Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Unraveling by Sara Ella


Purchase HERE

Title: Unraveling

Author: Sara Ella

Series: Unblemished #2

Genre: Fairy Tale/Fantasy

Audience: Young Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel?

Eliyana Ember doesn't believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what's right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she's trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about - like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua's finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something - or someone - is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections - and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

~ MY REVIEW ~
**4 stars**

Oh my heart! *sobs*

Sara Ella certainly knows how to write a complex and captivating fairy tale-esque story! Unraveling was truly a perfect sequel to Unblemished, and I think I enjoyed it even more!

Realm-travel. Fantasy. Good vs. evil. Romance. Family and friends. Battles and secrets. Such a delightful fairy tale feel! I used to watch "Once Upon a Time" (though I discontinued it for various personal reasons), and Unraveling felt a lot like that tv show, in all the good ways! *smiles* It just has an irresistibly intriguing quality to it.
It was nice to be back with Eliyana Ember and all the other wonderful people who surround her. Ky is my absolute favorite! ^_^

Unraveling was definitely adventurous. The light vs. darkness theme was explored more, and I actually felt it brought across a pretty thoughtful message. There's no clear allegorical theme, which is sometimes hard for me ... But I think Sara Ella did a good job of just making this a crazy, complex, lovely fairy tale with some good lessons to take away from it.
It was fun and interesting to uncover secrets and figure out more of what's going on in this magical Second Reflection. Danger. Drama. Heartache. Sweetness.

There was a scene that I found quite unnecessary. It was brief and not explicit, but I certainly didn't approve! :p I'm kind of discouraged that that particular scene had to be added to an otherwise good book. Probably knocked a star off the rating for me, personally. We'll see how the third book does in this department ...

I once again found the fantasy realm intriguing ... the neat fantasy creatures and cool gifts. I loved the bit of a pirate theme that we got! *grins* Also, all the fairies and queens and legends! *heart eyes* Fairy tale, my friends! If you love fairy tales, the UNBLEMISHED series is probably for you.

THAT ENDING. My heart. Like, tear it out, why don't you?? I was so furious at a certain guy (view spoiler) and just upset that such a thing had to happen.
But I suppose it made for a totally heartbreaking, breathtaking, beautifully bittersweet, cliff-hanger ending.

I await Unbreakable. *winks*

I received a copy of Unraveling from BookLookBloggers review program in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cover Reveal: Children of the Forgotten by Charles Franklin

Hey, all! Today I'm taking part in the cover reveal for author Charles Franklin's Children of the Forgotten!

Take a look at this epic cover!


About the Book

In a post-apocalyptic world, most people by age thirty have succumbed to The Sickness, a mysterious deadly illness. But the Sickness is not the only enemy for Collin Mann’s city. Hordes of deranged killers live in the hills around it. With few trained protectors, the future of the little city looks bleak.


Collin, fifteen years old, buries those the Sickness consumes. Slight and awkward, he shuns warrior training, avoiding the example of his big brother and guardian.



When killers attack at the watering hole, he’s called to step forward and defend. Instead, he freezes.


He’s ashamed. His people need him to fight. Can he do it? Or would a clumsy person like himself make any difference in the battle for existence?


***


About the Author


Charles was born and raised in Texas. From there, he joined the United States Army and has traveled the world. Along the way, he saw the most beautiful set of eyes he had ever seen. They belonged to a girl ... and he married her right away. Twenty years later, they have three children and are finally headed back home to Texas for good.
Upon retiring from the Army after 23 years, Charles will continue to serve others as a teacher in the town he grew up in. When he's not in the classroom, or spending time with his family, Charles writes stories about faith, love, hope, and adventure. 
His debut novel, Children of the Forgotten: The Anistemi Book I, will release in August and he has already begun work on the second book in the trilogy. Charles is also writing an action thriller, and has begun outlining another series set in the Anistemi world.


Hashtags:

#CotF
#Anistemi

Links:


Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Favorites Tag

I was unofficially tagged by Natasha @ A Camera and a Dreamer for The Favorites Tag! Thanks, my dear! *winks and grins*

**

- Rules -

Answer the questions
Tag some people

**

1) What is your favorite thing to do at home?

Hmm. Read, blog, take a walk, chat with my family ... I don't know a favorite thing really - I like to do lots of things. ^_^

2) Which is your favorite, cats or dogs?

Don't really know. I've never been a huge "animal person", though I do like them. I probably tend to gravitate toward cats, because they're calmer, more snuggly. *winks*

3) If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Haha, I don't know. The ideal is to live by my family, but as long as I'm surrounded by people I love/who love me, I'm good with going wherever God would lead me.

4) Do you love to travel?

Going new places, sure! The actual travel aspect isn't my favorite, though it can be an adventure if I just relax and let go of my anxiety.

5) What is your dream job?

Honestly, being a wife & mom has always been the deep dream of my heart. But also, as you all know, a novelist! *grins*

6) What is your dream vacation?

Maybe somewhere by the sea, beautiful landscape, culturally and historically rich (Ireland, Italy?) ... Somewhere I can delight in God's creation and learn interesting things about the people who lived there long ago and now.

7) Do you have a favorite drink? What is it?

Half lemonade, half unsweetened tea from Chick-fil-A. ^_^

8) What is your favorite home-cooked meal?

Homemade pizza! (If I could have pizza anymore. *winks*)
I honestly can't think of anything else right now, though I always have home-cooked meals! I must be craving pizza. ;P

9) Which would you prefer, pop (aka soda *winks*) or water?

Water, probably. Last time I tried to drink coke (my favorite type of soda), I felt pretty sick. Too much sugar for me, apparently.

10) Who is your favorite singer?

What? How can I chose just one? I've been loving listening to Micah Tyler lately. Also Tenth Avenue North, Lauren Daigle, Jordan Feliz, and Hollyn.
Also really like this song from Francesca Battistelli called Giants Fall.

11) Ice cream or a milkshake?

Milkshake, if I could have milk. Ha! I used to love getting strawberry milkshakes with whipped cream on top. Or coffee-flavored milkshakes ...

I Tag:

Whoever wants to do this tag! *winks*

***

~ Fashion ~

Here's a quick look at one of the pieces of clothing I got from a modest clothing line called Mikarose! They were having a super good sale, so I decided to try them out.
Let me tell you, friends, the clothes fit perfectly! Like they were made exactly for me. ^_^ And the cuts and styles are so feminine, modest, and pretty.
So ... I bought this pretty skirt and paired it with a simple top, necklace, and heels. I really like the length and the flowy-ness. *smiles*

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Shopping Trip + Life Update Snippets

Hello, lovely people! Today my family's taking a bit of a break from working on our house to celebrate one of my younger sister's birthdays! Yay!

I thought I would do a quick blog post as well, telling of my shopping adventure. Because shopping is always an adventure ... when you have the right people with you. *winks*

***

My sister needed some items for an upcoming trip, so she and I hopped in the car late morning on Tuesday and headed to town.

We stopped at Goodwill first. I tried on a huge pile of shirts ... which I'm usually not patient enough for. But today I was looking for long cardigans and some summer shirts. I really like the style where the shirt goes longer in the back. Something about it ... it's so flowy and elegant!
Oh, and of course I found a few books there as well! *winks*
(I usually love Lori Wick's novels. Something about them is so real, heartwarming, and charming. Untamed is a Christian Living I picked up because it sounded intriguing.)

Next we got lunch at Chick-fil-A. (Why are you surprised?) It was so fun to just talk and relax and enjoy good food.

Lastly, we went to Walmart to find a few things my sister needed. We got distracted by cute purses, lovely-print pajamas, and adorable $3 shoes! (Of a style we'd both been secretly wanting!) We each had to pick out a pair, before going to get the essentials we came for! (Such as rain jackets and shampoo.)

Anyway, I thought I'd show you the items I found, and outfits I put together with them! If you've been following this blog for long, you probably know I value modesty - so I try to be purposefully aware of that as I shop for different articles of clothing.

What do you think? Ladies, see anything you'd wear?


This blue t-shirt style top goes a little longer in the back. It's a size medium ... perhaps a tad big? But I love the color and just how simple and summery it is.


I loved the fit of this black/gray top! It's so soft, classic, and also of the cut which swoops longer in the back. Very comfortable.


A simple gray shirt. It can be casual or dressy. I really like the fit and cut.


This purple button-up is so flowy and lovely! I simple love it with a belt, and I've been told purple is my color ... so, I'm super happy I bought this!


I thought this orange button-up would be perfect for a Thanksgiving get-together! *smiles* The cut is very fun! So exciting to have found so many shirts with long backs. There's something quite comfortable and feminine about them, I think. I always admire them when I see other women wearing them in town!


Long cardigans are my favorite! ^_^ This teal one is such a beautiful color and kind of an old-fashioned, classy cut. I think it can be used in summer or winter, as I modeled above.


Another long cardigan! Can't go wrong with gray striped! *grins*

So that is what I got! Three t-shirt style tops, two button-up tops, and two long cardigans. Also, aren't my mint-green shoes from Walmart the best? *heart eyes* I very much love them.

***

So ... what else?

Well, today, this gluten-free girl got to eat some oreo cookies! Eep!


They are of the glutino brand which, consequently, doesn't use milk in their gluten-free "chocolate vanilla creme" cookies either! It does say it may contain traces of milk, but there's not actually milk in the ingredients. Yay! I was quite excited.
I don't usually eat things like this, but today is a birthday party ... so I figured I may as well have a treat too. *winks*

***

We've been quite busy this month ... and hoping July will be the "move in" month! I've been alternating between working at the house (painting mostly) and watching the little ones at home, housekeeping, making supper, grocery shopping, etc.

- One day, the two little ones and I left "the house" early and stopped at Chick-fil-A for supper! That was fun. *grins* Never mind that my two-year-old brother squeezed his cup to tightly and spilled water all over the floor. The staff at this wonderful restaurant are so very lovely and patient and helpful. -

- Another time, I went shopping with these two and we got ingredients for a Mexican-style meal. I felt so amazing, driving home through the rain, music playing ... just peaceful.
At home, I made salsa, guacamole, and lime & cilantro rice. Cooked up chicken. Warmed up refried beans. Chopped up lettuce. And starting cooking the uncooked tortillas my mom likes to buy. It took me quite a long time to prepare all this! But it was worth it! ^_^ And the rest of the family enjoyed it after they got home from working hard. -

***

Oh, and currently reading Recovering Redemption: A Gospel-Saturated Perspective on How to Change by Matt Chandler and Michael Snetzer.
It is very, very good. Looking forward to sharing my review soon.

I gotta run and help get things ready for sister's birthday party with the family! And wrap my present for her, oops! Can't believe she's fifteen today! *grins*

How's life going for you all? Anything I can be praying about for you, my dears?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Book Review: The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep


Purchase HERE

Title: The Captive Heart

Author: Michelle Griep

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

Proper English governess Eleanor Morgan flees to the colonies to escape the wrath of a an angry duke. When the Charles Town family she’s to work for never arrives to collect her from the dock, she is forced to settle for the only reputable choice remaining to her—marriage to a man she’s never met. Trapper and tracker Samuel Heath is a hardened survivor used to getting his own way by brain or by brawn, and he’s determined to find a mother for his young daughter. But finding a wife proves to be impossible. No upstanding woman wants to marry a murderer.

~ MY REVIEW ~
**5 stars**

A thoroughly and delightfully captivating novel. Michelle Griep, please write more books set in this era! ^_^ We had harrowing circumstances. Colonial wilderness. Marriage of convenience. Native Americans. Patriot spies. Tender romance. Deep threads of faith. Danger, drama, humor, and utter sweetness. Fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Benton are sure to love The Captive Heart!

I stayed up late into the night reading of Eleanor Morgan and Samuel Heath. They were such fantastic characters and I enjoyed both of their POVs. Also, baby Grace was so sweet! It was fun, heart-rending, and tender to watch Eleanor and Samuel's relationship develop. And can I just say that I loved that he called her "Red Bird"? So special and unique!
I also adored the secondary characters. They have me desperately hoping that Michelle Griep will continue this as a series with their stories! There's so much potential there. Especially with Biz and the preacher. *laughs*

I had a lovely time imaging what Samuel's cabin in the wilderness looked like, the colonial festivals, and Indian village. Ah, such a historical delight! This era of the mid-to-late 1700s America never fails to intrigue me.

And there was no lack of danger and excitement. The Captive Heart mixes pre-Revolutionary War drama with Native American unrest, colonial wilderness living, marriages of convenience, and wild men who take the law into their own hands ... because there isn't much for law-enforcers. There were so many different angles to this story, making it an amazing ride. I fell into the tale - was transported back to the colonies, year 1770. Where bears and wild Indians roam in your backyard and the punishment for horse-stealing is thirty-five lashes.

Friends of historical romance, especially of the colonial era, you must read this book!

Note: This is about a married couple, and the romance arc does deepen toward the end of the book. I would recommend to adults.

Book Review: A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz


Purchase HERE

Title: A Moonbow Night

Author: Laura Frantz

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

After fleeing Virginia, Temperance Tucker and her family established an inn along the Shawnee River. It's a welcome way station for settlers and frontiersmen traveling through the wild Cumberland region of Kentucke - men like Sion Morgan, a Virginia surveyor who arrives at the inn with his crew looking for an experienced guide. When his guide appears, Sion balks. He certainly didn't expect a woman. But it is not long before he must admit that Tempe's skill in the wilderness rivals his own. Still, the tenuous tie they are forming is put to the test as they encounter danger after danger and must rely on each other.

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.

~ MY REVIEW ~
**5 stars**

Another simply lovely read from Laura Frantz. I wasn't afraid to purchase a copy of A Moonbow Night because I know this author's novels are always something I enjoy! Both sorrowful and sweet, this tale swept me away to the late 1700s ... the wilderness of Kentucke ...

I do love books set in the 1770s! Colonial life. The Revolutionary War era. Forests rife with natives, whose intent you are uncertain of. Temperance Tucker lives in such a wilderness with her mother and brother, at Moonbow Inn. Their they've been since the tragedy that happened when they came into Kentucke with Daniel Boone.
Tempe is a unique character. (I love that her nickname is 'Tempe', by the way! Something about it is so sweet - it suits her well.) She struggles with a soul-deep grief, flirting uncaringly with danger for a good portion of the book. Yet a part of her wishes to hope. To dream. To live again. It's subtle, but it's there. She delights in beauty. Notices the details. Is strong. Smart. Feminine. Modest. Gentle. I really fell into her story, and marveled as I watched her character growth come about.

There's poetry about Laura Frantz's words. Some parts of A Moonbow Night were so achingly grievous, but you still wanted to read it despite the bittersweet. There was beauty in the ashes of dashed dreams. Hope. Renewal. It all flows together and keeps you reading 'til the end.

The faith in this story was heart-touching. The romance lovely. I felt the author did a gracious job with both aspects, and I just appreciated this story for its old-fashioned quality, depth, authenticity (both with the era and the character's heart), and gently delightful conclusion.

Happy to add this novel to my bookshelf. And, of course, greatly looking forward to Laura Frantz's next release!

Book Review: Huntress by Julie Hall


Purchase HERE

Title: Huntress

Author: Julie Hall

Series: Life After #1

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Audience: Young Adult

ABOUT THE BOOK

No one’s afterlife is as dispiriting as Audrey’s―at least that’s what she believes after waking up dead without her memories and being promptly assigned to hunt demons for the rest of eternity. She’s convinced God’s made a cosmic mistake; after all, she’d rather discuss the color of her nails than break them on angelic weapons.

It doesn’t help that her trainer, Logan, is as infuriating as he is attractive. And just when Audrey and Logan appear close to developing an amicable relationship, a decision made under duress pushes their hearts in a direction neither of them saw coming.

Despite her sub-par fighting abilities, an ancient weapon of unparalleled power chooses Audrey as its wielder, attracting the cautious gazes of her fellow hunters and the attention of Satan himself. With Satan’s eyes now fixed on Audrey, a battle for the safety of the living looms in the shadows.

~ MY REVIEW ~
**4 stars**

Overall, I enjoyed Huntress, book one in the LIFE AFTER series by Julie Hall. I went into it determined to take it lightly. And I did ... really liking it as a unique speculative fiction read. It was intriguing, fun, mysterious, adventurous, and thought-provoking. The interesting things the author came up with were really fantastical, and kept you wanting to read more.

I liked the characters, for the most part, and felt each had their own voice and personality. The action-packed ending was fabulous! Angels and demons fighting. Intense spiritual war going on. It was both dark and hopeful. Breathless and intriguing.

That all being said, there were still some things that niggled at me as theologically incorrect. This book is the first book I've read that the character dies in the beginning, and we proceed to discover her afterlife. Huntress isn't fantasy, but speculative fiction set in our contemporary world. Our main characters encounters demons and Satan, who comes disguised as beauty and light. She also seeks God in her afterlife, having believed in Him before she died.
But there were things like tears, romance, doubt, anger, and fighting in this "afterlife". People were waiting for their spouse to join them from earth ... Things like that. I don't believe that's exactly how it's going to be in heaven. Granted, this is more an "in-between" place while everyone whose died waits for the end of time and the making new of all things.

Anyway, it was interesting, action-filled, and fun, but I couldn't take it too seriously because of those things. (Regardless that it did have some epic spiritual warfare and heartfelt moments of encountering God, surrendering to Him, and realizing His deep love.)

But it did make me think, for certain! And ponder the new heaven and new earth and what God has planned for us there. I hope to continue with book two, Warfare, and see where this series goes.

I received a copy of Huntress from the author after winning a giveaway of the paperback.