Thursday, October 9, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin // Book Review

20665083// Keepers of the Covenant //

By Lynn Austin

{Book Review by Bethany}

Publisher: Bethany House

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through Litfuse publicity group

Publication Date: October 7th, 2014

Number of Pages: 480

ISBN: 0764212710

 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

// Book Synopsis //

Taken from Good Reads

"The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple--but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges...this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful."

// Bethany's Book Review //

I love this author, and have really enjoyed several of her previous releases. But sadly, I had a hard time enjoying this book as much as I wanted to. I felt the same way about the first book in this series, Return to Me. Even though I had a hard time getting into the first book, I decided to still give this sequel a try, and am glad I did.

I've always thought that biblical fiction is such an interesting genre that has so much potential. Sadly this genre isn't as popular as others, which is why I really wanted to love this novel, being how there aren't many books out there like this one. For some reason, I just had a hard time getting into the story. I love any type of book that is girly and feminine, and I don't think this story really fit into that, as there were more male characters, and it wasn't a sparkly book due to the setting. While this is in no way a bad thing, I think all the males and the setting was something that I'm not quite used to and it took a bit of adjusting to go that far back in time. This is really only one of the things I can think of that made me like the book instead of loving it, as there wasn't anything I particularly disliked.

This book is nearly 500 pages, and for a while it was a bit daunting to look at the sheer length of it! Being that the novel was as long as it was, I think the author did a good job making the story read smoothly without getting dry. There were so many different characters, and the book covers such a long period of time, making it a bit hard to keep up at times for me personally. However it wasn't a huge deal, as things kept moving smoothly.

Out of all the characters and their stories, I think my favorite was Amina's. It was such an interesting one that I enjoyed-especially the ending! However the other story lines were a just so-so for me, making Amina's story the highlight of the book for me.

Overall, this was a nice one-time read for me. Being able to go back in time to Bible times was such an exciting journey! I recommend this book for fans of biblical fiction!

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of Keepers of the Covenant from the publisher to review. I was not paid to do so, and all thoughts expressed are my own, completely honest and unbiased.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Product Review // CLam Originals

Most of you probably remember the last giveaway I hosted, for a mug from CLam Originals etsy shop. Well I'm excited to be featuring this wonderful shop once again with a product review! I was very excited to be able to receive a product from CLam Originals to review, and decided on the Emoji Mug, as I loved how cute and happy it is!

To start, this mug arrived very quickly, and was shipped in a very safe way to ensure that it didn't chip or break during the mailing process. I really appreciated how much effort was put into making sure it arrived safely, and consider it a huge plus in my experience with this shop!

I love to collect different mugs, and was excited to add this one to my collection! I have really enjoyed using this mug every morning when drinking my daily cup of coffee in the morning, and it's basically the only mug I use now! I really like how it has a smiley face on it, as it reminds me to smile more and be happy, thus giving me a good start to my day. I like how the mug is the perfect size, making it easy to add extra stuff to my coffee while still being able to get a good amount of coffee in the mug, which has always been something I look for in a mug that I use on a regular basis.

Another thing I like about this mug is how sturdy it is, and the thick handle it has. I could tell that the mug has a very high quality, which I really liked. The only down-side with this cup, is how it has to be hand-washed as it's not dishwasher safe. However I'm already in the habit of hand-washing my cups, so it wasn't really a problem for me, though it might be a factor to consider for others.

Overall, this mug is wonderful, and I'd highly recommend this shop! The shipping was done very securely, the mug is great quality and lots of fun to use, plus I had a great experience with this shop!

 A big thanks goes to CLam Originals for the opportunity to try out a mug from the shop! If you'd like to take a look at the other fun mugs this shop sells, or are considering making a purchase, then you can visit the shop by clicking here.

Disclaimer: I received a free mug of my choice from CLam Originals for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, or promote this shop, and all thoughts expressed are my own, completely honest and unbiased.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Raptor 6 By Ronie Kendig Blog Tour Book Review

18491963// Raptor 6 //

Quiet Professionals #1

By Ronie Kendig

Source: Complementary review copy from the publisher
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN:  1616260408
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2014
My Rating: Two out of five stars

// Book Synopsis //

{Taken from GoodReads
"Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the US military, Dean is forced to crack the lock-box around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost."

// Book Review //

I had never read any books by Ronie Kendig prior to reading Raptor 6, but had heard such wonderful reviews on her books, that when the opportunity arose, I decided to try this author and her new series. While I was very hesitant to request this book, I hoped that I'd enjoy it, though I'll admit it is definitely not the kind of book I'd normally pick up. I'm really into chick-flicks and such, and hardly ever read stories with male main characters that are centered in a war zone.

Unfortunately, despite really wanting to enjoy this book, I didn't. I really did try and get into the story, but after 100 pages I just decided to skim the remainder of the story, knowing it just wasn't my cup of tea. I want to be completely open and say that there was nothing wrong with this author, or her writing style. But personally for me, as a big fan of girl-y books, to read a novel with a male main character and centered in a war zone just didn't appeal to me. I had a feeling this would end up happening, and looking back can see that maybe choosing to help promote this book wasn't the best idea, as I'm not the best person to do so being that I'm not into this genre.

However I do know that there are lots of people who absolutely love this author. I would definitely say that the overall writing style in this book was wonderful-the only problem I had with this book was the genre which I'm not into. I honestly hate having to give this book such a low rating since the rating was entirely due to my personal taste in reading and in no way reflected on the author. So please don't think that just because I didn't enjoy this book that you won't either! I encourage you to give it a try, as I know lots of people who have enjoyed this author's novels!

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a free copy of Raptor 6 from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to do so, and all thoughts expressed are completely my own, honest and unbiased. 

RAPTOR 6 Ronie Kendig

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit By Robin Lee Hatcher Blog Tour Book Review

18965690// The Heart's Pursuit //

By Robin Lee Hatcher

Source: Complementary review copy from the publisher

Genre: Christian Fiction/Western

Number of Pages: 320 

ISBN:  0310259274

Publisher: Zondervan 

Publication Date: May 13th, 2014 
My Rating: Four out of five stars

// Book Synopsis //

{Taken from GoodReads}

"A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin.
A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past.
An arduous trek toward justice—or redemption.

Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family—even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.

The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn't theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leave Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?"

// Book Review //

Main character Silver has just been jilted at the wedding alter by a man she thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. Bounty hunter Jared has a mission to find the man who murdered his family as well as other innocent people; and has spent many years looking for the man who ruined his life and left him bitter. When the two characters meet in a small town and realize there is a connection between the man who jilted Silver and the man who Jared is looking for, they embark on a journey seeking the men who put a dent in their life plans. As the story progresses, they get to know each other and eventually develop feelings as they start to wonder if their meeting wasn't really an accident?

I've read several of Robin Lee Hatcher's books in the past, including Beloved, and A Promise Kept. So I was familiar with her novels before reading The Heart's Pursuit. Out of all the novels that I've read written by Robin Lee Hatcher, I'd have to say that this one if definitely my favorite! I really enjoyed this book and was glad to have had the opportunity to read it!

This novel is a rather light, quick read. I was able to read it in two sittings, and enjoyed how the story flowed. I loved how it was a western novel, as I'm from Texas and love a good western novel with a country heroine. I really liked how the story-line wasn't too complex, but it wasn't boring either. There was plenty of western type scenes with guns, horses, wide open land, and outlaws that kept my attention and kept me turning pages.

I really liked this story's plot! It was unique and I loved reading all the twists that were sprinkled throughout the story. 

I just loved the characters in this book. I felt a connection and understanding for the things they had been through, and liked their integrity. I really appreciated Jared protectiveness over Silver and treated her with such respect while they traveled alone. I also enjoyed Silver's free spirit and spunky personality. 

In all, I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to those who enjoy western novels with a good plot that will keep you turning pages! 

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a complementary copy of The Heart's Pursuit from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity Group for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review or promote this book. All thoughts expressed in my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased.

The Heart's Pursuit Robin Lee Hatcher

Monday, May 19, 2014

Feature & Giveaway // CLam Originals


Hello friends! Today I've got a really unique shop that I'm so excited to be featuring! This shop is called CLam Originals, and specializes in unique personalized ceramic mugs! Let's take a look at the items that are available in this shop:

State Love Mug - Long Distance Relationships, Friendships, Family 

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma Blog Tour Book Review

18764196// Daisies are Forever //

By Liz Tolsma

 Source: Complementary review copy from the publisher
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 352
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014
My Rating: Five out of five stars

// Book Synopsis //

"Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.

Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage."

Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled
with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.

In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever." 

// Book Review //

Last year I had the pleasure of reading Liz Tolsma's debut novel Snow on the Tulips; which captivated me and left me extremely eager for more of this author's work! So naturally, when I found out Liz was writing another novel set during WWII, I got very excited about its release!

The book was so phenomenal. The story was extremely engaging with all the daunting experiences the main characters Gisela went through during the war; such as being shot at from a plane as she is running across a frozen body of water with nowhere to hide, as well as dealing with being in the city as bombs are being dropped at all times. Needless to say, this book accurately portrays the reality of war - the death and fear and utter hopelessness. While it doesn't sugar-coat anything pertaining to war; making it a very intense novel for mature readers, I felt like it added such depth to the story and really penetrated my heart, leaving me thankful.
Liz Tolsma writes in such an engaging way that you can't help but feel for the characters, and be lost in the story, especially knowing that this book is based on two women who actually lived out certain scenes in the book. I personally really appreciated knowing that the story wasn't completely a work of fiction, and enjoyed learning about these two courageous women who played a part in our history.

Another thing that made me love this book where the characters and their stories of overcoming grief and the constant second-guessing that they did, thinking back on past events and wondering what they should; or could have done differently. I loved Gisela's compassionate heart and willingness to do anything she had to in order to save even one life. I loved Mitch's masculinity and how much of a man he was. I loved his protective personality and truly think of him as a hero - especially since he was a Christian and that had an effect on the way he treated Gisela, and encouraged her. I loved their story. How they met and took the cover of being married in order to save each other. I thought it was such a neat twist, and made for a unique story!

Overall I absolutely loved this book! I am such a fan of Liz Tolsma's writings and definitely will be  putting this book on my list of favorite books I read this year! Anyone who enjoys historical fiction set during WWII, and a super engaging read should try out this wonderful novel!

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a complementary copy of Daisies are Forever from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity Group for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review or promote this book, and all thoughts expressed in my review are completely my own, honest and unbiased. 

Daisies are Forever Liz Tolsma