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Jill Williamson’s King’s Blood

King's Blood (The Kinsman Chronicles Book #2) by [Williamson, Jill]

In the second volume of Jill Williamson’s Kinsman Chronicles, a remnant has escaped the destruction of the Five Realms and now lives on several hundred ships adrift at sea. As a flock, they sail north into the unknown in hopes of finding land that might become their new home.

As the king’s illness worsens, Sâr Wilek takes authority over the expedition and struggles to rule the disjointed people, while assassination attempts, vicious serpents, and dark magic endanger his life.

One prophecy has come to pass, but another looms dauntingly in the future. Who is this Deliverer? And if the Magonians have him, what might that mean for the realm of Armania?

Review

I will admit that I read the first book in this series and thought it was just okay. It was a good story with a lot of points of views and a lot going on. I was a bit hesitant to pick book two up, but then I decided to trust the author because I absolutely love her other books. Trusting the author was a wise decision. Here’s why:

What I liked:

The plot. If you’ve read book one, the Armanian people are in complete disarray living on boats. Believe it or not, this really worked for all the points of views the author is juggling. I knew the characters couldn’t get far; they were limited by the seas. It didn’t feel like I had hands in too pots. I found myself just as anxious as the main characters in hoping they would find land, devastated when the didn’t, and frustrated by the antics of some people. In other words, I was really, really invested.

Layers. This book is long. Long books are a good thing when the story is good and this story was good and filled with complex characters who are not just bad or good or from this side or that one. People change over time in this series. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not.

Characters. I loved Wilek. I loved Trevn. Both were characters I could trust as a reader, even when they made mistakes. And in spite of the fact that I read the first book ages ago, I found myself rarely lost in the company of these characters.

Romance. This book is somehow not a romance novel and yet people get married. It’s not a slow burn because people get married quickly.  But somehow it still managed to speak to my romantic heart and work for this book.

Spiritually, the novel deals with the importance of obeying God, especially when it seems foolish to do so. It made me stop and think about my actions.

What I didn’t like:

There was one or two point of view I found myself skimming through. Not everyone was as interesting.

That ending. It’s not that it was a bad ending (I just wasn’t sure how to categorize it). In fact, having read the Blood of Kings Trilogy which takes place some hundred years after this series, I was fairly certain what was going to happen. But it didn’t lessen the impact. Kudos to the author for making me care so much about these characters. But oh…how it hurt.

Romantic scale: 7.5

Overall, an excellent sequel! Most authors drop the ball on sequels because they’re trying to extend a story that doesn’t need extension. Not this book. The second book is better than the first and I eagerly await the third.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Male vs Female Authors

I like to think I am an open-minded reader, that I don’t care if the novel is written by a man or a woman so long as it is good. And while I believe that there is complete truth in that statement, I find that more often than not, I will not pick up a male writer because I read books for romance, and nine times out of ten (for me, anyway) women write better romance novels.

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My list of male romance authors is small. And when I say romance, I don’t mean books about other things that happen to have romance, I’m talking about bona fide romance. For a long time, I loved Gilbert Morris (particularly the Doc Cheney books), but he’s about all I can think of. So, with this in mind, I find that I actually pick up male written books less no matter the genre…unless someone tells me it’s good. It’s an inherent bias, I just realized I had.

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Does anyone else have any inherent biases they didn’t realize they had when it comes to authors and books? Are you like me and for some reason feel like male romance authors aren’t on the same par as female authors when it comes to women? Are there any awesome male romance authors you recommend? I would love to take some steps out of my comfort zone. Please share below!

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Dani Pettrey’s Still Life

Still Life (Chesapeake Valor Book #2) by [Pettrey, Dani]

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Review

I always enjoy a mystery by Dani Pettry. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The cast of characters. It’s rare that I enjoy a book with a large (more than 5) cast of characters. However, I always enjoy Dani Pettrey’s. Somehow she is able to create a dynamic group so that I am able to not only tell each character a part, but I enjoy seeing through their eyes. This is probably because her series almost always introduce all of the characters in the first book and maintains their arcs throughout the rest of the novels.

Romance. There is a main romance in this book and a budding romance for the next one. I was looking forward to the main romance and it wasn’t disappointing. Pettrey mostly set it up in the previous book, so it was nice to see it come together without any complications. And then I got to see the beginning of what I imagine will be the next main romance. All in all, perfect for this romantic heart.

Mysteries. There is one main mystery an ongoing mystery, and a newly introduced longer mystery. While two were more interesting to me than a third, the book still managed to keep me on my toes.

Spiritually, the novel deals with forgiveness and letting go of the past.

What I didn’t like

For some reason it took me a minute to get into this book, most likely because it’s been a year since I’ve spent time with these characters. But once I was in, I was in.

Also, the team split and one group solved one mystery while the other investigated the other. I found one mystery to be more fascinating than the other.

Overall, a very good read and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Romantic scale: 7.5

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Points of Views

I have noticed that I am solidly a minimum point of view reader. I don’t like to have too many opinions when I’m reading.

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If it’s a fantasy novel, I usually only want one voice because I’m learning the lay of the land. Switching povs midstream can at times be jarring.

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In a romance novel I can take two. And while there are always exceptions to the rule, anything more than three is just confusing.

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So, what are your thoughts on points of view? Is there a certain number that’s too many? Does it ever get confusing? Or is it just me?

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Laura Frantz’s A Moonbow Night

From the beloved author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little comes a new Kentucky novel…On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

Review

Laura Frantz is a wonderful author. She has a real talent for interweaving historical facts and events into a narrative effortlessly. I would argue that first she writes historical fiction and everything after that is secondary. My thoughts:

What I liked

History. I’ve mentioned this before, but Frantz is able to teach me about the Kentucky frontier of the 1770s without having me feel like I’m being taught. When I read her novels I do not skip paragraphs of facts, I slow down to take them all in because if she places it in her novel than it is important to the narrative that she is writing. This book is no different.

Sion. He’s one of those heroes you can trust. You know he’s going to make wise decisions and if, for some reason he doesn’t, he’s going to go back and fix it. Frantz made me trust him.

Temperance. I loved Temperance. She’s strong and capable and unafraid in a time where women weren’t considered such. I especially love that she manages to still come off as a woman of her time, even as she proves that she is able to survive on her own.

Relationships. There are layers and layers of relationships in this novel and uncovering each one was like tasting a different layer of a cake. It was rich and rewarding.

Diversity. I always appreciate novels that show more than one culture in a novel. I especially love it when the people of that culture are presented as complex individuals as opposed to being painted with one brush.

Spiritually, the novel deals with learning to trust God in the midst of grief and bad things happening. Heavy topics, but well worth reading.

What I Didn’t Like:

Pacing. It felt like I spent a good portion of the book waiting for it to start. I kind of wish the novel had skipped the first 35%.

Romance. Okay, Frantz usually shines in the romance department for me, but it didn’t work for me this time. The problem is that both of the main characters are hung up on other people…so much so, that I failed to notice when they started noticing each other. There were obvious moments where they were fascinated with each other, but I was so convinced of their love for other people, I wasn’t sure when they fell in love with each other.

The Last of the Mohicans. I don’t know if you’ve seen this movie, but I’ve seen this movie and this book very much reminded me of this movie. For me personally, after viewing this movie a few things stood out: there were parts I liked, parts I wish I could unsee, and at the end I was very confused as to the point (other than that life on the American frontier in the 1700s was hard). These thoughts were running through my mind.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, this is not a bad book. Let me make that clear. Once I started this book, I did not put it down. It just isn’t one of my favorites by this author.

**I received a copy from Revell. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Happy New Year!

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I hope you all had a blessed new year! As with every year, let’s talk about last year:

I read 250 books.

I did a few interviews, but not as many as I used to in previous years. I am going to attempt to do more of those this year. They can be a lot of fun!

Themes. I used to do a lot more themes before, but have since slacked off.

More book reviews. Yes.

Basically, last year can be summed up like a roller coaster, I had some highs with a lot of lows.

This year my goals are to:

Read 150 books. This number has dropped drastically over the years. I just don’t have the time anymore. But, I also found that I have been reading tons of secular novels, be they historical or Ya or mysteries. This means that I actually do not review a lot of Christian fiction because I don’t read as much of them as I used to.

Why? You ask.

Lately, I have found it to be kind of formulaic. I am always on the hunt for new ideas or old ideas presented in new ways and…I’m struggling to find Christian authors who present books in this way (though there are a few, and those I read!). Hence, this year, I will branch out more in the indie Christian field. That is my goal.

Writing more books. I am planning on writing more books this year. As to publishing them all at the same time…..yeah. It’s expensive to pay for an editor and my books are not selling at the point where things are breaking even, so I will still continue to publish one book a year unless a publisher picks me up or my books start selling. But, know that I am always, always writing and this month I will really get deep into the last book of my Tate series.

More blogging. This. I love this blog and I haven’t been acting like it lately. Things are about to change folks!

Anyway, may 2017 be a blessed year for all of us!