“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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Rebel" by Linda Windsor-- A Fast-Paced Arthurian Legend Which Brilliantly Concludes A Wonderful Trilogy!

Title: Rebel
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 1st, 2012
ISBN: 9781434764768

Goodreads Description:  With Merlin dead, the succession undecided, and the Celtic church on the defensive from Rome, intrigue sweeps the court of the High King Arthur. But it's battlefield news that consumes Queen Gwenhyfar's young scribe, Kella O'Toole: her fiancĂ© is dead and her father gone missing. Determined to find him at all costs, Kella defies the queen's orders and sets out for Pictish territory. Her foster brother Alyn, a disillusioned priest who questions his calling, agrees to help her. The journey itself is perilous. But it's their secrets that land Kella and Alyn in a viper's nest of treachery that threatens both their lives and the future of Albion. Can they summon the love and faith they need to find their way not only out of danger, but into happiness? Brilliantly researched, vividly imagined, and movingly written-a memorable climax to the Brides of Alba series.

My review:  If you love Scotland, Arthurian legend, and medieval history, you are in for a treat with the Brides of Alba series!  Considering these are some of my absolute favorite things to read about, it is no wonder that I love this series so much!  Rebel is the third book in the Brides of Alba series.  Windsor has really done her research with this series and her other historical novels set in this time period showing a lot of little known information of that time in history (especially in regards to the Arthurian legends, Britain's early history and the early church).  The novels are jam-packed with  maps, places, character lists, and other information pertaining to historical data pertinent to the history and background of the story. 

My copy of Rebel is an advance kindle copy and an uncorrected proof, so it does not have the map and or an option for me to go to a "table of contents" (I assume they will be added)  I was very glad to have my paperback copies to refer to the references when I needed to.  This is just a suggestion to readers, that if you are going to read an advance copy, this is one of those books where you definitely will want to refer to the list of characters and map a lot, so I would try to get the advance copy in paperback if you can. 

I really love Linda's weaving of the Arthurian characters and legend into the plot.  They are not the main characters, but it is neat to have these familiar characters in the background of the story.  Although, these Arthurian characters may not always do what one would expect.  There is a twist on the Arthurian legend in Windsor's novels, which even ties in with the Biblical history.  Windsor explains it all in her extra references and it is fascinating. 

The story itself has a great plot with two lovable characters.  They both grow in their faith as they travel on a journey full of adventure and exciting battle scenes (and of course a very satisfying romance)!  I give this book 5 stars.  It is a clean read.

I want to thank  David C Cook, Linda Windsor, & 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.

Linda's Website : click here
Linda's Facebook Page : click here

Linda Windsor is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, with more than a million books in print. Her most recent work includes Healer and Thief, the first two volumes in the Brides of Alba series, and the early Irish Celtic Fires of Gleannmara trilogy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Glamorous Illusions" by Lisa Bergren Book Review

Bergren Challenges Readers to
Face Their Own Identity Crisis

New series from Lisa T. Bergren leads readers
through a journey of inner discovery

Colorado Springs: Glamorous Illusions (David C Cook/June 1, 2012/ISBN: 978-1-4347-6430-0), the first release in Lisa Bergren’s new Grand Tour series, is a beautiful exploration of the covenant connection between God the Father and His children. Through the story of Cora Kensington, Bergren takes her audience on a European adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awareness, and self-discovery. A person often identifies themself by their family, profession, or circumstances. However, as Christians, what would happen if we began to better understand our true identity in Christ? It is this spiritual journey that author Bergren guides readers through in Glamorous Illusions. It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father’s health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her. Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning. Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King—a Father who is the only One who can truly heal. “Glamorous Illusions" is not only Cora’s journey toward understanding true identity in Christ, but it will help every reader understand it better too,” explains Bergren. “It’s an examination of the bond between the Father and his child.” Each member of the traveling group expects an outer cultural journey of refinement, but each will also wrestle with their own sins and inner conflicts. Ultimately, they explore what truly informs a person’s sense of identity. Readers will be able to join Cora and the other Kensingtons and Morgans as they continue their Grand Tour, discovering new lands, new cultures, and new aspects of themselves, in the upcoming installments Grave Consequences (Spring 2013) and Glittering Promises (Fall 2013).

My review:  Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren is a beautiful work of grand adventure and inner discovery.  I LOVED Bergren's River of Time Series, which was more geared towards teens.  Bergern has mentioned in some interviews that this series features a heroine who is a little older than the heroines of the River of Time Series.  This would perhaps be the young adults, college years, and early 20s.  Cora Kensington is finding her place in this world, stepping out, and finding her wings.  This main character of this book is right around the age I am now, but I loved the River of Time Series and I feel that women of all ages will find something they can relate to in this book. 

Bergren always brings a fresh, distinct voice to her work.  Even though the main character, Cora, lives in 1913, she struggles with universal issues that the reader feels like they can relate to as well.  She struggles with her identity, anger at her family, and worry about her future (just to name a few).  Bergren presents Cora as strong and full of heart, creating her to be someone I feel young women will connect with and be inspired by. 

Bergren's secondary characters are characters that I felt myself becoming attached to.  They are well-written, multi-dimensional characters.  The readers comes to change their opinion about many of these characters as the book progresses, as does Cora. 

Lastly, I just truly enjoyed getting caught up in the Grand Tour and traveling with Cora.  It was interesting learning the history about the places she traveled.  I love all of the lavish descriptions of the places they tour in Europe and I cannot wait for the next installment of the Grand Tour! 

This is a clean read.  I give this book 5 stars!

I want to thank David C Cook, Lisa Bergren, & 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.  

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Lisa's Website : click here
Lisa on Facebook : click here