“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, April 29, 2019

Blood, Bullets, Royals and Intrigue!--"Romanov" by Nadine Brandes--Review

My Review:

This isn’t your typical Disney princess story–it’s even better!  “Romanov” by Nadine Brandes breathes life and magic into a tragic period of history (the period of the Romanov’s captivity).  Just like the matryoshka doll in the story, this tale has many layers.  It’s beautiful, heart breaking, magical and inspiring.

This beautiful tale of the time the Romanovs spent in captivity is based on historical facts, but Ms. Brandes infuses it with her own flair; and of course, some magic!  It is full of Russian culture, which I loved learning about.  There are so many inspiring themes such as friendship, family, forgiveness and purpose.  

The Romanov family has such a strong bond with one another and they seek to be kind and show forgiveness to their captors (which is based on fact).  The story is not all flowers and bunny rabbits.  It’s a very hard time for Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov and her family.  What I love is that these characters laugh, play jokes, pray together (and maybe even experience romance).  Anastasia is a good picture of someone who has lost almost everything, yet has strength and fortitude.

Right up to the pulse pounding, heartbreaking climax, Romanov will grip readers and have them thinking of it long after the last page is reluctantly closed.  The world needs more young adult fiction dealing with such important themes and that leave the reader with hope and strength for their own battles!

Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: mention of cigarettes and smoking; references to a woman’s bosom; a man is drunk; mentions of alcohol; some gruesome scenes; a man contemplates suicide.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars!

Genre: Fantasy; Young Adult; Historical Fiction; Christian; Romance; Retelling

I want to thank NetGalley, Nadine Brandes and Thomas Nelson 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:

  • I wrote the Out of Time Series. I think it’s kind of cool.
  • I’m an adventurer.
  • I’m a Harry Potter super-nerd who has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family-size) by herself.
  • I watch Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. (Wait…you don’t?)
  • Oh yeah, I’M AN AUTHOR! (Der…) I write about other worlds soaked in imagination.
  • I love the word bumbershoot.
  • I learned to write using a fountain pen. They are the magic behind avoiding hand cramps. For reals.
  • I hate peanut butter, but I like brussel sprouts. (Sorry if you just gasped and gagged at the same time.)
  • I’ve driven a dogsled, eaten a raw potato, walked a tightwire, and waded through a cattail marsh all for the sake of book research.
  • I’ve been journaling since I was 7-years-old.

    To visit the author's website click here
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    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    A Retelling of the story of Ruth and Boaz from the Bible--"Shadow Among Sheaves" by Naomi Stephens--Review

    My Review:

    I love the story of Ruth from the Bible.  I like to read retellings of it as well.  When I read the synopsis for this book I saw that it contained Victorian elements and the Ruth character is from India (two things which I’m very interested in).  "Shadow Among Sheaves" by Naomi Stephens is a book I ended up having mixed feelings on.

    Naomi Stephens is a great writer and I love her descriptions.  The pace moves fairly quickly, only lagging in a few parts.  I love the concept of this story.  Ms. Stephens deals especially well with describing the Indian culture and how that would clash with Victorian England.  It’s crazy how much prejudice the people in England had against the Indians (even if a person was from the highest class in India).  Both cultures are well researched.

    But, there are two things that give this book a lower rating for me.  I mistakenly thought it would also be a Naomi and Ruth story as well as a Ruth and Boaz.  I really wanted to know more about Nell’s (the Naomi character) life and thoughts.  I desired to see more of the beautiful relationship Naomi and Ruth share in the Biblical account.   

    Secondly, I just did not like the Boaz character in this story (Lord Barric).  He says and does some really mean and hurtful things towards Rena (Ruth).  I understand why he did them, but he just doesn’t seem like a hero character to me. 

    All in all, it was fun to see how this retelling would play out.  I enjoyed the plot, setting and descriptions, but I just didn’t love the book overall.  I would still recommend that you try it out for yourself!

    Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: the main characters live in a brothel for a while (but do not become prostitutes);  there are some violent descriptions of the Indian Mutiny; mention of prostitution and concubines; talk of lovers; a man swears, but the word isn’t actually written; a man hits a woman; a married couple is naked in bed together; the word “dammit” is used.

    Rating: I give this book 3 stars.

    Genre: Christian fiction; Historical; Romance; Victorian

    I want to thank Barbour Publishing, Shiloh Run Press, Naomi Stephens, NetGalley and Celebrate Lit 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:

    Naomi Stephens is a bookworm turned teacher turned writer. She received a B.A. in English from Concordia University in Ann Arbor and an M.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. 
    In bookstores, Naomi gravitates towards 19th-century British novels—the broodier the better (i.e., Jane Eyre)—but she can also be found perusing the young adult, mystery, and fantasy sections. Anything that keeps her turning pages past midnight.
    Though she has called many places home over the years, she currently lives in Ohio with her husband, her two children, and a rascal of a dog named Sherlock. When not writing or having adventures with her family, she can be found drinking tea, practicing photography, and pining for London.
    To purchase the book click here
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    Tuesday, April 2, 2019

    An Homage to Strong Women of Faith--"Castle on the Rise" by Kristy Cambron--Review


    Castle on the Rise

    By Kristy Cambron
    Published by Thomas Nelson 

    “Castle on the Rise” by Kristy Cambron is the second book in the “Lost Castle” series.  It ties in with the first book in the series, ”The Lost Castle,” but can easily be read as a standalone.  “Castle on the Rise” takes place mostly in Ireland and involves three separate stories in three different time periods, all centering around one castle.  The time periods are the revolutionary late 1700s, the 1916 Easter Rising and present day.  Ms. Cambron weaves stories of faith, love, family and women rising amidst hard times into a cohesive tale.

    My o my!  I barely even took notes for this review because I was so caught up in Ms. Cambron’s beautiful and at times heart-breaking story!  She sweeps readers to the streets of Dublin, to the cozy pubs and the windswept shores of a castle’s ruins and an estate in the Wicklow Mountains!  She is the queen of setting and now I want to visit Ireland.  She also did her research well and I learned a lot about Ireland’s history and its fight for freedom.  It’s so amazing how she can connect such different periods in time so well.  I admit I was a little confused with the events surrounding the Easter Rising in 1916, just because I really knew nothing about it, but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. 

    Ms. Cambron’s stories are so moving and poignant.  Each story features families that are broken in some way; by war, prejudice or the past.  These families must move from hatred to acceptance and forgiveness.  I love especially how the women from each story must pull from a strength they didn’t know they had and rise up amidst very difficult and seemingly impossible situations to establish peace.  They can only do this through faith.  I must warn you to keep a tissue box handy.  This is a story that will resonate with you long after you read it and might even help you in your own story.

    Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating.  Some examples of the content are: a woman is pregnant without being married and has been raped; a man is drunk; mentions of alcohol and pubs.

    Rating: I give this book 5 stars.

    Genre: Christian fiction; Historical; Romance

    I want to thank Kristy Cambron, Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers 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:

    KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She's a Women's Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews' Best BooksRT Reviewers' Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

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