Sunday, June 29, 2014

Annison's Risk Book Review

Cover: Annison's Risk

From the publisher's website: "A game of hide-and-seek takes Maddy Nicholaivitch to Marus, where she is taken in by a beautiful princess who has just married the conquering king. After overhearing the secret plans of the king’s most trusted advisor, Maddy must decide if her loyalty to the princess is worth the price of her life. Based on the biblical story of Esther, Annison’s Risk takes readers on a journey with a queen who is willing to risk her life in order to save her people. Any fan of Tolkien will appreciate this fantasy story, and with a new cover and interior graphics, it’s better than ever!"

I had a bit of trouble getting into this book right away. But once I did, I found it to be an interesting and more modern "retelling" of the Bible story Esther. There were several graphic allusions to violence and execution. I think this book for a slighter older reader, teen and up maybe. I liked the book.

Runaway Book Review

Cover: Runaway

From the publisher's website: "Meet 16-year-old Dakota Brown. She used to love all things “horse” until she lost everything, including hope. The minute she sets foot on her foster parents' farm—Starlight Animal Rescue—she plans her escape. But can an “impossible” horse named Blackfire and this quirky collection of animal lovers be the home she's always dreamed of?
Starlight Animal Rescue: Where problem horses are trained and loved, where abandoned dogs become heroes, where stray cats become loyal companions. And where people with nowhere to fit in find a place to belong."

This was an interesting book. Dakota is a typical untrusting teen and coupled with being an orphan she really has no interest in opening her heart to anyone. Even before she steps foot in her new home she is scheming to runaway. That's the overall theme of this book, fight or flight. There are wonderful characters and wonderful horses. Horse lovers especially will enjoy the encounters with horses. I think this book is good for teens and up.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wild Thing Book Review

Cover: Wild Thing

Winnie Willis is a twelve year old girl who absolutely loves horses. After being moved around a lot in the two years since her mother's tragic death, she happens upon a horse with a wild spirit. She immediately falls in love with the horse and has to find a way to buy her.

This was a fun book. There are a lot of fun characters in this book. One of the best parts was the way all of the characters really had a natural calling to the animals they favored. Lots of information about horses and their care is included. It was a lovely little story. It will be a fun read for anyone.

The Vanishings, Left Behind The Kids Book #1 Review

Cover: The Vanishings

From the back of the book: "In this new series based on the best selling book Left Behind, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye present the Rapture and Tribulation through the eyes of four young friends- Judd, Vicki, Lionel, and Ryan. As the world falls in around them, they band together to find faith and fight the evil forces that threaten their lives."

This was an interesting read. I have read the entire Left Behind series and was very interesting to see what this book was like. It was really neat to see how the authors were able to use the same story but have different perspectives. Some of the characters in this book interact with characters from the original Left Behind series. One boy is on the plane that Captain Rayford Steele pilots when people disappear, another is friends with Captain Steele's son, Raymie and so on. There are very intense situations in this book as it talks about the vanishings or disappearances and consequences such as one boy's parents die as a result. There is also talk of drinking and drugs as well. In my opinion, this book is for teens and up..

Friday, June 27, 2014

All for a Story Book Review

Cover: All for a Story

It's the roaring twenties and Monica "Monkey" Bisbaine is a modern girl who writes about speakeasies in Washington, D.C. for a small newspaper, Capital Chatter. Max Moore is a Christian man who has just inherited the Capitol Chatter from his late Uncle Edward. Max is immediately taken by the flirty and wild Monica and endeavors to help her learn of God and His ways.

This was a neat little book. Some of my favorite parts of the story were the references to life in the twenties. It even opens with one of Monica's "Monkey Business" columns, steeped in the language of the twenties. I enjoyed this book. It was a nice read and ended differently than I expected and actually a little abruptly in my opinion. I recommend it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta Book Review

Cover: Mark of Distinction

Julia is now living with her father, Lord Pierson after a dramatic rescue from Mr. Macy by her love, Edward. She is trying to get out from under Mr. Macy's grasp but as she puts it herself, "she's gone from one cage to another." Her father's protection comes with a price. What will happen between her and Edward? Will she ever be free of Mr. Macy?

This was another interesting and complicated book. A difference in this book as the first in the series is that faith in God has more of a place. It was mentioned in the first installment but is explored further in this book. Julia is an interesting character. She is very complex and at times off putting, in my opinion. I found myself enthralled. I couldn't wait to read what would happen next. I eagerly await the third book that is coming out next year. I recommend this book and the first in the series, Born of Persuasion.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Born of Persuasion (Price of Privilege #1) Book Review

Cover: Born of Persuasion

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta is about a young lady named Julia Elliston. Julia is the son of the late infamous atheist William Elliston and late Lucy Elliston. Her mother having just passed, send Julia to the home of her mother's best friends Mrs. Windham. Julia is now tasked to act on a previous betrothal with her love Edward Auburn in hopes of alluding her new guardian's request that she become a lady's servant in Scotland. Edward's position of vicar was not something Julia expected when returning and collides with her atheist beliefs.

This book is a very interesting read. First of all, it is steeped in the cultures, society and traditions of the its time period, 1838. Secondly, the characters are very full and complex. They are definitely separate people with lots of varying personalities and contributions to the story. The plot is very complicated and complex. The author does a very good job explaining everything and tying up the ends. As this is the first book in a series, there isn't a complete conclusion to the story. I am looking forward to reading the next book. I recommend it, especially if you enjoy period pieces and stories. It is interesting to see the differences in culture and society at the time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Left Behind Book Review

Cover: Left Behind

From the publisher's website, "An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun.
A repackage of the New York Times best-selling novel Left Behind."

When I first started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. The idea of all the people just disappearing has been one of the most fascinating aspects of the rapture to me. I enjoyed seeing the authors' take on what could happen to those that are "left behind". It was entertaining and thought-provoking. I highly recommend reading it.

Daisies are Forever Book Review

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma is about Gisela Cramer's harrowing experience during World War Two. Gisela is an American of German descent whose family moved back to Germany right before the war broke out. Gisela's mother sends her to a cousin's home in East Prussia fearing that their home in Berlin is too dangerous. Well the advancement of Russian troops causes her to flee her refuge in East Prussia and make the harrowing journey back to Berlin.

This book gripped me right from the beginning. It is full of emotions, scary experiences and lots of reliance on the Lord. The author apparently based the story on the experiences of two women, Ruth Sabine Hildegard Lippert and her own aunt Lillian Tolsma. Their experiences are both fascinating and terrifying. There are incidents of murder, torture and rape although nothing is described in detail. It is just mentioned in the war atmosphere. It's an excellent book. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bridge to Haven Book Review

Cover: Bridge to Haven 

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers has a very long and complicated story. It follows closely the lives of pastor Zeke, Joshua Freeman, and Abra Matthews in a small Northern California town. Their journeys in life and in faith are deep and complex. The characters were wonderful to read.

The author doesn't shy away from difficult circumstances and showing how God uses anything and everything to draw his children closer to Him. There are wonderful scripture references and hymns throughout this book. I felt inspired by the characters' journeys in my own faith and relationship with The Lord. This is a long book, over 450 pages. The chapters are long. But it is a very good story. There are some situations in the book that may be a little unexpected as it is Christian Fiction. There are instances of premarital sex, lustfulness, and even abortion. The author doesn't go into any seedy details or explanations, but carefully generally describes what happens. It is a wonderful story of a sinner's journey to forgiveness and restoration in our Lord. I highly recommend reading it.

The Prayer Box Book Review

 Cover: The Prayer Box

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate is about Tandi Jo Reese a 33 year old single mother. She had just left her husband and ran away with her two children to the Outer Banks. She is trying to start a new life and beat an addiction to OxyContin. Her life up to this point has been full of pain and untrustworthy people including her parents. She rents a cottage next to a large Victorian owned by a 91 year old woman named Iola Anne Poole. When Iola dies, and Tandi is tasked to clean out the large Victorian her life is forever changed at the discovery of many boxes filled with letters.

I really really enjoyed this book. When I first started reading it, I thought I would have a hard time identifying with the characters and really getting into the story. Boy, was I ever wrong! The characters really come to life and are full and rich. I felt like I knew them by the end of the book. Tandi's character especially is complex and complicated. There are lots of wonderful stories woven throughout and many wonderful quotes. My favorite quote was, "Maybe there came a point in life where you had to quit categorizing whole groups of people by a few bad experiences." This book was a great read. I'm so glad that I read it. I was crying by the end. I was really invested and then surprised by the outcome at the end of the book. I highly recommend reading this story. I will read it again.

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven Book Review

Cover: The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven

The boy who came back from heaven tells the true story of Kevin and Alex Malarkey, who were in a car accident in 2004 that paralyzed six year old Alex from the neck down. Alex maintains that he went to heaven after the crash and then was sent back.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I am not one to discount what other vehemently believe or proclaim has happened to them, but Alex was six years old when the crash took place. His recounting of what happened is limited to what he understands. I do feel that the books title leads you to believe that the story is about Alex but it really is about his father Kevin's experiences after the accident. There are small sections from Alex every few chapters or so, but it is basically about what Kevin went through. I feel it should have been titled, "My Son Came Back from Heaven" or something of the like. Kevin seems to be sincere at times, and at other times, arrogant, attention-seeking an almost worshipping his son. I can't agree with everything that is claimed to have happened knowing what I know of God's Word but I won't disagree either. There are wonderful instances of Gods people helping in every and any way possible when this family needed it most. From financial help to prayer vigils, the church really stepped up and helped this family. That is the best part of the this book. I don't really recommend reading this book, I'm neutral either way. If you are curious, there are nice examples of Christians helping others selflessly.

Battle for Cannibal Island

Cover: Battle for Cannibal Island

Beth and Patrick are at it again. This time the imagination station takes them to the island of Fiji on board an old wooden masted ship. The island is full of cannibals and a Christian missionary on board wants to go back to the island to share the gospel message.

It was another fun book. I didn't enjoy it as much as the others. There were lots of action moments and great examples of doing all you can for the glory of  God. It's a great read and a good lesson to be learned. Recommended for all ages.

Escape to the hiding place

Cover: Escape to the Hiding Place

This installment of the Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station series finds cousins Beth and Patrick at Whit's End complaining about how children can't do anything to help. Whit assures them that children can be very helpful and sends them on a trip through the imagination station to Holland during World War Two. They are sent on a mission that could endanger their very lives.

This is a fun read. It had lots of great historical references to Nazi occupied Holland during World War Two. Included was everyone needing papers to assure their identity, a fact I wasn't aware of. It also showcased the dangers of being Jewish or sympathetic to the Jewish people. I highly recommend this book for all ages.

The redcoats are coming.

Cover: The Redcoats Are Coming!

The Redcoats Are Coming is another book in the Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station series. Beth and Patrick tell Mr. Whitaker about how their grandma is taking them on a trip to see Boston to see the places where historical events occurred in our country's revolution. Mr Whitaker sends them on an exciting adventure to see Paul Revere's ride at the start of the revolutionary war.

This was a really fun book. It was full of historical facts and figures and helped make the people real and the story come alive. It was a great view of part of our country's revolution. It showcased the fear and secrecy involved in taking up arms for a revolution. It's a great fun read for kids and will help them learn a little about our country's history.

In the Secret Service Book Review

 Cover: In the Secret Service

In the Secret Service by Jerry Parr with Carolyn Parr is about the secret service agent who saved President Reagan's life. Jerry Parr was the man who covered and pushed Reagan into the car and made the life saving decision to take the president to the hospital instead of the White House. It begins with a partial telling of the assassination attempt on Reagan and then moves to Parr's early life and eventual career in the secret service and beyond.

I really enjoyed this book. I was immediately engaged and enthralled from the first page. Mr. Parr had an excellent gift for setting the scene and describing details that make the reader feel they are right in the midst of the action. His gift for storytelling made this book incredibly enjoying to read. I finished in two days! I couldn't put the book down. I wanted to know what happened. He takes you on a unique insider's view of several of our presidents and Vice Presidents during historical events in our nations history. I highly recommend this book. I really enjoyed reading it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Auschwitz Escape

 Cover: The Auschwitz Escape

The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg is about a young Jewish boy named Jacob Weisz. He suffers greatly against the Nazis and even gets sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. We get a glimpse of the atrocities in the camp and the reactions of those outside it.

Having read Mr. Rosenberg's previous series, I was eager to read another of his books. It was a very difficult book to read because of the heinous and horrible crimes committed against the Jewish people at the hands of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis disgust my very soul. I began this book in tears and ended it in tears. At first I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it. I did and I'm glad I did. It was another incredibly well written story with lots of real history interwoven. The characters are rich and complex. If you enjoy suspense at all you will enjoy this book. It wasn't as difficult as I expected but the subject matter is generally well known and sometimes hard to read knowing that these things really happened to the Jewish people at Auschwitz. Nonetheless it was a very well written book and I'm glad I read it.

You can purchase The Auschwitz Escape at Amazon and