Posted in Book reviews

Special Book Review “Ceaseless” by Sarah Holman

Why is this book review special, you might ask? Well, this short story is not yet released, nor does it have a cover or ‘about’ blurb. So this is a very, very early review I guess you might say. :)

 

“Ceaseless” by Sarah Holman

Short story part of the Tales of Taelis series

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Not available. To hint at, it is the short story connected to “Courage and Corruption”, about a character named Alfred.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a very good short story, part of the Tales of Taelis series! Very well written, with a meaningful message. It was short, as the style would suggest, but still very enjoyable and a connecting piece to two of the books in this series.
I was impressed that so much could be expressed about Alfred and his journey in such a short amount of story-telling time.
As I said, love the writing style, and the author’s note at the end was beautiful. I really love this series. :)
*I was given an ecopy from the author. All thoughts are my own.
Posted in Book reviews

“Continuing Destiny” by Sarah Holman ~ Book Review

(click on image to go to its amazon page)

“Continuing Destiny” by Sarah Holman

Short Story collection

My Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

What would Maria’s life look like three years after The Destiny of a Galaxy? What about James, Quint, and Winter? This collection of four stories gives readers a glimpse into the romance, faith, trails, and everyday lives of this group as they each explore their Continuing Destiny.
Approximately 17 pages (5,500 words) long.

 

My Thoughts:

After finishing The Destiny Trilogy, it was fun to sort of “revisit” them, and see where the characters were a few years past the time where the series ended.
The short story (stories? They were more like chapters told from different character’s POV’s, telling a sort of continuing story) had a bit of a different feel to it, but still familiar and well-written. I very much enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend finishing off this series with this one! Adds a nice touch. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads

“Under a Summer Sky” by Melody Carlson ~ Book Review

“Under a Summer Sky” by Melody Carlson

Book Three in the Follow Your Heart Series

Review copy from the publishers through Revell Reads Program

My Rating: 2.5/3  out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole’s close childhood friends–who also happen to be brothers–vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

 

My Thoughts:

There was some aspects of this book that I enjoyed, and some that I did not. I also didn’t know this was the third in a series (the review program didn’t say I don’t believe), but it seemed to stand on its own just fine.
High school art teacher, Nicole, is from Seatle but accepts a summer job managing a gallery for a family friend down in Savanna. She is charmed by the southern town, and enjoys the scenery but her summer isn’t without difficulties as she deals with a co-worker and possibly un-wanted attention from a once-upon-a-time crush.
What I liked: The gallery. This actually surprised me, because art isn’t really my thing, but I found the scenes where she was working very interesting. I liked Ryan right away, and Bernie was a good character too. Possible SPOILER—-  I liked Nicole’s relationship with Ryan the best – that and the gallery is what mainly kept me reading; to find how where that led. END of SPOILER.
What I didn’t like: I wouldn’t catagorize this as a Christian book – pretty clean yes, but not necessarily Christian – it’s one of those books that the author is Christian, so a character may “say a prayer” real quick, but it is devoid of any true faith, which I find disheartening.
I didn’t care for Alex, but that is a personal preference I suppose. However, the love-triangle thing was a bit annoying – not as bad as I first expected though, so at least there was that. And what bothered me the most besides the missing faith (which is the most important element of a book in my opinion) was the almost obsessed fascination and acceptance of ‘ghosts’. Those are not something to play around with, because even what they described as ghost occurances are often  demonic. They made light of the whole ghost thing, making it a ‘cutesy’ part of the story, but I just don’t agree with that. While I do not believe in the “ooooh ghosts!”, I do believe the reality of demons.
In conclusion:
This book was an easy read – I was able to read it in just a couple sittings. And it does hold your attention pretty well, but for me it was more of a ‘fluffy’ book than anything.
(Also bummed they didn’t include Vivian’s return in the story – I would’ve liked to read how that went!).
Posted in Book reviews

“The Destiny of a Galaxy” by Sarah Holman ~ Book Review

(Click on image to go to its amazon page)

 

‘The Destiny of a Galaxy” by Sarah Holman

Book Three in the tightly knit Destiny Series

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Time Has Passed…
In the three years since Maria Morris found the farmer-boy-prince, the Followers have multiplied. As Wyndemere’s empire cracks and unrest rises, the Legatee orchestrates the Rebellion.
Danger Has Not Disappeared…But Neither Has Hope
Though the overthrow of the tyrannical regime is imminent, Maria’s role as the “woman who started it all” is not widely known. So why the foreboding of danger?
Promise floats in the air. Many around her find happiness, even as the tension spirals toward a breaking point. But Maria flounders. What does Maria Morris want to do with her life?
What is her destiny…now?
Rendered Powerless, Maria Must Make A Painful Choice…
One That Will Alter the Future of the Galaxy
Forever
When James invites her to headquarters where Maria assumes a new role among The Followers, tragedy strikes. The enemies she had thought long gone are capable of far more than she imagined. Will she have the courage to stand for what she believes, no matter the cost? Will she have the strength to surrender her dreams when all seems lost and she can do nothing at all?

 

My Thoughts:

What a great conclusion to this three book series! This one was really packed with action, excitement, and reminders to trust God for our strength – apart from Him we can do nothing.
In The Destiny of a Galaxy, which starts off some years later from the second book,Maria begins the story questioning God’s destiny for her, feeling left behind and bored. But soon enough adventures unfold, drawing her into the thick of it. We see her take joy, stand up against horrible trials, and learn to surrender everything that is dear to her to the Lord. It’s a powerful story, to be sure.
There was a relationship “plot-twist” I didn’t see coming, but I can’t say I didn’t approve in the end. ;)
We got to see the familiar characters of Quint (love him!), Winter, and James, as well as meet another new face or two.
The dangers, the trials, and the joys were very present in this story, and you become easily engrossed. I’m generally not much of a sci-fi reader, but this series has definitely kept my attention!
Well done, Miss Holman.

 

 

 

Posted in Book reviews

“High as the Heavens” by Kate Breslin ~ Book Review

(Click on book cover image to go to its amazon page)

 

“High as the Heavens” by Kate Breslin

Review copy from publisher/author

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle’s café. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She’s a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service.

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

 

My Thoughts:

Such a beautiful book!  
I really enjoyed this book – the plot line was fantastic, and there were twists I didn’t even see coming! You will be embarking on quite the adventure when you read “High as the Heavens”. I’ve read my fair share of WWII fiction, but not too many of WWI, and the books I’ve read by Kate Breslin set in this time period have been exemplary.
The characters are beautifully crafted, and relatable. I loved Eve in this book, as well as Simon! So good. Maddie was also a favourite character. :)
The pain and trials the characters go through are heart-achingly realistic and you so feel for them. And I really enjoyed reading the rawness of Eve’s struggles with guilt and shame, and eventually accepting God’s mercy. I think her struggles were really well written especially, and I could definitely relate.
One thing I wasn’t quite as sure on was the possible factor of ‘working for forgiveness/grace’ – I don’t believe we can work for God’s forgiveness or His mercy or grace – those are freely given from Him. This piece of the book was small, and maybe that’s not even what it was saying. But yes, that’s my thoughts on it.
I have several places marked in this book – truly, I bonded with Eve and felt some of the same struggles as she did, so the truths she received hit me as well.
And just the authentic feeling of this book – wow. So gorgeous. It’s definitely one I would read again. It was heartbreaking (because so many of the atrocities are not just “fiction” – they really happened, and oh my goodness. I cried a bit.), but with so much beauty. If you love WWI or WWII fiction with amazing characters and a fantastic plotline, definitely check this book out! Well worth the read. <3
002

 

FamsSunset chaser (1)Sunset chaser

Posted in Book reviews

“Dreams and Devotion” by Sarah Holman ~Book Review

(Click on image to go to its amazon page)

“Dreams and Devotion” by Sarah Holman

Book Four in the Tales of Taelis Series

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.

Dara’s life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.

Dresden’s initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book left me just a bit speechless! The lessons were so relevant to me and what my family and I have been learning that it touched me deeply. 
This was a book filled with real struggles, and yet learning that “God works all things together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Nothing is unknown to Him and He will work all things for our good. Beautiful lesson.
I was just really impressed with this one. I know I say that with all of the Tales of Taelis series, but I mean it. These books are just grand. I wish I had them all in paperback form to underline and stickynote my favourite spots, and to share them with my younger sister. 
These books aren’t just incredibly enjoyable, they are meaningful. 
I think “Dreams and Devotions” may be my favourite of the Tales so far. It isn’t really your typical story where everything goes how you want it to go or even just how you expect a story should pan out. The even greater aspect is trusting God when things don’t go the way you dreamed or planned. And learning to love others – even those who have hurt you deeply – was a significant lesson.
I really appreciated the ending. I won’t spoil it for you, readers, but know that it is excellent. Oh what a story! And as usual, Miss Holman’s author note at the end is extremely touching. Beautiful reminder and encouragement.

 

 

Posted in Book reviews

“Courage and Corruption” by Sarah Holman ~Book Review

(click on cover image to go to its amazon page)

“Courage and Corruption” by Sarah Holman

Book three in the Tales of Taelis Series

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars  

 

 

About the Book:

Catherine is going with her mother and younger siblings to the mountains to hide from the coming war. While she fears what might happen she is looking forward to some time away from her twin brother, with whom she often fights. One foolish act changes all their plans, and one story caused not only confusion, but more fighting.

Christopher does not believe his father’s story that they are descended from royalty. He is sure the story his father tells cannot be true. However, he is forced to go to the mountain castle of Coraway along with his mother and siblings. Will his father ever see him as a man? Will he and his twin ever be able to stop fighting?

Little do Catherine and Christopher realize that they hold the key to Taelis’ future in their hands. While they discover the truth before it is too late?

 

My Thoughts:

I really love the Tales of Taelis series. Each time I read one of these books I am reminded by that fact. They’re excellent! I know that when I read one, I will be getting not only a very captivating story, but one that is full of Godly insight and truth weaved into its very core. I love that.
C&C was a great tale of two siblings – they were rivals for a fair amount, but both opened themselves up to God at different times, and that was beautiful. And Jacob, the younger brother, was quite precious. All the characters were well written and relatable. And realistic; though this story is set in a sort of medieval time period (yet still its own world), it is not hard to relate to the setting or characters at all – I find myself easily drawn into the story.
They’re clean, uplifting, and entertaining. Great things to find in a novel!
Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to all ages.
(I would also like to say that when I reached the end and read the ‘acknowledgements’ section, I was surprised to find my name listed – that was so sweet! So, thank you Sarah! It’s a pleasure being apart of your ‘team’!)