Friday, July 31, 2015

Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Bary

From the publisher:
Rifqa Bary grew up in a devout Muslim home, obediently following her parents’ orders to practice the rituals of Islam. But God was calling her to freedom and love. He was calling her to true faith. He was calling her to give up everything.
Leaving Islam for Christianity cost her more than she imagined
but gave more than she could have dreamed.
Hiding in the Light is the story of Rifqa’s remarkable spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity. It is also the untold story of how she ran from her father’s threats to find refuge with strangers in Florida, only to face a controversial court case that reached national headlines. Most of all, it is the story of a young girl who made life-changing sacrifices to follow Jesus—and who inspires us to do the same.


When I first picked up this book, I thought that Rifqa lived overseas.  When I realized that this was in America and the things happened on United States soil, it made it that much more real for me.  It was easier to connect and be drawn into the reality of her story.

I was raised as a Christian from birth and this story made me re-appreciate the blessing that I have. 

This is a page-turning book that people need to read.  Not just as a human interest story.  As a wake-up to God and how amazing He really is.  We just are so saturated in religion and use to our non-treatened way of life that we tend to not value worshiping opening as we do.

Rifqa writes honestly.  She doesn't just love God and feel peace the whole time, but she struggles and finds Him over and over.  It will encourage readers because she is real and yet she is unreal because of her total love of God.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer's List by Anita Higman

From the publisher:
Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness-caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore-she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only tries she had at love... didn't turn out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something-or someone.
Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind but gangly young man from Summer's past. A childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

From the cover of this book to the premise I wanted to like this book.  The cover is beautiful and I loved the idea of a road trip to connect with a past love and find yourself.  However, I found myself struggling through the pages of this book.

The dialogue is stinted and rough.  I felt awkward reading it and it was not just in awkward situations.  Even the very end of the book the dialogue with Martin and Summer is painful to read. 

Besides the dialogue I found the writing descriptions lacking.  The writing descriptions either gave part of the information "She dressed in a nice outfit-navy blue with a white vest." Navy what? Dress? Skirt? Pants? Or was cheesy, "the delicate fabric of her gown now tearing along with her heart."

It is a light summer read, and I am sure that some will enjoy it thoroughly.  It just wasn't for me.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

In Good Company by Jen Turano

From the publisher:
After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position. 

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare.

At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance--with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?

This novel is a mixture of romance and a little mystery and suspense without it being intense.  Fans of Jen Turano will definitely enjoy this book.

I struggled with the characters in this book.  Millie is supposed to be a good but somewhat scatterbrained nanny, but I felt that she was brazen and not what a nanny would have been like back in the day.  I felt that the dialogue between Millie and Everett was unrealistic.  For the first 100 pages of the book their conversations were so bogged down and I felt the book was slow in moving forward.  The pacing of the book in general was difficult to read and I found myself skimming and flipping to and fro in the book.

I am sure that many will enjoy this book, it just wasn't for me.

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Awakening by K. E. Ganshert

From the publisher:
Tess Eckhart isn't crazy. She's not suffering from psychosis. She and Luka Williams are
part of The Gifting. Before they can find out what that means, the man
with all the answers turns up dead. The only thing he left behind? A few
patient files that lead to the nation's most lawless city. 

With authorities chasing them, Luka and Tess escape into the very heart of
peril and against all odds, find an underground community of people just
like them. They aren't gathered together for the sole purpose of
survival, either. They have a plan and a purpose--to awaken as many
people with The Gifting as possible. It's dangerous and deadly work.
Tess wants to help. Luka is desperate to keep her safe--a task that
proves increasingly difficult as Tess's gifting comes to light.

Could Tess Eckhart be the One they've been waiting for? The One who can save them all?


This second book in The Gifting series was even more amazing than the first.  This book is packed with action and leaves you wishing you had the third book right away.  You definitely must read the first book in the series and after reading the first two I can guarantee you will be dying to read the last one!  

K. E. Ganshert breathes so much life into these characters that you feel invested in them and their survival.  You find yourself gripping your book and turning the pages as fast as you can.  I was conflicted as I read because I wanted to read faster and faster, yet I knew that I'd have to wait for the third book, so I tried to read slower, but I couldn't!  It is that good.  Once you begin reading you won't want to put it down!

As I think back on the book I am blown-away by the depth of the character development, especially with Tess and Luka.  Of course we know them from the first book, but in The Awakening there is so much more.  I don't want to give too much away but there are times where Tess has to focus on other characters in the book and as she thinks about the details of the different people it really highlights their characters and how Tess feels about them.  It is an ingenious way of "show and not tell" for writing.  Ganshert shows us the relationships through Tess's experience.

This series could easily be made into a movie that everyone would want to see.  In this book there is friendship, family, love, sacrifice, suspense, and things that will give you chills.  After reading this book I wondered what my dreams would be like. :) 

 It is the type of book that permeates your thinking so you find yourself going back to the story in your mind over and over again.  To me that is a sign of a great book.

I can't wait for the third one!  

I highly recommend this book to others.  

Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser

From the publisher:
Four Southern women are at a turning point in history . . . and in their own hearts.
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
The Civil War cost Savannah Darby everything-her family and her home. When Aidan Bedford, an attorney from Boston, buys the Darby estate, he hires Savannah to redecorate. Can she find a mysterious treasure before her job is finished?
An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he's determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother's homestead, he discovers that she is very ill and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.
A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.
Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She's in love with one of the freedmen on her family's plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe
This was a very lovely set of novellas to put together.  Reading through them you get four different views of the South and the different love stories that each represents.  It was a pleasant compliation of stories and authors.
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander is a novella that has some beginnings in her book To Win Her Favor.  You won't feel lost if you don't read it but I highly recommend you do because of Tamera Alexander's writing.  Whether a full length novel or a novella, she weaves the words together masterfully.
An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray is a story with history so the novella doesn't feel rushed or convoluted.  Instead it feels like the ending to a longer story that you missed the beginning of.  Readers will enjoy the familial and romantic love here. 
A Heart So True by Dorothy Love has two mentions of other characters from her full length novels and readers who have read her other books will enjoy hearing their names again.  But this doesn't detract from the story.  The main love interests in the story seems to have a very formal relationship and yet at the end it breaks through and I liked that break through.
Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser packs a lot into a novella.  I am now anxious to read full length novels from her.  This novella is by far the most intense and has a lot of depth to it.  It will challenge how you think and allow you to see the history of the South as you may never have seen it before.  
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and highly recommend it to others.
I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino

From the publisher:
It is 1653 and Heather Flower, a princess of the Montaukett tribe, is celebrating her wedding feast when a rival tribe attacks, killing the groom and kidnapping her. Though her ransom is paid by an Englishman, she is bound by her captors and left to die--until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.

Still tender from her loss, Heather Flower begins to heal in the home of the Hortons, English friends of her people. Torn between her affection for Dirk and her longtime friendship with Ben Horton, Heather Flower must make a difficult choice--stay true to her friend or follow her heart.

Exploring a unique slice of history, Rebecca DeMarino transports you to the wild land that would eventually become Long Island, New York.

Historical romance is one of my favorite genres to read.  And this history about Long Island intrigued me right away. I was very excited to read this book.

I was disappointed almost as soon as I finished the first chapter.  But the more I read the more disappointed I became.  At the beginning the "love" that blossoms from Dirk to Heather is too quick.  He just met her and he loves her? That is a hero/victim attraction.  Not love.  The love triangle was hard to really read.  It was frustrating as neither of the men seemed that amazing. 

This is the second book in a series and there were a lot of characters.  I have not read the first book so perhaps if you have then you would enjoy reading about all the other characters.  However, for me I found that it bogged down the story and I was not able to enjoy or get into the main story because of all the extra characters. 

I received this book free from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.