Posted in Book reviews, Books, Give-aways, Litfuse, Reviews

Litfuse Book Review: “The Thief” by Stephanie Landsem

Title: The Thief” book two in the Living Waters Series
Author: Stephanie Landsem
Number of pages: 368
Source: Litfuse publishing group. http://litfusegroup.com/
My rating: Five out of Five stars

Description of Book:

A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he’ll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

My Review:

First, let me say: Read it! You won’t regret it. :)
This book was absolutely excellent. I haven’t had a book draw me in so far as to sobbing, in a long while!
Set in the time that Jesus walked the earth, this book has a huge impact. It was toward the end that was so intense, that I had to find a quiet spot and just read and sob for a bit. It was all just so well-written.
The whole thing is great, and just lovely. Well, I mean, there is a lot that happens that is not lovely, but actually it all pulls together and makes you ache for Nissa (the main character). And all-together the story is just lovely.
I loved Nissa and felt for her. There were ways where I felt like Nissa. I “bonded” with her (I know she is just a character, but I think differently).I felt her feelings of abandonment, and cried her same prayers. Elohim answers faithfully though, and hears our cries.
I really (*cough*really*cough*) liked Longinus, too. Some books, when they’re written between two point of views, I tend to not so much care for the guys parts in the book, but that was not the case with “The Thief”. Longinus’ parts kept me captivated just as much as Nissa’s.
This book is beautiful. You see how low Nissa (and Longinus) are brought down, and then you get to read the glorious ending that speaks of new beginnings.
“The Thief” really triggered my heart and made me ask myself “Would I really let Jesus die for what I did?”
We think the answer is “Of course!” and then move onto the thought of His being risen, but when we deeply search our hearts, I believe some of us realise the answer we’d find is not what we expected.
This book had me dwelling on the crucifixion of Jesus, and I needed that. I needed to know on a deeper level what He did – and all for me.
I am truly impressed with this book and will be glad to read it again!
Oh, and to the note that it is a series (which by the way I tried to find on Litfuse before I requested this book to review, but it didn’t say)…at first I thought it was not key to read them in order, because “The Thief” did stand fine on its own, and make sense, but now that I am reading “The Well”, which is the first in the series, I do recommend that you read them in order, simply because it does make a bit more sense, and the first introduces the background of the “The Thief”!
I will say, I believe I have found a new favourite series! :)

More Info:

Giveaway:

the thief stephanie landsem

Find out more about the book, and/or buy a copy: http://www.stephanielandsem.com/books/the-thief/

Stephanie Landsem loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.
Find out more about Stephanie at http://www.stephanielandsem.com.

Note: I received “The Thief” free for review from Litfuse publishing group. I was not paid for my review; all thoughts are unbiased and my own.

Posted in lists, Random babblings, Uncategorized

Awards :)

Hello!
We are back from our lovely trip up north. And I have come back to find that I have been awarded by Chloe over at her lovely blog:
http://blooming-maiden.blogspot.com/

So, I shall do the awards here, now. :) Thank you, Chloe!

The Liebster Blog Award:

liebsterblogaward

The rules:

1. link the blog that nominated you for the award.
2. choose eleven bloggers to nominate that have less than 200 followers.
3. answer the questions given to you.
4. let the people who you’ve nominated know when you’ve done so.
5. you can’t nominate the person that has nominated you.
6. create eleven questions for the bloggers you’ve nominated to answer.
7. you must follow the blog that nominated you.

IF you could visit any place in the world where would you go?
Hmm…only one place? There are many I want to visit…Maybe Russia. :)

How many siblings do you have?
Two sisters.

Who was the first person you talked to this morning?
My Mum.

Do you like morning or evening better? Morning. :) (Unless is Sunday evening, for then Downton Abbey is on ;))

Who is your role model?
Jesus Christ.

If you could meet any person on earth, who would you want to meet?
Since that is ‘on earth’ I assume that excludes Biblical people? Well, assuming that…right now I want to meet two of my dearest penpals.

Do you like going to the dentist?
Absolutely NOT. I’ve been there twice in the last month, and that is enough for me.

Who is your best friend?
My Mamma.

What is your favorite blog…other than yours :)?
I like multiple blogs, really. I don’t know if I could pick just one…There’s Shining Stars (http://shiningstarsmagazine.com/), Yet Another Period Drama Blog (http://miss-dashwood.blogspot.com/) Kisses from Katie (http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/) and I know I am forgetting many more!

Have you ever flown over the ocean?
Nope. I’ve never actually flown period…

What are you most looking forward to in life?
Missioning, perhaps…Whatever God wills. :)

And now, I’ll do the second award:

The Sunflower Award:

Sunflower Award Button[5]

The Rules
1. Share 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions set by your nomination blogger- Nominate 11 bloggers
3. Set questions for the nominated bloggers.


Facts about Me:

I love t-shirts and hoodies.
I love snow.
I try to write in my journal on the first of every month.
I probably spend more time on Pinterest than I should.
Medieval dresses and cloaks are a favourite of mine.
I am so excited to get back to tomahawk and knife-throwing as soon as the snow melts a bit.
Trying to find 11 facts about myself is rather difficult.
Child-trafficking rends my heart.
Jesus is breaking me to make me whole again.
I don’t know what I’d do without my Lord, family and my cat.
I am a super happy auntie.
:)

What do you want to do on earth more than anything else?
I want to do what the Lord calls me to do.

What is your favorite book (other than the Bible)…?
That’s a hard one… I love the Knights of Arrethtrae books, “Cloak of the Light”, “Pearl in the Sand” and all of Tessa Afshar books, and “Bella at Midnight” among MANY more.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I’m thankfully done with school, but my favourite subject was probably Bible and history.

Do you have pen-pals?
Yes. Many. I love my penpals :)

Who is your favorite hero (in books or movies)?
Jesus Christ. :D

Who do you text the most?
I don’t have a phone, so I don’t text…

If you could change anything in your facial features what would you change?
I don’t really feel the need to change anything…

What is your favorite movie?
“Wives and Daughters” and “North and South” and “How to Train Your Dragon” :D Oh and “Persuasion”!

What is your favorite thing to blog about?
The things I’m most passionate about.

Do you have a best friend? Yah. A couple. :)

What is the most amazing thing you’ve ever done?

I’m not actually sure…

And that is the end of that. Now, for following the rules…well, I don’t know that many bloggers to award, so I award any one of you readers, and I would love to hear your answers to these questions:

1. If you could have any animal (wild, exotic or tamed), what would you have?
2. Favourite book of the Bible?
3. Would you prefer to receive letters or emails?
4. What’s your middle name?
5. What’s the longest book you’ve ever read (not including the Bible, if you’ve read through all of that)?
6. How many states have you been to, or countries?
7. Normal socks or toe socks?
8. Do you blog?
9. How many books do you hope to read this year?
10. Favourite tv show?
11. Do you listen to Toby Mac?

Okay, so those were weird and random, but it’s hard coming up with good questions… :D

Now, I must be going, as my room is a mess and should be cleaned and my clothes put away… Bleh. :P

Thank you again, Chloe!

Posted in Books, Give-aways, Up North, Writing

Wanted to let you know…

….that there is a give-away for a fantastic-sounding book, here:

http://inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com/2014/02/todays-day-fly-away-home-debut.html

It does really look like a good book, and I’m definitely interested in reading it.

Secondly, I will not be posting anything this week, as we shall be visiting my grandparents up north. Greatly looking forward to this trip.
So, this post must be short and end here, as I need to finish packing everything!
Cheerio, and don’t forget to check out that give-away! =)

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews

Blogging For Books Review: “The Quilted Heart: Three Novella’s in One” by Mona Hodgson

http://www.amazon.com/Quilted-Heart-Omnibus-Novellas-Dandelions/dp/0307731146/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392306181&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Quilted+Heart+omnibus

Note: I wrote a single review after each novel, and then one whole review of all of them put together. :)

Title: The Quilted Heart; ‘Dandelions on the Wind’, ‘Bending Towards the Sun’, and ‘Ripples Along the Shore’
Author: Mona Hodgson
Number of Pages:354
Source: Blogging For Books
My Rating (0-5): 4.5 Stars

Book’s Description:

Like a beautiful patchwork quilt, the three novellas in The Quilted Heart tell stories of lives stitched together with love and God’s unending grace.

Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War, and together, they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God’s grace?

Dandelions on the Wind
When Maren Jensen took a job on Elsa Brantenberg’s St. Charles, Missouri farm, she never expected to call the place her home. As she grows to love Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, Gabi, Maren is transformed from a lonely mail-order bride-without-a-groom to a beloved member of the Brantenberg household. But when Gabi’s father, Rutherford “Wooly” Wainwright, returns to the farm unexpectedly, everything changes for Maren, and she feels compelled to find another job. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan?

Bending Toward the Sun
Dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, Emilie Heinrich is convinced she doesn’t have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?

Ripples Along the Shore
Change is brewing in St. Charles. A group of brave souls are preparing to head west on the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train, led by the mysterious and handsome Garrett Cowlishaw, who served as a Confederate soldier in the war that killed Caroline’s husband. Despite her dislike for him, Caroline is tempted to join the wagon train and start fresh somewhere new, but when Mr. Cowlishaw forbids her—a single woman—to travel with them, will one man’s prejudice destroy Caroline’s hope for a new future? Or will the ripples of God’s love bring the answer she needs?

My Review:

“Dandelions on the Wind”, The First Novella.

This novella was an easy, short read. The main character, Maren, was a well-built-up character and very likable.
Some parts of this book felt a bit rushed, but I did kind of expect that in a novella.
The story-line was good, if not a little bit predictable.
One of my main complaints in any romance novels set back in previous time periods, however, is the kissing. In most of the settings and times, kissing before marriage would have been a very big ‘no-no’. So that did bug me a little at the end. But otherwise this novella was good.
God was in the beginning, which was encouraging, but He seemed semi-forgotten in the middle, and then reincorporated at the end. The book was more Christian-set than some novels I’ve read, but I still felt like it could have included much more.

“Bending Towards the Sun”, The Second Novella.

So far, this novella is my favourite of this collection. Of course, I have not read the third one yet, but of the glimpses given into each of the main characters, I think that I found Emilie’s character the most relate-able for me, personally.
I wish this story could have been longer – I would have greatly enjoyed spending more times between the pages of this one! It was a bit rushed at the end, and ended a bit too abruptly, in my opinion. The ending was good, don’t get me wrong, it was just sudden.
But I really did enjoy the story line and characters. And the amount of faith, too, though some of it was a bit quick or rushed as well. However, the lessons learned are very good. Emilie goes through her own trials and conflicts, which makes her easier to identify with.
There was more “complication” in this romance, which I actually appreciated, because it was on the more realistic side.
There is a part in “Bending Towards the Sun”, where Mrs. Brantenberg talks about how our lives include all sorts of ‘scraps’ that make a whole quilt, and that part really stuck with me. It is a cool idea/thought. :)

Ripples Along the Shore”, the Third (and final) Novella.

At the beginning of this one, I was a little confused as to the setting, but that soon made itself clear, as it explained where it picks up from the previous setting.
That aside, I did like this story, though maybe not as much as the second novella.
Caroline was a “real” character, though – she had ways that just made her ‘alive’.
Even though this was the longest novella of the three, I felt like it left out a lot. You weren’t really sure about some things by the end of it.
The ending wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was still good. It leaves plenty of room for exploring, though. I’m now curious to find out more…or finish it in my mind. :)

What I thought as a whole:

All three of these Novella’s were delightful, but definitely romance-y. And a slight bit on the predictable, as romances usually go.
But I did enjoy reading them, especially the middle one. That one was my favourite. :)
Each novella was well-written and kept your attention, which is a definite plus in its favor.
This book is one that is easy to read for multiple chapters at a time. It’s not one that drags on and on and you feel like it’s never going to end. :D
however, I will make note that I did not like the cover of this book. The ladies pictured were no fitted to the time-period – the models looked like todays ladies with maybe older fashioned clothing.
Other than that, I enjoyed these novellas quite a bit. :)

I received this book free from Blogging For Books, in return for my honest and unbiased review.

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Litfuse, Reviews, Writing

Litfuse Review: “Shadowed by Grace” by Cara C. Putman

ShadowedbyGrace-e1380147280404

Title: “Shadowed by Grace” #1 of Monuments of Men/I’ll be Seeing You series
Author: Cara C. Putman
Number of Pages: 341
My Rating (0-5): 3.5

Book description:

She found peace in a time of war.

Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

My Review:

First let me say, the cover is beautiful. I know we’re not to ‘judge a book by it’s cover’, but I’m afraid I do that on occasion. :) And this book cover just claims my attention.
Next, I need to also mention that as an author (unpublished) myself, I know how much of yourself, you put into your stories, and how much you love them, no matter what anyone else says. I felt like I could see just how much Mrs. Putman cherished this story of hers. I, personally, felt like you could detect that in “Shadowed by Grace” and I appreciated that.
I am still contemplating all my thoughts on this book. It stuck with me, which if a book is boring or uninteresting to me, it won’t stay with me. But I will be honest and say that I had a bit of a hard time really getting into the book. Some parts just didn’t grab my attention and keep it there.
The idea of the book is great – the setting is fantastic, the realness is good, and the characters are marvelous. But it lacked something, in my opinion. The story itself wasn’t as great as I was hoping for. That doesn’t mean that someone else won’t love it though. In fact, I think many would greatly enjoy it, especially if they love art. I, however, have never really been interested in art, and therefore didn’t enjoy it quite as much.
I really liked the characters, though. Rachel specifically. She was very real. All the characters were well built-up.
I didn’t mind the romance – I actually thought it was at a pretty okay level for the most part. Some books focus mainly on the romance and it is heavily played out in the book, but that wasn’t the case in “Shadowed by Grace” and I appreciated that. I think that at some points the kissing was a little much, and they kind of jumped into a relationship between the two main characters, but I also think that it was a bit more believable because of the war.
Mrs. Putman, you can tell, did a lot of research for this book. That made it very real and believable.
This book wasn’t a favourite for me, but there was something about it that ‘sparked’. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. Besides the story itself, there is something in the pages that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I really liked. Something that got in my head and settled there. The book continued to play out in my head even after I finished it. There’s a certain curiosity with it – between the words -that I loved; something written between the lines.
Sometimes I loved the style of writing, and sometimes it confused me, but overall I liked how the author wrote how she wanted to. I think an author has a right to write how they want and I saw that in this book.
The message of God’s love towards the end was very good, as well. I think that aspect was well written, though some parts were a bit brief or sudden. Rachel’s journey was good and interesting to follow.
There is great potential in this book; there were just some rough parts. The more I think about the book, the more I think fondly of it and want to give it another try sometime in the future.

More:

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/sCIbG

About the author: Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. The best-selling author of more than a dozen books, Cara is active in women’s ministry at her church, teaches graduate courses at Purdue University, practices law, and is a homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and 4 children in Indiana.

Learn more about Cara at: http://caraputman.com

Note: I received “The Headmistress of Rosemere” free from Litfuse in return for my honest and unbiased review.

Posted in My Abba Father, Pinterest favourites, Random babblings, update

Just a regular post.

Finally. Not that I really know exactly what I am going to post about…Sometimes I actually have an idea of what I am posting about, but this time I am just kinda winging it. ;)
My lack of posting anything other than book reviews in January was due to it being a difficult month. To sum it up, it started out with death and ended in death, with a few more in between. I don’t want to be all gloomy about it, but that’s just how it was, very sadly. The amount of tears shed from all of us was probably a sea-worth. Haha, maybe not, but you get my point.
On the first one of the older horses in our barn passed away, which was sad. Then about a week later my elder sister’s horse passed away unexpectedly – he was only 7 years old. Then during all this, we were dealing with my dad’s father passing away. He passed about a week after the horse passed. And then about a week after he passed, our mini-donkey unexpectedly passed away too. That was on the last day of January.
There was so much involved with all of it, and we were all so emotion-spent.

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Yes, the Lord did definitely stand with all of us and strengthen us. He still is. And always will be.
We’ve been learning a lot of lessons, which is good, of course.

Let’s see…what else could I post about…I like Pinterest. I could spend a couple of hours showing you what pins are my favourite, but I will refrain. :D

I am hoping to post more often, but I really cannot promise anything, because I never know how that goes…I have a couple posts in mind that I want to do, so we’ll see. And of course, there’s always book reviews. :) I have been reading a lot. In fact, when I am done here, I will probably go read some more. =)
Alright, how about one more picture from Pinterest before I go?

How to train your dragon two

(I really am excited for this!!)

Posted in Books, Give-aways

Another post relating to books, but not a book review :D

Hello my dear readers!
I do realise that all I have been posting is book reviews. I have been dwelling on that fact a lot, and do want to write a regular post very very soon!! Life has been extremely busy, emotional, and rough. But I’ll get to all that in another post.
For this post, though, I am sharing about a LOVELY give-away here:

http://miss-dashwood.blogspot.com/2014/02/friends-bookworms-countrymen-lend-me.html

15 books!! Doesn’t that just sound absolutely marvelous?? I just adore books, and would love to win and read all of these titles by self-published authors. Wowee! Do head over and check it out – who wouldn’t want to win some grand books? :)