Tuesday, February 25, 2014


My friend is obsessed with dystopian and post-apocalyptic young adult novels.  She likes to give me lists of her favorites, and one of those, a newer one, is FIRSTBORN.  I was thrilled to receive a copy of FIRSTBORN by Lorie Ann Grover from Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze.  At first, I was worried this would be a bit cliché – girl disguised as a boy.  I quickly learned that wasn’t the case.

The world building was spectacular.  I really felt as if I was there with the main character, Tiadone.  Her world is dominated by men and they feel that women are worthless.  Firstborn females are put to death.  One race conquered another and have forced their ways upon them.  I loved how that topic was incorporated, since that has happened all across history. 

I enjoyed the fast pace, the energy that empowered each page.  Many of the chapters were short so they kept me reading up until late at night.  I also liked how it felt as though it existed in the past, rather than as a dystopian.  It is, however, still a dystopian.  I highly recommend this for young adults, as it help to make people think about what self-worth is really about.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I received a copy of DOON by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.  This is an exciting young adult fantasy from cover to cover.  While reading it at work during lunch, I was asked what it was about. 

It is about Scotland.  I have a pen pal in Scotland, and her description of beautiful countryside coincide wonderfully with this novel.  The authors describe Scotland in such a way that you can almost taste the wind, and by the end, you definitely want to take a trip there.

It is about Doon.  Doon is sort of the Scotland of the past.  I got some weird looks at that explanation, but that’s the only way I can think to explain it, and I find that pretty cool.  It wasn’t strictly the past, which added an original twist.

It is about Veronica.  Veronica is the main character.  She has a complicated past, but she is a strong young woman readers can look up to.  She also made the book fun with her delightful personality.

It is about Jamie.  Any good young adult novel has to have a romantic character, of course.  Our romantic boy is Jamie, who hails from Doon.  He’s the crown prince there – how cool is that?  Sadly, though, I would have liked to see more of their relationship develop.  It felt more Telling, rather than Showing, and I never got a strong sense of their connection. 

Overall, it is about an adventure for young adults.  Since it is the first book in the Doon series, I’ll keep my eyes open for book two.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Draw of Kings

I received a copy of A DRAW OF KINGS by Patrick W. Carr from Bethany House.  This is the third book in The Staff & the Sword series.  It’s the first I’ve read, but I’ll definitely look for the others.  If I would have to pick one word to describe A DRAW OF KINGS, it would be fun.  This book was outright fun to read. 

It’s been described as a fantasy novel set in a medieval world – two of my favorite things.  I can’t get enough fantasy and I always have a soft spot for history.  I’m sure it would help if I had read the first two books in the series, since I was confused on a couple areas and at first had a hard time grasping the setting, but the story flowed, and by the end, I loved the author.  Sometimes moments led up to revelations, and I think they would have had more meaning had I read the other books. 

This book really grips you.  The pace is fast and you can’t wait to see what happens to Errol next.  This is Christian fiction at its finest, for it makes you think and question.  This is tops on my list for Christian fantasy now.  

Candle Bedtime Bible

I received a copy of CANDLE BEDTIME BIBLE: THREE, FIVE, AND TEN-MINUTE STORIES by Karen Williamson from Candle Books via Kregel.  Christine Tappin is the illustrator.  This is a children’s Bible, but colorful pictures and simple, yet engaging, retellings of Bible stories.  Each story has sheep image at the top with the amount of time it takes to read the tale – three, five, or ten minutes.  That’s perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time, but still want to fit in one more. 

I especially like this from a teacher’s standpoint.  Children can build their reading self-esteem by working up to the more complex stories.  Reading the shorter ones won’t feel so overwhelming.  From a more religious standpoint, the Bible stories written for children will help them to understand what they heard in Church.  They can go home and read what was just covered, and comprehend the material on their own level. 

I highly recommend this to instructors and parents.  With the colorful cover, this makes an excellent gift, and can bring children and adults together for hours of Biblical, literary enjoyment.  My family and I read this together, for we enjoy comparing and contrasting different Bibles.  I will be passing it on to a friend and coworker, who has a seven-year-old son.  I gave him a different children’s Bible and he found great pleasure in reading from it before bed.  Hopefully he will enjoy this one as much if not more.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February Author

Kissed by Literature: Welcome back, Grace!  This time you’re here with a different book, HIS RIGHTHAND MAN.  I actually remember reading this one when we were part of a critique circle together.  I’d never gotten to the end, and oh my, was I not disappointed.  In your own words – since they did write the story – what is this about?

Grace M. DeLeesie: Hi! Good to be back. I love this book, “His RightHand Man”. I think it truly shows how a strong a woman’s will is to protect her loved ones.

Angela of Rom takes the place of her sickly brother in the Arohian army, where she comes face-to-face with Captain Konner of Hoyts, also known as the Giant of Hoyts. Over the months of training and pretending to be male, Angela befriends Konner and starts to fall in love with him. Konner, however, believes her to be a him, and that is only one of the obstacles in their way of their HEA ending.

KBL:  Fascinating.  Would you call this a romance or a fantasy?

GMD: Honestly, I think it is both. I created the world in which this book takes place but it is also a love story; therefore I call it “fantasy romance”.

KBL:  Did you need to do a lot of research for this book? 

GMD: I had to research the art of archery. I didn’t know terms like “notch” or a “sharp” bow verses a “long” bow. Also, how they cared for their bows and made their arrows. It was very interesting.

KBL:  Do you hold a special place in your heart for your characters?

GMD: I love Angela and Konner together. They are both such strong characters, and the more they fight the more they love the other. I couldn’t imagine them being any other way.  

KBL:  Which character has been your favorite to write about?

GMD: Oh, a tough one! There are so many great characters introduced in “His RightHand Man”, but I think my favorite would have to be Angela. She’s got this strength about her and, no matter what, follows her gut.

KBL:  How do you come up with the names of your characters?

GMD: Konner has always been a favorite boy’s name for me; I changed the “C” to a “K” because I love the nickname “Kon”. Angela just fit with who she is; it’s girly but determined too. Her two sisters, Philipa and Shawndra, are actually dedications.

KBL:  Here is your chance, readers, to fall in love with Angela and Konnor for yourself.  Grace will be giving away a copy of HIS RIGHTHAND MAN to one of you.  All you need to do is comment here before April 1st – and no, this is not an April Fools Joke – and make sure to leave your email address.  Grace will choose the winner on April 1st.  Good luck, and may the romance steal you away.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Jori of Hayview Manor

As a child, I loved Anne of Green Gables.  I first learned about Anne-with-an-E when my mother made me watch the movie with her.  As she likes to say, it’s the only movie she cries for each time she sees it.  Later on, we read the book together, and in junior high, I read the rest of the Anne series.  I loved Anne’s kindness and imagination, and I loved how she named her home.  Years later when my parents built their house, I knew it had to be named. 

We spent days brainstorming names.  Some sounded too silly, some sounded too difficult to remember.  We tried a few out on unsuspecting victims; how odd those people must have thought us. 

The house was built on a hay field – most of the front yard is still a hay field.  We decided on Hayview Manor as the name for our house.  Someday, we’ll make a plaque for the yard, and paint the mailbox, but for now, it’s enough to be Jori of Hayview Manor. 


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rich in Years

I received a copy of RICH IN YEARS: FINDING PEACE AND PURPOSE IN A LONG LIFE by Johann Cristoph Arnold from Plough Publishing House via Handlebar.  This book takes a look at growing older, through a spiritual and religious backdrop.  It is broken into short sections, each headed by a picture and quote, that draws you deeper into thought.  I kept nodding my head as I read, and only shook it during the foreword when nursing homes are discussed.

My family faced a very hard decision as to whether or not to place my grandmother, who suffers from dementia, into a nursing home.  We took care of her at home for over ten years, but times kept growing more trying.  She stopped trusting us, would try to flee, and would call for help, even when we were in the other room.  When working less and hiring aids failed, we realized we had no other choice but to keep her safe by placing her in a “home.”  It is still a decision we regret, but one we still can’t remedy. 

With that point aside, I looked at this book through the eyes of my grandmother.  Her childhood friends are gone, and many of the other residents in her wing has passed on.  She’s also grown more religious with each passing year.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels old or wishes to take a fresh look at life.