Book Review: The Silent Blade

30524121Dromiskin, Ireland. 925 A.D.

Eira has no greater desire than to see her life returned to what it once was—before her older brother Kevin’s sudden disappearance four years earlier. But the simple life she hoped for seems unattainable; on the contrary, her life is about to get all the more complicated.
When she suddenly finds herself and Willem, her twin brother, taken captive by someone who claims to be Kevin’s enemy, things go from bad to worse. It soon becomes clear that she and Willem are to become bait in a trap set for Kevin, and Eira knows she must try to warn him. But how, when she herself is a captive?
As mysteries of the past are unveiled, and loyalties are revealed, Eira realizes how precious her friends truly are. And when mortal danger threatens those nearest to her, will she be
able to trust God with the lives of her friends and family?


 

 

Overall Impression

This story, while in many ways a good concept, was not carried out well. The book didn’t really hold my attention, the characters were not easy to connect to, and to me personally I found many plot-holes. 

I would still say that many single-readers and perhaps even families would enjoy the story even though I didn’t. I know that among it’s target audience on Goodreads it has done very well. Averaging at 4.4 stars. 

 

Characters

Eira, to be honest, annoyed me. I feel like it is a trend right now to have that female character who is good with weapons, can’t cook for her life, and has a temper that gets her into trouble. This type of person is really frustrating to me and often feels clichéd and two-dimensional. I want to see more sweet AND capable female characters. 

Willem and Cassimir, though you didn’t get to see their emotions/thoughts deeply, were sweet guys. 

Technically there was nothing ‘wrong’ with Kevin. But I just couldn’t connect. He was borderline annoying to me, I am not sure why, he just was. This does not mean that he was a bad character, but he and I didn’t mesh. 

Henry and Merek, the two big baddies. Honestly, they just weren’t scary. They didn’t make sense. The reasons behind their actions felt to weak to me. The things they experienced were hard, but I didn’t feel like it was enough to merit the type people they became. 

 

Plot 

I felt the plot to this book was rather weak and undeveloped. The threads of the story weren’t held together well and I felt that we, as readers, were missing certain key bits of information. Sometimes we would get unnecessary information and others we wouldn’t get enough. This left if feeling inconsistent.

 A lot of conversations in this book didn’t make sense to me. Either they were hard to follow, or they were out-of-place. The conversations between bad guys and main characters were especially awkward. 

Also, after all that Eira’s sword-work is praised, the one time that she would have gotten a chance to use it in an influential situation she does horribly. It didn’t make sense. If she was so good she should have done better. 

The faith aspect wasn’t tied in well. There wasn’t a struggle in the middle of the book. There were a few mentions of God and then a bunch of verses in the end. I would have preferred for it to be interwoven through the story. 


Even though Jesseca has a lot of room to grow, I believe that she will grow to  become a much better author. Even if just for the understanding she had when she heard my thoughts on The Silent Blade, and the humility with which she received my critiques. 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Mild descriptions of wounds. Light violence. I would think fine for all children. A man hits a woman. Some light battle scenes. 

Sex/Nudity: None

 

I received this book in return for a review. I was in no way obliged to write a positive review, merely an honest one. 

 

 

Book Review: Gift from the Storm

25236143 One cold, dark evening a young stranger appears outside the Morgan home with two small children. Injured and on the verge of complete exhaustion, she will only say that her name is “Amy.”

Where did she come from? Who is she? And what has she been through? Dr. Justin Morgan and his family look for answers as they struggle to minister life and health to the needy ones in their midst.

Overall Impression
Deciding how many Goodreads stars to put on this was difficult. There are many aspects in this book that haven’t been done well-more on this in Plot and Characters. But, at the same time, there was an overall sweetness, a warmth to the story that made me happy. Since I enjoyed it, I decide on 4 stars. I would recommend this to single readers who don’t mind a bit of a slower pace, and to families that have younger children. 
Characters
Unfortunately, for me, the characters ended up being rather two-dimensional. There wasn’t anything “wrong” with them, but I didn’t think they were executed to their fullest potential. Yet again, the emotions were told instead of shown. This makes a big difference in the connect-ability of characters.
Justin was okay, but definitely not my favorite of male leads. I would have preferred that Rebekah not call him Dr. Morgan all the time. It distanced you from him, especially when it was his POV. I wouldn’t walk around calling myself Miss Gidman, so to me it made it weird.
Sara was hard for me to decide on. Half the time I liked her, half the time she felt a bit overdone.
Adam was sweet, I liked his calm, ‘sturdy-ness’ you might say!
Amy was my favorite. She was sweet and approachable. And I was able to sympathize with her. How horribly upsetting her situation would have been!
Mr. and Mrs. Morgan were sweet. I liked how kind they were to Amy and how they ‘became’ her parents.
Plot
To be honest, the beginning is slow. It’s hard to get into, which is never good for a book. To me personally, Gift From the Storm wasn’t a page-turner. While reading it I liked it, but when I stepped away from it I didn’t have much initiative to go back. But, I kept on, and found a lovely story. 
Many aspects of this story, especially legal aspects did not make any sense at all! That was, until I read another readers review that said Miss Morris had told her that the story was set in the 50’s. Then I understood. However, it would have been wise to put some of that information out there. I thought this was a modern story, and thus found some things in it pretty unbelievable. I would have liked to have a mention of the time period. 
The story had a lot of telling instead of showing, emotions, events, and the like were flat sometimes. Instead of jumping off the page, they sat there and waved hello. I would have preferred more showing. 
I really enjoyed Christmas at the Morgan’s. It was sweet, homey, and warm. Again, some background on the time period would have helped because without the knowledge of the time it came across as a little overtly old-fashioned. But I enjoyed it nonetheless.
One of my favorite parts in the book was when during the bad winter storm Amy freaked out. This scene, unexpectedly, made me tear up. I think it was because of the intense love they showed her in her vulnerability. Just this last 4th of July, I dislocated my knee at a friend’s house. All at once everyone was helping me and showing me amazing love. The scene during the storm brought back all those memories. That is an amazing quality to a book, the ability to touch on someones past memories or emotions. It’s powerful. It probably won’t affect most people as strongly as it did me, but still, an amazing show of love. 
Also, I liked getting to see the characters lives later on. It was nice to see how they ended up. 
So while the story-line/plot had some downfalls, I found this a sweet story.  

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: None

Sex/Nudity: None

 
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review 

Book Review Bundle: Advent Adventures

1256825In this widely popular, exciting story for the advent season, readers follow ten-year-old Jotham across Israel as he searches for his family. Though he faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters the wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to the Savior born in Bethlehem.


 

Overall Impression

This was the first advent book  I had ever read with my family. And I must say, it was quite a nice experience. These books are an engaging way to celebrate Christmastime.

I will say that the writing in this series isn’t excellent, some if it isn’t even very good, but the stories themselves? Ah-mazing! So just know ahead of time, the writing is a bit weak, but the stories are good enough to balance it out! 

This series is incredibly unique. Each shows the same few weeks/months from a different character’s POV. Thus, you find yourself witnessing the same events but learning different details, seeing the same characters, but from a different view. One thing I love is that at the end of each book you find yourself at the same place…the manger. 

This is a fun series I would recommend to both families and single readers. Even if you aren’t interested in reading the advent part of it the stories are still fun to read around Christmastime!

 

Characters

Jotham is a brat in the beginning. But aren’t we all at some point? He doesn’t, however, stay in this part of his arc long. He is a good character, not my favorite, but still good. 

Nathan is one of my favorite characters in this series. He is just awesome. His quick responses and clever disguises are quite fun.

Decha of Meggido. Ek! This guy is evil! He is a great baddie, easy to hate, and appropriately evil.

It is neat to see some of the prominent people in the Nativity story in this book. Namely, Zachariah, Elizabeth, and baby John. Not to mention Jotham’s relation to Joseph! 

 

Plot

The story starts off with Jotham’s disappointment at not being allowed to go to Jerusalem with his brothers. Soon after he finds himself separated from his family and captured to be sold as a slave! From there all sorts of adventures ensue! 

 




7641046 In hard-to-put-down chapters, this engaging story takes readers through Advent to Christmas as they follow young Bartholomew on his adventures. You will accompany this delightful boy from the time Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, through his enslavement to a tyrannical master, his escape with Nathan, and his stay at the community of Qumran, to this reunion with his family and the wonderful climax in Bethlehem. Along the way he makes a new friend, Jotham, whom many readers grew to love in “Jotham’s Journey”.Following each chapter is a spiritual reflection that gives readers an opportunity to respond personally to a spiritual truth embedded in the story. Ideal for individual reading or family devotions.


Overall Impression

I have read 3/4 of the Advent Adventures, (still need to read Ishtar’s Odessy) and out of all of them Bartholomew’s passage is my absolute favorite!

Both Jotham and Tabitha’s stories were more centered around personal problems. Their own struggles, false beliefs. Bartholomew’s passage felt more…I don’t know, religiously centered. (Not that I think the other’s didn’t have great messages, but this was more Christmas-y to me.) 

Characters

Bartholomew was also a far sweeter person than either Tabitha or Jotham. I loved him soo much! He was much easier to sympathize with. His story kept me reading for hours. He (along with Nathan) was my favorite character of all. I love Bartholomew’s quick thinking and action. 

Yet again, I loved Nathan. He so kind, and epic. Just love this character.

The head priest guy at Qumran (can’t remember his name!) was so frustrating! I really hate people like him in books! But, he served his purpose. 

Plot

Great story! These stories have a general theme of the main characters trying to reconnect with their parents. I was rooting for Bartholomew all the way! 

The plot wasn’t quite as fast paced as Jotham’s Journey, but I didn’t mind this. I love getting to see this side of the story, the pieces that weren’t shown in Jotham’s Journey or  Tabitha’s Travels. 

Engaging and fun! 




8528987Following in the footsteps of the immensely popular Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage, this captivating story will take families through Advent to Christmas as they share in Tabitha’s adventures. Curious, competent, and courageous Tabitha is the daughter of a shepherd who is taking his family on caravan to his birthplace. Along the way, she meets and becomes friends with Jotham and Bartholomew, watches as Romans take her father prisoner, spends time with Zechariah and Elizabeth, helps Mary and Joseph just before Christ’s birth, and ends her travels at the stable in Bethlehem. With day-by-day readings, reflections for family devotions, and advice for making Christmas a meaningful season of worship, Tabitha’s Travels continues the beloved tradition of celebrating Advent with your family.


Overall Impression

This was my least favorite of all the stories. It was also the weakest. I read once, may read again in a couple years, but nowhere near as good as the other two books. 

Characters

I really didn’t like Tabitha. She felt like a totally different character than the Tabitha in Jotham’s Journey. That Tabitha had felt feminine, sweet, and kindhearted. Tabitha in this book didn’t match that character in the least. 

She had this annoyance, jealously thing going about what boys got to do that she didn’t. Some of her feelings/beliefs didn’t even seem reasonable for this time. I am so tired of the tom-boy thing! A girl can be adventurous, smart, and capable without wishing she was a boy! Look, I get that there was a lot of stuff back then that wasn’t fair. I understand! But Tabitha was a downright feminist.

Nathan, from what I remember, was good in this book. (Surprise, surprise!)

I liked Zachariah and Elizabeth in this book. 

Plot

The plot in this one wasn’t as exciting as either of the other books. There was adventure and the plot was engaging enough I kept reading it. 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: This series has some violence. People have their fingers, tips of their noses, etc. cut off. (Not as bad as it sounds.) It shows the danger and evilness of the time. I would recommend parents looking through before reading to kids under 9. 

Sex/Nudity: None

While I did not enjoy “Tabitha’s Travels” much, I would still recommend this series. Fun plots, characters, and settings. Even if you don’t care to read “Tabitha’s Travels”, “Jotham’s Journey” and “Bartholomew’s Passage” are still winners! 

Book Review: The Widow of Larkspur Inn

When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited1123434

Julia Hollis’ opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family’s hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham.

Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she–who was accustomed to servants attending to every need–do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town…

 


 

Overall Impression

If you are looking for a sweet and wholesome Historical Romance, The Widow of Larkspur Inn  is for you. I had seen this quite awhile ago and was instantly attracted to the cover. As I skimming through my Kindle library, searching desperately for a new book to read and this one popped up. I started in with high expectations that were not disappointed. 

The overall feeling to this book was warm and homey. Gresham was delightfully portrayed, I could see the very streets with a wonderful clarity as I read the book. I love it when books have strong settings, ones where you can see the story playing out in your mind. So was The Widow of Larkspur Lane.  

The Widow of Larkspur Lane is a great novel for single readers and families alike. I would recommend it strongly to reader who are looking for, or fine with a somewhat slower story.

Characters

I really enjoyed all the characters in this book. Julia, in particular, was refreshing. In lots of books the heroines bounce from one end of the spectrum to the other. Either they are perfect or they can’t boil water without messing it up. Julia was a breath of fresh air! She was totally out of her element in Gresham but that didn’t stop her. She worked hard, and learned a lot. She had children to provide for and nothing was getting in her way. Julia had an air of elegance and graciousness to her that was lovely. She was very kind, very tactful, and properly discreet. I loved this character! 

Julia’s children, Philip, Aleda, and Grace were well done.Philip tried hard to be the man about the house and was very sweet. Aleda, to be honest, wasn’t really my favorite. She was rather sharp and annoying. Grace was a dear! She was so sweet definitely my favorite of the two girls. 

Fiona O’Shea, Julia’s maid/housekeeper/best friend. Fiona was so sweet. Her Irish brogue, not to mention her pluck, spiced the book up nicely. She was so dutiful and God-honoring without being annoyingly perfect. I loved her character and I was so glad she got a happy ending! 

There were a lot of lodgers, all of whom were unique personalities. But as there are so many I will only touch on my favorite, Mr. Clay. Ambrose Clay was such a dear man. He was always kind and considerate even through his depression. He was one of my very favorite characters. 

The other supporting main and side characters were good. They added to the story beautifully. My hat’s off to  Mrs. Blackwell! Her characters were superb. 

Plot

The plot of The Widow of Larkspur Inn was very enjoyable. The story was definitely a slower pace than most books I read, this wasn’t bad however.

My only critiques on the story line and pace was the end. This, I felt, was not wholly satisfying. Julia’s romance literally took place in like the last 3% of the book. Now to be honest, Fiona’s romance was more important to me than Julia’s, but I would have preferred more time with Julia’s romance. I don’t even think the way that her romance was laid out was bad, just too short. The ending was abbreviated in my opinion, I would have been happy for another chapter or two.  

Other than the above mentioned I felt that the plot and story were organized well. It flowed well and had good passage of time. The characters had time to progress in their character arcs. This book was relaxing and fun to read! 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Gore/Frightening Scenes: None

Sex/Nudity: There is one comment that is suggestive of immoral behavior. Not a big deal for older readers, and families could easily skip. 

Book Review: Call of the Wild by Jack London

8146139Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepherd), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit…

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.

 


“Old longings nomadic leap,

Chafing at custom’s chain;

Again from its brumal sleep

Wakens the ferine strain.”

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, is a novella about a domesticated dog’s journey to becoming a wild wolf-like animal. The story, though in some parts sad, was magnificent. It features Buck, a half St. Bernard half Scotch shepherd dog. It begins by showing the life that Buck lives in his Californian home; there he is a favorite among the pets, a well-treated and well-respected dog. This seemingly perfect life is ended when one of the servants leads Buck away from the property and sells him. While at first his abduction and the hard times that follow seem a sad reversal of fortunes, in truth they are a stroke of luck. For in the harsh and cold north, Buck lives a more vibrant life than ever before.

The Klondike gold rush has struck and sled-dogs are in want. Though not the typical husky, Buck is a large, strong, and thickly coated dog. For these qualities he is soon bought. Surprisingly, the harsh northern environment suits him well; better even, than his lazy life in sun-kissed California did.  And though the work is arduous and tiring, it brings Buck satisfaction and pride to his life. He works and lives in a truer sense than ever before.

During his journey Buck meets John Thornton, a man who saves Buck from death. Thornton’s actions light in Buck a raw, passionate, and wild love for the man. Buck trusts in Thornton un-doubting and unquestioningly, committing himself to protecting his friend.  This relationship is unlike any Buck has ever had with a human. It burns with a passion new to him; a passion that lasts even after Thornton’s death.

Throughout the book, the longing to surrender to the call of the wild grows in Buck’s heart. By the end, the only reason he has stayed so long is because of John Thornton. But when Thornton is killed, Buck’s last tie to humanity is cut. He sheds the last bit of his domestication and embraces the fierce life of the Canadian wilds. From then on, Buck follows the call of the wild, free, and contented.

He walked to the centre of the open space and listened. It was the call, the many-noted call, sounding more luringly and compellingly than ever before. And as never before, he was ready to obey.”-The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: This book contains several h*ll, d*mn, and oh my g*d’s.

Violence/Gore/Frightening Scenes: This book is violent and somewhat descriptive. A man chokes a dog several times. A man hits a dog with a club. A dog is attacked and ripped apart. Dog’s engage in violent battles. A couple of animals have their back  or neck broken. Multiple animals have flesh torn, bones broken, and eyeballs are lost. Multiple dogs  A dog rips and bites multiple people’s throats. For children and teens who are sensitive to such things I wouldn’t recommend this book.

Sex/Nudity: Except for perhaps a brief mention of animals mating there is none.