Resistance: a book review


Description:

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

My Review:

Poor Jace. I feel so badly for him. Every time he gets his feet under him, someone comes by and rips them out from under him again. His is a past that is painful and dark. First slavery, then the gladiator arena, slowly whittle away at his heart and his hope. No good has ever come to him in this world.
Born mixed-race, most see him as little more than an animal, and over a lifetime of cruel words and deeds they have steadily stripped away his self-confidence and self-esteem. Love for the unloveable comes in the form of a kindhearted older man named Rayad who gives him a chance and a home. For the first time in his life, Jace allows himself to hope. But tragedy is not far behind, and Jace fears that what they say is true. He is cursed.

Kyrin was born gifted, with an incredibly sharp mind that allows her to remember every detail of her life. But gifts can sometimes come with a curse. Taken from her home at an early age along with her twin brother Kaden, she has been raised for the sole purpose of serving the emperor. Even though he stands agains everything she believes in. When she is sent to serve a the Emperor’s side, she plays a dangerous game as she struggles to faithfully serve her appointed ruler without compromising her beliefs. One wrong move will mean her execution, and courage falters in the face of fear. Just how long will she be able to hold on?

I have read all of Jaye’s books under her old pen name of Molly Evangeline and enjoyed them, but this one completely blows away anything she has previously written!
Jaye does an incredible job, and not just with the story itself. She designed the cover and formatted it to. Holding it in my hands, there is not way to tell the difference between this self-published work and any book published via a traditional publisher.

The writing in this book is wonderful and I was sucked in from the very first page. All the characters are extremely realistic and I immediately fell in love with her tortured hero: Jace. He was by far the best character in the story and is turning into one of my favorite fiction heroes ever.
Kyrin’s plot took me a bit longer to get into, though that was mostly just because I always wanted to get back to Jace. I like her, really, she’s a great character. Jace is just better.

The plot of Resistance feels mostly like a setup for the rest of the series, as its main goal seems to be to introduce us to the characters and the story world. But don’t worry, this in no way detracts from the tale. I still adored it and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series!

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory

Romance: Pretty clean. I think I recall one kiss. When Kyrin goes to work in the palace the woman teaching her the ins and outs tells her what they expect her to do if she happens to dally with a man and gets pregnant (Abort). There is also one short spot where a female villain makes a rather pathetic seduction attempt on one of the heroes. That part just felt odd to me, though nothing happens. Mention is also made of what Ryrics do to women when they are caught, and one female character is nearly captured by them.
Language: clean
Drinking / Drugs: some wine was consumed at dinners.
Blood / Violence: There are some battles and the resulting wounds, villains wounding and threatening the heroes when captured, executions, murder, nightmares, whippings and the like. However it is not gory. The author writes it realistically, but also tastefully.
Other: Racial prejudice plays a huge role in this story. The main hero battles severe depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from his past as a Gladiator. Slavery is also touched upon.

Find the Amazon Kindle link here: Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles Book 1)
or the Paperback version here:Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles) (Volume 1)

Author Website link:Jaye L. Knight

Facebook page: Jaye L. Knight facebook

Happy Reading y’all!

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The Restorer: a book review

Description:

Soccer mom in our world. Promised deliverer in another.

Susan Mitchell thought she was an ordinary homemaker.

She was wrong.

Pulled through a portal into another world, she finds a desperate nation waiting for a promised Restorer.

While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the minds of the people, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and embraces a profound spiritual journey.

Will this adventure demand her life? Can she find a way back to her family? She has always longed to do something important for God, but can she fill this role?

My Review:

It took me a short bit to get into the Restorer. It think it was because I initially had a bit of difficulty connecting with Susan. Though I understood where she was coming from, she still aggravated me a bit through the first few chapters. Once she finally begins accepting that yes, she is in another world and not just watching some skilled actors playing out a part (Seriously, why do so many book characters always think this when they time travel/cross dimensions, even though all evidence often points to the contrary? It’s getting ridiculous.) that I really began to like her. I began to see hintings of my own struggles in faith in her. Yet at the same time, the depth of her belief was humbling.

I totally loved Kieran, our ever-cranky cynic. The poor guy just can’t seem to let himself trust. He makes an excellent contrast to Susan and Tristan, though I often wanted to smack him upside the head for his incredible stubbornness. I so want him to finally see the light.

The story world is not quite what I had expected. I was thinking more “medieval fantasy” but though this world did have elements of that, it was really more of a juxtaposition of historic and futuristic elements. There were fantasy riding animals called Lehkan, yet also unmanned vehicle transports, energy weapons opposite swords, and robes and armor alongside sweaters. You wouldn’t think it would work, but somehow it does.

The elements of faith, trust, and surrender run deeply in The Restorer. The people of Lyric have always held true to the Verses, and as long as they have, their protection remains. Now they are beginning to stumble down the slippery slope away from everything they know to be true. Unless Susan can find a way to nudge them back toward the One, Destruction looms imminent.

Only Susan also is stumbling. She cannot truly step into her full potential until she gives it all up to God, or rather The One as he is called in Lyric. Kieran’s lack of trust in both others and The One hindered him time and time again throughout what is only the beginning of his journey.

The Restorer is just the beginning to what promises to be an epic series. I’ll be diving into the next three just as soon as they arrive!

And check it out, The Restorer is currently free on Amazon Kindle right now! Here’s the freebie link: The Restorer (The Sword of Lyric Book 1)

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory

Romance: Susan is married and there are some kisses and affection between her and her husband, along with one fade-to-black bedroom scene. nothing is shown.
Language: clean
Drinking / Drugs: the villain uses extremely painful truth-serum type drugs on a character during an interrogation scene.
Blood / Violence: there is a good bit of violence in this book. Deaths by sword, torture, interrogations of an enemy’s messenger, battles, stabbings, animal attack (offscreen), murder, assassination attempts, and an assortment of other minor wounds. The author does do a good job of keeping things tasteful and not showing much blood.
Other: The enemy’s sacrificing of children is mentioned briefly. I believe we will be seeing a lot more about this in book two when the story takes a trip to the country of Hazor. There is also a group called the Rhusicans who can toy with your mind and plant dangerous, even deadly, suggestions.

FREEBIE!!!!! Amazon Kindle Link here: The Restorer (The Sword of Lyric Book 1)
or the paperback here:The Restorer (The Sword of Lyric, Book 1)

Author Website: Sharon Hinck
Facebook Page: Sharon Hinck facebook

 

Cover Reveals: WaterFall Press Fall 2016 Lineup

Waterfall Press, Amazon’s relatively new Christian Fiction imprint, has created some absolutely stunning covers in their fall lineup. I know this post is a bit late, but better late than never right?
Eakes and Dobson’s covers are by far my favorites of the lot. The styles and color quickly draw the eye, and I love the ship. I’m a huge sucker for ships on covers.
Acker’s is also quite eye catching with just a hint of creepiness. Love it. Gray, Allan, and Maytayo keep theirs pretty but simple, and Stone’s ballet dancer on glass is unique and makes me want to pick it up just to see what happened.

You can click on any of the covers below for the Amazon Kindle page if you want to see more.

  1. My Enemy, My Heart – Laurie Alice Eakes

Publication Date: Nov 15, 2016

Description:The sea is Deirdre MacKenzie’s home, and the crew of her father’s Baltimore clipper is the only family she loves. She’s happier wearing breeches and climbing the rigging of the Maid of Alexandria than donning a dress and learning to curtsy. But when the War of 1812 erupts, the ship is captured by a British privateer, leaving her father, the captain, dead. Deirdre watches her crew herded into the hold, destined for the notorious Dartmoor prison in England. Though her fate as a noncombatant is uncertain, she knows she must find a way to free her crew.
Kieran Ashford has caused his family one too many scandals. On his way to exile in America, he is waylaid by the declaration of war and a chance to turn privateer and make his own fortune. But he regrets his actions as soon as the rich prize is secured. Now his best chance at redeeming himself in the eyes of his family is to offer Deirdre the protection of his name in marriage.

But love and loyalty clash as Kieran begins to win Deirdre’s heart despite her plot to betray him. Will Kieran’s plan mend the relationship with his family, and can this fated couple find true love despite the secret lies between them?

  2. Beneath a Golden Veil – Melanie Dobson

Publication Date: Nov 8 2016

Description: As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. It’s 1853, the heyday of the California Gold Rush. Isabelle is full of hope, staking her claim on the city’s refined clientele and her future on a sweetheart’s promise to marry her when he returns from the gold fields. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path.

While Isabelle learns to trust God’s provisions, a law student in Virginia must confront his father’s cruelty and rescue a young slave from his family’s tobacco plantation. As the two escape to freedom, and Isabelle risks everything to harbor runaway slaves, the past and present are set on an inevitable collision course—one that reveals hidden treasures of the heart.

   3. The Promise of Rayne – Nicole Deese

Publication Date: Nov 1, 2016

Description: Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.

Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.

4. Death in Mind’s Eye – Rick Acker

Publication Date: Oct 25 2016

Description: San Francisco attorney Mike Webster does not lose medical-malpractice cases. But his stellar reputation and faith are put to the test when he agrees to defend Dr. Johanna Anderson, a brilliant and beautiful psychologist. Jo is accused of failing to prevent the death of Seth Bell, a senator’s son she was treating with a revolutionary technology-assisted therapy called the Mind’s Eye. The controversial technique provides insights into what patients are thinking and feeling and determines whether they’re telling the truth—so why didn’t it detect that Seth was suicidal?

As the case unfolds, a shadowy firm, Horizon Finance, sees a golden opportunity to profit by seizing the Mind’s Eye and auctioning it to intelligence services around the world. And Horizon will stop at nothing—not even murder—to succeed. As the danger escalates, Mike and Jo feel the heat of a mutual attraction. But when Mike’s loyal paralegal, Val, unearths evidence that could blow the case apart, Mike realizes he stands to lose much more than just a verdict.

5. Trust My Heart – Carol J. Post

Publication Date: Oct 25, 2016

Description: Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.

After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.

The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…

6. Since You’ve Been Gone – Christa Allen

Publication Date: Oct 11, 2016

Description: One moment, Olivia Kavanaugh is preparing to walk down the aisle and embrace her own happily ever after. The next, she learns that her fiancé, Wyatt Hammond, has been in a fatal car accident. Then comes a startling discovery: Wyatt’s car wasn’t heading toward the church. He was fifty miles away…with a baby gift in the backseat.

Her faith shaken, Olivia pores over the clues left behind, desperate to know where Wyatt was going that day and why. As she begins uncovering secrets, she also navigates a tense relationship with her judgmental mother and tries to ignore the attentions of a former boyfriend who’s moved back home. But when she starts receiving letters written by Wyatt before his death, she must confront a disturbing question: Can we ever know anyone fully, even someone we love?

When an unexpected path forward—though nothing like the life she once envisioned—offers the promise of a new beginning, will she be strong enough to let go of the past and move toward it?

7. The Honorable Heir – Laurie Alice Eakes

Publication Date: Oct 4, 2016

Description: An American heiress and widow of a rakish English earl, Catherine has returned to New York high society determined to make amends for the scandal she caused when she crossed the Atlantic to elope with her best friend’s suitor and win the title of Lady Bisterne. But a ruined reputation isn’t the only thing that’s followed her home: Lord Tristram Wolfe, the rightful heir to the Bisterne estate, has vowed to track down his family’s stolen jewels—gems he’s certain Catherine stole.

Catherine has more to think about than charming, handsome Tristram and his accusations, even if he’s beginning to change her mind about never returning to England. Back at her family’s Tuxedo Park estate, she resolves to restore her honor by earning the forgiveness of her best friend and protecting her younger sister from other fortune-seeking Englishmen with dubious titles, all while abiding by the etiquette of the Gilded Age.

Yet when Tristram’s quest takes a dangerous turn, she must decide whether to follow the rules or save her accuser’s life.

8. Pointe and Shoot – Alison Stone

Publication Date: Oct 4, 2016

Description: Jayne Murphy has always put family first. That’s why she abandoned her dream of joining the police force to run her ailing mother’s dance studio.

When one of the studio’s most talented instructors dies in a car crash, Jayne isn’t convinced it was just an accident. Relentlessly pursuing her hunch, she teams up with Officer Danny Nolan, the best friend and partner of her brother Patrick, who died in the line of duty. Haunted by Patrick’s death, Danny has begun to question whether he should still be a cop at all.

As Jayne digs deeper, suspects emerge, including the victim’s clingy ex-boyfriend and a jealous foe from the cutthroat dance world. Her evolving insights into the case rekindle Jayne’s passion for police work. Danny, too, feels a renewed sense of purpose…and a definite attraction to his unofficial partner, which seems to be mutual. Now, if Jayne can only keep herself out of harm’s way, she and Danny both might get a second chance—with their careers and each other.

9. The Thirteenth Chance – Amy Maytayo

Publication Date: Sep 27, 2016

Description: Baseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.

After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants—and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.

10. My Hope Next Door – Tammy L. Gray

Publication Date: Sep 13, 2016

Description: Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.

Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.

Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.

Soundless: A book review

 Description: 

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever….

My Review: 

The village Fei grew up in has no sound. Nothing. Every person there is deaf. Their hearing faded away generations ago for reasons no one understood, but they got along well enough. Now, however, they are dying. Food is scarce and strictly rationed. Little comes up the mountain anymore. Some wish for an escape, but there is no way off the mountain. The passages were blocked by avalanches long ago. Many tried to climb their way down, only to be killed by falls or rockslides that they couldn’t hear.

One by one the villagers are beginning to lose their vision. Fei’s sister is one of the affected. She would do near anything to protect her sister, but does she have the courage to risk it all?

Fei lives the pampered existence as one of the apprentice Artists, her duty is to write and draw the daily news and records, but she longs to do so much more. When the worst happens, she must brave the dangers of the mountain with an old flame, Li, to find the mysterious line keeper who sends them their food via zip line. what they find is far beyond anything they bargained for. But Fei has one special gift that may be the weapon to save them all: she can hear.

I don’t often see good clean fantasy using asian culture, Chinese, to be more specific. It was a lovely change from my usual fantasy fare. Richelle has a lovely and descriptive writing voice. I could truly feel Fei’s fear and confusion when sound first entered her life. The perilous decent down the cliff face, the villages, the art and the characters are just beautiful.

It is a bit slow in places, but totally worth the effort. I wasn’t disappointed. Being a mainstream novel, I had not expected it to be very clean. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this book is about as squeaky clean as it gets. My hat is off to the author for this.

Soundless is a wonderful book that I can wholeheartedly recommend to any readers out there, both old and young.

 

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: a couple of sweet kisses.
Language: none.
Drinking / Drugs: one small scene in an inn where an unnamed patron gets a bit drunk and tries to start a fight.
Blood / Violence: very mild. There is a raid and one end battle, several chase scenes and a capture. blood is minimal. The main characters also briefly stumble upon some old skeletons.

Amazon Kindle link here:Soundless
or Paperback here:Soundless

Happy reading y’all!

Shadowsong Release Day!!!!!!!

Okay, super excited today. My baby is finally out in the world! *happy dance*
This story has been a long time in coming. I wrote it years ago for a Christian magazine, but it wasn’t quite what they were looking for. I re-wrote it completely this year and was shocked at just how much my writing style had changed in that time. I am so pleased with how it turned out and I hope you will be too!

shadowsong Final Cover

Description:

What happens when the dream of a lifetime turns to dust in your hands?

Rhianna has spent her life searching for one thing: the Master’s Song. The source of ultimate power. Now, she is held hostage by it, her life in the balance. If she makes the wrong choice, she will destroy everything she holds dear.
The Darkness closes in, and the fate of her beloved rests in the balance. Rhianna must make an agonizing choice. Who will she hold on to?

Hold on to the Darkness, or embrace the Light?

An 8,000+ word fantasy/allegory short story.

Amazon Kindle Link here: Shadowsong
This book will also be available with Kindle Unlimited!

Heartless: a book review

Description:

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love–and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir.

Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald’s offer–and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.

My Review:

I don’t often read fantasy allegory, but my goodness, Anne Elisabeth Stengl can write it with twists like few others! It did take me a few chapters to get used to the rather unusual and complex fantasy world, as well as her use of omniscient narrative. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

The world of Goldstone wood is one of the most complex and layered storyworlds I have ever come across in fantasy. It is huge and ever-expanding with so much more depth, and history, and characters that you could believe – or sometimes keep track of! Each book in the series is better than the last!

Anne Elisabeth’s unusual writing style is reminiscent of older classic fairy tales, though a bit difficult to get used to at first, but hang in there! Because once you catch onto her unique and beautiful style it is one incredible ride and well worth the time.

(Warning! Slight personal rant ahead!)

One thing I really don’t understand is, why do so many people hate Una? I think some folks just don’t like her because she’s a little too real. Yes, she’s selfish, she’s stubborn, she’s a dreamer, always looking for something newer, brighter, more appealing. She’s totally unsatisfied and missing out on the good and wonderful things (and people) that are right under her nose.

She’s just like you and me.

Some of us really don’t like to see that. So many folks go out complaining about how much they dislike unrealistic characters in there books, then an author like Anne goes out and creates a realistic character with all the same normal faults that we have. So what do we do? We complain some more and criticize the heck out of that character. It’s really hard looking in a mirror sometimes.

Personally, I love Una. And I love how Anne Elisabeth breathes life into these beautiful, broken characters. Her characters may be far from perfect, and their endings may be too, but in the end, that is what makes their story so much more meaningful.

Here, Una is a representation of the modern day church and its many faults. It is a story about how God pursues us relentlessly, calling us back to him, and to show that no matter how vile we can become God still loves us and is waiting to claim us as his.

How incredible is that?

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory: note, this is also an older review being re-written. It has been a few years since read the novel. I may not remember everything.

Romance: a sweet kiss or two.
Language: none. Unless you count exclamations such as “Dragon’s Breath / teeth/ whatnot!” as bad language.
Drinking / Drugs: There was some dinner wine.
Blood / Violence: there is plenty of violence, though the author does keep things tasteful. blood is fairly minimal. There are several battles, deaths, people being burned by dragons (not graphic), imprisonment, and such.
Other: there is a bit of magic in this book, but no “spellcasting” or anything of the like. And the villain also does love playing some slightly twisted mind games with the people he’s after.

Amazon Kindle link here:Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood Book 1)
or paperback link here: Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood)

Author Website: Anne Elisabeth Stengl
blog: Goldstone Wood blog

Author Facebook page: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Music Monday: Those Days

And another new album by favorite youtube artist Lindsey Stirling released this last week. This album, Brave Enough, is her third big release.

So Today i’m putting up one of my favorite songs from her new album.

Those Days featuring Dan – Shay

 

 

 

And for an added bonus, why not her new hit single as well? (Also from this album)

You can listen to the full album on youtube here:Brave Enough: Full Album

Check it out on Amazon Here for the Audio CD: Brave Enough
or for the MP3 version here: Brave Enough

The Lady and the Lionheart: a book review

Description:

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet–freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl–boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

My Review:

It isn’t often that you find a book as deeply moving as this one.  The author weaves a flawless tapestry of sacrificial love, forgiveness, and acceptance through this novel.

You are transported into the unique setting of a circus in the 1890’s. But not all is well under the big top. This book gives us a look at both the beauty and the dark side of circus life. More specifically, the freak shows. It is truly amazing just how cruel people can be.

When the book first introduced me to Charlie Lionheart, I wasn’t sure I liked him. He started off a bit grating, though his love of baby Holland shone through strongly. But within a few chapters, I came to love him. That gruff exterior hid a very hurting heart and a man of incredible strength and sacrifice.

Ella is a sweet girl who is struggling with her own heartaches. She gets a lot more than she bargained for when she steps away from her job to help a baby in need. She has a lot to learn about not judging by appearances.

And the lions! Oh, I do love the lions: Axel, Hans, and Kristov (Frozen reference maybe? 😉 ) are just perfect. The Big Top performance with them is one of my favorite scenes from the book. Okay, any scene with them is just awesome.

The ending of this novel is just perfect, a faintly bittersweet Happily Ever After from Holland’s viewpoint. Joanne Bischof has created a masterpiece here. Now, I need to take my leave and go read it again!

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Warnings:

Romance: clean and sweet. One character is a rape victim. There is a scene where a prostitute does flirt with the hero when a particularly foul character wants him to do something immoral, though it is very tastefully done.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: a tiny amount of brandy is used once for medicinal purposes.
Violence: almost nothing.

Amazon Kindle Link here:The Lady and the Lionheart
Or paperback here:The Lady and the Lionheart

Author Website: Joanne Bischof
Facebook Page: Joanne Bischof Facebook

Happy reading y’all!

Beast: a book review

Description:

I am Beast. I serve the master.

For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master’s dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold she dreams of one day becoming her master’s favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire.

When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners.

They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she?

For anyone who has found a monster within, Beast is a tale of truth and transformation.

My Review:

When the Master is killed and Beast is dragged away from the only home she ever knew. Along the journey she meets another girl named Tabby, who shows Beast her first human kindness.
But Beast has also made an enemy. Challenging “Two Eyes” as Beast dubs him, was a massive mistake. He will do anything to possess her, and conquer her. To live under his hand is a fate worse than death, but can she handle the alternative?
Tabby and her father offer her a place in their “pack”. they don’t seem to realize that she is Beast. She does not deserve such kindnesses.
When bad choices threaten to tear everything apart, and no one seems trustworthy, she must decide whether to fight for herself, or for her pack.
Is she Beast, as everyone has said? Or could she possibly be…Sarah?

The character of Beast has a very unusual and delightfully fresh view of the world. Her unique perspective is quite fun to read. The rest of the character cast here are very black and white. You won’t find any truly “grey” characters in this one.
I was quite surprised to find that this book was a Biblical allegory. This one is definitely one of the few truly good ones I have read.
Beast is a short, but beautiful story of trust and forgiveness, with a strong redemption thread woven through.

My Rating: five flames

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Heat Warnings:

Romance: surprisingly, nothing at all.
Drinking/Drugs: clean.
Violence: Plenty. there are chases, fights, beating, whippings,  and “Hunts” where the villain makes a game out of hunting the main heroine down to capture or kill her. The author does keep it tasteful though, little blood is mentioned.
Other: Slavery and the question of what makes us human are both briefly touched upon.

You can find this book on Amazon Kindle here:Beast
Or the paperback here:Beast

Author’s Website: Chawna Schroeder

Happy Reading y’all!