Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall

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This book highly intrigued me when I read the description that consisted of Amish heartbreak and romance.  When I started reading the content, I was not disappointed and neither will you be. The story's starts three years after Gideon Beiler suddenly ends his engagement to childhood sweetheart Mattie Eash.  When God has life bring them back together after the three long suffering years, old wounds are opened again.  Will Mattie settle for security in her new beau or try to find out the truth about Gideon?  Can either of them find joy this Christmas season?

"The Christmas Singing" is the perfect book for all seasons, not just Christmas.  Not only was the story cute and unique, I could tell the author put a lot of thought and creativity into it.  The one saying about Mattie Lane was just hilarious and priceless.  Another of Cindy Woodsmall's books, "The Sound of Sleigh Bells" is also referred to in this book.  The kind of romances I like reading contain innocent Christian love and content and "The Christmas Singing" was no exception.  Teens and adults will both like this holiday romance story.

(I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and this opinion is my own.)

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Friday, September 2, 2011

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

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The Harvest of Grace was an awesome sequel to Cindy Woodsmall's A Bridge of Peace.  Not only do you get to read about a whole new kind of Amish romance that happens between Slyvia and Aaron but also the four other love stories from the Ada's House series books one and two are continued and expanded,  especially Cara and Ephraim's Story.  In The Harvest of Grace, Sylvia's life is turned upside down when an unexpected betrayal breaks her heart.  To escape the pain, she leaves her home and goes to work on the Blank's failing and debt ridden farm, hopeful in turning it around.  When the Blank's son Aaron returns from rehab, problems arise between him, his parents, and Sylvia.  Can Aaron and Slyvia find forgiveness and grace from The Father and hope for the future or will both their lives come crashing down in one bad incident?

This was a great and entertaining read.  I couldn't wait to read it each day after school work was done.  Even though having multiple romances in one book can get confusing, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  I also liked that they had a character guide in the back of the book to help remember who everyone was which made it slightly less confusing.  The summary of the first two books in the Ada's house series at the beginning of this book was great, as well.  That way I didn't have to go reread the other two books and I could get on to the new story line found in book three.  I would recommend this to other Romance lovers.  Older teens and adults alike will love it for it unique and encouraging story.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and this opinion is my own.)

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Ale Boy's Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet

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Jeffrey Overstreet's book is a very unique story of colors, hope, deception, and mystery that feeds the imagination.  It's the fourth book and the white strand in the Auralia Thread.  It starts out right after the last book when the King of Abascar in the Expanse went missing after his desperate rescue attempt, to save some of his people from slavery, went  horribly wrong.  The ale boy, who was helping the king, also disappeared by falling into a crack in the ground.  Miles underground this brave heart, the ale boy called Rescue by many, finds an underground river and tries to lead the survivors to safety.  The other half of the Abascar people are also traveling but through a dangerous bloodthirsty forest trying to find an ancient mythic city of safety.  Much awaits the heroes of this story as the last leg of their journey may be the most difficult yet.  When a great deception seems to shake King Cal-Raven, can he find hope in the truth?  Can the evil Seers of the Expanse and their Curse be yet defeated?

This enchanting story was most colorfully and skillfully written.  I read this book before reading any of the other books made before it thus making this book's story very confusing.  I would advise starting with the first three books in this order: Auralia's Colors, Cyndere's Midnight, and Raven's Ladder.  My plan is to go back and read these three books and then the last one again because I really liked it.  Though not necessarily a Christian allegory it still had a christian influence.  The story makes you look at the beauty of nature differently and praise the creator for his wonderful creation.  Even though it's Christian, it still has adult themes that should not be read by children.  Older teens and adults would love this book if they would like to explore creation a whole new way.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and this opinion is my own.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lilly's Wedding Quilt by Kelly Long

When reading books, I look for the unusual stories or ones that stand out.  That's why I was intrigued once I had read the description for this book.  It is about Lilly Lapp, who has always admired the strong spirited Jacob.  The thing is that he has had his sights set on another girl, Sarah King, since childhood.  One day though, she marries another man and Jacob is crushed.  Without much of a choice or a heart left to give, he agrees to marry Lilly.  Can true love blossom between these two down spirited young adults?  They can only trust God with their future to find out, but you have to read the book to know what happens.

Besides it being a charming amish book, the romance was very different.  The thing is that they, from their point of view, agreed to a marriage without love.  That in itself makes for an interesting story.  Much of how they became engaged is also interesting.  This book is the second in the "A Patch of Heaven" novels and I recommend buying and reading the first one before this book.  The first book is called Sarah's Garden and if it's as good as this one, then you will be pleased.  I think the first one is about Sarah King's, the girl Jacob likes, romance.  So if you are looking to buy some intriguing amish love stories, I recommend these two.

(This was a book, of my choice, that sent to me for free if I agreed to read it and review it honestly.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest by Chuck Black

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This final book of the Knights of Arrethtrae series was really good.  It ends the series by connecting to the coming again of the Prince in the Kingdom Series.  Sir Rowan is a very famous tournament knight of Cameria but has forsaken the Prince and his ways.  Then one day, all is taken from Sir Rowan when he is left for dead by the people he trusted.  Sir Rowan is then given a second chance, from the Prince, when a lady helps him.  Once he recovers, he finds all is not good in his beloved land of Cameria.  The Dark Knight is destroying Chessington's strongest ally from the inside out.  Sir Rowan is then pulled in two directions; to either help get back Cameria or go with a mysterious man who says Sir Rowan's destiny lies elsewhere.  Can Sir Rowan decide before it's to late?

This was a dramatic story of deception, truth, love, and the Prince.  The story had some interesting twists and themes that are hard to forget.  The spiritual allegories were amazing as always but this time it was to a whole new level.  I was really sad that it was the last book in this series and I hope that Chuck Black goes on to make many more books for us to enjoy.  I definitely recommend this book to other fantasy lovers of all ages.

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall

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This was a very interesting Amish story about how love isn't always enough to overcome some obstacles.  Lena is an Amish schoolteacher who has a very visible birthmark on her cheek.  She doubts that she'll ever find a special someone to look beyond the mark and see who she really is.  The school board is also giving her a hard time about some of the incidents happening while she has been the school teacher.  They are sure she is behind the mishaps because of her lack of submission to them.  Grey Graber is trapped in a disheartening situation where there is strife and silence within his marriage.  When his wife, Elsie, and him finally take steps to a second chance, the unthinkable happens.  When it seems like the world is against Lena and Grey, can they get past the heartache of the past and build a bridge of peace toward a better future?

The book was very unique, well written, and the second in the Ada's House Series.  I would read the first book of this series, The Hope of Refuge, before you read this one.  Even though the story was very encouraging and the characters were memorable, it progressed very slowly and I had a hard time getting into it.   Besides Lena, Grey, and Elsie's stories, there are two to three other romances between couples integrated in the book.  This makes the book a little hard to remember who everyone is but there is a character list at the back of the book.  There is also one very creepy character and some sad parts so only older teens and adults should read it.  If you like complex and amish stories then this is the book for you.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and this opinion is my own.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue by Chuck Black

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This fourth book of the the Knights of Arrethtrae was outstanding and definitely worth reading.  It is about an experienced and dedicated Knight of the Prince, Lady Carliss.   After having just helped a friend with an adventure, she embarks on one of her own.  It starts when her friend's family is kidnapped and taken to the city of Moorue.  On her way there, Lady Carliss meets Sir Dalton again but before long, he is bitten by a poisonous lizard.  As it happens, the cure is in Moorue in Lord Malco deadly swamp.  Her feelings for Sir Dalton also arise again during her journey even though he is already taken by Lady Brynn.  Can she master her feelings and defeat the spreading evil in Moorue before it's too late?  Will she choose to save Dalton's life or the lives of some of the Moorue citizens? That's because all of their lives are running out of time but only one or the other may be reached in time.

This was my favorite book in the knights of Arrethtrae series not only because it's the only one mainly about a girl, but because the theme made me analyze my life the most.  The struggle, in the story, to not think about "love" was also encouraging.  As always, the Christian allegories found in the story were amazing and thought provoking.  I recommend this to other teens and kids, especially girls :), who want to be encouraged in the faith of Jesus Christ.  The King reigns...and His Son.

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Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart by Chuck Black

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Have you ever doubted when it comes to Christianity and the Bible?  Well this epic adventure is one book you don't want to miss!! It's about a young knight of the Prince, Sir Dalton, who's got popularity, a potential love (Lady Brynn), and skills just waiting to be developed but something is missing in his life. Also, He and all the other knights, except for two, at his local haven don't seem to be worried about some other young people who start disappearing while on missions.  One day, Sir Dalton gets attacked and captured by Lord Drox, an evil Shadow Warrior.   Can Sir Dalton break out of the bonds holding him down or will he be a prisoner forever?

This was the third book in the Knights of Arrethtrae series and was as engaging as the first two.  I liked how Chuck Black started the book off at the middle of the story and then did a flashback.  This technique worked really well by grabbing my interest right off the bat.  The theme of the book was helpful and thought provoking.  When I was younger, I remember having problems with what the theme addresses and really wish I had read this book then.  I also liked the mysterious mountain hermit that helps Sir Dalton.  I would recommend this book to teens and older kids who have trouble with doubt in their lives.  I know this book will encourage and teach you to be a stronger Christian.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sir Bentley and Holbrook Court by Chuck Black

The second book in the Knights of Arrethtrae series was very exciting.  It's about Sir Bentley who goes from the life of a wealthy man's son to a hard working peasant, by his own choice.  While trying to search out the truth about a stranger (the prince), he ends up in the city of Holbrook where evil is running rampant.  He also meets the mysterious Maiden of Mercy, named Eirwyn, who is trying to lessen the suffering of the citizens of Holbrook.  A lot is in store for Sir Bentley in this story including a vicious sea monster and a cruel Dark Knight.  You don't want to miss it.

I really enjoyed the spiritual application and characters found in this book.  The twists were unexpected and made the book all the better.  I also had a hard time putting this book down and know that you will too, if you give it a chance.  I recommend it to older kids and teens that need encouragement in the faith of Christianity.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Izzy's Popstar Plan by Alex Marestaing

This was a cute novel like daily devotional. There are 90 days worth of devotions and each one is in the form of a blog post.  The posts make up Izzy's blog about her journey as a contestant on the show International Popstar Challenge.  It also follows her story as she strives to be all God wants her to be with the help of the wise people in her life.  She learns some valuable lessons along the way, as well, that you can learn too by reading this book.
I have never read a daily devotional that each entry makes up one big story.  I really like this form because since the each devotion is connected, it helps you remember to do your devotions the next day.  This is because you want to to see what happens next.  The great thing about this is that you can decide to read it like a novel instead of a devotional book and it won't be boring.  This book's story was really exciting and I read it in only a few days.  I also found it interesting because you got to hear about what it's like to be on a singing game tv show.  Even though it says the reading level is 9 - 12 year olds,  I think alot of teens are going to like it since the main girl, Izzy, is 16.  I would recommend this to older kids and teens who want to be encouraged and strengthened in the Christian faith.
(This was a book, of my choice, that sent to me for free if I agreed to read it and review it honestly.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze

A new Christian thriller with an exciting plot.  Thrillers really aren't my favorite but this book was good.  It's about a girl named Lisa Harper whose been separated from her mother, Annie, for 12 years.  This is because Lisa's stepfather, Dutch, threatened her and Annie gave up custody to a friend.  Since then he's done all in his power to keep Lisa and her mother apart.  The time has come, though, that Lisa can support her mother with her new job.  The agreement was that Annie would stay with Dutch till then.  Dutch is not happy and is planning the worst for both of them.  Can Lisa's friend Mark Taylor, a former spy, help her with what's to come? Will they both lean on God to help them?

I actually had a hard time getting into this book because the beginning is really sad.  Though once the action started, I had a hard time putting it down.  This being the first thriller I have gotten through, I didn't know if I would be able to finish it or what to expect.  What I found in this book was a whole new genre of amazing reads.  The suspense and excitement kept me hooked and Mark's old friends' conversations were hilarious.  The Christian message was powerful and encouraging in the Christian Walk.  This book should be for older teens and up since it's really scary and dark at parts.  If you like Thrillers and/or Christian reads, then I definitely recommend this to you.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and this opinion is my own.)

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

When I first read the description for this book, I thought it sounded a lot like a Hallmark Movie I'd seen, but it wasn't anyhting like that.  It was much better.  The book is set in South Carolina around present day.  Lucy runs a house for girls who age out of the foster care system but when the majority of her funding is cut, she battles to keep it open.  Alex is a retired football star, known as the playboy, and is now running for the South Carolina State Senate seat.  When his ratings are still low, because his competition plays dirty, his campaign manager suggests the unthinkable.  Have Lucy pose as his fiance, to show people he's a family guy, in exchange for saving her young women house.  Alex and Lucy are in for a whirlwind, though, because God has something in mind that will surprise them both.
This Christian Romance was a pleasure to read and I'm glad to have gotten the chance to review about it.  It's nice to read Romance books without sexual content especially ones that are Christian.  The jokes and characters keep you laughing and entertained through the whole book.  The story personally affected me because I could identify with the theme so it was amazing and helpful in my Christian walk.  If you get the chance to buy and/or read this book, I would say take it.   
(This was a book, of my choice, that sent to me for free if I agreed to read it and review it honestly.)

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black

Have you ever read a book about knights on conquest and adversities that seem far greater than the hero?  Well not a story like this one. One that's teeming with christian allergories.   It starts off in the city of Trinalda where two knights of the Prince, Sir Kendrick and Sir Duncan, are training.  These two knights, who the Prince has a plan for, are in for an adventure.  Before they know it, they're on a journey against a unimaginable evil that is turning the hearts and minds of young people, everywhere, from the one true King.  They receive help from a few others but even then, they are outnumbered.  Not only that, but Sir Duncan is captured and there's a good chance his time is running short.  Can they rescue Sir Duncan and stop the rebellion before it's too late? 

This first installment of the Knights of Arrethtrae series is beyond imagination.  Your heart and mind will get lost in the epic story and courageous characters.  The christian allergories are instructive and exciting.  I especially like the discussion questions at the end of the book.  They give questions and talk about the main points of each chapter, honing in on the spiritual truths presented in the story. Scripture verses can also be found in the disscussion questions that help back up the teachings.  Next time you're at a Christian bookstore, either in person or online, I highly recommend you buy this book.  It's perfect for older kids and teens.

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