Prophet

20120926-141238.jpg

Title: Prophet
Series: Books of the Infinite
Author: R. J. Larson
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: April 1, 2012
Pages: 352

———————————–

Seventeen year old Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She has a bad temper, is undignified, and she would be the first female prophet to come out of Parne. Worst of all, as the saying goes, a grey haired prophet has failed. All of the prophets before her have died young and she won’t be the one to break that tradition. But she can’t live without His presence.

She’s determined to follow the Infinite’s voice and commands, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent away from her family into a nation torn apart by war. Her mission is to bring the Infinite’s word to their polytheistic life and hopefully alter a horrendous prophecy. If only it were that easy. The Isthaardians want nothing to do with her or the Infinite. They mock and try to murder her at every turn, making her feel like a failure.

Kien Lantec is a young Traceland ambassador sent to bring peace, but now he’s determined to bring justice to his oppressed people. He fights the king at every turn and lands himself in prison, where he meets the beautiful prophet, Ela. As they form an unlikely partnership, they begin feel things that threaten to unbalance their lives for good. As her feelings grow Ela must somehow determine a balance between her heart and the Infinite.

Will Ela succeed with her job as prophet or will she live to have gray hair? Will Kien convince Ela that they can be together or will Ela determine that only the Infinite has her time? Will the king listen to the prodding of the Infinite or will his whole kingdom crumble because of his stubbornness? Will Ela die young or die an old woman?
———————————

This was my first real jaunt into the fantasy genre and I didn’t know what to expect or how I was going to feel after I flipped the last page. However, I have an opinion now. I feel like this book was the perfect transition from reality to fantasy. It had just enough realism to make it believable, but also just enough fantasy to remind you that it hasn’t nor ever will exist. If this is how fantasy is, then I’m definitely a fan. This book also got me out of my shell and makes me want to read other fantasy books both this author’s and others.

I think the thing I liked most about this book and kind of wish we had in reality was the destroyers. Massive war horses that are extremely loyal to the point of being ridiculous. In fact, a lot of the humor in the book comes from Pet/Scythe and him tearing up stuff to get to his master. These destroyers are more like a dog or cat as far as expression goes, but is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to war, definitely making this book a lot better because of it.

I think another reason why I loved this book so much was because of how similar to the biblical fiction I love. It seemed like it was close to Bible stories we all know and love as well as being similar in timeframe. I also loved the female prophet angle, it’s not one you see very often, but it’s one that I enjoyed. I don’t know if I would enjoy it as much as I did if it wasn’t so rare but because it is, I felt it was yet another aspect that I could love about this book.

The author also did something completely perfect for this book, created a romance that didn’t get completed in this novel. She wanted to add a little romance, but she didn’t want to force it into the story. So she made an open ended romance that fit so perfectly I have no complaints. Even with the lack of romance, she captured my heart and made me content with what she gave. It’s a sweet innocent romance that made me want more.

The descriptions in this book are a must. It made me feel like this area was real and I was walking alongside Ela at every turn. Also, the descriptions of the dangerous, deadly animals in this world made me a little thankful that the monsters in this story weren’t walking the earth with us. This author knew how to describe without over describing and she described the battle scenes all while leaving out the majority of the battle scenes, a detail most will be ecstatic over.

This genre is a first for me and the author, but if this book is any indication, both I and the author will be back with more fantasy. Me because I found a new genre that satisfies my curiosity and the author because I believe that she has truly found her niche. For a debut in a new genre, this book is the epitome of fantastic. It’s perfect for lovers of biblical fiction and fantasy fiction. I can’t wait to read more in this series and from this author. The author has opened a door into this genre that can’t be closed, so stay tuned for more fantasy reviews in the near future.

Overall, a great fantasy book for beginners in the genre or people who have been reading in it for years. It’s perfect for teens and Tweens alike an parents can rest easy that it isn’t to ridiculous like some of the fantasy books can get. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Advertisements

Better Than Chocolate

20120923-204915.jpg

Title: Better Than Chocolate
Author: Sheila Roberts
Series: Life in Icicle Falls
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: September 25, 2012
Pages: 400

——————————–

The Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed her first recipe. However, now it looks like the business is about to be forfeited to the bank due to a loan that they can’t pay. To lose this business spells disaster for not only the Sterling family but also the economy of Icicle Falls, Washington. It’s now Samantha Sterling’s job to keep he family business and reverse the massive damage her step-father created.

Blake Preston is the bank manager in charge of the loan and is being forced to call in the loan if they can’t pay up in a few months. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t help her try and pull off this chocolate festival, despite the fact that she believes that he is the enemy and his allergy to chocolate. He feels an attraction for her but feels that unless time was reversed and he worked anywhere but the bank, the relationship would never even come to be. But he’s going to try. His main goal is to help Samantha keep her business and make her see that he’s not the enemy.

As the chocolate festival dates gets closer, events out of their control make it seem like the festival won’t even take place and all their hard work will be for nothing. Samantha and her family scramble to make this festival a success, but as the date looms people start to doubt and wonder what will happen to their tiny town if they fail. Not to mention the romances and attractions plaguing the sisters threaten to take their sanity and peace of mind as well as a broken heart in the end.

Will Samantha and her family be able to keep their business or will generations of chocolatiers be for nothing? Will Blake be able to convince Samantha that he’s on her side or will she go to her grave thinking he’s trying to sabotage her life? Will Blake and Samantha become a couple or will their attraction stay unfulfilled? Will their attraction fizzle out or grow stronger the longer they’re together?
———————————

Being a Harlequin novel, I expected a certain level of passion and romance but I found myself constantly waiting for the romance to begin and it didn’t really. The book wasn’t bad, just disappointing. I feel like the author’s talents would be put to better use as a drama author instead of trying to force a romance that didn’t feel natural. However, the idea for this book was fantastic, two enemies fall in love, but I feel like it takes a special author to execute a plot that seems like an author’s nightmare. Having never read anything from this author I don’t know if this is an accurate portrayal of her writing skill, so I’ll leave that up to people have read more from her.

The family portion of this book, as well as the business saving part, was amazing. The author knows how sister’s work and her portrayal of the family dynamic is accurate, though a little extreme in my opinion, but shows how families interact with each other. This author knows how to work a story that involves everyone working together to solve a problem, as well. She painted the picturesque little tourist town where everyone works together and it almost makes me want to find my own Icicle Falls.

There were even touches of faith scattered throughout the book, which I didn’t expect to find and was gladly surprised. However, like most books similar to this, it fizzled out after a few pages and the mentions of church and prayer from the main characters, didn’t stick in the end. In fact, it seemed like the author wanted to bring her faith or a faith into the book and then either forgot to include it after a while or didn’t want to put too much of it in. Though I pleasantly surprised to see parts of faith brought into the book, it disappointed me that it wasn’t really enough to make an impression on the characters or the reader.

The author works well with description though; she describes Icicle Falls amazingly as well as the surrounding areas. I could picture the tiny town and actually wanted to visit during their chocolate festival, too bad it doesn’t exist. The author also made me want to run or at least work at a chocolate factory, because, honestly, what could be better than chocolate? She also includes a few recipes from the book, for chocolate or chocolate related food items that I fully intend to try out at some point in the future. That made the book just a little bit more real and made me a little more disappointed that Sweet Dreams Chocolate didn’t exist.

I don’t know if this book is a good representation of this author’s abilities in the romance department, but I do know that if you’re looking for a story of family and perseverance than this book is definitely for you. I don’t know if I’ll read more from this author due to the lack of romance, but I do want to see if her other books are more romancey or just as disappointing as this one.

Overall, this book was a disappointing romance but a great story of family and perseverance. This book is perfect who like romance but prefer a book that doesn’t revolve around it. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through The Christian Manifesto. All opinions expressed are my own.*

With Every Letter

20120920-191305.jpg

Title: With Every Letter
Series: Wings of the Nightingale
Author: Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
Pages: 432
Published: September 1, 2012

———————————-

Lt. Nellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse. However, she is not looking forward to writing an anonymous letter to a man she never met, even if it is to build morale among the men. Being weird and shy means that she’s a loner who just wants some friends, but has no idea how to get them. Maybe this letter thing won’t be so bad after all. Maybe she can have a friend after all.

Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the anonymous correspondence. Without his pen pal knowing his very infamous namesake he can finally fully open up and let someone see the real him, not the him he tries to hide behind smiles and jokes. As he struggles with being a leader and not turning out like his father, he finds that he is very attracted to his pen pal and begins to want to see her as her.

As their friendship grows, so does the affection and attraction for each other. But with paths so different yet so alike, both wonder if it’s worth it to meet in person and face utter rejection. With pasts ruling their lives and a delicate friendship, both must make a decision that could change their lives forever. All they have to do is take the plunge into the unknown, sounds easy right?

Will Mellie and Tom ever meet in person or will they chicken out? If they do meet will they face an overwhelming attraction or will they face utter rejection? Will Mellie ever gain friends or will she be a loner forever? Will Tom ever gain control of his platoon or will he forever be considered a friend instead of a leader?
———————————-

Having read a book by Sarah Sundin, I had an idea of what to expect, but she went above and beyond her previous books and created a story that made me fall in love with the characters, and genre all over again. Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite WWII genre authors because she has a true passion for the era and it shows in every page of her books, making this genre an easy favorite of most if not all readers. In fact, this is one of my favorite genres because of her.

This author’s history is spot on and her attention to detail is perfect, making the reader feel like their in the trenches with Tom and his platoon or in the air-vac helicopter with Mellie and her crew. This book also taught me a few things about this iconic war, which I always love, and made me wish for a time machine so that I can be one of the courageous people that nurses and fought for the cause. Very few books that I’ve read have made me crave the invention of time travel and for that this author has solidified her spot as my favorite author in this genre.

The romance in this novel was probably very tricky to formulate, but it didn’t show. It’s easy to see that two people of the opposite sex would fall in love after six plus months of sharing your heart and soul on paper. This author navigated smoothly what should’ve been a clunky romance and created something that I will definitely remember for years to come. It was uniquely sweet and extremely romantic, making me want a romance similar to this one.

I liked the characters in this book as well. I didn’t feel like they were too shallow or abnormally deep. They drew me in and made me want to find out what made them tick, including the “mean girls”. The author managed to create an enemy that I didn’t feel outright dislike for them. Don’t get me wrong I hated how they treated Mellie but I couldn’t help but think that there was something else behind the mean girl act. Never before has that ever really happened to me and I absolutely loved it.

This author captured my heart with her previous works but she managed to steal it completely with this one. I absolutely cannot wait to see who else gets to fall in love in this series and I can’t wait to see how she is going to do it. Also, I can’t express how ecstatic I am that it was a series. If it had been a stand alone I would’ve been sorely disappointed. This author will truly capture your heart and never let it go as she spins tales that touches on the romantic in all of us.

Overall, fantastic book that made me really love this genre again. It will capture the heart of almost any reader. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves books in this genre and want an emotional and touching book. I give this book a four and a half out of five.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are mine.*

The Reunion

20120915-214014.jpg

Title: The Reunion
Author: Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2012
Pages: 304

———————————-

Aaron Miller knows about loss. He lost love, dignity, and second and third chances. He lost his wife and kids over a decision he doesn’t feel like a hero for. He was once honored for his heroism, then hated for his participation, he now lives alone, in near obscurity, working as a handyman in a humble trailer park. No one knows what he’s done and he wants to keep it that way.

Dave Russo lost his father during the Vietnam War when he was very little. Without being able to mourn properly because of the hatred surrounding the war, Dave has spent most of his life without proper closure. He decides to write a book about this iconic war to say goodbye to his father properly and to bring him closer to the father he never really knew.

When he gets to interview a Vietnam vet, he gets an offer he couldn’t refuse, find the savior to him and his two buddies and enough money to he it done, then some. He’s now searching for the elusive hero, Aaron Miller. The search leads him to Karen Miller, Aaron’s daughter. As that relationship grows, Dave is determined to find Aaron, Karen, however, doesn’t want to see the man that abandoned her as a child.

Will Dave find Aaron or will his search hit a dead end? Will Dave and Karen’s attraction grow or will it fizzle out after time? Will Aaron accept a near irresistible offer to be thanked for his heroism or will he deny the offer of gratitude? Will Dave finish his book and lay his father to rest or will he give it up before it’s finished?
——————————

Having read previous rings from Dan Walsh, I kind of felt like I knew what to expect. However, the author surprised me and mixed it up a bit and made the book set more in the present, unlike his previous book. However, he stuck to his usual impeccable sense of detail and historical accuracy. Not to mention, the end of this book will literally bring you to tears.

Like I said before, the author changed up the whole story-in-a-story thing and made it more of a singular story with different characters or at least a story-in-a-story with both story lines in the present. This was a change I didn’t expect and would’ve probably preferred a story more like The Discovery, but I don’t see how that would’ve worked out with the story line the way it was.

One thing that the author stayed the same in was his historical accuracy and attention to detail. It’s one of the reasons I love him as an author. He makes sure everything is accurate and makes books that are unexpected and completely awesome. I particularly loved this books setting. I always wanted to read a book based in the much hated Vietnam War. It was something I was happy to read about because there isn’t enough out there about it unlike World War I and II.

Like his last one, there was a romance. This one was about a couple in their forties which I don’t usually enjoy, however this one was cute. I don’t know how to explain it but this one was actually my favorite out of all the later-in-life romances I’ve read. I don’t know how he managed to do it, but the author made this romance adorable and totally believable somehow, considering how little time the couple knew each other before saying “I love you”. It was a major plus for this book.

This author is a fantastic author who makes a book both men and women can enjoy all while making it a book-in-a-book and with historical accuracy. The more I read from this author the more I enjoy what he gives readers. I look forward to reading more from him and seeing what other great stories he can come up with. I also can’t wait to see how else he can tug at my heart strings and make me smile along with the characters.

Overall, this book is a little different from the usual but nice nonetheless and a book men and women alike can enjoy. I recommend this for anyone who wants a book about Vietnam vets and a little romance as well. I give this book a three out of five.

*I received this complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Love’s Reckoning

20120908-224458.jpg

Title: Love’s Reckoning
Author: Laura Frantz
Series: Ballantyne Legacy
Publisher: Revell
Published: September 1, 2012
Pages: 432

————————————–

Eden Lee is completely different from her harsh and controlling father. She is gentle and fresh and her sister is high-spirited and cunning. When her father gets a new apprentice, her father is determined to follow tradition and make Silas marry one of the master’s daughters. With Eden’s sisters, Elspeth, calling dibs, Eden must stay out of the way and matchmake, but Silas and her fin themselves getting closer to each other despite her sister’s persistence.

Silas Ballantyne just wants to finish his apprenticeship and move west to Fort Pitt to make a life for himself. He has no interest in marriage or the master’s daughters. Or so he thought. The gentle, scripture starved Eden makes her way into his head and heart without even trying and he finds himself drawn to her despite Elspeth’s unrelenting flirting and pursuing.

As their attraction grows for each other, so does their bond, and their problems. Eden’s family is determined to marry one of them off and Silas is determined to not be forced to marry anyone. And Eden is determined to leave her family home and go and help orphans in Philadelphia, unless Silas stops her. When trial after trial gets in the way of their love Eden can’t help but wonder if she will ever have Silas or if she’ll just have the memories of what he gave her.

Will Silas and Eden marry each other or will they each marry someone who doesn’t have their whole heart? Will Eden go to the orphanage or will she give it all up for love? Will Silas get to go to Fort Pitt or will he give that up for Eden and her family’s blacksmith forge? Can love conquer harsh families and circumstances or is it just a dream that’ll never come true?
—————————-

I’ve figured something out. If Julie Lessman (author of A Passion Most Pure) reviews a book and writes that this book stole her heart, breath, and sleep because it was so good, this book is going to be just that. Just by looking at this cover I had high hopes for this book and was hoping that this would be a memorable book that I would want to read again. Let me tell you, it was just that, not only would I read this book again, I have to get my hands on the rest of the series no matter how long it is.

I think the thing I loved the most about this book wasn’t the romance, though that was amazing, but the depth of the characters. Everything time that a character’s heart broke yours broke along with it and when a character was happy or sad, you felt the same. The author took me on a journey that I don’t get taken on very often. The author let me come on the journey of the characters and made me feel like I was going through it with them. It was amazing and really made the book.

The romance in this book was awesome as well. It was sweet and innocent yet not your typical Christian romance either. The author fit very nicely in the genre yet made a romance that even readers of more passionate romances can enjoy. This book touched a headstrong of mine and I don’t know how or which one it is all I know is that I loved it and can’t wait to read the next one in the series and any other romances Laura Frantz decides to write.

The storyline was amazing as well. Even though about halfway through, I would’ve preferred a different path than the author took, I have to give her credit for making this book realistic and amazing. This storyline is unique and heartbreaking, along with terrific and joyous. It makes you feel different chapter to chapter and takes you on an emotional roller coaster that really does make you lose your sleep, because you have to find out how this book is going to end. That almost never happens in a romance.

This author flew to the top of my favorites list and looks to have cemented herself there for a long time. I can’t wait to read more from this author. Her stories are well balanced, realistic, and heart tugging. If you’ve never read a Laura Frantz novel, this is the perfect place to start. If have read a book by this author, then I think you’ll appreciate this novel by her.

Overall, a wonderfully unique roller coaster of a book that leaves you excited for more. It does take a Tim that could disappoint readers, but the author uses it really well and totally makes the book worth reading. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves romance, despite what type. I give this book a four out of five.

*I received this complimentary copy of this book from Revell in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Eyes of Justice

20120904-154323.jpg

Title: Eyes of Justice
Author: Lis Wiehl
Series: Triple Threat
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: April 3, 2012
Pages: 320

————————————

Cassidy, Allison, and Nicole fight or justice every day, Cassidy as a crime reporter, Nicole with the FBI, and Allison as a federal prosecutor. Together they’ve dubbed themselves the Triple Threat and a force to be reckoned with. But, they’ve never faced a case so full of painful roads and dark alleys. They race to find the culprits to a friends murder before the killer decides to find them too.

After they find out that the police have a fellow cop in custody, some new evidence points to someone else and they’re determined to find him and bring him to justice. The Triple Threat women don’t know who to trust other than close friends and a new unexpected ally, a quirky private investigator named Ophelia. Together they start to engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game that could leave them all dead.

As the killer gets closer to home with every day and closer to picking off the Triple Threat gang one by one, the Triple Threat also gets closer and closer to finding out who this mysterious person really is and his vendetta towards them. With a little help from friends and a lot of skill and badge pulling, they start connecting dots that were never meant to be noticed let alone be connected.

Will the Triple Threat gang be able to catch the killer before he gets to them or will they only see who he is with their last breath? Who is it? Is the killer someone they know or is it someone completely unrelated? Will the Triple Threat end up losing their jobs over nothing or will they catch the real killer before it’s too late?
—————————–

I haven’t read anything by this author before and was a little concerned that wouldn’t be able to read this book as a stand-alone. Thankfully, that wasn’t an issue. What was was the slow start and lack of realism as far as the jobs went. The characters seemed too keen on pulling rank and showing badges to get where and what they want. It seemed a little unrealistic and odd to me.

There definitely was a slow start to this book. It started out with a murder but dead end after dead end inhibited the story and crippled the end result. However, once the story picked up it never let up which is a perfect quality in a suspense/thriller novel. The author was fantastic at creating suspense and making the reader be put on the edge of their seats but I just wish that it had been through out the story and not just the second half.

The suspense was very suspenseful and thrilling and the author didn’t give very many clues as to who the murderer was making the guessing practically impossible and somewhat of a surprise, making it a huge plus for me. However, I think the way it was executed was a tad bit bland but the reasons the killer had for his murders were original and something that I haven’t really read before, but the premise of the story is a lot better than the actual story.

I felt that the characters lacked depth as well. One of their best friends was murdered and they cry and sob for the first half and then the second comes and nothing. The friend isn’t given much of a second thought and it was a huge letdown because of how close they supposedly were to each other. Also, there was an emotional gap between the women and any male in the women’s lives. Almost like they didn’t want them to know how they really feel. It was definitely strange considering one of them is married.

I’m sure this author is a good author, but I didn’t get to see it in this book. I may read more from tis author but I probably won’t jump at the opportunity. The only thing that saved this book was the suspenseful thrilled aspect in the book and even that was subpar in my opinion. I read so many books in this genre and because of that feel that book needs to be at it’s best for me to really like it. Unfortunately, this book didn’t really hit the mark for me, but maybe it will for you.

Overall, it’s an exciting thriller suspense but isn’t totally original in its execution and it can be boring due to the lack of action in the beginning and the lack of emotional connections between the characters. I recommend this book for fans of Lis Wiehl and for beginners in the genre. I give this book a two and a half out of five.

*I received this complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher though their Booksneeze blogger program. All opinions expressed are my own.*