Monday Musings….Series, Do You Reread Them?

Once again, I’ve been contemplating series. When the next book of a series you enjoyed comes out, do you take time to reread? Or do you just jump in cold and hope to remember all the details? Usually, I do the latter (unless I just loved the previous book all on its own). But, recently I found out that Jenny B. Jones, author of The Katie Parker Series was releasing a FOURTH BOOK! I decided I had to catch up on the old series. Have you read these:

if you haven’t. You should!           14382782036_b91b7dc291_z-1 2TheBigPicture-amazonOntheLoose-Amazon-2 2

Diann Mills’ Firewall

About

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

Review

I’m not usually a mystery reader, but every now and then I like to try out genres that are not my favorite to spice things up a little. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The novel really starts with a bang (literally). I mean for the first few chapters, I was really on pins and needles trying to figure out what had happened, why it had happened and who done it.

The set up of the mystery is really unique. I mean one minute Taryn is happily in love and the next thing she knows, she and the man she married are suspects.

Taryn. She’s a fascinating character. She’s both something of a computer nerd, but also very bold and unafraid. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what she was going to do, but she certainly wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines and wait for the FBI to figure things out.

There’s a really great twist at the end that I did not see coming.

Spiritually, there is theme of forgiveness and trusting God.

What I didn’t like:

Really, it comes down to a preference. After the beginning, this novel kind of slowed for me and though it had some romance, the novel was focused on the mystery. It just wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. That said, I know someone else who read this book and loved it.

Romantic Scale: 6

**I received this copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

 

Jill Williamson’s Rebels

About

The remnant of Glenrock has been scattered. But they are not beaten.

The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth.

Levi watched his brothers’ public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive, He is forced to focus his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands’ newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar’s old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi’s new role be enough?

Meanwhile, Jemma’s sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the “Safe Lands’” children … but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar’s illness could be fatal.

If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands’ lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die.

Review

Rebels picks up right where Outcasts ended. My thoughts:

What I liked:

Suspense, suspense, suspense. I had great faith in a HEA, but I was still on my toes reading this novel!

Even more secrets are revealed. You think you have one thing figured out, only to find out there’s something else there.

The characters. None of them are flat, and usually I’m not a fan of having so many different points of view, but I loved the characters so much, that I never found it to be a problem. Mason. Omar. Levi. How they have grown since the book! Mason is my favorite and I just love being in his head. Omar is the character who made me feel a variety of emotions: first I was annoyed, then I was afraid for him. then I was proud of him, then I was annoyed with him (and the cycle began again). He’s definitely grown the most and managed to become dear to me. Levi has the rug pulled out from underneath him a couple times, and watching him react to things is always interesting.

And lets not forget the girls! I loved being in Shaylin and Jemma’s head and learning more about Ciddah.

The plot. It was involved and complicated and I loved every minute of it.

Spiritually, you get different portrayals of faith: some positive and some negative, but at the end of the day, faith is motivated by love and that’s seen so well here.

What I didn’t like:

Really I liked everything, but I could have used some more romance (I can always use more romance!). All the couples in this book spent most of the book a part from each other, trying to get to the other. But the writing was so good, I barely noticed this until the end.

Romantic Scale: 7

Overall, I really enjoyed this conclusion. I’m not ready to leave them yet and I kinda want more.

Mondays Musings…Series: Do you like Them?

In general, I love series. I like the idea of a having a longer, fully fleshed out story that pulls you in completely. BUT, the worse thing about series, as any reader knows, is the break in between. It’s the time after you’ve read a book and loved it, and feel like you know all the characters, but realize it’ll be a year before you meet them again. And then time goes by, and no matter how much you loved the book, characters get forgotten, you forget the small nuances, the anxiety slowly begins to wear off…

I will admit, I oftentimes wonder if authors can really expect to maintain a big following when they release one book a year (particularly if they are indie). It’s not that I wouldn’t buy book two, merely that I have forgotten about book two. And so, I have been known to not even start a series until at least two or three books are out.

That said, there are some fantastic authors who do their best to release books in a timely fashion: Jill Williamson, Lisa T. Bergren, Susan May Warren, Julie Lessman, Jody Hedlund, to name a few.

So, thoughts. Love series? Hate series? Think they take too much time in between?

Blog Tour: Mary Weber’s Storm Siren

About

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse – and the girl – can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth – meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

Review

I’d been waiting to read this book from the first time I saw the cover released from Thomas Nelson, mainly because I am a huge fan of sci-fi/fantasy and YA. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The world-building. Weber managed to create a new world that I cared about. I cared about the war that was destroying lives and the people who could maybe save them. I cared about the fact that people were slaves, and some like Nym were really supposed to be dead. And I somehow found myself very invested in the politics going on and whether or not things would work out right.

The characters. Nym manages to become a very likeable and realistic narrator. I understand why she’s frustrated and angry. And for once, I found myself with a heroine who hasn’t set out to make stupid decisions. Also, I really liked the details of how Nym’s slavery has affected her physically, and how being an Elemental means she has white hair. Nym really came alive to me, and was able to drive the book in a way most heroines can’t handle. I thought the secondary characters were really amazing: Eoghan and Colin. They help make Nym who she is. And yet, they both had these interesting and incredible back stories that I just wanted to learn more about. Particularly Eoghan. I wanted more of him.

The romance. I’m so glad that it’s not insta-love and you can see them getting to know each other. I also liked the kind of forbidden aspect of it (not contrived!). It adds some nice tension to the story. I thought everything Weber threw at the couple made sense.

Spiritually, the novel doesn’t touch to much on this topic except to identify a Creator who has created us for a reason, but I’m interested to see where it goes in the next book.

What I didn’t like:

The Ending. Let me just preface this by saying I’ve never had this thought before, but I read the ending, and my first thought was, the publisher gave me the defective copy. For five seconds, I contemplated contacting Thomas Nelson and telling them they gave me the wrong copy, that surely there was another copy out there with a different ending. So….yeah….But. I have hope. I could have read something way wrong. But if I didn’t, there is hope.

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, a very good fantasy novel. If you follow books like I do, you may be asking yourself, is it worth they hype? So I’m going to be honest with you, this book is good, it’s very good. But I got the feeling that it was almost more world-building and I have a hunch that now that we know the setup, the second book is going to be amazing. It’s engaging and creative, but don’t feel too bad if you think your copy is defective at the end.

*I received this novel from Thomas Nelson. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Paula Vince’s Imogen’s Chance

About

Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter. A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?

Review

I learned of this book because Ms. Vince herself contacted me. I read what the novel was about and I thought it would be very cute. Well, it was more than cute! I really loved it and I found myself sharing it with others before I had even finished it. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The setting. The author is Australian and the book takes place in Australia. But the novel is written through Imogen’s eyes and she is an American. And thus, when she comes into contact with things that are unique to Australia, I the reader was not lost, but intrigued.

The characters. Imogen, Asher, Becky, Seth, all of them are fully fleshed out with weaknesses and strengths to the point that I felt like they were real. One thing that I really liked is that no one is perfect in this novel, not even the love interest and that is what makes the romance so nice.

The romance. To me, its one of the best kinds of romance: a romance built on the foundation of friendship. I loved watching Imogen and Asher get to know and respect each other and eventually fall in love. They are able to acknowledge each others weaknesses and strengths and love each other because of it. The romance is a bit slower, but worth it. No insta-love here!

Spiritually, this is where the novel is really strong, and frankly, shows the reach that a Christian romance novel can really have. The main theme in this novel is healing and that God still heals. A couple of the characters are challenged to seek and know God personally and to be aware that no one will love them as much as God does. And they’re also taught to not limit God. I just loved it. They had challenges with believing God, but purposed in their heart to do so anyway, and I thought their faith was portrayed realistically and honestly. At some point you have to choose what you believe, and I thought this novel does a fabulous job of showing that.

What I didn’t like:

I liked everything!

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, a wonderful novel that will make you sigh with the romance and grow your faith!

**I received this copy from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Monday Musings….What’s Romantic?

I’ve long since believed that the idea of what is romantic is subjective. I mean, if you google the top 100 most romantic movies, you’ll get all sorts of things. And while I may agree with 30% of them, there’s about 70% that have me bewildered. Adultery is not romantic, I think movies that don’t end in Happily Ever After are depressing, lust doesn’t last, and I don’t care for some kind of post-modern concept of romance where the couple is not quite together but together.

But, I love romance. I always have. So here is the basic recipe I think a book (or movie) needs to be really romantic:

-the hero and heroine know each other; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and because of that, they love each other

-no deception, no playing games

-respect; for each other and whatever positions they may hold

-the willingness and ability to sacrifice for the other; or just plain putting the other first.

So, here’s my list, what’s yours?

Is there anything you would add or change?

Mary Connealy’s Tried and True

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister–and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk–they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”–but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

Review

I’ve read a lot of Mary Connealy novels and I really loved the first five or six novels she ever wrote. Then however, it seemed (to me anyway) that she was kind of rewriting the same story over and over. But this novel? This novel was different and I so enjoyed it! I’m really excited to read the rest of the series! My thoughts:

What I liked:

The characters. Like all of them. I loved Aaron’s pragmatic ways. He’s not fooled by much of anything, I love that Kylie is all girl and yet strong in ways you can’t even begin to comprehend. Bailey seems so complex and I can’t wait to read her story. I know Shannon’s got something up her sleeve and I wonder what that’s all about. Matthew Tucker? Gage Coulter? Yes, please.

The romance. One thing I really like about every Connealy novel I’ve ever read is her emphasis on marriage. I believe people got married in those days and not always for love. Survival was often key, and I love how she shows that. But I also think that she was able to show Kylie and Aaron fall in love with each other throughout the book so that it didn’t feel like they were each other’s only other options.

The history. I learned something about land-grabbing in those days.

The humor. Occasionally, Ms. Connealy’s books can be a bit over the top. Not this one. It was cute and funny and made sense to me.

Spiritually, there is this great theme on forgiveness and how if you let hatred fester, it will turn into bitterness and pretty much destroy your life.

What I didn’t like:

You know what? I liked everything about this book.

Romantic Scale: 8

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

 

Sarah Sundin’s In Perfect Time

About

Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don’t want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.

Review

No one can give me my WWII fix quite like Sarah Sundin. With Ms. Sundin, I know I’m going to get accurate historical details, perfect flight maneuvers, and a slow-burning romance. Here’s my thoughts:

What I liked:

The delicately interwoven historical details in the novel. At no point did I feel like I was being constantly reminded that I was in the 1940s WWII era. Her characters just lived that time period. And WWII is a character itself as it takes people out of the war and brings new people in. And I learned something new!

We’re back with the old gang. Kay has been mentioned in the other two books in the series, and so I was excited to really meet her (and to catch up with Mellie and Georgie as well).

Kay. She’s a different kind of heroine who doesn’t start off like the other girls. Her past is a bit shady, and it really adds a different vibe to this novel that the others didn’t have. And yet, in spite of the fact that she’s not always on the straight and narrow, there’s a certain something about her that makes her trustworthy. I like that her personality is so well-developed in this book. By the end of it, you know what makes Kay tick and what words will upset her, and what makes her happy. She obviously changes and grows, but she manages to hold onto who she is.

Roger. I like Roger. I like that Roger has plans and goals and a past as well as a future. I like that he listens to God and is obedient and still has a hard time growing up. I mean, the man plays the drums. How original is that!

The romance. It was slow, and it was perfect. Roger finds Kay attractive, but he’s not interested in her at first and so the book does a fabulous job of bringing them together.

Spiritually, this book does a wonderful job showing what grace and God’s forgiveness actually looks like and how you have to walk it out.

What I didn’t like:

I think towards the end (the last four chapters) the book got kind of long, and I just wanted to flip through to get to the end.

Also, one thing I’ve noted is the age group of these single WWII nurses and pilots…they’re kind of old (28-30) for their era. Not that this impacts the novel in anyway. It just stands out to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed this last book in the series. I didn’t want to put it down. I found myself completely invested in Kay and Roger and I hope you will to.

Romantic Scale: 8.8

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Monday Musings…Books to Look Forward To!

I’m baaaack! I had a nice vacation and a nice break! Now, here are some books that are coming out (relatively) soon!

Raptor’s communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an “other than honorable” discharge. Plagued with corrupted intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms, or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.

 

 

 

 

A gift that has branded her for life

Zipporah is thirteen when the Spirit descends upon her, opening her eyes to a world beyond the physical goings-on of the villa outside Rome she has always called home. Within hours, she learns what serving the Lord can cost. Forever scarred after a vicious attack, she knows her call is to use this discernment to protect the Way. She knows she must serve the rest of her life at Tutelos, where the growing Roman church has congregated. She knows her lot is set.

Yet is it so wrong to wish that her master, the kind and handsome young Benjamin Visibullis, will eventually see her as something more than a sister in Christ?

Samuel Asinius, adoptive son of a wealthy Roman, has always called Benjamin brother. When their travels take them to Jerusalem for Passover, the last thing he expects is to cross paths with the woman who sold him into slavery as a child the mother he long ago purged from his heart. His sister, Dara, quickly catches Benjamin s eye, but Samuel suspects there is something dark at work.

When Dara, a fortune-teller seeking the will of a shadowy master determined to undermine the Way, comes into the path of Zipporah, a whirlwind descends upon them all.

Only the soft wind of the Spirit can heal their scars…with a love neither divination nor discernment could foresee.

After tackling her first mission and coming to terms with her power of empathy, Andrei and her fellow Remnants discover their first battles were only a taste of what is to come. As the Sons of Sheol continue their assault on the world, planning to keep all hope dead, the Remnant finds itself battling within its ranks. With everyone pursuing what they feel is the best course of action, trouble mounts—and Andrei finds herself in terrible danger at the hands of Kellach. The Remnants must travel to Italy and find a way to fight as one before it is too late.

 

 

 

Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney’s office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school–and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

 

 

 

 

Which Book Has Caught Your Fancy?