Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Happily Ever After...Or Happily Nevermore?

Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke's son, Valten-the boy she has daydreamed about for years-and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined. 

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This is a Cinderella story. Cinderella was and always will be one of my favorite princess stories. Melanie has done a great job, again, of taking a classic story we all know and weaving it into a whole new set of characters. I love that this book is a continuation of two other books in this series and the fifth book will include all four, each one it's own fairy tale remake. 

Gisela is tough and gentle at the same time. She has learned to harden herself because of the cruelness her step family has shown her since she was eight years old. She has one passion in this life of servitude and hardship, her father's horses. She sneaks off to ride because it is the only time she ever feels free. She is courageous because despite being threatened by her step mother, she goes to the tournaments to see Valten compete. 

Valten feels awkward around women, never knowing the right thing to say, at least in his mind. But when he sees Gisela he notices her spunk and beauty. He admires both about her. He has spent years traveling and competing in the tournaments. But that life has become unfulfilling to him and he longs for more in life. He begins to wonder if Gisela is the answer. He soon finds himself in the position of needing to rescue his damsel in distress. Can he do it in his own power? Or will he have to rely on God to save them both?   

I recommend this book to any age reader who enjoys a love story wrapped in a fairy tale. All of her books are equally great. Don't miss any of them!

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About the Author Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book, as well as The Merchant's Daughter-also a Christy Award finalist-and The Fairest Beauty. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama. 

HER WEBSITE: www.melaniedickerson.com

HER BLOG: www.melaniewrites.blogspot.com          




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Percy Jackson and The Olympians and Heroes of Olympus Series' by Rick Rirodan

I have loved mythology since the fifth grade when our teacher would read aloud to us about them. I purchased the Percy Jackson series years ago for my kids around the time the first movie came out but we only got a third of the way through reading aloud. I continued to buy the books for the kids in hopes that they would read them and somehow I would have time to, as well. When the second movie came out a couple of months ago, I decided I would read them. I read all five of those books PLUS the four Heroes of Olympus books that are out. 

The Percy Jackson and The Olympians series was written in a light hearted silly way with lots of kid humor in it. A very easy read. I think that is great because for younger readers you don't need anything too heavy so you can capture that love for reading. The books in that series were The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian. My favorite was The Titan's Curse. the Last Olympian was very action packs, too. It was really cool to read about the characters I grew up reading about mixed into these stories of modern day adventures. I would recommend this series to preteens and teens. It is a great work of this mans imagination mixed with the imaginations of people from long ago. 

The Heroes of Olympus series has four books so far, a fifth one is due out next year. That may or may not be the conclusion to the series. The books so far are The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and The House of Hades. These are written in a more mature way. The action is more intense, too. We meet other characters from the Roman side of mythology, too. That gives it a whole new twist. I really enjoyed how they carried the plots of each book and wove in the different characteristics of the gods into them. I would recommend this set to teens and more mature preteens. 

Being a follower of the Jesus way, I try to only read books that do not compromise my beliefs. I do not believe reading mythology does that. They are just stories that people made up. It is true that people believed it and worshiped these false gods. But I still think the stories are interesting and imaginative. *I do have to say that they put something in the last book that displeased me, a same sex attraction. I am not sure why they added it. It is only a small part and it was not acted upon so I did my best to enjoy the book despite my displeasure. 

I have not read the third series, The Kane Chronicles. I will read those when I can find the time. This series contains stories of Egyptian mythology. I had no clue they even had mythology. I will be interested to see what it is like. 

I normally write reviews only on Christian books but there are books out there not labeled Christian that I enjoy reading so I thought it would be fun to post reviews about some of them on here, too. If you know of some great books that aren't labeled Christian fiction but you have found them to be good, clean, exciting reading please share them with me so I can check them out. 






Sunday, September 1, 2013

Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White

I Love Her...Can I Trust Her? I Love Him...Is He Safe?

1814 England and America are again at war. Sudden and implacable treachery causes Gwyneth Fairchild's world to crumble in a moment's time. The daughter of a British general, she barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship bound for America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland. Yet after meeting the Lanes' son, Thaddeus, Gwyn wonders how safe she is. For she discovers that this family trades in a dangerous commodity-espionage.

Thad Lane is a prominent citizen in the city of Baltimore. He has the ear of everyone, and he is in a unique position to pass on to leaders of government exactly what he hears. Not long after the beautiful and British Gwyneth Fairchild finds safe haven in his community, he experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. With family playing the part of enemies and enemies proving themselves friends, a future with Gwyn is more than uncertain-it could be life threatening.

In the end, with the British advancing relentlessly on Baltimore, Thad and Gwyn have to trust in their shared faith in God to be a shield about them. To give them a future and a hope. 

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I am always repeating myself when it comes to books by this great lady. I have fallen in love with history because of her writing. This Culper Ring series is rich in it. And the characters come alive and live in your heart. I am one of those people who almost believe the characters are real people and I want to know what happened after the last page of a book. This series does just that. It even has novellas to fill in the blanks between novels and they are FREE. Oh the wonderful details she is sharing with us readers in these books. This is one series you don't want to miss! The second novella is up for preorder right now and it is free. 

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Want More:

Her Website: http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com

Her Blog: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/

Culper Ring Series
Book 1: Ring of Secrets
Novella 1.5: Fairchild's Lady
Book 2: Whispers from the Shadows
Novella 2.5: A Hero's Promise November 2013
Book 3: Circle of Spies February 2014


Her Other Books:

A Soft Breath of Wind 2014



Friday, August 9, 2013

Fairchild's Lady (novella) by Roseanna M. White


Fairchild's Lady coverA FREE Novella: Fairchild's Lady, Culper Ring Series 1.5

This bonus romantic novella is set in the intervening years between Ring of Secrets and Whispers from the Shadows. In 1789 General Issac Fairchild travels across the Channel of a very special assignment. After surviving the American Revolution, he is now gathering information on life at King Louis XVI's court. But he must also locate a countess and her grown daughter and escort them back to England before revolution explodes in France. He knows danger is in the task set before him, but when he meets the beautiful Julienne, a new peril beckons him deeper into the intrigue of Versailles. 

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Roseanna understands a readers heart, the need to know MORE after the novel is over. With this novella she gave us something very special, Issac Fairchild's story! And what a story it was. It wasn't a long one but it was wonderful. We get to know Issac better and get to meet Julienne, the parents of the heroine in the next Culper Ring book, Whispers from the Shadows.  The one to read BEFORE this one is Ring of Secrets. I did a blog review of it so make sure you check that out. This is a great series that is filled with history. She does a great job or researching the time period and cares about making sure it is accurate. I love that because I have come to love history even more because of her books. Keep the books coming, Roseanna! We love them!

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 Want More:

Her Website: http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com

Her Blog: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/

Culper Ring Series
Book 1: Ring of Secrets
Novella 1.5: Fairchild's Lady
Book 2: Whispers from the Shadows
Novella 2.5: A Hero's Promise November 2013
Book 3: Circle of Spies February 2014


Her Other Books:

A Soft Breath of Wind 2014


Monday, May 27, 2013

Team Novel Teen Blog Tour; Captives by Jill Williamson

One Choice Could Destroy Them All.

When eighteen-year-old Levi returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, he never imagined he'd find his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many-including his fiancee, Jem-taken captive. Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.  

Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Land has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago...and it's rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar's dreams. 

Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands and may be able to use his captivity to save not only his people, but also find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone inside the Safe Lands. 

Can Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Land's facade before it's too late?

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I have read other books by Jill and they are unique story lines and very well written. They grab my attention right away. Captives is based on the story of Daniel. These young people are taken to the Safe Lands. They are told pleasure is what they need to focus on. There are many odd things about how the Safe Lands do things. I don't want to give away a bunch of spoilers so I won't go into them. You will have to read them for yourself. This book is focused on high school age but I think adults will really enjoy it. 

Jill has an amazing imagination. The world she has created in this book is amazing. There are two different "worlds". One is very primitive and the other is way technically over the top. She has taken every type of extravagance and made it something they do in the Safe Lands. The Safe Lands are anything but safe. They don't realize they are captives. But things are about to change. Pick up a copy today and find out what this exciting book has to offer your imagination.   

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Book Trailer


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How she got the idea for the book


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Here is the link for the Safe Lands Website, as if you are online in the Safe Lands website 


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Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other posts about Captives by Jill Williamson by clicking on the links below, and click here for more information about Team Novel Teen. 





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ring of Secrets by Roseanna M. White


Love Has No Place in a World of Spies...

1779--Winter Reeves is an aristocratic American Patriot forced to hide her heart amid the British Loyalists of the city of New York. She has learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to Robbie Townsend, her childhood friend, and his spy ring. If she's caught, she will be executed for espionage, but she prays the Lord's protection will sustain her, and Robbie has taught her the tools of the trade--the wonders of invisible ink, secret drop locations and, most importantly, a good cover.

Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find General Washington's spy hidden among the ranks of the city's elite. Searching for a wife was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his mission, but when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes in her too-blank face, he finds a mystery that can't be ignored. 

Both are determined to prevail at any cost...and each is committed to a separate cause. Will God lead them to a shared destiny or lives lived apart?

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This book grabbed my attention from the beginning. The descriptions in the book make you feel as if you are right there in the room with her characters. The mystery behind many of the people was a great twist. I had to read on to find out their true motives and loyalties. This story has so many strong characters that I love, not just the two main ones even if a few of them were "on the wrong side" of the war, so to speak. I am looking forward to the next two books in the series to visit with them more.

The history in the book fascinates me. I was never very good at remembering history in school, maybe because of the dry text books we had. But when it is in a novel it comes alive with the people around it. I love that Roseanna puts information in the back of her books telling what parts of history are actually documented and what people are real. That makes her books more valuable. 

I recommend this book for anyone, probably even as young as seventh or eight grade reading level. It is a book that shows how America was during this time period and the hard times it was between families and friends, not unlike the civil war. It is a sweet romance in the middle of a difficult time for our country. 

Bravo, Roseanna! You did it again! Great writing, great story-line, great history, great characters. Never stop sharing your God-given gift with us, please.

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Want More:

Her Website: http://www.RoseannaMWhite.com

Her Blog: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/

Culper Ring Series
Book 1: Ring of Secrets
Book 2: Whispers from the Shadows August 2013
Book 3: Circle of Spies February 2014


Her Other Books:



Monday, April 8, 2013

Team Novel Teen Blog Tour: Rock Harbor Search & Rescue by Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll

RockHarborSearchandRescueTeam Novel Teen is doing a blog tour for the first book in a middle grade mystery series for girls: Rock Harbor Search & Rescue. This series is based on Colleen Coble's bestselling Rock Harbor series for adults and is co-written by Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll.

Eight-grader Emily O'Reilly is obsessed with all things Search-and-Rescue. The almost-fourteen-year-old spends every spare moment on rescues with her stepmom Naomi and her canine partner Charley. Emily is even saving up for a puppy of her own so she can one day join the Rock Harbor Search-and-Rescue team. But when an expensive necklace from a renowned jewelry artist is stolen under her care at the fall festival, Emily is determined to prove her innocence to a town that has immediately labeled her guilty. 

As Emily sets out to restore her reputation, she isn't prepared for the surprises she and the Search-and-Rescue dogs uncover along the way. Will Emily ever find the real thief--and will she ever be able to join the Search-and-Rescue team?

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I was excited to be a part of this blog tour. This new middle school series is right up my youngest daughter's alley. She loves mystery and dogs. This has both. It was very well written. It is not too difficult reading for a younger person but not too easy a read. It is the perfect combination. I loved how the girls (best friends) worked together and asked questions just like on detective shows. 

Emily is a strong character with a determination to work hard for the things that she wants to do. When she is wrongly accused she doesn't just get angry, she does something about it. She searches for answers and the real person who committed the crime. 

One of the things I didn't like was how mean her dad was. He never once gave her the benefit of the doubt. If he knew his daughters character he would have known she wouldn't do something like that. I did love the relationship between her and her step mom. And the relationship between her and her brother. 

The twists and turns kept me guessing who might have done it throughout the book. I highly recommend this book. It is a GREAT book for preteens and even young teens. 

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Check out this fun video of the book.




Age range: 8-12
Genre: mystery
Part of a series: Rock Harbor Search & Rescue book 1
Pages: 256
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: 2013

Colleen Coble's Website

Robin Caroll's Website

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Team Novel Teen is a group of bloggers dedicated to spreading the word about clean teen fiction. Check out other post about Rock Harbor Search & Rescue by Coble & Caroll by clicking on the links below, and click here for more information about Team Novel Teen. 

Book Nook 4 You • Blooming with Books • Christian Bookshelf Reviews • CTF Devourer • Jill Williamson • The Ramblings of a Young Author •Realm of Hearts • Terri Harr • Worthy2Read

Friday, March 22, 2013

Choices of the Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes


SHE THOUGHT SHE HAD LEFT HER OLD LIFE BEHIND...

Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. When a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud - and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.

Yet could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation - and love?

In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you'll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.




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This is the third book in the midwives series and it was as good as the first two. I loved them all. This one is set in a much different setting. The wild mountains of Virginia are just that, wild, to a city girls standards. Instead of one possible "leading man" there are two. It is hard to tell at first which one Esther is going to fall for. It appears that both of them are falling for her. Both guys are good ol boys but one seems to stand out beyond the other as far as values and family. 

This book deals with some pretty hard subjects but does it in a gentle way. I love the fact that as a midwife, they aren't to tell people secrets. But she was taught to handle people and their situations in a gentle way. We find some interesting things about Esther towards the end. It was a great read and I would recommend it highly. 

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Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, Heart's Safe Passage, A Necessary Deception, A Flight of Fancy, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats. 


Friday, February 8, 2013

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

TheFairestBeauty Teen Talk: Melanie Dickerson, The Fairest Beauty; Lisa Orchard, Super SpiesA Daring Rescue. A Difficult Choice.

Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom-but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

Gabe defied his parents, Rose and Wilhelm, by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible-she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else-he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what. 

When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help-but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them-they must also protect their hearts. 


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Melanie does a fantastic job of taking a fairy tale and turning it into a "real" story. What I mean by that is she takes some of the most memorable parts of a fairy tale and puts them into a historical where they seem believable and even possible.

Sophie is a beautiful, caring person. She does something we should all do but often fail at; she prays for the one that hurts her most. Even though she has grown up with the duchess treating her terribly, she does her best to be happy and follow the things she has learned about the Bible and what God wants her to do. Her "family" consists of the head cook and another maid. Only a few of the servants are willing to be nice to her, fearing what the duchess will do to them if they find out. When Gabe arrives and starts talking about being betrothed to his brother she starts to dream about a different kind life. 

Gabe is young and impetuous, living under the shadow of an older brother. Because he wants to prove himself to be as brave and courageous as Valten, he often gets into more trouble than he intended. This time is no exception but he rises to the occasion and is the hero Sophie needs. Through this experience he finally grows up and is ready to be the man God intended him to be. 

The Seven are a great addition to the story. Each one has a special quality that makes them lovable but the story is set in a time period where those characteristics make them outcasts and feared by some. I loved how she made some of them fit the description of the "seven dwarfs". 

Her fairy tale series is a wonderful set of stories for any age. I am saving a set for my preteen so that when she is ready to read at that level she will have some great books to read. I recommend this book to anyone who loves historicals and fairy tales. I can't wait for her "Cinderella" story that comes out in October. I hope she continues to write fairy tale stories. 


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Dickerson's 2010 debut novel, The Healer's Apprentice, was named the Best First Book by the National Readers' Choice Awards and was both a Christy and Carol Award finalist. The book also earned the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit and was a Maggie Award finalist. Dickerson's follow-up book, 2011's The Merchant's Daughter, was also a Christy Award finalist. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama, with her husband and two daughters. 

HER WEBSITE: www.melaniedickerson.com

HER BLOG: www.melaniewrites.blogspot.com          




The Captive Maiden  Coming October 2013