Bride Tree by J.P. Robinson

bride tree

About the book:

The year is 1789. France is reeling under the impact of a civil war between its social classes. When a secret agent from Rome joins forces with a vindictive politician bent on revenge, the stage is set for an explosive outcome that will shake the country to its core.

Meanwhile, Queen Marie-Antoinette engages the help of her lady-in-waiting, Viviane de Lussan, in a desperate battle to keep her throne… and her head. But how can she win a struggle she seems fated to lose?

 Amid the chaos of the revolution, Viviane’s heart is torn between a nobleman who sacrifices everything for her and a peasant who promises true freedom.


My review:

Bride Tree is a completely different take on the seeds and the growth of the French Revolution than I’ve ever read before. Robinson took some of the most influential people of the Revolution and gave them new life, new stories, new intrigues. The tale is rife with fascinating detail and brimming with a wealth of characters.

However, this was one of those reads that seemed to me to go on forever…and not in a good way. It was tough for me to get behind any of the many characters and cheer them on or really want to know how things turn out for them, because I couldn’t seem to drum up enough sympathy for any of them. Things do, though, come together in the end, so I was glad that I stuck it out.

Bride Tree was an interesting read, but I just can’t call it a great one. If you really like historical fiction, give it a go. If you’re a student of French history, though, you might actually want to skip this one, since he takes a lot of libertés with the truth (it is, after all, fiction). Or you may enjoy picking out all of the ways he changed history to fit his plot 🙂

I did receive a digital copy of this novel from the author for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

Advertisements

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

20180423_095628.jpg

About the book:

SELLING STORIES IS A DEADLY BUSINESS

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down…and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers…and they’re after her too.


My review:

The first time I heard about this book last year, I knew I had to read it. What a captivating idea: a storyteller who weaves tales into crystallized sculptures! And once I got my little hands on this book, it outpaced my expectations so greatly. 🙂

I was drawn into Tanwen’s world immediately and didn’t want to ever come out! Tir is well-built and easy to imagine and filled with a charming cast of characters you can’t help but fall in love with.

But the story itself is the best part of all. It is a tale of finding strength in weakness, of love conquering even death, and of the power of art to bring beauty and truth and hope. The Story Peddler is a delightful tale with a compelling message and you don’t want to miss it!

How do I put into words how wonderful this book is?? It’s pretty impossible, but I will say that Lindsay A. Franklin has brought a fascinating premise to extraordinary life, weaving her own story strands into a lovely piece of art for all to enjoy. And I can’t recommend it highly enough 🙂 Buy it! Buy it now! Preorder it and then wait by the mailbox for it to arrive, make a cup of tea to relax after all the anxiety of waiting, then snuggle in for a fabulous read!!

Many, many thanks to Lindsay and Gilead Publishing/Enclave for the advanced copy of this wonderful book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Unbreakable by Sara Ella

unbreakableAbout the book:

Eliyana Ember is stranded in a foreign country in the Third Reflection with no passport, the inability to mirrorwalk, and zero clue where the nearest Thresholds back into the Fourth or Second might lie. Her mind is a haze, her memories vague. She knows a wormhole from the Fourth sent her here. She remembers her mom and baby brother Evan. Makai and Stormy and Joshua . . .

Deep down El realizes she must end the Void once and for all. Is there a way to trap the darkness within its current vessel, kill it off completely? To do so would mean sacrificing another soul—the soul of a man Joshua claims is a traitor. But he’s lied to her before, and even El senses Joshua can’t be fully trusted, but one thing is certain . . .

The Void must be annihilated. And only the Verity—the light which birthed the darkness—can put an end to that which seeks to kill and destroy.


My review:

I waited ever so patiently for the finale to the Unblemished Trilogy to arrive. And now that it has, I’m sorry to say that I’m a bit disappointed. Maybe it’s just me, but I guess that the first book was so good, nothing could quite compare.

Don’t get me wrong: this finale has lots of feels, even a few cheers and tears. Yet, I felt a bit let down by it. To me, the story seemed to drag in places, and I got to the point that I wondered if it would ever end. I did love how some of the characters grew, but felt that a lot of the internal extemporizing could have been edited for time.

Unbreakable was a good read, but I can’t call it a great read. I’d still recommend you dive into the first of the series, Unblemished. However, I don’t think you’ll be too heartbroken if you don’t make through the entire trilogy. Bummer!

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Scarlet Moon by S.D. Grimm

scarlet moon

About the book:

The hunted Feravolk are counting on Jayden, a seventeen-year-old, dagger-wielding, storm-detecting orphan, to save their race. Maybe they should have thought of that before they killed her family.

The land of Soleden is dying because the sorceress queen hunts and kills the people who cared for all nature, the Feravolk. Through their special bond with animals, the Feravolk have become more than men. Faster, stronger, masters of camouflage and stealth. Only a Deliverer born the night of the Blood Moon can save them from extinction.

According to prophecy, Jayden is a Deliverer, but it’s not a destiny she wants. She has no sympathy for either side. The Feravolk killed her family, so they can die for all she cares. And fighting the queen with nothing but daggers and her special abilities—storm predicting—is a suicide mission. Destiny can pick someone else.

Except hiding from destiny proves difficult; Deliverers attract powerful Protectors. Jayden’s is one of the Feravolk, so he can’t be trusted. But he makes her feel safe. Makes her want to save his race. If she chooses to keep hiding, he’ll remain one of the hunted, but he’ll protect her even if it means his death if she faces the queen. Making the right choice has never been so excruciating, especially since the prophecy says nothing about the Deliverer’s success, or survival.


My review:

This book had a lot to live up to for me: more than a year before I read the book, I saw a video on how the cover was created, and it so intrigued me, that I had to read it! And the read was just as good as the cover design 🙂

The writing flows so well, it’s very easy to get caught up in Jayden’s world, but the author has plenty of twists to throw in to keep you wanting to know more. It’s a traditional good vs evil tale, yet the author keeps you guessing as to who is actually good and who may have other motives. The characters are diverse and well-drawn, and the author gave them all just enough highlights and shading to deepen them beyond the basic young adult ingénues.

Good to know there is a sequel, since she left me hanging at the end! Definitely looking forward to picking up Amber Eyes (Children of the Blood Moon, Book 2), but until then, I suggest you grab your own copy of Scarlet Moon and dive into the adventure! 🙂

 

Small disclaimer: if this doesn’t make much sense, please forgive me. I’ve finally given in and gotten sick after staying healthy all fall and winter! Blast my allergies that weakened my immune system!!!! But at least it gives me an excuse to stay in bed and read 🙂

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

isaiahs daughter

About the book:

In this epic Biblical narrative, a young woman taken into the prophet Isaiah’s household rises to capture the heart of the future king.

Isaiah adopts Ishma, giving her a new name–Zibah, delight of the Lord–thereby ensuring her royal pedigree. Ishma came to the prophet’s home, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. But as the years pass, Zibah’s lively spirit wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man will awake in her all the fears and pain of her past and she must turn to the only One who can give life, calm her fears, and deliver a nation.


My review:

This is an extraordinary reimagining of the backstory of a rather minor character in the annals of history (I think she’s only actually mentioned once in the Bible)–Queen Hephzibah, wife of godly King Hezekiah of Judah and mother of very ungodly King Manasseh of Judah. It’s a coming-of-age story, but it’s also so much more than that. It is a tale of love, hope, strength, determination, and faith.

I know that this is a work of fiction, but it is so beautifully told and weaves the words of prophets and kings directly from Scripture so seamlessly, that it seems amazingly real! Mesu Andrews brought the world of Isaiah to life for me as I’ve never imagined before, and I enjoyed every minute of reading this book.

Biblical fiction, such as Isaiah’s Daughter, can bring a new depth of cultural and historical understanding to your study of the Word, while entertaining you wonderfully. I’d highly recommend you snatch up a copy for both the enjoyment and education!

Many thanks to WaterBrook & Multnomah and NetGalley for the digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

 

The Resurrection by Mike Duran

 

 

resurrection

When the dead come back to life, someone must pay the price.

About the book:

When Ruby Case raises a boy from the dead, she creates an uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch; others, a godsend. But the controversy is just the beginning. For this resurrection has awakened more than just a dead boy.

Reverend Ian Clark does not believe in miracles. Haunted by demons, both past and present, he is resigning from the ministry and has no interest in the city’s spiritual climate, much less its urban legends. But he is about to get a wake-up call…

Together, Ruby and Reverend Clark are thrust into a search for answers…and a collision with unspeakable darkness. For the forces unleashed by Ruby threaten to destroy them all. In the coming battle this unlikely duo is the town’s only hope. But can they overcome their own brokenness in time to stop the evil, or will they be its next victim?


My review:

Honestly, I really had no idea what to expect from this novel. I’ve read a couple of Mike Duran’s stories before, but this was his debut novel, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like.

Well, now I can honestly say it was awesome! It was rife with tension, keeping me turning pages into the wee hours. The characters were thoroughly crafted, with just enough backstory to fill them with a wealth of doubts and passions to drive the story ever more intensely. The setting was well-drawn, yet still common enough to be your own neighborhood, making the agitating force behind everything even creepier. And the censure of lukewarm churches, of lukewarm faith, exposes the roots of evil, while calling Christians to excavate their own hearts and dig out the seeds of doubt and worldliness that lead to lukewarm living.

Do yourself a favor and pick up your own copy of The Resurrection. It will both convict and entertain, and it will be worth every moment of reading! 🙂

 

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

a light on the hill

About the book:

Though Israel has found relative peace, Moriyah has yet to find her own. Attempting to avoid the scorn of her community, she’s spent the last seven years hiding behind the veil she wears. Underneath her covering, her face is branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, a shameful reminder of her past captivity in Jericho and an assurance that no man will ever want to marry her.

When her father finds a widower who needs a mother for his two sons, her hopes rise. But when their introduction goes horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face and the enemies–and unexpected allies–she will encounter on her way.


My review:

Connilyn Cossette certainly knows how to draw a picture with her words that is both attention-grippingly tense and heart-touchingly beautiful. Moriyah is a character whose captivity story was described in the last book of the Out of Egypt series, Wings of the Wind. I was so glad to see that Cossette decided to continue Moriyah’s story and color in this fascinating and tragic character some more. Strong on the outside, yet broken on the inside, Moriyah’s struggle to feel close to the God she loves is a silhouette of what many people face each day. Cossette does a remarkable job of penciling in the highlights and shadows of Moriyah’s heart and drawing her back to who God created her to be.

She also beautifully illustrates the Promised Land during the time of Joshua, painting dramatic and lovely images of the flourishing land and its multitude of characters: from vintners, to priests, to soldiers, to traders, she draws a rainbow of colorful people and scenery to support the story.

I’m entranced by Connilyn Cossette’s biblical fiction and look forward to reading the next in the Cities of Refuge series. I highly encourage you to snuggle up with a copy of this book. 🙂

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂