Category Archives: Fiction

The Soldier Who Killed A King

The Soldier Who Killed a King: A True Retelling of the PassionTitle: The Soldier Who Killed a King
Author: David Kitz
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4485-2

“I have a future for you,” Marcus Longinus hears the words in David Kitz’s retold novel, The Soldier Who Killed a King.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-eighty-eight pages, this paperback is a rendition of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, told through the eyes of a veteran Roman centurion. Dealing with demons of his own, the soldier in charge of many witnesses the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to the aftermath after our Lord is risen from the dead. Due to topics of torture, crucifixion, and death as well as using the word hell once as a swear word, the story may not be apropos for immature readers. With italicized quotes from Scripture taken from the NIV, CEV, MLB, NKJV, and TEV versions of the Holy Bible, the ending has notes of listed chapter verses.

~ Why ~
If you are interested in the Passion week and the story of Jesus dying on the cross and rising after three days, this detailed book focuses from a first-person viewpoint. I liked how the writer molded and shaped a loyal soldier who was broken from his past and questioned why the “donkey king” had to die. His portrayal of Herald the Fox, Pilate the Badger, and Caiaphas the Weasel showed the power play of the three for political positioning by sending Christ to the Skull. While explaining Jesus’s miracles, personality, and love, the novel hones in on dealing with guilt, forgiveness, and eternity.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personable relationship with Jesus Christ may avoid this book. Some may not like such an iconic story being retold. I felt the ending was a little odd involving the main character’s conversion.

~ Wish ~
Since the author did take ample liberties involving the centurion in many facets of Christ’s miracles and His crucifixion, it may confuse readers of documented Biblical passages, especially regarding a young boy.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a reminder story of what the Son of God did for you and me by shedding His blood on the cross for our sins told through the eyes of a confused soldier who is called for a purpose, this will keep you thinking hours after finishing.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

Thanks to Kregel Publications and the author for this book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Assault

The Assault (Harbingers): Cycle Two of the Harbingers SeriesTitle: The Assault
Authors: Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-2975-7

“Maybe you can tell me why we should think we are a team just because a pack of liars and deceivers from another universe say so,” the professor explains in Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt, and Alton Gansky’s novel, The Assault.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-sixty-eight pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy supernatural suspense with Christian overtones. Including using words like heck and hell as slang, topics of paranormal, dying, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending contains a chapter of the upcoming ninth episode.

Cycle two in the Harbinger series, this book is divided into four tales, each by a different writer, with all written in first person by one of four characters contained in each story. Being a part of a series, the stories in order involve the same four plus a ten-year old boy searching for The Gate, a mysterious group from an altered universe trying to control our world.

With the first story focusing on a tattoo artist who draws the future, she helps find Hitler’s powerful Spear of Destiny in Rome; the second one involves the professor having to trust when it comes to a plague of phytoplankton in Florida. The next has his assistant being hypnotized due to her connection to a non-carbon based life form orb, and the last finds an ex-football jock learning about change while fog creatures vie to take over a California high-rise building. As the team works together in their bizarre circumstances, they realize they have been brought together by their handlers to find and conquer The Gate.

~ Why ~
With four authors blending each of their diverse characters into one story, the good versus evil theme shows how disbelief reigns and the future can be changed. The first person dialogue is interesting as it contains only one viewpoint. I like how each tale could be a stand-alone yet linked together as if a television series. Although some of the experiences the team faced seemed unrealistic, they were written with detail and purpose.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like mystic, supernatural books may skip this read. With four individual stories, the book may confuse some readers. Readers may be frustrated with the disjointedness as one story ends and the next begins.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were more cohesiveness between the ending of one tale to the next although there is minor backtracking, but it is understandable being written by four different writers.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for supernatural suspense by four Christian authors, this series of four quick reads may entertain and interest you, but you may find some confusion between its pages.

Thanks to Bethany House and the authors for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Fault Lines

Fault LinesTitle: Fault Lines
Author: Thomas Locke
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2437-5

“He had no idea who his opposition was or why they were after them,” Charlie reflects in Thomas Locke’s novel, Faith Lines.

~ What ~
First in its series, this four-hundred-page paperback targets those who enjoy contemporary fictional thrillers involving knowing the future. With no profanity, topics of abuse and murder may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending has the first chapter of the next book in the series.

A prior Ranger, Charlie Hazard is always watching his back working for a risk-containment business. When he agrees to go with beautiful Gabriella, he experiences an out-of-body ascension where he visualizes the future. By protecting the woman, he gets involved in a global cat-and-mouse game of protecting scientists from the Combine, a worldwide group whose profit, greed, and power want to dominate the spatial and temporal shift technology.

~ Why ~
With multiple players who want to know the future, the read is quick and engaging while focusing on Charlie and his captivation with Gabriella. I liked the blending of other characters such as a teen surfer, retired police woman, and an Italian bailiff.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like suspense stories involving rogue protection agencies and exploration of the possibility of foreseeing the future may want to pass on this story. Some may find it too technical regarding the teleporting process into the future, but it is discussed briefly.

~ Wish ~
With Charlie being an astute Ranger, it was surprising he would go willingly with Gabriella without questioning and become so loyal to her.

~ Want ~
If you look forward to anything written by this author, you will find this tale a page-turner and engaging, making you want to ascend into its pages to find out what happens next.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for furnishing this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Promise of Breeze Hill

Title: The Promise of Breeze Hill
Author: Pam Hillman
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 978-1-4964-1592-9

“Mistress Bartholomew, you may own my papers, but you are the most pigheaded lass I’ve ever known,” Connor confronts Isabella in Pam Hillman’s novel, The Promise of Breeze Hill.

~ What ~
At four-hundred-and-sixteen pages, this paperback that is part of the Natchez Trace Novel series targets those who enjoy a historical Christian romance involving plantation living in Mississippi during the eighteenth century. With no profanity, topics of bigotry, abuse, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this story, beautiful and unmarried Isabella Bartholomew is doing all she can to protect her father’s Southern plantation after he is injured in a fire. With her brother being recently killed, she worries about the barrage of highwaymen causing havoc and attacks on the nearby trace they travel.

When Isabella buys the indentured Irishman Connor O’Shea to repair the plantation’s buildings, she notices the differences in his societal and financial station compared to hers. By realizing she is acting like Biblical Job’s wife, she must decide what it will cost her to keep the family’s legacy in tact.

~ Why ~
This tale of evil men trying to harm and hurt others while love overshadows expectations is a quick read that shows God’s established plans. I like that Isabella’s flaws in misconstruing other’s actions were realistic. The book promotes the importance of family and love.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like historical romances from the South involving two opposite characters may not appreciate this book. Others may wish the good versus evil scenarios were not as predictable, especially when it came to the villain.

~ Wish ~
With both protagonists flip-flopping on their feelings, they could have been portrayed with one being more determined than the other regarding establishing their relationship.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical fiction how love protects family, this is a sweet but predictable read that explores the world of the Natchez Trace in Mississippi.

Thanks to Tyndale Blog for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump

Title: Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump
Author: Carole P. Roman
Illustrator: Mateya Arkova
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 9781947188136

“She had wasted all that time being afraid of something that wasn’t even real,” Susannah acknowledges in Carole P. Roman’s children’s book, Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump.

~ What ~
Second in the Oh Susannah series, this sixty-two-page paperback targets early elementary school-aged children and readers who like short chapter story books. With no profanity or violence, it would best be read to beginner readers based on some complicated words. Every two to nine-page chapter has a small black and white illustration at its beginning. The ending includes the author’s biography and the first chapter of the prior book in the series.

In this continuing short story, Susannah has been invited to sleep at her best friend’s house, but she is wary as she thinks a ghost lives there. After helping a blind girl, Susannah learns that others can be frightened of things too, including something innocuous as a unicorn. When Susannah goes to the sleepover, not only is she surprised by what she finds, but she also realizes that being afraid can be conquered.

~ Why ~
With this story being told in many short chapters, the book will engage young readers who can relate to having anxiety of the unknown. I like how a blind girl helped show Susannah the way to understanding fear and realize we all are scared of something. Having the chapters short and to the point keeps a new reader interested.

~ Why Not ~
The book contains many multi-syllable words so it may be hard for beginner readers to comprehend. One chapter is almost ten pages long so the reader may want to split it into two sections. Since the story ends with a teaser, it may frustrate some that they have to wait for the next book in the series.

~ Who ~
Award-winning author, Roman has written complete series for children of books based on countries, civilizations, and pirate genre as well as non-fiction for adults. She lives in New York with her husband and close to her children and grandchildren.

~ Wish ~
I wish the story were complete, but it forces the reader to anticipate the next book in the series. If four or five books were bundled in the complete series, it would be a nice box gift set for a young reader.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a short chapter book in a series that offers warranted lessons of life such as dealing with fear, this read would be an excellent choice, especially for young girls who love to read.

Thanks to the author for furnishing this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Childrens, Fiction

Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Title: Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Author: Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrator: Kay Nielsen
Publisher: Racehorse Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-63158-133-5

“But the most memorable stories in the collection you are about to read, by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, are equally popular and unforgettable in a way that makes them unique, just as Andersen himself was,” the foreword by Joan D. Vinge states in the book, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-eighty-eight pages, this hardbound targets those who enjoy short stories from the iconic author. After a foreword, sixteen fairy tales are told that include a dozen colored illustrations plus black and white drawings by Kay Nielsen.

From four to fifty-two pages each, the stories include famous ones such as The Flying Trunk, The Nightingale, The Snow Queen, and the Elder Tree Mother to name a few. Whether they are fanciful or frightening, they are enjoyed by both young and old readers.

~ Why ~
Those who love Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales will appreciate this collection. When I first opened the book, I felt like a child opening my McGuffey Reader with the old-fashioned block font. I could easily envision reading the stories at bedtime to our grandchildren when they come for an overnight visit. After reading the tales such as The Real Princess, one may notice how many other tales are told regarding peas hidden in a mattress.

~ Why Not ~
Some young children may be frightened during some parts of these tales while others may not be able to comprehend their meanings. Others may want more simplified plots.

~ Wish ~
Since the book are dated fairy tales, it would be nice to include the background of why Andersen wrote each or when as that would be intriguing to learn.

~ Want ~
For those who enjoy Andersen’s classic tales, this would make a nice addition to a book collection for any age group.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for this book that I freely evaluated.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Legacy

The Legacy (Secrets of the Shetlands)Title: The Legacy
Author: Michael Phillips
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1750-0

“This house and land is not just an inheritance, it is a heritage, a legacy … my legacy,” Loni emphatically states in Michael Phillips’s novel, The Legacy.

~ What ~
Third in the Secrets of the Shetlands series, this four-hundred-and-sixty-four-page paperback targets those who enjoy a fictional Christian story about the generational legacies of Whales Reef, a small island in the Shetlands. With no profanity, the topics of war and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this historical tale, American Loni Ford has accepted her inheritance of lairdship of a small Shetland Island and is in love with David, its clan chief. When she returns to America to decide whether she should give up her job, she learns her Quaker great grandmother, Emily Hanson, experienced the same continental challenges of falling in love with a Scotsman. Through journals and letters written, Loni must determine the course of her life through love, loyalty, and friendships in two countries.

~ Why ~
Including the history of generational relationships, the book captures the beautiful landscape, climate, and people of the Shetland Islands. Adding a family tree at the back of the book helps the reader connect the relational dots of the Tulloch clan. Having Quaker ancestors, I appreciated the explanation of the differences between the religious sect and others.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like a romantic historical fiction about lairds, chiefs, and family roots may pass on this one. Others may not be interested in its Christian content that includes discussions on the Quaker religion. Some may find the read containing too much detail and confusion of characters with decades that jump back and forth between chapters.

~ Wish ~
Having read both prior books in the series, I loved one the first one and found the second one interesting. I was hoping this conclusion would tie everything together, but I felt it initially dragged for the first third, focused mainly on the romance of Loni’s great grandparents, and switched to eighty pages of letter writing from the past.

~ Want ~
If you like generational stories where the characters come from different backgrounds and social status five thousand miles apart, this one might interest you, but I was disappointed with its conclusion.

Thanks to Baker Publishing for this complimentary book that I am evaluating freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Childrens, Fiction

High as the Heavens

High as the HeavensTitle: High as the Heavens
Author: Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1781-4

“Would Simon forgive her? Would she ever forgive herself?’ Eve ponders in Kate Breslin’s novel, High as the Heavens.

~ What ~
At four-hundred pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy a romantic historical story of two living in a war-torn environment while working for the underground. Topics of war, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

When British Eve Marche learns her husband has died in an airplane crash, she moves to Brussels with her mother and siblings, only to be caught up in supporting the Belgian resistance when Germans take over the area. As a nurse, she has access to war information that she secretly sends to the spy network, La Dame Blanche.

After saving downed pilot Captain Simon Forrester, the woman must keep her movements in check while hiding the man who means a lot to her from being found by the Boche. As both deal with the guilt and shame of the past, Eve feels she is beyond forgiveness while Simon does all he can to help them find their way.

~ Why ~
With spy operations abounding during World War I, it is hard to know the true loyalties of those struggling to survive. In this story, the main character must come to the point of acceptance as she deals with pretending who she is not, overcoming the atrocities surrounding her, and moving on in life by learning God is always with her.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like tales of a war that tragically alter the lives of so many people will avoid this fiction that contains spies, a double agent, and those innocent. Others may feel some of the events that take place seem too easily resolved by the protagonists involved.

~ Wish ~
Although I appreciate Breslin’s accurate depictions, detailed research, extensive war knowledge, and endearing characters who have flaws, I wish the story had a more realistic ending.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a romance during World War I in German-occupied Brussels of two who have to overcome their pasts to survive, this is an engaging story.

Thanks to Bethany House and the author for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Captivating Lady Charlotte

Product DetailsTitle: The Captivating Lady Charlotte
Author: Carolyn Miller
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4451-7

“He had to trust both God and Charlotte. Trust that God truly did have good plans as promised in the Bible, and trust Charlotte would learn to love him …,” William considers in Carolyn Miller’s novel, The Captivating Lady Charlotte.

~ What ~
Second in the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series, this three-hundred-and-twelve-page paperback targets those interested in a Christian romance involving a relationship between two individuals of different ages, backgrounds, and status. The book includes notes and acknowledgments at the end.

Set in 1814 in England, beautiful eighteen-year-old Charlotte Featherington expectantly begins her coming-out season to find a husband. With a dotting, over-bearing mother, she loves the attention of the opposite sex, allowing herself to be infatuated with one of them. When she meets, Duke William Hartington, she shows no interest due to the rumors and gossips about his past wife, their relationship, and her death. After being prompted into an arranged marriage, the naïve girl wants to only marry for love, while her betrothed has a fear of trusting another woman.

~ Why ~
If you enjoy romantic tales from the eighteen-hundreds in England where propriety, manners, societal norms, and appearances are of utmost importance, this short story covers the gambit of life in England between a flirtatious, naïve girl coming of age and a cautious, untrusting widow. With a few characters from the prior book in the series, it furthers a past story as its characters deal with their trials through relying on God. I like the details of the country life and living in a small town and appreciate the author adding the importance of praying to the Almighty.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personable relationship with Jesus Christ may avoid this book. Some may not like a predictable read of two main characters who are years apart in age and misunderstand each other as they figure what is important in life.

~ Wish ~
I wish both main characters’ situations and ending were not so predictable. As with the prior book, sometimes I had trouble understanding who was speaking.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a series of romances in England two hundred years ago, this second in a trilogy that involves love and trust between two opposites is a quick, stand-alone read.

Thanks to the Book Club Network, Kregel Publications, and the author for this book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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Catching the Wind

Catching the WindTitle: Catching the Wind
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 978-1-4964-1728-2

“But like Brigitte, Quenby had to step into the wind and let it take here wherever she needed to go,” Melanie Dobson writes in her novel, Catching the Wind.

~ What ~
At four-hundred-and-sixteen pages, this paperback targets those who enjoy historical fiction involving hidden pasts, searching for love, and complicated family dynamics. Topics of the Nazis, child endangerment, abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this story told in chapters seventy-five years apart, ten-year-old Bridgette and thirteen-year-old Dietmar start running when the Nazis come to their German town and arrest their parents. When the two children end up in England, they become separated, even though the older boy promises he will find his young friend again.

In current day, twenty-eight-year-old Amercian Quenby Vaughn is a hardworking journalist in England who is independent and pushy, trying to forget her mother left her as a child. When the arrogant lawyer, Lucas Hough, asks Quenby to help find the young girl who has been missing for decades, she throws herself into the task as she seeks the power to let go of the past.

~ Why ~
This read divulges how families were torn apart by the war and how others took advantage of them, sometimes pretending to be someone they were not. I like how the chapters jumped from the past to present as two women try to understand their position in the life God created for them.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like tragic tales related to the Nazis during World War II and those who secretly supported the cause may not want to read this one. Others may not relate to depending on God as one deals with guilt, anger, and bitterness.

~ Who ~
An award-winning author, Dobson has written sixteen novels, mainly historical romance, suspense, and time-slip genres. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Oregon.

~ Wish ~
With many characters who are threaded throughout the tale, it gets a little confusing toward the end. It would be helpful if there were a brief list of names at the beginning of the book for reference.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical fiction about friendship and loyalty that tests time and distance, this story shows how love conquers all.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Tyndale Blog for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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