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!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]

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 ValcrĂ©, 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 fiancĂ©--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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reintegration Cover Reveal

One of my Goodread's friends, Ashley Bogner has a new book coming out, and today she is revealing the cover!






A perfect citizen. A captured rebel. One decision could destroy them both...


As a Regulator, seventeen-year-old Katherine Holliday’s duty is to protect the people of the Federation from a group of violent rebels who have exiled themselves to the mysterious wilderness. When one of these rebels is captured within the Federation, the government leaders propose an alternative to execution, a procedure they call Reintegration. The procedure involves erasing the rebel’s memory and attempting to make him a member of society. The rebel, a young man named Matthew, is not the violent criminal Katherine expects, and she can’t help but befriend him. A few weeks after Matthew’s Reintegration, Katherine realizes the procedure failed and she is now presented with a choice no one else can help her make. Can she warn her superiors that Reintegration failed, which could mean death for Matthew? Or will she defy everything she knows to help him escape—and risk her own execution?
  

Bio: When Ashley Bogner was in third grade, she decided she would be a published author when she grew up. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and has lived in seven different states. She completed a year of Bible college and in the fall will begin pursuing a degree in Communication Studies. After college, her plan is to work in the Christian publishing industry. When not writing, she can be found baking, posting book reviews on her blog, and watching her favorite movies over and over to the point of memorization.


Release Date: August 18th, 2017 


Ashley's Blog: www.ashleybogner.com



Monday, July 17, 2017

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow- Mary Weber

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.


My Thoughts: The Evapo Ration of Sofi Snow (as the title looks like on the cover) was a fairly enjoyable read. The first portion of the book was particularly engaging, drawing me into the world of the games with all of its flare and color. Though it reminded me of a few other dystopians I have read, it did so in a good way, and I was excited to see the world expanded.

Yet the world building seemed to lose its color once the game was left behind as fewer things were described, much of which were important to the plot. For instance, a set of photos delivered to Miguel were not described in any way until the end of of the story, and even then the description was so vague that I was unsure what about them gave the impression about Miguel's past that they did. Though Miguel was just as much of a narrator as Sofi, the photos, as well as certain other aspects of the plot which he was fully aware of, were conveniently left out or glossed over until it was important for Sofi to know the information as well.

There were other issues: side-characters with motivations I couldn't fully believe, an understanding of what really happened at the games that I'm still a little murky on, and quiet a bit of sexual innuendo that I could have done with less of. Still, there were some good parts that made it worth finishing. Other than the games, there was the relationship between Sofi and her brother that drove the story along, as well as a sense of tension and energy that kept the pages turning so that whenever I was able to ignore the questions I had about the plot, I could simply sit back and enjoy the story unfolding. Though I would not recommend this a favorite, I might suggest it as something to pass the time.

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Coiled- H. L. Burke

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: A healing touch. A hideous face. A looming curse.

As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.

Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold.

But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.

A YA mythology/romance that retells the myth of Eros and Psyche with adventure, magic, and true love.


My Thoughts: The myth of Eros and Psyche is one of the greatest love stories of Greek mythology, as well as a personal favorite, so it was without hesitation that I picked up this novel by Burke, particularly since I knew that there would be hints of Christian faith throughout. The romance of this novel fully lived up to my hopes regarding this retelling, such that I finished it in two days.

The first half of this novel was amazing, and fully satisfying on its own had the story concluded there. The way Burke handled the concept of two people falling in love without ever seeing each other's faces and, once they did, seeing that one of them was far from outwardly beautiful, was touching and honest. Because the truth is that Calen is not attracted to Laidra, but he his captivated by her heart which has looked past his own deficiencies and challenges him to find something worth living for.

The second half of the novel was not as great in my mind. There were numerous confrontations in which the characters debated their reasoning and tried to justify their actions, much of which seemed slightly ridiculous to me. I think people are far less eloquent when put on the spot as well as far less willing to see reason. That Calen and Laidra were able to make peace with so many people who had previously wanted them dead was also something that felt off, though what I would have preferred to happen probably would have made this a much darker story.

As to this being a YA novel, both parents and readers should know that discussion of physical attraction is part of this story, as well as the knowledge of marital acts taking place (though these are only mentioned with one fade-to-black at the end). It is up to each family what they believe to be acceptable content for teen and tween readers, but I personally believe that Burke handle this subject in a manor that reflects a healthy relationship. I am happy to have read it and to recommend it.

I have proved an honest review after having received a free ecopy from the author.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Remarkable Faith- Shauna Letellier

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Description: This collection of inspirational vignettes, based on eight of the Bible's unlikely examples of faith, will give readers a fresh intimacy with Jesus.

REMARKABLE FAITH
tells the stories of people whose faith was of such quality that Jesus himself marveled at it-people who were broken, needy, and dependent. These eight inspiring vignettes weave history, theology, and fictional detail into their biblical accounts to bring relief and a new perspective to those whose faith feels unremarkable. Written to encourage and relieve discouraged Christians who wonder if their faith is a disappointment to God, this book will demonstrate that remarkable faith-the kind Jesus marveled about-isn't about achieving or performing. Readers will discover they can exchange their performance-based evaluation of their faith with a fresh, life-giving intimacy with the Jesus who delights in transforming inadequacies into irrepressible affection.


My Thoughts: One thing I have always believed is that fiction can be a great way to bring Biblical truths closer to home for readers. It places people in the shoes of others and makes the message more personal. Remarkable Faith is a great meld of both fiction and non, with each chapter starting with a passage from the Bible, followed by a fictionalized telling of the account, and ending with a few pages of food for thought as well as a prayer.

Though the chapters can be fairly long, they are easy and enjoyabble to get through, making the book accessible to people of various reading levels. Though I read a lot, I appreciated that I didn't have to reread passages in order to fully grasp what the author was saying.

The one draw back is that the fictionalized sections are a more 'telling' form of writing than 'showing', which takes away some of the emotional connection. For those who don't usually read fiction, that may be an upside.

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

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bread of Angels- Tessa Afshar

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant's daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father's secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances--along with her father's precious dye--help her become one of the city's preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can't outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.


My Thoughts: When I saw that Tessa had a new book coming out, I was extremely excited. Her book, Land of Silence, was probably my favorite of last year, and with this telling the story of Lydia, I couldn't wait to start it.

Unfortunately, it didn't live up to her last book. The catalyst for Lydia's move to Phillipi is rather similar to what happened to Elianna, what with both their fathers being injured by horses which led these women to picking up their fathers' trades. But for Lydia, rebuilding the business takes years, most of which is spent listening to others tell about their back stories, summarizing various characters past hurts in a few pages.

Now, I might have liked the novel better had I not read Land of Silence first. After reading that book and finding it nearly perfect in every way, I couldn't help but compare this one to the other and wish that it were just as unique and impactful. However, there are those who will probably like this better than her last, since the previous was particularly heart-jerking where as this one is more cozy, with Lydia finding numerous friends to bolster her courage along the way.

I still intend to read everything Tessa writes in the future, and I'll keep this on the shelf alongside her others. But I probably will not read it as many times as I have the rest.

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






Monday, June 19, 2017

52 Amazing Things That Became True of You the Moment You Trusted Christ- Stephen Kuhn

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: The Bible uses many different words to describe what happens to people when they trust Christ. The most common phrase is "in Christ." But what exactly does that mean? This compact book unpacks 52 key verses from Scripture that reveal God's answer to the question of a Christian's true identity. Here is a unique, one-of-kind collection with in-depth commentary and life application insight to help readers discover the full depth of what God has already changed in believers. Changes that are already done.

My Thoughts: The nice thing about this book in the chapter lengths. Most are two-two and a half pages, making each one manageable and easy to get through. This makes it a nice gift for those who don't normally read non-fiction.

Personally, I did not find anything earth shattering in this book. The 52 Amazing Things are facts I have been aware of all through my life, having grown up in church. This might be perfect for the newly saved, or even teens who may need a reminder of what Christ has done for them, but it was only okay for me. But there were also a couple chapters which I was not 100% sure that I agreed with his conclusions.

Some chapters were really great. Kuhn used personal examples and analogies in those which I thought were more powerful than the rest of the book because they were his own lived experience with the truth of Christ. If all 52 chapters could have captured that, I think the book would have been a lot more impactful.

I have provided an honest review after receiving an copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race- Mike H. Mizrahi

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description: Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle--in bloomers!

It's 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she's drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.

Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.


Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride "the wheel?" Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the "new women" emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter? Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.


My Thoughts: What drew me to this novel was the title. Something about the idea of a bicycle race caught my imagination and, since I also live only two hours away from Chattanooga, I thought this would be an enlightening read. It did turn out to be enjoyable, thought it took a while to get there.

The writing in this book is not the best. Information was repeated far more often than necessary and certain comments by the characters would later be contradicted by either the characters themselves or other circumstances. There were also quite a few scenes that could have been easily combined without any lose of pertinent information. This was what made if difficult for me to initially immerse myself in the story.

What changed my perception of the story was the amount of research that had clearly gone into it. There are quotes from actual papers during that time period as well as a wide cast of characters who all added to the historic feel. While some of the characters tended to melodramatic, it still reflected the views of individuals in the past.

I can't say that the book was great, but sometimes a story can be fun despite that.

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


The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race Mike Mizrahi
 
 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Coiled Blog Tour and Giveaway



Welcome to the Coiled blog tour: a collection of posts celebrating the release of the new YA Mythological Romance from Uncommon Universes Press and author, H. L. Burke. Via the links below you will find interviews, informational and entertaining posts about the story behind the story, and of course, sneks.
Seven stops on this blog tour contain special Scavenger Hunt Clues, presented by #TheodoretheDragon and #PistachioSnek. Look for a photo of either or both of those little guys holding up a note. Each note is part of our secret phrase. When you have all seven pieces of our secret phrase click here and tell us. All correct entries will be put into a random drawing for a signed paperback of Coiled. The winner will be drawn at our Facebook party on June 23rd.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1760193520938571


I am so excited to host this author on my blog today. I love Greek myth and can't wait to see what comes of this novel.



In the vein of Eros and Psyche, two cursed souls find each other on a forsaken isle and together must shed the darkness inflicted upon them–or else live as monsters forever.

About the Book 

A healing touch. A hideous face. A looming curse.

As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.

Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold.

But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.



The Gods of Coiled
H. L. Burke


“Do you not pray to the Olevan gods?” A voice as smooth as spiced wine made Laidra jump.
She whirled around to face a tall woman in a gray cloak and veil. Laidra dropped her chin towards her chest, hoping her hood hid her face. “I do not prefer them.” 

The woman tilted her head. “And why not?”

Laidra swallowed. No one had ever asked her opinion on anything of such weight before. She closed her eyes long enough to gather her thoughts. “In the stories, the gods behave much like humans. Jovan seduces maidens, betraying his wife, Mira. In turn, she is spiteful and cruel. The goddess of love is vain; the goddess of the hunt, cold; the god of war, arrogant. Even Ethna, our patron goddess, has been known to incite war over mild insults to her beauty.” She sighed. “I have experienced enough pettiness at the hands of people; I don’t need it from the gods.” 

“Interesting. Do you believe the gods exist?”

She hesitated. “I don’t know.”

“Well, they do, but perhaps ‘gods’ is not the best name for them. So you choose to believe in other gods?” 

“I believe that something put a desire for good in my heart in spite of people trying to train it out of me.” She bit her bottom lip. “If that something is out there, I would worship it.” 


One of my favorite books growing up was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. The book was beautifully illustrated, and it had a lot of stories in it, all the classic Greek myths (though most made a little more PG. Greek gods are a raunchy bunch). I absorbed those stories. I can't spell or pronounce most of the names, but I can tell you the tales backwards and forwards.

The decision to put Coiled in a world similar to ancient Greece both gave it an aesthetic unlike my other books (which are kind of all over the place anyway. I have some Steampunk tales that are very Victorian in setting, several fairy tales set in that familiar “faux-medieval” world we see so often in fantasy, and of course Cora and the Nurse Dragon is set about 1920s as far as culture/technology go … but with dragons). However, it had an unintended consequence of opening up some interesting philosophical questions.

Because Greek gods are nothing like the traditional Judeo-Christian God, who I believe to be the true God, that I know so well. They are fallible. They are occasionally foolish. They are vindictive. They get drunk, they cheat on their spouses, they throw temper tantrums … it's kind of a mess. They're less like “gods” and more like nuisances. What would it be like to live in a world where they aren't just rumored, but all too real? Where mortals interact with them? Would some of them be good, some of them bad, and some indifferent? Or would they still be petty creatures, taking sides in mortal squabbles based on who gave them the best sacrifices or built them the prettiest temples?

I don't know about you, but faced with that sort of being, I might feign deference (just to avoid being turned into a spider or something), but I wouldn't feel much like worship. I'd be searching for more.

Laidra, my heroine, also looks for more. Having been treated with cruelty her whole life, she feels called towards kindness and healing. She'll need all her strength, for her journey will not only take her through hardship but into direct confrontation with the gods.

If you'd like to find out more about the gods of Laidra's world, definitely pick up a copy of the book, but I also recommend reading up on your Greek mythology. I think you'll enjoy the parallels and references I sneaked into the story. 



Author Bio  
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

Follow her personal blog at www.hlburkeblog.com.


Connect with the author:
on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter 

on Twitter: www.twitter.com/typativemamacat 
on Instagram: www.instagram.com/burkesdragons 
at her website www.hlburkeauthor.com





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