Thursday, April 30, 2015

To Wed or Maybe Not To Have A Groom

Every Bride Needs a Groom
Janice Thompson
Brides with Style #1

Small-town girl Katie Fisher is planning her wedding. Sure, her boyfriend hasn't managed to pop the question just yet, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't enter a contest in "Texas Bride" magazine to win the dress of her dreams, right? But when her boyfriend breaks up with her and takes a job in another town--the very same day Katie wins her dream dress--her world is turned upside down. Should she claim her prize? And will the hunky former pro-basketball player who runs the swanky Dallas bridal shop--yeah, you read that right--catch on to her humiliation if she does?

I love Janice Thompson books. I love the ooey-gooey romance, and the covers, and the fact that I have a good idea what the book is going to do to me. The majority of books of hers are about small town people who are averse to change, there are at least two romances: one about younger people and one for our more aged citizens (like a fine wine), I will certainly laugh out loud, and learn new things about celebrities, I probably won’t cry (which is a positive thing since I pretty much leak all the time anyway), and most importantly of all I know that I will love it.

Every Bride Needs a Groom takes all of those lovely things that you can expect, and more. The atmosphere is this warm, welcoming, funny thing and it made me reconsider what the people who run the wedding business notice. It was kind of like the real inside version of Say Yes to the Dress. Totally wonderful.

I could literally squeal all day long about this book, there wasn’t a thing I didn’t like. Though a quick warning if you are sensitive to Christian denominational teasing, just remember to take it with a grain of salt. It is all in good fun! This book is a wonderful choice for these warming up months. A light, laugh out loud read!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy reading (this one is a must!!), and don’t forget to click on the cover to read an excerpt.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Descendants of the First

The Creole Princess
Beth White
The Gulf Coast Chronicles #2

Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.

It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter--though no less deadly.

Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t realize that this book followed the descendants of Tristan and Genevieve. It wasn’t like it was a secret, I don’t think I got it until she started out and out explicitly talking about it. There were some goodies in that conversation.

Even if the book wasn’t absolutely fantastic, I would read it just to find out what happened to Tristan and Genevieve. I really enjoyed the time period. In history we focused on Washington’s battles up North, but this book takes a look at the southern port towns.

There aren’t a lot of time jumps, which is really nice. We do get to see a lot of redemption, and the characters revisiting what is really important in a hard time. Totally recommend the whole series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy reading, and don’t forget to click on the cover to read an excerpt for the story.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Kind of Female Robin Hood

Dina L. Sleiman

Valiant Hearts Book One

Though once a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest," her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance.

The book was really delightful, we got to see the action from two points of view: Timothy and Merry.

I liked the characters, but I didn’t love them. For some reason I found myself mostly detached. The main character, Merry, was often trying to keep her emotions in check and I think that flowed through to the reader. Her most affectionate moments were always around Wren, the character I enjoyed the most. Wren was this absolutely adorable little girl, so sweet.

I had a hard time picturing Merry with a love interest. The book presents two different people as possibilities. She said that she wasn’t ready for it, and the romance didn’t feel necessary. Merry was capable and I really liked and identified with her. I had a feeling pretty early in the book who she was going to end up with though. Throughout the novel there were moments of doubt, so I didn’t really know who, which was really nice.

I found their level of faith kind of astounding for the time period. Some time after Jesus died, people started losing power resulting in the belief systems that were common only one hundred years ago. The reintroduction of grace and laying hands on people came  back more commonly in the last century. The characters’ faith was true, and possibly the most touching moment.

I loved the historical accuracy. I originally thought it was set in the same fictional legend world as Robin Hood, who appears in Dauntless as Robyn of the Hode, but  it is heavily based upon the world of King John’s England (middle ages). I was so intrigued that I looked up King John on Wikipedia. This particular John has an older brother named Richard, which made my Robin Hood heart squeal.

I couldn’t really tell how she plans on turning it into a series, but I am super excited to see.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my complete and honest review. Enjoy reading and don’t forget to click on the cover for an excerpt!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Farewell to the McKennas

Dani Pettrey
Alaskan Courage #5 (and final)

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now paired together on Yancey's search-and-rescue canine unit, they begin to put aside old arguments as they come to see each other in a different light. Then a call comes in from the Iditarod that will push them to their limits.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing. Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. In order to save her, the man must use his knowledge as a mechanical engineer to do the kidnapper's bidding or she will die. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

I loved the fact that all of the siblings were involved again. In a lot of the other books the characters are a bit more isolated, but there was constant communication and teamwork in this one. It almost helped to solidify the idea that this was the last time we would get to have an adventure with them.

I found that I needed to refresh my memory. I could remember any of Piper’s name except for the P, or whether or not Reef was older than Piper or not.

The ending totally did justice to the series as a whole. There wasn’t anything disappointing about it, so no worries. The whole book was delicious, and another in a long line of successes. Highly recommended!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy Reading! (and don't forget to click on the cover to read an excerpt). 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AHH! Such Pain! (but totally worth it)

Rise of the Fallen
Chuck Black
Wars of the Realm #2

A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity's fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator's most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man.

Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them.

As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity's survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?

Prepare to be disappointed. We’ve waited who knows how long (over a year) to read what happened after that epically painful cliffhanger in Cloak of the Light. But do we continue from there? No, we do not. In fact, we get to go BACK like a bajillion years and spend the book working our way forward, which aside from the fact ya know CLIFFHANGER was actually pretty awesome.

The book started a bit before creation and traveled through all these major battles and the events (long term) leading up to the modern day war. It was easily the coolest thing I’ve read so far this year. The outlook, from the angel’s POV, brought up so many tiny interesting details that made my mind explode. Reading this book made me want to delve through my bible to see what we know for fact and what is fiction. It made me want to know as much as I possible could. For that, Chuck Black is the best author I’ve encountered in a while. Thank you.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy reading and click on the cover to read an excerpt (although personally I wouldn’t taunt myself like that, just go get the book!).

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Whole City of Ugly

The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story

Jill Eileen Smith

Daughters of the Promised Land #1

Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution by Dabir, counselor to the Syrian king, Rahab despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime. In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls--or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

    The Crimson Cord  was really, really good. It is such a provoking retelling and I cried and felt with Rahab. It incorporated such a level of historical Jewish laws, it was simply amazing. 

    This book is really only suitable for adults. While not explicit in any way, shape, or form it does touch on: domestic abuse, rape, abortion, the making of a eunuch, adultery, stoning,  barrenness (and miscarriages), and prostitution. 

     I really, really did not like Gamal (the husband), he continued to be a ridiculous thorn in our sides throughout the whole book. Despite that, he did make an interesting contribution to the story. One I really enjoyed. I'll give you a hint: he is the subject of a biblical parable. Which one? You ask. Guess. Then, read. 

     We got the advantage of several points-of-view including Rahab, Salmon, and Dabir. All bring interesting things to the plot. The bulk of the book focuses on Rahab's time pre-falling of Jericho. It was really heart wrenching, and Jericho was gross. Just so you know.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Enjoy reading, and don't forget to click on the cover to read an excerpt. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sidhe for Irish Demons

Beneath the Forsaken City

C.E. Laureano

The Song of Seare #2

Conor and Aine have barely escaped Seare with their lives. Conor knows he must return to find the harp that could end the Red Druid’s reign of terror, but in the midst of their escape, he and Aine are torn apart once more. Surrounded by despair and thrown into as much danger as they left behind, Conor and Aine must cling to the whispers of Comdiu’s plans for them and the homeland that depends on their survival.

     Beneath the Forsaken City is the second book in a Celtic fantasy series. A wonderful fantasy series. I love all the elements of Celtic culture she has managed to incorporate into the books. I was so surprised by the idea, but it turned out just wonderfully. One problem with basing it on a Celtic culture is the fact that some of the names of things aren't really pronounceable just by looking at it. Take the time and familiarize yourself with the glossary, totally helpful in the long run.  

     This one is the sequel to Oath of the Brotherhood which is a MUST read before this one. Beneath the Forsaken City  is a sequel is the strictest sense of the word. If you don't, it won't make any sense. If you read in order, you'll be able to pick up where you left off (almost exactly) and get right back into the action.

    Speaking of action, if you don't like action you won't like this series. It is fast paced and never really slows down (sometimes I felt the need to put the book down for a moment and think about what was happening). Even if you don't reread, this is a book you'll finish and then pick back up so you can be sure you got everything. It is not a book to just be read in snatches, you need to sit down with it and lo-ove it. 

    This series is just so amazing, and I loved every single bit of it. Familiarize yourself with the map and glossary and have a blast!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my free review.  Enjoy reading! Don't forget to click on the cover for an excerpt.