Here’s the newest one from Bethany House, and also my book review for April. Basically, if I’m quick at the draw…I’ll have one book from them a month. If I don’t want to review any of the options they have (which I’ve done before)…then I don’t 😀 .
I am now reviewing my third book for Bethany House! The first one was Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette, the second was Quick Tips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner, and this (the third) is…Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson. So let’s just run into this here review.
Heart of the Frontier Book #1.
By Tracie Peterson
My rating- 5 stars
I loved this book! It was such an exciting novel to read. I love the cover (as a side note 😀 ), and the time period is one of great interest to me. This is the first Tracie Peterson book I have ever read, and I like it. The reason I haven’t read much of Tracie’s work is simply that I’m not much into western stuff. And a lot of her stuff seems to be western. I don’t (so far) like western romances as much. I’m not into mail order brides. It’s just not my thing. But this…yep. This got me. Prairie days are much more thrilling for me.
Let’s go back to the days of Indians…
//I love the setting. Wagon trains, sickness, prairie dangers, and beautiful country. It all appeals to me.
//The main character. Grace is a neat person. She’s strong, and kind, and is a healer. She cares for people as a life calling. But she’s not perfect…and I love how she develops.
//The pain.The story does a good job building tension and getting you excited. I started dreading what was probably coming. If you like…you can read the synopsis- and figure out what I was dreading happening. After THE event of the story there is so much hurt and scars, and it makes the reader feel sad 😦 .
//Good story line.I felt that the plot was engaging, and it just kept going. The dialogue was delightful as well.
//Age line. Because of several things that occur in the story which are suggestive, I would recommend this book for 13+ or the discretion of the parent. (It would be discretion of the parent or guardian regardless! 🙂 )
//Faith. This book is Christian Historical Fiction. I thought the faith was much better emphasized in this book than in most other books of its genre. And believe me…you would need a strong faith to survive such trials!
So…I will probably borrow some more Tracie Peterson from our local library soon. I think maybe not all of her stuff is Western? I know that a lot of it IS, but then- maybe someone else out there has read some of her westerny ones and liked them? I’m sure they’re good. 😉
*This book actually arrived earlier than I was expecting it to (thumbs up to Bethany House for promptness!). So I actually was able to finish reading it at the conference I attended the 14-16. And I finished it so fast…because it was amazing. It kept me under it’s power the entire time. I don’t think I experienced any boredom at all.
I am super excited to invite you to my VERY FIRST book review with Bethany House! The book I chose to review is…Shadow of the Storm–by Connilyn Cossette. So let me just share the lovely cover first:
Shadow of the Storm
Out from Egypt Book # 2.
By Connilyn Cossette
My rating- 4.5 stars
In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way
Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.
When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?
When first I saw this book , I personally thought it looked interesting. And after reading it…I was pleased. It had me hooked from the beginning. It was engaging, sad (to some degree), and well-written. I found it easy to both sympathize and empathize with the different characters. So after this brief introduction to the review…let’s get started.
//The characters… It didn’t take me long to bond with the characters. Shira’s unrealized strength, Kiya’s sweetness, Ayal’s gentleness, and even Dvorah’s bitterness. I was smiling at the characters when they ‘scored a point’ (did what was right), and frowning at them when they did wrongly. And I loved the way children played into the story. Dov and Ari are such sweeties! I have to say though, I went on a roller-coaster ride with all the characters–and had moments of liking them and disliking them.
//The confusion… You had me there. I dangled on a string wondering what was going on. It was more suspense than anything else. I wanted to know what was up with Shira, what was up with Ayal, and what was up with Leisha…and then I got hit with half of it. The other half was left suspensefully for later. And I’m glad the information was withheld from me. Because oh, it just enhances the plot so much!
//The way Shira’s mind works… This point may sound weird. But Shira’s desires make her feel more like a real person, a real girl. True, not all girls are like this. But I know how girls can be…and I’ve struggled in my own writing how much to show of this. The fact of the matter is…for many girls– we’re wired to be thinking: “Oh, handsome guy–could he be the one?”. Instead of trusting God with our features we worry about those things. And Shira has that same struggle. And I applaud the courage it takes to make a character human.
//The step back into time… I so appreciate this. I have always had questions whenever I read Biblical narratives. I call them the: “What was it like?” questions. All those rich descriptions in the Bible. But I always am curious about little details. And while I can’t say with certainty that the things provided ARE accurate (I would not be a good judge of that:) ) it really helps to be given a taste of what it might have been like.
//The message… I have read many books with supposedly ‘Biblical’ messages. I have even read books within this GENRE who’s messages are supposedly ‘Biblical’. But this one actually has Biblical message. I love the message that speaks to healing. I love the message that speaks of trusting God. And yes, putting our futures in His hands is so important!
What you should know..
*This section is dedicated to parents mostly. I want to make it clear what things parents should be aware of before allowing your child to read the book. I believe it’s important that we as bloggers make sure parents are aware, so that you can then decide what your children ought to read.
*All readers please stay tuned for this part! I want you to make the decision based on the dictates of your conscience.
You should be aware that:
//Thisis a book on a young woman who wants to be a midwife. There ARE birth scenes. They are not overly explicit…but if you know NOTHING of birth, you might want to pass on this one.
//There is one scene where a character tell about being raped. It doesn’t go very far or anything, but the girl is punched up and whatnot before the scene reaches its conclusion. Like I said, it’s not terribly descriptive. But it is disturbing, and obviously suggestive. This is definitely where I would say “umm…maybe not show the kids?” 🙂
//There is a scene where a woman tries to entice a man. It’s not too bad. Just bad.(hopefully that makes sense?) The woman only pulls her shirt sleeve down a little–it’s more the suggestion that I would advise caution over. This is another instance where I would advise caution, especially with younger readers.
All-in-all, if I HAD to put an age on the reading of this book I would say (very) mature 13+, and would highly advise the reading of this book FIRST by the parents.
*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers. I was not required to post a positive review, but rather to honestly give my opinion– which I have done. All things here expressed are my own thoughts and opinions on the book.
At the suggestion of a friend and reader, I am going to do another installment of What I Read Wednesday! I have chosen to review some books I just recently read. Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan, and Till We Have Faces by C.S Lewis.
Just a little background on the chosen books. Where Hope Prevails is the 3rd book in the Return to the Canadian West series. So, if you’re thinking on getting the book, you might just want to purchase the other two first :). Till We Have Faces, on the other hand–is a retelling of the ancient myth of Cupid and Psyche. It’s the kind of book you would expect to be assigned for some mythology reading. Weird me…I bought it as an interesting read. I had read it once before at a dear friend’s house–and found it fascinatingly strange. I don’t think I really understood it the first time I read it, because frankly- it’s a bizarre read. And so when I found the book for the lovely price of $2.00, I determined to give the book another try. And here we are!
Where Hope Prevails
By Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan
Return to the Canadian West Book # 3.
My rating- 4.5 stars
Because this book is part of a series that I haven’t reviewed…I will provide the synopsis.
She leans forward for her first glimpse of the little mountain town that has captured her heart, but something has changed.
Elizabeth Thatcher’s highly anticipated return to her beloved Coal Valley after a long summer with her family back east is filled with surprises . . . and not all of them good ones, in her estimation. Maybe the worst one of all relates to her treasured students. Can she adapt and learn to cope with this enormous change?
Her Mountie, Jarrick Thornton, hasn’t yet proposed, but she already knows what her answer will be. His duties take him away from the valley much too often, in her view, but the two of them, with patience and understanding–and one significant misunderstanding–are learning to know each other better.
The dark cloud looming on the horizon in Beth’s mind, though, is filled with questions about where their future might take them. As a member of the RCMP, Jarrick is stationed wherever his superiors send him . . . but what about her teaching position in Coal Valley?
Beth attempts to do her best with each obstacle she faces, but does she rightly assess each situation as it surfaces? Good intentions don’t always lead too good results. . . .
A companion story to Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart TV series
So…uh. That’s the synopsis, but I gotta’ admit…it slightly ruins the other two books. Not hugely (it’s not my fault if their synopsis ruins it!)– but just enough.
I’ll just give some quick thoughts on the book…
Pluses and Minuses…
//The return to Coal Valley was anticipated, and I thought it was a good thing.
//I was surprised at the little things that bothered Beth. Hmm…I still haven’t figured out why she was so upset at the stumps?
//I did find the challenges to be exciting. I think they enhanced the plot.
//The conflict between Beth and Harris Hughes–was frustrating. But I think it was frustrating in a good way. It made me wonder how it would all ‘end’ (it’s not quite over yet…another book must be in the works!).
//Julie…yeah. I like it whenever she enters the story. Mind you, she’s not very wise–but sometimes you just need a slightly frivolous character. And she’s gotten better over time, too.
//The romance aspect. So, I’m TRYING not to give anything away. Although please note that the synopsis is the culprit this time. This book picks up where the last one left off. I think that it was a good idea to show the confusion that occurs during their relationship. It’s good to throw in a little misunderstanding every now and then.
So that’s my very-basic-opinion of the book.
Till We Have Faces
A Myth Retold
By C.S Lewis
My Rating- 5 stars
Pluses and Minuses…
//To be completely honest, the first time I read this–I just didn’t understand it. I would recommend brushing up on your mythology a wee bit before tackling this book.
//I really have NO idea why I like this book exactly. It’s a very interesting story though.
//At first you feel, (along with the main character Orual) that Orual is wronged. That it’s Orual who’s wrong. Then later, well…something just happens. You’ll have to read it, because I really can’t quite explain it.
//I’m sorry…for some reason I just enjoy reading it.
//Age sensitive material..there are some references to some things in here which requires some discretion. I think I would probably set the book depending on maturity. But I guess maybe as rule of thumb ages 13+?
//But one thing that super annoyed me…was the false god aspect. Ungit, Cupid, etc. But hey! It’s a book on mythology. So duh. That’s obviously what I signed up for. 🙂
//I’m not a Lewis geek. I do love this book and the Chronicles of Narnia though.
Well, there ya’ go! Please feel free to comment if you happen to have read either of these books and want to share your thought(s) on them.
Have you read either of these books?
Do you enjoy reading mythology, or are you going *blech* right now?
I have this leetle tag on my blog now…and it’s a blogger reviewer button! Yep, I’m joining a blogger reviewer program. If you are wondering…it’s Bethany house’s review program. I am already on the list to receive a book (which I am watching the mail for expectantly).
How it Works
You sign up.
You give them (Bethany house) some basic information on yourself.
You give them the link to your blog.
You get a monthly newsletter with titles that are up for review.
You select the book you want to review (it’s first come first serve, as they only have so many copies to deal out.).
It shows up eventually, and you read it.
You post an honest review on your blog and a retailer website.
You submit a form for the book on Bethany house’s website.
You get to keep the book!
*There is more information on this site. Also be sure to check out their FAQ page.
No, this is not me turning into a cowgirl. This is me messing around with different openings. But anyways…I’m back with another one of my books! My writing posts, I call them. Today, I’m telling y’all about a fun one I’m writing. I don’t know about y’all…but I love ALMOST superheros. What do I mean by that? Well…people with great fighting abilities that want to help people…but minus any powers. No super strength, no climbing walls because you got bit by a spider, you get it. I’m more the Captain America type- minus the serum. 🙂 I do enjoy powers…but I don’t really want to write about that. I want to give this story a more realistic feel. I want readers to feel that this might actually be able to happen. So without further ado, I give you- The Brown Recluse.
Genre: Young adult, thriller, elements of mystery.
A prison boat sinks, supposedly drowning all the prisoners.
A young woman suffers from a spider bite, nearly dying.
A mysterious mentor, trains a woman to fight criminals…
…and Svetlana Ivanov lives a ‘quiet’ but mysterious life in a big city.
Svetlana groaned, nausea gripping her insides. The constant tossing of the ship increased the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. Beside her- Valentina stirred. How in the world is Valentina still asleep when this ship is about to sink? Svetlana wondered to herself. Valentina opened her eyes. “Where are we?” she asked with a long yawn. “In a ship, below deck, and behind bars- just as we’ve been for the last two days.” Was Svetlana’s not-very-positive response. “Why am I in prison?” Valentina inquired blankly. “Valentina! You ought to know this by now. I already told you that you were suspected of murder…” Svetlana’s voice trailed off and she covered her face with her hands. “Sorry.” Valentina apologized with a sheepish look. “It’s okay.” Svetlana responded in a weak voice.
“Captain, we need to abandon ship. She’s about to go down!” a frightened sailor pleaded. “Prepare to launch the lifeboats. The prisoners will just have to stay below deck. We haven’t enough room or lifeboats to fit them anyway- besides, I don’t want to be in a lifeboat with any serial-killers.” The captain mumbled- reluctant to abandon his ship. “Is no effort to be made to save the prisoners?” another sailor asked overhearing the words of the captain. “Some of them aren’t serial-killers, sir.” Offered a tall man in a drenched sailing suit. “You and Abel were ever the compassionate ones, Cedrick. No! There will be no saving of prisoners! It’s every man for himself now. Abel, go and get the jailer and tell him we’re abandoning ship. And another thing- tell the jailer that he’d better shoot the prisoners.” As he spoke the captain began lowering the lifeboats. Cedrick accompanied Abel down the stairs that led to where the prisoners were being kept. As they went down Cedrick hit Abel hard on the back of his head so that he slumped over unconscious. Then Cedrick went down. He found the jailer asleep. Svetlana hopped to her feet when she saw Cedrick. “Cedrick, what news?” she asked in a whisper. “She’s going down- the Captains given orders to shoot the prisoners.” He whispered back grabbing the keys from the jailers. Svetlana groaned.. Why must death come to me so soon in life? She wondered.
He sorted through the keys until he found the key marked ‘7’ then went to Valentina and Svetlana’s cell and opened the door. Svetlana shook Valentina. Valentina- who was pretending to be asleep fell to her knees at sight of Cedrick. “God bless you!” she said. “Valentina, stop talking! We need to go or else we’ll be shot dead with the rest of the prisoners.” He whispered to Svetlana something about hiding below deck while he ‘took care’ of the other prisoners. Svetlana and Valentina exited and found a convenient nook to hide and wait. “Jailer, you have orders to shoot the prisoners.” Cedrick said. The jailer stirred and opened his eyes. “Oh, would that their blood would be on someone else’s hands!” he said, starting to shake. “Get moving, jailer. We’re abandoning ship. Unless you want to go down with the carcasses of the prisoners.” The jailer groaned. “Yes, that’s it! My fate will be their fate. I’m going down with the ship- you go and save yourself, Cedrick.” Cedrick snorted angrily. “No, we’re shooting the prisoners. Much more humane than choking them to death for lack of air.” The jailer nodded. Soon all the prisoners were dead- except Valentina and Svetlana. Svetlana listened to all that occurred- at last it seemed okay to stir. Valentina shivered. “What-what’s going to happen to us?” Valentina whimpered. “We’re getting out of this ship!” Svetlana gasped. She grabbed Valentina’s arm and pulled her through the door of the jailer’s cabin. After turning several times, they were on the main deck. Waves crashed and foamed all around them. One solitary lifeboat offered her welcome. “God bless Cedrick!” Svetlana praised aloud. “He’s left us the last lifeboat!” Valentina exclaimed. Yes, he’s left us the last lifeboat, and at risk of his life! Valentina hobbled into the lifeboat and Svetlana crawled in after her.
My fingers move, and Val’s pencil taps time to the movement. Everything about Val has changed these last two years. From the little things, to the big. Things like her hair, for instance. In the old days, it would’ve been cut short- right above her ear. And her hair would’ve been slicked. Now her jet black hair falls in soft waves just above her shoulders. Another thing is makeup. She barely wears any of it now. One coat of light mascara and a touch of light pink lipstick. She looks so innocent and sweet without all the dark, heavy makeup. And then she has changed. She’s almost never fussy, and whiny. Now, she’s just quiet. Barely talks to anyone except me.
“What’d you think, Val?” I ask, holding up a light red carnation. Val smiles, and rolls her eyes.
“I think, Svet that it looks like a well-groomed carnation.” I poke her. She pokes me back. Then we both laugh.
“Hey Val, will you pass me that hairclip?” I point at a teeny weenie gold clip across from me.
“Sure.” She answers in a nonchalant tone. I brush back the front of my hair, ‘losing the part’, as Val would say. Then I stick in the hairclip.
“You’re going to be late for work, you know.” Val says.
“I know. That’s why I asked for the clip, silly.” I poke her once again. She just grins. I hop up, and grab my handbag. I turn to go out the front door.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Val’s voice startles me. I instinctively reach to my leg. My gun’s not here. I look around, and yes– Val’s holding it. Ever since Val found my gun one night, I haven’t kept secrets from her. I first only got the thing to feel protected. My past makes it difficult for me to feel secure without a gun. It bothered Val at first. She was abused as a child, much the same as I was. One time I got it out of her that her father beat her whenever she didn’t do what he asked fast enough. But now as I see the gun in her hand, I know having it means much more. It’s my way of getting even with the government. I was falsely accused of murder. My father, who was the real culprit-, turned me in. My gun is carried illegally. That’s not a secret between Val and I. There’s no way I could get a concealed carry permit with a record like mine. And also, the fact that I and Val are supposed to be dead could make it potentially much harder.
“Thanks.” I say, extending my hand and taking it from her. I carefully pull up the right palazzo pant leg, slipping the gun into the hidden holster. I turn to go again.
“Svet?” Val’s voice stops me once again.
“Yeah?” I answer back.
“You look nice.” Her words are simple, but undeniably sweet. I glance down at my 1940’s palazzo pants, and then finger the hem of my classy white tuck-in, button-up shirt. We love world war two clothing. It’s our disguise, so to speak. I figured out that it’s not unusual to find a small group of people who like old-fashioned clothing. There’s really some of everything here in New York.
“That’s sweet of you to say.” It really is. Val always looks perfect no matter what she wears. I, on the other hand, have to work hard just to look ‘presentable’. Then I walk out the door. Val and I never say ‘goodbye’. Perhaps there’s a part of us that’s afraid if we say goodbye- it really will be just that.
I pull on my apron and stand at the old-fashioned cash register. I love the coffee shop I work at. They try hard to look vintage. The tablecloths, the waitresses, and the menu- everything smacks of the 1940’s. That’s one of the reasons that I decided to work here. I fit in here. Clara, a fellow employee, and my friend- steps toward the old radio.
“Hit me with it, Svet! What should we listen to today?” she asks.
“Hmm…put on the swing music. But remember Clara, it’s background music- not central.” She laughs; no doubt remembering the time where she flipped it on and the radio volume came out full blast. All the customers were covering their ears.
“Gotcha’.” She giggles. That’s the only thing I don’t like about her. She’s giggles too much.
I am reviewing a book series today. They’re not about the same person. Rather, they’re about 5 different women. So what is this book series that I am reviewing?… Enter the Chosen Daughters series! I will mention the authors on the spot where I always put the author.
Chosen Daughters Series
By Hope Marston, Ethel Herr, Simonetta Carr,
& Christine Farenhorst
My Rating- (Individual ratings will be given in review)
Genre– Historical Fiction (based on the lives of real young women in history)
The first book in this series that I ever read was Wings Like a Dove by Christine Farenhorst. That was so enjoyable to me–that it was quickly followed by A Cup of Cold Water which is the other one written by her in this series.
I’m going to review the books in the order that I originally read them in.
* This is a quick review–it’s only going to give a few little tidbit thoughts.
The story of Queen Jeanne D’ Albret. And though it’s tragic in content…it brings across an important message.
This story shows that believing the gospel can and very well just might turn our lives upside down. This story reminded me not to get too comfortable in my American security.
That it shows me: If we are going to follow Christ we must be willing and ready to lay down our lives for the love of Christ and His Word. And to give up everything!
If you are familiar with the story of Jeanne D’ Albret of Navarre…then you can guess what the ending of this story is. It’s sad. But it’s also triumphant–so this is just me complaining about non-important things again 🙂 .
At the fickleness/foolishness of Antoine D’ Bourbon (prince of the blood). It just shows what happens when your heart is set on pleasing people.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” ~Matthew 6:24, ESV, Emphasis my own.
A CUP OF COLD WATER
by Christine Farenhorst
My Rating- 5 stars
*Another quickie. Sorry, it deserves more!
Louisa Cavell’s Story. From little girl to a nurse in Belgium…she became a woman dedicated to prayer and a life of faith.
Her Compassion. The way she took in both enemy soldiers and those she rooted for–she really showed her commitment to obeying God and extending a ‘cup of cold water’ in the name of Jesus.
“For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.”~ Mark 9:11, ESV.
Just a tip. If you’re looking for Joel Osteen’s ‘Your Best Life Now’ (terrible book, btw. Completely contradictory to the Bible.)–story with a happy ending, I would NOT read this book series. Most of them don’t end happily (from one viewpoint)–unless we look at it from the angle of their commitment to Christ and His sustaining power in them. And the legacy they left behind, of course.
I’m Not the Crying Type. No matter the book I can’t really cry. But who knows, you might?
WEIGHT OF A FLAME
by Simonetta Carr
My Rating- 4.5 stars
*I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t find it quite as exciting.
It had a slow beginning. I got a little more prone to boredom reading this book’s beginning.
It didn’t have the same spirit as the other two. It was sad, yes. But I didn’t quite connect with it as well. (no clue why)
SO I LIKED…
The main character. I found her life to be fascinating. Olympia Fulvia Morata–was a remarkable woman in many ways. Intelligent, kind, and brave. I think the book did a pretty good job portraying her (although I obviously wasn’t around when she was alive).
Her story. The family-friendly nature of the book (although the entire series is fairly family-friendly. I would recommend the series for ages 12+.)
AGAINST THE TIDE
by Hope Irvin Marston
My Rating- 3 stars
*I love the time period of the book (Scottish covenanters) but I’m not quite so big on this particular book.
WHAT I LIKED…
The main character. I find I generally like the characters they choose for their books.
The setting. Very few people dislike the idea of a story set in Scotland.
BUT IN THE END…
I got annoyed. I was not liking some of the views expressed by Margaret (the main character).
I was NOT liking the few kisses in the book. They were done with no commitment, and Margaret Wilson was not known to have a boyfriend.
All-in-all I didn’t find the book to be terribly accurate. Although I did find it to lay out the main events in her life and make them interesting.
I’m not going to give a review on Dr. Oma due to length of this post. But I give it 3 stars because it wasn’t quite as interesting as the others. And it confused me a leetle tinsy weensy bit. 🙂