Multiple Mini Reviews

I’ve read a couple of books lately that I recommend, but just couldn’t find a way to fit them in review-wise, at least not for a while. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on them!

This is an American Revolution Romance novel that was very cute. Don’t worry about getting lost in historical details, its very romance focused, and put together really well. The only problem I had was that we were reminded that the heroine was so fair a lady…a couple of times. But read it, it’s lovely.

I’ve said it before, I’m not a huge Amish fiction fan, but this retelling of The Scarlet Letter was getting some rave reviews. It’s good, folks. Really really intense, drama out the ying yang,( though not entirely surprising if you’ve read The Scarlet Letter) and yet very good.

Anyone else a Christy and Todd fan? I was excited to get my hands on this novel. One thing Ms. Gunn does well is portray realistic romance and here we’ve got a realistic marriage. I definitely learned a thing or two for when I get married (one day!). For me, it was a bit slow in parts, but overall very exciting to read.

Monday Musings…What’s On Your Radar?

For me, the countdown begins for:

I can’t even describe how much I want this book. I think it all began when the previous one ended. This series has truly surprised me. The first book was just ok for me, the second book was amazing, and I’ve already heard great things about this one. So, if you haven’t started this series, get to it!

This is another 3rd book in a series. I love the way Ms. Sundin does history, and the development of her romances are always a treat!

Ms. Weber is a debut novelist, but not only has she been reviewed by Christian readers and loved, she’s been reviewed by secular readers and loved. And I’m thrilled that Christian novels are getting this kind of attention. Who knows the impact this book could make?

What are you counting down the days for?

 

Ronie Kendig’s Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill & Collateral Damage

About

They never should’ve existed.  Now they don’t.  In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians—women and children—died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall.  Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace—yet still haunted by the past. Terrified of being discovered.   Five years after that horrific night, they’ve begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten.  Until two of them are murdered.

 

About

They want answers. They want redemption. And they want to live.   Five years ago, six soldiers made American military history as the first all-female Special Forces team, named Zulu. A tragic mistake in Misrata, Libya, leaves twenty-two innocents dead and Zulu fleeing for their lives. Now Jessica Herring and Candice Reyna are dead at the hand of an assassin, and Keeley Shay clings to life in a hospital. The last three Zulu members are forced into a fight for answers, for redemption, and for their very lives.  Annie Palermo and Téya Reiker had settled into their hidden identities when their lives are upended and their loved ones attacked. Annie’s flame, Samuel Caliguari, is a former Navy SEAL who can hold his own, but the attack leaves Annie livid—and fleeing once again. When Téya’s Amish loved ones are threatened, she must also hide. But how can she not go back and protect these peace-loving people, no matter the risk?  Nuala King never really settled after Misrata, and she can’t shake the horror of the disastrous mission, the lives lost, or the terrible nightmares that still haunt her.  Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and his right-hand man, Chief Warrant Officer Boone Ramage, struggle to hold the Zulu remnant together. They must track down who hit the team and deliver justice to the enemy—if Sam Caliguari and relentless Army intelligence analyst Lieutenant Francesca Solomon don’t get them all killed first. . . .

Review

If you haven’t heard of this 5-part series that is being released by Ronie Kendig, I’m here to tell you all about it…and to get it, cause it’s good!. I love that it’s serialized, how very Dickens of Ms. Kendig. I did decide however, not to review each one separately, but to do them in multiplies. My thoughts on the first two:

This novel starts off with a bang right away. I was immediately pulled in and I cared about all the girls on the Zulu team. There’s a lot of information that you don’t have, but that’s okay, because quite a few of the main characters don’t have them either. I was, at one point, worried how the author would manage all of the characters and their points of view, but I’m worried no longer. Somehow, in spite of the fact that there are a lot of characters, I’m not getting lost or losing the thread of the novel. If, like me, you’re wondering if she has some romance in this book, I can tell you she does, I cannot tell you much more since I haven’t finished the series. Long and short of it? Start this series, first part is free, second part you won’t want to put down.

**I received these copies from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

 

 

 

Elizabeth Camden’s With Every Breath

About

In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston’s respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she’d hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.

Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor’s closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.

As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

Review

In my opinion, Elizabeth Camden writes some of the best heroes. Somehow her men manage to be unique and different and stay true to themselves no matter what happens. It’s no different with this book, except that this time, the heroine is a complete match.

What I liked:

The heroine!. So rarely do I like heroines. The men always seem like perfection and they are matched very often with whiny women with no backbone. Not here! In this book, all I kept thinking is what would Trevor do without Kate? She was wonderful. She was lighthearted where he was serious. She was thoughtful where he was too focused. And she was equally as brilliant as he was.

The hero. Again, Ms. Camden writes the best leading men and Trevor is no different. He’s brilliant, he’s unfriendly, he doesn’t understand people. He has secrets (which are the most incredible things). And he recognizes and knows the call God has on his life and will not put anything else above it. But most of all, he doesn’t change even as he falls in love with Kate (sometimes unfriendly heroes turn into saps as they fall in love).

The set up. I loved that Kate and Trevor are so smart and have this history of not liking each other, and yet when they start working together it’s magic. You, the reader, believe great things will come out of their fight for a cure. And oh, how the study of Tuberculosis will tug on your heart.

The romance. Because Kate and Trevor have this past, the romance is slow to develop, but in a good way. Their friendship with each other is beautifully established. I loved their conversations. Their back and forth made me laugh several times. Also, I didn’t feel like the author contrived a reason for keeping them a part. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I come across reasons that make sense for a couple not getting together, but there was a good reason here.

They mystery. It’s kind of creepy and totally captures my attention.

Spiritually, there is the theme of not allowing fear to dictate your future.

What I didn’t like:

I loved everything about this book. Some people might think the pacing is slow. Not me.

Overall, loved it.

Romantic Scale: 9

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

 

Monday Musings….What’s the Last Book You Read, That You Couldn’t Put Down?

Personally, the best books are books that invite you into their world and you just don’t want  to leave. You find yourself tuning out the world, trying to do chores faster, and doing your best to convince yourself not to read at every stoplight as you drive. And so I ask you, what is the last book that you read that you simply couldn’t put down? For me, it was Elizabeth Camden’s With Every Breath (review this week). For you it may not be a recent read. So,what book captured you?

Jody Hedlund’s Captured by Love

About

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.

Review

Jody Hedlund has become a frontrunner for writing  historical romance novels. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The setting. I liked that we’re presented with a different place and time for the American Revolutionary War. I was not familiar with this island in Michigan or this British military fort.

Angelique. Though there were times she made me a bit frustrated, I liked that she wasn’t your ordinary heroine. A lot of heroines claim to be tomboys, but Angelique really is, and becomes rather trustworthy when it comes to survival.

Pierre. I liked Pierre because he isn’t exactly like most heroes. He kind of only cared about himself. Sometimes this made me wonder about this guy, but it was realistic and very true to who he was.

The romance. I thought Pierre and Angelique managed to have a lot of chemistry. I’m not sure why, but I was definitely turning to the pages in this book.

Spiritually, the theme is trusting in God and not in your own devices. Both Pierre and Angelique try to make things happen without relying on God and learn that they get lost that way.

What I didn’t like

There is a love triangle that adds to the novel is an unflattering way. A couple times it threw a wrench in the story that just didn’t make any sense to me.

Romantic Scale: 8.9

Overall, a very easy, fast read that’s very cute and though it wasn’t my favorite Jody Hedlund, her writing is so amazing you’ll still be pulled in and want to stay.

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

Tessa Afshar’s In the Field of Grace

About

Destitute,
grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with
nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide
enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. But
God has other plans for her life.

While
everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a
widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign
woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his
Cousin Naomi’s chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from
harm, but his heart knows better.
 
Based on
the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that
ultimately changes the course of Israel’s destiny and the future of the whole
world.

Review

I will admit that though Ruth is a phenomenal woman to read about in the Bible, her story is often retold and has since lost some of its luster. Here are my thoughts on Ms. Afshar’s version:

What I liked:

The best parts of the novel to me, were the parts that were of Afshar’s invention. Everything that was created outside of the Bible story, I found to be fascinating, particularly Boaz’s back story.

The fine details. The details of this book is what separates it from other retellings because it manages to bring Bethlehem and Moab to life, allowing the reader to really see what life must have been like in those times. With every Afshar novel, I find myself learning more and more unique things about the Jewish culture than I had not known.

The chemistry between Boaz and Ruth. It was so nicely done. You could see them falling for each other slowly, and also see what felt like, obstacles in their way.

I also liked the way that Ruth begins to win over the hearts of the Israelites, almost one day at a time.

Spiritually, Boaz has to learn to let go of his fear and place his trust in God and Ruth comes to know God in a real way.

What I didn’t like:

A lot of moments felt like they were almost verbatim from the Bible. And while that’s not a bad thing, I just found myself more or less drawn to the creative and unique tidbits of the novel that enhanced the Biblical narrative rather than the parts that were the Biblical narrative itself.  

Romantic Scale: 8

Overall, though not my favorite novel by Ms. Afshar, still a beautiful retelling.

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

Monday Musings…2015 Books!

Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever.”

Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge

A twenty-first-century doctor travels back in time to third-century Carthage to rescue her husband, but the arrival of a deadly epidemic forces her to make an impossible choice in this fast-paced second novel in The Carthage Chronicles series.
Dr. Lisbeth Hastings salvaged two things from her accidental trip to the third century: her mother’s stethoscope and her child. Making a life for her daughter Maggie back in the present is difficult, but returning to ancient Carthage is impossible. However, when Lisbeth learns her husband is slated to die a martyr’s death, she must find a way around the impossible to save him.
Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. When Ruth, an old friend, proposes he marry her to restore his position and protect his estate, the disgraced nobleman accepts. But when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church.
As Lisbeth and Cyprian reunite to battle a new epidemic and save the oppressed community of Christians, the chasm between the two of them seems too wide to bridge. But when Maggie contracts typhoid, Lisbeth must choose: stay and save the man she loves, or return home and save her daughter?
Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this incredibly compelling adventure of star-crossed lovers will keep you engrossed with every turn of the page.

A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who can help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing for good.

An Irish-born son far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and start a farm, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the annual Drayton Stakes at Nashville’s racetrack––the richest race run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance, and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder, Maggie’s father––aging, yet wily as ever––makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail––Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

Cullen and Maggie need each other in order to achieve their dreams. But their stubborn, wounded hearts––and the escalating violence from a “secret society” responsible for lynchings and midnight raids––may prove too much for even two determined souls.

Lots to look forward to!

Kristy Cambron’s The Butterfly and The Violin

About
A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest
corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the
altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction
reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a
painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William
Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the
key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly
unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von
Bron.

A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and
daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything
when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of
prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds
beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in
the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Review
WWII seems to be a time period that is picking up now and I for one love to hear stories about the brave men and women of that time. So here’s my thoughts:

What I liked:

The premise. I love a backwards mysteries, where the main characters start with the end and have to unravel things to get back to the beginning. I particularly liked the idea of starting with a painting, it manages to give the novel this haunting feel to it.

The history. I love history and I love it more when I feel like I’ve learned something I never have before. And I learned a couple things about Auschwitz that I hadn’t ever heard of.

Spiritually, there is the beautiful theme of hope and the plans that God has for your lives, even when outside circumstances come along and try to derail those plans.

What I didn’t like:

The romance. Because you have two stories running side by side, generally, I have found that the romance can suffer. For me, that was the case, but only because some things happened so quickly. I just wasn’t as invested, I think, as the author wanted me to be.

Adele’s story. I’m no expert on Nazi Austria, but I was really curious if they would have treated someone with Adele’s stature the way they treated Adele. And also, Adele manages to maintain her innocence and naivete as she goes through and sees some horrendous things. Some people might consider that refreshing. I found it unusual. At some point I felt that she should have toughened up.

Romantic Scale: 7.5

Overall, another beautiful look at WWII history. It’s not exactly fun to read (due to the serious content), but it is a fascinating read.

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

Jaye L. Knight’s Resistance

About

“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.

Review

This book was blowing up my Twitter feed some weeks ago, so I went ahead and downloaded it on my kindle to see if it was worth all the hype. It was! My thoughts:

What I liked:

Amazing world building. I love it when fantasy authors build layers upon layers of a world filled with different languages, different people, mixed with different likes and prejudices. It really brings novels like this to life.

The problem. What you have here is a kingdom that is trying to stamp out faith in the true God and it’s done in such a way that is completely believable and has shades of reality in it.

It’s long, and yet it feels like the pages fly by. A fantasy novel, in my opinion, loses its credibility if its under 300 pages (some people like short books, I adore long novels). And yet, I wasn’t ready for it to end.

The characters. They stay with you. I found myself thinking about them even after I had finished the book:

       Kyrin and her brother. Loved them. I love how committed they are to each other and the sacrifices they are willing to make on each others behalf. I was very involved in their relationship and very concerned that one or the other might not make it out of this book alive. And Kyrin is a great heroine. She’s strong, she can fight, she’s gifted, but she sticks to her faith and she doesn’t waver and so she becomes a heroine I can trust.

     Jace is a very interesting character. He has this heritage that is really doing him no favors, and yet he’s the one you want around in a fight. I liked Jace. You can’t help but like Jace. I will say, though, that at times I did wish he was proud of something about himself.

    The secondary characters are amazing and will have you on pins and needles.

The romance. It’s not quite developed in this book. In fact, Kyrin and Jace don’t meet until around 70% of the novel. But surprisingly enough, though I was anxious for them to meet, I never felt the need to skim to get there. I was very involved in what they were occupied with. But when they do meet, I really like how their relationship begins to unfold. And I’m eager to see more between them.

Spiritually, I love the idea of standing up for your faith, even if it means death. The novel beautifully portrays what faith looks like.

What I didn’t like:

   I think we have to wait a whole year for the next book. :(

Romantic Scale: 5

Overall, a wonderful fantasy novel that will completely pull you in.