come.” But to whose kingdom was he referring? When Germany truly needed a savior, Adolf Hitler falsely assumed the role. He directed his countryman to a cross, but he bent and hammered the true cross into a powerless substitute: a swastika. And many Christians followed him there.

In Hitler's Cross, Erwin W. Lutzer helps us see how. Outlining a number of lessons from this dark chapter in world history, he teaches us about:


The dangers of confusing church and state
The role of God in human tragedy
The parameters of Satan's freedom

Hitler's Cross is the story of a nation whose church forgot its call and discovered its failure way too late. It is a cautionary tale for every church and Christian to remember who the true King is.




My Thoughts: I believe that a better title for this book would have been Hitler's Cross: How the Cross was Replaced with the Nazi Agenda, as that is what this book is truly about. Through much of the book, Lutzer discusses how Hitler was able to turn people away from the truths of Christ to those the Nazi regime instated. Other chapters detail the history of Hitler before the war as well as the fate of Christians who apposed him during.

As an anthropologist with a background in history and research, Hitler's Cross is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, Lutzer discussions of church history is well researched and honestly portrayed, going so far as to admit to the antisemitism of Martin Luther and many medieval churches. For the most part, I found these portions to be enlightening, however I wish that Luzter had not tried to lessen the stench of those events as simply a mark of their times.

When it came to events during the war, Lutzer also had some good information. Yet it was in the first few chapters, which described Hitler's childhood and interest in the occult, that I found problematic. From the first, I found many of the assertions came across as gross exaggerations, particularly since so few of them were cited. And citation was a major issue for much of the book. While all of the scripture used was cited, along with any direct quotes, very little of anything else was.

Part of the reason I appreciated the portion on church history was that Lutzer used direct quotes to back up his assertions. However, this was not the case for hardly any of the sections discussing Hitler, forcing me to doubt his arguments as to Hitler's occult practices. As well, there instances where he made statements that show a lack of true knowledge in that area.

When I first chose to read this book, I had thought it would be a true work of historical research. While there was some of this, it consisted mostly of assertions that were not defended, as well as criticisms of present American culture that at times seemed to conflict with earlier statements about the failings of the church in Nazi Germany. Ultimately, these failings forced me to lower my rating of the book, despite Lutzer's engaging writing style and knowledge of early church history.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Many Sparrows- Lori Benton

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Description: Either she and her children would emerge from that wilderness together, or none of them would…

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son...especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do—be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

My Thoughts: Reading this, it did not take long for me to realize that this was going to be one of Lori's best novels. Despite my feelings about Clare in the beginning (more on that later), the level of conflict and grief was already well established within the first pages, promising an enthralling read.


There is no end the heartache within this book. Even at the end, after the characters have learned the novel's lesson, there still remain tender wounds that only a faith in God can keep sealed. Nearly every character has a backstory of pain that only God can heal, no matter how much time has gone by. The intersection of conflicting cultures required very in depth research that is apparent in every detail and strained conversation.

The Christian moral to the story is also well instituted and applied without coming off as merely a fictionalized sermon. Instead, the theme is woven into each character's interactions with both Clare and Jeremiah in a way that is abundantly realistic.

When it comes to Clare, my one complaint for the novel was her attitude in the first portion of the book. From the moment the reader enters her POV, she is negative, refusing even to return her husbands' declaration of love or to put any thought behind her new daughter's name. Though I understood that her mind was set on finding Jacob, her behavior still made it difficult to fully sympathize with her. However, by the time she encounters the Shawnee, Clare's heart has changed for the better, and the rest of the novel (including those scenes with Jeremiah in the beginning) made up for most of my irritation with her.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through Litfuse.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Action Storybook Bible-Part of the Action Bible Family

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: The Action Storybook Bible invites families with children ages 8 and under explore God’s redemptive story together. From the sleek and amazing creatures God created at the beginning of the world to the powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel to Jesus’s gift of eternal life for you and your family—God has a beautiful and exciting plan for the world. Where do you fit into that plan? How are the truths found in God’s Word reflected in your life?

This Bible storybook features 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God’s story, packed with dozens of scenes—combining stories from God’s Word with brand-new captivating illustrations from Brazilian master-artist Sergio Cariello, illustrator of the bestselling The Action Bible. Discover your family’s place in God’s redemptive story and together put your faith into action!

Interactive features include:


Fifteen episodes loaded with over 350 brand-new illustrations from master-artist Sergio Cariello.
Short and easy reading for all ages. Take turns telling God’s redemptive story!
The Life, Faith, Action! feature wraps up each episode and helps your family recognize how God is moving through each story, discover how that relates to your daily lives, and feel inspired to put your faith into action.
Heroes Hall of Fame index, where you can look up your favorite Bible characters and discover their stories!


My Thoughts: As an Action Bible for younger children, the images in this book are fantastic (they're fantastic for older kids too, but the story is a bit more simplified). The colors and detail draw the eye and there is plenty on each page for a child to spend time looking at and many of the images can spark further conversation.

However, the actual narrative of the book is not what I had hoped for. As a storybook, I expected for it to simply be the stories, minus much of the gore and violence, that take place in the Bible. And that would have been phenomenal, giving the opportunity for younger kids to become invested in the story of plagues and Israel wondering the desert. Yet instead, the chapters group multiple stories together, sometimes leaving only one or two pages per narrative.

Doing this forced the author to give an interpretation of events (which left out a lot) rather than giving the events and then offering the parents questions to ask their kids about what they had read.  Along with this, there were numerous instances where things were stated as fact when they truly were not facts. In the story about Cain and Abel, for instance, it states that Adam and Eve only had three children, which is not possible if Adam and Eve were the first people and everyone descended from them. While the implication of this reality is not something that young children need to know about, it is also unnecessary to make a statement to children that is false, when it is unlikely that a child of such a young age would question whether or not Adam and Eve had other descendants in the first place.

For younger children around 3-5, the pictures in this book and the streamlined version of the Biblical narratives are suitable for instruction. And for older children, the images would be helpful in catching their attention and allowing them to visualize the story. However, for these ages, I feel that the narrative presented leaves a lot to be desired from something presented as a Bible (even if it is a storybook version) and would caution parents to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase this for their children.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this in ebook form through Litfuse.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WANTED A Superhero to Save the World- Tour and Giveaway



About the Book
Eddie Hertz is smart, real smart. He has to be. What other twelve-year-old patrols the streets of Nirvana alone, hoping to foil the schemes of the evil Mephisto? Since Eddie is small for his age, he trusts in his Batman-style gadgets belt and acrobatic skills as well as lots of experience, like knowing how to swing across dark alleys without being seen.

Eddie has a dream, to become like Damocles, Nirvana’s great superhero. To make that dream come true, Eddie invented a device that is supposed to give him superpowers, but using it on himself is dangerous, maybe even fatal. He doesn’t have the nerve to try it.

When Mephisto unleashes an earthquake machine on the city, Eddie gets a surprising teammate — his quirky eight-year-old sister, Samantha, who comes up with an unexpected way to help Eddie in the frantic battle to prevent the biggest earthquake of all.
Since Damocles has lost his ability to help in physical form, Eddie and Samantha are the only hope for Nirvana and the world.

Available on Amazon

About the Author
  
Bryan Davis is the author of the Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Children of the Bard, the Reapers Trilogy, Dragons of Starlight, Tales of Starlight, and the Time Echoes Trilogy, fantasy/science fiction/dystopian novels for youth and adults. His first novel, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004, and several books in that series have hit various bestseller lists, including Eye of the Oracle, which hit number one on the CBA Young Adult best-seller list in January of 2007.
Bryan was born in 1958 and grew up in the eastern U.S. From the time he taught himself how to read before school age, through his seminary years and beyond, he has demonstrated a passion for the written word, reading and writing in many disciplines and genres, including theology, fiction, devotionals, poetry, and humor.
Bryan is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.S. in Industrial Engineering). In high school, he was valedictorian of his class and won various academic awards. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and voted Most Likely to Succeed.
Bryan and his wife, Susie, work together as an author/editor team to create his imaginative tales.

Contest Giveaways

There are two contests:

The first contest’s giveaway is the winner's choice of any Bryan Davis book, plus a Wanted: A Superhero to Save the World T-Shirt and bookmark.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The second contest holds the Grand Prize - the items from the first giveaway PLUS a complete Bryan Davis book series of the winner’s choice or a $50 Amazon gift card. Now, you will need to look for all the secret numbers placed on the giveaway pages below and add them together in order to get the correct answer needed for entry into this giveaway (mine is 12).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Schedule


Wednesday, September 20th

Tour Kickoff @ The Author’s Chair

Book Spotlight @ Backing Books

Book review and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Zerina Blossom’s Books

Book Spotlight and Review @ The Spooky Bookshelf

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Scattered Scribblings

Book Review and Character Interview @ Light and Shadows


Thursday, September 21st

Book Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ Red Lettering

Spotlight and Author Interview @ The Reader Addict

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ target verified

Book Review and Character Interview @ Hidden Doorways

Book Review @ Ashley Bogner

Book Review @ The Page Dreamer


Friday, September 22nd

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Story of Fire

Book Review @ Inkwell

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Liv K. Fisher

Book Review @ writinganyone

Spotlight and YOU WRITE: About Superheroes @ Dreams and Dragons

Author Interview and YOU WRITE: About Bryan Davis @ March to a Different Drum

Book Spotlight @ Author Jaye L. Knight

Saturday, September 23rd

Author Interview @ Jessi L. Roberts, author

Book Spotlight and Character Interview @ Book Lovers Life

Book Review and Character Interview @ Verbosity Reviews

Book Spotlight, Author Interview and YOU WRITE: Superheroes @ Creature of Graphite

Character Interview @ Wanderer’s Pen

Book Spotlight and Author Interview @ Adventure Awaits



Links
Author writing blog – www.theauthorschair.com

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mercy Triumphs- Jana Kelley

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Three women. Three impossible circumstances. One merciful God. Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God's mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don't deserve it. Third in a trilogy, Mercy Triumphs opens the reader's eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for new believers, those who are persecuted for their faith, and even for the salvation of the persecutors.

My Thoughts: My favorite part about this book is how well Jana is able to describe life in an Arabic nation from the eyes of an outsider looking in. The things she described held true to my personal experience and filled me with found remembrances, along with agreement that there with things that were tough to get used to, both in traveling there and in returning.


What struck me next was the mercy Jana used to describe the situations presented and the doubts and struggles Mia underwent in wondering if her attempts to minister were falling on deaf ears. Witnessing across cultures and religious barriers is not something that is easy, no matter what country someone is in, something that Mia experiences in the end when comparing her life in Sudan to that in America. And despite the number of scriptural references, there was never a moment were I felt preached at, only encouraged that the author of this story fully understood how difficult being a witness of Christ can be and that it often doesn't feel like we are doing anything at all.


Despite the wealth of compassion in these pages that made me love the story, there were scenes and chapters that seemed to drag on with the only point in them being that sometimes we feel like we are wasting our time when we think could be doing something better with it. While the scenes were important for the characters' spiritual development, as a reader, I was sorely tempted to skip over them. The story is not a fast pace read. Since I have not read the other books in this series, I cannot say what to expect from those, but readers should not step into this one expecting harrowing tales of constant, physical persecution. Instead, it is more a story of day to day struggles and the emotions that come with them.


I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through Litfuse.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Stranger at Fellsworth- Sarah E. Ladd

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.


My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this novel, as I have read others by this author in the past and had not cared for them. However, this one was well worth the read, with a romance and heroine I could cheer for, and a conflict that gripped my attention.

Annabelle is sympathetic and likeable character who needs to escape a desperate situation, while discovering that her only way out is to leave behind everything that is familiar. While not the most unique of plot developments, I believe Ladd was able to do this far more realistically than in many similar stories. Throughout this change in life style, Annabelle struggles with the limitations of her background and mindset, having to remind herself that things she believed previously have all along been false.

The interactions with Owen were also rather sweet, creating a relationship built on respect rather than passion. While I did not care for the depiction of Annabelle's maid <spoiler> who began as kind but then became shrewish, despite Annebelle's genuine attempts at reconciliation, </spoiler> I did enjoy the rest of the characters' interactions and the fact that there were friendships that crossed social stratospheres.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through The Fiction Guild.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Noble Servant- Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: She lost everything to the scheme of an evil servant. But she might just gain what she’s always wanted…if she makes it in time.

The impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg?


My Thoughts: This was a really disappointing read following The Beautiful Pretender, which had actually been one of my favorites of Melanie's. Where as the last was fun and held intrigue, this... didn't.

What put me off the most was how selfish both Magdalen and Staffen were. While their characters did improve somewhat toward the end of the story, they spent most of the first part thinking only of themselves. Both constantly disparage the positions they have been placed in (goose girl, servant, shepherd, ect.) as though these are jobs lowly and beneath them, making it clear that they think the same of those people who normally hold those positions. And yet they are described as being kind and caring people.

Maybe this wouldn't bother me so much if they didn't constantly daydream about how their enemies would receive their comeuppance. While I understand wanting to be avenged, it is frustrating to read characters who want vengeance... but not real vengeance. They want to see the expressions of horror on their enemies' faces when they are found out, but don't want the attempted murderers imprisoned or executed. Because somehow, only wanting the "Aha" moment makes the heroes good people.

There were a few moments between the couple that were cute to read, and I guess that in the end, they did help the people they were supposed to. But those moments were far fewer than I cared for.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through the Fiction Guild.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Songkeeper- Gillian Bronte Adams

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.

Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.

Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran's fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?


My Thoughts: Though this is the second book in the series, this is the first book of Gillian's that I have read. I found the story world very well developed and was able to pick up what had been happening without much issue. Though I didn't care much for the odd way Amos spoke, I was drawn in by the well developed characters, particularly Ky who was by far my favorite. So much so, that I could have read a book just about him.

One aspect I wish could have been drawn out a little longer was the time spent with the Saari. The lion riders had a culture I would have loved to have seen explored more in depth, particularly the relationship between Dah Inali and his sister.

What held me back from fully adoring this book is as other reviewers have mentioned: the ending. The gruesome violence is something that most readers have noted (it does get pretty disturbing), though my reason is a little bit different. Though Birdie comes out at the end with a personal victory which proves her strength of will, <spoiler> the main goal of the novel fails. Utterly. </spoiler> I'm not a fan of this way of ending novel. Particularly not after having gone through so much with the characters.

Because I never read the first in the series, I have no idea how that ended or how to predict the next novel. Since I believe that the next book is the last one, I really don't think it will end as disappointingly as this, though it may be just as gruesome. Still, I think the book over all deserves a high rating. Most of the book was really good and, so long as you begin the story with some foreknowledge, you can be prepared for the way it unfolds.

I have provided an honest review of this novel after having received a copy for review.


Monday, August 21, 2017

My Brother's Keeper- Rod Gragg - Non-Fiction

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Description:
Thirty captivating profiles of Christians who risked everything to rescue their Jewish neighbors from Nazi terror during the Holocaust.

MY BROTHER'S KEEPER unfolds powerful stories of Christians from across denominations who gave everything they had to save the Jewish people from the evils of the Holocaust. This unlikely group of believers, later honored by the nation of Israel as "The Righteous Among the Nations," includes ordinary teenage girls, pastors, priests, a German army officer, a former Italian fascist, an international spy, and even a princess.

In one gripping profile after another, these extraordinary historical accounts offer stories of steadfast believers who together helped thousands of Jewish individuals and families to safety. Many of these everyday heroes perished alongside the very people they were trying to protect. There is no doubt that all of their stories showcase the best of humanity--even in the face of unthinkable evil.

My Thoughts: I was really impressed with this one. Gragg's research is extensive, looking at not only the individuals who would later be named "The Righteous Among the Nations" but also the environment in which they lived and events that directly and indirectly affected their missions. While some of the information was knowledge that I already had, there was a lot that I was either unfamiliar with or else needed a reminder.

Another highlight of this book is that, for Christian readers, Gragg does not brush off the faith of these individuals he writes about. Instead he explains why so many felt it was their Christian duty to defend their Jewish brothers. Yet he manages to do this without preaching or quoting scripture other than what the subjects used themselves, so that it can be read by those who may not otherwise appreciate his mention of Christian principles.

Throughout, my only complaint was the lack of subject headings and breaks in the text. I understand that this is a personal preference, but I like to see beforehand what the next section will be about, and the only divider Gragg uses are bolded quotes taken from the succeeding paragraphs. While this allows for a more continuous text, it makes it difficult to come back later and find the section I was looking for.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book from the publisher.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Action Storybook Bible Contest by David C Cook

DOES YOUR CHILD LOVE COMIC BOOKS? HOW ABOUT SUPER HEROES?

Now is your chance to have DC and Marvel illustrator Sergio Cariello make your child's dream come true!


Parents!

David C Cook is proud to introduce the newest book in the Action Bible collection: The Action Storybook Bible (coming October 2017). Pre-order The Action Storybook Bible from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or ChristianBook.com to reserve your copy today. Plus click the graphic below to enter to have a chance to win an illustration of your child as a super hero by Action Bible artist Sergio Cariello (who has also illustrated comics for DC and Marvel!).


The giveaway is open until September 11, 2017, 5:00pm MST. Your entry must be received by then to be eligible. Five winners will be chosen at random from eligible entrants.

{THE ACTION STORYBOOK BIBLE}

Families see the Bible in motion and put their faith into action! The Action Storybook Bible invites families with young children to explore God's redemptive story together. An entry point into the world of The Action Bible, it tells of the amazing creation story, powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel, God's miraculous gift of eternal life through Jesus, and more! God's promise for the world is displayed throughout every page. Discover your family's place in God's incredible story and together put your faith into action! Interactive features include:
  • Fifteen key episodes from God's Word-each one loaded with several stories along with over 350 brand-new illustrations throughout.
  • Short and easy readings-for children ages eight and under with rich, colorful images.
  • Life, Faith, Action! features-conclude every episode and invite families to talk about how God moves in the stories, how to see God in life today, how to put faith into action, and how to easily talk to God with a suggested prayer.
  • Hall of Fame visual index-the place to look up favorite Bible characters by discovering their icon connections and finding them in the stories.
Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Exiles- Blog Tour and Giveaway


Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth 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
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.


My Thoughts  
Every book in this series has been a "has-to-read" for me. I absolutely adore Jace and love the Roman undertones added to the setting. And the persecution of Believers challenges my own faith and forces me to question what my own response would be to these circumstances. And Exiles certainly was no different that the rest of the series.

The book did start out slow. While the first chapter was adorable, the lack of actual conflict in the first portion of the book made it easy to set down initially. Only my love for the characters and hope for the rest of the book kept me reading through multiple chapters were the characters either discussed what to do next or went on explorations of the neighboring kingdom's natural wonders. It was in this first part of the book that the side characters, Anne and Prince Daniel, stood out. Their scenes were genuinely interesting and filled with conflict, which made me love these characters all the more.

Eventually, Jace and Kyrin's portion of the story did pick up pace. And at that point, I had a difficult time putting it down in order to go to bed and ended up reading it in the carpool on the way to work. The action was fantastic, with a twist at the end that.... just blew me away. After that, I think it might be an understatement to say that I am extremely excited for the next novel in the series.

I have provided an honest review after having received an ecopy from the author.

Available now on Amazon!

goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th - 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.

3BookKindleSale

About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye 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, Twitter, and Etsy.






Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

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Monday, August 7, 2017

To Wager Her Heart- Tamera Alexander

This book comes out tomorrow! Guys, this it so exciting!

My Rating: 4 Stars



Description: 

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams - provided the truth doesn't tear them apart first.
  
Seeking justice . . . 
   
Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father's name. One man holds the key to Sy's success--General William Giles Harding of Nashville's Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks. 
   
Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville's society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he's found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison's fiancé--and has shattered her world. 
   
Struggling to restore honor . . . 
   
Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen's university in the United States. But family--and Nashville society--do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.
   
Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy's roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor? 
   
Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn't count on is having to wager her heart to do it.



My Thoughts: I love how much history Tamera manages to stick into her stories without making them read like a textbook. It is fantastic and is the main reason that I still love to read her books all these years after I first discovered her work. I have found that a sadly large number of Historical Romances today are more romance, with barely any "historical", where as Tamera balances the two to create a more filling love story.

Sy and Alexandra's relationship starts off heated to say the least, but time and forgiveness eventually brings them together. But far more interesting (at least to my history loving heart) was their interactions with the railroad and Fisk University. Though I live in Knoxville and have taken courses on Southern History, I had not heard of there being a freedmen's school in Nashville so soon after the war.

One thing that I wish had been addressed is some of the darker emotions that were held by many of the South's freedmen. All of these characters in the novel are extremely forgiving and resigned to suffer underneath the continued oppression they suffered even after emancipation. While this grace is heartwarming, it is also a little unrealistic. I would have liked for at least one character to lash out or at least to display some pent-up anger.

Still, this is a relatively minor complaint compared to all that Tamera did well. I am happy to recommend this book and eagerly await her next novel.

I have provided an honest review after having received an ARC from the author and publisher.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Wings of the Wind- Connilyn Cossette

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description: Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting and survival. When her family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving.

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, is shocked to find an unconscious, wounded woman among the Canaanite casualties. Compelled to bring her to a Hebrew healer back at their camp, he is soon confronted with a truth he can’t ignore: the only way to protect this enemy is to marry her.


Unused to being weak and vulnerable, Alanah submits to the marriage—for now. As she comes to know and respect Tobiah and his people, however, she begins to second-guess her plans of escape. But when her past has painfully unanticipated consequences, the tentative peace she’s found with Tobiah, the Hebrews, and Yahweh is shaken to the core. Can Alanah’s fierce heart and strength withstand the ensuing threats to her life and all she’s come to love?


My Thoughts: Connilyn's strong suit is being able to depict life in the Bible in ways I would have never thought of. Usually, Biblical fiction follows main or else secondary figures from the scripture, but Connilyn instead focuses on people whom the Bible doesn't mention, and in doing so,  makes the story all the more relatable. Because instead of reading about Moses or Rahab, who most people already have a set view of, she tells the stories of Kiya, Shira, and Alanah: women caught in the fringes of the Biblical narrative, trying to live lives of faith as best they can.

However, Alanah's story was one that I didn't find believable. First was that she fought in the initial battle. While this offered an opportunity for her to be forced into a relationship with Tobiah without his being an aggressor, it felt unrealistic that she would try to fight, be knocked out, and then be rescued by Tobiah when he suddenly realizes her gender. And there were other events that did not seem to fit with what would have actually happened, and in the end of the story, what was meant to show God's provision, instead felt like extreme coincidence.

While I really liked the second book in the series, this was simply alright. The romance was good and the writing was easy to read, yet the Biblical aspects did not feel as well woven as they did in the last. That is not to say that other readers will agree. Connilyn's take on the story of Jericho is unique among other Biblical fiction, offering a perspective I had yet to see. And, perhaps, even just for that, this book is worth the read.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, July 24, 2017

To the Farthest Shores- Elizabeth Camden

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

My Thoughts: Wow. It has been a long time (if ever?) since I last read a novel with a hero and heroine who are so human. Often, characters' faults come off as false, whether it was something that wasn't really a fault or else something that they did at an age where no one could hold their actions against them. Yet, throughout this novel, Ryan and Jenny are so incredibly flawed that I felt as though they were someone I could have known.

This story is not a light-hearted romance. Ryan is continuously unreliable, even within his POV, and Jenny is ceaselessly jaded. Only alternating determination on their parts will keep them in the same vicinity as each other, and only God can bring them together.

Admittedly, the "intrigue" mentioned in the description is not what I had hoped for. While the build up was full of tension, the reveal was less so. However, the characters' interactions are by far the heart of the story, offering plenty of conflict for the reader to enjoy. And while there were some mistakes, I think that most of them were due to the format which I read.

I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of this book through Netgalley.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Renegade's Redemption- Blog Tour Finale


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
The Renegade's Redemption
By Stacy Henrie

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops

you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

Ever since sharing some of Tex’s story in my last Love Inspired Historical book about his twin brother Tate, I’ve eagerly anticipated the chance for readers to get to know Tex better—through his own story this time. A legendary, charismatic outlaw, Tex was a fun and complex character to write. So, too, was his reunion with the girl he left behind eight years ago Ravena Reid.

Hearts & Scribbles - Character Descriptions 

An identical twin, Tex looks just like his brother Tate with their matching blue eyes and brown hair, but their similarities end there. Tex is charming, fun-loving, and never in one place for long. But when he realizes Ravena needs help with her farm, he offers to stay and help, if only to atone for leaving her behind years ago. In the process, he comes to face-to-face with his past, his mistakes, and his long buried faith. Before long he’ll have to make the toughest decision of his life—to stop running or not from everyone, including himself. 


"This story was such an amazing journey for me. Filled with rich characters, precious children, a wounded past, and best of all…forgiveness and a second chance at love.

THE RENEGADE’S REDEMPTION was impossible to put down. I read the entire book in one sitting, it’s that good. "

Heidi Reads... - Review

"I loved the various personalities of the orphans that Ravena cares for and how it shows her compassionate nature. She struggles with her long-held feelings for Tex and forgiveness of others and self is a big theme in the story. There is some action as Tex's outlaw background catches up with him but I appreciated that he came to terms with it of his own volition before he was forced to by circumstances. Lovely romance between a stalwart young woman and a charming rogue!"

I Am A Reader - Excerpt

“Ravena,” Tex called as she reached the door.

She blew out a sigh and turned to face him. “Yes?”

“Thank you for this. But you said one night and I won’t stay longer than that.”

Gripping the edges of the tray until they dug into her palms, she willed the words she wanted to say to reach her lips. Yes, Tex, you have to leave. I have enough concerns right now, without worrying about you and the fragileness of my heart.

Sylv.net - An Old Flame

Can past hurts be overcome and forgiven in order to have a second chance at love? In my newest Love Inspired Historical book, that’s what Tex Beckett and Ravena Reid must decide.

Tex and Ravena grew up together on neighboring farms in Idaho. They were inseparable friends, though Tex’s twin brother Tate often tagged along with them. As they grew older, Tex and Ravena realized their friendship had developed into something more. Though different in temperament—Ravena is far more serious, and Tex is fun-loving and eager for adventure—they complemented each other and shared a deep love.


"This Historical fiction is full of action, suspense, drama and romance. The reader will be unsure of the ending until the last pages. The characters are defined well and the reader feels very endeared to them. The background scenes are portrayed well. The story steadily flows smoothly until the very end. The reader’s interest is held throughout the tale."


"Vivid characters with lots of personality join forces with swoony romance, adorable children, and a heartfelt message of redemption and restoration. Stacy Henrie is skilled at knowing the right combination of each of those elements to achieve a ‘just right’ balance and a smooth story. If you’re a fan of stories set in the late 1800s West then you need to definitely make time to read Stacy Henrie’s books as well!'"


"Stacy Henrie has done it again! Her novel Renegade’s Redemption is simply splendid!! This western romance is filled with plenty of adventure and romance that readers will not want to miss. In addition there are themes of inspiration, forgiveness, and redemption that will tug at the heartstrings of readers. . . . This sweet historical romance novel is a fantastic sequel to The Outlaw’s Secret that readers will adore."


"I enjoyed the gentle chemistry between these two and the way they each worked through trust issues. I love the descriptions of their every day lives and the way the past and present fit together. There are many things to be resolved and through journeys of self-discovery and responsibility, a satisfying conclusion resulted."

Mel's Shelves - Review

" I devoured it quickly and love the way it all came together! I love Stacy Henrie's writing style and she is quickly becoming a favorite author! If you enjoy clean historical romance, you will want to read both of these books!"


"Tex and Ravena were great characters. The book flowed gently and easily, weaving in daily life events with the rekindling of friendship and love. The children in this book were a fantastic addition and really gave the story a feeling of family and love."

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

For one moment, Tex knew the familiar thrill of a clean escape. Then the sheriff shot at him again. This time the bullet found purchase. It struck Tex in his right side, and his body jerked hard to the left in reflexive response. He clung to the horse with trembling arms to keep from falling as searing fire registered through his shock.

Paulette's Papers - Five Fun Facts about The Renegade’s Redemption

1. The final scenes of this book take place on Independence Day. And while I knew the release date for the book was in July 2017, I didn’t pay much attention to which day. So it was serendipitous and lots of fun when I realized it was releasing on Independence Day.


"The road for this unlikely pair seemed impossible, and I loved how everything was resolved. . . . I enjoyed The Renegade’s Redemption very much and look forward to much more from Stacy Henrie."


"The Renegade's Redemption is a sweet historical romance with strong themes of forgiveness and trusting in God. The story begins and pretty much ends with a bang, and the pages in between are sure to keep readers anxiously turning them to find out what happens with Tex, Ravena, and the orphans."

Cafinated Reads - Review

"This is a truly wonderful story of seeking one’s faith, relying on God, forgiveness and redemption. Ms. Hernie will steal you away with this book and leave you wanting more instantly! This 5 star book is the second in a series, and while I wasn’t confused and it could be easily read as a stand alone, I do plan to go back and read book 1 and see where it all began with Tex. Hats off to this talented author who is now on my favorites list!!"

Brooke Blogs - Review

"I really enjoyed this sweet story. I quickly found myself attached to the characters and immersed in the setting. I loved this story so much. The setting and time period was just perfect. The Renegade’s Redemption is well-written and a quick read. If you are looking for a sweet, clean romance, give this one a try. You won’t regret it."

And don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...


The Renegade's Redemption
by Stacy Henrie
Inspirational Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
July 1st 2017 by Love Inspired Historical

Refuge for the Outlaw

When Tex Beckett arrives at Ravena Reid's farm, he's eight years too late for the elopement they'd once planned—and it's far too early to win her forgiveness. He's seriously wounded, though, and she can't turn him away, though she knows better than to trust him. Yes, it's wonderful having help with the farm, and with the orphans she fosters, but if she opens her heart, she'll get hurt again when he leaves. And Tex always leaves.

As a notorious bank robber, Tex is used to danger. Yet reuniting with the only woman he's ever loved is the riskiest thing he's ever done. All he wants is to stay with Ravena and the children. But can he build a new start before his past catches up with him?


Other Books in the Series

The Outlaw's Secret
by Stacy Henrie
Christian Historical RomancePaperback & ebook, 288 pages
February 7th 2017 by Love Inspired Historical

Lawman in Disguise 

Getting taken hostage by a gang of train robbers wasn't in dime novelist Essie Vanderfair's plans, but interviewing these men could make her career soar. Especially since the gang includes legendary outlaw Tex Beckett, better known as the Texas Titan. Tex is famed for his protection of women and children, so she'll be fine…right? 

Keeping the gang in line was hard enough before a stubborn, beautiful writer interfered. Now Tex is scrambling to keep Essie safe, to gather evidence against the gang and most of all to hide his dangerous secrets. First, that he's a detective working undercover. And second, that he's not the Texas Titan at all, but Tex's twin brother, Tate Beckett.


About the Author


USA Today bestselling author Stacy Henrie is the author of western romances and the Of Love and War series, which includes Hope at Dawn, a 2015 RITA Award finalist for excellence in romance. She was born and raised in the West, where she currently resides with her family. She enjoys reading, road trips, interior decorating, chocolate, and most of all, laughing with her husband and kids.

WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest

Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive  copies of The Express Rider's Lady and The Outlaw's Secret, and a $10 Amazon e-gift card (US only)
- 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon e-gift card (open internationally)
- Ends July 22nd