Book Review · Books

Caroline

Growing up I was a big fan of “Little House On The Prairie.” I watched the show religiously M-F at 5pm sharp. I liked Laura, but found her sister, Mary stuffy. When I was asked if I wanted to review this historical novel, Caroline, I couldn’t resist.

Caroline is the viewpoint of Laura Ingall’s family’s move from WI to KS, but told from Laura’s mother’s stance. This novel is so detailed you feel as though you are traveling right alongside Caroline with Charles, Mary and Laura. The author, Sarah Miller’s research is detailed. One scene was so detailed regarding prepping hides to be tanned I almost got ill reading about brains being mushed to coat the hides.

I enjoyed reading this novel. The only challenge is I felt it was a tad too, long. The detail is excellent, but for that long of a book I’d almost want to read a biography on the subject. The realism of venturing out on the prairie is very vivid. The author took great care in explaining the little details of pioneer life. It makes me sit in awe how people could survive with such basic provisions and in modern times we are spoiled with an over abundance.

I received my free copy of Caroline by Sarah Miller care of TLC Book Tours from William Morrow in exchange for my honest feedback. If you would like purchase this title go grab a copy from HarperCollins and to read more about the author check out her website.

Book Review · Books

Rose Colored Glasses

Memoirs steal your heart. The author gives you a peek into their personal life, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Jo Ann Simon does just that in her memoir, Rose Colored Glasses. In her book she chronicles her marriage to Tom otherwise known as TK. Their love and romance reads like a fairy tale until they are faced with a harsh health update for Tom.

What would you do if your spouse or partner suddenly has to deal with a terminal illness? Jo Ann meets this challenge head on like a freight train, determined to find a cure for Tom. She is honest about their good days when Tom is back to his old self and days when getting through the day is a challenge. I can’t fathom going through what Jo Ann has. You expect to grow old with your other half.

I received my free digital ARC copy of Rose Colored Glasses by Jo Ann Simon from NetGalley care of Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest feedback. This memoir was beautifully written with little notes from Tom to Jo Ann sprinkled through out the pages. Loosing a partner to disease is devastating. Jo Ann shows how we can get through to the other side of this premature challenge to live life again. If you have a friend, family member, or an acquaintance that needs assurance they aren’t alone going through this kind of major life change then I recommend to read this book. It’s a book about hope.

Book Review · Books

What Blooms From Dust

Have you ever been caught in a dust storm, or even worse yet, a haboob? I have watched one roll in and they are quite fascinating to watch from inside your house. The sky turns a funny yellow color, sometimes reddish brown and one moment you can see objects in front of you, then next they are hidden by the giant cloud of dust. If you suffer from asthma don’t get caught out in one.

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert is the story of a town called Nowhere, where the 1930’s bring black as night dust storms that turn day into night. Twin brothers, Josiah and Jeremiah both love a woman named Ellen. Sibling rivalry turns ugly when Josiah rats out Jeremiah to the police. He witnessed his brother bury four men and figures his brother killed them. Jeremiah goes off to prison. When a tornado rips through where the prison is at, Jeremiah escapes.

On his way back to Nowhere Jeremiah spots a family trying to sell one of their kids. He’s shocked a child would be for sale. With a flick of his coin the boy ends up following him. This little boy is described as not all there since he smiles nonstop. Jeremiah takes the boy under his wing as he returns to his home town.

Ellen is married to Josiah and has a son. She’s a teacher trying to survive the dust storms. When Jeremiah and the little boy walk into town she’s shocked how the little boy makes her think of a child she almost had, but lost.

When the dust storms won’t stop the town starts to go haywire. People turn catatonic, not able to eat or drink. The dust becomes just another fixture the towns people have started to ignore.

Will the towns people survive? Who is this mystery child who finds comfort in typing on his type twitter? Will Jeremiah and Josiah clear the years of hurt between them? Will a reporter’s desire to uncover the truth put a wedge between Jeremiah and Ellen?

If you enjoy historical fiction with a unique twist you may enjoy this novel. Parts of this book made me think of Stephen King. Will Nowhere allow a dust storm to take them all down?

I received my free ARC paperback copy of What Blooms From Dust by James Markert from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson and Harper Collins in exchange for my honest feedback. If you are interested in getting a copy click here to purchase from Amazon and to find out more about the author check out his website. This novel made me want to research the dust bowl more thoroughly.

Book Review · Books

Discovery

I enjoy historical fiction and Christian historical fiction sounded different from what I normally read. This short novel is about the relationship between Dr. Giselle Gelis and Dr. David Rettig who are both researching Maria Madeline. Giselle from a Christian view point and David from his skeptics, archeologist stance. It mirrors their relationship with Abbe Francois Berenger Sauniere and Marie, whose the daughter of the family he stays with. Both couples want to discover the truth about Maria Madeline.

Giselle Meets David at a biblical conference where they both sense there is a romantic spark between them. Giselle is reserved at first because of being burnt by men in her past. David is thrilled, but understanding that they have opposite spiritual views.

I have never done any research on Maria Magdalena, but reading this novel makes me want to do more research about her. She has been known as the prostitute in the Biblical narrative. When Abbe Francois Berenger Sauniere begins to rebuild the church named after her he discovers more than he bargained for. When he asks to have what he’s discovered to be translated he realizes that he’s being kept quiet. Who would see what he discovered as a threat to the church and why?

I received my free paperback copy of Discovery by Leslie Schweitzer Miller for free from Smith Publicity in exchange for my honest feedback on this novel. My feedback is strictly my own. This novel is sweetly written, humorous at times, romantic, fascinating and makes the world of France come alive both in modern times and the 19th century.

Book Review · Books

Where Hope Begins

Some beautiful book covers are just that. Beautiful. The innards don’t always mirror the outer. Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is a book I asked to review because I thought the cover was gorgeous. The cover didn’t remotely prepare me for the depth of the story waiting for me.

Savannah is a mother still reeling from the untimely passing of her eldest daughter when her husband, Kevin, decides he wants to separate. He had an affair and decides to move out to go live with the other woman. To help herself heal and move forward, Savannah decides to go stay at her parent’s cabin.

She discovers she has nice neighbors to keep her company. One of the neighbors is Maisy, a little girl who looks so much like her late daughter. Savannah is captivated by Maisy’s Dad, Brock, not realizing who he actually is. Through her neighbor’s friendship she begins to heal her broken heart. Brock’s Aunt Clarice keeps Savannah on her toes spiritually, seeming to know so much without Savannah having to say a word.

Savannah feels like her life is finally showing signs of healing when Kevin wants back in. Will Savannah let him? How can you forgive someone you love and trust after betrayal? Is it possible for a family to be repaired? Can a family move forward after the loss of a child?

This novel tackles so many tough topics that are realistically portrayed through Savannah’s story: marriage, betrayal, death, faith, love, hope, family, relationships, friendship and more. This novel will stick with you long after the last page. I wish there was a sequel. Better yet a movie.

I received my free paperback ARC copy of Where Hope Begins by Catherine West for free from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson in exchange for honest review. To learn more about this talented author check out her website and buy a copy from Amazon.

Book Review · Books

It Takes Death To Reach A Star

If you love Game Of Thrones and are into futuristic sci-fi novels then, It Takes Death To Reach A Star May be the novel for you. I never read sci-fi, but this novel has encouraged me to start reading more from this genre. This novel follows the paths of Mila and Demitri who are thrown together when their worlds collide after the Third World War. This war wiped out many people with the NBD, or new Black Death epidemic. Mila is a Robust and Demotri is a Gracile. These two groups don’t normally socialize.

Mila clings to the old world’s faith, while Demitri tries to keep his secret under wraps. One carries information that is vital to surviving and the other has an addiction to numbing out his sameness existence. When they both realize what the Leader has in store will they band together to stop him, or will their social classes keep them from stooping the evil leader?

The topics that range throughout this book are what constitutes a family, faith, how knowledgeable can shape and change us. Other topics explored are, are demons real and if so, how do we handle them? Lastly the topic of religious differences is covered. Will we allow religious differences to separate us through violence, or will we learn from each other?

I received my free paperback copy of It Takes Death To Reach A Star by Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington for free from TLC Book Tours care of Vesuvian Books. To support these authors click here to purchase off Amazon and to check out more about the authors: Gareth and Stu . I enjoyed this novel. It’s fast paced with short chapters which is nice. Thank you for such an engrossing read.

Book Review · Books

The Widow’s Watcher

Jenna Shaw is at the end of her rope of grief. Her family of 5 dwindled down to just her within the length of one gut wrenching phone call. She’s left behind her last family member of sorts, a fur child called Beckett. Jenna was on a mission to get to a frozen lake so she could be put herself out of her misery. The frozen lake in MN is beautiful and she’s at peace with her decision until an old gentleman stops her.

Lars is a man, whose life has been dealt more pain than most people can fathom. He chooses to soldier on in life, so when he sees a strange woman out on the lake heading toward the parts of the lake where the ice is thin he chooses to go out and stop her. Jenna is not expecting to have her plans rudely interrupted. With grumbling she allows Lars to lead her back to her van. Low and behold it won’t start. Through some phone calls Lars calls his son to come tow Jenna’s van. With the son’s insistence Lars is stuck hosting Jenna while her vehicle is getting fixed. Neither Jenna or Lars are in the mood for company.

As Jenna gets to know Lars and his son, Owen, Jenna learns why Lars is such a brooding, sometimes grumpy old man. When Owen was little his mom left him and his dad behind, taking his two younger siblings. When his mom was found the kids were missing and his mom was in no mental state to tell anyone where they were. This mystery has clouded over Lars and Owen’s lives.

Jenna one day asks the fateful question if anyone has asked Owen’s mom if she could retrace her steps of where she took her kids on that day. This leads to the investigation being reopened. Will Lars’ wife be able to shed new light on what truly happened that day?

This novel, The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell is a masterpiece. The opening sequence sucks you into Jenna’s world and I don’t think you are able to let out a true breath till the last page. It’s rare you care about characters this deeply. My emotions were a wide range, but the one that stuck out the most is love. Of Jenna, Lars and Owen. Of how family dynamics can change in an instant and life doesn’t ask permission first. This is a roller coaster of a ride, but it’s worth every page. Pick up this gem at Amazon and connect with the author through her website.