Tag Archives: novel

The Warden and The Wolf King Review

c8807460d81413a43d81144acafc6735_largeAndrew Peterson has given his fans a tome to end the Wingfeather Saga series. It’s four-parts and a whopping 509 pages. I almost gave up on it. Because I fell in love with his other books in the series, I immediately agreed to review The Warden and the Wolf King without realizing how thick it was, or that I would grow impatient as I journeyed through the many rabbit trails to get to the end.

The fans of the Wingfeather Saga will remember Gnag the Nameless and how he pursued the Jewels of Anniera all the way to where we left them at Ban Rona. I hadn’t read one of these novels in a while so I had to learn to swim again in the storyline when I began to get into The Warden and the Wolf King, and reacquaint myself with the characters and their myriad of stories and histories. There is no doubt that the Wingfeather Saga has the greatest world ever. It ranks right up there with Middle Earth. The names, personalities, and quaintness of each character and animal in the book still amazes me. Andrew Peterson is a genius in world making and writing, but I struggled with this one.

It kept my attention until part two when suddenly I am in Skree. Yes, the part says I am in Skree, but it’s like I jumped into a different story again. The action made me impatient. So when suddenly I am in Skree, I thought, “I don’t care about Skree. What’s happening in the other town?” I skipped a lot of pages here in my hurry to get back to the story I began with. In fact, I don’t think I would have missed it at all if the book left it out. The other distraction was the story in between the parts of the main story. I scanned part of one and skipped the rest. I would have preferred the information be worked into the story line without having to read another story. I almost considered stopping, procrastinated on more than one occasion on finishing and just managed to finish The Warden and the Wolf King under deadline.

The ending of the saga was beautiful. It’s the kind of unexpected ending that shows the writers genius. What I assumed about the villain in the story was all wrong. Many who read this story will be able to relate with many of the themes in this book, especially those of us who have made bad decisions in the past. The story is about second chances, sacrifice, and love. That being said, I still only gave it three stars. Maybe I would have liked it better made into a couple of novels instead of one very long read.

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Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Author Website - http://wingfeathersaga.com

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For Such a Time Review

suchIn the classic re-telling of the plot from the Book of Esther, Kate Breslin brings us to Nazi Germany in 1944 in her novel, For Such a Time. It begs the question: What could you have done to save the Jews?

Aric first sees Hadassah (or her assumed name, Stella) in Dachau. He appears to rescue her from certain death and takes her to his transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia where Stella becomes his secretary. From here, the plot follows as closely as possible to the story from the Book of Esther. Stella’s Uncle is one of the prisoners in the camp appointed by the Nazi’s to choose who will go to Auschwitz. When telephone lines go down, Stella gets a bag of cards to type up from the captain of the camp. Aric, in spite of his compassion, doesn’t stop the Jews from getting on the train, and Stella does the unthinkable and courageous by taking 160 names off of the list. 160 Jews were saved.

Stella lives in fear of being discovered and struggles with her choices. She wants to save all the Jews. Aric detests his job, too, but does his job anyway knowing he could lose his life if he takes any chances. The question that is asked throughout this book is: What would you have done in their place? You can’t save everyone without losing your life. If you lose your life, more die. If you save some, but not all, you live to save more people. Many stories in history show us the courage of people in Nazi-occupied territory and in Nazi Germany who struggled with this question every day of the war.

The book of Esther show us a similar recounting where Esther braved the wrath of a king to reveal her true identity, and in doing so, saved his life and the life of her people. We can choose to go along to get along, and someone else will be chosen to save people; or you can choose to do the right thing no matter the risk. While this is a work of fiction, Kate Breslin gives us a history lesson on the back of the book. I encourage you to read that when you are finished reading this novel.  For Such a Time is a romance novel set near the end of World War II–an unlikely set up of a Jewess and a Nazi Wehrmacht Officer who runs a transit camp. It was riveting. I gave it five stars.

Buy book here: For Such a Time

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

Critical Condition Review

indexCritical Condition by Richard L. Mabry (M.D.) kept my eyes to the page. Life would tear me away from the story, but I would hurry to return to discover Shannon and Meghan Frasier’s tumultuous relationship and whether Shannon could put behind the past to marry Mark.

Dr. Shannon Frasier witnessed her boyfriend’s murder when they were both in medical school. In later chapters, she is a doctor in a relationship with Mark, but unwilling to commit to a marriage. Meghan, her sister, is a typical family drama creator. But during the first chapter, Dr. Frasier witnesses a man get shot on her front lawn. Meghan’s boyfriend is also shot. The police question, and even suspect Meghan and Shannon. Detective Steve Alston is attracted to Shannon. The plot tightens as the police wonder if Meghan isn’t connected to a gang who robbed a bank. The money from the robbery never surfaced. While the plot fascinated me, the book had some minor issues.

I thought Shannon’s grief over her boyfriend, Todd’s, death was too quickly dealt with in the prologue.  The later chapters, however, showed the damage of her trauma better with Shannon’s inability to make lifelong connections. Her dislike of guns made sense as it was a reaction to the trauma with her boyfriend. The distance between her family and her, and her sister’s on-again, off-again drug issues all bring this plot to a boil.

Critical Condition showered us with all the pieces of the puzzle. I often felt impatient to turn the page, because I did wonder about the guilt of one character. The romance Steve felt for Shannon led me to believe Shannon and Mark would break up. Mark’s attraction to another girl didn’t need to be in there as it didn’t add to the plot. The emotion between Mark and Shannon felt too stilted and distant. Steve’s background with his deceased wife sparked my interest, and he popped back into the picture near the end when he is suddenly with Meghan. The initial pages suggested he would try to break up Shannon and Mark, and was almost dishonorable about it, persisting when he knew she loved Mark. So while I enjoyed the novel, I thought these problems could have been tweaked. I gave this novel three and a half stars.

Buy here: Critical Condition

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

Aunt Dimity and The Wishing Well Review

81qSYyEBTmLNancy Atherton writes an entire series of Aunt Dimity books.  Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well is like the old Nancy Drew books. This book is charming, mysterious, and innocent.

As a writer, I can appreciate its beginning:

“It was a fine day for a funeral. Rain plummeted from a leaden sky and a blustery wind blew the chill of mortality through the mourners clustered in St. George’s churchyard.” (Chapter One).

The chill of mortality! I had to share this beginning with my writers group. Right away you are intrigued by the book. The chapter goes on to describe the characters of the town in interesting detail. Considering that gossip is a sin all Christians struggle with, you lap it up like fresh milk. Lori Shepherd is the voice in the first-person narrative. If you weren’t won over by her character, a first time reader of the series  like me would be immediately intrigued by the journal named Aunt Dimity. She talks back in looping, blue writing to Lori’s confidences every time Lori opens the book. The mystery in this series is a mysterious stranger who shows up late to the funeral of a man who kept to himself.

The village of Finch loves this new fresh bowl of milk to explore. Jack is the nephew who takes over his Uncle’s estate and gets it ready for sale. To make him more interesting, Lori and her friends with Jack uncover a wishing well on the property. When you have a journal that talks back to you, it’s not out of bounds to believe this wishing well could be real. Lori’s wish for dryer weather comes true which starts the dominoes effect of odd occurrence’s in Finch. And things get worse for the residences of Finch even as a new romance buds between Jack and a resident of Finch. So is the wishing well real?

You’ll have to buy Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well to find out. It’s clean and a simple read. The book is good enough for teens or tweens and entertaining enough for adults. The old Nancy Drew books had that mystery solving simplicity that entertained many generations. Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well share that in common with Nancy Drew, but with a great message at the end we should all learn. I’m intrigued enough to read more in this series.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

Writing News: The Lonely Wish-Giver #grammowrimo

41ccARW1V+L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Last year, I contributed to a novel through Grammarly. I just received word that they have finished editing and putting together the entire novel. 750 authors, including myself, have contributed to this novel. All proceeds will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I have also done some affiliate linking. So if you decide to buy the novel, help out a starving writer, and click on the following link: The Lonely Wish-Giver: A GrammoWriMo Novel

My part is on Chapter 26 when Audra is having a dialogue with the boy and the compass is introduced. I am proud to be a part of this work. The folks at Grammarly did a great job in editing as far as I can tell.

A Draw of Kings Review

A Draw of Kings

A Draw of Kings (The Staff and the Sword) by Patrick Carr is the third novel in the The Staff and The Sword Series. In a A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword), we meet Errol Stone, a drunken young man with no prospects until Martin and Luis discover he is a reader. The Hero’s Lot (The Staff and the Sword) find him part of the Watch, but trouble stirs in the church. Evil encroaches and King Rodran is dying. Now in A Draw of Kings, King Rodran is dead and the kingdom is threatened by evil on all sides of the kingdom.

One must have read the other two novels in order to fully understand book three. To some, that’s not a big deal, but I usually like each novel to be a complete story. Up until this novel, each book felt like a complete story. A Draw of Kings continues and ends the trilogy. The scene opens up to the heroes and heroine returning. Again, without prior knowledge of the past two books, it would be difficult to follow. A Draw of Kings is a wonderful wrap-up to the trilogy. Although, the ending mystified me as to how a dead man was able to live. I gave this novel five stars because, like the other two, I had to keep reading long after my husband went to bed.

Read my other reviews: A Cast of Stones and The Hero’s Lot.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Book given by publisher to review. I am participating in CSFF Blogtour.

Author Website - http://patrickwcarr.com/
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Book Giveaway: The Last Letter From Your Lover

Last Letter cover.medJoJo Moyes is indeed a gifted storyteller. I have reviewed Me Before You, Honeymoon in Paris, and The Girl You Left Behind. I am in the midst of reviewing, The Last Letter From Your Lover. That review will post sometime before mid-march. Meanwhile, the publisher is doing a giveaway today. In the comments, tell me how many times you shared this link. For each time you share this link equals one entry into the contest (ex. Shared on twitter and facebook; two entries).

A name will be drawn on Wednesday, March 12 and announced on Thursday, March 13.

Resonating With Emma

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Emma Wagner-Giesy in Emma of Aurora: The Complete Change and Cherish Trilogy: A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, A Mending at the Edge (Waterbrook) is a stubborn, well-meaning soul. Jane Kirkpatrick once again writes a memorable character, bringing Emma alive from the history books. What I resonated most with Emma was her independence.

I am on page 615 of this 1145 page trilogy. Because I loved Jane Kirkpatrick’s novels, I requested this book without looking at the back cover. Kirkpatrick uses real historical figures in novel form to teach her readers about one period of history. Usually, its small, unknown historical figures, like Emma. Emma grew up in Bethel, Missouri in a German Bethel colony. As I was reading about her growing up and imagining the difficulty of being a woman in a time of men, I also saw how similar colony living was to socialism. No one owned anything and everything went toward the colony all in the name of God. Women, much like the Amish of our time, were forbidden any vain thing.

I laughed on page 15 when Emma sewed a ruffle underneath her dress. Her own mother secretly wore pearls beneath her collar. This touch of spirit shared between mother and daughter drew me to learn more about Emma. She married a man quite a bit older than her who was blessed by wanderlust, but she managed to keep her marriage intact in spite of her husband’s inclinations to be away for weeks on end. Emma took difficult situations and worked through them. She didn’t agree with colony living and didn’t conform to its rigorous and often unfair expectations. Emma paid the price and a dear one at that as most of her life she lived between colony life and with outsiders, trying to find balance, and love.

This moves me closer to page 615 where Emma suffers from grief after the sudden death of her husband. She hardly talks to God anymore. Emma is living on her own strength and its not working out too well. I can understand this part of Emma. She doesn’t want to be beholden to others as she has learned any gifts from the colony expects repayment. But when she should accept help, she doesn’t often do so, and reacts to situations rather than thinking through them. Because of that, I am at the place where Emma is accepting a marriage proposal from a man she doesn’t love just to get her in-laws off her back and to keep her children safe from them. Like all of Jane Kirkpatrick’s stories, lessons can be learned from these historical characters:

  • Don’t try life on your own strength.
  • Always marry because you love the person and choose to spend your life with him or her through thick and thin.
  • Your first instinct is always right.
  • We were never meant to live in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world. We were meant to spread the Gospel, and that means, mixing with the world, but not being of the world.
  • Nothing is impossible with God.
  • Plans never turn out the way you think they will, but in each difficulty, sew a ruffle beneath your dress; or in other words, find the silver lining, be spirited, but not mean; and be strong in Christ. 
  • God cries with us.
  • Death happens whether we want it to or not, for we all will die someday. It’s how we live and where we go afterwards that matters.

My review for this will post in about a month. So stay tuned. I just couldn’t help but comment on Emma–another endearing character from Jane Kirkpatrick.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

Book Review: The Art of My Life

The Art of My Life by Ann Lee Miller challenges the Christian reader with its sometimes explicit content. The novel thoroughly explores the relationship between Cal and Aly and Cal’s addiction to pot.

In her last novel, Kicking Eternity, Cal submitted to his addiction to pot after being rejected by Raine for someone else. Aly is angry because Cal slept with Evie, a drama queen and pot addict. Cal has spent several months in jail and in The Art of My Life he is determined to lead a straight life to earn Aly’s love. Aly is now a bank loan officer and living as a Christian. Her past reputation continues to haunt her mind and others reminders of her mistakes hurt.

To interrupt the story is the budding romance between Fish and Missy. That story was distracting. I really didn’t like Missy or Fish. Fish was truly an unpleasant character and while necessary to the storyline, I wish he didn’t have his own point of view. Other people will probably disagree. Ann did a great job in presenting each character with individual personalities and voices. That’s not an easy talent to achieve as sometimes every character no matter the inflection of voice in dialogue can sound like the author.

Ann’s novel is unique, getting into the uglier side of the life of an addict and the temptations involved in once having been sexually active. For those under sixteen years old, the novel is too explicit.

While Ann doesn’t write in the traditions of secular romance scenes, the scenes depicted do take a step past the edge where it’s too visual. I’m not sure how I feel about it since I do appreciate the struggle being illustrated there. Too often Christian novels don’t touch upon sexual temptation. To successfully, show rather than tell of the struggles a young girl might endure means getting into the dirty side of life. Ann does this, but I’m not sure I like how far she goes with it.

In the Christian world, her novel would probably be criticized because of this content and the heavy drug use illustrated, but in the secular world this would be considered tame.

I liked the flow of her last novel, but I felt the flow in The Art of My Life kept getting interrupted by Fish and Missy’s issues. I would have rather seen no point of view from Fish or Missy, and focused on Cal, Aly, and Cal’s mom and grandparents. Ann is probably going to use Missy and Fish in her next novel, if I were to hazard a guess by how much time these characters received in The Art of My Life.

The danger Aly and Cal faced towards the end of the novel escalated the conflict and the necessity of Cal getting rid of his pot addiction. Ann shows us the side of weed that most people who promote the so-called benefits of try to hide. Her writing of this story almost reflects a personal experience possibly with people who had this addiction. There’s a passion behind her words as she wrote Aly and Cal’s story. The nice thing about each chapter were the snippets of Aly’s “blog,” that give us a little more of Aly’s thoughts.

Overall, I struggled to come up with a rating for her novel and hovered between a three and four. A couple of grammar and/or typos were not distracting, but because of how well she showed pot’s addictive nature and the damaging effects it can have on families, I gave The Art of My Life four stars. The story of the weed’s dangerous effects on people and family upstaged Cal and Aly’s love story.

*Book given by author to review.