Saturday, March 25, 2017

Book Review: The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Purchase HERE

Title: The Lady and the Lionheart

Author: Joanne Bischof

Series: Standalone

Genre: Historical

Audience: Adult


Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia. 

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

Just then a child in the row behind Ella cried out, “Look, Mama!”

Charlie, dressed in his center ring finery, strode into the arena, as strong and strapping as ever. Face powdered and painted with two jagged teardrops under his eyes, he walked with stoic authority, tall boots forging a fresh trail straight toward his audience. Ella didn’t know a single man could hush a packed house with no words, but…then there was Charlie Lionheart.

**5 stars**

I could cry. I don't know when I've last read something so achingly beautiful ...

Is it possible to rate Joanne Bischof's books less than five stars? I don't know, because so far, I haven't been able to! She writes with such heart and depth! The Lady and the Lionheart was soul-touching, intriguing, painful, and utterly lovely. I can't even describe how I felt about that ending ... it was perfection! In fact, I was certain I was getting a glimpse of heaven on earth; with just a sprinkle of nostalgia.

Ella was darling. Charlie was wonderful. Holland was adorable. The story was crushing pain, thrilling hope, and raw beauty entwined together ... all set against the magical background of the early 1900s circus.

The setting was intriguing, with gypsies, lions, circus tents, mystery, and not to mention, the dashing lion trainer with a twinkle in his eyes. I was captivated - this book almost has a magical feel. Whimsical, at least. It was fantastic, and set your heart aflutter. It was also dark and hurtful. Our two lovable POV character both have haunted and extremely painful pasts. Some parts of The Lady and the Lionheart were a little hard to read, so terrible it was. But in this book - slowly - comes hope and healing and laughter. It was such a beautiful journey, that's all I can really say! And can I just mention how much I love how Joanne Bischof expounded a little on one of the secondary character's life? The character is a broken woman ... only mentioned about twice ... you'll know who she is. She plays a bit of a bigger part in the end of the book, and I simply loved it so much. Brought tears to my eyes.

The Lady and the Lionheart is written with such emotional depth. Joanne Bischof talks a little bit more about the story ... the inspiration for it, and the symbolism behind Charlie Lionheart's character ... and I so appreciated that! I might have cried there too, even though it wasn't part of the actual novel. Well done, Joanne Bischof! This was such a touching story!

The romance was incredible, by the way. So many moments! Charlie. Ella. Ah, I can't even. You have have to read it for yourself.

There were so many parts worthy of tears, and such a deep, soul-felt tale, and such a perfect ending. People, I recommend you read this book! Be you historical-fiction lovers or not, you must pick it up! ^_^ The Lady and the Lionheart is written for adults, but I think older teens could enjoy it as well. I must repeat myself - it's a simply beautiful story.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Review: For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

Purchase HERE

Title: For Love and Honor

Author: Jody Hedlund

Series: An Uncertain Choice #3

Genre: Historical

Audience: Young Adult


Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?

Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?

As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?

**3 stars**

In the final installment of the AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE series by Jody Hedlund, we follow the stories of a girl, called Lady Sabine, with a secret blemish; and the last knight of this trilogy, Sir Bennet, who is being forced to take drastic measures in order to save his home and family. I enjoyed For Love and Honor. Medieval is always interesting - and this one has a fairy tale feel; you know, with knights and fair ladies and daring rescues. Bennet and Sabine had some fun banter, which was humorous and entertaining to read. Overall, it was a fast-paced and easy-to-read tale.

I, personally, am not always fond of the almost-instant love stories, which was definitely how For Love and Honor unfolded. And there were a couple other themes and things that just weren't to my taste. At the time I read it, I loved the first book in this series, An Uncertain Choice, but the last two haven't been for me so much.

That being said, this book still held a serious note and touched on some important topics/lessons. Those who enjoy a light, medieval, teen romance - though with some danger and gruesomeness - might want to pick up this series.

I received a copy of For Love and Honor from

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cover Candy Fun

Time for cover candy! Which ones are your favorites? I've not read by most of these authors (just Melissa Tagg and Mesu Andrews) ... have you? If so, what did you think?

To Win a Lady's Heart by Sian Ann Bessey

Published: November 1st, 2016

The False Prophet {Stonegate #2} by Harry James Fox

Published: January 15th, 2017

Tea Shop Folly by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Published: March 2nd, 2017

With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall

Published: March 7th, 2017

A Rose So Fair {Flowers of Eden #3} by Myra Johnson

Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017

Expected Publication: April 2017

A Broken Kingdom {Order of the Moonstone #5} by JC Morrows

Expected Publication: May 2017

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

Expected Publication: June 1st, 2017

Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson

Expected Publication: June 13th, 2017

All This Time {Walker Family #3} by Melissa Tagg

Expected Publication: August 2017

Loving Luther by Allison Pittman

Expected Publication: September 1st, 2017

Before She Ignites {Fallen Isles Trilogy #1} by Jodi Meadows

Expected Publication: September 26th, 2017

Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Expected Publication: October 3rd, 2017

Love Held Captive {A Lone Star Hero's Love Story #3} by Shelley Shepard Gray

Expected Publication: October 10th, 2017

Masquerade by Kimberly A. Rogers


The Green Ember {The Green Ember #1} by S.D. Smith

Published: December 12th, 2014

The Black Star of Kingston {The Green Ember #0.5} by S.D. Smith

Published: July 13th, 2015

Ember Falls {The Green Ember #2} by S.D. Grimm

Published: September 13th, 2016

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Sale #2!

So, since my book sale of last year(?), I've added seven new books to the list of books I'm needing to part with! *winks*

If you're interested in any of the books featured below, please comment and let me know! I'm selling them for about $6 each, FREE shipping. Paypal works for a payment method.

I use bubble-wrap envelopes to ship. If you buy a bunch of books, I'll box them up and ship via media mail - and shipping will be cheaper for me, so I can probably give you a better deal.

If you think your friends would like any of these books, let them know about this sale! I would really like all these books to go!

Email me at: swordmaidenofthelight (at) gmail (dot) com

My Youtube video is causing problems here on the blog, so you watch it directly on's a link: BOOK UNHAUL/SALE:

***NOTE: Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun and Remnants: Season of Glory by Lisa T. Bergren have already sold***

Books Not Featured in Video:

Swift by R.J. Anderson - Good Condition (there's a mark on the front cover & some creasing. Pages all intact and clean.)

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt - Very Good Condition

The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson - Very Good Condition

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Tag of Happiness ... Once Again

Hey all! Going to be doing another tag today. So I was tagged by Emily @ Living Through Jesus for The Tag of Happiness! I've already done this tag, but that was awhile ago ... so why not do it again? *smiles* Thank you, Emily, for tagging me!

Some movies that make me happy

Some books that make me happy

Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson // Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl // Roses for Mama by Janette Oke  // Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson // Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight // Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz // Entwined by Heather Dixon // Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls // Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton // Ashburn by Julia Erickson // Millie's Grand Adventure by Martha Finley (Kersten Hamilton) // Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna // The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Some songs that make me happy

"Good Fight" by Unspoken // "Sparrows" by Jason Gray // "When You Say Nothing At All" by Allison Krauss // "My Lighthouse" by Rend Collective // "Trust in You" by Lauren Daigle // "Words" by Hawk Nelson // "Children of the Living God" by Fernando Ortega // "Fireflies" by Jessa Anderson

Some foods that make me happy

Sweet Potato Fries // Fruit Smoothie // Chocolate // Banana Pancakes // Wacky Cake // Mangoes // Beef Stew // Chocolate Oatmeal // Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some words that make me happy

Jesus // Redeemed // Chosen // Exquisite // New // Darling // Hope // Bookish // Passion // Heaven // Life // Friendship // Pure // Imagine // Inspire // Incandescently // Joy

Some other things that make me happy

Chick-fil-A // People // Books // BookTube Channels // Conversation // Laughter // Bookshelves // Baby Snuggles // Connecting


There you have it! ^_^ As for tagging, I tag anyone who wants to do this tag! Leave me the link to your "Tag of Happiness" post in the comments below so I can read it!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sharing a Post from Lady Grace

Just sharing the latest post from my other blog, Lady Grace: A Quiet & Gentle Spirit. (This blog is where I write my inspirational posts on faith and the like.)

I talk about something that has been very heavy on my heart, share some awesome Bible verses, and a couple lovely songs.

"Idols and Sin" from Lady Grace

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Book Review: The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue

Purchase HERE

Title: The Firethorn Crown

Author: Lea Doue

Series: Firethorn Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling

Audience: Young Adult


Princess Lily, the eldest of twelve sisters and heir to a mighty kingdom, desperately seeks a break from her mother's matchmaking. Tradition forbids marriage with the man Lily loves, so she would rather rule alone than marry someone who only wants the crown.

Fleeing an overzealous suitor, Lily stumbles into a secret underground kingdom where she and her sisters encounter a mysterious sorcerer-prince and become entangled in a curse that threatens the safety of her family and her people. Lily can free them, but the price for freedom may be more than she's willing to pay.

The Firethorn Crown, a re-imagining of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," is the first in the Firethorn Chronicles, a series of stand-alone novels inspired by fairy tales and other stories. Follow the sisters on their adventures in a land where sorcery is feared, women can rule, and dragons fly.

**5 stars**

Eeeeeee! I loved it! SO MUCH!

You all know how much I love retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, right? Well, I realized I've read eight retellings of this classic fairy tale, and The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue definitely ranks as one of my favorites. (It actually reminded me somewhat of Entwined by Heather Dixon, which is my favorite The Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling fairy tale of all time!)

Lily is the crown princess of Ituria, a land filled with dragons (big and small), overeager suitors, eleven younger sisters, and sometimes, unfortunately, ... sorcery. In hopes of evading a particularly annoying admirer, Lily and her sisters stumble into a dark trap that not only threatens their entire kingdom, but also further ensures that Lily cannot marry the secret love of her heart.

Fantasy mixed with fairy tale is perfection. Dragons and princesses? Excitement, action, and tender romance? Yes, please! ^_^ I loved the fantastical kingdom of Ituria and the twelve endearing sisters! Lily was sweet and brave and lovely ... trying to do the right thing amidst brutal circumstances. She does her best to be strong, and also realizes that oftentimes we need our family and friends to stand alongside us. All the younger sisters were interesting and humorous and cute. I just adore tales like this! One of the reasons I love The Twelve Dancing Princesses so much must be because of all those sisters! (I'm an eldest sister myself ... have four younger sisters.) So yes, I just related to Lily in some ways and loved her character!

In fact, all the characters in The Firethorn Crown were delightful! Excepting the villain and some of the overeager admirers, that is. Three young men in particular, (you'll know who they are) were completely lovable and perfect and endearing and sweet and strong and protective! *all the heart eyes* I love these big brotherly characters who care so tenderly for the twelve sisters! It simply delights my heart.

Yes, yes. Can't say enough for these lovely fictional peoples. Fantastic job, Lea Doue, in your character-creating and world building! I was swept away ... kept on the edge of my seat ... intrigued and breathless ... muchly concerned for my dear characters ... and finally, satisfied and happy! ^_^ And, I had to chuckle many a time! *grins*

There was no Christian allegory/symbolism to speak of, but Lea Doue is a Christian and I felt there weren't any elements to be concerned about in her book. Besides some edgy gowns that the sisters are forced to wear, and sorcery being wielded by the villain (who also gets a little too close to Lily—but no kissing), I have no other cautions. I would recommend to middle to older teens and adults who enjoy this type of book.

I am utterly intrigued by this tale, and can't wait to continue the FIRETHORN CHRONICLES with The Midsummer Captives!

Lea Doue, you offically have another fan! Thank you for writing such amazing fairy tale stories!