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Wrapping Up the Year

Books I read and didn’t review:

This book takes you back in time and to Italy in the fifth book of The River of Time series. The first half was really good, but I felt like the second half was kind of a repeat of what happened in all the other books and while I had no problem with a main character dying, I was not fond of the way he died.

Beautiful prose, lovely story line, but the heroine didn’t know what she wanted…so maybe I wanted to shake her a few times!

I don’t really like novellas, but this one was so cute!

Books I’ve been meaning to read:

How have I not read this book?

I started it, and then I got distracted. But I WILL read it!

So this one has been on my Kindle for over a year…yeah…but look at the cover. I want to read you.

How about you? Are there any books you would have liked to read this year, but just didn’t?

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Thomas Locke’s Emissary

About

Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam’s extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light–and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path–which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities–and dangers.

With lyrical prose that unveils a richly imaginative world, Thomas Locke takes readers on a journey into the Realm. There he invites them to awaken their sense of wonder. This cracking adventure moves like a contemporary thriller but harkens back to the enduring genre of classic fantasy.

Review

As you all know, I very much enjoy fantasy novels. But that doesn’t mean I’m not hesitant when trying a new author. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The World. Locke creates an entirely new world that has substance, history, language, and customs. And yet, I didn’t feel like the world was so complicated that I got lost.

The writing. It was very engaging and I was highly entertained. The novel has that sweeping feel that only fantasy novels can accomplish where you know the past matters and lines up with the future.

The characters. I’m so glad that the novel is only told from two people’s point of view, and when those people meet up, it merges into one person’s point of view. This way, as Hyam learned things about his world, we could learn things without juggling a lot of different story lines.

Hyam. He’s a great narrator. He’s a little bit older than most heroes who go on a journey like his, but it only serves him to make wiser decisions than a younger character. He’s very easily likeable and trustworthy.

Secondary characters. The novel has quite of few of these, but they all serve a purpose and not once did I feel like they were blending together. There is a romance, but it’s incredibly light. Like, I was super surprised by the characters’ feelings for each other even though I saw it coming. That said, this is one of those few books, where it was good without a romance. Had the romance been more prevalent, it would have only taken the novel higher.

Spiritually, I’ll be honest, I didn’t see any particular “christian” thing about this novel. In fact it has wizards, mages, and spells, which may or may not bother people (didn’t bother me).

What I didn’t like:

I think some people might find it slow in the beginning, but I thought it was fine.

Also, it did feel like a few things happened off screen that I wished I could have been a part of.

Romantic Scale: 5

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump and highly unmotivated to read lately, and this book was a nice read that had me excited and turning the pages quickly.

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

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We Interrupt These Proceedings….With My Book!

This past weekend, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I released a book! It’s been my dream really, to be picked up a by a publisher, and in spite of the fact that this book won second place in the Women of Faith Writing Contest in 2012, no agent or publisher seemed interested in it. And honestly, I just felt like it was time. I’ve been sitting on this manuscript and I have three others waiting, but I wait no longer. And without further ado (cover designed by Roseanna M White!):

Set in a small Mississippi town during the heart of the Civil Rights era, The Eyes of the Heart is a story about forgiveness, love, fear and hate. It is also a story about Edith Holden, a young woman living in the deep south who finds herself unwillingly confronted with racism, social injustice and her love for a man she is unsure she will ever have.

Reviews

“Wonderful historical fiction!  It is very well written and the story flowed from page to page. It grabbed my attention from the first page and never let go. The story was so real that I felt like I was there in the midst of it.  It would make for a great Hallmark movie. Enjoyed reading this book more than anything I’ve read in quite a while.”

— Pat Adkins, Field Support Specialist, Women of Faith

 

“Susberry’s compelling plot, engaging characters, and ear for dialogue combine to make this book a page-turner.”

— Meaghan Porter, Associate Editor for the Baugher Group

 

Wonderful story of how love is truly colorblind. Enjoyed the well-researched, historical setting of the south during the civil rights era.”

— Mandy Mullinix, Marketing Specialist for Gift Books, Thomas Nelson

(from the Women of Faith contest)

So why this book? Why this story? Two things:

1) As a kid (and an adult), I loved American historical fiction. My parents are vets, my sister is in the Navy. I bleed red, white and blue. I read the Dear America series, American Girl series, and anything by Ann Rinaldi, but the first book that changed my thinking was Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. It was the first book I read about black Americans where we weren’t slaves. As a black girl, it really changed my thinking and I learned how empowering it is to see yourself on the written page where for once your whole life is not about taking care of someone else. And so I had this book in the back of my head when I sat down and wrote this book.

2) And, I had just taken a Civil Rights class in college and was inspired by the sacrifices that those people made. Could I have done it, had I lived then? I don’t know. I like to think I would, but I know my personality…and that is how Edith Holden was born.

And so, if you have time, I ask that you read the book and share your thoughts on Amazon. I didn’t write this book to get rich, I wrote it to entertain and to be a blessing and it is my hope that it does so.

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Nadine Brandes’ A Time to Die

About

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system.

But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

Review

As many of you know who read my reviews, I’m a huge fan of YA. I had seen this book around, but I didn’t know much about it. Here’s my thoughts:

What I liked:

A unique setting. Dystopian really is so 2012, BUT, the author managed to create a new unique world that didn’t make me feel like I was reading a spin-off of another book (you know who you are Hunger Games!). Parvin’s world is not as “harsh” as other novels…so long as you have your clock. I really enjoyed the premise, and this being book one, I still have many questions.

An engaging plot. The book is interesting in the beginning, but it really takes off when Parvin gets cast through the Wall. Man, oh man, does she encounter some crazies. And I didn’t know what to expect. I think I was surprised on every side. Maybe I knew someone was going to die, but I didn’t ‘know how. Maybe I knew someone was going to come and help, but I didn’t know when. It was like, surprise, surprise, surprise.

Spiritually, I loved that Parvin has to learn to rely on God. She tries countless times to rely on other people, but at the end of the day when it comes to her surviving, its her and God.

What I didn’t like:

Parvin. I know. But she’s kind of a whiny narrator. Don’t get me wrong, if I were in her shoes, they would have found me curled up in a ball and crying somewhere. But, it meant that it was harder to like her. She never seemed happy with any situation that came up, someone always had to help her, and I found myself more often not rolling my eyes at her reactions. That said, I get the impression that she’ll be a little older and a little wiser in book two.

The romance. Ya’ll know me, I like my books with a generous dose of romance. There is something here, but I didn’t totally connect. I couldn’t understand why they were together other than the fact that he was a boy and she was a girl. But, at the same time the lack of romance wasn’t a real big issue for me since I was so concerned with what Parvin was going through.

Romantic scale: 5

Overall, this was definitely an interesting novel and I would recommend it. And I will say, I’ve been thinking about the mysteries that book one has not solved. But for me, some YA feels “older” and some YA feels “younger” and I will admit to liking the “older” YA books more. In order for me to love a “younger” YA, I have to really connect with the main character and I just didn’t connect with Parvin. That said, its different, really well written, and I think you would enjoy it if you picked it up!

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Reviews to Come Soon…

I’ve been working on something that’s big (at least for me!) and I fully plan on revealing it in the next few weeks. But, that thing has slowed me down as far as reviews. That said, here are some reviews you should expect soon:

How far would you go to save the ones you love?

Six years ago, impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.

Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He’s lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian’s true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.

Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spellbinding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.

Hyam is a likeable lad who will make a fine farmer someday. But he carries a burden few can fathom. As his mother slips toward death, she implores him to return to Long Hall, where he spent five years as an apprentice. It was there that Hyam’s extraordinary capacity for mastering languages came to light–and soon cast him into the shadows of suspicion. How could any human learn the forbidden tongues with such ease? When Hyam dares to seek out the Mistress of the Sorceries, her revelation tears his world asunder.

He has no choice but to set out on the foreboding path–which beckons him to either his destiny or his doom. An encounter with an enchanting stranger reminds him that he is part hero and part captive. As Hyam struggles to interpret the omens and symbols, he is swept up by a great current of possibilities–and dangers.

With lyrical prose that unveils a richly imaginative world, Thomas Locke takes readers on a journey into the Realm. There he invites them to awaken their sense of wonder. This cracking adventure moves like a contemporary thriller but harkens back to the enduring genre of classic fantasy.

Finally Returned Home, Reef McKeena
Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska’s arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

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. 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.

Emissary by Thomas Locke is a new one for me, but I love the fantasy. Are you interested in reading any of these?