Monday, November 26, 2018

Shelter of the Most High- Connilyn Cossette

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

My Thoughts: I am always surprised by the unique stories that Connilyn comes up with. Unlike most Biblical Fiction, her books step away from the characters we are all familiar with and instead focus on the people living in the background of history. Here, she writes of the people living in the cities of refuge, an aspect of the Bible that is rarely touched on even outside of fiction.

Sofea and Eitan were both lovable characters with dark childhoods. And though neither want to be in Kedesh, it is a place that Yahweh has intended to be their refugee, whether they see it that way or not. However, jumbled with my love for these characters was also my question as to why Sofea (who came from a completely different culture) did not seem to suffer culture shock except for where it aided the message that Yahweh is the only God? Especially when this new culture she is experiencing will require her to change her diet and her mode of dress, which are admittedly areas where I would have struggled.

Something pleasant that I did notice in this story was the wealth of representation for disabilities (whether they are accurate depictions, I do not have the experience to guess). I was thankful that Connilyn took the time to write these characters and look forward to seeing who she writes about in the next story, as well as going back to read the first book in this trilogy which I somehow skipped.

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

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Murder at the Flamingo- Rachel McMillan

My Rating: 2 Stars

Description: Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times -- including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square. When he meets his cousin's “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo night club.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build.

My Thoughts: For a murder mystery, a very large portion of this book has little to do with either murder or mystery. The first few hundred pages only introduce the reader to the the main characters' backgrounds and outlooks on life. And if the story had been a romance, I would have been fine with that. I enjoyed reading about Hamish, a man who is a strong, likeable hero without having to be an alpha male.

However, as a mystery, I found it lacking. The murder itself does not happen until well after the first hundred pages. And although the characters have already begun there attempt to unravel the story's mystery long before that, the original mystery they started out with was one that I was already fairly sure of the answer to.

Unlike Rachel's previous series (about Hamish's parents), this did not include the fun of Sherlock Holmes references. Instead, that was replaced with the glitz and glam of the 1930s, a time period which is remembered for its fast-pace, a feature that translated into this novel's setting but not as much in its plot.

Personally, I felt that there were a number of characters and scenes that could have been done without or at least condensed. As it was, the story lacked a sense of urgency to the mystery despite the personal stakes for the main characters. Hopefully the next in the series will be more like the author's previous work.

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

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Monday, November 12, 2018

For Us Humans- Steve Rzasa

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Caz Fortel is a great liar. In fact, he's a professional.

It's his job to lie to people who steal works of art, and to get the goods back. But when Caz gets the big call from the FBI—a million bucks to recover a stolen statue of significant cultural value—it comes with a downside. His assigned partner has more of an interest in Jesus than Caz is comfortable with. Oh, and he’s an alien with four arms and a tremendous sense of smell.

When aliens showed up fifteen years ago, Earth cut a deal to join the Panstellar Consociation as a protectorate, allowing their new neighbors to set up a warp tunnel in orbit, in exchange for advanced tech secrets. Now Caz is caught up in the retrieval of their missing statue, and they want the mission kept quiet.

Or Earth could be in very, very big trouble.

My Thoughts: For Us Humans if a witty sci-fi that deals with questions of faith in the face of (peaceful) alien take over. Caz is an art cop who despises these alien invaders, not because they destroyed earth, but because they destroyed Christianity (or so he believes). This was a very well written discussion of what makes God and faith real to us, and whether or not we can be shaken from those beliefs by events which we thought impossible. Throughout most of the book, the questions of faith were handled in an organic way, coming up at times when discussions seemed most natural.

Later in the story, however, these discussions seemed more forced. There was one scene in particular, where I felt that the message was being driven home a little too bluntly. I do not wish to describe the scene though, lest I give too much away.

Beyond the faith elements of the novel, I really enjoyed the world building and description of normal, everyday life... just now with aliens living among us. Not all of it made as much sense as I would have liked, such as the Ghiqasu speaking English for most of the book even when only conversing with each other. Yet the humorous tone made these issues easier to overlook.

If you are looking for a humorous, slower-paced, sci-fi (with a number of movie references that you may or may not get), then I would definitely recommend this read. Though I could see areas where a few changes would have allowed me to like it better, it definitely has me interested in reading more of Steve's passed works.

I have provided an honest review after receiving an ecopy of the book from the publisher through Netgalley.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Enchanting Nicolette-Dawn Crandall


Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours.



EnchantingNicholette Title: Enchanting Nicholette  
Series: The Everstone Chronicles #5  
Author: Dawn Crandall  
Publisher: Whitaker House  
Release Date: October 9, 2018  
Genre: Historical Romance

In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe.

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | BAM! | Christian Book


The only other book by Dawn which I have read was The Cautious Maiden. That book had a lot more intrigue and conflict within its pages, though this novella does reference events from the previous one. This creates some tension for the heroine of this story as, unlike readers of Dawn's books, Nicholette is unaware of the events which occurred previously.


However, the story itself does not focus on those events, instead showing the moments in between, when Cal and Nicholette see each other. Theirs is a quick romance, one that blossoms first from attraction and then from a mutual desire to help those in precarious positions in life. Having both come from short lived, arranged marriages, they connect over shared experiences and the hope of finding the love they had previously missed out on.


The story was a little short for my taste. I would have preferred to have Cal's perspective, along with those scenes which Nicolette was not present for. However, the story was sweet, creating a nice end to the series. In the last pages, you get to see all the past characters together, celebrating the joys that have come into their lives. Which only made me more interested in going back and reading those books I missed.


I have written an honest review after having received a copy of the book through JustRead Tours.


Dawn Crandall

Dawn Crandall‘s debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, “The Hesitant Heiress,” was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader’s Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, “The Bound Heart,” received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She’s been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the four books of her Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.

 CONNECT WITH DAWN CRANDALL: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

enchanting nicholette blog giveaway

(1) Winner will win:
  • A print copy of Enchanting Nicholette
  • A library card zipper bag
  • Two pairs of Jane Austen socks
  • Two hand poured candles
  • A historically accurate soap from Austen’s time
  • A Jane Austen set of playing cards
  • A set of Jane Austen notecards
  • 6 magnets with Jane Austen quotes
(US Mailing Addresses Only)  

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 29, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm November 12, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. US addresses only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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