Friday, November 16, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter Excerpt

This summer I reviewed the book Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert.  That post is here.  Well, if you want to get a sneak peak before buying the book, here are the first couple chapters!   I hope you will take a moment to read these chapters, and then go and read the book.  I am looking forward to reading her new book when it comes out in March.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

From the publishers: "As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend."

This was one of the best historical fiction books I have read in a while.  The main and supporting characters were both realistic and likeable (or non-likeable, when you were supposed to not like them.)  Lydia and Bane were both strong characters who were written with real depth.

I liked that the love story wasn't a quick throw together, and that there were real obstacles that had to be overcome.  The love story isn't clean, and for once the character's flaws are hard obstacles to deal with.  Lydia doesn't stay pretty and neat, but nor is she careless.  Bane is hard when he needs to be and really is the better of the two characters.  

Another part that was well crafted was the spiritual side.  In many Christian fiction books the characters have sudden "aha" moments where they come to know God.  The way one of the characters comes to know God is much more realistic to how it is in real life.  And I thought it was woven well through-out the story, without it being trite or preachy.  Well done Elizabeth Camden.

I read through the book quickly because I was so engaged, but now I was to go back and re-read it and enjoy it all over again.  I would definitely recommend this book to others.  

This is the first book I have read of Camden's but it will not be the last one!

I received this book free for my honest review from Bethany Publishing.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Isle of Shadows by Tracy L. Higley

From the publishers: "Revised and updated from the original, Christy-award finalist Shadow of Colossus.
Enslaved in a World of Money and Power, Tessa Dares to be Free.
Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away.
But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape.
Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus’s Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected.
As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for her own freedom—and for those to whom she has begun to open her heart—as forces collide that shatter the island’s peace."
I have never read the original work Shadow of Colossus so this review is simply related to this book.  The story moved quickly and each section was by a day.  The book covers seven days, but each day has many chapters.  I enjoyed that aspect of the writing because I felt each day was filled with meaningful interactions with each character.  However, because it only covered seven days, the love story seems a bit fast, but it was still engaging to read.  
Tessa's position as a hetaera was interesting to read, and made her strong willed character believable during that time period.  The reader will enjoy not only the main story line  but also the history of Colossus.  What I love about historical fiction is learning more about the time period.  Higley also has a little section in the back of her book that gives more history.  
The book also includes a discussion guide for group discussions.  
I would recommend the book for light reading that also teaches you more about one of the seven wonders of the world.
I received this book free from Booksneeze in exchange for  my honest review.