Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Echoes of Mercy is a Christian romance with intrigue, suspense, and a really nasty villain. Caroline, our heroine, is an undercover agent for the Labor Commission. Her mission is to investigate the mysterious death of a fellow agent at the Dinsmore candy factory. She is distracted from her investigation by the handsome and mysterious janitor, Ollie Moore. She tries to ignore her feelings for him, but he keeps popping up everywhere. Another distraction is the family of orphans that have come to depend on her, and all of her questions and snooping have aroused the suspicions of the slimy factory manager, Gordon.

I thought the main plot of Echoes of Mercy was interesting. Caroline and Ollie had to put their heads together to figure out what had happened to the previous agent. Lots of sparks flew between them, and they had good chemistry. I did feel like there were too many subplots that distracted from the main characters and their budding romance.  I also felt like there were too many characters to really get to know any of them very well. I did like the bad guy. He was very creepy.

Overall, this was a fun story that I think fans of Christian romance will enjoy very much. If you like Jannette Oke, or similar authors, you would enjoy Echoes of Mercy.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for free for the purpose of review.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Twitterature ~ March 2014

Wow this has been a weird reading month! The first three books I read were DNF's for me. That was depressing! Thankfully, after that, I had some really great reads. Here is a list of my recent reads and a Twitter style review of them.

Luminary by Krista Mcgee ~ This is book two in the Anomaly series. I enjoyed this one as much as the first. I was a little worried in the beginning. The protaganist did an awful lot of whining, but thankfully she stopped.

A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin ~ This is my favorite book by my favorite author. I decided to reread some of her books this year, and this one did not disappoint. A lovely story with lovely characters.

Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel ~ This was my nonfiction pick for February. Good book about how we live and how the things we put into our lives effect us.

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner ~ This is my favorite book of the year so far. I absolutely devoured it. I loved the story and the writing style. I had a bit of a book hangover after this one and struggled to find something to read.

A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr ~ This is the book that pulled me out of my reading funk. It is book 3 in the Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series. This has been my favorite so far. A little mystery, a little romance, all set in Medieval England.

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo ~ I would describe this book as chick lit. It was a light, fun read set in England. There is a secret society, a mystery to solve, and a little romance.

Check out more Twitterature reviews at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Reads

Here's what I read in January:

When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell ~ I really enjoyed this sequel to Into the Free. Great characters, great story. It does deal with some heavy themes, but it was a much happier book than the first one.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown ~ I had high expectations for this book, but for some reason I just couldn't love it. Some of it was laugh out loud funny. The characters are well drawn, and the writing is beautiful. Ultimately, I think I just have issues with pirates as "good" guys.*

Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black ~ I reviewed this book here.

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry ~ This is book two in The Giver series. It isn't nearly as good as the first one (which is amazing), but it's not bad either. A slower read, but I think it's setting up the next book.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell ~ This was a really cute romance about two rival candy makers. Great book for Valentines's Day since it's about love and candy.

Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin ~ This book by my favorite author is part devotional and part travel memoir. The writing is beautiful, and I really related to the struggles Mrs. Austin was dealing with at the time of her journey to the Holy Land. I read this book slowly through out the month. It was a great start to my year.

* This book is not published by a Christian publisher and may contain some objectionable material.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: Cloak of Light by Chuck Black

Cloak of Light is a speculative fiction adventure that deals with spiritual warfare. I would describe it as Spiderman meets This Present Darkness. Drew Carter is the protagonist who has obtained some pretty strange "super powers" after a lab accident with his friend Ben. His new abilities include heightened hearing and the ability to see what is going on in the spiritual realm. Drew can now see the battle fought by angels and demons that goes on around us mere mortals all the time. He is a little freaked out by it.

The characters in Cloak of Light are interesting and mysterious. Drew is pretty well fleshed out, and so is his love interest, Sydney. Interestingly enough, Sydney is the only Christian in the story so far. Drew and his friend Ben are not believers. Drew is a very moral young man. He is always fighting for the underdog. He gets these morals from the adults in his life. His deceased father, his mother, and his mentor Jake have a good influence over him.

The plot of the story was just okay for me. This book is definitely written for a YA audience. I think it will appeal more to them than it did to me. There is lots of action and fight scenes. I think I would have enjoyed it if more of the plot was revealed. I felt like the story kind of stayed in place so more could be revealed in the next book.

Overall this was a fun book, and a good set up for the next book in the series. I think it will especially appeal to a younger male audience. I would recommend it to fans of speculative fiction and Frank Peretti's books.

I received this book for free for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Twitterature ~ January 2014

Here are some short reviews of what I've been reading lately:

When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell
I really enjoyed this sequel to Into the Free. This is the story of Bump and Millie's marriage and move to Colorado. In this book, they have to deal with all the pain Millie went through before. Both of these books deal with heavy themes of abuse and forgiveness. They are both beautifully written. Very recommended.

This was an interesting twist on the tale of Scheherazade. A female pirate kidnaps a chef and forces him to cook for her (every woman's dream). The chef struggles to find ingredients to use, but eventually he prevails and impresses the Captain. I mostly enjoyed this story, but I found the middle to be a bit long.

Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin
Lovely book about the author's trip to Israel. It's very devotional in style. I'm right in the middle of it right now. I don't want to rush it.

Emma by Jane Austen
This is my Classic read for the winter. I'm loving it so far.

Head on over  to Modern Mrs. Darcy to check out more Twitterature reviews!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Favorite Books of 2013

Here are my favorite reads of the year:

Unglued ~ Lysa TerKeurst
Stardust ~ Carla Stewart
Sparkly Green Earrings ~ Melanie Shankle
Saving Sailor ~ Rene Riva
The Remedy for Regret ~ Susan Meissner
The Sacred Ordinary ~ Leigh McLeroy
Anomaly ~ Krista Mcgee
The Shadow Lamp ~ Stephen Lawhead
Fifteen Minutes ~ Karen Kingsbury
Afloat ~ Erin Healy
Gone to Ground ~ Brandilyn Collins
A Cast of Stones ~ Patrick W. Carr

Monday, November 4, 2013

October Wrap Up

I had a pretty good reading month in October. I read eight books total. So here's the run down of my reading activities.

Stardust by Carla Stewart ~ I think this one might be my favorite of the month, and Carla Stewart is shaping up to be a new favorite author for me. I love her characters. This story is a bout a young woman who finds out her husband is leaving her for another woman. Just after he leaves, he drowns. Then she ends up inheriting an old motel from a distant relative, and her life just keeps getting crazier. Good stuff!

Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola ~ I enjoyed this chick lit about a woman who seems to have everything. Then, in one stupid mistake, loses it all. She finds herself stuck in the deep south where she learns what happiness and fulfillment (and good food) really are.

Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie ~ I was disappointed in the fourth installment of this historical mystery series. I have enjoyed the others I have read, but I really struggled to get into this one. I will probably read the next one when I can get a hold of it though.

Return To Me by Lynn Austin ~ I was really looking forward to this one. It is the first in a new series about the rebuilding of the temple. I will admit that it was a little on the longish side, and I really wanted to throttle one of the characters. But it is still excellent historical fiction. There is so much detail, and things really pick up in the second half. I ended up being really satisfied with the story and I am looking forward to the next installment.

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell ~ I will warn you right now, this book is hard to read. It is beautifully written, but the things this girl goes through are just heart wrenching. I can't really say I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I read it if that makes sense. There is a sequel that I plan on reading eventually. I hope it's happier.

Burning Sky by Lori Benton ~ This was probably my least favorite book this month. It was just okay for me. I did a review here.

Divergent by Veronica Roth ~ This book was a lot of fun. I didn't really know a lot about it before reading it. It is YA dystopian. Society has divided themselves into "factions". When a child turns 16 they must decide if they will stay with their family's faction or chose another one and leave their loved ones behind. The main character has discovered she can fit into several factions. She is Divergent, and this is bad. If the wrong people find out, she'll be killed. Of course there is a love story. And a sequel. It wasn't as good as Hunger Games, but what is?

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen Lawhead ~ This is the fourth book in the Bright Empires series and I think this is my favorite so far. The last book comes out next fall. I hate waiting.

Those are my October reads. I have some good stuff lined of for November, so stay tuned. What have you been reading lately?