“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Ms. Moke Hits the Bullseye with Her Debut--"Hood" by Jenny Moke--Review



My Review


The myth. The man.  The legend.  Or is it woman?  We all know the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  Ms. Moke brings us a fresh gender bent retelling of Robin Hood that will especially appeal to fans of young adult fiction.

“Hood” by Jenny Elder Moke explores the next generation after Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  Our main character, Isabelle, becomes a new Robin Hood figure and explores her place in the Merry Men, her family and the world around her.  She is a smart, brave, fierce and kind heroine.  Throughout the book, Isabelle is trying to fit in and find her place in the world.  Isabelle meets many old, familiar characters as well as a new generation of Merry Men (and women).  She develops some strong friendships and I love the “squad” she becomes a part of.  There is even a sweet romance.

“Hood” is written with lots of great lessons to take away as well.  Isabelle learns to be braver than she feels and to not let the constraints of the past define her future.  At some points, I felt the pacing rather lagged, whereas at other points the book is very action packed.  There are some great fight scenes and archery contests (of course!).  Overall, it is a fun retelling of Robin Hood that fans of retellings, Disney, Robin Hood and young adult literature will love!

Content:  I give this book a PG rating.  Some examples of the content are: people are at a pub, many are drunk and use ribald language, but it’s not actually written; the word “as*” is used in reference to a horse; the words “bloody,” “hell” and “d*mn” are used; there is mention of a girl being physically abused in her past; a man curses, but the words aren’t written; the word “bastard” is used; a girl dresses up as a prostitute as a disguise; there are a few sexual innuendos.

Rating:  I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank Jenny Moke, Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


About the Author 

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. She was a finalist in the 2017 Austin Film Festival Podcast Competition, and studied children’s writing with Liz Garton Scanlon.
When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenny lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, HOOD, about the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marien, will release from Disney/Hyperion in Spring 2020. She is represented by Elizabeth Bewley of Sterling Lord Literistic.


To purchase the book click here
To visit the author's website click here

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

"The House at the End of the Moor" by Michelle Griep Blog Tour (Review) and GIVEAWAY!


About the Book

Book:  House at the End of the Moor
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre:  Christian Historical
Release Date: April 2020
An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors
Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

Click here for your copy!

 My Review

Ms. Griep had me at the word “moor.”  I knew I would love this book because of the setting and the author.  I was not disappointed!

“The House at the End of the Moor” by Michelle Griep is a historical novel with a Gothic feel.  There is also an exciting storyline involving escaped convicts, mysterious pasts and a reverse jewel heist.  Will justice prevail?

From the riveting opening line, Ms. Griep draws the reader into her atmospheric story.  Her writing style and the storyline reminds me of a combination of Dickens and “Jane Eyre.”  Ms. Griep paints vivid images with her words.  The way she writes her characters, even the side characters, is so memorable and very much like Dickens does with his characters.  I especially enjoyed her side character, Barrow, who is as obsessed with finding our hero, Oliver Ward (and bringing him to justice) as Captain Ahab was with finding Moby Dick.  Of course, it would not be a Griep novel without some lessons learned.  The characters learn about justice, seizing the present moment and restoring relationships.  Another wonderful read!

Content: I give this book a PG rating.  Some examples of the content are: people curse, but the words are not written; the words “hell” and “demon” are used; a man smokes; mentions that a man wants a woman to warm his bed; there is reference to a girl being raped in the past; a woman remembers past physical abuse.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars.

I want to thank Michelle Griep, Barbour Publishing and Celebrate Lit Tours for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


 More from Michelle

What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.

Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.

In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?

You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.

What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, April 18
The Avid Reader, April 18
Among the Reads, April 20
Remembrancy, April 23
Hookmeinabook, April 23
Emily Yager, April 24
Betti Mace, April 25
Stories By Gina, April 25
Splashes of Joy, April 26
Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Vicky Sluiter, April 26
Pause for Tales, April 27
Hallie Reads, April 28
Bigreadersite, April 29
Older & Smarter?, April 29
Genesis 5020, April 30
By The Book, April 30
Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

 Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, April 10, 2020

For All the Lovers of Gothic Romance! --"Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey" by Abigail Wilson—Review






My Review

Do you love curling up with a book on a stormy night?  If so, "Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey" by Abigail Wilson is the perfect book for you!  Ms. Wilson’s book can be described as a Gothic Romance where everything is not as it seems.

Ms. Wilson excels in describing her settings and giving them the perfect Gothic touch.  Her descriptions are so beautiful, that sometimes I just stopped reading to soak it in.  My favorite part of the book is how atmospheric it is.  It reminds me a bit of Daphne du Maurier and her novel “Rebecca” (especially a certain character and scene).  It’s a perfect mix of Bronte and Austen.

The story itself is wonderful.  I love the mystery and not knowing who you can trust.  Our heroine, Elizabeth, is smart, independent and brave (move over Sherlock!).  She is no simpering miss, even though she’s possibly living under the same roof as a murderer.  Besides sleuthing, Elizabeth also learns about forgiveness and the power of the truth. 

I love "Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey" and would recommend it to fans of the Regency period, historical fiction, clean romances and Gothic Literature.  We need more books like this!

Content:  I give this book a PG rating.  Some examples of the content are: talk of mistresses and ravishing someone; a child is born out of wedlock; a woman is called wanton and a trollop; men are drunk and utter curses, which are not written.

Rating:  I give this book 5 stars.

I want to thank Abigail Wilson, Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.




About the Author 

Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children. Connect with Abigail at www.acwilsonbooks.com

To purchase the book click here

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Fate, Choices and Soul Mates--"Her Choice" by Penny McIntosh--Review


My Review

“Her Choice” by Penny McIntosh is a novel about fate, choices and soul mates.  Ms. McIntosh employs magical realism in this contemporary story, with a good dose of romance as well.

From the first line, Ms. McIntosh hooks the reader into this cleverly crafted story.  The writing is amazing.  Lucy, the main character, is fun and relatable.  She needs to find out who she is and where she belongs.  In between deciding between her boyfriend and his best friend, Lucy learns a lot about life and herself in the process.  She learns about choices and when we make wrong choices, we can try to make something good from them.  Most of all, she learns where she belongs and to live fully in the present.

Fans of romance and contemporary stories (with a little magic on the side) will love this book!

Content:  I give this book a strong PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are:  the words “hell,” “crap,” “sh*t,” “bastard,” “as*,” and “bi**h” are used; the Lord’s name is taken in vain; talk of “getting into a woman’s pants,” sex, and “getting laid”; people drink alcohol; a woman is called a “whore”; there are scenes leading up to sex and then pillow talk afterwards; sex outside of marriage.


Rating:  I give this book 5 stars.


About the Author 

Penny McIntosh is a stay at wife, and mom of three. She has a degrees in Religious Studies and Teaching, and has always been drawn to the mystical and the unknown (something she tries to incorporate into all her books). She is an avid reader, and finds that the silence of the twilight hours offers the most inspiration for writing.

To purchase the book click here
To visit the author's website click here

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bride Ships, History and Romance! --"The Runaway Bride" by Jody Hedlund—Review






My Review


Are you looking for a swoon-worthy read with lots of heart?  “The Runaway Bride” by Jody Hedlund is exactly that.  This book is the second book in the “The Bride Ships” series but can be read as a standalone. 

"The Runaway Bride" by Jody Hedlund tackles some fascinating subjects—one being “bride ships.”  Prior to reading this book, I did not know anything about this subject.  I loved reading about Arabella, an aristocrat from England in the 1860s, who rode on a bride ship to Vancouver Island.  Like the author states in her author’s note, I was interested to read about what might make someone take this journey. 

In addition to Arabella, there is Pete, a hero that many ladies will swoon after.  He is the town’s baker in this wild new land, and he has a soft heart.  He cares about the Natives, even though many look down on them, especially during the smallpox outbreak.  He defends them and helps them.  This book shows that we are not all that different, despite our race or our class.  There are so many divides during this time period, but the characters of this story learn that the Lord looks not at the outward appearance, but at the heart. 

I really appreciate the faith aspects in “The Runaway Bride.”  Arabella has been through a lot in her past and she is able to learn that God can use one’s suffering and pain to help others in the same situation.   Pete and Arabella learn to not live life according to the expectations of others but to find direction from God alone.  They also experience lessons in courage and forgiveness.  What a wonderful and encouraging read!

Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: mention of half-naked natives; a woman was physically abused and she has flashbacks; people drink alcohol; a man struggles with desires of the flesh; a man tries to force his attentions on a woman; a brief scene of a man beating a woman.

Rating:  I give this book 4 stars. 

I want to thank Jody Hedlund and Bethany House for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.


About the Author 

Wife, mom, teacher, author, kisser of scraped knees, encourager of the downtrodden, guzzler of coffee, and, most importantly, passionate follower of Jesus. 


To purchase the book click here
To visit the author's website click here



Saturday, March 21, 2020

Visit the Story of Esther in a New Way--"Star of Persia: Esther's Story" by Jill Eileen Smith—Review



My Review


"Star of Persia: Esther's Story" by Jill Eileen Smith is a retelling of the book of Esther from the Bible.  I love the story of Esther and Esther as a person.  She has always struck me as being so brave amid some very scary and life-threatening circumstances.  This retelling by Ms. Smith does a wonderful job of bringing this well-known story to life.  I love entering Esther’s world and the opulent world of the palace.  Ms. Smith transports the reader to the biblical time period.  I especially love how she makes these characters come to life, with fears, thoughts and motives.  I especially enjoyed reading more about Queen Vashti.  "Star of Persia: Esther's Story" makes me appreciate the biblical story even more and I loved reading the story from my Bible along with the book.  Fans of biblical fiction and the story of Esther will especially love this retelling.

Content:  I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: talk of sharing a bed; concubines; mention of people sleeping together; a man is said to be a drunkard; fade-to-black married sex; talk of sleeping together; a steamy scene when Esther first visits the king, but no sex.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank Revell and Jill Eileen Smith for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.




About the Author 

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, the Loves of King Solomon and Heart of the King, the nonfiction When Life Doesn’t Match Your Dreams, and Star of Persia, Esther’s Story. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

To purchase the book click here
To visit the author's website click here

Saturday, March 7, 2020

A Fun and Handy Accessory for every Household! --Magnetic Leather Pen Holder—Review


My Review


I love these Magnetic Leather Pen Holders!  They are great to keep your pens and pencils handy so that you’re not always trying to find something to take notes with or write with.  I know for me; we are always losing pens and I can never find one when I want to add something to the grocery list.  This pen holder will go perfectly on our refrigerator next to our grocery list.  It’s also great for writers and book reviewers, like myself.  I can now have a pen handy for when inspiration hits or I need to take notes on my current review book.  I put it on my metal library cart in my study, right by my reading and blogging area.  These are very well made, and they look great.  They can also fit more than one pen or pencil.  I highly recommend this product and my husband is already trying to steal mine!
 

I want to thank Heyrtz for the complimentary product for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.  

To purchase these click here