Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“All for Love” Collection ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“All for Love” 3-Novella collection by Mary Connealy, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Jen Turano

 Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. New and loyal fans alike will enjoy these novellas previously released only as ebooks. Connealy’s “The Boden Birthright” journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Hunter’s “A Lady of Esteem” follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Turano’s “At Your Request” tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected.

 

Review copy: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

 

 

My Review:

 

 

 

“The Boden Birthright” by Mary Connealy// 3 stars

I’m not generally a huge fan of the “old west” type of fiction, but I had read one of Mary Connealy’s stories before and enjoyed it, so I started this one with little trepidation. And while it was a fine story, I felt that it was heavy on the descriptions instead of the characters and their lives, and it was very much an insta-love situation. Which, I know, kind of has to be the case for a novella, but it was like a switch had gone off with their romance, since Chance had been mourning his wife only a couple pages previously.

It just was a bit rushed, and not my favourite story. But that’s not saying it won’t be your favourite. :)

“A Lady of Esteem” by Kristi Ann Hunter//  4.5 Stars

This is the story for which I received the review copy. :) I absolutely loved Kristi Ann Hunter’s book, “An Inconvenient Beauty” and have been eager to go back and start this series from the very start. So receiving this novella collection with The Hawthorne House’s prequel in print – I was quite pleased. ^.^

And it was a joy to read “A Lady of Esteem”! I loved main character, Amelia – she had just a sweet and caring heart, and she was oh-so patient throughout each trial she faced. And all the servants – I loved them too, and their love and devotion to Amelia; even if they didn’t work under her themselves. And hero, Anthony was a great character of a changed man. The two main characters complimented each other so well!

The faith message was definitely present, which I of course appreciated.

The whole story was brought together very nicely, and a fantastic prequel to the series!

 

 

 “At Your Request” by Jen Turano// 4.5 stars

 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this novella. I hadn’t previously read anything by Jen Turano, and since I was almost done with this collection, I admit I was a bit hesitant about the last one, concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the one before. But goodness, I shouldn’t have worried! This story was darling, and pleasantly surprised me at more than one turn. Every time I thought I knew what would happen or what one of the characters would say, assuming it would be the typical in most romance fiction, it would be the opposite – which delighted me because that is what I wanted to find but rarely do in stories.

I also loved that Wilhelmina wasn’t your typical ‘perfect stunning trim’ character. One scene had me giggling out loud, and I was just very impressed with this story. I would definitely like to read more by this author. :)

I do wish there would have been a faith message; that was sadly not present.

 

 

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars// Very lovely collection with enjoyable reads!

Posted in Book reviews

“Dance from Deep Within” by D. L. Sleiman ~ Book Review

Dance from Deep Within

 

“Dance from Deep Within” by D.L. Sleiman

Review copy through WhiteFire publishers

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

Despite her conservative Muslim heritage, Layla Al-Rai longs for a chance to earn her degree in engineering and perhaps even…dare she dream…to choose her own husband. But young women from her background rarely enjoy such freedoms. When she finally talks her parents into letting her attend college, she is drawn to fellow twenty-something students, Allie and Rain, over a class project. Allie, the blonde ballerina, faces her own struggles as she deals with an ex-fiancé and a church she had hoped to leave behind. Rain, the bi-racial hippie chick, longs for something to believe in, but her questioning could cost her the love of her life. When Layla s childhood sweetheart reenters her world, it seems her dreams might become real. Until everything falls apart. When she meets truth face to face, will she find the courage to accept it even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I hate that I have to give this such a low rating. :(
I love the authors other books (published under Dina Sleiman), and had every hope and expectation that this one would become a favourite too. And I did really like how it was written, and it was easy to follow along with, easy to understand the characters, and I enjoyed their stories, really I did. But the spiritual basis – there was too much that made me uncomfortable.
Each of the three characters, Layla, Allie, and Rain, are searching for Truth in their own ways. They are each very diverse, come from very different backgrounds, but they form a tight bond which each other. And I loved their friendship.
But, as I said, their spiritual beliefs, in the end, did not seem Biblical to me. It was as they treated God too casual. There is a Nicole Nordemon song that says “Let me not forget to tremble” before the Lord. And that song continued to pop itself into my mind as I felt unsettled about various parts of the book. Yes, Jesus is always with us, always here, but He is still Lord. We still owe Him our reverence, because He is Holy. And I felt that the Holiness was missing here.
Also, I was very uncomfortable with the fact that, throughout the book, it was continually referenced that Yahweh and “Allah” were one and the same God. And I cannot agree with that. Their characteristics alone are not similar, they are not the same God. There is only One True God. Yahweh, I Am.
I appreciate Layla’s dedication to what she believed was ‘God’, but do not feel she was worshiping the true God.
Of each of the characters, I think Rain was my favourite – the hippie. A lot of her story was one that pulled on your heart, and her searching was real, and realistic. If I read the second book, it would be because of her.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the other two – I rooted for Layla and her story, and Allie to find her own healing too. But I didn’t care for Allie’s view on faith, with all the death-metal vibes, and laissez faire attitude about God.
And the use of the Message Bible made my heart weep. I know a review is not really the place for such a discussion, but I cannot let it go unmentioned that this version takes out the reverence and Holiness of God. The verses used…they are such a far distance from the real Truth, and yes, made my soul sorrow.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Book reviews, Books

“The Hunter and the Valley of Death”

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Happy first Monday of July! And boy is it a hot one.
I know that I normally do an Author Interview on the first Monday, but June was such a busy month that I was not able to line one up…so I do apologize for that. But I do have something else in store for today :)
It is the release day for the first book in the Psalm series by three different authors. The first book is…”The Hunter and the Valley of Death” by Brennan McPherson.
And I had to absolute pleasure of being able to read and review it. So I would very much like to share about the book today, as well as my review.
Happy Release Day!

“The Hunter and the Valley of Death” by Brennan S. McPherson

 

A man wakes up in the Valley of Death and realizes he’s given up everything to attempt to kill Death so that he can bring his Love back to life–but when he fails, who will be there to rescue him?

The Hunter and the Valley of Death is a profound meditation on life, death, loss, and love. Formatted as a fantasy parable based on Psalm 23, this story shows that there is only One who could kill Death–and because of him, and him alone, we say, “Oh, Death, where is your sting?”

 

 

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Review copy from the author

 

 

This was an extremely profound story. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but it really did astound me. It felt very much like Pilgrim’s Progress or “Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis. A fantasy parable/allegory. And it was beautiful and powerful.
The way it was written – so unique, and it just flowed excellently. It captivates the reader and fully draws you into its world.
The symbolism of Psalm 23 was lovely, and how it was all portrayed through the story – brilliant. I found numerous truths in “The Hunter and the Valley of Death”. And oh, the beauty of that truth, specifically regarding suffering. That couldn’t be more apt for me to read right now.
I feel like I can’t even give this book justice in a review for the beauty of it, and the deep meaning.
The only thing is I would have liked just a tiny bit bigger emphasis made of the repentance stage, as that is very important. And personally, my favourite version of Psalm 23 is the KJV or NKJV – I feel it holds the most reverence. So I would’ve preferred to see that in this, but as I’ve stated in past reviews, I know that everyone has different opinions on Bible versions.
Otherwise, I really did love this book, and the notes at the end. It was a short novella, but full of meaning. I am looking forward to rereading it, just to digest more of it. Excellent!
*I didn’t make the graphics; they were provided by the authors of the Psalm series.