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.
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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.
Posted in animals, Books, Random babblings, reading, update

June ’18 Recap

June '18 Recap.png

 

 

June was an extremely busy month – I felt that I barely had time to breathe sometimes. Summer began in earnest, though there were a few days of cooler weather tucked within the June days. Not as many as I would like, but then I would gladly have a longer Fall and Winter ;)

The heat really has been sweltering lately, and without air-conditioning…I feel like I’m going to melt away. Haha.

We started selling at our local farmer’s market again once a week, which has been going well, but takes up a lot of our time in prep-work. I’ve added to my necklaces – now in addition to the Pixie Dust and ‘Drink Me’ ones,  I have some “Message in a Bottle” necklaces, “Dragon Scales”, and “Wishes”. They look pretty cute if I do so say myself. ;) I need to update the blog site I created for them at some point….

 

June was just filled with life-stuff, as usual. We got butcher chickens, and they are quickly becoming annoying and ugly. XD We got the garden in, and spent a whole day weeding (I got sunburned, of course), re-fenced the horse pasture (still need to add the wire line but so far the tape keeps Pepper and Adora in), and other life stuff happened.

I was happily introduced to the amazing movie, “The Greatest Showman”, and that has been a near-constant high. ;) It really is a remarkable movie, and probably shouldn’t even get me started on it… ;)

 

So! Among the busyness and constant running, I managed to actually read a decent amount this month. My sister and I read before bed each night, which helps immensely with that. ;)

 

A Breath of Hope by Lauraine Snelling  Among the Poppies by J'nell Ciesielski  Trust and Obey by Faith Blum  All for Love by Mary Connealy  The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson  The Hunter and the Valley of Death by Brennan S. McPherson  I Don't Dance by Jesseca Wheaton  Dangerous to Know by Megan Whitson Lee

 

 

If already reviewed, you can click on the covers to go there. :) I will have the remaining reviews posted soon, hopefully!

 

Added to my collection:

 

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Isn’t that cover of “Anne of Avonlea” stunning? And I found it at a Free Little Library! So cute.

Oh and see that little Paris lamp to the right? I found that at a garage sale and was so thrilled because I’ve been wanting an Eiffel Tower figurine thing and this is perfect. :)

 

 

Main Monday Posts from June:

 

LindsayHarrel AI (1)

LindsayH Megan Jacobs CI

 

Devotional Type Post: “It’s Okay”

 

Bucket List

 

Books Reviewed:

Jesus Calling // Quest for Leviathan // Among the Poppies //  Enchanting Nicholette // The Orphan’s Wish // A Breath of Hope // Trust and Obey //

 

Posted in blog tour, Book reviews

“Trust and Obey” by Faith Blum ~ Blog Tour/Review

Trust and Obey Blog Tour

Faith Blum has a new book. And it’s not a Western. It is a fairy tale retelling set during the time of King Saul. Read on to learn more about the book.

About the Book

Trust and Obey_KindleA wicked priestess, a morally corrupt king, and two children stuck in the middle…

Hadassah and Gidal love their parents and will do anything for them. When Priestess Basmat tell Ehud and Jerusha to pay their debt, they cannot and she takes Hadassah and Gidal as her slaves for two years.

The priestess works them hard, but there are two other servants to divide the load with, so they cope as well as they can. Then King Saul comes in disguise requesting the priestess’s other services—as a medium.

Will Hadassah and Gidal trust Adonai to take care of them? What will happen after Priestess Basmat comes face-to-face with the prophet Samuel?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D939ZPL Continue reading ““Trust and Obey” by Faith Blum ~ Blog Tour/Review”

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“Breath of Hope” by Lauraine Snelling ~ Book Review

A Breath of Hope (Under Northern Skies #2)

 

“Breath of Hope” by Lauraine Snelling

Book 2 in the Under Northern Skies series

Review copy through publisher

My rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Nilda Carlson has been trying to save enough money to go to America for months, so when a letter arrives, with an offer to pay her passage, she jumps at the chance. Her younger brother Ivar accompanies her, and they are thrilled to join older brother Rune and his family in the northern forests of Minnesota.

But America is not everything Nilda imagined. A terrifying experience in a lumber camp shakes Nilda’s confidence and trust in men, but a job helping a young widow raise her children and run her farm gives her a chance to build her own life. When she meets Fritz, the children’s schoolteacher, she is initially unimpressed and uninterested. His kindness and passion for learning begin to win her over, but how can she sacrifice her dreams for the future for a man she’s still not sure of?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

Book Two in the “Under Northern Skies” series, “A Breath of Hope” continues Signe and Rune’s story in America as well as Rune’s siblings, Nilda and Ivar, joining them from Norway.
I was expecting this book to be more of Nilda’s story than anyone else’ but I was still quite pelased to find that we got to see more from Signe and Rune, and experience the story through their POV’s too.
What I like about this series is that it portrays life as it was in that time period, and the trials and experiences they went through with a realistic view.
And the names are always fantastic – I love the Norwegian background. It was fun that in this one, we get to see a little more of Norway in the beginning as Nilda and Ivar are saving to make their trip to America.
This book was a little…lacking in a main plot line. It’s more of a continuation of every-day life from the first book, with not much climax. So, it could be a bit of a slow read, but I still enjoyed it. The characters were well-built up just like the first one, and the setting/descriptions were strong.
There were a couple of “inconsistencies” where they would skip over something just mentioned, or didn’t revisit a “plot line” I thought they would. There was also a fair build up to something happening, but when it was revealed at the very end it wasn’t very monumental, if that makes sense.
But all in all, I still enjoyed reading it, and am curious to see what the next book will hold. I don’t feel like we really got to hear much of Nilda’s story, so I would like to see hers especially continue. :)
 
*This doesn’t really pertain to the review or the book’s contents at all, but I must admit I was a little bummed when the review copy came and it was hardcopy, because the first was paperback, and I want a series to match. Am I the only one? XD
Quote:
“Never is a long time. Somehow we will find a way.”
*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 Books, lists, Random babblings

Bucket List

Bucket List.png

 

 

On this fine Monday, I thought I would take a page from “The Heart Between Us” by Lindsay Harrel, and share my own sort of Bucket List. I’ve never actually really made one before, but I thought it might make a rather fun blog post. ^.^ So, enjoy reading some things I would like to do one day! In no particular order. :) And if you feel so inspired, please do share your own bucket list either in the comments or in your own blog post and share the link with me – I’d love to read it!

 

 

 

Raechel’s Bucket List

 

 

Publish a Book

Meet my best friend for the first time

Get married/raise children

Visit India and experience life there (and buy a sari :) )

Have my own personal library

Visit Russia, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Scotland, just because these are all amazing places

Attend an old-fashioned ball

Ride on a train

Explore a castle in Ireland

 

Own and ride a dragon ;)

 

 

 

 

So, obviously that is only a small list, but given more time I’m certain I could name a few more things I want to do.  In on odd way, I’m not a huge future-planner. I like day-to-day plans, but for the future…it’s not something I think of much. I figure that what will happen, will happen. It’s in God’s hands. :) But it is fun to dream isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

(In case you missed it, I interviewed Lindsay Harrel at the beginning of this month, and shared a character introduction for one of her characters, as well as reviewed the book. You can check those out here: Interview   Character Introduction   Review  )

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Are any of my items on your own bucket list? :)

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“The Orphan’s Wish” by Melanie Dickerson ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“The Orphan’s Wish” by Melanie Dickerson

Book #8 in the Hagenheim Series of Fairy-tale retellings

Review copy from the publishers through BookLook Bloggers.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.

Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

An enchanting new version of the well-known tale, The Orphan’s Wish tells a story of courage and loyalty, friendship and love, and reminds us what “family” really means.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I think this cover has to be one my favourites of Melanie Dickerson’s. :) The colors are very attractive and it’s just a very lovely cover. ^.^
The story itself is a light, sweet read. While normally I don’t so much mind or notice when reading YA if it is below my age level, I admit that I found this one to be a bit simple for me. This isn’t really a bad thing, it just wasn’t as engaging as I was hoping. There were a lot of predictable and common troupes that I found a little over-done, but I think that partially had to do with the mood I was in while reading.
The characters themselves were pretty well built-up. I personally couldn’t really connect, and sometimes felt that Aladdin had a bit of a ‘poor me’ spirit about him, when I wanted to see more of an overcomer sort of character.
Besides the fact that the main character is named Aladdin and he has a little friend named Abu, and he was a street rat, there weren’t a whole lot of other related facts to it being an Aladdin retelling. Which was okay, just something I thought I would state. I really didn’t mind that it wasn’t much related to the original. And I must say, I do really like and appreciate that the author writes fairy-tale retellings without the magic.
The faith strand was pretty good – it was present, but light. I wanted a bit more emphases to be made that God is the One we go to to be fulfilled instead of turning towards people, but that wasn’t really shown all that much.
It was a clean book, which is always appreciated. There were a couple kisses in the end, but nothing too strong. I enjoyed the story, but it wasn’t my favourite of this author. And as always, that doesn’t mean others won’t adore it, because I do think that it could be a favourite for someone else!   I think this would be a very good read for the ages that it is geared towards.  :)
Quotes:
“Aladdin pointed to the place where its slender trunk was shattered but still holding together. ‘Strange that it can be so broken but still so alive.’ Just like him.”
“But that’s not my job, is it, God? You’re the only One who can heal a soul wound.”