“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

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Forgiven Duke Review--A Riveting Read!

Title:  The Forgiven Duke
SubTitle:  A Forgotten Castles Novel
Publisher:  B&H Publishing Group
Pub Date:  July 01, 2012
ISBN:  9781433673238
Author:      Jamie Carie
Category:   FICTION - ADULT: Other: Christian

               Jamie Carie has done it again!  She has produced quite a masterpiece in The Forgiven Duke, the second installment in her “Forgotten Castles” series.  I was so impressed by the first book in the series, The Guardian Duke, that I was a little worried the sequel might disappoint.  Although the two books are different in some ways, they are both just as good and equally deserving of the five stars I have given them.

            In the first book, The Guardian Duke, Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, has been trying to catch his ward, Alexandria Featherstone, in a chase across England and Ireland, but to no avail.  Alexandria (Alex) has been trying to locate her parents who are high-profile treasure hunters.  At the end, Alex is sailing off on a ship to Iceland as the Duke is on shore watching her leave.  They lock eyes for an intense moment over the distance that separates them—and speak to each other in the way only soul mates can.  Gabriel has just decided that if he reaches Alex in time, he will abandon the Regent’s wishes to bring Alex back to England and help her in her quest to find her parents.  He will choose faith over duty (his family motto is “Faith for Duty”).  He knows he loves her and will do whatever it takes.

            The Forgiven Duke begins where The Guardian Duke leaves off.  The year is 1818.  Alex is now aboard the ship with her fiancĂ©, John Lemon.  Alex realizes she may have made a mistake in trying to escape her guardian, and prays that he will come.  She needs him.  Alex feels her life has gotten off track.  John seems too eager to marry her.  She wonders what his real motivations are.  In the midst of all this, Alex must be on constant alert for the dangerous men who have been following her since the beginning of her search for her parents.  She must also consider if she can trust those who are supposedly her allies.

            The Duke follows Alex to Iceland, the last place where “the manuscript” was heard to be.  This is what Alex’s parents are searching for.  Gabriel travels to the Black Castles of Iceland, huge black pillars from volcanic lava that look like castles.  This path is fraught with dangers.  Gabriel is deterred again and again.  Will he ever make it to Alex in time?  Why is the manuscript so valuable?  

            Alex and Gabriel do finally meet, and the meeting is so tender and worth the wait!  Then a tragedy occurs.  Will Alex and the Duke let the tragedy separate them just when they were finally brought together?

            I adored this book. It was different from its predecessor in many ways, as I stated before, because it seemed to have a more intense feel to it.  The Guardian Duke was a more light-hearted romp, with fun, lovable characters.  The Forgiven Duke deals with much weightier subjects.  The scenery here, instead of being the verdant Ireland, is the dark, dangerous paths of Iceland. 

            As I state in my previous review of The Guardian Duke, both are written to have an air of poetry about them.  Jamie Carie writes in a way that is lyrical and mesmerizing.  The Forgiven Duke uses amazing and wonderfully descriptive language.  The land of Iceland feels almost otherworldly.  She describes a beautiful land with fire, ice, snow, crevasses, boiling mud pits, volcanoes, and mists. 

            It was inspiring to watch the journey of faith that Gabriel and Alex’s characters take.  Gabriel prays a lot more in this book.  He used to love listening to music, but now he uses music to worship God.  God fills the hole in him that music used to fill.  While reading I began examining myself for different areas where I might be going to things other than God to satisfy my needs.  It is a good reality check for all of us.  The Duke must come to the end of himself and ask for God’s will in everything.  That is a hard place to be, but a good one, because that is really when God can start to use us. 

Alex realizes she is trying to control things by attempting to find her parents her own way and not submitting to the Duke.  She now comprehends how much havoc and suffering this has caused to others.  I can relate to Alex as I constantly have to give up my own issues of control to God.

            I love the storyline of this series because it is fresh, exiting and will whisk you off to new places!

I give this book five stars out of five.  It is a clean read.  It is Christian fiction.

I want to thank NetGalley, Jamie Carie and the B&H Publishing Group 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.                  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Perfect for Saint Patty's Day!--"The Guardian Duke" Review

WOW!  That's what I said when I finished The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie.  I probably would have said it all throughout the book as well, but I was too caught up in the spine-tingling exploits to think about it.  I'm thrilled to share this amazing book with you.  So snuggle up in your coziest chair, grab a cup of your favorite warm drink, and let's journey together with our hero and heroine to far off lands sure to be full of exciting adventures! 

The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie is the first book in the Forgotten Castles series.  The year is 1818.  Our heroine is Alexandria Featherstone who has the "heart of an adventuress and the imagination of a storyteller" (307).  She lives on a beautiful, windswept island called Holy Island in Northumberland, England.  There she dwells in a dilapidated castle, tending sheep, solving mysteries for the locals, and seeking adventures.  But she constantly worries about her parents who have been missing for a little less than a year.  They are famous treasure hunters, but they have been gone longer than normal this time.  Others think them dead, but Alex will not give up hope! 


Next meet our hero, Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton.  His life is at the forefront of society, among the bustle and pretensions of the London upper class.  He enjoys listening to music above all else.  Music is what fills his soul.  Then the unthinkable occurs--he starts to have some kind of affliction with his hearing.  He can no longer hear, or listen to music!  His whole life is turned upside down.  The same day his hearing is taken, he gets a note from the prince regent that he is a distant relation to Alexandria, her parents are presumed dead, and he is now her guardian. 

There is one problem.  This is the fact that Alexandria refuses to come to him, claiming she must instead go in search of her missing parents.  Due to the sudden onset of his affliction, Gabriel is unable to go after Alex right away.  Instead they begin a discourse of letters back and forth.  Sparks fly as letters are exchanged.   Finally the Duke determines that he must go after Alex himself.  Thus begins an exciting chase across the amazing landscapes of England and Ireland!  Will the Duke find Alex in time before more dangerous enemies catch her?  Will Alex find her parents and the love she is seeking from them?  Will the Duke choose faith over duty and help Alex find her parents?

My Review:  I was immediately drawn to this book due to the fact that it includes castles, England, and the Regency period.  It more than lived up to my expectations!!!  I thought that the main character, Alexandria Featherstone, was such a wonderful character and I fell in love with her just like all of the other characters in the book fall for her.  Her name, alone, is brilliant!  I agree with Gabriel, the Duke, when he thinks to himself regarding her name, "'Alexandria.'  Alexandria Featherstone.  The name comforted him somehow, brought to mind a fairy creature from a world too brightly colored to ever be sad" (22)  Alexandria's character is unique and spunky.  It is an inspiring character.  I love how she makes people like her and inspires such fierce loyalty in others. 

The way the Duke's struggle with going deaf is portrayed made me really feel what he was going through and think about what that must be like for him.  Jamie Carie describes his affliction in such detail, including what he feels, experiences, and undergos emotionally.  I truly sympathized with him. 

Both the hero and heroione have their own issues of control that they are facing and their own battles.  I could relate as I am constantly having to give up my own control issues to God.  Along with the journey and Gabriel's condition also comes an increase of feelings that he has not known before and a awareness of being alive.

I also enjoyed the supporting cast of characters.  Each had such a wonderful personality and is loveable in their own way.

The whole story is written to have an air of poetry about it.  It is lyrical and mesmerizing.  The settings are written in brilliant colors and landscapes that leap off the page.   

A lot of regencies have similar storylines, but The Guardian Duke is fresh, exciting and will whisk you off to new places!

This is a clean read.  It is Christian fiction. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

I've Been Tagged!


I was tagged by Kara at My Thoughts and Book Reviews, THANKS Kara! J
Here are the rules:

Post 11 random things about yourself, answer the questions I ask you, then create 11 more questions for the people you tag and go to their blog and let them know they’ve been tagged.
If you don’t want to create a post for this, then please feel free to answer these questions on my blog.
Now for the random part:
1. I have always been fascinated with the Medieval Time Period. 
 2.  My dream was to visit a castle and visit Scotland.  I got to do both about a year ago when my husband and I took a trip to Scotland! AMAZING!! 

3. I have loved books ever since I was a little baby.  My mom says when I was a tiny baby, she used to put a pile of books next to me and I would pick each book up and babble at the words, pretending I was reading it.  This would keep me busy for hours.

4. I played the drums for eight years.  I played in my school band, school worship team, and youth group worship band.  

5. I have a heart for orphans and my husband and I feel we may be called to missions in the future.

6. After I graduated high school, I went on a 5 month mission trip with Youth With A Mission.  The first part (the training), was in Hawaii, and the second part (the actual mission work), was in India.  It was one of the best experiences of my life!!

7. I have also been on a mission trip to Romania with Global Expeditions.  I also led a trip to Hawaii with my youth group, who partnered with Youth With A Mission.  I then studied Missions in college and did an internship at the Spanish Health Ministry. 

8. I have been a Children's Librarian.

9.  For a long time, I have had chronic fatigue and thyroid issues.  I just recently found out that one major reason is because I am gluten and dairy intolerant!  Who would have thought?  Now I have been gluten and dairy-free for more than eight months and it has done wonders for my health!!!!!  Praise the Lord!!!

10. In June, I will have been married for five years to an amazing man!  He is an Engineer.  We got married in a place that looks like a castle.  : )

11.  I am left-handed, except when I play sports.

Now for the questions Kara asked:
1. What’s your favorite part(s) of blogging? 
I love meeting new people who also have the same passion for reading as I do!
2. Which do you love more- cats or dogs?

Definitely cats!  I have one tuxedo cat named Anabelle who is two years old and she's my little buddy : )

3. What is something you collect or something you wish you had more of? 

Books, pretty teapots, colored glass vases, pre-raphaelite art
4. Do you play video games, which ones? 

No.  When I was little, I used to play the old Sega games, but not anymore. 
5. Name an activity you enjoy doing with your family. 

My husband and I enjoy going to bookstores.
6. If you could meet one celebrity for lunch, who would it be? 

If it doesn't matter if they are still alive or not, I'd love to meet Audrey Hepburn and Lucille Ball.  As far as someone who is still living, I'd love to meet any of my favorite authors (see my favorite authors under the "about me" section). 

7. What’s your dream vacation? I would love to go back to Scotland!

8. Name about 5 books on your wish list and/or to be read list (books you want versus books you already have).  To Be Read:
Highland Sanctuary
by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
A Necessary Deception
by Laurie Alice Eakes
The Forgiven Duke
by Jamie Carie
The Companion of Lady Holmshire
by Debra Brown
The Merchant's Daughter
by Melanie Dickerson
9. What has been your favorite review so far this year? 

It was a lot of fun reviewing The Pirate and His Lady, because it was full of adventure and the book had so much in it to put in a review.

10. What website(s) do you visit most? 

I visit Goodreads and Facebook a lot.

11. What do you prefer, ebook or print book? 

Definitely print!

Thanks so much Kara for tagging me.  I loved your questions and that was a lot of fun!!

Now, here are my questions for you:

1.  Are you able to have background noise when you are reading?  If so, what type of noise do you usually have on while you are reading?

2.  Do you have any pet(s)?  If so, details please : )

3.  Do you have any unfulfilled dreams?

4.  What is one of your pet peeves?

5.  Why did you start a blog?

6.  What is your favorite season and why?

7.  What is your favorite book?

8.  What is your favorite hobby?

9.  What time of day do you normally blog?

10.  Have you been to any foreign countries?

11.  What makes you laugh the hardest?

Here’s who I’m tagging:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kindle Fire & Maid of Fairbourne Hall Giveaway!

Christy award winner Julie Klassen is having an awesome contest that I wanted to fill everyone in on!  She is giving away a Julie Klassen library and a Kindle Fire.  She is one of my favorite authors and has been compared to Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.  Her newest book, the Maid of Fairbourne Hall, has been compared to the hit television series "Downton Abbey".  Go to the Facebook page to enter the contest (link above under picture).  Then is there is also a "Book Chat Facebook Party" on March 15th from 5-6:30pm.  She'll be announcing the Kindle and book winner and lots of other fun stuff about her new book!  There will be lots of giveaways DURING the Facebook party, so be sure to be on during that time.  She'll be giving away Downton Abbey seasons 1 & 2 books, gifts cards to B&N, Starbucks, & I-Tunes!!!

I have read every one of her books and they all on my keeper shelf!!!

Here's a back cover description of the Maid of Fairbourne Hall:

'Margaret Macy flees London, disguised as a housemaid, to avoid marriage to a dishonorable man. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not at Fairbourne Hall—the home of two former suitors. As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret. When a trap is set to force her from hiding, will love or danger find her first?'

Click here to read an excerpt of Maid of Fairbourne Hall.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Swashbucking Suspense!

A Review of The Pirate and His Lady by Linda Chaikin

     Backcover description:  Emerald Harwick finds herself caught in two skirmishes: a brutal pirate war over buried treasure, and a tumultuous battle for the heart of the man she loves. A romance to intrigue you.
     My Review:  This book begins where the first book in the Buccaneers series, Port Royal, leaves off.  The Pirate and His Lady is full of even more suspense, romance, and high-seas adventure than the first installation!  This is probably due to the fact that this is now the meat of the story.  The characters have been fully developed and the reader can ride along with them as they choose their fate. 
     I found this book to be much more of what I expected from the first one.  I had found Port Royal to be a little slow as far as the action, focusing more on back story.  There also was not as much romance as I had hoped.  The Pirate and His Lady promises plenty of romance and action, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat one moment and sighing with contentment the next! 
     Even though it is a fiction book, there is a lot of historical fact interspersed throughout.  I really enjoyed learning the history of the Buccaneers.  Linda Chaikin does a great job of incorporating historical facts into her stories. 
     The main characters go through a lot of trials and their faith is sorely tested.  To see how they rely on the Lord and the different Scriptures and truths they use to help them inspired me.  I know it is a good book when I find myself applying truths from it to my everyday life!
     It is a clean book.  It does have some violence, but not too graphic.  The violence is the normal sword fighting type of violence.  Everything is discussed from a Christian worldview though.  I give this book 4 stars and would definitely recommend it!