Friday, April 19, 2019

A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd


A Song for the StarsA Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Receive to Review
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Description:  Inspired by a true story
 
Hawaiian Islands, 1779
 
As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.
 
But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.
 
John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.
 
When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.


My thoughts: This is a beautiful book. The cover is stunning and a nice compliment to the book. The descriptions are beautifully done and give and artistry to the story.

John and Maile are two characters that you love from the start. Their cultures are different and that divide caused misunderstandings and heartache. Maile showed her character when she decided to help instead of killing the man who shot her betrothed. I loved how her struggle was described in the book. The book is mainly told from her point of view with short journal entries describing John's thoughts and feelings.

I loved reading the rich culture of the Hawaiian people before the inundation of the white man. Learning of their Gods, tribal politics, and how the family of the Chief was treated with respect and honor.

Another aspect that I loved is that this is loosely based on the author's ancestors. It adds to a story when the author feels a connection to the people and places. As I stated above, this is a beautiful book that I am grateful I had the opportunity to read.

The book contains non-graphic war violence.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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About the  Author:(Taken from Amazon)  Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and dives for octopus with her dad every time she visits--otherwise she's diving into books in the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and four children. She graduated from BYU with a degree in physics and eats copious amounts of raw fish and avocados without regret. But mostly she loves being a wife and mama and wouldn't trade that job for anything in the world.

Ilima Todd

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

Far Side of the SeaFar Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin
My rating: 4.5of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction



Book Description:  In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life--a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.

Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel's half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.

When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives



My thoughts: This is a lovely book. The characters, setting, and time period was wonderful. I felt connected to the characters and felt their disappointments and joys as they searched for Johanna's sister and father.

This book has intrigue and romance. The characters do not know who to trust as they journey. They are not even sure if they can trust each other. The story takes us from England, through France, and then to Spain during WWI.

This is a wonderful book. I give it a high recommendation. It is Christian fiction. I found it to be clean with kissing, and non-descriptive violence.



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Kate BreslinAbout the  Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing's 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her first novel, For Such A Time, won American Christian Fiction Writers 2015 Carol Award. Kate's third novel, High As The Heavens, released in June, 2017. When she's not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington's beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas. Please visit her at www.katebreslin.com

Plague by Gregg Luke ~ Blog tour with a Giveaway!



Plague by Gregg Luke
Rating 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Suspense

Book Description:  Professor Mitch Pine knows all too well the history of epidemics, so the startling new information he’s discovered has him racing to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Mitch has uncovered a startling pattern: dramatic environmental changes always occurred prior to devastating outbreaks, and current climate change may be such a catalyst. But before his plane lands, Mitch’s journey takes a terrifying turn. He is intercepted by a woman who represents a dangerous faction whose interest in Mitch’s research opposes his mission to save lives. To secure Mitch’s cooperation, his research assistant is being held hostage. With so many lives on the line, Mitch embarks on a turbulent trip around the world, uncovering pieces of the puzzle until he ultimately holds the key to prevent—or precipitate—global devastation. unless he can find a way to stop the lunatics behind his abduction, a plague the likes of which the world has never known will be unleashed.


My thoughts:  What a ride!  Mitch Pine is trying to save the world, but first, he must save his assistant, Suko.  His research could save humanity from a plague.

This book is an adventure.  Mitch has to piece together information that Edgar Montrose wants.  To keep his compliance he has a handler.  She is intelligent and has secrets of her own.

I enjoyed reading this story.  I found the science fascinating and the plot intriguing.  The book has great pacing and kept me interested through every word.

If you are looking for a fast-paced suspense novel, you should pick this one up.



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Gregg LukeAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads) Gregg Luke is a practicing pharmacist. He received his medical training at the University of Utah. He has been writing since he could put pen to paper. He enjoys medical thrillers and is one of the first to work this genre into the LDS market.
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Friday, April 12, 2019

I Can Choose Joy with God by Ganel-Lyn Condie ~ Blog Tour with a giveaway!


I Can Choose Joy with GodI Can Choose Joy with God by Ganel-Lyn Condie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Inspiration

Book Description:  When the trials of life seem too much to bear, joy can feel beyond reach. However, with words of encouragement and hope, author Ganel-Lyn Condie reassures readers that joy is not only possible but also well within our grasp as we choose to turn to the Lord with our burdens. The next in the popular With God series, I Can Choose Joy with God is a powerful compilation of essays written by women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that offers a compelling look at the struggles they faced and how they found joy even in their darkest hours. From parental concerns to financial hardships to debilitating anxiety, these personal accounts demonstrate the incomparable strength that can be harnessed through faith in a loving Heavenly Father. Though no one can avoid being tossed by the tempestuous sea of mortality, everyone can find true joy as they hold tight to the lifeline of salvation Jesus Christ provides.



My thoughts: I find that when I am struggling with a concept or need to learn more about a principle, I am attracted to a certain word. The word that I am finding over and over is joy. This past General Conference I was writing down the things that stood out to me, I was thinking of it as my personal revelation journal. The word that I wrote more than any other is joy. I even recently purchased a shirt that says "choose joy." That means that this was the perfect book for me at this time.

This book is written specifically to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. While some of the scriptural references and culture may be religion specific, the principles taught are universal. The book is compiled into five sections: Gifts, Marriage, Health, Family, and Mission. Ganel-Lyn Condie uses stories from others to illustrate the point of finding joy in adversity.

I don't believe that anyone is immune to adversity. While our circumstances may be different it is comforting to me that others have problems that I can learn from and strengthen my resolve to be joyful.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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Ganel-Lyn CondieAbout the Author: (Taken from Amazon)  Ganel-Lyn Condie is dedicated to her family, faith, and inspiring others to live a more balanced life. She loves teaching others through her writing, speaking, and consulting. 

Ganel-Lyn lives with an open heart and feels passionate about sharing personal spiritual practices that will empower others to live purposeful and joyful lives. Ganel-Lyn enjoys writing a column, "Everyday Faith," for the Daily Herald newspaper in Utah.

Ganel-Lyn's first book, "I Can Do Hard Things with God" [Covenant Communications, February 2015] was a bestseller, inspiring readers all over the world to do their own “hard things” with God. Healing from a major chronic illness and overcoming infertility to become the mother to two miracle children, Ganel-Lyn has learned, first hand, how to do "hard things with God." 

"I Can Forgive with God," the newly released sequel to "Hard Things," is a compilation of inspirational essays of women who have overcome and forgiven in the face of devastating tragedies and trials. 

Ganel-Lyn looks forward to one more book releasing later in 2016 and another two books coming in early 2017. She loves growing older, and after 25 years of marriage, Ganel-Lyn believes that a life of LEARNING is a life of LOVE. She is known for teaching gospel principles and inspiring others with her unique honesty, authenticity and heart.

Ganel-Lyn is an award-winning journalist and the former editor of Wasatch Woman magazine. She earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education and psychology from Arizona State University. She lives in Utah with her husband and two children.


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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye



Apprentice Needed (Wizard for Hire, #2)Wizard For Hire: Apprentice Needed by Obert Skye
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy


Book DescriptionOzzy Toffy’s adventure, which began in Wizard for Hire, continues when one dark and windy night, he gets out of bed, jumps out his window, and walks straight into the ocean.

More than ever, Ozzy could really use the services of Rin, the wizard he hired to help find his parents — but Rin is missing, despite Ozzy’s continual attempts to contact him. And Clark, the mechanical bird his father left him, is as peculiar and vain as ever.

When a mysterious package arrives, Ozzy and his good friend Sigi are sure that the plane ticket and thumb drive they find inside are from Rin. Trying to get Clark through security at the airport proves complicated — as most things are with Clark. But when they arrive in New York, they discover there’s even more adventure in store for them.

Will Rin return and save the day? Will Ozzy figure out why he keeps walking into the ocean? Can Sigi find a way to trust her delinquent father? Will someone please appreciate Clark the way he’d like to be appreciated? For once?

Wizard for Hire: Apprentice Needed is a story filled with humor and excitement that shows us the magic in everyday things.
 




My thoughts:   Once again I am amazed at the writing of Obert Skye.  He brings the story to life for me through his descriptions to the characters point of view.  His writing has enough sarcasm to keep me happy and is perfect for the younger reader.

This book is the second in a series.  I think it could be read without the first, but there is so much back story it would be easier to read them in order.

Life continues to be unpredictable for Ozzy, Sigi, and Clark.  Something sinister has the ability to overtake Ozzy.  The group goes on a journey to save the day with the help of Rin, the sometimes present Wizard.  Clark is the humorous thread in the group.  The mechanical bird adds a fresh viewpoint and perspective.  He loves all things metal, he makes the story lighter by his mere presence.

This is a book that old and young will love and appreciate.  I look forward to whatever Obert Skye has up his sleeve.  He has never disappointed me in the books he writes.



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Obert SkyeAbout the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Obert Skye read his first book at age two. He wrote his first story at age four. And he was nearly trampled by a herd of water buffalo at age six. For a short time, he lived on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where he spent time as a candy-taster. Several years ago, Obert Skye says, he discovered the existence of Foo. Publishing his story as a fictional series was not Obert’s first choice. Nevertheless he is content that the “history” is being told.

Hobbies and other interests: Collecting old maps, water polo, roller coasters.


Visit his WEBSITE!



Thursday, April 4, 2019

Miss Adeline's Match by Joanna Barker


Miss Adeline's MatchMiss Adeline's Match by Joanna Barker
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Regency Romance



Book Description:  Miss Adeline Hayes is the perfect lady's companion: pleasant, conversational, and unceasingly proper. But when her closest friend, Charity Edgeworth, breaks off her arranged marriage without explanation, even Adeline's superior skills are put to the test. Charity's father banishes the two young women to the country, sending Adeline with a charge to find Charity a husband or suffer dire consequences. 

As Adeline takes on the role of reluctant matchmaker, she discovers more than one obstacle in her path. Not only does Charity prefer escaping in books to socializing, but Adeline soon finds her own attentions distracted by the standoffish—and irritatingly handsome—Mr. Evan Whitfield. Amidst an eventful foxhunt and the unexpected arrival of Charity's former betrothed, Adeline simply doesn't have time for a battle of wits with Evan. But the two are continually drawn together until Adeline begins to question her tightly guarded convictions about love and marriage. 

However, when secrets are revealed and truths made known, Adeline must face her most fearsome obstacle yet: herself.



My thoughts: "Oh what a tangled web we weave.." (Walter Scott)

Adeline Hayes and Charity Edgeworth have been friends since they were children. There is really nothing that Adeline wouldn't do for charity, including shielding her from heartache and the gossip of society. Adeline has other people in her life that she is trying to protect, her ailing father and sister.

This book explores relationships. When does protecting someone become interfering? This book is written in a way that explores the moral dilemma and anguish in decisions. Joanna Barker does a wonderful job at describing the emotions and then the ramifications that follow. There are all aspects of society in this book. I loved how the characters seamlessly went from the ballroom to the shack to help out a family in need.

This book is Adeline and Evan's story, but in the process, it is also Charity and George's story. You get two romances for the price of one!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is clean with kissing.

Source: I received a complimentary copy from Covenant Communications. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.



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Joanna Barker
About the Author:  (Taken from Goodreads)  Joanna Barker was born and raised in northern California. She discovered her love for historical fiction after visiting England as an eleven-year-old, and subsequently read every Jane Austen book she could get her hands on. After graduating Brigham Young University with a degree in English, she worked as an acquisitions editor before devoting herself full-time to writing. She enjoys music, chocolate, and reading everything from romance to science fiction. She lives in Utah and is just a little crazy about her husband and two wild-but-loveable boys. 

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Fighting Preacher ~ Watch the Movie Trailer and enter the giveaway!



T.C. Christensen, the filmmaker behind such popular movies as 17 Miracles, Ephraim’s Rescue, The Cokeville Miracle and Love, Kennedy, recently announced a release date for his newest feature film, The Fighting Preacher




Message from the Director:
There are all kinds of reasons why I wanted to make this film:  It's a great story from Church history that is hardly known, with terrific conflict and resolve but at the heart of it all, I mainly wanted to make The Fighting Preacher because Willard and Rebecca Bean are wonderful, stalwart examples that throughout their story are funny and entertaining.  Just what a movie should be!
                                                                                        T.C. Christensen
                                                                                        Writer/Director


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Monday, March 25, 2019

Maybe It's You by Christy Hayes

Maybe it's YouMaybe it's You by Christy Hayes
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Book Description:  Reagan Bellamy’s neighbor is everything she never wanted. Despite her best efforts to ignore him and fly under his radar, Dash Carter refuses to wither under her stare and leave her alone. So what if he’s totally hot? Who cares if her roommates think he’s adorable? Reagan’s too busy to waste time on a loser with musical pipe dreams. Between classes, studies, and her need to stay ahead of the game, she’s got too much on her plate to give him the time of day.

Dash Carter is a man on a mission. He’s done a total 180 and for the first time in a long time feels optimistic about the future. He’s clean, he’s on a good path, and he’s surrounded himself with people who make life better, not worse. Unfortunately, his neighbor—the one girl who’s always piqued his interest—still thinks he’s a slacker, bothering Dash more than it should. 

Acting on an opportunity to show Reagan he’s a changed man, Dash inadvertently puts her in a difficult position with her new boss and sends her down a path she hasn’t the time or inclination to pursue. Desperate to make things right, Dash becomes more invested in her life despite warnings from his mentor to not get involved with someone whose beliefs don’t match his own.

Reagan’s not sure what it says about her that she’d rather deal with Dash the deadbeat than Dash the Bible thumper. The more she digs her heels in against the religious freaks she’s forced to interact with, the more she begins to question everything she’s built her life upon. When the tide begins to turn in Reagan’s heart and her worldview flips upside down, trusting God means putting everything on the line, including her heart.




My thoughts: This Christian Fictional Romance has a more edge than I am used to reading in this genre. It has a lot of raw and realistic content. When I first started reading the book I had to check to make sure that I was reading the right book because I was not sure where the author was going to take things.

Basically, it is about a guy who has experimented with drugs, alcohol abuse, and sleeping around making changes in his life and then trying to help another find her way. It helps that he is hopelessly attracted to her.

I liked that the characters seemed real and the story centered around change and forgiveness. I liked that it wasn't instant love, for her. I liked that the characters either found or worked on their relationship with God. The thing that I struggled with is that the book came across as preaching. I understand why the author took the slant on religion that she did, it worked out well in the end.

Overall, this is a sweet romance where the characters discover their Faith. The book has reference to hook-ups, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and religion.



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About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads)  My husband and I live outside Atlanta, Georgia, with our three dogs and two college-aged kids. I have a journalism degree from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and I’m a member of Romance Writers of America .

Find out more at http://www.christyhayes.com