Posted in Book reviews, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: “Side by Side” by Jana Kelley


“Side by Side” by Jana Kelley


Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


About the book:
Side by Side (New Hope Publishers, April 2015)

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia’s life collides with that of another young woman.

A young Christian American mother, Mia finds more than one dark secret on the streets of Khartoum. She finds Halimah, a young, upper-class Arab student with a bright future in her family’s business whose risky and secretive decision has put her life in danger. What happens when the path of young mother intersects with that of a spunky Sudanese student? God transforms them both . . . forever.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ contemporary missional fiction line, Side by Side opens the reader’s eyes to the life of Muslims in Sudan as well as some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as pray for the salvation of those who persecute.

Purchase a copy:


My thoughts:

I was very impressed by this book. I love missionary fiction type books, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one – it was all excellent though! So deep and inspiring, and heart-tugging all at the same time.

Jana Kelley writes beautifully, talentedly, and very realistically. As the cover says: “inspired by real-life events” – Mrs. Kelley shares about the truths of it all. Life, especially as a follower of Christ, is hard in Sudan – in many places really. This book gives a real-life glimpse into such trials. But oh how encouraging it is! Real people really living for the Real Jesus.

I loved all the characters. The struggles Mia (the American) faced were very realistic. Getting to see even a tiny glimpse into the life and customs of those in Sudan was interesting.  And seeing the sacrifices one of the main characters made for Jesus was so inspiring and awing.

To be honest, this book is a hard one to review, but only because it was so good and so full. It’s one of those books. I highly recommend it to others. =)

I really loved “Side by Side”, and it really impacted me. I know it won’t be one I will soon forget!


About the author:

Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. Together with her husband and three boys, Jana enjoys travel and overseas living. After thirteen years in Africa and the Middle East, Jana and her family moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live.

Find Jana online:website, Facebook, Twitter

I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers through Litfuse in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Posted in Books, Heather Day Gilbert, Pinterest, Pinterest favourites, reading, Reviews

Pinterest Favourites Friday Week Twelve


As you might have noticed, my blog is a wee bit changed – I’m still working on it. And the background is actually a picture of snow not stars and moon…but what can you do? =)

Anyway, here are some pins that took me fancy this week!

The stable boy ~ #story #inspiration #character

So, most of what I pinned was story-inspiration, apparently castles specifically! They are lovely though. :) And the one with the horse is for character inspiration. =)

2 timothy 2:11-13 Needed this verse today.

Lovely verses. :)

I finished reading this:

New blog post, book review of: Trial by Twelve (A Murder in the Mountains Book 2) by Heather Day Gilbert – you might have seen my review of it posted recently. The book was a good one. :)

Now I am reading this:

Side by Side by Jana Kelley It’s very good so far!

So, that brings this post to an end. =) As always, I’d love to hear how your week was and what it was filled with! :)

Posted in Book reviews, Books

Book Review: “Trial by Twelve” by Heather Day Gilbert

“Trial by Twelve” by Heather Day Gilbert

Book 2 in the Murder in the Mountains series   releases May 30th 2015

Review source: ecopy from the author

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the book:

Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa’s back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry.
As the investigation gets underway, someone dumps a fresh body near the excavated burial site, confirming unspeakable fears. A serial killer has returned to Buckneck, West Virginia…a skilled hunter with a unique taste in prey.
When Tess agrees to help the cunning Detective Tucker gather clues from the inside, she discovers the posh spa hides more than dead bodies. Even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that the killer’s sights have zeroed in on her.

My thoughts:

Wow! What a spectacular, on-the-edge-of-your-seat mystery! I read this book as fast as I possibly could – I needed to know who the killer was.
Heather Day Gilbert has a gift for writing, and I just love how smoothly and well-crafted every book comes out.
“Trial by Twelve” was thrilling, and I think, even better than the first in this series. It was truly riveting. :) And so realistic! The characters were so real to me, and felt so familiar. It was great ‘visiting’ the characters from the first book – felt so homey. :)
And Mrs. Gilbert sure knows how to write crazies for characters – goodness, the killer was creepy! But the Christianity in this book was stronger than the last, and I believe shown nicely. I could always go for some more (I love me some God-centered books) but I know a lot of people prefer the subtleness of faith in books. This had that ‘vibe’ to it. One of the quotes I liked and high-lighted on my kindle copy was this:

“Her [Miranda] numerous biblical commentaries and Bible notebooks remind me of how close she walked with God. I feel so inadequate in the face of her faith, but I know she’d tell me we each grow at our own speed and the point is to be growing,” – location 3088

Sometimes it was a little weird that Tess never filled her husband in on some things, but I guess I can still understand how that happens in some marriages. Not being married myself doesn’t give me the point of position to know for sure. ;)
One thing that I was just ‘ehhh’ on was the comment about her baby and cat being hyper because of a full-moon. I’ve heard that before, but I’m just not so sure about that.

But all in all, I really enjoyed this book – this mystery! – and am looking forward to more from Mrs. Gilbert! Oh and the cover is lovely, isn’t it? I think it’s beautiful! Thank you so much, Mrs. Gilbert, for allowing me to be one of your early readers!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Posted in Book reviews, BookCrash

BookCrash Book Review: “The Salt Covenants” by Sylvia Bambola


“The Salt Covenants” by Sylvia Bambola


Review copy from BookCrash

My Rating: 4 our of 5 Stars


About the book:

“Bambola (Rebekah’s Treasure) elevates a simple historical tale into something transcendent, in this beautifully written novel about a young Jewish noblewoman, Isabel, who flees the Inquisition on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the New World.” Publishers Weekly starred review

“But these plans they have laid out for me like an embroidered rug, showing me where my feet must travel, is to me an awful penance for sins I did not commit.” Isabel

Spain 1493: Isabel has broken her mother’s heart by becoming a sincere convert to Christianity. But when she is noticed by Friar Alonso at La Casa Santa, the Holy House, she is forced to flee the Inquisition by entering into a loveless marriage and sailing with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. But all too soon Isabel is forced to struggle alone in her new life and new faith. With all the risks and hardships how is she to survive? And will she ever find love in this strange land? And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?

My Thoughts:

I was quite impressed and pleased by this book. I had previously read Mrs. Bambola’s “Rebekah’s Treasure” and enjoyed that one, so I was excited to read another book by her when the chance came up. Though the time period was different, and thus the themes varied, it was still excellent.

This was a fascinating and well-written story, and a very full one. It is kind of hard to review because of that reason, but it really was good. At one point towards the end, I was worried it wouldn’t end happily, but I was really glad – and relieved – when it did! Main character, Isabel, had to go through a lot of trials, but the Lord gave her strength through them all. The history behind it all and weaved through it was spectacular.

I enjoyed seeing more into what it would’ve been like for those in 1493, especially for the Jews – or conversos* as they had to be, though it was sad too. So many struggles and wrongs and so many committed to them in the name of Christ. I loved though, that Isabel came to know Jesus and believing in Him as her Savior. It was all written beautifully. Oh and the part where they mentioned the Salt Covenant – that was so cool! I hadn’t heard of a salt covenant before, but it was really neat, and I loved it.

There were some more graphic scenes in various situations, which is why I would recommend this book for more mature readers (perhaps 17+). However, it was still a good read.

For me, it was a relaxing, quiet, yet very adventurous book, one I enjoyed!

 I received a free copy of this book from the publishers through BookCrash in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.


*A convert from Judaism to Christianity; usually implies a forced conversion – from the glossary in back of book.

Posted in Books, Pinterest favourites

Pinterest Favourites Friday Week Eleven

Good day to ye! Has the weather been nice where you’re at? It’s been nice here, but very windy…I don’t care for the wind much at all, but the fresh air is lovely. Even if I still prefer winter. :D

So, this week’s pins are as follows:

I do.

This is so true. I just talk better in writing – letters, emails, stories, poems, etc.

Handmade, drawing envelopes, great for cute snailmail.

I thought this was an adorable way to decorate an envelope. I am always looking for more ways to decorate my penpal’s letters. =) There are so many cute ideas out there!

Fun! Please do :)

Did this on Pinterest – ’twas fun.

Story inspiration, of course!

modest prom dresses with sleeves | Dreamy Modest Prom Dresses Cap Sleeve Ball Gown

And I love this dress – the colours, the skirt. Oi! I would love it very much. :)

I finished this book:

Salt-Covenants-Cover-Final-FrontAnd really enjoyed it. I’ll be posting my review probably tomorrow.

I began reading:

I don’t know how far I’ll get – I’m always a bit tentative with fairy tale retellings because of the magic and all. But we’ll see. =)

I also hope to start this book soon:

I’m an early reader, which is always exciting and fun!

Okey-doke, I think that brings this to a close! How has your week been and what has it been full of?

Posted in Books, Pinterest favourites

Pinterest Favourites Friday Week Ten

Happy Friday my friends. :) Enjoy these pins…


Once Upon a Time

Such beautiful words. :)

Hehe, yep, I love letters, so feel free to keep calm and write me ;)


How to Train Your Dragon…it’s starting to seem like I have at least one pin of HTTYD in every Pinterest Friday post…! Well, I do love it, so I guess it makes sense. ;)

Briar Rose by on @deviantART

I believe this lovely drawing is by BurdgeBug. I’ve seen other drawings of hers and they’re just as lovely. :) I love this picture of Briar Rose, though.


And that’s pretty much it for pins. I didn’t really pin much this week, I guess. ^.^

I’m reading:

Salt-Covenants-Cover-Final-Front which is good so far. :)


And you? :)

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

Bethany House Book Review: “Finding Me” by Kathryn Cushman

“Finding Me” by Kathryn Cushman

Review copy source: Bethany House

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the book:

What would you do if you learned your life was a lie?

All her life, Kelli Huddleston has been told the story of a fire–a fire that killed her mother and two siblings when she was an infant. After her father’s death though, she uncovers evidence of a different story, including clippings about a boat accident that killed a young father and his infant daughter. And Kelli quietly realizes the story of her life has been a fiction.

How far would you go to discover the truth?

Armed with only a few pictures of what she thinks might be her family, Kelli crosses the country to Tennessee, determined to uncover the truth about what happened over twenty years ago in a small southern town. When the trip threatens to open doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are jeopardized, Kelli is faced with an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.

My Thoughts:

The story-line intrigued me, and I was looking forward to diving into this book – and I’m glad I did! I really enjoyed reading it. The plot was fascinating, and well executed. I really loved the characters, especially main character Kelli, and semi-main character, Kenmore. And Allison, and Beth…and Rand, and Mrs. Birdyshaw. =) Okay, so all of the characters were well-done.

I loved the easy-to-readness of it; I had just finished a more heavy-book, that I enjoyed, but I needed a bit of a ‘wind-down’ book, and this one was a good one! 

The only thing that I was bummed about was the underdeveloped faith aspect. It was brought up, and had such potential, but it was never finished really, in the ending. And that rather disappointed me. 

Also, the romance was a bit fast…not necessarily bad, just quickly which made it seem almost as if the characters were only attracted to what they saw – the outside. Not a well-developed relationship that is made upon the strengths and beauty of inner character.

However, I still liked it fine. And the whole story was an enjoyable one. :)

I received a complimentary copy from the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Posted in Books

He is Risen!

Happy Resurrection day! He is Risen, and how blessed we are – our sins are gone, we have been healed by His wounds! Praise Him!

Today I want to share with you a free e-book and a short review. Sarah Holman’s “Joseph of Arimathea” is FREE today (Easter Sunday) and I highly recommend you to go get yourself a copy. :)

Joseph of Arimathea is a rich member of the Sanhedrin, yet something is missing from his life. At the advice of his closest friend, he seeks the teacher Jesus to see if he holds the answers he seeks. Little does he know the events that are about to unfold.
A 6,000 word short story about the first Easter

My review:

A great fiction tale of the account of Jesus’s resurection, and more on Joseph of Arimathea! I really enjoyed this short story and was able to read it in one sitting. And as I said, it was perfect timing for Resurrection Sunday!
I really love Miss Holman’s writing and how it is always so God-honouring and honest. I definitely recommend this story!

Have a good day celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, friends!

Posted in Pinterest favourites

Pinterest Favourites Week Nine

Goodness! I aplogize for missing yesterday’s “Pinterest Favourites”!! I completely forgot, which is unusual. But I suppose this week I had my reasons…we were busy, and planning on being gone Friday (just grocery shopping, but it was nice for us), so I guess I just spaced it. So please forgive the late-ness of this! Here are some pins:

Remember His Sacrifice... John 3:16 - He is risen!

John 3:16 is probably one of the most ‘popular’ verses in the Bible – many memorized when they were little for church, or Sunday school, or just because. I did. But when it is so widely used – and of course that is not a bad thing! We want God’s Word to be far and wide! – we often lose sight of the purpose, the meaning. And how serious it is. This verse tends to be that way…but it is so powerful, and deserves thought and meditation; and above all, thankfullness for what He did. For us.

There’s a mini-sermon for you. =)

Amen. God’s love is the only thing that can satisfye that need in us.

How to gird your loins. A must for any female warrior! Now you can be a pretty healer AND fight (or run up a tree!) - haha, love this! I actually already knew how to do this though, and have walked around the house in such a way. XD

Girding your loins. Okay, so I totally love this. ^.^ And I’ve actually done it before just for fun. =D

"Both of Me" - that was....yeah.

Thankfully I don’t have to endure this too much, but there was one book that fit this to a T. It was painful.

Toothless Tail Fin Skater Skirt - I'd buy it if it was SO short. I'll have to make my own.

I absolutely love this. A How to Train Your Dragon skirt. To quote Kid History… “It’s Awwwwweeeesssssoooommmmeee!!”  XD But unfortunately, the site that sells it, well, it gives better pictures, and it is SUPER short. this picture is of the back – however, it should be easy to make, and i’d want it knee-length at least with this as the front AND back. So yeah..Cool!

teal and copper

Love these colours together! So pretty.

What I’m reading:

Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman ~~ Available April 2015

I’m actually almost done – only a couple more chapters. But it’s been quite good. I have really enjoyed it. :)

And I finished this during the week:

New blog post: Book review of Rise of the Fallen: Wars of the Realm, Book 2 - by Chuck Black

It was fantastic.

What about you?

Posted in Blogging For Books, Book reviews, Books, Chuck Black, Spiritual beliefs

Blogging for Books Review: “Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black


“Rise of the Fallen” by Chuck Black

#2 in the Wars of the Realm series

Review copy source: Blogging For Books

My rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


About the book:

A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity’s fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator’s most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man.

Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them.
As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity’s survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?


My Thoughts:

I really don’t know where to start. I mean…wow…wow…wow! This book was crazy in a magnificent way. Chuck Black has a way of making me feel totally “aaaaahhhh!!!!” after finishing one of his books, and this is no exception.

This is the second book in his “Wars of the Realm” series, and while it was different from what I expected, it was still excellent. I was expecting it to be a direct continual of the first book, from Drew Carter’s point of view, but this was from the angel, Validus’ point of view. And so that was really neat. I grew to love the angels (Persimus was one of my very, very favourites) and the look into Spiritual Warfare was mind-boggling.

This book definitely is not a ‘fluffy’ one. Oh no. It is deep, and heavy. I had to put it down a couple of times because of how war-y it was. But it was necessary, and really eye-opening. I know there is Spiritual warfare going on (“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Eph. 6:12), but you don’t really give it a ton of thought, and that’s what this book provokes you to do.

I am really glad I read it, and cannot wait for the next book in this fantastic series! I would definitely recommend that older readers read it – I would suggest an age limit of perhaps 15 or so, but of course, use your own discretion. It is a great book, and important, but as I said, it’s not exactly a light read.

I really enjoyed this book, and the “Reader’s Guide” at the end of the book was really good too – I would suggest reading each one with the chapter, so it’s fresh in your memory. I waited to read them till the end, and while they were still superb, I think I should’ve read them with each chapter to add more depth/understanding/enhancement to it. :)

All in all, I loved it. Love this series, love this book, love this author.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given. All thoughts given are my own.