Archive for the ‘fiction’ Tag

Review of Nine by Rachel Dekker   Leave a comment

 

 

Zoe Johnson spent most of her life living in the shadows, never drawing attention to herself, never investing in people or places. But when a wide-eyed, bedraggled teenager with no memory walks into the diner where Zoe works, everything changes. Now, against her better judgment, Zoe, who has been trying to outrun her own painful memories of the past, finds herself attempting to help a girl who doesn’t seem to have any past at all. The girl knows only one thing: she must reach a woman in Corpus Christi, Texas, hundreds of miles away, before the government agents who are searching for her catch up to them.

***

 

 

After reading “The Girl Behind the Red Rope”, I’ll admit I wasn’t too eager to pick up another book by Rachel Dekker. While it certainly wasn’t terrible, I can’t say the story was memorable enough to make me want to grab another book by the author. But…I have a weakness for stories about genetically enhanced individuals on the run from the government (we’ll just chalk it up to too many comics :P). So I decided to give this one a try.

Nine is written just as brilliantly as The Girl Behind the Red Rope, but with a much more engaging storyline that pulls you in. The characters are real, the pacing fast, and the impact behind a name of love vs. a name of blood is felt long after you close the book.

I really came to like Zoe. She’s got her own emotional baggage to deal with, and hiding from her own past. But meeting Lucy awakens something she thought was long dead in her. In spite of the dangers and being hunted by the government, she puts everything on the line to help Lucy.

As for Lucy herself, she’s like a lost lamb mixed with the Bourne and Wolverine. One moment she’s a bewildered girl who can’t remember a thing, and the next she’s a ruthless killing machine. But it’s her struggle against how others have programmed her and what she really wants to be that tugs at your heart.

Seeley was a hard one. I got it how he could reach a point where he had almost no conscience. But he really annoyed me. You’d alternate between totally rooting for the guy and hoping for his redemption, and then being so disgusted by his actions that you wanted someone to put him six feet under. Considering what he did by the time all was said and done, I was leaning more towards the six feet under part.

So any quibbles? Only one. The major theme in the story is that we’re products of our own personal programming that has been shaped by the people around us. And we have the power to change our destiny, alter our programming that has been influenced and formed by other people.

We do up to a point. But without God, many times we end up fighting a losing battle. And that was my biggest peeve.

Aside from a focus on self, Nine is a solid and well-developed story that leaves you thinking long after you finish the book. Verdict: A definite buy.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

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Posted September 25, 2020 by J.M. Christian in Reviews

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Review of Out of Embers by Amanda Cabot   Leave a comment

 

Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

***

 

A haunted orphan on the run, a desperate killer willing to murder whoever stands in his way, and a charming rancher who wants to follow his own dreams but stays to take care of his family. Sounded good to me, and something that set it apart from the usual Western romance. The beginning started out strong enough. Evelyn has always felt like a watcher has been monitoring her movements. When the orphanage she’s been living at for 10 years is mysteriously burned down and all its inhabitants with it, she knows her past has finally caught up with her. She flees with Polly, the only orphan to escape the carnage because she was with her. They travel to the quaint town of Mesquite Springs where during a thunderstorm, they are found by a handsome rancher, Wyatt Clark.

For me, I kept looking for the story to pick up in some way. If not with the plot, at least some more interesting character interaction. But it’s very brief and any character conflicts are swiftly resolved. We had an interesting one going with Sam, a lawyer who is Wyatt’s friend, and determined to have his own way no matter what. After building up on this, though, things are swiftly resolved within a page and a half, roughly. Once we finish meandering through the rest of the story, the author decides to throw in a hasty confrontation with the villain and poof! All done, and you’re left feeling like you missed something.

For characters, they’re solid, no complaints there. Polly, Evelyn’s six year old companion, I confess annoyed me tremendously. I’ve always thought that if you’re an orphan and someone is going out of their way to take care of you, show a little respect. This one shows zero, and alternates between being a cute girl to a spoiled little runt you just want to squash (I know that sounds violent :P).

The romance is bland, and the standard insta-attraction that morphs into love. Nothing memorable, or what would tug at my heartstrings.
For the moral message, I was a little bit disgusted with how it was portrayed. One of the themes at the beginning is to abstain from lying. Evelyn, however, in a strange town and believing that the person who murdered her parents just destroyed an orphanage with a bunch of innocent children, decides to change her last name and lie about her past to avoid drawing attention and alerting whoever might be stalking her. This is somehow still wrong.

I appreciated the scene where the characters pray for healing and God answers. But what deflated it for me was “well God, we know you don’t heal everyone, so if it be your will…” Wow, that’s a load of faith. I was almost shocked the prayer even got answered.

So personal feelings aside on some of the scenes, the story is charming enough on its own. If you’re looking for a lighthearted romance with just a touch of suspense, you won’t be disappointed. As for something truly moving, or even eliciting that warm feeling inside that you get when you read some books, I can’t say you’ll get that with this book. At least I didn’t, anyway.

Verdict: Pass, unless you’re looking for a slow read.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

Review of The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachel Dekker   Leave a comment

Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure–and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter.

Her older brother’s questions and the arrival of the first outsiders she’s seen in a decade set in motion events that will question everything Grace has built her life on. Enemies rise on all sides–but who is the real enemy? And what will it cost her to uncover the truth?

For the first time, bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker team up and deliver an intense, tightly focused ride through the most treacherous world of all.

***

I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of Dekker’s writing. I tried reading one book of his years ago and just couldn’t get into it. But when I saw that he and his daughter were writing this one and read the premise, I thought I would go ahead and give it a try. Turned out the story was both better than I thought, but also not quite meeting my expectations. The writing is flawless. You’re pulled into the character’s thoughts effortlessly, the details are perfect with conjuring the scene without bogging you down with too much. For the story itself, I found it intriguing. Yes, it’s your standard religious community that believes only by keeping to themselves and abiding by a list of rules as long as Santa’s list that they keep themselves holy and safe. So they live in fear, scared to step out of line, scared to really know God. To them, He’s just this powerful being in the sky waiting to unleash the Furies upon them that are already ravaging the world, should they break a rule. When they finally hear the message that God loves them, that they are supposed to be His light, it’s something they almost can’t accept.

This part I enjoyed reading, especially how Grace’s eyes were opened to God’s love and she learned how to let go of the fear binding her. That the very monsters she and everyone were scared of were their own creations.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I was expecting more of a dystopian or supernatural slant, which I feel would have helped it. As it was, it was more of a tease. The great evil haunting everyone, the terrible Furies, felt like a dream that the people of Haven Valley woke up from once they entered the real world once more.

If you’re looking for a pretty decent read with a great message, I recommend grabbing this book. As far as being very memorable, or going deeper into things, it never really reaches that level. But the excellent writing and quick pacing help make up for it.

Verdict: Buy.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of the Refuge by Ann Gabhart   Leave a comment

When Darcie and Walter Goodwin hear of a new cholera epidemic sweeping the area, they join the Shakers whose villages seem immune to the disease. It’s meant to be a temporary stay, but Walter is killed in a riverboat accident. With no family and no money, Darcie has little choice but to stay with the Shakers. To complicate matters, she is expecting a baby conceived before she and her husband came to the Shaker village. Marital relationships are considered sinful in this celibate community, putting Darcie in a unique–and lonely–position. Can the arrival of widower Flynn Keller and his headstrong daughter offer Darcie the hope of happiness . . . and family?

Ann H. Gabhart returns to the enigmatic world of the Shakers in this emotional exploration of the power of love and the bond of family.

***

Darcie and William are fleeing a cholera epidemic and hope to escape the dreadful disease by taking shelter with the Shakers. When William is killed in an accident, Darcy is left alone in a community that forbids marriage and worse, is now pregnant—a visible sign as to the consequences of the ultimate “sin”. With nowhere to go and little money, she sees no other options left to her other than to stay with the Shakers and hope they have mercy on her.

Flynn Keller is still grieving for his wife and struggling to manage his headstrong daughter Leatrice who seems fixed on getting into mischief. After losing his wife because of that same impulsive behavior, he’s determined not to have his daughter killed because of some reckless act on her part. But he needs to give both of them a decent home to stay in and Leatrice needs to learn how to read and write. He doesn’t like it, but the Shakers are looking like the only people he can go to for help.

Honestly, the story turned out better than I expected. It was interesting to read about the Shaker community, even if you were left scratching your head as to how they could have accepted some weird thinking.
The characters Ann Gabhart introduced us to were solid and real. I liked the Shaker women who befriended Darcy, and it was wonderful to read how the birth and taking care of Darcy’s baby brought them even closer and softened the hearts of even the hardest person. A major point of the story is learning not to worry, to take each day as it comes and trust God to work it out, despite what the circumstances look like.

My only quibble is with the romance between the two main characters. I already suspected the author was going to rush it at the end when I reached the three-quarter mark in the book and there was still nothing going on. And then close to the end, a Shazam! is pulled. And you can guess the rest. 😛

While something more natural would have been preferred, this was still a great story to read and one I recommend if you’re looking for solid characters and writing, with a good plot that will keep you turning the pages.

Verdict: Definite buy.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author from the blogging program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

 

Review of Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher   Leave a comment

 

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when they should marry and whom–a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side–and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher surprises and delights with this story of hope and renewal, love and redemption, arriving just when most needed.

***

This is the third book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Nantucket Legacy series, which focuses on the Quakers of Nantucket. While I know I’m missing out on a lot of backstory to the characters, I had no problems getting into the book. It’s a well-written and thoroughly enjoyable story, actually becoming the cozy read I was looking for. It was interesting watching how Henry and Hitty both adjust to suddenly becoming wealthy. Hitty is absolutely against it. Wealth, to her, corrupts, and she has no interest in changing her simple lifestyle. She works at the Cent School and moons over a quiet single father who seems to take little notice of her. Moving into her grandmother’s big house feels like moving into prison, and the fortune her grandmother’s chains.

Henry on the other hand, sees the situation differently. He’s always been a man who’s taken long to make up his own mind. It’s why his romance with Anna Gardner has been stagnant all those years. But now, it’s like a light bulb turned on. Even though his grandmother’s fortune comes with strings designed to control their lives from even beyond the grave, Henry has an idea to thwart it and use his grandmother’s wealth to benefit the people in Nantucket. But learning to use the wealth comes with problems of its own.

I really enjoyed the characters in the story. All of them were well-developed, although I will probably forever hold a grudge against Hitty. Anyone who views reading as boring and worse, cuts up a book with scissors, earns them no brownie points with me. 😛 But I digress.

While the story is light, it does touch on the issues of segregation and religious differences, and how they could divide neighbor against neighbor. I loved the messages found inside the book. Of how you shouldn’t underestimate a person’s value or sacrifice your calling to try to match other people’s expectations. And most importantly, seeking God’s Light and letting Him lead you in life.

Verdict: A solid story with great characters and heart. Buy immediately.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson   Leave a comment

 

 

Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

***

Hello, folks! I know, look who’s back. 😛 And with another book review. 😀

As those of who have been following my blog know, I like to occasionally go outside my preferred genre of fantasy and Biblical fiction to try something different and experience a new setting. When I saw Liz Johnson’s work “A Sparkle of Silver” advertised as a comfy mystery romance, I thought to myself “why not?” and decided to give it a try.

Millie Sullivan is a girl who’s struggling to make it one day at a time and juggle finances to keep her grandmother, who is struggling with dementia, housed in a nursing home. Then she is faced with the horrible reality of her grandmother being evicted unless she can come up with the funds necessary to get her a better place. She has zero prospects of that happening until during one of Grandma Joy’s lucid moments, finds out from the woman about a lost diary from her great-grandmother that holds the clues to a lost treasure. Armed with this knowledge, she immediately seeks employment at the local Chateau where Grandma Joy believes it to be.

Ben Thornton is working 3 jobs, his position as a security guard at the Chateau being one of them, Trying to earn enough to pay back the numerous victims of his mother’s schemes. With name after name coming up and feeling powerless to make restitution for his mother’s sins, he despairs of ever being able to wipe the slate clean until he catches Millie snooping around in the Chateau’s library.
Despite his reservations, he agrees to team up with her and find the lost diary in exchange for half of the treasure found.

The first quarter or so of this book was a bit of a slog for me. While I enjoy comfy stories, I like them to go somewhere, not spend pages crammed with details on very simple scenes. It was like Millie’s mind in a way. Veering off into aimless wandering before snap! Back to the story. Wander again…snap!

Every now and then we are sent into the past to relive the days of Millie’s great-grandmother when she was a guest at the Chateau. The ironic thing is that the story there was more interesting and flowed better than the one set in present day. Gradually, though, things do pick up. The mystery, such as it is, never amounts to much, but the romance part between Millie and Ben improves.

Millie, to me, acted ridiculously immature for her age and the responsibilities she was supposed to have, which made it hard to really connect with her. She does grow through the story, but you never feel she truly reaches a mature state until the end. Ben, on the other hand, is a pretty solid character, as well as Grandma Joy, even though her scenes were few.

Overall, the story does improve the farther you go. While I wasn’t exactly treated to a warm and comfy mystery read, I did get a lighthearted story with the message that when you leave things in God’s hands and trust Him to provide for you instead of yourself doing it, things always work out.

Verdict: For those seeking a lighthearted read that takes its time, you’ll have no problem enjoying this story.

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Posted October 31, 2018 by J.M. Christian in book reviews

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Review of the Shard by Victoria Simcox   Leave a comment

 

 

The Shard, Victoria Simcox’s fast-paced, intricately woven sequel to The Warble, takes Kristina Kingsly and her schoolmates back to Bernovem…and into a thrilling, often dangerous adventure.

Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there, too, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land.

In Bernovem, Kristina is excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.

Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Shard,” Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike hag.

Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.

***

 

 

In the Shard, we return to the delightful world of Bernovem and its inhabitants of talking animals, fairies, and dwarfs. Kristina, our hero from the first book, is older now, and at times, she feels like the entire time she spent in Bernovem was a dream. A stay at summer camp soon lands her back in the magical realm where she gets reacquainted with old friends, as well as the charming Prince Werrien for whom she is developing feelings for. And while things couldn’t look more idealic, there is a subtle danger growing. Kristina can’t understand why she is getting sick so often, and Werrien has become enraptured with the Shard, a crystal that allows him to see into other places. And in the shadows, a malevolent creature is plotting the demise of not only Kristina and Werrien, but all of Bernovem.
It’s a tale of adventure and faith, whimsy and magic. Open the door to the next chapter of this enchanting story. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Review of The Wounded Shadow by Patrick Carr   Leave a comment

 

The kings and queens of the northern continent lay siege to the Darkwater Forest, desperate to contain its evil. But rumors of gold and aurium have lured deserters and the desperate into its shadow, creating a growing army held in its sway. Desperate after the death and dissolution of their greatest ally, Willet and the Vigil seek the truth of what lies at the heart of the evil they face. They delve the mind of an old enemy and find an answer far worse than they could have imagined.

Danger stalks the cities of the north, striking at the rulers of the kingdoms. As Willet and the rest of the Vigil seek to find answers, the group is scattered with an ever-growing darkness around them. Will they discover a path to keep their land safe, or will an ancient evil reclaim the world it once called its own?

***

 

To say that I was excited for the third and final book of the Darkwater saga by Patick Carr is an understatement. I practically kept my eyes peeled on my inbox for the email from Bethany House listing the book up for review, then hoping I’d make it on the list. And we’ll skip the part with me doing a victory dance once it did. 😛
Anyway….
Though the series has had its rough spots, overall, it’s been a great adventure. The world-building, the characters…. Honestly, I need to read it over again because I miss it. I’d highly recommend reading the first two books in the series, so you have a proper grasp of what is going on.

The story starts with Willet and the other members of the vigil racing to halt the evil of the Darkwater forest that is sweeping over the continent. With people lured by rumors of gold and precious aurium in the forest’s depths, Cesla is building a powerful army with abilities to rival even the gifted. The solution to their defeat? Locked in a vault within the tortured mind of Willet Dura.

So where to start? The plot, despite some lags in places, is awesome. The tension, the emotional journey of the characters, keeps you riveted to the pages. And I must admit, Patrick Carr went deeper with the characters than I was expecting. Anne Elisabeth Stengl is one of my favorite authors because she knows how to bring to life a character’s dark side and still show the redeeming power of love that bring a person back from the edge of the abyss. To my utter surprise, Patrick Carr went this route and succeeded! Mark, the former urchin and thief now Pellin’s apprentice, who shows more heart and depth than a priest in his desire to bring back the mind of a girl who was twisted into becoming a mindless dwimor, capable only of killing; Pellin, who saw how Cesla was snared into exploring the Darkwater. He recognized the man’s pride that could have been his own and led him into destruction. And in spite of all Cesla’s evil, still loved the man that was once his brother and mentor, and strove to remind him of that in the end. These were perhaps a couple of the most moving areas in the story that touched me.

Toria Deel has been a journey in progress. Originally, she was more of a pompous twit than anything else. And definitely willing do whatever it took to further the Vigil’s goal. The end justifying the means, regardless of who was hurt. Losing the man she loved and being teamed up with a former urchin causes her to soften.

Bolt, honestly, you gotta love. The man is like an older version of Batman and Wolverine thrown in there (DC/Marvel reference, I know :P). He always expects something bad to happen, and rarely shows much emotion. But he has such a dry sense of humor, you can’t help smiling as you read.

Willet…Willet has been an off and on character for me. While I like him, he’s not one of my favorite characters, which is odd since he is the MAIN character in the story. But I think the problem lies with the fact that Patrick Carr tried too hard at times to make the character flawed, and a bit of a wise-mouth. But he’s capable and does try to keep his head in tight situations, so he still works.
The gift of domere changed his life. Some might argue it wasn’t for the better, as it grants to Willet an unnaturally long lifespan that will see him still hale and hearty while the woman he loves grows old. But he learns to accept both it and Gael’s love, and acknowledge that he must leave everything in Aer’s hands.

I came across one review that mention how this book has nothing to do with Christianity, wallows in worldly wisdom, and loses touch with truth. As a reader who actively searches for inspiring reads, I respectively have to disagree. Does the story expound Christian beliefs? Yes. Does it whack you over the head with them? No. I have always believed that the greatest thing a story can do is “show” the message through the characters and their actions, instead of delivering a sermon that makes you roll your eyes.

In the Wounded Shadow, you see the consequences of pride and yet the hope for salvation. Mercy, forgiveness, love, and restoration come together in a sweeping epic that truly makes The Wounded Shadow a satisfying conclusion to this series.
Verdict: A definite buy!

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Review of Dagger’s Sleep by Tricia Mingerink   1 comment

 

 

A prince cursed to sleep.
A princess destined to wake him.
A kingdom determined to stop them.
High Prince Alexander has been cursed to a sleep like unto death, a curse that will end the line of the high kings and send the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia into chaos. With his manservant to carry his luggage and his own superior intelligence to aid him, Alex sets off to find one of the Fae and end his curse one way or another.
A hundred years later, Princess Rosanna learns she is the princess destined by the Highest King to wake the legendary sleeping prince. With the help of the mysterious Daemyn Rand, can she find the courage to finish the quest as Tallahatchia wavers on the edge of war?
One curse connects them. A hundred years separate them. From the rushing rivers of Tallahatchia’s mountains to the hall of the Highest King himself, their quests will demand sacrifices neither of them could imagine.

***

 

Greetings everyone! I joined up with the blog tour for Tricia Mingerink. Though events decided to conspire against me, I still managed to finish reading Dagger’s Sleep and get my review up on time. So without further ado, here we go….

Dagger’s Sleep takes the story of Sleeping Beauty and reinvents it with twist. In this tale, it is the prince, not the princess, who is in need of awakening.

Our main characters are Rosanna, the princess chosen for the task, and Alex, the prince in need of saving. The world is populated by Fae and human, but the magical elements are few. For the most part, the world has a decidedly Native American/frontiersman theme going for it.

So first I’ll list my likes. Ms. Mingerink is a good writer and it shows in Dagger’s Sleep. Her writing is clear, and she knows how to effortlessly take the smallest scenes and stretch them into vivid detail without going overly wordy on them. Her characters for the most part are fleshed-out well, particularly her male characters Jadon and Alex, and I loved her take on the Fae. The allegorical elements woven into the story are amazing and, dare I say, even enough to rival Anne Elisabeth Stengl (who happens to be one of my favorite authors :D).

And now we come to the list of dislikes. I really admired how Ms. Mingerink was able to bring to life the trek through the woods, the handling of the canoe, and just the general feel you would get from actually going out there in the wilderness on a dangerous quest. My quibble comes in that it went on for a good chunk of the book without much going on to break up the monotony aside from a couple fights.

My other quibble is the jumping back and forth in time. Personally, I think the story would have worked better for the main protagonist, Rosanna, if we’d kept the scenes featuring Prince Alex few, and started them at the beginning. Instead we start with Rosanna, and then on chapter 4, we’re swept a 100 years back in time to view the journey of Prince Alex. Who also happens to be going on a quest of his own to seek a cure to the curse haunting his steps.

Ironically, it is Prince Alex’s tale I ended up enjoying more, even though he too is trekking through the wilderness. I found the character to have more personality than Rosanna, which made for a more interesting read. Yes, he’s arrogant and will get on your nerves probably with some of his pomposity, but it was fun watching him grow on the journey. And Jadon definitely deserves a medal for being one of the most loyal and dependable bodyguards ever.

Rosanna…honestly, I didn’t really connect with her character until perhaps midway through the story. She’s dependable and quite skilled holding her own without being unrealistic (like Anna in Frozen). And I enjoyed watching her embrace the role she was meant to carry.

So my thoughts? While it’s got a few rough spots, particularly that jumping back and forth in time, it’s an enjoyable read with a great allegory running through it. Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series! 😀

(I received a free copy of the book from author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Blog tour schedule can be found here: https://triciamingerink.com/2018/05/22/dissociate-daggers-sleep-blog-tour/

And here’s something fun for all of you, A giveaway of Dagger’s Sleep, as well as another book, Dissociate by Sarah Addison-Fox. 😀

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Tricia Mingerink is giving away a paperback of Dagger’s Sleep. The giveaway is open internationally where such giveaways are permitted and where Createspace or the Book Depository ships. The book may or may not be signed depending on where the winner lives. To enter, click the link below.

Dagger’s Sleep Giveaway

 

 

 

 

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Sarah Addison-Fox is giving away a paperback set of the first three books in the Allegiance Series. The giveaway is open internationally where such giveaways are permitted and where Createspace ships. The books may or may not be signed depending on where the winner lives. To enter, click the link below.

Dissociate Giveaway

Review of A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason   Leave a comment

 

 

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope–believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father’s demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

***

 

Due to my mom choosing this, I ended up picking A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason to read. I believe it falls in the Regency romance section? Technically this is not a genre I’m fond of reading. In fact, the Regency genre on a whole I find to be boring (sorry Jane Austen fans). Sense and Sensibility I like, and Jane Eyre ranks as my favorite (in tv watching, not reading). My eagerness to read this book was next to nil, but seeing as how there was little else to pick from March’s catalog of books to blog on, I went with my mom’s suggestion (since I would be giving her the book anyway after I’m done).

This is my first book by Susan Anne Mason, and I’ll be completely honest and say that I was surprised to find myself genuinely enjoying the story. The plot, of course, is simple enough.

Nolan Price, a simple stable hand, has got everything settled for his life. He’s found the farm he intends to purchase once he quits his job at Stainsby Hall, and got the right woman, a kitchen maid named Hannah, to join in matrimony and spend the rest of his life with. Even better, he plans on taking his mother with him where she’ll be able to spend the rest of her remaining years in peace. Unfortunately, life refuses to stay that simple for him.

His mother falls ill, and before she dies, tells him the truth of his parentage: that he is really the son of the Earl of Stainsby. With that revelation, his hopes of leading a quiet life with the woman he loves goes up in smoke, as he won’t be able to marry beneath his station.

I really did enjoy reading about Nolan. It’s not often you find guys with enough backbone willing to fight for a woman. And Nolan did fight all the way, right down to sneakily eloping behind the Earl’s back, even after being forbidden to marry Hannah since she was a kitchen maid. Although I do have to be honest and say that it did get annoying him with him trying to please his father, who only kept behaving like an absolute moron.
Much of the story focused on the tension between Nolan and his father, with the Earl applying all the pressure he can to force his son to conform to his demands, and Nolan both fighting him and trying to please him as best he can. As for all the rigorous training Nolan must undergo for his new position, that is mostly kept in the background and never delved into. Which I didn’t mind, since the drama between the characters kept you turning the pages.

Hannah, the love of Nolan, is a sweet girl, innocent and very supportive of Nolan. She is Nolan’s anchor in the storm that sweeps over his life, but as time goes on and she is eventually forbidden to even meet with him per the instructions of the Earl, she eventually starts crumble, especially after she overhears a secret conversation. While I admired her willingness to sacrifice her happiness for Nolan and could empathize with her inner fears that she wasn’t worthy to be loved, it did get maddening watching her always taking off on Nolan, then fussing about how he must not want her anymore and will probably get swept away with the money and position. And of course Nolan didn’t help matters. You can’t try to please a demanding and thoroughly controlling father at the expense of your wife.

In the end, it isn’t so much the Earl of Stainsby who is the threat to their happiness, but themselves. Which brings us to the Earl himself. To say he was annoying would be an understatement. Obnoxious is closer to it. However, as the story progresses, he ends up meeting the Duchess of Hartford, who proves to be the one to deliver some common sense to the Earl with her unorthodox ways.

Faith content was minimal. But there were some good lessons, like Nolan learning to let go of his pride and Hannah her insecurities. And above all, learning to put God first in things and trusting Him to work everything out.

So all in all, the story was an enjoyable read, and one I think everyone will enjoy revisiting on rainy days and winter nights.

Verdict: While not the most inspiring, A Most Noble Heir is a story with well-developed characters and good pacing that will please most lovers of historical fiction, so a buy is recommended. (And on a side-note, my mom also gives this her seal of approval. 😉 )

(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.)

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