Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley Blog Tour Book Review

// The Queen's Handmaid //

By Tracy L. Higley

Litfuse Publicity
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1401686842
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: March 18th, 2014
Rating: Five out of five stars
// Book Synopsis //
Taken From Good Reads
"From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled.

Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

Trapped among the scheming women of Herod’s political family—his sister, his wife, and their mothers—and forced to serve in the palace to protect her treasure, Lydia must deliver the scrolls before dark forces warring against the truth destroy all hope of the coming Messiah."

// Book Review //
An exciting ride back in time to ancient Egypt, 39 BC, this exciting novel is sure to take you on an unforgettable journey following servant Lydia, as she serves the Queen and builds a lasting relationship with her which will last much longer than the length of their lives. Filled to brim with accurate historic events and a nice amount of fiction, this memorable story is sure to stay with you long after you close it's pages.
This was the second book that I've read by Tracy Higley. Last year when I read her novel City on Fire, I deemed her my favorite author for her excellent writing and ability to involve so much history within her novels; and was very eager for more books by her. Which is why I was so excited for the release of The Queen's Handmaid!
This book was such a favorite, I'm putting it on my list of top favorite five books that I've read in 2014! The main thing that impressed me most was the amount of history in this book! I truly believe that you could learn more about Egyptian history involving who reigned at what time and their relationship with other people of government, by reading this novel than you could reading about it on the internet! In the course of the 400 pages of this novel there are detailed, historically accurate accounts of important governmental figures in Egypt such as Cleopatra, Herod, Marc Antony, Octavia, Mariamme (Herod's wife and the Queen whom Lydia serves) and many more! While this level of history may make some people think that it means that it lacks a good fictionalized portion of the book (stemming from a pre-supposed idea that history is boring facts-which it's not!), then there couldn't be anything further from the truth! While this book was mainly based on history, there was also a perfect balance of fictionalized story that didn't diminish the history; but in fact made it more enjoyable to read and all the more interesting! Anyone who, like me, loves a novel that will teach you something about history without sacrificing a page-turning experience needs to get their hands on this book!
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this novel was how interesting it was, and the unexpected turns that I didn't see coming! While it was interesting throughout the whole story, I did feel like the second half of the book was my most favorite portion of the story. Originally I was planning on giving it four stars while I was reading the first half of the book. But events that took place during the latter part of the story made me change my mind to 5 stars, also putting it on my favorites list.
However, as with any historically accurate portrayal of real events in history that may not have been so appropriate, this story does deal with some mature subjects including mention of Cleopatra and Herod's love life which was never faithful and continually changing persons; a moderately described birth scene that Lydia assisted; three deaths scenes, one by hanging which was described moderately (though still somewhat disturbing), as well as two others described after the actual event; as well as other content that comes with this time period where murder is considered justified by means of gaining power. While I usually don't like putting an age on these types of novels, due to how it really does vary depending on maturity, I'd say it is for sure a novel for mature readers, and that younger readers should read with caution.
Overall I absolutely loved this novel and all the history it taught me! Anyone who is a fan of Higley's previous novels or fans of heavy dosed historical fiction should read this book!
D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of this book through the publisher and Litfuse Publicity for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review or promote this book, and all thoughts expressed my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.
// Blog Tour Giveaway //
During the time of The Queen's Handmaid blog tour featuring book reviews from various reviewers, Tracy Higley and Litfuse are hosting a big giveaway to celebrate The Queen's Handmaid's release! They are giving away .......... and you can enter the giveaway on the Litfuse website by clicking on the image below.
{NOTE: I am not sponsoring this giveaway in any way, but still wanted to share about it so you could enter!)
Win a Kindle HDX!
The Queen's Handmaid

Monday, March 31, 2014

Feature & Giveaway // Sweet & Simple

Hello lovelies! I've got a lovely giveaway in store for you all today, and am very excited about this weeks feature and giveaway shop: Sweet & Simple! This shop offers a variety of such cute jewelry that has a distinct, shabby chic, antique and feminine feel, and I adore all the lovely items; and can't wait to show them to you!

// A Peek Into The Shop //
Oval Cream Paris Locket.  Eiffel Tower Charm Necklace.  Rustic Vintage Style Photo Keepsake.  Mother's Day.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Two Great Giveaways You'll Want To Enter!

Hi Friends!

I just wanted to do a quick post and share with you two wonderful giveaways that are currently going on over at Legacy of a Writer which is a fun blog I enjoy reading. Katie has two giveaways currently running, one for a knuckle ring from a lovely ring up to a $10 value from A Wild Violet etsy shop and another for a set of NuMe hair styling tools! So be sure and stop by and enter!

NuMe hair styling flat iron and curling wand giveaway ~ Ends April 29th, 2014

Feature & Product Review // Willow Tree Minerals

Hello friends! Today I've got an exciting product review to share with you all! Recently our family has been looking into going for more natural make-up, and skin care items. Realizing all the harmful chemicals that are in all the items you buy at the store, and put on your skin made us realize how much more healthier it is to be all-natural. And to, when possible, only use products without toxins and chemicals to keep your body healthy. Today's shop is a perfect resource for similar minded ladies, as it offers so many different cosmetics, body and skin care products, and the best part is there are all complete natural and safe for you skin!
Today's shop feature is from the shop Willow Tree Minerals, and I was so delighted to get to try a few of the shop's products out to share with you all today. This shop has quickly become a favorite of mine since there are so many different choices and shades to choose from. Just about any cosmetic item you'd ever use on your face including foundation, concealer, blush, primer, powder, eye liner, mascara and eye shadows are available in a natural version with several shades to make it easy to find the perfect shade for your skin tone. Before jumping into the review, let's take a look at what the shop offers:
// A Peek Into The Shop //
Lavender Vanilla - Natural Facial Cleansing Bar
// Lavender Vanilla Natural Facial Cleansing Bar ~ 2.95 //

Monday, February 24, 2014

Giveaway // B3 Bookmarks

Hi friends! Wow! It's been a while since I last posted on this blog! I've missed featuring shops, and today I'm back with a special shop feature and giveaway! Today's shop feature and giveaway is from B3 Bookmarks, so let's get started!

// About The B3 Bookmarks //

Blog  //   Bookmarks   //  Jewelry

"B3 bookmarks is a project started in 2010 by 14-year-old Cora as a way to serve God with the blessings she was given. All proceeds made from selling jewelry and bookmarks goes to charity organization Samaritan's Purse. Each year the is a different goal, and in 2014, it is to raise $350 in order to pay for a cow for a family or village in need."
// A Peek Into B3 Bookmarks //

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ipsy December 2013 // Celebration!

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share with you about a fun company I've recently come across called Ipsy which is a monthly beauty subscription service. The way Ipsy works is it's $10 a month (shipping is free unless you live outside of the U.S.) and they send you five high-end beauty products each month. The neat thing about this subscription service - and what made me want to subscribe over other similar services such as Birchbox - is that Ipsy usually sends full sized products, and if they aren't full sized they are deluxe samples. Other beauty subscription services that I've looked into usually just send tiny samples, but with Ipsy I've gotten mostly full sized high end beauty products, and each month's bag always pays for itself several times over with the value of the bag compared to the $10 price. For example this month's bag only cost me $10, but when I added up the price of the items I got I realized that this bag would have cost around $60 to buy the items separately, and this doesn't include the cute black bag!