Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sand Creek Serenade- Jennifer Uhlarik

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: One woman with a deep desire to serve and help. One brave who will stop at nothing to save his people. Each willing to die for their beliefs and love for one another. Will their sacrifice be enough?

As a female medical doctor in 1864, Sadie Hoppner is no stranger to tragedy and loss. While she grapples with the difficulties of practicing medicine at a Colorado outpost, she learns that finding acceptance and respect proves especially difficult at Fort Lyon.

Cheyenne brave Five Kills wants peace between his people and the American Army. But a chance encounter with their female doctor ignites memories from his upbringing among the whites … along with a growing fondness for the one person who seems to understand him and his people. As two cultures collide with differing beliefs of right and wrong, of what constitutes justice and savagery, blood spills on the Great Plains. When the inevitable war reaches Fort Lyon, the young couple's fledgling love is put to the test.

My Thoughts: The Massacre at Sand Creek is one of the most upsetting massacres I can remember ever learning about. The details are horrifying and the subject dark, so I was genuinely interested in how Uhlarik would depict it. And I believe that she did the event justice in her telling without making the story graphic or needlessly upsetting.

However, I did not connect as well with the characters. Sadie, in particular, frustrated me with the way she handled most of the conversations she had with her brother and his friend. Instead of truly sticking up for herself and making her own decisions, she tended to lock herself in her room or give them the silent treatment for a while before capitulating.

And the end of the story is something that I am torn on. It makes sense with the element of supernatural dreams that is woven throughout, and gives Five Kills a miracle that would have fit naturally into his outlook on the world. Yet I didn't find it as satisfactory as the ending which I had anticipated.

Overall, this is a well told story. The writing is wonderful and the historical and religious threads woven in naturally. But there are things that I wish had been slightly different.

I have provided an honest review after receiving a copy of this book through JustRead Tours.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Like Flames in the Night- Connilyn Cossette

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description: Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander's kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.

Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.

When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam's thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he's come to love?

My Thoughts: I absolutely love Connilyn's books. Each story is more and more interesting, telling the stories of people who are not in the Bible, but lived through the events that took place in scripture. This series in particular has stood out, as Connilyn has presented many different reasons that someone might be a Blood Avenger or else be fleeing from one.

Tirzah's story is a strong one. Unlike many novels with characters who decide to spy on their enemies, Tirzah's subterfuge is made believable by her having trained to actually preform the task she has set herself to. Though it does take some time for the two main characters to meet up, the story is engaging even without the main focus being on their relationship at the beginning.

I am sad to see this series end, but excited for what comes next from Connilyn. So far, everything she has written has placed her firmly on my 'have to read' list, as well as my recommend to friends one. Whether you have read anything else by this author or not, I highly recommend this book.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Chasing the White Lion- James R. Hannibal

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Young CIA officer Talia Inger has reconciled with the man who assassinated her father, but that doesn't mean she wants him hovering over her every move and unearthing the painful past she's trying to put behind her. Still, she'll need him--and the help of his star grifter, Valkyrie--if she hopes to infiltrate the Jungle, the first ever crowdsourced crime syndicate, to rescue a group of kidnapped refugee children.

But as Talia and her elite team of thieves con their way into the heart of the Jungle, inching ever closer to syndicate boss the White Lion, she'll run right up against the ragged edge of her family's dark past. In this game of cat and mouse, it's win . . . or die. And in times like that, it's always good to have someone watching your back.

Former tactical deception officer and stealth pilot James Hannibal takes you deep undercover into the criminal underworld where everyone has an angle and no one escapes unscathed.

My Thoughts: I didn't find this installment to be quite as easy to get into as the last one. It doesn't seem like all that long ago since I read the previous book, but already I had forgotten who most of the main characters were and how they had all come together. So when this story picked up, I wasn't as invested in the character's or their dynamics as I remember being previously.

Whereas the previous book built up to some of the greater feats these characters could pull off, Chasing the White Lion opens with that, as do many other action and adventure sequels. This story seeks to discover more of Talia's past as she seeks out who ultimately was responsible for ordering her father's death.

As with the previous book, I still was not a huge fan of Talia. She comes off as rather bland, while the others around her are witty and interesting. Still, Tyler is determined to look after her in order to make up for the wrongs in his past. And Talia is still trying to work through hers.

This is still a good action story, though not as charming as the first book. I think that the discovery of the characters had been what caught my attention most before, and here they have already been introduced. But if what you liked from the first book was the action, then this one will still deliver it for you.

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

Friday, February 21, 2020

No Chance Meeting- Author post

Looking for a clean romantic read? Check Jaye Elliot's newly released book, No Chance Meeting. You can read all about it below, and don't forget to enter the giveaways!

About the Book

Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.

Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.

Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?

Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and more!
20% of all February sales will go to the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs.

About the Author
Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.

Giveaway #1
To celebrate the release of No Chance Meeting, Jaye is giving away a reader bundle that includes a signed copy of NCM, a hand-painted watercolor bookmark, a coffee mug, and a bag of Dove chocolates! Enter using the form below. U.S. entries only. Not open internationally.

Giveaway #2
For her second giveaway, Jaye is offering 3 ebook copies of No Chance Meeting. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Stops

Friday, February 14
·         Tour Intro at Jaye Elliot
·         Spotlight at Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
·         Review & Author Post at Reading Anyone
·         Review at Losing the Busyness

Saturday, February 15
·         Author Interview at Angela R. Watts
·         Review & Author Interview at Resting Life
·         Author Post & Excerpt at Lady Grace: A Quiet and Gentle Spirit

Sunday, February 16
·         Review at Perfectly Quirky in Every Way
·         Spotlight at The Music of a Story

Monday, February 17
·         Author Post at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
·         Review at Write Hard and Pray Harder
·         Author Post & Excerpt at A Day In The Life

Tuesday, February 18
·         Review at Tricia Mingerink
·         Excerpt at Waggin' Tales Inspirational Pet Stories
·         Review and Excerpt at Read Review Rejoice

Wednesday, February 19
·         Review at Green Tea With Books
·         Review & Author Post at Leah's Bookshelf
·         Book Spotlight at The Page Dreamer

Thursday, February 20
·         Review at Stories by Firefly
·         Review & Author Post at God's Peculiar Treasure Rae
·         Author Interview & Post at Read Review Rejoice

Friday, February 21
·         Review at Books, Life, and Christ
·         Author Post at Backing Books
·         Review at Poetree

Saturday, February 22
·         Tour Wrap Up at Jaye Elliot

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Welcome to Isaiah’s Legacy Blog Hop – Stop #23

1 Week ~ 24 Blogs ~ 3 Incredible Prizes! 

Learn a little about Isaiah’s Legacy and enter multiple giveaways while picking up CLUES at each stop. Compile all the clues, submit the final PHRASE at the last stop, and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 Grand Prizes! 

What are the prizes? They’re completely unique to the winners! 

Mesu will contact each winner personally to chat about what they would most like to see in Israel, and then she’ll SHOP for just the right gift while touring Israel, March 6-19! She’ll then purchase a personal and memorable gift specifically chosen for each of those three winners and ship them to each one when she returns. How fun is that?! 

How does the Scavenger Hunt & Blog Tour Work?
· Begin at Stop #1. At the end, you’ll find a CLUE and a link to the next stop. Progress to each stop
· Collect all the clues—in order—and submit the full phrase at the last blog stop in the Rafflecopter
    form. Every stop has a clue, so be sure not to skip any along the way!
· You may enter the final giveaway only once and win only one grand prize.
· The Hunt begins 2/19/20 at noon EDT. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, 02/25 at midnight Eastern.
· For best results, hunt through our list using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).

There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have a whole week! As you visit each blog, it’s our hope that you get to know Mesu’s BFF team and discover the heart behind Isaiah’s Legacy.

Thank you for coming to my stop. I've been a member of Mesu's BFFs for a number of years now and I am glad to take part in this tour. One of the things that struck me most while reading Isaiah's Legacy was how similar worshipers of foreign gods might have treated followers of Yahweh, compared to the way many people look at Christians today. Doing what God asks of us isn't always popular or easy. Often it puts us at conflict with those around us. But that doesn't mean that we can back down.

I hope you enjoy reading Isaiah's Legacy as much as I did, and that it helps give you a new perspective on a story you have likely already heard. And if you want to learn more about the scriptures that inspired this novel, you can download Mesu's free bible study.

    ~   FREE Downloadable Bible study: https://mesuandrews.com/books/isaiahs-legacy/

Then when you are done downloading the study, come back here to read about an Assyrian queen who may just have been Hebrew!

Assyria’s King Sennacherib Married to a Hebrew?

Relief Esarhaddon Louvre AO20185
Can you see her in the picture? She’s there. A short, chubby mama standing behind her strapping young son—an Assyrian king. Yep, this mama, Naqi'a-Zakutu, was important enough to etch into a relief found in the temple of Marduk. The bronze (originally gold-plated) relief commemorates the restoration of Babylon by Esarhaddon, ca. 681-669 BC, and some scholars believe his mama was Hebrew.

Take a moment to contemplate the legendary brutality of the ancient Assyrians. They invented psychological warfare through torture tactics, and no king was more vicious than King Sennacherib, the man thought to have married Naqi'a-Zakutu. Would he have married a Hebrew? A woman brought to or born in his empire as a captive?

A Hebrew Queen of Assyria?

Let’s first look at the name, Naqi'a. It’s thought to be Aramean or Hebrew, and Zakutu is the Akkadian (Assyrian) translation of it. If you’re looking for an interesting and succinct online resource about her, you can find good information HERE.

As with most historical characters, I read all the information I can find and try to pick out a golden thread woven through it that makes sense with the plot formed by Scripture. Naqia is never mentioned in the Bible, but her husband (Sennacherib), son (Esarhaddon), and grandson (Ashurbanipal) are.

As I read the bits and pieces of her life found in ancient records, an incredibly strong and shrewd woman formed in my imagination. And when I wrote the first scene in which she appears, hosting Shulle at a banquet in Nineveh (the capital of Assyria), Naqia absolutely came alive on the page! A woman who I meant to be a momentary “prop” for that scene took over and became a key player in the book.

When Characters Speak for Themselves

If you’re a writer, you may know what I mean when I say Naqia “took over.” It sounds a bit melodramatic, but sometimes—as we write a new character—the thoughts and emotions that flow through our fingers take on a mind of their own. That character truly comes alive as we write more and more about them.

That was Naqia. The more I wrote, the more I liked her. The more I liked her, the sassier and more interesting she became. And the more insight she gave us into the heart and soul of Sennacherib—Assyria’s most ruthless king.

Through Naqia’s eyes, we see Sennacherib as a human being, this man who threatened our dear Hezi in Isaiah’s Daughter. We get a glimpse of the woman who loved him, and we see Zibah struggle with this Hebrew Assyrian queen, thinking: How could anyone love the monster, Sennacherib? When her son Manasseh’s brutality comes to mind, she’s faced with the realization—she, too, adores a monster.

The Impact of Irony

You know, in the last post, Ebos asked what I wanted y’all to know about me. I supposed one important thing for you to know is that I’m not a literary expert. I just write. I don’t have a degree or formal training or know all the correct terminology. But I recognize irony when I see it.

Naqia was God’s irony forged into judgment on both Israel and Judah. I believe she was one of the exiles from the northern tribes of Israel, a beautiful captive taken into the Sennacherib’s harem who eventually ruled her Assyrian captors as queen. She was an incredible woman in the hands of a mighty God.

Truth or Fiction?

As I delve into research, I become immersed in the stories of these people—real people who lived . . . and died. I’m reminded that I’ll spend eternity with some of them, so I’d better be careful about what I write! Did Naqia know the Hebrew God? Or did she reject Him and completely embrace everything Assyrian? I don’t know . . .

I suppose we’ll know the Truth when we see Yahweh face-to-face.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

Was Naqia a beautiful captive forged into a weapon of God’s irony to rule her captors as Queen of Assyria?

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to write down your CLUE before clicking to the next stop. 

Here’s the Stop #23 Stuff!

Clue to write down: -Shulle,

Link to STOP #24:   


Bookmark STOP #1 so you can check the tour schedule and get back on track if at any point you get lost or find a broken link.
 Enjoy the hunt!