Posted in Book reviews

“The Traitor’s Pawn” by Lisa Harris ~ Book Review

 

The Traitor's Pawn

About the Book:

When FBI agent Jack Shannon arrives in Corpus Christi, Texas, he is focused on one thing: find the man who has been selling encrypted government secrets to the Chinese through online birding chat rooms. But when a senator is shot during a hunting trip and the woman he was with is abducted, Jack agrees to join the search–especially when he discovers that the kidnapping victim is Aubrey Grayson, a woman he was once in love with.
As the search continues, it becomes clear the senator may not have been the intended victim–and Aubrey may be connected to the other case Jack is supposed to be working on. Can Jack untangle the knots before it’s too late? And when he learns the truth, will it be too painful to get past?
Join the hunt for the truth–and a traitor–in this tension-laden story of secrets, betrayal, and second chances.
 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Once again, author Lisa Harris captures her audience with a riveting and meaningful suspense novel! It starts out with a bang and keeps on moving till the very end, without being too overwhelming which I appreciated. It was exciting, and the plot draws you in just waiting to see how it will all turn out. And the faith message was very well done. I loved the importance put upon forgiveness at the end, and how it impacted the characters.The characters were all very well developed, and I had no problem relating to them. The plot all wrapped up nicely at the end, though I am curious as to what happened to Rachel…that wasn’t entirely laid out but I’m guessing I can make my own conclusions based on what did happen. All in all, an enjoyable novel!

 
This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group (Revell), through Interviews & Reviews.  

Posted in Book reviews

“Joseph’s Boy” by L. R. Hay ~ Book Review

Joseph's Boy

Joseph’s Boy by L. R. Hay

Middle grade Biblical Fiction

Review copy provided by the author

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Funny, adventurous and moving kids’-eye take on the first Christmas – aimed at preteens, sneakily enjoyed by adults!
Jamie had BIG dreams. He wanted to be a prince. He wanted his dad to marry a lovely young woman called Mary. He wanted an army of little brothers and sisters who would look up to him and think how clever and important he was.
But at *no point* did he expect one of them to be a long-awaited king, destined to reign forever. Nope. Not part of the plan…
JOSEPH’S BOY is the first of The Young Testament, a fun, accessible series of full-length books on the Jesus story, from the viewpoint of the children and young people involved.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

“Joseph’s Boy” is a story about Jamie. Joseph’s hypothetical first son (As the author points out in the beginning, Jesus would have been born first to Mary and Joseph but for this story she had it be that Joseph has Jamie – James – from a pervious marriage so as to have an “eye-witness”, if you will, to the occurrence of Jesus’ birth, but yes in truth, that didn’t happen. I think it would be important to stress this to any children reading). It is a cute story, simply told with Jamie adventerously discovering it all. I did feel that maybe it was a little too light-hearted at times. Yes, we need to keep children entertained, but the account of Jesus is so marvelous, so serious that I feel like to downplay it could be harmful. I would definitely suggest a parent (or older sibling, mentor, etc.) reading this story aloud and to then discuss the real account as they go, so our children grasp the importance of this miraculous event of Jesus’s coming to dwell with us.I did really appreciate the history the author shared at the end, and that she was clear that Jesus’ birth didn’t occure on December 25th. The author is clearly well researched and I was glad of that! It’s rare to find this fact shared. Overall, I enjoyed this read, though as mentioned would recommend someone to read along with the child and share the Biblical account.

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Thank you so much to the author for providing a copy of this book for review!

 

Posted in Book reviews

“Star of Persia” by Jill Eileen Smith ~ Book Review

Star of Persia: Esther's Story

 

“Star of Persia” by Jill Eileen Smith

Biblical/Historical Fiction/The Account of Esther

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

In an effort to complete a war his father had planned to win, King Xerxes calls every governor, satrap, and official in his vast kingdom to his palace in Susa to strategize and feast. When they finally leave, he decides on one more week of frivolity, which ends in the banishment of his favorite wife, something he never intended to do. But when he discovers Esther, Xerxes is sure he has a second chance at happiness.
In her wildest dreams, Esther could never have imagined that she would end up as queen of Persia. Yet she knows better than to become complacent. Another of Xerxes’s wives is vying for position, and his closest advisor has a deep and dangerous grudge against Esther’s adoptive father. Caught in the middle of palace politics, Esther will find herself in an impossible position: risk her life or consign her people to annihilation.
With her impeccable research and her imaginative flair, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the romantic, suspenseful, and beloved story of Esther, queen of Persia.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

The account of Esther is a beautiful story of strength, courage, and obedience. Esther did what was difficult for the love of her God, her cousin Mordicai, and her people. I really enjoyed “Star of Persia” and its telling of this Biblical account. It was written beautifully and captivatingly, inviting the reader into its pages. The characters were all written realistically, and it was easy to relate to Esther and even understand the King too. The entire story came vividly to life in my mind, and I loved to see what happened next – even though I know the Biblical account.Esther was written as a beautiful, gentle soul and I really enjoyed her character. I do wonder if the Biblical Esther would’ve hesitated as much as the portrayal in this book did, but it was understandable. I’ve just always felt that Esther would’ve been of great faith to do what she had to do “for such a time as this”, and to be honest, her relationship with God in this book didn’t feel like it had a lot of depth. It was still present of course, and the overall theme was good, but I didn’t feel that spiritual connection as I usually expect to see in Biblical Fiction. And I know God was never really mentioned in the Biblical account of Esther either, but He does show through it without His name being said.

The author has a great way of weaving historical background into the story, and I would definitely say it is more in the historical fiction genre, with Biblical Fiction being second. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and found its story captivating. I look forward to the authors next novel!

This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing/Revell, through Interviews & Reviews.  

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews, Books

“Like Flames in the Night” by Connilyn Cossette ~ Book Review

Like Flames in the Night

“Like Flames in the Night” by Connilyn Cossette

Cities of Refuge #4//Biblical Fiction

Review copy from the publisher

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Strong-willed Tirzah wants to join her people in driving the enemy from the land of Israel and undergoes training for a secret mission inside the stronghold of Shechem. But soon after she has infiltrated the ruthless Aramean commander’s kitchen, she makes a reckless decision that puts her and her allies in grave danger.
Fresh off the battlefield, Liyam returns home to discover his beloved daughter is dead. After his vow to hunt down her killer leads to months of fruitless pursuit, his last hope is in a family connection that comes with strings attached. Strings that force him to pose as a mercenary and rescue an infuriating woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted.
When an opportunity to pave a path to a Hebrew victory arises, can Tirzah convince Liyam to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will Liyam’s thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, his God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

My Thoughts:

 

And just like that, this lovely series comes to an end. “Like Flames in the Night” is the fourth and final book in the Cities of Refuge series. It was a very good ending, but I am sad to see it all wrapped up and completed. In the best of ways of course. :) These characters have all become so familiar and loved. <3

Tirzah is the central character in this beautiful novel. She is spirited, strong, and quick-witted. She convinces her brother to allow her to be a spy in their work to recover the Land, and she does a good job at it.

Liyam is also a strong character, bent on avenging his daughter’s dealth. For much time that is all he can think of, and understandably so. His journey of change was probably my favorite. He was really rough, and turned toward anger, but his character arc was really well done, and I loved seeing how it was all resolved at the end.

Sometimes, I will admit, that Tirzah’s character got on my nerves. She had moments of being overly strong-willed, and prideful. But I liked how she softened a little at the end.

I really loved the epilogue – how that all wrapped up, and tied everything together. It was so sweet. And can’t leave this off without mentioning how much I adore the cover of this book – it’s stunning. :)

 

 

*I received a copy of this book from the publishers as apart of the Launch Team. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“No Chance Meeting” by Jaye Elliott ~ Book Tour and Review

Looking for a clean romantic read? Check Jaye Elliot’s newly released book, No Chance Meeting. You can read all about it below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaways!

About the Book
Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.
Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.
Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?
Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and more!
20% of all February sales will go to the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs.
My Review:
I really enjoyed this contemporary romance story by Jaye Elliott! I’ve read some of her fantasy novels under her other name (Jaye L Knight) and loved those, so was excited to try a new story from her as well. And it didn’t disappoint.No Chance Meeting is a story of struggles and pain, but also a story of relationships and support and hope. It starts out with main character Alex struggling deeply and about to end her life. Thankfully, an occurrence happens to prevent this and sets her on a whole new journey in her life.There was a section between the beginning and middle where it almost felt like the whole topic of suicide was almost unmentioned, though, which I feel a little unlikely. Yes, she had a reason to live now, but I feel like with her being miserable enough to end her life, it wouldn’t be something that wasn’t on her mind 24/7 or nearly. However, the story did work its way back to that and she dealt more with it. And with me mentioning this, I’m not saying that it wasn’t handled well, because this serious topic was handled quite well in this novel, and the seriousness of it was portrayed aptly. For most of the book it was that way. There was just a small section where it was almost forgotten about, which is okay, just something I noticed.I loved the characters relationship – Alex and Riley were a lovely pair, and stronger together. I also love the small town atmosphere, and that ending was super sweet. It was a great amount of romance – nothing over the top, they held accountability for each other, and it was realistic and sweet. The supporting characters were also enjoyable, and I enjoyed each interaction with them. Well, except a bad character or two. ;) But we’re not supposed to like them, so that was an appropriate reaction, haha. ;)All in all, a very sweet read!
Author Guest Post:

This is a scene I ended up cutting that takes place after Alex and Riley visit Riley’s grandpa. As much as I liked it, I just didn’t feel it was necessary for moving the story forward and made the decision to scrap it.

With the heat turned up in her apartment and a steaming cup of coffee, Alex didn’t mind the dreary weather. She stayed in her pajamas while she sat in the living room with her Bible for an hour before she finally dressed in a comfortable pair of jeans and a fleece-lined hoodie. It was one of the first mornings in a long time that she felt good about her day.

In fact, after seeing Joe’s sketches, she had an urge to get out her own sketchbook. She ignored it at first. After all, she was supposed to be taking a break, and not even a week had passed since she’d put her art supplies away. However, after contemplating it for a while, she decided to give it a try. She wouldn’t put too much thought into it and wouldn’t be critical. She would only do it for fun. Beyond that, she would see what happened.

Gathering her sketchpad and container of charcoal pencils, she sat down at the kitchen table with a full mug of coffee to begin. She forced herself not to think but to just draw. Before long, she became engrossed in the lines, the shading, and the smudging. The motions and the creative outlet were like therapy. 

Around noon, a knock at the door startled her from her drawing. She glanced at her hands, which were smeared with charcoal, but got up to answer the door anyway. She was an artist, after all. Getting covered in charcoal or paint was part of the job. Outside, she found not a stranger but Riley standing on her balcony. Had she somehow mixed up her days and was supposed to be heading to work? She did a quick mental calculation. But no, it was Tuesday, one of her days off. 

She gave him a questioning look. His smile said he was up to something, and then he pulled his hand out from behind his back to reveal a bouquet of yellow and orange roses. Her mouth dropped open.

“What are these for?” She took them from him and backed up so he could step inside, out of the rain.

He shrugged. “Our first date was a month ago.”

Alex gaped at him again. “You remembered our one-month anniversary?”

“Well,” he looked a little bashful, “no, but I was looking at the calendar this morning and realized it, so . . .”

Tears pooled in Alex’s eyes at how sweet he was. Though she had always believed there were guys like him out there, she had seriously begun to question whether or not she would ever meet one of them.

“You spoil me too much.” But she gave him a wide smile. “Thank you. I love them.” They were the perfect colors for fall, and she had a lovely aqua vase to put them in.

Riley nodded and then must have noticed her art supplies on the table.

“I know was going to take a break,” Alex said, glancing over at it as well, “but your grandpa inspired me to do a little sketching this morning.” She set the roses down carefully on the counter and retrieved her close-to-finished sketch. “I just have to work on a few more details.”

She handed it to Riley, holding her breath. Even after all this time, showing people her artwork still sent fear of criticism cascading like cold rain into her stomach. However, his smile calmed her. She’d sketched a picture of his grandpa based on a photo a CNA had taken of the three of them yesterday. She had feared she wouldn’t be able to accurately capture Joe’s twinkling eyes but, in the end, she found herself more or less satisfied. At least she hadn’t failed miserably.

“This is great. My granddad would love to see it. Maybe you can bring it next time we visit him.”

“I will.”

Riley handed the sketch back, and Alex laid it on the table where she could add the finishing touches.

“I guess I better head back to the bar,” Riley said.

Alex opened the door for him. Before he walked out, he paused and gave her a soft kiss. It left Alex warm, and happy, and wishing he didn’t have to leave. 

Still leaning close to her, he said, “I’m glad you agreed to that first date.”

“So am I,” she murmured. More than she could ever put into words.

He walked out then, and she hated to close the door on him, but she would have to content herself with waiting to see him again for work tomorrow.

About the Author

Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.

Giveaway #1
To celebrate the release of No Chance Meeting, Jaye is giving away a reader bundle that includes a signed copy of NCM, a hand-painted watercolor bookmark, a coffee mug, and a bag of Dove chocolates! Enter using the form below. U.S. entries only. Not open internationally.
Giveaway #2
For her second giveaway, Jaye is offering 3 ebook copies of No Chance Meeting. Open internationally!
 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Tour Stops
 
Friday, February 14
·
Tour Intro at Jaye Elliot
·
Review &
Author Post at
Reading
Anyone
·
Review at Losing the Busyness
Saturday, February 15
·
Author Interview at Angela R. Watts
·
Review & Author Interview at Resting Life
·
Author Post & Excerpt at Lady Grace: A Quiet and Gentle
Spirit
Sunday, February 16
·
Spotlight at The Music of a Story
Monday, February 17
·
Author Post at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
·
Author Post & Excerpt
at
A Day In The Life
Tuesday, February 18
·
Review at Tricia Mingerink
·
Review and Excerpt at Read Review Rejoice
Wednesday, February
19
·
Review & Author Post at Leah’s Bookshelf
·
Book Spotlight at The Page Dreamer
Thursday, February 20
·
Review at Stories by Firefly
·
Review &
Author Post at
God’s
Peculiar Treasure Rae
·
Author Interview & Post
at
Read Review Rejoice
Friday, February 21
·
Author Post at Backing Books
·
Review at Poetree
Saturday, February 22
·
Tour Wrap Up at Jaye Elliot
Posted in blog tour, Books, Uncategorized

Welcome to Isaiah’s Legacy Blog Hop – Stop #13

 

1 Week ~ 24 Blogs ~ 3 Incredible Prizes!

Welcome to the Blog Tour and Scavenger Hunt for Isaiah’s Legacy by Mesu Andrews! It’s going to be lots of fun – just read through the post and have a good time!

===================================================

 

Learn a little about Isaiah’s Legacy and enter multiple giveaways while picking up CLUES at each stop. Compile all the clues, submit the final PHRASE at the last stop, and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 Grand Prizes

 

What are the prizes? They’re completely unique to the winners! 

 

Mesu will contact each winner personally to chat about what they would most like to see in Israel, and then she’ll SHOP for just the right gift while touring Israel, March 6-19! She’ll then purchase a personal and memorable gift specifically chosen for each of those three winners and ship them to each one when she returns. How fun is that?!

 

How does the Scavenger Hunt & Blog Tour Work?

  • Begin at Stop #1. At the end, you’ll find a CLUE and a link to the next stop. Progress to each stop IN ORDER.
  • Collect all the clues—in order—and submit the full phrase at the last blog stop in the Rafflecopter form. Every stop has a clue, so be sure not to skip any along the way!
  • You may enter the final giveaway only once and win only one grand prize. 
  • The Hunt begins 2/19/20 at noon EDT. Deadline for entries is Tuesday, 02/25 at midnight Eastern.
  • For best results, hunt through our list using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).

 

There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have a whole week! As you visit each blog, it’s our hope that you get to know Mesu’s BFF team and discover the heart behind Isaiah’s Legacy.

 

************************************************************************

 

Welcome to Stop #13

 

My name is Raechel. I’m excited to celebrate “Isaiah’s Legacy” by Mesu Andrews with you! I love her books and the deep messages they offer.

You can sign up for Mesu’s newsletter and get Adnah’s Legacy, the prequel novella to Isaiah’s Legacy: https://mesuandrews.com/

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by! Remember to write down your CLUE before clicking to the next stop.

 

******************************************************************************

 

Here’s the Stop #13 Stuff!

 

Clue to write down: A Teacher

Link to STOP #14: A Baker’s Perspective

 

Bookmark STOP #1 so you can check the tour schedule and get back on track if at any point you get lost or find a broken link. 

 

Enjoy the hunt!

 

 

*****************************************************************************

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green ~ Book Review

IMG_20200122_135111

“Veiled in Smoke” by Jocelyn Green

Releases February 4th

The Windy City Sage Book One

Review copy from the author/publisher as apart of the launch team

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

IMG_20200122_135212

(Thank you to the author for sending the amazing prints and ash confetti!<3)

 

My Thoughts:

 
I must admit I have some conflicted feelings regarding this book. It is brilliantly written, and I definitely enjoyed the story, but there was an aspect that…well, I guess it was a trigger for me, and therefore how it ended was a bit of a wound to me.
I couldn’t deeply connect with main character Meg. Going into the story, I assumed that this story would be equally shared between the two sisters, and gravitated more towards Sylvie. Though her story was more of a side story, and I struggled with some of the ways she was treated.
Before I go on to explain some of what triggered me, I do want to preface it with saying how beautifully the author writes. This novel is gorgeous, and the story told vibrant and captivating. I still consider it a good read, worth my time, and I look forward to reading the following books in this series. The history was portrayed wonderfully, and the tragedy real.
As I don’t wish to spoil the book for anyone, I will warn that you may want to wait on reading the rest of this review until you have read the book for yourself. So, with that being said….
I really liked Sylvie. I really liked the relationship that blossomed between her and Jasper. It felt like throughout the novel though, that her feelings and her personal journey were not very well respected by the main character and supporting characters. It was really all about Meg and her end happiness. I know we are to root for the main character, but I couldn’t help but feel triggered by the fact that Sylvie was so often not given a voice or validated in any of her feelings. So yes, this ended up being a trigger for me but that doesn’t mean it will be for anyone else.
I have hopes that the next book in this story will be about Sylvie. However, I confess I still feel sorrow that she couldn’t have the ending she wanted in this book.
Again, my feelings will not reflect everyone’s, and as I also said this author is an excellent writer so her books are definitely worth the read!
Quotes:
“Sylvie rarely won a argument with Meg. She didn’t even like to disagree with her, preferring all the conflict in her life to be contained within the pages of books, where it was resolved by the last chapter…”
“But if she’d learned anything during the last several years, it was that the body repaired itself far easier than the spirit.”
“What a mercy that God was not limited by that which limited her. What a grace that His power and presence remained, regardless of whether she felt close to them. She must trust Him for what she could not see. Wasn’t that the essence of faith? Her hands were bound. His were not.”
“We will thank God as soon as we can.”
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers; all thoughts expressed are entirely my own.