Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Traitor's Heir

I received a copy of THE TRAITOR’S HEIR by Anna Thayer from Lion Fiction via Kregel.  It is the first installment of the Knight of Eldaran series.  First off, I fell in love with the cover.  There is so much going on – cloaked figures in the background, flames a-flying.  Plus, the guy looks like the Arrow, aka Oliver Queen, from the television series and also a lot like my boyfriend. 

Now for the book.  It was good, but it wasn’t great.  There was a lot going on inside the cover, so I loved that.  Intrigue, danger… I was excited to see what happened next.  Yet, the writing fell a little flat.  At times it seemed too wordy, as if the author was trying too hard to make it epic.  As an author myself, I noticed problems in the text that editors have steered me away from.  There were many passive phrases and adverbs.  For example, on page 63, “closely” and “carefully” are in the same sentence, right next to each other in fact.  It seemed like too much Telling rather than Showing.

I do recommend this for fans of action and fantasy stories.  The storyline was great; I just couldn’t get into the writing.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rope of Sand

I received a copy of ROPE OF SAND by C. F. Dunn from Lion Fiction via Kregel.  I’ve read other books by C. F. Dunn and found them just as enjoyable.  There is plenty of on the edge of your seat action, not to mention unforgettable characters.  The characters have their own quirks, which makes them memorable.  You feel as if you know them in real life and they also remind you of people you do know.

ROPE OF SAND is the third book in the Secrets of the Journal series.  I became hooked on the series for the simple fact that I love journals.  Opening them is a journey to the past with all the juicy secrets included.  As I have read the other books, I cannot say if this works as a standalone novel, but you do need to understand the characters and setting. 

In this novel, Emma is back in America, and she’s with Matthew.  It isn’t all fun and games, for a few things are getting in the way of their relationship.  This book does have love themes, but I didn’t really like the relationship all that much.  Perhaps it should have been more fully fleshed out – and I don’t mean that in a sexual way. 

Overall, an excellent story, one that should be enjoyed.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Captured by Love

I received a copy of CAPTURED BY LOVE by Jody Hedlund from Bethany House.  This is the third novel in the Michigan Brides series.  I haven’t read those, but I will look for them after this. 

I knew I would enjoy this novel, as I enjoy Jody Hedlund’s writing.  Once again, I was transported back in time and held captive from the first chapter to the last.  The action and romance flow to the last page.  Some novels dwindle and leave that final chapter as a wrap-up, but this one keeps right at it.

The British Army occupies Michilimackinac Island.  Pierre is a fur trader and his love interest is Angelique.  Actually, one of my favorite aspects of the books was learning the history of this island (which is now known as Mackinac Island).  From reading the note at the end of the book, I see that it is a real place and a tourist attraction. 

I’ve only been to Michigan once, for a cousin’s wedding, but I definitely want to go back just to see if some of these endearing characters still exist (I know they don’t, but it would be fun to imagine).  I will especially have to visit the island.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Get to Know Mary

I received a copy of GET TO KNOW MARY by Nancy I. Sanders from ZonderKids via BookSneeze.  It is a full-color biography for kids all about Mary, mother of Jesus.  I was intrigued to find out more about Mary, especially the history surrounding the time she lived.  This book, short at only 103, fully exceeded my expectations.

The cover itself is catchy – a young Mary smiles while shopping at a market.  Most pictures of Mary include a solemn, peaceful woman.  This picture makes her seem like the type of person you would like to sit down with and chat together over a cup of tea. 

The book itself follows her life starting with her birth and travels to when Jesus rises from the dead.  It includes definitions that might be confusing to children, such as “carpenter,” but some of them I didn’t know, such as “bride price.” 

The book also includes maps and timelines.  I highly recommend GET TO KNOW MARY for adults, teenagers, and children.  It is perfect for reading a chapter a night.  It is also great for classroom settings.  My teacher mind kept spinning over ways to incorporate projects. 

There are other biographies in the series for those who are interested in learning more about important Biblical figures.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I received a copy of THE PRINCESS WITHIN FOR TEENS: DISCOVERING YOUR ROYAL INHERITANCE by Serita Ann Jakes from Bethany House.  This is an excellent book for teenage girls, although I’m worried they won’t be apt to read it unless it is assigned to them.  The book does have a catchy cover, but it also has the look of a textbook. 

THE PRINCESS WITHIN uses religion and fairy tales to help teenage girls think about how to live their life as proper young ladies.  I say “proper,” since the book does focus on royalty. 

The book has catchy chapters, like, “Wash off those Cinders!”  I highly recommend this to Sunday school teachers and parents who are hoping to help their young women lead fulfilling lives.  Once you start reading, those catchy chapters and fast-paced sentences help to fly the book along. 

You can tell that Serita Ann jakes cares about her writing and helping others.  You can also tell from her picture on the back cover that she’d a wonderful person.  I researched her and saw that she has another THE PRINCESS WITHIN book.  That one is geared toward “Restoring the Soul of a Woman.”  I’m intrigued to see what lies within those covers.