Thursday, January 30, 2014

Claudia, wife of Pontius Pilate

I seem to be on a Biblical fiction kick...:) Anyway, about the story.
Claudia grew up exiled from Rome due to her mother's many marriages and affairs. Once her Grandfather dies, as the Emperor's granddaughter, Claudia is sent to Rome, a place full of intrigue and malice. When it is arranged for her to marry Lucius Pontius Pilate, she is more than happy to leave Rome behind for unstable Judea. But, when she is plagued with dreams of a rabbi, she finds herself at a point where she must choose if it is worth it to risk all to follow Jesus.
I thought, over all, that this book was excellent. The author did a great job researching the story and bringing it to life. If you enjoy the "what if's" about fiction set in Biblical times, then you will enjoy this book!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Murder Simply Brewed

When the manager of the coffee shop in the quiet Amish Village getaway dies of a heart attack, the police think nothing of it. But, when vandalism starts showing up and a mystery game is started to figure out what really happened to Ethan Gray, then Amber Wright joins forces with the young Amish woman to uncover what really happened to Ethan.
I liked that this story was told from several perspectives and that a lot goes on with the story, both with the mystery and with Amber and Hannah's personal lives. I'm excited to see that this is the start of a series!
Check out the author's giveaway on her blog.:)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Time with Grandma Bible Storybook

I thought this book was so cute! Filled with short stories out of the Bible, with accompanying thoughts from Grandma and scripture verses for kids to memories. Each turn of the page reveals another story, either from the Old or New Testament, for one to enjoy time and again with Grandma or your Grandkids. I loved the illustrations in this book! They were so cute and whimsical. I think this book makes a wonderful addition to a young child's library.

Still Life in Shadows

At fifteen, Gideon Miller left his sleepy Amish town and oppressive father behind. Working in a car garage over a decade later, he has earned the title of  the "Getaway Savior" for other Amish teens wanting to escape their old fashioned life style. But, when his brother shows up on Gideon's doorstep, his past comes back in full force and Gideon is forced to turn to the true Savior.
I was really excited about this book, and found that it wasn't what I expected. I thought that the characters were all a bit childlike and hard to relate with. I realize that there are troubles with the Amish way of life, but I thought that things didn't need to so black and white about all Amish. It would be like saying that all homeschooling families produce males who are patriarchal. While there are problems with that, not all are like that. So, I would only give this book a 3 out of 5.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Eyes Wide Open

From the back:

Who am I? 

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.

I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave. \

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.

So who are you? 

This novel is a page turner from the very beginning! I couldn't put it down as I followed the story of two kids, stuck in an interesting predicament. As the story of Christy and her friend, Austin, unfold, you will be reading as fast as you can to get to the bottom of the story. I loved the fast pace of this book, but was a bit disappointed with some of it towards the end. I shall leave it at that, since I don't want to give away anything. I did think that it was well written and interesting though.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

10 Days Without

It all started with the germ of an idea, what would happen if you went without shoes for ten days? From there, the fight against apathy went to ten days without a coat to raise awareness for those who don't have coats, to not speak for ten days in order to give a voice to children caught in the sex trade. It goes from there. It's a call to act out our faith and think of ways to go ten days without and put our faith into action.
I thought that this was a powerful little book that encourages Christians to put actions behind our words, so that the world can see Christ. Two thumbs up!

Wildwood Creek

When Allie Kirkland has the chance to intern with a docudrama over the summer, she gets more than she bargained for. As she uncovers more about the mysterious 1860's village of Wildwood, she feels the need to defend Bonnie Rose, a young woman who was blamed for the strange happenings.
I felt kind of torn about this book. While it was fascinating and I had a hard time putting it down, there were elements that I didn't like, since the villains were truly horrid and a bit blood thirsty. I still enjoy Lisa Wingate's style; she can paint quite a picture with just a few paragraphs!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Dancing Master

When dancing master Alec Valcourt moves to the sleepy town of Beaworthy in hopes of starting a dance academy, he didn't realize that the town didn't look favorably on dancing. Or dance masters for that matter. Struggling to make a living to support his mother and sister, Alec must figure out how to change the town's opinion on dancing.
While I enjoyed this novel, I found it hard to really sympathize with the heroine at first, since she came across as quite silly. There winds up being an explanation for it later on, so one starts to feel for her. I did like that the story is told from several perspectives and that there is plenty of back story. I would have to say that I didn't like this one quite as much as The Tutor's Daughter though.

The Global War on Christians

In The Global War on Christians, John L. Allen Jr. exposes the persecution on Christians world wide. Written in an easy to read way, he goes through the different continent, telling stories of different Christians who have suffered persecution and death. I found it interesting that he also had a section on the myths regarding persecution and how those myths are so destructive. The book is rounded out with practical application of how we can help those who are persecuted. I particularly like that he promotes Catholic Near East Welfare Association, where you can help Syrian Christians who are having a hard time just making it through the Winter. If you are looking for a way to make an impact on the injustice in the world, I highly recommend supporting something like CNEWA or Voice of the Martyrs. If we don't do something now to stop injustice, then it might start hitting closer and closer to home.
So, while I didn't agree with all of the author's personal thoughts, I thought this book was excellent and on a subject that Christians everywhere should be more passionate about.

Book giveaway

Head on over here to check out the giveaway that Moody publishing is hosting! When you register, you get the opportunity to download one of four books (Well, I assume that everyone will get the same four choices, though it might be based off of what you list under your interests), though keep in mind that once you go to download a book, you only have an hour to claim that free book. I was thrilled to see Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar as a choice, since she is one of my favorite authors. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

New, exciting books

Another Top Ten Tuesday list
This one is my list of top ten releases for 2014 that I am most looking forward to.:)

1. Rebels by Jill WIlliamson
I just finished the second book in The Safe Lands, so now I am eagerly awaiting the third book, since it sounds like some of the on going mysteries of this dystiopian world will finally be revealed!

2. A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Mosely
I fell in love with this author's unique stories and fun characters when I read her book When Sparrows Fall, which was exceptional. I can't wait to read this one!

3. The Sentinels of Anderson by Tracy Groot
I've enjoyed this author's stories that are set in Biblical times, so I look forward to this one!

4. Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson
This one not only looks good, but also  has a gorgeous cover! I'm a sucker for a pretty book. lol.

5. The Queen's Handmaiden by Tracy Higley
I've read several of Tracy Higley's books and  enjoyed each one! I look forward to this one.

6. The Last Queen of Sheba by Jill Hudson
I will have to read up on this author. This one is my random "this looks like it could be good" choice.:)

7. The Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
I liked Leota's Garden, so I think I should like this one.:) 

8.  A Fall of Marigold by Susan Meissner
Another favorite author!

9. A Draw of Kings by Patrick Carr
I love this series! This is one of the books I am really looking forward to.;) 

10. A Captain for Laura Rose by Stephanie Grace Whitson
This author was a favorite when I was young, since her books were always solid with their historical facts. It's been a while since I last read one of her novels, so I want to read this one.:)


It's 1965, and prejudice abounds. 4 year old Lisa Waldren is taken taken to a Martin Luther King Jr. style rally with her FBI father, where she makes a friend with one of the little girls there, showing that children don't see people based on their color of skin.
When there is a shooting at the rally, Lisa's father gets her out of there as fast as he can. But, years later, with the supposed shooter up for execution, he revisits the case and tries  to figure out who really fired the gun that day.
I loved the historical aspect of this book, especially when I found out the author got the idea from a picture that was taken of herself as a child. the mystery side keeps readers on their toes, so that is excellent too. The only thing I didn't like is that this was printed by a Christian company and that some of the romance was a bit sketchy. I liked the characters, but I didn't like that it was alluded that they spent the night together. Why go there, as a Christian author? That was my only complaint, though!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books of 2013
(and yes, I should of posted this one last week)

1. An Accidental Life by Pamela Binnings Ewen
Wow. This was an amazing novel about a lawyer who is caught up in a case that brings life birth abortions to the public's attention. It educated me, since I had never stopped to consider what happens when a baby that was meant to be aborted is born alive. It's horrible! I recommend that you look it up.

2. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Okay, so I was a little miffed at first that this story seemed ripped off of Daddy Long Legs,  but then I got into it. While Jean Webster will always have a special place in my heart, but I have to say that novels from that time didn't grab one on an emotional level. Well, this story does. The main character is so realistic and she wins one over from the get go.

3. The Cutting Edge by Ace Collins
This novel got me to thinking a lot about beauty and how we as a society perceive beautiful people. It's thought provoking.

4. The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
It has long been a dream of mine to discover something like the prayer boxes in this novel. The main character comes across oodles of boxes in an old house that contain the story of the older woman who lived there. I usually like Lisa Wingate's stories, but found this one to be exceptional.

5.  Invisible by Ginny L. Yttrup
Another thought provoking novel, this one about several different woman and their struggles with weight. I thought that it was interesting and well handled.

6. The Church Builder by A.L. Shields
 It took me a bit to get into this novel, but when I did, I found that I liked the twists and turns of the story. It left off on a cliff hanger though, so now I have to try and wait patiently for the continuation of the story.:D 

7. Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
I like this author's novels, since they are a nice reads loaded with historical novels. Ms. Camden breaths life to historical events, such as the Chicago fire. I think I have read all but her first book (which is on my kindle, so I should read it soon....).

8. The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
I have a confession to make when it comes to Julie Klassen's novels. I had read a couple of them before and found that they were filled with to much drama for me. I don't know why I decided to pick up this one (wait, scratch that, it was offered on, so I thought I would give her another chance), but I am glad that I did, since it was different from her previous books. I loved the story, as it was a lot like a Jane Austen novel and had wonderful secondary characters.

9. Moonlight Masquerade by Ruth Axtell
Another Regency style book that I found enjoyable! I loved the characters and the spy element of the story.

10. A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr
If I had to pick one book from this past year that I loved, this would be it.;) I like that it is a clever fantasy style book that has more than one character. It is the start of a trilogy; the third book comes out soon! I can't wait.:)

So, there you have it. A week late, but that is my list of favorites from the past year.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


The second book in The Safe Lands series  has the three brothers working inside the Safe Lands, which is anything but safe. Mason is trying to discover a cure to the illness that affects almost everyone around him, leaving the community sterile and unable to produce the next generation. Levi is focused on figuring out a way to get the rest of the survivors from Glenrock out of enemy hands. While Omar is taking it upon himself to be a vigilante against the very system that first sucked him in.
This book was every bit as good as the first one! I like dystopian fiction, so I am thrilled that Christian authors are writing in the genre. This series is a must if you like futuristic stories!

Dolled Up to Die

When Cate answers a call that three people have been shot and the police are taking their time, she rushes to the crime scene. Only to discover that it was three dolls that were destroyed. But, the case doesn't stay simple for long, as the original caller, Jo-Jo, finds her ex husband dead in the next room.
I didn't realize that this was the second book in the Cate Kincaid Files, but I feel like this book did a good job at standing alone, though it did reference the first case. I want to go back and read the first book now, since Cate is a fun, quick witted private eye. I look forward to reading more of her Files!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies

When Brenda Spahn narrowly escapes going to prison herself, she feels God calling her to start ministering to those in prison. But, as she works with those women in prison, she discovers a real need for a whole way house for the woman when they get out, since a lot of them just wind up back in prison. Armed with a vision, Miss Brenda opens her house to seven women and watches God work miracles.
I thought some of the mild language in this book wasn't necessary, though I do understand that it could of been a lot worse, with the background a lot of the women came from. That said though, overall, I thought this book has a powerful message about stepping out in faith and the wonderful things that can come from listening to God. Two thumbs up!