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8.24.2015

Rise of the Fallen ~ Review

Rise of the Fallen
War of the Realms 2
By Chuck Black

Rise of the Fallen is the second book in Chuck Black's Wars of the Realm series.  This book though a sequel is in many respects a prequel and at the same time a synchronized story told from an alternative point of view.  In this book we see through Validus's eyes rather than Drew Carter's.

We are taken to the early days when Creation was still in its holy perfection.  Validus the last angel created forms close friendships with three other angels - Niturni, Persimus, and Cadriel.  We, along with these four, experience the fall of both the angels and humanity.

We are taken through human history as the chapters alternate between the past the present.  Major events such as Noah and the ark, the Tower of Babel, the faith of Daniel in exile, and events from the life of Christ including His final days are highlights of the Plan of Elohim to save His creation - to save humanity.  And through the present action Validus wonders why Drew Carter is so important that he is assigned to him, taking him from his other duties as a spiritual warrior.

Fans of Jerel Law's Son of Angels series who are looking for a more grown-up series to graduate to will find Wars of the Realm appealing.  And those who enjoyed Rubart James's Well Spring novels may find a new series to satisfy their Speculative Fiction reading appetite.

There may be some who object to some of the creative liberties the author had to employ while crafting this story, this series.  But truthfully to write a story about angels one has to use a touch of creativity as the Bible does not offer a lot of concrete fact about angels.

All-in-all this is a well-written and intriguing book that should appeal to both teen and adult readers. And you can read this book before Cloak of Light if you have not previously read it as the story's style of delivery makes it able to stand alone if the reader so desires.  But after reading this book you'll want to know more about Drew Carter and the incidents that have made him a person of interest to the Fallen.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:

A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.

Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity's fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator's most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man. 

Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them. 

As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity's survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?

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8.23.2015

Taken ~ Review

Taken
By Dee Henderson

She's been missing for years.  An abduction gone wrong.  And now she's determined to bring down the crime family that was responsible for all her lost years.

First step make contact with private investigator Matthew Dane.  Next learn how to live in the real world again.  And finally make contact with her family.

But 11 years is a long time to be away from everyone you have ever loved.  And Shannon Bliss has a long road ahead of her if she is to have the normal life she desires.  And Matthew Dane is Shannon's best chance for achieving what she wants.  Matthew went through a similar experience with his own daughter years ago.  He has connections to people who can bring down the Jacoby  family.  And he can help keep her safe once the family learns she didn't die.

Fans of Dee Henderson's books will be delighted to know that several of her previous characters make an appearance that is important to the story-line.  Ann and Paul Falcon and Charlotte and Bryce Bishop are integral in Shannon transition into her new life and in her attempt to bring down the Jacoby family.

But lingering in the background is the question - Why?  Why was Shannon abducted and who was responsible?   Was it a random abduction?  Or was someone close to her involved?  And does she truly want to know the truth?

I really enjoyed Taken it is well-written with a steady and engaging pace that will keep the reader's attention from cover-to-cover.  Though reading Dee's previous books (Full Disclosure, Unspoken, Undetected) is not necessary to follow this book and the story presented it will enhance the experience by adding to the backstory of several of the characters.

If you want to escape into a well-written engaging story give Taken a try.  This is suspense fiction at its best.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review


About the Book:

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, 
and his new client, missing far too long...

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn't mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they'll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon's life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her--even if it means stirring up a hornet's nest of secrets.

8.22.2015

Yesterday ~ Review


Yesterday
Book 1 of the Yesterday Series
By Amanda Tru

Hannah Kkraeger was traveling to her sister's when she saved a family after an accident.  But when she awakens the next day her yesterday occurred 5 years ago!  Yet Hannah hasn't aged a day since that event happened.

Suddenly Hannah has no stable present as she finds herself moving between the past and the present merely by falling asleep.  Each time she goes back she has an effect on past, an effect that could have an unforeseen outcome on her present, her future.

But there is a connection with one person throughout her transits through time - Dr. Seth McAllister. Hannah is drawn to the young doctor whom she met on her first transit.  Can the two of them determine what is causing Hannah's time trips before her yesterdays and tomorrows are no more?

This is a fun romantic suspense with a touch of sci-fi and mystery thrown in.  If you like unexpected twists and turns that result in second chances pick-up Yesterday today!

I was provided a copy of this book through TBCN/BookFun in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book: (198 pages)

Her yesterday was five years ago. What will her tomorrow bring? When HANNAH KRAEGER saves a family injured in a car accident, she has no idea she has changed events in the past. Waking the next morning, Hannah discovers her yesterday was really five years ago.
Each trip Hannah takes through time changes the timeline and her own life. With help from DR. SETH MCALLISTER, Hannah must unravel the mystery of why she time travels and who she actually is before the strange ability costs her future, the man she loves, and even her life.

YESTERDAY is a thrilling Christian Romantic Suspense filled with unexpected twists, mystery, and romance.

YESTERDAY is Book One in the YESTERDAY SERIES.


About the Author:

With a lifelong love of reading and writing, Amanda Tru loves to let her imagination paint pictures in a wide variety of genres. Her current book list includes everything from a Christian time travel / romance series, to an action-packed suspense, to a romance involving a mysterious department-store Santa. Amanda is a former elementary school teacher who now spends her days being mommy to three little boys and her nights furiously writing. Amanda lives in a small town in Idaho where the number of cows outnumbers the number of people.

Find out more about Amanda Tru and her upcoming books at her website http://amandatru.blogspot.com/

8.21.2015

Oswald: Return of the King ~ Review

Oswald: Return of the King
By Edoardo Albert

Upon the death of his Uncle Edwin Oswald is deemed throne-worthy.  But Oswald doesn't desire or seek the throne that his uncle took from his father.  For in Oswald's opinion there are others who are equally throne-worthy, including his older half-brothers.  The life of a monk appeals to him, a simple life serving on the Holy Island.

But the life Oswald wants is not the life he is destined to live.  Cadwallon, not content to rule his kingdom after defeating Edwin, is determined to be named High King and to drive the Saxons to the sea purging the land of their vileness.  Cadwallon's evil and violent ways have left many on the verge of ruin and starvation.

Seeking guidance Oswald is convinced that his path leads him to seek his father's throne.  But to take the throne Oswald must gather allies who will come to him when he challenges Cadwallon. 

Oswald and his brother Oswin set out in a most unusual strategy to capture the throne.  But defeating Cadwallon is but the first step to becoming High King of a united Britain.  The path Oswald has taken is one that is without the peace he has become accustomed to on Iona.  

Betrayal is a possibility with every alliance and yet there are those who Oswald trusts with certainty - his brother, his dearest friend Aidan, his mother, his sister, and a few who have come to him in his quest for the throne.  

Oswald: Return of the King is an engrossing and intriguing story.  If you read the first book Edwin: High King of Britain you will enjoy this continuation of the history of the Northumbrian throne.  If you haven't there is a recap of the first book so that you will be brought up to speed so that you can enjoy this second installment in the series.

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this book, this series.  I believe fans of Tolkien's works will be delighted in this series from Edoardo Albert.  This would make an excellent addition to any library - be it home, school, or public.  

Get ready to enter a world that is a foundation to all we know today.  A world that is on the edge of the old and the new.  A world that faces the same basic struggles that we face today.  Whom will you follow?  Who will you call for king?

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through Kregel Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.


About the book:
The second book in The Northumbrian Thrones series follows the young prince Oswald as he seeks to regain the throne taken from his family by Edwin.

The exiled family of King Æthelfrith of Northumbria arrive, after much hardship, on the island of Iona, where the monastery founded by St Columba has become a center of worship and learning. Amid the violence and turbulence of Dark-Ages Britain, the island appears a sanctuary to the hunted princes and Oswald, having become firm friends with a novice named Aidan, enters the church along with his younger brother, Oswiu.

As befits a young prince, Oswald learns to fight and soon becomes renowned for his courage, earning the title Lamnguin, the Whiteblade. However, the peace of Iona leaves Oswald torn between becoming a monk or returning to Northumbria to reclaim the kingdom that is rightfully his. When news reaches Iona that his half-brother, Eanfrith, has been killed by Cadwallon, the king who defeated Edwin, Oswald sails back to Northumbria and meets Cadwallon in battle, defeating and killing him.

Oswald, now the undisputed king of Northumbria, gives Aidan the island of Lindisfarne as a base from which to take the faith to the English. But Penda, the last great pagan king in England, is raising troops against him...

8.19.2015

Through Waters Deep ~ Review

Through Waters Deep
Waves of Freedom 1
By Sarah Sundin

Mary Stirling just wants to remain in the background.  Jim Avery just wants to "float" through life.  Neither wants make waves because incidents from their childhoods.  Mary works as a Navy secretary and dresses in neutral colors.  Jim is an ensign, who doesn't want aim higher, he doesn't want to have to make the difficult decisions.

When an act of sabotage occurs at the Boston Navy Yard Mary and Jim start working together to discover who could be targeting the Yard.  But more than the ships and the those who work on them are in danger. Public opinion  could be swayed affecting the United States and her level of activity in what is Europe's war.

But to do "the right thing" Mary and Jim may have to move out of their self-imposed limitations.  Can they face their individual fears or will fear control the choices made?

Through Waters Deep is a delightful step back in time, to 1941 to be precise.  War is on the horizon as more of the world is drawn into the conflict with Germany.  But to many the thought of America entering another European war is beyond belief.  As Mary and Jim work through the clues what was once a childhood acquaintance could become something more.

If you like Historical Fiction with a pinch of Romance you need to pick-up a copy of this book it will be time well spent.  Fans of Sarah Sundin's previous books will not be disappointed with the debut book of her newest series.  The characters have depth, the passion of their individual beliefs is believably presented, and one has empathy with the varying viewpoints.  If you have never read Sarah's work before this would be a perfect book to start with.  This is one happy reader who is eagerly anticipating book 2!

This book, though marketed to the adult audience, would be appropriate for teens and would be an excellent choice for a book report (Historical or Realistic fiction) book.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Revell in exchange for my honest review.

War is coming. Can love carry them through the rough waters that lie ahead?

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

"Fascinating history, interesting location, touching romance--Sarah Sundin packs it all in this page-turning story. Readers are sure to enjoy living this stirring WWII-era adventure."--Ann H. Gabhart, author of Love Comes Home and The Innocent

"Through Waters Deep reeled me in from the start. Endearing characters combine with intrigue and mystery in a tale that begs to be read in record time."--Jocelyn Green, award-winning author of the Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War series

"Sarah Sundin is a gifted novelist. Bottom line--this book is perfect for lovers of WWII romances and mysteries that would give Nancy Drew a run for her money."--Cara Putman, award-winning author of Shadowed by Grace and Where Treetops Glisten


Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of the Wings of Glory and Wings of the Nightingale series. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. Learn more at www.sarahsundin.com.


8.18.2015

Knowing My God Series ~ Review

Knowing My God Series
             Starter Kit
By Callie Grant

There is nothing quite so rewarding then to experience a child's sense of joy in reading and at the same time discovering the person of Jesus on a personal level.

The Knowing My God Series Starter Set is an excellent way to introduce the child/children in your life to Jesus.

In Jesus Invites Me Matthew 11:28-30 is examined. Jesus asks us to come to Him and to give Him the burdens we carry.  He will give us rest, a rest that is internal to our soul, a rest that gives us a freedom.

In Jesus Saves Me John 10:14-16 is examined with Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  The role of the shepherd is examined in regard to us being sheep.The love and care of the shepherd to each sheep is how Jesus views us.

In Jesus Shows Me John 15:9-14 is examined. We learn about the love of God and how we can see it in the world around us. From watching animals interact with one another we can learn about friendship and abiding in God's love.

These 3 board books are sturdy and can take the rough handling little ones sometimes subject their books to.  Each book is 18 pages in length, alternating images with text throughout.  The second to last page is for the adult/parent offering reading suggestions to make the reading experience more meaningful as the child ages.

For a younger child who may not be able to fully grasp the meaning of some of words parents may want to just read the verse portion.  The broader story can be part of the growing with your child attribute that the book recommends in the reading suggestions offered to the grown-up.

The suggested age for these books is 0 - 7 years old.  The set is bound together with a paper band that includes various activities to enhance the learning experience - to help your child to think and grasp the message being taught.

I was provided a copy of this series by the publisher through TBCN/BookFun in exchange for my honest review.


ABOUT THE SERIES (54 pages):

Even the youngest children can begin making a personal connection with Jesus and his words for them with essential Bible basics from three popular board books. The Knowing My God Series Starter Set includes Jesus Invites Me (Matthew 11:28-30), Jesus Shows Me (John 15:9-14), and Jesus Saves Me (John 10:14-16).

From the Learn category in Graham Blanchard’s collection, each book offers three levels of exploration: a quoted Bible passage, beautiful real-world photographs, and supportive text to relate the passage’s meaning to a child’s everyday life. 

A parent guide gives tips for involving a baby, toddler, and child. These books grow with a child! A keepsake book band offers thinking questions and activities to extend the lesson.

Download free grownup tips for each book and find out more about Graham Blanchard's Learn, Absorb and Praise™ board books for children at www.grahamblanchard.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Callie Grant founded Graham Blanchard to create children's books for growing up in God, by working with an extensive network of artists, parents, pastors, teachers, and children. The company is the culmination of her experience in the publishing industry paired with a strong calling to help families know God's love and nurture their faith through reading together. Her previous titles, under the name Callie Gregory, include Jeeves, I'm Bored: 25 Internet Adventures for Kids, and Jeeves, I Need Help: Tips and Tricks for Kids on the Net. For more information about Grant and Graham Blanchard, visit grahamblanchard.com.