Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Dragonwitch


Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.


Dragonwitch is fabulous story-telling. Ms. Stengl did a wonderful job weaving together this fantasy tale that was complex and filled with depth. Her characters were all fully-fleshed out feeling like real people…ahem or cat that could just step out of the pages. I think Leta and Alistair were my favorite characters. I enjoyed the dichotomy that was Leta. There was practical Leta and rebellious Leta (which was not really all that rebellious). Watching her change and develop over the course of the novel always made the pages turn faster. But my heart just went out to Alistair, he seemed to sacrifice a lot for very little in return and he was such a good person! Romantically, I could see the romance, I could understand the romance. I would have liked for a bit more development and yet the novel didn’t exactly call for it. The only problem I had with this book, is that I haven’t read all the books in this series and so at times I felt lost. There seemed to be two stories going on at the same time, and I skimmed one and read the other one until they seemed to converge at the end. Therefore, if this is your first foray into this series (thankfully it wasn’t mine, I just haven’t caught up yet) then you will probably be very confused. Spiritually, (because this is fantasy, things are a bit different) I like the theme of when God calls, He equips, it doesn’t matter what things look like on the outside. Beautiful novel filled with adventure. Recommended!

**I received this novel from Bethany House. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Romantic Scale: 6.5/7

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Two Words: Cover love

Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits—and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior—on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

Regina Beswick is all about restoring old cars. But when Tanner Burkhardt asks her to restore an old nation, she must decide which destiny to follow. Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She is happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a local restoration shop. But the fairytale book, drawn by her great-grandma, makes her wonder if she’s destined for greatness. Tanner Burhardt, Minister of Culture for Hossenberg, believes Miss Beswick is the least likely candidate to be his country’s long-lost princess. It’s up to him to transform the strong-willed Southern girl into a reigning royal if he wants to save his nation. As Regina and Tanner return to Hessenberg to fulfill their destinies, Regina quickly learns that someone playing princess isn’t what’s needed. This is a full-time role for a nation on the brink of financial destruction. Unprepared for the responsibilities of running a country, Regina must look deep into herself and trust God if she is to fulfill her true destiny.

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Beowulf—a hulky, brindle-coated bullmastiff—is the only “boy” for Timbrel Hogan. And she has a history to remind her why. But when Timbrel, a handler at A Breed Apart, embarks on a mission to detect WMDs in Afghanistan, she reunites with Tony “Candyman” VanAllen and her no-other-man philosophy is challenged. While tension mounts between Timbrel and Tony, the team comes under fire after Beowulf gets a “hit.” When tragedy threatens Tony’s career and Timbrel’s courage, they must maneuver through an intricate plot and a mission like no other. . . .

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman, resorting to a mammoth hat pin for protection on her way to and from the school where she teaches. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast she quickly discovers she is no match for rum-soaked brute strength.

Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite jiu-jitsu, but it seems he has little choice in the matter. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But when Nick suddenly leaves town, Allison realizes he’s a fraud just like all the rest of the men she’s cared for. Does she dare love again?

The lushness of the glorious Gilded Age beautifully showcases Lessman’s passion as a writer in this engaging love story written with humor and heart. From the glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill to the seedy gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, Dare to Love Again is a journey to find a love that never fails. Fans will love revisiting the world of the cousins McClare, and new readers will seek more of Julie’s passion-filled novels.

Are there any you’re looking forward to in particular? I want to read all of them, but Beowulf is on my radar right now!

Posted in Contemporary

Jennifer Johnson’s A Wedding Song


Megan McKinney is being forced to re-evaluate Justin Frasure, her womanizing boss, since he became a Christian three months earlier. She finds her heart softening as his faith grows. Can he wait patiently for God to change her heart, or will his patience push her toward someone else?


This was such a cute romance, and really, it fits the day and times in which we live. When you read what this book is about you will know that there are two guys that Megan has to choose from (if you read the back of the novel, not just the Amazon description!) I don’t want to give away which guy Megan ends up with, but I was in full support of her choice from the first time I met the guy. That said, because there were two guys I found myself a bit stir-crazy and it took all I had not to flip to the ending to figure out who the winner was.  I found Megan to be a really good character and though there were moments that I wasn’t crazy about her reactions, they totally made sense. Spiritually, I loved the theme of being made new in Christ and how you have to see yourself as new even when others don’t. Also, there was great emphasis on forgiving people even when they don’t seem to be sorry. A good book, and a romantic read!

Posted in Contemporary

Gail Sattler’s The Path to Piney Meadows


Running from his frustrating life, Chad loses his way on Christmas Eve and soon
stumbles on the remote town of Piney Meadows. Before long, he falls in love with the
people of the Old Order Mennonite community, accepts a job, and settles into the
area. He is touched by the good people and their strong faith, even though he still
has a lingering dispute with God. Most of all, he is fond of Anna. The more he gets
to know her, the more he falls in love with her. But Anna is not happy in Piney
Meadows. The Mennonite community is changing, but it’s not changing fast enough for
her. She longs to move to Minneapolis to get a job, make her way in the world, and
find herself. Chad doesn’t want her to go, but Anna can only see the freedom she
imagines she will get in the big city. When she’s ready to leave he contemplates
leaving with her, but a personal crisis shakes Chad to his core. Feeling let down by
everyone—including God—Chad wonders if Anna will now desert him too.


Having read the first book in this series (The Narrow Path) and enjoyed it, I knew I had to get my hands on this one. Chad and Anna are introduced in the first book and I greatly enjoyed getting to know them. Chad, in my opinion, was a great hero because he was authentic and real. You could see him slowly beginning to rely on and trust God and to slowly fall in love with Anna. He had a past, but he did everything he could to rectify it. Anna, on the other hand, was a bit like a female Ted. In most Amish books, they portray the women as no nonsense women who have to learn how to have fun. Anna is no different. But she is a fully likeable character that you will root for throughout the novel. The romance in this book was my kind of romance. There was kind of a slow, easy burn that kindles toward the end. I so appreciated the fact that Chad and Anna became such good friends before they fell in love with one another. If I had a problem with this book, it would have to do with the Amish ways, and not the characters themselves. Spiritually, the novel dealt with issues of judging those who have already asked forgiven and learning how to accept that you are forgiven. It was a really good topic that worked well. This book was funny, sweet, at moments very real, and quite romantic. I think if you read this book, you will vastly enjoy yourself. Recommended!

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

Romantic Scale: 9.5

Posted in Historical

Felicia Mires’ Gypsy Duke


In the midst of the Napoleonic wars, another battle rages. The Duke of Somerset is soon to die, but he’s not about to give up control of his family. He changes his will, forcing his son and heir John to remain under the authority of a man dissipated by alcohol and perversion, Lord Bartholomew, the Duke’s brother.

When Bartholomew makes threats against the young woman John is supposed to marry and then challenges the betrothal, John take steps to protect Kitty. He forbids her from visiting the estate without her mother or father in attendance. He then assures her father, Earl Raeburn, that he intends to marry Kitty in three years, when he reaches his majority and takes control of the estate.

Uncle Bartholomew responds to this interference more violently than John anticipated. After two attacks against John’s life, his mother decides it’s no longer for safe for John to live on the estate. In the dead of night, they visit the gypsies, who have come to help with the harvest. After offering them a healthy bribe, they agree to flee the area, sheltering John in their caravan.

John hopes the letter he’s left Kitty will sufficiently explain the situation, but it doesn’t come close to meeting her romantic requirements of a love letter.

The three years pass much too slowly. John doesn’t belong with the gypsies, and they never let him forget it. He misses his mother and Kitty, the only two people who ever showed him acceptance or affection.

He’s finally ready to return to his estates, when he receives a visit from someone high in his majesty’s government. The whole world is at war with Napoleon, but someone from the gypsy caravan is supposedly offering vital information to the enemy. If John wishes to save the gypsies, he’ll have to prove their innocence. This means acting as a spy for the British government, something no gentleman duke would consider. When he doesn’t return at the appointed time, it could also mean the end of his betrothal to Kitty.

John is almost ready to reveal the guilty parties, when he receives word that Kitty has decided to launch a Season in London. With his bride available on the Marriage Mart, John is convinced he can no longer wait to return to acceptable society. At the first big costume party, John attends dressed as a gypsy and falls instantly in love with his own fiancee. Knowing Kitty’s desire for all things romantic, he begins a careful onslought of her heart. Capturing her attention is easy, following through with the wooing whilst managing a career as a spy is not. If John isn’t careful, he could lose alot more than his estates. He could lose Kitty and his life.

Being a Gypsy Duke isn’t easy with the threat of treason hanging over your head.


In my opinion a novel isn’t a regency novel just because of its time period. It all comes down to the ‘feel’ of the novel, and this book had it. Not once, as I read this novel did I feel like it wasn’t a regency. A great regency deals with class issues, ton parties, and romance. This book had it all. Initially, when I read the premise of the book, I thought to myself that it had a lot going on. But I was so surprised to see how Ms. Mires took a situation that I never would have considered in a regency and made it work. John was a good hero. You could see how the pressures of his situation forced him to make the decisions that he made. I will say, when he finally pursued Kitty, it was sweet in a corny kind of way that left me smiling. Kitty. I really liked her. She was spunky and fun without stepping out of her historical era. There was one moment where I was worried that she would let me down, but she fixed it. She was hands down, my favorite character to read. I enjoyed all the secondary characters and I found myself wanting to know more about the gypsies (ahem, especially in regards to a big reveal). There were a couple of regency nuances that I wasn’t sure were 100% correct, but these never bothered the story. Spiritually, I found it a bit odd that Kitty would marry John not aware of his lack of faith (though, perhaps, realistic), but I loved how she prayed all the time and let her faith rest in God and not in man. I also liked the slow way John became a believer. It had a real touch of reality to it. Great novel, especially if you love this era.

** I was asked to read this from the author, my opinion was not affected in any way.**

Romantic scale: 9

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Are Christian Reviews Biased?

The other day, I was talking to someone about the difference between Christian novels being reviewed and secular novels being reviewed. Often, I have noticed that for Christian novels, it appears that they are forgiven for faults that would not fly in a secular novel. On the other hand, I have seen some really harsh reviews for secular novels that could have said the same thing without being cruel or derogatory to the author. I am not saying that Christian novels are exempt from cruel people. I have seen these reviews too (usually aimed at Christian novelists because they share their faith). That said, I do think that there are a few Christian novels that have 5 star ratings on Amazon that are probably not true even amongst the reviewers.

For example, the secular world has this expression TSTL or too stupid to live. It’s applied to a main character who just acts with profound stupidity. Though I think it’s a harsh way to evaluate a character, it is honest and straightforward.

I guess my question is, are we too concerned with feelings when reviewing Christian novels? Or do we just rate them at a lower standard because they are Christian novels? Or am I making all of this up?

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday…Trish Perry

Trish Perry is not only a phenomenal writer, she is hilarious! I promise if you read her books you will be laughing the whole time. Here are some of my favorites:

I remember I read the back of this book and was pretty ambivalent about it. But let me tell you, so worth reading!


In the previous novels, there is one character who is so annoying. Trish Perry turned around and gave her, her own romance and made her an unforgettable heroine!

This novel isn’t all romance, but the storyline is fantastic!

A great series that had me laughing in the bookstore (for the record, I don’t do that anymore…read books in the bookstore :)).

If you haven’t tried Ms. Perry than you should. She has a great blend of reality, humor, and romance that will just make your day. Anyone have a favorite of hers?

Posted in Historical, Mystery/Suspense

Roseanna M. White’s Whispers from the Shadows


This exciting and adventurous romantic spy novel is the second book in a new series from Roseanna M. White. Whispers from the Shadowscombines fascinating cloak-and-dagger secrets with a tale of love and intrigue during the War of 1812.

Treachery causes Gwyneth Fairchild’s world to crumble. The daughter of a British general, she barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship to America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland, having been told by her father she could implicitly trust Winter and Bennet Lane, even though their nations are once again at war. After meeting their son, Thad, she wonders how safe she truly is when she discovers that the Lanes trade in a dangerous commodity–espionage.

Not long after Gwyneth finds refuge in his city, Thad Lane experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. With family playing the part of enemies and enemies proving themselves friends, a future with Gwyn is uncertain. But at this moment, with the British advancing on Washington and Baltimore, they have only their shared faith in God as a shield about them.


Simply Delightful! I enjoyed the first book in this series and so I knew I had to have the second one. And frankly, I think the second one was even better than the first one. This novel starts off with a bang and manages to stay intriguing the whole way through. First off, the secondary characters were amazing. I once heard that you have great secondary characters if there is a story behind them. Let me tell you, I wanted to read the story behind all of them: Philly, Alain, Emmy, Henry, Rose, and of course, Winter and Bennet. Winter and Bennet play big roles in this book and it was good to see them again and see how their family had turned out. Then there was Thad, who personally, I could find little fault with. I loved his relationship with the Lord. Not only did he hear from God regularly, he obeyed. I liked the way he treated his family and the way he treated Gwyneth. Though he had to learn to let God step in as opposed to himself, you can’t help but like a man who wants to be a hero. I will say, that for the first 20% (Kindle) of the novel, I kept wanting to shake Gwyneth and to tell her to get it together. But once she got it together, she was a joy to read and watch grow. I also found that she was a female character who showed strength (eventually) without stepping out of her time era. Spiritually, I love how the novel showed how she needed to stop depending on man to keep her safe. She needed to depend upon her heavenly father. The romance was really nicely done. It was sweet with a little spice. It didn’t overwhelm the novel and yet it was at the center of the novel. While this book was, to a degree, predictable, about half-way through there was this moment that completely surprised me. Loved it. I found this novel intriguing, fun, and different as it dealt with the War of 1812. If you love historical romance, you will love this book!

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

Romantic scale: 9.5/10