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. - 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.


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:

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.

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.