Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mesu Andrew's New Book and Information on a Giveaway!





 Description:

A captive orphan girl becomes Judah’s captivating queen.

Ishma comes to the prophet Isaiah’s home as a five-year-old orphan, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. With tenderness and care, her lively spirit is revived, and the prophet and his wife adopt Ishma, giving her a new name—Zibah, delight of the Lord. As the years pass, Zibah wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man awakens Zibah’s painful past and calls into question the very foundation of her father’s prophecies. Can she learn to rely on only Yahweh, who gives life, calms fear, and conquers nations?


Author Bio:  Mesu Andrews’ deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for her readers. She and her husband, Roy, live in a log cain snuggled into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains with their dog, Zeke. The Andrews’ have two married daughters and a small tribe of grandkids. Mesu loves movies, football, waterfalls, and travel.

Biblical fiction is her favorite genre to read and write. Her first novel, Love Amid the Ashes (Revell, 2011), tells the story of Job and won the 2012 ECPA Book of the Year for a Debut Author. Love’s Sacred Song (Revell, 2012) relates the poetic Song of Solomon in story form, and Love in a Broken Vessel (Revell, 2013) sets the story of Hosea and Gomer in biblical Israel. The Shadow of Jezebel (Revell, 2014) displays God’s sovereignty over Jezebel’s daughter, Queen Athaliah. The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2015), the first in The Treasures of the Nile series, unveils Moses’ early years through the eyes of his Egyptian mother, and Miriam (Waterbrook/Multnomah, 2016), the second book in the series, introduces Yahweh’s prophetess during the ten plagues and the Exodus as she struggles to trust this God she doesn’t understand. In January 2018, Isaiah’s Daughter: A Novel of Prophets and Kings (Waterbrook/Multnomah) reveals the little-known personal life of the prophet Isaiah and introduces readers to his captivating daughter.

 Website: www.MesuAndrews.com


I have been a fan of Mesu's novels for a number of years, so when I was able to take part in her street team, I has happy to make sure that my followers learned about her fantastic new book coming out in January. And when Mesu asked if there was anyone willing to donate prizes for a giveaway leading up to her release, I knew I had the perfect thing to offer.

Back in 2015, I was blessed enough to be able to do study abroad as part of my degree and field school. As an archaeologist, with a minor in religious studies, learning of an archaeological dig in Jordan was a dream come true. I was able to do what I loved in a country that not only was home to a vastly different religion than I was used to being around, but also one where I was able to see places mentioned in the Bible.

For most of the six and a half weeks I and the other students were there, we spent our days excavating in the ruins of a Roman fort and bathhouse, with a view of Israel in the distance, and our afternoons lounging at our hotel, looking out at the Red Sea and Egypt across the way.

It was not until that last week that we were eventually able to travel the country at large, visiting many of the historic sites. We saw Petra, the city in stone, Wadi Rum, where we were able to sleep under the stars, as well as the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, along with many others. It was on our last day of sightseeing that we were able to visit those last two, and on our way back to our hotel, we stopped at Mt. Nebo to the watch the sunset.

Now, at first when we arrived there, we did not think much of the place. There were no signs or ruins to look at, our driver just pulled over to the side of the road and we all climbed out. But that was when one of our instructors told us the significance of the mountain which I had long forgotten. This was the mountain which was believed to be the same Mt. Nebo from the Bible, where Moses went to die before the Israelites entered the promise land.



Suddenly, this was a moment were I connected with history and the Biblical narrative. At the other places where had been, the areas were heavily regulated, with fees to visit and booths from which to buy souvenirs. But Mt. Nebo had none of that; only a simple road, a couple of signs warning about the curved slopes, and about ten college students in a bus. It was peaceful and quiet, a place where I could envision Moses having his last conversation with the God who had sustained him through so much.

While there, I picked up a few stones to remember the moment by, all of which were fossilized sea shells deposited when Mt. Nebo was once underwater. When I came home, I turned one of those stones into a pendant and, once I learned about Mesu's giveaway, I added a chain. Now, you can enter to win it by going to Mesu's facebook page and commenting on yesterday's Wednesday Wisdom and Wit post.





If you would like to see more pendants I have made (sorry, no more of them are from Mt. Nebo) you can check out my etsy page, Gingered Gems, where my mother and I sell other jewelry we have made. There are also some vintage items along with bath and beauty products.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/GingeredGems
My sister designed this card. Didn't she do a great job?


Are there any places you have visited that are the Bible? If so, how did you feel being there? And if not, where is one place you would to go?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway HOP



Last month, I was going through my bookshelves, condensing and rearranging, when I realized that there were a few books that I had somehow collected two copies of. Since I take that as a sign that I had truly loved them, I decided that I didn't just want to take these extra copies to the used book store like all the others, but instead wanted to give them away. And that is where you come in...

I am taking part in the Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway HOP in order to give one lucky entrant a copy of either Arena by Karen Hancock or The Song of Unmaking by D. Barkley Briggs. That way you too can enjoy a sci-fi (or fantasy) Christmas! You can click on the covers to find their Goodreads pages.



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11776676-the-song-of-unmaking?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/142023.Arena?ac=1&from_search=true


Here are the rules: There is only one winner, chosen from the rafflecopter entries below. That winner will be emailed and asked for their address and choice of book. They have 24hrs to respond or else another winner will be chosen.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Crooked Christmas Tree- Damian Chandler

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: In this real-life Christmas fable, when a Dad decides to let his kids select the family Christmas tree, he gets an unexpected lesson about God's love.

  In this thoroughly contemporary holiday story, a father lets his children choose the family Christmas tree. To his surprise, the kids pick one that is crooked. As he tries one thing after another to make the tree look right, he rediscovers the power of God's love. He begins to understand Christmas in a new way, particularly when his family decorates their tree and crown it with a star, never even noticing the crookedness he spent hours in the garage struggling to hide. The tender and laugh-out-loud narrative of real-life relationships propels the reader through the most un-generic Christmas story. This upbeat and comedic treasure refreshes the Christmas message of love and faith.

My Thoughts: The Crooked Christmas Tree is a nice, short little book, perfect for reading as a family around the holidays when you would like something to spark discussion. The narrative is amusing and easily followed, with thoughtful musings as to what can be taken from the simple state of the crooked tree. Chandler turns the tree into a metaphor for our own broken state before God, and its transference from the tree lot to their living room as undeserved redemption.

The story may or may not be something that most families will want to read with their younger kids. While the majority of the chapters deal with the author's personal thought process regarding the tree his children picked out, there is a chapter where the tree reminded him about an encounter with a woman outside a strip club. Yet this portion of the book can easily be skipped over for younger listeners if so desired.

Reading it on my own, I found the author's voice to be amusing; full of tongue in cheek observations and woe-is-me descriptions. There were at times some turns of phrase that I did not really understand or some points of humor where did not follow, however most of these involved scenarios that I have no past experience with. My family has always put up a fake tree without any real determination to develop traditions, so I am not well acquainted with that struggle.

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

Friday, December 8, 2017

His Frontier Christmas Family- Tour and Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

His Frontier Christmas Family
(Frontier Bachelors #7)
by Regina Scott
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
December 1st 2017 by Love Inspired Historicals

A Family Made at Christmas

After taking guardianship of his late friend’s siblings and baby daughter, minister Levi Wallin hopes to atone for his troubled past on the gold fields. But it won’t be easy to convince the children’s wary elder sister to trust him. The more he learns about her, though, the more he believes Callie Murphy’s prickly manner masks a vulnerable heart…one he’s starting to wish he was worthy of.

Every man in Callie’s life chose chasing gold over responsibilities. Levi—and the large, loving Wallin family—might just be different. But she can tell he’s hiding something from her, and she refuses to risk her heart with secrets between them. Even as they grow closer, will their pasts keep them from claiming this unexpected new beginning?


Excerpt

    “A man I knew at Vital Creek was fond of saying that life is for the living,” he murmured. “What do you want to do with your life, Miss Murphy?”

    She made a face. “Not so much a matter of wanting as what must be done. Frisco and Sutter need to go to school, learn a trade. I won’t have them dying with a pan in their hands, too. And someone has to raise Mica.”

    Levi closed the distance between them, put both hands on her shoulders. Though they seemed far too narrow, there was a strength in them. “What about Callie? Do you want nothing for yourself?”

    Her gaze brushed his, and for a moment he thought she’d confess some dream of her own. Then she shrugged as if dismissing it. “You do right by my kin, preacher, and I’ll be satisfied. I can always find my own way later.”

    So brave. He might have given another woman a brotherly hug to encourage her, but something told him Callie wouldn’t take kindly to the gesture. She was all prickles and thorns, a hedge thrown up in defense of the heart within, he suspected. He wasn’t sure how to convince her he only meant the best for all of them.

Other Books in the Series


About the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn't actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and plot. After numerous short stories and articles in magazines and trade journals, she got serious about her novel writing. The Unflappable Miss Fairchild was her first novel to be published (March 1998).

Besides her novels, Regina Scott has had published three Regency novellas ("The June Bride Conspiracy" in His Blushing Bride, "Sweeter Than Candy" in A Match for Mother, and "A Place by the Fire" in Mistletoe Kittens). Two of her novels, A Dangerous Dalliance and The Twelve Days of Christmas, have been translated into German. A Dangerous Dalliance and The Incomparable Miss Compton have been translated into Italian. Starstruck and Perfection have been translated into Dutch.

Regina Scott and her husband are the parents of two sons. They reside in the Tri-Cities of southeast Washington State and are members of the Church of the Nazarene. Born in 1959 and raised in the Seattle area, Regina Scott is a graduate of the University of Washington. She comes by her writing talent naturally--both her parents are excellent writers in their vocations as teacher and electrical technician. Her mother envisioned the plot for "Sweeter Than Candy," the novella which was written as a tribute to her.

Regina Scott is a devout Christian and a decent fencer; owns a historical, fantasy, and science fiction costume collection that currently takes up over a third of her large closet; and has been known to impersonate an independent consultant specializing in risk communication.

WebsiteBlogGoodreadsFacebookPinterest

Tour Schedule
Tour Giveaway


1 winner will win an autographed print copy of His Frontier Christmas Family along with a set of rustic burnt-wood Christmas decorations the Wallin family would be pleased to own.
US only
Ends December 13th

Monday, December 4, 2017

All Things Now Living- Rondi Bauer Olson

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.

Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.

Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.

Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else.


My Thoughts: In the author's bio on the back cover of the book, it says that the novel was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest with the ACFW Conference (which is a pretty big deal). And I can see how it advanced as far as it did. The pace is spot on, leading you to continuously turn the pages in order to find out what happens next and the world building is different enough to engage lovers of the dystopian genre. However, I can also see why All Things Now Living didn't win that contest.

While the story itself is engaging, much of the world building does not quiet fit together. For instance, as stated in the blurb, the people of New Lithisle crossed their genes with those of pigs, yet there are individuals who clearly have crossed their genes with other animals as they bare physical markers of those species. The confusion comes from the fact that this is never really addressed. Did these people cross their genetics with both pigs and these other animals or just with the one? Were these other genes brought in as an alternative to pig genes for stopping the flu, or where they for cosmetic purposes, as those with pig genes, like Daniel, have no real outward differences?

There are other examples of where information fails to add up; how Daniel is as rich as he is when his only job seems to be officiating marriages and blessing babies, what Amy's role as a seventh daughter would be if she were to accept that fate, ect. And while none of this detracts overly much from the overall story, they were still questions that hounded me whenever I set the book down. I enjoyed the story, and would even read a sequel if there were one, however, I wish that those questions would have been addressed. It would have pushed the story into a four or five star rating.

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


All Things Now Living Rondi Bauer Olson

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Space Between Words- Michèle Phoenix

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.

When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn't left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they'd planned before the tragedy.

"The pages found you," Patrick whispered.

"Now you need to figure out what they're trying to say."

During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before--her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.

"I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival."

Determined to learn the Baillard family's fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn't understand.

Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica's survival?


My Thoughts: When I first started reading this book, I was not sure that I would like it. The pace was slow and somewhat wordy, and I was not a fan of Jessica's roommate, Vonda. However, one the Paris attacks took place, the slower pace felt like the only speed in which the story could possibly unfold as it allowed me to feel as though I was going through the process of recovery with her.

Antiquing is not something that I have a lot of time for, however it is an activity that I appreciate. Envisioning other peoples' lives and histories through the items they left behind can be cathartic. I could picture the shop where Jessica found her journal and the air of history that would have soothed her after everything she had been through.

Other than the prologue, this book did not contain any long passages from the journal Jessica found, nor did it jump back in time in order to tell two stories that intertwined. I appreciated this, as I feel that a story should always stick to one timeline (unless it is a timetravel novel), because one timeline is always more interesting than the other. Michèle manages to tell the story of Adeline Baillard, without it taking away from the story of Jessica.

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

Egypt's Sister- Angela Hunt

My Rating: 3 Stars

DescriptionFive decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria's royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what--but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery.

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God's will for her life.


My Thoughts: It is interesting that, though this series is titled The Silent Years, the conflict in Chava's life revolves around a promise she heard from God. I found it interesting how strongly she held on to this promise and how little she questioned its origin from God, though that was perhaps because it was one she wanted to hear.

Though the first part of the novel was slow going at first, the narrative picked up pace once Cleopatra became Queen and Chava's loyalty to her promise was tested. It was then that more of the historical elements played a larger part in both woman's lives, replacing the childhood games of their younger years. And though it took Chava longer to see that the world was a much darker place than she had known before, she soon came to see every bit of betrayal that can reside in men's, and women's, hearts.

Two things stood out as something that may many people might find off putting when reading this book, the first being that there is very little romance, and the other being that much of the narrative deals with recounting events that took place in the history of Rome and Egypt rather than those that directly involved Chava. Instead, the reader is told what happens to Cleopatra through rumors and hearsay, while Chava's life is mostly unimpacted by those events. And those events which impacted Chava's life rather than Cleopatra's at times seemed far fetched, such as a her learning to be a midwife without any experience.

I must admit that normally, the way this story is told would have bothered me. I am not often interested in reading a novel where the true main character is not the one narrating. However, Cleopatra has always been a fascinating historical figure to me, and I am not so sure many authors would do justice to the historical Queen as a main point of view character. However, even with these potential issues, I found myself engaged in the story, wondering how Chava's promise would come about and what all she would survive in order to see the promise through.

Though not for everyone, I found Egypt's Sister to be an enjoyable read.

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Every Serengeti Sunrise- Tour, Giveaway, and Review

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Every Serengeti Sunrise
(From Kenya, With Love #4)
Rula Sinara
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
December 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Elephants, Africa’s wild savannah and three best friends…

When attorney Maddie Corallis returns to Kenya to fight a humanitarian vs animal rights case, the last thing she expects is for her childhood friend, wildlife veterinarian Haki Odaba, to be the very man she’s up against. Loyal and protective, Haki would never turn his back on the elephants he’s devoted to saving, any more than Maddie could abandon the native tribes she’s come to protect. An impossible battle…but nothing compared to the fight they face when old feelings surface and the soul-deep connection they’ve always shared threatens the worst kind of betrayal...that of their dearest friend Pippa. The one Haki is expected to marry.

Denying their feelings is torture, but giving in is not an option. Not with the suffering it would cause. Besides, Maddie left Kenya once and she’ll be leaving again soon. An ocean, a case and a friend between them. Maybe love can’t always find a way…or can it?



My Thoughts

It is not everyday that a novel set in Kenya pops up in my review feed. Most American authors stick to the US of A, or else some of the more "romantic" countries of Europe. So it was a joy to find something that was a little more unique. And since I had read an anthropological study in college that dealt with Kenya and the tribal laibons, I was excited to see where the author took this story.


To begin with, Sinara did a great job of depicting Kenyan culture. She mentioned greetings and gift-giving, all without making these parts of the culture seemed forced to the story or else needlessly exotic. And she included simple details, such as the correct gifts to bring, without stating that those were the expected gifts, creating a sense of normality to the exchange between characters that I appreciated.

However, the romance itself felt like something that was forced in between the conflict of farmers killing elephants in retribution for destruction of crops. Though the narrative hints that there were feelings between the two as children, it seems to come out of nowhere that they suddenly love each other so much after only a few days together, days in which they have been on opposing sides of a legal battle.

There is also a lot of backstory to the characters that is largely glossed over, which I assume is because it was part of the other three books, which made it difficult to get a sense of just who this cast of characters are as people. Why do any of them have such a drive to protect the elephants? And why does that drive result in Haki being judgemental and sometimes callous to the local tribes people when it comes to their livelihoods?

I think that if I had read the rest of the series beforehand, that I would have enjoyed the romance in this one much more. However, reading it as a standalone left me wishing for more when it came to the characters' history and relationship.

I have provided an honest review after having received an ecopy through I am a Reader, Not a Writer.


Other Books in the Series



About the Author

National and USA Today Bestselling author Rula Sinara lives in rural Virginia with her family and crazy but endearing pets. She loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard, planting trees, raising backyard chickens and drinking more coffee than she'll ever admit to. Rula's writing has earned her a National Readers Choice Award and HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, among other honors. You can discover more about Rula at her blog A Writer’s Rush, on Twitter, on Facebook as RulaSinaraAuthor or on her website www.RulaSinara.com, where you can also sign up for her newsletter.








Tour Schedule

November 13th: Launch Colorimetry
November 21st: Wishful Endings
November 22nd: Heidi Reads... & I Am A Reader
November 23rd: underneath the covers
November 24th: Becky on Books
November 25th: Grand Finale


Tour Giveaway


Prize Pack #1: (one winner, U.S. residents only)
- A set of three, 15X15 in cotton canvas ‘From Kenya, With Love’ tote bags
- A handmade wooden ‘Believe’ star ornament
- A set of 3 plush wild animal TY Teeny Tys (great stocking stuffers!)
- An autographed copy of A Heartwarming Christmas Craft & Cookbook
- An autographed copy of After the Silence
- An autographed copy of Through the Storm
- Every Serengeti Sunrise bookmark

Prize Pack #2: (one winner, open to U.S. and International residents)
Amazon Kindle (gifted) copies of The Promise of Rain and After the Silence (Winner may substitute a different backlist book by Rula Sinara, if one of the above titles is already owned. No other substitutions apply.)

Ends November 29th

Monday, November 13, 2017

Christy-Catherine Marshall

My Rating: 5 Stars

DescriptionThe train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.

But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.

Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?


My Thoughts: The last time I read this, I was in middle school in Michigan, reading novels meant for much older readers. Now, I'm finally the target audience and am reading the 50th anniversary edition in a city mentioned on the Cutter Gap map. How times have changed!

One of the most upsetting things for me as a child reader was that there had never been a sequel to Christy. I'm even more heartbroken about that now that I have read this over and fallen in love once again with the setting and the characters who are both familiar and yet foreign. Living in the Smoky Mountains of Appalachia has given me a new appreciation for Christy's many jaunts into the forest and her desire to stay even when her family would wish her home.

Something I was unable to fully grasp in my childhood was the faith journey that Christy embarked upon. Now that I have passed the age she was in the narrative, I have found the questions she grappled with to be just as important and thought provoking as she did. What does it mean to love thy neighbor? Especially when that person is someone who you feel lives in a world of ignorance and hate. Do you have to like them still? And what is the best way to live and preach the gospel when you know your neighbors are engaged in illegal and dangerous acts?

Christy was a courageous woman, one that many of us can only hope to be like, as she dove not only into a culture alien to her, but also into deeps of faith she had never dared tread. While there are portions of this new edition that could have used updating, such as where there are two people speaking in one paragraph without much distinction between the two, there is a wealth of storytelling that stands on its own as a classic that will remain for generations to come.

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

Monday, November 6, 2017

Unraveling- Sara Ella

My Rating: 2.5 Stars

DescriptionWhat happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn't believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what's right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she's trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about--like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua's finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something--or someone--is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections--and keep herself from falling for him in the process?



My Thoughts: I am aware that most people awaited this novel with high anticipation. However, despite my moderate enjoyment of the first, I was not one of them. I suspected that the things I enjoyed about the first would be undone and, unfortunately, I was right. The complex love triangle that so intrigued me in the first book, now felt forced as I  wondered why she felt drawn to either guy. Both are at times emotionally distant and their "love" seems to come as a game of who "owns" her. While I ultimately prefer Ky over Joshua, I could not find it in me to care if they ended up together. Because while they are concerned with who her heart belongs to, the world is literally crashing down around them, and all the reader gets to see of it is a few crashing stones and some powers that no longer work.

As with the first, the same issue exists where characters refuse to share pertinent information with each other. And as with the first, this creates conflict where there never should have been one. While the fact that Joshua does this can be explained as the Void causing him to make selfish and harmful decisions, the same excuse does not hold up for anyone else, especially when they keep information from their Queen who otherwise could be working to fix the problem if she knew just what the problem was.

The true place where I felt that this novel failed its predecessor, however, was in the organization of scenes. While the previously mentioned issues are common for YA fiction, and honestly will not be a problem for many people, the scenes were something that only made the story all the more confusing. Throughout, both El and Joshua tell parts of their POV's through memories. However, while a few of these memories add to the story and are well led into, most of them are poorly inserted, leaving confusion as to whether they are current events or ones in the past. And very little, if anything, would have been lost if Ky's POV had been cut out all together.

The story is meant to be like a real life fairytale. But unlike a fairytale, there is very little whimsy to the story world or the plot. In the first, there was some, but in this... I don' know, I just could not get behind the Kiss of Infinity or the origin of the Verity and Void that is supposed to explain why love is such an all important force in this universe. Rather than feeling whimsical, it felt forced. But while I would not recommend this, there are many others that would.

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